I love LinkedIn, I think it is invaluable as a networking tool, a portable CV that is published 24/7 for the world to see. It creates a professional online presence for you and represents your career to prospective clients, employers, employees and colleagues. Though it is not Facebook, the amount of connections you have does not equal your popularity. I’m a strong believer in LinkedIn being a tool that you use to connect with people you have done business with and/or met them. I have read many articles on improving your LinkedIn profile and the do’s and don’ts of LinkedIn and what I found is after taking on board the information from a variety of sources is I have created an All Star profile, I even had LinkedIn email to congratulate me that my profile was in the top 20% of viewed profiles on LinkedIn and I only have 140+ connections. These are genuine connections, every person on my list I can tell you where I met them, the project I was on and the work that we performed together. This is something that comes with time, experience and how much you put yourself out to the world.
Below is my tips for improving our LinkedIn profile to become an All Star.
Connect with people you know or have had frequent dealings with
In the world or contracting and consulting I work with many recruitment agents and over the years I have submitted my CV to many different agencies and networked with them to get staff myself. Though this doesn’t mean that I connect with every recruiter I meet. I have connected to a few and these are ones that I have found to be helpful and I have worked with on a number of occasions to fill positions. Colleagues past and present are always a good idea to connect with, though make sure you have a good rapport with them first, LinkedIn can help you create a bond with your team members. Though I have seen on a number of occasions people embellishing or taking credit for other people’s work, only to be called out on it. Lesson learned, be open, honest and transparent in your profile. It is important to note that once you achieve over 50 connections, your profile rating increases quite a fair bit.
Fill out the projects information
This section is for you to highlight the projects you have worked and who you have worked on them with. If you have connected with the team members their profile will be linked to the project, otherwise their name will be listed. The project info allows you to expand on your CV section of your profile and in place of filling up lot of space listing out each project against each job, you add the project in the specific section, allow your CV section to narrow in on specific roles, responsibilities and achievements.
You have skills and experience so highlight them
When this section was launched I did gloss over it to start with, however after I started to use it I listed out my skills from my Professional Strengths section of my CV. Fast forward some time, I have quite a few endorsements against the profession strengths that I knew I had and now I know others think the same. Why would you care? Often now and I have done it myself, I will see a CV and it looks good though I now also do the LinkedIn search to see what their online profile looks like. It can create a really good impression if what you are saying in your CV matches what you are saying online and your connections are people are supporting that. Don’t get too creative with your skills, though you have 50 to add so get on with the job.
Here is your opportunity to tell the world in a succinct statement, what you are about, your role or your job title. I prefer to summarise my experience into a simple statement “Online Consultant” Its simple, it’s what I do and I feel it is all-encompassing of my services and skill set. I saw a profile the other day that had “If you haven’t worked with me and I don’t know you, DON’T add me” I thought fair enough (see first point), though you’re not too friendly there are you big fella? For me this created a very negative impression on this person, and if I was recruiting for a position I would gloss over this guy purely based on the attitude. While I agree with his statement, the statement is very aggressive and closed off, it painted a picture of a guy in a dark room programming and doesn’t want to be part of a team. A tough nut to crack. When I’m looking for someone to work with, I’m looking for someone I can relate to on a personal and professional level. That’s not to say we will be best mates, though I would like to feel comfortable I could ask about the weekend and not get a closed “Good”.
Your profile picture
This is a very important part of your LinkedIn profile, actually while I write this post I’m thinking of putting it at the top of my list of tips. Im going to leave it as the last item, so if you take away nothing else from this post you remember this. This is how people first identify with you, it is your first impression to people via a search, if you are submitted a CV for a job and the person on the shortlist panel, goes online to check you out. They want to see what you look like, please don’t use the default profile pic of a faceless white shape, or your pet or kids. There are various articles written on the psychology of what your profile picture says about you.
Some suggestions for good profile photos are:
- Professional headshots, easy to have someone take them for you. No selfies, unless you are really good at them and you don’t pull a duck face
- In action shot, one shot I have seen a lot of the time is consultants in front of whiteboards, facilitating a group session.
- Tie or no tie, that’s up to you. Though I do suggest being inline with how you present your self at work.
- Relaxed shots, showing a personal side. I added this one as I look at my current profile picture of my on the beach with my dog. It’s a nice shot and really highlights my demeanor as I take a relaxed approach to my roles. That’s not to say I’m a slacker, I simply enjoy a peaceful existence and nature plays a large part in my life. I felt this picture represented my well.
I hope you found the tips useful and you are on your way to obtaining an All Star LinkedIn profile. If you have any feedback please post your comments below, I would love to hear your thoughts.