How to Use LinkedIn: 6 Ways to Take Advantage of the Networking Site

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Build your presence on LinkedIn to find jobs, connect with others, and much more.

[Featured Image] A woman uses a smartphone while commuting on a bus.

LinkedIn is a popular professional networking site that boasts 875 million members worldwide. It first launched in 2003 as a platform to create and strengthen business connections and has since grown to be a powerful tool for professional development [1]. You can search and apply for jobs on LinkedIn, network with others in your field, and cultivate your personal brand.

LinkedIn has also become a place many recruiters go to learn more about candidates, and where you can reach out to recruiters and other professionals about relevant job openings to increase your chances of landing an interview. Building a presence on the site can be beneficial when you're interested in finding new opportunities.

In this article, we'll go over the ways you can use LinkedIn to further your career.

6 ways to use LinkedIn

LinkedIn is more than a virtual resume. Whether you're looking for a new role or you're interested in connecting with major thought leaders in your industry, there are a number of ways to use LinkedIn effectively. Let's go over each one.

1. Create a professional online presence

Having a presence on LinkedIn can be valuable. As you go about applying for jobs, recruiters, hiring managers, and others may search for you, and a LinkedIn profile is an excellent way to summarize who you are, what you're interested in, and what you've done. You can upload your photo, write an eye-catching summary, list your previous work experience as you would on a resume, and add your education (including professional certificates).

Read more: How to Create a Striking LinkedIn Profile: Guide + Tips

2. Find job opportunities

No matter where you're located, LinkedIn is an excellent repository for jobs. You can discover new professional opportunities via the "Jobs" icon on the top menu of your homepage, searching for roles by job title, keyword, or area. You even specify remote opportunities in the "location" field.

What's more, LinkedIn's tools mean you can filter jobs by experience level, salary requirements, and location. You can also create a targeted LinkedIn search and set alerts for new opportunities, so you can apply faster.

Read more: How to Add Your Resume to LinkedIn

3. Apply for jobs

When you find a job you're interested in, LinkedIn either allows you to apply directly through its site with your profile or redirects you to the relevant applicant tracking system (ATS) that particular company is using to gather candidate information. In that case, you'll likely need to upload your resume, cover letter, and other materials.

You can strengthen your profile by completing what's known as a skills assessment on LinkedIn. Located under the "Jobs" tab, this online test allows you to earn a Verified Skills badge on your profile if you score in the top 30 percent [2].  

Read more: Job Search Guide: Resources for Your Next Career Move

4. Network and set up informational interviews

Who you know can help open doors when it comes to your career. Studies have shown that networking leads to more opportunities and knowing someone at a company that's hiring can lead to a referral, which itself accounts for a significant percentage of new hires [3, 4].

On LinkedIn, you’ll discover people you know (from past or current companies, school, volunteer work) as well as those you don't. Take time to connect and build your network. LinkedIn will also suggest people you may know under the "My Network" tab. Once you're connected with someone, you can message them to deepen your connection. Ask them if they have time to chat about their career trajectory.

Read more: What Is an Informational Interview? And How to Make the Most of It

5. Follow thought leaders

A lot of people use LinkedIn to share thoughts, articles, and more about the professional world. You can follow these "thought leaders" and gain valuable insight into your current industry, a new industry, or a larger work-related issue, like work-life balance. Simply click on the "Follow" link next to their name.

Just note: Following people is different than connecting with them in that you won't have the ability to message them without a premium account (free one-month trial, $39.99 USD per month after that), which allows you to send InMail [5]. Even then, the other person may not see your message if they have a lot of followers and connections.

6. Produce content

When it comes to positioning yourself as an expert in your industry, LinkedIn’s news feed is ideal. With a click, you can share a wealth of information that you’ve written and discovered through additional online research. It’s possible to share photos, videos, events, and full articles with your professional network directly on the site. In this way, you can grow to be a thought leader yourself.

Achieve professional success today

Setting up a LinkedIn account is easy with any email address. As you get started, you may want to brush up on your networking skills. You can browse Coursera for courses like Achieving Personal and Professional Success Specialization from UPenn Wharton. You’ll gain confidence and skills, so you’re ready to improve your career outlook using LinkedIn.

Article sources


LinkedIn. “About Linkedin," Accessed December 19, 2023.

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