Part 1: LinkedIn a Mystery?

LinkedIn is a way to do two things:

  1. Get a “profile” out there that tells the story of who you ARE-- which may be very different from the job titles you’ve had.  Your title may have been VP, Consumer Products, but you may have the demonstrated skills to be a General Manager because you have led groups, had profit and loss experience, etc.
  2. Enables you to find other professionals and for them to find you.  We’ll explore this mystery in another blog.  

For now, let’s focus on Part 1:  The Profile….

Your Profile is Your differentiating Story

Like any good story, it should have an attention grabbing title, a narrative that is inherently persuasive to any reader – persuading them that you are a capable executive in your field and highlighting aspects of your work life that will lead them to want to connect or talk with you.
The “Slogan”  (Title)
This need not be your business title (which may be boring or non-descript!)
Following your name, think about putting in a “tag line” such as “CIO fluent in Business” or “CEO of   Sustainability Ventures” or “ ”Social Media Marketing Guru.”

The  “Summary”  (Plot Summary:  What is usually on the back of a book cover or in an Amazon book summary.)
Unlike a resume, which is backward looking and which confines you to specific formats, the LinkedIn summary permits you to be forward looking. For instance, in your summary you may say things like
“My experience has taught me two things about leadership and this is what my employer gains from what I know ________.”
“My background has provided me the skills to do _______ and ________ and (well, you get the idea….)”
Chose the words for your summary carefully.
Get ideas for the words in your summary (and for how you later describe your background and experience) by studying at least 20 job descriptions for jobs in an industry that you would accept in a nanosecond if offered to you.
One of my colleagues suggests you wordle ( the job descriptions of jobs you like, find out the key words (wordle makes this easy by making the key words BIGGER than the rest of the fluff), make sure that those key words appear in your summary.
How do you do that?
You can pull all kinds of things into your summary.  
One of my clients has decided to show Marketing expertise starting with an instance where she wrote a tag line for a line of jeans that ended up on a billboard.  She then takes us through (quickly), instances where she has “branded” items through focus groups, analytics, and has used her “street smarts” to find language to capture the essence of the product.  She has a blog, which has garnered over a thousand followers.  
Her summary is not chronological… and she does not indicate that her title at the time was “intern” or “assistant” or “volunteer.”  She has never had the title Marketing Manager, or taken a class in social media, but her slogan is Brand Marketing Wizard.
She let’s her accomplishments indicate that she has the skills for the position she wants.

The Experience Section  (Footnotes in a Book)
Be careful.  Just as Footnotes justify what is said in the Book and may be necessary – they can be boring.  
Don’t let the Experience section be boring.
Make sure you that you highlight what you want people to know about you.  You may have worked at MGM, but as an assistant to an assistant.  List MGM and the person to whom you reported (e.g., the CEO).  Then indicate some of the key accomplishments you had in the role.  
Make your Experience Section catch eyeballs by using interspersing visuals (e.g. logos of companies) references, non-confidential reports you may have done, research you have completed.

Decide if you want to emphasize the OUTCOMES– not the job title.  Then list the accomplishments you’ve had and the Company.  Don’t list the trivia (read reports, went to important meetings (an oxymoron?), or such activities.

Perhaps you want to emphasize the brand name Company, or the people with whom you worked.  If so, just list the Company and who the people with whom you worked.  For example:

Edited on-line books with authors such as Dr. Oz, etc.
A colleague, Jane, is a very accomplished political power.  She has had her “language” put in a Bill that was passed by Congress.  How did she get that in her “Experience Section?”
She put in that “Her boss, Ms. X, said that the bill was a the result of Jane’s thoughtful way of using clear and persuasive language.”

Noting that “someone else” said some thing about you is a good way to boast, without sounding boastful.

List your education honestly, and remember to list all the credentials, classes, programs that you attended.  

Identify the groups that have members you would like to work with or for, and join them.  Then participate in the discussion.

How do you know if you have a successful Linkedin profile?
You will notice that many people (5-10 a week is good) are looking at your profile.  If you are not hitting that number, play with the language, your comments section, and the groups in which you participate – until you hit your target.

Next Up?   How to use Linkedin to Network.