Davina Noonan, WBS Careers Coach and former recruiter, looks at how we can embrace the need to shift to networking remotely and how we can use LinkedIn to support our endeavours.
Now, more than ever, the onus is on us to participate in networking remotely. The scepticism that may have once previously surrounded this style of networking has quickly been dismantled as many professions currently have little or no other option. The ability to network in order to develop, or make new contacts, is undoubtedly an area of business that has been dramatically impacted by Covid-19. There has been widespread cancellation of conferences and other networking events, as well as forcing a significant proportion of the global population to work from home.
In this blog, I want to share with you the ways in which you can use LinkedIn to increase your visibility. As of May 2020, LinkedIn boasts 690+ million users, with 260 million people accessing LinkedIn on a monthly basis, and 40% of them using LinkedIn on a daily basis. This shows that LinkedIn is a huge platform with many opportunities for you to increase your visibility in the global job market.
Below are five key areas you should consider when using LinkedIn:
Have you successfully translated the “physical professional” you into the “virtual bits-and-bytes” you? Anything less than a stellar online profile diminishes your own personal brand and so, today, a mediocre profile is comparable to attending a corporate style C-suite meeting in your pyjamas. Adding visual evidence of your achievements and quantifying the business impacts of your key accomplishments with a metric, in the form of percentages, monetary values, targets or KPIs will serve to add weighting and credibility to your accomplishments. Remember, you are communicating with decision-makers, future hiring managers and recruiters, so it is important to speak their language. A memorable competitive advantage is essential in order to stand out, and being remembered is crucial to progressing through the higher-than-average volume of requests that recruiters are receiving at present.
Improving your career using LinkedIn doesn’t happen if all you do is consume. The whole point is to be part of the conversation and increase your online presence. When we use social media, we can easily fall into three categories of people. Firstly, the vast majority of users scroll without creating, sharing or commenting on content. Secondly, the contributors, those who comment on posts and share them with their social circles, typically adding their own commentary to reposts. And finally, the creators, the smallest group that actively create and write new content. They usually have a large number of followers or are building towards this and are recognised as industry leaders. You can scroll LinkedIn endlessly but it won’t improve your network or career prospects. Improvements come from participation, content creation and engagement.
Beating the Algorithm & SEO
By adding a photo and text to your post, publishing it, and then adding any relevant external links to your post afterwards seems to be a way of getting good interaction on posts. It confuses the LinkedIn algorithm into thinking the link is an internal platform one. Search Engine Optimisation is also an important ally for visibility on LinkedIn. Optimise your profile with keywords relating to your current skill-set and the skills you are working towards to help you achieve your future career goals. Think like other professionals in your industry and ask yourself what they would search for; is there a particular skill in this sector that is in short supply which you can begin to upskill? Use keywords and the skills & endorsements section to increase the frequency and positioning of your profile on searches. Additionally, make your profile public - keeping yourself the “best-kept secret” from search engines won’t help with visibility.
Humility is the enabler of conversations on LinkedIn. A courteous message or modest response to a comment will go a long way. However it is worth stating there are (again) three broad categories of people you will reach out to…firstly, those who do not reply and do not want to help! Secondly, those who would like to help with your endeavours but do not have the time or are not in a position to do so. Lastly, those who are willing to assist and are able to, this is your network pool. It can be difficult to find and build this network as the process is time-consuming so it is important to think strategically about who you choose to approach.
Be tolerant of slow responses
Finally, it is important to remember that human resource, talent acquisition and recruitment agencies are overburdened at this present moment. This automatically slows the response time and increases what may appear to be “ghosting”. Be tolerant of delays and slow responses, and use this time to work on your personal brand, engagement and presence on LinkedIn. Be mindful of going to the point where you aggravate your point of contact, as this could result in being dropped from consideration completely.
If you are a current or prospective MSc WBS student and you would like to learn more about this approach or need advice on your LinkedIn, please email Davina.Noonan@wbs.ac.uk
For more on this topic, view our webinar: Is your LinkedIn Profile Covid-19 ready?