Has LinkedIn helped you get a job? If so, do you have any tips? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Daniel Tunkelang, Former Director of Engineering / Data Science at LinkedIn, on Quora:

LinkedIn has helped my get every job I've had since I became a member in 2003. Every person's situation is unique, but here's what worked for me:

  • Invest effort in your profile when you're not looking for a job. Most recruiters and hiring managers use LinkedIn to find passive candidates -- that is, people who aren't active job seekers but may be open to the right opportunity. In fact, many recruiters and hiring managers prefer passive candidates to active ones, reasoning that the best candidates are happily employed. Moreover, sudden changes to your profile may signal to your current employer that you're a flight risk. So you should always keep your LinkedIn profile current.
  • Show your personality in your profile, but don't go overboard. Have a high-quality head shot, but keep it professional. Have a headline that shows some flair, but don't try to be too clever about it. Make it easy for someone evaluating your profile to quickly figure out what you do, and what distinguishes you from other people who do the same things
  • Optimize your profile for human readability. The people who read your profile are people who read hundreds of profiles. If they don't see what they're looking for quickly, they move on to the next one. So improve your chances by making their lives easier. Have a short summary section the highlights your main qualifications and accomplishments. Do the same for your current and past positions. Use short sentences or bullet points, favor nouns over adjectives, and provide numbers where possible.
  • Optimize your profile for LinkedIn's and Google's search engines. Unless recruiter or hiring managers are looking for you personally, they're likely to discover you through search or recommendation engines. Help those out by making sure your profile contains the words they're looking for. Use standard job titles. Fill out your skills section. Profile completeness might not help you outrank other profiles, but it will at least keep you in the game.

If you are using LinkedIn to actively search for a job, consider the following:

  • Look for people rather than jobs. If you find a job that looks interesting, try to find a recruiter or hiring manager and reach out to that person directly. Ideally it's someone you know, or at least someone with whom you share a meaningful connection. But even if you're cold-calling, you're likely to accomplish more with a concise, customized, personalized message to a real person than by simply submitting your job application into their applicant tracking system (ATS).
  • Look for companies rather than jobs. Many company don't advertise jobs, and many more don't advertise jobs on LinkedIn. But if a company is growing, then it's probably hiring. Find growing companies likely to need someone with your skills, and then find people at those companies (see previous point).
  • Become a LinkedIn search power user. Use quoted phrases and search operators to specify title:"Project Manager". Use the facets in the right rail to further specify your search--and consider obtaining a premium subscription to obtain a bit more functionality (1st month is free, then it's $24.99/month). Most people aren't expert LinkedIn users, so learning how to use the platform effectively gives you an edge in your job search.

Good luck!

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