Your professional summary is one of the most important parts of your LinkedIn profile. You need to be able to convey a convincing story within a very limited time frame. So why not treat your summary like the ultimate elevator pitch?
We suggest you follow these four pointers to make your summary more exciting to both read and hear:
1) Get to the point quickly
Just like when you meet someone in passing, you never now when their attention drifts, so make sure you use your time as efficiently as possible. Start out with "I closed three deals with major clients last month" rather than "I'm a really good salesman" - and don't save all the good points until the end because you may have lost your audience by then.
2) Be informative, but not boring
Being informative is important but you should also be aware that people require a certain level of entertainment in order not be distracted by more interesting things.
Start out with some solid facts about your achievements and then add a couple of interesting and unique facts about your career - something memorable that makes you stand out from the crowd.
Be precise when you mention your hard skills and do include keywords that you know are important in your industry. This ensures that you show up in relevant search results for both recruiters and potential business partners.
It also shows that you know the lingo of the business that you operate in which in many situations is an important skill.
4) Test flight
Once your summary is done, test it like a real elevator pitch by reading it out to a colleague or friend. This is a great way of sanity checking your efforts and fine-tuning your speech before it goes online.
The added bonus of treating this like an elevator pitch is that you also optimise you actual elevator pitch. A win-win situation!
C-level managers often neglect their LinkedIn profiles which is not only sending a bad signal to their employees but it may also constitute scores of missed opportunities.
If you're in top management, you should take a minute to consider if you're using LinkedIn in the best possible way. These are our top tips for you:
Be contactable but stay in control
Consider the benefits of having your email address visible on your profile. However, if you're the CEO of a large organisation you may want the opportunity to filter who contacts you directly. One trick is to create an email alias (or even a separate Gmail.com or Outlook.com account) to use with your public profile. This address can be managed by your PA or you can filter it straight to a specific folder in your email application.
Connect with like-minded people
Building af great LinkedIn network can take months or even years. Make sure you connect with people that are not only relevant to your business but also to yourself and your future career.
Great leaders should have many recommendations on LinkedIn. Don't be afraid to ask former business relations, employees and peers to write a recommendation for you.
Be a leader in your industry
As a C-level exec, you're expected to be a thought leader and steer your company in the right direction.
Remember, using LinkedIn as a blogging platform is a great way to reach a large audience with your writings. Set aside some time every weekend to write about a subject that is relevant to your business and aim to publish your posts in the evening where most other C-level execs tend to be online.
Flaunt your credentials
If you have a relevant exam or qualification, consider adding the title to your name on LinkedIn. That little MBA, MSc or PhD will underline your credibility with peers within your profession. Also, this will make you even more findable for executive recruiters.
LinkedIn is not the place to show off the catch from your latest fishing trip - that stuff belongs on Facebook. You probably already have a professional-looking photo from your company's website or intranet, so use that instead. Just make sure that the resolution is high enough and the image doesn't look pixelated.
You can easily find hundreds of articles online with tips for creating better LinkedIn content. But here, our experts at MSI have put their collective minds together and have come up with their six best tips for posting content on your LinkedIn company page.
1) Be consistent
Post content on LinkedIn consistently, say, twice a week to keep your company or product present in the minds of your audience.
2) Harvest ideas within your organisation
Consistency without quality is worthless, so make sure you maximise your possibilities of delivering content on a regular basis. For instance, you could set up a list on your company intranet and ask your colleagues to contribute with ideas or even full posts.
3) Use your time effectively
Social media is a time hog and if managing your company LinkedIn (and other SoMe) account isn't your full-time job, you'll benefit from timeboxing your efforts throughout the week. You could set aside two hours 2-3 times a week and start building a routine around your SoMe activities.
4) Split test
Once you get into the habit of posting consistently, you'll get the feel of your audience. Split testing is a great way of gauging which messages work better and you can do something similar on your LinkedIn company page. Use the "Target Audiece" feature when you post to target specific segments of your followers - but remember, you need a good deal more than 300 followers to get any practical use out of this.
5) Analyse and review
Always track back and check how much attention your previous posts garnered in order to better be able to shape future content on your LinkedIn company page. The analytics page gives pretty nuanced insights into the engagement level of your posts.
Don't be afraid to recap and summarise your content in "best of" posts once in while - but don't overdo it. New followers will appreciate to be brought up to speed but make sure you don't alienate your core followers with too much regurgitated content.
Creating great, shareable content for social media is hard: How can you stand out from the crowd without dumbing down your brand with clickbait and cliches?
If you're playing the long game, there's no doubt that quality content is the way forward. Well-written, researched articles will emphasise the professionalism of your company.
These tips will get you on the right track for creating quality, shareable content for LinkedIn:
1) Rich media
By adding an image - almost any image - your post will stand out in the stream of updates in your followers' feeds. However, picking the right image can be tricky. At the very least, the image shouldn't give off a vibe that contradicts the overall message of your post. At best, it should be a valuable addition to your story - or even capable of conveying a message on its own.
You may even consider adding a headline to the image itself (using Photoshop, for instance) as this will make your post even more attention-grabbing in the feed.
2) Avoid insulting the intelligence of your audience
Don't be tempted by the short-term gains provided by clickbaity headlines. You may see a spike in engagement on a post with alluring headlines with little or no payoff in the article itself. But it isn't worth it in the long run as your followers will abandon you if you keep wasting their time.
There are other ways of making interesting headlines but it does take a bit of effort.
3) Ask for engagement
Don't be shy - ask your readers for engagement. But don't merely ask for shares or likes - instead you could ask a question which your readers can answer in the comments section.
This way, your post will get traction among your readers' followers and it may even heighten the quality of your post if a sound discussion takes place in the comments.
4) Use external content and get Google juice
All the attention you get from your followers on LinkedIn can also be put to good use outside the social media realm.
If your posts are long-form or more traditional blog post format, you should consider posting them on your website and use LinkedIn to notify your followers, whenever a new post goes live.
At MSI, we create a new LinkedIn Tip of the Week blog post every week. In a year, this enriches our website with more than fifty LinkedIn-focused articles which in turn gives us a higher rank in Google's search results regarding LinkedIn. We use our newsletter, LinkedIn and Facebook as ways of generating traffic to our blog posts.
You can tailor your posts on the different SoMe channels to suit the intended audience and you can even post your updates at certain times (e.g. after working hours) when your readers are most active.
It may take some time to find the perfect formula but after a while you will get the feel of what your audience prefers and this will make your job a lot easier.
3) Connect with people
Naturally, connecting with “the right people” will not change your personality but it does give the hiring manager a chance to discover that you are connected to some of of your future colleagues - or someone else in the hiring manager's network. If you’re looking into applying for a specific job, it may be a good idea to check if you know someone who works at the company and make sure that you are connected. The hiring manager will be able to read about your professional skills on your profile and by reaching out to shared connections, he or she can ask for a more personal account of you as a person.
4) Ask for recommendations
An endorsement of your professional skills from an ex-colleague, a classmate or a business partner usually also contains some sort of personal note, like "I really enjoyed working with John, he always had a smile on his face and kept the spirits high in the office”. Reading this as a statement from one of your connections is more trustworthy than if you include a similar description of yourself in your profile. Similarly, writing “I am a good teacher” carries much less weight than if one of your connections publicly states “Christy taught me to understand the complexity of quantum physics in just two weeks!”
5) Talk about yourself in the first person
A lot of people write their summary in the third person. The information presented may be exactly the same as if you write it in the first person but a third person description of yourself may seem impersonal and distanced from whom you are as a person. Also, it may seem more like an objective and general evaluation of your professional and personal traits - and this can be a good thing. But when it comes to your LinkedIn summary we recommend that you write it in the first person and leave the objective descriptions to your connections, through recommendations and endorsements. The summary section may be the most relevant section to show off your personality and its primary purpose is to catch the reader’s attention and give a personal account of yourself.
Following these simple steps will help you a long way in showing off more of your personality on LinkedIn. That said – be careful not to forget about your hard skills. Your professional skills are usually the keywords that gets your profile discovered in the first place, and your personal skills should be used to fill in the gaps and complete the picture.
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Emma has over 20 years’ experience in corporate IT - from rollouts, training and deskside support to project and portfolio management, working in the UK and Europe.
This led her to setting up her own training business and this morphed into social media, focussed around LinkedIn and it has grown to include business networking training.
A focus on networking
As a creator, Emma finds it easy to come up with new ideas on how to grow a business. She works with business owners and corporates to help them understand why networking is a vital part of how to communicate with potential clients and to stay in touch with existing clients.
Sometimes referred to as the "Networking Queen" she runs several business networking groups within South East England and is focussed on helping clients to build an effective and profitable business network. LinkedIn is one of the key tools she uses and she organizes and leads several popular courses teaching people how to improve the results they get from business networking.
Emma speaks internationally and talks include how LinkedIn and networking can help you become known as an expert in what you do. She is known for connecting people together and is often quoted in the local press in articles on women and running your own business. She has travelled around the world twice and is a PADI qualified diver.
2017 and onwards
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Do connect with Emma on LinkedIn (please personalise your connection request), Twitter and Facebook.
Being the perfect match for a job requires so much more than possessing the right experience from previous positions. Besides having the right qualifications, relevant education and being located in (or willing to move to) the right location, you also need to be a match with the organizational culture, their corporate values and your potential new colleagues.
In a job interview, the chemistry between the candidate and the hiring manager - and perhaps even the rest of the recruitment team - is very important. If you are the joking type and used to be the centre of attention, it may be difficult for you to fit into a team of very serious accountants. Ultimately, this may mean that you are not the best match for the position.
Finally, being able to prove that you have great passion for what you do may be the final detail that pushes you from the “maybe relevant candidates” pile to the “schedule an interview” pile.
For instance, if you 're a very humorous, person, adding a little humor to your profile may be a good idea, but other personal traits may not be showcased as easily through LinkedIn.
Conveying your great personality - by using keywords, a short summary and a (professional) profile picture - is very challenging for most people. All recruiters and hiring managers have seen hundreds of resumes and cover letters filled with empty words, describing the applicant as “positive, proactive, passionate and committed to their work,” without any substance underpinning these assertions. In the initial part of the screening process, when you haven't met your recruiter yet, you need to communicate the right things in order to get to the next step where you show off more of your personality.
Most recruiters search exclusively for "hard skills" or professional qualifications when sourcing candidates through LinkedIn. This, however, does not mean that your personality is irrelevant. Below we have listed a few tips on how to make your personality shine through on your profile, increasing the likelihood of a better match between you and a potential new employer:
1) Join groups related to your industry
Anyone can write on their LinkedIn profile that they “have a great passion for the oil and gas industry”, but how can a recruiter know that you're serious about this? Your employment history may tell a completely different story and it’s your responsibility to showcase this passion if your goal is to land a position at one of the major players in business.
Signing up for membership in groups that share content specifically related to your area of work shows that you have a real interest in keeping up with what is going on within your industry.
Joining relevant groups also increases your profile’s findability in terms of hard skills.
2) Share and comment
Actively sharing and commenting on content related to your industry is also a way of showing that you are engaged and passionate about what you do. Even content not directed towards your specific industry may be worth taking a minute to engage with. For example, if you state on your profile that you are interested in politics, commenting on a post about how a minister handles a specific case, shows that you are dedicated to what interests you. Just remember to keep a professional tone and avoid making statements that are too controversial.
Sharing and commenting on both industry and non-industry specific content both increases your visibility and builds your personal brand – including your personality.
Stay tuned for part two of this blog post next week.
Lead generation is one of the holy grails of professional social media and you've probably encountered some of the rather dubious automated schemes on offer. However, online lead generation is real and it does work - and you can use LinkedIn and other social media networks to cultivate new business opportunities. But it's a little harder than some people would have you believe.
If you follow our guidelines, your LinkedIn company page could become a valuable tool as a passive and continuous lead generation channel:
1) Always include calls-to-action
You must, of course, remember to include a link to your website in the description of your company page. But you should also ensure that visitors to your company page don't get stuck with nowhere to go. Always provide a link in your updates, either to your homepage or somewhere else. You can include bit.ly links for easy tracking of clicks even if they link to resources beyond the realm of your website.
2) Make your stuff shareable
To get more eyeballs on your corporate LinkedIn updates, you should make them stand out. This means including an eye-catching image that relates to the update - and it's a very good idea to embed a a couple of relevant words in the image itself. This way, the message comes across even if the update is shared without the accompanying text.
3) Tailor your description for optimum visibility
This may seem insignificant, but do remember to take a look at your company page from a normal visitor's standpoint. Only the first couple of lines of your company description is shown by default. Visitors have to click the "Show more" link to expand and read the full description - and many don't bother.
You should author your company description accordingly and include the most important bits in the first sentence or two.
4) Employee advocacy and interaction
We've mentioned this before but it's so important that it's worth reiterating: Your employees play a super important role in leveraging the power of your company page. Remember to nudge them to like and share your updates - this can potentially give your updates a tremendous viral boost. Your staff probably know a lot of people within your line of business which means that your message will be seen by all the right people.
5) Pay up
Finally, LinkedIn also has a tool to help you generate leads. At a price, of course. LinkedIn Sales Navigator gives you deeper insights into possible leads, sales-oriented searching and even CRM-like functions.
If you're looking for a new job, LinkedIn should be at the top of your list of priorities - but you probably already knew that.
Other than making sure that your profile is up-to-date and in pristine condition, you can do the following 3 things to maximise your chances of landing your next dream job:
1) Stay visible
Share relevant articles, like and comment on posts from your connections - and make sure you do a little bit every day, or at least every other day. Being overly active once in a while doesn't do much for your overall visibility.
Just remember to always slant you content towards your line of business.
2) It's not what you know...
It's who you know! The old cliche rings true for job seekers as well.
You need to constantly build your network to widen your potential audience. Remember, your reach goes as far as all your second level connections.
If you share a post on LinkedIn and some of your contacts interact with it, their contacts will see this. Your effective reach could be in the hundreds of thousands of people.
3) Become an authority in your field - and show it
You may be the best, say, business developer in the world but if you don't show and tell it, no-one will come knocking on your door and offer you a job.
Set aside a couple of hours every week to write a blog post about something within your area of expertise - and publish a link to your post on LinkedIn.
Better still, use LinkedIn's own platform for blogging. LinkedIn blog posts get exceptionally good visibility and engagement within the network itself.
Engagement from your followers is key if you want to get your message across via your LinkedIn company page - and other social media outlets. Posting a lot of content without getting a response is not only discouraging for yourself (and your content editors) but it's also bad business. You spend all this time without getting any ROI.
Could your time be spent more wisely? Probably.
Why post anything at all?
First of all, it may be worthwhile to take a step back and look at your overall SoMe strategy, however, this is outside the scope of this blog post. But we urge you to consider the following two pieces of advice:
1) Aim for engagement but back it up with quality content
If you solely post content of low quality and drive traffic with click-batey links, you may initially achieve a lot of engagement but you definitely will not build a following which is relevant to your business.
2) Don't forget the long-term investment in your website's SEO
Our LinkedIn Tip of the Week series is published via our newsletter, Facebook and LinkedIn but the bulk of the content is always posted on our website. This means that our site's SEO rating on LinkedIn-related topics is rising, week by week. Also, to see the full post, users have to visit our website where we can advertise our services in the context of the blog post.
How do your get people to engage with your content?
This is the tricky part, and there really is no one-size-fits-all approach to securing engagement from users. But the below pointers will get you on the right track.
1) Ask questions or include a call-to-action
If you ask a question in your post, you're more likely to get engagement from your audience. Also, even if you're posting a simple status update, adding a call-to-action link will increase engagement.
2) The ambassador effect
Your employees are your best ambassadors and you should definitely use this to your advantage. For instance, a job posting for a sales executive which is shared by the sales staff in your organisation will get tremendous reach, especially if your company is big. It's safe to assume that sales people tend to have a large proportion of sales people in their network so the shared posts will be seen by the right people.
3) Stand out with the right image
Like it or not, posts with images draw more attention, regardless of the subject matter. Pick a picture that's relevant to your post - or use an image from the page or blog post you're linking to.
4) Cross-post in LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn Groups can be a powerful tool. Sharing content from your company page to relevant groups, can drive engagement to your page. But be careful, some groups are merely a long list of very spammy posts - try to avoid these.
Your can read more about using LinkedIn Groups in our previous blog post.
5) Be generous
Remember to share interesting and relevant information from outside sources. If you're not afraid to share content from other companies related to your business, the credibility of your company page goes up. In addition, more people will become aware of your existence, which is always a good thing.