LinkedIn has become a necessity in today’s job market. It’s one of the first places employers will look to evaluate a candidate, and it remains one of the most powerful tools for job hunting, recruitment and networking. LinkedIn offers a wealth of opportunities to connect with like-minded professionals, build your personal brand and even find your dream job — but you have to know how to use it.
Your LinkedIn profile is your personal brand, your online resume and your virtual business card. This is where potential employers will come to learn more about you, so it’s important to put your best foot forward. Here are nine best practices that every job seeker should know.
1. Treat LinkedIn messaging like a professional email.
LinkedIn is not a platform for casual conversations or small talk. When you’re using your LinkedIn profile to communicate with potential employers or recruiters, it is best practice to treat your messaging as a professional email. Use proper grammar, punctuation and capitalization, and always be respectful and courteous.
If you message a recruiter, address them by their first name. In online culture, Mr. and Ms. sound overly formal. Instead, write a clear, concise message with a friendly tone.
2. If you are open to work, say so!
One of the most important features to use on LinkedIn when finding a job is the “Open to Work” setting. This lets recruiters know that you’re actively looking for a job. This is different from the #OpenToWork banner that many people overlay on their profile pictures. The setting is private and will only show your preference to recruiters, allowing you to make new connections without worrying about your current employer seeing your status.
3. List all locations you are open to work.
If you’re using LinkedIn to find a job in the D.C. area, one of the most important details you need to include is your location. However, you shouldn’t just list your current location, especially if you’re open to relocating for a job. It is best practice to add all the cities or regions where you would be willing to work to your LinkedIn profile. This will make it easier for employers to find you when they’re searching for candidates based on location.
4. Select whether you are willing to work remotely.
Remote work has become increasingly popular in recent years, and many job seekers are looking for opportunities that allow them to work from anywhere in the world. If you’re only interested in remote work, it is a good idea to select that setting on your LinkedIn profile. Keep in mind that, post-pandemic, many companies have adopted hybrid models of working or are back in the office full time. For instance, some companies may require one day per week in the office, or some companies may allow 100% remote work but require that you keep business hours in a certain time zone. If you’re open to hybrid options, our best job search advice is to list geographical locations and your preference to work remotely.
5. Use keywords.
Make sure you’re using keywords in your profile that are relevant to the job openings you’re applying for. For example, if your goal is to become a communications assistant, look at relevant job descriptions from several different companies. If you notice they all mention marketing, creativity and communication, your LinkedIn headline could read, “Creative Marketer with Communications Experience.” Recruiters often use LinkedIn’s search function to find candidates, so using relevant keywords in your profile can help you appear in their search results. If you’re using LinkedIn to find a job, this can increase your chances of being noticed by recruiters who are looking for someone with your specific skills and experience.
6. Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date.
Your LinkedIn profile is not a “set it and forget it” kind of thing. One of the most important LinkedIn best practices is to keep your profile up to date with your latest job experience, skills and achievements. Make sure your headline is clear and concise, and your summary accurately reflects who you are and what you can offer. Update your profile picture regularly, and make sure it’s a professional-looking photo.
7. Use an appropriate photo (no selfies!).
Speaking of photos, your LinkedIn profile picture is an essential part of your personal brand. It’s the first thing that potential employers will see when they come across your profile, so it’s important to make a good impression. It is best practice to ensure that your LinkedIn profile picture is a professional-looking headshot that accurately reflects who you are. If you have a portfolio website or other professional social media accounts, use the same profile picture on all of them. This will help any prospective employer connect the dots between your different online profilespresences.
8. Be selective.
Be selective about the job postings you apply to. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of job categories and job postings on LinkedIn, but applying to every job you see isn’t the best approach. Instead, focus on the jobs that are the best fit for your skills and experience, and take the time to tailor your application materials to each position.
9. Be patient!
Finally, be patient. Even with all of these LinkedIn profile best practices in place, finding a job can take time, and it’s important to stay positive and persistent in your job search.
If you’re using LinkedIn to find a job in the D.C. area, don’t forget that it is also a networking platform. Don’t just use it to search for jobs; be sure to also connect with other professionals in your field. Join groups, engage in discussions and share articles or insights that showcase your expertise. Networking is a powerful tool that can help you get your foot in the door, and it’s essential to building your personal brand on LinkedIn. So keep networking, keep applying to jobs and keep your LinkedIn profile up to date. With time and effort, you’ll find the right job for you!
A LinkedIn profile is an incredibly powerful tool for job seekers — by following these best practices, you can increase your chances of being noticed by recruiters and finding your dream job.
Find Your Next Role with Whitman Associates
If you’re looking for additional support and guidance in your job search, we can help. Whitman Associates is a professional staffing agency serving the Washington D.C. area — we’ve been helping candidates find and secure their dream jobs since 1972!
Get started by emailing your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team of staffing experts will take the time to review your resume and connect you with job opportunities that match your skills and experience. We look forward to helping you take the next step forward in your career search.