I’ve finally edited and transcribed the webinar we did a couple months back about how to make your LinkedIn profile awesomer.
It’s an hour long so you might want to just let it run in the background or read the transcript if you prefer. Enjoy!
Transcript of the Thoughtfaucet Apprentice Lab LinkedIn Webinar from early 2011
In the original webinar we went through each person’s profile starting with Brett, then Liz and then mine. It was a nice casual conversation about things to do better. For the transcript I’ve arranged what we talked about to be in a more logical order. But of course, the end result may be more like Frankenstein. Feel free to let me know how you feel in the comments.
On writing about yourself
Brett C: My biggest problem with LinkedIn, in contrast to Facebook, is that I view LinkedIn as being more professional. And that’s why I really struggle.
I don’t really know what to put down. It’s why I have simple single sentences. It’s concise because I don’t want to seem too wordy or unprofessional. And that’s what I want to learn to do, create something that has a lot of good content but isn’t just one simple sentence.
Gahlord Dewald: That’s something you’ll learn over time. Look at a lot of different LinkedIn profiles. Get feedback from your colleagues. Write up something and share it with Liz and I. Or anybody out there in the audience if you want to help Brett write something let him know that you wouldn’t mind proof reading his stuff.
I have this problem too. I don’t like to write about myself that much. I feel weird about it. So sometimes it’s helpful to get input. Get someone else to tell you what’s going on.
LinkedIn and searching on the open web
When people search for you–when you’re going to do business with somebody–they’re going to do an internet search about who you are. This is right at the moment when they’re trying to decide if you’re credible or not. They’ll do a Google search on you.
So I’ve pulled up an internet search for Brett Chalupa. You can see he’s got this Twitter page that people will probably look at. But we all know that Twitter isn’t going to give you the full details of all your stuff. But the next one down is LinkedIn.
When people are going to do business with you and they’re doing some reputation management, they’re checking you out a little bit, they’re going to do a Google search and they’re going to find your LinkedIn profile.
They’ll also see your Facebook page. And yeah, maybe I’ll go to your Facebook page to see if you’ve got any risque pictures or something. But generally speaking, if I’m interested in doing business with you the LinkedIn page is the one I’m probably going to click on. And LinkedIn happens to rank very well for most peoples’ names.
So for that “name search” — I know a lot of our audience is in real estate and concerned about reputation management and personal branding. With all the stuff about online personal branding, the real estate people have been doing personal branding for much longer than there’s been an internet.
This is important, your LinkedIn profile is going to show up when people look for you. And it’s going to be the one that they click on because they know they can find something.
Personal names vs Professional names in a LinkedIn profile
Next up, we’ll look for Liz’s profile. And I spelled her name wrong. Her mom is on this webinar and I hope she isn’t mad at me for that. So here’s a Google search for Liz.
Uh oh, Liz’s LinkedIn profile isn’t here. Because her profile is under Elisabeth but she uses Liz in the real world. Since you normally go by Liz, since there’s no competition, you may want to change your LinkedIn Profile. If you use the name Liz professionally, you might want to change your profile.
LinkedIn Profile overview
Here’s Brett Chalupa’s profile. He’s an apprentice at Thoughtfaucet. He’s also a database manager at North Star Sports where he’s doing some really interesting work. One of the reasons I was psyched to work with Brett is that his description of how he’s working on some of their internet marketing is what I already tell all of my customers to do anyway.
There are different sections to a LinkedIn profile and we’re going to look at how to make them all a little bit better. It starts with the summary, then you get into the experience. And he’s got the kind of experience you’d expect of college kid. You see where he went to school.
Then there’s additional information–he’s got a blog about anime that’s well written by the way– and different groups and association. At the bottom is “what are you interested in?” He’s interested in everything.
These are all areas where you can get people interested in what you do. You can show them what you’re about. That’s the basic outline of a LinkedIn Profile: “What is it that you’re about” up at the top. “What have you done so far that backs up what you’re about” follows below.
LinkedIn Profile “summary” section
For Brett, one of my first thoughts would be that he’s definitely got a good start of an idea here: a nice simple sentence. He says he’s a college student and he wants to be a game programmer. He has his objectives. This is good. I would encourage him to go a little deeper. Why do you want to be a game programmer? This is like a cover letter in a way.
I’m usually accused of being a little too wordy with my stuff. And I’m sure the audience here that’s familiar with my work would agree. You don’t have to write as many words as I write, but have a paragraph about “Why you want to be a game programmer?”
Every kid I know wants to be a game programmer. Not many of them have your level of experience of drive. It’s not enough just to say that you want to be a game programmer. Why? Think about that. You could expand that out into a paragraph.
Brett C.: Is the summary a good place to put what I want to do in the future? Sort of my aspirations and goals?
Gahlord Dewald: Yeah, definitely put what it is that you’re trying to do. As a job seeker some day your employers will look at this and say “What this kid wants to do, is it in line with what I want to do with my business?”
For those of you who already have jobs and you’re not looking at how to use LinkedIn to get employment, think about it in terms of “This is what you want to do for customers.”
I’ve got some examples of missteps you can make along the way coming up. And it’s not on either of my two apprentices’ LinkedIn profiles.
Use LinkedIn summary to show what you do.
Looking at my own summary you can see that I’m super wordy–“Gahlord can’t write anything that isn’t 5000 words.” So my summary is pretty long.
I talk about what it is that I do. What kind of work that I make. Since I have all this speaking that I do I added a paragraph about that.
For fun, I put a paragraph about what I do outside of work. So it isn’t like “Gahlord spends all day looking at web analytics, he also does all this weird puppet opera stuff.” This has created a lot of connections for me–in social media networky way. People say things like “Oh, you’re interested in classical music and you perform this stuff.”
I’ve ended up having great conversations that way. Making existing existing connections even better.
Use LinkedIn summary to create a “user manual” for getting the best out of you.
There is an important phrase in my summary. It tells readers what I’m most motivated by. If someone wants to hire me and get the most out of me possible. I’m always going to give the best work that I can do, because that’s what we do.
But I also want to let everyone know as much as possible “What’s the user manual for Gahlord?” For me, the user manual is “Give me a project that gives me data and information and the opportunity to assemble meaning out of that data and information. I’ll work on your project and probably forget to bill you for some of it because I’ll be thinking about it all the time.”
That’s my clue for people. If you really want to get me this is how you do it. You might want to think about this for yourself as well.
It took me a long time to come to this stuff. You might want to play with it and think about it.
LinkedIn Profile “specialties” section
Here’s Liz’s LinkedIn profile. She has some stuff under specialties.
Under specialties I think it’s good to put something there.
In your case, Brett, you do some coding and stuff. Not everyone has the ActionScript 3 skills you have. Even in the professional world people don’t have that. So in your case, as a codehead, sometimes it’s good to have that laundry list of specific programming languages.
For Liz, being focused on Public Relations, she has a lot of public relations stuff in there. That makes sense. It makes sense to have the different technologies listed. Thought it does rub me the wrong way personally. But I know people want it. Like when you see a job description “Must know MS Word” and you’re like “Thanks. Thanks for keeping the bar real high.” Use the specialties how you like.
Match your LinkedIn specialties to the kinds of problems you solve
Under specialties, I gave up the alphabet soup of all the technologies I work with. It just got really long. And I don’t think it matters as much as the other things I do.
At the start of your careers, future employers are going to want to know that you can use MS Word or that you can code HTML. In your case Liz, learning HTML will be a benefit. I talked to all my friends in PR and they said “yeah if she learns HTML she’ll rock.” We’ll add that to your plate of work to do.
Using specialties is kind of like with keywords. You’re matching your specialties up to job descriptions. If you see a job description for something you want, your specialties should align with the job description. For me, as a business owner–and for you guys when you’re business owners later on in life–you’ll have to switch that.
My customers don’t really care if I know HTML. They kind of do. But what they really want is someone who can solve their problem. And that’s what I try to emphasize in the specialties section of my LinkedIn profile.
In my specialties I’m focused on these are the problems I’m going to solve and I’m going to use whatever technologies are appropriate for solving the problem.
LinkedIn Profile “experience” section
So next you have the basic job experience. The job title, where did you work, when was it you worked there and then you’ve got a short sentence.
On each of these experiences, I encourage you to be descriptive about it. What did you actually do in each of these positions? Obviously you’ve just started as an apprentice at Thoughtfaucet so you don’t know what to put here yet.
But for the website database manager position–adding and managing products in an online e-commerce website using Magento–that’s pretty straightforward. It’s useful. But you do a lot more than that there. So describe some of that.
I’ll show you how I do that on my own profile. Describe it in terms of projects and outcomes. “I built this and the outcome was that” or “I helped with this and the end result was that.”
That gives people looking at your LinkedIn profile a sense of what it is that you actually did. Ideally, all of these different experiences–the way you craft that language–should reinforce whatever you listed as your goal up in the summary. On the experiences, go ahead and write a paragraph about how that work experience is related to your main personal objective in work life–which should be listed up in the summary.
If you have questions about it, ask your boss. Say “Hey boss, what are the things that I’ve done that you think are helpful?” It’s a good excuse to talk to your boss about your performance.
Provide specific examples in your LinkedIn experience sections
Next we get to experience where Gahlord goes “blah blah blah” for hours on end. But I have set it up in a way that shows what it is that we do in a straight ahead sense. Then a little bit of how we do it. And then some examples.
So you see that I work with Time Book of the Year winner Alison Bechdel, she’s a client of mine. And some of the different kinds of work that I’ve done for people over the years. I don’t keep this as up to date as I’d like. But it’s there to give people specific examples of the kinds of things I’ve done.
Next up is my speaker profile. I just have a list of all sorts of different presentations that I’ve done. Going all the way back to a cool thing I did for the Society of Ethnomusicology. Right now this list is too long. There are more things I’ve presented on than are even in this list. It’s long and boring. What I’m going to do eventually is make a separate list and link it in and out.
At this stage of your careers you probably don’t have a big list of public speaking things. I’ll be encouraging you do lots of public speaking because that’s what I do and I think it’s important. It’s the best way to help people.
Then I’ve got other past experiences. I sometimes teach animation for Burlington College. It works sort of like our apprenticeship here. The kids show up and we work on things.
I’ve also got my work with Union Street Media here. They’re a web development firm here in Burlington. And this is how I got interested in the real estate industry because they make real estate websites. I worked for them for about a year and a half. And I give an overview of what I did there on my LinkedIn profile.
Then I give examples of specific projects that I accomplished while I was there.
Being a self-employed person, this is a one and half year stint in the middle of ten years. So I approach this description like a list of projects. When I left, what did they have that they didn’t have when I came–as a result of my work there. So I give some examples of different revenue streams I developed.
Remember where you add value when writing your LinkedIn profile
If you look for “web strategy burlington vt” on Google you’ll see a couple things. Remember we’re talking about how you add value here.
The person who wins for this term, and I hate to call him out on this (but not that much because, well, here I am calling him out) his highlight is that he “doubled the average cost of web development engagements.”
Now if I’m a client and I’m looking to hire somebody and they put as their bragging right “I doubled the cost” what he’s saying is that he made a lot of money for the employer. Which is great if you’re the employer. If, on the other hand, you’re the customer you’re not looking for someone who made everything cost twice as much.
You want to think about how you describe that.
Brett C.: And how it’s going to come out.
Gahlord Dewald: Right. This guy’s benefit is that he made everything cost twice as much. Which is a benefit to somebody but it might not be a benefit to someone looking for web strategy in Burlington Vermont.
So that’s something to be aware of. Who were you benefiting in these specific projects.
To be honest, I did the same thing–increasing the cost of web engagements–when I was at Union Street but the way I describe it makes a little more sense. It’s focused on how it works.
I describe it as “I developed a new internet marketing service” so it makes the value that Union Street got greater. But not because I just doubled the cost of everything. It was because I added a new service that wasn’t there before. So that’s how to look at it.
Remember both sides of the fence. The potential employer and the potential client are going to be looking at this. That’s just straight ahead reading stuff.
Getting LinkedIn recommendations
Whenever I work for a customer I get connected on LinkedIn. When I’m done doing work I ask for a recommendation. I’m pretty shameless about it.
If I’ve done work for someone I will ask them for a recommendation. I’ll say “Hey would you give me a recommendation on LinkedIn.”
For me recommendations are important because I often do work with search engine optimization and SEO is a field that’s full of snake oil salesmen. So I want to have real people saying “Hey I worked with Gahlord and it made my business better.” So I ask everybody.
Some people approach recommendations by writing it ahead of time and saying “Hey would you say this” and I don’t do that. I just say “Hey would you write me a recommendation on LinkedIn.” Then it’s more fun. Most of the time people do write a recommendation. Some write longer than others.
Ultimately what you’re doing is testing your personal brand or your personal thesis statement by seeing if the kinds of recommendations people give you reflect what your mission statement is.
In my case, assembling meaning and making things people like.
I see a lot of my recommendations are about how I make complicated things more clear. That’s a sign that it’s working. If people were giving me recommendations that were about something else I’d have to say “Maybe I don’t know what I’m doing that’s valuable.” That’s something you gain with time.
I ask my customers. When I had a day job I asked my co-workers and customers at that job. I ask everybody. For my speaking stuff, I ask people who’ve heard me speak. I also ask organizers.
For example Rick Calvert is the guy who runs Blogworld and he’s got this recommendation about how much he liked having me be a presenter. Organizers have different needs than audience members.
The organizers need presenters that aren’t prima donnas, that show up and get the work done and help. Then there’s the audience. There’s one in here where a guy at that same Blogworld who saw my presentation at the right time to help him make a decision and he was just psyched. So there’s two different kinds of people for recommendations.
You’ll have the same sort of thing for your own work. There’s the customers that you help and the coworkers you work with. So ask all of them.
Liz M.: What if you’re trying to get a recommendation from someone who doesn’t have a LinkedIn account?
Gahlord Dewald: That sucks. There isn’t a good way. They have to have a LinkedIn account.
I do have customers that don’t have any kind of online social anything. You’re just out of luck.
You could say “Hey would you sign up for LinkedIn so you can give me a recommendation.” I have had people do that. But that’s asking a lot. I will do that if the person sends me an email out of the blue.
I use these recommendations in portfolio presentations outside of LinkedIn too. It makes a nice verifiable database of people who say good things about you.
Just ask them. If you do good work people want to recommend you.
LinkedIn Profile “education” section
The next section down is the education. That’s pretty straightforward. People usually just look at that and go on from there.
Liz, you have your two schools which is awesome. I went to three or four before I finally got my degree. The nice thing on LinkedIn if you’ve gone to more than one school is that now you’ve got more than one network to connect to.
This makes your network bigger. It’s not a good enough reason to loose all the transfer credits. But it’s a nice consolation prize. You’ve put in some good descriptions in your education as well.
Approaching LinkedIn “education” section just like experience: projects.
I have my activities and society stuff I did at Marlboro College listed. I approach things, again, project-like.
The school I went to, you had to have a project to graduate. That was part of the degree. If you didn’t do the project you didn’t graduate. So it was easy for me to think of what my project was.
Think about what kind of project you’re working on in school. In your case, Liz, your on the dance team at school and you might want to think about how your public relations stuff integrates with that.
LinkedIn Profile linking in your blogs and other sites
Under websites, in your case Brett, you’ve got a blog. But you don’t have to use the word “blog” for that anchor text.
This is important for those of you interested in search. You can change the words from “blog” or “website” and make it say something else.
It used to be a good backlink for SEO purposes. It is no longer. They’ve changed the coding so it doesn’t really help you anymore.
But all the same, you can be more descriptive. In your case it makes sense. You’ve got a personal blog. But if this were, for example a real estate blog, you might want to say “This is the Florida Panhandle Real Estate blog.”
Brett C.: I have a question about websites. Since North Star, where I work and build the website, would it be good to list it here?
Dewald: Yeah and you could link it as “My work with North Star can be seen here.” Because it’s your company website. Or you could just put “North Star Sports” there.
Don’t stick with LinkedIn’s default names for your websites and blogs
The default text that they give you for these website links isn’t so great. So go ahead and change that. I’ve got a link to my blog, but I don’t call it blog I list it as Thoughtfaucet. I also have a link to my Timebridge that says “Schedule a meeting with Gahlord.” I’m trying to encourage people to contact me directly any way that they can.
Change the words so it doesn’t say “company website” and it doesn’t say “blog.” It says “what the heck is it.” I also have my Twitter account hooked up. You should have that connected to your LinkedIn unless of course you don’t want people to find it.
LinkedIn Profile “interests” section
Always put your interests in. And then your groups and associations, which will grow as you join more groups and associations.
Interests are important because interests are where you connect with people in a social way. People want to know what your work experience and all that of course.
But they’re also going to want to know if they’ll like hanging out with you or not.
They’re going to look at interests. They’re going to know if you’ll have anything to talk about together. Whether it’s a co-worker thinking “I’m going to have to sit next to this person every day, will we have anything to talk about?” So they might think “Oh Brett’s a runner we can talk about running” or “Liz likes photography we can talk about cameras.” Ultimately they say “Cool we’ve got something to talk about.”
This is true also for clients. In our work here at Thoughtfaucet helping clients. We have a variety of interests and we can talk with our clients about their lives. And this is part of the way we help.
It’s not just about SEO or web strategy or the things we do for clients normally but also is there some way we can help. It’s part of the inner brand of what we do: “How do we help people?” That’s really what’s going on in interests.
I doubt many people are looking around thinking “I’m looking for a PR person who is interested in skiing.” Though you never know, maybe if they’re a ski company.
LinkedIn Profile and foreign languages
There’s a languages section. I don’t know if you’ve studied a foreign language but if you have, you can enter it in.
I studied German, Bulgarian and Russian when I was in college and I’m starting to learn Mandarin. I can use those languages if I need to.
I’ve used the German and the Bulgarian in a professional capacity in the past, but it’s just there and lets people know that I like languages.
In some cases it really does matter. Especially here in Vermont where we have a French speaking population right on our border up in Quebec, if you happen to speak French that’s beneficial for local employers.
Groups and Associations on LinkedIn
For groups and associations I don’t limit it to just the LinkedIn groups. For example I’m part of the Peru Nordic Masters and I’m part of the Web Analytics Certification Sub-Committee. There aren’t LinkedIn groups but you can still list them so people know what you’re in to.
LinkedIn Profile “honors and awards” section
Dig deep. If all you’ve got is your 6th grade honor roll then go with it.
I dig deep here: I’ve got Best Dressed at the Old Northender Academy Awards Gala. I’ll grab whatever just because it’s funny. It’s a mix of different things. Some of that is just sense of humor.
I have it easy on my own personal LinkedIn profile. Because I’m the boss. I’m not looking for a job. You guys will be looking for a job. So keep that in mind when you’re doing your profile.
But ultimately let your personality shine through. Because both of you have good personalities. Let your personalities shine through in way that is like “I’m professional but I’m also a human being so I’m fun to be around.” Managing that is a trick.
Some people who have been in business for a long time have a hard time managing that. That’s something you’ll learn through trial and error.
Optimizing your LinkedIn Profile for people search
One of the things that’s important about all of these areas is that within LinkedIn there’s a search function. So not only will they find your profile out on the open web by looking for your name, but they’ll also find your LinkedIn profile by typing in some kind of search topic into the LinkedIn search.
People use that search button. So every word you put into your LinkedIn profile could impact what shows up in the search. And I’ll talk about the “three magic places to put your keyword” don’t worry.
They will look for particular skill sets up in the “People search” on LinkedIn. This is a vertical search of all the people on LinkedIn. So if I want to find a “web strategist” I’ll type “web strategist” into people.
Since I’ve considered this when making my LinkedIn profile I’m showing up here at number 4. My good friend Michael Nedell across the street is up here at number 1. I have to find a way to beat him. 😉
LinkedIn people search is going to be effected by your network. So another tip is whenever you meet anybody–like when you go to the Burlington Vermont Social Media Breakfast in a couple weeks, make sure when you get back you make LinkedIn connections.
Especially for anybody that’s in a local business. I know a lot of the audience is in real estate, which is a very location-specific business, having lots of connections within your local area will effect how these searches work.
How Gahlord optimizes for LinkedIn people search
Let’s talk about the search box. In my case, I want to rank well for people searching on “web strategist” or “online strategist.” Those are two things that I want to rank well for.
To be honest I don’t know that this will bring me a lot of business. But that’s what I’m doing. It’s my test. And I’m doing pretty well.
There are 33,000 possibilities and I’m number four for “web strategist”. I’m ok with that. Let’s look at my profile. I have all of the other stuff that can go in to a LinkedIn profile.
Let’s start from the top, knowing that I want to place well for “online strategist” or “web strategist.” I have the word “strategist” in my headline. I used to have “web strategist or online strategist” and I could never decide what I wanted. So I just put “strategist.” If I put “web strategist” in as a headline, I would get higher than position 4.
If you want to be a “PR agent” make sure you “PR” in the headline. The search isn’t smart enough to know that PR stands for public relations. So someone searching for “PR” is going to get different results from someone searching “public relations.” Same thing for my real estate audience. Some of you are agents. Some of you are brokers. I’m not sure what people search for, you’ll have to do some research.
The important thing is to use the language your customers use.
This is true for all search activity whether it’s on LinkedIn or Google or anywhere else. If you sell “LED headlamps” at North Star Sports and that’s what you call them internally but your audience calls them “flashlights” …
Brett C.: You have to call them “flashlights.”
Gahlord Dewald: Exactly. You have to go with flashlights.
So the Title is important.
The next important place for your keyword is Jobs. So I have “online strategist” and my funny title “President/Janitor.” I used to just say “President/Janitor” but since I wanted to rank well I added “Online Strategist” aka “Mr BoringFace.” So that’s the second place to put your keyword.
The third place you want it is in your summary. So three places for your keyword: Headline, your job title-y thing for you current experience and your summary. If you want to rank for LinkedIn vertical search you have to have your keyword in those three places.
Use LinkedIn Slideshare widget to demonstrate your what you do.
You can put slide presentations into your profile. For my apprentices, if you haven’t had to give a presentation for school yet, you will eventually. When you do, you can load them up to a site called Slideshare.net.
That’s what I’ve done with some of my presentations.
These are some of the presentations I’ve made over the past couple years. I put them in my LinkedIn profile via Slideshare.
So if you’ve made content you can share it in your LinkedIn profile.
If you’re not a public speaker you can just make a presentation anyway. You can make a case study of something you’ve done. For example, we’re going to make a case study of this particular webinar that we’re doing right now. That will be a good presentation for us to put in our SlideShare accounts.
This is a way to share content. It helps people understand what are the things you’re interested in. People are looking at your LinkedIn profile to figure out more about you. People are looking for a reason to talk to you about something interesting. That’s why they’re researching you in the first person. They’re thinking “What do I talk to this person about.”
The Slideshare widget thing is a way for you to demonstrate. So if people want to find out “Hey what does Gahlord think about social media and search engine optimization?” They can look at the whole presentation right here. That’s powerful. Even if you don’t give presentations, if you’re not a presenter, there’s a way for you to describe and tell your story in pictures.
For my real estate audience maybe you have a method of marketing houses for people who want to list their house. You can make a slide presentation about what you do.
A lot of my customers already have that slideshow made. You can put it on your LinkedIn profile so when people are researching a particular listing agent they can see what you do. This is really powerful.
Use LinkedIn blog widgets to move people to your own website
Another widget lets you wire in your blog. Stick with the business stuff here. In your case, Brett, the animé blog might not be a good one to go with.
But it might be, because you want to be a game programmer. And game people like animé and your blog shows that you’re actively involved in thinking about the problems in that industry. So maybe it would be appropriate.
The widget pumps it in to my LinkedIn profile. No big deal. It’s another way for people to find out what I’m interested in.
In this blog links section what’s valuable is that it brings people from the LinkedIn website to my blog. On LinkedIn they can contact me if they know me but it’s not especially easy for people to get ahold of me from LinkedIn. They can but it’s a hassle.
Once I get them away from the LinkedIn website and onto my own website I can market to them or suggest that they sign up to my list or whatever else it is that I need to do for business. That’s a benefit of wiring your blog up to LinkedIn.
If your blog doesn’t support your business goals or you main thesis then maybe don’t wire it in.
Co-workers: amplifying your LinkedIn presence
I’ve never had employees for someone to find a LinkedIn Thoughtfaucet page. What happens though is that someone finds you on LinkedIn they’re going to also see who else works at Thoughtfaucet. And that’s why I want both of you to have kick ass profiles.
Because now when people look for Thoughtfaucet they’re also going to find your LinkedIn profiles.
People will say “Who else works at Thoughtfaucet? Oh these two crazy kids from Champlain College!” So I want you to have the best profiles possible. It’s in my best interests.
For any organization you want the base level of skill in the profile to be high. Because any single one of them is going to show for anybody in the organization.
In the LinkedIn sidebar there’s also a part that lists “Viewers of this profile also viewed” and you can see my former boss Andy Vota. So now this continues to rub off, where you worked, for your entire career. It’s another good reason to have all your past employers listed in here.
You can also see others here, Joe Mescher (Liz’s professor at Champlain College). And Maggie who I used to work with at Union Street but is also at a different job now. And you also see others like Todd Carpenter and Dustin Luther who are in the real estate industry.
Status is relatively new. And since not everyone uses the status updates when LinkedIn sends out the weekly email update of your network there it’s relatively easy to have one of your posts picked up.
Over on the side is a question and answer section. I go in and try to answer a question or two every week.
If your answer is chosen as best answer by the person who asks you get this “Gahlord has expertise in” designation.
The hard part is that the person asking the question almost never goes back and chooses a best answer. They ask their question, they get their answer and they go one with their lives. So that sucks.
Whenever I ask a question in LinkedIn Q+A I write a note saying “Hey I answered your question please select it as the best answer if you think it’s the best and if it’s not let me know what I can do to make it better.” So I try to fight for it a little bit.
Also there are people who ask bogus questions. They’ll ask something like “Hi I’m marketing my book, do you think you would like it if I marketed my book more?” I don’t answer those.
Listening Strategy & LinkedIn
This is a time consuming process. You have to be dedicated. But it’s worth doing. It’s worth doing just to see what kinds of questions are being asked.
There’s lots of people asking PR questions. There are lots of people asking code-related questions. The code people are more likely to actually give a best answer because it’s in their nature. The PR people are more likely to just take your answer and go on with their lives.
So for some kinds of questions you’ll have to be more aggressive about getting marked best answer. If you do two or three a week eventually you’ll get some.
I don’t even know how I got this manufacturing “Best answer.” Basically I just go through the list and if I know the answer and can help someone then I answer it. For the manufacturing one I remember now that it was a question about Chinese outsourcing and my brother-in-law has a job in which he deals with a Chinese factory so I called him and got the answer.
I just helped out the guy asking the question and he was psyched and gave me a best answer and now it shows up in my LinkedIn profile.
Brett C.: What’s the difference between Linkedin Pro and normal LinkedIn accounts?
Gahlord Dewald: The difference between Pro and the regular account is that with Pro you can contact people without being connected. So if you’re not in HR or you’re not hiring people or you’re not aggressively trying to contact people you aren’t connected to then the Pro account doesn’t matter.
It does give you a little extra analytics and stuff. But it doesn’t really matter that much. And I love analytics, I love looking at the numbers.
But so what if you can see who is looking at your profile? You can see who’s stalking you, what are you going to do with that? For some people it is. If you’re in HR, for example.
Webinar Audience: Do you recommend being connected to your local competition?
Gahlord Dewald: Yes, I recommend being connected to your local competition.
If you know each other, be connected. It helps to know that you are in the business.
This question comes from a real estate person. If I’m going to work with someone in real estate I want to know that they have relationships with everyone else in the real estate business.
Because the way real estate works everyone has to get along at some level otherwise things get to be a real pain.
Anybody that you actually know, be connected to them.
If you want to outperform them, then outperform them by
- having a better profile
- being more engaged
- being more responsive
Webinar Audience: What carries more weight? Words about what you’ve done, actual facts (increased sales by 200% for example) or a combination of both?
Gahlord Dewald:: That’s a human factors issue. In terms of search it isn’t going to have big impact other than the words used. I don’t really have an answer for that. Some people are going to be more effected by numbers and others are going to be effected by words.
One thing I would say is that if you use the outcomes–increased sales by 200%–that you have the data to back that up. If you’re talking about what you did, make sure you’ve documented that as well. In either case be able to back it up.
Another way to think about it is, which kind of person would you rather work for? If you focus heavily on stats and numbers, people who get excited about that will also be into stats and numbers. If you focused on the narrative side, then narrative people will be into that.
If you’re personally a stats and numbers person then the narrative people might annoy you. Or vice versa.
So focus on the kinds of people you’d rather work with. You’re mirroring the needs of your audience to make a better match up.
I hope that wasn’t too much of a tap dance.
Webinar audience: How do you rearrange your experience when you work at more than one place at once?
Gahlord Dewald: Whichever one you do at “present” will be listed first. If you have more than one of these, you can have up to three, whichever one you started at most recently will be listed at the top.
I have this problem too. To sort it you end up having to jiggle with the dates. Which I don’t like to do because it’s jiggling with the dates in your resumé, it’s a pain in the ass.
But that’s really the only way to change it. It sucks. I wish there was a better way to handle it.
Webinar audience: Is it better to have more connections that are loose or just a few that are very tight?
Gahlord Dewald: Historically LinkedIn has been a very closed network. You really do need to know somebody.
If you try to connect to someone you don’t know and that person says “I have no idea who this person is” LinkedIn will slow you down.
Don’t connect to someone you don’t actually know. If you haven’t met someone or talked on the phone or shook their hand or exchanged some meaningful Twitter dialogue, don’t bother connecting.
That said, you do want a big network. A big network will expose you in more searches and give you a greater resource.
You have to balance it. Sometimes people go to networking events and go around the room talking about themselves and tossing out their business cards. Your meaningful relationships will be the ones that matter most so focus on those instead. Then work out from there.
I think I managed to tap dance around that one enough there. That listener is going to give me a score that says “Zero satisfaction, Gahlord never answers my questions he just tap dances around.” <
Webinar audience: Is there a benefit for first level connections vs having 2nd and 3rd level connections?
Gahlord Dewald: You don’t control the 2nd and 3rd connections. Anyone you connect to is a 1st level connection. Anyone that that person is connected to is a second level connection and so on.
The benefit to having a bigger network is that when you post a status update, if someone likes or comments your status update it will be seen by more people.
But you don’t have control over who your connection is connected to.
Webinar audience: Does it make sense to have two LinkedIn accounts, one for friends and family vs one for customers?
Gahlord Dewald: The good old fashioned “I’ve got my Facebook for my mom and I’ve got my Facebook for my friends.” No, just have one LinkedIn account. It’s your business.
Just keep in mind this is your business account.
It might get challenging when you’re looking for a job. You might be nervous that “Oh I don’t want Gahlord to know that I’m looking for a job that’s cooler than Thoughtfaucet. I don’t want him to know I’m looking for a job somewhere else.” Don’t worry about that stuff, just take your lumps.
I suppose you could use it for some kind of market segmentation thing but there are a lot better ways to do that.
The nice thing about LinkedIn is that your mom should be able to look at everything on your LinkedIn profile.
Recap of some important LinkedIn profile concepts
Three places for your keyword if you want to do well with LinkedIn People Search:
- Current Experience
Describe a project for all of your work experiences. This should be some way you added value.
Next steps for doing more with LinkedIn
This is just the basic overview of LinkedIn. But some time in the future we’ll talk about groups on LinkedIn and maybe more about Q+A. So some of the more social features available within LinkedIn.
For now we just want to get the profiles tightened up.