How to Use LinkedIn to Find Your Dream Job

Use this step-by-step checklist to guide you through the process of effectively using LinkedIn to find a job. You'll learn how to optimize your profile for your dream job, connect with recruiters and build your network.

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Optimize Your Profile

An optimized LinkedIn profile means your profile shows up more often when recruiters search for people with your skill sets. Recruiters are constantly searching LinkedIn for people with your skill set, and if you show up in their search results they will reach out to you to schedule a phone call. Optimizing your profile takes just a few minutes, and can drastically improve the number of people directly contacting you for opportunities.

Additionally, the better your LinkedIn profile, the better your application is when you apply for jobs using your LinkedIn profile.

A strong LinkedIn profile also improves your first impressions when you connect with new contacts. The better your profile, the higher the chance a new contact will respond to you. When we tested this, we found that well-optimized profiles received a 28% higher response rate than weaker profiles.

What you should do

Update your LinkedIn profile

Keep your LinkedIn profile and your work experience up-to-date. Make sure you have an engaging LinkedIn headline and summary.

⭐️   Use an engaging LinkedIn headline. See examples here.

⭐️   Write a better LinkedIn summary. Generate one here.

⭐️   Make sure your LinkedIn matches up with your resume, including your job titles and work history.

Keyword optimize your LinkedIn profile

An optimized LinkedIn profile helps recruiters find and contact you when they have new roles they need to fill. To identify keywords to use in your profile, go through job descriptions you are applying for or look at top LinkedIn profiles in your industry.

⭐️   Use the free LinkedIn Optimization tool to get actionable tips on how to improve your LinkedIn profile and optimize it for specific keywords. Most users see an overnight uptick in new recruiters reaching out to them for the roles they want.

⭐️   Tailor your LinkedIn profile to the industry or job you want to join; update your job titles accordingly.

Let recruiters know you are available

Update your LinkedIn profile's settings to show recruiters you are available to be contacted for new roles. Click this link for step-by-step on how to do this.

⭐️   LinkedIn takes steps to protect your privacy and prevent your current employer from seeing this setting.

Add a current role, even if you're unemployed

Even if you are not currently employed, consider adding a job title which describes what you are looking for. Why? Because most recruiters search for candidates by their current job. If you have the job title they are likely to be searching for as your current job, you're much more likely to appear first in their search results.

⭐️   Example: If you're a graphic designer currently unemployed, consider adding 'Freelance Graphic Designer (Available for Contracts)' as your current job title.

Clean up your social profiles

Spend time going through all your social profiles, not just LinkedIn, and make sure there's nothing on there you don't want a future employer to see.

⭐️   Put your non-professional social profiles (e.g. Instagram, Twitter) on private for your job search if you need to!


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Connect with Recruiters

Recruiters spend a large amount of time on LinkedIn searching for candidates. Connecting with them directly is one of the fastest ways to get your profile in front of them, and also helps you show up more often in their search results.

What you should do

Finding recruiters on LinkedIn

On LinkedIn, search for people at the companies you want to work for who have titles like "Recruiter," "Staffing Manager," or "Sr. Staffing Specialist." LinkedIn allows dozens of searches even if you're a free user.

⭐️   If you're out of searches, you can also use smart Google search operators. All you need to do is add the keyword, "site:linkedin.com/in" to a search on Google, and that'll tell Google to show you only LinkedIn profiles.

⭐️   For example, let's say I wanted to find profiles of Product Design recruiters who work in San Francisco. Search Google for, "site:linkedin.com/in recruiter product design san francisco" and you'll get direct links to all LinkedIn profiles that match those keywords with no restrictions! Of course, change the other keywords to the roles and location you're searching for.

Connect with and message recruiters

Send them a message saying something like, "I'm interested in [company] and your company culture. I'm also interested in learning more about your recruiting process. Would you be willing to chat with me briefly over the phone?"

⭐️   Click here for more examples of connection requests you can copy-and-send to new contacts on LinkedIn.

Follow up with recruiters after you apply for a job

Applied for a job online? Send a short note to the recruiter to increase your chances of an interview. Sending a LinkedIn message (or even better, an email!) right after you apply for a job also makes it easier to reach out again if you don't hear back.

⭐️   Click here for example templates you can copy-and-send to a recruiter after you apply for a job.


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Ask For Introductions

Chances are that you have friends - or friends of friends - who already work at your dream companies and can refer you directly to a role. We'll reach out to people you know well first - since they already know you, you don't have to invest as much time into building a relationship from scratch.

This section will show you how to find and contact these people. Unless you know them very well, don't just ask for a job directly - people hate that! Instead, set up time with them to learn more about their role and company.

What you should do

Find your first degree connections

Let's use LinkedIn to find people you already know or are connected to. Click the link below to open LinkedIn's Advanced Search. Then, filter the list by clicking on 'Current companies' and typing in companies you might want to apply to.

⭐️   Take note of the profiles that are a good fit - it might be useful to bucket the contacts you find into two categories: People you know well and people who you somewhat know. Then reach out to these two groups with different templates.

⭐️   Click this link to directly see your list of first degree contacts.

Send LinkedIn messages to your first degree connections

Contacts you know may include friends or people you have previously worked with. You can either send them an email or message them on LinkedIn directly.

Click here for sample LinkedIn messages you can send to your first degree connections.

⭐️   Of course, if you already have a very good relationship with them, you can just ask to be referred for an open position. At large companies, there are employee referral programs which make things extremely easy for current employees to refer candidates.

⭐️   For most people, though, asking for a referral off the bat can seem pushy. Instead, you should aim to build your relationship. A good way to do this is to ask for advice - this can be advice asking if you're a good fit for a few roles, or even advice on your resume.

Ask your second degree connections for introductions

LinkedIn makes it easy to find people that are outside your immediate network. LinkedIn refers to these people as your '2nd degree connections'.

Click the link below to open LinkedIn's Advanced Search for second degree connections. We've pre-selected some filters (Keywords, Location and Current Companies) - change these to fit what you're looking for.

⭐️   Be polite and respectful when asking for introductions. Remember that just because your contact is connected to someone on LinkedIn, they don't necessarily know them well enough to be comfortable with making an introduction.

⭐️   Click this link to directly see your list of first degree contacts.


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Other LinkedIn Features

LinkedIn has a number of other career-focused features that can help you find a job. We'll go through the most effective ones you can use to build your network, connect with potential employers and get interviews.

What you should do

Participate in LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn Groups are a great way to meet other professionals in your industry, discover new opportunities, and keep up to date on the latest industry news. It is a great place to build relationships with potential connections and employers.

⭐️   Actively engage with people in groups, leave thoughtful comments and add value to other members.

⭐️   This is also a great way to build a network and personal brand in your industry.

Alumni Search

Your alumni network can be a jackpot when it comes to professional networking. You’ve got an instant connection, one that can open the door to seasoned insider advice on your career plan and industry insight or, if things go well, a job lead or a referral. LinkedIn allows you to search for and connect with your college alumni. The best way to do this via LinkedIn's university/college's pages - here's a quick link to go there.

⭐️   Here are sample LinkedIn messages you can send your alumni

Career Advice

LinkedIn's career advice tool automatically puts you in touch with new people who are willing to give career advice. Here's a quick link to check it out.

⭐️   This typically has a higher response rate than cold outreach since people have already opted in to give career advice.

Publishing Articles

LinkedIn gives you the ability to share your articles and blog posts with the people you know on the site. This is a great way to get your work in front of the people you want to be reading it. You can even reach out to industry professionals for an interview - this can be a very effective way to build relationships.

⭐️   Don't be afraid to share your work! You never know where it will lead.

'Easy Apply' on LinkedIn

With LinkedIn Easy Apply, you can directly apply for jobs with your LinkedIn profile. This can be a effective way to apply for a large amount of jobs, but do keep in mind that because it's so easy for people to apply for jobs in this way, you're less likely to hear back. For the jobs you really want, remember to go the extra mile by reaching out to a recruiter and sending them your resume.

⭐️   Remember to optimize your LinkedIn profile to increase your chances of recruiters calling you in for an interview. Do this in five minutes with the LinkedIn Optimization tool

⭐️   Attach your resume when applying using the Easy Apply feature. To optimize your resume for free, try out Score My Resume.


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Good luck!

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