IT Consulting is competitive, especially if you are going out on your own to work as an independent consultant. A few years ago I decided to leave my comfortable full time job to pursue a consulting career. My first year was rough – I was clueless about how hard it can be to secure that first project. Here are a few strategies using LinkedIn that helped me eventually secure my first client.
Value Based Marketing On LinkedIn
My initial efforts to get clients were complete failures even though I worked around the clock trying to find my first gig. I would spend hours behind my laptop sending cold emails to different companies that needed Oracle DBA help. Needless to say, none of the hundreds of emails yielded a client. I’m sure they weren’t even read by the recipients.
My approach was all wrong – I was reaching out to prospective clients without offering any evidence of value add. It finally dawned on me to start writing technical blogs addressing various Oracle database issues that I had expertise in. To be honest I was a little apprehensive in writing these technical blogs because I thought prospective clients would just read my content and resolve their own issues without seeking my help. Again, I was wrong. I achieved three major milestones by posting my technical blogs on LinkedIn:
- Provided valuable content to prospective clients and IT professionals.
- Highlighted my expertise in Oracle database administration and AWS cloud computing.
- Grew my professional network to reach prospective clients that were interested in my experience.
Deep Insight With LinkedIn Premium
My technical blog posts were getting a lot of attention and reactions on LinkedIn. That was great news for me, however I was still behind the eight ball – I still did not have my first client. My next challenge to overcome was obtaining in-depth analytics about my content – analytics that could help me answer “who, what, where, when”. Having such information would be helpful for me to narrow down on which clients were interested in my experience. Such deep insight would also allow me to understand what challenges prospective clients were dealing with. I decided to upgrade my membership to LinkedIn Premium.
With LinkedIn Premium, I now had strategic analytics readily available. I received daily alerts, weekly analysis, and monthly reports on exactly who was reading my blog post. The analytics provided to LinkedIn Premium users are very awesome and it gives details from a granular level to a wide overview – it shows the persons, industries, companies, and even geographic locations of my most engaged readers. Having this information proved beneficial as I was now able to:
- Understand what issues were of popular interest, meaning that these were challenges that prospective clients were dealing with.
- Connect and engage hiring managers at specific companies who viewed my profile.
- Provide more solutions and valuable content on those specific areas of interest that generated the most attention on LinkedIn
Effective Job Search Using LinkedIn Jobs
LinkedIn has become the new way for employers and recruiters to find talent. It’s very common for employers in today’s IT world to ask for your LinkedIn profile. Likewise, LinkedIn is a great avenue for job seekers of all kinds – full time, part time, and even consultants. Although I had previously created profiles on other popular job boards, I decided to give LinkedIn Jobs platform a try. I saw an immediate correlation – companies that viewed my blog posts had job openings that matched my skill set. This was my eureka moment when everything started to make sense:
- First step, share my blogs on LinkedIn to highlight my technology skills (focused on niche areas of Oracle databases and AWS cloud).
- Second step, analyze who is looking at my blog posts and engage them on LinkedIn (I expanded on popular blog posts, connected with hiring managers and started conversations about their challenges, and followed the companies).
- Third step, I applied for relevant jobs openings at the companies.
I was pleased with how easy most of the job applications were designed. With a few simple clicks, I applied for job openings at the same companies that read my blogs. I felt confident about my candidacy for these jobs because I knew that my technical blogs had already provided value add to the prospective clients.
I was able to secure my first consulting client within 2 months of focusing my efforts through LinkedIn. I now realize that LinkedIn is a great way to:
- Market my experience
- Brand myself
- Align my skills with employers that are eagerly looking for my expertise
Long gone are the days of roller decks full of business contacts. LinkedIn is a digital roller deck and more – it’s the modern professionals tool for growing his/her network and engaging other professionals for new opportunities. Full disclosure, I’m not a paid LinkedIn spokesperson. I genuinely like the platform and it’s yielded positive results for my IT consulting.