Now that the new year is well under way many of you will be attending upcoming conferences. The new trend while attending a conference or networking event is to ask you for your LinkedIn (LI) profile unique URL. Tech savvy individuals may even just ask for you to send your Vcard using text messaging through your smartphone.
Either way, you may no longer need to carry around your business card when it comes to networking. When you give out your LI URL, it is recommended that your profile is optimised for your LI strategy. For this discussion, we will cover the top six areas you should optimise on your LinkedIn profile to maximise successful networking via this powerful platform.
It should take approximately 1 – 2 hours to optimise your LinkedIn profile, depending on how detailed you want to be and how well prepared you are (i.e. do you have an updated resume). To manage your account, you can set your preferences so that LI sends you notices via email, allowing you to stay on top of invitations to join, updates regarding your connections, group activity, discussion activity and even job alerts. This is well worth the effort and it does not require daily management activities, unless you have the time to check in on a daily or weekly basis. I recommend reviewing your profile activity at least monthly. For group activity, I would suggest choosing between one to five groups that you know you can actively participate in. The power of these group discussions is to comment and share your knowledge while learning from others. Think of it as a collaborative team across the worldwide cement sector.
Outlined below are some of the best practices to follow when optimising your LI profile, following the development of your LI strategy (i.e. how you plan to use LI).
Create a unique URL
Upon signing up for LI you will be assigned a URL that will be something like this: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/name.name/123456uy7/a90 vs http://www.linkedin.com/in/robinharpe/. Make sure you chose your full name or your name with initials. You can only set this once without going to LinkedIn to have it changed. LI will warn you to make sure that the link is how you want it to look before accepting.
The header is right under your name at the top of your profile. This does not have to be your job title. Some job titles are not descriptive of what you actually do. For example, an Electrical Supervisor may actually be the Automation Engineer. In this case you might want to list both. Searching on LI works the same way as it does on any search engine. Think about the Boolean strings you would use to google a ‘how-to’ project. You will see that some individuals add certification initials after their name, particularly if they have a highly sought after certification. You can also add the term ‘Masters’ or MBA either after your name or in your header line. Your name and the header, along with the summary, are your most expensive real estate on your LI profile as these areas are viewed first. In website design they refer to this area as ‘above the fold’. When you fold a page in half anything above the fold is prime real estate. Your best information should be included within this area.
This is what used to be known as the ‘Objective’ on a resume. As this term is no longer used, this is now referred to as the ‘Summary’. On your resume it will be the area just after your name and contact information known as the ‘Summary of Qualifications’. LinkedIn allows you to add much more detail to your profile than the usually recommended two-page resume limit permits. Concentrate on your accomplishments, not your job description. We want to know about percentages gained, uptime, downtime, process optimisation, how this was accomplished, what methods you used and what your role on the team was, etc.
This is not an area in which to list every single job you have ever had. It is advisable to list at least ten years of relevant experience. Think about the kinds of people you want to network with and comparable job types. Or for those seeking work, what kind of work you are seeking. The answer to these strategic questions will attract the applicable contacts. You do want to include the company, actual job title, dates and accomplishments achieved.
This is not a CV, so not every single detail of the job description needs to be entered, leave that for the CV or resume. On LI, recruiters like to see you sell us on what you have done, not what you were responsible for. This is a subtle difference. For example, if you are the Production Coordinator one of your responsibilities may be to ‘determine when process parameters need to be altered to increase reliability, throughput, or reduce/increase labour,’ and your results were that you achieved a 50-day continuous kiln runtime. The latter is much more impressive and people will want to know how you accomplished this. You can respond to questions about this and become the subject matter expert (SME) in this area. This not only provides invaluable knowledge for your colleagues, it can also help to enhance your career.
Recommendations and endorsements
Best practice states having at least ten recommendations. Recommendations are when you send an invitation to one of your former colleagues, bosses or direct reports to comment on their experience working with you. Endorsements are the clicks you achieve that state the person endorsing you knows you exhibit a certain behaviour or skill. The prevailing thought is that endorsements are much like a popularity contest, the more connections you have the more chance those endorsements do not mean as much as they could. When the notice comes up to endorse someone, a number of people will just click ‘yes’. They may actually know you have this skill, they may have just heard you talk about this skill or they may not know you at all but simply feel compelled to click ‘yes’. Recommendations are more descriptive and personal than endorsements.
- Contact information: list the phone number you would like people to contact you on (if you want them to call you) or your email address. Be sure to answer the section on suggestions for contacting you. It eliminates a lot of spam questions and invitations.
- Education: you do not have to list dates, although be aware that the system lists education in alphabetical order if you do not list dates. If you opt to list your graduation date but cannot remember the exact date, you can just write the year.
- Birthdates: only list the month and day, do not list the year of your birth. This best practice is for the sake of your personal security.
- Groups: join the top groups on LI and participate. Most people can only participate in about five groups effectively. Again, base this on your own strategy for using LI.
You have optimised your LI profile and you are now ready to connect with individuals based on your strategy. You could give out your unique LI URL in person or add this to your business card. When sending an invitation to connect through the LI system, change the automatic blurb and replace it with a sentence about how you see the connection working for both of you. This will help you to achieve better results.
Read Robin’s article ‘LinkedIn: why do I need a profile?’ here.
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/special-reports/04042014/linkedin_for_the_cement_sector_profile_optimisation_999/