LinkedIn is a very interesting social media platform. In the last few years, it has really involved into one with actual creators and a thriving community.
Wait—I thought LinkedIn was just a place for uptight corporate people?
That part still exists. But today it’s so much more. It’s one of the best places to build a career when you don’t have one. It’s also extremely effective if you’re looking to transition into a new field. It’s a place where you can meet professionals from all different types of backgrounds. There is also a lot of great content catered to specific fields.
But how do you get started? What if you don’t have a degree? Or you just very little work history? Don’t worry. LinkedIn makes it easier than ever before. Here’s what you have to do.
I would highly recommend that you start engaging with people’s content before you send a connection request. It will set you apart from the sea of people who send out connections but don’t engage. A lot of these requests get ignored—plus they don’t stand out. You need to stand out and build relationships, and you do that by being active.
Now, you won’t necessarily get everything you need to know from one post. But you will learn one or two great pieces of new info. You will also learn from other people who comment on posts.
Look for book recommendations. Use it to keep up to date on your industry. People who comment are also great people to follow and connect with. These people are active on the platform.
It is also great to connect with business owners and startup founders. These people usually hire from their network. They appreciate people who are proactive and show enthusiasm.
Once you get the hang of commenting and engaging, I would recommend reaching out to people and asking for intro calls. You would be surprised at how helpful people can be.
Just be mindful of people who reach out to you to network. Focus on those who are genuine, and filter out those who just want to sell you things. I’ve had a lot of calls with people who weren’t really interested in networking and just wanted to close a sale. Once they realized I wasn’t buying, they really had no intention of following up.
If there are companies that you want to work at, try to find people in those companies who create content. Send out a personalized connection request and let them know you are new to the field and are interested. Some will answer; some won’t. Over time you will start building growing a network. Keep asking for advice and taking notes.
You don’t have to create posts, but once you have a small community that you have supported and they know who you are, it is a good idea to start creating content of your own.
You don’t have to be an expert in the area that you are trying to break into to create posts. You can share things that you have learned along the way. Share what you’ve learned in a book. Give insights from the conversations that you’ve had.
If you keep doing these things consistently, you will be in the top percentage of people who are trying to break in. You will find that you’ve learned a lot and that you actually know what you are getting into. You may even discover a totally different field that you want to get into.
You can’t change your past, but you can definitely influence your future. You will learn that you have a lot of transferrable skills that are probably applicable to the field you want to get into. You’ll discover the gaps that you have but now you’ll actually be equipped to do something about it. I have seen people from all types of backgrounds make transitions into industries that were known to be hard to break into.
There is so much great content on LinkedIn that will help set you apart from everyone trying to break in. Most importantly, there is a community of people who are ready to guide and assist you. Just remember to do the same when you see others trying to do the same.