I will also tell you that it will be a very good tool to use in combination with other factors of your job search/business building.
However, it is not the miracle worker and should not stand alone.
Give it a break, it is a piece of your overall communication, not the be-all, end-all everything in one problem solver!
Too often individuals will craft a LinkedIn profile and expect that once they upload it the phone sill start ringing off the hook, offers will pour in the door and the sky will open to let a light and chorus of angels sing “hallelujah” as all the rights will be wronged and business will pick up or the right job will be offered.
That’s a lot to expect out of one piece of the puzzle, don’t you think?
Let’s review what your LinkedIn profile is or should be:
- An inviting personal narrative where you are speaking directly to your targeted audience.
- An opportunity for you to add your personality into communicating your value.
- A brief narrative written in first person to build a connection.
- An invitation for further communication.
In other words, this is either step one or step two in a multi-step process. Often recruiters or hiring managers are reviewing LinkedIn profiles after they read a candidates resume. Prospective clients will also check out your LinkedIn profile after hearing about you, your company or reviewing any prior company information (like a website).
In that case it is step two. It could be the first encounter that someone has had with you so that would be step one.
If it is step two it needs to add further dimension and depth. Let them see you. Express in your own personal way how you add more value than the other guy, are an expert in your field or the contractor of choice. Give them another take away as a second touch.
If it is step one you are setting the stage for the above.
In either case the point is to engage and invite further communication – without demands or outrageous expectations.
Do not think that just by reading your LinkedIn profile that is enough to sign the deal. They are still going to want to talk to you, find out more and make a decision on their own that you are the right person.
Use LinkedIn to set the stage for that next level of communication. If you are job searching are their certain skills, value or ability that are important for your next position? Then these should be highlighted and given enough leeway for further communication.
In other words: you don’t need to tell them every single aspect – just enough to demonstrate your value and create the desire to find out more.
If you are utilizing LinkedIn to build your business speak directly to your client’s needs and follow the same principle: demonstrate your value and create the desire to find out more.
Invite them to connect with you and why they should. As a general rule we make decisions when they are easy to make. Give me the information I am looking for, an easy way to contact you and a reason to do so and I am more likely to reach out.
But make sure you are ready for that next communication. Are you following up, are you available to respond, are you presenting the same context and tone that you established in your LinkedIn profile?
If I am impressed with your profile and the tone of your message but then speak to a person who is disinterested or worse – do not get a response at all, I will quickly dismiss you as a candidate or prospect.
I want to make sure the person I read about and felt connected to is the same person I speak with either by phone, email or in person. If there is any difference it will create confusion and that will end any prospective deal. I don’t like being confused or dealt with the responsibility of figuring out which person you really are – it is exhausting.
Do you have a resume or business communication that mirrors your LinkedIn? They should not be the same, but similar. If a recruiter has already read your resume and sees that your LinkedIn is simply a copy and paste of that they are going to think you are a one trick pony.
Remember – a resume and business communication are more of an arm’s length communication. You are not sure who all will be reading it so you have to make sure it is professional, yet comprehensive for the potential audience. LinkedIn profiles are to be written more as speaking directly to that one person reading it. A personal connection written in first person where it is expected to use words like “I”, “me”, “my” and “mine”.
Bottom line: make sure your LinkedIn profile is written in congruence with your other business tools, utilized as a communication stepping stone and that you are prepared to continue the message during subsequent contacts.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW