Posted by Paladin on June 17, 2013
LinkedIn is all about connecting, but before we connect, we look for what we have in common. That’s the key to putting together a profile that jump starts conversation. Think of your LinkedIn profile as a way to promote your brand — a professional permalink, a fixed point on the web to promote your skills, your knowledge, your personality. Brands build trust by using an authentic voice and telling a credible story.
1. Don’t Cut and Paste Your Resume
LinkedIn hooks you into a network, not just a human resources department. You wouldn’t hand out your resume before introducing yourself, so don’t do it here. Instead, describe your experience and abilities as you would to someone you just met. And write for the screen, in short blocks of copy with visual or textual signposts.
2. Borrow from the Best Marketers
Light up your profile with your voice. Use specific adjectives, colorful verbs, active construction (“managed project team,” not “responsible for project team management”). Act naturally: don’t write in the third person unless that formality suits your brand. Picture yourself at a conference or client meeting. How do you introduce yourself? That’s your authentic voice, so use it.
3. Write a Personal Tagline
That line of text under your name? It’s the first thing people see in your profile. It follows your name in search hit lists. It’s your brand. (Note: your e-mail address is not a brand!) Your company’s brand might be so strong that it and your title are sufficient. Or you might need to distill your professional personality into a more eye-catching phrase, something that at a glance describes who you are.
4. Put your Elevator Pitch to Work
Go back to your conference introduction. That 30-second description, the essence of who you are and what you do, is a personal elevator pitch. Use it in the Summary section to engage readers. You’ve got 5-10 seconds to capture their attention. The more meaningful your summary is, the more time you’ll get from readers.
5. Improve your Google Page Rank
Pat your own back and others’. Get recommendations from colleagues, clients, and employers who can speak credibly about your abilities or performance. Think quality, not quantity. Ask them to focus on a specific skill or personality trait that drives their opinion of you. Make meaningful comments when you recommend others. And mix it up — variety makes your recommendations feel authentic.
For more LinkedIn tips, reach out to your local Paladin branch.