If you’re currently looking for your next career move, LinkedIn is a great way to be proactive about your job search and make useful connections. After all, sometimes who you know can make all the difference!
Aside from getting your profile looking tip-top, here are 7 extra ways that you can use LinkedIn to advance your career.
Build your professional network
First things first, you need to get connected to the right people. LinkedIn works by having “circles” (connection groups). The more people you have in your 1st circle (accepted connections), the bigger your 2nd circle (connections of connections) will be.
If you’re just getting started on LinkedIn you’ll be limited to how many people you can view and add per day. So begin by building your 1st circle (connections that know you) so you can gradually expand and connect with people in your desired industry.
Start by adding useful connections such as:
- Teachers & Classmates
- Industry influencers
- Company hiring managers & HR professionals
- Relevant industry recruiters
Map out your career path
Have you ever felt like you don’t know what you want to do or where to even start?
So many jobs require experience, but where do you even get that experience from?
This is where LinkedIn comes in and this is how you can use it to your advantage to map out your career path:
- Search for people who are currently in your desired role.
- Look through their profile to see their career history and what they were doing before they got into your desire role.
- Think about where you can apply those steps to your career paths. Did they study or take an apprenticeship? Or were they working in a different industry but had transferable skills?
- Reach out to them and ask their advice! Don’t be shy on LinkedIn, it’s perfectly OK to connect and reach out to people you don’t know, that’s the purpose! Send them a connection request with a note saying something along the lines of “Hey, I noticed you work as a [job title], something I am very interested in pursuing. Do you have any advice you could give me or can you recommend anyone I should be connected with?” BONUS: you’re also building your professional network 😉
Research companies and prepare for interviews
If you’ve got a basic idea of the career path you want to take, it’s a good idea to think about where you want to work.
Being able to do the job is one thing, but being able to enjoy the job is what will keep you there long term.
Also, if you’re currently preparing for an interview, LinkedIn can be a treasure trove of information for you to learn from.
Here are a few things you can pick up from a basic LinkedIn search:
- Find a list of their current employees (including your potential interviewer!!)
- Learn about recent news and events that might not necessarily be included on their website.
- Get a feel for what it might be like to work there
- Look for any job openings
Recommendations, referrals, and endorsements
If you’re considering buying something you’ve never bought before, many of us will look at different reviews and will more likely invest in something is someone we know has referred it to us.
This is the LinkedIn version.
If you’re using LinkedIn to find a new role, prospective employers can read your recommendations and endorsements to get an idea of you and your skills. Likewise, you can ask someone in your network if they can refer you to any key decision-makers or influential industry professionals.
LinkedIn recommendations, referrals, and endorsements are really useful for to:
- Connect with similar industry professionals
- Ask for any company or connection recommendations
- Build relationships and ask to be referred
- Ask your classmates/colleagues to endorse your skills
Share updates and engage with like-minded professionals
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking platform. You have millions of people you could connect with at your fingertips.
If you want to be noticed, you have to get involved in the party. Remember, shy kids get no sweets!
Here are a few tips to get started:
- Your online presence is viewed as your ‘brand’
- Who are you?
- Share industry-related insights
- Comment and offer insight into your connections’ posts
- Make a name for yourself; be MEMORABLE
The ‘groups’ feature on LinkedIn is way underrated in my opinion.
Groups are a great way to expand your network with the right people from the very start because a group is a sub-network of people all interested in the same thing.
So for example, you want to be an engineer. What better way to start networking than with a whole group FULL of just engineers, right?!
If you’re not in a group, I highly recommend you check them out.
These are some benefits of being in a LinkedIn group:
- Access to thought leaders and experts in your chosen industry
- Read their posts to glean information about the industry and to gain their insights about current trends
- Post thoughtful comments so the group can get to know you
- Group connections are helpful during a job search.
Search and apply for jobs
If you’re using LinkedIn to find yourself a new job, then the job search function should be your bread and butter.
Just like a regular job board, the job search function allows you to find current vacancies, but with the bonus of you being able to check out the hiring company at the click of a button.
Remember that your potential hiring managers will also be able to find you too, which is why all of the above points are equally as important if you want to stand out.
But aside from just searching for live jobs, you’ll also be able to hear about new vacancies by connecting with:
- HR professionals and hiring managers (prospecting)
- Connecting with relevant recruitment agencies
Prospecting means sending your CV for a job that might not exist yet, the same way as some recruiters might contact you even if you’re not looking for a job. It’s called headhunting, which means they see something in your profile that they need. Take it as a compliment!
If you’re just getting to grips with LinkedIn, please be patient! It takes a lot of time to build up your network. Good luck!