There’s an old saying that goes something like this, “A great website that is not promoted is like a billboard stored in your basement.” This sentiment reminds me of LinkedIn members who have strong profiles, but they’re invisible. For job seekers to be successful, they must consider what a successful LinkedIn campaign consists of.
A successful LinkedIn campaign consist not only of a strong profile; it also includes building a targeted network, and engaging with your connections. Anything less will not garner the results you desire, will not help in your job search. Let’s look in greater detail at these three components.
A strong profile is essential
It goes without saying that a strong profile is essential to your LinkedIn campaign. It is, after all, what expresses the value you will deliver to employers. There are a few basic tenets to follow when constructing a profile.
- It must be complete. This means having a background image, head shot photo, summary, detailed experience section, education, your strongest skills, and other sections LinkedIn allows.
- It must show employers the value you’ll bring to them through accomplishments relevant to your industry and occupation; similar to your resume.
- It’s not your resume. This is a mistake many job seekers make. They simply copy and paste their resume to their profile and leave it at that.
- It must be optimized in order to pull visitors, such as recruiters, to it.
- It must show your personality. Look at your profile as a networking online document. Write your profile in first-person point of view; perhaps 3rd person if you feel it fits your personality.
So is a targeted network
I recall a client of mine who had a strong profile, but was only connected to 80 people. When I told her she needed to connect with more people, she told me she only wanted to connect with people she knows.
Herein lies the problem: people need to connect with people they don’t know in order to get to know them. If you are one who doesn’t embrace the concept of connecting with targeted people, your LinkedIn campaign will be a bust.
Who do you connect with? Let’s look at some of the people with whom you should connect by tiers.
Your first tier will consist of those you previously worked with, as they know your performance and probably will have an invested interest in your success. Many job seekers rely on their former colleagues as referrals to land their next job.
Your second tier should be people who share the same occupation and industry. You’ll have more in common with them than the following tiers. For example, if you’re an accountant in the manufacturing industry, you’ll have more in common with accountants in your industry.
The third tier comprise of people who do what you do but are in different industries. Again, taking the accountant as an example, his ability to switch from manufacturing to medical devices should be nearly seamless.
Your fourth tier can be perhaps the most valuable one. That’s if you’re willing to do your research on companies for which you’d like to work. You will connect with people within those companies before jobs are advertised. This will give you allies in those companies.
Your last tier are your alumni. This is especially important if you are targeting a company and want to reach out to “one of your own.” College-age students can benefit from connecting with people who can help them network.
After you’ve connected with them, you’ll be diligent in completing the next step, keeping your network thriving. You’ve heard of building your well before you need it, right?
Finally, engaging with your network
We’re all familiar with the saying, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Keep this in mind when it comes to engaging with your connections. Your goal is to keep your thriving in order to be top of mind.
To keep your network thriving takes some work that many LinkedIn users are unwilling to do. I ask my clients to dedicate at least 20 minutes a day, four days a week to LinkedIn. If they’re good, every day is what I suggest. Eye rolls. But I’m quick to say it’s not difficult. For example, one can share:
- an article that adds value to your network,
- an update offering advice or asking a question that elicits great responses,
- a photo with a witty caption,
- a shout-out to your connections.
Mark Anthony Dyson, career consultant and creator of the popular podcast The Voice of Job Seekers, sees engagement as something that can’t be taken lightly. “As we consider how important engagement is,” he says, “I think the tone of a user’s messaging (including responses to group posts) matters. People want to be valued and feel safe. Share and offer advice, opinion, or message without making anyone feel under valued.”
One final point I’d like to make; refrain from sharing Facebook content with your connections. The majority of them won’t appreciate it.
Tying it all together
Having a great profile, connecting on LinkedIn, and engaging with your network is not enough. While you can reach out to many people online, your connections won’t be bona fide until you reach out and touch them in a personal way—perhaps make a phone call, Skype with them, or meet them in person.
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