A “beefed up” profile is the key to LinkedIn success

By Wayne Breitbarth

LinkedIn is a virtual networking tool that is currently being used by over 90 million business professionals around the globe. It allows business professionals to find and be found by other professionals.

To get started on LinkedIn, you will need to create a profile that displays your professional and educational experience, and then you can begin connecting with the people you know. A profile can be as simple as your name. However, if you choose to list little but your name, you will be missing a tremendous opportunity to avail yourself of the two major benefits of a LinkedIn profile: the ability to be found and the opportunity to tell your story.

Plain and simple – profiles should be beefy. There are four reasons you want your LinkedIn profile to be beefy.

1.  Your profile is a place where you can tell your story completely and fully, so that when people are looking at your profile, they will be encouraged to do business with you over your competitors.

They will see the depth and breadth of your experience, your professional recommendations, and the brands you carry, plus your certifications, educational experience, and all the other qualifications you possess that make you the obvious professional to do business with in the marketplace you serve.

I like to refer to a LinkedIn profile as a “resume on steroids.” In contrast to a traditional resume, which is typically a listing of facts and dates, your LinkedIn profile allows you the opportunity to tell your story.

2.  Every word in your profile is keyword searchable. Thus, having a beefy profile will increase your chances of being found.

As you know from using Google, keyword searching on the Internet is an extremely powerful tool for finding people. Similarly, searching on LinkedIn can produce extremely valuable results. The search function enables you to find people who have certain types of experience, classifications, and/or brands.

In a recent search, I was looking for a person interested in bicycling to join a group of cyclists for a charity event my company was sponsoring.  Discovering a bicycling enthusiast who happens to be an architect or builder would be a home run. I would then be able to advance a professional relationship, help a charitable organization, and enjoy a day of bicycling.

Therefore, I searched the words builder, architect, cycling, and bicycling and instantly had my choice of architects and builders with whom to spend the day. Without those keywords in their profiles, none of these people would have been found.

3.  A beefy profile shows that you are not a dinosaur. What do I mean by this? For those of us in the Baby Boomer generation, people tend to appreciate the experience we possess, but they are also interested in knowing whether we are keeping abreast of the latest trends in the business world, including social media.

4.  You should expect your profile to regularly be compared with those of your competitors. Therefore, in order to gain a competitive advantage, you will want your profile to include a plethora of information, keywords, and detail about who you are, what you hope to accomplish, and how you might be able to assist others.

Many savvy LinkedIn users will review a person’s profile before meeting with him or her for the first time. Personally, I always look for common interests or discussion points before I jump into, “So, I hear you are looking for a social media consultant.”

Business professionals use their LinkedIn profiles to tell their stories. As a result, it can be extremely beneficial to review the profile of the potential customer, prospective employee, vendor, or other person with whom you desire to have a business relationship.

Do yourself a favor and take a look at the profiles of some of your competitors. Observe what they are saying about themselves—awards they have won, types of projects they have worked on, etc.—because this may jog your memory and remind you of similar information you could include in your profile.

Armed with this information, you can begin to create an effective profile—a great first step in maximizing your LinkedIn experience.

Oak Hill Business Partners is a professional services firm serving small and mid-sized businesses.  Oak Hill provides Growth Management Services, Mergers & Acquisitions Support, and Turnaround Solutions.

Wayne Breitbarth is a Strategic Partner of Oak Hill Business Partners. He is a LinkedIn trainer, consultant and author of “The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success.”

Posted by Erik Owen