Gone are the days of crawling through Craigslist to get a job. One of my first jobs was in 2013 and I found it off Craigslist. When I told my colleagues, their minds were blown that I could find such a good office position off Craigslist. (It really was an amazing opportunity). Turns out LinkedIn wasn’t the only website that can help with your job search, Craigslist was the OG. Prior to that, I reached out to employment recruiters but no luck.
LinkedIn was founded in 2002 but I don’t think it took off until 2010/2012 when the whole social media buzz of Facebook and Twitter were just taking off. I remember my best friend told me about it when I was in college and she was like, “why wouldn’t you want to sign up for LinkedIn, recruiters are on there and people can look you up in a professional setting, not on Facebook.” It made sense. So I signed up.
It didn’t really do much for me in the early years. I didn’t have much experience but decided to keep it because why not, it’s good to have your name out there in case someone is looking for someone with your talent. At the time, I thought employment recruiters would give me a chance, despite having little to no experience.
I got my first big break in 2016 from LinkedIn, I realized it really can help with your job search. I was working as broker but was also working exclusively as a leasing agent for a high end luxury building on the Upper East Side. I was lucky enough to be put on that project by asking our director for it and letting him know I had relevant experience. BUT, that opportunity was coming to an end and I really needed to figure out my next hustle because I still wasn’t making much money doing rental deals.
A recruiter found me on there and reached out. It seemed like fate, actually. Hubby had just lost his job and we were scrambling to figure things out, then out of nowhere this recruiter messages me, “Hi, are you looking for a new opportunity?” (Angel voices as the heaven opens up). Hell yeah, I’m looking for work. Work that pays better!
Well it sorted itself out. I was able to crush the interview and get the position. The reality is, if I didn’t keep up my LinkedIn profile, I would have never gotten the job I have now. And since then I’ve gotten a ton of job offers/inquiries from recruiters. It seems like the job market keeps calling to me.
Looking back, LinkedIn has grown so much over the years and now is a breeding ground for people looking to start businesses and make real connections.
So how do you leverage LinkedIn so that it can hales with your job search and that you’re getting the best opportunity for the best employment?
1. Perfect Profile Picture
Ok, so this is a bit of a double edge sword, but you won’t get anywhere on LinkedIn without a decent profile picture. So try not to be ugly! Just kidding. Honestly, you’ll do well with a professional picture, one that looks like you but also says, “I’ll be accountable and professional at all times.”
The other side of this double edge sword is that LinkedIn has a way of promoting lookism because of its importance of a good profile picture. For those not familiar, lookism is the prejudice or discrimination based on physical appearance and especially physical appearance believed to fall short of societal notions of beauty.
If you’re really good looking, finding a job will be easier because of this tactic but, if you’re not, you’re going to have to work so much harder to make it a good impression.
Either way, having a decent profile picture can really help you as opposed to not having one at all.
2. Your Resume Simplified
When I first started on LinkedIn, I made the fatal mistake of doing too much with what I was posting as my experience. I thought, “Yes, here’s my chance to be creative and come up with a cute and funny stories about work that show off my personality.”
No. Full Stop.
What you don’t want to do is to give employment recruiters any reason to not reach out to you. Too quirky or misread and misunderstood bios can do that to you. Someone might professionally stalk you and comb through your LinkedIn, while others might just gloss over it; but either way a recruiter might decide to pass just based off the tone of your profile.
In this case, less is more. Because you also want to leave some room for some mystery. Think of it as similar to a dating site, they shouldn’t be able to know everything about you from first glance. The employment recruiters should want to see your full resume and request it.
I would recommend just making it as simple as possible with the position, company and years you were there. A LinkedIn can help with your job search, but it’s not a substitute for a resume.
3. Switch On “Open To Recruiters”
At one point, I was seriously looking for work and in my headline I wrote “Open to new adventures in real estate.” That was kind of an obvious way of saying I was open to finding new work, but it was effective. I was able to get in contact with the recruiter who would eventually find me my current job.
Now that I’m still employed I can’t be quite as obvious that I’m looking for opportunities. A great tool that LinkedIn has is that you can “quietly” let recruiters know you are open for opportunities by switching on the “open to recruiters” feature. Then only people labeled as recruiters (paid for LinkedIn Premium) will be able to see your profile as “open to recruiters.” This gives the green light for them to reach out to you and send you job opportunities as they come up.
4. Pay For LinkedIn Premium While You Search For Work
I’ve paid for LinkedIn premium when I’ve been looking for a job. Mainly because I was nosey and wanted to know who was looking at my profile while I could search other people’s profile anonymously. That’s one feature that I found useful.
But you also get a little gold LinkedIn icon that shows other people that you’re a LinkedIn premium member, that’s another way you can show interested employment recruiters and job posters that you’re open to change. Maybe it was just luck, but both times I paid for LinkedIn Premium membership I was able to get recruiters to reach out to me. LinkedIn premium also allows you to message people you have yet to connect with. This could be great if you’re trying to break into an industry and just need to reach the right people or would like to thank your interviewer personally.
The good thing is that you can opt in and opt out of the payment plan so it’s not a yearlong subscription. It’s $29 a month to join. I was offered one month free, so you know I’m going to cancel before my free month is up. Right now I’m not so serious about finding new work so I don’t need it. I have found it to be a pretty useful tool for the most part.
And most of all, you need patience to use LinkedIn to find work. It takes a bit of savyness, some luck and a lot of grit to use LinkedIn effectively. But in my opinion, LinkedIn will definitely make your search faster and easier to connect with employers and recruiters. I wouldn’t expect the website to work miracles and find you the perfect job when you have no experience but it will definitely help you find entry level work. And as you grow in experience, LinkedIn will continue to give back to you professionally and open up more opportunities.
Best of luck on your job search!
If you liked “How LinkedIn Can Help Your Job Search & Connect You With Employment Recruiters” check out my other posts!