This weeks post continues the topic of LinkedIn. The intended audience is job seekers although, a lot of this post will be based on general principles that anyone can use. If you read last weeks post, you should have a stellar profile but now what? Your profile is there in all of its glory but how do you USE LinkedIn? What’s the end game?
It’s not like facebook because that’s where you share your favorite Jenna Marbles videos with all of your friends or get back in touch with high school buddies. It’s not like Twitter either though because that’s where you chronicle every waking second of your existence. And it’s definitely not Pinterest where you can share pictures of that cute new Victoria’s Secret sundress. No my friends, LinkedIn should be thought of as a place to “show off”. It can involve Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest but in the professional context. The more you “show off,” the more likely you are to be seen by recruiters and employers. When navigating LinkedIn, think of it as a place to act like Saturday Night Live’s Stuart. Your page should scream in an unnaturally high pitched voice, “look what I can do (see below)!”
So what can you do? The main objectives are to show that you are a knowledgeable and active participant in your industry. That’s all fine and good but what activities can we do to to accomplish this?
Get an Audience
Before we even talk about what kinds of things we should be doing with LinkedIn, we need to make sure we have an audience. Remember, LinkedIn is a networking tool so, the effectiveness of our efforts will be based vastly upon how many people can see the things we are posting. You can post the most insightful, intelligent content out there and it won’t do you any good if you don’t have an audience. So how do we get one? By getting connected to others, that is!
The first order of business should be to add all of the friends, relatives and coworkers that you would like to add to your professional network. This is going to sound kind of mean but remember, LinkedIn is a professional tool: Only add people to your professional network if you think they can help you or you can help them. This is not a “keep in touch” tool like some other platforms so, keep your dear old granny to the confines of her farmville on facebook unless she has mad job hookups.
After you get the easy connections out of the way, it’s time to dig a bit deeper. If you are first starting or haven’t been on LinkedIn in a while, the easiest thing to do is go through the “People You May Know” section. No matter how many connections you get, it’s good to go through this section every once in a while as new people join LinkedIn all the time.
Now, we can dig even deeper! We can do this by utilizing the People search function at the top right of the page. See image below.
Now on this screen, we can search for people and companies. An important part of your job search is finding and following companies you may want to work for. To do that, you just click the drop down menu in the search bar and select companies. From there, just type in the company you’d like to find. Following companies you’re interested in will help keep you updated on new jobs they post, basic company news and think of content ideas that can get their attention. If you are searching for professionals, you will want to click on the “Advanced” button located within the red box unless you know the first and last name of a specific person you are looking for. After we click the advanced button, we are directed here:
The goal of using this function is to get connected with local professionals in our areas of interest. The three most helpful criteria that we should use when searching for such professionals are outlined in red in the image above. They are Keywords, Postal Code and Company. Let’s say that we would like to get connected to other Retail HR professionals in the Chicago-land area. We might type Keywords, “Retail, Human Resources” (try different combinations of relevant search words). In the Postal Code box, we would type our zip code and then make the radius as wide as you would like it (the wider the radius, the more search results you will get). If you are already interested in a particular company, you may opt to enter a company name as well or use the company in place of the keywords. Tip: you can gain access to more connections if you join a group where the person you want to connect with is also a member. That way, you can send them an invitation to connect even if you don’t necessarily know that person.
Now that you hopefully have a bit of an audience, we can get back to showing the LinkedIn community what you’re capable of.
Content is considered aggregated when it is shared on your wall but is not authored by you and you were not the first person to post it. An example of aggregated content would be your favorite Jenna Marbles video that we mentioned earlier. It’s hilarious and it’s on your page but it’s not yours. So, it’s aggregated. Due to the nature of this kind of content, I would advise that you also mention the source that you got the content from whenever possible. It’s a precautionary measure against plagiarism and it’s also the courteous thing to do.
Okay, so you get what aggregated data is but what kinds of data are professional enough to help us achieve our objective of showing the LinkedIn community that we are super competent? The following is a (non exhaustive) list of acceptable content sources
- News Paper Article
- Scholarly Journal Article (make sure the author is okay with it)
- Blog post
- Vlog or video blog
- Press release
- Comic Strip
Remember, the goal is always to contribute something useful to your community. So we take that comic and turn it into this post:
As, you can see, the link to the comment is included along with a tidbit of information that was inspired by the comic but applies to job searching/ retail recruiting. In this petite little post, I have accomplished a number of things:
- Provided entertainment for fellow retail managers/ recruiters who may be able to relate to that comic
- Shown that I am knowledgeable about what to look for in a resume
- Provided advice on resume writing for fellow job seekers
Also, in case you don’t know how: here’s how to get the link attached to your tidbit of knowledge, follow the steps and diagram below:
- copy the link you’d like to include OR if it’s an image like the this one, copy image URL
- click the “attach a link” button on the area where you post.
- Right click and Paste the URL into the box that comes up.
- Don’t forget to make sure the Twitter box is checked!
You may have been thrown off by that last instruction. Twitter? I thought this post was about LinkedIn? Don’t fret, it is still about LinkedIn. However, by checking the Twitter box, your content will automatically post onto the Twitter news feed as well. This will increase your visibility to others who may be looking for someone with your kind of expertise. So, if you don’t have a Twitter account, make one. You’re going to need it to maximize your effectiveness on LinkedIn. Let’s look at one more post example:
Again, we’re sticking with retail because that’s our job seeking scenario. Here is a graph demonstrating a timetable for mobile internet vs. desktop internet usage. So, the information here is good, but what does it mean? The thought process towards developing a post might go something like this:
My brain says, “Well, I know that most retailers have internet sites where people buy things. Also, although more retailers are making mobile web sites, not all of them have them or have good ones yet. With this information, I can give companies good advice. From this graph I draw the conclusion that retailers need to be working to make a mobile website and perfect it because that’s where shoppers are going to be. Basically, increased site traffic means increased sales. Customers will be enticed to buy items on the mobile site or may visit a store because of them.”
Then, I take that insight and turn it into the post in the red box below.
So, that’s an example of the thought process behind what kinds of content to post and what to say about it. Before we move on, I’d like you to pay special attention to the way I worded this post. It almost sounds like cave man speak–it’s blunt and to the point. The reason I worded my post like this instead of crafting a poetic, eloquent essay about how retailers should be working on their mobile sites to keep up with marketing trends is because of limitations having to do with LinkedIn and Twitter themselves. You will notice that LinkedIn will let you write quite a bit in the post area but Twitter is the medium that imposes that limitation. You are limited to 140 characters in a Twitter post. 120 of them are visible on the news feed ( they don’t count the characters in a link). This means that if you want people to click on your links and look at what you have to say, you have try and say most of your message in those 120 characters. If you see the diagram below, even with the short cave man speak not all of the message is visible in the Twitter feed. However, there is enough of the message visible to get the idea of the message across and make readers want to click on the link.
Now that we’ve talked about content that is not ours, let’s talk about content that is. Original content is the name for things that you have written or created yourself. Let’s recall that list of options for aggregated content to post. Well, if you have the ability to create content like that yourself, feel free to show it to the world on LinkedIn!
The Blog Post
I’d like to pay special attention to blogging and “vlogging(video blogging)” because this is the one social media medium where you can say everything that you want to say about a topic. In fact, that’s the reason I started this blog. I want to showcase my social media learning. Of course, these first couple of posts have been just the basics but as I learn, I will post more sophisticated content. This benefits me because it allows me to show an in depth expertise in a subject area and also increase traffic to my sites. Blogging increases traffic to sites because a good blog is in some way beneficial to the community. It’s purpose may be to educate (like this one), entertain or provide utility (Liebe 2011). This blog aims to educate educate people about how social media can be used for marketing in a lighthearted, informal way. After all, the best blogs are educational and entertaining.
If you do choose to blog, make sure you post regularly.This is often the most challenging thing for bloggers but there a few benefits to doing this. Your readers will know when to expect your content to come out. It shows potential employers who may be enticed by your content you are dependable and can meet deadlines. You will get more readers if you follow a schedule than if you do not follow a schedule. It serves as proof of creativity because you will consistently have to think of new content.
So we’ve covered content from us and content from others and how to post it in our news feeds but there is another way to post content. You can post your content in groups as well. For example, I am a member of the group Excellence in Retail. Remember that post I made about the graph concerning mobile internet usage? You bet I posted it to the group’s wall! What better place to post content about retail than to a group of retailers? Not many.
So here’s what I did. I decided to show you how our informative post becomes an interactive poll that will encourage engagement from fellow LinkedIn users in the Excellence in Retail Community. See below:
So, we could have just copied our post into a discussion and it would have also been completely fine. I am not spending so much time on that because the concept is simple: make a content post just like on your LinkedIn page and then phrase it as an open ended question that will start a conversation. Posting as a discussion and a poll will both give you possible ideas for further posts based on the comments you receive. However, there is one advantage to polls over discussions: COLD, HARD NUMBERS. If you receive a substantial number of responses, you can make inferences about the data. However, an added bonus of polls is that users can make comments on polls. So, you can still get the rich data of comments with the clarity of numbers. The only downside to polls is that users are more likely to participate in a discussion on a group page than they are a poll. I suppose this varies from group to group though.
Groups are not just a good place to send messages-they are are excellent places to receive them as well. If you have a question relevant to that group’s topic, post it. You will be surprised at the level of helpfulness of your fellow group members. For example, a while back someone in the group Excellence in Retail had posed the question of whether other store managers would hire someone if they had a prior conviction come up on a background check. The question had comments posted to it for at least a week and received many, many responses from other retail professionals that were part of the group. So, you can see how group communication can be a helpful tool in a professionals everyday life. In the same respect, don’t be afraid to post answers to the questions of other because that is just one more way to show the community your expertise. This is doubly beneficial because oftentimes, companies will post jobs in groups as a cost efficient way to recruit candidates with specific skills. Participating in these groups will help you gain visibility of those companies actively searching for candidates.
Now that we’ve talked about how to make you a contributing member of LinkedIn society, we can talk about searching positions posted on LinkedIn in the more literal sense. By clicking on the “Jobs” button outlined in the red box shown in the image below, you will be able to see a list of jobs posted by the users you are connected with on LinkedIn.
So we click on the jobs button and we are directed to a page that looks like this:
As you can see, a list of jobs that are gathered based on the information in my profile are shown on this page. I want you to pay attention to the red box in this image because it outlines features that will help you keep your job search organized. You can not only save jobs to which you wish to apply but also save your searches if you did not get a chance to go through all of the postings. You can also make your search more efficient by clicking the “Advanced Search” button. This will help you narrow your search to job postings that are relevant for you by selecting a geographical region, adding keywords, selecting specific industries and things of that nature. This is the perfect place to use those Boolean Operators!
Not turning up many job postings? Well, let’s take a minute to consider some criteria that will affect your LinkedIn search. See image Below.
The three criteria outlined by the red box are crucial for finding postings on LinkedIn. The first is the quality of your profile. If you read last week’s post about LinkedIn 101, then that’s not your issue. The second factor is how many connections you have. The more connections you have, the more job postings you will have access to. The final factor is how many companies you’re following. How companies you’re following also determines how many job postings you can see. Basically, the more the merrier.
So, there you have it. Your crash course in using LinkedIn to get a job is complete. I hope you enjoyed my post and thank you for reading. Go get em,’ Tiger!
As someone who is always looking to develop my social media skills, I now ask for any ideas for content that I may have missed? Does anyone have any additional job searching tips pertaining to LinkedIn?
Next week, I am hoping to have my post on Edge Rank completed : ]