LinkedIn for Job Searching

Whether you’re job searching or contemplating a shift in your professional journey, LinkedIn is a powerful tool that can facilitate job prospecting and career transitioning.

With almost a billion users, LinkedIn is a very power platform where professionals, employers, and recruiters invest time networking, sharing insights, and uncovering opportunities.

Here’s how you can leverage LinkedIn to help as you look for career opportunities.

Step #1: Optimize Your Profile

Your LinkedIn profile is your digital resume and it’s often your first impression. When you Google your name, LinkedIn is likely one of the highest-ranked sites for your digital footprint.

  • Ensure your professional story is comprehensive, quantifiable and up-to-date.
  • Photo: Your smile and presence is what people see first. Ensure you are dressed professionally, looking into the camera and smiling. You want to appear confident and competent.
  • Headline and Summary: Written for the reader, your headline and summary should succinctly highlight your unique value proposition. What are your key accomplishments/proudest career moments? Optimize your profile using the right kinds of keywords from job listings. More tips on optimizing your LinkedIn Summary can be found here.

    Bonus section…Recommendations: Request recommendations from colleagues, supervisors, or clients to reinforce your professional standing. Make it super simple; proactively write the recommendation and include it in your ask. Include details such as the projects you’ve worked on together.

Step #2: Expand Your Network

Building a robust network just as important (if not MORE important) than your profile. You’ve probably heard “it’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know” or “your network is your net worth”.

  • Send Personalized Connection Requests: When connecting with new people, send personalized messages with an ice breaker. Do you have mutual connections in common? Were you alumni from the same school or workplace? Please don’t automatically start to pitch yourself to your new connection. Remember you’re connecting human-to-human; how would you like to be approached?
  • Engage with Your Network: Regularly share, comment, and like posts to maintain visibility and engagement within your network.

Step #3: Share your Thought Leadership

Sharing relevant posts with your network can be a great way for you to build thought leadership and stay top-of-mind. Start by posting or re-sharing one to two posts per week.

  • Share Your Knowledge: Write tips and share information on topics you are knowledgeable about.
  • Engage with Readers: Respond to comments and questions on your articles to foster discussions and connections. This will help increase your visibility and help you to build new connections.

Step #4: Research using the LinkedIn Jobs tab.

LinkedIn Jobs is a treasure trove of opportunities. Use it to discover jobs that align with your skills and preferences. You can narrow your search using filters and keywords as well.

  • Set Job Alerts: Receive notifications for new job postings that match your criteria.
  • Apply with LinkedIn: Use the ‘Easy Apply’ feature to swiftly submit your LinkedIn profile to potential employers.
  • Consider LinkedIn Premium Career: There are some benefits for upgrading to LinkedIn Premium Career while you’re job prospecting. You can conduct more searches, obtain some additional insights and sometimes even “bump” yourself up in the application process. You can always subscribe to the free trial before fully committing to the investment.

Step #5: Research Companies and Industries

LinkedIn provides extensive information on companies and industries, aiding in your research for job prospecting or career transitioning.

  • Reverse-engineer your dream role: Who do know at the company? Can you leverage your mutual connections to gain an introduction? (See Step #2 for more tips)
  • Follow Companies: Stay updated with the latest news, posts, and job openings from companies you are interested in.
  • Explore Industry Trends: Research industries to understand current trends, demands, and opportunities.

Step #6: Enhance Your Skills with LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning (provided with Premium memberships) offers a wide range courses to help you acquire new skills or hone existing ones.

  • Pursue Relevant Courses: Enroll in courses that are pertinent to your career goals.
    Showcase Certifications: Display completed courses on your profile to enhance your professional appeal.

5. Seek Insights through Informational Interviews

Conduct informational interviews with professionals in your field of interest to gain insights, advice, and potential leads.

  • Reach Out to Professionals: Politely ask for informational interviews to learn more about their roles, companies, or industries.
  • Prepare Thoughtful Questions: Research beforehand and prepare insightful questions to make the most out of the interaction.
  • Be Sure to Follow up with a Thank You: Be sure to respect that person’s time and follow up with a Thank You (handwritten is even more special than an email).

Whether you’re already employed and looking for new opportunities, or you’re in career transition, LinkedIn can be a useful tool for your professional brand. By optimizing your profile, expanding your network, leveraging available resources, and actively engaging, you can uncover a wealth of opportunities and insights to propel your career forward.

If you’re looking to dive deeper by having your LinkedIn profile written for you, or you want further details about job prospecting, be sure to reach out to me at leslie [at] I’m happy to help.

About Leslie Hughes

Leslie Hughes is a LinkedIn Optimization Specialist, Professor of Social Media, Corporate Trainer, Principal of PUNCH!media and author of “CREATE. CONNECT. CONVERT” Leslie was called a "Social Media Guru" by CBC Radio and was featured on CTV’s “The Social” discussing how to manage your digital identity. Leslie has been working in digital marketing since 1997 and founded PUNCH!media in 2009. PUNCH!media clients include Investment Planning Counsel, Guardian Life Insurance Company of America and TVO. PUNCH!media's goal is to empower through education and help executives gain confidence in their online presence so you convert higher-paying clients.