Each week I talk with senior-level executives about their career needs and invariably the subject of LinkedIn always comes up. The conversation usually goes like this:
Me: So, how is your LI profile? Do you get many job opportunities coming to you through LI?
Them: Honestly, my profile is just sitting there. I have a fairly good network, but I don’t really see much action from it, and don’t really know how to change that.
Them: As COO of a billion-dollar company, I often wonder what I should be doing on LinkedIn—if anything—being so highly visible.
To begin making decisions about LinkedIn you must first have a clear vision of your audience. Who is your audience? Let’s look at it this way: If there were no obstacles to your next ideal career position, and that position was located in a pond, what kind of fish would be in that pond? Those fish are your audience.
Are your fish private equity firms? Top retained executive search firms? Fortune 500 technology companies? Fast-growth, mid-market companies in the (fill in your blank) industry? Presidents of security technology firms? Maybe a combination of the above?
Do you want or need to stay in your geographical location? Then limit this list to your geographical preference (minus the recruiters and PE firms – they have holdings/clients all over and are not geographically tied to their own physical location).
You need to fish where the fish are, so get your driving motivators down—including your industries of choice—and make sure those industries are growing, stable, or at least not in decline!
Social networking (for business) is a very effective advertising medium that makes it easy for you to reverse engineer your job search by connecting to your audience. Initially your only interest should be in connecting with them. Nothing else. This is the first and most important step!
Why reverse engineer your search? Because if you make $250k and up per year, only 10% of open jobs at your level are posted on the Internet.* Most executives think, “Well, that is why I depend on recruiters.” But the other 90% of jobs at your level are not held by recruiters. MOST are filled BEFORE a company has to hire a recruiter to find you. Let’s let that sink in for a moment…
LinkedIn is a platform that helps you cut the middleman out in many cases and can put you in direct contact with a key decision maker. In other words, you can be the leader you ARE—even in your job search! And I know that is where you are most comfortable. LinkedIn allows you to retain your leadership role, and control your own personal job transition, many times without having to be at the mercy of a chain of predetermined screening events with built-in competition.
The Bottom Line
If you are a top executive, the name of the game is threefold:
Connect with key players.
Keyword optimize your profile so that when people find you and want to pitch job opportunities your way, your profile is already aligned with your greatest preferences.
Have you secretly been wondering what all the hoopla is over social networking sites like LinkedIn…but been too afraid to ask? Or perhaps you are in the midst of a job search and know using sites liked LinkedIn should be part of your job search strategy….but you are not exactly sure how to go about it?
If so, you are going to love these 5 easy tips for using LinkedIn to create powerful networking connections, brand your image and quickly get you noticed!
Tip #1: Create a powerful profile
It’s free to join and once you have, you’ll want to create a profile which best highlights the skills and strengths you most want to showcase. Here are a few tips to setting up your account:
Use a current version of your resume to post your profile.
Your profile should contain those things you wish to be known for – and nothing more!
Don’t go back too far with your job history unless you have a really good reason for it.
Have someone (friend, loved one, resume writer) edit and proof your profile.
Use discretion with listing personal information…just like a resume.
Tip #2: Find your friends
You can search for old classmates, past companies, friends or just try keyword searches in your area of interest. Invite friends and associates to connect with you and accept invitations from others to quickly grow your network (you will want to read LinkedIn’s information about accepting others’ invitations to help you decide whose invitations to accept). Bear in mind the larger your network, the wider your audience and that is generally what you want.
Tip #3: Get involved in Q&A
Easily search topics and offer answers to establish yourself as an expert. You can also ask questions to engage others and establish rapport. This small investment of your time will pay off abundantly in both the short and long term.
Tip #4: Join groups
There are tens of thousands of groups and group forums on LinkedIn.
Forums give you an instant audience in a particular industry, networking group, alumni group, company or geographic area! Currently you can join up to 50 groups.
You can post a question, post a news or blog article or announce you are open to new career opportunities.
If you are a job seeker, don’t forget to post your candidacy on the 10,000+ member recruiter groups. You will be casting a wide net, but stand to garner several positive responses. Just be clear about what your specialty is to make it easy for the recruiters to identify potential interest on their part.
Tip #5: Use LinkedIn’s group email feature
Sometimes LinkedIn will charge a user to connect with others, but not in group forums. Check out the member listings for your groups and email selected group members (in the group forums) absolutely free!
Being a member of LinkedIn quickly establishes your credibility, gives you an audience in an amazing choice of industries and allows you to fully leverage yourself in the market.
These five tips will get you quickly moving forward, however this is just the tip of the iceberg! My friend, Jason Alba, wrote an amazing little book called, “I’m on LinkedIn, Now What?” That is packed with useful tips to quickly getting your LinkedIn membership working for you!
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