Finding a job with LinkedIn - or letting a job find you

A simple how-to to help you use the site to connect with people and find job opportunities.

About 5 minutes

There’s one very simple reason you should be using LinkedIn for your job hunt. It makes it easier for an employer to find you when they’re looking for candidates to fill a job. And ‘you’ can be the information you most want them to see.

Keith Payne, director at First Future recruitment agency, uses the site to search for potential candidates for his clients.

‘I can search for candidates who have the right skills or experience for a particular job, in the right location, and make a shortlist of people to contact about the role,’ he says. ‘I’ll end up with, say 200 profiles to have a look through. From that, I’ll usually find four or five strong candidates for my client.’

You can also use the site to search for jobs, and make connections with people who can help you. Ready to get cracking?

Your profile

Fill in as many sections as possible. Make sure your spelling and grammar is correct.

Upload a photo of yourself looking smart, professional and friendly.

Your headline

Your professional headline is a short statement about you. Include your job – or the job you want – and something about your skills or interests. Think about key words that employers might be using, and if you’re job seeking, say so. 

Your summary

Use this to highlight some of the things you’ve worked on, what you’re good at and what you would like to work on. Be enthusiastic.

Experience and education

Put down what you would on your CV. Go into more detail about projects or tasks you’ve been proud of, and which demonstrate the skills and knowledge you’ve picked up. Be selective – focus on experience and skills which relate to what you want to do.

Skills and expertise

Recruiters and employers use key words to search LinkedIn for job candidates. Fill in this section with key words which are most relevant to people hiring in your industry.

Don’t have a lot of experience? LinkedIn allows you to add details on things like charities you’ve been involved with, projects, sports clubs and teams, and any academic achievements you’ve made. You can also use this space to talk about your strengths.

Making connections

Yes, you can find advertised vacancies on LinkedIn and set up job alert emails – but your connections are where it really makes a difference to your job search. Start with:

  • People you currently work with or have worked with in the past 
  • Clients and customers you’ve worked closely with
  • People who studied the same course as you 
  • People you’ve been in clubs with 
  • Lecturers or teachers
  • Friends and family

Once you’re connected, you can ask people who you know to endorse your skills or give you a recommendation. You could ask a former employer, client, someone you’ve done work experience with, a teacher or lecturer to write a short recommendation.

Did you know?

LinkedIn has lowered its membership age from 18 to 13. So even if you’re still in school or college, you can build a profile and use the site to research jobs or courses you’re interested in.

Connecting with people in your industry

You can use LinkedIn’s search to find people who could help you build your career.

Using the advanced search, you can identify people in particular job roles or companies, or narrow things down by location.

After connecting with someone, you can take a look at previous companies they’ve worked for and check out the ‘People also viewed’ box. This could lead you through to find more potential employers or connections.

A friendly approach

If you’re approaching someone you haven’t met, make sure that it’s worded carefully and explain why you’re contacting them.

‘Employers are always looking out for talent,’ says Paul Murricane, Managing Director of Axis Media Group. ‘They might not be able to offer a job or even an interview, but they won't mind an approach.

‘People in business will usually respond well to a person who knows of their achievements. Keep what you say specific – don’t send the same general flattery to every potential employer.’

Get involved

Joining groups and taking part in discussions is a great way to connect with people in your industry.

Follow companies you would like to work for, and look out for any job vacancy updates.

Update your profile regularly

Keep your information up to date for your current position and where you want to be, and keep adding to your skills and interests.

You can also post updates to talk about what you’re working on – for example, a project you’ve completed, a meeting with another company, a piece of work you’re really proud of, an award you’re nominated for. If these are liked, commented on or shared by your connections, more people will spot your profile.