In almost every LinkedIn workshop I deliver someone asks me if it’s necessary to be on LinkedIn. Secretly I think they don’t want to make the effort to create a profile, develop a network, and engage with their connections. I get it. It’s like taking up jogging and wanting immediate results.
To go into explaining why these few hesitant people should be on LinkedIn would take hours to explain. Instead, I’ll direct them to this article which gives seven sound reasons why job seekers and business people should be on LinkedIn.
1. Your industry/occupation is well represented
The first thing to consider is if you’re in an industry/occupation that’s well represented on LinkedIn. If so, you definitely should be on LinkedIn. From an article on LinkedIn I found the following table:
|INDUSTRY||Ranking 2019||# People||Ranking 2020||# People||Ranking 2021||# People|
|Information Technology and Services||1||19,197000||1||20,100,000||1||20,400,000|
|Hospital & Health Care||2||14,504,000||2||15,200,000||2||15,700,000|
|Marketing & Advertising||11||8201000||10||9010000||12||8720000|
|Health, Welness & Fitness||14||7265000||14||7950000||14||7770000|
|Food & Beverages||18||6476000||17||7290000||16||7370000|
|Oil & Energy||17||6486000||18||7040000||18||6830000|
|Mechanical or Industrial Engineering||20||5610000||20||6190000||20||5970000|
“While there was some movement among the industries, the top industries remained largely unchanged. The five most popular industries were ‘Information technology and services,’ Hospital Health Care,’ ‘Construction,’ ‘Retail,’ and ‘Education management,'”
5. You want to present yourself well on LinkedIn
First and foremost, you need a Powerful LinkedIn profile. If creating a LinkedIn profile gives you panic attacks, simply copy what you have on your resume and past it to your profile. But….You’ll need to further develop your profile to the point where it resembles personal resume. In other words, you’ll have to include and develop the following:
- Background image that reflects your occupation, industry, or interests.
- Quality photo that is professional (headshot and shoulders) or theme-based.
- Headline that brands you with keywords or a branding statement.
- Kick-ass Summary that tells your story. Write this in first person point of view.
- Robust Article & Activities section
- Experience section laden with accomplishments, also written in first person point of view. Yes, it can be done.
- Education section that goes beyond your resume’s. Talk about what happened when you were in school.
- Licenses and Certifications. Volunteer experience. Skills to be endorsed. Recommendations. Accomplishments.
These are the sections that constitute your LinkedIn profile. However, too many people make the mistake of stopping here.
You want to build your online network. The second piece of the LinkedIn Campaign puzzle is developing a focused, yet large network. Your network should consist of people who are like-minded. My goal is to maintain a network that comprises 80% of people who are in the same occupation and industry.
However, everyone, job seeker or employed, should extend beyond people in their occupation and industry. Below is a pyramid of various types of potential connections. I list the most important people with whom you should connect from the bottom up.
Read this post to learn how to optimize your network: The ultimate LinkedIn guide: how to optimize your network
You want to engage with your network. You’re finally there. Now you need to communicate with your connections to solidify your community, or tribe. There are many ways to to engage with your connections. Here are some examples:
- Direct messaging your connections.
- Writing long posts to express your views. Yes, even if you’re unemployed, you should share your expertise.
- Share articles that will be of value to your connections.
- Create videos, if you’re daring. This is something that I’ve tried but realize my strength lies more in writing than producing video.
- Writing your own articles and using LinkedIn as a vehicle, or writing directly on LinkedIn’s Publishing feature.
- At the very least, reacting to your connections’ posts.
- If you don’t engage with your connections, you ‘ll be forgotten. Out of sight, out of mind, as they say. As well, you get more views when you engage with your network.
Read this popular article on engaging with your connections.
6. You want to support your strong personal brand
You worked hard to brand yourself by the work you’ve done in the past. Further, you were respected by your colleagues. Now you have to present yourself to the world as someone who will add value to an organization.
In the job search, you will offer insightful information to your audience (network), whether it’s posts you write and comment on, articles you share or write, consistently pinging your connections, etc.
You’ve also refrained from being negative on LinkedIn. And this has benefited you in the long run. Some people don’t realize that employers and other LinkedIn members take note of negativity, whether it’s bashing recruiters, employers, other LinkedIn members, etc.
7. You want to continue using LinkedIn when you’re working
I’ve spoken about using LinkedIn to find a job. Now I want to reinforce the message that you should not stop using LinkedIn once you’ve found a job. All too often I see this happen.
Continue to grow your network. The old saying, “Build your well before you need to drink” is partially true. More accurately would be, “Continue to build your well and engage with your network to strengthen your opportunities for future employment.” If you have to look for another job, you’ll want to have an established network.
You’ll want to be a passive candidate. Sadly, some recruiters wrongfully believe that only passive candidates (those already working) are the best ones. You’ve proven that you’re hireable; now prove that you will be a right fit for a position you desire.
Hint: make sure you have Career Interests on your Dashboard on. Only you can see this.
You’ll need to accumulate endorsements and recommendations. I see my clients lament over having four endorsements for their skills, so I tell them they need to accumulate them when they are working. Listing skills is important. Are endorsements vital? The jury is still out on this.
The same applies to recommendations. As you were asking for recommendations when looking for work, continue to ask for them. Also write recommendations for others, as it shows your leadership responsibilities.
It’s great for business. Did you know that LinkedIn was originally build to generate business opportunities? Most LinkedIn members are using it for business, not the job search. However, job seekers see it as a great way to network online for work. This said, if your job entails B2B networking, using LinkedIn is a no-brainer.
Should you be on LinkedIn? You should if:
- Your industry or occupation is well represented.
- Because recruiters and other hiring authorities are looking for you.
- You might be not considered for a position.
- LinkedIn is one big party with more than 650 million people on it.
- You can create a strong profile, develop a focused network, and engage with your connections.
- You want to support your strong personal brand.
- You’re committed to using it after you’ve landed your job.
These seven components make you a strong candidate for being on LinkedIn.
*Your search will produce a slightly different number than Jim’s list did, but generally his numbers are accurate.