Saturday, March 29, 2008

Promote your work, not yourself

Use Linkedin to promote your work, not yourself. “Self-promotion” is a misleading concept. “Work promotion” is better.

In other words, the reason why people seek you out is that they are interested in your work, not in your person. Given this economic truth, it is surprising that more than 98% of Linkedin users do NOT promote their work on Linkedin.

For instance, if you read the profile of most Linkedin users, you will notice the conspicuous absence of blogs or websites where people can download work samples of the person. Work samples include articles, blogs, websites, books, ebooks, white papers, etc.

What I'm saying is this: work precedes network. If you don't have something to show people (e.g. work samples), then networking will be much less effective than it could be.

Concretely speaking, you will introduce yourself to people (online or offline), and they will politely say, “Oh, nice to meet you!” And then, in the next minute, they will completely forget you. You had a unique opportunity to showcase your work to someone else, but you did not have work samples to show them.

Some people try to circumvent that absence of economic substance by highlighting the fact, in their email invitation to others, that they are connected to gazillions of people. Yes, that's nice, but it doesn't compensate for the fact that the person doesn't have any value to offer.

In fact, the more a person mentions his great number of connections, the more loudly he is saying that he, himself, does not offer any economic value.