Last week I wrote about the importance of having a strong LinkedIn presence. It’s the professional’s litmus test for existence. This week, I promised some do’s and don’ts. Some of these may seem ridiculous to you – trust me, nothing I’m about to share is made up.
Use a quality headshot. You don’t need to hire a photographer. A current iPhone takes amazing pictures. Get in front of a neutral, blank background and have someone take some pics. Select the best one and go with it. Takes 10-15 minutes, max.
Don’t post profile pics with, your dog, your cat, your horse or your car. I understand that you love your husband, wife, kids…but they should not be in your profile pic. This is not the place to make some statement about your preferences or your personality. You’ll take a significant credibility hit if you do this.
Don’t use clever (or stupid) taglines under your name. “Keeping the focus on your bottom line”…”Passionate about people and processes”…”Looking for my next employment adventure”…DELETE. No serious leader reads that crap and thinks, “Wow, that’s an A-Player.” Quite the contrary.
Use your full name on your profile. None of this First Name and Last Name Initial (i.e., Kent B.) stuff. Also, don’t list your current employer as “Confidential” or “Large Manufacturing Company”. If you’re that concerned about confidentiality, just drop off the platform all together. You miss the whole point.
“Ok Kent, what SHOULD I do?” LinkedIn is a serious platform for serious professionals. Craft a legit profile. Quality picture. Solid tagline. Describe your employment history in a concise, credible manner. This is your highlight reel to the business world. Your profile is coming up in search results – both intentionally and at random – hundreds of times every week. Each time, somebody forms an impression of you…more “somebodys” than you could ever physically meet in a day, or a week, or a month.
The old phrase, “Your reputation precedes you,” became popular in the mid-20th Century. It meant that people had heard things about an individual prior to actually meeting them. In the 21st Century, almost everyone’s reputation precedes them. Your LinkedIn profile is a big piece of your reputation. Make it a good one.