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.
- Why You Need To Actively Use LinkedIn – Even If You Have a Job
- Top LinkedIn Lessons Learned
- LinkedIn Mistakes Recruiters Hate – And How To Avoid Them
- Killer Tricks & Tips I Learned While Updating My LinkedIn Profile
- How To Grow Your Career With LinkedIn Groups
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:
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.
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:
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.
Take 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.
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?