Is LinkedIn neglect killing your career?
By Matt Craven, Founder of The CV & Interview Advisors and The LinkedIn Advisors
When delivering LinkedIn presentations, my opening slide often says LINKEDIN IS NOT SOCIAL MEDIA (and yes, I write it in CAPS).
Many people still think LinkedIn is a social media channel (which, in fairness, it has an element of). Yet, as far as job seekers and professionals are concerned, it is best to think of it as a professional networking site that displays your personal brand and professional worth to the entire world. Remember that LinkedIn now has over 720 million members in over 200 countries.
Of course, individuals who are either actively or passively looking for an executive-level job need a profile that showcases their talents to a potential employer or headhunter. However, those people who are happy in their position still need to think about their market message.
You might be interacting with internal-clients or stakeholders, who will be checking you out on LinkedIn. Still, it’s crucial that your LinkedIn profile is consistent with your company’s brand and shows you in a positive light if you are market-facing.
If someone is considering doing business with you (be it a client, JV partner, supplier or even a new hire), they are likely to check you out on LinkedIn.
If your LinkedIn profile isn’t optimised, it harms how they perceive your company and its brand.
Think of it this way-- you wouldn’t turn up to a business meeting with a home-made and poorly put together business card. Linkedin is many times more important than a business card.
Regardless of whether you are looking for a job, keeping one eye on the executive job market or merely using LinkedIn while doing your job, can do wonders.
Here are some strategies that you can use to create a more compelling LinkedIn profile.
The professional headline defaults to displaying your current job title and employer/company, but that isn’t insightful, so transform it into a value proposition statement.
You can still tell people what you are, e.g. a Finance Director, but go on to explain the value you offer e.g. expert in developing robust financial management and financial governance capability across FTSE100s.
You have 240 characters to play with.
The About section is the focal point of your LinkedIn profile and needs to be reasonably detailed with enough relevant information in the first two lines to encourage the reader to read on. The first two lines should reiterate what you are and what you have to offer. Think of it as the most important two lines that communicate the key information you want people to know.
Then talk about what you do, what you are good at and what benefits you can offer to your target audience. Give a couple of examples of stand-out projects or achievements or. Alternatively, talk about the specific challenges that companies have that you can help them overcome.
Your next paragraph should inject some of your philosophy and ethos into your profile. In a nutshell, talk about what you are passionate about, but make sure that your message aligns with your target audience and what they would feel positive about.
This is the Career History part of your LinkedIn profile but don’t be tempted to copy and paste your CV bullet points into this section. Start with a description of your company/employer (unless it’s self-evident). Then write a reasonably detailed paragraph about the scope and purpose of your role. Miss out all the typical duties and responsibilities you would find on a CV and finish with three or four stand-out projects and achievements from each position.
This section is a great place to showcase your more significant projects and achievements in a case study format. The Projects need to be activated from the list of additional sections. Still, once they have been, you can add information about significant pieces of work.
I would recommend writing these in the STAR format, an acronym for Situation, Task, Actions and Result.