Like so many of us, I gradually allowed myself to ignore LinkedIn. I’m embarrassed to tell you that I logged in again last month, after a two-year hiatus. I completely undervalued the free, widely used and beneficial resource that is LinkedIn. It’s time to take another look.
Over the years I built up a solid profile, complete with endorsements, recommendations, a photo and even a SlideShare presentation and about once a year, I’d do an update and refresh. After my inexcusably lengthy absence, I was happy to discover new profile enhancements that can showcase ambitious professionals and make us look very capable to both connections and prospective clients or employers.
If you’re job hunting, or if you are self-employed and in constant search of project work, these features can be a real plus. I think a visit to candidates’ profiles is a must-do for most hiring managers. My profile strength is now at the All-Star level! Here are my upgrades:
- LINK. My favorite new feature is the website link that all professional experience listings now offer. Click on the link; copy/paste the organization web address into the dialogue box; see the nice image that pops into the visuals box; click continue, then click add to profile and presto! Your profile will now feature eye-catching images that entice interested parties to explore your affiliated organizations and the expertise that you contribute. You can also link a photo, document, presentation, or a video and provide good insight into the organization and your role there.
- SPOTLIGHT. Above your profile photo and headline job listing, notice the ticker tape of skills spotlight options that you can click on, fill in and add still more information to showcase your expertise, professional activities and achievements. I saw questions that pertained to groups and acitivities that I participated in at school; articles that I might have recently published; and work samples or special projects that I’d like to add to my profile.
- GROUPS. Regular readers may recall that in October, I completed first round judging for an organization that presents awards to C- Suite level women in business (there are also mixed gender European, Asian/Pacific and American business awards that I do not judge). The organizers invited me to join the unlisted LinkedIn group for award judges and I was happy to do so. I plan to follow discussions and find out what I can learn and contribute. Remember to also join your college alumni group, which can be great resources professionally and personally.
- UPDATES. Regular readers may also recall that I recently performed editing, photo editing and self-publishing project management for a history book that was launched in September. I finally posted that info in the update section on the home page and uploaded the book cover photo.
Other enhancements that may fit your situation might include:
- HEADLINE. When you add a new employment listing, LinkedIn automatically makes the new job title your headline and for some, this may not be ideal. Some of the traditionally employed might make a lateral move, temporarily upsetting the upward linear career slope. Freelance consultants may take a part-time job that likewise enhances the overall skill set, but may not be worthy of the branding headline. Consider revising your headline, even if it will not precisely adhere to your official job title. Your mission is personal brand enhancement and LinkedIn, while often viewed by prospective employers, is not your official CV. Furthermore, consider reordering your list of professional positions to give prominence to what you want to highlight. In edit profile, click on the up and down arrows to the right of the job title and see a 4 prong icon. Use that to drag and facilitate your job reorder.
- URL. Rather than keeping the auto-generated LinkedIn profile URL, visit your profile page, click on edit profile, see the link directly below your photo and click again to set up a customized URL for your profile.
- CREDENTIALS. On the profile page, click edit profile and beneath your photo and URL, see “add a section to your profile.” Below that, see “view more” and click there, to reveal an array of enhancements you can add to your profile, including certifications, patents, special projects and your professional publications.
- RESPOND. When connections celebrate a success— work anniversary, post a good update, move to a new job, or publish a blog post that you find interesting—send a LinkedIn email to comment and congratualte.
- PURGE. Delete connections that no longer make sense, or those who ignore your questions or other outreach.
Thanks for reading,