LinkedIn is the BIGGEST social media platform for professionals — and today we’re going to be answering your BIGGEST questions about it!
Let’s start with the biggest of big questions: Can LinkedIn actually help find me a job I’ll love?
And the answer is YES!
Every day, thousands of connections are made on the world’s largest network of career-focused individuals. Whether it’s open discussions with industry peers, recruiters reaching out to potential talent, or mentors meeting with mentees — LinkedIn can help connect YOU to your future career, too!
So on to the next question: How do I use LinkedIn to find a job?
Let’s answer that question by answering a few specific questions about LinkedIn for you!
Is LinkedIn free?
You can accomplish everything you need to leverage LinkedIn in your career with a free account. Simply sign up and go!
That said, if you are looking for features above and beyond what the platform typically offers, you can upgrade to a paid subscription.
The top paid features include:
- Send messages directly (InMail), without waiting for an introduction from one of your contacts which essentially is cold calling on LinkedIn
- View more profiles when you perform an advanced search, free accounts limit you to 100 search results, 1st level paid gets you 300 and so on.
- Access more specifics on who’s viewed your profile. This is huge – the free account you can see only the last 5, the paid account you can see the last 90 days
- Advanced Search has a much deeper dive into company size and seniority level. If you sell to larger companies, this is a very valuable feature.
- Saved searches are a great way to build your sales pipeline. The free account gives you 3 saved searches and each paid level gives you more.
- OpenLink As a Premium member, you can get messages from any LinkedIn user at no cost to them. This is allowing anyone outside your network that is also an OpenLink member to send you a message (like reverse cold calling!)
If you find yourself being bombarded with opportunities on LinkedIn, then a paid account can really help you stay on top of everything, with additional insight. But we always recommend getting started with the free plan first!
How do I build my profile?
LinkedIn will help you get started with a series of instructions after you set up your account. But here are some key things that you can do right away to make a GREAT profile from the start!
- Upload a professional profile picture. If you can afford to hire a photographer with experience in headshots, great! If not, no sweat — you can take a decent photo at home. Just make sure you dress well, keep yourself in frame, make sure there’s bright natural lighting — and don’t forget to smile!
- Create an exciting headline. A headline is a short, one-sentence bio that is at the very top of your profile for visitors to see. Describe your unique value, and what you’re out here to accomplish!
- Complete your professional summary. This is where you can write a longform explanation of your career history and goals. You should include specifics and examples of your work (or a link to your portfolio). Think of this as your open cover letter!
- Finally, you can build your list of experiences, certifications, licenses, and education. It’s essentially a resume of your skills and experience, using LinkedIn’s structure. And just like a resume, be sure to highlight what value you brought to each experience, and what skills you developed as a result!
How do I connect with others on LinkedIn?
A perfect starting place is by connecting with the people from your past!
You can send connection requests to old coworkers, employers, and mentors. You can even ask them to give you an official endorsement — essentially a referral that goes in your LinkedIn profile! Their personal testimonials add credibility to the skills and value you describe in your profile.
Pro Tip: Offer to write endorsements for others, too! They will be more open to reciprocating and doing the same for you.
Next, be sure to follow employers, businesses, and experts in fields related to your area of interest. Not only can you see how industry leaders use LinkedIn in your industry, but you can stay on top of news and opportunities they may promote!
Another expert way to discover new connections is to explore the network of your current connections. A friend of a friend can be your friend, too!
How do I search for work on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn has a built-in job search function that allows you to narrow down the opportunities you’d be most interested in (and qualified for)!
You can even set up alerts to get notified when a new job matching your criteria is posted — so you can apply right away.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget that the biggest social platform for professionals also has a huge number of job postings to go through. Be sure to create an application tracking spreadsheet for yourself, so you can keep tabs on which jobs you’ve applied for and what the next steps are going to be!
There is also an #OpenToWork setting you can enable in your profile, which lets recruiters know that you are open to being contacted regarding potential job offers. By enabling this feature, you don’t just have to search for employers — employers can search for you, too!
What else can I do on LinkedIn?
Every industry is different, but you can find discussions and groups for almost any niche on LinkedIn!
That means that when you’re not beefing up your profile or searching for job postings, you can get involved in group conversations that can help you get involved with new professionals and employers.
You can also foster a following by creating engaging content to post on your feed, or even writing your own expert articles on LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform!
You can craft text posts, videos, images, audio bytes, and whatever else might get people excited to see your career grow — or even to help it grow!
Just be sure to double check your facts and think twice before posting something that could end up hurting your career. The spotlight is a double-edged sword that can both help or hinder the way others perceive you.