There is no doubt that LinkedIn is widely used in the business community as a type of “online resume.”  Anyone that has conducted a successful LinkedIn job search can tell you, it’s so much more than that. It’s a powerful tool to reach out to your industry in a new and credible way.  Follow these steps and  you’ll be one step closer to making strong connections to employers and industry recruiters on LinkedIn.

Step 1
Complete Your Profile

Your profile is like your online resume, only better, because people can endorse your work right on your profile.  If you haven’t fully completed your profile, you aren’t giving anyone enough information to determine if you are a person they would want to share networks with.  You are asking for people to open their rolodex to you, so to speak.  You must have a complete profile that shows them you are worthy networking partner.

Profile description with personality – this is the place where you need to sell yourself. Think “cover letter meets 30 second elevator pitch.”

List all positions – Listing all your past positions allows the system to find more people who you may already know or who have a workplace or school in common.  LinkedIn suggests people to network with based on information in your profile.

Education – For the same reason, list all the schools you attended.  It may seem silly to list your high school in a resume, but LinkedIn is different.  Since it uses this information to help bring people together, it’s important to include everything.  You never know where your fellow classmates ended up that may help your career.

Recommendations – Endorsements are always important.  LinkedIn is no exception.  Ask people from each sector of your worklife to endorse the work you did when they knew you.  Make sure you get clients, bosses, employees, vendors, etc.

Link to Website – You can provide up to 3 websites that relate to your work, either an online resume or your website if you have one, or one that you worked on.

SEO your profile – Always think “keywords, keywords, keywords” in everything you do online.  Make sure you that are using the same words when you write your profile that someone would use to search for someone like you.

LinkedIn Applications – Utilize the applications that are relevant, integrating blogs, presentations, etc.

Step 2
Reach Out – Build Your Network

When you make a first level connection with someone, it means you know them directly.  When you connect with someone, you gain a broader reach than just that person because all of the people that they know are now part of your network as 2nd level connections.  Similarly, all of the second level’s connections now become your third level connections.  What all this means is that you can exponentially grow your network by making smart connections to people you already know or strategic people in your industry. 

Building your network is helpful if you want to ask an industry question to your connections.  Your entire network is posed the question, so the more people you are connected to the more brains you are reaching.  When you get ready to search jobs, the broader your network is, the greater your access to jobs posted by your network.

Connect to people you already know – Import your address book to see who you know that is already on LinkedIn.  Reach out to colleagues, friends, classmates, vendors, etc.

Strategic new connections – See who your connections know.  Do you also know them?  Should you know them?  If so, invite them to connect with a personal message of why it would be beneficial for them to share networks with you.

Step 3
Build Credibility


LinkedIn’s Answers section is a great way to build your industry credibility in your online community.  If you have strategically connected with people in your industry, they will see your posed questions, or see that you have answered questions and come to realize that you are someone who has something meaningful to contribute. This can help you in a job search, or for general industry networking.

Step 4

Once your profile has been built and you have begun your quest for online industry credibility, you are ready to start searching for positions posted by people in your network.

Search Jobs
LinkedIn Jobs has openings posted by people in your network.  You can search LinkedIn only or you can search throughout the web for any jobs posted online that fit your search criteria.

JobsInsider tool
This LinkedIn tool allows you to see who you know at any company who has listed open jobs, request an introduction to the hiring manager and see open job postings at Monster, CareerBuilder, HotJobs, Craigslist, SimplyHired, Dice, or Vault.  The link to download the tool is located at the bottom of each LinkedIn page:

Companies Section
This section of LinkedIn contains information about various companies whose employees are on LinkedIn.  It will show you who is in your network at that company, who has recently been hired or promoted there and will list their open positions. It also shows you where people who work there used to work, and where they went after they worked there.  Knowing what’s up at a company is important for networking your way in.

Step 5
Request Introductions

When you are ready, you can request an introduction to someone in a company that either has an opening, or one that you wish you target.  Professionally request the introduction, letting them know why it would benefit the receiver to know you, so the referrer feels confident in making the introduction.  Make sure you have something to contribute. If it’s all about you, there is a chance your request will be ignored.    Once the introduction has been made, be sure to thank the referrer.  Make contact with the person and show them why connecting with you is a great career move for you both. 

Get Started!
Now you are well on your way to a successful job search via LinkedIn.  Be sure to commit time and effort to growing and maintaining your network.  Help put others in touch so they will help you in return.  Networking has always been a strong career development practice.  It hasn’t changed, we just have more tools available to help make it easier.  But just because it’s easier, doesn’t make it any less important.  Now get out there and network!

Ron Herzog, CEO and President for FPC (Fortune Personnel Consultants), has spent a number of years developing extensive knowledge of the recruitment industry and successful franchising since joining FPC in 1995.

Ron is considered an industry expert and has provided insight into workforce trends for print publications, radio broadcasts and industry podcasts.

Ron earned his MBA in management and undergraduate degree in marketing and management.


Related posts:

  1. Improve your LinkedIn Job Search with a Complete Profile
  2. How To Conduct A Successful Job Search
  3. Your Job Search And Developing A Successful Professional Career