What do I know?
I’d never thought of myself as any kind of LinkedIn expert, and still don’t! So why am I writing this blog about it? Well, today I got 30 connection requests. I’m sure there are people who get a lot more than that. And there are those who don’t want to connect with strangers (why???) or who value a small number of intimate connections. But I love connecting with lots of people from varied backgrounds and finding out about them. Or at least some of them, not everyone wants to share. I never wanted to be a ‘connections collector’. Still, I wanted to raise my profile, so I started to request connections. And, as my connections grew, so did the number of requests coming back to me. Some (quite a few actually) said that they had connected with me because of my profile. It’s not perfect, and I do tweak it sometimes. And I started out by copying other people’s and changing bits. So I don’t think it’s that remarkable, but I must be doing something right because people seem to like it. I check out every request I get and I have seen some truly awful profiles, yet it’s not hard to get it right (or right-ish), so here are a few tips:
Take a good look at it – what kind of image does it project? Does it look like you, positive, professional, friendly, relaxed? Or is it a logo, a product or sloppy selfie? It doesn’t have to be a professional headshot, although that’s good if you can manage it. But it should encourage people to connect with you, so aim for good quality, smiling, recent too, not from twenty years ago. Ideally keep it consistent across all social media. Your picture should be you as you’d like business connections to see you now, not as a new graduate from five years ago, nor as a bride or out with your mates on a Saturday night! And, to make it more interesting, add a complementary background image rather than leaving the boring LinkedIn blue background.
Does your headline draw people in, tell them what you offer and intrigue them? Or is it a dull phrase just like a dozen others? Or, worse still, just a vague one-word description – photographer, retail, HR Professional etc? It’s your chance to grab people’s attention and make them curious enough to look further. It doesn’t have to be quirky, unless you’re aiming for quirky as part of your brand or story. But it should be about you and what you do. Are you dull? If not, why have a dull headline – check out the competition. Don’t copy them but see what you like in other people’s headlines and use it for inspiration.
Describe what you do, what you’d like to do, but mostly about what you have to offer a client or employer. This is your story, make it work for you. Avoid initials and abbreviations, especially industry-related jargon, so no ‘FIO at a leading OBD’. And please, no business speak – acres of words like ‘global matrix organisation’ that no one will even read. Tell your story, you can even add some personal details if they’ll help paint the right picture of you. But mostly, think about your ideal client and what solutions you can offer them.
Make sure that your employment and contact details are up-to-date. When was the last time you checked them? Have you tested your website or video links lately? Do they still work? And then check for typos and spelling mistakes, or get someone else to do it for you. And do a sense check too – does it say what you think it says. If your LinkedIn profile is sloppy, what does that say about your work?
Have you got good testimonials and endorsements? Recent posts and articles? All these add up to a full, well-rounded profile. They give you credibility and spark interest.
So use your profile and review it from time to time, it’s a great tool. Here’s a great profile for Hallowe’en!
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