By Katie Warren/Business Insider
September 7, 2018

If you’re looking for a new job, LinkedIn is a good place to start your search.

At least 500 million people use the network, and there are more than 10 million active job listings, Fortune magazine reported in 2017.

Business Insider reached out to career experts at LinkedIn and independent LinkedIn specialists to find out the best ways to go about finding a job on social network.

If you’re wondering how to use LinkedIn to find a job, these concrete tips give you your best chance at finding employment on LinkedIn.

1. Get a referral from someone you know who works at the company where you’re applying

All three LinkedIn experts who spoke to Business Insider said the most successful way to find a job on LinkedIn is through a referral from one of your connections who already works where you want to work.

“Nearly 50% of recruiters say referrals are the leading source of quality hires, and if you receive a referral you’re four times more likely to hear back from a recruiter,” Blair Decembrele, a career expert at LinkedIn, told Business Insider. “To make this process easier, LinkedIn recently launched an Ask for a Referral tool directly on the platform to help you make these requests.”

If you don’t have a direct connection at the company, look for someone who works there with a shared connection, Sue Ellson, an independent LinkedIn specialist and career development practitioner, told Business Insider.

“You may like to reach out to some of these people with a personal message and ask for information about the recruitment process (not a job just yet),” she said. “Once you have this information, you will hopefully be able to keep finding out more information and start networking until you receive a referral.”

2. Fill out every part of the ‘Career Interests’ section of your profile to let recruiters know you’re looking

You should always keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date, of course, but there’s another section you should pay attention to when you’re on the job hunt.

You can update your “Career Interests” while viewing your own profile in “Your Dashboard.”

Toggling on the “Let your recruiters know you’re open” tool will make your profile more searchable for recruiters who use LinkedIn to find professional talent, Decembrele told Business Insider.

“And don’t worry — the platform hides the signal from recruiters at your company or affiliated company recruiters,” she added.

3. When reaching out directly to a potential employer, write a succinct, personalized message — don’t just copy your cover letter

When you go to send a message to someone, LinkedIn sometimes provides automatically-generated greetings. Don’t even think about using these templates, LinkedIn experts say.

“Always, always, always type something personal,” LinkedIn consultant Loribeth Pierson told Business Insider. “Personal will get you so much further that an automatically-filled form that so many other people are doing. You want to stand out from the crowd.”

A short note is better than typing out an entire cover letter, Pierson said.

“Keep it short, sweet, and to the point of what you want,” she said.

Decembrele said you should tell the person why you would like to connect and look through their LinkedIn profile to find a personal detail or shared connection that you can reference.

“Nearly 70% of LinkedIn members have found a job through a mutual connection,” Decembrele said. “Mentioning a personal detail is important, as it may jog someone’s memory for how you met, reinforce a mutual interest, or even solidify a way you might work together.”

4. If you can’t find a mutual connection with your potential employer, reach out to them through a common group

If you can’t find someone to refer you, you can still reach out to a potential employer.

“If you want a job, and that’s the job you want, you have to find a way to get to the person,” Decembrele said. “So if you don’t know them through connections, find them through a group. Find them through writing a really good message to them that’s going to stand out from the crowd.”

You can search for people within the LinkedIn groups you’re a member of or browse groups within your industry to join.

5. Turn on job alerts to be notified of new positions as soon as they’re posted

“LinkedIn has recently expanded this feature and there are a lot more choices you can make, even targeting specific companies,” Ellson said.

You can choose to be notified of new job postings via email or mobile and desktop notifications, once a day or once a week.

6. If you’re currently unemployed, create a ‘current position’ anyway so that you show up in search results

You don’t want to be deceitful, of course, but you’re more likely to show up in search results if you have a current position listed on LinkedIn, according to Ellson.

She recommends creating a current position and filling it in with information about the type of work you’re seeking.

“In the employer section, mention ‘Various’ for now,” Ellson said. “You can discuss how you are currently doing research, networking, studying, applying for jobs in which areas etc.”

Avoid using the words “seeking opportunities” because they can make you look desperate, Ellson said.

7. Follow the pages of specific companies that interest you to be the first to see hiring announcements

“You can also follow companies of interest to keep up to date on brand news and hiring announcements,” Decembrele said. “In fact, now when you follow companies on LinkedIn, you’ll be notified when your dream company posts new jobs so you can be one of the first to apply.”

You can choose to see the company’s posts in your news feed or get job alerts for that company — or both.

8. Emphasize your skills rather than your job titles

Don’t neglect the “Skills” section of your profile, because it just might be more important than your “Experience.”

“LinkedIn research has found that almost 89% of professionals feel that skills are even more important than job titles,” Decembrele told Business Insider.

9. Like, comment, and share items in your LinkedIn feed

As with any other social network, you have to actively participate in order get all the benefits of LinkedIn.

“LinkedIn is a perfect place to find a job,” Pierson said. “[But] you can’t just sit on the fence. You have to be all in.”

Make sure to be on LinkedIn every day, even if it’s for a few minutes on the mobile app while standing in line, she says.

“If you’re standing in line at a store, read an article and put your comments on it,” Pierson said. “It’ll take you five minutes. If you use it, it will work.”

This article originally appeared on BusinessInsider.com.

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