In the current economic climate, being easily found for suitable job opportunities becomes more important than ever. Professional networking platforms like LinkedIn have become almost vital as part of that strategy, and certainly I know of many large corporate companies who have an entire team dedicated to just trawling through LinkedIn to find suitable candidates for their business.
While some may adopt a ‘too cool for school’ attitude around LinkedIn and treat it with the same philosophical approach as their social media, I tend to think having a LinkedIn profile and not wanting to be found by others is like having a Tinder profile and hoping people only swipe left. What’s the point? Surely you are on a professional networking site because you want to network with other professionals?
Let me put it this way; imagine you’re going to a networking event. The room is literally full of people in your industry. Some of these people are new to the industry and could benefit from your insight and wisdom. Others are people that you perhaps even know of and admire within the industry. Someone comes up and says hello to you. Do you either (a) engage in conversation with them and explore further if they share your professional values or (b) says “I don’t know you” and walk off in the other direction? If you choose option B, then I imagine you’re probably not getting the best value from your time at that networking event, right?
So here we are in a slightly unusual period of history filled with a lot of uncertainty about where everything is going. Note that this doesn’t mean that there is no opportunity. Of course there is. It just means that you need to be smarter about how you put yourself out there so that either you can find it, or it can find you. With that in mind, let’s have a quick look at how you can use a professional network site like LinkedIn to stand out from the crowd.
Step 1: Review your profile
The obvious starting point is to do an assessment of your profile and to determine if it is working for you.
The key thing to keep in mind with all of this is that you need to approach your profile in the same way you would approach SEO for a website. You need to think in terms of searchable keywords that are able to describe your mandatory skills, your soft skills, and your niche specialist skills.
Perhaps even imagine the different types of people who might engage with your profile. If they were a non-creative HR person looking for someone, could they land at your profile and get a good insight into what you do and how you match what they’re looking for? On the flipside of that, if it was someone more experienced looking for a niche specialist in your area, could they look at your profile and get a sense of what kind of work you’ve produced and what your achievements within that area are?
Step 2: Engage in groups
People like to do business with people. This is an old adage that rings even more true now and in this current world, people are more likely to have authentic and vulnerable conversations than ever before. They want to find like minded people in their feeds and build those virtual relationships.
The easiest way to do this is to engage in LinkedIn groups which you can find on almost any form of industry and industry niche sector. Go in, engage, offer your opinions and insights, be creative, share, and be yourself. You’ll find that you’ll enjoy it too because others will do the same in return. You might even find your own thoughts being expanded in the conversation too so it will be a mutually beneficial activity.
Step 3: Share your passion
Now I know it can often be a little scary to put your thoughts and feelings down onto a page and to share it with the world. Brene Brown talked about this in her book, ‘Daring Greatly’ and how people often feared what others might think of them sharing something of themselves. There is probably no greater way to engage people in what you’re passionate about though than creating content which shares your passion authentically.
This could be via a blog or article post, or it could even be through video. As long as it is considered and to the point, it will help to present you as being a specialist in your niche area and to place you in front of others who share your interest.
It might be useful here to consider some of the statistics around LinkedIn from this year. LinkedIn has 675 million monthly users, of which 40% of those use it daily. There are over 30 million companies on LinkedIn and 4 out of 5 people on LinkedIn drive business decisions. In fact, 61 million are senior level influences and 40 million users are decision makers. This is absolutely a group of people that you want to network with!
When it comes to articles, there are 9 billion content impressions in LinkedIn feed every week but only 3 million users share content monthly; that’s about 1% of users getting 9 billion impressions. If you want to stand out from the crowd, become vocal and begin to put yourself out there.
If you would like to explore this a little bit more, why not watch the most recent Creative Recruiters’ Virtual Meetup where we discussed how to make LinkedIn work for you.