As a social network for job seekers and a huge database for recruiters, LinkedIn is one of the most popular websites for finding jobs online.
LinkedIn has a lot of features: It is both a job board site and an online watercooler where professionals can post thoughts to a newsfeed that other people can see, like and comment upon. If you’re using LinkedIn to hunt for a job, you could be missing out on some key features that could help land you a position.
Here are the top tips that recruiters and career experts recommend job seekers use to take full advantage of LinkedIn.
1. Quickly weed out jobs that have too many applicants with this tip.
On LinkedIn, you can see how many other applicants have already applied. Rob Cancilla, who has worked for Facebook in sales and as a strategy consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers, is currently working at recruiting firm Hunt Club.
He has taken his career advice to TikTok, where he shared a quick way to focus on jobs that have just a few applicants.
Here’s what Cancilla recommends doing:
1. Type “Early Applicant” in quotations into your search browser, along with the role you’re looking for. For example: “‘Early Applicant’ AND ‘Brand Designer.’” Alternatively, you can search for jobs where recruiters are actively recruiting by typing “Actively Recruiting,” along with your desired role.
2. Hit search.
Cancilla told HuffPost he defines early applicants as being among the first 50 people to apply for a job. The reason you want to be early is that there is a competitive advantage to applying before recruiters start narrowing down their group of initial candidates.
“You can be a really qualified person, but if you’re late to the game and they’re not consistently checking their [hiring] funnel, you may not be getting reviewed,” Cancilla said.
2. List more than your job title in your profile headline if you want to attract recruiters.
Cancilla said one of the most underutilized LinkedIn features is the headline section on a profile page. It appears below your name on LinkedIn and it is a branding opportunity to sell your career story for recruiters right away.
“It’s called a headline, but a lot of people put their title there,” he said. If you just enter your current job title, you’re missing a chance to hook a reader into why they should scroll down and learn more about your experiences.
Cancilla said the headline section is an opportunity for students who may not have a lot of job experience yet to put down their college major, their passions, or subjects they have studied. You can show off more of who you are in the headline by adding “expertise in something,” “passionate about something” or “industry knowledge in something,” Cancilla recommends.
“You could be a social media manager, but if you’re like, ‘social media manager, expertise in direct-to-consumer e-commerce companies,’ as a recruiter I’m like, ‘That’s gold. That’s exactly what my client is looking for,’” he said. “It gives you the opportunity to get my attention pretty quickly.”
3. Fill out every part of your profile, because each section is an opportunity to optimize for what a hiring manager is looking for.
Beyond headlines, LinkedIn profiles have many features professionals can fill out, such as “about,” “background” and “skills” sections. Each section is an opportunity to include relevant keywords that recruiters could be typing in their job searches. That’s why Ashley Watkins, a job search strategist with corporate recruiting experience, said her top LinkedIn hack was profile optimization.
“Think about keywords or competencies relevant to your job target. Then, include those terms in your headline, ‘about’ section, job titles, and skills section,” Watkins said. Once you combine profile optimization with networking, you will be appearing in more recruiter searches, she said.
Think of the LinkedIn profile as a space where you can add accomplishments and skills you didn’t have room for on a resume. It’s where you can put down your impact and the results you have achieved.
“For me, when I screen resumes, I build this narrative in my mind on who this candidate is based on their resume. When I see their LinkedIn, it’s like, ‘Oh wow, they do a lot more stuff than I thought,’” said Jackie Cuevas, a human resource administrator for a nonprofit who has worked as a recruiter.
4. Get LinkedIn-certified in specific skills.
To enhance your LinkedIn profile page, Cuevas recommends taking LinkedIn skill quizzes to get certified in specific skills like WordPress or Google Analytics. “I 100% advocate for people to do that. You’re adding more information that helps a recruiter, someone in HR, really decide if you are a solid candidate, in addition to your resume and your LinkedIn,” she said.
To do this:
1. Go to the “Skills & Endorsements” section of your LinkedIn profile page.
2. Select “Take skill quiz.”
5. Add a personalized note when you’re connecting with people on LinkedIn.
Networking with other people on LinkedIn is one key way to hear about jobs, get referrals and eventually land the job. Reaching out often starts with choosing to “connect” with the person, so that you can message them if they accept your connection.
But instead of just selecting “connect,” Cuevas recommends taking the time to add an optional personal note. She shared how on her TikTok:
To follow Cuevas’ advice:
1. Go to a professional’s profile page and choose to “connect.“
2. Select “Add a note” instead of just hitting send.
“It’s so key to include a personalized, custom message. It sounds like a lot of work, but again, you want a response from people. To get a response, the other person wants to feel like, ‘Hey this person looked at my profile and did a lot of research, I wonder why they want to connect,’” Cuevas told HuffPost.
If you’re wondering what to say in this message to a stranger, don’t just demand help; that makes networking transactional. To actually get a response, you have to be thoughtful about what you say in your first message and find a shared point of connection.
6. Try using Voice Direct Messages for people you are already connected with.
Messaging professionals on LinkedIn is how you can network your way into a job. But how do you get professionals’ attention once you are connected?
Try recording a voice message, which is an option in the LinkedIn app on iOS and Android. Cancilla said if you are already connected to a professional, an audio recording is one way to separate your message from the rest that could be arriving in that person’s inbox.
“Most people aren’t using it, so I can guarantee you that you will stand out, and most likely the person will listen to it, which I think gives you that extra layer of getting someone’s attention,” he said.
Cancilla cautions that this is not a recommended form of communication for your first outreach, but once you are connected, it can add a personal touch. “You can be like, ‘Listen, I’m really excited,’ or, ‘Here’s why I wanted to connect with you.’ Hearing that personal story in 10-30 seconds is more compelling than a text,” he said.