PART 1: THE MINDSET
Each week I talk with senior-level executives about their career needs and invariably the subject of LinkedIn always comes up. The conversation usually goes like this:
Me: So, how is your LI profile? Do you get many job opportunities coming to you through LI?
Them: Honestly, my profile is just sitting there. I have a fairly good network, but I don’t really see much action from it, and don’t really know how to change that.
Them: As COO of a billion-dollar company, I often wonder what I should be doing on LinkedIn—if anything—being so highly visible.
To begin making decisions about LinkedIn you must first have a clear vision of your audience. Who is your audience? Let’s look at it this way: If there were no obstacles to your next ideal career position, and that position was located in a pond, what kind of fish would be in that pond? Those fish are your audience.
Are your fish private equity firms? Top retained executive search firms? Fortune 500 technology companies? Fast-growth, mid-market companies in the (fill in your blank) industry? Presidents of security technology firms? Maybe a combination of the above?
Do you want or need to stay in your geographical location? Then limit this list to your geographical preference (minus the recruiters and PE firms – they have holdings/clients all over and are not geographically tied to their own physical location).
You need to fish where the fish are, so get your driving motivators down—including your industries of choice—and make sure those industries are growing, stable, or at least not in decline!
Social networking (for business) is a very effective advertising medium that makes it easy for you to reverse engineer your job search by connecting to your audience. Initially your only interest should be in connecting with them. Nothing else. This is the first and most important step!
Why reverse engineer your search? Because if you make $250k and up per year, only 10% of open jobs at your level are posted on the Internet.* Most executives think, “Well, that is why I depend on recruiters.” But the other 90% of jobs at your level are not held by recruiters. MOST are filled BEFORE a company has to hire a recruiter to find you. Let’s let that sink in for a moment…
LinkedIn is a platform that helps you cut the middleman out in many cases and can put you in direct contact with a key decision maker. In other words, you can be the leader you ARE—even in your job search! And I know that is where you are most comfortable. LinkedIn allows you to retain your leadership role, and control your own personal job transition, many times without having to be at the mercy of a chain of predetermined screening events with built-in competition.
The Bottom Line
If you are a top executive, the name of the game is threefold:
- Connect with key players.
- Keyword optimize your profile so that when people find you and want to pitch job opportunities your way, your profile is already aligned with your greatest preferences.
- Use LinkedIn to develop thought leadership.