Your face to the world might need a bit of a refresh to maximize engagement and job offers.
Trust. A five-letter word you can’t live without, especially when you’re looking for a job or contract work. Some people might have personal or business websites or use other platforms from which to sell their wares and services. A good chunk of businesspeople today use LinkedIn to profile themselves, their experiences, and accomplishments. Because it’s your face to the world, and its purpose is to present you in an enriched resume format, I wanted to talk about how to get as much engagement as possible through your LinkedIn pages. It’s important to make sure your LinkedIn profile is as complete and complementary as possible. Here are some things I see every day and ways you can elevate your trust factor to the world.
Someone reached out to me not long ago to congratulate me on how complete my LinkedIn profile page was; the person could easily gather my background, accomplishments, endorsements, and the quality of my ideas and thinking through regular publishing of articles and videos that showcase the knowledge that myself and our firm has gathered over the years. I continue to get daily follower requests because of that little thing called trust.
So, how can you generate more trust and attract more interest from recruiters and business partners? Most of this is just common sense, but at the same time I see so few actually taking the time to turn their LinkedIn profiles into true sales and promotional content that make you seem trustworthy, savvy, and highly desirable.
First, make sure you’re using a profile picture, and make it a professional photo if you can. The red flags go up when you don’t have a profile picture. It’s only slightly better if you’re using your phone to take a selfie at some weird angle and in some weird place, like driving your car. Unless you drive for a living, you might consider something more aligned to what you do in a professional capacity. Dress for the occasion and smile for the camera. LinkedIn is primarily a business social networking platform differing from others where any picture may suffice, so step up the professionalism on this platform.
You also can make an impact with a background banner image in Linked In. Use it to express some aspect of your personality or what you do, or both. It’s another touchpoint for a potential employer or partner to know a little bit more about you, what you like, and how you think.
Make sure all of your basic vitals are covered, your name, your most recent place of employment, your work, and roles and responsibilities.
Take some time to write a good, succinct bio for yourself. Make the language active and oriented to outcomes and successes you’ve had. This is your time and place to brag and tell your story since no one else is going to tell it for you. Be honest with your accomplishments, but don’t be shy about them either. An aside on style: I have had coaching clients who wonder if your bio should be in the first or the third person. First person is the way to go! I know many people who speak in the third person about themselves, which makes it feel a bit more formal; however, I have often heard employers question why someone is speaking about themselves in third person as they feel it impersonable and a bit strange. Just be you, speak of you, as you, in first person.
If you’ve won any awards for your work, note those. If you have degrees or certifications for specialized skills, make sure you note those, too. If you have physical work to share, you should also add these to LinkedIn, either as native to the platform or off platform such as at YouTube or Behance, or even your own website.
Ask for endorsements from your follower group, or from your friends’ group who might also be followers of yours. If your friends are not already followers, ask them to join your network. Everyone is one, two and three degrees of separation apart and you never know who you might meet by connecting with those you know. Some people are reluctant to give endorsements, some are not; but if someone is not willing, don’t take it personally. It likely has a lot less to do with you and more to do with their basic reticence as a person. LinkedIn is a business networking tool, so connect with people, talk with people, and comment on news shared.
Make sure you list your most recent contact numbers and emails. If you aren’t comfortable providing your phone number or email then ensure you are checking daily your LinkedIn Messages. You need to provide an easy way for a potential recruiter or business partner to get in touch with you.
You will get a lot of messaging requests from all kinds of service companies. It can be daunting to reply to them all, but you might as well be clear about your intentions for the platform and what sort of outreach you are willing to accept. A polite reply to something you aren’t interested in is a good way to go. If you find the person reaching out to you is pushy, or feels fake in any way, you can always block them or eliminate them from your circle. Grow your follower base and interact with the community. And make it positive. LinkedIn is about connecting people with opportunity, and the more you engage with the community in thoughtful and constructive and encouraging ways, the more trust you’ll build and the more followers you’ll begin to get.
Don’t engage in hostilities even if someone else is. A lot of people post about politics on LinkedIn these days, and unless it’s something that really affects you or is so egregious that it’s important to speak on the issue, do it with grace and respect. This goes for responses to anyone’s post about anything. Even if you’re about to scream for seeing false quotations from famous people who never said the things they’re attributed with saying, don’t comment, just scroll on by and carry on. Cleaning up content on LinkedIn is a topic for another day.
The bottom line is LinkedIn is your calling card, a way for you to position your personality, your skills, and your expertise for the world. Think about the entire effect you’re giving, make some adjustments, fill in the missing pieces, and get out there and market your unique self to the LinkedIn universe.
Do you need help sharpening your LinkedIn and other social media profiles? Our expert social media and resume team can help. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can build the profile you need.
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