How to use LinkedIn to land your first job

How to use LinkedIn to land your first job

It’s August and students from around the world have learned their results and are hoping that they are sufficient to get the university place that they wanted. To get the most from your studies, and to help you get a job when you graduate, you need to get some experience, and this is usually done via work experience and internships. Believe or not, many companies who offer internships are already starting the groundwork for next years intake, and you need to be doing some groundwork too.

Why you should be using LinkedIn to find your first job?

LinkedIn should be part of every job seeker’s arsenal. A study in 2012 found that:

  • 93% of recruiters used LinkedIn to recruit for permanent and temporary jobs
  • 77% of all job openings were posted on LinkedIn and 48% were ONLY posted there

I might have been sceptical about these figures, but for two facts:

  • whilst working in the UK, a colleague suggested that my husband sign up to LinkedIn as a great source for jobs. This was in 2009. My husband did so, and came across a job in one of the groups he was a member of. At the height of the worlds biggest crash, he was able to land a job that paid more than he’d earned before.
  • a neighbour of mine in Ireland is a recruitment agent, and he told me many years ago that he only uses LinkedIn to find candidates for positions he has to fill. Let me say that again: he ONLY uses LinkedIn to fill jobs.

So if you’re a professional and you’re looking for work, then you really do need to be on LinkedIn. Here are my 4 steps for getting a job using LinkedIn.

Step 1 – Set up and optimize your LinkedIn profile

Your LinkedIn profile is your resume online and should be the focus of your online branding initiatives. I’ve written blog posts covering every aspect of your LinkedIn profile:

  1. 3 Things that you need to know in order to optimize your LinkedIn profile
  2. 3 Things that will make or break your LinkedIn profile
  3. 4 Steps to choosing the perfect LinkedIn image
  4. What’s in a name? 4 Mistakes to avoid on LinkedIn
  5. 3 Tips to help you build an awesome LinkedIn headline
  6. How to create your own Google-able LinkedIn public profile
  7. 5 Reasons you should have a LinkedIn summary
  8. How to craft an outstanding LinkedIn summary
  9. How to add bullets and symbols to your LinkedIn profile
  10. LinkedIn Essentials: Finding keywords for your profile
  11. 12 Tips on how to improve your job descriptions on LinkedIn
  12. LinkedIn Skills and Expertise: Do’s and Don’ts
  13. LinkedIn Update: Skills and expertise
  14. 10 Simple fixes to turn your profile from zero to hero
  15. How to create LinkedIn profiles in multiple languages
  16. Is your LinkedIn profile missing something?

In addition to blog posts, I have a free ebook that you can download. It’s just been updated.

My Mastering LinkedIn ebook

My Mastering LinkedIn ebook

In summary, what you need to do is ensure that:

  • you have a professional image
  • your headline reflects what you do
  • you have included a summary of your experience and key skills. Include a call to action for example “connect with me using x email address”
  • you have recorded your work experience. If you have less than 3 jobs, then include any voluntary work you have done. LinkedIn required at least 2 previous jobs (with descriptions) and 1 current job as part of its assessment of how complete your profile is. This has a knock on effect as to where you appear in search results.
  • have included your education. Record your course modules in as courses and then link them to the relevant qualification. These courses will show potential employers what your qualification covers and they are searchable terms in their own right.
  • you have recorded your skills. Record the skills that you have been taught and have experience with. Do not embellish them.
  • you have reviewed the other sections available to you. These, such as publications e.g. your thesis or dissertation, patents and languages.

Note: LinkedIn added a number of sections specifically for students to help them showcase their skills. These include: courses, test scores, projects, organisations and honours and awards.

Once your profile is complete, then:

  • check the order that your sections appear, to make sure that the most relevant information is shown first.
  • check where you appear in search results using the keywords that you would expect potential employers to use. You should be near or at the top of those results.

If you need help optimising your profile, then consider asking someone to review it on your behalf. This is something I do. My profile assessments include an action plan of what improvements you should make.

Step 2 – Start networking on LinkedIn

Having a great profile on LinkedIn is pointless if no-one knows it’s there. When you are building your network start of with people that you know. If you have friends, family, alumni and colleagues on LinkedIn, then connect with them first. Next, if there’s a specific company that you’re interested in working for, then start following that company. Get a feel for the type of employees that work there, the qualifications and skills that they have, the language/jargon that they use, and get a better understanding of the type of candidate that works there. If you can, also look at the groups that employees of that company belong to. By being a member of the same groups, you start to become part of their network.

Start sending out personalised invitations to connect to the people that you’d like to connect with, and once you have made the connection, then start nurturing the relationship.

Step 3 – Start building your brand on LinkedIn

There are a number of ways that you can start building your brand on LinkedIn:

  • joining in discussions within LinkedIn groups
  • share other people’s posts
  • post your own updates.
  • start publishing your own posts on LinkedIn.

Step 4 – Start monitoring what jobs are available

In the Jobs tab, you have the ability to search for jobs. You can do this by job title, company or any other search criteria. Once you have carried out a search, you can save that search and get email alerts for any future jobs that meet that search criteria.

Start your research by analysing job postings to see:

  • what key qualifications are required by the companies
  • what skills are required for the jobs on offer
  • what experience is being asked for

If you can’t meet the key requirements of the job, then should you be applying it? You’re going to be in competition with people who do, and in all likelihood, those people will be shortlisted for interview as a result.

Being a proactive job hunter

Once you have your profile set up, started to build your network and have started monitoring and analysing the jobs that you could fill, you can move towards being proactive in your job hunting efforts.

One example that I came across, was a student who advertised on LinkedIn for an internship. This cost her money, but showed potential employers that she had initiative. She did in fact land an internship and a recent view of her LinkedIn profile shows that not only has she build up her profile, network and reputation, she now has a number of recommendations on her profile. I have no doubts that when this person finishes university, companies will be lining up to offer her a job. She has in essence used her time as a student to become a job magnet.


If you’re a student looking for work, then can I suggest that you take my free 30 day challenge? It will help you develop your job seeking skills. In addition, I have also developed a 28 page interview success workbook that is also free to access.

If you’d like me to take a look at your profile, then have a look at what is included in my profile assessments.

Take care for now

Karen x

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