LinkedIn is more than an online CV so let’s start treating it differently. It’s a way to build and share your personal brand. That’s where the real value will be for you. As always, the first step in building a brand is to determine what you want from it. Do you want to find new customers, find new partners and suppliers, find a new job, find a new candidate? What you choose will dictate a lot of what wording you will choose. After that, it’s time to work on your profile.
9 elements that will make your LinkedIn Profile stand out
It’s not an online CV so don’t just copy/paste it.
I still see plenty of profiles that show the company name, the title held and the time spent there. That could work if you had an important title or worked for a company like Google, Apple or somewhere prominent in your field. Recruiters look for skills and experiences and titles, Business Development folk look for titles and companies, Candidates want to know more about the company and the job. Spend a little time:
- Thinking about your and your company’s elevator pitch is
- Writing out what the company does
- What you did there
- Anything else worth noting (awards, patents, research, etc.)
If LinkedIn is part of your online brand, then market yourself. Use key words that reflect what you are looking for. For example:
- Recruiters might look for words, like “started” or “implemented” or “lead”
- A potential client will look to be reassured and look for words like “cared for” or “dedicated” or “educated.”
Your tag line.
Brands have tag lines, so do you. LinkedIn allows you to to add yours. It’s that line that goes below your name and appears in search results. It can be your title if your title is strong enough or it can be something more punchy. Again, it should be in line with your objective:
- “Entrepreneurial Market Analyst”
- “Analytical Marketers”
- “Electrical Engineer and team player”
- “Consultant with a 90% customer appreciation”
The Summary as an elevator pitch.
One of the sections to fill is the Summary. Use it as an elevator pitch. Tell us who you are and why we should do business with you. Keep in mind that your writing for the screen (computer, tablets and mobiles) so keep your paragraphs short and easy to read. Don’t be afraid of bullet points. When writing this:
- Keep in mind “Who am I and What can I do for you.”
- Be creative. For example, if you’re a recruiter, list some of the top spots you’re looking to fill. If you’re in sales add a customer review (even if there’s a dedicated section for that)
- The Summary should be the first thing people see some make it interesting, inviting and reader friendly.
[If you still would like more help with your Profile, reach out and I’ll help you for a fee.]
LinkedIn allows you to add Skills. It’s searchable so think Search Engine Optimization — use words people would search for. A recruiter comfortable with searching LinkedIn will not only type “Marketing Directors in Montreal”, they’ll add skills and keywords that fit their corporate culture like “self-starter,” “team player,” “communications,” “started,” “developed,” “entrepreneurial,” etc.
The section allows you to tell us more about yourself. Add a website or Twitter handle.
- If you add a website, please remove the default “My Website” label and tell us what the site is.
- Add Twitter if you’re actually active there. Why would you send people off to a barren land when they’re already thinking of you?
- Add other relevant sites like where you’ve been published or volunteer activities.
- Edit your permalink in your profile to make it easier to remember or reflect your personal brand. This link can only be changed once, so use it wisely.
- Try to paint a nice picture of yourself by telling us a little more
Your Value Proposition.
In Marketing there’s something called the Brand/Product’s Value Proposition. In other words, what makes it valuable to customers. It can be what’s the same as the competitions, what’s different and what’s better. Throughout your Profile, try to think of your Value Proposition. What do you offer that’s the same as others, different than others and better than others? It’s not an easy thing to answer and it might drive some people away…and that’s OK, you only want your target to contact you.
Get clients, colleagues, bosses, etc. to write you some Recommendations. People are busy so offer some guidelines or just write it out for them and suggest they use that or alter it if need be. Ask them to focus on one or two of your core skills. Remember, you get what you put in, so write Recommendations for others as well, it only takes 5 minutes.
Build your network.
Another Marketing concept is Pull vs. Push. With Pull, you pull in your customers to your location, be it a website or a store. Push, well, you push them there. Working on your Profile is Pull. You write it out so that the relevant people can find you:
They search > They find you > They visit your profile > They connect with you or message you. You’ve pulled them in.
The last step is to build an audience. LinkedIn works with degrees of separation, so the more connections you have the closer in degrees you get to others. The closer you are to others, the more chances there are they find you. So the more contacts you have the more you see results.
There you have it, 9 elements to consider. I think the number one reason people fail at LinkedIn is:
- They don’t have an objective so they don’t see the point of filling out all the fields.
- They don’t find the time.
Find your objective, focus and build the rest.
[If you find you’re still having trouble with your Profile, reach out and I’ll help you in exchange of a fee.]
(Photo credit: *** Fanch The System!!! ***)