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You’re doing it wrong: LinkedIn Profiles

Aug 23
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This will be the first of my as-yet-unnumbered multi-part series on the many ways you can use LinkedIn to your disadvantage.  In today’s segment I’m going to talk about your profile.  If you don’t have a LI profile, well that’s your first problem.  Read my previous post about why it’s time to ditch your paper resume to find out why.

Now, those of you who do have a LI presence, have a look at your profile right now.  What do you see?  Did you copy-paste segments from your resume into the related LI section?  If you did….go to Profile >> Edit Profile >> Edit Section, delete and start over.

Someone coming to your LI profile either a) already has a copy of your resume, b) is trying to figure out what kind of person you are, how that may relate to your professional experience and whether or not connecting with you will benefit them or c) both.  Whichever is the case, regurgitating your resume here is not going to accomplish their needs, and they will simply move on.

So do away with the tedious job descriptions.  Scrap that keyword-laden list of “Achievements”.  Write a few sentences (shorter the better)  explaining what you did for ACME company, and what you got from the experience.  Write as if you were answering a question posed by a colleague or a client.  Make your profile a little more biography and a little less brochure.  If they want the marketing materials, they can always request that resume that you’ve polished to a high shine.

Remember that LinkedIn is a social network.  Do you go into a meeting with a prospective client and whip out a copy of your CV to begin reading to them?  Of course not.  You shake their hand, you make amiable small talk, you project information about yourself in a (hopefully) interesting way, and you ask them questions.  You are conversing.  You are socializing.

Your profile should not be a purely electronic version of your resume.  It needs to help tell a story….the story of you.  Who you are, where you came from, what kind of people you’re connected with, what you’re interested in, what you accomplished and what you learned along the way….and what you bring to the table now.

People don’t want to talk to a resume.  They want to talk to a real and interesting person.  And you are an interesting person.  No really…you are!  You are the only you there is!  So embrace that.  And don’t be afraid to let your own personal weirdness shine through (though I wouldn’t post any pictures of that goth rager you attended with your cousin last Easter).  Think of it as an early warning system.  Any potential employers or clients who get a measured glimpse of your wry sense of humor and capacity for self-deprecation will know, up front, who they are hiring.

I believe resumes have become enormously detrimental to the recruiting and hiring process.  We have been conditioned to refine and polish our resumes until they bear more resemblance to Michaelangelo’s David than to anything we’ve accomplished in our careers.  As we gallop into the High Noon of the Information Age, it’s easier than ever for prospective employers and clients to find the cracks in your porcelain façade.  So why hide it?  Because here’s the key…

These recruiters and hiring managers are human beings, too!  And just like the rest of us mere mortals, fundamentally, they understand that you are not perfect.  Pretending to be perfect, especially when it’s so easily proven otherwise, is what usually will get you in trouble.

LinkedIn, and to a growing extent Facebook, is your chance.  Let them see you for who you really are.  Warts and all.  I know it’s scary and crazy!  I’m a complete lunatic for even suggesting it.

They’re going to find that stuff out anyway.  Seriously.  They are.  And when they do, and they decide to hire you anyway, you get to walk into the situation knowing you were chosen for your talents and your quirks.  You don’t have to pretend, you just have to be…and do.

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