What is LinkedIn?
Simply put, LinkedIn is a social network for your career. Where Facebook is a social network for your friends, LinkedIn is for your professional acquaintances, past colleagues, and coworkers. LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman had an ambitious vision when he started the company, “To create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.” Fast forward almost 20 years, the online platform now serves as the place to go when one is looking to build their network.
There are many ways you can use LinkedIn to help flourish your career. From finding a new job or building your professional profile, below are tactical ways that you can use LinkedIn for bolstering your career. We’ve grouped these tactics into the themes of breaking into a new industry, expanding your network, building your professional reputation, and finding a job.
- Linkedin is a social network for your career.
- Having a fulsome LinkedIn profile can help you establish your professional reputation, attract recruiters, and even land you your next job.
- In addition to network and industry information, LinkedIn is a great source for salary data, learning new skills, and can even be a platform for marketing your products and services.
Breaking into a new industry
Looking to move into a different industry? LinkedIn can be a great resource for learning about who are the big players, what are the industry trends, and what are the key skills for a specific industry.
1. Learn about the industry leaders
Almost all large companies have some sort of presence on LinkedIn. Do a quick Google search on the leading companies in your industry of interest. From there, follow these companies on LinkedIn. You will receive their latest updates and special announcements, which will give you insight to what is important to the company. Leverage the Employees function to find who the leaders are that you can follow. These leaders may share updates on their profiles, which can give you a glimpse of what the company’s priorities are.
2. Follow industry groups and associations for the latest trends
Industry groups and associations may have LinkedIn group pages that you can join. These serve as a great entry point into connecting with individuals from that industry. They may have specialist interest initiatives that you can volunteer for. Additionally, it will help you stay on top of the latest news and emerging trends.
Expanding your network
Having a strong network pays dividends in the long run. Research shows that your soft ties, such as acquaintances and past colleagues, are more valuable in helping your land your next deal or secure your next job. With that, everyone should aim to cultivate a network of both strong and weak ties that allows them to tap into interest areas.
3. Connect with contacts you’ve met
A great way to stay connected to individuals you’ve met on a sales call or at a conference is to connect on LinkedIn. This provides a casual opportunity that is less formal than email for staying connected. When you run into an article that may interest your contact, send them an email or even tag them in the comments.
4. Tap into your network for introductions
Curious about a company or an industry? Or need to build a sales pipeline for a new product? Tap into your network and ask for introductions. The primary purpose of LinkedIn is to connect people for professional purposes. Do a search within a company to see which employees are connected to you through a mutual contact. Alternatively, post an open call to your network – those who respond may surprise you!
Building your professional reputation
Another reason to use LinkedIn is to build your professional reputation. Building and maintaining a professional reputation can be critical for landing your next client or your next role. Establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry and build a followership.
5. Create thoughtful original content
Writing and sharing a post that is original and thoughtful is one way to establish yourself and garner a following. Readers can learn from your experiences and insight. Create content consistently, and readers will turn into followers.
6. Share insightful articles and or funny memes from your industry
For those who are strapped for time and are unable to create their own content, resharing other people’s content is the next best option. Pick a certain theme, like sales leadership or Cloud computing. This will help followers establish a sense of what their professional interests are.
Finding your next job
Ultimately, all roads on LinkedIn lead to looking for your new role. With that, there are a number of different ways you can use the platform to search and secure your next job.
7. Set job posting alerts for companies
Waiting till you are ready to leave your current role to find your next role can be a mistake. All businesses forecast and budget their staffing requirements. With the exception of a few roles, companies rarely have your desired role open all year round. Given this, set up job notifications for the companies you like and the roles you are interested in. This way when your interested role pops up, you can be ready to take action and apply.
8. Connect with the hiring manager
Many job postings on LinkedIn will tell you who in the company posted the role. From here, you can reach out to connect on a coffee chat to learn more about the role. If there is no hiring manager listed as posting, try clicking in the company to see who else in your network works there. They may be able to point you in the right direction.
9. Show recruiters you are open to network
Recruiters are always on the lookout for top talent for their clients. LinkedIn has a feature on the profile page that allows you to set your interest. From your profile, set your “Open to” option to “Show recruiters you’re open to work”. Be sure to have a fulsome profile that captures your experiences, achievements, and any other notable volunteer work and or awards.Take our free course “Building Your Personal Annual Plan” and get one step closer to your goals today!
Other ways to use LinkedIn
Negotiate your next raise – use LinkedIn’s Salary option to research what is the market rate for your role. Use this to help position your salary negotiation at your next performance review or when signing onto a new role
Learn a new skill – LinkedIn Learning has a whole trove of courses that can help you learn and develop new and valuable skills.
Market your product and services – like many social media platforms, LinkedIn provides paid-for ads services that can help boost your business. If you are a B2B business, advertising on a platform like LinkedIn may generate better returns by catering to a more relevant audience.