Tag Archives: LinkedIn profile

8 ways to keep the LinkedIn profile process from breaking down

And how it’s like painting a fence.

This weekend I did something I hate. Painting. I hate painting for a number of reasons, but the major reason is the breakdown of process. For example, I’m cruising along painting my picket fence, taking my time, no spills, not a drop on my person (I’m proud of this), hitting every spot; and then whamo….

picket fence

Things start to hit the fan. All of the accomplishments I sustained for half an hour vanish, including not stepping on the top of the paint can and tracking white paint on the sidewalk. Now paint is on my hands, clothes, even my hair.

I lose focus, get sloppy, make a mess of things. That’s the breakdown of process.

If you ask some people who are starting their LinkedIn profile, they’ll express the same sentiment I have for painting—they just want to get it over with and have a profile that will help people find them. In other words, they don’t give it the attention it requires.

Do you relate to this sentiment? Here’s what you ought to do to prevent the breakdown of the LinkedIn profile process.

1. Take your time. When I set out to paint my fence I said to myself, “Bob, you’re going to take your time and do this right. It’s only a fence.”

LinkedIn is not a fence that needs painting, but there is ample opportunity for the process to break down. Following are some areas to pay attention to.

2. Get your photo done professionally. I had mine done by someone who sells one photo for $40.00. I’ve heard they come much more expensively than that. Having your photo done professionally is far better than having a relative take it with her Iphone.

I’m not saying you have to wear a three-piece suit to your photo shoot. Just make sure your photo is of quality. And no iPhone photos with you and your family on the beach or at a campground.

It’s said that a profile with a photo is at least 14x more like to be opened.

3. Think of a headline that brands you. Many people will settle for something like Marketing Professional which doesn’t do them  justice.

Instead, Marketing Director | National Speaker | Author | Revenue Generator | Business Development will do a better job of branding you. Don’t rush and throw any ole Headline up there.

Ask others what they think of your Headline. Does it sell you, show your value to potential employers? This is what you need to consider.

Your Headline is the second element of your profile that brands you; your photo is the first.

4. Write a Summary worth reading. What I’ve seen hundreds of times are LinkedIn Summaries that are a rehash of a person’s résumé Summary. Will this impress anyone? Certainly not.

Instead, take your time and write a kick-ass Summary that tells a compelling story—your philosophy, areas of strength, accomplishments, future plans. This section of your profile is one of the most important ones.

Without an impactful Summary, there’s a breakdown of process.

5. Your Experience section must lower the boom. Have you ever read a résumé that said, “So what? Who cares? Big deal”? Does your LinkedIn profile’s Experience section say the same? Is it a list full of duties and lacking accomplishments?

I suggest an Employment section that states accomplishments only, or strong duty statements and accomplishments. If you’re just starting your LinkedIn profile, copy and paste your résumés Experience section to your profile, but build it from there to be more personal.

6. Show off your writing. For more than three years LinkedIn has offered the a feature which allows you to publish a post on LinkedIn. If you enjoy writing and feel you’re a good writer, show off your expertise and writing style.

To date, I have published over 149 posts on LinkedIn. Obviously I enjoy writing. You can also be featured in Pulse, providing you receive enough “Likes” and views of your posts.

Although, the standards have become tougher to be featured. Don’t be deterred from writing; what counts the most is that you’re sharing relevant information.

7. Have fun with Media. Make use of the Media feature—found in Summary, Experience, and Education—to show off PowerPoint presentations, links to your website or blog, example of your greatest photos of urban blight, or YouTube videos.

LinkedIn is making it easy to showcase your talent to make visitors want to stay on your profile. Take advantage of this. (Watch this video from one of my connections which he places in his Projects section.)

8. List your skills and amass endorsements. Like them or not, endorsements are here to stay; so you might as well list as many skills/expertise for people to click on.

My feelings about endorsements are not all favorable. I believe they are more perceived value and a way for people to engage with each other.

Your skills won’t endorse themselves, just like my wife said about the unpainted fence. But if you endorse your connections’ skills, you’ll get endorsements in return. (Read how to endorse skills properly.)

white paint

This is just the beginning. The line from Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” Is hogwash. You can build the Taj Mahal of all profiles, but if you’re not active, no one will notice.

Being active on LinkedIn includes, connecting with people; engaging with your connectionsincluding updating on a regular basis, writing recommendations for others, endorsing your connections.


I’m happy to say my white picket fence is finished and looking great. The process of painting broke down, much to my chagrin, but I learned valuable lessons: take it slow and focus on quality.

The words my wife told me, “It won’t paint itself” are a good lesson for writing your LinkedIn profile and putting it into action. You’re  are responsible for your LinkedIn process; you alone.

Photo, Flickr, David Alston

A compilation of 11 LinkedIn posts to help you with your job search

If you’re a beginner on LinkedIn, or even well versed on the platform, these are posts that can help you use LinkedIn more effectively. As LinkedIn makes changes to its platform, I will update these posts to provide you with relevant advice.

LinkedIn Flag

How to brand yourself with your LinkedIn profile

Part 1 of this series. Creating a profile that brands you is the first step in your LinkedIn campaign. It must include a photo, value added Summary, accomplishment-based Experience section, and other sections that can add to your brand.

How to brand yourself by connecting with others

Part 2 of this series. When hiring authorities look at your profile and see that you only have 30 connections, they’re going to move on to another candidate. Why? Because you’re not in the game. You’re not initiating and nurturing relationships.

6 ways to brand yourself by being active on LinkedIn

Part 3 of this series. To stay top of mind, you must engage with your connections. There are a number of ways to do this. You can share articles you find relevant, share industry advice, ask questions, contribute to discussion on your homepage and/or in groups, and more.

There are 5 LinkedIn contributors; which are you?

Have you ever wondered if you are contributing on LinkedIn enough or too much? Discover which type of LinkedIn user you are.

To share is Golden: 8 reasons to share others’ posts

Sharing what others write is a benefit to not only that person, but a benefit to you as well. You come across as someone who cares about your LinkedIn community. This post includes names of people who are great curators.

9 facts about LinkedIn lite profile vs. the LinkedIn profile we knew

This is one of the more popular posts I’ve written. It addresses the way LinkedIn’s profiles have changed. Even as I’m writing this, I’m sure LinkedIn is making more changes.

Three reasons why the LinkedIn Summary is key for career changers

If you’re changing your career, you’ll want to utilize every character in the Summary and explain your career goal.

The 39 most important words in your LinkedIn Summary*

In this popular post, I address the first 39 (approximately) first words of your Summary. Find out why they are important. This post is a good one to read after the previous one.

Great news; LinkedIn expands the extended Experience section

With the changes  that have taken place to LinkedIn, the company makes right on one change it’s made. Now they might want to return the ability to move the sections on the profile around. Read the next post as well.

5 ways LinkedIn Lite’s anchored sections are hurting its members

You can’t move the Experience section on your resume, nor the Education, nor Skills and Endorsements. What effect does this have on you?

Six steps to take when using LinkedIn networking for a job

You’re on LinkedIn. You’ve been told it’s a great way to network for a job. This post explains how to use LinkedIn to find a job by using LinkedIn.

Great news! LinkedIn returns the expanded Experience section

LinkedIn has done it again; it’s made a change to our profiles. This is a welcome change and hopefully a return to the old LinkedIn profile. Get ready for this—we can now see most of our positions expanded. 

LinkedIn Flag

I noticed this change when I was working with a client. Pleasantly surprised, I expressed my glee. My client, though, didn’t make the connection. He didn’t realize that only the first position used to be expanded; the others were truncated.

Immediately I reached out to my network to ask them if they noticed the change. “Do my eyes deceive me or has LinkedIn expanded the positions in the Experience section?” With, the blink of an eye, some of my connections responded with affirmation.

Others were unaware of what I was speaking of. They hadn’t received the update yet. With LinkedIn, changes aren’t made across the board at the same time. One of my connections wrote back a few days later when she received the expanded Experience section.

What was wrong with the truncated Experience section?

In a previous popular post, I complained:

Again the new model of more is less is in play in the Experience section. One is able to see the entire first job listed but must click to see more for each of the remaining jobs.

My concern here is that a person with a feeble current or most recent job will not show as much value as someone who has a more extensive and accomplish-laden job to show. Also, people who have two jobs must choose which one to demonstrate first.

Or, we can simply rely on visitors to click on every job to see their descriptions.

The answer to the final sentence in my post is, no. We couldn’t always expect people to click on the previous positions; thereby raising the possibility of your visitors missing some very important information, including your rich media.

For example, under my second position I have links to two podcasts in which I was interviewed for my knowledge on LinkedIn. Previously, this was not immediately visible without expanding my second position.

You might have been frustrated because you don’t have rich media examples under your first position, but have plenty of it under your previous positions. Now you don’t have to worry about people not seeing your rich media under your second or third positions.

LinkedIn hasn’t expanded all position, however. This might be a good thing, as it cuts down the verbiage seen on users’ profiles. And this was LinkedIn’s intention—to streamline and make the profiles more readable. In order to see all of a person’s Experience section, one must click See more positions.

LinkedIn hasn’t expanded the Summary section. Perhaps this is a good thing. While some don’t read the Summary, many do. I personally think this section is important in telling one’s story.

Just make sure your first 235 or so characters count, as they’re the only ones immediately available. I suggest using a branding statement that expresses your value to recruiters and other visitors.

LinkedIn, take it a step further

To make my LinkedIn experience complete, I’d like to see the return of the photos of the people who’ve written me recommendations. If you don’t remember said photos, they resided under each position showing who wrote recommendations for LinkedIn members. A nice touch.

What’s more, I’d like to see a link between the positions/companies and the Recommendations section. Currently, recommendations are arranged in the order of when they were written. This gives visitors no sense of the companies from which the recommendations came.

I’m sure recruiters don’t appreciate not being able to link recommendations to the respective positions.


When teaching LinkedIn, I’m never surprised when I come across a change made over night. In this case it is a pleasant change, and I am glad that I don’t have a reason to complain. I don’t like to come across as a downer, I really don’t.

Photo from Coletivo Mambembe, Flickr.com

How to brand yourself with the new LinkedIn profile: part 1

LinkedIn has gone through some recent changes, some of which are welcome, other that are not. Regardless of how you feel about these changes, you will have to adapt in order to be successful in your LinkedIn campaign.

linkedin-alone

In this three-part series I will talk about the components of a LinkedIn campaign that will brand you, which include:

  1. Creating a powerful profile
  2. Connecting with the right people
  3. Engaging with your connections

I will also point out the changes to the former LinkedIn that have led to the new LinkedIn Lite.

In an Entrepreneur article, author Thomas Smale stresses the importance of having an online presence: “Do you have social media profiles? If so, are they fully fleshed out with all of your information? Do they present you in the best light possible, and make you look professional? Are you using high-quality professional photography? Are you interacting with others and sharing their content?”

Change: By now most of you have the new LinkedIn user interface (UI) and have noticed that you cannot move your sections about as you were able to do with the older version. This change is disconcerting because LinkedIn has unilaterally decided how your profile is structured.

Read 5 ways LinkedIn Lite’s anchored sections are hurting its members.

As a professional, your LinkedIn profile is a critical component of your online personal brand. Let’s look at the major sections of your LinkedIn profile and how they can contribute to your brand:

Snapshot Area

new-snapshot

I call this section the Snapshot because that’s exactly what it is: a snapshot of who you are. The Snapshot section of your LinkedIn profile includes your photo and your Headline. Failure to impress viewers in these areas will hurt your brand.

A photo that is unprofessional is an immediate turnoff. Perhaps more damaging is a non-photo. It’s believed that a profile with a photo is 14 times more likely to be read than one without a photo. Your photo is the first area of your profile that brands you.

Headlines that say things like “Seeking Employment” or “Finance Manager at Company X” are ineffective, as they fail to show value.

Rather, your Headline should be something like this: “Finance Manager at Company X | Financial Planning and Analysis | Auditing | Saving Organizations Millions.” This headline shows your value and brands you. It also adds to your keyword count.

Changes: The photo is no longer square and situated to the right; it is in the center and smaller. Therefore you need to make sure your face and shoulders are captured in your photo.

We only see a person’s current place of employment, instead of current and previous. The relationship section has been taken away; there is no longer the ability to tag your connections, among other features. 

Most notably is that the Summary section is located at the bottom of the Snapshot. More on that below.

Summary

Support your brand with a kick-ass Summary. This is where you tell your story, which can include the passion you have for your occupation, a statement about your expertise, or some talk about how you’re changing your career.

You’ll want to use close to the 2,000 characters allowed in the Summary in order to include the keywords your profile needs to boost your visibility. But your Summary must also be compelling. It should mention accomplishments that will capture the reader’s attention.

You should write your Summary in either first or third person point of view. Don’t simply copy the Summary from your resume for this section. For a little guidance on what your summary should be like, read “Put a Human Voice in Your Summary” by Liz Ryan of Human Workplace.

Change: As mentioned above, the Summary is now located in the Snapshot area; it no longer has its own section. Also, only the first two lines (approximately 39 words are revealed); visitors must click See more to see the full-blown Summary. Therefore, these lines must immediately sell you. I suggest a branding statement.

Read The 39 most important words in your LinkedIn Summary.

Your Articles and Activities

Don’t blink when your looking at these sections, because there’s a lot of information packed in. In “Highlights,” visitors can see mutual connections, as shown above. However, in order to see all my connections, one must click on this area and choose “All.”

A great deal of information is located under the “Posts & Activity” heading, including my articles, posts, and all activities. Articles are the ones I’ve written on LinkedIn; this is straightforward. What is not straightforward is the difference between posts and activities. As far as I can tell, they’re one and the same.

Change: Unlike in the older version, only one article is displayed. In the older version, three were displayed, which meant you had to have written at least three articles if you didn’t want to be embarrassed, but I’m sure LinkedIn’s motive here wasn’t to save you from being embarrassed.

Experience

truncated-experience

I’m often asked by job seekers how they should address the experience section of their profile. I tell them they have two options: They can either write a section that resembles the work history found on their resume, or they can use their experience section to highlight only their most important accomplishments.

I favor the latter approach, but some think their profile might be the only document an employer sees, so they believe showing all is the way to go. What’s most important in building your brand is listing accomplishments with quantified results.

Good: Increased productivity by implementing a customer relations management (CRM) system.

Better: Initiated and implemented – before deadline – a customer relations management (CRM) system that increased productivity by 58%.

It’s a good idea to use bullets to highlight your accomplishments. One of my LinkedIn connections, Donna Serdula, has created a handy list of bullets and symbols you can copy and paste for use on your own profile.

Change: In its effort to truncate the profile, LinkedIn expands only a few of the positions. For the others, visitors must click See More. This is great news, as previously the Experience section showed in full detail only the current or most recent position.

Education

Many people neglect this section, choosing to simply list the institution they attended, the degree they received, and their date of graduation. This might be the norm for resumes, but LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to further support your brand by telling the story of your education.

Take Mary who completed her bachelor’s degree while working full-time – a major accomplishment in itself. If she wants to show off her work ethic and time management skills, she might write a description like this:

University of Massachusetts, Lowell
Mechanical Engineering, Magna Cum Laude

While working full time at Company A, I attended accelerated classes at night for six years (two years less than typically expected). I also participated as an instructor in an online tutoring program, helping first-year students with their engineering classes. I found this to be extremely rewarding.

Volunteer

Build your brand by showing visitors that you are utilizing your skills and developing new ones. It’s fine to volunteer for what I call “a good cause,” but to show people you’re serious about your occupation, you’ll volunteer at a host agency that requires your expertise.

(If you volunteer for a significant amount of time, I feel it’s fine to list this experience in your Experience section, as long as you write “Volunteer Experience” beside your job title.)

What surprises me is that this section comes before Skills and Endorsements. This section hasn’t changed much, save for the fact that visitors must expand each volunteer experience. I wonder what LinkedIn was thinking when they made this decision for me.

Featured Skills and Endorsements

A healthy Skills section consisting of 30-50 skills is another way to strengthen your brand. The skills you decide to list should demonstrate your expertise. Do not list skills you are simply familiar with.

To further enhance your brand, the skills may be endorsed by your first-degree LinkedIn connections. If you’re unsure as to which skills to endorse, here is a previous article of mine that can help you.

Change: Now the Skills section shows only your three top skills and one person who’s endorsed you. Previously it showed your 10 top skills and more than 10 people who endorsed you. Visitors need to click View (the number) more in order to see all yours skills.

endorsements

Recommendations

This is a section I talk about in my LinkedIn workshops, and I always stress how valuable it is to receive recommendations from and write them for others. By receiving recommendations, you show the value you bring to employers. Meanwhile, writing recommendations shows your authority and what you value in workers.

Change: This has to do more with your Experience section, where previously visitors could see two people who endorsed you for a particular job. Now there are no nice miniature photos of the people who endorsed you. There is also no link that brings you directly to your Recommendations section. Oh, this also applies to Education. Bummer.

Accomplishments

Certifications, Organizations, and Projects are listed under Accomplishments. Prior, they had their own real estate, but now they’re buried under this header. And yes, they must be expanded like most sections.

Change: Do you remember painstakingly listing your professional and personal interests under Interests? Well forget it; that section has been retired, as far as I can see. Shame.

Following

This section includes your Influencers, Companies, Groups, and Schools you’re following. These used to be their own sections but have been truncated to save space.

Change: In order to see the above sections, you must click (you guessed it) See more. Unless visitors are aware of where these sections are, they will go missed. 


These are just some sections on your LinkedIn profile that contribute to supporting your strong personal brand. In the next post, I will talk about maintaining strong personal brand via connecting with others on LinkedIn. Stay tuned!

9 facts about LinkedIn lite profile vs. the LinkedIn profile we knew

At this point I count roughly 10 posts and a few videos explaining the differences between the old (or for some, current) user interface (UI) and the new and improved one. I hope this isn’t the 11th post you’ve seen on this topic.

change2

Having played with the new UI—no I don’t have it—there are some very nice features and some disappointments. For this post, I’m going to focus on the profile.

My first thought is, be careful what you wish for. One nice thing about the new profile is it is slimmed down and more visual. However, it will take a learning curve for some to find the various sections of the new profile. Let’s start at the top.

1. The Summary

new-snapshot-areaI was warned ahead of time that the Summary section of the new profile is no longer titled Summary. In fact it’s not in the body of the profile; rather it’s in the Snapshot area (photo above, boxed in red), and…a visitor can only see the first two lines of it. Therefore, it’s important that you utilize these two lines to grab the reader’s interest.

Read The 39 most important words in your LinkedIn Summary*

My only concern here is that visitors won’t realize that they need to click “See more” in order to…see more. Get used to clicking “see more,” as LinkedIn has done its best to condense the profile as much as it could.

I heard there was talk about removing the Rich Media areas (under Summary, in Experience and Education), but LinkedIn held off on that silly idea. Rich Media is still there.

2. What About Those Three Dots and Contact and Personal Information?

new-information

The Three Dots. The placement of actions like removing connections, unfollowing, requesting and writing recommendations will take some time for recipients of the new UI to get used to, but the information is nicely placed.

Note: your profile only shows the top two commands. To remove a connection, request a recommendation, etc. you must go to that person’s profile.

The same applies to the Contact and Personal Info section which drops down to reveal the information visitors would see if they choose the Info tab on the older version. Unfortunately the public URL for someone is located in this area, instead of in plain view just below one’s photo.

3. Highlights and Posts and Activities

new-highlights-and-activities

Don’t blink when you near these sections because there’s a lot of information packed into these sections. In Highlights visitors can see our mutual connections, as shown. However, in order to see all my connections, one must click on this area and choose “All.”

Bob’s Posts & Activities. This is where a great deal of information is located, including my articles, posts, and all activities. Articles are ones I’ve written on LinkedIn; this is straight forward. What is not straight forward is the difference between posts and activities. As far as I can tell, they’re one in the same.

Note: Unlike the older version, only one article is displayed. In the older version, three were displayed, which meant you had to had to have at least three written not to be embarrassed, but I’m sure LinkedIn’s motive behind this wasn’t to save you from being embarrassed.

4. The Experience Section

UPDATE

How often does LinkedIn reverse its decisions? Not often is the answer.

The good news is that LinkedIn has reversed it’s decision of  showing only the first position and truncating the previous ones. On May 26th, 2017, I noticed that LinkedIn started showing most of the remaining positions in their entirety.

This is great news, as visitors to your profile might not have known that they had to click “See More” in order to see your other positions.

Read this article to see my approval of this “change-back.”

5. Pause

Have you noticed that I’m talking about the new profile in a specific order, e.g. Summary followed by Experience. With the new profile, you cannot move the sections around.

This is a problem for me, because I prefer to follow my Summary with my Skills and Endorsements. I also have a problem with authority, and this is a total power play by LinkedIn, in my opinion.

Note: When I asked LinkedIn why it prevents its members from moving their profile sections, they said the way it’s structured is what recruiters prefer.

6. Education

Not much to report here. Because this section can’t be moved, this may cause a problem for students and recent grads.

7. Volunteer Experience

What surprises me is that this section comes before Skills and Endorsements. This section hasn’t changed much, save for the fact that visitors must expand each volunteer experience. I wonder what LinkedIn was thinking when they made this decision for me.

8. Featured Skills and Endorsements & Recommendations

new-skills-and-recommendations-section

Finally we see the skills and recommendations. First, visitors notice that only the top three skills are displayed. Secondly, only one endorser is displayed, whereas with the older UI, at least ten endorsers are displayed. This is not detrimental. In fact it can be seen as a positive when we’re talking about slimming down the profile.

What I find very promising is that Recommendations are just below Featured Skills and Endorsements. This is significant because in the older version, Recommendations was anchored at the bottom of the profile, giving me and others the feeling that perhaps this section was on its way out. At the very least, it was given less prestige; much like skills are given now.

9. The Rest

Certifications, Organizations, and Projects are listed under Accomplishments. Prior, they had their own real estate, but now they’re buried under this header. And yes, they must be expanded like most sections.

Do you remember painstakingly listing your professional and personal interests under Interests? Well forget it; that section has been retired, as far as I can see. Shame.

Following includes my activities and interests. This is redundant information because visitors will see the section called Bob’s Posts & Activity directly below my Highlights section.

It makes sense that LinkedIn shows the influencers, companies, groups, and schools I’m following, all of which visitors must expand in order to see more of each.


Is Less Better

I think you’ll agree when you receive the new UI that in some cases less is better. However, the inability to move sections around as you once had the ability to do; and making you have to expand most sections, including the Summary–you might find the older version more to your liking. Or you might appreciate the lighter version of your new profile. The jury is still out for me.

Photo: Flickr, Eva Woo

Brand yourself in these 6 major LinkedIn sections

Mature Worker2

This article originally appeared in recruiter.com

Many articles talk about how important it is to create and maintain a strong personal brand. Doing this requires consistency across your written, verbal, and online communications.

In an Entrepreneur.com article, author Thomas Smale stresses the importance of having an online presence: “Do you have social media profiles? If so, are they fully fleshed out with all of your information? Do they present you in the best light possible, and make you look professional? Are you using high-quality professional photography? Are you interacting with others and sharing their content?”

As a professional, your LinkedIn profile is a critical component of your online personal brand. Let’s look at the major sections of your LinkedIn profile and how they can contribute to your brand.

Snapshot Area

I call this section the snapshot because that’s exactly what it is: a snapshot of who you are. The snapshot section of your LinkedIn profile includes your photo and your headline. Failure to impress viewers in these areas will hurt your branding.

A photo that is unprofessional is an immediate turnoff. Perhaps more damaging is a non-photo. It’s believed that a profile with a photo is 14 times more likely to be read than one without a photo.

Headlines that say things like “Seeking Employment” or “Project Manager at Company X” are ineffective, as they fail to show value.

Rather, your headline should be something like this: “Project Manager at Company X | Financial Planning and Analysis | Auditing | Saving Organizations Millions.” This headline shows your value and brands you. It also adds to your keyword count.

Furthermore, the Headline is ideal real estate for keywords. Next to one’s name, it is believed that keywords are weighed heavily here.

Summary

Support your brand with a powerful summary. This is where you tell your story, which can include the passion you have for your occupation, a statement about your expertise, or some talk about how you’re changing your career.

LaptopYou’ll want to use close to the 2,000 characters allowed in the summary in order to include the keywords you profile needs to boost your visibility. But your summary must also be compelling. It should mention accomplishments that will capture the reader’s attention.

You should write your summary in either first or third person point of view. Don’t simply repurpose the summary from your resume for this section. For a little guidance on what your summary should read, read “Put a Human Voice in Your Summary” by Liz Ryan of Human Workplace.

Experience

I’m often asked by job seekers how they should address the experience section of their profile. I tell them they have two options: They can either write a section that resembles the work history found on their resume, or they can use their experience section to highlight only their most important accomplishments.

I favor the latter approach, but some think their profile might be the only document an employer sees, so they believe showing all is the way to go. What’s most important in either case is listing accomplishments with quantified results.

Good: Increased productivity by implementing a customer relations management (CRM) system.

Better: Initiated and implemented – before deadline – a customer relations management (CRM) system that increased productivity by 58 percent.

It’s a good idea to use bullets to highlight your accomplishments. One of my LinkedIn connections, Donna Serdula, has created a handy list of bullets and symbols you can copy and paste for use on your own profile.

Back to keywords. Your titles are another place on your profile that are weighed heavily, so instead of Project Manager at GE, something like, Project Manager at GE | Process Improvement | Business Development | Brand Marketing. 

Education

Many people neglect this section, choosing to simply list the institution they attended, the degree they received, and their date of graduation. This might be the norm for resumes, but LinkedIn give you the opportunity to further support your brand by telling the story of your education.

Take, for example, the hypothetical job seeker Mary, who completed her

Take Mary who completed her bachelor’s degree while working full-time – a major accomplishment in itself. If she wants to show off her work ethic and time management skills, she might write a description like this:

University of Massachusetts, Lowell
Mechanical Engineering, Magna Cum Laude

EmailWhile working full time at Company A, I attended accelerated classes at night for six years (two years less than typically expected). I also participated as an instructor in an online tutoring program, helping first-year students with their engineering classes. I found this to be extremely rewarding.

Skills

A healthy skills section consisting of 30-50 skills is another way to strengthen your branding. The skills you decide to list should demonstrate your expertise. Do not list skills you are simply familiar with.

To further enhance your branding, the skills may be endorsed by your first-degree LinkedIn connections. If you’re unsure as to which skills to endorse, I have a previous article of mine that can help you.

Recommendations

This is a section I talk about in my LinkedIn workshops, and I always stress how valuable it is to receive recommendations from and write them for others.

By receiving recommendations, you show the value you bring to employers. Meanwhile, writing recommendations shows your authority and what you value in workers.


These are just some sections on your LinkedIn profile that contribute to supporting your strong personal brand. Next read, How to brand yourself when connecting on LinkedIn.

 

 

4 ways your LinkedIn photo is an impostor

 

Portrait, young business man

How my guilt over being an impostor forced me to change my photo.

Will the real John Smith stand up? You’ve probably seen it before. You see someone’s photo on LinkedIn, you meet him in public, and notice that he barely resembles his photo. A bit older. Somewhat heavier. He’s an impostor.

We’ve all been there. People look significantly different than they’re portrayed on their LinkedIn profile, almost to the point where we don’t recognize them in a crowd of people (one reason to have a photo is to be recognizable). You feel like you’ve been duped…hoodwinked.

An Impostor I met

I tell a story to my LinkedIn workshop attendees about a time when I met the real John Smith (not his real name). Weeks before meeting him I saw his photo on LinkedIn. I thought that the man portrayed on LinkedIn was young and muscular, but when I saw him in person he was older and thin.

Whether out of spite or because it just popped out of my mind, I said, “John, you don’t look anything like your LinkedIn profile.” Shortly after, I noticed that his photo changed to one that was more recent.

The Impostor I am

I experienced the other end of the Impostor Syndrome when I was leading an Advanced LinkedIn workshop. I showed them my profile pointing out that I have a photo, and one attendee told me I look older in person than I do in the photo. Ouch.

I passed off being an Impostor by telling the group I hadn’t had the time, nor resources to get a professional photo taken. It still stung when I was told I look younger in my photo. Maybe it’s because my current photo is at least four years old.

What makes one an Impostor?

Four possible thoughts cross my mind when I encounter an Impostor.

  • He is vain. This is the worst kind in my mind. Pride is listed as one of the 7 deadly sins. Vanity is a form of pride. As my father said, “We enter this world naked and we leave it naked.” As Popeye said, “I Yam What I Yam.” Why should we pretend to be someone different?
  • He doesn’t realize that eventually he’ll be outed (as in my story). I’ve entered many a room where someone says, “Hi Bob.” Not caring much about etiquette, I respond by asking who they are. I learn that they’ve seen me on LinkedIn. It’s flattering, while at the same time a little creepy. People do recognize you on social media, so you will be outed, if you don’t update your profile.
  • He doesn’t realize that honesty is the basis for networking. One point I make in my Advanced LinkedIn workshop is that those who don’t have a photo on their profile will not be trusted as those who do. To gain complete trust, don’t put up a photo of you in college when you’re 20 years beyond those golden years. What does this say about your trustworthiness?
  • He isn’t concerned about branding himself. Your photo is a way to brand yourself in a positive light. It can tell people about your personality; it really can. My photo, old and new, I’ve always felt it tells people that I’m caring and nurturing, and, hopefully, wise. Others can brand people as authoritative, creative, serious, intelligent, etc.

Lately I’ve been struggling with the Impostor Syndrome. You see, I have a photo that is at least four years old. Since getting it taken, I’ve added some wrinkles and gained white facial hair. Oh, I’ve also gained some weight (gulp).

I’m no longer an Impostor

I’d like to say that I haven’t gotten my photo retaking because of financial reasons, but who am I kidding? I haven’t gotten it retaking because I’m vain. I don’t like how I look and don’t want my ugly self being part of my branding—I mean everyone looks so great.

So recently I had a colleague take the photo of the real me. He took it with his own camera in plentiful lighting, and he even blurred the background. I appreciate his willingness to do this, as well as his encouragement, but I’m not too fond of my true image.

Here’s why: the faults I mentioned above show brilliantly clear. His camera is of great quality. He has a steady hand. Basically there’s no excuse for why I look like I do. I guess I’m vain. One of the seven deadly sins. I’m doomed.

So what do I do? Do I continue to go with the older me, or do I present the real me (the photo included)?

If you care to weigh in, I would appreciate it.

First Photo: Flickr, Kathy Tarochione

Photo: Tim O’Connor

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