So, with that in mind, here's 5 hints to improve your LinkedIn profile to, you know, actually make it worth your while...crazy!
1. Post a flattering yet professional photo. Networking, like everything else, is biological. People, for good or bad, are significantly more prone to network with you if you have a smiling, engaging yet professional photo. Notice I used the term "professional." This isn't Jdate or F**kbook, so take off that photo of you in a bikini top or you
2. Write a headline which is both interesting and informative. Or, what the hell, at least informative. For example, I used to work in TV news (#oxymoron), so I have a lot of friends still in TV news who have this type of headline: "Media Professional." Um.
You know who's a media professional? Teenage boys who spend 18 hours a day playing "Call of Duty®" and proudly get "SEGA" tattooed on their bodies. (Translation: boys whom even I would be like: Nah, it's not worth the tsoursis.) You are not a media professional! You can be, instead, a "TV Writer/Producer, with Extensive Experience in Network News Production," or whatever else floats your (rapidly sinking) boat. But don't think that people can't see through "Media Professional." It's like being unemployed and telling people, "Oh, I'm a consultant." Or, "I'm an entrepreneur." You mean, you're broke and couch-surfing.
3. Explain to the reader what exactly you did at each position you mention.
For some reason, many people on LinkedIn feel it's okay to just have a bare bones profile. Invariably, these are the very same people who loathe their jobs and would desperately like a new one. And yet they seriously think that someone else is going to take the time to try to divine what it is they do. I can only assume these people were told, once too often by their enabling parents, that they are fascinating and special and unique. Because, back here on Earth... no one gives enough of a sh*t to bother to figure out what you do.
So, gentle reader, how about you let us all in on the secret as to what you do all day. (Leaving out the time spent on Facebook stalking your exes, and checking out my photos thinking, "Gawd, like she's not even that hot; bitch needs to get over herself!" That's not what your boyfriend said....)
Maybe, by explaining your job to other people, you'll start thinking, seriously, about what you enjoy about your work, what you're good at, and it'll give you some insights into related industries/jobs you could research...industries, for example, which would also value the very same skills. I just blew your mind right? #happensallthetime
4. Join things. So, you graduated summa cum laude or were Phi Beta Kappa, or survived law school or whatever. Go you! Which leads me to this question: why haven't you joined your university's alumni LinkedIn group, or the Phi Beta Kappa LinkedIn group, or your fraternity or sorority LinkedIn group? Don't roll your eyes at me, and tell me how much you loathed all those people. (True story: I didn't even go to my own law school graduation. I was too busy visiting Graceland with a "boyfriend" who disliked having sex with me. The same boy who called me a "whore" like it was a bad thing. And yet, whom do you think I network with? Thank you.)
Listen: I'm not suggesting you date these good people. I'm suggesting you join these groups to network, to see who is hiring, who might be looking to rent their apartment, who needs an intern. How else where you planning to improve your employment situation? Leaving burnt offerings? Sitting glumly on your sofa, watching "Downtown Abbey" marathons and whining? Please don't answer that. I, for example, am a member of my college's alumni group, a Seven Sisters alumni group, a group for the
5. Contribute. After you've joined your various groups, please don't rush in and say, "Hello world, I need a job." Don't just start posting links to your webinars or websites. Think about it this way: these groups are engaged in an on-going conversation. Would you just barge into a conversation, in real life, brandishing your business card and asking to be hired? (I'm going to hope that the people who see nothing wrong with that, aren't reading this blog anyway.) Short answer: No! You'd wait for a natural pause in the conversation, introduce yourself and contribute to the on-going dialogue. You'd attempt to ingratiate yourself so that the people would include you, interested to hear what you have to say.
Some of you now are rolling your eyes into next week, and thinking, "Like OMG, Carlota, are you for serious? I have to wait?" I know, Kiddo: life is not fair to the Beautiful Ones, is it? You think you're Jebus's unique little snowflake and people should be falling over themselves to help you, without asking anything in return. Alas. GET OVER IT! Yes, you have to contribute, you have to prove yourself, you have to demonstrate that you have social skills, and that you're competent, and that you have something interesting and valuable to say. And yes, it takes time. I mean, listen: you want any easy job? The bakery near me is always hiring. Oh, you mean baking (delicious) cookies for minimum wage isn't why you went to Oberlin and majored in theater studies? (#snort) Oh, you want a job with a long-term future, a career which allows you to show off the myriad of talents and skills you possess? Interesting.
Hmm...guess you better start contributing, right? And for those of you interested, here's a link to my LinkedIn profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/carlotazimmerman Mazel tov!
Want more tips to optimize your LinkedIn account, or you know, start using it? Email me @firstname.lastname@example.org.