LinkedIn and Knitting: 5 Ways to Cast on For Your Next Job
The low down: This is a round-up of some advice on how to use LinkedIn to craft your next job, the beginning of an occasional series. This is especially targeted to knitters and sewers who are thinking about tossing all those WIPs behind the couch and casting on (or cutting out in the case of sewers) the ultimate FO: a new job that fits you to a T. Makes you a living. A comfortable one. Using all your amazing skills and more. Yes, LinkedIn can be your friend, knitters and sewers. Perhaps just as much as Ravelry, Burdastyle, Patternreview. Read on to learn more. (At this point, readers, you can go pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee and return to the monitors. Others? I’ll see you soon.)
Got your beverage of choice? Ok. So LinkedIn isn’t Ravelry, Burdastyle or Patternreview, with pretty pictures of FOs practically scrolling across your computer monitor. LinkedIn is s all these people you know, that you’ve worked with, met at conferences or shoot, even had a cocktail with at a bar. Not quite the knitter next door, at the local yarn shop, even the knitter with the most impressive stash, sweater collection, or this incredible ability to whip a Fair Isle sweater virtually overnight.
So what? These are people that can you prosper in your next job. Which might be a heck of a lot different than what you’re doing now. So rising fashion designer star, here’s how you can use LinkedIn for your design career.
1. It’s All About Who You Know. I know a lot of knitters like to “ooh and aah” over sweaters seen at Rhinebeck (a yarn/fiber festival in New York). Why not collect business cards while you’re there? I know it’s not the same as snapping pics of designs to upload later, but designers with loads of experience go to Rhinebeck to win over new customers. Buy yarn, but golly, gather business cards too. As soon as possible, send LInkedIn invites to friends you’ve made at Rhinebeck. You’d be surprised to see how many knitters are on LinkedIn.
2. Join LinkedIn groups. Yep, there’s one for Ravelry, a group with nearly 2,000 members. This is the place to ask questions about how to set up a blog, get new readers, hire an accountant, etc. Your friends, colleagues who’ve done in before can you advise you. It’s not quite knitting advice, or where to buy a particular yarn, but it’s all useful to know before you open doors, hang your shingle, start your new career.
3. Set up a great LinkedIn profile that gets notice. Use dingbats. I’ve got a few in mine. Don’t be bashful. Those first words in your little LinkedIn profile are probably the most your thousands of connections will ever read. Yes, your profile will likely just scanned. So make your keywords useful and relevant. Mention the words designer, fashion, knitting, sewing or whatever it is you do. High up there, right next to your cute picture (and it is cute, stylish and professional because people will notice). These important words are key words that people will use to search for designers like you, especially reporters on deadline, frantically searching for a knowledgeable source like you.
4. Leave frequent status updates. (Throw in a smiley face or two, studies show status updates with smiley faces get more attention.) It shows your colleagues you’re alive. You could simply tweet out your blog updates, default to your Twitter feed. But it will bring your profile to your colleagues on a regular basis. Who knows? They might see your update, hire YOU to design pieces for their next promo, trade show, window display, knit a special tie for the CEO to wear to Comic Con.
5. Wish your colleagues happy birthday. If you’re on Facebook, maybe you get snowed with warm wishes for your special day, but how often does that happen on LinkedIn? Sure you can do the same on Ravelry, but why not try it on LinkedIn?Everyone likes to be remembered on their birthday. Even TV show host Clinton Kelly who you admire and follow on Twitter. Give it shot.
That’s it for now. See you on LinkedIn? Got a great LinkedIn tip or success story that you’d like to share?