By: Peter Helmer and Marc Halpert
(Note: I co-authored this article with my good friend Marc Halpert, a LinkedIn expert. His bio is at the bottom of this post)
Your brand should be your biggest asset. It’s your reputation. It’s what you deliver.
It’s why clients hire you. It’s why colleagues refer you.
Turbo-charge your brand with a standout LinkedIn profile. A great profile will help you maximize the value of your LinkedIn network. That means more colleagues will refer you and more prospects will find you.
Your profile is the real key to LinkedIn success. But this is where many professionals fall short.
They have non-descript profiles that colleagues and prospects overlook or misunderstand. The result: fewer business opportunities.
Think of your profile as a newspaper on the world’s largest newsstand. You better have a killer front page to get noticed.
Why Your Profile Matters
Your LinkedIn profile is not a rehash of your resume, a repeat of your website, or a description of your services. Your profile should reflect what you deliver: the benefits and results of working with you. It’s your brand!
The most important question it should answer is “Why You?” On LinkedIn “You” is a distillation of all your experience, skills, and accomplishments wrapped up in a compelling package.
Remember, readers spend only a few seconds to absorb your profile. If you don’t stand out, they move on.
Think of your profile as your calling card. It’s also a surrogate website. Many people don’t even have a website. Their LinkedIn profile is their website.
Why does all this matter? Clients hire You and colleagues refer Youbased on what they think You deliver. If they don’t understand that, You won’t get the business.
Here are the reasons why a strong LinkedIn profile matters:
- People searching for your expertise will find you easily
- You can showcase your expertise, supported by endorsements and recommendations from colleagues
- Colleagues can easily forward your profile to others
In short: Get Found. Get Referred. Get Hired.
Key Elements of Your Profile
There seven key elements for your profile
- An intelligent headline
- Frequent status updates.
- Well-thought-out Summary, Experience, and Specialties sections.
- An appropriate photo
- Professional Credentials and Publications
- Volunteer work
Intelligent Headline – (120 characters) description of who you are. Here is a” before and after” example:
Before – “CEO Fox Advisors”
After – “Seasoned entrepreneurial business expert in technology turnarounds; demonstrated expertise in business reorganization and re-engineering.”
See the difference? The “Before” headline was simply a title. The “After” headline is a description of the skill set this person offers.
This is first thing readers notice. It may entice them. Or it could bore them.
Frequent Status Updates – These can be articles you like, speeches you are giving, announcements on other colleagues’ activities, or welcoming new clients. Status Updates should provide useful information to your contacts and remind them of your expertise. You are educating your readers and staying visible at the same time.
Summary/Specialties/Experience– Your Summary is not a plain-vanilla description of your services. Think of it as a 30 second elevator speech.
Talk about the real benefits you offer. How do you help your clients increase revenue, save money, save time, or reduce risk?
Include a link to your firm’s website. Also, include your contact information, so readers can easily reach you.
Use plain English. Avoid jargon or acronym encrusted consultant speak.
Your specialties i.e. business development, forensic accounting, team building, etc. help other LinkedIn members understand what you do. Be sure to include keywords that readers might use in looking for experts.
Your Experience should highlight your accomplishments and reinforce your expertise. Including recommendations from colleagues for your current and previous positions is a plus.
An Appropriate Photo – Use an appropriate recent professional looking photo. Forget about that picture at your bachelor party 25 years ago.
Your photo matters. It literally allows readers to connect a name with a face. A photo adds a new dimension to your profile. LinkedIn is a “social” medium. Your readers want to connect with a person, not a resume.
Professional Credentials – List any professional credentials, patents, languages, awards, honors and publications. These enhance your brand by showcasing your expertise. It’s called street cred.
Volunteer Experience – Your volunteer experience adds another dimension to your profile. It shows that you use your expertise for the benefit of others. It also may be a common bond with some of your LinkedIn connections.
Education – This is important. Through your high school, college, and grad school you are plugged into a potentially vast alumni network.
A great profile doesn’t come easily. Some people struggle to put words around their value proposition. Remember, this is a vital exercise for everyone. And to be sure, we are all changing, evolving, growing. As you change, be sure to continually rewrite and improve the profile you want to convey. Only you can tell others WHY YOU as you journey along in business.
If you want to see an example of a LinkedIn profile that may help guide you in your reworking yours, see www.linkedin.com/in/marchalpert
Marc W. Halpert
Marc is a self-described “multi-preneur.”
Since leaving the corporate world in 2001, Marc W. Halpert has started diverse companies.
Two offer specialized, paperless electronic payment services to optimize the cash flow of, and increase the speed of payments, to:
• retailers, small- and medium-sized businesses (Your Best Interest LLC)
• professional and membership groups, and not-for-profit organizations (e-giving).
And his third company, connect2collaborate, spreads his LinkedIn and networking evangelism to train and coach others. Using the concepts presented in his coaching and speaking engagements, he offers professionals the opportunity to fully tell WHO they really are on their LinkedIn pages. He has served as a frequent speaker at national and regional conferences and local association meetings for large and small businesses and nonprofits to teach more about how to improve business branding opportunities using LinkedIn. He has also authored numerous articles on innovative LinkedIn techniques for self-branding, and he serves as a source for the press.