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How to Use LinkedIn (Beyond Applying for Jobs!)

Inside: Learn how to use LinkedIn for networking, research, interview prep, and personal branding. LinkedIn is way more than a job board so let’s harness it’s power together!


We know that LinkedIn has job postings. Lots of job postings!

But I’m an avid LinkedIn user with the app on the home screen of my phone who doesn’t look at the job listings on LinkedIn. Not at all!

Here’s the real kicker though. Many of my career coaching clients don’t spend a lot of time on the LinkedIn job board either! And they are actively seeking new roles. We’re just doing things a little differently.

So how can you use LinkedIn beyond scrolling through hundreds of jobs and hoping to come across a unicorn role? You can be proactive in your job search using LinkedIn in these 10 ways to make some serious moves in your career.

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1) Brand Yourself

LinkedIn is VERY Googleable.

If someone types your name into a Google search, your LinkedIn profile is going to be one of the first things that show up. How do you want to be seen as a professional?

Take the reins and create a killer LinkedIn profile that sets you apart.

2) Company Research

Overviews, photos, articles, employee lists – there’s a ton of information, and company research can go a long way in your job search for networking, interview prep, and identifying opportunities.

10 minutes on the LinkedIn page of a company you’re interested in could be worth its weight in gold. Imagine the companies you could find for your target list or the insight you could gain before walking into an interview?

See, gold. Gold I say! (And so does career coach, Catherine McLean!)

3) Reverse Engineering

How do people get from point A to point D in their careers and how can you do the same? Look it up!

You can (and should) talk to these folks too, but you have public resumes at your fingertips. Figure out what steps they took and if that could make sense for you too. Reverse engineering is a super powerful way to identify new pathways.

4) Search Alumni

Looking for new connections? Go to your university page, click on Alumni, type in an industry or function keyword. Bingo!

One of my recent career coaching clients used this strategy and found 5 people right away who graduated around the same time she did and worked in her desired industry. These were easy people for her to reach out to with a “I’m a fellow alum of XYZ university and am curious about your career path” type message.

The best part? One of the folks she found even worked in banking before transitioning to UX/UI design – EXACTLY what she wanted to do. She reached out, they had a great talk, and now she’s in a BootCamp preparing her for her next career chapter.

Check out all those potential connections!

5) Industry Expertise

Fill your newsfeed with thought leaders in your industry and swap out 5 minutes of Instagram scroll for 5 minutes of learning.

You can also follow hashtags relevant to your industry and follow companies. From bite-sized nuggets of knowledge to full juicy articles, you can learn so much on LinkedIn by curating your feed.

6) Make Genuine Connections

You can talk to the people you connect with on LinkedIn in real life! At the very least Zoom! Do it.

I am an advisor for an exciting new career management platform, PathWise. The founder reached out to me from LinkedIn, and now we talk twice a month on Zoom. Other connections that have gone from LinkedIn to real-life include fellow career coaches, magazine editors, and authors.

Relationships help make the world go round and add richness to our lives. Even if you’re shy, LinkedIn can lead to 1:1 networking and connections which is much more doable than an awkward wine and cheese networking party.

7) Express Yourself

Add a beautiful cover photo to your profile that shows your creative side, post a profile picture that is SO you, share a funny joke related to your work. LinkedIn doesn’t have to be stuffy!

In fact, some of my favorite people to follow on the platform show their personalities AND their expertise on the regular.

Here’s an example of one of my recent LinkedIn posts.

8) Thought Leadership

Share your expertise and opinions. Get known in your industry by putting yourself out there and contributing to the conversation.

Originally I shared an abbreviated version of this “10 ways to use LinkedIn” list directly on LinkedIn. Through that post, 10 new people reached out to me within a day. Really!

You can also feature your articles, either those you post directly on LinkedIn or on other platforms, in your Featured section to show new connections what you have to offer.

9) Inspiration

Follow leaders you admire and get inspired! Sara Blakely is a personal favorite of mine. Check out her “mug shot” posts and quotes and you’re going to be ready to take on your next challenge with a smile.

Keep in mind that leaders you follow can be in your industry or not. There’s a lot to be learned from other perspectives and experiences.

10) Stay in Touch

Your current colleagues, former colleagues, classmates – you can stay in touch with them using LinkedIn messages, quick notes of congrats, and comments on posts.

Don’t pop in just when you need something – be the kind of professional friend you’d like to have. It’s really as easy as taking an extra minute to send a kind word to keep a professional relationship rolling.

How to Use LinkedIn: Cliffs Notes Version

What does this all boil down to?

LinkedIn is more than a job board!

Whether you’re job searching or not, get your LinkedIn on to research, network, learn, and express yourself. Then get ready for some magic to happen!

Grab the Complete Networking Toolkit to uplevel your networking game!

Includes a LinkedIn profile makeover guide, step by step networking strategy, sample outreach emails, tracking sheets, and more!

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