Having a successful LinkedIn profile that’s the best representation of you and your talents takes more strategy and effort than posting a picture of yourself, a copy-paste of your resume content, and a few testimonials.
People search LinkedIn 24/7 for the best talent & expertise to solve their problems. Many will be problems you could solve and opportunities that could land in your inbox. But just ‘being on LinkedIn’ won’t make it happen. To see results you have to simultaneously satisfy 3 completely different ‘audiences’…
Audience #1: The Search Spiders
You can’t see what they’re doing, but they determine how well your profile aligns with the LinkedIn search-ranking algorithm. That translates to how visible you’ll be vs. your competition when a prospective employer or client needs the skills you’d bring to the table.
Similar to searches on Google, a query that’s typed into the LinkedIn search box can generate page after page of candidates. There may be thousands of people out there who do what you do. How do you avoid being “lost in the weeds” when your name is buried pages deep among over a half BILLION other LinkedIn members?
Make It Relevant
Those search spiders are looking to reward your behavior on the LinkedIn platform. That’s why you’ll want to optimize your profile with the strategic use of keywords that reflect your expertise and the type of problems you like to solve. You’ll also be evaluated on your engagement with the rest of the LinkedIn community, so you can’t afford to have a passive presence.
Audience #2: The First Impression
The second Audience is the person who’s looking for talent to solve a problem or burning need. They’re potential employers, clients, strategic partners, book authors and other collaborators who don’t know you yet. If they knew your name, they’d already know where to find you.
Audience #1 plays into this process, impacting how easy it will be for Audience #2 to find you once they submit a targeted search query. Once they do find you, will they like what they see on your profile?
A dry resume that reads like an obituary won’t cut it. Nor will a photo where you’re disengaged with the reader, in front of your Christmas tree, or (worse yet) not visible at all. Distinguishing yourself from the competition is essential or professionally you may as well be dead, because you have only a few split seconds to make an impression!
Make it Resonate
Being a good fit means more than just meeting skills and experience requirements. Will you fit into a prospective company’s culture? Will you be able to work well with your new client? Will they be able to work with you? You can’t know for sure until you at least meet.
If you’re targeting a new industry, did you do your homework so your profile reflects the flavor of what prospective employers in this industry are looking for? By showcasing your skills, acumen, and areas of expertise strategically, you’re increasing your chances of being found early in the search results.
Audience #3: YOU!
Connections and keywords, endorsements and recommendations, status updates and group participation. Even if you’ve got all that, often something’s still missing. I can tell by the number of people who apologize to me about their LinkedIn profiles the moment we meet.
Why? Because your LinkedIn profile doesn’t soar above the competition, it doesn’t express your passion, and it’s not the calling card you want it to be to make that distinguishing first impression. Not yet, at least…
Make it come alive.
By now most people are sufficiently savvy about LinkedIn to know a great profile when they read one. The difference is palpable, because they really can feel it. What they’re feeling is the real you, as if you were meeting at a networking event or across the table…engaged in conversation, exploring how you can help each other.
The challenge is to share enough about yourself without feeling exposed. The solution is what I call color commentary: a subtle blend of anecdotes, transparency, vision and core values. Strategically integrated with your career facts, color commentary makes you come alive.
Best of all, you’re energized and empowered by this new way to present yourself that you may not have thought was possible. And you’ll stop apologizing for your LinkedIn profile.
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