These days, most people who are looking for a job mainly – if not exclusively – use the Internet to do so. Alongside the online job boards like Indeed, Monster, and ZipRecruiter, the social media platform LinkedIn is becoming an increasingly popular platform for people to find jobs. Most professionals know by now that it's important to try and stand out on LinkedIn, but not everyone is sure how to do it. Here are a few things everyone should know about setting up a LinkedIn profile and how to leverage it for your job search.
Why job search on LinkedIn?
More and more companies are using LinkedIn to attract recruits and get candidates to accept job offers. On the employee side, LinkedIn gives candidates an easy way to find out about job openings and reach out to potential employers. Over the past five years, the number of LinkedIn users has more than doubled. LinkedIn is the ideal place to look for jobs, as their clientele consists almost exclusively of professional people focused on their career trajectory. By contrast, social media sites like Facebook and Instagram have a strong focus on people’s private life that isn't conducive to the job search. Similar to Indeed and other job boards, LinkedIn features job listings directly as part of the platform. Candidates can apply directly for vacancies at various companies quickly and simply, often with one click.
Pros and Cons of job hunting on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is largely considered the future of recruitment. It's the largest, most centralized platform for professional networking. One major advantage of applying for jobs on LinkedIn is that it lets you quickly communicate details of your skills, personal information and updates with an extensive reach. It is much easier and more effective to position yourself as an expert on social media than via a resume or cover letter. Another benefit is that merely having an up-to-date and well-looked-after profile makes others perceive you as a media-savvy person with good digital skills. Both attributes are in demand in virtually every line of work these days. It is also much easier to build up a network of interesting, useful professional contacts and discover opportunities you may not have heard about. Better still, headhunters and recruiters who would not have found you offline are more likely to come across a good LinkedIn profile.
Maintaining a strong LinkedIn profile can be a large amount of work and that is this method's primary disadvantage. Moreover, it is almost impossible to completely avoid spam messages and InMail. Similarly, it can be frustrating to receive frequent contacts that never lead to a lasting opportunities. It is also important to note that your current employer (if you have one) could easily learn of your efforts to leave the company if you're actively looking on LinkedIn.
Tips for Applying to Jobs on LinkedIn
Make your LinkedIn as complete as possible
Make sure your profile is complete with your name, a professional profile photo, and an up-to-date work/education history. Consider your LinkedIn profile to be a living, breathing extension of your resume. Your goal should be to accurately display your personality and the ways your professional experience has made you into a candidate worth hiring. To that end, be sure to explain each of your previous jobs on your LinkedIn profile with brief descriptions of your duties and achievements. Demonstrating analytical abilities and other skills with your LinkedIn profile will help you find a job much faster.
Keep your resume and contact information up-to-date
Some job listings on LinkedIn will still require you to upload a file of your resume. It's important to make sure that the resume file you have linked to your account is up-to-date and reflects the information available on your full profile. It's also important to make sure your name is listed in the name of your resume file. As Brunel Life Sciences Recruitment Manager Chris Kapusta recently put it, "This is a very small change, but it will help with the hiring process. Please put your name on the file you submit as your resume. 'Resume' or 'Resume 1' are the most common files in my downloads. It might not seem like a big issue, but when you receive hundreds of resumes file names become very important. Here is a simple format I recommend for all documents:
Your name - Document Type - Date
Ex) Chris Kapusta - Resume - Oct 3 2022
Use a clear, professionally appropriate profile photo
It's best to have a professional photographer do a headshot for you. But since this can be quite expensive it's not always possible, especially for people in search of employment. Regardless, it is important that your profile photo on LinkedIn is current, clear, professionally appropriate, and shows your personality. Your clothing, pose, surroundings, etc. should all be fitting for the type of job you're looking to get. This can be achieved by setting up a tri-pod for your phone and taking photos yourself, or by having a friend snap a quick, simple picture for you. You can use our advice on lighting from our video interview tips to take a great picture of yourself at home.
Make yourself discoverable
Remain professional in your communication with recruiters
An advantage of LinkedIn is that it allows you to get in touch with recruiters and hiring managers directly and in a less formal setting than emails and phone calls. However, it's important that your communication with recruiters always be cordial and professional. Always write your messages soberly and professionally. Don’t make demands or negotiate hard details via LinkedIn. You should also avoid sending multiple messages asking when you will get a reply or update on the position. These communications should be handled via email. Also, under no circumstances should you add the hiring decision-maker on Facebook or follow them on Instagram unless you already know them personally.
Stay active on LinkedIn
Posting regularly on LinkedIn and actively engaging with other people's posts by liking and commenting is very important. Doing so enhances your own profile's visibility. Don’t be shy about posting throughout your job search. Even seemingly trivial things can be excellent LinkedIn posts as long as they show off your personality positively and professionally. A weekend course on change management? A visit to a museum of technology? Post about it! Recruiters are always looking for candidates who stand out as potential fits for their company culture and values. So don't be afraid to share some of your personality. You can also look to expand your LinkedIn network by adding old colleagues, joining corporate groups, taking part in discussions, and sharing relevant content.
If you wouldn't want to answer a question about it in an interview, don't post it!
While it's important to show your personality on your LinkedIn profile, you do not want your posts to become a potential career killer! Surveys have found that 25% of HR managers have rejected a candidate because of inappropriate social media posts. Any existing inappropriate/embarrassing photos, questionable gossip, regrettable comments, or outdated/unprofessional terminology should be deleted from your profile and you should avoid repeating the mistakes in the future. Spend some time searching your own name on Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other sites you've used. Delete or edit any posts you would like to avoid being found by recruiters. If you find information that you can neither delete nor edit, do everything you can to achieve more positive than negative search hits.
Connect with Brunel on LinkedIn
The Brunel page constantly shares new job openings for our clients in Oil and Gas, Mining, Renewable Energy, and Life Sciences along with professional tips and best practices to help candidates find work. Follow Brunel on LinkedIn to stay in the know during your job search.