Ask the Headhunter: Will publishing on LinkedIn make me look like an expert?
In this special Making Sense edition of Ask The Headhunter, Nick shares insider advice and contrarian methods about winning and keeping the right job, on one condition: that you, dear Making Sense reader, send Nick your questions about your personal challenges with job hunting, interviewing, networking, resumes, job boards or salary negotiations. No guarantees — just a promise to do his best to offer useful advice.
Question: In your previous postings, you mention that LinkedIn is a poor medium for applying to companies. (See “Is LinkedIn Cheating Employers and Job Seekers Alike?”) At the same time, building one’s reputation as an expert in their profession is a big competitive advantage while finding a professional home.
Is LinkedIn an appropriate and productive medium to build one’s professional “brand” by publishing articles and making intelligent comments? Or do you recommend other mediums for this purpose?
By the way, after reading your articles, I will never search for work like one of the “herd” again. The headhunter tactics that you talk about are very similar to what a consultative seller does: Ask a bunch of questions to key stakeholders, observe, design a solution and present why it is the right solution for them. Thank you.
Nick Corcodilos: What I teach about job hunting is very similar to how good consultants sell their services — it’s all about the client, not me. If I don’t have a dead-on relevant solution for the employer, I have no business in the job interview. A job seeker, like a consultant looking for a project, needs to walk into the employer’s office with a proposal that focuses on the problems and challenges that particular manager is facing. Job interviews fail when the applicant talks primarily about herself and about her history. What gets you hired is proof that you understand the employer — and that you have a plan to help the business. My compliments on how you interview.
On to your main question. I think LinkedIn has become a corrupt publishing platform because it reaches for quantity over quality and sells the idea that anyone can be an expert. Again and again my readers send me “expert articles” published on LinkedIn that are so blatantly self-promotional that it’s embarrassing — even articles by famous people (that seem to be ghost written).
It seems to me that LinkedIn does not vet any of this stuff, and if it does, it needs better editors! Most of the articles I see on LinkedIn are fluff and PR. The entire purpose of LinkedIn’s publishing platform seems to be building its page count and driving comments – not to create an expert arena.
Having said that, I think it’s critical to establish a strong reputation for expertise – but do it in venues where a professional community congregates to learn and to share ideas. I like vertical publications more than general platforms. For example, I write a weekly feature for CMO.com – it’s where marketing executives congregate. I think it’s harder to get an article published there than on LinkedIn because CMO.com (and other such professional hubs) have a strong vetting process – and that’s good. It keeps the standard high, and it earns you a meaningful reputation if you’re the writer.
But you can publish more easily on many other professional forums – even in the comments sections. What people find hard to accept is that you can’t just submit or post a piece now and then and expect results. You have to participate long-term and be an active member of a professional community. There is no easy way to a great reputation. It grows from posting good stuff and from being a “regular.” (For some tips about building a solid reputation, see “Branding yourself suggests you’re clueless.”)
Find niche sites where others in your field gather to talk. Publish there. That’s my two bits. I think LinkedIn has become the fish wrap of the Internet.
Dear Readers: How do you promote your expertise? Do you find LinkedIn to be a credible “expert forum?” What online venues do you use to demonstrate your acumen?
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