LinkedIn saved my career life. Without it, I would be somewhere; possibly unknown, jobless, and broke. This is my story of how LinkedIn helped me escape Tanzania’s endemic unemployment.
Before joining LinkedIn, I was an endangered candidate. Like the Black Rhinos at Ngorongoro, my chances of surviving the job market were about to go extinct. My degree was no longer a big deal.
Coming from overlooked interiors of rural Tanzania, I had zero connections in corporate TZ. Having attended chronically underfunded and overpopulated schools, I stood little chance in the competitive job market. In short, I suffered a severe Network Gap.
Things changed when I turned to this wonderful invention called the Internet. With the internet, a dim light began to materialize inside my career tunnel.
A laptop and the internet provided me with what Jesus would say “Upon these tools, you shall build your career”. Digital skills are the rocks upon which careers are now built.
So I started learning one digital skill after another, mostly in marketing and advertising.
From content writing to copywriting, graphic design (Canva), web design and development (WordPress), Facebook Ads, and more. I was not going to leave any stone unturned. Specializing or niching would come later. But at that moment, I was determined to be someone who covered many angles in digital marketing.
I built (and still building) a skills arsenal that not only made me competitive in the local job market but also the international started to take notice.
Today, things look more promising about my career trajectory than I was in 2020. And the best part? Since 2020, I’ve never had someone to tell me;
- When to be at work
- What to wear
- How to behave
All thanks to LinkedIn. I am now the most followed Tanzanian marketer on the platform. With over 36,200 followers. What this has brought is I haven’t sent a job application since 2020. I get reached out, not me reaching out.
In the system that works by who knows you, I made myself known through the power of writing online, showcasing my skills, and mastering the art of self-promotion.
If your life is anything like mine, coming from a family with limited resources in a third-world country, then what you want in life will not come to you in a linear fashion. And the unemployment rate in your country will only keep going up. The government will do nothing, as usual.
You have to pick your cross and stumble up the career hill. By which I mean take career matters into your own hands. Learning digital skills is a great place to start. And you have everything to start, like the tool you are using to read this message.
But despite its potential, LinkedIn is the least used social media platform in Tanzania. It is a bit intimidating to many. I bet this is also the case if you come from a developing country. People haven’t woken up to these online opportunities. They are busy finding jobs in the old, super competitive way.
Your social media pages are not just a mere presence for likes and all; they’re a potential paycheck.
Most Tanzanians who would benefit from the platform (students, graduates, professional workers, founders) either don’t know of its existence, don’t believe in its potential, or think it is simply a place to find a job. LinkedIn is more than that.
As of August 2023, there were 1,171,000 LinkedIn users in Tanzania. This accounted for 1.7% of the country’s population.
If you’re into numbers, this may not seem significant from a country of 60+ million people. But this isn’t just any number. It is an exclusive subset of the Tanzanian population.
- Your employer on LinkedIn.
- Your client is LinkedIn
- Insightful conversations happen on LinkedIn
- Knowledgeable people to work with on a project are on LinkedIn
On LinkedIn, you will be standing in front of an audience full of potential.
When I launched my book in late 2023, I used the platform to promote presales and made TZS300,000 in two days. After launch, I reached a total of TZS1.4 million in two weeks. We recently expanded to provide domain and hosting services. So far, we copy-pasted some 13 customers who already trust me. Thanks again for actively creating content on LinkedIn.
Imagine if I was a silent scrolling ghost unknown to anyone. Would I have sold?
Getting started on LinkedIn
If I were to start from ZERO on LinkedIn, this is how I would get to 6000 followers in less than a year:
- First, you have to do the necessary job of getting your content in front of people. Make sure you post not less than three times per week. You can go on the offense by showing up daily.
- Send at least 300 personalized connection requests in four months. An example of a personalized request that gets accepted; 𝘏𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘰 𝘚𝘩𝘶𝘬𝘶𝘳𝘶! 𝘐 𝘤𝘢𝘮𝘦 𝘢𝘤𝘳𝘰𝘴𝘴 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘵𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘮𝘺 𝘧𝘦𝘦𝘥 𝘢 𝘧𝘦𝘸 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘐 𝘴𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘭𝘺 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘥𝘰! 𝘞𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘯𝘦𝘤𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘺 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘰𝘶𝘤𝘩 🙂
- Camping on the comment sections of medium size accounts. What you want is ‘association’. If people associate you with one or two established creators then you join their ranks. I would avoid big accounts because the author may not see your comment. You want someone where the chance of getting a reply is high.
- Build a platoon of supporters. You need a team of at least five people to fight and bleed with you on the digital frontline. With these people, you support each other’s journey online.
And that’s it. Growing on social media is actually putting yourself in front of people. Be prepared to face criticism here and there.
Ok, before you go, allow me to insist on this; If the system works by ‘Who Knows You, then you have to make yourself KNOWN. This doesn’t mean going out of your way trying to please people so they include you in their circle. No. Let your talent speak volumes.
The people they know don’t have the skills and talent you have. That’s where you come in, my friend. Let the world know you for what you bring to the table (expertise). Don’t be resentful and say “Ah they give it to themselves”
There’s a way you can get in the game. LinkedIn is a good place to do so. You can go from an unknown nobody to someone whose talent people have seen, heard, and know.
Thank you for reading!