Killer Tricks & Tips I Learned While Updating My LinkedIn Profile

This is the fourth post of a series I am writing on my experience getting reacquainted with LinkedIn. I’ll update the links below as the posts go live.

If it’s been a while since you’ve updated your LinkedIn profile, you’ll find some surprises in how LinkedIn does things. I think the changes are for the better, but they may take some getting used to.

I’ve been able to do just about everything I wanted to –  with a little research. Here are five things I didn’t know until I got started:

Improve your headline. Most people list their job title under their name. However, this can be very limiting – and raises the question of what to do if you’re between jobs. I suggest listing your field or alternative job titles with a ” | ” separator. For instance, “Quality Assurance Manager | Supply Chain Strategist”. This can be particularly useful if you have a side business or multiple areas of expertise. Whatever you do, don’t use this space to say “unemployed” or “currently seeking opportunities.” Here’s mine:

profile.title

List your website or blog. One of the challenges I had was that I wanted my blog to show up as Monday Is Good and not as http://www.mondayisgood.com. Under “Edit Contact Info” and then “Website” try choosing “Other” instead of the more obvious “Personal Website” or “Blog.” When you select other, you’ll get a separate box to list the name of your site as well as the link. Don’t have a personal website? You can use this method to link to anything online without displaying the full URL.

website

Tell people you are open to networking. You can get into trouble with the LinkedIn police if you try to connect with people you don’t know. If too many potential connections “ignore” your request and then indicate they don’t know you, your account could be suspended. Take away the risk for those who want to connect with you, and include a statement in your summary about who you are (or are not) willing to connect with.

My policy is simple – I selectively invite people to connect with, but I accept all LinkedIn requests (unless they look spammy or inappropriate). You may see the phrase LION (LinkedIn Open Networker) as you view profiles, so you can confidently send an invitation to connect. This is what my statement looks like:

accept.all

Include examples of your work. In your summary section, as well as for each position you list in your experience section, you have the opportunity to attach examples of your work. Creative folks (like graphic designers or advertising executives) are very familiar with having a portfolio. However, everyone should have a portfolio of their best work.

Make sure you don’t post anything confidential about your current or former employers. Find your best work, and once you have removed anything sensitive, post it on your profile. So far, I’ve posted a PowerPoint of a presentation I recently gave on Maximizing Your Work. If it wouldn’t be appropriate in your line of work to post examples, then create a PowerPoint presentation which highlights your accomplishments. Get creative with this.

powerpointTake advantage of new sections. LinkedIn now has sections for Projects, Languages, Honors & Awards, Test Scores, Patents, and more. Have you take college courses but not finished your degree? There is a courses section you can use to highlight that education. The sections I’m using right now are Volunteer Experiences & Causes, Certifications, Publications, and Organizations. Whatever you bring to the table, there is a place to put it now.

Before you pass over the “Publications” section too quickly, remember the definition of “published” has changed significantly. This isn’t being a best-selling author or even appearing in a trade journal. For example, I’ve included links to my guest posts on other blogs as publications.

publications

I know I’ve only scratched the surface here, and I’m planning future posts to expand some of these. If you really want to get serious, the book to buy is Maximum Success With LinkedIn by Dan Sherman.

Have you already implemented some of these suggestions? What would you add?

28 Responses to Killer Tricks & Tips I Learned While Updating My LinkedIn Profile

  1. Regina Johnson May 12, 2013 at 20:44 #

    Tom a few more great ideas to make your Linked In Profile work and help you stand out! I am also open to Linked in invites here is my personal linked: http://www.linkedin.com/in/ReginaJohnson1

    • Tom Dixon May 12, 2013 at 20:48 #

      Your profile is looking good…keep it up!

  2. Dan Erickson May 13, 2013 at 08:28 #

    Great tips, Tom. One of these days I’ll work on the details on my LinkedIn. But first, I just found my vitae and cover-letter files. I thought I had lost them. They were last updated in 2010. I’m going to get to work on those over the next few weeks. I’ve usually been one to keep them up to date, but I’ve gotten lazy as my job is pretty secure and my parenting plan keeps my fairly stuck.

    • Tom Dixon May 13, 2013 at 19:28 #

      I agree, it is best to keep those things updated even if you are happily employed. I’m glad you found the list helpful.

  3. Vincent Nguyen May 13, 2013 at 10:37 #

    Thanks for that first idea on separating using the “|”

    I went ahead and stuck it in there so now it reads “Freelance Copywriter/editor | SEO and Content Marketer | WordPress Consultant”

    • Tom Dixon May 13, 2013 at 19:27 #

      Thanks, Vincent. That character really helps make your headline look clean.

  4. Joseph Iregbu May 13, 2013 at 20:39 #

    All suggestions (with exception of publishing my work-related portfolio for obvious reasons) work for me. The skills section is quite good (as well as listing your honors), although I would advice not to over-do it. Thanks Tom

    • Tom Dixon May 14, 2013 at 21:22 #

      You have to use discernment in what you publish as far as your work – but this can be effective in some cases. If there is ever a place to sell yourself, it is probably your LinkedIn profile – but you are right, you shouldn’t over do it. Thanks for the feedback!

  5. Lauren Phelps May 16, 2013 at 12:46 #

    Thanks, Tom! Feel free to point me to the post if you’ve covered it – how do you decide if LinkedIn is worth your time? Must we be on every social media site? I’m ready for the outrage :)

    • Tom Dixon May 16, 2013 at 20:00 #

      I think you need a presence wherever the people you want to connect with are. Depending on your profession or goals, that may be Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or something else. I would suggest you shouldn’t be everywhere – the maintenance is just too much. It goes back to your goal, and which social media (if any) will get you closer to it. For me, that is primarily LinkedIn and Twitter. I don’t do much on Facebook (except link to blog posts) or Google +. Hope that helps!

  6. Melanie Wilson May 17, 2013 at 21:34 #

    This is a great article for me, Tom. Thanks. Working on LinkedIn is on my to-do list!

  7. Lincoln Parks May 18, 2013 at 19:35 #

    LinkedIn is a hidden gem Tom and its so great that this tool is available. What is so great about it is that its all about your professional life. You can be so creative. Great Post.

    • Tom Dixon May 18, 2013 at 20:01 #

      Thanks Lincoln – LinkedIn a great resource. Hiring managers will look you up other places – like Facebook – so everything you do online needs to be something you are proud of!

  8. Loren Pinilis May 23, 2013 at 13:55 #

    Hmm..I really like the idea of telling people you are open to networking. So simple but never thought of that.

    • Tom Dixon May 24, 2013 at 21:02 #

      That was a new one for me too…has really worked out well for me so far.

  9. Lisa September 17, 2013 at 12:21 #

    Thanks great tips! The “new sections” idea is great. I have my own blog as well on job hunting and posted a free infographic that you might like. Take a look and let me know what you think. It’s at: http://www.lisa-kaull.com/?p=176

    • Tom Dixon September 30, 2013 at 07:16 #

      Thanks for sharing the link, Lisa. Have a great Monday!

  10. Kelly September 30, 2013 at 01:33 #

    Found your blog site this evening and have been on it for several hours – awesome stuff!!

    This is the first time I’ve heard anyone say to absolutely NOT put Looking for Job, or the like, in your headline. I have been unemployed due to layoffs for more than a year and am wondering why I shouldn’t note that I’m seeking employment? My reasoning for it is thinking it would bring attention to me when potential employers run a search. What is your reasoning for not showing it? Thanks!

    • Tom Dixon September 30, 2013 at 07:21 #

      I’m glad you have found it useful, Kelly. Being unemployed isn’t going to make you more attractive to an employer – no matter how they find your profile. I know that sounds harsh, but is the truth. What is important is what you have been doing with the time between jobs. The fact that you are seeking employment is understood – everyone on LinkedIn to some degree or another is seeking employment (or new opportunities, etc…). If you have been job hunting for a year without luck, you may have to CREATE the work. I can’t recommend Dan Miller’s 48 Days To The Work You Love enough. Get a plan and get going!

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