How To Use LinkedIn When Looking For A Job

With more than 800 million members, LinkedIn can be a helpful tool when looking for a new job in today’s competitive market, but what’s the best way to land an interview? Are there mistakes you should avoid on LinkedIn? Keep reading to find out.

3 Ways To Use LinkedIn During Your Next Job Search

As a career coach and LinkedIn Top Voice (the platform’s highest honor), job seekers often ask me how they can make the most of LinkedIn. The following are three strategies worth considering.

1. Connect with alumni on the platform.

To start, LinkedIn is a powerful tool for networking with and reaching out to fellow alumni, so be sure to review your connections list to ensure you are linked up with your old classmates. You can do this by heading over to your university’s alumni page and looking for people you know. Here is the alumni page for the University of Washington for reference.

And if your particular degree program or department has created a separate LinkedIn page, that’s an even better way to identify former classmates. As a graduate of the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance (MPA ‘16), for instance, I would visit this page to find fellow Evans alumni.

2. Reach out to contacts at your target company.

In addition to alumni, you can also connect with people at your dream companies. If you want to work at Amazon, for example, you can use LinkedIn’s search feature to find fellow UW alums who work there or have connections at the company. LinkedIn has a plethora of filters that allow you to get super specific with your search. You can target people by graduation year, major, location, or industry, just to name a few.

Once you find people at your target company, send a brief LinkedIn message requesting an informational interview. You can use this conversation to learn more about the company and its culture and see if you can imagine yourself working there. If your conversation goes well, consider requesting more information about their internal referral process or an introduction to the hiring manager.

3. Update your LinkedIn profile.

Finally, LinkedIn can help you find a job even when you are not actively using it. Many recruiters use the platform’s search function to identify candidates for their open roles. Taking the time to optimize your profile will increase your chances of being found by prospective employers. The key is to keep it updated and optimized.

Each time you update your LinkedIn profile with new information, write the content with both humans and search engines in mind. This includes optimizing your headline to include your unique value proposition, writing your summary in the first person, and using keywords strategically throughout.

Mistakes To Avoid On LinkedIn

While LinkedIn is a powerful tool in a modern job search, be strategic with how you use it. This should go without saying, but you need to be on the platform and active to get the most out of LinkedIn. Try logging into your account at least once per week. Additionally, consider setting a goal as to how many people you want to network with each week or month.

I also advise against copy-pasting your resume onto your LinkedIn profile. Although your resume and profile will have similar elements, be careful about sharing any confidential or propriety company information. Use the platform to share information that will give prospective employers a reason to reach out to you – to request your resume.

Lastly, avoid putting all your eggs in one basket. Ensure your job search strategy extends beyond LinkedIn. You will be most successful in landing a new role if you harness multiple avenues. You’ve got this!

Kyle Elliott, MPA, CHES (he/him/his) is the founder and career coach behind His goal is simple – to help people find jobs they love. He is an official member of the invitation-only Forbes Coaches Council as well as a member of the Gay Coaches Alliance. Kyle received a Master of Public Administration from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington in 2016.

By Kyle Elliott, MPA, CHES
Kyle Elliott, MPA, CHES Career Coach