Power Formula LinkedIn Blog

This Proven LinkedIn Step-by-Step Process Leads to Results

Posted on August 23, 2014
Wayne Breitbarth

Are you one of the many people I hear from each week who are still waiting for something to “happen” on LinkedIn?

Lots of people spend lots of time on LinkedIn, but not everyone is getting results. Well, that’s because there can be no ROI if you don’t know how to use it!

Also, because LinkedIn is not very intuitive, many users haven’t even found the features that will produce the most dramatic results.

Therefore, I’ve developed Explode Your Revenues Using LinkedInan easy-to-use online training course to help everyone, from novice users to the most savvy users, grow their business. The course includes The Five C’s, my proven five-step process for LinkedIn success.

*Special $100 introductory discount on this course ends at midnight 8/26.


5 Steps to LinkedIn Success

Here’s an inside look at the five specific steps you can take to start getting measurable results from the time you spend on LinkedIn.

Five C's

CREATE a customer-focused profile
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  • Use special profile sections and the Professional Gallery to highlight your area(s) of expertise.
  • In addition to the Contact Info and Advice for Contacting sections, consider including your preferred contact information in your Summary and Current Job Experience sections.
  • Include specific calls to action throughout your profile to encourage readers to engage with you.

CONNECT with your prospects
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  • Use Advanced People Search, Company Search, Alumni, Groups, People You May Know, and Who’s Viewed Your Profile to find new prospects.
  • Use a five-star invitation to reach out to potential prospects. Include where you met (if applicable) and/or how you could help each other.
  • Always be on the lookout for quality connections. The larger your network, the more opportunity for business growth.

CONSTRUCT a targeted prospect list
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  • Use advanced features like tags, network sorting options, and LinkedIn Contacts to group prospects who have similar buyer characteristics.
  • Download your connections database. You can then filter and sort the names for use outside of LinkedIn.
  • Consider upgrading to one of the premium LinkedIn accounts to receive additional profile sorting and saving options.

COMMUNICATE with your network
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  • Stay in front of your audience by making daily status updates.
  • Use direct messaging to contact your first-level connections and fellow group members. But don’t contact them too often or sell too hard or they may remove you from their network.
  • Increase your exposure by engaging in group discussions and “liking,” “sharing” or commenting on other people’s status updates.

CAPITALIZE on existing relationships
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  • Connect with all of your existing clients/customers.
  • Search their networks to find out who they know
  • Get referrals, recommendations, and endorsements. It’s easy–just ask!

Need more help executing your own personal LinkedIn 5 C’s plan? Check out my comprehensive online training course Explode Your Revenues Using LinkedIn and save $100 if you register before midnight 8/26.

This week I got three separate emails from my readers with basically the same question. Ironically, that same question also came up twice this week when I was presenting seminars. That made it easy for me to pick the iStock_000022949931Smalltopic for this week’s LinkedIn tip. Here’s the essence of each inquiry:

Wayne, I’ve heard you say that you feel the #1 marketing feature on LinkedIn is individual status updates, but I tried posting one this week and nothing happened. What did I do wrong?

First, let me say I stand behind my strong opinion that individual status updates is LinkedIn’s #1 marketing feature. That’s because, if done correctly, you can share helpful content with your hand-picked audience (your connections) for free. Many, many of my LinkedIn speaking and consulting gigs have resulted from someone reading one of my status updates and then contacting me.


What You May be Doing Wrong

There are lots of reasons to share status updates, but typically they should be used to help your network, which will increase your reputation and motivate people to engage with you.

Here are eight reasons your status updates may not be getting you any results.

1.  Your content is not relevant or interesting to your target audience.  According to a research study done by LinkedIn, the most popular types of content are new research, breaking industry news, and case studies.

2.  You don’t include an image.  A photo or video thumbnail is more likely to grab a reader’s attention than a block of words.

3.  You don’t include a link.  Sharing a link not only gives the reader a place to get more information about the topic in your post, but it usually causes an image to appear, which grabs a reader’s eye and draws him or her to the post.

4.  You’re not posting on the right day or time of day.  From my personal experience, the best time to share is Monday through Friday between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM (based on your customers’ time zone).

5.  You don’t post frequently enough or on a consistent basis.  I recommend you post at least once a day, but three or four times per day is not too much, as long as you follow something like the 6/3/1 Rule.

6.  You don’t add your “two cents” to the article or information shared in your link.  Remember, it’s your connections who are seeing your updates, and they connected with you because they want to hear from you. If you don’t comment on the information in the article, video, etc., you’re missing an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise.

7.  You don’t have very many first-degree connections.  Keep in mind that, for the most part, your updates only go to your network. Small network = small audience. Big network = big audience. For additional information about the size and makeup of your network, check out my article “The LinkedIn Connection Conundrum: Who Should Be In Your Network.”

8.  You haven’t really defined what a good result would be.  Defining and then tracking the right numbers, as well as the trending of those numbers, is extremely important. It helps you know whether your time is well spent or you’re just wasting time on LinkedIn. My blog post about the most important metrics to track on LinkedIn will help you set up your own tracking system.

Which of these eight mistakes are you making?

How to Find and Get the Most Out of LinkedIn Groups

Posted on August 10, 2014
Wayne Breitbarth

As I mentioned the past few weeks, I have compiled a list titled The 15 Reasons Why LinkedIn Isn’t Helping You Hit Your Sales Quota.

This week I’ll address another one of the reasons you might be failing to achieve your goals on LinkedIn — and this applies to everyone, whether you’re in sales or not. If you’re not selling a product or service, you’re selling yourself or your company/organization.


Reminder: If you haven’t checked out the first video in my FREE three-video series “Explode Your Revenues Using LinkedIn,” click here to check it out — and download your own “15 Reasons Why LinkedIn Isn’t Helping You Hit Your Sales Quota” tip sheet.


This week I’m going to address the opportunity you’re missing if you’re not getting involved in the right LinkedIn groups. In the off-line world, this would be akin to not hanging linkedin groupsout with the right people and not saying or doing the right things.


How to Find the Groups That Are Right For You

LinkedIn currently has over 2 million groups, and you can join up to 50 at any one time (this does not include subgroups).

Here are some of the ways to uncover the best places to hang out.

1. Use specific words and terms in the Group Search function. Try some of these:
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    • Schools you have attended
    • Associations and groups you belong toScreen Shot 2014-08-10 at 11.12.54 AM
    • Your city, state or region
    • Your industry
    • Your customers’ industry (this is often an overlooked opportunity)
    • Your hobbies or outside interests
    • Certifications you have earned
    • Types of software or other tools you use in your job
    • Events you’ve attended or will be attending

2. Review the groups listed on the bottom of the profile of any person you’re already hanging out with or would like to hang out with.

3. Check out “Featured Groups” on LinkedIn company pages.

4. Look at LinkedIn’s “Groups You May Like” feature. This usually shows up on your home page.

For more ways to find the best groups, download my worksheet “LinkedIn Groups: Ca$h In On This Powerful Tool.”


How to Engage in LinkedIn Groups

After you’ve found the best places to hang out, it’s time to get involved.

Each group has a different feel or culture, and it will be pretty obvious what type of activity is appropriate. However, here are some general do’s and don’ts to help improve your effectiveness when hanging out in groups.

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Do this in your groups
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  • Get involved in discussions where the right folks are talking about the right topics. Of course, you’ll need to have expertise that will add value to the discussion. Also, consider sharing a link to a place where they can get more information on the topic being discussed.
  • Invite fellow group members to join your network. If they’re a particularly good target, mention in your invitation that you’re in the same LinkedIn group or refer to a comment they made in a group discussion.
  • Use the Member Search function within the group to find potential future connections.
  •  If you’re looking for employment, check out the group’s Jobs tab.
  • Suggest taking the conversation offline when it’s appropriate.
  • Send direct messages to members and share helpful information and/or resources. 

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Don’t do this in your groups
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  • Spend most of your time in group discussions selling your products and services.
  • Share any confidential information.
  • Make hurtful, personal or overly negative comments in the discussions.
  • Think that you have to get the daily or weekly LinkedIn email notifications regarding all the activities in all 50 groups you are in. This will be overwhelming. Pick a few of your best groups, and follow those. Check the others out when you have some extra time.
  • Think less of group members who have decided they don’t want to receive direct messages from other group members.
  • Hesitate to end your membership in a  group if you feel you’re not getting any results. There are usually several groups in the same space. Find a new one that’s a better fit for you.

Now that you know the best ways to find and interact in groups (one of LinkedIn’s most popular features), go join some new groups and start making friends!

The Secret to Getting People to Engage With You On LinkedIn

Posted on August 2, 2014
Wayne Breitbarth

As I mentioned last week, I have compiled a list titled The 15 Reasons Why LinkedIn Isn’t Helping You Hit Your Sales Quota.

This week I’ll address another one of the reasons you might be falling short of your expectations on LinkedIn — and this applies to everyone, whether you’re in sales or not. If you’re not selling a product or service, you’re selling yourself or your company/organization.

You can download the complete 15 Reasons list as part of my new FREE three-video series titled Explode Your Revenues Using LinkedIn, which will be available in a few days.

If you’d like to be notified when the first video goes live, click here.


It Starts With Your Profile

Most people who view your profile are not ready to call you, email you, or buy a whole bunch of what you sell. ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????But the goal of your profile should be to at least move them closer to engaging with you.

Thus, it’s important to include information in your profile that shows you are good at what you do, an expert in your field. Then you should continually post documents, videos, articles, etc. that demonstrate your expertise.

It’s also beneficial to share your knowledge through status updates, discussions in groups, and comments on other people’s updates, because everyone wants to hire or work with the most knowledgeable people in the industry.


Compelling Calls to Action

Once you’ve made a good first impression, there are lots of ways to nudge people to take action on LinkedIn. Some are quick and easy and others will take a little more effort, but you will find them to be well worth your time and energy.

Here are some of the best LinkedIn features and techniques for calling your reader to action, along with the amount of effort you’ll need to devote to each one.


Low Effort/Good Results
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  • Load or link video and documents in the Professional linkedin professional gallerGallery on your profile
  • Include a specific call to action in one section of your profile (The best places are your Summary section and job experience entries)
  • Add your specific contact information in your Contact Info and Advice for Contacting sections on your profile


Medium Effort/BetterResultsproject section
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  • Add Publications or Projects section(s) to your profile and link to corresponding website pages


High Effort/Best Results
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  • Post frequent (2-4 per day) individual status updates
  • Post or monitor group discussions in an industry specific group, and encourage readers to go to your website to find the answer to a question or join your LinkedIn network so they can get more information from you

To learn more great ways to use LinkedIn to grow your business, check out my FREE three-part video series Explode Your Revenues Using LinkedIn.

Just click here, and I’ll notify you when the first video is live.

 

Are You Missing the Mark on LinkedIn?

Posted on July 27, 2014
Wayne Breitbarth

I have compiled a list titled “The 15 Reasons Why LinkedIn Isn’t Helping You Hit Your Sales Quota.”

This week I’ll address one of the biggest reasons why you might be falling short of your expectations — and this applies to everyone, whether you’re in sales or not.


Not Enough of the “Right” Connections

You need to have a specific strategy to proactively connect with the “right” people. This means going beyond:

social media connection

  • People who invite you to join their network
  • Individuals you’ve “met” in the traditional sense of the word
  • Fellow employees at your current or prior employers
  • Classmates
  • Neighbors

I’m not suggesting these people are not an important part of your network, but you need to think outside the box if you want to markedly improve your ROI.


How to Develop a LinkedIn Connections Strategy

Here are five simple steps you can take to find and connect with more of the “right” people.

1.  Find several people in your first-level network who are in each of the following categories:
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  • Current or past customers
  • People who at some point influence your customers’ decisions when they’re buying your products or services
  • People who have recommended you to customers in the past
  • People who are industry and association leaders in your customers’ industry
  • People who are currently buying from your competitors

2.  Spend some time reviewing the profiles of people in those categories, looking for similarities within the category. This could be things like:
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  • Keywords
  • Titles
  • Geographic location
  • Schools attended
  • Associations to which they belong
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Past employment
  • Skills
  • Membership in LinkedIn groups

3.  Use these similarities as your search criteria when you use LinkedIn’s advanced search function. For more specifics regarding this, read “Create a Targeted Prospect List on LinkedIn in Five Minutes or Less.”

4.  Reach out to these folks and invite them to join your network, and always use a customized, Five-Star LinkedIn Connection Request. This is critical. Don’t use your mobile device or any automatic connection button on LinkedIn, because it will probably automatically send the standard invitation. Invite people using the Connect button on their profile.

5.  Repeat these steps periodically. A good rule of thumb would be quarterly or whenever something changes in your product and service mix or in your industry or market.

Follow these steps, and you’ll be on your way to growing your network not only in quantity but in quality as well.

For more tips on developing your personal connection strategy, read my article “The LinkedIn Connection Conundrum: Who Should Be In Your Network?”

Next week I’ll share another one of the 15 reasons you may not be getting what you want out of your time on LinkedIn.

When I begin a LinkedIn consulting engagement, the first thing I typically ask is “Who do you want to meet?” After all, LinkedIn at its core is the largest database of business professionals ever assembled, and Business group having a partyfinding the right folks for you to meet, no matter the purpose, is one of its strong suits.

I recently discovered a new, more effective way to find more of the right people on LinkedIn. The Advanced People Search and People Similar To features are good on their own, but I’ve learned they’re much better when used in tandem.

In short, it’s like LinkedIn is throwing a party just for you, and they handpick the attendees. They find people who are very similar to the people you’re already having success with.

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How to Get the Party Started

1.  Perform an Advanced People Search for your perfect target. If you need help with this, read “Create a Targeted Prospect List on LinkedIn in Five Minutes or Less.”

2.  You will normally see people near the top of the search results that you are already connected to (first degree) as well as others who have a very high relevancy to you based on LinkedIn’s relevancy formula.

Pick someone from the list who is already important to you (e.g., current client) or looks interesting to you (maybe you’d like to meet lots of people like him/her). Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 8.29.47 AMThen click the word “Similar.”

3.  You will then be given a list of 99 people who are similar to that person.

4.  Scroll through this LinkedIn-generated “special party attendee list” and get busy connecting with a few of the best people on the list. Now, that’s what I call an “A List” party.

Don’t forget to follow the important rules for inviting them to join your network by reading “Are You Making this BIG LinkedIn Mistake?”

5.   Repeat this procedure for other targeted search criteria.

Trust me, once you have followed these simple steps a few times, you’re going to attend this party often and leave with new relationships that will lead to drastically improved results on LinkedIn.

Because it’s halftime 2014 and the past six months have included lots of changes on LinkedIn, I’ve put together a summary of the significant changes.

I’ve categorized them and ordered them from “best” to “bummer” based halftimeon my opinion of the significance of each change. And I’ve also shared with you my two cents about each LinkedIn feature that’s been added, deleted or changed.

If you’re interested in a deeper dive into any of the changes, just click the link to get more information.


Best

Who’s Viewed Your Profile now includes filters. According to my 2013 and 2014 LinkedIn user surveys, Who’s Viewed Your Profile is the top rated LinkedIn feature. And it has gotten even better because you can now filter the people who looked at your profile by company, geographic region, title, and much more.

You can now see Who’s Viewed Your Updates. If you are spending time sharing updates (and, of course, you should be doing this), it’s now a big help to know what updates not only resonate with your audience but also who is sharing, “liking” or commenting on them.

Everyone can now publish long-form articles on his/her profile. For people who are already blogging, this one is a slam dunk. For people who have yet to venture into writing their own long-form articles in their area of expertise, this is a perfect way to start.

New, much cheaper premium account upgrades are now available. Now, for as little as $7.99/month, you can get a few extras, most importantly the ability to use the new filters mentioned above for all the folks who checked you out in the last 90 days. Once you start getting a lot of profile views, this one is well worth the money.


Pretty Good

The Endorsements & Skills section of your profile now has improved settings. What is already the most misunderstood profile section and feature on LinkedIn got a little better but still has a way to go. Managing this section is of utmost importance to improving your search ranking.

Premium members’ profiles have visual improvements. You now get a larger hero type photo/banner, and your picture is bigger on your profile. But more importantly, more information is displayed about premium members when they are included in an advanced search listing.

The activity feed on each member’s profile is back, and it’s also enhanced, although somewhat hard to find. It’s always good for others to see that you are sharing good thought leadership type information, but it is also helpful for you to be able to see what’s on someone else’s mind when checking out his/her profile.

There’s a new iPhone app just for job seekers. You can’t stop the movement to mobile, and if you’re in job-seeking mode, I’d suggest downloading this ASAP. Does the app allow you to use all of the LinkedIn features? No, but being able to search for jobs while sitting on a bus or during halftime of your kid’s soccer game (so you don’t miss a new posting) has got to be good.

The People You May Know feature has been enhanced. The photos are larger, making it easier to recognize people, and you’re now able to send out a personalized invitation to connect with anyone who appears on this list.


Bummer

The company page Products and Services Tab has been eliminated. This is the biggest bummer of the first half of 2014. I could go on and on about how frustrated I am that this has been eliminated, but who’s really listening anyway. It’s supposedly replaced with Showcase Pages…yeah, right.

You can now see how the number of  profile views you receive ranks against the number of views other members receive. It’s an interesting concept but has caused more questions than answers for most of the folks I’ve talked to. It reminds me a little of the letter that went out a year or so ago that congratulated people on being in the top 1%, 5%, 10% of people on LinkedIn in profile views, which really turned out to be just a super effective marketing campaign for LinkedIn.

The LinkedIn inbox has been “improved.” I’m not sure what all the hype is about with regard to the inbox. Instead, I wish they would have improved our ability to message a group of people in our network. Maybe next time…maybe not.

I hope you find lots of ways to take advantage of these upgrades in the second half of 2014.

I love getting insights from the person at the top of an organization, don’t you? And who better to share with you how you should be using LinkedIn than “The Man” himself, LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner. So take three minutes to view this portion of an interview with him. It goes from 5:35 to 8:37, and it should be queued up at 5:35.

Excerpts of the Weiner interview

Below I’ve included portions of Jeff’s responses as well as some links to resources I’ve developed that should help you do LinkedIn “the Jeff Weiner way.”

Q.  “Who does well on LinkedIn? What are the attributes of people who successfully use LinkedIn to get a job or advance in a job? What are the things, the tips people should know?

[Jeff's response]  “First and foremost, it starts with your profile and representing who you are professionally, your professional brand, your experiences, your skills, your ambitions, what it is you ultimately want to accomplish.

Need help with sharing what you want to accomplish? Read Is Your LinkedIn Profile Going the Wrong Direction?

[Jeff's response continued]  “So the more you invest in the relevancy and the freshness of your profile, the more likely you are to show up for opportunities. I am not just referring to job opportunities but all kinds of opportunities, people who want to connect with you, do business with you…”

Need help with relevance? Read LinkedIn Search Ranking: How You Can Get to the Top of the List.

Need help with freshness? Read LinkedIn Status Updates: The Rule Everyone Should Follow.

[Jeff's response continued]  “A profile is not just about text completeness like a resume…a LinkedIn profile now is essentially your professional portfolio.”

Need help developing your professional portfolio? Read Does Your LinkedIn Profile Really Show You Are An Expert?

[Jeff's response continued]  “We have expanded our publishing platform, and today when you publish and you click that button to publish something…that’s showing up near the top of your profile. That’s your expertise and increasingly reflects who people are.”

Want to learn more about the publishing platform? Read LinkedIn’s New Publishing Platform: Are You a Player or a Pretender?

[Jeff's response continued]  “It starts with profile completeness and taking advantage of these tools. It also extends to your network, who are you connecting with…and building out that network, because ultimately those are the people that are going to open the doors.”

Still not sure who to connect with?  Read  The LinkedIn Connections Conundrum: Who Should Be In Your Network?

Thanks, Jeff, for the great advice!

Yesssssss.  viewing linkedin updates

LinkedIn brought back a feature that I’ve really been missing, but they haven’t made it easy to find it this time around.

The feature is the activity feed, which you can look through when you’re viewing someone’s profile.

So, what is it, how do you find it, why was I missing it, and how can it help you?
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What is a person’s recent activity feed?

This is a chronological display of some of the activities of your first and second-degree network for a recent period of time. The information that shows up here is based on a person’s individual settings and LinkedIn’s current rules.

Here is the latest from LinkedIn on what is in your feed and for how long:

While the majority of your updates appear on your Recent Activity page for 14 days, this duration may vary depending on the type of activity. Below are select examples of activities and how long they will typically remain on your Recent Activity page.
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  • Updates that you share – 30 days
  • Comments and “likes” on other members’ updates – 14 days
  • Following and joining updates – 5 days
  • Recommendations and general profile updates – 14 days
  • Work anniversaries and recent position changes – 30 days
  • Profile photo changes – 60 days
    .

How do I find a person’s activity feed?

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 8.28.34 AMGo to his profile and click the down arrow next to the gray Endorse button (for first-degree connections) or gray Send <first name of person> InMail button (for second-degree connections), and then select View recent activity.
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Why was I missing it?

Easy. Most of the time when I am looking at a person’s profile, I am trying to learn something about the person so I can intelligently decide what I might want to do next to possibly move my relationship with her forward…or not. Now, in addition to the somewhat static information in the person’s profile, you can see what is on her mind currently, thus the name “Recent Activity.”
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How can it help you?

A few things come to mind both from the standpoint of you checking others out and also how you’re being perceived by others based on what’s in (or not in) your activity feed.

1.  When reviewing other people’s profiles, be sure to view the person’s activity feed to see what he decided is important enough to share with his network. Remember, you can hide your identity when you are checking out someone’s profile.

2.  If you are trying to get in front of that person, consider a share, “like” or comment on something she posted. She now knows you were not only looking at her profile but that you are helping her get more exposure by sharing her stuff with your connections.

3.  Look at your settings and make sure the information showing up in your feed is the information you want to show this audience.

4.  Start getting in the habit of posting status updates on a consistent basis, because now the posting has a longer shelf life and can also be viewed by your second-degree connections.

Sharing and commenting on information that is relevant and current could put you in a more positive light with people who view your profile, and that is always a good thing.

If you’d like ideas about what kind of information to post, check out these two articles: “Your Definitive Guide to LinkedIn Status Updates” and “LinkedIn Status Updates: The Rule Everyone Should Follow.”

Is Your LinkedIn Profile Going the Wrong Direction?

Posted on June 21, 2014
Wayne Breitbarth

Does your LinkedIn profile feel more like a resume (backward focused) or a business plan (forward focused)?

If you answered “resume,” consider this linkedin profile directionquestion:

If you had only a few minutes with a person with whom you may want to build a future business relationship, would you spend more time on your past or where you are trying to go?  And this applies to job seekers as well.

With these thoughts in mind, I want you to consider the following exercise:

1. Print out your LinkedIn profile
2. Carefully read through it
3. Cut out the following three sections and put them in front of you:

  • Headline
  • Summary
  • Your most current job experience

With these three sections in front of you, reconsider the two questions I asked.

Here is what I’m getting at. Your resume is your resume. Your LinkedIn profile, although it has some similarities to your resume, should be more of a forward launching, here is where I am going, I have a plan and you can join me type of document.

For example, here is an excerpt from my LinkedIn Summary section:

“I am a social media consultant, speaker, and trainer specializing in LinkedIn use and strategy. I have trained over 50,000 businesspeople–from entry level to CEO–on how to effectively use LinkedIn. I help companies develop a comprehensive strategy for using LinkedIn to grow their business and build their brand. I then train their team on how to use LinkedIn to meet their objectives.”

The first two sentences are historical facts (I am a social media consulant…I have trained…), and the third sentence (I help companies develop…) is the forward-thinking idea I want readers to understand, consider, and possibly take action on. And, of course, that action is to contact me right away because they need this type of training for their company.

I suggest you consider changing some of the content in these three sections (Headline, Summary, and your current job experience) so much of it includes concepts, words, and visions of what it is you want to get done in the future and less about what you have done.

Isn’t this really what you want to accomplish not only with your LinkedIn profile but your entire LinkedIn experience?