“I’m not looking for a job, so why do I need to be on LinkedIn?” Sound familiar? Here’s another one: “I don’t use LinkedIn because I don’t want my boss to think I’m interested in leaving the company.” Both of these are common myths – nay – excuses for why people do not keep their LinkedIn profile up-to-date.
LinkedIn is the number one business resource. Companies use LinkedIn to find vendors, sales people, subject matter experts and consultants to hire. So, if you are a sales person interested in connecting with prospects, LinkedIn is THE tool to help market on your behalf even before you take your first meeting.
- Fact: If you aren’t on the Internet, you do not exist.
- Fact: People are researching you before taking your call or meeting with you.
- Fact: If your LinkedIn profile does not accurately represent you, you may never get that meeting.
Picture what your LinkedIn profile looks like right now. Ask yourself:
- Is your picture current?
- Do you include a summary statement that reflects what sets you apart from the competition?
- Is your work history filled out completely, matching your paper resume and including action-oriented accomplishments?
- Have you taken the time to complete the sections demonstrating your non-profit work, industry affiliations, work product, interests, and community activity?
- Is the skills and experience section complete,– strategically including all of the areas of expertise you want to be known for?
If you answered no to any of these, you may be giving your professional brand a disservice. So here are our 7 reasons to keep your LinkedIn profile current:
- Your profile represents you. Think of how important an assistant is to the president of a company. Often he/she is the gatekeeper that represents the boss, and therefore they must be professional, smart, responsive, and on top of everything the boss has going on. Your LinkedIn profile serves the same purpose. It must give an accurate and current depiction of who you are, what you know, and what you’ve done. When you fail to keep an updated profile, you are offering a false representation of who you are.
- Authenticity is what can set you apart. When prospects looking for your services “stumbles upon” your profile, they begin to make some assumptions about who you are. If they are looking for a small business accountant, the price of admission is that you went to school, have the proper certifications and experience. What sets you apart is what makes you authentic. Your interest in Habitat for Humanity. The fact that you were the president of the glee club in college. The Slideshare presentations you’ve linked to your profile. These are things that set you apart.
- Ensuring prospects understand how you want to be known. If you don’t fill out your LinkedIn profile, people will begin to fill it out for you. In other words, they will begin to endorse you for things they “think” you do. When you take the time to completely fill out your skills and experience list, you are in control of the types of business you attract. As a CPA, if you don’t want to do individual taxes, then clearly indicating that you are a specialist for SME owners will help attract more qualified prospects.
- Key words attract those seeking to do business. In your profile and specifically in your summary statement, you have the opportunity to use key word phrases that prospects might search. If you are a manufacturing sales representative, including the key words for your industry will help increase your chances of appearing in the search list of prospects looking for your experience. If you just list your title as “manager” or “outside sales” or “distribution representative” without clarifying the industry and your specific expertise, prospects will move on to someone who appears to more closely match their search. Make sure you use the appropriate key word phrases in as many places as possible in your LinkedIn profile so that you are at the top of the search list for your skill-set.
- Round the clock marketing. Your LinkedIn profile can work for you even when you are sleeping. People access the Internet from different time zones and at different times during their day. You don’t have to be in the office when a prospect researches you prior to your first meeting in the morning. Your LinkedIn profile helps market your abilities long before you ever shake hands.
- Be the subject matter expert in your industry. Your LinkedIn profile helps set the foundation of who you are, but your regular LinkedIn participation allows people some insight into what is important to you and how you feel about certain areas of business. Get involved by commenting on articles, sharing information others post, and offering up your thoughts in a LinkedIn blog article. The more knowledge you share, the more people will begin to associate you with your industry and recognize you for the subject matter expert you are.
- Your profile reflects on your boss and the company. Rather than appearing to your boss that you are secretly job hunting, an updated profile and regular LinkedIn activity actually sends a message to prospects, competitors, and potential new hires that you work for a great company. You work for a company that understands the value of networking, relationship building, transparency, and authenticity. If an investor or prospect researches the company’s employees and finds poorly filled out profiles of key associates, it begs the question, “what are they hiding” and “are they a good company to invest with?” People do business with people. Your LinkedIn profile provides a human element to your online presence if it is filled in completely and updated regularly – and if you actively participate.
If you are a sales person interested in connecting with prospects and haven’t taken the time or are unsure how LinkedIn can benefit your sales, give us a call. Our recruiting experts have the experience and know-how to help improve your personal online brand.
Give the recruiting specialists at CreativeSourcing a call. We can help.  296-0167.