Yes, you probably know you should be on LinkedIn and that you should take the time to create a strong profile, but chances are you haven’t done it. Guess what? Your employer doesn’t want you to update your profile either. Here is some career coaching on why you need to stop procrastinating and update your LinkedIn profile.
One morning (while I was working in the corporate world) I got a call from a headhunter. He was looking for someone to run a division of a large financial services company in the Orange County/Los Angeles area.
He was seeking a candidate who had experience setting strategy and had managed a very large team. He told me I was one of a few people on his radar that had done both. How did he know? My LinkedIn profile.
At the time, my LinkedIn profile wasn’t very good. It was probably better than average, but was basically my resume uploaded. Yet he found me… and this was not a job that was public. –The person currently in the role didn’t know he was on his way out.
As for me, I had to decline… I love San Diego a bit too much. What I find so interesting, however, is that had I searched for this job I never would have found it.
In fact, studies have shown that as many as 90% of jobs paying $150,000+ a year never show up in job listings.
- The person in the role may not know they are being replaced
- The hiring manager is likely to go to their network first
In other words, your next job isn’t even on your radar, and all your monster.com and careerbuilder.com searches in the world are not going to find it. That new job is invisible (even at lower pay ranges).
This is why creating a great LinkedIn profile is critical. It puts you on the radar of recruiters and hiring managers looking for people with your talents. (And this is why your employer doesn’t want you on LinkedIn.)
What if you aren’t looking to get hired? Here are three other ways to use your LinkedIn profile:
- To establish yourself as a thought leader in your field
- To improve your network within your industry
- To increase your options in times of uncertainty
Let me take these one at a time. First, thought leadership.
Using your LinkedIn profile to establish yourself as a thought leader
In my personal network, the person who does this the best is an individual by the name of Pablo Jenkins. Pablo and I went to Harvard Business School together and we are now friends on Facebook.
We were never particularly close in business school, more like friendly acquaintances. Truth be told, we weren’t even connected on LinkedIn until recently.
Nevertheless, Pablo has solidified my impression of him as an expert in human capital management, leadership, positive psychology and related areas. How? By frequently sharing interesting articles via his Facebook account.
…And once in a while he posts a picture of him on stage presenting somewhere.
Look at what has magically happens as a result of this consistent messaging: over a period of many months, Pablo has been solidified in my mind as an expert. Is he the most authoritative expert in my network? Probably not… but I do think of him first.
This is why your LinkedIn profile and the way you use it is so critical. You can literally transform people’s view of you to what you want it to be. You can sculpt your personal brand. (And LinkedIn is a better tool for this than Facebook.)
The value of a well-known personal brand: never having to worry about where the next job or opportunity is coming from.
Is creating a personal brand on LinkedIn particularly difficult? Not really. You just need to have a clear strategy. For some of my career coaching clients, crafting a personal brand online is a core part of their career strategy.
Using your LinkedIn profile to improve your network
I had an interesting experience recently. I was looking at how I rank for profile views in LinkedIn (a bit of a popularity measure) and I was surprised to see that someone I didn’t actually know (but who reached out to connect to me) was in the top 3 in terms of views in my network of over 650 people.
What is interesting about this is that I actually looked at his profile and there isn’t much there. Yet, among 650 people he is among the most viewed… what a waste!
He has gotten a lot of people’s attention by simply being brazen and reaching out. Yet those people who view his LinkedIn profile learn nothing about what he can do for them in return. The result: a wasted connection.
Here is what you want to do instead:
- Create a great profile (Click here for my webinar on how or email me)
- Figure out who you want to know in your industry (i.e. the best contacts you can imagine)
- Figure out if you know someone who can connect you to that individual.
- Invite those people to connect, but do so in a way that adds value. If I am looking to connect with someone I don’t know, I try to suggest a way I can add value to them in my invitation so they have a reason to respond.
Of course there is a bit more to it than that, but those are the key things. However, all of it hinges on you having a great LinkedIn profile.
Using your profile to increase options in times of uncertainty
This is something I find baffling. I have friends who work in firms with a great deal of uncertainty. They are always worried that the next re-organization or layoff is coming and they are going to be the victim.
What do they do to combat the risk? Put their heads down and work harder.
Why? Because they have this belief that the workplace is fair, and that if they work hard they won’t be let go. Yet anyone who has been around the block in senior roles knows that sometimes, it just isn’t about how hard you work.
This is where career coaching is critical, yet most of them don’t realize it.
So what do I recommend? By all means, work hard. But while you are at it, do a bit of work for yourself and your future: create a great LinkedIn profile.
Once you have that profile, put it to work. Figure out who you should be networking with, who you know that can put you in touch with them, and have a coffee or two with some influential people.
Remember, you don’t have to be looking for a job to have coffee with someone. Most people are interested in meeting up to chat if there is a way you can benefit each other.
Here’s a simple example: imagine that you work as a manager in a call center. It’s almost guaranteed that in your city there is another call center in an unrelated industry.
If you use LinkedIn to find someone in a similar (or slightly more senior) role who works there, reach out, and offer that you would like to exchange ideas on effective call center management… you can almost be guaranteed they would like to meet.
The point is that you use LinkedIn and your LinkedIn profile to grow your network, so that when things are in question you have places to go.
Remember: The time to build a network is before you need it.
So, how do you build a great LinkedIn profile? Well, you can watch my free webinar here or we can work together 1:1 in a career coaching capacity to craft one.
The key thing is to do this today. I know LinkedIn is a bit of an afterthought while you are in a role. The key is to invest in your profile (& network) today so you have it tomorrow. A great Linkedin Profile is an investment in an asset that you control.
Best of luck.
If you are looking for career coaching in San Diego or across the country to take your career to the next level, schedule a complimentary career coaching conversation with me here.