Twitter is often thought of first when it comes to social media and the political space. But don’t overlook LinkedIn. As the strategies needed to influence the policy landscape have advanced, the skills you need as a lobbying or advocacy professional have grown. LinkedIn is the place you can go to build those skills — or show them off.
Public affairs professionals have needed to adapt in recent years to new job requirements like:
- Digital transformation and the adoption of new tools for legislative tracking
- The use of new communication channels, like social media platforms, to engage legislators
- The growing role of environmental, social, and corporate governance in public affairs teams
- The importance of reputation management as more consumers look to how organizations respond to policy
Even if you aren’t looking for a new role right now, engaging on LinkedIn lets you learn from your peers facing similar professional challenges. Read on to learn a few ways you can get the most from LinkedIn:
Enhancing Your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn is no longer the stodgy platform of old. Although it’s more professional than Twitter, it’s also more interactive. You can read and comment on articles, connect with new acquaintances, and take educational courses. LinkedIn is the best place to turn if you want to learn more about someone you just met at an event or need to recruit a new team member. If you’re a professional “catch” — someone who is continually improving their skills — then let the world know by displaying a polished profile.
Here are tips for each of the different parts of your profile:
Everything in your profile says something about you, including your profile photo If you’re promoting your current work or hiring for your organization, consider a branded border around your profile picture and in your banner. For example, we use a purple banner at Quorum around our profile pictures. LinkedIn’s Open to Work banners can help highlight your profile to potential recruiters if you’re openly looking for a new role.
Alongside your profile picture is your name. While this seems straightforward, even here, there are ways you can make your LinkedIn more accessible to visitors. Add your pronouns alongside your name, and consider recording a clip for your name pronunciation too.
The profile headline is used for job titles, but you should add three to five short paragraphs in the summary section about:
- Your current role
- The key steps in your career before your current role
- Your areas of expertise folks may seek you out for
- A few key accomplishments
- If you’re looking for work, a description of what you’re looking for
- If you’re hiring, what a successful candidate looks like for your open roles
For each of your past roles, use the text below to describe what the role entailed and your key accomplishments in that role. Public affairs roles like “Government Affairs Manager” can include different responsibilities at different organizations, so this space helps you define which parts of the organization’s work you personally worked on or were responsible for.
Differentiate yourself from the crowd by quantifying your accomplishments. Here are a few metrics you could consider including:
- The number of participants and actions resulting from grassroots campaigns you ran
- The number of champion legislators or Tier 1 stakeholders you built
- The number of legislative offices you reached in your annual Lobby Day
- The key sponsors you helped drive on a key bill
- The amount raised in your PAC’s Peer to Peer campaign
Highlight the software you have experience with, such as marketing software like HubSpot or public affairs software like Quorum. This can help if an organization you’re applying to uses the same system — your experience means you can hop right in rather than requiring training.
Skills and credentials
Skills and credentials may be low down on your page, but the data shows they make an impact.
50% of recruiters use LinkedIn’s skill search filter to find candidates with skills that match their criteria.
LinkedIn profiles displaying a digital badge are 20% more likely to get hired. Display digital badges for the credentials you earn, for example, ASAE’s Certified Association Executive (CAE), AGRP’s Lobbying Certificate Program (LCP), or HubSpot certifications.
If you use any of Quorum’s products like Quorum Grassroots, Quorum Federal, or Phone2Action, you can earn official LinkedIn badges for courses such as:
- Lobbying and Government Relations
- Stakeholder Engagement
- Federal Legislative Tracking
- State Legislative Tracking
- Grassroots Advocacy
- Quorum Fundamentals
- Quorum Administrator
Use the Featured section to showcase and boost the visibility of work you’re proud of, for example:
- Links to the action centers for the grassroots program you manage
- Press releases from your organization on key bills you helped pass or defeat
- Press mentions you garnered for your organization from your policy communications efforts
- Published articles and presentations you gave with professional organizations, like the Public Affairs Council
- Op-eds you helped publish or ghost-wrote
Engaging on LinkedIn
LinkedIn isn’t just about your profile, but also your engagement with your network. Dedicate time each week to LinkedIn engagement — reading, commenting, liking, and sharing things to read or watch. The more you engage with others on LinkedIn, the more frequently your posts and shares appear in people’s newsfeeds. Here are a few best practices for engagement:
- Plan your posts around the time the platform most people are scrolling on — early in the day or in the evening after meetings are over for the day.
- Commenting is better than sharing — it provides more opportunities for back-and-forth conversation.
- If you’re posting a video, use captions! Most people watch without sound.
- If relevant, use a hashtag to introduce your post to folks outside your network but in your industry.
- Two-way communication is essential. Don’t just broadcast. Reply to every comment on your posts.
If you’re looking for a public affairs job or wouldn’t mind vetting new opportunities, LinkedIn is the place to show what you can bring to new employers. While at its most basic level, LinkedIn is a digital resume, it provides an opportunity to show a more creative and full picture of your professional experience. Even if you’re happy in your current position, you can enhance your reputation and expand your network once you start making the most of LinkedIn.