Almost everyone has a LinkedIn profile, but few of us understand its value proposition or how it can be used against us.
First, lets look at three kinds of people who view your profile:
1. Recruiters. Recruiters use LinkedIn to search primarily for passive candidates; people who are not actively looking for a new job, but when presented with a dream opportunity would likely take 10 minutes to hear just a little bit more. Many recruiters have full access to all profiles. They are not asking to connect with you, they are behind the scenes judging your capacity to fill their next lead role.
2. Employers. I promise you, before any employer calls you for an interview they have googled your name and looked at your LinkedIn profile. Your picture is going to speak a thousand words, and the level of professionalism in your content will fill in the rest of the blanks for them. Are you lazy? Do you care? Can you articulate?
3. Clients. Before people do business with us, they want to understand who they are professionally “getting into bed with”. Are you the kind of person who they are willing to have represent them? Do you look like someone they can trust?
If reading the three points above made you cringe about the appearance or content of your own LinkedIn profile, it should also make you cringe thinking of who you employ and what that says about your organization.
Motived to affect change? Here are three golden rules for LinkedIn profiles.
First, if you do nothing else, please remove your vacation self portrait. And I’m not even going to address the level of inappropriateness of swimwear. Spend the $80 and get a simple headshot done. You are investing in your future success. Make it simple and make it professional.
Second point. Your LinkedIn profile is not a copy and paste effort from your resume. This is an opportunity to highlight YOU; why you loved what you did and all the reasons you were amazing at it. Show your flavour and your sparkle here. People are reading this because they want to know about YOU.
Lastly, although this is not your resume incarnate, it should reflect your professional profile in terms that everyone will understand. Using internal jargon and creative job titles from previous employers is not helping you to communicate effectively. I give you full permission to change those job titles that only your company used, to something the rest of the world will relate to. Be honest, candid and communicative. Use terms and titles people will understand.