In January 2011, I was laid off from my job (3rd lay off I endured in a span of 6 years). I was a hard worker, exceeded my goals but had no control over downsizing. I made a decision to make a career change but I wasn’t sure even where or how to start!

The market was so competitive; I knew it was critical I find a way to STAND OUT! I’ve always heard “Network, Network”, “It’s who you know, etc.”, but I didn’t know how to network and didn’t have list of influential individuals to call. Little did I know, I was going to discover it’s not who you know, but who you GET to know.

I have always been encouraged to use ‘LinkedIn’, but I didn’t really understand it. But something caught my eye when I visited my small, lonely LinkedIn profile (33 connections). I continually saw activity from one of my connections, commenting on discussions, providing links, etc.

After emailing him, I discovered he was out of work as well and was working on making an impact online. His advice was to become active and visible online to show initiative and be seen.

This was my ‘Ah Ha’ moment and what kicked off my LinkedIn Social Media Job Campaign.

Rather than relying on job boards, I wanted to become ‘found’ instead. The goal was to create and unearth my personal brand to show a high producing, passionate, genuine business professional.

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It worked! I eventually got discovered and approached by companies, recruiters and others. I was networking! It didn’t happen overnight, but over a few months I applied the following:

  1. I started my own group on LinkedIn w/something I had passion (Personal Branding).
  2. I set a goal to reach 500+ connections to expand my network and reach.
  3. I joined relevant job groups, recruiting and staffing groups.
  4. I sent ‘personal’ invitations to group members and shared ideas.
  5. I started discussions, commented, provided links, and used my Status Box daily to show my activity (“Attending a LinkedIn webinar today at 1pm).
  6. Most importantly, I used my ‘Headline’ as my commercial. I was not a job description (Sales Rep). I was “Early Adopter of Innovative & Creative Ideas that Provide Solutions to Increase Business”

This is a snapshot of what I did to become ‘discoverable’. The most important takeaway I want to stress is to always give first before asking for help. Rather than connect with a recruiter “You have any openings?” you could ask to connect “Hi Bob, I would like to connect with you. I have a large network of connections and may be able to help you find a candidate”.

January 2011: 33 Connections = invisible and could not be found

January 2012: 2,000+ Connections and come up in searches an average 40 times/day!

Mark Lynch is the Business Development Manager at Thermodial. You can connect with him through LinkedIn. Pay it forward, give, offer help. It works and the givers win in the long run.

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