These days, a LinkedIn profile seems almost as obligatory as a resume. So why not use this tool to raise your own profile—with your own thought leadership?
It takes care, but experts say publishing your own pieces and comments on LinkedIn can be a great way to share your point of view and get noticed by potential employers and clients—not to mention colleagues and bosses. The average corporate job opening receives 250 applications, but posting content that demonstrates your expertise can make you stand out from the crowd. “If done well, using relevant topics and an authentic perspective, thought leadership can boost your personal brand and establish credibility,” says Val Olson, a career coach at Korn Ferry Advance. Another benefit, she adds, is that writing for the public forces you to sharpen your thinking and refine your voice.
But the operative words are “if done well.” Here are some tips:
Know what you want to achieve.
Leaders who want to raise their profile or ascend to the executive ranks are obvious candidates for using LinkedIn to share their ideas. But subject-matter experts, industry specialists, coaches, consultants, and people from underrepresented backgrounds can also use the platform to engage, empathize, and influence. In addition, anyone seeking a new job or a promotion within their company can use thought leadership to gain more visibility.
Choose your topics carefully.
It’s likely that your expertise centers on your own role and industry. “As long as the information isn’t confidential or too obvious, most topics are fair game. Search for popular keywords and hashtags in your industry, and use those as a jumping-off point,” says Ngee Key Chan, a career coach at Korn Ferry Advance. Including these keywords in the piece will also make it discoverable to more LinkedIn members.
A note: If you’re in a writing role at your company, what you’re paid to produce is the organization’s intellectual property. While it’s usually fine to share a link from your company’s website, make it clear that you wrote this piece as part of your job. Even better: tag your employer in the post. (Don’t pass off the content as yours alone—you could get into legal trouble.)
Loop in your stakeholders.
Whether or not you’re in the market for a new job, people at work might assume that your LinkedIn activity means you’re a flight risk. “Communicate your intentions to your primary stakeholders to reassure them,” Olson says. “Show them how your articles can help the company reach new potential clients.” Most likely, they’ll take note of your initiative and leadership.
Work on your writing.
No matter how much passion you have for the topic, mistake-ridden writing will undermine your credibility. Career experts say that everybody should ask someone to review their draft. Even the best writers need editors!
“If you don’t consider yourself a writer, this is a great upskilling opportunity,” Chan says. Take an online course, a class, or get some mentoring. Along with the thought leadership you post, your newly honed writing skills can help you achieve your goal of a promotion or a new job.