Interviews with LinkedIn users: Marcel Hofman

by Jan & Bert

Once in a while we share experiences from other people on this blog. Some of them are more “famous” people, others are “just” regular LinkedIn users. We gladly share their insights because they might help you even more than our own tips ☺ Below, we interview Marcel Hofman about his experiences with LinkedIn. Jan & Bert: Hi Marcel, please tell us more about your background. Marcel: I’m a public health expert. My origins are in the Netherlands, but I have worked in China for several years. Jan & Bert: From booming China, you came back to the Netherlands. Suddenly being a jobseeker confronted with a double dip recession, how did you respond? Marcel: When I came back to the Netherlands in the end of 2011, I suddenly realized I was out of touch with the Dutch job market. In China, the government blocks numerous social media sites. LinkedIn can be used there, but works rather slowly as the government filters the site in search of sensitive content. As a result, I wasn’t up to date with new legislations, job application procedures and most importantly, I had lost contact with a profound segment of my western network. Jan & Bert: You told us LinkedIn helped you a lot. Can you share exactly how LinkedIn helped you? Marcel: LinkedIn has helped me to regain visibility as a public health expert. Moreover, I am now able to share my experience and expertise in European and Asian healthcare. This led to two freelance jobs I currently have. For “I for China”, a consultancy firm, I’m active as a speaker and consultant. I inform Dutch companies, interested in expanding onto new markets, how to do business in Chinese medical markets. I also set up Sino-Dutch B2B partnerships in healthcare for them. The “China Expertise Centre” hires me as a speaker specialized in Chinese healthcare. In this role, I give speeches and workshops. Jan & Bert: That’s great! What did you do to get these results? Marcel: I extended my LinkedIn profile by describing my skills and interests. I also invited my former supervisors and colleagues to write a recommendation. Lastly, I joined discussion groups within my areas of interest and started discussions on contemporary and relevant issues. Jan & Bert: What were your most important insights? What are your tips for the readers? Marcel: There were lots; this is my top 5: 1) The power of second-degree contacts. One of the ways I applied this was in my preparation for a job interview for a specific company. I asked for an introduction to 3 people who all agreed on brainstorming with me. Two of them over the phone.,one face-to-face. Not only did I get some good insights and feedback, but it also helped later on with the interviews because people in the company already had heard of me or had seen my face. 2) Create an attractive Profile. Include a positive vibe and have a clear, professional headline. This helps with your personal branding and increases visibility. 3) Be active in Groups. Share information and contribute to Discussions. In combination with a clear, professional headline, this has helped me to receive personal messages and invitations from valuable people. In addition to that, the Maastricht University has asked me to write an article about my experiences in China. 4) Share information and help other people. LinkedIn is a great resource for information, trends, new developments and to find the right people to brainstorm with. For example, one of the results was that I had a meeting with a company specialized in technology in the medical industry. I learned from them about technological breakthroughs in energy harvesting that can be used within Healthcare practices. A nice win-win situation! 5) Use LinkedIn Events. On the one hand, to meet interesting people offline. LinkedIn helps to see who else is going to the same event. On the other hand, this shows that you are actively engaged in your field of expertise and in the territory you want people to know you are professionally active in. Jan & Bert: thanks for sharing your tips Marcel! Is there anything else you want to share? Marcel: Besides the consulting projects I’m currently engaged in, I am looking for a full-time position in Health Promotion. I invite anyone in need of my expertise and experience to contact me.

 

More LinkedIn tips can be found in the book “How to REALLY use LinkedIn”. You can download it for FREE!

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