Linking Into Your Job Search

After building a robust profile that both showcases your professional accomplishments and reads as human as you are (see last week’s blog, “Are You Linked In Or Linked Out”), you should now be asking, how do I use it effectively? In order to properly answer, it’s important to understand how recruiters use it to identify top talent. As recruiters and hiring managers, we approach LinkedIn differently than any online job board, meaning, we’re looking to connect with potential candidates we can leverage long-term. We’re always on the hunt for someone who appears to be an exact match to a position we’re trying to fill, but other times, we stumble upon hidden gems that we’d like to pocket for future openings. Put simply, if we think you’re valuable or could be sometime soon, you’re in. In order to decipher who makes that list, we look for some key elements.



First and foremost, recruiters are looking for standout headlines. Your headline, your name and your photo are the only cues that a recruiter gets before deciding whether or not to click through to view your full profile. Think of these tidbits as your personal logo and slogan, in other words, the meat of your brand – you want to craft something that’s clear, pithy, and informative. Your headline should explain who you are and what you’re looking to do in a way that will grab a recruiter’s attention.

Second, headhunters want to find out how many connections you have and how active you are on LinkedIn. Recruiters are always looking for candidates who are passionate about their profession and committed to their job search. It’s not just important to grow your network; it’s also crucial to your job search that you stay relevant. Is he making an effort to update his status a few times each week, share relevant content in his field, and constantly editing his profile as he sees fit? These are some of the questions running through a recruiter’s mind as they view your profile.

Third, recruiters will glance at what groups and employers you’re following and whether or not they make sense to your career brand. Many job seekers make the mistake of falling into the apply-apply-apply trap, submitting to any and every job out there. The same is true for LinkedIn. If you don’t have a clear strategy behind every organization you choose to follow and can relate professionally to each group you belong to, recruiters see it as a major red flag. They won’t waste their time with candidates who appear to have no professional direction.

Lastly, hiring managers will go straight to the gold, asking A) does he have recommendations and B) what are they saying about his talent and character? Think of your personal behavior as a customer looking to purchase a product. While pursuing the website, where’s the first place you want to go? Testimonials. To hiring managers, candidates are no different. If you have solid testimonials about your work, we’re more likely to invest our time and resources in your brand.


Use Your Network. While job hunting, you’re looking for as much visibility into your professional ecosystem as you can get. And the reason is pretty clear – the more connections you have, the better your chances of having a contact who can help with your job search. Someone who is employed at a company you applied to or has connections there will be able to boost your candidacy for employment. In return, be willing to help your connections when they need your advice and referrals.

Endorse People. When you endorse others for skills they have, they’ll likely return the favor and endorse you. It’s important that the endorsements you get are a match for your skills and experience. The best way to set up your profile to get accurate endorsements is to start by itemizing a wide selection of critical skills and knowledge assets on your profile so you can give potential endorsers plenty of options to trigger endorsements. Make sure you cover as many areas as possible, especially transferable skills, within your target career or job if you are transitioning to a new field.

Request Recommendations And Referrals. When a job is listed directly on LinkedIn, you have the option to request a referral from a contact, which you can edit so it’s personalized. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to former colleagues or employers who you’ve worked with and can offer an impressive testimonial about your talent. Many employers prefer that candidates have LinkedIn recommendations and sometimes will only consider candidates who are LinkedIn referrals.

Actively Search For Jobs. If you’ve built a decent profile and expect recruiters to come to you, you’re missing out on all the opportunities LinkedIn offers to active job seekers. You can search for jobs on LinkedIn by keyword, country, and postal code. Use the Advanced Search Option to refine your search and to search by location, miles from a location, experience level, company, job title, job function, salary, industry, and date posted. Most importantly, follow the instructions in the job posting to maximize your chances of securing an interview.

Follow Target Companies. Another great way to look for openings is by creating a list of target companies and checking out their business pages on a routine basis. Perusing LinkedIn company profiles is a great way to find out more information on an organization you’re interested in. You’ll be able see your connections at the company, new hires, promotions, jobs posted, related companies, and company statistics.

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