How the Visually Impaired Benefits With a LinkedIn Account
When it comes to online tools for professionals and job seekers, LinkedIn is incredibly useful. The key to unlocking its usefulness is in understanding exactly what its powers are, and then harnessing those for your benefit. The visually impaired can reap the rewards by using their knowledge of how LinkedIn Works to land them the perfect job or advance them in their career.
LinkedIn serves as a tremendous data base where the visually impaired can search through the profiles of companies they are interested in and build a network of influential people who share similar career goals. Using that network they can increase their chances of being interviewed for and getting, the dream job they have been waiting for. It is also invaluable when it comes to building professional relationships with powerful and admired individuals in the same field.
Start With a Powerful Profile
As with social networking sites, LinkedIn relies on user profiles to connect people. The big difference here of course is that this is a site designed for professionals, and you will want your profile to represent you in that way.
When a user conducts a search with LinkedIn, the only things they are going to be able to read about you are your name and a headline. You can’t do anything about your name, but you can work on making your headline pop. Use this space to highlight your skills or past experiences. If you are actively looking for work let your headline show what you are capable of with something along the lines of “Branding Expert Ready to Make Any Company a Household Name”. Like this, you described your expertise, and how it benefits a potential employer in one neat sentence.
If you are not actively looking for a job, let your headline reflect who you are professionally. Even though you may be settled where you are, you should always be selling yourself when using a site like LinkedIn. “Branding Expert Who Has Turned Hundreds of Products into Household Names” still lets people know what you do, but you are no longer looking to use your expertise to find a job.
One last item that appears with your profile after a search is your photo. Don’t skip out on this step, but don’t treat it like a joke and post a selfie or avatar of yourself. Have a friend take a shot of you looking professional with a broad smile.
Taking Initiative With LinkedIn
While LinkedIn is a great way to get noticed by professionals and businesses, it is not a passive tool. You need to be working on growing connections and putting your name out there as someone of interest. One way to do this is by working off of the connections you already have.
Start by building a large base network. LinkedIn will import your e-mail contacts for you, making it simple to invite people to join your network. Connecting with people who you went to school with and old colleagues puts you in the position of being able to expand your second degree network with individuals who are in a related field. Increasing your visibility on LinkedIn in this way will work wonders when it comes time to search for a job.
Being visually impaired, you have the advantage of connecting with organizations like Industries for the Blind or the Blind Institute of Technology. You may not be looking at these types of organizations specifically for work, but having access to their networks will help you to grow yours. Plus many of these organizations do provide job seeking advice and knowledge specific for the visually impaired community.
If you have a specific person in mind that you would like to contact you can ask someone that you already have connected with to set up an introduction. This is easy to do so long as you have at least one person in your networks in common. Just go to your desired connections profile and click on the arrow next to send a message. Here you can click “get an introduction”, and your targeted contact will know that you are interested in getting to know them.
LinkedIn also makes it easy to find the hiring managers in most companies using advanced people search. This allows you to search the database of a particular company by job title. Since you are a “branding expert” you are going to search for marketing directors or senior marketers. This gives you the advantage of knowing the exact person you want to get in touch with to get hired by that company.
Directly Contacting Someone On LinkedIn
LinkedIn does allow you to directly message someone who is not in your network, but you need to be careful with this feature when looking for a job. First read the individual’s profile carefully to ensure that they have not specifically asked not to be contacted in this way. If your first contact with this person directly goes against their preferences for being contacted, don’t expect to ever have any communication with them again in the future.
If they ask for an e-mail instead, send your job proposal to them that way, or use regular mail but with the advantage of having their name so that it is sent directly to the person in charge. That type of taking initiative while still maintaining the boundaries they request will make a much better impression than ignoring them.
The direct contact via a message is where you want to highlight your common ground with the individual. If that happens to be a common contact on LinkedIn then use that as your opening line. This can be phrased as “I had mentioned to John Doe at lunch the other day how creative I thought your marketing of ABC was, and he suggested that I contact you.” By sharing the common name and a specific project that they have worked on, you are showing that you are more than just some random person looking for work.
Do not ask for a job… yet. The purpose of LinkedIn is to build relationships with relevant people in your field. As you continue to reinforce your presence on LinkedIn, your expanded network of professional and respected individuals will make you stand out.
The Importance of Keeping Your LinkedIn Account Active
One mistake that job seekers make is neglecting their LinkedIn accounts once they have landed a new job. They are forgetting the power this site has in representing them as a leader in their field. Keep your account active and continue to build your network even while working. A career is an ongoing commitment, and you can help to move yours along quicker by continuing to connect with others who share common business goals and career interests.
Networking online levels the playing field when it comes to meeting potential employers and increasing your employability. On LinkedIn, you can make the focus of your profile the expertise you have and market your skills in the same way everyone else does. Set up your profile and begin networking now, and you will amass connections with professionals who can help you to continue boosting your career.