Several times each week, people ask me what to include on an effective LinkedIn Profile. I always answer “I don’t know,” which usually comes as a surprise to them (and probably to you as well). After all, I’m the expert!
What I really mean is: I can’t answer that confidently until I understand what someone plans to accomplish on LinkedIn.
If you’re unsure about whether you should put something on your profile, I suggest you start by asking yourself three questions:
Would putting this on my profile:
- Help people find me?
- Improve their perception of me and my brand?
- Help the reader of my profile understand what I do and how I can help them?
Is your answer to any of these questions is “Yes“? Then I suggest you put it on an effective LinkedIn profile.
Let’s look at those three questions more closely…
Help People Find Me
Trust me on this one. Connections are the gas in the tank on LinkedIn, especially if the connections are strategic (for example, customers, potential customers, influencers of your customers, people at organizations where you want to work, etc.). You want people to find and connect with you.
For example, on my profile, I list my first job out of college, Arthur Andersen & Co. This entry helps people from the “good old days” find me—and they just might need some LinkedIn training or consulting at their company.
Improve their Perception of Me and My Brand
People are using LinkedIn to size you up. Entries that display your expertise, emphasize your integrity, and show your creativity will cause people to like and trust you. Hopefully this leads to more connections and more business.
The Arthur Andersen entry also applies here, because most experienced business people around my part of the country recognize that if AA&Co. hired you right out of college, you are probably a really smart person.
So, even though I didn’t have a 3.9+ GPA, like most students they hired, people assume I’m in that group, and it gives me positive branding kudos. (FYI, I had a 3.4, but I could interview with the best of them!)
Help The Reader Understand What I Do and How I can Help Them
After all, if your profile doesn’t get this done, why are you on LinkedIn anyway?
Professionally, I do speaking and consulting. Here’s one of the ways I promote my speaking business:
I am consistently asked to speak at Executive Agenda (EA), YPO, Vistage and TEC meetings as well as CEO Roundtables and Renaissance Forums (REF), where my 35+ years of experience as a business owner and manager enables me to help my peers understand how social media can benefit their companies.
Personally, I am involved with some awesome nonprofit groups. Including them in my LinkedIn profile helps me spread the word about the great things they’re doing. By including links to their websites, I am encouraging others to get involved, too.
I hope you’re now equipped (and also motivated) to beef up your LinkedIn presence… and build a highly effective LinkedIn profile.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Power Formula.
About the Author: Wayne Breitbarth is the CEO of Power Formula LLC. An experienced businessman, speaker, and author, Wayne shares his passion for social media with 40,000+ business professionals. Through private business consulting and presentations to audiences including Inc. Magazine and also the American Marketing Association, Wayne makes LinkedIn simple. Wayne is the author of the best-selling book The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success. Connect with him on Twitter.