How to use LinkedIn to find your next job opportunity

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With more than 740 million active users in 2020, LinkedIn's expanded from a networking site for professionals to one of the top social media platforms.

By now, most of us have used LinkedIn to update our employment history, fill out a few of our key skills, and follow some of our co-workers, and then called it a day. But now, we're here to tell you why you should dust off your old username and password, spruce up your profile, and get back out into the virtual job market.

As the platform continues to grow and expand, more and more companies are using it to find talent from all across the world. That means your dream job could be out there right now, just a few clicks away.

If you're not sure where to start with the platform, then follow our tips below to make your profile standout to recruiters and help you connect with industry professionals.

1. Build your profile

You should think of your LinkedIn profile as your virtual CV. This will be the first thing that recruiters and employers see of you. Make sure the information here is kept up-to-date and shows the best of your skills and experience. To get your profile up-and-running, follow the steps below:

  • Start with a professional, high-quality and up-to-date profile photo - you're 14x more likely to receive a profile view with one. Aim for a head shot rather than a selfie, and also try to avoid using a graduation photo. This is fine if you're applying for graduate or entry-level roles, but if you're trying to move up into mid-level positions, then announcing yourself as “new” to the industry might hold you back.
  • Add a headline. Mention if you're currently seeking jobs and be specific about the industry and roles you're interested in. LinkedIn offers prompts such as the job titles and types, locations and start dates you're open to - the more information you provide, the more accurately LinkedIn can recommend you jobs and the more easily employers will find you.
  • Fill in the summary section. This section is similar to your personal statement. It should encompass your key achievements, skills and career aspirations. Don't think that you can just leave this section out, as you won't appear in LinkedIn's algorithm without it. Using specific keywords such as “Marketing Executive”, “Aspiring Publisher”, “Law Graduate” will help make you more visible to those in your desired industry.
  • In your previous employment and education section, don't just list the duties you completed each day. Try to give specific examples of your achievements and how they impacted the business. Remember to also include any work experience, volunteering and other extra-curricular activities that might add value to your profile – any experience is good experience.

2. Take advantage of LinkedIn's settings options

LinkedIn lets all of their users customise their experience on the platform. It's particularly helpful when job hunting, as it let's you select the specific types of roles, industries, and locations that you're interested in working in.

You can also increase your chances of being seen by professional in these industries by sharing your profile with recruiters whose jobs you've already applied for and turn on alerts that signal your interest to recruiters at companies you're interested in applying to. Finally, you can choose to receive email alerts for jobs or companies that you've shown interest in – so you'll never miss a new opportunity.

3. Get active

Even though LinkedIn is viewed as a more “professional” platform, it's still a social platform. Hint: social platform. That means that you'll have to put yourself out there and interact with others to get the most out of it. Here's three ways you can get noticed:

  • Follow company pages: This is a sure-fire way to stay on top of their news and be the first to hear about opportunities that become available. A good place to start is by following companies who offer graduate schemes.
  • Make connections: You know what they say, it's not what you know but who you know. Begin by connecting with peers, co-workers, family friends and alumni from your university. You'll be able to see if graduates from your uni are working at companies, or in industries, that you're interested in - don't be afraid to connect with them. If you don't know them personally, then send a quick message with your connection request to introduce yourself, explain that you're interested in breaking into their industry and trying to build your network. Most people will be happy to help you out.
  • Join groups: LinkedIn offers thousands of groups in almost every sector you could imagine, from university alumni groups to industry-specific ones. They're a great way to connect with like-minded people and gain insights into your industry. Use them to help boost your visibility too, by taking part in discussions and contributing your opinion.

For loads more advice on how to navigate the graduate job hunt, check out our comprehensive guide to finding your first graduate job here.