If LinkedIn is a large, powerful global billboard for very cost-effective career brand promotion, then what must a user do to take advantage of this intriguing platform?

I have written about this subject several times over the years including a post on Tuesday, but today I want to distill the essential strategy components and focus on what one must do in order to change jobs or change careers using LinkedIn.

The most important takeaway is that having a LinkedIn page will not automatically make you a star, someone recruiters cannot live another day without. You cannot put up a page and then sit back and wait for accolades and followers to flow in. Here are the three Must-Haves to succeed:

  1. A plan
  2. A profile
  3. A commitment

In Wednesday’s podcast, Ron Thomas shared how he used LinkedIn to recast his professional brand from a highly successful human resource executive in New York to an international HR thought leader with a lucrative consulting practice based in Dubai, UAE.

He started with a vision and created a career strategic plan. His vision was to move into the world of international consulting. Having a plan is essential to achieving success, Ron believes. To borrow an old line from virtually any marketing presentation in the early 1980s, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. More often that not this adage reflects the unfilled career goals of far too many executives.

Once you have the (written!) plan, the next step is to produce a professional profile that outlines your experience and quantifiable accomplishments. This is where your value lives, the real meat of the site. The construct of your profile should be such that it syncs with the vision and the plan. This means you want to emphasize those jobs and accomplishments that will support your career objectives. Having a LinkedIn page without a professional profile on display — a deficiency that is surprisingly not that uncommon — is akin to fishing without bait.

The third essential ingredient to maximize your LinkedIn presence is to make the commitment of time and effort to build and engage followers. Here again, your vision plan should create a site and content that targeted followers will want to visit. A nice photo of yourself, while very important to attract visits to the page, is a waste of money without content that attracts and engages followers. That is also what will keep bringing them back.

The global billboard is there. It is waiting on you to put up winning content and build traffic. Or, you can sit around and hope that somehow you will be discovered and that your career dreams will come true. The billboard is the better option.

ask the recruiter videos