LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network (and I’m not saying that just because I used to work at LinkedIn). As of March 2020, LinkedIn has more than 675 million users in more than 200 countries and regions across the globe. More than 30 million companies are represented on LinkedIn and there are more than 20 million open jobs on the site.
These statistics clearly indicate that professionals should be leveraging LinkedIn to grow in their career. What’s more convincing for job seekers is that 95% of Fortune 500 companies use LinkedIn Talent Solutions in 2018. That means recruiters are actively using LinkedIn to source and hire professionals for their companies.
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If you’re not already using LinkedIn, now is a great time to start. Here are 5 ways you can leverage LinkedIn and its resources for your job search.
Update your profile: Photo, Title, Skills, and Recommendations
Profile photo: According to LinkedIn, members with a profile photo are 21 times more likely to get profile views than members without a photo. A simple professional headshot will do. There’s no need to hire a professional photographer unless you prefer to do so. The iPhone’s portrait mode will suffice.
Job Title: Recruiters can search for specific job titles as they are using LinkedIn to source top talent. That means if a recruiter is looking to hire for a finance position, they might search for members with “financial analyst” in their title. Make sure that your experience is updated with relevant job titles.
Skills: Recruiters can also search for skills. Start adding skill sets to your profile and have your colleagues endorse you for those skills. This means if you’re looking for a marketing job, you might want to add skills such as “marketing strategy”, “digital marketing”, and “social media marketing”.
Recommendations: If you’ve ever used Yelp reviews to decide on a restaurant for dinner, you know very well the power of reviews. LinkedIn’s recommendations are viewed as legitimate as these are other professionals who also have a reputation to build. Start asking current and former colleagues to write recommendations as you boost up your profile, even if you’re not currently looking for work. It is always a great idea to have recommendations on hand should you need them in the future.
LinkedIn has developed its own 1-hour "Rock Your Profile" course on how to successfully update your LinkedIn profile. You can take the course for free with a trial.
Let Recruiters Send You Job Opportunities
LinkedIn allows you to let recruiters know that you’re open to opportunities. Recruiters are then able to send you InMails with job opportunities as you continue your job hunt. If you’re unsure where this setting is, LinkedIn’s help page shows you where and how.
Develop Skills & Earn Certifications Through LinkedIn Learning
One of the most important things you can do in your career is to develop a growth mindset. This means that you’re committed to continuous learning so that you can further develop your skills and remain relevant in your field. LinkedIn Learning has over 14,000 expert-led courses that help professionals develop business, technology, creative, and job search skills. The company also offers a free one month trial to its platform, where you can take these courses to enhance your knowledge and earn certifications that will help you stand out after putting it on your LinkedIn profile. Explore job search courses on building your resume or interviewing as you apply for jobs and learn how to update your LinkedIn profile so you’re set up for success. Here are a few courses that can help you develop skills for your career:
Send LinkedIn InMails - Recruiters & Referrals
Start using LinkedIn’s messaging platform not only to reach out to recruiters but also to ask for referrals. After you apply to a job online, it’s possible that your resume never gets to a human set of eyes. For that reason, look for the recruiter on LinkedIn and message them regarding the job opportunity. Send them your resume so that there is a chance a human will actually read your resume. In addition, send inMails to your connections who are working at your target companies and ask for a referral. LinkedIn offers a free one month trial to LinkedIn premium, which allows you to send 45 inMails a month.
Build Your Network
More connections on LinkedIn means more opportunities to learn about jobs and get referrals. Look for individuals you know who might be from school or a former company. You can also connect with alumni from your school given that you already have a shared experience. Import contacts from your email list or simply look for professionals who work at companies you’re interested in and ask them to connect. As you build your network on LinkedIn, you’ll gain more opportunities to to speed up your job hunt.
Lastly, remember that your career ultimately depends on you. LinkedIn provides the connections, courses, and resources but you will have to leverage your network, update your profile, and actively earn certifications on LinkedIn to fully utilize its resources as you job search.