I’m taking an educated stab in the dark that, if you’re reading this article, then you have set up a profile on LinkedIn (full points to me in the ‘bleeding obvious’ category).
LinkedIn can be a fabulous promotional tool if you utilise it properly. It can help you find work and, more importantly, help others find you. Provided you don’t have some weird hang up about using technology to find people, build relationships and benefit from your skills, then LinkedIn is one place where spending time on your profile can really pay off.
One of the biggest issues I find with LinkedIn is what people choose to call themselves.
Let me give you an example.
There are many people out there who like to list their title as ‘Owner’.
Now, technically, that isn’t incorrect. If they own their business, then yes, they are technically a business owner.
However, a title like ‘owner’ doesn’t really say much about what you do, does it? Sure, it let’s people know that you have a super important job title but it doesn’t really give an insight into what kind of business you own and, therefore, how they can engage with you. Unless you’re a ‘high profile thought leader’, most people are not going to know who the boss of most companies are.
When was the last time someone called you and said, ‘Oh, hi… I’m hoping you can help me. I’m looking for someone who owns something’?
When considering what job title to use, you need to consider what do you want people to find you for?
For instance, if you’re an owner of a graphic design business, then wouldn’t it make more sense to push the graphic design aspect with your LinkedIn profile? That way, when people find your profile, they’re going to have an idea as to how they can work with you.
Sometimes we need to check our ego at the door and realise that, while we might want to adopt a job title that implies we’re high up the food chain, if it actually works against us being able to build meaningful connections and potential work opportunities, then what’s the point? It might feel good to say you’re a business owner however, realistically, you’re wanting to sell your services to other business owners.
If you don’t believe me that this form of vague, non-descriptive job titling isn’t rampantly out of control, try doing a search on LinkedIn and see for yourself. Then consider, what do I do that is going to be of real value to people out there who find my profile and use that to sell your talent.
Imagine you’re at a party and you meet someone for the first time. They ask you what you do for a living, what kind of people you provide that for, and what kind of outcomes you aim for. Take that response you would give them and ensure that you’re translated that to your LinkedIn profile.
When it comes to our LinkedIn profile, we need to ensure that we’re approaching the content on our profile in the same way someone would approach any webpage for SEO. Unless you’re placing as much content in as possible to help ‘be found’, you’re likely to just be another profile sitting there being under-utilised.
If you have any thoughts, questions or simply would like to get in touch with me and offer up a topic for the next Ask Lawrence, you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or you can find me and connect with me on LinkedIn.