By now, we have all heard of LinkedIn and how it can help you with your job search. If you have been following articles in this series, by now have an account and a robust profile. So what’s next? Developing leads! Here are 9 ways to use LinkedIn to help you in your job search:

Find people on LinkedIn that you know or want to know. Grow your connections list. Every time you reach out to someone to connect, create a customized connection request rather than using the default. The goal is to establish and nurture relationships that go both ways (it shouldn’t be just about you). Tell the person what it is that attracted you to them—perhaps a recent article that you liked or an award you want to congratulate them for. There are many people who do not accept connection requests from people who do not include a personalized note.

Look at jobs on LinkedIn. You can search for jobs under the “jobs” category; your search can be by key word, zip code, and more. Use advanced search to further refine your search. You can even let recruiters know that you’re interested. I even see federal government jobs posted on LinkedIn; LinkedIn is not just for the private sector anymore. Learn more at:

Once you find potential jobs, use your connections to find out more. Find 1st level connections to people you know at the company/organization you’re targeting and reach out. Ask them about the organization and the job.

Use Company Profiles on LinkedIn to research the organizations you have targeted. You will see your connections at the organization, jobs posted, and more. You can follow the company too, so it will show up in your feed. And you can use this information to help you prepare for an interview.

Look at the profiles of your interviewers on LinkedIn. If you are called for an interview, you want to be as prepared a possible. Looking at the profiles of the people you’re interesting with is a great way to get a feel for them. You might find some connections or interests you have in common; knowing this information may help calm your nerves before the big day!

Leverage referrals and recommendations. If the job is listed on LinkedIn you can request a recommendation or referral from someone who works there. Most employers are more likely to hire someone they “know” or knows someone they know, so having a recommendation or referral from someone inhouse could be a real plus.

Take advantage of LinkedIn Premium. LinkedIn offers a free trial of its premium service. Try it and see if its features work for you. Transitioning military members get free LinkedIn premium for one year. Make sure to take advantage!

Make others take notice. Establish and reinforce your credibility as an expert in your field by publishing articles on LinkedIn Pulse. You can also upload recent white papers you have written or PowerPoint presentations you have made. Be sure to get clearance from your manager first…you don’t want to get in trouble for sharing what they might see as proprietary or confidential information!

Nancy Segal is a federal human resources training and job search expert. Following her own 30-year federal HR career (much of it at the senior level), she founded Solutions for the Workplace LLC in 2003 to provide an HR management perspective to both federal managers and astute applicants to U.S. government positions. Nancy has unmatched federal career management insight, high standards, and respect for people’s time, and her clients use this to their advantage.