Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Keeping Your Profile Fresh

It's very easy to fall into the typical pattern of setting your initial profile on LinkedIn and then leaving it as is. For months and even years. 

Today's post is to remind you to refresh your profile, including a few areas you may want to update.
  1. Visit your public LinkedIn URL. For me, that is http://www.linkedin.com/in/brendameller. Do this without logging into LinkedIn so you can see your profile as others see it. Print this page and circle the items that have changed over time.
  2. Oh yeah, I remember her!
  3. Picture this: When you initially set up your LinkedIn profile, you may have been a bit leery of using a photo. Now that you understand the technology and the value of networking online, you may want to add a photo in. Or (more for women), your profile photo may be out of date due to a new hairstyle. I went from a shorter haircut to a longer style and noticed that people connected to me on LinkedIn said they didn't recognize me right away.
  4. Is your profile sticky? Are you using websites and/or a Twitter feed? Personally, I rotate different websites into my profile every few weeks. Sometimes I post my company's website. Other times, I post my membership organizations' sites. And occasionally I'll post links to my SlideShare presentation slides. Or, I'll even post my blog websites. The point here is to have a LinkedIn profile page that includes multiple links to click.
  5. Are you memorable? Your LinkedIn status update can help. Chances are, if you connect to me I will be one of those people who are always top of mind for you. This is because I frequently (once every 3-5 days) update my status on LinkedIn. Sometimes I post jobs I'm hearing about through my network. Othertimes, I post events for Walsh College. And occasionally, I'll post events I'm attending that day or simply words of inspiration.
  6. Read your Professional Summary statement. Does it inspire you or bore you to tears? If it's the latter, change your summary statement now. Today. Look for other people on LinkedIn with similar job titles if you need inspiration.

  7. Hint: how do you describe yourself to friends?
    Highlight your volunteer work. Do you have any volunteer positions that aren't listed on your profile? Why not?! Add them in. I do this and it helps to further demonstrate my areas of interest. As an example, I recently became president of the Warren Toastmasters club and added it to my profile. At least half a dozen people commented on this to me, either via LinkedIn or in person.
And that's your 15 minutes on LinkedIn for today! 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hide or Seek? Sharing Slides Using SlideShare

LinkedIn has an application directory that you can select to add to your profile. I'll admit I don't use every application that's offered - just the ones that appeal to me. 

Having some experience presenting social media to job seekers as well as the professional community, I'm always on the lookout for new tips as well as to learn from my peers. One way I do this is by searching through presentations that the LinkedIn community has uploaded to SlideShare.

To Hide or to Show?
As a LinkedIn user, you have the ability to upload your presentations and then either make them viewable/downloadable or invisible by others. Personally, my thought would be "why bother" to upload unless you're planning to share your resources. But, there are some who may want to maintain all rights and ownerships of their content, so there may be the occasion where you cannot download slides from this directory.

How to Seek?
To find the application directory and add Slideshare to your LinkedIn profile:
  1. From the top menu bar, go to "More"
  2. Hover over "More" and then click on "Application Directory"
  3. Click on "SlideShare Presentations" and follow the instructions to add it to your profile
Then, once you are on SlideShare, start using it immediately! The fastest way to do this is by a keyword search. What are you interested in? Perhaps more tips on LinkedIn? Then enter "LinkedIn" in the search box and click "Search."
Within seconds you'll find thousands of results. 

Want to make those results more meaningful? Click the tab titled "Your Connections" and you'll instantly have access to all Slideshare presentations shared by your network.

Happy searching!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Oooh, I know, I know! Pick me! Pick me! (Answers on LinkedIn)

Remember in school how the teacher would ask questions about a lesson or assignment and then wait to see who from the class would raise his/her hand?

I know! I know! Pick me! Pick me!
Were you one of those over-achievers who always tried to answer the questions?

Were you always slinking a bit lower in your chair at those times, hoping the teacher wouldn't call on you?

Or were you someplace in the middle -- answering questions when you knew the answer, but not enough to make your classmates snicker at you and call you teacher's pet? (aw, come on.... I'm not the only one, am I?)

Today's 15 minutes a day on LinkedIn will focus on the wonderful section of ANSWERS on LinkedIn.com.
A quick how-to:

  1. To find the "Answers" section, find the "More" tab on your top LinkedIn menu bar, then mouseover to find "Answers" and click on this option.
  2. From here, you'll be at the home page for ANSWERS.
  3. Scroll down a bit until you see the "Browse" section on the lower right of your page. Within this category, LinkedIn lists questions by category.
  4. Click on the category which most closely matches your professional experience. For me, this would be "Marketing and Sales."
  5. Look through the questions for that category, and when you find one that you know the answer to ("oooh, I know, I know!" == remember those school days?), then click on the question title. This will link to the page with details about the question.
  6. Click the "ANSWER" button.
  7. Type in your response. If there are websites that support your response, include them. Or, if you have a blog... include the blog link.
  8. Optional (for you over-achievers): type a note to the person who answered the question. You might want clarification on the question or perhaps just want to establish a dialog with this person.
  9. Click to post. That's it!
The next step involves the person who posted the question. They will get a chance to review all responses, and hopefully at some point in time close the question.

Then, LinkedIn will ask them to rate all responses which they thought were "GOOD." Kind of like getting a "GOOD" sticker on your homework in school.

Next, LinkedIn will ask them to select one response from all those that were "GOOD" as the "BEST" response. Kind of like getting your project posted on the wall in front of the classroom.

When your answer is selected as the "Best" for that category, you gain an expert rating in that category. The more expert ratings you gain, the more visibility you get on your profile through the "This Week's Experts" in the Answers homepage on LinkedIn.

Wonderful - but how do you increase your odds of gaining those "BEST" ratings?

  1. EMBRACE YOUR INNER EXPERT. Answer questions in categories where you have expertise. Think of this: when do people come to you for professional advice? What topics do they ask you about?
  2. AIM LOW. Browse through questions in that category and look for those with no responses, or only a few responses. Your chances of getting selected as "good" or "best" increase when there is not much competition.
  3. CAMPAIGN FOR YOURSELF. When you submit your answer, write a note to the person asking the question. Ask them if they feel your response is good, to please indicate this to LinkedIn when they close the question. Or, if your response was the best, to do the same. I know this might seem a bit odd... but hey - you gotta believe in yourself! I've found that if you don't ask, the answer is always NO. But sometimes if you do ask, you'll get a yes response. Plus, some users on LinkedIn don't understand the value of Good/Best responses yet and you'll help to educate them.
At the end of this assignment, hopefully you'll be:

  • Finding questions where you know the answer..."OOh! I know, I know!"
  • And, gaining yourself some expert rankings... "Pick me! Pick me!"
And hopefully this will get you to the head of class. See you there!
Has this technique worked for you? Please share your success story or example here. Plus, share your LinkedIn URL.