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Launch Your Career on LinkedIn
by Bruce Kasanoff
If you are a recent or soon-to-be college graduate, the odds are high that your preferred social media channels are NOT the ones you will need to power your new career.
My guess is that you haven't been spending your time on campus using LinkedIn to trade ideas with your friends, or posting decks on SlideShare to attract a following... but these are fantastic tools for finding a job and growing your career.
Here are a few ways to get started:
1.) Be clear and focused. Create - or update - a LinkedIn profile that makes it clear who you are and what you do best. Follow the five practical steps I include in my article, Why Social Media Is Better Than a Personal Letter:
Pick ONE focus for each of your social media profiles
Pick short, powerful phrases to describe yourself
Add a powerful summary
Invest in a great picture
Connect online with your most valuable professional contacts
2.) Don't look for a job! Paradoxically, the best way to find a job is not to look for a job, but instead to look for ways to help others. I practice Kindness First, which means the first thing I do every day is to help others, by sharing their content, introducing them to others, or giving them free advice.
Use LinkedIn and SlideShare to demonstrate your expertise in a helpful manner. This both means adding comments to existing content, and also uploading your own content.
3.) Don't sell yourself short. You're not a "kid" just starting out, but rather a smart and curious adult who just spent four years focused on intellectual growth. Do you have any idea how valuable this is to professionals who no longer have this luxury? You've been able to amass fresh ideas from a diverse range of subjects; now translate this knowledge into insights that others can leverage.
4.) Be persistent! If my math is right, I'm one of the most prolific writers out of LinkedIn's 500 million members. My first posts competed against those from Richard Branson and President Obama; mine received .00001% of the readers theirs did. But I have an advantage! They have big jobs, and I do not.
I kept writing while they focused on making a billion dollars and being the Leader of the Free World, respectively. You have the same advantage. Don't just create a few pieces online. Post a few pieces every single week.
5.) Never stop tinkering. In October, I uploaded a SlideShare called How to See the Light in Others (see below), and wasn't satisfied with how it was doing. Over the first week, I changed that SlideShare five times (here's how). Today, it has over 2 million views. Keep improving your work until it gets the results you want.
6.) All it takes is ONE. You don't need to attract 10,000 followers. You don't need to be famous. All you need do is use LinkedIn and SlideShare to attract ONE person or company who provides the perfect opportunity for you. Focus on quality, not quantity. Attract the right kind of people with ideas that matter to you. Say what you want, not what you think others want to hear.