Why career executives must stop lurking on LinkedIn

This blog discusses  why  career executives must stop lurking on LinkedIn.  I look at why engaging is important, what stops many contributing and how to comment and engage with gravitas.. 

But first up – are you  one of the millions lurking, browsing content regularly, keeping quiet &/or hesitant to engage on LinkedIn?

Well you would not be alone.  In fact, you are in the majority of career executives and highly experienced professionals on the platform.   And that can and does result in a loss of career opportunities and conversations.

Engaging publicly is not about an occasional Like, Love or Celebrate reaction – it’s about commenting on content with intent and purpose.

Building broader awareness and resonance of your career profile, expertise. personality and value is essential for professionals and executives with years and decades of experience.  We cannot know who we don’t know!

But few engage, or do so consistently or well. And often they crank it up only when the proverbial shit hits the fan and they are forced onto the job search highway.

And in 2023 there were plenty of redundancies, downsizing and a host of other unexpected situations blindsiding thousands of great men and women impacting their job activities in 2024. It will be a competitive year.

For career executives and professionals, whether on the job hunt or happy little vegemite’s in their current role, LinkedIn should be viewed as an insurance policy.

Waiting until you urgently need career visibility can lead to knee jerk and less that optimal actions, often with an aura of  LinkedIn desperation which thwarts creativity.

AWARENESS & RESONANCE

Awareness is not just about introducing yourself to new networks and potential employers.  It’s also about reminding those who have known you in the past that you are still in the game of life and work.

Out of site out of mind is a truism & mantra which can never be understated

Building clever awareness of your expertise and opinions also goes a long way to squash any industry negativity.   Make no mistake there is a lot of industry bias and especially in the public sectors.

Building awareness with adroit contributions can also help break down industry perceptions.  Experiencing people differently can have a real positive influence. 

And resonance is about building a sense of mutual compatibility, attitudes and objectives.  This creates the reaction of ‘That persons seems really great – I would like to know more about them’.

It is also a network affirming outcome that goes well above the standard clichés of ‘know, like & trust’ (KLT).

And KLT is a whole other  blog topic as I disagree with the over and mis-use of it. Building resonance is the tool that encourages conversations.

So the value of commenting on relevant posts is to build awareness, re-ignite and explore and share common ground.  And that is where the gold happens on LinkedIn.

I can tell you that I have had so many enquiries and new clients over the years as a result of members resonating deeply with my comments.  And my career job search clients have been blown away with the powerful results.

One client had created a real opportunity to publish their expertise in a publication, another was asked to contribute to a conference and so many others had messages and ongoing conversations for current and future roles.

WHAT IS HOLDING YOU BACK?

It’s not just what you do or don’t do that matters but why. 

What drives your decisions, inactivity or actions?   Are they serving your career profile and job search goals well in the short and long term?

Even the most erudite and accomplished professional or executive can be fearful of looking like a twat, being misjudged or trolled by their comments and engagement.  Or they can be concerned it sends a signal to their current employer that they are hunting around.

Or they can feel they have nothing valuable to offer.  And then there is the excuse (and rest assure it is an excuse) for a lack of time. ‘

All of the above are excuses which you are telling and convincing yourself on.  So let’s address them broadly.

Engaging on relevant content is a low to no risk activity and should not be a concern to alert employers.   Not a good idea though to comment on direct competitors posts though.

As for looking like a twat, well if you are holding a senior and executive job you would already be engaging in emails, workshops and other communications. Everyone can feel trepidation (ok even I can at times be a little concerned too).

Approach engagement knowing you matter, have something to add & everyone is human

COMMENTING WITH GRAVITAS

First of all before you start commenting and building awareness and resonance ensure you have a profile of gravitas, intrigue and influence.

Then dive in by focussing on circa 90% of your comments and engagement in your own lane of professional knowledge, industry, values and communities.

You must be very mindful of how your name is perceived and what you put your name to.  No debate there at all. Discernment and courage is the combination to aim.

If you are hesitant to join in social issues posts that is perfectly ok to keep away from them.  Follow your conscience and fine and I recommend you don’t.

In by blog Why leaders must step up with gravitas on LinkedIn   I discussed the broad elements of gravitas as encompassing: 

Every comment should contain at least 2 of the above elements in your natural voice and tone.  If you are a serious sombre type, don’t try and be funny and witty. And vice versa. After all your vibe attracts your tribe.

But don’t underestimate the power of having some fun too which is part of charisma. Genuine warmth and care is certainly an incredible benefit of LinkedIn community.

Resonance is entwined and aligned with being your genuine self.  It’s who someone would meet in the flesh, or on zoom.

And if you disagree or feel anger with a post or content and feel compelled to comment, do so with respect and critical thinking.  Your reputation in comments will follow you I promise.

Build up others where relevant and appropriate. Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo with critical analysis and evidence.

But personal attacks, vitriol and nastiness is never ok – ever!

And for the love of good coffee and champagne, NEVER just comment just 2 or 3 words. Great post or thanks for sharing never cuts it.

Not only does it appear lazy or you are part of engagement pods it doesn’t encourage conversation let alone add any depth to your career brand.

Demonstrate you have read a post by referring to it with context.  It also shows your attention to detail (which is a big career tick).

How often should you comment and engage?  There is no one size fits all, but if you are planning to move careers or are not working, do so every day multiple times with gravitas and forethought. But in general terms, aim for consistency each week.

Important Footnote re AI :

Minimise or never use AI or commenting apps to write your comments. .  You risk losing trust and looking lazy.  And it’s so obvious AI was used with cheesy structured vanilla formats and banal structures.

Read more about the pitfalls of using AI commenting apps in my article in Lawyers Weekly.

TIP – BE BOTH PROACTIVE & REACTIVE

The power of engagement in the executive and professional job search highway is 2-fold – Proactive & Reactive.

Your Newsfeed and Notifications are a result of a range of algorithm factors – your connections, who you follow, engage with and the interplay of a range of other trigger points

Commenting on relevant content and posts in your Newsfeed is what I call “Reactive engagement’. It gives opportunities that fall into your eyeballs

Remember that you will only see circa 10% of your networks posts in your Newsfeed. So be mindful to write and keep a list of the top people you don’t want to miss (ring their Bell etc).

Engaging on your networks content is a powerful way to keep your name and value front of mind. So it’s part of the insurance policy mindset.

But Proactive engagement is search based LinkedIn activities.

This is where the magic can really happen. Many clients who spent time with this strategy created new opportunity discussions.

How to start?

1/  Search the management and stakeholders of organisations you would like to work for or network with who you are not connected with.

2/  Seek out niche recruiters and head hunters in the sectors you are in or wish to transition into.

3/  Locate relevant content from them to engage with.   This will open the doors for a response back and potential to connect further.

 COURAGE OR COMFORT

I do love the wisdom of Brené Brown and her mantra:

 

Please choose courage in 2024 and stop lurking and hiding away.   I promise that you will thank yourself (and me) in the short and long term.  And so will others who become aware of you and your value.

If you are seeking help in doing this and other executive  job search coaching strategies do get in touch.

Full details of my services here including a 90 minute action packed coaching session.

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