I love to help people. I have been doing it since the leaders of my Boy Scout troop taught me to live by three tenants; the scout oath, motto, and adage: “leave each place you visit better than you found it”. We would not leave a camp site before we “policed” it for trash (which we carried out with us). We also stacked a pile of kindling and fire wood next to the cleaned out fire pit – for the next travelers. I try to apply this philosophy to each place I visit in including “On-line”.
As an active member of the LinkedIn business community I know the importance of great profiles, and their owner’s contributions. My network delivers new business to me because I surround myself with great connections, and respect them as if they were standing in front of me. My profile was greatly revised and “fleshed-out” 18 months ago under the guidance of a social media professional; Sandra Long of Post Road Consulting. I could not have done a proper job without her guidance. The following post is about the lessons I have learned.
No profile is perfect for one thing each of us evolves garnering new skills and completing new projects. For engineering professionals listing and describing projects is key. I keep working on my profile, learning, having fun sharing (posting) information, and getting thought provoking comments back from my network. The best part is the career advancement and business growth it has created. I can measure my success in very real dollars.
Here are a few LinkedIn profile tips which I keep in mind and for anyone who would like to share in my success:
You need a great photo, a professional “Head Shot”. Nothing else will do. The point is not to tell your life story – only to get your viewers familiar with your face with a bit of the personality you want to convey with it. It is the first thing viewers see before they read a single word. The idea is you want then to be able to pick you out in a crowded room. Pay for this service, there are experts who will make you look your best. My photographer created a variety of images using the same photo by changing; my shirt color, the framing, and switching to black and white. A variety of images is helpful to maintain reader interest.
Your profile needs to be substantive. A majority of the basic parts need to be there; Summary, Posts (phase II), Work History, Education, Projects, Awards, Endorsable Skills, Groups, “Followings”, Video clips (Phase II), Recommendations. This is going to take time; all good things do, so budget that time into your work schedule. A few hours with a professional mentor will speed the process – or take a continuing education class to save money. Initially it will be a big effort, after a while you can pace yourself. Consistency matters so make that pace reasonable. Remember no effort, no results!
Write your summary in the first person. Your summary is the second thing people read about you (after your very important headline) and it need to capture them! Write it from the heart, keep it personal and avoid the common “buzz-words” like team player, and hard worker. Tell a story that illustrates what motivates you and how you are special. It needs to be factual, very factual, with helpful information and numbers. People like useful information and quantification by numbers.
Go past who and what you are. Reflect where you are going, what you are looking for, and include a call to action.
Ask for professional recommendations in the various sections of your profile. Recommendations from leading professionals carry weight when people are considering you for your services or for employment. They should be specific to skills and projects.
Build a great set of first level connections. Start with co-workers, clients, suppliers, friends and family. A great way to build you connections is make it a priority in your day to day activities by talking about it at the end of each new meeting / appointment. I like to ask everyone I meet in a business context if they are on LinkedIn, if they say yes, I ask them if I can connect with them. I take their business card and draw a small circle on it. That same day when I am on line I send them a connection request and then I put a check mark in the circle. If and when they “accept” I fill in the circle solid.
Join “super groups” in your profession(s). Try to find groups with significant numbers of members – over 50,000 if possible. This will pay in spades when you start posting to these groups to build you “following”, and your personal and business “brand”. As a security and life safety systems engineer I belong to groups such as: ASIS International, The NFPA, and Risk Managers. I will also deliver you excellent information to help you stay at the top of your game. Be an active part of your community by commenting and liking others posts, and by sharing useful information in your own posts. Never promote yourself or your services in your posts – only helpful facts that can be substantiated.
Follow “Influencers” and people who offer great advice. This little post of mine is just a starting point. I am not the expert you need. There are so many professional consultants and coaches in the social media world it is easy to find high quality information on using LinkedIn to maintain your relevancy in this new “millennial world”.
This new millennial world is the business reality of today and the future. We all need to get on board if we want to be successful. The old paradigms (from what seems like last week) of marketing and branding are ancient history. Like it or not technology and society are evolving at an exponential rate and we are well past the “belly” of the curve, rocketing upwards. The good news is it’s a more effective than the old ways; more economical and efficient. It works!
Please check out my profile, and let me know your thoughts. Share a few ideas, and ask a few questions. I love to help others, to have great conversations, and try and leave the world a little better for my passing through. When it comes to LinkedIn; jump in with both feet, share positive useful information and have some fun. The results will amaze you.
I have spent many years in the life-safety, electronic, and physical security world. I also specializes in business continuity program development. I serve a full spectrum of clients from residential through Fortune 100 companies. It is my honor to be the Vice-Chair, on the Board of Directors for ASIS International’s Southern Connecticut Chapter, and to be member of the National Eagle Scout Association. I am an ASIS board certified CPP, and hold an engineering degree in fire protection systems. I am currently working on my masters in emergency management.