LinkedIn is a powerful marketing and networking tool that offers a lot of opportunities for writers.
Whether you’re just starting your own business, or you’re a multi-published author; whether you write fiction or non-fiction; whether you write long or short, LinkedIn can help you find jobs, connections, and resources to improve your craft in your chosen specialty.
This post is a quick snapshot on getting started with LinkedIn if you are a writer. The tool is user friendly and quite a great resource for finding companies you want to work with or for.
Create an account. You can use LinkedIn a lot for free (it’s the version I have), so don’t feel like you need to invest money. You can, of course, but it’s not required to start out.
Create a profile. LinkedIn walks you through the profile creation process step by step. Help is available all along the way, too. Use it; it’s actually helpful! Creating a profile is the most time-consuming part of getting started, but it’s definitely worth it to pay attention to each section.
- For your current job title, avoid generic terms such as president, owner, wordsmith or crafty titles such as ‘word whisperer’, ‘writing goddess’, ‘chief bottle washer’. Think about how companies you want to work for will search for someone with your skill set. Keep it simple, straightforward, and relevant.
- When you add in current and past employment, do the same with the titles (as prior bullet). Sure, you may have been ‘senior manager’, but that doesn’t benefit you when someone is seeking a software writer. You can include ‘senior manager’ in the description of the job, but put key works in your job titles, as well as in descriptions of job responsibilities.
Search for jobs, groups, people. The search bar at the top of the screen offers numerous search methods, and you can take advantage of the Advanced feature to help narrow in on the jobs, groups, and people you are seeking. Search on such terms as ‘beginner writer’, ‘(industry) writing’, whatever you want. Just like doing searches on Google or Bing, you’ll naturally start discovering the search terms that work best for you.
- When you do searches, particularly writing-related ones, you’ll discover the profiles that appear at the top of lists — look those profiles over and see what catches your eye for wording that you can adapt to your profile.
Connect with people. LinkedIn offers many ways to import various address books, and if you do that, invitations will be sent to the people in your contact list. It can be a good way to get started, but you won’t have any chance to personalize the e-mails sent out.
If you have specific questions about LinkedIn, feel free to ask in the comments. If you connect with me on LinkedIn, personalize the e-mail and let me know you read this blog.
Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with manufacturing, software, and technology businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.