LinkedIn Fashions for Personal Branding: What’s Hot, What’s Not! (Part II)

  • Still think your LinkedIn page looks bland?
  • Want to trick out your page with a fresh style?
You asked for more LinkedIn fashion tips! Here goes...

What is in style today, may not be in style tomorrow. Stay up to date on LI fashions, style conventions and apps to ensure that your LI page is evolving along with the trends. Devote time each week, to staying current, active and up to date.

 Check out Part I New LinkedIn Fashions for Personal Branding: What’s Hot, What’s Not! 

Find a career counselor who is versed in using social media for career managment, personal branding and job search. Used correctly LinkedIn is a fabulous research tool for gathering intel about companies, employers, industry trends or individuals. LinkedIn and other online, social media are continually evolving, so should you.
For the remainder of this article, I will use LI as an abbreviation for LinkedIn.

1. Not Hot! Inconsistent format, grammar and style. Do not just copy and paste your resume onto your LI page! A LinkedIn Webpage has its’ own unique style conventions, norms and idiosyncrasies. Each section and subsection should flow seamlessly. Use action verbs. Use consistent tenses – ie: past tense for past jobs. Do not use past, passive verbs. This shows a lack of confidence. Conduct a people search and check out how other professionals in your field style their LI pages.  

2. Hot! Attention to detail and thoroughness will win you points! Provide detailed summaries of your work history. Listing your job titles alone – is not enough. Also, similarly to a resume, no one wants to read a “shopping list” of what you did. Instead describe the highlights and how you went above and beyond your stated role. For your education section don’t just list the names of schools you attended. List your professional associations, positions of leadership in school clubs/teams/sports. Show that you were an active participant. If your schooling is more than 10 years old and you have been in industry the whole time, don’t list dates.

3. Very Hot! Quantify what you did, show the ROI *(return on investment). You should always be earning more for a company, than what you are paid. Beware if you are in an inverse situation; higher salary, but your division/company is earning less/losing money or if you are in a cost-center rather than a revenue- generating center. You could lose your job. Employers want someone who is valuable, who brings skills that other workers do not have and who can save them money. When helping my clients craft custom LI pages, I ask them to add the size, scope, staff, scale, cost savings for each section of their profile.

4. Double Hot! Use LI as a cornerstone for your online, personal brand. Use your LI address and custom URL on your resume, business cards, brochures, e-zines, blogsites etc... If you are on other social networking sites but don’t have a blog, use your LI address as your main web-page. Each time you create a site link, your Google page rankings increase!

5. LI Apps are Hot and Free! There are many applications on LinkedIn which demonstrate your value. I particularly like the RSS feeds, Blogger and Wordpress feeds. Each time you update your profile, status or post a blog - your professional network will also receive the updates. Over time, you can position yourself as an expert. Upload and attach documents, upload your blog, recommend books, update your status regularly. No one wants a stale LI page. Keep it fresh.

6. Not hot! Forgetting to link all of your Social Media together. Save time by connecting your LI to your Twitter and to your Facebook. Once they are all connected, a single comment or update will post to all 3 sites. Twitter founder and CEO and LI founder and CEO are best buds and have just signed an agreement for auto-posting from both sites. Twitter and LI reciprocity is the easiest type to set up. Facebook reciprocity is still a work in progress.

7. Very Hot! Advanced LinkedIn. Become an SME Subject Matter Expert.  Ask questions, answer questions for the general, LinkedIn population and within group discussion forums. People will rate the quality of your answers and this will greatly boost your profile and brand! Build your brand. Don’t be the neighbor who always asks to borrow ladders, tools, lawnmowers, but is never there to return the favor. You will get a bad reputation as a spammer or a “taker” if this is your approach to LI. Provide value to other LI members by posting answers to discussion threads within your groups. As your confidence increases, create your own discussion threads. Read blogs about LI and learn about trends.

8. Hot, posting recommendations on your LI page. If you are good at what you do, people will recommend you on LI and/or ask you to recommend them. Determine your personal rules for requesting or writing a recommendation. I always prefer quality of recommendations, over quantity. Post selective recommendations which are detailed, relevant and substantive. If you have a dozen+ recommendations, I’d wonder how many jobs you have had. Also, people may drill down into your recommenders’ LI profiles to verify legitimacy. Remember, once given a LI recommendation can hang around for years.

9. Molten Hot! Remember, unlike a resume, LI is a Social Networking site. You will need to be “social” and contribute to the community. Join industry and trade groups on LinkedIn and become an SME, Subject Matter Expert. Group membership is as valuable if not more so than network connections. By joining industry groups, you can directly email most people in the group without introductions!

10. Not Hot, spamming and incorrect use of groups. This is an ongoing, educational process and we have all been guilty of this at one time or another – usually due to ignorance. Mea Culpa. Read the groups' rules carefully before, during and after joining. Does the group fit for you? Use the subgroups and group pages tabs correctly. Currently the group membership limit is 50, but there isn’t limit to subgroups. Do not spam your groups with marketing materials or endless self promotion – strike a balance. Use subgroups to post jobs, events, promotions etc. The main discussion sections for most groups are just that, a forum to ask and answer pressing industry questions. This is not where you post “buy my widgets for $19.99!" This may be posted under the “services” tab or a subgroup section.

11. Hot and may save your reputation. Educate yourself about LI privacy settings and permissions.  Beware: if you have set up an RSS Blog feed and your posts are rants about your job/boss. If your boss is in your network, (s)he will get your weekly rants, err blog posts delivered into their inbox as member updates! Do not list “looking for a job” in the title under your name, if coworkers, boss’ are members in your network. I have had several clients who did this, without understanding the privacy implications.

12. Bonus Hot Fashion Tip. Employers love to list “lifelong learning” on their job-descriptions. When I interview candidates, my favorite question is “how do you stay current in your industry?” I am looking for a very detailed answer. If you are part of LI groups, list the groups, mention the latest trends, bring up a “hot topic” – show that you are truly passionate about your field.

More Career Fashion Blog posts: What's Hot What's Not series...
10 HOT LinkedIn Groups for Career Transition!
Cover Letter Fashions: What’s Hot, What’s Not!
Resume Fashions: What’s Hot, What’s Not! (Part I)
Resume Fashions: What’s Hot, What’s Not (Part II)
Author: © 2010 - All Rights Reserved - Sharon B. Cohen, MA, Counseling Psychology,CPRP. Licensed Counselor. Career Counselor and Career Transition Specialist.

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  1. Hui-ping said ... "happiness is not everything, people also have to take responsibility."

  2. I agree. We each must take responsibility for managing our own careers. Employers no longer want this responsibility.