Using LinkedIn in your job search may seem fruitless, but trust us: It’s not. Your profile and activity (or lack thereof) on the platform could make or break your ability to power up your career. Consider the following four ways using LinkedIn effectively can make it happen (and ways to do it right).
Your LinkedIn profile should be as complete and professional as possible for two reasons: First, a good-looking profile helps you make a great first impression. Second, a complete profile is rewarded with increased visibility through LinkedIn’s ranking systems and algorithms.
LinkedIn refers to individuals with complete profiles as All-Stars. It’s been said that these profiles are 40x more likely to receive job opportunities. How do you reach All-Star level? The easiest way is to follow LinkedIn’s suggestions when putting together your profile. If you’re missing a personal headshot, education history, references, or work experience, LinkedIn will point that out.
You should also toggle a few buttons to increase your chances of being discovered using LinkedIn. For instance, consider setting your status to “open to work” (but be thoughtful about how you do it, as this Forbes article explains). And consider your privacy settings: there are pros and cons to being fully public vs. fully private. Most job seekers find a happy hybrid in the middle. If you’re job searching while employed, extra care and consideration are worthwhile.
And then comes refinement. What type of profile gets the best search results, grabs the most attention, and makes the best impression? Consider:
Whether you directly share your LinkedIn profile or not, it won’t be ignored by potential employers. About 67% of companies look at job candidates’ LinkedIn profiles. Assuming they already have your resume in hand, what on Earth could they be looking for? For one: discrepancies.
“Our Austin recruiters admit that one of the easiest ways to spot an untruthful resume is to compare it to the job candidate’s LinkedIn profile. Discrepancies in job titles, dates, and qualifications are red flags,” we’ve written previously.
That doesn’t mean your resume and LinkedIn profile need to be identical. The resume should pull out information relevant to the job you’re applying for, but there should be more robust information on your LinkedIn profile for a deeper dive into your background: a full employment history, endorsements and recommendations, even connections and interactions.
We’ve all gotten LinkedIn messages and connection requests that are tacky, salesy and self-serving. Don’t let that stop you from using LinkedIn for what it was made to do: Build and strengthen connections.
This advice from Expandi.io is a good place to start. It covers the basics of networking using LinkedIn, including authentic ways to find and connect to others using connection requests, LinkedIn searches, the “People you may know” tool, events, and groups.
Establish Your Thought Leadership
Now it’s time to publish content. If you’re a good writer or conversationalist, you’re at an advantage, of course. But don’t be intimidated by the process if you’re a thought leadership newbie.
“Creating and sharing content on LinkedIn is essential to get the most out of the platform. Every piece of quality content you share makes you more visible to hiring managers, recruiters, and industry leaders,” the experts at Inside Forbes Council state. And you don’t have to be a novelist to make it work. “LinkedIn content has its roots in long-form articles, but today, short-form posts and video are encouraged and promoted.”
The Austin Technology Council recently published advice and research on connecting and selling using LinkedIn. It includes some great insights for those who post and publish articles regularly. For instance:
- Tagging others in a post will only expand its reach if those people engage with the post.
- If you edit your post within the first hour, you could reduce its reach by up to 25%.
- Commenting first on your own post can reduce reach by up to 15%.
- Posting multiple times a day will reduce the reach of each post, posting more than eight times a week or less than once a week can reduce the reach of each post up to 30%.
There’s no way around it: Using LinkedIn for your job search is critical. Then, step up your efforts by working with recruiters who focus on your job role and industry. We can help.