The experience section of your LinkedIn Profile is SO NOT a copy/paste from your CV. This message does seem to slowly sink in, but there is a lot more to it than you might think at first. Read on to find out 5 things to pay attention to, and fix IMMEDIATELY in most cases.
THE FIVE BIG BOO-BOOS IN LINKEDIN EXPERIENCE
Describing what you did, yawn.
Lack of clear future focus, it’s not that hard.
Ugly looks, you CAN format to an extent.
The Grey Square, fix it, fix it, fix it (please).
Stuffing too much under one heading, breakups are good!
DESCRIBING WHAT YOU DID
When reading those descriptions I yawn. I mean I YAWN BIG TIME. Your job title gives me a general idea of what you did. Now translate the juicy bits (innovation, results, deep end dives) into descriptions that focus on the HERE AND NOW and the immediate future. In other words: make me feel that you are the right person for what I’m looking for in a service provider or employee.
LACK OF CLEAR FUTURE FOCUS
LinkedIn is not about the past. Period. No but… When describing your previous roles, education and courses, have a clear FUTURE focus. What do your clients (or next employer) need to know and BELIEVE about you? Use the right words to hit a nerve with them.
LinkedIn is quite a uniform platform. The there is no text editor with formatting options to prettify your profile. That doesn’t mean it has to look UGLY. You can copy and paste bullets into your profile. When using a bulleted list, the second line doesn’t get indented, so keep it short enough to stay on one line. When adding media to job roles (YES PLEASE) ideally go for TWO. Two items get stretched a bit and line up neatly with the left and right margin. Or be stubborn like me and add more. Just don’t add ONE item per section, it looks UGLY AS.
THE GREY SQUARE
This means work experience for a company without a logo. It screams at your reader: THIS WAS NOT A PROFESSIONAL ROLE. Fancy having your profile scream that at each potential client if you are an entrepreneur? Or how about you worked for Shell, HP and Google, but your profile looks crap as none of the logos are there.
BREAKUPS ARE GOOD
I once worked with a client who had one entry on her profile. She had been with Shell for 17 years. Once we broke it up in 6 roles, you saw an amazing journey from front desk receptionist at a local office to EMEA Real Estate Portfolio Manager. BAM. Show the journey in your career. Breakups are even more important if you are self-employed! Add your 2-3 main services as separate entries on your profile. They stand out like a sore thumb IN A GOOD WAY.
LinkedIn outdid themselves again! Now when you check who viewed your profile, you can go straight to the INTERESTING views. With a free LinkedIn account you only see your last 5 visitors, which is quite manageable. On a paid account you get to see all profile views 90 days back. How convenient to now only have to look at 40 people instead of 1,191 (still upset with those 9, you know who you are, who didn’t view).
WHAT MAKES PROFILE VIEWS INTERESTING?
Only the algorithm gods know for sure, but this is what I noticed. LinkedIn shows us senior industry leaders (now I need to figure out what makes one an industry leader) and people who work at companies you follow.
Senior Leader in your industry
Senior Leader in another industry
Works at a company you are following
LinkedIn got quite carried away. Each viewer now also has “other highlights” where you can see how many connections you have in common and what groups you have in common. Sure was the highlight of my LinkedIn experience today!
WHY I LIKE IT
I like any insights I can get my hands on. LinkedIn stuff I mean, can’t remember the last time I checked the analytics on my website. Might give me better business insights, but people watching is much more fun! Even though I haven’t got the foggiest yet what makes someone a ‘senior leader’ in this respect, I DO KNOW that according to the info LinkedIn has they do SOMETHING better than others.
In an earlier post on this topic, you can read how to treat the “Who viewed your profile” information.Who cares who viewed your profile. As far as I am concerned, any additional information is a good thing. To be honest, I also like the idea that if I view your profile I’ll be considered a “senior leader in my industry”. I hope I am.
Have you seen the talking LinkedIn Profile? Recently I noticed people replacing the logo on their company page for a gif which resulted in moving logos on personal profiles. I was not impressed. How about this though… have your profile picture talk to your visitor! How do you like that?
LINKEDIN PROFILE TALKING HEAD
IS IT REAL?
This is a little video I recorded with a free tool called Loom. It is actually two recordings in one. You know, like instruction videos where people record a PowerPoint and record themselves talking. I recorded my computer screen which shows my LinkedIn Profile and recorded myself talking. Funny thing about Loom is that recording yourself takes place in a circle. By placing that circle over my profile headshot I created the ILLUSION of a LinkedIn Profile with a talking head.
IS IT ALL TRICKERY?
If it is trickery, depends on your intention. If you pretend that a talking LinkedIn Profile picture exists it is all trickery. It is brilliant though to record video messages that are LinkedIn related. You can talk about an area of your profile you want people to pay attention to. You can record a video introducing yourself. You can even have a special message with a pumpkin or Santa hat for the holiday season.
I never bothered with LinkedIn 2 Step Verification. Are you kidding me? I had a great password, not to be guessed by humans or artificial intelligence. So why go through such an annoying process of having to wait for a text message to input when logging on? YIKES.
I CAN’T BELIEVE I WAS SO IGNORANT
Yup, I needed to have it spelt out to me. I had a full backup of my profile in Word. I downloaded my connections once a month. It is not Facebook, no pictures of my daughter here. So hey, what is the big deal?
SCARY SHIT (AND SO OBVIOUS)
If someone logs on to your account, they can act like YOU. Now once you read this, it is so blatantly obvious. Yet it took me FOUR years to set up LinkedIn 2 Step Verification (yup, it was introduced back in 2014).
Post pretending to be you.
Comment (even nasty) pretending to be you.
Message (spam, annoy) all your connections.
Download your connections.
Disconnect you from your connections.
Delete recommendations you received.
You get my drift. They will have TOTAL CONTROL over your LinkedIn Account. Profile, Articles, Posts, Network, Engagement … EVERYTHING. I know it is not 100% foul proof, but what is? And people going through the trouble of hacking your phone or convincing your provider they are you … they usually don’t target ordinary people, not even the extraordinary like YOU and me.
You can fix things under “settings & privacy”. Might also want to check the “Ads” tap while you are there. If you want to find out more about the settings, here is something I wrote before: LinkedIn Settings & Privacy.
>>> So tell me (honestly) when did you set up LinkedIn 2 Step Verification? Oh and please add to the list of things you don’t want to happen! <<<
This post has a bit of a personal touch. Well, about 867 words or personal touch. OOPS. Normally my posts are around 200 words. In this post you’ll learn how building business through LinkedIn can be done without acquisition. I am too shy for acquisition, so I had to find another way, you’re about to find out all about it.
You may not be interested in my personal entrepreneurial journey. I get it. I don’t need to read everybody’s personal account. If you prefer to skim read the find the juicy bits, there are plenty of headers to guide you. Otherwise, grab a cuppa and spend the next 5 minutes following my story of building business through LinkedIn.
THIS LINKEDIN STORY STARTS IN 2011
I worked for an organisation with about 100 employees and we hit rough weather. Regardless of how much I like commuting by ferry, especially on stormy days, this was the kind of rough weather that made me uncomfortable.
Friends said I should look at it as an opportunity. That it was time for me to start working for myself. Yeah right, doing what? Sure, I loved training, as I still do, but training in what? I’d done so many different things. Jack of all trades, master of NONE is how I saw myself.
My friends had a different view. They saw training as the thing I am good at and had in one shape or another 20+ years of experience in. I couldn’t deny that point.
BACK TO THE COMPANY I WORKED FOR
About 20 people were made redundant. All but two temporarily contracts were terminated. I was one of the two survivors. And I let out a big sigh of relief. All this talk about starting my own business. Ha, no matter what strengths my friends believed I possess, they forgot just one minor detail: I am too shy for acquisition.
I had been quite worried about my position for about 6 months. That is a long time. Ever been anxious about your future for six months? I do not recommend it. What it did make me do, was freshen up my LinkedIn profile.
I FELL IN LOVE WITH LINKEDIN
As I discovered more and more about the possibilities of actively using LinkedIn, I got quite excited about it. I was almost disappointed that I didn’t lose my job. ALMOST. I still had a mortgage to pay and daughter to look after as a single mum. I decided there and then that I would never, ever, feel this anxious about surviving again.
I thought, what is going to happen in 12 months time? Will they renew my contract again, or let me go after all? I always chose time for me and my daughter over money, so I was only working three days a week at this stage. With two days a week spare I decided to give this ‘starting your own business’ thing a go.
I would be “Petra Fisher, LinkedIn Trainer for International Professionals”.
NO MONEY TO INVEST OR FALL BACK ON
Now all I needed to do is put my money where my mouth is. Lacking the money, I invested time.
I aimed high. Though there is plenty of fish in the sea, what will make this fish stand out?
Charging high fees! Seemed like a great idea at the time…
Charge high fees, work for corporates and be one-of-a-kind. I needed to build up a reputation in order to be able to target those clients. By working on my reputation, I also didn’t have to worry about that little detail called acquisition. Out of sight out of mind.
WHAT WORKS FOR NETFLIX WORKED FOR ME
“Ten tips to …” seemed to be the best-viewed blogs at the time, so I needed to write some of those as well. Build a website, write a blog, share it through LinkedIn and Bob’s your uncle. With only two days a week for my own company, I had to use my time creatively.
If Netflix can do it, then I can do it. Why spend all my time on ONE blog sharing 10 tips? If I made it into a series of 10 posts that would last me 2.5 months. Somehow I only made it to 9. Each week I shared my blog on LinkedIn, as status update. Posted in several groups to start discussions…
FELL FLAT ON MY FACE WITH THAT
I posted blog episodes in so many groups, without really starting a discussion, that I got a black mark against my name in some groups. Meaning I couldn’t post for a period of time. This inspired me to write another series of blog posts. About group use on LinkedIn. Only three blogs this time, but they got picked up worldwide.
I have to tell you something that happened in between.
All this activity on LinkedIn did not go unnoticed. I got noticed by Mike O’Neil and Lori Ruff in the US. We started chatting on Skype and one day Lori send me a message saying:
“Uhm … I may have jumped the gun a bit, but a big international corporation asked if we have a trainer in Amsterdam to conduct some sessions at their European headquarters, and I’ve let them know you’ll do it”.
So here I was. I had quite an impressive video on my website. Had delivered one in company training and was asked by Mike O’Neil and Lori Ruff to deliver training on their behalf.
NOT BAD FOR A SOCIAL WORKER TURNED SELF-PROFESSED TRAINER
Not long after, I was invited to come to the US to co-facilitate the 10th annual LinkedIn event Mike and Lori organise. I was flattered, felt special. It took someone else to point out to me that it worked both ways. They had been able to advertise this 10th event with an international speaker all the way from Amsterdam!
HOW DID I USE LINKEDIN TO GET HERE?
I clearly identified WHO I wanted to reach and WHAT message I wanted to send. You’ve probably heard about the “Know, Like and Trust” factors in order to be able to do business. Here’s how I applied them.
GET PEOPLE TO KNOW YOU
Make a lot of noise so people have heard of you! Make noise on LinkedIn by sharing knowledge. By sharing industry articles by others. By liking and commenting on updates of other people. Every activity you conduct on LinkedIn increases you visibility in your network. Ideally comment rather than like. It allows you to share little snippets of your expertise, adding value to your network.
GET PEOPLE TO LIKE YOU
The easiest way to get people to like you is handing out presents. Share valuable information that doesn’t directly lead back to your website. Endorse people if you think they are really good at something. Write a short recommendation without being asked. It does wonders for your likeability.
More importantly, it is actually really good fun to do.
GET PEOPLE TO TRUST YOU
Apart from the obvious: don’t tell lies. People trust you if they relate to you. Make sure some of your personality shines through in what you do. Your values, the fact you care about how your work impacts and benefits your clients. Focus on the other.
HAVE A ONE-TRACK-MIND
Make sure you stay focused on your expertise and the target audience you wish to reach. I am interested in sustainability; my daughter was recycling before she knew there was such a word. Yet I rarely like an interesting update on LinkedIn about sustainability.
People connect with me for my LinkedIn knowledge. I want to be predictable. If you see my face come past in the non-stop stream of updates on your homepage, I want you to automatically pause to see what I said. Because you KNOW it will be about LinkedIn, Networking or Personal Branding.
HOW ABOUT THE ACQUISITION?
But how did I get around that nagging little detail, that acquisition thing? I didn’t! Easy as that. Well, most of the time. I am good at what I do because it is within my comfort zone. Acquisition is not, so I am not going to create anxiety for myself. By being active on LinkedIn for about 30 minutes a day, staying focused on my topics, aiming for my dream clients, I have not done any active acquisition. Prospective clients approach me.
STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF
I once accepted a project because it was big. It would be a great experience, could lead to new things yet I completely ignored a nagging little feeling that I was not actually going to enjoy this project.
I pushed that feeling away with rational arguments. How I was capable of pulling this project off. How it would really put my name on the map within the Dutch market. How the money was great.
Putting my name on the map within the Dutch market. What was I thinking? Didn’t I, in part, keep my own company going after the initial employment panic had gone, because I love operating in English? In an international environment?
LIFE IS A JOURNEY (Ralph Emerson Anderson)
That is when I found the missing piece in the puzzle of my LinkedIn use. I needed to sharpen my target audience and let go of doing everything bi-lingual. Operating in English is what makes me happy. Happy trainer – happy clients. This was my journey during the first four years I was in business. It led to me being a well-known LinkedIn trainer in The Netherlands, Australia, The UK and the USA. You can see the locations of my clients pinned on a map at the bottom of this page.
WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
I can tell you how to fill out your LinkedIn Profile.
I can show you how to use the different features of LinkedIn.
Yet none of that is going to get you anywhere… If you don’t listen to yourself!
Identify what makes you happy, what puts that spark in your eye?
Who do you want to work with?
And then, only then does it make any sense to put all my tips and tricks into practice.
>>> Have a question how LinkedIn can help YOUR business? Pop it in the comments! Other thoughts and compliments most welcome as well. <<<
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