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LinkedIn Profile 101

I get a lot of questions about LinkedIn – the main one being “is it really important” to my job search? The answer is YES and here is why.

You are going to get Googled. Might be the hiring manager, or it might be just about anyone that has heard your name and is interested in learning more about you. That is a good thing! Google¬†algorithms are set to show your LinkedIn profile FIRST in just about every search. The only way it won’t come up first is if you have a website in your own name, then it will probably default to that. Otherwise, it will default to your Facebook profile.

So, think about how you would want someone who is going to potentially hire you to gain a first impression. Imagine if a carefully thought out ¬†and completed LinkedIn profile turns up with a nice, professionally done photo, a summary statement showcasing your personal brand, and enough connections to illustrate that you do in fact exist in this world? Or, imagine it is TBT on Facebook and what comes up first is a picture of you sometime in the 80’s doing a keg stand in college that an old buddy has tagged you in – I think the choice is clear.

A few words of advice – go all in, or take down your profile. All in means a PICTURE with your profile. Nothing says I don’t sweat details to someone more than an incomplete profile. Have at least 150 contacts. Give a little thought to your summary statement, and consider rearranging the default layout template and having that first. LinkedIn is social media, and by definition, can be one step more personal that a resume or your other professional documents. It’s OK to use first person – for example, fine to say something like “I’m a coach by nature. Whether it is helping a group of ten year olds learn how to play baseball or leading our team to our quarterly sales goals, nothing makes me happier than helping people realize their potential” – or something similar that shows what makes you tick.

Then don’t worry too much about that Facebook thing. If your LInkedIn profile comes up first, chances are that a potential employer may not look any further. If they do, it is widely known that Facebook is social media for friends and family, and most folks are accepting of the fact that there will be lots of food, family, and fun pet posts on there. I have my privacy settings turned up so that no one can tag me in a picture that goes to my timeline without my approval, which prevents those embarrassing college keg stand pictures. I’d suggest you do the same, and just in general , remember that everything about you is out there – so take a moment to exercise control over what you can – and how you are presented.

Final word of advice – turn off the feature that broadcasts your LinkedIn updates to your network. No one really wants to clutter their feed up with seeing that you changed your picture. Now, if you have won an award or changed positions or have an accomplishment you would want to alert your network to – turn the notification back on so that it can be noticed. Have fun connecting!

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