Thursday, February 23, 2012

It all begins with your profile...The Waldo Factor (part 8)

First, the news: On Feb 9, 2012, LinkedIn announced it had reached 150 million members.

Now, a short tour of a past post: (from this blog: The Waldo Factor part 1, August 30, 2011)

Here’s the scene, and I think we’ve all been here: You are at a conference and the person on stage speaking to 1,000+ people is somewhere between adequate and pretty good, but you are thinking he/she is not as good as you. My usual thought is along the lines of “where did they dig up this clown, and why is he/she talking about last year’s hot ideas as if they were new?”

So why is that person on the stage and you are sitting, frustrated, in the audience? What got them up there and not you?

While there are no easy answers to that question, the biggest factor is they are better known for what they do than you are. It may be because they wrote a book or some articles, they had some other speaking engagements, they were recommended by someone advising the event producer, or maybe they “knew somebody” or probably some combination of these and other factors. Somehow they were able to get in front of the right people at the right time and get the speaking engagement.

Regardless of the factors that created the situation, the fact is they are on the stage and you are in the audience. People are looking at and listening to them, and you are one of those faceless people in the crowd. Again, we've all been there.

Think of the person on the stage as Point B, and you as Point A. How do you get from Point A to Point B?


That's what I wrote last August. And here is the short answer:

It all begins with your LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn is the best place for business professionals to post information about themselves, regardless of your discipline.

As a business professional, regardless of what your function is, you need to be findable to those in your field. To be findable among 150 million other professionals will take some hard work, but it is do-able.

A good-to-great profile can make the difference between you getting your next job, consulting assignment, or that elusive speaking gig. This is the place where you need to define and discuss the value you bring to your profession without hyperbole.

To become more "findable" by those who need your expertise, here are the top 5 elements for your profile, in order of importance.

1- The Photo: this is the first thing people gravitate to as we are all visual beings. A professional looking photo, with you smiling, is usually best. Nobody needs to see your boat, your dog or your family- just you.

2- The Headline: this is the tag line under your name and it is valuable real estate. The default mode is your current job title. A good tag line gets people to read your profile.

2- The Name: this is your name. We have all seen people with email addresses, professional designations and more in the name field. Use your name- just your name.

4- The Summary/Specialties; view this as your first conversation with your profile visitor. Make it an interesting conversation and talk about what you bring to the market. The "specialties" (2nd part of the summary) is where you enumerate each of your skills.

5- Experience: this is the job section. Don't simply list the job title- tell people what you did and what the company does.

There are several other facets to the profile, but these are the biggies. Do these right and you will start attracting attention from the people you want attention from.

Your LinkedIn profile is always a work in progress. Check out OPP- other people's profiles- and get some ideas on how to improve your profile.

Remember, a good-to-great profile can make the difference between you and your next job, consulting assignment, or that elusive speaking gig. A bad profile is the difference between your next job.....

Need help with LinkedIn? Drop me a line ( I host a monthly LinkedIn Blackbelt Workshop (near BWI ariport), one-on-one coaching and company coaching (both via teleconference), and I also offer a profile analysis. 

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