Time to reach into that special bag possessed by The Sourcers’ Apprentice, and again, lets start the first chorus of a song I know (yes, I do) we’ll be revisiting again (and again…) until everyone is properly and completely in tune. If you fill in the blanks above, astute people will know that the topic of the week is part 1 dedicated to L*nked*n (oh, its just too much fun writing it this way). “I” see the topic as one of those covered by many “Experts” but followed by few, as everyone has their own way of personalizing their profiles, and golly gee, no two are the same. I’m sure this is through no fault of the experts, so much as an oversight or over ambitiousness of the writer. Lord knows (cuz he told me so) that there is no really right or wrong way to approach LinkedIn; and there are probably as many books and e-books on the topic as conversations.
“Please, Dan….What is the secret sauce behind the perfect profile?”… “How can I get the attention that I know I deserve so I can land the big job…The Really BIG job that will set me up for life?”….”Why do I keep getting passed over, or even better, why won’t anyone add me as a connection or ask for my expertise, cuz, you know, I’m really, really good, at you know, stuff?”… Okay so the last question may be a slight exaggeration, but anyone who has spent the time to do a resume or a CV, or a job interview recently knows that there is only ONE (1) Chance to grab the brass ring known as a good impression. I have a lot of fun at the expense of the English Language, and like to think I know how things should look on a printed page..(rilly, like, I do, trust me!!). One thing that just baffles me more than a blown muffler is how many people don’t take the five (5) minutes to proof read before posting. What does all the ramble have to do with LinkedIn? Simply this…
People take the time and effort necessary to make themselves look good; but fail to cover the initial bases well enough. Thought, sweat and effort can be seen on the page, just not much usable information. Think of LinkedIn as it was intended to be, a networking tool, and as such should be kept out of the hands of small children and people not serious about their profession. The best way to use any tool (great Canadian slang story for another day) is to read the instructions before proceeding. Those not serious should look somewhere else, as this is when it all gets interesting. Possibly the hardest part of a LinkedIn profile is located in the very first section.. That’s right, at the top of the page, not the glossary or the add-en-dum, but right at the beginning.
The first blank is simple: Fill in your name, even better, how you like to be known as between 9-5 at a very professional level. Underneath that, place your job title, (Or key-words that people might find you by, or make you more SEO savvy). There seems to be roughly 100-140 characters to play with, so feel free to be ambitious, just not so ambitious that people don’t know what you do, or think you know more than you actually do. Made up job-titles are great on gag-cards, or business forms in-house between collegues, but lets face it, what exactly is a “Chief People Herder” or an “Ant Colony Foreman” anyways? (scary, these are actual job-titles)
Next up is your place(s) of employment, listed from most current (or most lucrative) back to the dawn of man (I understand 10-15 years is pretty good) along with the job titles held, in logical order, so people know how valuable you will be to them and how much knowledge you have to offer. Add then your volunteer positions (if you wish—> Experience is still experience, and important) and your educational credits (University, College, High-School, Life…you know…), people will weigh the validation of each position in work and school on its own merit, depending on what they are searching for. Cap this section off with a sexy profile picture; that way the media know who they are getting when they come calling for your latest advice. The better the picture, the more you seem to know (ummmm….okay maybe you just have a great photographer in the family—> Just make sure that the picture doesn’t resemble a “family bar-b-q”-> cuz business is business and everything else is life)
That folks, completes only a small portion of the profile. Find some recommendations from past employers, past teachers, past or present clients that value your work, as it will follow you wherever you go. The good stuff will rise to the top (and so will the bad if you are not careful), as will you when the positions open up before you. These people are valuable sources of information on why you rock…Mine carefully!
In the next section comes the Company Websites, Personal Websites or Blogs you contribute to frequently. There is a setting in the fine print for customizing this section..USE IT!!! People would rather find my bio by clicking on “About Me” or my current projects by clicking on “Radical Events” or “Something to Think About..”
Be one with the profile and rock it like its still 1999…You need to set the bar high and let people know that you are the candidate they are looking for; You are the one who will help lead the company forward into the next decade….Oh heck, YOU are the ONE…Shout it loud and proud!
To be continued….(sometime soon); Time to tune up the Cowbell for some BOC (SNL fans unite)
I have been The (one and only- who needs another?) Sourcers’ Apprentice…
The Daniel J. Smith
Have a terrific week to everyone and Happy Valentines Day to the important women in my life...