You and I were set up on a blind-date of sorts. The only reason you consented to give me a try was because a friend of yours continually nagged you, something about I “could be very useful to you in the future.” You didn’t feel I was worth the time, but it became easier to give me a try than to deal with your friend who kept reminding you to take a chance with me.
I appreciate that you meant well at first, but I feel I must be honest. I don’t feel you’ve given me a fair chance. You haven’t taken the time to get to know me and to share your story with me.
I miss you. Won’t you come back? We could do great things together.
Your (incomplete) LinkedIn profile
The number of incomplete profiles I see on LinkedIn is huge, but not surprising. Didn’t we all sign-up because a friend invited us, telling us this was the next best thing? Didn’t we all think we’d come back to “deal with it” later? For many of us, later has come and gone, so why not give your profile some overdue attention now?
A few tips to keep in mind when completing your profile:
- It is not a resume. This is a chance to be more descriptive about the big picture and key areas of expertise or accomplishment, rather than a list of duties.
- Write in the 1st person (not the 3rd) and skip ultra-fancy words designed to impress or which are only familiar to a small audience. If you must use these words, do it in a way where I can follow along.
- Include commonly used abbreviations and acronyms, but also spell them out elsewhere on your profile.? You never know if someone will be searching for ‘HR’ or ‘human resources’, or ‘UCLA’ or ‘University of California, Los Angeles’ and you want to found either way.
- The decision to list all prior jobs depends on where you are in your career. If you have been in the working world for 15 years or so, including the college part-time job at the pizza joint becomes less critical. If you are a recent graduate, you may want to take every opportunity to show prior jobs and internships to demonstrate a solid work ethic and willingness to learn (assuming the jobs lasted at least a few months).
Hope you’re ready to tackle that lonely profile now. It really isn’t as difficult or intimidating as it may seem. Going forward, keep it up to date. Nothing screams “I don’t care” like a profile left to languish with inaccurate and incomplete information.
If you’d like to learn more about kicking your efforts on LinkedIn into high gear, be sure to subscribe to Almost Savvy through RSS or email. And to get the most out of LinkedIn, register for one of my upcoming webinars where we’ll walk through the features step-by-step to help you leverage your efforts and maximize the benefits of LinkedIn’s features.
But wait, there’s more…Those who RT my tweet (on Twitter) about the tip of the day will be entered in a drawing each day for a seat in an upcoming LinkedIn webinar (to be used by you or given to a friend). Those who comment (a “real” comment) on the LinkedIn tip of the day on this blog will also be entered. Anyone doing both in the same day will be entered in the drawing twice. Let the fun begin!
Thanks for the encouragement to update my profile. I’ve been using the same photo of me for all of my social network sites, so it’s reassuring to know that that is a good branding strategy.
Good article about the importance of having a complete profile. Definitely focus on accomplishments, not job duties. What makes you unique? What differentiates you from others with similar job histories?
Also, make sure to use the “Interests” section to include all of your extracurricular activities/interests. You never know when your passion for kayaking might be the thing that causes someone to contact you vs another LinkedIn “competitor.”
Not only should you go now and update it (if you haven’t), you should check it periodically to make any adjustments that come to mind. I’m going to create a calendar reminder to look at it once a week. If nothing else, I’ll remember all the things I’m good at.
Great ideas, Irene!
I’d add to point #2:
Avoid using words that are flat, meaningless, and vanilla.
For example, what does it *really* mean to be a “well-seasoned professional”? Are you using salt & pepper?
Of course, I’m being tongue-in-cheek, but I see too many people use phrases that add zippo, nada, nothing.
As a career coach, I encourage people to read their LinkedIn profile aloud, and imagine they’re talking with a friend. Personally, I’d never tell a friend I was well-seasoned!
Get creative and precise as you write your LinkedIn profile. Working with a career coach can really help in this respect.
Dr. Susan Bernstein
Excellent input, Susan. Some of those “generic” words are used and bring nothing of value to the description, tell me nothing about who you are or what you have done. When people say they have “participated” in a project, for all I know they could have been the project manager or the person ordering lunch and sharpening pencils.
Thanks, Irene. Great post and good advice I will heed ASAP!
Thank you so much. My profile is in the 3rd person. All of it. I am on it right now. Going to fix it right away. Thank you again:)