Using LinkedIn to find your ideal job

We had a guest article on The National Student a few weeks ago, which we’ve added here in case you didn’t see it there:


“According to LinkedIn, the social network’s purpose is to ‘connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful’. It has 450 million members, including 40 million students, so, apart from just connecting with people, how can it help you find your perfect job?

We asked Careers Consultant Graham Philpott from Henley Business School to explain the seven things to bear in mind when using LinkedIn as part of your job search.

Look at who is hiring, both for the job you want now and the one above it.
Linkedin is a really good jobs site, it’s an excellent place to look to see who is recruiting for the type of job you really want. It’s very easy and quick to find a list of companies who have the sorts of vacancies you’re looking at.
All you have to do in go to the ‘Jobs’ section and type in the job title in the search function. You can narrow the results down by location too, e.g. London, to make your list even more targeted.
Remember not to just look for that next job though, look for more senior ones too. You’ll want those jobs one day in the future and it’s really good to know which companies are hiring both at your level and the one above. If a company is only hiring senior positions there is no harm in contacting them to let them know you’re available just in case – they may well be planning more junior recruitment soon.

See who currently does the job you want and look at how they got there
How do people get those dream jobs? It needn’t be a mystery, just read the career histories of those who have that job now. To find them type the job title in the search box and you’ll get lots of profiles back of people who have, or have had, that job.
When reading their pages look for trends:

  • What qualifications have they got?
  • Where did they start their career?
  • What jobs have they done in between?

These are all things that LinkedIn can tell you, just with a quick search.

Understand what’s important to people by joining in the groups and reading the blogposts
LinkedIn has thousands of online groups where people with the same interests can discuss what’s going on in their sector.
Many of these groups are open to anyone, so they are a great way for you to be able to see at a glance what topics are hot in your industry. Increasingly people from all walks of life are writing blogs on LinkedIn too, so this is also a great way for you to see what’s on the minds of people from your sector.
This sort of contextual knowledge and wider understanding of the current landscape can really make a difference to your eventual job application and interview performance.

Find people you have something in common with
A golden rule of networking is that it’s much easier to network with people that you have something in common with. The place where you study is as good a place to start as any – so why not find your university’s profile on LinkedIn?

From the university’s LinkedIn page you can see which LinkedIn users studied there too, and crucially what they are doing now. Connecting with relevant people from this list for your job search will provide you with the starting point for a network that could propel your career forward long into the future.

Look at how people doing your ideal job present themselves
It can be difficult to know how to present yourself online, what tone to write in or what sort of profile picture to use on your page. But by looking at other LinkedIn users’ profiles you can really gauge what is the general style for your sector.

Say you want to be a graphic designer, or a mechanical engineer. Look these people up on LinkedIn and assess how these people are presenting themselves. What language and terminology do they use? What do their profiles contain? Find the similarities and make sure to use them on your LinkedIn profile too.

Follow the companies you are interested in, so that you know what issues they care about
Linkedin isn’t just great for people, it’s good for companies too. You’ll find that nearly any company you are interested in will have a LinkedIn page you can ‘follow’, which shows not only your interest in them as a company, but also allows you to see the sorts of stories they are sharing.

So building up a list of companies to follow and checking your LinkedIn newsfeed regularly is a really easy way of getting through to a lot of helpful insight in a short space of time – all you need to do is log into LinkedIn and your feed will be there!

Remind people you are there by engaging with content on LinkedIn regularly
Sure, when you are the biggest success in your field, people will come looking for you. But until then, you’ll need to remind your contacts that you are there.

LinkedIn makes this really easy – if you read an article online you’ll often see a little widget you can click on to share the story on LinkedIn. This has two main effects – it means that you’ll show up on your contacts’ newsfeeds, refreshing their memory of you, and it will help prospective recruiters see just how motivated you are about your industry.

Liking the posts of your LinkedIn connections also pushes you – and them – to the top of the newsfeed.

Linkedin is a wonderful resource for a job seeker, it has many ways to give you help, you just need to be proactive in how you use it. So make it part of your daily routine!”