Preparing to enter the workforce in the 21st century has changed considerably from the way people in the previous century went about things. Back then there was no "gig economy," full time jobs lasted decades, university degree holders were much rarer, and, of course, there was no internet.
Today things are very different. The employment landscape continues to evolve and change, and aspiring entrepreneurs have to change with it. One of the ways to do that is to use every effective resource available, and the professional network, LinkedIn, can be the ace in the hole for a lot of people. Here’s how you should be using it.
It's a fundamental piece of advice, but the classics never go out of style, and this, unfortunately, is very easy for people to ignore and many people do so. LinkedIn, while it is a social network, is not a casual social media network. It is a professional and industry social media network. So standing out by being the loud, boisterous, life of the party, with no substance or qualification to back it up, will get you nowhere.
You need to treat your own LinkedIn account as if it were a resume because that's exactly how other professionals and recruiters will be looking at it. Snappy banter and a lack of detail or qualifications will quickly render you irrelevant when there are others more willing to provide the credentials people are looking for when making a hiring decision.
As with most things in social media, visibility is a valuable commodity. If you’re creating content on LinkedIn that shows what you can do, such as insightful articles, this will get you read and noticed. Always keep it relevant to your professional interests so that you’re attracting attention from the right places.
Whether it's text or video, create something compelling. Also be sure to consume and tag content by others, forming that social media positive feedback loop. As you recognize the efforts of others, they will appreciate your own, and everybody enjoys wider distribution. Just make sure you are creating meaningful content. Pure “fluff” won’t get you very far.
In the same way that user reviews can be a big boost in increasing the sales of products or services, the same is true for people. Endorsements for particular skill sets that you have are another way that you can stand out from the crowd and showcase your abilities.
If you have any professional contacts that are willing to give you endorsements on LinkedIn, take advantage of their willingness. And as always, if you are capable of providing an honest, illuminating endorsement for someone else, "pay it forward" and do so. These actions can only help you in the future.
Learn from LinkedIn
Remember that you are on a professional social network. That means a lot of the people here have valuable knowledge, experience, and information. If they are willing to share those insights with you, for free, that can be a great shortcut to learning essential lessons without having to pay for schooling, seminars, or other educational activities.
Take the time to learn from what others offer, and teach anything you have to others who might have questions. By being a positive contributor in educating others, you will learn more things yourself. Learning new things is the best way to improve your own hiring potential.
Make sure to take advantage of the social aspect of LinkedIn’s social network. Once again, don’t treat this as a recreational hobby; your decisions should reflect your professional interests. Join the appropriate groups relevant to your career choices. Participate in discussions, learn from others and add them to your network.
You'll need to be polishing your professional potential both in the real world and the digital one. If you'd like more tips on how to make your career and entrepreneurial prospects grow, try downloading our entrepreneur's guide. You can learn a lot of valuable tips and techniques that will help you get started in cultivating the right attitude and practices to advance yourself.