Whether you’re happily employed in your current position, looking around for a switch or unemployed, Linked In is one of the key tools in your in your professional toolbox. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do as a professional, an up-to-date profile is going to serve you well.
Why? Here are a few of the 100 reasons:
- Customers check you out online
- Prospective employees at your company check you out
- You might come in on Monday and find out your company has been sold – and you don’t have a job
- The most amazing opportunity might be out there – but only if lookers know who you are and what you are made of!
- A collection of history – it’s like a professional Facebook – a place to
record all the awesome professional work you do – and a great place to
keep recommendations that don’t get lost
- It’s your electronic persona – a way to extend yourself beyond the people that
you can meet face-to-face. A greatway to build your personal brand – and we have one – whether it’s built FOR us, or built BY us.
And the list goes on…..
So, here are some quick tips for keeping your profile polished and up-to-date. This is based on the most current version of Linked In – and some things have changed recently.
- “Interested in” settings. Linked In used to have a setting for what you wanted to be contacted for. This setting is no longer available so recruiters have to guess if you are looking for a new position. There are a couple of polite ways to address this: 1) List your email and phone number on the top line of your summary if you are actively seeking employment – that’s recruiter code for “I’m looking.” 2) Include a brief statement if you don’t want to hear about opportunities at all (on the first line of your summary). Something like – “please reach out to me for referrals or business connections only.” Or “I’d love
to hear from our current and future customers.” This lets people know that you are not even in a passive search mode.
- Headline. Your headline should never include your company name. Your headline should be a searchable title – not the internal title you have – but rather a title that you can use at a cocktail party so that people understand a bit about what you do. You should not use the title that Linked In gives you when you build your profile.
- Summary. Keep it short and sweet. 3-5 sentences in length – and briefly
describe yourself as a professional so that lookers get a feel for who you are as a person. Keep it on a professional level. Use complete sentences, check your spelling and grammar.
- Experience. In my opinion, this section should come right from your resume. Deliver a consistent message (brand). I’m consistently amazed at the discrepancies I see between a person’s resume and their Linked In profile. They should be exactly the same.
- Education. This section should match your resume as well. ‘nuf said…
- Skills and competencies. Go ahead and be generous here. List your skills and abilities and let people endorse you for them. This will impact search results when people are looking for someone like you. Remember, it’s a historical record – and you’ll need it at some point.
- Links. Keep these updated. Most people include the link to the company that they were with when they originally set up their profile. When you change companies, you should update this link. If you have a personal website even better! If you have a personal Twitter account and you use it for professional business only, link that too. If you use your Twitter account for something other than your profession – leave it out.
- Groups. Join 50! This is the best way to increase your exposure locally and
globally. If you are looking for thought leaders or information on a specific subject, Linked In groups may be your answer. Linked In has recently beefed up the search function inside of Groups so it’s way easy to find the information you are looking for.
- Connections. There are a large number of opinions on how to deal with connections. Here is my opinion: I do not connect with people that I don’t know or haven’t spoken with. The reason for this is that I want to be able to make introductions when I’m asked for them – and if I don’t know someone I can’t make a good introduction. Take time to think about your opinion regarding connections and then stick to it.
- Updates. At a minimum – update your profile when you change roles, companies or get a promotion. You deserve a virtual pat on the back – and that’s what you’ll get! Also, take time annually – over the holidays – to update your resume with the year’s accomplishments and then update your profile as well.
It’s not rocket science – there is no silver bullet. My best advice regarding your Linked In profile is…..be yourself – everyone else is taken. Contact me directly with specific questions at Kimberly@goldstonepartners.com.
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