[VIDEO] LinkedIn profile tips: How to use LinkedIn in your job search

Estimated read time: 11 minutes

LinkedIn is great social media network to connect with professional acquaintances, be found by recruiters and find your next job. This video and article explain how you can maximize your brand on LinkedIn to help in your job search. Sales people can also use many of these tips to be found by leads.

In addition to what was presented in the video, let’s dive into some other tips and thoughts on LinkedIn in job search.

LinkedIn can get lost in the social media network discussion. Yes, it’s not the firehose of updates Twitter is and there are no baby pictures a la Facebook. But there is value.

There are a few ways I use LinkedIn…

Stay connected to people

I use LinkedIn similarly to how I used to use a Rolodex 20 years ago. It’s my address book of connections. When I meet somebody new and they give me their business card, I will typically look them up on LinkedIn, thank them for meeting/the great discussion/etc. and ask them if they want to connect.

It’s far easier, I think, to keep contacts in a structured way this way.

Read next: How to automatically use LinkedIn to prepare for upcoming meetings

Consider to include a note in your connection requests

Connecting with people on LinkedIn is highly beneficial and you can even now connect in the moment while at conferences using the app.

The temptation to just connect with everyone that gives you their business card certainly is there. Or that you connected with on Twitter or who’s blog post you’ve read. The list of why you might connect with people on LinkedIn can be long.

a best practice to me seems to always include a personal message when inviting people to connect – especially if you haven’t met before.


It’s okay to reach out to people on LinkedIn, but don’t be spammy.


It was nice to meet you at the conference. Would love to connect.

I’ve been reading your blog and would love to connect here as well.

(Other)

You could probably even have a templated message that you send to everyone.

Read next: [LinkedIn] How to stand out on LinkedIn by sending voice messages


Using the Follow Button on LinkedIn Profile

I typically accept most people’s connection request but I know some people feel strongly about only accepting requests from people they know.

There is one other way to cut down on connection request and that is by adding the follow button to your profile. When that’s activated the default action for people looking to connect with you is to actually follow you. No action required on your part when they click that button. Now they follow you but you aren’t following them.

To activate that button simply go to the settings from your LinkedIn profile and go to who can follow me.

From there simply turn that function on.


Adding a custom message when connecting with people via the LinkedIn app

It used to be harder to add the custom message when you connect with people through the mobile app. You actually had to click on the more button to be able to add a personalized message.

But starting in late 2019 LinkedIn added the add custom invite function directly on top of the connect button.

Once you click connect you then get prompted by this screen:

You still have the option to send without a note but at the very least it gives you the option and the prompt,

I would recommend to add a custom note even if it’s just something short and send the invite after that has been added.


Once connected should I sell or offer to work for them?

The temptation is also there that once you’re connected with somebody who is a potential business lead is to send them a pitch.

In general I would recommend against that unless there is some previous connection or reason why you’re connecting. For example, I try to connect with hiring managers of jobs I applied to and once I know they’ve seen my application. (LinkedIn tells me!)

I get invitations all the time from people I don’t know and when I connect they send me a pitch for their (often software) product.

On the flipside, there might be an opportunity to send something that’s of relevance if you have spoken before or if the other person has given some indication that there might be interested in discussing the topic.

For example, as I’m looking for a role I send this message to recruiters who have looked at my application or my profile:

Thanks for reviewing my info. Would love to hop on a call to see if the role is a mutual fit. Want to book some time here to chat? <Calendly link>

Working on-site is no problem for the right role.

That seems to be in line with our relationship and not too pushy in my opinion. A number of people have responded positively as well.


I’m glad to see LinkedIn has made connecting and following easier from the app and I would highly recommend everyone to use LinkedIn as a mutually beneficial  networking tool.

Finding subject matter experts in my network

“Structured” in this context to me means that I can search my network by people’s names, locations and by any keyword listed in profiles.

I remember when I was searching for somebody with background in a specific area. I was looking to connect with others to brainstorm content delivery ideas. Or I can reach out to them to see if they are hiring and or are expecting to soon.

I logged into LinkedIn and searched for “content.” LinkedIn showed me everyone in my extended network who used the term in their profiles – even second-degree connections. I could sort the results by LinkedIn’s definition of relevance or relationship to me.

I could review the results and contact the people I thought might be interested in talking.

I used this same concept when I was trying to learn more about a local company. Searching for its name allowed me to find connections who work or had worked there.

Searching like this couldn’t easily be done in a Rolodex. Nobody lists all their areas of expertise on their business card or their previous employers!

That person knows who?

LinkedIn is also a great way to see who knows who. LinkedIn has strict rules that say you aren’t supposed to try to connect with people you don’t know. If a certain amount of people report that they don’t know you after your request to connect, your account could be limited or even suspended.

Oftentimes, however, you can still see other people’s profile – whether you are directly connected to them or not. That allows you to see whom they are connected to in your direct network.

That allows you to contact your direct connection, for example, if you are trying to get more information. You might also decide to ask your direct connection to introduce you.

Recommendations

Recommendations are written by others for specific jobs that you have listed on your profile. They take effort by the other person and are tremendously helpful. They also offer a glimpse into what the other person thinks is your strength. Even if you thought they’d mention something else in their recommendation, what’s there to worry about? These are usually positive.

When somebody recommends me, I send them a thank you note and sometimes write a recommendation for them. I would caution from writing one as soon as you publish theirs. That could look like you are just exchanging recommendations.

I sometimes have asked specific people for recommendations. Usually, this is triggered by an online or offline exchange. For example, if somebody mentions publicly how they liked something I’ve done, I might ask them for a LinkedIn recommendation. But, I always make sure to let them know that I would understand if they rather not. It’s a fairly public act!

Just because somebody asks for a recommendation doesn’t mean they are necessarily looking for a job. It might just mean that they like keeping their profiles updated.

I write recommendations for others when I really appreciate something that they have done while in a specific position. The more specific the recommendation the better. “So and so is a good worker,” for example, doesn’t tell us much about why he is a good worker.

Recommendations are a nice way to document publicly the good things going on in our professional lives.

Thank you again to everyone who has taken to time to recommend me!

Endorsements

Endorsements don’t take as much time for the other person as recommendations. People can click on your specific skills and endorse the skills that you have listed with your profile. When people endorse me for specific skills I also send them a thank you note. They don’t have to endorse me.

Finally, it’s a great way to see what your network in aggregate thinks your main strengths are. For example, social media marketing has ranked No. 1 for me for a while now. In essence the people who endorsed that skill also voted that to be my No. 1 skill.

You likely have seen endorsements on LinkedIn. You can endorse people for specific skills. These are one-click engagements – so super quick. And much quicker than recommendations – which are written out.

Endorsements look like this on your profile once you have some:

Some people have argued on social media that endorsements aren’t worth that much. If people wanted to endorse you in a meaningful way that they should write a recommendation.

Not sure why some people feel so strongly about it. I enjoy and appreciate it when people endorse or recommend me. Either way, one point of contention was that people would endorse other people when they didn’t have much basis on the endorsement. In other words: They had never seen the person perform the task they were endorsing them for.

It appears that LinkedIn listened to this outcry feedback. I went to endorse somebody – based on what I knew about them and once I did I got this popup:

First of all I was asked to rate how good they were at the area of endorsement.

Once I clicked that I got this screen:

LinkedIn is now qualifying what I’m basing my endorsement on by asking me how I know the person deserves an endorsement.

I’m not sure how this will be weighed and displayed – if it will be even. But it certainly a good step in my opinion.

Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn here.

I’ve always felt LinkedIn endorsements were worth something – maybe not as much as a written recommendation. But having dozens of endorsements in a skill certainly stands for something.

I applaud LinkedIn for apparently trying to add more context to it. We’ll see how it evolves.

List other networks and contact info

LinkedIn gives you the option to list a link to your blog, Twitter account, company website and list other contact information.

I find it helpful to keep this updated (then people can use it to get in touch with me) and I use this frequently to follow people on Twitter, check out and subscribe to their blog.

Read next: Are LinkedIn and Facebook groups still worth the effort?

Review who found you and other strategies

At one point, I actually ran a Facebook ad and LinkedIn ad that was targeting recruiters in the United States and looked like this:

has a nice notification function of potential jobs of interest: just set up keywords, titles and locations and it’ll send you an email with newly posted openings.

Good old networking-don’t forget about it. In fact, all of my successful job hunts pretty much had some kind of aspect of this in them. Talk with people. Everywhere. Online, too.

I also noticed who found me by searching LinkedIn. Here is a breakdown of that. LinkedIn compiles that weekly and also shares what people were searching for. Review it and consider updating the profile when search terms aren’t matching.

Eight percent were recruiters, with another 8 percent business intelligence consultants – whatever that is, some business strategists and some business owners and around 4-5 marketing specialists. The total number of searches were 107 for this time period.

Final thoughts

LinkedIn has become my Rolodex. Yes, I do use Facebook in a similar fashion, but not all professional contacts want to connect on Facebook, which is still seen as more of a personal network.

LinkedIn is a good network to connect with friends, acquaintances and professional contacts. It’s also great to see what people are good at (check out their endorsements) and where people have worked. It’s also great to keep up-to-date on people’s careers.


Use LinkedIn well and it can help you find a job.


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