I was noodling around on my LinkedIn Settings page when I noticed something at the top of the page.
It said I’ve been a member since August 2007.
Eleven years is a long time.
My business is so different than it was then. I now rely heavily on social media to market and promote the services I offer.
Looking back to 2007, my business was going through a massive revamp. My personal circumstances were such that I had to rev things up and grow the business very fast.
That year, I finally set up a perfunctory website. Nothing much to look at, but at least it was there.
Other than that first static website and using email, I had no involvement with social media.
Then, a savvy colleague told me I had to be on LinkedIn.
So I joined and connected with a handful of people I knew well, and I did what many of my executive job-seeking clients do . . . set up a bare bones profile and promptly forgot about it.
I rarely, if ever, even logged on in the first year.
About a year later, another savvy colleague told me I needed to completely fill out my profile and build up my measly 20 or so connections. I couldn’t think of who to invite to connect with me.
In time, I crossed over that magic 500 connections, which boosted my profile’s ranking with LinkedIn’s search engine, and I got involved with LinkedIn Groups and other activities on the site.
Things started to happen.
Now most of my clients, by far, come to me through LinkedIn. They search terms like “resume writer” or “personal branding expert” and my profile pops up somewhere towards the top of the list. Or they see my LinkedIn Pulse articles, comments, status updates, etc.
I log on to the site once or twice a day (if I have the time) to respond to InMail, comment or post in LinkedIn Groups, accept invitations to connect, etc.
LinkedIn continues to be a very important place to be, and be seen, for me . . . . and for anyone building their personal brand for job-hunting, business or career management.
You may not have thought of this, but there’s a strong correlation between running a successful business and running a successful job search.
Job seekers need LinkedIn as much as business owners.
Think about this . . .
Linkedin launched in 2002 and it’s still going very strong. So many social media platforms come and go within a handful of years. Something that has legs for this long is a rarity, not to be overlooked.
How does all this stack up, in terms of how important LinkedIn continues to be for executive job seekers?
Savvy job seekers are already on LinkedIn, leveraging all that the site has to offer – networking, blogging, researching, building brand evangelism . . . and staying top-of-mind with people who can lead them to job opportunities.
You need to be doing the same things, just to keep pace with job seekers competing for jobs with the employers you want to work for.
As you’ll see below, LinkedIn is equally invaluable to me, for personal branding and business-building, and to executive job seekers, for branding, job search and career management.
5 of the most important ways LinkedIn remains indispensable to both me and job seekers:
1. Markets our ROI and unique value to our target audiences.
FOR ME: LinkedIn helps me market and elevate the services I offer, and my value to potential executive job-seeking clients.
I’ve created lots of content, fully populating every applicable section. My content positions my services in front of potential good-fit clients.
I work on demonstrating my subject matter expertise and thought leadership on a regular basis by my activities on LinkedIn.
I’ve learned how to use keywords for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). That means my name comes up often there.
The kinds of executive job seekers who are a good fit for me typically use LinkedIn at least somewhat. They reach out to me, to see how I can help them in their job search.
LinkedIn puts me smack dab in front of plenty of potential great-fit clients sourcing practitioners like myself.
FOR JOB SEEKERS: LinkedIn puts you in the line of vision of executive recruiters and hiring decision makers at the companies you’re targeting, for whom LinkedIn is a main sourcing tool.
Create as much brand-reinforcing content as you can for your LinkedIn profile, including relevant keywords and phrases, which lead people to your profile. Tell your target employers why you’re a good fit to help them meet their current needs and challenges.
2. Provides personal brand-supporting social proof.
FOR ME: I need to provide plenty of evidence online supporting my personal brand claims and I need to stay top-of-mind with my connections.
I take advantage of a number of ways LinkedIn helps me do this – the publishing platform, sharing updates, LinkedIn Groups, networking, etc.
Using LinkedIn’s various channels, I’m able to put plenty of brand-reinforcing information out there that gives potential clients a feel for who I am and what I would be like to work with.
FOR JOB SEEKERS: Executives are coming around to the fact that they need to embrace social media to succeed in job search.
A well-written, knockout executive resume alone doesn’t cut it anymore.
Without a diverse and strong online presence, executive candidates may be overlooked in favor of those who are active online.
You need to provide social proof of your personal brand promise, and keep it top-of-mind with any, and everyone, who can help you reach your career goals.
Want to be thought of when people you know, executive recruiters and people of influence at your target employers learn of a good-fit opportunity for you?
Use LinkedIn to remind them of your unique ROI to those employers, reinforcing your personal brand and good-fit qualities.
Staying top of mind with these people can help you penetrate the “hidden” executive job market.
LinkedIn offers 4 often overlooked ways to make people aware of you, and the value you offer, without the discomfort of initiating one-on-one conversations with people you may not know very well, if at all.
- Sharing an update
- Updating your profile content
- LinkedIn Groups
3. Positions us both as social media savvy.
FOR ME: Naturally, potential clients will be more likely to want to work with a job search/careers strategist who knows her way around social media . . . and LinkedIn, in particular.
By showing I know how to use LinkedIn well, they can see that I’ll be able to help them use it well.
FOR JOB SEEKERS: This is the digital age. You need to demonstrate that you’re social media savvy, especially to overcome age bias. If you’re invisible or minimally visible online, you may come across as a dinosaur who hasn’t embraced the new world of work.
An understanding of how to use LinkedIn – and a solid strategy – is a must for executive job search.
Having a strong LinkedIn profile, presence and communications plan indicates that you’re up-to-date with the digital age. NOT having a strong LinkedIn profile can actually be detrimental to your job search.
4. Connects us to various people and expands our networks of personal brand evangelists.
Opinions differ on whether it’s more important to amass a lot of connections or concentrate on building fewer high quality connections. That’s up to you, but be aware that the more connections you have, the wider you’ve cast your net for opportunities.
Having at least 500 connections will boost your ranking in LinkedIn search, making you more findable.
FOR ME: Now that I’m well over that magic 500, more and more people from all walks of life reach out to me on LinkedIn.
Along with the dozens of potential clients each week who send me invitations to connect with them on LinkedIn (I almost always accept), I receive many messages from people with various requests.
Staying connected keeps my networks alive and keeps me top-of-mind for business leads.
Colleagues in the careers industry often want to connect. They have become some of my most loyal cheerleaders. I support them, and they support me. They kindly share my blog posts and articles I’ve written for LinkedIn’s publishing platform. Their shares (and anyone else who shares my posts) help keep my name ringing in potential clients’ ears.
FOR JOB SEEKERS: You need to stay connected with colleagues and other people you work with. Anyone can be a source of quality job leads.
If you have fewer than 500 connections, work on building up and beyond that.
And don’t give up on LinkedIn once you land a new job. Stay with it, and keep your networks alive. You never know when another new golden opportunity will come your way.
5. Gives us the opportunity to communicate personal brand messaging and express our subject matter expertise.
FOR ME: Blogging is one of the most important marketing strategies I employ. I truly enjoy writing about the various aspects of executive job search.
LinkedIn provides me with plenty of blogging fodder.
Over the past 11 years, I’ve written several hundred blog posts and articles about using LinkedIn for executive job search, and several ebooks including Smart Personal Branding with LinkedIn.
There’s so much going on with LinkedIn, and it keeps changing all the time. I never run out of things to write about it. In fact, I have a long list of articles I want to write about LinkedIn when I find the time.
I’ve been fortunate to receive feedback from people who tell me that my LinkedIn posts and articles have helped them.
FOR JOB SEEKERS: You need to express your personal brand and subject matter expertise across various online (and off-line) channels.
If you’re at all inclined to write about your areas of expertise . . . even short articles . . . make use of LinkedIn’s publishing platform.
But don’t stop there. Re-purpose whatever you write and publish it on other sites, too.