So far, we've focused on isolating what you love to do and how to convey your value using your LinkedIn profile. But the next step is getting out there and making those online connections.
Many networking events have been canceled due to COVID-19. But know what? I hated those things anyway. So let's talk about how to network virtually.
If you are still employed and looking for a new job, discretion is key. But there are ways to keep your job search on the down-low.
If you are still employed, I recommend that you change your LinkedIn privacy settings to exclude some choice people, say… your current boss or the office gossip, from seeing that you've recently updated your profile. Also, LinkedIn has a dialog box that pops up when you are updating your profile that lets recruiters know if you want your job search to be public or private. Select private.
Also, I'd refrain from posting your resume on Indeed, Monster, or any job boards. These can be huge red flags. In general, I'd play the job search close to the vest.
If you are not employed, get the word out there! You never know who someone may know. Letting people know that you are looking and what you are looking for might open you up to some new opportunities. Tell your friends and family. Reach out to old contacts.
Here are a couple of things I like to do if I'm looking to expand my network.
One is taking virtual classes. Not only is this a great way to expand or strengthen your skillset, it's a great place to find like-minded people. Earlier this year, I took an online class on digital marketing analytics and met people who are in my industry. Not only did it help to have a study group, it was nice to make new friends. One of these friends works for a large television conglomerate, and we are able to share advice and industry news. We keep up regularly, and I always learn something new from her.
Another relatively easy thing to do is write articles for your LinkedIn status updates. Do you have knowledge that you think others would find useful? Start publishing articles! You can do this directly on LinkedIn, or even better, on your own blog. Positioning yourself as a subject matter expert lets others know that you know your stuff.
Also, make sure to take full advantage of your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn allows you to upload links and multimedia. So if you've ever had to write a winning proposal or give a presentation, put it in this added media area. This can give your LinkedIn profile an almost portfolio-like feel. Just remember to remove any personal contact info of past clients.
Speaking about taking advantage of your LinkedIn profile, make sure you take the time to complete your profile. You probably already know to use a professional-looking profile pic, but did you upload a banner? I've seen many people skip the banner because they don't know what to put. This is too bad, because there are tons of free image sites on the Internet where you can download a cool looking banner that will add some visual interest to your profile. Also, make sure to include any awards you've received or certificates you've earned. Take the time to make sure your LinkedIn profile is ROBUST.
So far, you've learned how to create an excellent LinkedIn profile while leveraging your network. But there's a huge mental aspect of job searching as well. It requires some mental toughness, and the chances are that if you are here, then you've had some less than stellar job experiences. We will find some ways to overcome rejection and self-doubt to build confidence in the next lesson.