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Five Ways to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Snap, Crackle, and Pop!

Dull and boring just isn’t going to cut it in today’s oversaturated Internet world. Same old, same old isn’t going to get you that new job or attract the right clients to your business. You absolutely must stand out from the crowd. And you have to do this in a way that appeals to your market! In this article, I’d like to turn you on to a few things you can do to your profile to stand out from the crowd and make people take notice of you! Ready?

Headline

Let’s start with your headline. DO NOT just put your job title or your main skill. “IT Professional.” “Freelance Writer.” Both of these are generic and don’t do any selling! Think about how you could restructure those to appeal to your market, whether that’s potential employers or clients. What problem do you solve or what result do you give? That’s what employers and clients are going to really hire you for.

Photo

This one’s a little tricky. You want to have a good, maybe even a professional photo, and you want it to stand out a little. For the photo, I’d go towards making sure you look friendly and likable. That is, as long as you’re in a job where being friendly and likable is a good thing. If you’re an international security expert, then you might want to tone down on the smile. 😉 Just make sure it represents you as a professional and is appropriate to your field.

Profile Summary

Here’s where most folks just fall flat on their face! You get 2,000 characters to work with for your profile summary. Two thousand. Use them! And, don’t be generic. Write in the first person. That’s much more approachable than writing in the third person. Make sure you include a little (but not too much) personal history. Idea: How did you get where you are? Here’s where you can really distinguish yourself from the rest of the field!

Recommendations

Yes, you want them! You don’t have to have a ton. Three or four great ones will do. But these especially serve to position you as an expert in your field. Most serious visitors to your profile (the ones thinking about possibly hiring you for something) will check out your recommendations and really read them! So don’t be afraid to ask past clients and colleagues if they’d leave you one. It may take a couple gentle reminders (I’m still waiting for a few who said they’d be happy to leave one, but never have the time :), but having them can really be a boost to your profile.

And lastly,

Skills

Your list of skills and your endorsements help define more about who you are and what you do. Just like with recommendations, you can bet that anyone serious takes a long look at them.

It may take you a little time to refine, add, or update these things, but if you really want your profile working for you, then don’t skip these important points.

 

Why You Must Keep Your LinkedIn Profile Current

Someone once asked a business colleague of mine who’s been working on LinkedIn for a very long time if it was okay to update their profile. In their case, they were talking about their profile summary. My colleague thought it was an odd question to be asked. After all, wouldn’t you want to update your CV or your resume? Upon further investigation though, they realized the person was asking a valid question. Basically, they were wondering if their older connections would react negatively to an updated profile. Here’s what my colleague told them that I think will help anyone asking the same question.

“It all depends! But what choice do you have? If your profile needs updating, then that really means that you’ve either moved on, or you’ve changed focus in your professional life. You’ve done something like get a new job, or you’re planning on changing careers. Something like that. If you want LinkedIn to work for you in this new endeavor, then you really need to update your headline, your profile summary, and quite possibly other parts of your profile.”

Indeed, over the past few years, as my business focus has changed, I’ve updated my own profiles significantly about 3 times. We no longer live in the world of people working at the same job for thirty years and getting the gold watch at the end. We live in a much more fluid world when it comes to career, employment, and skills.

Looking at it from a skills point of view, it used to be that you had to have a college degree specializing you in some discipline or other before you could get a job doing whatever that was. Nowadays, you can take an online course and within three months or so, completely change careers! You won’t necessarily need to start on the ground floor either!

With the flux that defines our business and professional lives, why wouldn’t you change your profile as you change? One: Will people really get bent out of shape over that? and Two: Would the opinion of someone who did really matter?

Get in there and show people you’re growing and learning. And enjoy all the new connections you’ll make as a result.

 

Three Negative Things Your LinkedIn Profile Reveals About You

LinkedIn is about business, right? Right! Just about business, and quite frankly, no one wants to do business with people who are suspect, don’t believe in themselves, or to use a phrase common a few decades ago, throw off a negative vibe! Yet, I see so many profiles that do just this! They hurt your cause instead of help it. Often, I think this is unconscious. I don’t think people with profiles like this are trying to shoot themselves in the proverbial foot, but they are? You might be wondering, what exactly am I seeing? Well, let’s talk about three things I see often that really put me off and make me not want that person in my world.

#1 – No Picture or Poor Picture

At least once a day someone sends me a connect request and they don’t have a picture! What’s up with that? How could anybody expect LinkedIn to work for them if they don’t have any kind of picture at all? It is, after all, a business networking site. It leaves you wondering: Why are they hiding? What’s wrong with their face? Should I trust them?

Then there’s the people who have photos, but they’re very poor in quality. You don’t have to have a professional head shot like an actor would, but you do need a clear photo that shows you at least wearing business attire.

#2 – Lack of Passion About Your Work

When I read your profile summary do I feel like I’ve read this all before? Are you faking it, or are you really stoked about what you’re doing? I don’t want to do business with people who aren’t passionate about what they bring to the table. And, frankly, I would never hire someone who seems that way, either. So, get passionate and pour that passion into your profile!

#3 – “Seeking Employment”

This last one might be my own pet peeve, but saying “Seeking Employment” in your headline is a real turn off for me. Seeking employment is not a job, it’s not a career, it’s not an occupation. It tells me nothing. Get rid of it! Instead, go out there, connect with businesses you’d like to work for and start a conversation. Not a begging or “you need to hire me right now” kind of conversation, but a real, professional conversation.

 

Make sure these three profile musts are in place and you’ll be ready to network with the best!

 

More Cool LinkedIn Hacks You Must Be Doing!

LinkedIn just gets better and better and better! I’ll be honest. When Microsoft bought LinkedIn, I felt a little, how shall we say it…trepidation about what they might do to the platform. Honestly, I’ve not liked all of Microsoft’s changes. Especially the part about moving so many of the free features into the paid-only part. That said, I like free, but I also understand business. So, I get it that I should be paying for these capabilities. There are, however, quite a few things you can now do with LinkedIn that I completely adore. Let’s go over a few of what those are today. Hopefully, you’ll get as excited as I am and start utilizing more of LinkedIn’s cool features!

One of my favorite “hacks” for marketing on LinkedIn involves SlideShare. In case you don’t know, SlideShare is a platform where you can post your PowerPoint, Keynote and other slide presentations. It was bought by LinkedIn a while back, so it makes sense that the two easily complement each other! Many businesses make a lot of slide presentations for things like webinars or speaking engagements. And now they can get a lot more mileage out of those slides by making them available on SlideShare. Also, when you post a new slide presentation on SlideShare you can always share it on LinkedIn. Something I’ve done for clients and the results are amazing! A lot more views and a lot more interaction. Talk about branding, right?

My other favorite “hack” involves YouTube. This goes hand-in-hand with the PowerPoints you create. PowerPoints are many times created for making into videos. This gives you a lot more content to spread around. (#ContentRepurposing)

One great place to share your videos is on YouTube. You can then share the video straight to your LinkedIn feed, or you can post it to select groups that you belong to. This is a powerful way to get the right eyeballs on you and your profile!

Have another hack for re-purposing content or for getting a positive response from your LinkedIn audience through one of LinkedIn’s features? I’d love to hear what you’re doing! Just leave me a comment below.  🙂

 

Your Three-Step LinkedIn Hack

If you need a way to sell virtually anything, LinkedIn is the place to be! Doesn’t matter if you’re selling coaching, books, gold, or airplanes, with LinkedIn’s half a billion users, you’re going to find more leads and more prospects than you can get to in a lifetime. Well, I should qualify that last statement. If you know how to use and build relationships on LinkedIn you can do this. If you don’t know how, then quite frankly, LinkedIn will remain a mystery to you and honestly, probably will be just a waste of time. So, with that all in mind, let me show you my 3-step hack that I use to find more business right on LinkedIn than I can deal with. Ready to get started?

 

LinkedIn is built on connections and relationships. The first thing you need to do is you need to connect with a lot of people. At first, don’t worry if they’re in your target market. Your first goal is to build up your connections to at least 1,000 or so. No, don’t connect to everyone all in one day. That will look (and just is) unnatural and, among other things, will put your account at risk. Try to connect to around 50 new people every day until you get your connections up to about 2,000, then your account will build on its own.

 

Next, you’ll want to start reaching out to these connections. A great way to do this is to message people when they accept your connection request. You’ll want to say something personal and welcoming. You do NOT want to spam people with a big long paragraph about how cool you are or how awesome your product is. Just reach out pleasantly! If someone ignores you, just keep trying every now and then to see if they’re ready to engage with you. Remember, not everyone checks their LinkedIn account daily. So if you’re being ignored, it’s more likely that the person just hasn’t seen your message yet.

 

Finally, after you’ve messaged with someone back and forth for a while, that’s when you can invite them to talk with you in more detail about your offering. This shouldn’t be a full-blown sales presentation, but more of a 15-minute get to know you session. Unlike many gurus will tell you, LinkedIn isn’t a get-rich-quick platform. It’s the online version of a B2B networking meeting. So network! Connect. Say hi. Talk. Get to know them. And if once you’ve done that they’re interested in how you can help them or their business, then open up that discussion.

 

These steps are intuitive, but I’m always surprised by how many business people are actually doing them. Do these three steps consistently, and you’ll soon have more business than you know what to do with!

 

What and What Not to Include in Your LinkedIn Profile

Ever hear the phrase, “TMI”? – Too Much Information. Every now and then I’ll read someone’s profile where I feel like they’ve included too much. Now, frankly, it’s usually the reverse. Normally if there’s a content problem with a profile, it’s that the user hasn’t included enough information. Their profile summary isn’t long or complete enough. They haven’t included enough skills and endorsements. Or they don’t have enough recommendations. Or, given their age, their work history looks incomplete. That’s what I usually see. Every now and then, however, I see the opposite.

When I see too much information on someone’s profile, it’s not the length that bothers me – after all, a profile summary is limited to 2,000 characters including spaces. What I mean is, what they’ve included shouldn’t be there. For instance, snide or defensive remarks about a former employer absolutely have no place on your LinkedIn profile! I get it. Your last boss or company you worked for were, how shall we say this, less than stellar. Call your sister, best friend or your mom up about it. Don’t spew that venom on social media. This is a sure way to never get hired for any but the lowest of the low jobs again.

Another “cardinal sin”: I see vis-à-vis content in LinkedIn profiles has to do with changing careers. If you feel you were underutilized in your former career, you don’t need to say so. Just emphasize how your talents are being used in your new career and you should be fine!

The bottom line here is don’t be negative! It’s kind of like your grandmother might have said to you (I know mine did), “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Employers and potential clients are allergic to negativity! It puts them on the defensive. And it tells a lot about what kind of person you are and who you’ll be as THEIR employee or contractor. Why spoil your chances at landing a new job or getting a new client just because you said a little too much on your LinkedIn profile? Put your best foot forward, keep your profile on-point and positive, and get those jobs!

 

Four Ways to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Excellent!

Your LinkedIn profile is the central core of any LinkedIn marketing strategy.

LinkedIn, after all, is really not much more than a massive Chamber of Commerce meeting online. And, you can look at your profile as a combination of your 5-minute elevator speech and your business card all rolled into one. Get your profile right, and you’re in business. Get it wrong, and you might as well take your ball and go home.

In this article, I’d like to talk about 4 things you can do to make sure you have an exciting and dynamic LinkedIn profile.

One:

Get a professional headshot. No, you don’t need a glamour shot like an actor needs, but you do need a really nice, professional looking headshot. If you’re serious about marketing yourself, either for a job or for business, on LinkedIn, your profile picture is worth investing a little money in.

Two:

Sub-par recommendations are almost just as bad as bad recommendations. You get to choose whether to have a recommendation included in your profile. What I often see, though, is people who accept low-quality recommendations, probably thinking a ho-hum recommendation is better than nothing at all. No, it’s not! Yes, you need recommendations but you don’t need limp, wishy-washy recommendations. You want your recommendations to be specific and exciting. How to get those? Well, if you know the person who wrote your recommendation, just ask them if they’d consider punching it up some with more specificity. If you don’t know them and you don’t feel you can contact them about what they wrote, then don’t include it in your profile.

Three:

Writing your profile summary in the third person. This screams “dull, dull, dull!” It’s just weird to read someone’s profile summary in the third person. It’s as if someone else wrote it, but we all know that the profile summary is written by the person whose face is on the account! Also, remember this: LinkedIn is a networking platform. What would you think if you went to a BNI meeting and someone started telling you about themselves but was talking in the third person? “He did this,” “She did that,” Etc. Weird! Just don’t do it.

Four:

You should know better than to do the following anyway, but just in case—don’t leak out proprietary information about your former company! If you want to make something public, an example of your work, a case study, etc., run that by your former employer and get their okay first. You’ll save yourself at least a nasty phone call or maybe even more grief!

So now that you’re armed with four easy things to make sure you’re doing (or not doing) on your profile, go out there and make that profile great!

 

Why Endorsements, Skills, and Recommendations Matter on LinkedIn

Many LinkedIn users that I’ve seen have great profiles. The exceptions? Profiles that are weak in endorsements, recommendations, or skills. Often all three.

It’s like these three are the stepchildren of the various fields that make up a complete LinkedIn profile. Here’s why you don’t want to ignore these all-important parts of your LinkedIn profile.

Look at it this way. When’s the last time you bought something that cost more than a few dollars? Being an Internet-savvy person, what did you do? If you’re like most folks, you Googled whatever you bought first and read about what other people thought, right? Well, people do essentially the same thing on LinkedIn. We call this “social proof” in the marketing business. People are highly influenced by what other people think. Being endorsed is one of the ways of providing this social proof to people who visit your profile on LinkedIn.

Recommendations work much the same way. Have you ever asked a colleague about the car they just bought, the new restaurant they tried, or their dentist or doctor? For important purchases, finding the right product or the right service provider is often done through recommendations. Recommendations carry a huge amount of influence, and you should be asking the people you’re connected with, at least the ones you know well, to recommend you.

Finally, listing your skills matters a lot! Seeing a large list of skills along with the number of people who’ve endorsed you for them is a great way to position yourself as a professional. Not only that, but the selection of skills helps viewers get to know you. Both recruiters and people who are potential clients are going to scan these skills to help them understand who you are and what you bring to the party!

So don’t ignore these three important areas of your profile. Get the ball rolling by making sure you have your skills up there, then contact just one LinkedIn connection today about giving an endorsement or referral. Get your profile shining!

 

Three Mistakes You’re Making With Your LinkedIn Profile

When it comes to marketing on LinkedIn, the #1 most important part of the process is getting your profile right. What I mean by that is:

1. You want your profile to be complete and
2. You especially want your profile to pre-sell you!

I see a lot of people’s profiles on LinkedIn that fail on one, or often both, of these points. So, let’s see what we can do about the three most common problems I often see and make your profile stand out.

Problem #1: Poor Profile Photo

LinkedIn is a business site! Unless you run a beach-side concession renting out umbrellas and surfboards, you don’t want your LinkedIn profile picture to be from your last vacation.

You know the one I’m talking about, right? Yep. The one where you’re wearing your multi-colored swimsuit, and you’re carrying around that boogie board you love so much.

Would you dress like that for a job interview? I don’t think so. (or I certainly hope not!)

You don’t need to spring for a professional headshot. Go dress up as you would for that job interview and get your significant other to take a well-lighted picture with your phone. That should do the job!

Problem #2: No Summary or Poor Summary

I see this all the time. People with otherwise great looking profiles, but their summary is either not there or it’s only one sentence long. That summary space has a 2,000-character limit. Use it all, or as close as you can!

Problem #3: No Recommendations

This one’s a little more problematic than the first two because you actually have to get someone else to do the recommending. But, here’s the deal. People are actually scrolling down and looking for those recommendations! You don’t need many. Two or three will do nicely. So do this if you don’t already have some: Ethically get some of your closer business associates to fill out a LinkedIn recommendation for you. You can either write it for them and they can copy and paste, or they can do it all themselves!

The bottom line is this: to be a success on LinkedIn, you need a full and complete profile. LinkedIn even prompts you for this, so if you haven’t filled out everything, you should know better! Stop what you’re doing right now and get that LinkedIn profile in tip-top shape. You’ll be glad you did!