The above is the one-liner I saw a couple of weeks ago from a gentleman in one of the group forums I'm a member of on LinkedIn.
I remember thinking how similar that shout-out was to someone standing on a chair at a live networking event and shouting, "I NEED A JOB!" Would you agree that it's not the smoothest approach?
But I also thought, "okay, I'll bite." I clicked through to his profile. I was looking for something specific.
I didn't find it.
What I was looking for was any evidence of contributions in the community--or any other communities--from which this gentleman now demands job leads. There are some tell-tale signs I typically look for:
- Your Q&A box in the right sidebar. This should list questions and/or answers you've engaged the community with recently. At the bottom of this box is a link "See all Q&A". (See the image on the left.) This gives potential employers and other contacts--who may be connected to potential employers--an opportunity to see the kinds questions that interest you, and more importantly, you're willingness to be a team player and help others with answers to questions they may have.
- Links to a blog, a twitter profile or any other external site that suggests you contribute to other communities. I look for these under the "Websites" section in your LinkedIn profile header.
- The "See discussions" portion of your profile box. This is the box that shows up next to any topics you post in a LinkedIn group forum. (See below.)
When anybody clicks the "See (your) discussions" link, it should ideally show a reasonably lengthy log of discussions you've participated in that suggests you're active in the community and offering your expertise. Or at the very least, that you're trying to help and connect others in the community to other contacts with expertise.
In the case of the gentleman who compelled this blog post, here's what the sum total of his community contributions looked like (profile picture hidden to protect the innocent):
Look, please don't be like that guy. Conventional wisdom keeps telling us that the time to start networking for new job opportunities isn't at the moment you need a job. If you're one of the folks who are lucky enough to be gainfully employed during these difficult economic times, begin your networking efforts today.
And if I can risk one piece of advice: when you network, don't make it all about you. Find somebody who has a question and help connect them with someone you know who may be able to help. Join active communities and start being visible today.
Always ask yourself, when someone clicks-through to your profile, what do you want them to find?