Andrea's Afternoon Delight: How to Create an Effective LinkedIn Profile in Less than an Day: Part One

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Remember when the word "link" was used rarely. Chainlink fence? Sausage link? Let's link arms? Those days are over. It doesn’t matter if you have an amazing website or an amazing resume.

LinkedIn is often people’s first point of reference. An instant measure of credibility. Your big chance! The championship where it's your turn to sweep the leg!

Time to dive in. 

Title
If you’re inclined, get creative. Add another title for yourself. It need not be silly or unprofessional. Use alliteration. Try a hyphen. Detail-Chaser. Chief Change-Maker. Project Management Maven. Word Woman.  Jeffrey Kent does a good job. So does Genipher Miller.

This communicates that you a) have some passion for your craft and b) don’t take yourself too seriously.

An ego-less professional that loves what they do? You are now the droid they're looking for.

 Contact Information
If you’re looking for a job or a client, make sure your phone number, your website, and/or your portfolio are highly visible. I see this mistake a lot. 

The Photo 
This isn't Outback Steakhouse. There are rules. Avoid being too casual. Stay away from vacation shots—or at least minimize the ocean or Cinderella’s head. No kids or grandkids. Selfies are a no-no. The shot should be mostly face. Don't be too serious, don't be mid-laugh. Get more tips here and here.

But if you remember nothing else from this article, know this: If you look significantly younger in your LinkedIn profile than you do in real life, you are chipping away at first impressions. There will be slight confusion, potential disappointment and subconscious suspicion about your character. It is minor, sure. And no one will say a word. That doesn’t mean they won’t be thinking it. Get a second opinion--it matters.

The Initial Pitch—Bonus Points
It’s called marketing people. A pitch. A hook. Maybe something funny. Maybe a statistic. Maybe a pain point. Maybe something personal. Maybe a question. Maybe you just dive right into why you’re amazing with powerful, sharp sentences. This isn't TV. It's HBO.

Most importantly, put yourself in the reader’s shoes. Think how quickly YOU glaze over while reading about someone’s awards and years of experience and blah blah blah. Give them more. If you’re in accounting, make it subtle. If you’re in marketing, go big.

 What You Must Have
--An opening that includes a sentence of two about years of qualifications, but also your “why”, your essence, some career highlights.
--A bulleted list of something that matters. Skills. Clients. Results. Strategies. Launches. Whatever's relevant.
--A call to action. A link, a number, a website, a posted article, a secret knock, a line that leaves them wondering how they can be running a company without you. A sense of urgency.

Now, edit. And then edit again. And then call me.

The Job List
For every job, at a minimum, you need to include:
--Two lines about the company. Just assume people don't know.
--Your title, responsibilities, metrics, results, big projects. In bullet format.
--A recommendation from someone you worked with.

Everything Else
Lets talk about it later. You’ve got enough on your profile plate for now. Stay tuned for Part Two.

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