LinkedIn was first founded in 2002 as a social network entirely focused on the professional aspect of people’s lives. In time it added job listings and advertising and first became profitable in 2007. It IPOed in 2011 and was eventually acquired by Microsoft in 2016 for $26 billion. It now boasts over 500 million members in over 190 countries. Yet for all that, you simply don’t find the champions for LinkedIn that you might for Twitter or Facebook, or even the upstart Snapchat. LinkedIn, like the dutiful older sibling, just does what it feels is necessary, even if it’s not flashy. But that’s exactly why you should know it better and use it more often.
Find a Job
While it didn’t start as a site to find jobs, this is the function LinkedIn is probably best known for today, such that you can use the search bar within the site for this function. You could type in “forestry jobs in Oregon” and a number of possibilities will come up, and when you click through to a posting you’ll often find a “how you match” checklist which compares what skills the job poster is looking for to what you have on your resume. Sometimes there’s an “easy in” button which allows you to rapidly apply using your LinkedIn profile. Even better, on the far right you’ll find, a la the Netflix and Amazon ways of suggestion, a “people also viewed” set of jobs. Those who are recruiting also have access to analytics and visitors to allow them to reach out to those who perhaps looked at a listing but did not apply. The old days of the standard job board are long gone, and LinkedIn is one of the pacesetters for the new way.
Those looking for a job may think it obvious to have an updated LinkedIn profile, but even if you’re not, your profile should be updated to leave you open to opportunities. People are constantly searching LinkedIn using keywords and you might come up as someone to be consulted on a particular project or to recommend someone for a job. You can’t do that if you haven’t updated your profile for a decade. Give yourself more options by simply taking the time to make sure you have a current head shot and that all your experience is listed.
Build your Brand
As we said above, you don’t need to be looking for a job to be utilizing LinkedIn to your benefit. It also offers you various avenues to build your brand.
- Get Recommended and Endorsed. Your peers and colleagues can write a written recommendation based on their knowledge of and experience with you. They can also endorse you for various skills like “public speaking” or “sales” or “entrepreneurship.”
- Publish articles. You don’t need to be a full-time writer or even a part-time one. Simply having a few pieces about subjects that really matter to you help people to get more insight into how you view certain aspects of your industry or business in general.
- Comment. Comment boxes can be dangerous territory and LinkedIn, alas, is no exception. However, it can be a great place for you to showcase objectivity and civility in a society that rapidly seems to be losing both. People will notice your tone and demeanor and may click over to learn more about you.
This is perhaps the most neglected aspect of LinkedIn but one that utilizes it’s “social network” aspect for good. You can browse through the connections of those you are connected to and ask for an introduction. Sometimes the people you want to speak to are local and you might ask for a lunch or a coffee. Sometimes they will be out of town and it might just be a phone call. Whatever you do, don’t ask to “pick their brain.” Have something short, simple, and direct that you’d like to talk about, for example, “I wanted to get your thoughts on whether direct mailing can work well for my business” and you’ll be surprised at how often you’ll get a yes, but further, how a conversation based on a short answer can turn into a longer conversation after you get to know each other better.
Do you have a LinkedIn success story to share? Let us know in the comments below to receive 25% off our new sandalwood scented Rascal Edgar’s Edge pomade at any of our clubs.
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