It’s a good bet that most people on LinkedIn have little more than a threadbare profile and aren’t in the habit of updating their information, adding connections, or doing much of anything at all. They are there, but not there—an indistinct presence, a dormancy. A healthy subset of these people probably joined LinkedIn at a colleague’s insistence, or because of some vague idea that it’s “the thing to do.”
These people on LinkedIn in name only—let alone those who eschew it entirely—are neglecting what is easily the most valuable social media platform; whose benefits are concrete and can be said without exaggeration to have a life-changing capacity.
Strangers Today, Employers/Colleagues/Patrons Tomorrow
LinkedIn—what’s the point? I asked myself that question for years, after joining at the insistence of a colleague (see above). Now I know. The point is to expand your network beyond your direct connections. In other words, gain exposure to a larger audience than you could ever hope to reach on your own.
LinkedIn, like other social media, allows you to use your existing network to create a larger, more valuable network. But LinkedIn is better, much better. The key, though, to realizing even modest results, is that you must have a definite strategy. It is not a casual undertaking, and it’s certainly not as simple as just posting your resume online (a common misconception).
A LinkedIn profile should be like a “three-dimensional sales brochure” and provide a more in-depth picture of who you are than any resume ever could. A resume, after all, is a basic sales sheet and represents one single tactic among a handful of others; it is one part of a wider strategy.
Sowing Seeds of Value: The Basis of Any Solid LinkedIn Strategy
A good LinkedIn profile is three-dimensional because it is dynamic; it includes links to and information about new projects, current activities, and more. It usually includes one or more of the apps available that really expand the profile; apps that allow you to share reading suggestions, portfolio highlights, upcoming events, and more.
At the heart of the dynamic, three-dimensional power of a good LinkedIn profile is the “Post an update” field, located near the top of the profile. It is here one can begin “sowing seeds of value”—offering genuinely useful resources/information, while avoiding any kind of hard sell.
This is essential, because in order to expand one’s network, to reach complete strangers—and possibly benefit from connecting with them—it is hardly enough to be just another hungry job seeker or salesperson trawling for prospects. Few people, whether friends or acquaintances, let alone strangers, are looking for that kind of attention.
All quotes courtesy of John Crant (SelfRecruiter.com), career coach and featured speaker at the N.Y. Public Library's Job Search Central. He is the rare motivational speaker who actually motivates. Also, his blog features several posts on LinkedIn that are beyond useful.
To learn more about writing and strategic communications that can amplify your voice, contact me at ajeisenstat[at]gmail[dot]com, or visit my portfolio AdamEisenstat.com and LinkedIn profile.