Want to improve your job search results on LinkedIn? Moving beyond the basics can help you improve your chances of finding the perfect position. In this article, you learn four tips for making the most of LinkedIn as a job search tool. You also learn how to create a stellar profile that stands out from the competition; enhance your profile with images, video, portfolio samples, and more; increase your LinkedIn networking opportunities; and uncover the hidden job market.
Polish Your Profile
The first step in your LinkedIn job search campaign is to make your profile recruiter-ready. Your profile is your number-one selling tool on LinkedIn. Make sure that it accurately portrays your professional expertise, highlights what you have to offer a potential employer, and differentiates you from other qualified job candidates.
Here are my favorite tips to help you ensure your profile is ready for the spotlight:
- Create a headline that conveys what you have to offer. By default, LinkedIn uses a combination of your title and current company name as your professional headline. Consider customizing your headline, however, if you’re unemployed or if your job title alone doesn’t easily convey what you do. For example, you can include targeted keywords, professional certifications, or degrees in your headline to make it stand out (see Figure 1).
Figure 1 Customize your headline to focus on your LinkedIn goals
- PMP-Certified IT Project Manager Seeking New Opportunities
- Public Relations Executive, MBA, APR, Fellow PRSA
- Recent Graduate Seeking an Entry-Level Position in Social Media
Figure 2 Have your connections endorse you for your top skills
Add Media Files That Showcase Your Experience
LinkedIn enables you to enhance your profile with multimedia work samples such as images, videos, audio files, PDF documents, presentations, portfolios, and more (see Figure 3). You can upload a file from your computer or insert a link to a file on a supported website, such as SlideShare, Behance, or YouTube. Linking to a website or a favorite blog post is another option. You can add media files to the Summary, Education, or Experience sections.
Figure 3 Sample media files including a website link, YouTube video, image, SlideShare presentation, and PDF document
Adding media files to your profile not only showcases your work, but also makes it stand out from text-only profiles. As a job seeker, you might want to post your resume, articles you’ve written, presentations you’ve given (either YouTube videos or slides from SlideShare, for example), or portfolio samples if you’re a creative professional.
Before uploading any media, consider both confidentially and privacy concerns. Some employers prohibit employees from posting company-related documents, reports, or presentations. Be sure to verify an employer’s rules on this topic before posting. Also, review documents for personal information such as addresses or phone numbers, and remove any content you don’t want to make public. For example, you might not want to include your street address or home phone number on a resume.
Become a Groupie
LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups to ensure that you’re selective in your group membership. You can search for potential groups to join using the search box at the top of any LinkedIn screen. The best groups are ones that are very active, have a large membership, and directly relate to your profession or geographic location (see Figure 4).
After joining, make it habit to contribute meaningful commentary to ongoing discussions, and start your own discussions on occasion. This activity can lead to making connections with people influential in your field, including recruiters, hiring managers, and peers who know about relevant job openings. Many groups also have a Jobs tab that lists related positions.
Figure 4 Search for active groups with lots of members
Move Beyond Job Listings
Although LinkedIn is a great resource for high-quality job listings, hundreds of other LinkedIn members are also applying for these same jobs, lessening your chance of the being the perfect candidate. For better results, look where your competitors aren’t looking. Here are two of my favorite ways to find potential employers on LinkedIn:
- Search for companies in your targeted industry and geographic location. This technique can help you discover potential employers who aren’t already on your radar. From here, you can review their LinkedIn Company Pages to view open opportunities as well as employees in your network.
- Perform an advanced people search to find recruiters and hiring managers at targeted employees, as shown in Figure 5. You can search for people at a specific company, search for people in a specific industry and geographic location, or search by title (such as recruiter or the title of a person you might report to). Be aware that some search criteria requires a LinkedIn premium account, which are highlighted with the orange premium icon. Although LinkedIn offers numerous free features for job seekers, upgrading to a premium Job Seeker account is an option if you want access to additional features.
Figure 5 The Advanced People Search page offers many options for finding the right people
Many job seekers on LinkedIn focus on perfecting their profiles and applying to jobs. Although this is a good start, active participation in the greater LinkedIn community can amplify your job search, grow your professional network, and uncover hidden job opportunities.