6 reasons why you need to stay on LinkedIn

Even after  you get your next job.

It never fails. After my customers land a job, they immediately abandon LinkedIn like it’s the plague. I’m always glad when they land, but beforehand I tell them, “When you get your next job, don’t leave LinkedIn. You may need it in the future.”

I'm afraid my words fall on deaf ears, and I just don't get it. They use LinkedIn to get a job, but then give up on it. Don't they know the many benefits they'll derive from using LinkedIn when they're working? Apparently not.

Here are what I consider the five reasons why you need to stay on LinkedIn after you land your next job.

Develop Your Network Before You Need It

This is the first reason why you need to stay on LinkedIn, to accumulate more quality connections. Not only can they help you in the form of future possibilities, you can help them if they’re in the hunt.

I have to retract what I said above; some of my customers have been selfless in alerting others to positions in their new companies. That’s good networking.

The first time I meet my customers is usually when they're scrambling to build up their network. They're frantic because they have less than 100 connections, wondering why they're not getting any play. Keep this in mind, I advise them. Be smarter the next time.

Develop Your Reputation, Be Relevant

To build up your reputation, you want to come across as the authority in your industry. What better time to write posts on LinkedIn than when you’re getting back into the mix? One recruiter, Greg Savage, does an excellent job of building his thought leadership by posting relevant articles on LinkedIn.

A person who lands a project management job in medical devices can write about the development of these devices, where they’re of most value, how they benefit patients, etc. Not only is this person demonstrating her knowledge, she’s helping to sell her company’s product.

One of my connections works for a company that develops office management software. He starts a teaser on LinkedIn Publisher with a link to the company’s write-up of the product, which he wrote, by the way. This is a perfect way for him to gain exposure on LinkedIn, as well as sell his product line.

Continue To Learn

I bet one of the reasons why you landed your job is because of what you may have read or discussed on LinkedIn. For example, you may have read an article you found through one of your connections. Or you may have read an article on Pulse.

Maybe a discussion you participated in one of your groups prompted you to connect with the originator of the discussion, which led to a lead after your relationship was forged.

As I mentioned above, you should be increasing your thought leadership. So take advantage of what people in your industry write. LinkedIn is a great source of information. Take advantage of it.

One of my connections, Janet Wall, wrote: "Yes, LI is not only for job hunting, in fact I don't see it as the prime reason for LI. It is for learning, and I learn so much from my connections!"

Engage, Engage, Engage

Despite what you've been told, visiting LinkedIn four times a week ain't gonna do it. A minimum of once a day—or seven times a week—should be your level of engagement. You want to be seen, not forgotten. And don't only appear when/if you need to make a move. (Read my post on why you should engage on LinkedIn.)

Many people, including myself have written posts on how you can engage—and be remembered—with your connections. One post that I particularly like is 10 Status Updates for Job Seekers by Hannah Morgan. In it she gives LinkedIn members 12 ideas on how to share updates. Check it out!

But engagement doesn't stop there. You can send direct messages to your connections informing them of how you're doing—hopefully you're doing well. You can also use a feature called Keep in Touch, which lets you congratulate your connections on their work anniversaries, birthdays, new jobs, etc.

Enhance Your Company's Image

You are representing the company for which you now work; therefore, you must have a stellar profile. When people visit your company's LinkedIn page, they want to see profiles that impress them. See the profiles as if they're fine paintings in a museum.

This doesn't only apply to sales people. It applies to every function in the organization. People will have more faith in the company for which you work if the employees come across as competent accountants, recruiters, publish relation managers, technical trainers, and CEOs.

When your manager asks you, "Bob, why do you have such a well-developed LinkedIn profile?" as my manager once asked me, explain that your LinkedIn profile and engagement will only benefit the company. If your manager tells you to shut it down, you will realize you joined the wrong organization.

Pay it forward.

As I mentioned earlier, some of my customers get back to me with jobs that their companies are trying to fill. Some of these jobs are not yet posted; they're some of the 80% of hidden jobs. These are the best jobs!

Remember how you were helped during your job search. Maybe you were just alerted to a job that panned out, or someone delivered your resume to the hiring manager of your department. Don't you think it's time to return the favor to someone else?

Your work on LinkedIn is not over when you've landed your next job. See it as just beginning. See it as an investment. For all of my former customers who are secure in their employment, I am happy. I just ask that you prepare for your future.

Photo: Flickr, Trudie S

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