How to Apply for Jobs on LinkedIn (Without It Being a HUGE Waste of Time)

Inside: You can apply for jobs on LinkedIn all day and get nowhere – or you can adjust your approach to make the most of your time. Try these 5 tips from a career coach to get your job search moving.


AT LEAST once a week, someone asks me “Should I even bother applying to jobs on LinkedIn? It feels like a big old black hole.”

And let me tell you, I totally get it.

Applying to jobs on LinkedIn or any online job board can absolutely feel like you’re sending your resume off into space and giving up all control and knowledge of what happens next.

That’s why in the Career Clarity Program and in my 1:1 career coaching, we focus our time on job search activities you DO have control over, and the activities that have a higher likelihood of success. The mid-career parents I work with do not have time to be hoping for the best, we need strategy and efficiency up in here!

But if you’re going to be applying to jobs on LinkedIn (Yes, my clients do this too. We don’t totally take it out of the process!), let’s do it the smart way. Follow the tips below to make the most out of your apply online time so that you can move from applicant to happy and fulfilled employee MUCH faster.

5 Ways to Boost Your Success Rate When You Apply for Jobs on LinkedIn

1. Target Your Job Search

The biggest job search mistake I see is taking the “broader is better” or “I’m a Jack of All Trades” approach.

No, it’s not, and no you aren’t.

Sorry, my friend. You’re fantastic! But in all aspects of life – at work, on the playground chatting with other parents, in your job search – you simply are not going to be EVERYONE’S cup of Earl Grey.

That’s why a targeted job search is going to make your life so much easier. Figure out EXACTLY what you’re looking for first (type of role, level of role, function, industry, location, etc.) and what skills you want to use when you get there. That way when you are searching for role, you have specific criteria in mind and you’ll only apply to jobs that are actually a good match.

I promise, you’ll save time this way, both up front when applying to jobs on LinkedIn AND when it comes to starting the interview process, because you’ll start getting more call backs when you get more targeted (more on that shortly.)

For help getting targeted, start here!

2. Save Searches to Save Time

Now that you have your targeted criteria, save those job searches!

Here’s how you’ll do this on LinkedIn:

  1. From your home screen, type in a sample job title or a company name.
  2. Click on “See All Job Results” below the list of jobs that pops up.
  3. Filter your list by any number of factors (i.e. onsite/remote, company, date posted, etc.)
  4. Toggle the button in the blue bar to “Set Alert”
  5. Go back to your Home Screen and click “Jobs” at the top.
  6. Click on Job Alerts on the left.
  7. Edit your alert by clicking the pencil icon and selecting if you want email or in-app notifications and the frequency (daily/weekly).

Set up a few of these saved searches using different keywords or companies and you’ll be on the fast track to streamlining your apply online time.

3. Get Your Timing Right

Another thing those saved search alerts are going to do for you is make sure you apply on time.

We’ve all seen those job postings on LinkedIn or other jobs boards that have been up for 3 months with thousands of applicants. Now maybe some of those companies are still poking around for a needle in the haystack, but oftentimes a company will start moving on the applicants they already have because they want to fill this open position. Quickly!

My general rule of thumb when applying to jobs you find online, apply within 1 to 2 weeks of the posting being up. If a post has been up for longer than that, you’ll likely be pushed to the back of the line because they’ve started the process with other candidates. Prioritize the recent ones first.

4. Tailoring is EVERYTHING

Easy Apply can feel like a nice option on LinkedIn. But now that you’ve narrowed down what you’re going to apply for and when, you will have more time to spend actually tailoring your application materials which is a game changer!

You’ll likely have one core resume, but notice that I said CORE resume. Not the one and only version of your resume that you’ll use for every application.

Take a good look at the job posting for key responsibilities and qualifications. The company is telling you what they need, make sure it’s obvious that you have it by…

  • Adjusting your resume headline to align with the job title.
  • Review your resume summary to bring the most relevant highlights to the forefront.
  • Moving resume bullets up in the order to make sure the most pertinent accomplishments stand out.

And yes, a cover letter still matters! With a targeted search you don’t need to write tons of these, but when you write a strong cover letter you will help the company connect the dots between you and the open role. Use these tips to make your cover letter count.

5. Follow Up to Speed Things Up

Real talk: A cold application and a “wait and see” approach is going to be a very slow and frustrating way to reach your goals.

That’s because 80% of new jobs are found through networking and referrals. 80%!!!!

With that we know that connections matter because when it comes down to it, people hire people.

So, if you are going to apply for jobs on LinkedIn or another job platform, you need to make sure that you are doing a few key follow-up to a human activities

  1. Follow up with your existing contacts. If you’ve made connections at the company, send them an email or a LinkedIn message and let them know you applied.
  2. Reach out to the job contact. Many jobs on LinkedIn will give you the name of the person who posted the role, and sometimes even the hiring manager. Direct follow-up to express interest in the role helps you stand out.
  3. Dig a little! If you don’t have a connection at the company already established and you can’t find a contact for the role, find one. What department is the role in? Who might be a reasonable person based on title and department to reach out to on LinkedIn?

    Best case – you find the right person with a strong expression of interest and that person then looks at your LinkedIn profile and finds your application. Worse case – it’s the wrong person, but they might be able to tell you who to contact.

Ready, Set, Apply!

Okay, well actually, BEFORE you ready, set, apply for jobs on LinkedIn, do this.

Ask yourself – Do I have a really clear idea of what I want in my next role? Have I targeted my search?

If the answer is NOPE, start here with this free training for mid-career parents: How to Land a Flexible Job You Love Without Spending Hours Scrolling Job Boards.

If the answer is YES, then I still invite you to come join us for that free training to refine your job search strategy!

And THEN with that information in hand, you can “ready, set, apply” knowing you have a real strategy in place that can make all the difference.

You’ve got this!

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