LinkedIn is not optional for most job seekers these days. If you don’t have a LinkedIn Profile, establish one – a 100% complete and public LinkedIn Profile that describes your accomplishments and your work history.
Then, be visible on LinkedIn – very gently if you still have a job to protect; more vigorously if you don’t.
How to Get Good LinkedIn Visibility
What do I mean by “be visible on LinkedIn”?
1. Be active on LinkedIn
This is the minimum I think you should consider, particularly if you are unemployed:
- Connect with at least 100 people you know. Then, add more!
More is better. Once you hit 500, the number grows much more quickly. These connections make you more visible in the LinkedIn world. Yes, this means connecting with people you don’t actually “know” or haven’t met. For someone in job search mode, or a recruiter or sales/marketing person, that’s just fine!
- Connect with recruiters
In a job search, recruiters are a primary “target market” for you. Connecting with them is very easy to do following the directions in this AvidCareerist.com blog post by (recruiter!) Donna Svei.
- Join at least 20 LinkedIn Groups relevant to your job search.
They should be Groups for your profession, your industry, your location, your former employer (many “corporate alumni” Groups), and even your hobbies.
- Post updates, at least weekly, on-topic for your target job and employers.
2. Play “Nice” on LinkedIn
Hopefully, you really are NOT a nasty, cranky, profane person. I’ve seen so many apparently clueless job seekers demonstrating just how nasty, cranky, and profane they can be in comments and posts in LinkedIn Groups where they are visible to all employers and recruiters who cruise by. Dumb! Most employers aren’t anxious to hire someone with those traits – no surprise!
- Don’t whine or complain on LinkedIn. Debbie Downer is not at the top of anyone’s list of job candidates. Yes, it is a tough job market. No question! But, no matter how justified you feel, vilifying your former boss or the odd recruiter who asked strange questions or stood you up won’t make you more attractive to anyone (and they will probably be wondering what the “other side” of the story is).
- Don’t be nasty on LinkedIn. Being rude will not endear you to anyone, and being endearing is what makes LinkedIn work for most people.
- Watch your language. Seriously, your Mother taught you better language, I’m sure! So, yes, view everything you post on LinkedIn, even comments in an obscure group exclusively for very cranky people, through your Mother’s eyes. Would she approve? If not, either don’t make that post or fix it so it wouldn’t offend her.
3. Practice Smart “Self-Promotion” on LinkedIn
Over the past weekend, I was able to spend some time relaxing and reading Dan Schawbel’s new book, Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success, a career management guide for Millennials based on Dan’s own career, plus research, observations, and interviews. Based on my own experience working in a Fortune 50 company and running my own business, the advice Dan has provided is excellent.
Dan opens Chapter 5 of his book, entitled “Gain Visibility Without Being Known as a Self-Promotional Jerk,” with this interesting quote…
“Don’t worry when you are not recognized but strive to be worthy of recognition.”
~ Abraham Lincoln
Dan offers 6 excellent rules of self promotion (vs. bragging), and I think that these 4 apply very well to the LinkedIn activities of successful job seekers:
- Make yourself worthy of being talked about.
Accomplish something worthy of being shared by others. That’s what social media is all about.
- Be well-known for one specific thing.
As anyone who has successfully worked in a large organization realizes, it’s best to become “the expert” in one specific thing – the “go-to” person when that issue arises. Apply this approach to your LinkedIn activities, too. “Go deep” on a specific topic or field, and share your expert information on that topic on LinkedIn – maybe link to some interesting research or a great post by someone else, maybe carefully share your informed/expert opinion on a question or in a comment on a post, maybe link to your own blog post when relevant.
- Take responsibility.
“Be your own publicist.” Not even Google knows – or tells the world – about everything you do (fortunately!), so when you have written that great blog post or won the award for top Twitter account (or whatever), make it visible. As Dan suggests, “invite others to share in your excitement.”
- Make others look good.
Dan writes, “If you talk up others, they’ll usually look for ways to do the same for you.” Very true, in my experience, and certainly applicable to LinkedIn! When you help someone else succeed by sharing something they have created or commenting on a Group post they made, they usually are grateful and do what they can to help you succeed, too. (NOT always, but, go for the good karma, anyway!)
I’m betting Dan’s book will be a big success because it is full of solid advice, well beyond what I have quoted here from Chapter 5.
For More Information About LinkedIn and Social Media for Job Search:
© Copyright, 2013, Susan P. Joyce. All rights reserved.
About the author…
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 2011, NETability purchased WorkCoachCafe.com, which Susan has been editor and publisher of WorkCoach since then. Susan also edits and publishes Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+.