Selling Yourself, or Your Services, on LinkedIn

Social media – and particularly LinkedIn – has emerged as THE new method of job search, providing significant benefits to both job seekers and recruiters. I’ve been a long-time LinkedIn proponent and use it extensively for my own professional communication needs. I also highly recommend it to the students I work with each semester as the “go to” resource for job search–whether looking for internships, freelance opportunities or full-time jobs.

In fact, at the beginning of each semester in one of my classes I like to use it as an introduction to “selling something” — in this case themselves. And, truthfully, the steps and process for selling yourself or your business services via LinkedIn are absolutely the same as best practice marketing for any product or service.

When using LinkedIn for personal/professional promotion, my advice is consistent with general principles of effective marketing. Some key points:

  • The basics: at the outset you need to make sure that you have a professional photo (of just you, not you and your significant other, buddy or pet!), that you’ve completed all of the sections of your Profile, that you don’t have any spelling or grammatical errors and that you’ve joined the maximum 50 groups you’re allowed to join, including the very large groups that can help your profile more readily be found.
  • Consider your profile as you would a web site. Think about how people looking for candidates, like you, or services that have to offer, would conduct searches online. What words or phrases are they likely to enter to help them find you? Then, make sure to embed these terms/phrases into the content you include in your LinkedIn profile. It’s literally the same process you would use for optimizing your web site.
  • Turn your features into benefits! Just as when selling any product or service you want to translate your personal/professional attributes or “features” into “benefits” that are meaningful to your target audience–in this case potential clients or employers. For example: “I’ve worked with many organizations in the healthcare industry” might be translated into a more compelling benefit by saying something like, “My experience with many other healthcare organizations means that I can bring a broad perspective based on best practices, missteps and successes that my clients have experienced.”
  • Consider the competition! In creating your profile and online presence think about how you would position yourself against your competition. Social media makes it very easy to determine who the competition is, what they have to offer and how they are selling themselves. On LinkedIn, for instance, you can conduct an “advanced people search” considering, again, what potential employers are likely to be looking for–you can search by industry, geography, level of experience, etc., and then review the profiles of those who turn up in your search. If YOU were a recruiter, how would you consider yourself compared to these others in your profession?
  • Be very alert to the “brand image” you are presenting online in everything that you’re doing–that means your personal, social media presence on sites such as Facebook or Instagram, any comments or posts you might have online, any email correspondence, etc.
  • Be active in creating relationships online and demonstrating your experience and expertise through the information and advice you share. Above all, be helpful. Positioning yourself as a trusted source of information will serve you well!

Finally, be responsive! It’s not likely that you will be the only person someone is reaching out to. Whether looking for potential employees, consultants or vendors, chances are you’re one of a group of candidates being considered. Often the “prize” goes to the individual, or firm, that is first to respond. If nothing else, that responsiveness gives you a bit of an edge and the first opportunity to make a connection–hopefully one that will lead to a lasting relationship.

Recommended Reading:

How to Write a Killer LinkedIn Profile

The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success

 

 

 

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