By Erin Andersen (MSM ’17), Career Transition Coach & LinkedIn Coach, Owner & Founder of Your Brand Networker, LCC

Person touching their phone screen to open up a social networking app

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LinkedIn and corporations are being forced to morph with the “virtual times,” just as we have shoved suits to the back of our closets and athleisure spills from our dresser drawers.

I recently discovered a quote while preparing for a LinkedIn Training Workshop – it stopped me in my tracks and claimed its own page in my presentation. Jill Rowley, Social Selling Evangelist, states, “LinkedIn is no longer an online resume. It’s your digital reputation.”

Your Instagram, Facebook and TikTok profiles are not the only way you are found on Google. This leads me to why LinkedIn is such a powerful platform to get you seen – if done correctly.

Reflect on how you feel when you get that sales-y, sometimes sponsored LinkedIn message. Depending on the level of coldness, I either report it as “promotion” and remove the connection or archive the message into the abyss with hundreds of others that I have buried there.

The goal here is to not let you become a number on LinkedIn. It’s an easy trap to fall into when people start advertising their “LinkedIn worth” by their number of connections. Here’s the thing. The number of connections you have is not powerful unless you can work your network and create a community by finding a way to relate to your connections.

These tips will take you far…and prevent you from ending up in the archives.

Seek out Connections at Companies of Interest: Despite how much we network – virtually or in person – we will never know everyone everywhere. For your dream companies, I want you to pay close attention to those who have similar job titles or work in the same department you would fall into if you landed a job at this company. Next, I want you to research who these people are at your company of interest and check to see if you share any mutual connections. If so, reach out to your mutual connections and request an introduction. This is an excellent way to leverage your network. This leads me to my next point.

Send Effective Networking Messages: One of the number one mistakes people do within LinkedIn messages is state what they are looking for up front instead of trying to relate to the person they are messaging first. This is not a cover letter. Just like you, your connections have a limited amount of time on top of their daily tasks to help others. State up front why they should connect with or message you. For example, did you attend the same University, share a past workplace, volunteer for the same organization? Make sure they are aware of why they should help you specifically.

Be Found Organically by Recruiters & Hiring Managers: The LinkedIn algorithm is a tricky one – especially if your profile isn’t optimized. In addition to using the “Open to work” feature, let’s focus on your headline. It is likely the jobs you are applying or looking to apply to, are not your exact job title and of course not at your current company. What do I mean by that? Here’s where we want to think like a recruiter. What key words would they use to find you as their candidate? Get rid of the location of where you work. For ex: “…at Home Depot”. Instead, choose titles that speak to your skillset. For example: Marketing Director, Project Management Expert, Social Media Strategist, Non-profit Advocate, etc. LinkedIn profile optimization will save you a lot of time when your format is set up to attract lead generation organically by tailoring your profile to your job search.

LinkedIn is its own animal and of course just like any other social media space, the algorithm and best practices change from time to time. Yet, one thing will always be consistent. Whether sending a message, seeking out connections at a company of interest or taking the steps to be found organically – always find a way to relate to your target audience.

Looking to connect with Erin for more career advice and LinkedIn coaching?  You can find her here:

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