LinkedIn is one of the most powerful social outreach tools. Its utility is almost unlimited as it can accomplish an array of different things. Among its potential uses are:
- Being your address book
- Acting as a messaging tool
- Serving as an online resume
- Giving you the ability to shape how people view you
- Being an online advertisement for your services
- Getting you consulting gigs
You can’t reap the benefits of LinkedIn if you aren’t actively using it. Which means you MUST have a well-crafted, unique profile. How can you create one? Take these 4 STEPS:
1. ADD A PICTURE
This is the single most important thing you can do for your profile bar none. This is for two reasons:
- It personalizes you. People like to know who they are talking to.
- It is expected. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile people wonder begin to wonder why...
Please note, beware that adding a picture can also have pitfalls. You can’t just add any picture. Remember that LinkedIn is a professional network and your picture should resemble exactly that. What not to do:
- Don't have that awesome picture of you at the tailgate with a beer in your hand, in most cases beach pictures should be avoided too…
- Don't rush out to your nearest Glamour Shots to get a professional headshot.
What you can do is ask someone take a picture of you in a suit, or at least something with a collar, on with their phone and upload to your profile. You get the picture.
2. TYPOS, GRAMMAR ERROS AND "TEXT-LIKE" TONE CAN MAKE YOU SOUND STUPID
Here’s the deal. You need to treat your LinkedIn profile like you would your resume. If you spend five minutes putting it together it will look like you did so. Follow these tips:
- Check and recheck for spelling and grammar errors – it just looks sloppy if there is an error.
- Don’t assume that everyone knows what your acronym means – take the time type it out.
- Don’t type like you text. Anyone that uses u instead of you or anything like this sounds like a sixteen year old girl – unless you are one – this is not what you want to look like on Linked In
3. ADD LOTS OF INFORMATION
This one is really important. I teach people who I work with that a resume should be brief, easy to read and a highlight of your experience. The goal of a resume is to make people want to learn more about you. The purpose of your LinkedIn profile is the same. However, when someone reads a resume you have six seconds - 6 SECONDS - as you are competing with the 9 Million other people competing for the same job.
LinkedIn is used for finding extra information about you; perhaps they saw your resume and want to learn more about you. Maybe you left them a message and they are deciding whether to call you back. Regardless, in this medium it is acceptable and recommended that you include as much information as possible. All the while keeping in mind that it needs to still be easy to read and scan.
How do you do this?
- Most importantly: us as many applicable keywords as possible. The best way to increase visibility is to increase the likelihood that you show up in search results. Add every keyword that you can about your industry so that more people see you.
- List every school you have attended, from high school to your highest degree. LinkedIn is about common denominators, and its best for you if have more opportunities to have something in common with someone.
4. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LINKEDIN APPLICATIONS
LinkedIn offers a variety of applications allowing you to share additional information about yourself. They range from sharing work product, to linking your blog (valuable for me), to the books you are reading and where you are traveling. This stuff is pretty cool and gives you another opportunity to show off. One of my favorite settings is that no expert calls themself an expert...instead they are branded one by their peers. Using these apps can make you look like an expert.