By Matt Craven, Founder of The CV & Interview Advisors and Linked-In-Credible
The Good Old Days!
When I was first making my way in business, I always admired well-connected business people; those people who seemed to know everyone, that had a (not so) little black book as thick as a Tolkien novel. They always seemed to know someone who could solve a problem and were never short of help when the need arose.
The Bad New Days?
Indeed, being well connected was always revered, but somehow social media seems to have turned people off building their network and embracing networking. The number of people I meet that seem to prefer a ‘fly-under-the-radar’ or ‘I’m just not into LinkedIn’ approach to business is eye opening.
At its heart, LinkedIn is just an online version of a that little black book, or perhaps a better way to look at it is that LinkedIn is an online version of one of those business card folders that we all used to have.
The Philosophical Bit
You may remember a book (and film) back in the nineties called The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield; if you haven’t read the book, I’d recommend having a read – it’s quite short and provides an interesting take on fate and how certain people come into your life for a reason, but unless you enter into dialogue with that person, the reason they came into your life would never reveal itself.
It’s quite deep and focuses around the teachings of The Celestine Monks.
I like to draw parallels with networking and The Celestine Prophecy has taught me to have a natural curiosity for meeting new people and what they might have to offer me.
As an example, my ex business partner (after we parted company on good terms) recommended a person to me (coincidentally, a networking coach called Heather). The introduction was interesting, but I couldn’t immediately see the opportunity and I’m sure I was rather busy, but I did eventually have a chat with Heather and 3 years on, I can’t even count how much business Heather has referred my way (probably tens if not hundreds of thousands). I always wonder what I would have missed out on if I hadn’t been open to connecting with Heather and having a chat.
There’s nothing ground-breaking about the example other than to serve as a reminder that it’s not always obvious why someone comes into our personal or business life; the connection might end up being a waste of time, but conversely, it could be life-changing. Fate has a funny way of presenting us with opportunities.
Relevance to Contractors
The point of all this is to encourage an open mindedness to enter into dialogue with people who you don’t already know. That could be someone calling you to sell something (maybe they’ve got the next big idea that could transform your business) or it could be someone who just happens to have an amazing contract opportunity, not necessarily now, but at some stage in the future.
Like sales, developing your Contracting business is a numbers game; the more relevant people you are connected to (and that you enter into dialogue with), the more likely it is that contract opportunities will come your way. It’s simple mathematics – increase your sphere of influence and you multiply the number of opportunities that will come your way.
The Practicalities of Networking
All I’m suggesting is to keep your contacts close at hand by embracing LinkedIn and networking. Whenever you meet someone, connect on LinkedIn; whenever you do business with someone, check them out on LinkedIn and connect with them; and most definitely connect with clients and colleagues when you are in a contract. Use LinkedIn as that central repository for all your business contacts. Not only are they then easy to reach, you are also accessible to them and their own broader networks.
You can then start thinking about thought-leadership and managing your personal brand. Posting articles, delivering webinars, contributing to discussions, helping people who have questions or introducing people across your network are all valuable activities that improve your credibility, build authority status and nurture your business relationships.
The Crucial Part – Your LinkedIn Profile
We mentioned business cards earlier; they are more of a nice to have than a must have in this digital world, but nevertheless, most of us still have them. Not only do we have them but we or someone in our company have probably spent time and money on having them professionally designed and printed.
We wouldn’t dream of attending a business event or client meeting with a ‘home-made’ business card, would we?! But how many people go to market with a cobbled together and ‘home-made’ LinkedIn profile or ‘home-made’ CV for that matter. Professional businesses don’t have home-made marketing collateral, and neither should you! The content of your LinkedIn profile is crucial for building your credibility and convincing people that they should engage and do business with you – whether that be in your day to day job or from a job seeking perspective.
For a free appraisal of your LinkedIn profile or CV, why not get in touch and either myself or one of my team will happily provide some high-level insight. Please use this page to submit your details: https://cvandinterviewadvisors.co.uk/jobseeker/62 and we’ll be in touch with some feedback as soon as we can.
We will keep working on your CV until you are 100% happy and if at the end you are not, we will refund your money.
Matthew Craven, Managing Director
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By Matt Craven, Founder of The CV & Interview Advisors and The LinkedIn Advisors
The terms personal branding and thought-leadership get bandied about on a regular basis but what do they really mean and how can Contractors harness them as a tool for raising their profile and attracting the right opportunities?Read more