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Whether you’re seeking your next great employment adventure or happily employed but keeping an eye on the market for future opportunities, we cannot stress enough how important your LinkedIn profile is!

LinkedIn is the largest professional network on the internet, with over 500 million members globally1 and over 12 million in Canada.2 While it might seem a bit stuffy next to more whimsical social media like Instagram and Snapchat, when it comes to your career, LinkedIn is the digital place-to-be! Here are some tips on using LinkedIn to support your job search and career growth.

In general, what should I have on my LinkedIn profile?

It’s important for your profile to be up-to-date, well-maintained and to represent you and your experience in a professional manner. The more complete your LinkedIn profile is, the better the chance you will be found and contacted by a potential employer or recruiter.

Ensure that at the very least your profile includes:

  • A headline (the text under your name)
  • A summary highlighting your skills, strengths and key achievements
  • Up-to-date work experience
  • Correct spelling and grammar

You can add more information to expand your profile: education, volunteer experience, skills, references, etc. You’ll see your score on LinkedIn’s Profile Strength meter increase as you add content.

How can I use LinkedIn to keep an eye out, even if I’m not actively job hunting?

If you’re not actively looking for a new job, LinkedIn can still help you keep your eyes and ears open for possible opportunities.

  • Continue to update your profile with new work experience, volunteer roles and skills as you progress in your career.
  • Follow companies you would potentially like to work for. Recruiters often look through the followers of a company’s LinkedIn Page to identify potential candidates. This will also keep you up-to-speed on company news and culture, which will be valuable if they contact you for an interview.
  • Actively participate on LinkedIn: Join groups in your areas of interest, stay updated, demonstrate your knowledge and start discussions. This will show that you are proactive, knowledgeable and engaged in your field, which cultivates interest from potential employers and business partners.

What should I do with my LinkedIn profile if I’m actively looking for a new job?

LinkedIn is the online version of your professional network, and if you’re cultivating that network well, people who know you will recommend you to employers or share opportunities. If your search is not confidential, then indicating to your network that you’re currently seeking new employment can be extremely helpful:

  1. Include “Seeking Opportunities” in your headline.
    This will help recruiters find you! When you make this change, ensure the option for “Share Profile Changes” is enabled so people in your network will see it in their feed.
  2. Adjust your privacy settings.
    Consider making all (or most) of your profile publicly visible so it can be seen by all LinkedIn members and will also come up in search engines like Google. Change the “Let recruiters know you’re open to opportunities” setting to “Yes.”
  3. Add contact details to your profile.
    This will help people contact you for job opportunities. Other users can only send you a private message on LinkedIn if they are one of your 1st Degree connections or if they have paid for a Premium account with InMail.
  4. Change your communication settings.
    To make yourself the most available to being contacted, change “Who can send you invitations” to “Everyone” and “Messages from members” to “Introductions, InMail, and Open Profile messages.”
  5. Check your LinkedIn inbox regularly for incoming messages.
    Also make sure the email address associated with your LinkedIn account is one that you’re checking regularly so you don’t miss any message notifications.

What if I don’t want my current employer to know I’m looking for a new job?

In that case, you’ll need to avoid many of the points discussed above in order to maintain privacy. Don’t include “Seeking Opportunities” in your headline. Do ensure that your profile is updated and polished, and that your headline is clear and includes keywords relevant to your profession.

Note: There is also an option to enable the Open Candidates feature to let recruiters know you’re looking, however LinkedIn states that this cannot 100% guarantee that your employer won’t see it.

Can LinkedIn help me prepare for job applications or interviews?

Definitely! Use LinkedIn to gather information about the company, the hiring manager and the employees. Learn about what they do and how they describe their role and duties. Explore your network to see if you know anyone who currently works for that company or who previously worked there—they may have some tips for you!