If you’ve been on LinkedIn for any amount of time, you know how valuable it is for job search and career networking, and for top-of-mind branding. But are you using LinkedIn for research?
You’ll start with your target list of employers. If you don’t have a list, LinkedIn can help you with that, too.
To build your target list, do a LinkedIn search of keywords related to the kind of job(s) you want. See which companies show up and add them to your list if they seem like a good fit.
Why LinkedIn Research Is So Important
Doing research on LinkedIn will help you:
- Gain access to the goldmine of “hidden” or never-advertised executive jobs.
- Determine how you’re uniquely qualified to help your target companies overcome current challenges.
- Learn how to define and refine your personal brand and ROI around your potential value to them.
- Identify those all-important relevant keywords and phrases to use across your personal marketing.
- Know how to craft (or refine) your resume, biography, LinkedIn profile and other materials around what will resonate with your target companies.
- Identify the people at your target companies to connect with for insider information, introductions and leads.
- Circumvent the gatekeepers. Avoid the HR-driven search process, by positioning yourself in front of and connecting directly with key decision makers, and other employees.
- Assess potential employers and do your due diligence.
- Prepare to speak intelligently about your target companies and industry when networking.
- Nail interviews by being an informed, knowledgeable candidate.
Here are some things to look for in your company research:
- Company overviews and history
- Products and services
- Challenges they’re facing right now, that you can help them with
- Corporate/company culture
- Company leaders and key decision-makers
- Other employees
- Industry influencers
- Latest news and trends
The Various Ways and Places on LinkedIn To Do Research
Search LinkedIn Jobs by job title, relevant skills or company.
Check LinkedIn Jobs to see if your target companies are looking for people like you. Make note of the qualifications needed.
A wealth of information can be found in these descriptions to help you identify the important relevant keywords to use in your LinkedIn profile and elsewhere, and to help you with due diligence.
One caution: Don’t spend too much time responding to LinkedIn Jobs postings. The majority of your efforts should go to networking your way into your target companies.
Look at the LinkedIn (company) Pages of your target employers and study the details.
On (company) Pages you’ll find tabs for the following. Explore each one:
Assess each company and identify employees working there whose profiles you’ll review.
Follow these companies and, according to LinkedIn, their updates will populate in your homepage news feed, so you’ll be up-to-date with their latest news:
- Updates on topics ranging from announcements to product releases and industry news
- Friends and colleagues who are connected to the organization
- Affiliated pages that showcase various aspects of the business or related organizations
- Job opportunities with the organization
- A personalized look into an organization’s culture (if they’ve opted for a Life tab)
Look at the profiles of employees of your target employers.
If you’re job hunting under cover, or for other reasons, you may not want people to know that you’re snooping around and viewing their profile. If so, first adjust your profile viewing setting to “Private Mode”. Then you won’t show up in their “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” summary. No one will know that you’ve viewed their profile.
Scan their profiles for market intelligence and relevant keywords to boost your personal SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Send them an invitation to connect.
See how they present themselves in their profiles, to get ideas for your own profile, but don’t copy their profile content.
Search for alumni.
Go to your (or any) school’s LinkedIn page (type the school name in the search field at the top of any page on LinkedIn to get there) and look for “Alumni” in the menu on the school page. You can filter by various information.
Do an advanced LinkedIn search by name, location, industry, etc.
Type a company or person’s name in the search field at the top of any page on LinkedIn and you see these options (as of this writing):
- Drop-down menu with People, Jobs, Content, Companies, Schools, Groups, Events
- Connections drop-down menu with 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree connections
- Current Companies drop-down menu with various options
- Locations drop-down menu with various options
- All Filters
As you’re doing people research, you’ll probably come across some you know. They should be the first people you contact.
Get job title highlights.
When you enter a job title into the search field (such as “Project Manager”), a panel pops up in the righthand sidebar. You’ll see:
- How many people on LinkedIn have this job title
- Top skills for that job title
- Your connections with that job title
- Companies hiring for that job title
- Similar job titles
Get salary information.
LinkedIn’s extensive database of salary info can help you determine salary ranges for various job titles by employer and geographic area.