Searching for work can be a time-consuming process. And while you can always revert to the age-old practice of reaching out to recruiters and inquiring about openings, there may be an easier way: using LinkedIn.

If it seems like everyone you know has a LinkedIn profile these days, it's because the site gains popularity by the day. As of April 2017, LinkedIn had 500 million users and over 10 million active job posts. Not only is LinkedIn a great resource for professionals in general, but it could be the key to landing your next big job offer. Here's how you can use the site to get yourself hired.

Job searching on a laptop


1. Create a compelling profile

Achieving success on LinkedIn starts with a strong profile. This is your opportunity to highlight your talents and tell the world what you're looking for. As such, make certain your profile's headline is reflective of the type of job you're hoping to snag. For example, if you're a skilled copywriter looking for work at a marketing firm, you might use language like "fearless copywriter with marketing prowess" or "inventive copywriter who lives for a challenge." Additionally, unlike a plain old resume, LinkedIn lets you include links to your most impressive work, whether it's a website you designed, a lecture you had filmed, or an article you had published online  -- so be sure to maximize that opportunity and showcase your skills.

Furthermore, don't hesitate to ask the people who have worked with you for rave reviews and endorsements. The latter feature is a great way to reaffirm the skills you claim to have by having others speak to your capabilities. After all, it's one thing to claim you're a strong editor, but if your old colleagues and managers endorse your editing skills on LinkedIn, it'll give people who aren't familiar with your work reason to believe that you're good at it. Not only can you ask your contacts to endorse specific skills of yours, but you can also request that they write recommendations that speak to your various talents, character, or work ethic. And the more folks who vouch for your awesomeness, the more appealing a job candidate you'll be.

2. Build your network

LinkedIn is a networking site at its core,and it gives you an opportunity to create an extensive list of contacts. And the more people you connect with on the site, the greater your chances of capitalizing on a job opportunity. In fact, LinkedIn says that between 2015 and 2016, 85% of jobs were filled via networking, so that alone should motivate you to aggressively reach out to others.

But don't just limit yourself to the people you already know. Part of the point of using LinkedIn is to meet new contacts. Therefore, it pays to review your connections' contacts and see if anyone sparks your interest. If you have a business associate who knows someone at a company you're hoping to work for, ask for an introduction and connect that way.

Once you establish a solid network, make a point of keeping tabs on your connections. LinkedIn will generally alert you when someone in your network lands a new role, at which point a little congratulatory note can go a long way. Similarly, you never know when a contact of yours will switch jobs and move to a company that's been on your radar, so review your network's happenings periodically, and act accordingly.

3. Search for the companies you're interested in

Is there a specific company you're hoping to work for someday? Chances are, it has a LinkedIn profile, and from there, you can gather more information about that business. Better yet, you'll be able to see whether you have any connections at that company you may not have known about, at which point you'll have the option to reach out and ask about openings.

4. Look at the site's job listings and reach out to people you know at those companies

A growing number of companies are posting jobs on LinkedIn, so if you're in the market for a new role, it pays to search those openings consistently. But don't just apply and call it a day. Rather, see if you know people at the companies you contact, and if so, ask them to either forward your resume or put in a good word once you've applied yourself. When it comes to hiring candidates, or even selecting them for interviews, internal recommendations go a long way -- which helps explain why so many jobs today are filled via networking.

5. Read up on anyone you're interviewing with

Let's say you've applied for a given role and have an interview scheduled. You'll probably be given the name of the person you'll be interviewing with, and once you get that information, a little low-grade LinkedIn stalking can really serve you well. Before your meeting, see if your interviewer has a LinkedIn profile, and if so, study it up and down to get a sense of his or her experience, skills, and expectations. The more prepared you are going into an interview, the greater your chances of success.

It's hard to imagine what job searchers did before LinkedIn, but now that you know about this terrific tool, you can use it to your advantage. Best of all, learning your way around the site is easy, and once you do, you'll be better positioned to land your dream job.