LinkedIn has positioned itself long-term as one of the most important tools for both Job Seekers and Recruiters. Since LinkedIn users share their professional online presence, it has opened up doors for Recruiters to do the following:

  1. Post Jobs. Recruiters post open positions on LinkedIn and users can apply directly to these postings with their LinkedIn profile and/or their resume. Job postings are also automatically sent out to LinkedIn members in the same geographical area and industry.
  2. Send InMails. Recruiters have the ability to contact both active and passive job seekers on LinkedIn directly through InMails. Instead of just waiting for applicants to apply to their job postings, Recruiters can search LinkedIn members and send messages to those who are most qualified based on their LinkedIn profile.

In order to utilize LinkedIn correctly as a Job Seeker, there are a series of steps you will need to follow to optimize your profile and become noticed by Recruiters:

1. Create a Custom URL. We recommend creating a custom URL so you can add your public profile to your resume. It’s much easier to publish your LinkedIn profile with a customized URL made up of your name, rather than a long combination of numbers that LinkedIn automatically assigns you when you sign up.

2. Add Your Contact Information. Add your personal contact information, including telephone number and email, to your LinkedIn profile if you’re an active Job Seeker. Most Recruiters will start by sending you an InMail containing a message introducing you to a new career opportunity. If your settings don’t have your InMails going directly to your personal email (see step 9), then it may take days or weeks for you to respond.

3. Make Yourself Open to Opportunities. This is a new feature on LinkedIn that is necessary for active Job Seekers to utilize, but developed with the passive Job Seeker in mind. When you follow the steps to make your LinkedIn profile “open to new opportunities”, this will privately signal to Recruiters that you are open to having a discussion about career opportunities. Reminder: LinkedIn only allows your profile to remain “open to opportunities” for 90 days at a time.

4. Create the Perfect Profile. A Profile which is not “All-Star” by LinkedIn’s criteria is not as visible in LinkedIn search results as complete profiles. If you’re actively job searching, make sure all sections of your profile are completed, and as many keywords relevant to your career/industry are included.

5. Include a Professional Photo. Your profile picture can be one of the most important elements of your LinkedIn presence. According to LinkedIn’s research, having a picture makes your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed by others. In an ideal world, we would suggest using a professional headshot. If that is not an option, be sure that your profile picture is a recent photo of you in professional attire. Make sure you expression is warm and inviting. Your face should also take up the majority of the frame. No need to include pets, children or other people.

6. Utilize Keywords. The words you use on your LinkedIn profile are literally going to be the way Recruiters find you in a search. It is necessary to highlight your skills, experience, software, education and target career when writing your profile. Example, use the title “Litigation Paralegal” instead of “Paralegal” if you want to be visible in more specific searches in your field. If you are bilingual, add the specific languages that you speak on your LinkedIn profile.

7. Ask for Recommendations. Your LinkedIn profile will not reach the All-Star level until you have at least 3 recommendations included. Additionally, your public LinkedIn recommendations are a written testimonial and validation of your work history and accomplishments. Carefully choose who you ask to recommend you on LinkedIn and aim for 3-6 recommendations. Too many hollow LinkedIn recommendations can actually have a negative effect. LinkedIn easily sets you up with an option to request recommendations directly.

8. Join Groups and Follow Companies. When you join groups in your field and/or geographical location, you open yourself up to a world of new connections and opportunities. You can browse the group’s members and meet others in your industry. Additionally, some Recruiters opt out of paying for LinkedIn’s job postings and instead post their open positions for free in groups. You can join up to 50 groups at a time; join as many as possible to be sure you’re not missing out on other career opportunities. Job Seekers should also follow companies that they’re applying to or targeting. Companies will also post new job openings, updates and exciting news to their company page; this is information you can use for future job interviews with the company.

9. Update Your Activity and Privacy Settings. By default, LinkedIn displays most of the activities you do straight to the public news feed. This could include updates to your profile, companies you’ve started following, or connections you’ve made. If you’re employed and exploring new career opportunities, frequent and abundant changes to your LinkedIn profile may signal to others (as well as your current employer!) that you’re looking to make a career move. To keep it confidential, review your privacy settings in advance, and be sure to hide your activity on LinkedIn before making multiple updates. Also, verify that you are open to receiving InMails so you don’t miss an exciting opportunity.

If you’re ready to take the next step towards an exciting new career, visit to view all of our current openings in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, and Charlotte, NC.