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12 Ways To Use LinkedIn Thought Leadership To Land Your Dream Role
July 7, 2020
Imagine you are a hiring manager trying to decide which candidate to call in for an interview.
You do the first thing all hiring managers do….. and pop over to their LinkedIn page.
Candidate #1: LinkedIn page checks out. No major red flags. You check out their LinkedIn “activity.” They’ve liked some posts and commented on a couple…. nothing stands out. Their summary states they are very knowledgeable on xyz topic. (You wonder if that is true? Are they knowledgeable on xyz topic?)
Candidate #2: The first thing you notice on their LinkedIn profile is their “Featured” section. It’s a mix of multi-media filled with original content related to the role they are targeting. You watch a 3 minute video they recorded on their perspective on how their department is faring with a current event. You read a LinkedIn article they wrote around xyz industry pain point and proposed solution. Next, you check out their LinkedIn activity. Even more posts, articles, videos, and documents posted on topics relevant to the role-at-hand.
“Dang!” you think. Candidate #2 is an EXPERT at this.
They SHOWED me (not TOLD me.)
Who do you think gets the call for the interview?
What Is A Thought Leader?
Forbes states, “A thought leader is an individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in its being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise.”
What Does This Have To Do With Job Seeking?
Companies look to hire industry experts and candidates specialized in their field. You want to SHOW them you are an expert (not just state that you are an expert on your resume.)
Thought Leadership positions you as the go-to expert (which will attract recruiters or hiring managers to you.) It becomes a part of your personal brand.
Thought Leadership is a conversation-starter. (You can share your content with key decision makers of target companies to get your foot in the door.)
Thought Leadership is a cherry on the sundae after an interview (Post-interview, you can send the hiring manager an article you wrote on a relevant topic that was discussed during the interview.)
12 Ways to Become A LinkedIn Thought Leader
1. Target Role Clarity
First of all, to spout off your thoughts on any ol’ topic will not serve you well for your job hunt.
That isn’t being a thought leader. That is being opinionated.
You need to have CLARITY on the type of role you are targeting.
Target role clarity allows you to position yourself as a specialist, not a generalist.
It is from this place that you can build your arsenal of thought leadership material to publish on LinkedIn.
2. Beginner’s Tip: Curate Content
If you are just getting started dipping your toe in the thought leadership pond, try first curating and sharing other people’s content.
Research articles pertaining to either your target industry, target department, or target role.
You can also set up google alerts for key terms and be notified as new articles get published.
Share these articles on Linkedin, but here’s the key.
Don’t just repost.
ADD to the conversation.
Share your unique perspective on the article when you post it.
Do you agree with the article? Why or why not?
Why do you feel this article is important?
What more would you like to add to the conversation?
If the article is about your target industry, relate it back to your target department/role.
If the article is about your target department/role, relate it back to your target industry.
You get the idea.
3. Practice Not Perfection
If you fret about saying the perfect thing in the perfect way…. You will never get started.
Take baby steps with the topics you share on LinkedIn.
Research, learn, read, share, repeat.
Set a goal to consistently share your thoughts, even once a week.
ACTION is what builds our confidence (not mulling over things in our brain.)
4. Pick Your Medium Of Choice
Once you’ve graduated from curating and re-sharing content, it’s time to create your own content.
Start creating content using the medium you feel most comfortable with.
If you feel best sharing your thoughts off the cuff, riff over a short video. Download the video directly to LinkedIn.
If you feel most comfortable processing your thoughts and then writing, share your thoughts over a blog. Use the LinkedIn Publisher feature to post an article on LinkedIn.
PS: It doesn’t always need to be a full-on article. The LinkedIn algorithm loves long-form posts (when you type your thoughts directly into the “Start a Post” prompt at the top of your LinkedIn page.) There are less characters available to use here than in LinkedIn Publisher, but you can still get your point across.
If you love to speak but feel awkward on camera, start a podcast. Share a link to your podcast on LinkedIn.
The point is, just START. And to make it easier on yourself, start where you feel the most comfortable. You can add new mediums over time as you gain confidence.
5. Pick Your Topics
As you start to mull over what topics to create content about, always keep your target role in mind.
Print out 6 different job postings for your target role job title.
Highlight what each posting has in common.
What requirements are common to most?
Level of expertise required?
What do they expect you to know coming into the role?
Create a list.
Now write about those things. Speak about those things. Showcase thought leadership that demonstrates you have the skills/requirements/expertise listed in those job postings.
Other content creation topic ideas include:
Connecting your target role/industry to current events happening in the world. (A recruiter might write about how candidate-seeking has been impacted by COVID, for example.)
Discussing pain points your target role/industry is experiencing AND a solve for said pain point.
Share a case study. Tell a story about a specific time that you solved a relevant pain point. Share the framework you used to solve it, the steps you took, and the quantifiable results you got.
6. The Content Creation Process
It’s tough for many to write “off the cuff” even in their area of expertise.
Be consistently reading, researching and setting up alerts on your topics of choice (so you have these thoughts floating around in your head.)
Saturday: Conduct research on the specific topic you want to write about. Create an outline of what you want to say. Think about your own unique perspective on this.
Sunday: Write draft one. You need a catchy headline and image for a LinkedIn article to stop their scroll. Try some storytelling to kick off your article and get the reader hooked.
Monday: Finalize your draft and save it on LinkedIn Publisher
Tuesday: Publish your article at a high-peak time on LinkedIn (with some relevant hashtags). If you have some close/trusted contacts, DM the article directly to them to drum up some engagement.
7. Get Quoted
Get quoted in other publications.
Check out HARO (helpareporter.com)
Sign up to receive daily emails on topics that journalists are writing about.
Scan for articles that relate to your target job and pitch the reporter your thoughts on it.
You may be quoted in an upcoming publication.
Once quoted, post a link the article on LinkedIn and call out your quote.
Pin this LinkedIn post in your ‘Featured” section at the top of your LinkedIn profile.
As you build up your arsenal here, you can add places you were quoted to your LinkedIn summary.
8. Use Slideshare
If you’ve recently given a presentation on a topic relevant to your target dream role, post your deck to Slideshare. LinkedIn SlideShare is a service for professional content including presentations, infographics, documents, and videos. Users can upload files privately or publicly in PowerPoint, Word, PDF, or OpenDocument format. This is another great way to share your expertise with your LinkedIn network and post on your LinkedIn profile.
9. Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
Be sure to share all your best pieces in the “Featured” section at the top of your LinkedIn profile so they don’t get lost in your LinkedIn feed.
10. Be In The Know
Don’t write about yesterday’s news. Stay ahead of the curve. Set up google alerts on your industry/departement keywords. Keep your eyes on trending topics. Join Associations, LinkedIn groups, and facebook groups that pertain to your industry or department. You want to get to a point where people go to you first when they want to know something in the industry.
11. Rally The Troops
When you share on a topic, how will you inspire people? Engage people? Relate the topic back to things people care about? Empower people to take action?
12. Be Different
You don’t have to be disruptive just for the sake of being disruptive. But when it comes to thought leadership, you do want to approach things from a new angle. Share new ideas or solutions.
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Betty Kempa, CPC, ELI-MP, is an executive career coach helping mid to senior-level corporate women transition out of unfulfilling jobs and into their dream careers.