What Good is LinkedIn if You're Not Job Hunting?
Although LinkedIn is spending a lot of time and resources building their job-search engine, there ARE ways to use LinkedIn when you are not looking for a job!
That said, make no mistake that your LinkedIn profile is now your virtual resume'. If you're in the business or professional world, you need a LinkedIn profile.LinkedIn is where people can learn about you, your background, education, job history and professional accomplishments.
Last month we talked about
maximizing your profile
; now let's talk about how you can use it even when you're not looking for a new job. What else is LinkedIn good for?
- Establishing your personal brand. You have one, whether or not it's intentional. Are you serious, professional, humorous, professorial, etc? Does your profile copy match your personality?
- Preparing for meetings. Anytime you set an appointment with someone you haven't met, their LinkedIn profile is your homework. Where did they go to school, what experience do they have, what contacts do you have in common? Their profile will give you conversation starters and a clue into their expertise. Be aware that others are looking at your profile for all the same reasons.
- Thought Leadership. Publish or share articles in your area of expertise. You don't have to write everything you share, just make sure to link to the article or give credit to the author.
- Publishing articles. On your LinkedIn Home page, you have an option to "start a post" or "write an article". Stay true to your specialties and skills. Let people know that you are the one to contact for this type of subject matter. It's fine to share articles from others but include a few from your point of view.
- Engaging. Comment on your connections' posts, congratulate others on accomplishments, etc.
- Joining Groups Strategically...and then participate! Many people join groups affiliated with their industry, which is fine, but colleagues are probably not your target market. Join groups that are comprised of your potential customers and then share info that would be useful to them. Most groups have strict rules about "selling" so make sure you're entertaining, educating or engaging and you'll be showing group members how you can help them.
- Connecting Intentionally. This is where there is a lot of flexibility - just decide on a strategy and stick to it. My personal strategy is to connect only with people I know, have met or worked with. Then when someone asks me for a recommendation or referral, I'm confident in providing the introduction. When you are inviting someone to connect (especially if you don't know them), compose a custom message rather than using LI's standard "I'd like to add you to my network". Let them know where you met and/or why you want to connect, etc.
If you ARE job searching, the time to connect with others was last year, not when you've been downsized or are starting your job search. LinkedIn is a powerful network when used strategically. It's perfectly okay to let your contacts know what you're looking for, and to take a look at their contacts and ask for an introduction to someone that may be able to help you. (That's why I connect only with people I actually know....) Most people are very willing to help.
Once you've got your profile in shape, commit just 15 minutes a week to looking through posts from your connections. It takes less than a second to click the "like" button or to share a post with a group. You can also tag people on LinkedIn, so make sure to shout out to connections when it's appropriate (type in @contactname to tag someone).
Spend a little time interacting on LinkedIn and see how it will increase your visibility and strengthen your network!