If you are using LinkedIn for a job search, be aware there are 230 million users globally, 38% of which are Millennials. Only 2% of those Millennials are marketers. As someone who falls into this cohort, it’s intimidating to know I’m up against nearly 2 million other Millennial marketers who are competing for similar jobs, status, and recognition. It’s kind of like trying to date in 2016. Painful, yet can be ultimately rewarding if you put in the prep work and catch the big fish. You can apply this to nearly any industry and generation and will likely find similar staggering figures. So what can you do to build your brand on LinkedIn, and within your industry, to start generating leads for yourself and enable your LinkedIn job search?
1. Keep your title interesting, yet simple. Think about it. How do you introduce yourself when you’re trying to entice people to find you interesting. “Hi, I’m Jane Doe, Performance Marketing, MBA, PCP, Certified Inbound Specialist…..(insert eye roll)”. Nobody REALLY cares about your academic credentials or convoluted titles, unless you’re in the medical field and you’re extracting an organ from my body. What they do care about is understanding what you do in common terminology and if there’s anything in there that they can relate to. Save the credentials for your resume, job interviews, or to sound really important at your high-school reunion.
2. Please use a professional photo. I cannot stress this enough. Ditch the photo of you at your local restaurant or bar or where your friends have clearly been cropped out. Action photos are cool (and have actually shown to be effective in generating more leads in A/B testing) but only when they are of you doing your job…..not hiking a nature trail (unless that’s your job...).
3. Don’t be a troll. What you comment on, like and share on LinkedIn (and other social networks) will be seen by others. Potentially others who want to hire you or give you their business. Sharing your opinion is valuable but please do it respectfully. Do not make comments about whether someone “looks” hireable. Do not share your extreme political or religious views. Do not attack competitors or products you don’t like. Keep it positive. It reflects greatly on your own character and how well you will represent your future employer.
4. Brag about yourself. Tell the world what you’ve accomplished. On LinkedIn, nobody cares about what you ate for breakfast, how sculpted your abs are, or how cute your kids are. Your Dad isn’t there asking why you haven’t made him a grandfather yet. I want to know what your professional interests are, what drives you, and what you’ve accomplished. Tell me your personal story in the summary. Not your “here’s my life story summary” but your “what gets me excited about my career” story. We spend at least ⅓ of our lives working...what are you good at? What makes you the best damn marketer/leader/photographer/salesperson out there? BE the person in the below scenario:
Photo Cred: Buzzfeed.com
5. Create, Curate, Connect. It’s a noisy world. Help yourself get noticed by nurturing valuable connections with peers & influencers. How do you do this? Create your own content. This could be a commentary on a published article or even your own blog. Curate (share) the content of others that you find interesting or resourceful. Connect and interact with others in your industry and in your field. If you find a mutual connection with someone in your local area, set up time to meet for coffee or collaborate on a project. You never know where these connections can take you.
6. Don’t be Annoying or Send Spam Messages. Do not abuse your connections. Twitter is already becoming painstaking with the number of automated DM’s so let’s keep LinkedIn a little more organic. Send Inmail and personal messages but please keep them focused on genuinely getting to know others better, not an opportunity to promote your latest blog or lead generation tool. I am far more likely to respond to a genuine message than a spammy, generic selling tactic.
7. Be Detailed in Your Job Descriptions. LinkedIn is an opportunity to expound upon your resume. We all know it’s nearly impossible to fit everything into the one page you’re allotted for a resume so always direct people to LinkedIn for additional detail and examples of your work. It’s like a professional background check. When you’re considering dating someone, you don’t take everything they present on Instagram at face value, so you may do a little Google search or see if you have any friends in common. LinkedIn is similar in the professional landscape. A resume is a glimpse into who you are but your profile should be detailed and give no doubt that you are an established professional in your industry.
LinkedIn can be intimidating at first, especially if you’ve been in the game for quite a long time. Even if you’re content in your job and have no desire to make a move in the near future, there’s still major value in keeping your profile fresh. For one, I’ve heard rumors that some companies force you to leave involuntarily. For another, it’s an opportunity for your co-workers and superiors to get to know you. There’s been many times I’ve scoped out a co-worker to see what their background is. When you work at a company with over 350K employees, it’s hard to keep track of everybody. Finally, there are other cool people in the world outside your company. WHAT?! I know, crazy. Get to know some of them. Whatever you’re ultimately using LinkedIn for, show it some love regularly. Stay tuned for the next post in this series: The LinkedIn Job Search (Part 2): Networking Like a Boss.