I was talking to someone recently who was looking for some career and job-seeking advice. He asked me to review his paper resume and I asked if he’s on LinkedIn. He said yes with a big confident smile on his face. There was no hesitation in his answer.
After looking up his LinkedIn profile, I said to him, “You’re not on LinkedIn. You have a LinkedIn profile.” Needless to say, we changed this.
I see people make this mistake all too often. Job-seekers think that just because they have a LinkedIn account and copied their resume over to their profile that they’re going to start getting jobs, opportunities, resources, clients, etc. There’s a huge difference between having a LinkedIn account/profile and being ON LinkedIn.
Being ON LinkedIn requires interaction and creativity. Recruiters on LinkedIn are not your traditional recruiters. They are looking for much more than a resume to review your education and experience. They’re looking for examples of your work; they’re looking for your unique thoughts; they’re looking for endorsements and recommendations.
So, let’s tackle some of the things that take you from having a LinkedIn Profile to being ON LinkedIn. The assumption here is that you already have a profile setup with your work experience, education and hopefully, a lot more. For tips on how to complete a strong LinkedIn Profile, see my post on Make the jump: LinkedIn Beginner to LinkedIn All-Star.
Being active on LinkedIn is the key to successful online networking and knowledge sharing. Here are some things to start doing so you become more active and visible.
There are two kinds of postings that you can take advantage of on LinkedIn. On your newsfeed, you can type right into the “Share an update…” box and your message will be seen on your connections’ news feeds. Pushing out updates regularly gives you visibility. Be careful not to over post, though. It’s not Facebook. Although, I don’t think that people should over post on Facebook either, but they do. If you can’t think of anything to post, think about your passions. Post interesting articles that you find, inspiring quotes or even updates on cool projects you’re working on.
LinkedIn has also opened up another posting option. You can now create posts that can be visible by your connections, everyone in your network and anyone who follows you on LinkedIn. These posts are usually a little longer in length and should reflect some of your deeper thoughts. I treat mine like blog posts where I share my thoughts on different topics that I think my audience might be interested in. Your reach is much larger when you create posts on LinkedIn. Whether you’re trying to find a job, gain new clients or grow your network for knowledge, resource and idea sharing, visibility can impact your success. Posting gives you that visibility.
Joining and actively participating in groups is a great way to network and share knowledge and resources. Ask questions in groups about relevant topics that get people thinking. You can share articles here too, including ones that you wrote and posted yourself. Try to strike up conversations though with your posts rather than just posting them.
Don’t forget to comment on other people’s posts too and answer questions that they pose in the groups. Participating in groups is like attending a networking event. Eventually, you’ll connect with people who enjoy discussing, posting about and debating similar topics.
Don’t just follow and read articles on LinkedIn Pulse. Comment on the posts and discuss the content with others who post in the comments section. The more you post, comment on and discuss topics in the areas you’re interested in, the more likely recruiters, clients and employers will see your passion and potentially, reach out to you.
LinkedIn Pulse also features posts on their channels. If you post quality content, you may get featured which could also expand your following and network.
If you’re looking for a job, you can do it right from LinkedIn. Some employers post their jobs on LinkedIn but require you to go to their website to apply. Others allow you to apply straight from LinkedIn.
If you apply for jobs on LinkedIn and the employer can see all of your activity (posts, comments, etc.) relevant to the job, your chances of spiking their interest might just increase.
LinkedIn Companies and Education
Follow companies you apply for jobs at or that you would like to work at one day. Keep up with what they’re doing – big projects they have going on, what they’re making the news for, awards they’re winning and other relevant announcements. Knowing these things will greatly benefit you in an interview to show that you’ve been keeping up with the company.
LinkedIn’s new Education features also allow you to connect with students, alumni and professors at colleges and universities. This is a great way to network and connect with people who have something in common with you.
Connections are more than just a static network or popularity contest. LinkedIn Connections are about relationships. LinkedIn has a great feature where you can see your last conversation with a connection. Make sure to reach out to your connections every once in a while especially if they are not people you see or talk to regularly.
Maintaining relationships are just as important, if not more important, than making connections. Put a reminder on your calendar every few months to reach out to people on LinkedIn.
It’s a commitment to really be ON LinkedIn but it’s one worth making. What are your best practices on LinkedIn?