How to use LinkedIn to find a job

As a specialist recruiter for the automotive industry I’ve been using LinkedIn to source candidates for over 15 years. I wanted to share the knowledge and insights I’ve gained with job hunters to ensure you maximise your LinkedIn presence. Read on for my essential LinkedIn tips for job hunters.

Is LinkedIn for me?

Whether you’re a marketing manager at a car manufacturer, a business development manager for a supplier or a field based finance manager, LinkedIn is suitable for everyone and is one of the most powerful resources that job hunters can use.

Create your profile

For those who do not already have a profile, the first stage is to create one. Go to, enter your first and last name and email address in the indicated area, and create a strong password.

You need to give as much time to your LinkedIn profile as you would your CV or cover letter. Never assume that your profile won’t be seen by someone hiring you. It’s often the first place that hiring managers and recruiters will look and it’s essential that your LinkedIn profile is update to date and matches your CV.

To edit your profile, click on the little photo of yourself where is says ‘me’ (top right in tool bar), select ‘view profile’. Click on the pencil to edit each section of your profile. There are numerous sections that you can add to your profile. For the purpose of this article I’ll focus on some key tips for job hunters.

The right photo

Use a photo that looks professional and suitable for a work environment. You don’t have to pay for a professional photo but just make sure it looks ‘professional’. Other tips to consider are:

  • Use a head & shoulders shot
  • Dress professionally – the way you would for an interview
  • Only you in the photo – no pets, children etc
  • Up-to-date photo that reflects how you currently look
  • Have a warm, friendly smile and try to look approachable yet professional

Once you’ve added your photo make sure you select who can see your photo. Click on your photo and then on the button (bottom left) and make your selection. If you’re actively job hunting I’d recommend you make your photo visible to ‘all LinkedIn members’ or ‘anyone’.


The headline allows you up to 220 characters and appears on your profile below your name. It also shows when you make a comment or share something. I recommend you use your headline to highlight your main reason for being on LinkedIn. This may just be your current job title or a description of your role. Take a look at my profile for an example: Julia Pennington.

If you’re actively job hunting (and are happy for this to be publicly known) you might want to say so here. Recruiters search for words like: ‘looking’, ‘available for work’, ‘open to work’ or ‘open to opportunities’.

Show you’re open to work

LinkedIn offer you the option to show your are open to work on your profile photo. From your profile page, click on your photo, select ‘Frames’, select ‘Open to work’. Your profile photo will then have a highly visible green frame which says #OpenToWork. You then need to select who can see your photo – click on the button (bottom left) and make your selection.


Whether you’re actively job hunting or just open to the right opportunity, make sure the location you put is the location where you want to find work. A common mistake is people putting their employer’s address as their location. This can be in issue if for example you work in a field based role and you live in say Manchester but your employer is in London.


Getting your industry right on LinkedIn is essential for job hunters. Recruiters and employers will search for candidates based on their industry (among other things). Equally LinkedIn will target relevant job opportunities at you based on your industry. Take a moment to consider which industry you want to be found under.

Selecting the right industry is not quite as simple as you might think and LinkedIn change the industry options available from time to time. For example if you work in a marketing role within the automotive industry you’ll need to decide whether you want to categorise yourself under “Advertising Services” OR “Motor Vehicle Manufacturing”. Or if you work in an automotive financial services role you may need to choose between “Financial Services” and “Retail Motor Vehicles”.

Check out your peers’ profiles and see what industry they have selected. Try and put yourself into the shoes of the people who you want to find you. LinkedIn offer further advice on Industry Selection.


The ‘About’ section is a pivotal part of your profile. LinkedIn currently allow up to 2,600 characters in this section so there’s lots of room to say a bit more about yourself. Depending on your goals for LinkedIn you may use this section in different ways.

If you are publicly job searching you could include:

  • Your key skills and experiences. Remember to use lots of key words that an employer/recruiter might search for
  • What is your core area of expertise?
  • Perhaps a bit about your big passion outside of work?
  • Details of the type of job you are seeking
  • What you can offer an employer
  • Your availability to start a new job

For those who are privately job hunting or simply open to being approached for jobs but not going public about it, you’ll need to be a bit more creative just focus on your current job and skills.

Either way remember that only the first 350 characters will show on your profile without clicking ‘see more’. Make sure what you write first catches the attention.


This is where you can add links to your posts, articles or other links and media. It’s a place to showcase your work, what you write about and who you interact with. Used well it’s a great place to demonstrate your industry expertise, knowledge and contacts. Just click on the + to add something and on the pencil to edit.


Your LinkedIn activity automatically shows up here. People can see if you are actively posting, liking, commenting and sharing. Use these tools as a way of demonstrating your knowledge and expertise in your specialist area.


This is effectively an edited version of your CV. Things to consider:

  • Make sure there are no discrepancies between what you write here and put on your CV.
  • If you’re actively and openly job hunting the more detail the better.
  • Use as many relevant key words and phrases as possible.
  • If a job title or function could be described in various different ways try and use all likely key words that searches might use.
  • If you have automotive industry experience mention the brand names you have worked for.

Use this section to highlight your skills. Try and be as accurate as possible in the skills you select – that way people you know are more likely to endorse you for them. Listing as many relevant skills as possible is advised if you want to be found by employers and headhunters – the more the better (as long as it’s a skill you genuinely have). To check you are listing the right skills you could review job postings of the sort of role you are seeking and see what skills employers are seeking.


In today’s world where we look for ‘social proof’ everywhere it’s really valuable to get some good recommendations on your LinkedIn profile. I recommend you ask for recommendations from customers, colleagues & previous employers etc. If you’re job hunting, previous customer recommendations could be particularly valuable. You’ll need to be a first connection with someone before you can ask them to recommend you. Click +, ‘Ask for a recommendation’. Send a nice personal note and remember to say thank you. When someone gives you a recommendation it won’t automatically appear – you’ll receive a notification and will have the choice as to whether you want to add it to your profile. Giving recommendations to others and then asking them to reciprocate can be a good way to start.

Make yourself known

People who are the most active on LinkedIn, get the most attention. This of course takes time, effort and dedication but is significant in developing new introductions, relationships and career opportunities. Here are the key ways to do this:

Connect, connect, connect

Build a network of high quality connections. This includes:

  • People you already know – past clients, colleagues, school alumni etc
  • Other people who work in your industry.

People who don’t currently know you are much more likely to connect if you ‘add a note’ when you ask them to connect. Think of a reason you want to connect with them. It could be a simply as ‘I see we have a number of automotive industry contacts in common – it would be good to connect’

Like, comment and share

The things you write and share will demonstrate your knowledge within your industry. Build your personal brand by sharing articles you have written or commenting your opinion on things posted by others. As above, the more active you are the more you will be noticed. Remember this actively will be visible in the ‘Activity’ section of your profile.

Use the LinkedIn Today site to find popular, trending and relevant content to share with your network.


Join relevant groups and follow Companies in your industry. You will then see their posts and be able to post yourself in these groups. The automotive industry has lots of groups that may interest you, for example: Automotive Retail Sales Professionals. To look for relevant groups go to the search bar, type in your keyword and see what comes up.

Final Thoughts

When used to its full advantage LinkedIn is an incredible tool for job hunting and beyond. Visit your profile frequently, keep your details up to date and remain engaged with your connections. Keep an eye out for changes made by LinkedIn and update accordingly.

But don’t just rely on LinkedIn to find your next automotive industry job. If you’re looking to progress your career in sales or marketing in the automotive industry make sure you Register with Copeland. We have over 20 years’ experience finding great automotive jobs for automotive industry professionals.

Further Reading:

Write a great CV

How to prepare for an interview

How to get your interview presentation right

Copeland help automotive employees progress their careers. Learn more about HOW WE HELP CANDIDATES or If you’re ready for your next career move start by registering with us HERE.

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