LinkedIn is an online source many associate solely with looking for a job, but there are a lot more uses than one would think for writers. Networking is huge in the writing industry, and an important one many of us don’t consider until later in our career. Many opportunities I have been granted in my writing came from networking, and LinkedIn is a great place to connect with other professionals outside of a strictly social platform like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
LinkedIn Learning has a super detailed video explaining more about creating a LinkedIn profile here, but I’ll be summarizing key points specific to writers.
Setting Up You’re Profile:
The initial setup for your profile is fairly straight forward and LinkedIn does a good job of prompting you through the basics, but there are a few key areas you may want to consider including or updating if you already have a profile created. First, you will want to go to www.linkedin.com to start.
- The Basics: Be sure to include a professional profile picture AND a background picture.
- Header: This is where you can connect your work life with writing should you have another full-time job (we all know writing is a full-time job itself!) LinkedIn will default to your most recent job title, but you can customize it to include your writing and other specialties or things you feel are important to note.
- Summary: LinkedIn offers you a chance to talk about yourself in further detail. This is under the summary tab and is a great place to include your skills, background, as well as connect things like your full-time job and writing (maybe you have an expertise in law and someone might want to connect with you on questions related to writing). For myself, I have a background in personal training and biomechanics, which may interest others writing action scenes to ensure they’re accurate depictions.
- Work Experience & Education: This is what LinkedIn is typically known for, the education and work experience section you include similar to a resume. But, what you can do, is include your writing experience. I also included important courses I’ve taken specific to writing that may be of interest to someone looking to work with me.
- Endorsements or Recommendations: This is where you can ask others you’ve worked with to let others know how you work. Endorsements can be skills based, saying things like you’re a good public speaker, while recommendations are like references and someone would actually write something base on your interactions together. Both are especially helpful for anyone looking to do some freelance work.
- Custom URL: The last thing you want to do is check out your public profile, which you can customize so others only see specific sections. But there is also a place where you can customize your URL. LinkedIn automatically adds your name plus a bunch of numbers behind it as your URL, so making it simply just your name is easier for others to find.
- Featured Post: This is where LinkedIn really caters to writers and creators. Here is a chance to add images, links, videos…etc of your work. Add in anything you’ve done or would like others to see, such as book covers!
How to Use LinkedIn to Network:
Now that you have a pretty profile, you want to start creating a network and getting connected to others. For screenwriters and freelancers, this can mean future jobs, so it is important to explore. Here’s how you can network:
- Find and add connections. This can be done through searching names or importing from your own contacts such as email services. These connections are the only ones who can give you endorsements and recommendations.
- Explore how to use messages and connect personally with people. You may have worked with someone a long time ago, and want to connect now. When sending an invite be sure to make it personal.
- Join LinkedIn groups to find new connections. You can find groups by searching keywords related to your job and clicking on the groups filter. There are many group’s for writers, and often these areas provide opportunities for you in some way.
- Utilize LinkedIn suggestions. LinkedIn will recommend people, groups, and keywords to follow based on your profile. Following them will help you see more things and people that pertain to your interests and specialty.
Utilizing LinkedIn Day-to-Day:
There are a number of ways to utilize LinkedIn daily, but below are a few I personally recommend for writers:
- Explore your feed.
- On the home page, you will see a feed with posts from those you either follow or are connected to. You can share, save or copy links to these posts to share with others. This feed is similar to Facebook but more professional…so keep your posts professional.
- Share updates and content yourself.
- Also on the home page, you will see a section to add a post. You can add links, pictures, comments and ask questions to others connected with you. Use keywords to attract attention from those who aren’t connected with you in your posts.
- Publish an article.
- Similar to a post (and found in the same section) you can create a more detailed post in the form of an article. Utilize pictures and clean formats provided by LinkedIn.
- Search for jobs.
- You will see the “jobs” tab near the top and can search and based on type, company, and location. LinkedIn will also suggest job postings based on your previous searches or profile, and it’s easy to apply for jobs right on LinkedIn. There are many contract based or freelance type jobs that may help supplement the sporadic income of a writer from time to time.
- Let others know your “open to opportunities”
- Under your personal profile, or within the jobs tab, you can let employers know you are open to other job opportunities by selecting types of positions you are interested in. Again, this can be freelance related, but it can also help connect with networks as well.
I know LinkedIn doesn’t seem like a sexy tool for writers, but networking is very important and you never know what might come across your table through it. I have found it incredibly useful and a few awesome opportunities because of LinkedIn. Be sure to remember that this is a professional tool, so keep interactions and posts professional, and have fun exploring.
Want to connect? Send me an invite to connect on LinkedIn here.
Schinkten, O. (2020, September 18). Learning LinkedIn. Retrieved from LinkedIn Learning: https://www.LinkedIn.com/learning/learning-LinkedIn-3/get-started-with-LinkedIn?u=2109516