So here we are, forced indoors with much more spare time and having to find more ways to spend it. We can’t really go outdoors. Many of us have been put on furlough, or worse still actually lost our jobs and our livelihood. Life can feel pretty grim. But what better at this moment, with all this spare time on our hands, to stand back from our daily routines and take the opportunity to review our professional lives and our online presence? With all of us spending more time at home than ever before, this could be a sign of things to come and increased “working from home” in the future.
Share your Lockdown experience!
Remember above all that LinkedIn is a professional platform. It’s not the place to post a #selfie with your dog (he may be cute but your line manager doesn’t need to see it), nor should you upload a TikTok of some dance you’ve been nominated in. However what you can do is keep engaged with your network and upload relevant and interesting content. This could be, “My Working From Home Diary”, this could be “A Lockdown Day In the Life Of.”, this could be a personal hint or tip for working from home. It doesn’t need to be anything too extravagant, just something that your followers or colleagues can engage in.
This is a time when, let’s be honest, none of us really know what we’re doing. And it’s okay to admit that! It’s okay to be open about being uncertain. Many people perceive this as being weak but that’s wrong; it’s okay and even encouraged to ask questions. Even posting something like “how are you coping with isolation?” or “how do I keep motivated during lockdown?”. You’ll probably find that lots of other people are in the same boat and asking the same questions. This not only keeps you engaged with your network but also something to keep your mind busy. You never know who might comment or contribute on your post and before you know it you’ve expanded your network without even leaving your living room.
Engage in discussions!
Even without posting original content yourself, we would encourage you to engage with other people, and find conversations or discussions that are relevant to you. LinkedIn actually re-introduced hashtags a few years ago, which makes searching for wider content easier (as you would do on Instagram or Twitter). Rather than wasting time scrolling endlessly through your news feeds it’s now much easier to find something relevant. So whatever kind of content you are interested in, there will be a hashtag that somebody else has started for the exact purpose of this, to engage with people like yourself.
There is so much out there right now. Mainly bad news, not enough good news, a lot of fake news. But national news features, trade and industry press of whatever sector you work or are interested in, has a lot of opinion pieces about the current crisis that we’re facing. Why not share some of those that you particularly enjoyed reading, or relate to? And please don’t forget to hashtag the themes of interest… Creating almost your own buzz around your network can be exciting, and as we’ve said, you never know who might be reading your page or looking out for content themselves.
Now the fact that you are reading this article in the first place is assuming that you already have a LinkedIn profile! If you don’t; well that would be a good starting point for spending some lockdown time. This is also a great time to enhance your existing profiles.
Photo. Make sure you’ve got a photo. A professional headshot is the best recommendation. If you don’t have one then get a friend or family (of course somebody you are locking down with) to take one against a plain white background. Selfies aren’t great as you can’t always capture the best angle. Depending on the image you want to portray and/or the culture of the job/industry you are in, an “action shot” may be appropriate. Either way, always remember that LinkedIn is a professional network, and as a general rule make sure your LinkedIn photos and Facebook photos are not the same.
Headline. The headline in LinkedIn is the tagline that will appear underneath your name and profile picture in a search, or if somebody clicks on your page. Most people do a job title (i.e. Development Manager at Company X) or if still studying then degree details (i.e. Postgraduate Marketing Student at University XYZ). You could also add something that you’re looking for- ‘Undergraduate Student looking for opportunities in Fashion Industry’, for example. To an employer this shows ambition and willingness. During the Covid-crisis, people are even being more creative, with headlines such as ‘2020 not going to plan but thinking positively towards new opportunities!’ . Just keep it clean, simple, and not too OTT or cheesy.
Extra-curricular courses or projects. Although obviously jobs and qualifications are always important and should be highlighted, employers look for things beyond “the norm”. What professional bodies are you part of? What extra courses have you done? What blogs or discussions do you contribute to? Make sure you’ve got the extra bits on there that might make you stand out. And although it might sound obvious- if you’ve done all of the above and haven’t yet written it on your page- get on it!
Nail your virtual interviews!
Be honest; how many of you have used or even heard of Zoom or Microsoft Teams before this crisis? It’s now the new norm! Here’s just a couple of ideas to make these easier: Give yourself time. If you have a 10:00 meeting, do not save it until 9:55 to log-on. You wouldn’t turn up for a face-to-face meeting with 5 minutes to spare, so don’t do the same online.
- Check the technology. Make sure you know how Zoom or Skype works, whatever you’re using, and that you have all the details to hand of the meeting you are going to join. Make sure your Wifi is working properly!
- Dress professionally. Take the approach that you are meeting in person- if you would normally wear a suit to a meeting, do so at home. Be sensible and professional.
- Background. Social media at the moment seems to be full of politician’s and celebrities’ bookcases and kitchens. Choose a room in your house or apartment that’s “professionally appropriate” and secure from potential distractions. Also secure your device (ipad/phone/laptop) so you don’t have to hold it throughout.
- Relax! Maybe easier said than done, but at the end of the day employers are humans and just want to see your human side too. Be confident in your abilities without being cocky. Enjoy it!
All in all, this is no doubt a time to refresh, switch off more than you have ever been able to, and reflect. At the same time, keep your own mind active, keep your professional head on and aim to be 100% LinkedIn and Business-ready to grab your dream job after Lockdown!