Do you know how to use LinkedIn to land the job of your dreams?
LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful tool for those seeking employment. With over 500 million users, the site features a growing professional community that spans over 200 countries, and you can use this free resource to expand your professional influence.
This exciting tool empowers job hunters to network and find career opportunities like never before — you can attract the attention of recruiters through shared connections, instant messaging, and LinkedIn posts and articles. Plus, you can access these powerful professional tools from the convenience of your smartphone.
In this article, you’ll learn how to use your LinkedIn profile to network and obtain your dream job.
How to Create a Great LinkedIn Profile
The first step to building a professional network and obtaining a job via LinkedIn is creating an exceptional profile that will catch the attention of recruiters and other professionals in your field.
Shockingly, many LinkedIn profiles are incomplete, which doesn’t do you any favors when trying to land your dream job. To complete your profile, you’ll need a professional headshot, headline, and summary, as well as your skills and experiences.
When adding your professional headshot, choose a good-quality photo that showcases who you are in the workplace. Steer clear of picking a headshot that obscures part of your face or is blurry, and avoid using images that include other people. You should also consider wearing industry-appropriate attire and posing professionally.
Next comes your headline. Your headline will default to your most recent work experience, but you can also customize it to add more uniqueness to your profile that conveys your personality. You could even add a touch of humor that distinguishes you from other candidates. For example, an accountant could write a headline such as “CPA and numbers enthusiast.”
Additionally, you can indicate that you’re looking for work when appropriate, such as “CPA and numbers enthusiast seeking an accounting firm.” That way, recruiters will know you’re available and ready to hire.
Your LinkedIn summary should expand upon your headline while giving more insights into your personality and professional experience. Include your work experience, unique skills, and what value you bring to the workplace. Remember, your LinkedIn profile is essentially a personal advertisement, so make sure to create a compelling and memorable summary.
One commonly overlooked aspect of creating an exceptional LinkedIn profile is including industry SEO keywords. This will enhance your likelihood of your professional profile appearing in Google and LinkedIn search results. Going back to the accounting example, you could include keywords such as “financial data analysis” and “bookkeeping management.” Avoid common buzzwords like “hard worker” and “motivated” because those descriptions appear in numerous summaries and won’t distinguish you from the crowd.
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Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile with Your Work Experiences and More
In addition to including a great headshot, headline, and summary, you’ll also want to feature a list of your previous work experiences and skills. This section provides another great opportunity for expressing your value in the workplace. Make sure to be exhaustive with your relevant skills and experiences, and update this section regularly.
When adding your experiences, you can structure it by including one or two sentences for each professional role. Then you can include a bulleted list of your results and accomplishments within each position. This will enhance the section’s readability while also providing recruiters with concrete results of your achievements.
For example, rather than “Provided bookkeeping services,” you can write, “Managed bookkeeping for over 50 clients with 95% customer satisfaction.”
A great way to increase the likelihood of a recruiter discovering your profile is by including the maximum amount of skills possible. LinkedIn allows you to provide 50 different skills on your profile, and each skill you include increases your chances of showing up in a LinkedIn search. For example, if a recruiter searches for “data analysis” and you have data analysis listed in your skills, your profile will appear in the search results.
Having 50 different skills may sound unrealistic, but when you peruse other LinkedIn profiles, you’ll quickly find a variety of hard and soft skills you can likely use on your profile, such as Microsoft Word, critical thinking, phone support, copywriting, team leadership, and numerous others.
Finally, don’t hesitate to include your community involvement and volunteer work on your professional profile. This can only help you when it comes to setting you apart from other professionals in your field.
Connect with Other Professionals
Now that you’ve created an excellent LinkedIn profile, it’s time to grow your professional network to gain employment opportunities. The site allows you to connect with former associates, friends, acquaintances, and anyone else instantly. As you grow your professional network, you’ll increase your likelihood of having a shared connection with a recruiter or manager in your field.
If you attended a college or university, you can build your professional network fast by looking up alums from your school. LinkedIn offers a great alum tool that allows you to easily find those who attended your school. Other users who don’t know you will be far more likely to add you to their connections based on your shared alma mater.
Next, you can get involved with professional groups on LinkedIn based on your career, skills, and interests. This will allow you to connect with other professionals in your field, and you may even make connections with recruiters and potential employers through particular groups.
Along with building your professional network, LinkedIn groups are also a great way to learn from other professionals. You can gain valuable industry-specific strategies for growing your network, enhancing your professional profile, and landing your dream job.
You should never stop expanding your LinkedIn network. In addition to adding individuals from your alma mater and groups, you can reach out to shared connections, local professionals, and others in your field.
When requesting to add a connection who you don’t yet know, write a personal message to them via LinkedIn Messaging. For example, you could write that you’re interested in connecting with them because they’re in your field or live in the same city.
As you continue growing your network, you’ll expand your professional influence while also increasing your likelihood of finding a valuable shared connection that leads to a job opportunity.
Give and Receive Recommendations and Endorsements
Two critical tools you can use to enhance your LinkedIn profile further are recommendations and endorsements. When you feature recommendations on your LinkedIn profile, you add legitimacy to your professional experiences and showcase your accomplishments in the workplace.
You can request recommendations from current or former colleagues, superiors, and associates to beef up your professional profile. Remember, anyone willing to provide you with a professional endorsement is doing you a great favor — be polite when asking for one and express tremendous gratitude for their willingness to help you.
Endorsements are similar to recommendations, but they involve individuals corroborating the skills you list on your profile. For example, if you have experience with video editing and add it as a skill on your profile, a former client or co-worker can endorse it, confirming to recruiters that you possess this ability. Try receiving as many endorsements as possible for your different skills to showcase your professional talents.
In addition to requesting recommendations and endorsements, you also need to be willing to give them. When a deserving current or former associate contacts you for an endorsement or recommendation, you should take the time to provide it. In addition to helping them build their professional profile, you’ll create a stronger connection with them, and this connection can prove highly valuable if they know a recruiter.
Stay Active and Publish Articles on LinkedIn
LinkedIn allows you to post content that can help you make more connections and attract the attention of potential employers. The site functions much like Facebook, as your posts appear on your connections’ LinkedIn feeds, and your contacts will also see when you like and comment on someone else’s post.
Posting and reposting content frequently is a highly effective tool for gaining more industry connections. Your posts also have the ability to gain traction and go viral on the site, which will attract more people to your network. You can connect with those who engage with your content by perusing your likes and comments.
Even commenting on a trending post can result in more professional connections. After commenting on a trending post, see if you receive any likes. If anyone likes your comment, you can send them a personal message and add them to your connections.
You can also use this strategy to engage with your professional groups. Consider posting regularly within the group and participating in conversations when others post. Your content doesn’t even need to be original — you can repost interesting articles, blogs, videos, and news related to your profession to start conversations and build connections.
One important note when posting content and commenting is that you should avoid starting or participating in unproductive arguments. Healthy debate can be a great way to make professional connections, but if people attack one another — a common occurrence on the internet, unfortunately — don’t participate.
In addition to posting content, you can also publish articles on LinkedIn. This is yet another great way to attract the attention of recruiters. If you publish an industry-specific article or an article about optimizing a soft skill — such as teamwork, communication, or time management — you can illustrate your professional knowledge and pique a potential employer’s interest before they even view your LinkedIn profile or résumé.
Reaching Out to Recruiters on LinkedIn
LinkedIn separates itself from other social media platforms because it offers a truly unique method for connecting candidates with employers. Rather than being a name on a lifeless application, recruiters can view your profile and gain excellent insights into who you are as a professional and individual.
Contacting companies actively recruiting on LinkedIn offers an unparalleled opportunity to showcase your professional profile, and this is especially important in competitive job markets when it’s harder to be noticed by hiring managers.
So how should you go about gaining the attention of recruiters?
Like we said before, posting regularly and expanding your network can lead to a valuable shared connection with a recruiter. You can reach out to an existing connection who knows a recruiter and ask for an introduction.
This is another critical reason for staying active on LinkedIn and offering recommendations and endorsements. Let’s say that you reach out to a connection who you haven’t had any interactions with in the last five years and request an introduction with a recruiter from their LinkedIn network. You’ll be incredibly lucky if they respond and oblige.
Now, picture the same interaction but imagine that you’ve spent years commenting on and reposting this person’s content, and you even wrote them a recommendation. They’re far more likely to introduce you to their connections.
Before speaking with a recruiter, you should do your due diligence in researching their company, as you should in any job interview. Fortunately, you can follow the companies that you’re interested in working for on LinkedIn to keep up with company news, and in the process, you’ll likely also discover when new positions become available. Plus, you can research the company’s managers and recruiters.
When you conduct extensive research into a potential employer beforehand, you’ll be able to ask questions and express your interest in the company’s goals and mission. This will show the recruiter that you’re looking for more than just an employment opportunity — you’re specifically interested in working for their company.
Get Even More Tools for Scoring Your Perfect Job
As you may know, networking greatly increases your likelihood of getting a job, but you can also use LinkedIn’s other tools for finding employment. Try looking for open positions with LinkedIn’s valuable job search tools and turn on job alerts to stay up-to-date about newly vacant positions.
If you’re looking for even more ways to land your dream job, check out edifying online tools like Career Sidekick, Top Resume, and Forbes. Plus, you can read other articles on Greatness.com all about enhancing your professional life while growing in your creativity and finances.
LinkedIn offers exceptional tools for finding employment, but you need more than a great website to build your career — you need to believe you can accomplish great things and work hard to make your dreams a reality.
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