I heavily emphasize Linkedin in all my advice to job seekers, but there are limits on what it can do. At this point, it’s not that awesome as a job board. You can, in fact, use Linkedin as a job board by looking under “Jobs” and also looking for Jobs conversations/postings in the groups you are part of, but I find more success looking in the regular job boards, nice sites (like Idealist), job board aggregators like SimplyHired and Indeed.com, and direct company/organization jobs pages for target organizations to actually find open jobs.
However, once you find a great job, that’s when Linkedin reveals itself in all its awesome power and glory.
You reach out to your network, especially those who work at the organization that is hiring, and ask them about the position; if you know them well enough, you ask if you can use their name in your cover letter or even if they will internally recommend/refer you. Consider doing this before you formally apply so that your friends can get an internal referral bonus–and also to reduce concerns about conflict of interest in applications. Just reaching out to say you found the position and would be interested to know how it became available will generate scads more information that you can then use to improve your cover letter:
* If the position is open because someone was fired, emphasize your reliability, teamwork, and loyalty in your cover letter
* If the position is open because the organization is expanding, emphasize your ability to bring organizations to a new level or launch new programs.
Ask for referrals and recommendations through Linkedin, but without being too aggressive, and you can double or quadruple your chances of an interview.