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Social Selling for Job Seekers
“Social selling” is a phrase you may have seen more and more in recent years. So much so that you may be wondering, what is social selling? And, does it apply to me?
According to LinkedIn, “Social selling is about leveraging your social network to find the right prospects, build trusted relationships, and ultimately, achieve your sales goals.”
Now, you may be thinking that you’re not in a sales role, so social selling doesn’t apply to you. However, as a job seeker in an increasingly virtual world, social selling is just as important for you as for traditional salespeople.
At its core, social selling is about making meaningful connections. Since the COVID-19 pandemic made in-person networking and relationship-building more difficult, virtual interactions have increasingly expanded professional networks.
Whether you are actively looking for a new job or seeking to elevate your reputation as a thought leader in your industry, social selling is key to achieving your career goals.
In a previous blog, “How to Be Found by Recruiters on LinkedIn,” we looked at how LinkedIn has changed the recruiting industry and offered tips to make your LinkedIn profile more visible. Social selling takes these efforts to the next level by leveraging your personal brand and marketing yourself to recruiters and potential employers.
Selling Yourself (In a Good Way)
As a job seeker, you are the product you have to offer. When you are applying for a job, think of yourself as the answer to a company’s problem.
Your resume is a physical representation of your personal brand, your career history, and what you are trying to do next. It is a very important sales tool, and you want to be sure to align the story it tells with your career goals.
Similarly, your LinkedIn profile is an extension of that brand. The nice thing about LinkedIn is that you get to be a real human in a way that is hard to do on one or two pages of white paper.
This is your opportunity to really tell your story and build your narrative in a way that’s personal and unique to you. To do this most effectively, you must understand and engage in social selling.
What is the LinkedIn Social Selling Index?
The social selling index (SSI) is a metric LinkedIn uses to measure your social selling efforts compared to people in your industry and your network.
While the SSI is largely targeted to sales professionals, the measurement criteria used are equally valuable to job seekers to build their personal brand.
All LinkedIn users can view their SSI here as long as they are logged into their accounts. Users are given scores between 0-25 for their effectiveness in each of the four elements of social selling: establishing your professional brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights, and building relationships. The resulting SSI is between 1-100, which is updated daily.
However, don’t get bogged down in those numbers. While they can be insightful as you build your personal brand, they are just numbers. The real value for job seekers is understanding how you can improve in each of the four areas as you engage and make more connections on the platform.
Establish Your Professional Brand
Complete your LinkedIn profile with your audience in mind. If necessary, research by looking at other people’s profiles in your industry. Then use the right keywords and job descriptions to address the pain points and problems you can solve for a company or hiring manager.
Storytelling is an important part of social selling. When crafting your story, think about your previous experience and what challenges you like to solve at work. Keep track of your accomplishments and articulate how you made an impact and how your unique experience can help solve specific challenges.
Find the Right People
Now that we’re all virtual making meaningful connections and growing your network on social platforms is more important than ever before. And while personal branding is everywhere, for most industries social selling will be most prevalent on LinkedIn. Generally speaking, as recruiters, it is our go-to platform. So if you want to play the game and be seen by recruiters and hiring managers looking for talent, that is where you should focus your efforts.
Use the search function and keywords to find and connect with the right people. Job hunting is all about who you know and how you utilize your network. Don’t be afraid to use your existing connections to gain introductions to new people within your industry.
Engage with Insights
Contribute to the conversation by seeking out and interacting with meaningful content. One easy way to do this is by following industry-specific hashtags and commenting on interesting content shared by others. Not only does it help you stay on top of trends, but it also provides an opportunity to create and grow relationships.
Establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry by posting relevant content. Whether that means sharing others’ content or publishing your own, it’s important to be able to articulate your value and expertise.
Follow decision-makers in your industry. They are the ones leading the conversation and provide valuable insight into your field. Connecting with them will help you establish trust and strengthen your network.
Connect with 2nd and 3rd level connections who engage with your content. You never know who might be the connection that leads to your next opportunity. Also, don’t underestimate the benefit of informational interviews as a way to expand your network.
Tell Your Story
If you shy away from talking about yourself, you are not alone. But now is no time to be a shrinking violet. Even if you’re not actively looking for a job today, chances are you will be one day. Prep now so you can hit the ground running when the time comes.
Generally speaking, most of us change jobs every five years or so. Setting a solid foundation by finding our voice and telling your story today is important for future success. Establish your brand, build up your network, and market yourself for the long term.
Finally, in everything you do, be authentic. The real value of social selling is its power to make meaningful connections that develop into trusted relationships. Remember, you have inherent value to offer the world —whether it’s your industry expertise or a unique perspective that comes from lived experience. So tell your story authentically, and people will respond to that.
Ready for the next chapter in your marketing, creative or digital career? Celarity can help, check out our openings, and set up a meeting today!