By Monique Stennis, MBA
Digital Marketing Specialist
Inter Valley Health Plan
AABLI alumna, Class #6
LinkedIn is a far cry from the professional website introduced to me in 2008 by former co-workers. They touted the site as an amazing place to spotlight accomplishments found on my résumé and connect with a range of professionals. It is a platform, they said, where former colleagues/employers can write firsthand recommendations about their professional experiences with me.
With 400 million users worldwide and 107 million in the United States, LinkedIn has evolved into the number one social media site for job hunting, used by an astonishing 100% of job seekers. Importantly, hiring managers prefer LinkedIn over other sites, according to Forbes.com. The LinkedIn website is where you can build or extend your professional brand, generate more business and connect with professionals in a variety of industries. A résumé is a tool that can get you hired, but LinkedIn is a much more compelling platform, often described as a professional online brochure or portfolio. Since LinkedIn takes you to the top of Google listings, people are able to read about your professional experience before even meeting you.
Being “findable” on LinkedIn should be your #1 goal on this social media site. Here is a list of do’s and don’ts that will help you reach that goal.
- Include a professional headshot. Studies show that LinkedIn users with profile pictures are 11-14 times more likely to have their profiles viewed than those without photos. A headshot increases the probability that recruiters, business professionals, employers and colleagues will search for you.
- Understand that the summary is one of the most important sections in your LinkedIn profile. This is the area in which you tell your story in the first person. Your summary should–with great enthusiasm–distinguish you from others by providing insight into who you are, what you do and what your business philosophy
- Consider the keywords that people may use when searching for you. Your name, your business name, your products and services, your niche market and your competition all are examples of likely keywords. Once you list your keywords, you can include them strategically throughout your LinkedIn profile.
- Customize your URL to support your brand on LinkedIn. A customized URL, such as linkedin.com/in/moniquestennis, will help people find you faster.
- Get stuck in a rut using your current job title as your headline. The headline appears right under your name. It should emphasize your value. Here are some examples of effective headlines.
- Bryan Franklin’s headline: “I’ve Helped 7 Companies Reach $1 Billion. Who Wants To Be #8?”
- Ana Hoffman’s: “Discover how to get BIG website traffic for small marketing budgets at Traffic Generation Café.”
- Viveka (Vivica) von Rosen: “LinkedIn Expert & Author: LinkedIn Marketing Hour a Day | International Keynote Speaker | Forbes Top 20 Most Influential.”
- Be afraid to show off your work. On LinkedIn, you have the ability to share presentations, photos and video links. Sharing this information will further demonstrate your knowledge and expertise.
- Overuse buzzwords such as ‘motivated,’ ‘passionate’ or ‘career-driven.’ They all are devoid of your authentic voice. These buzzwords are like place holders; they lack the power to convey what you really want people to know about you. Instead, make sure your profile communicates your motivation or passion without saying it. Giving a strong example of your passion at work is much more authentic than declaring, “I am passionate.”
- Shy away from joining or starting a LinkedIn ‘in group.’ This is a great way to demonstrate your expertise. Your group can be a forum in which you bring professionals together within your industry to exchange the best practices and ideas that are unique to your sector.
As you integrate these simple do’s and don’ts, your excitement will grow as more people begin sending you LinkedIn connection invites. You will find that you are becoming your very own–and your most effective–brand advocate.
In our next eNewsletter, we will discuss the anatomy of the LinkedIn Summary. Stay connected.
This blog is not written by aabli.org or The African American Board Leadership Institute. The author is solely responsible for the content.