Ep. 195: Daniel Alfon – Maximizing the power of LinkedIn for your career

Daniel Alfon is an expert on all things LinkedIn. He is the author of How to Build a LinkedIn Profile for Business Success and helps professionals succeed by maximizing the tools and reach of the world's largest business networking platform. Daniel shares insights and tips on how to use LinkedIn for career networking, business development, content marketing, and more.
2. Articles about job search/networking or how to reach out to that mutual connection like we discussed in the middle of the episode
3. Daniel's book: https://www.amazon.com/Build-LinkedIn-Profile-Business-Success-ebook/dp/B00N18B2RS

Full Episode Transcript:
Neha:

Welcome back to Count Me In, the podcast that explores the world of business from the management accountant's perspective. I'm Neha Lagoo Ratnakar from IMA. And today I'm speaking with Daniel Alfon. Daniel is the author of the book, How to Build a LinkedIn Profile for Business Success. He helps businesses and individuals succeed by maximizing their reach on one of the world's largest business networking communities. Today he'll be sharing pro tips for using LinkedIn for career networking, business development, content marketing, and more. If you use LinkedIn for any reason, this is a conversation you don't wanna miss. Let's get started.

Neha:

So hi Daniel. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Daniel:

Thank you very much, Neha, I'm glad to be part of Count Me In.

Neha:

Excellent. So let's start with the why. Social media is not something that is top of mind for many professionals, especially accounting and finance professionals. So help us understand: why is social media and more specifically LinkedIn so valuable for our accounting and finance listeners?
Daniel:

Oh, that's a great question. I think the easy answer is that whenever an employer or any client will Google your name, then your LinkedIn profile is going to top the list on Google. That's the simple reason. And if you care about the image and your professional image, then you should leverage LinkedIn and make it shine.

Neha:

All right. And as a tag along question to that, how can accounting and finance professionals leverage LinkedIn better?

Daniel:

Great. It starts with understanding our career objective, whether some of the listeners here could be managers who want to get promoted in the organization or moms who had their maternity leave and want to get back to the workforce or young people trying to start out in business or get the the CMA certification then having target list of companies or career objectives for you is the prerequisite for anything you'd like to to do. And then because your LinkedIn profile, the most frequent action LinkedIn users perform on the platform is visiting other people's profiles.

Neha:

Mm-hmm, that's true.

Daniel:

And it needs to speak for itself. In other words, if I go to your profile, you will not be there to add information. And, when I see the book that you've released and I see your headline, and I see the photo and the VO photo is visible, and I see that you've added feature content. I'm likelier to stay here and try to discover what is it you do? And for the accountant or the management accountant would be seeing what they have achieved in their current position. And why is it a good idea for me to reach out to them?

Neha:

Wow. I love that. Keeping the person who's visiting your profile engaged throughout. Awesome. And thank you for bringing up career objectives. And we are in the era of the great resignation right now. So let's pivot to that part of LinkedIn job search. And if, if somebody's looking for a better job, how can LinkedIn be helpful for you?

Daniel:

Okay. The keyword is networking. When we think about the four step that that you that you roll about, and network is probably the single most important element we need to take into account. We may move from one part of the world to another. Our network is the key asset that is likely to make our career grow. And whenever we run an advanced search on LinkedIn, LinkedIn advanced searches or excellence, and that's probably one of the misused and underutilized assets, you can run advanced searches for a company you're interested in, and you would be able in many cases to identify the person you are likely to report to. And in some cases, you'll see that you and them, you share mutual connections,

Neha:

Right.

Daniel:

You connect with people, you know, well, you could leverage that meaningful connection, leave LinkedIn, and ask that person to introduce you to your ideal hiring manager or to your ideal customer and the power is to leave LinkedIn. As much as the LinkedIn is a powerful platform, close to billion users. Two people sign up every second. Still hear me out. The big secret is to know when to leave LinkedIn. LinkedIn has shown us the name of the person. And it showed us the name of the mutual connection. Now is the time to leave LinkedIn because in real life, what we are interested in is an interview. The interview is not going to happen on LinkedIn. LinkedIn just provided us with the names, and then we need to forget about the platform and get back to real life. So we, we land that position or start that discussion.

Neha:

Wow, that's quite insightful. So looking up people on LinkedIn, but moving on from there to actually network with them directly. And how can that be done in a remote-first world?

Daniel:

It could be, when you say you run a search and you find someone you'd like to reach out to, and you see that you do share a mutual connection with them, or several mutual connections with them. Then we, if you two are connected by visiting their profile and clicking on contact info, you would get their email. Simply leave LinkedIn. You send 'em a message. You ask how they've been. And at one point you page the link to the hiring manager or to the ideal prospect you'd like, and you ask them, do you know that person well enough?

Neha:

Okay.

Daniel:

And Neha, in some cases you could, you could guess because if your mutual connection has 300 connections, and the hiring manager has 400 connections, then chances are they know each other.

Neha:

Okay.

Daniel:

And if you spend 30 more seconds in, you see that they went to the same school, or they worked in the same location for the same company, it gives you also a probability of them knowing each other. And if you manage to have a meaningful introduction that can get you foot in the door, and that can start a meaningful process, hopefully leading to a contract.

Neha:

Wow. That's some great detective work there, Daniel. All right. So from career tips to, let's pivot to another key aspect of LinkedIn. Now, many of our listeners are consultants, or they work in small businesses, and I know you're an expert at getting clients from LinkedIn. So what are your top tips from, for business development on LinkedIn?

Daniel:

Okay, great. So I'll, I'll say this, there, there are two pillars. I think we need to consider. One is a converting profile. And the second is our connection strategy. So very quickly a converting profile will make your ideal reader understand what you bring to the table. And that your connection strategy should enable you to use or to leverage, or to ask people to introduce you to the hiring manager or to the ideal client. And that means you need to pick either quality or quantity. And try not to stay in between quality means you connect only with people, you know well, quantity means you have 30,000 connections. 30,000 connections gives you exposure. With people, you know, well, gives you trust. If you try to aim for both in most cases, you'll end up with very little of either, okay. Not enough exposure and having polluted your network. So pick one.

Neha:

Wow. Okay. I never thought about it that way. So those are excellent ideas. And I also wanted to bring some global perspective to it, to our conversation today. Now we have close to 140,000 members around the globe and, people use different social media, but they also use LinkedIn differently in different parts of the world. Are any other platforms important for people to know? And what can international listeners do to leverage these platforms or even LinkedIn?

Daniel:

Okay. So I'll start with something that's not LinkedIn that's Quora. So I'll share with you later a specific Quora is a Q and A website that has excellent answers and I'll share a free resource or how to build your LinkedIn profile and answer. I put on Quora over 10 years ago, and at one point I developed it into a full book. I think Quora is great to learn. And if we go back to to LinkedIn, then IMA has, has over 300 chapters, worldwide networking could happen in your chapter with your peers, with people who work for companies you could be interested in regionally or globally. And if you know you want to relocate, or you are interested in a different market, then identifying that chapter ahead of time could also be helpful.

Neha:

Excellent. And just for our listeners Quora is spelled as "quora.com". That's the one. Perfect. Thank you so much. Now I love all your ideas by the way, Daniel. So let me throw a challenge to you. If our busy listeners had just five minutes to spare today, what can they do immediately after this podcast? So to massively improve their LinkedIn presence?

Daniel:

Why Neha? I love this question. I'll do it fast. So, first question is who's your ideal reader? The ideal reader in my book is either the hiring manager, if you're an employee or the ideal prospect you have.

Neha:

Okay.

Daniel:

Second question. What action would you like that person to perform if they visit your profile?

Neha:

Okay.

Daniel:

You may want them to reach out to you or to visit your website.

Neha:

Mm-hmm.

Daniel:

Would you look at your presence and you ask yourself if I were my ideal reader, would I feel compelled to perform that action? And am I providing them with the right information at the right order? That is likely to make them convert.

Daniel:

Okay. And another quick tip would be to ask someone you're not connected with, to look you up on LinkedIn using the app, and then asking to share with you their thoughts. Say, if you are looking for, to be a CFO, or if you're looking for a specific customer, can you walk me through what you would think if you viewed my profile and you were looking for a CFO with this qualifications, and you would be amazed by what the answers could be and what is important is what other people understand? What other people see in some cases you'll see that they don't see your profile photo, and it doesn't help that you have a profile photo, but if though, if they don't see them, then it's not there. So you need to tweak your LinkedIn privacy so your photo is public.

Daniel:

And if they look at your headline and they're not sure what it stands for, you need to try and help them. And you try to make the banner and the headline rock, because the headline is the single most important real estate on our profile. And if it's not clear, if it's not converting, many people will simply go away. So ask yourself, who's your ideal reader? What question you, what action would you like them to perform and help them do that? And if you have an additional minute, ask someone to look you up and just share with you their thoughts,

Neha:

I love that getting unbiased opinion of a person who's not connected to you on LinkedIn. Love, love, love that, so let's move on to the next question in my list. We talk about a lot about being future ready. So since there's a lot of talk about being future ready, can LinkedIn help professionals stay on top of the competencies of the future or jobs of the future as they continue working?

Daniel:

Wow, that's a great question. Yes. LinkedIn is one of the main tools that could help us understand what the future looks like. And one thing we could do, especially if we're working for the same company, maybe for two, three years, is try to assess what happens in the market. And what would happen is that if we see that most companies that are looking for a specific skill will see that trend. And we see that now, you know, 30% of the companies are are requiring some financial XYZ. And we need to make sure that if we want to be future ready, we need to either take a course or try to find an opportunity within our employer to try and, and gain more skills about it. And going back to the question of networking, if you happen to to attend the IMA 22 in Austin, in June, then networking there could be a great way for you to build your future for 2023 and 2024 and 2025.

Neha:

Wow. So yeah, networking, I think is, is an integral part of every step of social media or LinkedIn. But I also love your idea of continue to browsing through job descriptions, even if you're not looking for a job. So, you know, what people are now looking for. Wow, those are some really neat ideas, Daniel, and that was such an informative chat, but this brings us to the end of our conversation today. And I really, really appreciate you sharing your knowledge and expertise with us today.

Daniel:

It's been a pleasure Neha. Thank you very much.

Outro:

This has been Count Me In, IMA's podcast providing you with the latest perspectives of thought leaders from the accounting and finance profession. If you like what you heard, and you'd like to be counted in for more relevant accounting and finance education, visit IMA's website at www.imanet.org.

 
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