"I'm on LinkedIn, but I don't get anything from it. I don't think LinkedIn is helpful for my job search."
Every time I hear this from a job searcher, I think of the scene below from "Sex and the City" (I grabbed it from YouTube and the video quality is poor...someone clearly recorded this from their TV).
In the scene, Charlotte gets scolded at a self-help seminar and accused of just going through the motions, instead of really putting herself out there to find love. (Of course, if you're a SATC fan, you know that no one is a bigger cheerleader for love than Charlotte York).
But, unlike Charlotte, many of the job searchers I speak with who claim that LinkedIn is useless, are not really giving LinkedIn a fair shot. They tend to have very few connections, zero engagement on other posts, zero of their own posts or content, and have joined zero professional groups.
It's like saying you're a runner because you bought running shoes -- but never laced them up or jogged a single mile.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool. But, it can only be beneficial if you put in some effort. I'm not talking rededicating every spare moment you have to the platform, bust just a few minutes, a few times a week, can have a massive impact.
Fortunately, unlike other social media sites, LinkedIn users access the site much less frequently. You don't need to be there every day to establish a presence, grow your network, and gain some serious traction in your current (or future) career advancement plans.
Here's what being REALLY out there looks like on LinkedIn:
Actively Connecting with People
Emphasis on "actively". This means sending invitations to people who can add value to your network: People who work at companies you admire/would want to work for, hiring managers and recruiters at your target industry, industry influences, and recruiters within your target industry.
This doesn't have to be painful. Just send a quick note saying that you came across their profile (no need to mention you searched them out or hunted them down), and that you'd like to join their network because of your shared industry/career passion.
Posting Your Own Content
It's perfectly fine to share what you're up to at work, industry news, and (dare I say) your opinion on LinkedIn. It is, after all, a social media platform. Just keep it professional and career related.
Again, you don't necessarily need to set aside a few hours a week to compose a blog post (gold star if you do!), but just simply sharing a news article or a "behind-the-scenes" work photo, will go a long way in demonstrating your engagement and enthusiasm about your career and industry.
Liking, Commenting, and Sharing Other Content
To get love, you gotta show some love. If you want more action on LinkedIn (more people looking at your profile and engaging with your posts), you need to do the same. People are more apt to like and share your content, if you've done the same for them.
Being a fan of someone, increases the likelihood of them wanting to do something nice for you - like refer your for a job. It's the Law of Reciprocity and it's super powerful. So, whenever you jump into LinkedIn (even if you only have a few minutes), take the time to like, comment, and share posts from people in your network.
Maintain Network Relationships
Don't just add people to your network and then ignore them. Keep conversations going, or restart conversations on occasion. The key to this, is to keep the focus on the other person. Make it all about them, and how you might support them. Just like I mentioned above, when you make someone feel appreciated, they will want to help you.
As a bare minimum, take advantage of those LinkedIn birthday and work anniversary notifications to touch base with the people in your existing network.
Update Your Profile Regularly
Think of LinkedIn as a living document of your career successes and wins. Every few months or so, you should be adding new accomplishments to your career history, adding courses and certifications you've completed, or just refreshing content as appropriate.
If you want recruiters to find you and reach out to you, you need to have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile that sells you for the exact positions you're seeking.
This may seem like a fairly long to-do list of activity, but it can be accomplished in just 5-10 minutes a day or every second day. Focus on one of the above activities every time you login to LinkedIn and you'll be miles ahead of most other job candidates.
Not a regular LinkedIn user yet? Next time you find yourself logging into Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest, jump to LinkedIn first. You're career will be better for it.
The founder of Kick Glass Career Coaching, Tammy Banfield is a professional resume writer and certified career coach who specializes in helping talented and ambitious women advance their careers. Tammy has helped nearly 1,000 career seekers from around the world secure their ideal job - jobs where they are valued, fulfilled, and well paid. Connect with Tammy on LinkedIn or at her Website.