Saturday May 2, 2009
Here's the bonus right up front - when LinkedIn tells you your profile is 100% complete, don't believe it! Here's why:
1. Don't put anything in the name field - other than your name.
I catch many "super users" (usually recruiters) making this common mistake. Thinking they will be more "contactable" they add email addresses, phone numbers and group affiliations into the "name" field (when editing "Basic Information" on LinkedIn. ) They think that: John A. Smith ([email protected]) LION will get them more hits than a simple: John Smith (Hey - I did this too when I first started on LinkedIn) The problem is that LinkedIn will categorize you incorrectly, which means you'll be harder to find when someone types your name in. It also means you will be harder to find in the "contacts" list. (Especially if you have 500+ contacts.) Harder to find means less business. Keep you name clean: John Smith. You'll have plenty of other opportunity to put your contact information in your profile (Headline, Summary, or Contact Me sections to name a few). And in those other sections you can always use CAPITALIZATION and "special characters" to make YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION jump out at the reader.
Ladies- LinkedIn finally has a field for your maiden name. Woohoo! It's been an issue they took far too long to resolve. But now your old colleagues and your new friends can find you!
2. Don't create your LinkedIn Profile in LinkedIn.
Create a LI Profile Word template to create and edit your profile. This will guard against spelling and grammatical errors, and can be easily copied into other social media platforms to keep your branding unified. It will also save you a boatload of time.
If for some reason LinkedIn ever suspended your profile, mistakenly shut down an active profile because of LinkedIn Training Webinars?" "My Blog site" or "Free Social Media Tips"? Everyone I have talked to who has customized their website has tracked higher click through (well - those who use analytics)
Every time someone jumps from a mega site to your website, your Google rating climbs just a bit higher. Higher rating = more hits = more sales! And really - isn't that one of the reasons we are on LinkedIn?
7. Don't use "experience" to reflect a simple copy of your resume.
Hey, you can now use box.net to upload your resume into LinkedIn. So while you certainly want to use "Experience" to list your current and previous jobs, really utilize the space by filling it with all that stuff you wish you had room for in your resume. Did you work for/with any Fortune 500 companies? Did one of your projects save the day? You can always use this space to "wins", different companies you have helped, seminars or workshops you have presented, a mini-shot of your personal website. And fill it with keywords!
8. Don't use "education" to simply reflect your traditional education.
Certainly you are going to want to list all the degrees you have managed to accumulate. If you have a PhD from Harvard, by all means, let us know. But you can also use this section (once again, using that magic tool called "other") to list special certification, licenses and other nifty specialties that make you stand out in a crowd. Once again, use your key words!
9. Don't ignore the Summary section!
The Summary section is probably one of the most useful and overlooked tools on LinkedIn. You have 2000 characters - that's 2/3's of a page to tell people who you are, how to contact you, why they should hire you or your company. This is also an EXCELLENT place to capitalize those things you want to DRAW the human eye to.
And for that electronic eye - use your key words. Like the web of 1996, the more you say something about yourself, the more true it is on LinekdIn. (Go ahead in put "LinkedIn Expert" - using the quotes to keep the words together - in the LinkedIn Search bar.)
Remember to use white space (it only takes a character to break that clump into nice readable paragraphs,) CAPITALIZATION, special characters, and key words. And as mentioned before - CREATE YOUR SUMMARY IN A WORD DOC FIRST.
10. Don't forget to use the applications
LinkedIn finally has some pretty nifty internal and open source applications to make your LinkedIn profile even more effective. Some of my favorites are:
Check them out and utilize them!
Ok -jumping off my soap box now. Go ahead and make those changes. let me know if you don't start getting more business through LinkedIn!
Oh - and invite me at http://linkedin.com/in/LinkedInExpert - I promise to accept your invitation! [email protected]