On Facebook, the Timeline is designed to tell the story of your life or your business through status updates, photos and other shared information.
The truth is that everything you put out there about yourself or your company tells a story including your website and all social media platforms. As LinkedIn is like the “professional Facebook,” let’s talk about what your LinkedIn profile says about you. Or better, let’s talk about ways that you can make sure that your LinkedIn profile is telling a professional story that potential employers or clients will want to read.
The cliché that says pictures are worth a thousand words gives the right idea for your profile picture. This is your professional profile so invest in a professional headshot. Self-portraits with your camera phone or blurry pictures from a family gathering that are cropped in to your face just aren’t appropriate for this platform. You wouldn’t show up “blurry” at a job interview or client meeting, right? So why give that perception the first time they see you online in a professional setting?
This may seem obvious given this discussion, but it’s important in general to have a picture. A professional picture is a lot more appealing than the general LinkedIn blue head.
As you’re composing each section on your profile, remember this is for professional purposes. Use a consistent style within each section and when possible, use complete sentences. For example, on my LinkedIn profile, my employment section has a similar sentence structure for each job that starts each sentence with repeating the job role and then sharing what I did within that role. I’m not saying you need to follow that same format, but find a format and remain consistent.
Use keywords, not buzzwords
There are many opportunities to shine on LinkedIn but telling your story with buzzwords will bore the reader and really doesn’t tell them anything original about you. This article from Mashable shares the most overused buzzwords from LinkedIn profiles in 2012. These words aren’t necessarily wrong or awful, but they are so overused that they have lost their weight.
What you should be using in your LinkedIn profile is keywords. What words would someone use to find you? What words do you want to be known for? Incorporate those within the text and it will make your LinkedIn profile easier to find. It will also tell the reader he or she found the right person.
Here’s a hint that incorporates both the above ideas: most people search for titles or roles, they don’t search for the word “innovative” or “creative.”
Show don’t tell
Don’t tell people you’re the best or the right choice. Show them. Use specific examples of accomplishments, with numbers and figures if you can. I realize that sharing some of that information would not be appropriate because it would reveal proprietary information. Word it in a way that doesn’t reveal private information but still demonstrates your capabilities.
There’s a (LinkedIn) “app” for that
LinkedIn offers some great functions (formerly referred to as LinkedIn Applications) that allow users to showcase presentations, projects, their latest blog and so much more. Make sure you take time to showcase your work using one of these supported providers.
What’s your story?
Jamie at Jamie’s Notebook (that’s me) works closely with entrepreneurs, organizations and established businesses to help them express their ideas or to share their vision using the written word. Need help? Call me!