Welcome to my Website!

What do you want to learn? Leverged jhuang@tampa.cgsinc.com Skip to main content Pluralsight uses cookies.Learn more about your privacy LinkedIn Strategy: Optimize Your Profile by Jason Alba The LinkedIn Profile is one of your most powerful branding tools. In this course, we'll go over the must-do tricks, tips, and tactics to have a better profile. The actions suggested in this course should help your profile show up higher in search... Start CourseBookmarkAdd to ChannelDownload Course Table of contents Description Transcript Exercise files Discussion Learning Check Recommended Introduction Introduction Hey, Everybody. This is Jason Alba. This is the third edition of the LinkedIn training in the Pluralsight library. In this course, we're going to focus on optimizing your LinkedIn profile. By the time you're done with this course and working on your profile, you should feel pretty confident that your profile is strong. If you do the things that I suggest in this course, I know that your profile will be better than a lot of other profiles that I've seen on LinkedIn. In this course, I'm going to give a quick introduction to LinkedIn and the what and why, then we're going to go into the profile. We're going to talk about what I call above the fold, that is the things that you see before you scroll down. We're then going to spend time on summary and the experience sections, that's kind of like the job description or what you have under each job. We'll talk about skills and recommendations and then go into a number of other things that you'll find throughout the LinkedIn profile. Let's get started. Legal Disclaimer This slide should take care of all the legal considerations. Please understand that I don't work for LinkedIn. I'm not affiliated with LinkedIn. I am not certified by LinkedIn and LinkedIn does not endorse my training or any of my books or anything that I do with regard to LinkedIn. Having shared that, let me share a few things about me to help you understand why I'm teaching this course. A few years ago I wrote a book called I'm on LinkedIn--Now What???. It's now in its fourth edition. I've updated this book over the years. The features in LinkedIn change so often that it requires that I update the book frequently. Since the book came out, I've had many opportunities to train and speak. My audience has been around the world and have included groups, such as private equity firms, university students, people who are in a job search, as well as professionals who are happily employed. I've worked with entrepreneurs and marketing departments. The cool thing about this is I've heard a lot of different questions. Interesting, most questions have the same themes but you hear different angles of the questions from each of these different groups of people. Additionally, I've created a certification program and did the training for career professionals, including coaches, counselors, and resume writers, people who are helping job seekers. While it's not a primary part of my business, I continue to provide LinkedIn profile critiques and one-on-one strategy sessions with people. I also use LinkedIn to grow my own business. I've gotten comment from people who say, Well just because you're an author, you think you know everything. In reality, I keep my hands in LinkedIn quite a bit, not just for my own business, which means I have to get results and as a consultant for individuals and organizations. The years that I've spent doing this brings me to the point where I can share some really cool ideas with you in this course. Two Reason to Optimize Your Profile In this course, we're going to focus on optimizing your LinkedIn profile. There are other things we can talk about, which will be in a different course, but we're going to focus simply on your profile. I call optimizing your profile a reactive strategy. That is, you can spend a few hours on it, get it done right, and then never do anything on LinkedIn again. There are proactive things to do, but what I want to focus on in this course is having your profile done really well. As we go through this course, there are two things that I want you to refer back to. These are the whys. Why are we working on our profile? The first is to be found. The way we do this is through what's generically called search engine optimization. Specifically, we're talking about the LinkedIn search engine. What are things we can do in the profile to help make sure that your profile shows up higher in the LinkedIn search results? The second why is readability. So the first one is for the computer; the second one is for the human. I want somebody to come to your profile and read through it and think, Wow! If this person is as good as his profile says he is, we're done looking for our next partner, employee, hire, whatever it is that they're looking for. I want your profile to impress them. In order to impress them, they want to have to read it. If it's dry, stale, boring, not written well, bad grammar, those are going to be things that are going to cause them to not want to read it. If it is written well and it's engaging, hopefully, they're going to read a lot of it and come to that conclusion that they want to get on the phone with you or go to the next step in their relationship. As we go through the rest of this course, I want you to come back continually to the SEO idea and the readability idea. Those are two main goals that we're working towards as we optimize your profile. How to Show up Higher in Search Results Speaking of search engine optimization on LinkedIn, there are two things that I've found that have an impact on where you show up in the search results. Let's look at that on my profile. The first is going to be where you put your key words. For example, you can put key words in your name field, in your professional headline. You can put your key words anywhere in your summary and in the experience section, including title, company, and the narrative down here. Where you place the key words and phrases has an impact on how high your profile shows up. What I've found is the number one most important place to put a key word is actually against the terms and services of LinkedIn. That is, in your name field. Whether you do that or not, it's up to you. We'll talk about that more when we go over the name field in a few videos. For now, let me share with you the safe places to put those words and phrases. Aside from the name field, the number one most important place to put the words and phrases for search engine optimization is in the title field. If you're not showing up on the first page of LinkedIn for a search of your title, go and look at what the other people have done in their profile. A common thing that I find is that people put a title in here that is not good for search engine results. For example, owner is not necessarily something that people are going to look for. I was working with a resume writer once who was showing up on the fifth page of the search results. The title he had was proprietor. Once he changed that to something to do with resume writing or executive resumes, he showed up on the first page. It had that much of an impact on the search engine results. So the top three places are, as I mentioned, number one the name field, questionable whether you should do that or not; number two the title, you should definitely optimize your title to include the right words and phrases that people would search for; and number three the company name. As an example, let's say that your title is senior developer. What you could do in the title is put senior developer and then put a colon or parentheses or some other punctuation to show that these things aren't your official title, but maybe within parentheses you put software developer or what languages you work on. That way you have your official title and you have a list of the other words or phrases that people would search for. You could do the same thing on your company where you could put something like company name and then in parentheses put a. NET software development shop. That way, you have your company name in and you're showing your key words or key phrases in parentheses in one of those high-placement areas. The second thing that'll have an impact on your search engine results is the number of times that you have the word or the phrases. Again, if people are showing up ahead of you in the search engine results, open up their profile, and then go a CTRL-F and type in the words or phrases that you think you want to use in your profile. As an example, I'll do a search on my profile for career. You can see that I've used it 23 times on my profile. I'll do this very same exercise on other people's profiles to see how many times they've used it. Now we have two factors that are going to help me show up higher in the search results. One is where I'm putting the words and phrases and the other is how many times I'm putting the words in the phrases. Sometimes, all you have to do is find out that they're doing it 23 times and you do yours 25 or 26 times and that could bump you up higher. Those are two things that I know that have an impact on where you're showing up in the search engine results on LinkedIn. The third thing is still kind of fuzzy and that is the skills and endorsements. The jury's still out on whether having skills and a number of endorsements on those skills will have an impact on the search results. I haven't found this to be true yet, but from what I've heard, if you have certain words with more endorsements, you'll show up higher for recruiters and people who have bought the higher premium levels in LinkedIn. Right now, I'm kind of ignoring that idea. I think it's happening. I'm not sure it's happening, but I know that recruiters and people who are using LinkedIn for search a lot will not rely solely on the skills that you have and how many times each of those have been endorsed. They're probably doing more creative and comprehensive searches. What Is LinkedIn? My assumption is that everybody in the world knows what LinkedIn is, but just to be sure we're on the same page, let me share a few thoughts about LinkedIn. LinkedIn is known as a professional social network. In contrast to Twitter or Facebook where it's going to be more personal, this is where you're going to find professional contacts and have professional relationships and communications with them. These could be relationships from one individual to another or it could be business and purchasing relationships. The numbers are always changing, but the last I heard, there are over 350 million members. These aren't necessarily users. These are just accounts that have been set up. Surely, some of those are duplicates or created by spammers or robots. LinkedIn says they are in over 200 countries and territories, which is pretty much the whole planet. LinkedIn is kind of a tracker for where your contacts are at, meaning have they moved to a different location or do they work in a different company? The beauty of LinkedIn is that people update their own LinkedIn profile so it should always be current. However, that's not always the case. There are a lot of profiles that don't have the most current location or the most current employer. In an ideal world, it would be a tracker for where your contacts are at and where they've been, but since users are not always updating it, it's not a completely reliable tracker for where they're at. LinkedIn is not the end-all, be-all tool. It's not the silver bullet. You should really look at it as a complement to other tools and strategies, whether that's other social networks or face-to-face networking. I use LinkedIn as one part of my overall networking and marketing strategy. As you know, LinkedIn is fast-growing. It's promoted all over the place by career coaches, counselors, marketing professionals, business coaches, everybody talks about LinkedIn. However, it's not necessarily the right tool for certain industries or professions. I remember talking to a friend who's either a biologist or a chemist, we were talking about LinkedIn and he said, Yeah I don't know anybody in my industry who's on LinkedIn. Where some industries and professions can live on LinkedIn, other industries and professions are networking and doing business outside of LinkedIn. I'm not really worried that you memorize or understand all of the things on this page. What I really want to focus on is where we're going to find value on LinkedIn, so let's just narrow it down to two ideas. I say that LinkedIn is a place to find. That is, if I want to find information about a person or a company, I'm going to use LinkedIn as a tool to search for that person or people at that company, and it's a place to be found. Since the focus of this course is on your LinkedIn profile, we're going to focus on being found. As we go through the rest of this course, ask yourself, Is this particular thing going to help me be found? A Brief History of LinkedIn You can find timelines on the history of LinkedIn online. Here are a few things that I want to point out. LinkedIn was launched on May 5, 2003. Every year May 5th is their big anniversary celebration. In May of 2011, they went public. They've acquired a number of companies, including Rapportive, Slideshare, and Pulse. It seems like over the years, LinkedIn has shifted focus to become more of a content provider. Pulse, as well as few other acquisitions, has been a big part of this. Not all of LinkedIn's features stay around. They're retired a number of features that people groaned about, including events and LinkedIn answers. While their growth rate has slowed in the U. S., simply because of saturation, they are growing quickly in other countries. Interestingly, over the years, LinkedIn has not gone away as some people have predicted, but their value proposition has definitely changed. It'll be interesting to see what the next few years have in store for LinkedIn. Regardless of what new system comes along or how LinkedIn changes, LinkedIn right now is the place to have a professional presence and to network with other professionals. Handling Recruiter Solicitations Something I hear from IT professionals in particular is they get inundated with phone calls from recruiters. It's great to work in a profession where you're in such high demand, but I can understand how frustrating it would be if you always get unsolicited calls and messages from recruiters. Let me share a few initial reactions about that complaint. First, you've probably heard of the book by Harvey Mackay, Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty. The idea here is that you don't want to be dying of thirst and then have to dig a well. By that time, it may be too late. Harvey says to prepare. In essence, he's talking about building your network. I'm not suggesting that you have to build your network, especially if your skills are in such high demand, but from a perspective of managing your own career or career management, I invite you to think about preparing for that time when you will be in transition or you could simply just ignore the calls and the emails and continue to be frustrated. Alternatively, I would suggest that you work on developing relationships with the right recruiters. Even if you're not going anywhere or never want to make a change, building relationships with recruiters could come in handy down the road. This could be because of an unplanned transition that you'll go through or if you're ever in a hiring capacity, these relationships could be beneficial to you. Also, don't neglect the opportunity to build your brand within the industry and amongst your professional peers. Getting too many unsolicited calls might just be the small price you pay to have a well-defined brand amongst people that need to know who you are. A few years ago, there was a saying, "If you aren't on Google or if I can't find you in a Google search, then you simply don't exist. " I would suggest the very same thing can be said about LinkedIn. You could simply choose to be flattered. When I started my own business, I would have loved to have a bunch of unsolicited calls and messages trying to reach me. Having been in business a while, I finally got unto that point where people actually know who I am, but it sure was hard to get here. It's a lot more fun to have those calls than to not have anybody call you, especially when you're in need. As we'll see later, maybe what you should do is state upfront that you're not open to any changes. That could be a disclaimer that you put at the very top of your LinkedIn profile. Finally, maybe you do opt for a skeleton profile, but you find value in other places, such as growing your network or participating in groups. LinkedIn is a tool that is just too powerful for your career just to simply ignore it. Wrap-up Let's wrap up this module and get right into our LinkedIn profile. In this module, we talked about what LinkedIn is. We talked about a brief history of LinkedIn, why we would work on the profile, which is defined and be found, and what to do if we have too many recruiters soliciting us. In the next module, we're going to talk about above the fold, that is, the part of the profile that you can see without scrolling down. LinkedIn Profile: Above the Fold Introduction In the next few videos, we're going to talk about the Above the Fold area of the LinkedIn profile. Specifically, we'll go into the picture, your name, and your professional headline. You might think you got this nailed down, but this is where I always start and I always find things to optimize on people's above the fold. Let's start with the picture. A Better Profile Picture There are two things that I look for specifically in a good profile picture. The picture's something that I would consider pretty important because during your time on LinkedIn, it's going to be a big part of what your first impression is. Let's go through a few profile pictures from some Pluralsight authors. As we go through these pictures, I want to talk about the two things that I look for, well that is, assuming that you actually have a profile picture. So Mark doesn't have a profile picture that he's showing. He might have a profile picture, but he's not showing it to people that are outside of his network. I think that's okay if you have a really good reason to not show your profile picture. Over the years of doing LinkedIn consultations and doing LinkedIn presentations, I've learned that there are people who have legitimate reasons to now show their picture. Usually those reasons have to do with a bad relationship or a stalker or something like that. I would say that if you think you're ugly or not photogenic or you don't take a picture well, that's not a really good reason to not have a profile picture. You could usually find a professional photographer who can really help you take some nice and professional pictures. So moving on from Mark, who doesn't have his picture, let's go to Cory. I like a lot about Cory's picture. There's two things that I would recommend that he do. First, is zoom in more on the headshot or the face. You know, in general, this is a really nice picture, and I'm only being picky because it's on LinkedIn. Here's why. If we were to take his head right here and move into the corner, it's probably going to take up a little more than 25% of the whole picture. In other words, a good 75% is going to be not Cory. Isn't that an interesting way of looking at this and how much we're going to zoom in on the headshot. Notice the pictures on the right side. They're quite a bit smaller. Twenty-five percent of this picture, I could live with that. Twenty-five percent of the pictures down here, now it's getting a little vague. So the first thing I look at is what percentage of the picture the face takes up. As an extreme example, I remember once I had a meeting with somebody who I hadn't met before. We were going to go have lunch. I went to the LinkedIn profile of this person and saw them standing by a tree. Well that's okay if the person's standing by a tree. The problem was that you could see the entire tree and it was a big, mature oak tree. The person was barely a line towards the bottom of the picture. I was hoping to go there to find some physical features so I could recognize the person at the restaurant and I wasn't able to see that because it was zoomed out so much. The second thing I look for is distractions. Typically, these are going to be color distractions. I would recommend Cory takes a different picture without that picture of the water and the cliff in the background. There's just too much going on. I love the black shirt that Cory chose. That's not distracting at all, but everything in the background really is just too busy for me, and I think it takes away from his face. Okay with those two things in mind, one how zoomed in are you, and two, how distracting is your background, let's go look at the others. Okay here's Jeremy's picture. What do you think I'm going to say about Jeremy's picture? First of all, let's go to the zoom. If you were to take his face and move it to the top right corner, I'm going to guess that it'll take up about 20% of the overall picture. Now you take that picture and do what we do down here and have a very small picture, now you're not seeing much of his face at all. Jeremy, I would definitely recommend that you zoom in more so that we get just your face, maybe a little bit out, but a lot more zoomed in than what we're seeing right now. Okay, what about distractions? Do you think this has a distracting background? There are a couple of things that I'm looking at. First, there's this counter or ledge or whatever this is. This really doesn't add anything except, I don't know, maybe geometric art or something. Over here, we have maybe what looks like a wall-hanging or a floorboard. This is just a little too distracting for me, especially with this blue package over here. So you probably picked that out. I'm going to share something with you that a lot of people don't immediately see, but it kind of bugs me. What at I'm looking at specifically is the shadow right here on the right of his face. This shadow isn't too bad right here, but I've seen a number of profile pictures where there is a shadow like this and it really is much more of a distraction. Jeremy has a great smile. He looks like a nice and a fun person. I would encourage him to bring out the face more and get a different background that's not going to take away from that nice, fun, approachable person. Here's a fun picture of Kunal. I like this picture. It's really cool. I'm wondering, Where is that? Where was that taken? The reason why I wanted to show this picture is because I think it's pretty good based on the two things that we've talked about. The headshot's not that bad. It could be zoomed in a little bit more, but I'm not going to get too picky. It really is taking up a fair amount of the space on the picture. The colors in the background are what I would consider fairly muted. In other words, they're not taking away from anything that is him or his body. The only thing that I don't like about this picture is that he's wearing sunglasses. I appreciate that people have sunglasses and they love to wear sunglasses, but I want to see the whites of your eye. I know this sounds really nitpicky and I don't want to take personality away from your picture, but I'm assuming if you're watching this video that you want to have the best of the best. Kunal, great job on your picture. I would suggest that you do a different one but don't have sunglasses on that one. Here's a great picture of John. He has a very approachable look. He looks like he's a nice guy. The amount that he's zoomed in seems appropriate. His background and his shirt don't seem to distract. There's only one problem that I have with this picture. If I mouse over this picture, you'll notice that nothing pops up. Let's contrast that with one of the other profiles that we've been looking at. If we come back to Kunal's profile, notice when I mouse over his picture, this little magnifying glass pops up. This means that I can Click on it and it'll show a bigger picture. I actually like that because I'll take pictures and put them into a CRM and I like to have bigger pictures. That's just my personal preference, but let's come back over to John's. What I'm guessing is that John uploaded this picture many years ago and when LinkedIn enhanced their profiles and they allowed bigger pictures, John never added a bigger picture. I wouldn't consider John's picture bad as far as the size of the picture, but I've seen other profile pictures from the old profiles, so these are small pictures and LinkedIn actually puts an ugly border around the picture. If you haven't updated your picture on LinkedIn in the last couple of years, I encourage you to go look at it and see if it's really meeting the full size that everybody's going to see or if they're seeing an ugly border around yours. Once again, this is very nitpicky, but it's just one more thing to show that you have a current profile. Let's jump to Ahmad's picture. Now I brought this profile picture in for a reason. I know right now you're thinking that he violates both things. If we were to take his head and put it all the way up into the corner, what is that, maybe 5% of the overall picture size? And look at the distractions. There's other people. There's writing. There's those circles on the left. This is just really too busy and the face is too small and you're probably thinking that Jason Alba doesn't like this. However, I actually really do like this. What this picture is showing is Ahmad in his workplace. Now I'm not suggesting that everybody needs to go get a picture of themselves sitting at their desk, but people might not think that Ahmad is a speaker or maybe even a professional speaker. I would say that if he wants people to understand what his brand is that he does professional speaking, it's great to have this kind of a picture. They say that a picture tells a thousand words. When I look at all of his profile stuff, I might think, Okay well he's a big data architect. He plays with SQL server. He's always pounding on his keyboard. I'm going to make assumptions based on all of the things in his profile about what he does or wants to do, and I might not understand that he's actually on the conference circuit. That picture right there totally tells me that he's on the conference circuit and that this is something that he enjoys doing and probably wants to do more of. So even though he is violating the two main things that I usually talk about, I'm going to suggest that this is a great picture to help people understand Ahmad's brand better than if he just put a couple of sentences somewhere else in his profile saying that he does professional speaking. Okay so here's Chander's picture. The reason why I'm showing you this is because I think he does a good job with not having distractions in the background. What he is doing is he's really making his picture pop out simply by editing it a little bit and not having it be a regular square picture, but it looks like it's round. In fact, this is a square picture. He just did the editing so it doesn't look like it's a square picture. This is a profile picture that's going to stand out and be different. That can be important if somebody's looking at 10 or 20 profiles. After a few hours of that, they all seem to blend together. I would remember this one because it's the one in the circle. Here's another different picture and I love this. Don looks like a fun guy. He kind of has this smirk, almost like he has a secret or he knows something that we don't know. It's zoomed in and there're no distractions, so he gets an A+ on those two measures. The thing I like about this though is it's kind of like how Chander's stands out because it's different. Who else has a drawing of their headshot like this? It's probably an accurate depiction of what Don really looks like, but it's going to be different than all the other pictures that are out there. I love how Don used this image instead of a regular picture. Let's end with Xavier from Costa Rica. How do you think Xavier did and I think he did a great job with his colors. In the background, there's zero distractions and his shirt is a nice color that doesn't take away from the picture. Okay by now, you have a good understanding of what to do to have a great profile picture on LinkedIn. Let's move on to the next thing. Getting the Name Field Right The next thing I look at is the name. I'm talking about the name up here. This is going to show up in multiple places including your profile and what I call your mini-profile, which might be on the right side of other people's profiles. In general, in the name field I only like to see your name. I don't like to see anything that's going to confuse me. For example, some people put things in their name field that are not their name, maybe an acronym, a certification, their phone number, email address, or the idea that they're a LinkedIn open networker, aka LION. They might put in how many contacts they have. There's no shortage of ideas on what you can put in your name field on LinkedIn, but what I really like to see is just your name. By the way, if your name is Robert but you go by Bob and everybody calls you Bob, then put Bob in the name field. This is not a legal document. Help people know what to call you. In the LinkedIn user agreement, it says that you agree that you will not add content that is not intended for or inaccurate for a designated field. LinkedIn used to enforce this on the name field. For example, if you put an email address in your last name, in the past they have disabled people's accounts. So keeping your name field clean with just your name keeps you aligned with the user agreement. Let me show you an example from a Pluralsight author that has more than just his name in this field. So Tom has his first and last name and then he has an acronym VCP. I don't know what that stands for, slash vExpert 2009-14. So in contrast with what I've been saying, I don't have a problem with you putting additional information in your name field if it makes sense. There are two reasons when it would make sense. One is if you want to show up higher in the search results, you might consider putting key words or key phrases in your name field. I think LinkedIn would frown on that, but there are a lot of people on LinkedIn who do just that very thing, and they're showing up higher in the search results. I don't recommend that just because it might get you into a little bit of trouble with LinkedIn. The other reason why I would recommend you putting something in the name field like what Tom has done is if it helps you communicate your brand. Now I don't know what VCP is or the vExpert award or designation is, but maybe people in Tom's community do know what that is. If people who want Tom's talent know what a VCP or a vExpert is, and they might even search on those two terms, then it probably makes sense to keep that up. I'm going to guess that a lot of people don't know what those two terms are, so what he's doing in effect is confusing people. This goes back to the idea of not having jargon or cliché anywhere in our profile. These both fall under jargon. They're technical terms that people within a small community understand, but people outside of that community probably don't understand what they mean. So here's what's happening. Within his community, he's communicating well the VCP and the vExpert part of his brand. Outside of his community, he's only and simply confusing people like me who don't know what those things mean. If we go halfway in between, the problem is that the people who get it don't know how to communicate that part of his brand to people who don't know what VCP and vExpert are. In other words, let's say a colleague of his knows VCP and vExpert. When they're talking about Tom, they could say something like, Oh yeah he's been a vExpert since 2009. It would be more helpful if Tom in his LinkedIn profile gave us the right language so that we could about him in the right way. Once again excluding jargon and cliché. Now I'm not saying that Tom needs to take these out because maybe, based on the audience that's reading it, this is highly appropriate and it means a lot to them, but I would like you to think about what you have behind your last name and ask yourself, Is this going to help me share my personal brand or is it going to make it more confusing for people to understand who I am and even talk about me the right way? The Professional Headline Okay now we've gone over two of the three main things I look at the top of the profile. The first is the picture; the second is the name. The third thing is the professional headline. This is our branding statement. It's actually our main branding statement in our entire profile. These three things make up what I call your mini-profile. Notice we have picture, name, professional headline. What do we see over here on the right-hand side under People Also Viewed? We see picture, name, professional headline. Now the picture and the name are not branding statements or very bad at giving a brand message. Typically, they're going to be general nice pictures and the names are going to be names. They're not branding statements, but here I can read through all of these and say, Oh this guy's a founder. That's a CEO. This guy's a senior director of product development, so through a list like this, the professional headline is the thing that helps me understand who that person is and what they do or why we should have a conversation. Let's talk about some ideas with the professional headline. By default, what LinkedIn does is they come into your title and your company and they put title at company. I'm going to say, in general, that's going to do you a disservice. Here's why. Product manager, that's pretty cool. I think people that Brian wants to be in front of are going to understand what a product manager is. However, how many people know what this company is? While it might be known locally or within a certain industry, a lot of times, companies don't really help people understand what your breadth and depth is. Infragistics might be his own company that he does out of his basement. Now I doubt that it is, but I'm just saying that there're names of companies that really don't help us understand what this person does. Actually, that's the same thing with a title. I said I like product manager, that's because I know what product manager is. What about the people who don't know what a product manager does? To them, the title and the company are things that don't help them understand who and what Brian does. I think there's something better that Brian could do here with his professional headline. We're going to build up to that as we go through these profiles. Here's another example of title at company, which probably does disservice to what David really does. It says Adjunct Lecturer at Skidmore College. Well my question is, What do you lecture on? Do you lecture on business, or IT, or product management, or development? What is the thing that you actually lecture on? In fact, this professional headline doesn't help me understand anything except that he probably sometimes teaches some classes at the college. I would really like to know more about what David does and what value he could bring to me or my company. Remember, we're building up as we go to the right of these profiles and hopefully, by the end, we're going to have a good idea of what your professional headline could or should look like. Here's another example of title at company, Sr. Security Analyst. I'm not sure if that has to do with software security or something financial. In my world, that means software security. That's probably what you were thinking. However, I remember a number of years ago, I threw something out in a blog post that talked about security and the feedback I got from people was they thought it had to do with securities in the finance world. If nothing else, I would recommend that Terry put in Sr. Software Security Analyst. A couple more examples, here's David who says Software Craftsman, that's what his title is down below in his profile at Pluralsight. The reason why I wanted to show you this is because I love that he says craftsman. He could have put developer, engineer, something along those lines but he made this stand out to me just a little bit because he didn't say one of those normal things. I normally don't think of software people as craftsman, although we are, right? And here he's explicitly stating that. If I'm looking at 10 other profiles, the guy who's the software craftsman is going to stand out differently than the nine other people who are software developers. In this example, we can see that Brian is a Partner at MCW Technologies. What I'm getting out of that is that he's a partner, which means he's an owner, a decision maker. I don't know what MCW means, but then technologies, so it's some kind of technology-related organization. Can you see how this is probably not helping me understand very well what Brian does or the what's in it for me? What's the value that he can bring to my company or relationship with me? Okay the next few professional headlines are a little bit different. So in the first line we talked about, we had title at company and those were brought in from LinkedIn. In other words, those people did not customize their professional headline at all. These people actually customized their professional headline a little bit, so here we have Software Architect at SofterWare, so let's just scroll down here a little bit and we can see Softerware's the company and we can see SofterWare, Inc. and Senior Developer/Architect. So obviously, Patrick came in a changed what LinkedIn had, which would have been Senior Developer/ Architect at SofterWare, Inc. Well I hate how they would put in comma Inc. because there's 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 characters, now we don't have a whole lot of room right here, so six characters in my branding statement of nothing is what I don't want to see okay? So what Patrick did is he came in here and he changed it and he took out what LinkedIn had, which was this and this, and he said, Software Architect, so isn't that interesting? He's actually focusing more on the architect side than on the senior or the developer side, and then he still includes SofterWare. I don't know what that is, but software architect helps me understand a little bit about who he is. Then he put Author at Pluralsight, so he clearly customized this. My question to you is, Do you have any questions on what Patrick does or what he brings to the relationship? Clearly, he's a software architect and he does courses for Pluralsight. Do you know how he can help your company? We're going to get to the answer to that question as we go through these profiles. Eric also customized his professional headline. Check this out. If we come down here below it says, Senior Lead Consultant and LinkedIn would put at Catapult Systems, and instead, he says, Senior Lead SharePoint Consultant at Catapult Systems and then Author at Pluralsight. So my question to you with Eric's is, Do you understand the value that he could bring to your organization? Well that he put SharePoint in here, I think really helps clarify what his value proposition is. I don't know what Catapult Systems is. Maybe you do, but for me, that doesn't add any value to his branding statement unless he wants to promote Catapult Systems, which is fine. Whether it's his company or it's a company that he simply wants to promote, it's okay to put that there, but I would suggest that maybe there's a better professional headline that he can write to help us understand what it is that he brings to the table. Do you see a theme here? I keep coming back to What do you bring to my relationship and not so much What's your title and your company? Steve has DevOps IT manager. Some people aren't going to know what DevOps means. I think most people are going to understand IT manager, but my question here is, At what level is he? Is he a one-man IT show in a very small company or is he one of many IT managers? I would like to understand how big of a role Steve plays. Is he more at the hands-on operational level? Is he more at the strategic and leadership level? Those are some questions I would like to understand in case I was looking somebody like him to help me with whatever my problem is. Peter says he is a Freelance Developer & and IT Consultant, and that's cool. I get that. You probably get that, but here's my question. What kind of stuff does he develop in? What kind of products does he develop? Is he the kind of guy who's going to come in and put out some of my fires or is he somebody who's going to take the entire project and have a team behind him that he's going to manage? I don't know if Peter's the right person for my role, based on what he has in his professional headline. Kerry says she's the Director of Content Operations. Let's scroll down and see what is in her title, Director of Content Operations, so she took out Pluralsight. She actually customized this and she left Director of Content Operations. To be honest with you, I don't know what that means. What is content operations and what does it mean to be the director? I would like to have more context behind that title to better understand what Kerry does and maybe how she can help my organization. Ben customized his to say Network and Systems Engineer. He took out whatever companies might have shown up. Ben customized his to say simply, Network and Systems Engineer. I understand what that means. You understand what that means, and probably the people who Ben would want to work for understand what that means. He's being a little elusive here in the Current area where he says Company Confidential, Resume Available Upon Request. I think this is fine. It's speaking directly to his target audience and he has such a specialized profession that he probably is not too worried about his target audience misrepresenting his brand. If people don't understand who he is and what he does, he's probably not going to work for them. He's another example of a customized headline, which is Entrepreneur, Developer, Speaker, and MVP. All of those things are pretty cool and they all mean things to people, but they probably mean different things to different people. If you're a failed entrepreneur, then what do you think it means that Andrew is an entrepreneur? Entrepreneur might mean something completely different to you than what Andrew actually does. I'm okay having these four things up here, entrepreneur, developer, speaker, and MVP, because they all very concisely communicate what Andrew does or at least how he wants us to understand who he is. Once again, the question is, Do I understand how Andrew can participate in my organization or add value to anything that I'm doing? So let's get into the nitty-gritty of what a formula might look like to help you communicate how you want other people to understand you. What we've seen is a lot of title at company or a few very key words like entrepreneur, developer, or consultant, or something like that. Here's the formula that I would like you to think of. I help companies or people do or achieve what? In other words, when I'm reading your professional headline which is a part of your profile and your mini-profile, what is it that I understand that you actually do? I help companies grow by… I help companies secure their assets because… I help people be happier by… In other words, you are giving people the what's in it for them. Don't make them guess based on your title and your company. Help them understand what value you bring to the relationship by explicitly telling them that. I help companies or people do or achieve is a great stopgap as you figure out what your long-term tagline and professional headline should be. Grabbing Your Vanity URL I want to talk about a very simple enhancement that will only take a few minutes to do and I recommend that everybody does it. Specifically, I'm talking about getting what I call your vanity URL. When you sign up on LinkedIn, you get a URL that you can use to tell people how to get to your profile. You can see here that Jim's is linkedin. com/pub/first name-last name/numbers and letters and gobbledygook. This is a default URL that LinkedIn gives you. What I recommend is that you go in and you change the default URL and make it something more concise. That way it'll be easier to tell people what your URL is instead of trying to remember this gobbledy- gook on the end and be it'll be shorter, it'll look better on a business card or a resume or your other websites, etc. Let me show you examples of good vanity URLs that other people have grabbed. Here's Mark's. You can see that he's in the UK. Instead of a pub, we have /in and then he has markheath3, probably because Mark Heath or markheath1 or 2 is already taken. You can see Cory's vanity URL is simply his first and last name, of course, linkedin. com/in/ and then there's the vanity URL that he grabbed. Let's go to Kunal's. Kunal actually does something different with his. You can see he's in India so we have in. linkedin. com/in and instead of his first name-last name, he's putting a branding statement here. I'm expecting with this name right here, he's highly skilled in the server world. John Papa did a play on his name. Instead of John Papa, he did papajohn. Don also chose to go with a branding statement. Instead of saying Don Jones, he put concentrateddon, which is in line with his Concentrated Technology's company. And finally, Xavier didn't put his whole name here. He just put xmorera. My favorite solution for a vanity URL is going to be your first name and last name. However, you can see how creative some of these Pluralsight authors have been. You don't have to have first name-last name, but if you're not feeling creative, just go with first name-last name. Wrap-up In this module, we talked about what to do on your LinkedIn profile above the fold. That is the part that people see before they scroll down. Specifically what we talked about was that the above the fold section is really where people get their first impression of who you are. You might have a wonderful career or a lot to offer people, but if you put that down below and they never scroll down below, they won't know any of that. What we want to do at this section that's above the fold is number one, not turn them off, and number two, give them the right first impressions, hopefully, so that they either want to engage with you or want to scroll down and learn more. Also we talked about the idea that the above the fold section really creates what we call your mini-profile, that is, your picture, your name, and your professional headline, and this is what people are going to see in other places on LinkedIn, not on your profile, but in other places. We talked about getting a good picture for your profile. Specifically, what I like to see is zoom in on a headshot and no color distractions. This typically will have to do with whatever the background is or the clothes that you chose to wear. Remember, if you don't think that you take a good picture, don't let that stop you from putting a picture up on LinkedIn. We then talked about what to do in the name field. Like I said, you can have stuff other than your first and your last name. I'm kind of on the fence about whether you should or not, but whatever you do, don't let the stuff on this line distract or detract from what your brand is. Everything here as a part of your first impression needs to help people understand what your brand and your messaging is, not leave them confused. Stay away from cliché and jargon. We then talked about the powerful professional headline. This is so important. It's not easy coming up with a great professional headline, but once you get it, you can use it on your LinkedIn profile. You can use it in other marketing material, like a business card, resume, website, and you can share it verbally. Just remember that what you come up with is not set in stone. You can change it as often as you need to. If you want some tips on a good professional headline, check out my personal branding course in Pluralsight. Finally, we talked about the very easy task of changing your vanity URL. If you haven't done this yet, take a few minutes and change the default URL that you got when you signed up to something that is more concise and looks better. In the next module, we're going to scroll down a little bit and talk about how to optimize the parts that are below the fold. Specifically, we're going to talk about how to enhance your summary and your experience. The summary's usually right under the below the fold area. The experience you'll find in each of the job sections. I want to call them job descriptions, although that's not exactly what they are. Let's get started. Summary and Experience Introduction In this module we're going to dig deeper into the summary and experience section of your profile. The summary's usually towards the top, just below the above the fold stuff and it's where people give a narrative of who they are. After I give an introduction of what the purposes of the summary and experience sections are, we are going to critique some summaries, then I'll give you formulas on how you can craft your own summary and experience sections in a very strong way. We'll talk about the how and the why of getting rich media on your profile and then we'll be ready to go to the next module. Summary and Experience Explained Okay now we have a really good idea of the above the fold stuff. We have picture, name, professional headline. What happens when somebody scrolls down? What is it that they're going to see and what do we want to do to optimize our LinkedIn profile for when they do scroll down? In this section what I want to focus on is what we call the summary and experience. Scrolling down, usually the summary is going to be right under all of the stuff that we just talked about. That's not always the case and I'll show you an exception, but let me just run over what the summary and experience sections are. So in the summary, we have 2, 000 characters that we can use. This isn't 2, 000 words; we're talking about 2, 000 characters, which is usually a little shy of a full word document. Now remember, what I want to do is optimize my profile for the search engine optimization aspect, that is the keywords and things like that. I also want to optimize my profile for the human being that comes to read my profile. You may disagree with me, but I think that most people find that, for example, a resume is not very readable. It has a lot of jargon, cliché. It's boring. They're not full sentences. It doesn't give me any emotional impact or draw. I want to get all of that stuff into my LinkedIn profile and my summary and experience section is typically where I'm going to do that. Before I go into specific things that we would put into our summary or experience sections, we're going to critique some summaries, but just keep in mind that pretty much everything that we do in a summary and experience section is the same, and that's this. What we've already done up above is we've made a claim. The professional headline is your claim. This is what we're saying that we do, the value that we bring to the table, what our value proposition is. Now what we're going to do in the summary area is we're going to substantiate or support the value proposition. So, for example, if I come up here and say, I make the world a better place, then down here what I want to do is I want to say, I make the world a better place by doing this. Oh and by the way, I do this other thing and that makes the world a better place. Oh and by the way, there's another thing I do, so the way I like to think about this is that you have your main claim up here. That's your professional headline and then down here in your summary, you have what I call your supporting claims. You might think of these as sub-claims, but every claim that you make down here in your summary should point back to the main claim. Same thing in your experience. Now what we're tempted to do down here in the experience section is have it read more like a resume. I did this. I accomplished that. I coded this fast. I saved the company this much money, so you have the past tense of an action verb. I don't want you to think about past tense of an action verb. I want you to think about, because when I look at your profile, I'm not as interested in what have you done in that organization as much as, What did you do there that's going to help me today, right now? Remember we're talking about what value you bring to the table, which is different than what value you brought to that other table. If you do tell me what you brought to that other table, that's fine as long as you can bring it back to my table today. We'll go over the specific formulas after we've critiqued some other profiles. I just wanted to show you really quickly that first, if you don't have your settings set up properly or your network isn't big enough and the two kind of go hand-in-hand, then all the work that we're talking about here might be for naught. In other words, let's say that Alex watches this course and he enhances his profile, works on his summary, experience, and all those other things, but he keeps his profile locked down so that only people in his network can see what he has. You can see here that I'm a third-degree contact, but I can't see anything below the fold. So make sure you go into your settings and open it up so that whatever you put there, other people can see. LinkedIn is not your private bank account information, or your social security number, or some other identifying information like that. LinkedIn is stuff that says, Hey here's who I am. Here's what I bring to the table. Should we have a conversation? That's the type of communication that we need to open up to the public. The other thing that I wanted to show, on Allen's profile is that his summary does not come up right below this above the fold section because he has an article. So this is an article that basically pushed down his summary, so just recognize that sometimes before people scroll down, they'll read maybe one, or two, or three lines of a summary, but sometimes they're going to have their summary pushed down. In this case, the Posts pushed it down automatically, but you can also go into your profile and reorder things to have other things show up higher than your summary. I just wanted you to understand that the summary is not always what people are going to see right after the below the fold area. Let's jump into the critiques. Summary Critiques This video is preparation for the next video. We're going to talk about the elements and the things to make your summary and also the experience down below, kind of like the job description in your LinkedIn profile, look really good. Before we go into the specific things I want you to do, I want to point out a few things that I really like or maybe didn't like from some profiles of Pluralsight authors. I'm going to do this very quickly, so pay attention to the specific things that I talk about. Don't worry about reading the actual profile. If there's something to read, I'll read it along with you. In this profile summary from Andrew, the thing that jumps out at me first and the most is simply there's no white space. Without going into any of the content and what it's talking about or anything else, the main thing that I want to point out is that if your profile summary looks like this, I recommend that you break it down, probably into two, three, maybe even four mini-paragraphs. This is just too much for one person to absorb in one reading, especially since a lot of what he has, and probably a lot of what you have, is highly technical. As you go through your own profile, what I want you to think about is making sure that there's a lot of white space and not having too much in one paragraph. In Kerry's profile, the thing that I wanted to point out is her personality. It really jumps out. So first, she starts off with a I joined Pluralsight's content team, so this is really telling part of her story, which I really, really like. Beyond that though, she says, I love working with, and she ends it with an exclamation mark. A little below that she says that We have remarkable technical storytellers. These are not just people that are making courses, according to Kerry. These are people who are remarkable and they're storytellers. They're also world-renowned experts who love making a difference. Can you see the personality coming out from her summary? It's almost dripping off the page. This is not the boring, typical resume lingo that some people have in their summary or throughout their profile. This is really giving me an idea of who she is and what's she's passionate about. So I ask you, when people read through your profile, are they going to see passion or are they going to see something that's boring? The thing that jumped out from Steve's profile is that he very simply has just a few lines and that's it. There's really not much more. As I mention in the next video, I want you to use as many of the 2, 000 characters that you get in a summary. However, I don't dislike what he's done here, because he gives you just a little bit and then he puts these five things right in front of you. The thing I like about this is he says, Hey here's a little bit about me. If you want to know more, here are places where you can find more. Now a lot of people don't have other places to go to, in which case, I'm going to say, Make sure your that LinkedIn profile has everything that it should have. But if you do have other places you want people to go to where they can learn more about you, whether it's a YouTube channel or a blog or something like that, I encourage you to send people to those other pages. In Cory's profile summary, I love what he says here, I'm fortunate enough to love what I do. Now initially I looked at that and I thought, You know, I think he really should say, I love what I do, but saying I'm fortunate enough gives the message that not only does he love what he does, but he's grateful that he can do what he does. I like what he's written here. I want to jump down to the last part. He brings out a quote from Seth Godin. "If it's work, we try to do less. If it's art, we try to do more, " and down here at the bottom, he finishes with the idea that he started up here, he loves doing software. It's his art and he tries to do more. This is somebody who loves what he does. He's not stuck in some rut and he's unhappy about going to work every day. This is somebody who's going to add positively to any culture that he infuses himself into. Here's what jumps out at me from Don's summary. First, I don't really love the first part. Don has years of IT experience. I don't think that's very strong, but he's leading with that message. The stronger thing is right here. He is one of the world's leading experts on and then whatever it is he's an expert on. If Don were my client, I would say, Don, take this out. It really doesn't matter, because everything below that is going to speak to your years of IT experience, and really, the brand that you want to get across is not that you have years of experience. The brand that you want to get across is that you're an expert. It's not years of experience. It's expertise. Now let's take that one step further and instead of saying that he's one of the world's leading experts in whatever technology, what if we say, he's known as one of the world's leading experts or he's regarded as one of the world's leading experts? Like I said, the other stuff here in his profile are going to talk about the breadth and/or the depth of his expertise, 40 books, top-rated, in-demand conference speaker, etc., etc. With all of these things here, I don't think that he needs to say that he has years of IT experience and he definitely shouldn't lead with that. The thing I love about Chander's summary that really jumped out was his value proposition right here, Proven track record of saving millions of dollars to customers. Now I want to learn more about that. This right here shows that Chander is not the typical IT guy that doesn't like to communicate with others and just let me do my job and let me go home. This is somebody who's really interested in the bottom line, saving millions of dollars, working with customers, and it actually ties in up here with his professional headline. In fact, this first line right here supports what his main claim is that he's making up here. The other thing that jumps out and I haven't seen this yet in any of the profiles that we've gone over is that Chander makes it really easy to communicate with him. We're going to get to this concept in a little bit, but note how he puts his email address there. I love the idea that if you want people to communicate with you, make it easy for them to communicate with you. Why not put your email address in the summary? Note that he puts it, not at the bottom, but right there at the top. Kunal has some work to do on his summary, and after watching the profile videos, I think he's going to have a much better summary, but there's something on his profile that he did that I want to point out. I see this a lot and it's okay. It's okay language, but it's not very strong language, and I would like to shift from okay to very strong, so here's what he's saying, I wish to work on core IT infrastructure technologies. This is almost like an objective statement in a resume or a CD. This is saying what I want to do. What I really would like to see on this summary instead of what I want to do is something else, which would be, I am an expert in this. I am an expert at this. I bring this to a company. Instead of saying what you want to do, tell me what you do. Now if you're in a current job search and you can't say what you do, let me just remind you that even if you don't have a title, even if you're unemployed, you still have expertise, right? That's what I want to see here. I want this summary to be a tool where you can share what your brand is instead of just saying what you want to do or what you have done in the past. The thing that jumped out at me from Jesse's profile is the very first line. You know what? Don't contact me. I have no interest in looking for another job. I'm happily employed. I'm not looking for a new position. I know a lot of IT people complain that when they do stuff on LinkedIn, recruiters call them up or even if they don't do anything on LinkedIn but they've worked on their profile a little bit, they get a lot of calls from recruiters, and for a lot of people, that's highly annoying. If that's your case, let me invite you to think about using your profile as a branding tool, as a marketing tool for you, and it's okay to say somewhere, even at the very top of your summary that you're happily employed and you're not really interested in calls from recruiters. Here's the thing that jumps out at me from Eric's profile summary. So he has some normal stuff and this is kind of what I would expect to see. The last thing he says though is, Let's connect. Actually right before that he says, I'm always happy to help if I can, so he's kind of warming you up to the idea that he's open to the connecting or communicating and then he says, Let's connect. So what I want to do is immediately reach out to him. I like to reach out to people via email or a phone call. Connecting on LinkedIn I think is a little impersonal and it's not exactly what I want to do to establish or nurture a relationship. What I would ask Eric to do here is say, Let's connect and then tell me how we can connect. Now, of course, I can come up here and Click the connect button, but that's not what I'm after. So let's just scroll down really quickly to where you have the contact information, and it would be right around here, so we have education and then additional info, and interests, and there's no contact information. So when he says, Let's connect, he's really leaving it open just to connect on LinkedIn. I'm not saying that connecting on LinkedIn is a bad thing, but in my mind, it's just the first step. Even if I do invite him to connect and he accepts the invitation, I really want to go to the next level and not stay at that very superficial level where you really have no relationship. The point is, put your contact info in here and make it really easy for them to have a real connection with you. The last thing I want to show is from Patrick's profile, and down here below, you can see in his specials and technology proficiencies, he has a list of things and he's separated them with this little icon. Now this is something you probably don't have on your keyboard. It's typically going to be an as key character. What I like about this is it breaks up a lot of information from becoming one big blob. Imagine if he had commas instead of this big circle. It would look more like this. The problem is when you're listing a whole bunch of things, it's really hard to read through four, or five, or six, or more lines separated by commas, so I really like how he's breaking it out with something that kind of jumps out. It's an obvious separator. To put this into your own profile, all you do is go to somebody else's profile, find the icon that you like, copy it, and then go back to your profile, and you can paste it in when you're editing your profile. I've actually been collecting these, so if you come over to my profile and scroll down, it's almost halfway down, see the little slider bar here, down at the bottom of the LinkedIn job that I have in here, you can see that I have a whole bunch of these. I'm not suggesting that you use all of them or even many of them. You don't have to have a whole bunch of different ones, but I really do like the idea of using some of these. For example, for your email, maybe put that little email icon. My only suggestion is to not overdo it. I've seen some profiles that have way too many icons and it really just looks like a mess. The idea is to use these to enhance what your message is and make it easier to read, not to make it look like it's an art project and actually take away from what your branding message is. Mini-stories and the Formula Having gone through those profile summaries, I think you have a really good idea of some cool things that maybe you want to do in your profile. Let me suggest a really cool way that I thought of to help you present your things in a different way than what I normally see. Normally what I'll see is something like, I am, and then you have a bunch of claims. I'm punctual. I'm analytical. I'm thoughtful. I'm a team player, etc., etc. Those become very cliché, usually in the way that they're presented, just as a list. Here's a different way to do it in three different parts. Let's start with the middle part, which is going to be the claim. For example, I am analytical, precise, fast, expert, whatever your claim is. Before we say the claim, let's introduce the claim. Now what a lot of people say is, I am. I am an expert in… Well there's a different way to introduce what this claim is. For example, you can say, People say that I am…, I'm known as…, colleagues regard me as…, or a variation of any of those. Basically, we're letting other people say that we are whatever the claim is. It's a very slight play on words, but it has a powerful impact. So now, we have, Colleagues regard me as an expert in this field. Doesn't that sound much different than, I am an expert in this field? Let's go to the third part, which is the substantiation. So we're going to say, Colleagues regard me as an expert in this field. For example…, and now instead of just saying that we're an expert or that colleagues say we're an expert, we're going to back it up with something. The substantiation has three parts. The first part is stating a problem; the second part is the action or what I did to fix the problem; and the third part is the result. You've probably heard of this before as a problem-action-result statement or PAR statement. Sometimes they're called OR, CAR, STAR, however you want to put it into a acronym. I don't care, but the idea is we're taking what your claim is and we're putting some teeth behind it. Let's see what this might look like. First, here's a branding statement that's not very strong, I am a hard worker, highly knowledgeable with current technologies, and a team leader. Okay so now I'm claiming three different things, but I'm not putting any teeth or experience behind that. I am precise, there's a fourth thing, and have been a top producing programmer for the last 10 years. My code always gets accolades from QA. So the only thing in there that I think is substantiating and putting teeth and pulling away from the cliché is that, My code gets accolades from QA. Can you see how weak this is? Basically, it's just me saying a bunch of nice things about me. Let's change this to something else. Now we're going to read through this, but I want to do it piece by piece. Let's start in the middle with the claim--I am a hard worker. However, instead of saying I am, I'm going to let somebody else say that about me, so the introduction is, People I work with know me as… Isn't that stronger than saying that I am a hard worker? So now, I have the introduction, letting other people say it about me. People I work with know me as a hard worker. For example…, and now we're going to substantiate and put teeth behind what this claim is. Remember, this claim is really a sub-claim that supports what we have in the professional headline. So let's go into this. For example, a project I managed, and so this is the problem statement. A project I managed was nearing the deadline, but for reasons outside of our control, we were at least two months behind. Okay anybody who reads this is going to be able to sympathize or empathize with this problem. This could be scary. People lose their jobs over this. People lose customers over this. What did you do? Here's the action. I was able to bring our team together, get additional resources, and we were able to finish the fully tested final product two days before it was due. That's what we did. Then we go into the results--This helped our sales team close a bigger deal with the client, which I now manage. Isn't that a much stronger statement than simply saying, I'm a hard worker? It's even much stronger than saying, People I work with know me as a hard worker. Giving that story an example of how hard of a worker I am or whatever the claim is that you're making, really brings this claim to life. I like to see five to seven of these three-part mini-stories in your summary and in every experience section that you have on your profile. In addition, you can pull key statements out of the recommendations that people have given you. We're going to go more in depth on that in the recommendations module. Adding Rich Media Let's talk about how easy it is to get rich media into your LinkedIn profile. Now the places where you can currently put rich media include the summary, so you can see here that I have a narrative and then I have three things. This is a PowerPoint. This is an image, which will take you to the website for this book, and this is a YouTube video. You can also put rich media under each of the experience areas. Now I don't know if you have a picture to go to another website or YouTube video, but everybody here should be able to upload a PowerPoint. I love the idea of putting a PowerPoint that summarizes what you have in your summary, but you do it differently. The reason why I would do this is because sometimes some people aren't going to want to read through 2, 000 characters. I hope that you write yours well enough that it's interesting and intriguing, but some people are just going to want to click through something that's a little more visual. That's where the PowerPoint comes in handy. Let me invite you to create your own PowerPoint. There are courses on Pluralsight to help you come up with a really good PowerPoint presentation. I don't want to go into that here, but I invite you to have something that's rich media-related, such as a PowerPoint to complement all the narrative that you have in your LinkedIn profile. How do you do that? Well in your summary or your experience area, if you see this icon, it's kind of like a box with a plus on the bottom right corner, Click on it and it'll open the dialogue where you can add your rich media. I Click on Upload file to add an image. Down below I put the title. Now the title is what's going to show below the image of whatever rich media you put there. So here you can see, I Just Got Fired! What next? is the title of this image. It's not the file name, but it's the title that I want to show below this thumbnail. So in this title, I'm going to put something short that makes sense. For example, I'll put Pluralsight Author, which will make sense of this picture right here. The description is what people are going to see if they click on the image. So here, I'll put more information about what this image is about. So here's what I put. I'm not putting a lot of information here because the page that pops up is not very big. "I have developed over a dozen courses for Pluralsight, the leading online training company that is helping propel careers around the world. My focus is on soft skills and career management. Check out my courses at…" So this is a nice summary that helps make sense of what that image was. I'll Click on Save and now I have that image right here. You can kind of go wild with all this rich media. I love to see it though, because it's a really nice complement to the written narrative that you put in and it helps break up the monotony of your LinkedIn profile. Notice if I go to the very top of my profile, I have a lot of text. These things don't show up when people are seeing my profile. Here's more text. Finally, I get some color. Down here more text and text and text and text, and here's some more color. So like I said, it's a great way to break up your profile and throw some nice visual into your profile to make it not be so much text. The other thing that I wanted to show you on the rich media is that you can upload things from other websites. To get an idea of that, Click on Supported Providers. This'll bring you to a window that will help you see a list of the supported content providers. There are a lot of them. Before I click on that, let's scroll down just a little bit and open this up to see the supported file formats. You can see there are a lot of different types of presentations, documents, and images that I can upload. We'll go back to see the list of the supported content providers, which takes us to this website. If I scroll down, I'm going to Click on the Videos tag, and this will show me all of the websites where I can get a link from and bring it into my LinkedIn profile. I'm very cautious about the idea of what you want to bring into your LinkedIn profile. Let me invite you to make sure that whatever you put on your profile is aligned with your brand messaging. You can put things from the news or some of these other video places, but the question is, Does this enhance and support what my brand messaging is? If it's not, don't put it on your profile. Wrap-up In this module, we talked about the summary and experience section of your LinkedIn profile. When we went through the critiques, I hope you got an idea of what was an okay profile and what was an awesome profile and got some ideas on how you can make your profile better or more awesome. We talked about the idea and the power of the mini-story and the three different parts of the mini-story. That is, what your claim is, which is really going to be a sub-claim or a supporting class of your professional headline. That's the middle of the three parts. The first part before the sub-claim is how you present it. I am awesome, or I am known as being awesome, or my colleagues say that I'm awesome, right? So how do you present what your claim is? And then the last part of the mini-story is to substantiate it. So you have the claim being awesome, how you present it is, how people say that I'm awesome, and then give an example. People say that I am awesome. For example, one time I was working on a project… These mini-stories are so powerful. Not only will you use them here on your LinkedIn profile, but you can use them in networking conversations, talking with peers and colleagues, in interviews. You can even put them on other websites. Anywhere where you want to help shape how others perceive you. In other words, what your personal brand is, you can use these mini-stories. Now remember, you can only have about five to seven mini-stories in the summary and each of the experience areas, but that doesn't mean you can't brainstorm all of the mini-stories from your career. We talked about the idea of letting other people say how awesome you are. If in your summary and experience areas you're talking about how great you are, even if you substantiate it, it will give a certain message. But if you say something like, Other people say this about me, this is how I'm known in the industry, I'm usually introduced as…, there's easily a dozen different ways to say that message, but the point is, let other people say how awesome you are instead of you saying how awesome you are. We also talked about how and why to add rich media. If you haven't done it yet, make a short presentation, even if it's just a summary of five to seven of your mini-stories and put that on your LinkedIn profile. In the next module, we're going to talk about the skills and recommendations. Skills and Recommendations Introduction In this module, we're going to talk about the skills and recommendations. People still get skills and recommendations mixed up. They really are two different things. Skills are the words or phrases that you would endorse, that is, click on somebody and say yes, this person knows about communication or software. Recommendations is typically going to be a paragraph or two of something that somebody has written about you. We'll talk about the skills and endorsement section and then we're going to spend time on recommendations. How do you give effective recommendations and how do you ask for good recommendations? We'll also talk about what to do with the recommendations that you get. Let's get started. The Skills and Endorsements Section Let's talk about the skills and endorsements section. Now in general, I'm going to ignore the skills and endorsements section. I don't like what LinkedIn has done there and I don't think it adds very much value. I've talked to a number of people, including recruiters, who say, We see right through what LinkedIn's doing with the skills and recommendations and it doesn't mean anything to us. However, LinkedIn really likes it and I think this is going to be around for a long time. So I'm going to use three different profiles to show three different things with skills and endorsements. First, we'll come to a profile of somebody who I've not a first-degree connection with. So Allen's a second-degree connection. I'll scroll down to the skills and endorsements section, which he left at the default place, which is way down toward the bottom, and you can see that from his page, I can see two things. One, I can see the skills that he has listed in the order that he has them listed. By default, it shows up in the order of number of endorsements, and two, I can see how many endorsements he has. That's really all. If I want, I can Click on Agile Methodologies and I'll see search results for people who have Agile Methodologies as a skill. I can also Click here to see who are the people who have endorsed this person as having this particular skill. Let's jump over to Ben's profile. Sometimes when I come to a first-degree contact, I'll get a big box up here that says, Does Ben have any of these skills? I'm not seeing it this time. Let's scroll all the way down to his endorsement section and now I can see something new, which is next to the skill, a plus sign. If I mouse over it, it says, Endorse. So here's where I can come in and say, Yup, he has that. Yeah, he has that, yup, sure, uh hum. He has all these things. So basically, all I'm doing is I'm clicking on those and I'm saying that yes, he indeed has that. The problem with this is that anybody can do it. In other words, I might not be an expert on virtualization or Citrix or cloud computing, so who am I to actually say that I can endorse Ben as having any of these particular skills? You can see how easy it would be to actually gain the skills and endorsements section. Those are the things that you can do on somebody else's profile, whether you're connected to them or not. Let's come over to my profile and see what LinkedIn shows me. At the top, it shows what some of the new skills and expertise are that people have endorsed me as. This is really interesting because people endorse me, for example, for resume writing. I don't write resumes. I actually don't even like to read resumes. If somebody sends me a resume and says, Will you review this for me, I typically decline. There are other skills that people will just make up and add to your own list of skills. You don't have to accept those. You can see here that you can add some to your profile, but you can only have right now up to 50 skills on your profile. Let's scroll down to my skills section and we can do different things. You can see here that I can add skills. I can reorder the skills section, so if I really like this, I can put it up towards the top or I can move it down towards the bottom if I don't like it. When I mouse over any of these, I see this little pencil icon. I Click on it, and this allows me to say, You know what? I don't want to play this endorsement game, so just turn it off or I can leave all these defaults checked. I honestly don't do anything with this. I can add more skills and perhaps the most important thing that I'm going to do here is reorder. So maybe what I want to do is say, You know what? Social networking and social media are just too close, so let's take social networking and move it down and take social media and move it in that position. As I mentioned earlier, I don't really care for the skills and endorsements section, so I don't do anything here. I just kind of let it happen, but if you're concerned about what people are endorsing you for and you want certain things to show up higher than other things, this is where you do it, simply by dragging around or clicking on the x to remove that particular skill. Make sure you Click the Save at the bottom and you're all set. If you're going to dip into your relationship capital and ask anybody for a favor, I would much rather you ask them for a written recommendation than for a few clicks in your skills and endorsement section. This will hold true until we definitively know that having endorsements really do have an impact on the search engine results. Until then, I would suggest maybe you come in and reorder some of your skills, but otherwise, focus your time on other parts of LinkedIn. Asking for Recommendations I like the idea of asking people for recommendations for two reasons. One is it beefs up your LinkedIn profile. It adds more content and even content that you don't have to add. Two, it gives you more material that you can use in other places, for example, up above in your summary, or in the experience section, or on other websites. The LinkedIn recommendation has more credibility than if you were to have written it on your own. Here's how I suggest you ask for a LinkedIn recommendation. Certainly, you can do it on the phone or in person. Typically, I would recommend that do it on email because it allows people to decide whether they want to do it or not without being put on the spot. Here's what a request for a recommendation would look for. I'm going to show you certain elements in the way that I've written it. One thing I would try to do is take this very same email and condense it, make it smaller and more concise. The first thing we'll do is put in a good subject. We want to make sure that if they see this email on their phone or just the subject line on their computer, that they have a good idea of what we're looking for. So I put in LinkedIn Recommendation with a question mark. You can put in something else, but make sure that if they were to just browse at the subject, they'd get an idea of what you're after. By the way, the ideas that I talk about in writing this email come from the Pluralsight course Effective Email Communication. To start this email, I'll say, Hi John, I'm working on my LinkedIn Profile and my brand within the industry. I'm not in transition. You can explain it more than that if you want to, but don't feel like you need to. You don't even have to put in, I'm not in transition, but I put it there for the people who are worried about what their friends and connections might think. Remember, people who give you recommendations have to first-degree contacts. So you can ask people who aren't first-degree contacts, but in order for them to give you a recommendation, you have to connect with them. In the next part of the email I say, I was thinking of you, since we worked together on a few projects a few years ago. So John might not really remember who I am or that we worked together, but this reminds him. Because you have worked with me, and I might even say what projects those were, I was wondering if you would feel comfortable writing a recommendation for me on LinkedIn. It's kind of like a letter of recommendation, but it's shorter. I'm making it very clear towards the top of the email what my objective is. In the next section I say, I'm focusing on certain professional attributes, just so John understands that I'm not looking a random recommendation or just whatever's off the top of his head, I want the recommendation to focus on certain things. I continue, I don't want this to be a hard project for you, so feel free to use any of the language in the example below. I want to make this easy for John to do and I want to make sure that he says the right things, so I give him an example that he can work with. I continue, If you have any questions, please let me know. If you want me to write you a recommendation, just let me know what to focus on. While I'm asking him for something, I'm letting him know that I'm more than happy to reciprocate. Whether he writes one or not for me, I'm more than happy to write one for him. In the next line I say, Here's an example…feel free to edit this however you want. Now let's read this example. I wrote this in John's voice. He can edit this however he wants to. I worked with Jason on some key projects over the course of two years. I found Jason to be, and now I say what the characteristics are that I want him to bring out, highly analytical and a very strategic thinker. He was always effective when given presentations and updates to senior management, especially when there were a lot of technical concepts he had to explain. Jason was pleasant to work with and his optimism carried us through various challenges. Now instead of having a blank slate to work from and wondering what I want out of a recommendation, John can look through this and see that I want him to talk about my analytical skills, my strategic thinking, my ability to give presentations, even presentations to senior management. I have the ability to communicate highly technical concepts and that I'm pleasant to work with and I'm optimistic. Now I'm not saying that all of those things apply to me, but you can see in this example that I've given John a lot to work with. He can pick and choose any of those characteristics and drill down on them. The only thing that I'm not doing here is giving him step-by-step instructions on how to do a recommendation. We cover that in the next video, so you can know exactly how to do it, but I'm going to assume that John will be able to figure it out or that he'll simply Google it. Don't you think this is a great way to ask somebody for a recommendation? Instead of saying, Hey will you say a bunch of great things about me, you're actually helping them understand what great things you want to be said about you. Giving Awesome Recommendations Now that you know how to ask for a recommendation effectively, let's give a recommendation. You can only give a recommendation to a first-degree contact, so I'm coming to my primary contact at Pluralsight who happens to be a first-degree contact on LinkedIn. When I come to her profile, I see some options. I can send her a message or I can endorse her. If I mouse over the arrow, I'll see some options including give a recommendation. Remember, endorsements are way different than recommendations and what I'm after here is something that I think is going to be more impactful than a simple endorsement. I'll Click on Endorse and the first thing I can do is to write my recommendation. Below that I can see that I can choose what my relationship is with her and this is typically going to be something like, I worked with Beth in this capacity when we were both at these different organizations. We'll get to that in a little bit. So there are three levels of recommendations. I call them the MySpace recommendation, the Facebook recommendation, and the LinkedIn recommendation. The LinkedIn recommendation is going to be something, as we talked about earlier, very professional. It's going to be very specific about certain attributes or characteristics, usually professional attributes and characteristics. On the far extreme is what I call the MySpace recommendation. This would be something like, Dude, it was so cool hanging out with Beth. I totally want to do that again. That's really just meaningless dribble. Even if it's true, it doesn't help her in any way professionally. Somewhere in the middle is what I would call the Facebook recommendation. It's not as casual as the MySpace recommendation, but it's not as specific as the LinkedIn recommendation. Here's an example of what a Facebook recommendation might look like. Beth is really cool, I think. We chat a lot because of the projects we work on together. If you ever have a chance to hire her, you should. Now this really is better than the example that I gave earlier, but it's still not telling anybody anything about her professional capabilities. She's really cool. Well that doesn't necessarily make me want to hire her. We work on projects together and we chat a lot. Okay so we chat a lot. Is it good chat? Is it productive? If you ever have a chance to hire her, you should. This is a very weak endorsement, because I'm not putting anything behind that endorsement. I wouldn't be surprised to see something like that on Facebook and honestly, it wouldn't be out of place on Facebook, but on a LinkedIn recommendation, we can do much better. Let's replace that one with something else. This one says, I've worked with Beth for over a year. So that kind of sets up our relationship and helps you understand that I didn't just meet her. I've actually been working with her for quite a while. She has been my editor for almost a dozen courses for Pluralsight. That means we've worked together closely on a number of projects. Beth is cheerful, patient, and very helpful. Now I'm talking about characteristics that others would want to know about her. She's cheerful. She's fun to work with. She's patient. She probably has good customer service skills and she's very helpful. That tells me that she's a lot more than patient and a smile. She actually has answers. Let's continue. She usually has the right answers to my questions, but if she doesn't, she quickly finds the right answers. So she's knowledgeable and she's resourceful. I go on to say, Working with her is fun because I feel like we're on a team together with the same purpose of delivering great content with high quality to Pluralsight customers. Can you see how this recommendation reinforces what her personal brand is? Instead of saying that she's really cool, that we chat a lot, that she's fun, that you should hire her, this actually is telling you things about Beth. She's cheerful, and patient, and helpful, and knowledgeable, and resourceful, and indeed, she is fun to work with. Those are characteristics that I'm looking for when I want to hire somebody. When you give recommendations, make sure that you mention a number of professional and personal characteristics that you think that person would want you to talk about. If you don't know what those are, there's nothing wrong with asking them, Hey Beth, I'm getting ready to write you a recommendation on LinkedIn. Is there anything that you want me to mention in particular? As a bonus, if you give somebody a recommendation without them expecting it, you will strengthen your relationship with them. This is a great networking tactic. Leveraging Received Recommendations One of the problems with recommendations is that after reading through a bunch of them, they all seem to say the same thing. You're so awesome. You do great stuff. You saved the world. You're great to work with. All of that just becomes very cliché. Another problem is that a lot of the stuff that's in a recommendation is not necessarily the best stuff to say about you. Some of it is what I would consider fluff. However, I want you to use the recommendations. There is some great stuff in there. It's what I call the gold vein or the very special phrase or words that people say or continually say about you that reinforces what your brand messaging is. Let me give you an example. In this recommendation for my profile it says, "Jason has provided me and my business acquaintances with some incredible insights into the potential of LinkedIn and its integration with our career goals. I would recommend his books to anyone looking to become savvy in the new world of personal career strategies and those who are looking to launch a new career path. " So there's some great stuff here and I'm grateful that the person took the time to write this. However, let's dig in and find the really good stuff that I'm going to pull out and put somewhere else. Let's ignore all the rest and say that the gold vein is that I provide incredible insights into the potential of LinkedIn. This is what it would look like somewhere else. I could say anywhere else that people who get my LinkedIn profile review package tend to say I give them "incredible insights into the potential of LinkedIn. " Now I took the liberty of how fixing the way that they spelled LinkedIn, but I left the rest of it in their own words and put that in quotes. Here's another example. "I believe that networking is about paying it forward. " Once again I'm grateful that this person wrote this recommendation. However, the first line has nothing to do with me. He's setting up what he wants to say about me, but the first line is his own personal belief. The second thing, "Jason just completed three full days of presentations to nine job groups in Minneapolis…He helped hundreds of individuals from the hourly worker to the CEO, " etc., etc., so basically, he's saying what I did. So the first thing is, here's what I believe. The second thing is here's what Jason did. So far, there's not really anything amazing in there that I want to pull out and have that reinforced as part of my brand, except maybe that I can do a lot of presentations in three days. The last line says, "Jason definitely paid it forward, " which goes back to his initial statement, "and is a must see speaker and must read author! " Now we're getting somewhere. I'm going to take out "is a must see speaker" and this is what it's going to look like in a statement that I put up above in LinkedIn or on another website. People who hear me speak tend to agree, right, because he already said that and other people have agreed, that I am a "must see speaker, " and then I pulled out funny and poised from another recommendation, so I put who is "funny and poised. Can you see how we're taking the really good stuff from recommendations and creating our own brand messaging statements and including in quotes what other people are saying. This is how we can leverage our recommendations. If I were to put this entire recommendation in front of somebody, that's really too much to read and it doesn't focus on the message that I want to focus on. Here I'm taking it out, making it much smaller, and focusing just on the main thing I want to focus on. Where do we use these statements? We can use them in the summary and experience on our LinkedIn profile. We can use them in our email signature. We can use them on an About. me page or another blog or website. We can use them on cover letters and resumes. We can use them verbally when we're talking with other people in an interview or in a network setting. I invite you to go through your recommendations with a highlighter and pull out the really good stuff and start to incorporate those things in your personal branding statements. Wrap-up In this module, we talked about the skills and recommendations and what the differences are between the two and really what you're after to enhance your LinkedIn profile and to show up higher in the search engine results. We talked about skills being the list of words or phrases and the endorsements, which is how many times somebody clicked on the plus, saying that you actually have that skill, which are more like free-form testimonials, things that people write about you. These are going to be maybe one to two paragraphs long. Recommendations tend to carry weight because you can't put recommendations up about yourself. In order to have a real recommendation on your LinkedIn profile, somebody else has to write it in their profile and then submit it to you, then you have the option to show it or not show it. I gave you an idea of how you can ask for recommendations and also how you can give really solid recommendations. We also talked about what to do with the recommendations that you've been given. There's actually a lot of great information in recommendations. They tend to all read the same way after a while if you were to have to read 10 or 20 recommendations all in one sitting. They all are very flowery, and nice, and complimentary, but you can go into the recommendation, pull out the strongest parts of the recommendation, and then use those in your LinkedIn profile and in other places. In the next section, we're going to talk about other things that you can do on your LinkedIn profile and with your LinkedIn profile strategy to have more success. LinkedIn Profile: Kitchen Sink Introduction By this point, you have a really solid idea of how to make a strong LinkedIn profile. There are a number of other things we can do with our profile to enhance what we share with others. That's what we're going to cover in this module. Account Settings Let's talk briefly about a couple of settings that you're going to want to know about. You find your settings by going to the top-right icon, which is usually a picture of your face or whatever your image is, and then Click on Privacy and Settings. I recently did this, so it didn't make me log in again, but typically, it will make you log in before you can come in and change any of these settings. There are two settings that I want you to know about. They're under this section right here. See how these are four different tabs. We're on the Profile tab and the first one says, Turn on or off your activity broadcasts. Basically, what this does is when you make changes in your profile, it will broadcast those changes out to your first-degree contacts. A lot of people are concerned, rightly so, that if they were to change a lot of things in their profile, they would send a lot of messages to their contacts. What I recommend is that if you're going to work on your profile, come in here, take this off, Click on Save changes, and then make most of the changes in your profile. The last thing I would change though is your current title. So what I would do is come back into here, Click this Checkbox to turn it on, Click Save changes, and then go update my title. That way, people aren't going to get notifications of all of the changes that I've made on my profile, but they will get a notification of the most recent change, which would be the title change. The other setting that I want you to turn off is Select who can see your activity feed. The activity feed would show below the above the fold area and above the summary. I don't like the activity feed. The reason why is because if you do anything on LinkedIn, including making a comment on a group discussion or connect with somebody, that puts that activity feed front and center, even above your summary. I don't like how certain things can trigger data in that box and take away from my branding message. I think now you can actually drag the activity feed down and bury towards the bottom of your profile, but what I suggest you do is come into your settings, Click select on the Who can see your activity feed, and then change this from Everyone or Your network to Only you. That way, you're essentially taking it off of your profile. Those are the two main things that I want everybody to do. Who Has Viewed Your Profile I'm often asked about this section on LinkedIn, Who's Viewed Your Profile. Frankly, I don't like this feature. The reason why is because I think that some people who are desperate to have their profile viewed and think that other people care about what they saw, are being misled. Just because somebody clicked on your profile doesn't mean that they read it, or that they liked it, or that they want to do business with you. It simply means that somebody clicked on your profile. However, as we work on optimizing our profile, this could actually become a little metric to help us understand if the changes that we're making are good changes. In other words, if I have eight people who viewed my profile in the past day, and then I make a bunch of changes, and I have 24 people view my profile, I could see that the changes that I made have probably bumped me up in the search results. If I Click on this, it'll show me who has seen my profile with some exceptions. You see, what I've done is I've made it so that my own profile doesn't show up when I go to your page. That means I'm an anonymous viewer and you can't figure out that I saw your profile. I don't want to get anybody's hopes up by visiting their profile page. LinkedIn doesn't like that very much. What they're saying is, If you're not going to let other people see who you are, then we're not going to let you see who they are. Now I could change that by changing my settings, and then I'll be able to see some of the information about who's viewed my profile. I can also upgrade, which is also going to show me more information about who's viewed my profile, but people can still stay anonymous. I like the idea of seeing how many people have seen my profile in a certain period of time, but I'm not convinced that it's in everybody's best interest to see who viewed their profile. I remember I was at a conference with a bit of recruiters and the recruiters were complaining that job seekers would get excited when they saw their profile, but that didn't indicate, like I said earlier, that the recruiter, number one, read their profile, and number two, even liked their profile. The recruiters felt like it was giving bad information to the job seekers and I tend to agree. Reordering Jobs When you have multiple job positions at the same time, sometimes they can get out of order. You can see here that recently I started teaching a video game and entrepreneur class. I've only been doing this for a few months, whereas my main day job is JibberJobber. This is what I want people to know about and to go first. In order to change that, we would actually have to come in and change the dates and actually lie. The way I would correct that is down here in the summary, I would say something like, I haven't been doing this for as long as it says in here, but I wanted to have JibberJobber show up higher than this one. Now we don't have to do that. All you do is mouse over the job and on the left-hand side you see this little grey bar. I can Click and Drag which allows me to reorder. Let me grab JibberJobber and I'll move it up, and you can see it's now in the top position. That's it. In order to reorder jobs, don't come to this icon. This will move the entire experience section. Just mouse over the job, find the grey bar, and then you can drag that to reorder that particular job. Proofreading: Spelling and Grammar As we edit our profile, we're going to have a lot of opportunities to make spelling and grammar errors. If you're writing in a language that isn't your first language, the problem becomes even bigger. Let me suggest three ideas to help you have a cleaner profile. Now what they say is that with a resume or a CV, you can't have any errors. If you have one typo on a resume or CV, that's cause for some recruiters to throw the resume or CV in the garbage can. I don't necessarily like to see errors, but I think that people on LinkedIn are going to be a little more forgiving. Having said that, here are three ideas to help proofread what you put in your LinkedIn profile. The first and easiest is going to be to use your browser spell check. For example, if I do something like this, then I immediately see that it's highlighted. For me personally, this takes care of almost all of my problems. However, sometimes you need to do a different check. What I'll do is I'll copy this entire thing into Word and do a spelling and grammar check. I don't always accept everything that Word says, because sometimes I like to make up my own words or I like to say things a certain way, but at least I know that I've done through a preliminary spelling and grammar check. That's not always the right solution though, and so the third thing I would recommend to proof what you write is to read it out loud and maybe even read it backwards. I once worked with somebody who edited catalogues. This lady ran a mail-order store. People would get a catalogue in the mail and then make an order. Spelling errors in a catalogue is really unacceptable, but they always slip in. What she would do to try and prevent errors was to get a ruler and to read each line, line by line, backwards. This helped her focus on how each word was spelled and even how words sounded next to one another. I'm not suggesting that you need to spend hours and hours editing your profile, but I invite you to edit it, because I've seen too many errors, for example, when people say they have a high attention to detail and they spell attention or detail wrong. This simply distracts from the overall branding message that you want people to walk away with. Groups and the Following Section As we near the end of the LinkedIn profile, let's talk about the things that are at the very bottom of the profile. So I'm going to come in to Tim's profile and scroll all the way down until I see Groups. We talk about groups in another LinkedIn course where we're talking about more proactive strategies, but very quickly, what I want to suggest is that you are a member of almost a maximum number of groups that you can be in, which right now is 50. You can see that Tim is a member of 43 plus these seven, so he's maxed out. I don't recommend that you max out, simply because you want to save a couple of seats so that you can do some other stuff with those empty seats. We'll talk about that in the other LinkedIn course. Down below that you have Following and this would be influencers, companies, schools, and maybe some other things. I've never seen anybody do the Following section wrong. There aren't really bad influencers or companies to follow. I typically ignore what people have here. It might show me some interest that we have in common and it might help me understand a little more who they are and what their professional passions are, but don't spend any time worrying about whether you're doing Following right or wrong. Special Additions: Projects, Certifications, etc. One of the fairly recent additions to the LinkedIn profile is special sections that you can add. This used to be found over here on the right-hand side, but now you can see that as you scroll down it says, Add a section to your profile with an option to View More. Let's look at these in-depth a little bit. As I scroll through these, I see opportunities to tell more about my story, for example, Volunteering Experience, and Volunteering Opportunities, Organizations, Honors & Awards, Test Scores, Courses, Patents, Causes, Supported Organizations, Projects, Certifications, and Personal Details. I'm not sure how any of this impacts the search engine results, but it can help people understand more of who we are. Let's come over to Tim's profile and see how he's used some of these to enhance his profile. If this seems too much for you, then don't worry about it. What I really want you to focus on is a strong summary and all of the experience sections, but if we scroll down here on Tim's profile, we'll see that he has Certifications, Honors & Awards, Projects, Publications, and he's using these as a tool to help us understand who he is professionally and personally. You might consider using one of these sections, for example, Courses or Projects to list what the Pluralsight courses are that you've finished. This will show current and future employers that you're passionate about continuing education and staying up-to-speed on current technologies. Who Can See Your Profile? When you come into your profile, you might see something completely different than what everybody else sees. With that in mind, let's come to our own profile, scroll down to this blue button and Click on View profile as. Up at the top I can see that this is what my profile looks like to my Connections. I can change that to Public, which means typically people who are not logged in to LinkedIn. For example, if I send this link to somebody and say, Go check out my profile, what exactly are they going to see? Will my Connections see people similar to Jason, Ads, People Also Viewed, etc., whereas the Public might see, Is this the right Jason or did you mean one of these Jasons? If I scroll down, I can see that my summary is included for the Public. A lot of people aren't showing that. Let's go back and see how we can change what people see. To the right of the blue View profile as button, is a dropdown. When I mouse over it, I can choose Manage public profile settings. This takes me to the page where I can see my profile. On the right-hand side it says, Customize Your Public Profile, and this is where you can show or hide different things on your profile, based on whether somebody's logged in or not or whether they're connected with you or not. My advice is to have all of those checked. The reason why is because you're on the Internet. If you're worried about somebody stealing information about you, then don't put it on your profile at all. You might have the best of intentions to only share certain things with people who you're connected with and hide those things with people you're not connected with. Well what happens when one of them copies and pastes or grabs a screenshot and puts it on Facebook or on a website or on their own blog? Now what you thought you had locked down is out for the whole world to see. I recommend that you're thoughtful about what you put on LinkedIn, which isn't going to be super-private information, and then show that to everybody. Don't make them log in or connect with you before they can see what they want to see about you. Make it easy for them to learn more about you. Wrap-up We're now at the end of the LinkedIn profile optimization course. I hope this has been helpful for you to understand that you can make changes to your profile and how you can make changes which will be really impactful. In this course, we talked about whether you should be on LinkedIn or not. What is LinkedIn? Will it help you professionally? I'm convinced that if you're watching this course, then you should be on LinkedIn and you should optimize your profile. We talked about what to do at the top of the profile, that is, the above the fold area. We also talked about how to enhance your summary and your experience. This is where you're going to play with the search engine optimization idea and this is where you're really going to go into the why of optimizing your profile. Go back to the idea of the search engine optimization, and how many times we include keywords and key phrases, and where we place those, and make sure that we're writing stuff that's highly engaging. We talked about skills and recommendations, settings and preferences, and a whole bunch of other things to help you have the best profile that you can have right now. What I want you to walk away with is that this is your reactive strategy. You really only have to spend a few hours working on your LinkedIn profile. After that, you can walk away for months, maybe even years. I would come in every once in a while, maybe every six or twelve months and make some updates to the profile, but this isn't something that you're going to spend a lot of time on every week. Let's get this done right and then move on to the next project…speaking of, what is next? Well here's where I would suggest you start. Start working on your professional headline, which is your main claim, and then go into your summary and your experience area. Enhance those. Just doing those should give you a significant impact on your LinkedIn profile. If you have any questions, leave a comment on this course. We'd love to have a dialogue to help you come up with a better LinkedIn profile. Good luck! Course author Jason Alba Jason Alba is founder of JibberJobber.com, an online relationship manager for professionals to manage their career and job search. Jason is the author of I’m on LinkedIn – Now What??? and coauthor... Course info LevelBeginner Rating (261) My rating Duration1h 55m Released26 Jan 2015 Share course