In the six years after I left college, not once did I attract the attention of a job recruiter.
But then, I was suddenly being contacted by recruiters once a month, asking if I was interested in interviewing for jobs. I even accepted one of the jobs, scoring a $22,000 raise.
And it was all because I figured out how to use LinkedIn to find a job.
Here’s how the platform’s unique recruiting tool works and why it might be more useful than big job boards that offer very little help.
What is LinkedIn’s recruiter feature?
Introduced by LinkedIn in October 2016, Open Candidates can make you feel like a hot commodity. The tool connects professionals like you and me with recruiters who are paid by companies to help fill positions.
That’s typically how it works. You receive a LinkedIn message and a follow-up email containing a job description. You might have to ask for additional information, such as the salary range.
Here’s a redacted version of one such pitch:
When I accepted one interview request, the recruiter arranged a 30-minute phone interview. After I passed that test, she recommended me to the company that had contracted her.
Then the interview process started with the company itself. I skipped the application stage altogether.
It felt like a friendly stranger had let me in through the side door. The company on the other side treated me like an in-demand hire from the get-go.
How to use LinkedIn to find a job
To find Open Candidates, visit LinkedIn.com/Jobs and select “Update Interests.” This part of the website is accessible whether you’re browsing on your smartphone or home computer.
All that you need to progress is a LinkedIn account and a fleshed-out profile.
After turning on the feature, you have the option of writing a 300-character introductory note to LinkedIn recruiters. You’ll also have the ability to narrow your audience by pointing out the following preferences:
- Job titles
- Job locations
- Job types
- Company sizes
If you’re a software engineer in Palo Alto, California, but are looking to make a move to New York City, for example, you might select:
- Software engineer, software developer, senior software engineer, software specialist, freelance software engineer
- Greater New York City area
- Full time, part time, contract
- Information technology services, online media
- 1 to 500
As you type keywords into these fields, the tool will auto-populate job titles or job locations, making it quick and painless to cover all your bases.
You can make changes to your choices at any time, and your account will remain active for 90 days. At that point, you’ll be asked whether you’d like to keep sharing your preferences.
4 things to know about LinkedIn’s recruiter tool
You can — and probably should — follow every piece of expert advice on landing a better job. Taking advantage of LinkedIn’s Open Candidates is another no-brainer, but it’s not without its drawbacks.
Learning how to use LinkedIn to find a job isn’t complete without these key takeaways.
1. It’s free to use — but you can pay for more features
Although you don’t have to have a LinkedIn subscription to use the tool, you could pay $24.99 per month to access LinkedIn Premium. That will allow you to:
- Message recruiters directly
- Appear at the top of recruiters’ list of applicants
- See who views your profile
I found success with Open Candidates without opening my wallet. When LinkedIn recruiters messaged me, I could message back. I just couldn’t be the one to start the conversation.
So if you’re job hunting on a strict timeline, you can try a free trial of the paid service before deciding whether the benefits outweigh the cost. They didn’t in my case.
2. Your information is protected
LinkedIn recruiters will only be able to view your career interests if:
- Their company has paid for a subscription
- Their company doesn’t currently employ you
That means you don’t have to worry about word spreading around the office that you’re looking to switch jobs. LinkedIn also says it will keep your profile from appearing in the search results of companies like yours. This might hide you from your current company’s top competitor, for example.
This fact also makes keeping your profile up to date especially important. While you’re at it, clean up your Google search results. You’ll want other companies to have the best possible impression of you and your LinkedIn profile page.
3. Watch out for spam
Recently, a LinkedIn recruiter sent me an attractive job description and asked me to reply with a bunch of personal information, including my birthdate, telephone number, and the last four digits of my Social Security number.
Had I been interested in the position, I might have complied with his request without thinking twice. But be wary of handing over sensitive information to a stranger with a strong sales pitch. Flattery makes fools of us all, and someone could conceivably take advantage.
Do your research on the recruiter, the position, and the company before moving forward.
4. Don’t rely solely on getting recruited
Just as you don’t fully lean on a job board to find your next position, you won’t want to completely count on this LinkedIn feature. Open Candidates is a nice-to-have tool in your toolbox.
It has its limitations. For one, Open Candidates can only be accessed by some recruiters, not all. Don’t assume that your dream company can find you on LinkedIn without doing the legwork.
A LinkedIn recruiter might tip you off to a job or company you’ve never heard of, but you should still go about your business as someone seeking a (better) job. Nothing replaces networking or writing a rockstar resume, for example.
I was in the fortunate position of having one job while looking for an upgrade. I also had the skills and level of experience that my new company was looking for when the recruiter hit my inbox.
Open Candidates didn’t make me a more attractive hire, but it did put me in front of the right audience — and quickly. That makes knowing how to use LinkedIn to get a job a valuable skill.
It can do the same for you even if you’re currently unemployed. UCLA researchers studied a bias that if you don’t have a job you’re less likely to get one.
In the world of Open Candidates, temporarily being out of work isn’t as big of a deal — as long as you have the LinkedIn profile to back it up.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.23% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit SoFi|
|2.47% – 6.23%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.47% – 8.03%4||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.95% – 6.37%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.72% – 8.32%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|