LinkedIn: The Essence of a Profile

You created a bare bones profile and uploaded your resume to LinkedIn a few years ago, and you haven’t been back. You’re done, right?

LinkedIn: Essence of a Profile

original photo via smi23le’s photostream by CC BY 2.0 // edited by CCC

Similar to other social platforms, the more you put into LinkedIn, the more you’ll get out of it. And just like other platforms, it all starts with your profile. What’s in a LinkedIn profile? Let’s break it down.

(Read my) Headline

First, let’s start with what it’s not. Your headline does not have to include your title or current employer. That information is already listed elsewhere in your profile. Your headline is what you want people to think of you (and contact you) for. Are you a content marketing maestro? QuickBooks queen? WordPress whiz? Let the world know about it.

Here’s the deal with headlines: you want to come up in as many relevant searches as possible. The format is up to you. List your specialties: Writing Services | Marketing Services | Social Media Services | Content Creation or create a phrase: Writer (aka content creator, communications connoisseur) reaching consumers’ minds and pocketbooks since ’04. Spend some time playing around with your headline: tweak it, change it, have friends and colleagues read it. This is how you pull people in — or don’t.

Profile Picture

As we’ve touched on previously, it all starts with your profile picture. You need a good head shot, which is easier than ever today. It helps to show your face, so people know who you are. Remember, people do business with people, not companies. Let them know who they’ll be working with. Stay away from group shots, pictures of your kids (or other people) or anything related to a mugshot. Your personal Facebook page? Fine. Your LinkedIn profile. Not so much. Smart phone pics work fine. Just make sure you’re in good lighting, don’t have anything distracting behind you and don’t move the phone/camera. Oh, and stay away from duck lips. They may be hot, but they probably won’t help you land new clients or opportunities.

Summary

After a well thought out headline and appropriate profile pic, this is it: the most important part of your profile. Prospects, potential employers and investors will often decide whether to read on and contact you from your summary. This is your time to shine and let readers know why they should want to work with you. What can you do for them? Think of it as your elevator speech or 30-second spot to sell what you do. Always think of the reader — what do they want to know? Include any relevant statistics or numbers to back up your claims (i.e. consistent double digit growth, 25% year-over-year ROI).

Experience & Education

This is where you spell it out (briefly, of course). Tell people how you succeeded at previous opportunities, including going above and beyond. Share relevant examples, statistics, key responsibilities, numbers and any details that may impress a prospect or potential employer. Bullet points work great! Also, add projects that you worked on, including published works. (p.s. Published doesn’t have to mean The New York Times; it can be in a company newsletter or on a blog.) Don’t forget about the Education field, even if it was “forever ago.” Chances are you accomplished a few noteworthy achievements in school and should let everyone know about them: internships, awards, minors & additional areas of knowledge, overseas studies. It’s amazing what could attract someone’s eye!

Skills & Endorsements, Recommendations

These two areas can provide validation to your profile. Select the skills that you most want to be known for to display on your profile, so people you work with can endorse you for them. It’s fine to ask for endorsements or recommendations; just be tactful about it and be prepared to return the favor. Yes, that means you shouldn’t blast a recommendation request to all of your 900 connections unless you’re prepared to write 900 recommendations. Be selective about who you ask: did you provide value to a client? Did you succeed on an important project for your boss? Make sure that anyone you ask has a reason to recommend you, and being your best friend probably isn’t a legitimate reason.

There are other sections of course, and they all add value to your LinkedIn experience. But we’ve covered the “meat and potatoes,” so to speak. Go ahead, implement a few changes, and show the professional world what you’re really about!

Related reading: LinkedIn: Are You Connected | Are LinkedIn Groups Working For You?

Connect with Us

What tips do you have for LinkedIn profiles?

Share an awesome example of a LinkedIn profile or section — yours or someone else’s.

Have you landed a job, client or business opportunity via LinkedIn?

Your professional networker,
Jaime

Connect with CCC! We’d love to be a part of your professional network.
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What’s in a social media profile? Everything.

Social media is still all the rage, even as it has moved from a trend to a more mainstream marketing activity. (Of course, there’s still those who snub their nose, but they’ll come around.) But many people still overlook one of the most important aspects — the profile.

What’s in a social media profile? Everything.

 First of all, the profile picture. This is your first step to legitimacy. It’s hard to take an egg head (Twitter) or empty silhouette (LinkedIn) seriously. Not photogenic? Neither am I, but you need a good head shot. With today’s technology that’s easier to obtain than ever. Some will disagree, but I see nothing wrong with cropping a candid shot or using a personal picture if it projects the image you want to project. Yes, you can use your company’s logo, but it’s nice to put a face with a name and help humanize the cold, digital world.

@jaimeshine Twitter bio

Contact information. It amazes me how often people leave contact information blank. Aren’t we on social media to be social? That means people need to be able to contact you to continue conversations, discuss projects or  partner on an initiative. Plus, there’s other benefits. Fully completed contact information helps give your brand legitimacy (there’s that word again!) and addresses allow users to check in at (and promote) your business.

pinterest.com/jaimeshine

The profile. This is your chance to shine. Think of it as your elevator speech in 160 characters or less. OK, that rule applies to Twitter, but keep it in mind for all of your social networks. Our attention spans aren’t much these days, so you need to be able to capture someone’s attention (in a positive way) before they jump to another profile or task.

Who are you? What do you do? Show your personality. Unless you just invented something that no one else on Earth has, you have competition. Why should a user follow, become a fan or connect with you (or your business)?

This is where the magic happens. Show people who you are. Intrigue them enough to follow, like, connect, befriend. Spark an interest that makes them want to reach out and say hello. Your profile can be a great conversation starter if done right.

@jaimeshine on Instagram

Update: My Instagram handle is now @jaimeshine for consistency.

While I do strive for some consistency across platforms, I also recognize the unique traits of each platform. I want my personality to shine. As a small business owner, I want clients, prospects, fans and followers to know who’s behind the Clearly Conveyed Communications banner, so they can connect with a real person. That’s why I’ve made the decision to keep some accounts under my name and utilize them for work and play. I believe in transparency, and this is the best way for me to maximize my resources.

Yes, my personality’s a little offbeat. Hence, my not hesitating to use my current profile picture on Pinterest (and Google+) in a plaid fedora or my favorite one, which is on Instagram (yes, that’s me after a cold weather run).

Clearly Conveyed Communications on FacebookLast but not least, the cover photo. More social networks have followed Facebook’s lead and maximized the cover photo on your profile. This is a chance to powerfully convey your or your company’s brand visually. Ask impartial friends or family members to take a look at your photo. What does it portray to them? Make sure you utilize a photo that displays well in the frame provided and follows the platform’s policies. The last thing you want is to have your profile or page pulled down because you’re violating terms. (Remember, it may be your content, but you don’t own your Facebook page. Facebook does.)

Your turn…

What do you focus on in a profile?

Do your profiles accurately represent you or your company?

Do you use the same pictures and profiles across your social network or different ones?

The pictures above link to some of my profiles, and you can see the remaining ones below. I’d love your feedback! Let me know what you like and what you don’t. (No worries, I’m not easily offended.) Seriously, I would love to hear your input.

In exchange, I’d be happy to take a look at your profiles too. Leave them in the comments below or say hi on a social network.

Let’s get social!
Jaime

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