What you see is what you get. When it comes to your LinkedIn profile, are you scaring people away?
No, I don’t mean your profile picture. The scariest LinkedIn profiles I’ve seen are those who “mask” their identity by providing limited information and not showing their personality.
Masks don’t scare us because they look scary. They scare us because we don’t know who is behind the mask. Having a minimalistic LinkedIn profile scares people away because they don’t get to know you.
With social media, everyone has an online presence. Whenever we are given a name of someone we don’t know, what do we do? We google their name!
LinkedIn profiles generally land at the top of name searches. When your profile doesn’t tell the story of who you are, you look scary. Not good for those who are trying to build their online presence and LinkedIn network.
Here are some things you can do to unmask your profile:
You may not like your profile picture but according to LinkedIn, not having a picture scares more people away. LinkedIn’s new photo editing features enables you to crop, filter, adjust, zoon and straighten your picture. I had a client who was adamant about using a picture where he was at a 33-degree angle. By using the straightening feature, he no longer looked like he was falling over.
You are more than a job title. Write a description but don’t only list your job responsibilities (boring!). Start with 1-2 sentences about what the business does and who they serve. Then talk about your role, what you learned, and the impact it had. Whether a restaurant server or a vice president, customers received a benefit from your work.
This is a great place to describe your enthusiasm for your career as well as skills you have developed through work or life experiences. You might also consider offering something of value to others like recommending books you have read. Think about who will be reading your summary – colleagues in your industry, potential employers, clients – and write your summary as if you were talking to them. That also means writing in first person, using I instead of (in my case) Laura.
Don’t overlook the great volunteer work you have done. This section, along with the summary, humanizes your profile. Sharing your volunteer work tells others what causes are important to you. Plus, it gives the nonprofit exposure which they appreciate!
LinkedIn defaults is your current job title as your headline. Take advantage of this 120-character space and be creative in sharing who you are. Examples:
- Sales and Marketing Executive l Food and Beverage Insider l Relationship and Brand Builder
- CEO l Making tests faster, smarter and fairer
- Campaign Operations Manager l Innovator, Problem Solver l Getting clients super-targeted leads
- Senior Learning Consultant l Passionate about learning!
- Travel Safety PIONEER l World Speaker l Author l Artist l Mama Bear l Grief Soother l Depart Smart Founder
Visually add a splash of personality with a banner image. Most include an image relating to their work, but it can also be a simple geometric or texture design. Check out Pixbay.com for free images.
No more scare
Remember, you are not a job title. Using the above tips can help you bring your own personality and awesomeness to your LinkedIn profile. If you are someone who struggles with what makes you awesome, ask your friends and close work colleagues. They will tell you!
Book that I recommend
Keeping with the theme of awesomeness, I recommend the book, “From Frustrated to Frickin’ Awesome” by Alissa Daire Nelson. At times, we get frustrated with our work and life. This book helps you identify triggers that keep you frustrated and gives you simple exercises to rediscover your value. Alissa is a Strengths Strategy Certified Coach whose purpose is to help people embrace and live out the awesome they have inside themselves. While the book addresses entrepreneurs, I feel we all have an entrepreneurial spirit when it comes to our careers. On LinkedIn, we need to know how to market ourselves by sharing the value we bring to our work and professional relationships. Alissa also has a podcast, Maximize Your Strengths, at daire2succeed.com/strengthspodcast.
Author: Laura Brandt, SMS
Laura Brandt is a LinkedIn Strategist who uses her CliftonStrengths (Developer, Analytical, and Connectedness) to help people and nonprofits develop a networking community on LinkedIn to advance their career or mission. Everyone has their own unique story to tell – their own strengths, experiences, and value they bring to their career. After working years in higher education alumni relations and fundraising, Laura is shifting her focus to help college students create a professional online presence through LinkedIn. You are invited to follow or connect with her at linkedin.com/in/laurajbrandt.