I’ve been on LinkedIn for about 10 years, but I’ll admit I probably haven’t utilized it the way I should. After reading an article recently on how LinkedIn has changed its algorithms and how it can be beneficial for career advancement, I decided to take another look at the platform, which is essentially a social network that focuses on professional networking and career development.
You may be thinking, “I don’t use LinkedIn, and I don’t see how it could help me in my writing/editing career.” However, you should realize that LinkedIn is an easy way to showcase your experience and skills and help you make connections in the industry that you may not be aware are out there.
Here are a few examples of ways I’ve been using LinkedIn in the past few months.
First, I made sure I had my most recent headshot uploaded and my details (what industry I’m in, the area in which I live, my website linked, etc.) Second, I updated my headline with my new job title and fixed the dates on when I left my last job because it looked like I still worked there. Then I began engaging more with my connections by liking or commenting on posts or articles they shared, and posting more content related to my writing and editing platform. When I write a blog post I think my network would like, either here or on my own blog, I share it. I also utilize the new hashtag feature available at LinkedIn to try and get more eyes on it. The new analytics LinkedIn is using shows me how many views each post I create gets.
As a magazine editor, I’ve discovered even more ways to use LinkedIn to my advantage. When I created a list of contributor’s guidelines for the magazine I work for, I shared the page in my LinkedIn feed. That post had 272 views—far more than any other post I’ve shared. And within a week of sharing, I had legitimate inquiries from new local writers and a few solid pitches from businesses for profile stories.
Here are a few tips as you navigate your way through the platform:
Make sure you have the most-up-to-date information on your profile, including a professional-looking headshot against a solid background. My headline was easy to come up with, as I have a specific title at a magazine. But if you are in the freelance space, consider using titles like Podcaster, Freelance Writer, Content Creator, Marketing Strategist, Blogger or Storyteller at (places you blog), Author of (name of your book), etc. Your profile should be as complete as possible. Fill in your list of skills and accomplishments and interests. Think about what you would want a future employer, publisher or collaborator to know about you, and don’t be afraid to show off your copywriting skills.
And last but not least, don’t just use LinkedIn when you’re looking for a job or writing opportunities. Take time to regularly look through your feed, like or comment posts from your network connections, and share your own blog posts and other work. You never know when you’ll make an impression on a future employer, potential business partner or editor.
Want even more tips on how you can use LinkedIn to enhance your writing career? Carol Tice wrote a great post on this topic at The Write Life.