3 Pointers for a Better LinkedIn Profile

Simple things can have enormous impact. I come across profiles on LinkedIn that are very well thought out, complete, updated regularly, provide a view into the person’s professional credentials and experience, showcase recommendations that are pertinent and have well-designed headlines and summaries that make it easier for anyone who is looking for someone with a particular skill (recruiter, prospective customer, whomever…) to find what they are looking for.

I also come across profiles that barely qualify as blank pages. If you are going to use LinkedIn as a social channel, there are several things you need to do to improve that first impression. Here are 3 pointers that can help you get to a better profile from the beginning:

  • Upload a good, professional pictureNo squirrel pictures allowed. There are people who wish to present an edgier first impression for a number of reasons, but generally you don’t want a visitor to your profile to wonder what you look like. If the goal for your use of LinkedIn is to get a job or attract new customers, you want to look the part, only better. There are any number of good professional photographers who can deliver a great head shot, so splurge a little. As a side note, selfies tend to actually look like selfies, so avoid them. One example I saw was a selfie of someone who was averagely dressed, but I couldn’t help noticing the six pack of beer in the background….
  • Use pertinent key phrases in your headline“I Rock!” is not a headline, by the way. LinkedIn has reworked their Edit Your Profile page to give you suggestions, which can be quite helpful. If you’re unsure what to use, consider the role you are looking for (if you’re looking for a job) or concise phrases describing your experience that you may then expand upon in the summary. You have 120 characters available in the headline and 2,000 in the summary. Use them wisely and don’t be afraid to edit and re-edit to get it right.
  • Get some well-written recommendations“She was great to work with!” is a sentiment, not a recommendation. When you ask others to write you a recommendation, you can help them out by suggesting a couple of projects for which you really did the “heavy lifting”. A vague request for a recommendation often results in something relatively vague, which doesn’t really make the case for you. The more specific the recommender is about the value of your work, the easier it is for the visitor to your profile to make the judgment call on how valuable your contributions would be to their project and business. If your recommender sends you a recommendation that is too vague or isn’t really as helpful as it could be, you have the option of sending it back to them and asking (very kindly, of course…) if they might make a few edits. Don’t feel like you have to take the first draft. Once again, a visitor to your profile is looking at the recommendations for a reason, so they need to reflect your value as accurately as possible. Get them right and get them solid.

While there are many more actions you can take to ensure you have the best profile possible, these are a good start. Here are some other resources you can check out that will help:

Social Media Examiner: 12 Resources to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

Business2Community: 5 Killer Resources To Help You Dominate LinkedIn

LinkedIn Blog: Creating A Killer LinkedIn Profile: Tips for Link Humans [INFOGRAPHIC]

Hongkiat: 10 Tips To A More Professional LinkedIn Profile

Forbes: 22 LinkedIn Secrets LinkedIn Won’t Tell You

HubSpot: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Mastering LinkedIn

If you come across others that you find particularly useful, please post them to the comments.

Work-Life Blend: The Holiday Edition

It doesn’t matter really. If you’re a solopreneur, a director of a corporate business unit, a team member at an international enterprise or any other kind of role designation, you run into this.

Work and business don’t stop. In a lot of cases, they speed up at this time of year. Yet, you KNOW that you have holiday-related events and such involving family, friends, co-workers and neighbors that are unique and important. As if pressures weren’t high enough, they just got higher. How do you prioritize it all?

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Reliability and Finding the Right Expert for Your Business

During a fruitful first meeting with a new colleague and collaborator this week, she mentioned something that really disturbed me.  She has a very healthy graphic design and publishing business and works with a broad array of customers.  She focuses on what she does very well and gives referrals, like any good business, to other businesses that she works with and trusts. However, in a couple of instances she has had to give referrals to customers for solopreneurs she didn’t know as well, particularly in the digital and social media marketing areas.

Sadly, both she and her customers “got bitten.” Although I haven’t gotten the complete story, apparently the solo businesses gladly took the referrals, promised the moon, seriously under-delivered and then disappeared. My colleague looked bad and her customers had a less than wonderful experience, as well as losing money and time.

Wow.  Just Wow….

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Trust, Relationships and #H2H

Recently a friend of mine made a long-ish post on Facebook. It was an apology and a mea culpa. Although I had missed the earlier post she referred to, she stated that she was caught off-guard by other people’s reaction to it. She said that, in retrospect, she agreed with one friend of hers that had actually reached out to her about it: it was an offensive and prejudicial post. She apologized for the first post, a very real and human thing to do.

What she was hurt by was the fact that a number of her ‘friends’ had ‘un-friended’ her (in Facebook vernacular…) without asking her about the post, commenting on it, or even just responding in some way. She couldn’t understand why people who knew her would react in such a knee-jerk manner without asking her why she felt this way or further questioning the post.

I feel her experience points to a couple of challenges with building relationships online as well as some bad habits we’ve cultivated along the way. Continue reading

Now What?!

Every business hits this wall at some time.

Whether your just starting out, ALMOST to profitability, have a “going concern” or are well-established, sooner or later something either organic (like growth of your customer base) or externally realized (your top salesperson and top delivery person get married and move out of the state), “Now What?!” happens to you.

How do you respond?

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Co-working and #H2H

Citizen Space, a coworking space in San Franci...

Citizen Space, a coworking space in San Francisco, CA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to the U.S. Census, more than half (51.6 percent) of all businesses that responded to the 2007 Survey of Business Owners (SBO) were operated primarily from someone’s home in 2007. Just over 72 percent are sole proprietorships.

What does this mean?
It means there are a lot of us sitting in a room by ourselves a lot of the time.  When the need to focus is keen, this can be really helpful. However, we are human beings, and none of us operates all that well in a workplace vacuum.

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The Forecast Myth

I’ve always associated the term “forecast” with the weather. Coming from the Midwest, I am culturally inclined to a near obsession with the weather. Few places have unchangeable weather, and living someplace where a tornado, a blizzard, a scorching heat wave or some other short or long term event can come slamming down on top of you makes you a bit skeptical of anyone’s ability to tell the future.  Granted, in the area of meteorology, science is improving, but sometimes it pays to just step outside for minute and look at the sky.

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