Certified Career Coach and Certified Business Coach
My personal LinkedIn profile is in the top 25 MA, PhD profiles in the United States, the top 1% LinkedIn industry social selling index (SSI) has the highest rating (All-Star), and I’m in the 4% of LinkedIn members statistically deemed Super Connectors. It didn’t get that way by accident or complacency. The biggest surprise to me, however, when I recently took stock of my profile, is just how much of its strength reflects the chameleon-like diversity of my colorful career path. Here’s how you can enhance your own profile.
1. Simplify your URL
Song titles are about simplicity. ZZ Top’s hit singles “La Grange” and “Tush” from my London Records days are just two examples in a musical sea of the KISS principle. And simplicity equates to memorability. If you’re going to create a compelling LinkedIn profile, make sure it’s easy to find and that it stands out as unique. LinkedIn’s default URL includes all the algorithm-assigned numbers and letters that make it look outdated and suggest a multiplicity of user names, making you part of the herd as opposed to showcasing your uniqueness. You can go into your “Edit Profile” screen, click the gear next to your URL to enter the public profile settings and create a new custom URL that gets rid of the numbers and makes your name stand out, like the title of a hit record.
2. Headlines create curiosity
Being a baby boomer, my New York City music career began in the pre-online days of walking by newspaper stands and purchasing an actual newspaper because of the above-the-fold headlines that grabbed my attention. Your LinkedIn headline is your online introduction to a potential worldwide network and should ignite the same desire to read more about what you do, who you help, how you can help your profile readers and why they can trust you — all in one sentence. Here’s mine: “Certified Career Coach, Certified Resume Writer, LinkedIn Profile Writer, PhD ~ creating meaningful careers by design.”
3. The summary should be your personal brand story
Your career section is your opportunity to tell your connections, your industry, recruiters, hiring managers and literally the world what you’re all about. LinkedIn is not a job application or traditional CV. It’s meant to show your visitors the business impact you’ve made. It’s an indirect selling of you and can be the most compelling. When I toured Connecticut by motorcycle researching my book Classic Diners of Connecticut — which led to my hosting and producing “DINERS” for Connecticut Public Television — the backstories were my market differentiation and what captured readers’ and viewers’ attention. I focused on the diner owners who had come to this country to make a better life for their families, worked themselves up from dishwashers and waitpersons and become a vibrant part of the lives of their customers and communities. Use your LinkedIn summary to write the trailer to the movie of your career and motivate visitors to want to connect with you.
4. Extend your network offline
Connecting with others and building a vibrant network is the “secret sauce” of social media success on LinkedIn. But, it’s not just about doing it all online. Translating online connections into actual face-to-face meetings that turn into new opportunities is akin to achieving Rank 1 in the Challenger tier of League of Legends. Always look up from your screen to envision where and how you can engage your network connections offline.
Given that much of my own work is done online, I accepted an invitation from Stephen Rosenfield, Director of the American Comedy Institute and hailed by The New York Times as “probably the best-known comedy teacher in the country,” to sharpen my live presentation skills by taking his standup comedy workshop. It was a diversity and inclusion experience, to say the least, as my classmates included trial lawyers who wanted to sharpen their skills interacting with juries, comedy legends trying out new material, empty-nest moms looking to pursue their long-withheld passion and so many others. My debut at New York’s legendary Gotham Comedy Club was a rush like no other and pinned my transferable interpersonal skills and elevated self-confidence to the meter’s edge. The workshop footage ultimately became a television documentary called “Comic On A Half Shell,” but the most valuable takeaway was stepping out of my online comfort zone and stretching my skills in front of a live audience and creating a new network of colleagues, fans and friends. Always be working on building your online LinkedIn network, but also be sure that you’re, as The Doobie Brothers sang, “takin’ it to the streets.”
5. Be perpetually active
One of the most valuable lessons I learned as an A&R (artists and repertoire) executive with London Records and as president of my own record label was that an artist who doesn’t tour to support their music is a poor investment. The full potential of an album can never be realized (or recouped) unless an artist is performing the music live and continuously building a following. The same goes for a LinkedIn profile.
The full potential of being a LinkedIn member is proportionate to the extent that you’re persistently engaged. Posts boost your credibility, help establish you as a thought leader in your field and increase your visibility since they’re automatically shared with your first-degree connections. The good news is that you don’t have to feel pressure to create original content from scratch. You can start by commenting on an article posted by another member. Set up Google Alerts to email you daily articles on current topics in your field that you can post and put your own spin on. Join groups and participate in the conversations. Just having a LinkedIn profile is not enough; it’s like waiting for your CD to sell to an audience that’s never heard your music. Find your followers and continuously engage them. Don’t just be online; be on tour performing for your audience.
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