In recent years, I've heard time and time again that if I wanted to have a successful "career" (if that means anything but a good-sounding term for "jobs"), I must be on Linkedin. That's supposed to be the place where you make your professional contacts, where you get all the relevant news from your field, and so on...

However, so far, I have never even made an interview out of any Linkedin interaction. I've had some after contacting through other websites (mostly "job panels" like Infojobs (or others that look much like the StackOverflow one)), but never after Linkedin. Maybe there is something wrong with my profile, but I assume that recruiters search in on Linkedin anyway regardless of how the first contact took place, so I don't really think that's the reason.

Instead, what I often find on Linkedin is either "feel-good" motivational messages or flat-out marketing/political campaigns from the companies and institutions I follow. Every now and then you step on an actual job offer, so we get just a typical job-panel with a bad search function and a ton of spam. To me it feels like "Linkedin is for jobs what Facebook is for friendships" (i.e. too much quantity but too little quality) It just feels good to have an impressive Linkedin profile, but I cannot manage to see the benefits of it

So my question for you is: How relevant is Linkedin for your actual job search? And, if much, how do you make the most out of it?

  • Could someone explain the reasons behind downvoting? Why is this not a legitimate question? Why is this too broad? It's just asking "What does tool X do"? Maybe the fact that people consider the question too broad is itself a great answer
    – David
    Aug 26, 2019 at 15:12
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    @David - Because this really is an "opinion" question. I got my current job off LinkedIn. Before this job, I mostly used it as a professional version of Facebook. What does my experience mean? Oh, who knows. Aug 26, 2019 at 15:19
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    @David, virtually everything on here is subjective and opinion-based as much as people pretend that it's not. That's OK. Don't worry about the meaningless downvotes. Just hope you get some useful info.
    – teego1967
    Aug 26, 2019 at 16:15
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    Your question was closed because opinions will vary a lot and depend on various factors. You could probably get it reopened if you focused more on how to find relevant job openings in you field and location (hence the “Too Broad” votes) and removed the poll on whether people think it’s a good tool.
    – BSMP
    Aug 26, 2019 at 19:43
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    In my experience (UK) it's very useful. Over the last 3 years (since I left uni) every job I've had, my employer has looked at my profile, which is fairly well filled out, and gives a lot of detail which doesn't fit on my CV. As well as this, my last "proper" (2 year) job, was through linked in. I was contacted by a recruiter who was searching for someone to fill a role. I have had multiple other offers, even when not searching and interviews, whilst searching, from the site. I agree that this is opinion based as the value can't really be quantified.
    – Gamora
    Aug 28, 2019 at 15:00

6 Answers 6


This is a hard question to answer because "how valuable is X?" can depend on how you define value. LinkedIn has a few potential "values" in the job search process:

  • As a job posting tool: You're probably well aware, but LinkedIn has it's own jobs posting functionality, and many employers use it to post openings they have. If you find a job on LinkedIn that you want to apply to, then it's clearly adding value to your job search.
  • As a networking tool: A softer but potentially high-value feature is the possibility to network on LinkedIn. By following people who work at employers you're interested in, you can keep tabs on what they're doing. Sometimes when I have an open position and I remember a contact who might be a good fit, I'll look them up on LinkedIn and send them a message.
  • As a way to provide a publicly-visible profile for recruiters to view: As a hiring manager, when I get an interesting candidate, I will often search for that person on LinkedIn as part of my research during the hiring process. I'm not always looking for anything specific, but sometimes by looking at someone's profile, you can get information you may not have gotten otherwise. This information can be beneficial for the candidate (for instance, seeing that they're involved in industry groups or other activities not mentioned in their resume) or it can be detrimental (seeing that their LinkedIn job history doesn't really match their resume - perhaps because they tried a little too hard to tailor their resume to my opening). But either way, it can help me, as a hiring manager, get a better picture of the candidate.

Of course, any social media platform will be more (or less) valuable to different people, because you have to weigh your own preferences for job searches, the strength of your network, and other factors. And at the end of the day, tools like LinkedIn are probably rarely the make-or-break factor, since both candidates and employers are motivated to use many channels for any specific hiring function as a way to increase their odds of finding the best fit. So, opting out of using LinkedIn is not likely to be a deal breaker.


In addition to the other answers, it also depends hugely on your locale. In my part of the World a lot of people make linkdin profiles just to show off, there is zero chance of them landing a job through it even if they didn't make up half the stuff in their profile.

I made a profile and spent a day having a laugh at what people had put down in their profiles. Since then it's just been a source of spam mail.


Adding to previous answers, I found Linkedin very valuable when it comes to understanding companies I've applied/ want to apply at.

If you apply somewhere and see that your future peers e.g. are considerably less educated or only men (I'm female) or have a very different background or much less/ more experience, that's a very important piece of information.

Apart from that, you can see who of your contacts is working/ has worked where and I found contacting people and asking about their impressions at companies very valuable.

What I don't find valuable were contacts with recruiters. But it might be better in your country. In mine, applying via recruiters is a waste of time.

  • True, but most of the time you can predict whether the people at the company will have a different background than yours by looking at the offer. I am not sexist enough to care about their gender, though!
    – David
    Aug 27, 2019 at 7:40
  • @David, how can you predict that? Actually the "cultural fit" is one of the most difficult things to predict.
    – BigMadAndy
    Aug 27, 2019 at 19:12

The benfits of linkedin are is massively oversold, usually by linkedin, and the recruiters that use it.

The only real benefit to linkedin is you can communicate with ex-colleagues reasonably easily. I think that's about a beneficial as the "networking" aspect goes.

With the companies I've been at, when interviewing, we don't use linkedin profiles, but the references and CVs that candidates supply.

My gut feel generally the people that get the most out of linkedin are the people the work the jobs described by Graeber. (Search for "Graeber jobs" if you want to know what I'm talking about)

Otherwise it's just a professional twist on the social media concept. If that floats your boat, so be it.

  • Good reference, but I am not sure about how sound Mr. Graeber's ideas really are. Afer all, if he knew how to make an organisation more productive by removing all of the "bullshit employees", why is he writing books rather than leading one of the most profitable corporations on the planet?
    – David
    Aug 26, 2019 at 15:16
  • @David Is that what drives him? To make money? Aug 26, 2019 at 16:48
  • Maybe not him, but if anyone believed his ideas, he could do it himself. He's doing great academic writing, but if nobody in the private sector is following him, it's probably because he is just a charlatan.
    – David
    Aug 27, 2019 at 7:32

As @kilisi says, "it depends".

I would add that it also depends on the type of job involved-- but not "Graeber jobs" [meaning BS jobs].

If you're marketing yourself in a field with an enormous volume of competition (eg enterprise java developer), yeah, linkedin is going to provide weak leads from disinterested recruiters casting a wide net to capture as many candidates as possible. I can see how this is turn-off to mainstream IT people.

There's a fair amount of noise from thoughtless recruiters shot-gunning for candidates, but it's easy enough to ignore those. I also don't care for the brown-nosing "influencer" articles that some people seem to share-- also ignorable.

I have found, however, that if you have particularly niche skills, LinkedIn provides a good way to get yourself findable by recruiters that are looking for very specific candidates. These can be high-quality leads.

  • The niche skill set thing is a good point even if it may only apply to a small portion of the population. 15 years ago I was trying to hire consultants with experience in a specific niche application. LinkedIn (as it exists today) would have been a huge help!
    – dwizum
    Aug 26, 2019 at 17:49
  • +1 again for niche skills: if you have these on your profile LinkedIn can be great. I got both my current job and my previous job through recruiters contacting me on it, because I happen to have niche skills. Also numerous leads resulting in offers which I didn't take because I'd accepted others. But all of that is because I work in a niche field: I had LinkedIn for 4 years before gaining those skills and only had one recruiter contact me for a suitable opportunity in all that time.
    – Phueal
    Aug 26, 2019 at 19:22

Yes - LinkedIn is a good source of initial information on candidates and can be an effective sourcing tool - referrals, basic info on prior companies, types of roles held, etc.

However, for software development roles, it would be more complete to evaluate the candidate's Stack Overflow account and / or GitHub repo to evaluate the depth of expertise.

The combination of LinkedIn, Stack Overflow and GitHub provides a pretty complete view on the candidate's capability.

  • What about plumbers?
    – David
    Aug 27, 2019 at 7:40

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