LinkedIn has changed a lot over the years, and while it wasn’t the best fit for entertainment professionals back in the day, it’s increasingly effective for our industry. That is, if you know how to use it! Here are 5 ways you should be using LinkedIn to boost your entertainment career – whether or not you’re currently looking for work.
1. Fill out your profile. If you want recruiters or potential professional contacts to find you, you’ll need to spend some time filling out your profile. Since LinkedIn is a social media site first and foremost, you’ll want to write in first person and include details and anecdotes that you won't find on a resume or professional bio. The tone of your profile should be inviting and authentic. The specifics of what you’ll include will vary depending on how you want to use the site – if you’re looking for a new job, you’ll want to have each section filled out thoroughly, but if you’re balancing two career paths, you may want a leaner profile. Regardless, it’s a good idea to make sure your roles are up to date and your skills section reflects your relevant skills. And don't forget to add a picture!
2. Engage with your newsfeed. Your LinkedIn newsfeed can be a treasure trove of valuable information. For example, you’ll see when someone you know gets a new job – and if that new job is at a company you’d like to work for or do business with, you can note that you have a connection there and reach out when it’s appropriate! Similarly, people often post job openings at their companies before the posting goes wide to source people from their networks. This is an open invitation for you to get your resume directly into the hiring manager’s hands. It’s also an opportunity for you to pass along a posting that’s potentially helpful to one of your contacts – paying it forward is an essential element of being a good networker. To that end, your newsfeed will also give you a heads up when a contact has an exciting announcement or was featured in the news – all excellent opportunities to reach out and nurture your relationship. Of course, you should be posting updates about your own career as well!
3. Follow companies of interest and public personas. Your newsfeed is populated by more than just your human contacts – it’ll also highlight posts from company pages and people in the public eye. This is a great way to keep your pulse on the industry. Maybe you want to follow a journalist whose industry insights you really appreciate. Or an analytics company that posts regular breakdowns of the state of the industry. Or a company you’d love to work for that posts relevant news and project updates. LinkedIn is a great aggregator for this content, but beyond that, you’ll have the opportunity to like and comment on these posts and potentially build online connections. This is especially important for job seekers – if you follow a company on LinkedIn and engage with its content, the hiring team will be able to see you’re really passionate about the work and not just applying willy nilly. Note that some companies also have a feature where you can express interest in working there in the future, which we highly recommend, so you can show up in recruiters’ feeds more readily.
4. Use the platform as a research tool. Our industry is small, and it’s likely you’re only a few steps away from the connection you’re looking for. Whether you’re trying to find a contact who can refer you to an open role or hoping to meet someone at a company you’d like to do business with, you can use LinkedIn to find them. Type the company name into the search bar, and you’ll see a list of your connections, starting with first-degree contacts (people you already know), followed by second degree contacts (people your contacts know). You can see who the link is to your second degree contact and ask that person (via email, not LinkedIn message!) for a warm intro. Similarly, you can browse your close contacts' connections to see who they may be able to introduce you to.
5. Find job openings. This is the most common use of LinkedIn – applying for jobs. LinkedIn’s algorithm is scarily on point, if you know how to teach it. If your profile has strong keywords that match the roles you’re targeting, LinkedIn will recommend appropriate roles. The platform will also tweak its recommendations based on what you search for and click on – we see this unfold in real time as we personally get recommendations based on whatever roles our most recent client was targeting. You can also set up job alerts for specific companies and role types. But one thing to keep in mind – avoid the “easy apply” feature. If you have the option, send a formal resume to the company that’s tailored specifically to the role – which your LinkedIn profile won’t be.
We know it's a lot of work to keep up with LinkedIn on top of your job, personal life, and other social media activity. But if you can dedicate just a little bit of time to at least some of these steps, you'll see that it can have a big impact on your career!