The Three Questions Your LinkedIn Profile Must Answer

There are three things your LinkedIn LNKD -0.14% profile must tell others, but the vast majority of LinkedIn’s 400-plus million members fail to provide clear and concise answers. The result is that LinkedIn does not work very well for them.

Let’s make sure that you avoid this trap. Your profile needs to tell casual readers the following:

Image: Bruce Kasanoff

Your focus: This does not equal your current job. Your focus describes what is most important to you. It may be “vastly improving our educational system” or “maintaining world-class quality” in a manufacturing environment. Whatever your answer, it should be clear to a person who knows absolutely nothing about you, because in many cases your LinkedIn profile represents the very first time a person has ever heard of you.

How you describe your focus is critically important. If you say it as though you are bored or distracted, then people will move on in mere seconds. But if your words are filled with passion and clarity, you can immediately engage highly intriguing professionals (think: entrepreneurs, CEOs, recruiters, journalists, and potential friends).

Your strengths: Once you can clearly state what you want, you need to make it easy to understand what you do extremely well.

No one in history has ever exclaimed, “Quick! Find me a generalist!”

To capture opportunity, you must be an expert at doing certain things that other people value.

Let me put it this way: What’s the trigger that causes someone to call you?

By the way, once I was able to answer the “trigger” question, my results on LinkedIn increased tenfold. My trigger is that someone needs a very well-written social media article.

What’s yours? Your profile should respond effectively to whatever your trigger is, such as “we need an eye-catching design for our new product” or “we need an attorney who can keep us from getting sued.”

Your networks: This is the area people most frequently omit, but the power of your network is incredibly important.

Answer this: If we do business with you, who else of value can you connect us with?

Are you strongly connected to leaders in the Houston — or Hong Kong — community?

Are you highly active in an association of leading physicians?

Have you earned “trusted advisor” status with dozens of large enterprise clients?

In some cases, your network may not be limited to people whose names you can list in a LinkedIn profile. For example, a “growth hacker” may have a proven track record building a list of 10,000+ beta customers for numerous startups.

You can tell others about your networks (pretty good), or you can show them (much better) through:

• recommendations on your profile

• the quality of people who comment on, like, and share your articles

• your connections

• the size of your network

The Bottom Line…

At the top of this article, I drew you a picture. That’s what you should do, too. Draw others a clear and vivid picture of who you are in terms of these three critical elements.

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