I am not a writer, nor have I ever had much interest in writing. Yet I post here, and I post articles to LinkedIn. So why do I and many others continue to do so? Is it because we have some unique perspective, special expertise, or strong opinion we feel needs to be shared throughout the LinkedIn community? Possibly… though for many, including myself this is just a small piece behind the true reasons.
As a computer scientist delivering newspapers all night, I’d like to think I’m underemployed. Don’t get me wrong, work is work. I have no complaints, a good work environment, excellent co-workers, a good boss and happy customers. Yet, like many, at some point I would hope to get a little more use out of my degrees.
Whether you just graduated, were recently laid off, or just looking for the next big project, you’ll be approaching a job search from a multitude of angles. It is well known that recruiters scour LinkedIn for potential candidates. I personally know many who landed jobs this way.
Stay in the spotlight
I had been pushed by many of my peers to write my first article a couple of months ago. Having had little luck finding a job, I figured it couldn’t hurt to get a little attention. Writing articles keeps you in the spotlight. It lets those in your network where you stand, and what you are seeking. By now, if you didn’t already know, I’m looking for a new job.
Landing a job isn’t the reason everyone writes. It’s not entirely the reason I write. When I wrote my first article, I thought of it as a one off activity. I’m the type to give any suggestion a shot. Over a thousand views later, and many continuing to personally encouraging me, why not keep it up?
As articles get shared and re-tweeted you’ll catch the eye of many outside your own network. The way you write, and what you write about gives others a little insight into the type of person you are and how you approach new and challenging situations. It also gives you, as the writer, an avenue where to communicate your talent and expertise.
What do people want to read?
Self-improvement, job-hunting experience, and generic business topics are a hit. Trust me, these ideas sell themselves. If you know what you are writing about, great! If not, just write as if you do. Generic, bland advice is repeated on end article after article. If it’s not about the mistakes employers make to miss hiring the perfect candidate, then it’s about the mistakes the perfect candidate makes to miss the perfect job.
If all you care about is how many views you get, go for a little controversy. Write an article about how a college degree is just not as valuable as it used to be, or better yet, tell others it’s not worth pursuing. Right away you’ll land comments in agreement, or others with well thought out opposition. All publicity is good publicity, right? That depends on how you are trying to brand and sell yourself. I personally would stay clear of controversy simply for the sake of controversy. On the other hand, if you do have a well thought out controversial opinion with data to back it up, think about writing about it. Just be aware that your disagreeable opinion might come back to bite you.
Just about everyone’s situation is different. You’ll even find the more you read the more you find advice that contradicts previous information you have read. It’s not at all surprising as no one person writes every article. Keep in mind that your actual experience or, conversely, made up advice may just be the motivation someone needs to keep from giving up on their job search.
If you actually have a unique, interesting experience, write about it. If you’ve traveled, participated in volunteer work, or just gone through life on a different path then the norm, then you likely have a story that will grab one’s attention. We like to hear others stories about how they got to where they are now. Maybe we can even learn from your approach to life and apply to our own.
Without a doubt, a quality article will bring in more views. If you are a professional writer, you already know how to capture an audience. LinkedIn just provides another avenue to display your content.
Know your audience
Why are job hunting advice articles and business topics so popular on LinkedIn? If you haven’t figured it out by now, LinkedIn is a business and career social networking service. This doesn’t mean that other topics won’t be of interest, just understand your audience and write to them.
For example, I might write about the challenges encountered while volunteering for a community center in rural Chile. I could approach this topic from a cultural perspective, a general management experience, or get into the technical details of actually setting up the technology we used. Although all three topics go hand in hand, they each attract a separate audience. Therefore it’s important to segment the topics into separate articles that tailor to each audience. Talking about how I installed system images over a serial null modem onto limited hardware will likely alienate the general reader, but might be of interest to a person in the tech field.
Just keep writing!
Anyone can post an article to LinkedIn. We all have something to write about, experienced or inexperienced. Your unique perspective, or even challenging advice are nearly always of interest. Someone will want to read what you have to write; whether you tell us how you handle difficult customers as a cashier, or as a business owner tell us why retaining a customer is of utmost importance.