7 Tips to LinkedIn Success

This type of network is ideal for tapping in to creative ideas and providing fresh perspectives.

Creative industry freelancers rely heavily on professional networks to source work opportunities and keep an ear to the ground on what’s happening. In this article, Business Networking specialist Darryl Howes shows you the basic steps to creating a LinkedIn profile and how to get started on building connections and making contacts.

 

7 Tips to LinkedIn Success

 

LinkedIn is the world’s largest business social media site. Membership of the site is growing fast and currently numbers over 350m people worldwide.

It’s an invaluable tool for those working in the creative industries given that networking is vital for personal brand development and for gaining the inside track on freelance job opportunities.

The international breadth of LinkedIn also adds another dimension for those with plans to work overseas – it’s a great way to build contacts before you travel.

So, what’s the best way to ensure you survive and thrive in the world of LinkedIn?

 

1. LinkedIn is not Facebook 2.0.

This doesn’t mean you can’t be social, tell people about yourself and use humour, but you are expected to present yourself politely and professionally. Never be provoked into an on-line argument and think twice before posting comments. Use the in-built functionality to post questions on Group pages (see below), join in discussions and publish your own value-add articles.

In place of job titles, choose words that promote what you do and are search engine friendly.

2. You must upload a good quality photo.

A LinkedIn profile without a photo has been likened to going to a party with a bag over your head! The image should be the standard head and shoulders ‘head shot’, professionally lit, with no colour clashes between clothing and background and, unlike a passport photo, you should smile! A fun way to get feedback on your photo is to use a crowd sourcing tool such as Photofeeler.

Don’t forget that you can enhance this section further by uploading media such as podcasts, SlideShare presentations, articles and videos. Make the decision to hire you an easy one!

3. Customise your headline

This is the wording immediately under you name (using the Edit Profile function). You have up to 120 characters including stops, commas and spaces – make ‘em count! In place of job titles, choose words that promote what you do and are search engine friendly. To help with this, take a look at peer profiles and use tools such as Google Keyword or Wordstream.

4. Write a good Summary

Get your Don Draper head on, gather together your best writing chops and creatively craft your LinkedIn Summary Section. Here you need to tell people who you are, what you do and why they should choose you over others. So yes, it’s all the stuff around the types of problem you solve (can you save both time and money?) and your USP. Don’t forget that you can enhance this section further by uploading media such as podcasts, SlideShare presentations, articles and videos. Make the decision to hire you an easy one! While we’re at it, make sure your contact details are displayed prominently within this section – if someone likes the cut of your jib, you want them to be able to establish contact quickly and easily.

5. Add your Experience

Now scroll down the page. Populate the Experience Section with at least three of your last job/freelance roles. Concentrate on telling the story of how you were able to add value. A really good tip is to sprinkle in some numbers, percentages, results, etc. e.g. ‘During my tenure, project turnaround improved by 20% generating a saving of £x’. But don’t be tempted to exaggerate, stick to the truth.

Use the Search Function to find groups that appeal to you, join and then look at group member listings. Identify like-minded professionals and invite them to connect.

6. Build Connections

Expand your network of connections using the LinkedIn import function. This will identify your existing address book contacts that have active LinkedIn profiles and allow you to issue a personalised invitation to connect. The fledgling science of Networking Theory suggests that broad networks of ‘weak tie’ connections – those beyond your normal social circle – promote integration of diverse communities. This type of network is ideal for tapping in to creative ideas and providing fresh perspectives. For weak ties to work at their best, aim for a minimum of 300 connections.

7. Join Groups

Finally, join LinkedIn groups. Groups are the gateway to full engagement with LinkedIn. Raise your profile and get noticed! Use the Search Function to find groups that appeal to you, join and then look at group member listings. Identify like-minded professionals and invite them to connect. Some groups are ‘closed’ which means you have to apply to the Group Moderator for membership. GM’s are busy people who don’t receive payment for the work they do. They will invariably view your profile in order to make a quick decision – another very good reason to have an attractive and compelling LinkedIn presence!


Darryl-HowesDarryl Howes is a Strategic Business Networking specialist, with a background in commercial value generation and sales relationship management. He speaks, teaches, writes and consults on people networking challenges in business. See ddnsconsulting.com, find Darryl on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

 


Work Stories: Georgia, Sadler’s Wells

Interview

A lot of what I do is project to project based, which is great, as it never loses momentum. It’s always a bit exciting

This Is It! speaks to Georgia about working as an Intern on the Creative Employment Programme at Sadler’s Wells.

 

What were you doing before you started working at Sadler’s Wells?

I was volunteering at a drama company in Camden. This is a theatre, film and training company that focus on launching young people’s careers in acting. I was working on the writing and producing side of a show with them.

 

 I work across a lot of shows, so I am very lucky in that I get to see a range of shows at different stages.

 

What was it that interested you most about applying for this position?

It was a really unique in that it was a really good position but also a very well regarded famous company. I think there’s a lot you can learn from working in such a large company and a lot more possibility for progression. So as a first step in to the industry, it was a really good role.

Sadler's Wells

 

I’ve learnt a lot about budgeting and the influence of the Arts Council, which I think is really important. These I feel are all transferable skills, which can be applied to any kind of theatre.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about your role at Sadler’s Wells?

I work in the producing and touring department. A large part of my role is administration, but also other jobs that run along side that, like Arts Council support, the logistical side, which is really interesting to see. I work across a lot of shows, so I am very lucky in that I get to see a range of shows at different stages. I see shows at their conception, still in the research and development phases as well as ones that have been fully launched. It’s nice to see the creative bit at the start, how the art discipline, forms and then what happens when they are off the ground. I got to be involved with auditions as well, which was really fun.

I’ve also taken over the touring blog, which is quite exciting. It’s nice to have a mouthpiece to write about Sadler’s Wells and the touring department.

I got to go France where a show was touring, so that was a big plus!

 Sadler's Wells

What skills have you learnt so far?

I’ve learnt lots about the research and the preparation that happens before things go on tour. I’ve also learnt a lot about budgeting and the influence of the Arts Council, which I think is really important. These I feel are all transferable skills, which can be applied to any kind of theatre.

It’s been good, as I have worked on one smaller scale show and another that’s the total opposite, so it’s great to see how these things can work within the framework that’s been provided. It’s really good to see the framework of both a small and large budget and how different things operate within it.

I think that a lot of stuff I do, in general it doesn’t really feel like an internship it feels like a job.

Has there been a moment or day that’s been a particular highlight?

I’d probably say the trip to France. I had worked on the show for a few months, so it was really great to go out there and see it. It was great to be there with everyone involved including the dancers and musicians. I also got to meet the tech and wardrobe team and find out a bit about what they do, which was really nice. It was really nice to see what you know on paper but in the flesh.

A lot of what I do is project to project based, which is great, as it never loses momentum. It’s always a bit exciting, even if I have a day, which maybe seems a bit duller because it’s slightly more data based, that project is then done and I move on to the next job.

 

It’s been really good in that everyone here has been super supportive. It’s very much the emphasis that once people are in the company the company allow them to flourish as much as they can.

 

Have you faced any challenges during your time here?

I think that a lot of stuff I do, in general it doesn’t really feel like an internship it feels like a job. A lot of the jobs I do seem difficult at first, so it’s a challenge in that sense. For example we had a premiere for one of the tours with about thirty people travelling. It was difficult at first to work out what name is what and things like that. I think you just need to be really organised.

Sadler's Wells

Would you say working here has influenced your future career?

Yes, I would say it has. It’s definitely made me more knowledgeable about what a day-to-day job in theatre is like. Before working here it was difficult to know exactly how it all worked and so it’s made me a lot more knowledgeable about that. I feel a lot more confident that I know what I’m talking about.

It’s been really good in that everyone here has been super supportive. It’s very much the emphasis that once people are in the company the company allow them to flourish as much as they can. It’s not a big company in the sense that you’re a cog; it’s more that they want you to grow and flourish with them.

 

Can you give any advice to somebody who might be starting a similar role or a placement?

Just to be super friendly to everyone, that can make the biggest difference. Once you’re in the office be really chatty and friendly, it’s a really small thing but I think it makes a huge difference. Then if you want to do different bits of work and get more responsibilities for yourself, you have that connection with people, that’s what it’s all about.

You can find out more about Sadler’s Wells here and more about the Creative Employment Programme here.

 


Work Stories: Jack, The National Portrait Gallery Library and Archives

Interview

I think that the programme is great in that it offers such a variety of roles for all different people.

This Is It! speaks to Jack about working on the Creative Employment Programme at the National Portrait Gallery Archive and Library.

 

What were you doing before you started working here?

Before I was working here I was doing voluntary work in a charity bookshop, which I started just after I graduated. I wanted to get in to libraries, so it meant I had some relevant experience when I came for my interview at the National Portrait Gallery Library.

 

Had you thought about working in the Creative Industry before you started working here?

Yeah absolutely, my degree was in film studies so I had been initially looking to go in to something film based, but then I started finding more of an interest in books, so it worked out perfectly really.

It can either be very quiet with no visitors to deal with or crazy with 50 things in your hands trying to juggle

What interested you most about applying for this position?

It perfectly lined up with my interests as it was in the library services. Six months also seemed like a good length of time to be introductory as well as fit you in to a working environment, which I hadn’t been in properly before.

NPG Gallery Record - Gallery Interior Photograph – Born Digital

NPG Gallery Record – Gallery Interior Photograph – Born Digital

Can you tell us a little bit about your role at the National Portrait Gallery Library and Archives?

I started as a Library Assistant trainee and intern, doing a variety of things round the library. I worked with the collections by retrieving and labelling items, looking after books that had been damaged and generally managing things.

A large part of my role was also working on the archive reception desk. This involved helping visitors use the library, booking appointments and dealing with enquiries. It can either be very quiet with no visitors to deal with or crazy with 50 things in your hands trying to juggle, but it’s good. I enjoy working with people; I don’t like particularly being solitary at my desk for long periods of time. Some people like that, I like to get out and talk to people.

One of the main things I got in to doing was cataloguing, and cataloguing training with the Librarian. This means getting volumes of books and making sure their records are right on the computer. You need a degree in Librarianship to be able to do that properly but I was lucky in that Joseph, the Librarian, was able to spare the time to teach me, which I enjoyed doing. That’s a large part of what I do now. I spend half my day on the reception desk and the other half I spend heading up a sales cataloguing project that we’re doing.

I’ve learnt practical things like dealing with books, working with the collections and learning to look after archive and library materials properly.

What skills have you learnt so far on your placement?

One of the main skills has been confidence. I started the scheme with five other people across the institutions. It was good to start at the same time as other people at the same level to you, rather than being thrown in at the deep end.

I’ve learnt practical things like dealing with books, working with the collections and learning to look after archive and library materials properly. Also using the library management system, which is something you can’t really learn without looking at it and dealing with it yourself. As I wanted to continue working in libraries, working with the researchers, the type of people I would be dealing with in a full role, was really helpful.

I have been given transferable skills in both helping casual visitors and working with researchers. Without these skills I would not have had the opportunity to work at the Natural History Museum, which I now do along side the National Portrait Gallery.

NPG Gallery Record - Gallery Interior Photograph – Born Digital

NPG Gallery Record – Gallery Interior Photograph – Born Digital

Can you think of a moment or day that has been a particular highlight?

I really enjoyed the collaborative training we did as part of the programme with the other interns from St. Martins and Somerset House. The other staff members were all around my age and job level, so in terms of confidence it was quite nice to be learning things with that group. I really like that sort of thing, learning new things and contributing things from my workplace that other people might not be so familiar with.

I like days where it’s quite busy at the desk and there are lots of things to do. I’m lucky in the library that there are members of staff from all different departments working in the reading room. These include records management, archive staff and a couple of Curators. So I like days where I get to speak to them learning about what they do and they can help me with my work.

 

Have you come across anything in the archives that stood out to you?

The archives have got some pretty cool stuff in. There are journals and notebooks down there with hand drawn sketches from George Scharf, who was an early director of the National Portrait Gallery.

My internship was good in that it gave me the skills I needed to progress. I’ve now got two proper posts in highly esteemed institutions, which is great!

Have you faced any challenges during your time here?

As I wasn’t a very outspoken person when I came in, being suddenly in an office with all these people who are very good at their jobs, talking about things that I don’t know was a learning curve. It’s also quite exciting as it’s interesting to learn about people and their jobs.

The real challenge having come out of doing voluntary work and being unemployed was getting to grips with the working environment. This is something that will vary from place to place but luckily here it was made less of a challenge

if I want to go anywhere else in the future, I’ve got the experience that I wouldn’t have had without the internship.

Has working at the National Portrait Gallery Library helped influence your future career?

Yes absolutely, the programme was great in that it was a good stepping-stone. Coming out of voluntary work I had a few interviews to go straight in to working a full time post in a library but I still didn’t have the experience that was necessary for it. My internship was good in that it gave me the skills I needed to progress. I’ve now got two proper posts in highly esteemed institutions, which is great! So now if I want to go anywhere else in the future, I’ve got the experience that I wouldn’t have had without the internship.

NPG Gallery Record - Gallery Interior Photograph – Born Digital

NPG Gallery Record – Gallery Interior Photograph – Born Digital

Can you give any advice to someone who could be starting a similar role, or starting a placement?

I’d advise that if you’re interested in specific areas, ask people about it.

As I wasn’t so self-assured, I wasn’t doing that at first but as I got in to it I started asking about areas I hadn’t been initially introduced to. I think that the programme is great in that it offers such a variety of roles for all different people.


You can find out more about the National Portrait Gallery Library here and more about the Creative Employment Programme here.