Last week, I advised students at Brigham Young University-Idaho to tear up their resumes and focus on their LinkedIn profiles. The same advice applies to in-person holiday networking which may take another year or two to return to pre-pandemic levels of opportunity. So, devote the hours you might otherwise have spent at a social event this year to expand your LinkedIn presence.
Several past posts here discuss the importance of using the holidays to expand your personal networks. Unfortunately, very few in-person events took place over the past 20 months. Although these events have begun to slowly return, many of us are being cautiously selective about attending events unless we’re confident about the health and vaccination status of all attendees.
Although we desperately want to get back to “normal,” the pandemic still rages, especially among non-vaccinated individuals. One of my neighbors who I haven’t seen in months died from COVID-19 this past week, while her husband also is gravely ill. Another un-vaccinated neighbor is ill after contracting the disease from his brother who bought a new car from a dealership that has been hit hard by the virus. #MaskUp
I guess there is a triple purpose to this post: (1) Get vaccinated, (2) Be selective about social encounters, and (3) Expand your virtual networking. I won’t preach further about the importance of vaccinations. Instead, I’ll stick to the focus of this blog and simply share some of the tips discussed with Dr. Susan Walton’s students at BYU-I:
Build Your LinkedIn Profile – Include a professional-quality headshot, create a powerful heading, profile summary and position descriptions (with measurable achievements)
Expand Your Network – Start with classmates or business colleagues and who they know.
Personalize Linked Connection Requests – Always include a personal message; never use the generic request.
Engage – Like and comment on LinkedIn posts of your connections. Expand next to your own career-focused commentary.
Join LinkedIn Groups – Great way to expand your network since others in the group will start following you.
Follow Favorite Brands – Follow organizations where you might like to work. One of my former students landed was contacted about a potential job that wasn’t posted on the agency’s website. They used LinkedIn to find people with desired skill sets and noted he followed their firm.
Set LinkedIn Goals – Set a goal of 500+ connections and continue building throughout your career. Same for engagement, start out with a goal to engage at least once a week by liking and commenting on posts of your connections. At least every quarter, review and update your profile.