How to get a job using LinkedIn

Getting started

If you're struggling to find your next job, LinkedIn may be able to help. 

While many people use LinkedIn to network, share information, and stay up to date with the latest developments in their industry - it’s also an invaluable job-hunting tool.

If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile - or if you want to update your existing profile - we can help you get started. 

But before you begin, be aware that LinkedIn will notify your connections when you update your profile. So, make sure you turn this feature off before you begin editing.

Alphr has a simple guide on how to do this.

Getting started | How to get a job using LinkedIn

Profile picture

Choose a profile picture that is clean and professional, where you are smiling and making eye contact with the camera.

LinkedIn provides the following guidelines:

  • 400x400 pixels with a size limit of 8MB
  • Use an original digital photo, rather than a scan
  • Your face should take up 60% of the frame
  • You should be the only subject
  • Have a white or solid colour background
  • Wear work-appropriate clothing
  • Take the photo in natural light
  • Ensure the photo is not under or overexposed
  • No obvious filters (stick to the original or monocrome)

A study by Photofeeler examined what traits make up the perfect photo. Here are some of their findings:

  • While wearing sunglasses in your profile picture will slightly boost your perceived competence (+0.03%) and influence (+0.06%), it will decrease your perceived likeability more significantly (-0.36%)
  • Squinting your eyes slightly demonstrates comfort and confidence, boosting your percevied competence, likeability, and influence
  • The perfect smile is closed with teeth visible, this will increase your perceived competence (+0.33%), likeability (+1.35%), and influence (+0.22%)
Profile picture | How to get a job using LinkedIn


Headline

After your profile picture, your headline is the next thing people will see when visiting your profile.

Here are some tips for what do avoid when writing your headline: 

  • You don’t need to use your current job title in your headline - especially if it isn’t relevant to the job you are trying to get
  • Avoid using words like “former” that indicate you are unemployed
  • Don't say that you’re "seeking new opportunities" - recruiters don’t search for job seekers on LinkedIn, they search for relevant skillsets and experience

Instead, your headline should highlight your skills, accomplishments, awards, and other recognitions that are relevant to the job you are looking for.

Headline | How to get a job using LinkedIn

Summary

Coming up with what to write for your LinkedIn summary can be difficult. So, what should you say and how should you say it?

LinkedIn suggests you cover at least some of the below topics to ensure you have enough substance in your summary:

  • Describe your passion and what makes you tick professionally to provide context as to why you are in your career and where you want to go.
  • Describe what you do in your current job in simple terms - talk about what a workday looks like to you and what you bring to your role.
  • Highlight your successes and achievements.
  • Reveal your personality by highlighting a trait you are most known for - complement this by sharing personal interests / hobbies and try to relate these to the work you do.

Here are some other things to keep in mind when writing your summary:

  • Make your first sentence count - hook your audience by immediately getting to the point and using a friendly and approachable tone.
  • Focus on the reader and their experience - keep it short, succinct, and relevant.
  • Include keywords that are relevant to your role so recruiters can quickly determine your suitability - if you don't know what to include, look at:
  • Profiles of people who are in a similar industry to you - or are in the role / industry you want to be in.
  • The key selection criteria of jobs you are applying for (as highlighted in the job ad).
  • Write your summary in the first person - as stated by Robin Ryan from Forbes “many people treat this part of their profile as a biography, but that is a mistake - to be effective, you need to really write it more like a self-marketing pitch”.
  • Stay clear of walls of text - recruiters will skim your summary so make sure you break it up into smaller sections with shorter words.
Summary | How to get a job using LinkedIn

Experience

Your work experience is the most important section of your LinkedIn profile.

Make sure you:

  • Update this section throughout your career.
  • Focus on experience that is most relevant to the jobs you are applying for and minimise the amount you write on older / less relevant roles.
  • Write about your previous roles in the past tense and your current role in the present tense.
  • Use a strong opening sentence to capture your readers’ attention and entice them to click “see more”.
  • Below the fold, write a 2-3 sentence summary that provides an overview of your responsibilities and accomplishments.
  • Use action verbs (directed, drove, implemented, etc.) - Robin Ryan from Forbes, you should specify what your actions were and what results you achieved.
  • Research and include the keywords for your dream job and relate them to your experience.

Recruiters hate finding discrepancies between your LinkedIn profile and CV. Therefore, you should check that your job title, company name, and dates of employment are consistent.

To help prevent discrepancies and keep your profile relevant, update both your CV and LinkedIn profile regularly.

Experience | How to get a job using LinkedIn

Education

For the section on your education, make sure you include:

  • Your formal education (certificates, diplomas, degrees, etc.).
  • Any certifications, courses, or training you have completed.
  • Any awards or honours received.
  • Any special events / experiences that don’t fit in the “activities and societies” section of your profile.

Unless you are a young candidate, there is no need to include your high school education.

Education | How to get a job using LinkedIn

Skills

Skills are one of the most important sections of your LinkedIn profile.

The more skills you include, the more likely you will show up when recruiters search for you. Therefore, you should include any skills that are relevant to the roles you are applying for.

If you wanted to add more skills, LinkedIn offers some learning courses. Completing these courses gives you a badge on your profile, showing that you have completed a course proving your skill.

While endorsements are a nice touch, they are not necessary.

Skills | How to get a job using LinkedIn

Expanding your network

Networking is key when it comes to finding a job, as many opportunities aren't advertised. Therefore, finding work is often a case of knowing the right person.

LinkedIn can help make the networking process easier. Here are our top tips for expanding your network on LinkedIn.

1) Connect with everyone you meet who is relevant to your industry. For example:

  • People you meet at networking events
  • Presenters from events you attend
  • Lecturers at university
  • Peers and colleagues

2) Personalise your connection requests. To increase the likelihood of your connection request being accepted, we recommend mentioning:

  • How much you enjoyed meeting them
  • How much you enjoyed their presentation or event (if applicable)
  • That you are following up by sending them a connection request so you can stay in touch

3) Don't ask for something in your connection request. This is especially true if the person is involved in hiring, as they are likely already receiving messages from people asking for jobs.

4) Take a "quality over quantity approach" - as suggested by Lou Dubois from Inc.com, you should be critical of your LinkedIn connections.

People you've met in person provide greater value as connections, as they are more likely to interact and engage with you on LinkedIn. People you have met presonally are also more likely to provide assistance when asked. 

5) Maintain relationships with your connections - this includes engaging with their content, occassionally messaging them, and introducing them to some of your connections (where relevant).


Following others

Follow companies that are of interest to you and are related to the job you want (e.g. companies in the same industry, or companies you want to work for).

Following these companies will allow you to:

  • Stay updated on their recent activities - this information is useful in case you ever talk to someone from the company (e.g. during a job interview)
  • Discover who in your network knows someone from the company - if you have a good rapport with them, you can ask them to put you in contact with someone from the company
  • See what new jobs are available - if you want to work at a specific company, you should be carefully watching their page for any new vacancies

You should also follow and take a critical look at the profiles of people who are relevant to you - such as:

  • Alumni from your university
  • Past colleagues
  • People currently working in your dream job

Analyse their profiles and ask yourself:

  • What does their profile have that yours doesn’t?
  • How are they interacting with others?
  • What kind of content are they sharing?

You can then apply what you learn to your own LinkedIn profile.

Following others | How to get a job using LinkedIn

Actively using your account

Make sure you stay active on LinkedIn, as people are less likely to provide assistance to someone they haven't interacted with. Don't just create an account and wait for a recruiter to get in touch.

We suggest you stay active on LinkedIn by:

  • Checking your newsfeed each day and engaging with 1-5 posts you find to be relevant and interesting
  • Share content on your feed such as photos and positive comments from relevant events (conferences, presentations, etc.)

When posting content, you should try to highlight:

  • Where you have been
  • Where you are going
  • What insight you can bring to your next role

Looking through the open job portal on LinkedIn is a great way of actively using your account.


Paid options

While LinkedIn is fine at its basic level, LinkedIn premium offers some additional benefits:

  • You can appear as a top applicant to recruiters - helping to ensure your profile is seen
  • You can see who has viewed your profile - you can then reach out to or connect with them (if doing so would be beneficial)

LinkedIn premium is offered in 4 tiers. CIO does an in-depth breakdown of LinkedIn’s premium pricing options here

Another paid service LinkedIn provides is LinkedIn Advertising. This service allows you to reach out to anyone on LinkedIn regardless of whether or not you are connectet by targeting a specific audience (e.g. hiring managers in a specific industry or company) or by uploading a list of contacts.

There are a number of different content types and ad formats you can choose from, depending on how you want to reach your audience:

  • Sponsored content allows you to reach your audience in their news feed - you can choose from single image ads, video ads, carousel ads, and event ads
  • Sponsored messaging allows you to engage your audience in their LinkedIn inbox - you can choose from conversation ads and message ads
  • Text and dynamic content displays in LinkedIn's right sidebar - you can choose from text ads, spotlight ads, and follower ads
  • Lead gen forms allow you to collect leads from your ads on LinkedIn with pre-filled forms

We recommend using message ads, as they will enable you to:

  • Introduce yourself directly to people involved with hiring in the industries or companies you are interested in
  • Highlight your skills and experience
  • Ask the recipient if they (or someone they know) is looking for new staff
Paid options | How to get a job using LinkedIn

Our final tip

Our final tip is to be critical of how you are using LinkedIn - and to be aware of how it differs to other social networking sites.

Here are our tips for using LinkedIn appropriately:

  • Stick to professional content as opposed to personal (e.g. don't post photos from your recent holiday)
  • Keep your content relevant to your industry and career
  • Post content that is valuable and interesting to your targt audience, so they will be more likely to share it with others

Even though you are using LinkedIn, make sure your other social media platforms are up to scratch. Read our blog to find out what recruiters are looking at on your social media

Our final tip | How to get a job using LinkedIn

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