By Mark Ruthenberg, Advantage Tech Inc. and TransCanada FoundLocally Inc.
Many folks misunderstand LinkedIn and assume its only for job hunting (and may have even used it for just that!) but it’s developed into much more… It’s now a great tool for building teams, assessing teams, and doing “due diligence” on business deals. If your LinkedIn profile has not been updated (or you cannot remember when) its time to look at a few basics:
If your LinkedIn profile is like this, you will be quickly judged as a technologically incompetent failure:
Add a good close-up photo (head and shoulders only) that suits your professional style. People need to imagine having a face-to-face chat with you when they are on your LinkedIn profile. And if you have the placeholder image (shown above), add a photograph of a good corporate illustration that supports your corporate or personal “brand”. Click on the Pencil icon to upload, crop and adjust the image (pick a suitable wide photo from your phone’s camera/gallery)
Doesn’t that look more professional?
You need to tell folks why you and your profile is relevant to to them. Classic “WIFM” What’s in it for me! What experience do you have and what results have you helped others achieve? And keep it to about three paragraphs. This is supposed to be the “tease” not the whole story.
TIP: If you want to include a bullet list, DON’T do it in LinkedIn… do it Word first (with the bullets) and copy & paste into LinkedIn (this tip applies everywhere in LinkedIn!!)
If you do not have an About section, click on “Add Section” button and select “About”
Review your Experience companies, your Education institutions and Volunteer Experience organizations
If any items have this “placeholder” logo, they did not have a business LinkedIn page when you mentioned them in your profile (however long ago you did that):
MANY have since created the profiles, if only so their link goes to their information instead of a list of current/former employees, All you need to do is click on the pencil icon beside that item and retype the company name. Too many placeholder logos indicates that your experience is old and outdated, OR that your LinkedIn profile is.
If your Experience includes companies that are out of business or too small to be well-known by your audience, you may want to add a one-line description of the business above your job description. What did they sell/do, and how big were they in what market/community? Make your experience count!
TIP: If your LinkedIn Experience section only has your current employer/company, and no previous Experience or Education, you really need a complete make-over. Folks want to know what other experience you bring to the table, even if it’s some of your first jobs after university (or while at school). Heck, they want to know what education they have. I’ve sen this a lot with companies who told their managers they need LinkedIn Pages (often by their web marketing ro SEO person) and set them up for them, without granting access to add to, update, or personalize the pages. In this case, create a NEW Page from scratch, and contact LinkedIn to merge the two accounts into your current(new) profile.
Check your SKILLS
If you have not been to your LinkedIn page in a while, you might be surprised what has changed in your Skills section.
1) You can pick 3 to feature. Click the empty thumbtack to the left of that skill to pin it to the top. If you already have 3 skills featured click on one of the green thumbtacks to unpin it, so you can replace it with a more relevant skill to feature.
2) Skills are now grouped automatically into “Industry Knowledge”, “Tools & Technologies”, “Interpersonal Skills” and “Other Skills”. You cannot change the grouping, but you can reorder them within a group.
TIP: The top-listed skills ten to get more “attaboys” (our word, like a pat on the shoulder for doing a good job) than the ones listed lower down. Click the 4-line “Hamburger” icon to drag a skill to its new ranking. Click the “garbage can” icon to get rid of irrelevant skills.
3) If you have fewer than 10 skills, compare your Skills against others with the same job title or in your industry. See what others find to be most helpful / relevant.
TIP: recruiters often filter based on these skills, so missing a key one may mean you are overlooked in any search they are doing to fill a position.
If you are tying to increase the number of “attaboys” for your skills, DO NOT send LinkedIn messages begging for clicks. Send direct email to people you know, or better still phone them and offer to trade some click by them for some clicks by you, And while you are at it, ask them for a recommendation (the next section down) if you’ve worked with them,
Edit public profile & URL
On the right column are some new & eat feature. If your LinkedIn URL is name and a bunch of numbers, you can shorten it to be more meaningful: JoeSmithPlumber or JoeSmithYYC. If you have an unusual name you might still get your name (no spaces). I got mine many years ago when they added this feature.
When you are done that, you can choose which features to make available to which audiences: everyone, only 1st degree connections, your networks (up to 3 degrees of separation), all LinkedIn members, or everyone (Google, etc)
Update your Contact Information and websites
Check the websites you are linking to in your profile (just current employers/companies) and also give people a way to contact you directly, outside of LinkedIn.
Click on the “pencil” icon to the right of your name, and scroll the very bottom of the pop-up form to “Edit Contact Info”.
If you post your professional email (a corporate email address always looks more stable than a Gmail or Hotmail account, even if that’s how you login to LinkedIn) and a direct phone # (TIP: always disclose this as a “work” number). If you are female and getting lots of connection requests from guys who are inappropriately using LinkedIn as a dating app, I’ve found the best approach is to send a response back that “they are exactly the “type” for a hot gay friend of yours… would they like a connection to be made on their behalf?”
You can add or update your web links here and your social media accounts (exclude any that are too personal or too political… LinkedIn is to grow your business not to be political). Also, if you do not want people to send you happy birthday messages (or not remind them you are getting a year older) leave the birthday “Month” and “Day” fields blank.
Advantage Tech Inc [https://advantagetech.com/] is Calgary’s Complete Career Transition & Human Resource Services. Our Focus is on Career Transition Counselling (which we pioneered in Calgary, in 1980, 40 years ago), Executive Coaching, and Executive Resume Review
Call us to discuss your career and your plans for improving your current one or pivoting to a new one.