Welcome to Part 2 of So You Want To Socialize On LinkedIn! In this post we’ll be getting technical, reviewing the core components required to make any profile shine, and looking at the little details that will set you apart from the rest. Let’s dive right in, continuing our list from where we left off!
Detailed Optimization (continued)
- Tone, Tone, Tone
This is the first of two of the true core points of this entire list. The tone in which you structure everything about your profile is critically important. Recall what I said in the first part about the type of profile picture you should have? This is what tone is all about. Perhaps you want the equivalent of a realtor’s headshot in order to convey utmost seriousness and respectability. Perhaps you want something a little more playful, and you have a professional-quality photo of you in casual, work-appropriate clothing against an outdoor backdrop. You may even want to swing the pendulum all the way over to funky and post that picture of you rock-climbing – if you’re a rock-climbing instructor, that is. Showing yourself in your element appropriately is what tone is all about. Tone should influence your picture, your writing style, your uploads/documents, your network, everything. Another way of stating this list item would be to say “know your audience.” Cultivate an in-depth understanding of your network and make sure that you are presenting yourself in a way that is tailored to them.
Also, don’t be terrible at writing. If you traditionally have a loose-at-best grasp of grammar and/or spelling, get a sharp-eyed friend to read your profile over for you. Nothing will turn off employers and potential connections like the perception that you aren’t very smart or careful – which is what bad writing will make people think.
- Create A Polished, Fully Built-Out Portfolio Instead Of A Plain-Text Resume
We arrive at core point number two: leveraging your LinkedIn profile and its generous real estate to present the best “you” possible. Click on the “Edit Profile” button to open a whole world of options.
See those boxes that say “Add a link” and “Upload a file”? Use those to make your profile an ode to multimedia. Include presentations, lecture videos, speech recordings, conference papers, graphic design work, and links to blog posts and articles you’ve written. This is the point where you take to heart everything you learned in grade school about showing and not telling. Don’t simply state that you gave a presentation at a conference; upload the presentation itself. Share actions and stories of success, not a description of your traits. If you can prove you’re as awesome as you say you are with solid evidence, you’ll come across as believable – and competent!
Neatly organize all this information with headings, bullet points, and lists to make it visually appealing and easy to digest. Endless paragraphs will make even the most attentive reader’s eyes glaze over.
Keep in mind that if you operate under any NDA’s (non-disclosure agreements), you absolutely cannot share that work until such time as you have been released from the NDA or the work is safe to publish.
Now you’ve got a solid profile that anyone could be proud of. All that’s left is the finishing touches and necessary last steps to make your profile perfect.
- Lurk Your Industry
No matter which strategy you’re operating under, you need to know your industry like the back of your hand in order to be able to contribute substantively. Look at the profiles of employees for companies you might be interested in. Scope them – and their employers – out for industry-specific terms that you should be using. If you’re job seeking, look for key terms recruiters might find attractive and work them into your own profile. If you’re employed, follow companies you like, relevant groups, and influencers who discuss the industries of interest to you. Once you’re in the know about what’s valuable to those in your network, you’re far better equipped to give them the profile and the content that will be most helpful and insightful to them. Become part of the conversation, rather than staying on the uninformed periphery.
- How About Content?
Remember what I said in my previous point about content? I meant more than just your profile information. Not dissimilarly from Facebook, you can use LinkedIn’s homepage to post updates.
Use this power wisely. Post updates, but don’t spam. Keep your content relevant and interesting to your network. This isn’t Twitter, and no one needs to know your thoughts on your morning’s toast. Make sure the content you share is quality, and won’t reflect poorly on you. Comment on the news feeds of companies you’re following and share their updates to your own feed. You can do this with groups and individual users too. Be willing to engage – just do it intelligently. Try to post updates three to five times a week. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but more risks spamming and fewer risks falling off your network’s collective radar.
- Give If You Want To Receive
After going through all these steps to optimize your profile, you’ve probably noticed the “Skills & Endorsements” section below your experience. You may not have noticed the drop-down menu next to the edit profile button.
If you want plenty of endorsements for your skills, then it’s time to start being generous. Go out there and provide endorsements for past and present coworkers. If it’s recommendations you’re seeking, be proactive in asking. Avoid hitting up an upper-level manager you’ve barely ever spoken to with the mistaken belief that their word will carry more weight. An obviously rote form letter will mean less than a heartfelt endorsement from a middle manager who can knowledgeably extoll your work. Make your request specific. Perhaps you’d like a project you both worked on together discussed, or a particular set of skills with which they are familiar recommended. Be polite, honest, and offer to send them any files they might need to help jog their memory (like that report you turned in together). If anyone in your network ever comes to you with a request for a recommendation, be ready and willing to give it! You can’t put a price on the value of good will. The more you do for your connections, the more they’ll be willing to do for you!
So that’s it! Armed with these guidelines, you should be equipped with one of the greatest LinkedIn profiles ever crafted. So go forth and socialize – and show everyone else how it’s done.