Guy Kawasaki is at it again with some more great tips on using LinkedIn. This time he’s gotten together with LinkedIn’s UI designer, Mike Lin, to do an “extreme makeover” of his profile. This is by far the most useful guide I’ve seen on this topic. Every problem Mike pointed out, I’ve seen on
many most of the profiles on LinkedIn.
Go to Guy’s blog for the full visual version, but here’s a bulleted list with my comments:
- Add your voice. The fundamental difference between a LinkedIn profile and a resume is that your LinkedIn profile is intended to help you build and maintain interpersonal relationships. It’s not a dating profile, but it should still be in your personal voice, not the abstract third person. Be yourself.
- Connect with old colleagues. The #1 way to build your LinkedIn network with real, trusted relationships is by uploading your contacts, finding and connecting the ones that are already in LinkedIn and sending invites to the ones who aren’t who you have strong relationships with. Doing it initially isn’t enough, because new people join all the time (over 400,000 a month at last count). You have to make at least a monthly practice of doing this so you pick up the new ones who have recently joined.
- Write recommendations. This is a powerful way for you to be of service to your network. Pay it forward. You also, of course, make yourself look good by making others look good. Naina Redhu has a great guide on her blog to making good LinkedIn recommendations.
- Get recommendations. Authentic references from people you have actually worked with speak volumes about you. Don’t be afraid to ask, but only ask those who can authentically give you a good one.
- Ask a question, answer questions. The new LinkedIn Answers feature is an opportunity to give and receive value with your network on a more frequent basis than introductions. True to LinkedIn’s brand, it’s still about helping people get business done, and helping others do that is a far better way to build strong relationships than idle small talk.
- Get a vanity URL. Do you want your public LinkedIn profile URL to be http://www.linkedin.com/pub/0/9b9/aa4? Or http://www.linkedin.com/in/guykawasaki? See my illustrated how-to-guide on making your LinkedIn profile public.
- Add substance to your Summary. This is your personal elevator pitch. Beyond the description in each of your positions about what you do, this is also the opportunity for you to talk about your networking needs – the kind of connections you’re looking for and open to.
- Add specialties. People search on these. Use the conventional words and phrases used to describe what you do.
- Add depth to your positions. Title, company and dates isn’t enough, any more than it would be on your resume. Describe what you did – what did you accomplish there?
- Add all your positions. On a resume, maybe you only need to go back ten years or so if you’ve held several positions. Here, though, keep in mind that everywhere you worked is an opportunity to reconnect with those old friends and colleagues.
- Add website links, activities, interests and awards. This is cheap, low-effort and perhaps most importantly, appropriate and acceptable self-promotion. If ever there were a time and place where in which people actually want this information, this is it. Take advantage of it.
- Customize why you want to be reached. LinkedIn allows you to specify what type of contact requests you are open to receiving. While some people will still try to pass off just about anything as an “expertise request”, setting this like you want will significantly reduce requests you’re not likely to be interested in.
Great tips. If anyone else decides to take Guy’s advice, why not take before-and-after screenshots, post them to your blog, and let us know about them here?