If you’re reading this article, chances are good that you’re not currently in the market for a job. Maybe you’ve just started a new business venture or maybe you’ve decided to take some time off from the 9-to-5 grind. Whatever your situation may be, it doesn’t mean that you can’t use LinkedIn to help grow your career and expand your network. In fact, there are many benefits of having a LinkedIn profile if you’re not looking for a job right now. If you’re interested in learning more about this platform as it relates to staying employed while not being employed, read on for some helpful tips.
Networking isn’t just a thing you do when you’re looking for your next job. Business owners, the employed and the upwardly mobile can all benefit from being around peers and finding new connections. Networking has long been a staple activity of growing one’s career. The concept is simple: you meet new people in your industry, and through a combination of conversation and free professional advice, you establish connections that can help your career. The benefit of networking is that it’s a two-way street. While you’re expanding and strengthening your connections, you’re also strengthening the connections between your connections. This is important because it means that these connections can open doors for you in the future.
My own personal experience of networking began when I attended a young IT professionals networking group in Sydney back in the 90s. I was invited to attend by someone else who regularly attended. I met some new people, one of whom was a recruiter for IT roles. Within 3 weeks I had a higher-paying job at another company. Networking has been at the centre of my business activities since 2016 when I was introduced to a BNI networking group. Even though there is no BNI in my city now, I am still a very big fan of the network and some 5 years after I had to leave the network I still get referrals and new work from it.
So networking is still a big deal. Doing it on LinkedIn by connecting with like-minded people and joining in their online conversations acts as a virtual network that isn’t limited by geography.
Staying up to date on industry news and events
For many people, part of networking is staying up to date on the happenings in your industry. If you’re not actively working in the field, it’s easy to fall out of the loop, especially if you’re not actively looking to get back into the field. Luckily, you don’t have to go through a full job search to stay up to date on what’s happening in your industry. You can join LinkedIn groups to keep up to date on industry news and events. You can also follow industry leaders, companies, and publications on LinkedIn to stay up to date on recent events. This will help you stay in the loop and make sure that you’re on the right path when it comes time to get back into the workforce.
I don’t currently work in broadcasting, but I used to. So I have an interest in the industry even though I never have any intention of working in the sector again. But a large proportion of my network on LinkedIn and a whole lot of my connections on other networks are from that industry. I had 13.5 years in that industry to make friends, lifetime professional connections and memories. Knowing about that industry and its changes, movements and technology helps me to remain connected to those people in a meaningful way.
Learning About Your Field
Another great reason to have a LinkedIn profile is to use it as a platform for learning about your field. There are several ways you can do this. First, you can follow relevant publications and experts on LinkedIn. This will help you keep up to date with the latest developments in your industry and provide you with a great resource for keeping up to date on your desired field. Another way you can use your LinkedIn profile to learn about your field is by joining groups. LinkedIn groups are a great place to ask questions and get advice from people in your industry. You can also contribute to the discussions happening in these groups and help other people out.
Why is learning more about the field that you’re already in so important? Because the more you know, the better you perform and the better you perform the more valuable you are. It’s not something you do to win bragging rights. It’s something you do to be more useful and more effective.
Boosting your resume with certifications and courses
Another great way to use your LinkedIn profile if you’re not currently looking for a job is to showcase the skills you have right now. Whether you’ve taken courses or are certified in a certain field, you can use LinkedIn to showcase those skills and help boost your resume. If you’ve taken a course or certification, you can add that information to your profile. If you’ve completed a course, you can ask your school if they have a partnership with LinkedIn. Once the course is verified, you’ll be able to add the information to your LinkedIn profile. If you’re currently enrolled in a course or plan on taking a course soon, you can use your LinkedIn profile to showcase the skills you’re learning. You can also add the date that you plan on completing the course, which will help you showcase your future skills as well.
I’ve committed to doing a new course every month. It’s just part of my month now to do more courses, even small ones. And not all of them are to do with what I sell or the services I provide. Sometimes I do a mini-course just to learn something new about another industry. It’s not just that it looks good on my LinkedIn certifications. It’s that it means I have more conversation points about the industries that my clients operate in.
Showcasing the skills you have right now
If you’re not currently working right now but have a skill set that you’ve developed over time, you can use your LinkedIn profile to showcase those skills and help you find a job when the time comes. For example, if you’ve spent the last 10 years working as a marketing manager, but you’ve taken some time off from the 9-to-5 grind to start a new business venture, you can use your LinkedIn profile to showcase the skills you developed in that position. This can help you find a job when you’re ready to get back into the workforce.
If you are wanting to move from a government administration job to a work-from-home digital marketing business of your own, you don’t do it by showing what an expert you are in administration. You do it by showing your digital marketing skills, knowledge and experience.
Increasing your reputation within your industry
Another great benefit of having a LinkedIn profile, even if you’re not currently looking for a job, is that you can use it to increase your reputation within your industry. There are several ways you can do this. First, you can join groups within your industry and contribute to the discussions happening in those groups. This will help you get your name out there and make industry connections that can help your reputation. Another way you can use your LinkedIn profile to increase your reputation is by joining campaigns. LinkedIn has many campaigns that you can join, such as the Women at Work campaign, which was formed to help close the gender pay gap. Joining campaigns will help you become more involved in your industry and help you increase your reputation even more.
I personally don’t participate in LinkedIn Groups as I have found them to be massive pitch-fests of people from the industry as everyone else scrambling to get work from the few people in the group who aren’t in the industry. It’s a hot mess. I prefer to create a bit of a community around the people who follow me by asking them for opinions, including them in my experiments and sharing my struggles, not just my highlights.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are many benefits of having a LinkedIn profile if you’re not looking for a job right now. While there are some differences between having a profile when you’re employed and when you’re not employed — i.e. you’ll want to make sure to tailor your profile so that it highlights your skills in a way that makes it clear that you’re not looking for work — having a profile is still a great way to network and stay connected with others in your industry.
Dante St James is the founder of Clickstarter, a Meta Certified Lead Trainer, a Community Trainer with Meta Australia, a digital advisor with Business Station, an accredited Digital Solutions advisor and presenter, and the editor at The Small Marketer. You can watch free 1-hour webinars and grow your digital skills at Dante’s YouTube Channel.
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