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What Your LinkedIn Profile Says About You

6th November 2014 | Simon Phillips

Simon Phillips, author of The Complete Guide to Professional Networking, on the best ways to build your online profile

The Complete Guide to Professional Networking

LinkedIn is, without doubt, THE online network for business. Let’s view your profile through the eyes of a member of the most prolific group on LinkedIn, the recruiters. Many recruiters spend a good percentage of their time rummaging around endless profiles, looking for the perfect candidates, but what are they looking for? The answer is, of course, 'it depends' but here are just three obvious things:

1. A comprehensive, professional, profile (complete with a good picture, an effective headline and description that probably helped them find you in the first place, a full list of qualifications and work experience.

2. A sense of your credibility (reinforced by quality recommendations and Awards.

3. Congruence (between what you suggest you have done / want to do next and the other aspects of your profile – particularly the Recommendations.)

Advanced Search

With a little bit more investigation, the wily recruiter can also make an assessment of your value in the networks. Just to the right of your Edit button on your profile you will see a downward facing 'dropdown' arrow; under there is an option to view your Recent Activity. This captures what you have been doing over the past 15 days. So, if you have been supporting your network and demonstrating your expertise, it will be there for all to see.

Designing the Visitor Experience

LinkedIn is a business networking tool – designed to make life easier for you and everyone else that uses it. So, do everything you can to simplify and enhance the visitor experience. Videos, SlideShare presentations and articles you have posted, will all add to your credibility and attractiveness as a potential candidate. Don’t worry about putting too much on your Profile, your visitors will vote with their mouse when they’ve had enough!

The key is to make your content engaging. This does not mean writing a modern masterpiece, but it does mean presenting information with the reader in mind. How has your work solved client problems? What do your current colleagues or previous clients think about you? Are your passions and key interests obvious?

Beware the Over-Engineered Profile

I read one “LinkedIn Expert” encouraging her audience to reverse engineer their profiles to ensure they topped the LinkedIn search terms for which they wanted to be found. Essentially, the advice was to put in the search term and then study / copy the profiles (or at least sections of) the most popular results. However, remember the point on congruence above. This really is a basic. There’s no point whatsoever claiming to be an aspiring CEO when your profile makes a great case for a Management Accountant. I found myself mentoring a client recently with the same problem (but for different reasons.) He wanted to move into a strategic role but his profile screamed “competent programme manager”. What he needed to do was simply reframe his experience to demonstrate how his strategic thinking had resulted in better outcomes for his employers.

And Finally

The last point demonstrates how easy it is to do business with you. Spending some time thinking through how you want people to connect with you and specifying all options in your profile will mark you out as a true professional.

A version of this blog was originally published on www.companybug.com.
For more information about The Complete Guide to Professional Networking, please visit www.koganpage.com, follow @1simonphillips and #networkingnotworking on Twitter and NetworkingNotWorking on Facebook, and of course find Simon Phillips on LinkedIn.


Business, Finance, Risk, Information Management

The Kogan Page range of management and leadership books combines leading authors, practicality, detailed case studies and best-practice methodology. Our books are used by managers and leaders worldwide to make informed decisions based on the latest business thinking. Follow us on Twitter @KPMgmtLeaders.

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