Many of the ambitious women that I talk to only start to think about their LinkedIn profile when they want to change jobs. However LinkedIn is more than just a jobhunting tool. It’s a powerful networking platform and as Lea McCleod says “The best time to build a network is before you need one.”
However LinkedIn is a brilliant way to build and nurture a strong network online. You never know what’s round the corner and when you might need to ask your network for help. When I was made redundant in 2009, it was because of my active networking on LinkedIn that found me my next job. I was invited to set up the UK operations of an Atlanta-based outsourcing company.
When I was Global Head of IT Service at the law firm, I outsourced my after hours support service to Intelliteach. When I was made redundant, the President of Intelliteach started following me on LinkedIn because he knew he wanted to expand the business operations to Europe and the UK.
Who better to do that than somebody who had used his company’s services in Chicago.
Being active on LinkedIn kept me front of his mind so that when he was ready to recruit, he sent me a simple message on LinkedIn “hi Sherry, how are things working out for you”.
Here are five reasons why you need to use LinkedIn even if you are not jobhunting:
- Demonstrate your experience to lateral hires: What about when a new manager joins? Or a lateral hire? Maybe you will report into her or maybe she’s a co-worker. Don’t you think she’ll be checking out the profiles of the people that report into her or that she’ll be working alongside? Even before she’s offered the position. Wouldn’t you want to know the background and experience of your co-workers?
- Set yourself up as an expert authority: How do you think journalists and the industry press identify the right people to approach to interview for the next issue of their magazine? They ask around and they will research on social media including LinkedIn.
- Get speaking opportunities: LinkedIn is one of my favourite ways to find new guests for my online conference or my weekly podcast show. It doesn’t take much time or effort each week to build your reputation as an expert authority. You can go looking for opportunities (or wait to be asked) by demonstrating your knowledge and willingness to contribute.
- Attract new clients: You set yourself up as the go-to-expert in your field by publishing articles on LinkedIn, participating in group discussions, commenting on and sharing other people’s news items. That will attract attention and get you noticed by the people who count.
- Long-term career planning: Often when a client books me to work with them one-to-one to review their LinkedIn profile, they’re worried that their current employer will get suspicious if they suddenly start to get active on LinkedIn, requesting recommendations etc. Of course. It’s not rocket science. So get strategic! Even if you are not looking for new opportunities right now, make efforts to actively maintain your presence on LinkedIn.
You need to use LinkedIn even if you are not job hunting because LinkedIn plays an essential role in your career strategy and career maintenance.
p.s. if you are unsure about how to use LinkedIn effectively whether or not you are job hunting, discover some ninja LinkedIn secrets on my very popular 10 Day LinkedIn Kickstart which runs three times a year. Find out more here.