The phenomenal power of LinkedIn lies in their professional community of well over 300 million global members. No other site compares to the energy and interaction found on LinkedIn; there’s just nothing like it.
Where else can you:
- Evaluate your competition to better market your unique value and expertise?
- Identify key decision makers to cultivate stimulating professional relationships?
- Introduce colleagues to trusted leaders who need to find employment or who are growing a business?
Most people view their LinkedIn profile as a two-step process: Create an online resume then grow a virtual Rolodex of strangers. Other members – those more actively leveraging LinkedIn’s power – understand that LinkedIn offers a far more stimulating and productive online experience.
These users see LinkedIn as a personal marketing catalyst. They’re inquisitive, motivated, and proactive professionals who choose not to have a LinkedIn experience as a Passive Profile Poster and/or Empire Builder. Instead, they become a Savvy Strategist, someone who interacts with decision makers to uncover new opportunities while helping others achieve their goals.
Here’s how to rise above your competition to become a Savvy Strategist:
Market Your Extraordinary Value
Highly productive job hunters and business owners leverage LinkedIn by turning their profiles into a mini commercial. Their product: the value they sell to employers, customers, and clients. Rather than become a Passive Profile Poster, they stand out from their competition by emphasizing their remarkable expertise, transferable skills, and the performance accomplishments directly relevant to their audience needing to hire them.
Research Your Competition
How can you best determine your unique value? Research and evaluate your competition to determine how they’re marketing their brand and how well they’re meeting customer needs, then create a campaign to set yourself apart from other talent. What do you offer that they don’t? That’s where your extraordinary expertise lies!
Cover the Basics
Get noticed—and get hired—when you create an engaging profile headline, exceptionally-prepared summary, attractive portfolio or video. Stand out even further with descriptive summary bullet points illustrating how your talents will expertly solve problems for your prospective employer or business partner.
Use your LinkedIn profile as a powerful, living, interactive marketing campaign that inspires, intrigues, and invites interviews, partnerships, collaborative projects, and business opportunities. How? By sharing ideas and solutions through thought-provoking articles and inspiring blogs. As you increase your value within your LinkedIn community, you’ll build trust with colleagues and grow rich relationships where reciprocity is valuable currency.
Grow Mutually-Beneficial Relationships
“In order to have friends, you must first be one.”~ Elbert Hubert
Interacting via LinkedIn is no different. Online activity doesn’t replace personal care while cultivating relationships.
For LinkedIn’s movers and shakers focused on relationships and results, their network isn’t a numbers game of showing off in a false popularity contest. They understand that their connections are only as valuable as the time they’ve invested in them.
When database builders boast a collection of 10,000+ connections, they earn one thing: a collective eye-roll by LinkedIn members who don’t take this self-promotion seriously. Move well beyond the befriending-of-strangers mind-frame, which requires little effort other than clicking a mouse. Anyone can connect with strangers! There’s far greater value when you invest time to create reciprocal relationships, making you a valuable contributor to your immediate LinkedIn community.
Mind Your Manners
Just because your initial activities with members take place virtually doesn’t preclude etiquette and offline human interaction. Pick up the phone, schedule face-to-face conversations, and participate in local networking events. Develop a rapport beyond online connecting and schedule face-time with your new colleagues to enjoy a thriving career focused on the human side of networking.
People matter and your LinkedIn connections will be more meaningful when you exchange assistance, encouragement, ideas, and trusted resources.
Connections Matter, Not Numbers
Over the years, I’ve met a large number of unemployed Empire Builders. They boast mammoth LinkedIn empires yet struggle with prolonged job searches. In fact, the Empire Builder’s inability to land new opportunities tends to be substantially longer than others because they don’t have a clear plan to achieve results.
They’ve been incorrectly advised to increase their database instead of introducing themselves directly to hiring managers to establish relationships. After far too much time, they learn that a large network doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re connected with decision makers. When you focus on building a rapport with people, not numbers, you’ll increase opportunities. So if you start to admire your growing number of connections, remember this job search truism: At the end of the day, if you’re not interviewing, you’re not moving forward.
Learn From the Mistakes of Others
A new client told me that he’s been struggling to interview, having been unable to find work well over a year, while proudly announcing that he’s got a network of 9,000+ connections. He failed to recognize the obvious disconnect between growing a names list and his continued unemployment.
Curious, I asked, “So how many of those people are actually helping you in your job search?”
Sheepishly, Joe replied, “Well… none.”
That’s when Joe Networker experienced a profound “Aha!” moment. He realized that his gargantuan network of “don’t knows” wasn’t going to get him a job, that his feverish activity was empty activity; it lacked direction, purpose, and results.
Joe needed this reality check. He needed to know that his connections couldn’t magically get him a job or pass along his resume. He now understood that personal responsibility for generating results was lost in his pursuit to connect with people who forgot about him as soon as they connected. He learned that with a profoundly lengthy unemployment, his names collection was a hollow victory.
Joe realized that without a strategy behind his efforts, he would continue to fail. He changed his approach, and rather than remain an Empire Builder, he became a Savvy Strategist. Joe is currently interviewing for several positions and now understands the difference between quantity and quality relationships.
Do you want to powerfully, productively, and efficiently use LinkedIn as your personal marketing tool? Here are your actions steps:
- Have a thoughtful plan and direction to use your collaboration and communication skills.
- Develop valuable—reciprocal—professional relationships with colleagues and hiring leaders.
- Ask how you can help them and follow through so you can at some point then request their assistance.
- Introduce struggling job hunters to helpful people you trust within your circle, giving them the opportunity to break through and move forward.
Adopt proven strategies to proactively help yourself and others, so that everyone is successful.
Let others fill the roles of Passive Profile Poster and Empire Builder… while you take full advantage of LinkedIn and become a Savvy Strategist!
About the Author: Deborah E. Rooney, M.S., Ed is the owner of Power Marketing & Coaching. She offers thorough, personalized 1-on-1 training to teach job hunters, business owners, and sales professionals proven strategies to use their LinkedIn profile as a powerful marketing catalyst to introduce themselves directly to decision makers for stimulating new opportunities. As a transferable skills coach to adults in career transition, new grads, and corporate executives, she works with her talented clients to write exceptional profile and resume content to emphasize their skills and accomplishments, attract employer attention, increase interviews, and cut job search time in half. Want to become a Savvy Strategist? E-mail Deborah at firstname.lastname@example.org and read her clients’ success stories posted on her LinkedIn profile.