Yesterday I posted a Facebook status that went something a long the lines of this….
Shortly after posting, my inbox filled up with people asking me how to use LinkedIn as well as asking questions about the benefits I’ve gotten from using it. Most people seemed to not know how to use it, thought it was just an “adult version of Facebook”, had one but didn’t see the point in it, or had no idea what it was.
LinkedIn is a social media platform that is designed to connect people who work in the same industries or in overlapping industries. I like to think of it as what my resume’s social media page would look like. Many websites or job sites actually give you the option to upload your LinkedIn profile in place of a resume. Why does that matter? Read on.
If you’d like to connect with me on LinkedIn, please click this cute button here.
What are my favorite parts about LinkedIn that other social media sites don’t have?
- Endorsements – You list the skills you have. Mine are along the lines of Digital Photography, Photojournalism, Journalism, Social Media, Reporting, Writing, Film, InDesign and so on. When a connection sees your skills, they have the option to endorse you for them aka they agree that yes, you actually do have these skills. Once you build up your skills and connections, people will typically endorse you if you endorse them (obviously within reason, like if you actually know that the person you are endorsing does in fact know how to use Photoshop). Having several hundred endorsements from multiple people really shows that not only do you know your stuff but clearly you are known for knowing it as well. This is impressive and helpful when it comes to proving your credibility.
- Recommendations – Recommendations are exactly what it says: a place where people you’ve worked with can recommend you and give you a positive referral for future work. This comes in handy because since it is LinkedIn these recommendations come from other professionals in your field. Those other professionals also have LinkedIn profiles. If someone is browsing yours and they see that someone with some clout in your industry left you a glowing recommendation chances are a lot higher that you’ll get more work from it.
- Courses – This is a spot that gives you a place to name some courses that you’ve taken that are relevant to the industry you are seeking work in. When editors see these courses such as “multimedia” or “photojournalism” or “freelance writing”, they are going to see that you know your stuff! This adds more credibility to the section where you listed your skills. It’s almost like saying “I can do these things listed here BECAUSE I’ve taken these classes listed here.”
Recommendations, endorsements, courses – those are all really important things that are often left out of your typical resume. However, once you list everything then what?
JOIN GROUPS RELATED TO YOUR INDUSTRY!!!!
TALK. You guys, seriously, I can’t stress this enough. As a photojournalist I am currently in groups such as the NPPA (National Press Photographers Association), ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers), LinkedIn for Journalists, Towson University Alumni, and Photojournalism just to name a few. By posting my own content as well as starting conversations about the happenings in the industry, I’ve made my name familiar to people as well as introduced myself to fellow photographers, editors and reporters. Starting and facilitating dialogue about important issues in your industry as well as sharing your own content and the content of others shows that you are invested and that you care. This is valuable especially if you are a freelancer and you rely on word of mouth from editors and reporters to bag assignments.
POST YOUR WORK IN THESE GROUPS. START DIALOGUE WITH PEOPLE IN YOUR FIELD.
I used to constantly post in the NPPA group every few days. I’ve been slacking a bit but the idea stays the same. I often got great feedback from fellow PJ’s as well as assignment leads. Because of my constant posting I had editors from USA Today, LA Times, Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Business Journal, Baltimore Magazine, Buzzfeed, AP, etc view my profile. You can see who is viewing your profile, thats one of the neat things about LinkedIn – it tells you who is viewing you. Sometimes it will show up as anonymous but for the most part the people who matter won’t be anonymous. Many editors stare at screens all day. They are constantly at a computer or a laptop. LinkedIn is something they use, so why wouldn’t they see your content?
These tips can be used for ANY industry, not just Photojournalism. I hope this little post helps you better understand how beneficial having a LinkedIn profile that you maintain can be. If you use LinkedIn and have any suggestions to add, especially when it comes to Photojournalism, please leave them in the comments!