Many readers of this newsletter and blog are employees within companies. You have a job, and you’re not particularly wanting to change. And social media tools such as LinkedIn may not help you to take your next career step.
Not exactly. Here’s some great reasons why LinkedIn might just help you.
- When someone’s evaluating you for your next job position, if they’re not familiar with you, it might be reasonable for them to check your LinkedIn profile.
- It takes a long time to build up a robust set of LinkedIn connections. If you only start doing that after you’ve lost your job, it’ll be very difficult. Start making the connections now, even years before you’ll need them.
- LinkedIn is a great way to help other people. Maybe you’ll find out about a job in your own company, and you’d like to spread the word to your connections.
- LinkedIn discussion groups are a great way to stay on top of industry trends.
- Those groups are also a way for you to demonstrate your expertise by helping others. I often get requests to connect on LinkedIn merely because someone saw me being helpful and interesting in the discussions.
I’m using LinkedIn here as an example, but that’s only because it’s the one I’m most familiar with. It’s well tuned to people who think of themselves as professionals, who will get great value from connecting with their peers in a semi-formal context.
If you’re working on your profile, here are some things to consider:
- LinkedIn only lets you present a single professional image – unlike your ability to create custom résumés for each job application. This can be a challenge, but potentially rewarding as well – you never know what parts of your experience might be interesting to someone!
- You’d like to let people know about your range of interests and abilities, so don’t be shy about mentioning something if you think it might help your professional connections.
- For things which will hinder your professional connections, use other social media.
- Join discussion groups which support your connecting to the right people. Even if you aren’t active, it demonstrates where your expertise and interest is, and you may potentially see some useful discussions.
- A broad range of people may see your profile, including your current boss, industry peers, competitors, and so on. Stay upbeat and professional – this isn’t a place to air your grievances.
I confess that I’ve never used LinkedIn’s paid services for job hunting or finding employees. Certainly take advantage of free trial period offers if you think it might help, and don’t be shy about asking advice from people who have deeper experience. I’ve heard a few interesting success stories.