Welcome Back, All:

As I was preparing for a presentation to the marketing students from Milwaukee Area Technical College, I revisited one of my favorite personal branding books, “Me 2.0:  Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success” by Dan Schawbel.  In his book I stumbled across a concept that really resonated with me, and that is the link between personal branding and LinkedIn.  Here is his concept:

You need to approach your career in terms of differentiation (standing out in the crowd) and marketability (providing something other people want or need).  Why would someone choose your brand?

•       A robust professional network
•       Endorsements from respected colleagues
•       Previous accomplishments and cataloged results
•       A diversified and unique skill set

For my tips this week, I would like to address these criteria and help you see what parts of LinkedIn are available to help you with each of these. I have highlighted in parentheses the LinkedIn profile section or application that could be used to address these criteria.

1.      Robust professional network.  (Connections)  This one is easy, so it seems.  You should have a lot of connections on LinkedIn, right?  If you look up “robust” in the dictionary, it does not mention anything about numbers or quantity.  It uses words like “strong and healthy” and “rich and full-bodied.”  As you know, I am a fan of having lots of connections as long as they are “trusted,” but what I want all of us to consider on this point is the strength and richness of our network.  To me that means having the ability to count on the individuals in that network for help as well as having a network that is diverse in terms of industry, organizations and regions or however you define diverse in your world.

2.      Endorsements from respected colleagues.  (Recommendations and Box.net files for pdf files of letters of recommendation)  This is the only part of your profile that you do not personally write.  Recommendations are outside corroboration of the credibility and expertise you have described in detail on your profile.  Keep in mind that Dan doesn’t just say “endorsements,” but he adds “from respected colleagues.”  What this means to us is that we need to make sure that the recommendations we receive are from the best name in the biz, if possible, and people and companies that the person looking at your profile would take note of and say, Wow – a recommendation from that person or that company; if they took care of them, they sure should be able to take care of me as well.

3.      Previous accomplishments and cataloged results.  (Experience, Summary, Recommendations, Honors and Awards, Box.net files, SlideShare and Google Presentations)   People love to hear about and understand specific things that we have accomplished, and these tools on LinkedIn are made to order for just this purpose.  Don’t hesitate to do some significant bragging in these sections.  Remember – your competitor won’t hesitate to do so.

4.      A diversified and unique skill set.  (Experience, Summary, Recommendations, Honors and Awards, Box.net files, SlideShare and Google Presentations)  Skills are defined as “the ability, coming from one’s knowledge, practice, aptitude, etc., to do something well.”  The statement that I hear from a lot of people on this point is that they don’t feel that their skill set is all that unique.  My encouragement to you is that no one has what you have, and the combination of your unique and diverse skills might be just what someone is looking for in a vendor/supplier or employee.  One thing that might help you craft the presentation of these points is to ask a couple of your closest connections just what it is that they see that makes you unique in the marketplace.  Do the same thing for them, and then work on making that documentation as compelling as possible. 

Just think about how easy it is to tell your “differentiation and marketability” story with a tool like LinkedIn, which is so perfectly designed for doing just that.  Now…get to it!

Wildcard Tip or Question

If you are interested in following Dan Schawbel and what I consider the best personal branding blog out in cyberspace, check out : http://www.personalbrandingblog.com/.  If you are a student, he has a personal branding blog just for you at: http://studentbranding.com/

This guy really gets it.

Miscellaneous News and Notes

Some of the other resources I provide are:

•       Customized corporate training classes
•       Keynote and workshop presentations for conventions and association meetings
•       Corporate social media strategy consulting
•       For Sale:  LinkedIn training DVDs for beginners and intermediate users
•       For daily tips, follow me on Twitter at:  http://twitter.com/WayneBreitbarth

Here is my upcoming schedule for teaching/speaking so you can share with friends, relatives and business associates.  Follow link or paste into your browser for additional details and registration information.

No public classes currently scheduled-Stay tuned

I hope you have a productive and enjoyable week.

Wayne C. Breitbarth
M&M Office Interiors, Inc.
W233 N2833 Roundy Circle West Suite 100
Pewaukee, WI  53072

office 262-781-2600
cell 414-313-7785