What and What Not to Include in Your LinkedIn Profile

Every hear the phrase, “TMI” or “too much information”. Every now and then I’ll read someone’s profile where I feel like they’ve included too much. Now, frankly, it’s usually the reverse. Normally, if there’s a content problem with a profile, it’s that the user has not included enough information. Their profile summary isn’t long enough and complete enough. They haven’t included enough skills and endorsements. Or they don’t have enough recommendations. Or, given their age, their work history looks incomplete. But that’s what I usually see. Every now and then, however, I see the opposite.

When I see too much information on someone’s profile, it’s not the length that bothers me. After all a profile summary is limited to 2,000 characters including spaces. What I mean is what they’ve included shouldn’t be there. For instance, snide or defensive remarks about a former employer absolutely have no place on your LinkedIn profile! Okay, I get it. Your last boss or company you worked for were, how shall we say this, less than stellar. Call your sister, best friend or you mom up about it. Don’t spew that venom on social media. This is a sure way to never get hired for any but the lowest of the low jobs again.

Another “cardinal sin” I see vis-a-vis content in LinkedIn profiles has to do with changing careers. If you feel you were underutilized in your former career, you don’t need to say so. Just emphasize how your talents are being used in your new career and you should be fine!

The bottom line here is don’t be negative! It’s kind of like your grandmother might have said to you (I know mine did). If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it. Employers, and also potential clients, are allergic to negativity! It puts them on the defensive. Why spoil your chances at landing a new job or getting a new client just because you said a little too much on your LinkedIn profile?

Is LinkedIn Facing Competition from Facebook?

On the surface, it seems that LinkedIn and Facebook are polar opposites. LinkedIn is a professional, work-based app that people use to network and find jobs. You don’t post your pictures from your latest vacation on LinkedIn, as you do on Facebook, and you don’t post information about job openings or even about information about your profession hoping to secure a job on Facebook. At least up until recently you didn’t.

Recently, Facebook has decided to encroach on LinkedIn’s territory by allowing businesses to post job openings and for job seekers to apply for jobs right from Facebook. At firsts, this capability was rolled out only in the US and Canada, but recently, Facebook opened this all up to over forty countries worldwide. Businesses and job seekers alike can use this part of Facebook in order to find applicants and jobs respectively that are local to the business.

It’s too early to tell if this new direction that Facebook is moving in will impact LinkedIn or not. But it is kind of like watching an old Japanese horror movie where two city sized monsters battle each other over Tokyo. LinkedIn has over half a billion users, while Facebook is four times that size. Either platform is used by a significant portion of the global population.

Having said that, there are some differences in how Facebook is rolling out their job capability and LinkedIn. One important difference is the following. The unity of currency on LinkedIn, if you will, is the individual. Although LinkedIn has business pages, the main interaction that’s occurring is between individual people. By contrast, Facebook’s focusing on the business itself. Another difference is that the businesses that Facebook seems to want to cater to are small businesses that will be hiring people who are already local to the business.

Both Facebook and LinkedIn are free, although there again we have a slight difference, because LinkedIn has several paid tiers, which Microsoft seems to be intent on pushing people into. Competition is never a bad thing, however, and it’s going to be interesting over the next few years to watch this all unfold.

Three Ways To Boost Your Or Your Company’s LinkedIn Profile

Once you have your profile on LinkedIn all sorted out, you’ll want to use it to start getting business for yourself (or a job, if that’s what you want). There are several ways to do this, three of which I’m doing to talk about here. I’ll cover other methods in my other articles. So, check those out!
Tip #1: Understand Your Audience
Advertisers, copywriters, and salespeople of all types understand the necessity of really understanding who their target audience is. You need to too! You must understand what your target audience wants, why they’re there reading your profile, what their hot buttons are. Just like a professional sales letter writer, you need to get inside their proverbial heads and talk to them the way they’re already thinking. If you can do this, you’ll automatically mesh with your audience. They’ll not only like you, they’ll believe in you and frankly buy from you. If you alienate your audience, however, you might as well quit. This is that important!

Tip #2: Get Your Keywords Right
Keywords are the phrases that someone types into a search window in order to find web pages that match the keyword phrase. So, if you type in “restaurant Boise”, you should get a list of restaurants in Boise. Works the same way on LinkedIn. Someone might type in “accountant Dallas” in order to find accountants in Dallas, TX. I’m sure you can see how important having the right keywords in your profile are for people who want to do business on LinkedIn. So, couple of things. First off, you need to find what keywords people are using, or might use, to search for you on LinkedIn. You can ball park this by searching yourself and keeping track of what results you find. Second, you’ll need to use these keywords both in your headline and in your profile summary.

Tip #3: Make Use of LinkedIn’s Own Analytics
Although the amount of information you can get from LinkedIn varies according to whether you have a free or paid account, both types of accounts can glean a lot of useful information from your LinkedIn analytics page. You can see who’s searched for you. You can also get an albeit small list of keywords used. This isn’t a lot of information to go on, but it does help!

My Secret Marketing Weapon—LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn Groups used to be hot! Then they sort of fell by the wayside. I think what happened is everyone discovered the power of groups and jumped on the group bandwagon. Virtually overnight, every group I was in got hammered by people trying to hawk something in the group. Eventually the group died, was deleted, or just became a pitch fest. A lot of marketers, me included, quit using groups as one of the main engines of our marketing efforts. Well, I’ve got something important to say about LinkedIn groups.

It’s time to come back!

You can join up to 50 groups. Given that each group might have, oh let’s say, one thousand members, fifty groups puts you in front of fifty thousand people potentially! That’s a lot of potential clients, or look at it this way, that’s a lot of people with whom you might want to connect.

There’s a lot you can do with groups. I love content marketing on LinkedIn. One of the big things I do to get more people into my world and my client’s world’s is to create and publish quality content. I publish this on LinkedIn pulse. After my content is published, I’ll write a short blurb about it and get the link to the article and then go to relevant groups and post my blurb there. I can triple the number of people who look at an article of mine just by doing that.

Another thing about groups that I love is that they’re very specific. If I want to focus my energies on a specific sub-niche, let’s use public speakers as an example, I can search for relevant groups, ask to join them, then when I’m in and can start the process of reaching out to the members and asking them to accept my connect request. By doing this, I can build a following in a very narrowly defined niche! Not only that, but I’m setting myself up to market to that niche through the group itself!

Four Ways to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Excellent!

Your LinkedIn profile is the central core of any LinkedIn marketing strategy. LinkedIn, after all, is really not much more than a massive Chamber of Commerce meeting online. And, you can look at your profile as a combination of your five-minute elevator speech and your business card all rolled into one. Get your profile right, and you’re in business. Get it wrong, and you might as well take your ball and go home. In this article, I’d like to talk about four things you can do to make sure you have an exciting and dynamic LinkedIn profile.
One: Get a professional head shot. No, you don’t need a glamour shot like an actor needs. But you do need a really nice, professional looking head shot. If you’re serious about marketing yourself, either for a job or for business, on LinkedIn, your profile picture is worth investing a little money in.
Two: Sub part recommendations are almost as bad as bad recommendations. You get to choose whether to have a recommendation included in your profile. What I often see, though, is people who accept low quality recommendations, probably thinking a ho hum recommendation is better than nothing at all. No, it’s not! Yes, you need recommendations, but you don’t need limp, dishwater recommendations. You want your recommendations to be specific and exciting. How to get those? Well, if you know the person who wrote your recommendation, just ask them if they’d consider punching it up some with more specificity.
Three: Writing your profile summary in third person. This screams “dull, dull, dull!” It’s just weird to read someone’s profile summary in third person. It’s as if someone else wrote it, but we all know that the profile summary is written by the person whose face is on the account! Also, remember this. LinkedIn is a networking platform. What would you think if you want to a BNI meeting and someone started telling you about themselves but was talking in third person. He did this. She did that. Etc. Weird!
Four: You should know better than to do the following, but just in case—don’t leak out proprietary information about your former company! Just don’t do it. If you want to make something public, an example of your work, a case study, etc., run that by your former employer and get their okay first. You’ll save yourself at least a nasty phone call or maybe even more grief!

Why Endorsements, Skills, and Recommendations Matter on LinkedIn

A lot of LinkedIn users that I see online have great profiles, with a few exceptions. Those exceptions are often the following. They’re weak in endorsements, recommendations, and/or skills. Often all three. It’s like these three are the step children of the various fields that make up a complete LinkedIn profile. Here’s why you don’t want to ignore these all-important parts of your LinkedIn profile.
Look at it this way. When’s the last time you bought something that cost more than a few dollars (or pounds or yen, etc.)? Being an Internet savvy person, what did you do? If you’re like most folks, you Googled whatever it was and read about what other people thought, right? Well, people are doing essentially the same thing on LinkedIn. We call this social proof in the marketing business. People are highly influenced by what other people think. Being endorsed is one of the ways of providing this social proof to people who visit your profile on LinkedIn. Recommendations are another way of providing this proof.
Have you ever asked a colleague about the car they just bought, the new restaurant they tried, or their dentist or doctor? For important purchases, finding the right product or the right service provider is often done through recommendations. Recommendations carry a huge amount of influence, and you should be asking the people you’re connected with, at least the ones you know well, to recommend you.
Finally, listing your skills matters a lot! Seeing a large list of skills along with the number of people who’ve endorsed you for them is a great way to position yourself as a professional. Not only that, but the selection of skills helps viewers get to know you. Both recruiters and people who are potential clients are going to scan these skills to help them understand who you are and what you bring to the party!

Five Ways to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Excellent!

Your LinkedIn profile is the central core of any LinkedIn marketing strategy. LinkedIn, after all, is really not much more than a massive Networking meeting online. And, you can look at your profile as a combination of your five-minute elevator speech and your business card all rolled into one. Get your profile right, and you’re in business. Get it wrong, and you might as well take your ball and go home. In this article, I’d like to talk about four things you can do to make sure you have an exciting and dynamic LinkedIn profile.

One: Get a professional headshot. If you’re a professional businessperson I prefer to see my clients in a dark outfit with a light colored shirt.  Ladies!, Look professional!!  I have too many women contacting me on a regular basis who complain that men hit on them on LinkedIn.  Look great but make sure that look is professional. No, you don’t need a glamour shot like an actor needs. But you do need a really nice, professional looking headshot. If you’re serious about marketing yourself, either for a job or for business, on LinkedIn, your profile picture is worth investing a little money in.

Two: Sub-par recommendations are almost as bad as bad recommendations. You get to choose whether to have a recommendation included in your profile. What I often see, though, is people who accept low-quality recommendations, probably thinking a ho-hum recommendation is better than nothing at all. No, it’s not! Yes, you need recommendations, but you don’t need limp, dishwater recommendations. You want your recommendations to be specific and exciting. How to get those? Well, if you know the person who wrote your recommendation, just ask them if they’d consider punching it up some with more specificity. If I know the person well and I know what I did for them I will often write the recommendation for them within the request. And tell them to feel free to rewrite it in anyway they want to. That way it takes the burden off them to come up with something, And yet it gives them the freedom to tell it in their own words.

Three: Writing your profile summary in the third person. This screams “dull, dull, dull!” It’s just weird to read someone’s profile summary in the third person. It’s as if someone else wrote it, but we all know that the profile summary is written by the person whose face is on the account! Also, remember this. LinkedIn is a networking platform. What would you think if you want to a BNI meeting and someone started telling you about themselves but was talking in the third person? He did this. She did that. Etc. Weird!

Four: You should know better than to do the following, but just in case—don’t leak out proprietary information about your former company! Just don’t do it. If you want to make something public, an example of your work, a case study, etc., run that by your former employer and get their okay first. You’ll save yourself at least a nasty phone call or maybe even more grief!

Five: Create a cool cover banner, nothing says I don’t give a crap about my LinkedIn profile than having a generic blue background banner, just look at mine and you’ll see. Have someone created for your professionally, spend a few bucks to do it. It’ll make you look much more professional!

Building a Personal Bond on LinkedIn

Building a Personal Bond on LinkedIn with Your Audience

Okay, I get it. LinkedIn is all starched shirt stuffy, and no one has any fun. It’s not Facebook, right? This isn’t the place for frivolity, or personality, for that matter. It’s the place where people get—stuff—done. And, all of that is true, but for some types of businesses, freelancers, for instance, sharing personal moments on LinkedIn can get you a lot of mileage.

What’s your lifestyle like? Mine? I work for myself. I run a small business. I do have flexible hours and a ton of fun at my chosen career. So, why not show that? It doesn’t matter what you have. Someone else wants it too! If you have a corner office and a two-hour daily commute in your paid for BMW, there’s plenty of people who want that. If you work at home in your pj’s, well there’s a ton of folks who want that too! Letting your proverbial hair down and showing people what your life is really like is a very good personal branding thing to do. Not only that but because it is personal and because it stands out on LinkedIn, you’ll get a ton of eyeballs on your profile from a much larger group of people. And that, my friend, will translate into more prospects, presentation, and sales.

So, what should you show, and how much should you show? Here’s where we have to remember that LinkedIn’s a business networking site. It’s not edgy like Twitter. You’ll have used some restraint. Also, according to what your profession is, you’ll need to think about what you’re showing people. You wouldn’t want your attorney showing you how he was at home in his pj’s boogie boarding with his kids, would you? But you might go for a video of your attorney and her husband walking down Broadway after a show. In other words, not everything goes, and use your head!

You do However want to use video on LinkedIn, it can be a very powerful tool!  We are starting to use video ourselves and is very effective for getting your audience to know you, like you, trust you. Remember sharing on LinkedIn is all about providing value. It can’t be a huge pitch fest on your services.  We give away tons of great information and real value on a regular basis. So when people finally contact us through our LinkedIn lead generation system, they know who they are and they want to work with us because we are the experts!

Post valuable content on LinkedIn yourself and become your expert.

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Job hunting tips from Calgary’s ‘LinkedIn Wizard’

Marketing and franchising consultant shares advice to make your profile stand out from the online crowd

A Calgary-based marketing and franchising consultant says LinkedIn has never been more useful for job hunters and businesses. (Maxx Satori/Shutterstock)

Thinking of a career change in 2018? Still looking for work after being laid off? Looking to grow your client base?

Building a stand-out profile on LinkedIn could help you get ahead, says Allan Fine, a Calgary-based marketing and franchising consultant with Executive Edge.

Some might think of LinkedIn as just another social network or that pesky website that keeps sending them invites. But Fine says LinkedIn has never been more useful for job hunters and businesses.

“[LinkedIn] now has over 550 million users worldwide, so for anybody who is looking to either get a job or get a business and create connections, LinkedIn is the No. 1 social media site in the world they should be using,” says Fine.

The self-proclaimed “LinkedIn Wizard” offered up some tips on tweaking your LinkedIn profile for success.

Get a professional headshot

“A great profile has different components,” Fine told the Calgary Eyeopener. “The first thing I can tell you is your headshot should make you feel ‘real’, it should be really professional looking.”

Fine compares having a unprofessional photo with showing up to a networking event in torn and dirty clothes.

“Does that give you confidence in hiring them or working with them? Probably not,” he said.

Allan Fine says your profile should show what you can do for potential employers. He says getting a professional photographer to take your profile picture is a sound investment. (Flazingo Photos/Flickr/Creative Commons)

He recommends paying a professional photographer to take your photo because “the money you [invest] in the headshot will pay off afterwards.”

Custom background

Fine says adding a custom background photo to your profile is another visual component of your profile that gives potential employers and customers insights into what you can offer them.

He says a good background photograph should highlight your unique “features and benefits” and should be specific to your skills and defining qualities.

“The mistakes I see with individuals and people in business are having a profile background that doesn’t convey exactly what you can do for them,” he said. “It’s very, very important that your profile background coveys the benefits of either who you or what you can do.”

Custom headline and summary

Fine says your headline and summary should expand on what you do, what you can do, and what you have done.

For job hunters, a well-written headline should portray your skills and also what training you’ve done “as far as … the degrees you have or the things that you’ve done in the past beforehand.”

Looking for work? Fine says your headline and summary on LinkedIn should showcase three things: what you do, what you can do, and what you have done. (Mike Groll/Associated Press)

Companies using LinkedIn to drive business should have a headline and summary that shows “what you can do for somebody if they work with you,” he said.

Video clips and multimedia

One of LinkedIn’s newer features is the ability to add video and multimedia content to your profile.

Fine says social media platforms for business “have gone 360 [degrees]” and employers aren’t blindly hiring off LinkedIn anymore. He says they want to see examples of what you bring to the table, and video is a “very, very powerful tool” for business professionals to showcase their skills or their personal brand.

“People want to work with people and it’s so important that your headshot, your custom headline, your summary really makes a difference in conveying that message to people, as far as who you are.”

Even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is using LinkedIn to give a video update on trade talks with China, Fine said.

“LinkedIn can really deliver hundreds and thousands of leads to any potential business so people should be on LinkedIn that way also for getting lead generation.”


With files from the Calgary Eyeopener