The Complete Guide: How to use LinkedIn to Land Your Dream Job

2 July 2013 - 6:00, by , in LinkedIn, No comments

Whether you’re a seasoned executive, looking to transition into a new role, or just out of college trying to start your career – LinkedIn is going to be your most valuable resource in the job search process. I found my last job through LinkedIn and have helped many friends and colleagues do the same.

If you’re currently in the job searching process- I’m sure that most of you are finding that applying to jobs through indeed, monster, or on a company website rarely gets you anywhere.

In this article, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about using LinkedIn for the job search process. If you don’t see your specific question answered in the post- leave me a comment at the bottom with your question and I’ll write back to you.

These Linkedin tips will help you create a personal brand, increase your visibility, gain access to decision makers and hopefully help you land that dream job.

1. Branding Yourself on LinkedIn

This might be the most essential step to getting a job- and the one where most people fail. Nowadays, most companies want a specialist, so step one is to figure out exactly what job title your dream job is and focus your entire profile around it. What I mean by this is lets say you’re going after a Social Media Manager role. Go on Indeed or one of the other job listing sites, type in “Social Media Manager”, get 2-3 examples of job descriptions and then tailor your LinkedIn profile to match what the companies would be looking for.

For Example:

Here are two job descriptions for Social Media Manager positions that I found on Indeed. What have you done previously in your career that would relate to what the company is looking for? Even if you haven’t done Social Media in the past but are looking to transition into this line of work, include relevant achievements in past positions that relate to the job.

sample job description 1 social media manager
Social Media Manager at Coldwater Creek
sample job description 2 social media manager
Social Media Manager at AWeber Communication

What to put in your LinkedIn Headline:

Your LinkedIn headline will be the first thing someone sees when you send a message to someone or when someone is searching for you and comes across your profile. It is really important that you spend a good amount of time crafting a headline that speaks to your audience.

Two Examples of Effective Headlines using the job descriptions above:

1. The First example uses keywords that relate to your job description and what a recruiter would be looking for (Usually better for people just starting out in their career):

Social media strategist | Community Manager | Content Marketer | Integrated Marketing | Blog Marketing

2. The second example uses a more descriptive headline (usually better for more experienced professionals). The best way to do this is to describe what you do (Social Media Strategist), Your Value that you bring to the table (growing revenue through innovative and measurable campaigns), your target market or potential company you’re trying to be employed by (large brands):

Social media strategist that specializes in growing revenue through innovative and measurable campaigns for large brands

linkedin headline example

Note: LinkedIn allows you 120 characters for your headline

****An Example of a headline you should NEVER use when looking for a job:

“Open to Opportunities in Marketing” – This makes you look desperate to recruiters

What to put in your LinkedIn Summary:

Use this section to create a descriptive summary of what you’ve done in your work experience that makes you a valuable candidate for the job you’re going after. Start with the most recent achievement first and then go backwards throughout your career. Pick out the most important achievements that a recruiter would find valuable and highlight them in this section. It is alright if some of the achievements are the same as in your job descriptions below.

How to use LinkedIn Skills, Endorsements and Recommendations:

Step 1: Add Skills to your Profile

Your skills section is becoming increasingly more important. This is what will help you show up in searches if someone is searching for a specific skill set. You have up to 50 skills and I’d recommend using all of them.

Under Edit profile- Scroll down to Skills- Hit the Edit "Pencil" icon and type in your skills- only select the ones that have a drop down associated.
Under Edit profile- Scroll down to Skills- Hit the Edit “Pencil” icon and type in your skills- only select the ones that have a drop down associated.

Using the Social Media Manager Example again:

Skills that you would want to your profile might be: Social Media Marketing, Social Media, Integrated Marketing, Digital Marketing, Online Marketing, New Media, etc.

Step 2: Getting Endorsed for Your Skills

Once you’ve added the skills to your profile, you’ll want to get people to endorse you for the skills. Getting endorsements helps you become more visible on LinkedIn for that specific skill. For Example: I’m endorsed 88 times for Social Media Marketing which means that if someone were searching for a Social Media person, I’d be more likely to show up than someone who has been endorsed 10 times.

endorsements screen shot

Step 3: Getting Recommendations for Past Positions

A recruiter is a lot more likely to reach out to someone who has positive recommendations for their work at previous positions. I’d recommend getting at least three on your profile. It helps if the recommendations are relevant to the position you are looking for.

recommendations screen shot

What’s the difference between an Endorsement and Recommendation?

An endorsement is just someone vouching for someone’s expertise in that specific area- they might have worked with this person prior or maybe they just know of their abilities (i.e. read an article from them). A recommendation comes from someone who has worked with that person in a specific role.

Job Title and Job Descriptions

It’s important to tailor your job title and job description to closely relate to the job you’re applying for (without lying of course). Let’s say you were doing business development for a finance company before but now you’re looking to get into sales or marketing. Take the accomplishments that relate to your business development job, lets say how many new clients you brought on or how many leads you sourced for the company and add that to your LinkedIn profile. It’s very important that you have quantifiable achievements in your job description. This is more important than even general duties for a prior job. Recruiters and decision makers want to know what you’re capable of and what kind of success you have had- not just a general job description that says nothing about your drive or work ethic.

More or Less on LinkedIn, What’s better?

Whereas on your resume usually less is more- I’d say with LinkedIn, it’s the opposite. Usually you’ll want to include more information on your profile if possible because it helps people get a better feel for who you are and it will help your profile come up for more search terms.

Looking for more help with your profile?

Check out my other post: LinkedIn Tips: A 12 Step Checklist for Optimizing Your Profile

2. Utilizing Your Network to Find Jobs

Now that you have your profile completely filled out and you have a goal of the type of job you’re looking for, the next step would be to utilize your network on LinkedIn to get access to jobs that are under the radar. I recently just did this when I was looking for a job- so I’ll give you the exact process I used.

For this example:

I am looking for an Account Manager or Business Development role for a Start-up in San Francisco.

Pull up your list of connections:

linkedin connection screen shot

Then Sort Your Connections by Location:

linkedin connection screenshot 2 locations

Now that you have your list of contacts filtered by location- craft a message to your contacts that explains the exact job you’re looking for.sample linkedin job search message

Send this message to all of your contacts in the area and wait for a response. This message alone resulted in over 50 messages back from friends and people that I’m connected with on LinkedIn that I’ve never met before. This led to the warmest job leads and to jobs that weren’t yet listed. The jobs that aren’t listed yet are usually your best bet as listed jobs tend to have a high amount of people applying.

3. Using LinkedIn’s Advanced Job Search

After utilizing your network to get access to the jobs that few others have access to- your next best bet is to use LinkedIn job search tool.

The best part about using LinkedIn’s job search tool is that you have direct access to seeing the person who listed the job and/or people that you’re connected to that can refer you to person who listed the job. If you’re proactive and you reach out to the person listing the job, there’s a lot higher chance that you’ll actually land an interview.

Go to the Find a Job Tool and type in the job title you’re searching for: “Social Media Manager”:

linkedin job search screenshot

For this example I clicked in to the Social Media Manager position at Internet Marketing Inc.

 job description IMI social media manager

I’d recommend hitting the apply now button which will make it easy for you to send your LinkedIn profile over to the person in charge of hiring. Then on the right hand side in the box that says posted by you’ll see the actual person who posted the job (Clara Behnke) as well as a list of your connections that could refer you to the person in charge of hiring.

After submitting your application along with your resume- I’d recommend purchasing an inmail to send to the hiring manager (or if you have a premium account using an inmail credit) and then sending a message with more information about yourself so that you have a better chance of being reviewed by the person hiring.

What Now?

Well now hopefully you have some new ideas and some action items to help you land your dream job. If you have more specific questions to a personal situation, feel free to leave me a question in the comments section and I’ll get back to you.

 If this worked for you or if you have success stories from finding a job through LinkedIn, please share your story in the comments below. If you found value in this article please share it with your peers!

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Featured Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/socialmediamx/

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