Emmelie De La Cruz, Founder of The Branding Muse, is the go-to expert for college students and young professionals who want to take control of their personal brand and thrive in the competitive job market. She loves tweeting so reach out: @Hermusings.
Thought leaders are trusted experts in a particular field or industry who constantly seek to educate themselves and others on the latest developments, trends and best practices that will add value to their communities and the general public. As a job seeker, becoming the go-to person in your industry will help ensure that you are always employed, whether it is by a company or for yourself. Lewis Howes said it best: “If you’re not a thought leader, there are a million other people who can do exactly what you do, and waiting in line to do it.” LinkedIn is the perfect avenue to begin developing your thought leadership and build trust and credibility with your community.
LinkedIn was previously a social network used strictly for job seekers. Today, it is a professional social network where employees, employers and job seekers alike can manage their contacts, make connections and uncover new opportunities. The site has grown into an information hub that delivers trending news in addition to showcasing your work and professional experience. There are different ways to harness the power of this platform to showcase your expertise, skill set and leadership.
1. Invest time in your profile.
You will want to provide some social proof that you are a leader in your field by completing your profile as thoroughly as possible. In addition to an accomplishment-based summary and job descriptions, you will want to make sure you complete your “Skills & Expertise” and “Honors & Awards” sections to help inform your profile visitors of your capabilities. Collect recommendations and endorsements from as many people that can speak to your work as possible.
2. Showcase your work.
As a job seeker, you want to use your LinkedIn as an extension of your online portfolio. LinkedIn allows you to connect your blog and SlideShare account to your profile, in addition to adding media for specific positions. Keep in mind that the platform is used by employers and brands to source for new talent. Thus, it will be important for them to find you and be impressed with the work you’ve done and information available. You should be sharing valuable content that is directly related to your industry across multiple platforms. This is where your personal brand and work examples come into play and should speak volumes about your capabilities and work ethic.
3. Share industry news and become a source of information.
Professionals love to read, find and engage with information constantly. Become a source of information by reading about the latest happenings in your industry and providing your own perspective on it with a short comment. Experts master content curation and spend some time each day collecting, organizing and sharing information within their area of expertise. LinkedIn Today is a section of the website you should visit that is designed for bringing your industry news to you. We have moved toward a knowledge economy where what you know and what you do with that knowledge is becoming increasingly important.
By using LinkedIn to build connections and create thought leadership, you are building and strengthening your online reputation. The key to successful networking and leadership development on LinkedIn is being forward thinking, an advocate and an active participant in your industry’s community. As a working professional, not taking advantage of this valuable resource to position you as a thought leader in your industry and niche can slow your progress. Your network and their perceptions of your skills and capabilities have a direct impact on your career.