By Kim L. Clark
Like many of us, I gradually allowed myself to ignore LinkedIn and undervalue that free and beneficial resource. After a nearly two-year absence, I was happy to log in and discover new profile enhancements that showcase ambitious professionals and highlight our expertise in ways that make us look very capable to prospective clients and employers. If you’re job hunting, or a Solopreneur in search of project work, these features can be a real plus. It’s time to take another look at LinkedIn.
LINKS. My favorite new feature is the website link that all professional experience listings now offer. Click 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 feature eye-catching images that entice interested parties to explore your affiliated organizations and the expertise that you’ll 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 even more information to showcase your expertise, professional activities and achievements. I saw questions that pertained to groups and activities that I participated in at school; articles that I might have recently published; and work samples or special projects that I might add to my profile.
GROUPS. For the past few years, I’ve been honored to serve as a first round judge for an organization that presents awards to C- Suite level women in business (there are also the co-ed European, Asia/Pacific and American business awards that I do not judge). The awards’ organizers invited me to join the LinkedIn group that is exclusive to judges. I periodically follow discussions to discover what I can learn and contribute. I recommend that you explore LinkedIn groups, starting with your college alumni group, which can be a great resource professionally and personally.
UPDATES. I performed editing, photo editing and self-publishing project management for a history book that was launched in September 2016. I posted that info in the update section on the home page and uploaded the book cover photo and project description at the Projects tab that’s accessed from the Add profile section drop-down menu that you’ll see on the right.
COVER PHOTO. Add visual sparkle to your profile photo. Search free LinkedIn cover photos and choose what you like. Upload at my profile.
HEADLINE. When you add a new employment listing, LinkedIn automatically makes the new job title your headline but for some, this may not be ideal. Some of the traditionally employed might make a lateral move, temporarily upsetting the upward linear career slope. Solopreneurs may take a part-time job that enhances the overall skill set, but may not deserve 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 four prong icon. Use the icon to drag and reorder.
URL. Rather than keeping the auto-generated LinkedIn profile URL, visit your profile page, click edit profile, see the link directly below your photo and click again to set up a customized URL for yourself.
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, 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 congratulate.
PURGE. Delete connections that no longer make sense, or those who ignore your questions or other outreach.
About the author
Kim L. Clark is an external strategy and marketing consultant who brings agile skills to the for-profit and not-for-profit organization leaders with whom she works. Ensure that your organization achieves mission-critical goals when you contact Kim http://polishedprofessionalsboston.com