LinkedIn is a major resource when you’re job searching. As the top professional social network with over 130 million users in the United States and users in 200 countries worldwide (500M users total), as well as over 10 million job listings, LinkedIn is a goldmine for finding jobs and making connections. According to the 2018 Jobvite Recruiter Nation Study, LinkedIn is the most-used channel for recruitment efforts with 77% of recruiters using it in their candidate search.
However, for you to take full advantage of LinkedIn in your job search, you need to treat it as more than just a virtual resume. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner emphasizes the importance of your profile holistically. He said, “Be yourself, represent who you are. It's not just your experiences, this is not a resume... This is a more dynamic approach to representing your experiences, your skills, your objectives, what you know, what you're interested in within a professional context. It's not just about the comprehensiveness—it's also about freshness of the information and the more complete and the more fresh, the more recent that that information has been updated, the more opportunities that are going to accrue to our members.”
Follow the three simple strategies I’ve outlined below for leveraging underutilized areas of your profile to attract recruiters, engage your network, show your personality, and ultimately help you land your next job.
3 Ways to Maximize Your LinkedIn Profile to Find a Job
#1: Publish Articles
Show you’re engaged in your industry. By publishing content through the articles function (just under the “Start a Post” box on the homepage), you’re giving proof to professionals and recruiters in your network that you’re in tune with what’s going on and have a perspective. The more you’re actively engaged and posting content, the more attention and recognition you’ll get. Additionally, you’ll have ready-to-go writing samples that are entirely yours. You can direct hiring managers to specific links, or when they visit your profile, they’ll see your articles just above your “experience” section.
#2: Write a Strong “About” Section
Use this section to cover your career focus, overview, core competencies, and software/technical skills. It gives the rest of your profile context, helps you tell the story of your career, and offers you the opportunity to inject some personality. Additionally, relevant content in your “about” section will appear in results when recruiters are searching for potential job candidates.
#3: Ask Your Colleagues and Coworkers to Write You Recommendations
Having professional testimonials about yourself on your profile adds to your credibility and makes it step easier for hiring managers and recruiters to get a picture of you as a candidate. Request recommendations from those you’ve worked with—peers, supervisors, and direct reports—who can speak to your professional accomplishments and what it’s like to work with you. This is a great way to supplement your references by having colleagues who might not necessarily be an appropriate reference for a particular role speak to your qualifications and skills, your work on a specific project, and who you are as a professional. This is especially beneficial for three reasons:
If you’ve been laid off or otherwise terminated from your previous job, you don’t have to awkwardly find a coworker to speak on your behalf.
If your manager or supervisor doesn’t work closely with you day-to-day and isn’t well connected to what you do, your other connections can fill that void.
If there are important people in your industry with whom you engage, it would be beneficial to demonstrate a connection to them.
LinkedIn even offers a customizable template you can use to request recommendations from those in your network—just make sure to give your connection a heads up when you ask, and personalizing the request doesn’t hurt either.
For more tips on using LinkedIn in your job search process, enroll in my forthcoming self-guided job transition program, The Career Blueprint Academy. You’ll access all the resources you’ll need, plus lightening quick coaching sessions to answer your questions and get you on your way toward your next professional endeavor.