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The Inside Scoop On Using LinkedIn To Find A Job

These under-the-radar hacks will level up your job search.

A woman in a striped shirt uses LinkedIn to find a new job.
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So, you hopped aboard the Great Resignation train only to find that joining the Great Re-Hiring isn’t exactly as easy as putting in your two weeks. Maybe you ditched your office job and are now struggling to find that dream WFH gig, or, you hopped across the country only to realize that you have no professional network in your new city. It’s a tale as old as time. Or, as old as 2021.

Before you give up, it’s important to remember that the key to getting a new job is by working smarter, not harder. Your greatest tool for finding your new role is likely right in front of you: Your LinkedIn page. Though you might think of LinkedIn as a place for workforce influencers to tell their #GrindNeverStops hustle stories, it’s actually a great place for building a network, getting referrals, and learning more about what you want out of your career. Yes, you knew to check your InMail for messages from recruiters when you were just idly thinking about leaving your last role, but there are lots of subtle ways to use LinkedIn to find a job. As with any valuable tool, the key is knowing how to wield it.

With some behind-the-scenes knowledge of the LinkedIn’s basic features, the site might be the foot in the door you didn’t know you needed. Update that profile picture of you wearing a dress shirt in front of a dorm wall and get to applying.

1. Use The Open To Work Feature

You’ve probably seen LinkedIn’s Open to Work feature on people’s profiles — the profile picture banner and bio hashtag lets recruiters know that they’re on the job hunt. But what you probably didn’t know is that people at your current workplace don’t have to know you’re using it. “The feature automatically eliminates recruiters and hiring managers at your own organization,” says Ada Yu, LinkedIn’s director of product management. (Just make sure your Experience section is up to date.) If you’re an open book, you can also make your Open to Work tag public — so any connections can see it. Yu adds that members using the #OpenToWork photo frame are “on average, 40% more likely to receive InMails from recruiters, and 20% more likely to receive messages from the LinkedIn community.”

2. Turn On Job Alerts

The early bird gets the worm, and the early applier gets the work. “Applying within the first 10 minutes of receiving a relevant job notification can increase your chances of hearing back by up to four times,” says Yu. By turning on job alerts for listings that meet your specific criteria (i.e., key words for the type of role, remote vs. on-site, etc.), you can edge out the competition.

3. Search Creatively

While the LinkedIn Jobs tabs offers plenty of up-to-date job listings, Yu recommends thinking outside the box to find ads you might otherwise overlook. For example, typing in #Hiring will uncover a posts from people outside of your network (that wouldn’t show up in your regular job listings).

4. Optimize Your Summary With Keywords

You’re only given 40 words to summarize yourself on your profile. However, by narrowing down what keywords your dream job is searching for (i.e., role titles, skills, education, etc.), you can make sure you pop up when recruiters are on the hunt for hot-shots like you. For instance, if you’re hoping to land a role as a copywriter, check out a listing that you’re interested in and paste some key words — like “strong writing skills” — into your summary.

5. Show Off Your Skills

You might have thought that the Skills section on LinkedIn was just a place for you to jokingly endorse your BFF for their proficiency in Powerpoint. But, Yu emphasizes that adding your skills — especially soft skills like problem solving and time management — can make all the difference in getting noticed by recruiters. “Forty percent of recruiters searches for job candidates include searching skills,” says Yu, “so you want to be sure that you include at least five skills on your profile … that align with the skills required for the types of jobs that you’re hoping to land.”

6. Send Personalized Messages

If you’re looking to network on LinkedIn, specificity is key. Just as you might seek out personal connections while trying to network (i.e., a shared alma mater, mutual interests, etc.), crafting a more tailored intro message to someone can make them more interested in chatting with you. “We’ve seen many stories from members on LinkedIn about how one thoughtfully crafted message to the right new connection has led to job opportunities and business deals,” says Yu, “It’s worth taking the time to get it right!”