LinkedIn 301: The Master Class

LinkedIn 301: The Master Class

Welcome back, dear graduates and job seekers! As we approach the end of this summer-long “course” on LinkedIn, you may be sighing in relief. This summer, you’ve worked to build an outstanding profile and to tailor your settings to ensure wide visibility. I know what you’re thinking – it’s a lot of work, finding a job! But with this final class, I’ll show you how to let me, other recruiters and hiring managers, and LinkedIn itself pitch in and do some of the heavy lifting for you! If landing a great job is the ultimate post-college assignment, think of us as your partners – the kind of partners working just as hard as you are for the A.

Letting LinkedIn Find You a Job: The Jobs Tab & How to Use It

To start, let’s draw your attention to the most-ignored icon on LinkedIn. You, like many people, may have been so focused on building your profile and connections that you haven’t seen what else LinkedIn has to offer. Up top, in the same black bar as your profile pic, you’ll see a small briefcase icon above the word Jobs. Jobs? Jobs! That’s what we’re here for, right? I’m telling you: This really is the most important link that nobody ever clicks on.

Once you do click on the Jobs icon, you learn that LinkedIn has actually curated some leads for you, and neatly compiled them right at your fingertips. If you’re new to the site or shifting your professional focus, the jobs that appear initially may not match your interests very well. LinkedIn finds these based on your profile, your career interests and your application history, so make sure your career interests accurately reflect your search right now. Want to make some adjustments? Click Update Interests in the Career Interests tab at the top of the Jobs page.

Fill this out with concrete information: the job titles you would consider, the geographic locations you’re open to, and the industries you seek. LinkedIn offers you a menu of options here, encouraging you to skip buzzwords and choose the key words others are actually searching.

You can also get better results by conducting searches of your own. At the top of the page, type in key words and geographic location for the jobs you’re seeking. The results can provide great places to apply – and even spark ideas to widen or narrow your search. As you conduct searches, LinkedIn learns about your interests, and the jobs it curates for you become more meaningful. You can also create a special search alert for yourself, prompting LinkedIn to let you know when jobs that match your criteria show up. You can sift through the leads based on geographic location or how recently the position was posted.

Letting Recruiters Find You a Job: Being Open to Opportunities

LinkedIn isn’t the only force you can marshal on your behalf to find the perfect job. Recruiters are a veritable army of job-searchers, and on LinkedIn, you can actually put them to work for you. Ninety-three percent of hiring managers scour LinkedIn for the perfect candidates. To let them find you and determine if you’re a good match for a position, all you have to do is toggle a switch. At the top of the page under the Jobs icon, set the button that says “Let recruiters know you’re open,” to “On.”

Voila! Now recruiters know you’re serious about new opportunities. Indicating to recruiters that you are open to opportunities is enormously useful for recruiters of course, because it lets them target their communications to serious candidates. Here’s a look from my end on what a pool of potential candidates looks like:

You can see why, as a recruiter, I love having this information. But it has big upsides for you, the job-seeker, as well: Let the recruiter do the hard work of finding good matches for your skill sets. And, you can also let recruiters know you’re open to opportunities under Me>>Privacy>>Data privacy and advertising.

If you’ve heard that you need to be careful about indicating your openness to opportunities, LinkedIn has taken steps to make your search easier. In the past, LinkedIn allowed job-seekers to say they were open to opportunities – but candidates had to be careful, because, along with everyone else, their current company’s recruitment personnel would see that information. Last fall, LinkedIn launched a tool aimed at fixing that quandary. The tool, which LinkedIn is still testing, and which is called Open Candidate, lets users secretly indicate to recruiters that they’re interested in new job opportunities. LinkedIn takes steps to keep users who work at a job-seeker’s company, as well as related companies, from seeing shared career interests. To ensure that LinkedIn has up-to-date information on preferences, it shares info with recruiters for only ninety days after you indicate that you’re open. After that, if you’re still looking, you have to opt back in.

It’s (Still) about the Connections

Finally, make sure those hiring managers and recruiters are taking your candidacy seriously. You’ve heard that LinkedIn is all about the connections, but know that most recruiters won’t think of you as a credible job applicant until you have at least 250 connections. You certainly know 250 people in a professional context – reach out to them with invitations to connect. Then, when recruiters are looking for a software engineer in Milwaukee and your bio pops up, they’ll give your candidacy the attention it deserves.

This will give you a great start on using LinkedIn to its full potential! I normally shy away from writing blog series, but LinkedIn is a critical tool in today’s job market, and it turns out there’s a mini-course worth of material! Knowing how to effectively use LinkedIn could mean the difference between starting off on your dream career path and logging another year at your “for now” job. For all the new graduates, and for all the dream seekers hewing a new path, best of luck, on LinkedIn and in all your pursuits!

What makes a great LinkedIn profile standout from the crowd? Download our TalentFront LinkedIn 101 Guide and find out!