Guest post by Sandy Jones-Kaminski. Sandy and I first met at a networking event where she presented on LinkedIn profile optimization and we have been connected ever since.
Optimizing your profile and boosting your personal brand on LinkedIn is easy once you understand how most folks really use the platform. I teach all my clients that LinkedIn is essentially today's version of a Whitepages or Yellow Pages online database, which translates into over 10 million searches a day on LinkedIn.
Mention your job search at a networking event last night? You can bet that someone might be looking at your profile today. Got assigned to be the account manager for a new client? The folks that you'll be working with are likely to pull up your profile to check out your experience and skills or the depth of your background in their industry.
These ten "To Do's" will help you shine on the platform and enable you to leverage LinkedIn as the personal brand-marketing tool that it is for your career.
1) Craft a Headline that tells people what you do or the results you deliver NOT what your current title is, especially if your title is something generic like Account Manager or Accountant II. And use all 120 characters so you can include some keywords as well. My current headline is below and I recommend tweaking yours regularly or editing it to mention roles or industries you're currently targeting.
Helping you expand your brand online + offline | Speaker | Trainer | Author | LinkedIn Sherpa | Networking Expert
2) Make sure your first name appears as people know you. Does everyone know you as Beth but your given name is Elizabeth? Use Beth, not your legal name on your profile. Make it easy for people to find you! (Stop worrying about hiding from vendors when you want to make a move.)
3) Be sure you include a link to your portfolio website in the website links section within Contact Info. LinkedIn drives 4x the amount of traffic to websites than Twitter or Facebook. If you have a professionally focused blog somewhere, you might want to include a link to that as well. You can include up to 3 links as I have on my profile and use the Other option so you can change the labels as I did.
4) Include Contact Info so people can easily reach you should they be interested in your experience and mad skills. Phone numbers and non-work emails are all too frequently missing from most of the profiles I redesign. I recommend creating a separate email for LinkedIn and consider creating a Gmail account so a recruiter can send you a Hangout request when they're ready to schedule a video interview. Having an exclusive email for LinkedIn communications also makes it easy to identify the source of the occasional spam you might receive.
5) Is your Twitter account connected to your personal life more so than your professional one? Don't include it on your profile or link it to your presence on LinkedIn. 'Nuff said?
6) Write a Summary that sounds as if you're speaking directly to a hiring manager or recruiter that is viewing your profile. Tell your career story and why you do what you and what makes you special or unique as a tax accountant. Be sure you include a CTA (call to action) too! For example, "To view my portfolio, please visit my Clippings.me page here: INCLUDE URL."
7) Add things like photos of you speaking on a panel at an industry conference or a PDF of a press release you wrote for a client. For more ideas of types of Media, you can include, check out http://www.linkedin.com/in/sandyjk
8) Within the Experience section, describe each position you've held in a 2-paragraph format. The first paragraph should describe what the company does (unless it's a company we all know like Walmart or Google) and then in the 2nd explain what your role is and then list in bullet form your top 2-3 significant accomplishments for that position. (Whatever you do, don't leave the description blank for your current position! LinkedIn will read your profile as incomplete and you'll then show up lower in search results.)
9) Check your notifications and the home page regularly (5x each week) to see what's going on with the people in your network of Connections or those you're just following. Engage where it feels right -- don't be fake and stop lurking. Today, it's important to "show up" fairly regularly on LinkedIn.
10) Post/share infographics or articles relevant to your industry/business as Status Updates. Wait, you don't know how? Check out my short "How To" video below or on YouTube.
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If you have any questions about the above or would like to connect, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a personalized invite to connect on LinkedIn.
Sandy Jones-Kaminski is a LinkedIn strategist, speaker and best-selling author who believes networking is about seed planting, not hunting prey. As the Chief Connecting Officer of Bella Domain Media, she’s been quoted and interviewed by Inc.com, The Seattle Times, Yahoo! Small Business, Fox Business News, Bankrate.com and MSNBC. As a professional speaker, she motivates audiences at international events and corporate meetings about leveraging LinkedIn, personal branding and the actionable tactics outlined in her book, “I'm At a Networking Event – Now What???: A Guide to Getting the Most Out of Any Networking Event.” When she’s not decrypting the networking process, you can find her teaching others how to maximize LinkedIn and social media as marketing levers, or engaging audiences at global events like BlogHer and Oracle’s annual OHUG conference or professional association summits and corporate conclaves. More at belladomainmedia.com or on Twitter @sandyjk