If you want to increase your professional visibility to grow your business, your book of business or find the opportunity to take the next step in your career do not get on LinkedIn.
That is right – do not get on LinkedIn.
In order to accomplish the goals listed above you must participate on LinkedIn.
There is a difference.
Side note: I am nitpicking on a word; however, one word can make a huge impact in your communications in networking and on your resume – just a little gentle reminder.
LinkedIn is an amazing, effective and powerful tool for your business and career – if it is used properly. As with any tool, if it is not utilized it does you no good.
Having an incomplete profile, double digit connections, lack of information or incorrect information will send the message to the LinkedIn community that you simply got on LinkedIn but show no interest in being a part of LinkedIn.
Here are 13 tips to elevate your profile to let it work for you through content and engagement
1. Profile picture
Get one and post it. This picture should be a nice head and shoulder shot with the dress in the theme of business casual. Smile. Please no bathroom selfies, family shots or pets. My dogs are adorable and photogenic but they do not belong in my profile picture.
2. Professional Headline
Personally, I hate titles. They are meaningless. I recently wrote a post about networking and introducing yourself by anything but your title, aptly named For Crying Out Loud Don’t Tell Me You are in Sales.
The same principle applies to your LinkedIn title. Yes, you can list your title; however, you have a 120 character space limit for this section – utilize it.
Instead of “Sales Professional” try something like Award Winning Health Care Sales Representative with a career of exceeding sales & revenue targets for growth & expansion.
If you are employed and looking for another job, I would not recommend advertising this fact for two reasons:
- It is disrespectful to your current company
- No one wants to hire the unhappy person, if you are not happy there what makes you think you will be happy at the new place – and would you do the same thing to them?
In this instance, utilize your current title with the value that you add in support of the current organization. For example something along the lines of “Systems Sales Representative bringing solutions to our clients for all their CRM needs now and as their companies grow.”
If you get someone to your page, you need to give them something to read. Too often profiles are missing the summary section. This is your introduction to prospective clients, employers and contacts. Utilize this space – up to 2,000 characters – to give them a glimpse of the value that is you.
This is not a place for you to post your resume. There is a distinct difference in voice between your resume, business biography and LinkedIn. I discuss the difference of this voice in more depth in the post LinkedIn Versus a Resume or Business Bio – The Difference is Voice.
To boil it down: in a resume or bio you are portraying a professional sales presentation of yourself not knowing who will be reading it, it is an arm’s length conversation. On LinkedIn you are having a one-on-one conversation with the person reading your profile. Direct the conversation to this target audience.
It is not enough to tell the reader what you do, you must give them a sense of your value in describing things such as who you work with, how you work with them, what you do, how you do it and the value others receive in you doing what you do.
4. Position Description
This is where I see a lot of copy and pasting from resumes or job descriptions. LinkedIn is that additional layer; people who have viewed your bio or resume are looking to LinkedIn to find out more about you. If the bio/resume and position descriptions (or summary) are the exact same you look like a one trick pony.
This section should be similar to your resume or bio; however, since it is a one-on-one conversation you should use the “I”s and “me”s that you do not in the resume. You have a minimum and maximum character limit here of 200 and 2000; choose the biggest highlights to emphasize here while giving a brief description of your role and value.
5. Stay Current
It takes time to craft a complete LinkedIn profile; however, do not fall into the trap that in completing it you are done. About once a month on an off day, read and review your profile. Is everything still relevant and current? Are there any additional skills, projects or accomplishments that you can include? Could that one sentence be tweaked so it is a little more compelling?
LinkedIn has made a change in that you can update your profile without notifying your connections about every single thing one. For directions on how to accomplish this refer to How Not to Broadcast Your Updates on LinkedIn. The article describes when you might want your connections to see updates and the updates you have no control over if they are seen or not.
6. Post and Share
Interact on LinkedIn every day.
Post and share relevant content for your connections. This can range from inspiring quotes, Slideshare presentations or relevant industry articles. Scroll through you home screen and read what your connections have posted; like or share the ones that you truly like or may be of value to your connections.
Join LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your business, expertise, goals and interests. Take it one step further and participate in these groups; ask and answer questions within discussions. You can begin a discussion by posting a question within the group.
One word of caution, make it manageable. Staying active and engaged in 20 groups is quite the task, start with a few and go from there.
Follow influencers that resonate with you, your industry or specialty. Like, make a comment, ask a question or share their posts.
LinkedIn does a wonderful job in providing you with suggestions of people with whom you can connect or may know, even providing a little connect link right there! Try to send at least one invitation daily, but do not be lazy. Although LinkedIn provides a pre-written script, personalizing your message gives you a better chance of making that connection.
Do not stress yourself out over creating a personal message. Make it as simple as “I would like to add you to my professional network as I see we have some common connections including Joe Johns and Mary Mary.”
Another option could be, “I have gained a lot of insight and information from your articles and would like to connect with you directly.”
Provide endorsements to your contacts via a personal endorsement or for one of their skills listed in their profile. Do this as a one way action without expectation for them to do the same for you. Business is all about the giving.
10. Allow Them to Contact You
Make sure that your contact information is displayed and easily found in your profile. If you are going to gain their interest you want them to follow up, right? Make it easy for them to do so!
11. Link for You Elsewhere
Create a link to your profile on your email signature allowing people to easily find you – and connect with you. If you are a business owner, display this link on your blog, website and any other places prospective clients and connections can click.
12. Combine to Build
Spread the love to other social media platforms. Tweet your LinkedIn updates to Twitter, LinkedIn gives you this option within the status update box. Include your blog and website into your profile for your connections to see your entire brand across various platforms.
13. Stay Consistent
This tips are solid and will work – if you work them consistently. Making a big surge for two weeks then slacking off for two months will take you right back to square one in having to build trust, confidence and value with your network. It takes less than 15 minutes a day to implement the connection tips. One quarter of an hour is certainly a valuable investment in your career, one that can provide considerable results.