Your LinkedIn Profile: The Key to Real LinkedIn Success

Your LinkedIn Profile:  The Key to Real LinkedIn Success image LinkedIn 300x274Your LinkedIn Profile: The Key to Real LinkedIn Success

Your brand should be your biggest asset. It’s your reputation. It’s what you deliver.

It’s why clients hire you. It’s why colleagues refer you.

Turbo-charge your brand with a standout LinkedIn profile. A great LinkedIn profile will help you maximize the value of your LinkedIn network. That means more colleagues will refer you and more prospects will find you.

Your profile is the real key to LinkedIn success. But this is where many professionals fall short.

They have non-descript profiles that colleagues and prospects overlook or misunderstand. The result: fewer business opportunities.

Think of your LinkedIn profile as a newspaper on the world’s largest newsstand. You better have a killer front page to get noticed.

Why Your LinkedIn Profile Matters

Your LinkedIn profile is not a rehash of your resume, a repeat of your website, or a description of your services. Your LinkedIn profile should reflect what you deliver: the benefits and results of working with you. It’s your brand!

The most important question it should answer is “Why You?” On LinkedIn “you” is a distillation of all your experience, skills, and accomplishments wrapped up in a compelling package.

Remember, readers spend only a few seconds to absorb your profile. If you don’t stand out, they move on.

Think of your LinkedIn profile as your calling card. It’s also a surrogate website. Many people don’t even have a website. Their LinkedIn profile is their website. Why does all this matter?

Clients hire you and colleagues refer you based on what they think you deliver. If they don’t understand that, you won’t get the business.

Here are the reasons why a strong LinkedIn profile matters:

  • People searching for your expertise will find you easily.
  • You can showcase your expertise, supported by endorsements and recommendations from colleagues.
  • Colleagues can easily forward your profile to others.

In short: Get Found. Get Referred. Get Hired.

Key Elements of Your LinkedIn Profile

There seven key elements for your profile:

  1. An intelligent headline.
  2. Frequent status updates.
  3. Well thought-out Summary, Experience, and Specialties sections.
  4. An appropriate photo.
  5. Professional Credentials and Publications.
  6. Volunteer work.
  7. Education.
  • Intelligent Headline (120 characters)—description of who you are. Here is a ”before and after” example:

Before—“CEO Fox Advisors”

After—“Seasoned entrepreneurial business expert in technology turnarounds; demonstrated expertise in business reorganization and reengineering.”

See the difference? The “Before” headline was simply a title. The “After” headline is a description of the skill set this person offers.

This is first thing readers notice. It may entice them. Or it could bore them.

  • Frequent Status Updates—These can be articles you like, speeches you are giving, announcements on other colleagues’ activities, or welcoming new clients. Status Updates should provide useful information to your contacts and remind them of your expertise. You are educating your readers and staying visible at the same time.
  • Summary/Specialties/Experience—Your Summary is not a plain-vanilla description of your services. Think of it as a thirty second elevator speech.

Talk about the real benefits you offer. How do you help your clients increase revenue, save money, save time, or reduce risk?

Include a link to your firm’s website in your LinkedIn profile. Also, include your contact information, so readers can easily reach you.

Use plain English. Avoid jargon or acronym encrusted consultant speak.

Your Specialties like business development, forensic accounting, and team building help other LinkedIn members understand what you do. Be sure to include keywords that readers might use in looking for experts as they view other LinkedIn profiles.

Your Experience should highlight your accomplishments and reinforce your expertise, and including recommendations from colleagues for your current and previous positions is a plus.

  • An Appropriate Photo—Use an appropriate recent professional looking photo. Forget about that picture at your bachelor party 25 years ago.

Your photo matters. It literally allows readers to connect a name with a face. A photo adds a new dimension to your profile. LinkedIn is a social medium. Your readers want to connect with a person, not a resume.

  • Professional Credentials—List any professional credentials, patents, languages, awards, honors and publications in your LinkedIn profile. These enhance your brand by showcasing your expertise. It’s called street cred.
  • Volunteer Experience—Your volunteer experience adds another dimension to your profile. It shows that you use your expertise for the benefit of others. It also may be a common bond with some of your LinkedIn profile connections.
  • Education—This is important. Through your high school, college, and grad school you are plugged into a potentially vast alumni network.

A great LinkedIn profile doesn’t come easily. Some people struggle to put words around their value proposition. Remember, this is a vital exercise for everyone. And to be sure, we are all changing, evolving, growing. As you change, be sure to continually rewrite and improve the profile you want to convey. Only you can tell others WHY YOU as you journey along in business.

If you want to see an example of a LinkedIn profile that may help guide you in your reworking yours, see www.linkedin.com/in/marchalpert.

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