January 31, 2012 2 Comments
Previously we looked at Making a List of Target Companies. Now we’ll discuss networking online with LinkedIn.
For those of you who are in transition, LinkedIn is ideal for building your online identity. But networking on LinkedIn takes some work and planning; it’s not a place to create a profile, accumulate some contacts, join a few groups, and come back to every other week.
Before you join LinkedIn, which has approximately 140 million members, promise yourself that you’ll make a concerted effort. Take the following steps:
Develop a profile that will attract fellow networkers and employers who are culling for talent. You’ll aspire to create a profile that brands you as a serious jobseeker. Your profile will consist of the following basics:
- A knockout branding title. Not one that reads: Business leader currently unemployed. More like: MBA|Finance|Business Management|Leader|Millions in Realized Savings.
- A summary that tells a story about your technical, transferable, and adaptive skills. Some WOW statements from your years in your occupation/s and industry will grab readers’ attention.
- A work history that hammers home your quantified accomplishments. Don’t neglect to promote your experience, for example, in management, continuous improvement, or business analysis.
- Recommendations that speak highly of your accomplishments. Also, write recommendations for those you supervised or worked with, demonstrating the values you hold in excellent workers.
Invite people to be in your network. Be strategic when you ask fellow LinkedIn users to join your network. Don’t invite any and all the people who appear on your screen. Search for people who are employed in similar occupations, companies, or industries. Seek out high-level employees, employers; and don’t neglect the “little guy.” Also accept invites from people who you feel can be of mutual assistance, always keeping in mind that networking is a give and take process. Grow your list from there.
Join groups in your desired industries. Chris Perry suggests 50 LinkedIn groups MBAs you should join. Students and veteran workers must join groups and participate in discussions; this is a great way to get noticed and demonstrate your knowledge. Join as many groups as you can manage—perhaps 50 groups may be too many, more like 20 might suffice. It’s up to you, but don’t join groups just to impress networkers and employers.
Become known. Answering and asking questions is one of the best ways to become known by the LinkedIn community. Be aware that everything you write is scrutinized and judged by other LinkedIn users and employers. My rule is provide answers that are sincere and well thought out. One-sentence answers offer no value to the people who post questions. Ask questions that are thought-provoking.
Use LinkedIn’s applications. LinkedIn has 16 applications that can help brand you as an expert in your field. Do you love to write? Take advantage of WordPress, a blogging site. Proud of some outstanding projects you undertook at previous jobs? Box.net Files, SlideShare Presentations give you a platform to post PowerPoint presentations and other project files.
The list of ways you can network as a professional in your field are numerous. As I said earlier, it’s time to take the plunge or upgrade your involvement. There is no better way to network online than LinkedIn.
Next we’ll look at the importance of knocking on companies’ doors by using approach letters.