LinkedIn is a social media platform used by over 650 million people worldwide. This can make it feel incredibly overwhelming and it can be hard to get started. But one way to give yourself a helping hand is to make use of the community you are part of, the LGBTQ+ one.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you start cyber-stalking every LGBTQ person you’ve ever heard of, but if you’re wanting to work for and with LGBTQ+ friendly people, having a network of them is going to be very useful to you.
Here are my top tips to help you queerload your network:
1. Start with your immediate group of friends, family and acquaintances as well as current and recent colleagues. Try to connect with as many of them as you can, but especially those who identify as LGBTQ+ as well an any ally’s.
2. Follow companies with a good record of providing a welcoming and safe environment to the LGBTQ+ community. You can find these by looking at the Stonewall Equality Index, companies that advertise through Proud Employers and myGwork as well as filtering your job search to include LGBTQ+ on sites like Vercida.
3. Reconnect with people from the LGBTQ+ youth group you were part of, the LGBTQ university society members or the LGBTQ staff network.
4. Join LGBTQ+ groups on LinkedIn and connect with some of the members.
5. Follow any LGBTQ+ influencers or top voices on LinkedIn such as Suki Sandhu MBE, Paul Roberts OBE and Jenna Howieson.
6. Allow others to find you. There’re a few subtle or not so subtle things you can do in your profile to attract others to want to connect with you. Having a rainbow banner at the top and announcing your sexual orientation in bold is one way to do it, but there’s a few other methods you could use too, such as:
Wearing a rainbow lanyard in your profile pic
Mentioning any LGBTQ groups you’ve belonged to and positions of responsibility you had with them
Putting your pronouns after your name in your profile
Describing any work you have done to promote equality and diversity in the workplace or your place of education.
Tips for connecting – if you have not personally met or spoken to a person you’re hoping to connect with, or it’s likely that they may not remember you, always add a personal note with your connection invite. LinkedIn give a character limit so it can’t be too long, but it’s important to include it. Here’s some examples:
Hi John, you may not remember me, but we were in the LGBTQ student society at university. I’d like you to join my network, thank you.
Hi Sarah, I really liked and agreed with the comments you made about XXXX in the XXXXX group on LinkedIn. I’d love it if you would agree to join my network, thank you.
Hi Jenna, I saw your name on a list of LGBTQ influencers and liked what I read about your work and passions. I'd be keen for you to join my LinkedIn network please.
Don’t forget, I am able to provide LinkedIn audits to help you make the most of your profile and reap all the benefits of using LinkedIn. Click on the services tab and then select the most appropriate option for you. LinkedIn is also something we can discuss during a careers guidance interview too if you wanted to arrange to have one of those with me.