With more than 500 million users, you likely know what LinkedIn is and have a profile on the site. Unfortunately, many users of the platform feel a sense of unease about it. For good reason. Unlike other social media sites, this one showcases your professional identity. Which means, if you don't feel good about how you appear on LinkedIn, your career confidence can suffer. Twitter is timely. Facebook is fun. LinkedIn is your life. Mess up your professional reputation, and your career (and finances!) could suffer.
Like all social media sites, the way we use LinkedIn is evolving
As adoption of LinkedIn continues, we find ourselves having to update how we use the platform. In 2018, three key activities can make it easier for you to build your reputation and network on the platform. Of these three, one stands out not only as the easiest, but also as the most important. As the No. 1 online professional network, LinkedIn also happens to be where thousands of recruiters are actively searching for their next great hire. And even if you love your job and can't imagine leaving, there's one thing I would tell every LinkedIn user to do in 2018.
A market correction is coming. Don't be LinkedOUT when it hits
While we can't predict when, history does prove that in the near future, a market correction is coming. Millions of jobs will be lost. Many by people who didn't see it coming. That's not the time to focus on updating your LinkedIn profile and building your network. The time is now. And there's a simple toggle switch in LinkedIn's settings that you should flip on that can make this a whole lot easier.
Let recruiters know you're open to an initial discussion
If you go to the privacy settings in LinkedIn, you'll find in the job-seeking section a place where you can "Let recruiters know you're open to new opportunities." It even lets you update your career interests. This privately flags to recruiters that you'd be willing to respond to their outreach on the platform. Why do this? It's an opportunity for you to start to build relationships with companies that you may want to work for in the future. Having that initial conversation can help you determine if the company is a fit for you. Then you can follow up in the future if a time comes when you are ready to change positions -- either voluntarily or involuntarily. That will help you jump-start the hiring process.
Today, EVERY job is temporary
It's naive to think you can have your job for as long as you want it. Gone are the days of 20 years of job security in exchange for loyalty. That's why sites like LinkedIn exist. We're no longer employees. We're businesses-of-one who provide services. And, like all businesses, we must build and market value consistently to ensure we stay in business (a.k.a. have a job when we want it). Letting employers know you're open to opportunities is the smartest and easiest way to generate leads on future job opportunities for your business-of-one.
Think of it this way: When a company puts all its eggs in one basket and only services one client, it leaves itself vulnerable
If a company loses its only client, it's out of business. We've all heard stories like this before. Yet millions of workers do the same thing. They keep their heads down and do their jobs, and then they are shocked when circumstances suddenly change and they're out of work with no immediate prospects. In 2018, you can avoid this. You can start with that little switch in LinkedIn.