Before you start reading I have to warn you: this article is primary written for people new to Linkedin and / or immigrants of war from post-Soviet countries. You probably wont find this article useful if you are citizen of western country with established career and good track record of work experience. People who choose immigration always have to go through a lot of hoops to find a job and specifically one that offer visa assistance and relocation.
When registering keep in mind the following:
- Make sure to specify correct name to begin with as it’s crucial in case Linkedin will ask to verify your identify later down the road.
- Use dedicated email address on international service such as GMail.
- Email better to have your full name or something close it it. [email protected] is not a good choice if you want to have a job.
- Once you share email on Linkedin it’s gonna get public and will get some SPAM. So if you worry about it better to use separate email for this and configure some sync with your primary mailbox.
- Before sharing your profile link go to “Edit public profile & URL” and get yourself some nice-looking URL instead of “joe-d-01md5hash3/”. It’s looks cool. _
- If possible do specify some phone number you control. Though dont publicly share old phone numbers from your country of origin.
So now you have your profile and it’s time to fill it.
Once registered add some information about yourself:
- Dont lie about your education, skills or experience. At the same time dont specify current location unless you are looking for a local job. Below I’ll explain why.
- Leave out irrelevant work experiences. If you’re planning to find a job a programmer then your experience as taxi driver is not relevant.
- Everything have to be in English. Translate information about your past workplaces, positions, education and speciality as correct as possible. Recruiters dont want to use google translate and figure-put cryptic acronyms in your native language.
- Make sure at least those sections are filled: About, Experience, Skills, Languages.
- Add a photo with a face well visible.
- If you are open for work click on photo and set an appropriate photo frame.
- If English is not your native language once profile is ready ask a native speaker to proof-read everything and fix your grammar. Just like in CV it shows that you put some effort.
- To find a job set as permissive privacy settings as possible.
- If you are programmer leave a link to your GitHub / GitLab.
- If you are artist it’s gonna be Behance / DeviantArt / ArtStation / etc.
- If you are none of these add resources relevant to your field or links to personal projects.
I not gonna give advice about content itself as you can find countless instructions about writing CV.
Bootstrapping your network
Now your profile is hopefully full of relevant information and you need to start connecting:
- First of all don’t rush. Mass-sending of connection requests on new account is not a good idea. It’s always better to increase your activity gradually.
- It’s the best when in beginning you get connection requests and not other way around. This way you’ll less likely get under some spam bot filter.
- If you already have a job in the field that’s great: start by asking your coworkers to add your new profile. Beware of boss and not specify that you are looking for work if you do that.
- If you are new in profession start with your friends and friends of friends: share your profile link and ask them to add you. You can also sent them connection with some comment about who you are.
- Once you get some basic connections make a list of all past contacts, workplaces and volunteer projects you participated. Start sending connection requests with tiny introduction. These requests might get stuck for months and years before approval as people rarely visit Linkedin unless they need new job.
- If you are an immigrant and you’re new to profession make sure you ready the end of post as it’s have some extra advice for you.
Congrats! In a few weeks you gonna have your first 10-100+ connections depend on your activity.
How to be visible to recruiters
This is slightly cynical, but most important part of this post. If you are an expert and recruiters find you instead to compete for your time you can skip it, but everyone else need to use as many tricks as possible to get a job:
- Most importantly candidate search on Linkedin is location based. This is crucial! The only way to make sure your profile is visible for recruiters in US, UK, EU or specific country is to set your own location to the same country.
- Setting location is not misleading. There is nothing wrong with it and you will just disclose your actual location later during negotiations. Unfortunately this also means that majority of opportunities wont actually be suitable for you and you will have to apply 10 or 20 times more than candidate who is citizen or resident with a job permit.
- Second most important fact is how Linkedin ranking your profile in search results. This is purely game of numbers - more connections with recruiters mean more visibility. So unless you are next Linus Torvalds, famous scientist or unique rocket engineer with decade of experience forget about building tight network of professional connections.
- Of course you dont need to add spam bots and absolutely random people from other side of planet to your network. Yet more 1st and 2nd tier connections you have in region you want to work in the better. An immigrant looking for relocation will greatly benefit from having thousands of connections.
- There are no rules when it’s come to SEO. Your profile must contain buzzwords recruiters are searching for. Even such weird thing as adding “Java” in your surname is totally okay to improve your chances of getting noticed. Just make sure that profile is still readable for human beings as well.
I absolutely not support spam of any sort. There are ways to grow your network by only sending connection requests to people who are likely to accept them: recruiters in your field, open networkers and linkedin influencers some of whom do accept connections for the same purpose as you do: reaching out to more people.
Limits and avoiding abuse
So as you starts to grow your network and sent connection requests there there is something you want to know about how Linkedin works:
- First of all Linkedin does have anti-spam and anti-scraping automation. Like it or not, but your goal is to get as high in search results of recruiters and very active usage of Linkedin will trigger their filters.
- I almost guarantee that no matter how careful you gonna be Linkedin will likely block your account at some point to ask for verification with passport photo or other documents. This happen to almost everyone and once you passed this check you will less likely to get in trouble ever again.
- Make sure to not just use Linkedin to sent connections so you look less like a bot. Join few groups, view the feed from time to time, add some likes and comments. Some content on Linkedin is full of cringe, but I subscribed to my favourite podcaster Lex Fridman and it’s pleasure to read his posts and comments.
So yeah you might need to suffer a bit of Linkedin to get profit of it. Yet regardless of your activity you can get under some restrictions:
- It’s possible to get account limited if you sent too many connection requests to people who then mark them as spam aka “I dont know this person”. This one is very hard to trigger if you only sent connection requests to people relevant to your field of work.
- Any connection restrictions can be removed via Linkedin support if you ask them very politely and promise not to trigger it again. Also I myself grown from 500 to 5000 connection in a year and had no trouble with it.
- The only actual dangerous restriction that you can trigger is for viewing too many profile pages. There are quite low limit and after 3+ temporary blocks you can actually get your profile in trouble.
- Fortunately you dont have to view profile page of person to sent them connection request. If you’re Java developer looking for a job and person title says “Looking for Java developers” - just send the request without viewing the profile.
And there are some facts about limits I personally aware about.. Disclaimer - they’re not precise and likely to change if not changed already:
- There are search limit when searching people and it’s more tight if you run more detailed queries.
- Profile views have low rate-limit. So don’t open 30-50 profiles at once even if you absolutely need it. Instead open them one-by-one with delays on some other activity on website.
- Profile views also have something like daily / weekly / monthly limit. If you view too many you get in trouble and number is like 500 / day or 1000 / week or 2000 / month or something.
- New account can sent up to 100 connection requests a week, but better to avoid hitting it at least for newly registered account.
- Established account can sent 200 connection request a week. There are no sanctions for reaching it every week as far as I know. As long as you’re not marked as spammer.
- With an expensive recruiter plan that cost around $2500 / year you can sent as much as 400-500 connection requests every week. And you can use a month of a free trial with that month! Check below for details.
- You can have as many as 5000 outgoing connection requests waiting. So no reason to withdraw requests unless you absolutely certain that person been active on Linkedin, seen your request and has ignored it. Otherwise just sent them out and let them stay - sometimes people accept them after a few years.
So here is my advice for avoiding problems:
- Dont mess with name on your account before it got restricted and verified by documents for the first time. Otherwise it’s can be hard to prove that is your real identify.
- Dont use any automation software. You dont need it! All you want need is to spend like 1-2 hours a week even if you do everything yourself in a desktop browser.
- Do some activity on website outside of sending connection requests. Yeah it’s can be painful, but that just few minutes of your time.
- Spread your activity over week for 10-20 minutes each time instead of sending all connection on monday morning for 2 hours straight.
If you do everything right you’ll never have any issues.
Tips and tricks
- Do not use free Linkedin Premium trial before you at least spent few months building your network and have 500+ connections. Free trial only given once a year and to optimally use it you need weel established profile. Read below.
- Avoid sending anything to 3rd+ tier connections unless you actually know them. It’s better to slowly grow your network rather than trying to connect to people with no shared connections.
- Join Linkedin groups related to your field. At least before it was possible to send messages or connection requests to any person that you share group with even if you dont have 2nd-tier connection.
- Recruiters in your field who already have thousands of connections and 5+ of connections shared with you are almost certainly gonna accept. So they’re your primary target.
- Second target of people who are interested in growing their network are coaches, linkedin content creators and open networkers. Having connection just to one person can sometimes expand your 2nd-tier network for 50,000 people.
- If you’re sending connection requests to recruiter that have 1000+ connections do not attach any explanatory messages of why you doing it. Seriously dont spam their inbox unless you actually want to apply to the job they posting about.
- Prioritise sending connections to people with Premium icon. This usually indicate this person is not dead, active user of Linkedin and or actually looking for candidates.
- Unless you planning to relocate to India or Pakistan you probably dont want to collect 1000 connections from there how easy it feel like. Though there is nothing wrong with having few highly-connected individuals from any country since they usually have a lot of connections abroad too.
- Do not send connection requests to people with “Follow” button since they clearly indicated they dont want random people to connect them. If you have connections in common and you do - add some message explaining why you did it.
Connections at scale
As I mentioned before there are few ways to grow network at rapid pace without spamming irrelevant people. Some of them are better to use one your profile have 100-500 connections, but other can be used from very beginning.
There are “LION” or “Linkedin Open Network” groups:
- Join the groups. Check who is actively posting there and send connection request.
- Add #opennetwork or LION to your profile to gain more random connections.
- Search people with “LION” in countries you want to find a job in and connect.
- Again there a lot fo dead profiles and Premium icon indicate that profile actively used.
- There will be some spam so just ignore requests from empty profiles without photos.
- Once your profile is well established you can always rid of indications.
Once you have well established profile you can put Linkedin Premium trial to use with recruiter-lite plan:
- Basically you start a trial on most expensive plan available. Cost more than $2000 annually.
- Now you can send 400-500 connection requests a week for a month.
- Make sure to cancel it before Linkedin charge you the money.
- You can cancel renewal of plan before trial ends without ever paying anything.
So with little over few month effort you can gain a lot of connections including recruiters in a country you want to work in. Of course you can ask for people in your field to help you build you network outside of Linkedin too. Professional communities on Discord, Facebook or educational platforms like Coursera work best for that.
Is Premium worth it?
Unfortunately I cant answer that. Except for expensive recruiters plan it does not actually increase your limits or chances to get account restricted. Though it’s give clear indication that your account is in active use and I guess recruiters like this indication too.
I hope you find some of my advice useful. I’ll try to keep this post updated with new tips and tricks if I learn them. I can’t promise you that all of this effort on Linkedin gonna be useful and it certainly not replace your actual skills, but hopefully it will help you to find your next a job.
For fellow immigrants
This is specifically addressed for those from post-Soviet countries. There are two useful groups on Telegram that might help you to bootstrap your Linkedin network: RelocateIt and Linkedin Jobs. Check them out, read the rules and see how others do it. On those groups you can share your profile link along few lines about yourself and get some initial connections.
Also once your profile is English is ready feel free to send me connection request. I do accept connections from everyone with filled profile. I have and can also share your posts about looking for a job as long as they’re in English.