If you are on a job hunt and you do not create content you are missing big time. The beauty of LinkedIn is its organic reach. It’s crazy how many people will see your content if you post quality content consistently.
This is what my friend Fanny Dunagan says about content creation:
“The beauty of content creation is that people know you before they met you.”
And being known is exactly what you want. It’s rather obvious — if you want hiring managers & recruiters to talk to you they should be able to discover you. And the more they like what they see, the higher is the chance that they will pick up the phone to call you.
I’ll share a different perspective with you. The hiring managers I’ve met all say unanimously, “If there are 2 strong candidates with a similar skillset in the final round, and one has a strong LinkedIn presence and the other doesn’t, the choice is obvious — their personal brand is a strong differentiator.”
But why it is so important to have a strong LinkedIn game?
Here is my take on possible reasons.
• Thought leadership.
You can’t create a strong brand on LI without sharing your thoughts. And obviously, you can’t share thoughts if you don’t have any. Why?
Because what is thought leadership essentially?
Thought leadership is an ability to influence others by providing valuable insight.
Insight requires depth. It requires experience and a lot of deep thinking about the implications of that experience. And to provide value, the insight must increase personal effectiveness in life.
We all have our individual “mind-maps” that we use to navigate through life — our culture, our beliefs, our individual experiences, and life lessons — everything assembles together in a body of knowledge that serves us a sextant that we use to sail through the sea of life. But at one point in time everyone should realize this:
The map is not the territory.
What you believe to be true is not the ultimate reality. You are using your own map and just do the best you can with what you have. Others do the same.
However, if you share your discoveries, if you openly talk about your toolbox and strategies that help you progress through life, you just might find yourself in a position of authority. The coordinates that you share allow others to follow your steps and see for themselves if what they find upgrades their map to a better version. And then where is following, there is leadership. And where is leadership, there is an opportunity.
• Social capital.
Your network matters. If you are well-connected in your industry and you are under consideration, trust me, the hiring team knows how to appreciate the fact that by hiring you they expand their reach and potentially inject new social capital into their business.
For them, your every connection is an opportunity to grow, especially if you are in Sales/Marketing/Recruitment.
• Champion the message.
A strong personal brand is a vessel for a company brand. If you have a substantial following and impeccable reputation your brand will serve as an enforcer of the employer brand.
The more powerful is your voice on LinkedIn, the stronger is your gravity that draws people to you. A smart employer would always be happy to leverage that.
• Community engagement.
Employer branding is an issue for many companies out there. What worked before doesn’t work anymore. You can’t go out there and talk to people or organize events.
Now, when LinkedIn became a new community, businesses need people who can serve as brand ambassadors — have a public image, engage people, spread awareness, and by doing all that drive business.
• Transparency & Confidence.
Those who create content on LinkedIn made a conscious decision to expose themselves.
People do it for various reasons. Some do it for fame and to please their ego. Some do it to drive business or potential monetization. Some are on a mission and just can’t live any other way but to serve others.
Regardless, putting yourself out there takes courage. And this is a quality all hiring managers want to see in their employees because courage is a prerequisite for bias to action.
Those who chose to be public send a message about their transparency, “Here I am. I have nothing to hide. I am not perfect but I have embraced my imperfections. I might not be the most confident person in the world but I choose to be on this path of confidence — to put myself out there, to deal with judgment, and to grow in the process. I am not know-it-all, but I am on a journey of learning something new every day and that’s what I want to share.”
Remember, many hiring managers are not just hiring for performance. They are hiring for attitude. And if this attitude is not a great hire material, then I don’t know what is.
So why do I say that Content is the King?
Hiring is hard. First, you have a resume that tells you very little about the candidate. Second, you have 1 hour to discern if the person in front of you is the right fit for the job.
However, hiring is much easier when the candidate in question facilitates your research on him by revealing the contents of his mind on LinkedIn.
Remember, hiring managers always think in terms of risk. The cost of hiring a wrong person can be devastating — revenue-wise firing that wrong person when it is too late might cost them 1–2 annual salaries of that person, but attitude-wise a toxic hire can undermine the performance of the whole department.
The more information is available to hiring managers the higher is their capacity to minimize that risk. Your job is to provide that information.
Austin Belcak (love his work 👍) speaks a lot about the concept of the Value Validation Project (VVP). The idea is that you put together a deliverable that you create for free for the employer to grab their attention.
For example, a content marketing professional can create a piece of content, a coder can write a program to showcase his skills, a graphic designer can make a brochure. For most of us, the VVP can be as simple as a video-recording of a Powerpoint presentation in which you present yourself, talk about your most significant achievements, and pitch a problem/solution for the employer (you can make one with Loom).
But interestingly, and it just recently clicked in my mind, your content on LinkedIn can be your VVP.
- If you are an expert in a certain field blog about it and the subject-matter experts on the hiring team will be able to see through your content and gauge the depth of your expertise.
- If you are a strong communicator (or aspire to be one), make videos on LinkedIn and showcase your presentation skills.
- If the hiring team will see that people listen to you, that will validate your thought leadership and persuasion skills.
No one is born a creator but everyone is born creative. I encourage you to tap into your innate creativity and explore it. See where it leads you, help people on that path, and you won’t notice how naturally you will create a strong differentiator for yourself that might make the difference in your career path just when it is needed.