Like all social media, LinkedIn can help you, hurt you or have no effect at all.
Used the right way , LinkedIn is an essential part of your professional brand and consequently has a direct effect on your career – one way or the other. This is where people you meet or are about to meet will check you out – the starting point of how people will perceive you.
Like Richie Etwaru I joined LinkedIn around 2003 and find his advice right on target:
“I probably joined LinkedIn sometime in 2003 or 2004 as my first recommendation dates back to 2005. So it is safe to say I have a decade of experience with LinkedIn.
Thus, from the simple length of time I have been updating, my profile is somewhat epic, sometimes I get made fun of for having a “too complete” profile. But more recently, as the LinkedIn profile quickly becomes the golden copy of a resume more and more folks ask for tips and tricks to making profiles … epic.
Today, someone asked if I could help him make a “Sweet Resume” on LinkedIn – this was a first.
Below are some of my techniques, they go a bit deeper than the simple stuff like complete the profile, add others colleagues, or add education, etc.
- Get the top right – nothing is more boring than a LinkedIn profile without a picture, or a profile with a title that says “VP, Technology”. The reality is that the LinkedIn profile is much more than a resume, it is a personal statement of what your colleagues (and customers) can expect from you. Here are some examples “Delivers Projects Like No Body’s Business” – now there is a guy/gal I am looking to hire!
- Use the gallery – For every job you had and your summary, LinkedIn allows you to add videos, pictures, documents and links. This is the “rich media” that you can add to your profile to make it relevant, and go beyond a simple digital copy of your resume online. This is the “sweet” in “Sweet Resume”.
- Use company pages – you want to link each of your jobs to the employer’s official page. This allows the logo of the company you worked for to be added to your profile enabling readers to quickly see what companies you were associate with via company logos.
- Publishing – LinkedIn allows you to add your publications; these can be blogs, research reports, articles, or books. One cool trick is to always co-publish, this way the faces of your co-publishers are added to your profile giving you network credence.
- Volunteer, honors and patents – easily the most underrated part of the LinkedIn profile, here you can add things that really tell your colleagues what lies within you, your story. For example here is a good place to showcase some of your speaking engagements, awards, recognition etc. things that never actually make the “resume”.
- Recommendations – this one is the no brainer, here is the trick with recommendations, get them as early as you can, waiting for five years and then asking for recommendations says “I am looking for work” – get them as projects are completed, or folks move onto other jobs.
- Skills – this part is a mess and tricky. Here is my simple rule; delete the skills you do not want to be associated with. Many times I see folks who are strategic thinkers, creative minds, and brilliant business men and women have their top sill listed as Lotus Notes.
- Think about your clan – you have to decide whether you include the “People Also Viewed” section or not. It can work for or against you. For example I have observed that attractive women, always seem to have a long list of other attractive women that have no professional affiliation to them in their “People Also Viewed” section. This is because men usually … OK I will not explain, but in cases like these where your “clan” is not helping, you may want to remove it.
- Update your emails – I see profiles where folks still have their @aol.com emails listed. Nothing says “I am outdated and out of touch” like having a @aol.com email address, listed on your LinkedIn profile.
- Be authentic – the fact that your resume is now social means that you have to abide by the rules of social. In the social construct, authenticity is the mother of all currencies. Use language that says, “hey I am real, but that does not mean I have to take myself too seriously”.