The Professional Way To Use LinkedIn To Land Your Dream Job
Are you using LinkedIn to get social media management or any other professional job?
Do you know the professional way to use LinkedIn to get a job?
Here are reasons you should:
They designed LinkedIn for those looking for professional jobs and also for those that want to recruit professionals.
As of April 20017, LinkedIn, now owned by Microsoft, claimed that it had 500 million users.
Those users come from over 200 countries.
But get this:
LinkedIn lists over 10 million active job posts.
Sincerely and candidly, you should know how professionals use LinkedIn to get a job because according to the Jobvite Recruiter Nation Survey:
87 percent of hiring managers use LinkedIn as one of their most important and effective search tools.
Therefore, in this article, we will discuss how to create a killer LinkedIn profile.
We will also discuss practical tips that other professionals have used to get a job.
Let’s get busy.
Craft A Killer LinkedIn Profile
Your LinkedIn profile is one of your most important professional online networking tools.
It gives you the platform to make that all-important right first impression.
On your LinkedIn stage, you can highlight your background, including your experience, skills and education to hiring managers, contacts and your network.
Such exposure to the right people and at the right time helps you with your job search.
However, you have more chances of being found by recruiters if your profile is complete than with an incomplete one.
LinkedIn is not for the faint at heart.
But you don't have to fill out the entire profile at once.
Experts on how to use LinkedIn say that it is better to break up your profile makeover into a set of smaller chunks of tasks.
Starting small includes adding a profile photo, branded background picture, a killer headline, a compelling summary, filling out your experience section and adding your skills.
Even LinkedIn knows that completing its profile is not a sprint but a long distance race.
That's why it proactively lets you know how “complete” your profile is, as you go on your journey of filling out your profile completely.
It offers suggestions on how to strengthen it and better.
#1. Choose An Awesome Photo
A professional LinkedIn photo makes a great first impression.
It communicates to hiring managers that you’re a credible and enthusiastic professional.
A professional photo highlights certain aspects of your personality.
You should know that everything about your profile picture sends subliminal messages to hiring managers about the person you are.
A professional profile picture on your LinkedIn profile is a foundation of your personal brand.
Not only that, it may even help jog the memory of an employer that has met you before.
Since your LinkedIn photo is a serious business, here are what to look for in a professional LinkedIn profile picture:
Avoid selfies. Go for a headshot.
Guys, seriously, if you will wear a tie, always go for a solid color. Patterns can distract and they do.
Ladies, make sure you don’t wear any attention-grabbing or overpowering jewelry in your photos.
Your professional photo should communicate passion, energy, charisma, empathy, and other soft skills hard to write about on your CV or Resume.
Since it's important to you to land your dream job on LinkedIn, invest in your profile picture.
A well-thought-out professional image should show you as friendly, likeable and trustworthy.
Those brilliant qualities will get hiring managers attracted to you and may eventually lead to a job offer.
Please note that the ideal LinkedIn profile picture size is 400 x 400 pixels.
Now that you've gotten the sense of why you need a professional profile photo, let's talk about one image that is under-utilized - the background image.
#2. Design A Branded Background Image
As you consider your background image, determine what purpose you want it to serve.
For instance, do you want it to extend your company or personal branding?
In that case, you use the colors, name, and logo associated with your brand.
On the other hand, you may keep it simple by using a phrase or Call To Action (CTA) that expresses what you want your audience to do when they land on your page.
The ideas are endless and the rewards immense.
The official size of the LinkedIn background photo is 1584X396 pixels.
But when you consider mobile devices, 1000X120 pixels at the top of the image is recommended.
Irrespective of what you want to achieve with your LinkedIn background image, decide on the specifics before you design it.
#3. Craft An Impactful Headline
The LinkedIn headline is the text that appears right under your name. Your headline is the most important real estate on your profile.
It is also is one of the most looked at sections of your LinkedIn profile.
“If you want your LinkedIn account to be a way that people discover you or your company, you’ll want to place an emphasis on keywords — words which people will search for on LinkedIn and that will show up on search engines.”
Having said that:
Include the keywords that people commonly use when searching for someone in your space.
Because it’s also one of the most important fields for LinkedIn’s search algorithm.
While at it, tell your unique story.
Yes, it's allowed, use this important space to impress your target audience.
As of this writing, you may increase your headline from 120 to 220 characters.
That is possible if you edit your profile via the LinkedIn mobile app.
Your headline promotes you on LinkedIn newsfeed posts, the “People You May Know” section, and LinkedIn job applications.
Whether your business contacts or a hiring manager is looking at it, your LinkedIn headline is key to making a positive impression.
The headline also explains exactly what you bring to the table.
That's why your LinkedIn headline should portray you as a credible member of your industry.
A professional headline helps you stand out and highlights what you do or what type of position you're looking for.
Use it briefly to showcase your specialty, value proposition, or selling point.
Get to the point:
Be specific about why you’re the purple cow.
The more precise you are about what sets you apart from the competition, the better.
#4. Get a Custom URL
It’s much easier to brand yourself with a customized URL (like linkedin.com/yourname) than using that clunky combination of numbers that LinkedIn automatically assigns when you sign up.
A major reason you should claim your custom LinkedIn URL is that it helps you stand out from the crowded pack.
A custom LinkedIn URL allows you to come across as more professional.
Here’s how to get one:
And you're done.
Note: Your custom LinkedIn URL must contain 5-30 letters or numbers and may not include spaces, symbols, or special characters.
#5. Write A Compelling And Winning Summary
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Your LinkedIn summary section, which appears right below your profile photo, spotlights who you are and what kind of job you're looking for.
It is also an amazing platform to explain your experiences and showcase who you are.
To be found, it’s important to garnish your summary with plenty of search keywords so that your profile shows up in searches.
And that’s because prospective employers or hiring managers search for summaries using keywords of the skills that they have listed in their job postings.
Therefore, read through the descriptions of the jobs you want and be sure to include those keywords in your summary if you have those skills.
Be specific about what you intend to bring to the company’s table.
An example of being specific is:
Instead of saying that you have "an extensive background in copywriting," say with "six years of copywriting and editing experience."
Here are practical tips on how to write a winning summary.
Write in the first person and in a conversational manner. Just the way you talk and the way you are.
Keep it real!
To nail it, you need to really write it more like a self-marketing pitch but keep it real.
In this section, you tell your story as if you were having a conversation with a colleague, a hiring manager or a prospective client.
Introduce yourself. What would you want them to know about you? What are the most important things you want them to know about you, your skills, accomplishments or unique talents?
The first opening three sentences are important. They should make it immediately clear to any reader what value you offer.
So that means it’s easily understood by the hiring manager, prospective client, another colleague or even your boss.
Therefore, your summary needs to be a mix of your credentials and your accomplishments. The first three Summary sentences follow you when you post on LinkedIn.
#6. Add Multimedia To Your LinkedIn Profile
Photo credit: Pexels
In an increasingly crowded online landscape, you need to use every tool at your disposal to stand out and build your personal brand.
Since many people are not using multimedia on LinkedIn, you stand out on LinkedIn with multimedia.
Add videos, presentation slides or text documents to compliment your already professionally crafted career summaries?
The LinkedIn professional gallery allows you to add multimedia to your LinkedIn profile.
Go ahead then:
Add multimedia to the Summary section of your profile. Include the multimedia links, with preview images, in the Experience and Education sections of your profile.
Did you know that you can add any web link to your LinkedIn profile?
Yes, you can.
The links include Youtube, Vimeo videos etc. While at it, add your SlideShare presentations, and any online documents linkable from a public URL.
For instance, a hiring manager can use multimedia additions that include current job specs, blog articles and employer branding videos on her profile.
Those looking for a job can use theirs for Resumes, CVs, blog articles, portfolios etc.
Do the same thing for each of your work experiences. If you work for a company or you have a personal blog, add the websites.
Include also projects you’ve worked on and articles you’ve written.
Add anything else that provides awesome multimedia look at your work or skills.
Irrespective of what you upload, multimedia bring your profile to life.
And it gets even better:
Practical Tips To Get A Job
After you have polished your LinkedIn profile, how do you go about finding a job on the social network?
These practical tips give you the best chance at finding employment on LinkedIn.
#1. Get A Referral
The most effective way to land a job using the LinkedIn platform is through a referral.
A successful referral is from one of your connections who already works at the company where you want to work.
In fact, many recruiters say that referrals are a major way that they get quality hires.
That means that if you get a referral, you are more likely to hear from a recruiter.
To make the referral process seamless, LinkedIn designed the Ask for a Referral tool directly on the platform.
Use the tool to make these requests."
What if you don’t know anybody who works at the company where you want to be hired at?
Look for someone who works there with a shared connection.
Reach out to some of these people with a personal message and ask for information about the recruitment process.
Don’t ask about a job just yet.
With this insight, you can get more information and start networking until you receive a referral.
#2. When You Cant’t Find Mutual Connections
If you are new to LinkedIn, or inexperienced on how to use it to find a job, you may not have a mutual connection with your prospective employer.
Photo credit: Pixabay
Don’t give up.
You can still reach out to a potential employer through a common group.
Search for people within the LinkedIn groups that you are a member.
You can browse groups within your industry to join.
Another thing that you can do is to send your prospective employer a message that stands out from the crowd.
#2. Fill Out The 'Career Interests' Section Completely
Why is that important?
Because you want Hiring managers to know that you’re looking for a job.
One important area to start with is to keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date.
Make sure your profile picture looks professional. LinkedIn members with a profile picture are 14 times more likely to receive page views.
Fill out your skills.
There are over 45,000 skills to choose from on LinkedIn. Choose relevant skills to strengthen your profile.
LinkedIn research found that almost 89% of professionals consider skills even more important than job titles.
Therefore, be comprehensive about current skills and objectives.
Don't leave out anything about your current skills and objectives.
Update your "Career Interests" as you view your own profile in "Your Dashboard."
Toggling on the "Let your recruiters know you're open" tool will make your profile more searchable for hiring managers.
In case you already have a job, LinkedIn hides the information from hiring managers at your company or affiliated company recruiters.
#3. Turn On LinkedIn Job Alerts
This is how you access your job alerts on LinkedIn:
LinkedIn gives you options on how to be notified of new job postings.
You can be notified via email and choose how often you want to be notified.
Once a day or once a week. You can also get mobile and desktop notifications.
#4. Build A Great Network
Your connections can insanely increase your exposure and access to other connections.
However, there's no prize for accumulating tons of connections on LinkedIn.
So focus on building a quality network of professionals you know, respect and can vouch for you instead of on the number of people in your network
Start growing your LinkedIn connections by importing your email contacts from Yahoo or Gmail.
Reach out directly to a potential employer or hiring manager.
But keep this in mind:
A LinkedIn invite from a total stranger can be as off-putting and interruptive as a cold call.
So take time to figure out how you might know one another or identify your common connections.
The common ground could be a connection, interest or background.
Interestingly, when you try to connect with someone from the page where you viewed their profile, LinkedIn gives the option of using a custom message.
So, write a personalized invitation with the proper context to help you stand out.
A short note is better than copying and pasting your cover letter.
Keep it short, sweet, and to the point of what you want.
Tell the person why you would like to connect.
Look through their LinkedIn profile to find a personal detail or shared connection that you can reference.
#5. Research Your Prospective Company And Executive Team
Before going in for a job interview, research your prospective company and the executive team to learn basic information about them.
You can leverage this information during your interview to create relatability and show that you've done your homework.
Thanks to the internet, today, it’s easier than ever before to learn about an employer before the job interview.
Therefore, research to learn as much as you can online.
Do your research, and you’ll make a much better impression on the hiring manager. Here are tips for researching companies before the interview.
1. Visit the Company Website
Start your research by visiting the company website.
Review the organization's mission statement and history.
Learn all you can about the products and services, management, as well as information about the company culture.
You’ll find a trove of information in the "About Us" section of the company website.
If there's a Press section of the website, read through the featured links there.
2. Search Their Social Media Accounts
The next logical place to check is the company's social media accounts.
Pay attention to their Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Twitter pages.
As you browse through their social media accounts, you’d immediately get a sense of how the company wants its target audience to see it.
Like or follow the company to get updates. You'll find the information you may not have found otherwise.
However, you may also uncover some red flags.
For instance, if the organization doesn’t have a professionally managed social media presence, or if it’s updated irregularly and inconsistently, they might not be totally in control of their public image.
3. Use LinkedIn
Use LinkedIn company profiles to find more information on a company you're interested in.
Use it to see your connections at the company, new hires, promotions, the jobs posted, related companies and company statistics.
If you have connections at the company, consider reaching out to them.
Not only can they put in a good word for you, but they may also share their perspective on the company and give you tips that will help you ace the interview.
4. Use Google and Google News
Use Google and Google News to research the company name.
This research will help you find out how the company is in the news.
In the news, you may discover that the company is expanding into China, or just received a round of start-up funding.
Or, you may find out that a recent product under-performed or had to be recalled.
This knowledge can help shape your responses to interview questions.
Your company research will equip you for your job interview.
It also makes your responses to questions compelling and show that you'll be helpful to their goals and bottom line.
Your knowledge will help you give a specific answer if you’re asked why you’d like to work for the company.
You can share details about things you find admirable about the company, its mission and culture.
#6. Follow Companies You Want To Work For
Research and follow the pages of specific companies that you want to work for. By doing so, you’d be one of the first candidates to see their hiring announcements.
LinkedIn makes it ridiculously easy to find and follow companies.
If you don’t know how to go about doing it, make a list of the companies you'd like to work for and follow them on LinkedIn.
After you do that, you can keep up to date on their brand’s news and hiring announcements.
In fact, now when you follow companies on LinkedIn, you are notified when your dream company posts new jobs so you can be one of the first to apply.
You can see the company's posts in your news feed or get job alerts for that company — or both.
This will help you stay in the know about company news and new positions as they become available.
#7. Join LinkedIn Professional Groups
Photo credit: Pexels
Active participation in LinkedIn Groups is one way to increase your reach, grow your network, find a job and create more leads for your business on LinkedIn.
So what's a LinkedIn Group?
A LinkedIn Group is a group within LinkedIn that shares common skills, experiences, industry affiliations, and goals in an exclusive forum.
What are the main benefits of joining a LinkedIn Group?
Joining a LinkedIn Group is beneficial because you can direct message members of your group.
LinkedIn considers members of a common group as your 2nd-degree connections.
That means that your 2nd-degree network will explode just by joining 1 group.
You have an incredible opportunity to reach out to people that you wouldn’t be able to approach otherwise.
So whenever you see a hiring manager's profile that’s of interest to you and you would like to get in touch with her, check if you have a group in common.
If you don’t, just join a group she is part of so you can send a direct message.
You can always leave the group again if it’s not of value to you.
Keep this in mind though:
When researching groups, you want to take part in groups that have recent activity.
Otherwise, you might waste your time if a group doesn’t have daily or regular interaction online.
#8. Use the Advanced Search
Since the launch of the new LinkedIn user interface, many users have said that the Advanced Search is gone. It is not gone, it only exists in Sales Navigator now. You have to pay for it.
As you look at the picture of the old navigation and the new one, you'll notice that the “Advanced” button that used to be next to the search bar is gone.
OLD top nav:
NEW top nav:
However, you can still do advanced searches on the new LinkedIn interface.
The difference is that the Advanced features are more integrated into the regular search functionality.
To get started, type what you are searching for in the search bar. For instance, if I wanted to find VPs of Marketing at Bank Of America, I would start by searching for “Bank Of America,”.
Here are the results I get:
Okay, so I get 10,294 results. That's many people to find, connect, and start a relationship with.
However, if you look on top of the page, you will see many of the filters you used to see in Advanced Search before the new user interface launched.
They’re not gone, they have just been moved.
Now, I will filter by 1st and 2nd for Connections, the Greater New York area as Location, Bank Of America as the Current Company, and finally, Financial Services or Marketing and Advertising as the Industry.
(Note: you can also filter on Profile language, Nonprofit interests and Schools).
Once I add these filters, here’s what I see:
25 results. That’s much better.
If I needed to, I could review this list one-by-one and find those VPs that are in Marketing roles.
Want to better focus your search?
Upgrade to a Sales or Hiring plan to unlock additional filters, including Function and Years of Experience.
#9. Look For Your College Alumni
If you're serious about landing your dream job using LinkedIn, the first essential step is to become a member of your university’s alumni group on LinkedIn.
Almost every college, university and many high schools as well in the world have one or more groups.
Go to the Groups Directory.
Search for the name of any schools that you attended.
You’ll find that some schools have multiple groups, so join the groups that appeal to you.
Once you’re a member, scan the group’s Discussions, Members and Jobs for networking opportunities.
Join a discussion of fellow alums talking about your industry.
Be active and comment on an article someone has posted or introduce yourself to the Group Manager.
The Group Manager is often a representative of the Alumni Association.
Take advantage of the LinkedIn Alumni Tool. This tool provides you with information about where your fellow alums work, what they do and where they live.
The tool pre-fills the years you attended a school listed on your LinkedIn profile and shows you the classmates who attended at the same time.
For a broader search, you can enter additional graduation years.
Once you’ve identified some alums in your desired field and location, it’s time to make contact.
Here is how I would approach an outreach message:
I’m a fellow ABC University alum and came across your profile. I graduated in 2003, also with a degree in Mass Communication, and have been working in the PR industry for the past few years.
I’m currently job hunting and hoping to make the transition from the agency side into a role at a nonprofit or university.
I really admire your career and was wondering if you might be willing to offer some advice or perhaps chat by phone?
I would really appreciate your time and would be happy to do anything I can to help you.
Thank you and Go Red Raiders!
#10. Be More Than A Wallflower
You get out of the LinkedIn professional network what you put in it. So be active on LinkedIn, authentic and current.
Stay engaged consistently. Post any articles you write, videos you post, and so on, as updates.
We've already talked about joing LinkedIn Groups.
Get involved with groups and interact with others on LinkedIn.
The more you interact and post as a professional, the more you'll be noticed and build recognition.
#14. Keep Your Job Search Under Wraps
Do you have an idea why LinkedIn has privacy settings?
One of those reasons is that when you're out looking for a new job, and are actively engaged in your current job, you can keep under wraps.
The easiest way for your employer that you’re leaving is when he sees that you have updated your profile, connected with hiring managers, and have an overwhelming increase in new connections.
However, you can customize your settings so that your boss doesn’t see that you’re looking for a new job.
It is easy to find LinkedIn privacy settings:
Just sign in, and then select ‘settings’ from the drop-down menu, where your name appears in the upper right-hand corner.
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