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Creating a Better LinkedIn Profile

While participating in a webinar, the presenter mentioned that their company required everyone to have a current LinkedIn profile. They believed it is important to have a professional presence on LinkedIn to make connections and build their brand. Since building a brand is a cornerstone of any solid marketing plan, I made note of this and discovered that our Marketing Coordinator who also attended the training had written this down too. We placed LinkedIn on our to-do list and it sat there… for a year. Sound familiar?

During that time, we continued to participate in industry webinars where professional profiles on LinkedIn were discussed, and it continued to be a topic at conferences and in online articles. But it took a conversation with a vendor that was researching our company who mentioned that I didn’t have a picture posted on my LinkedIn profile. People are looking at our company and management team via LinkedIn. Vendors are looking, customers are looking, and we hope great candidates for employment are looking at us too.

Now for the hurdle. Since LinkedIn is an individual communication vehicle through the professional community, how do we convince management to update – or in some instances create – their individual profiles? This isn’t something “marketing” can simply just “do” for them.

Our answer to this problem was simple yet structured. We researched what people are traditionally looking for on LinkedIn and came up with a manageable list of information that should be included in any professional profile. We were in no way looking for the bare minimum, but had to keep it short enough for the management team to buy-in to the idea.

Below is the checklist we used to get us started:

 Update your photo to a recent professional Photo in work attire
 Update your Headline. This is the space just below your name where your job title and company is probably showing up, such as President at ABC Inc. If you don’t edit your headline, it pulls from your current job title. There are 120 characters available to make a more dynamic statement about you and your current business.
 Create a Summary. This is your own personal ad about yourself, like a cover letter to a resume. You have up to 2000 characters to tell your story in the first person about what is important to you in business.
 Update your Job Title, Company Name, Time Period under Experience.
 Include your current Experience. Include information about your current position, responsibilities, accomplishments, awards and promotions. Also include a few prior positions.
 Update your Skills. As you change in positions or as you learn more in your position, edit your skill sets to keep it current.

There’s a lot more that could be included in this list since LinkedIn is such a dynamic tool, but this was just the first step to get everyone up and running. Sure, it took some coaxing to get it done, but the results have made it well-worth it. Our management team is now professionally representing our company when our next new candidate for employment, customer or vendor is looking at us on LinkedIn.