Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Your First Impression

Humorist and Philosopher Will Rogers
"You never get a second chance to make a first impression."
often attributed to Will Rogers

You never get a second chance to make a first impression and often, you will make your first impression online through your LinkedIn profile.  Your profile needs to convey your unique skills and experience in a way that makes people want to hire you or do business with you.

Here are twelve key elements to include in your profile:

1. Your name.

The first things that people see when they pull up your profile are your name and picture. This is your profile, so use your own name; LinkedIn is not the place to use an alias.  Don’t use your company name either; there is a separate LinkedIn area for company profiles.

2. Your picture.

A profile without a picture signals that you are a LinkedIn novice and don’t really care about connecting with others.  People like to associate a face with the people they know and the picture also helps people who have met you in person know that they have found the correct person’s profile.  Use a professionally posed, well exposed headshot with a warm, businesslike expression.

3. Summary

The summary should include an enthusiastic overview of your skills, accomplishments and interests. It must convey who you are and what types of challenges excite you. The summary is also a great place to include a list of “specialties” featuring some of your most valuable skills.

4. Experience.

The experience section should include all of your current and past positions. As with a resume, you want to use powerful verbs that emphasize your accomplishments at each position.  Also, specific results  are more compelling than general ones. For example, “Increased sales by 43%” is better than “impacted revenue positively.”

5. Education.

Here you should enter each of the schools where you studied, the degrees completed and any special accomplishments.  Recent graduates without a lot of work experience, should pay particular attention to this section.

6. Recommendations.

Your recommendations must be written by other LinkedIn users. Ask your LinkedIn connections who have worked closely with you to write a recommendation for you.  You can also encourage people to write a recommendation by writing one for them.

7. Websites.

If someone goes to the trouble to search for you on LinkedIn, they probably want to learn more about your company too.  Include your current company website and other websites relevant to your experience.  If you do any business related blogging, be sure to include the URL to your personal blog.

8.  Twitter.

Include your Twitter handle so people can easily find you and follow you.

9. Events.

Add the Events application and use it to display the trade shows and other industry events where you will be attending, exhibiting or presenting.  This is a great way to let people know where they can meet you in person.  To install Events and the applications below, look under the “more” menu.

10. Blog Link.

If you have a personal blog or your company has a blog, install the Blog Link application to display a summary and link to current posts on your LinkedIn profile. This can drive traffic to your blog and improve your search engine performance.

11. Reading List by Amazon.

Does your reading list include business or technical books?  Let people see what you are reading by adding the Reading List by Amazon application.

12.  Slideshare.

Slideshare is an application that allows you to display presentation slides on your LinkedIn profile. If you have relevant multimedia content, this is a great way to share it. 

Create your LinkedIn profile today, and start using LinkedIn daily in the ways I explained last week. These simple steps will increase your influence in your industry and may open up some remarkable new opportunities.

If you would like, you can see how I have incorporated these elements on my own LinkedIn profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/davidawilliams .

Whose LinkedIn profile impresses you the most?

You may also want to check out these Creativity Paradox posts:
Be Interesting and Interested on LinkedIn
Retweet or Retire
The Blogosphere and Twitterverse