How to Use LinkedIn to Find a Job (Plus, Tips for Updating Your Profile So You Get Hired)

It’s certainly no secret that the unemployment rate is at an all-time high. (At press time, the jobless rate in the U.S. was almost at 20 percent.) If you find yourself out of work, the number one task at the top of your to-do list is clear: Let the job search begin. But how can you use LinkedIn to find the right opportunity for you? In a lot of ways, actually. We’re outlining exactly where to start, as well as a handful of tips to give your LinkedIn profile the employer-friendly facelift it needs.

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How to Update Your LinkedIn Profile So You Get Hired

1. First, Update That Profile Pic

Get this: LinkedIn profiles with photos receive up to 21 times more profile views, nine more connection requests and up to 36 more messages, according to Decembrele. Not sure how to snap a good one? Two words: Portrait mode.

2. Next, Take a Hard Look at How You Summarize Yourself

The “About” section at the top of your profile is actually the most viewed part of your page, which means you want to make sure you update it regularly so that it represents who you are and what you’re looking for. (Pro tip from Decembrele: “Keep it to 40 words or less so it’s more likely to show up in a search.”)

3. Update Your List of Skills

This is another area that hiring managers look at, so you want to be sure you’re promoting them loud and clear. Not sure how to identify everything you’re good at? You can use LinkedIn’s Skill Assessments tool to verify skills and show that you qualify for job opportunities with specific needs, whether you’re looking to show off your proficiency at Microsoft Excel or the fact that you are a whiz at Javascript.

4. Make Sure Employers Can Find You

This is a common quandary, especially if you’re still employed: When you’re employed at one place, how do you put the word out that you’re interested in working somewhere else? Enter Open Candidates, a new feature from LinkedIn that privately signals to recruiters that you’re just that—open to new opportunities. (You toggle it on behind-the-scenes on your personal LinkedIn dashboard, but it’s only visible to recruiters and won’t show up on your public profile.)

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How To Use Linkedin To Find The Best Job Opportunities For You

1. Start By Tailoring Your Search to Your Exact Job Wants

According to LinkedIn’s resident career expert Blair Decembrele, you should start by filtering your search on LinkedIn by job function, title, industry and more. You can also use the open search box to add key phrases like “remote” or “work-from-home” to find opportunities that meet your specific wants and needs. And keep in mind: Hiring managers post the most opportunities on Monday, so you want to be sure to set up Job Alerts so listings are sent to you in real time. (At the top of the list of open positions, you’ll see a “Job Alerts” switch you can toggle on.)

2. When You See an Opening You’re Interested In, Ask for a Referral

In theory, you’ve been “linking in” with people on your profile for a little while now—i.e. you have connected with colleagues past and present so you’re able to keep tabs on where they’re working. If one of those people happens to be employed at the company you aspire to be hired by, now’s your chance to get strategic. It works like this: When in the LinkedIn “Jobs” tab, located at the top of the page, enter the field you’re interested in. From there, you’ll see a drop-down menu offering “LinkedIn Features.” Check off “In Your Network” and hit apply. The list will automatically re-populate with available openings where you know someone at the company. Final step? Select “Ask for a Referral,” so you’re on the inside track. (FYI, here are some sample email templates for successful referral outreach, provided by LinkedIn.)

3. Be Sure You Have a “Current Position” Listed on Your Profile

Even if you’re unemployed, it’s smart to either leave your last position as is (hey, so what if you haven’t had a chance to update that part of your profile) or fill it in with information about the type of work you’re seeking. The reason for this? It boosts your chances of appearing in searches conducted by recruiters or hiring managers mining LinkedIn to fill open slots if you have a “current” gig. And if you have cleared out your last role and want to make it clear you’re available for hire, a simple statement—say, “Looking for Next Role” ahead of an elevator pitch about your most recent experience—should do the trick. (If you choose to leave your last position as is, see below about “Open Candidates” and how to advertise your availability more privately.

4. Follow the Company Pages of Places You’d Like to Work

The best way to be on the inside track? Stay up to speed on everything the place you aspire to work at is sharing and discussing on LinkedIn. In fact, this is another way to be the first to hear about job opportunities. Follow the page and they’ll show up right in your newsfeed. (There’s also an option to receive direct alerts.)

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Royal family expert, a cappella alum, mom

Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...