If you don’t flesh out your bio on LinkedIn, you should expect others to assume the worst about your background. From pitching for new business to considering job opportunities, the decision maker on the other side is judging your LinkedIn profile before you even show up. Would you show up to a business pitch with a hole in your suit, scuffed up shoes, and toilet paper hanging out of your pants? Then how can you have a bare-bones LinkedIn profile that reflects the same about you, your experience, and presentation?
Have you looked at your LinkedIn recently? What’s it look like? Is your photo professional enough? How about your ‘About’ section? Current experience, education up-to-date? Any recommendation from colleagues? Are you a member of specific clubs and organizations? These are the type of things that decision makers look at in the modern, internet-driven, millennial world we live in today. As important as your physical resume is, your LinkedIn bio is THAT much more important.
If your LinkedIn bio needs work, you are in luck. Lateral Link is here to help make sure your LinkedIn doesn’t get in the way of you and your next “yes” moment.
- What does your photo say about you?
The first thing employers see when opening your LinkedIn page is your headshot. Keep in mind that LinkedIn is not Facebook or Instagram. Even John Quinn, whose name really speaks for itself, still fleshes out his bio including a professional headshot. On the other hand, and leaving names aside, those downing shots on your Cabo trip with the Mariachi band, will say the opposite. Make sure your photo is similar to what you would look like the day you walk in for the in-person interview. Also, right below the photo, is your current title. Keep it short and right to the point. Save the detailed information about yourself for the ‘About’ section. Check out the profile picture of our CEO, Michael Allen, for example.
- Tell your story in under 200 words.
Do you think it is important for people to know exactly what your title in the above section entails? Of course, it is! The about section is what you want people to know about you. Are you a CEO like Michael Allen? Great! CEO of what? What does your current position mean? This section should have a short write-up of you, what you do currently and how people can reach you. Sell yourself and make yourself easily reachable.
- Where have you worked?
This section has the potential to separate you from all other applicants. It is vital that your experience is up-to-date and accurate. List all former employers, the correct duration you were at each job and a brief description of what you did at each job. You might find yourself repeating some of the tasks, but that is okay. Also, I cannot stress enough to list all the jobs where you have worked. Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors (GM), not only lists all the different positions she has held during her GM career but provides a full description of what each position required. Another example is our CEO, Michael Allen and how he displays, with great detail and accuracy all he has done in his working career. For example, here are just his most recent positions.
- Do you come with a recommendation?
LinkedIn has a feature that allows others to toot your horn for you. Self-puffery isn’t credible. I came across a legitimate M&A partner from a Valley firm the other day who was more than generous pounding his chest with his achievements. That’s a turnoff. But, if Brad Smith of Microsoft said the same about the partner, that would go a long way. Letter of recommendations are still important to employers, and LinkedIn makes that process easy. The website has a section at the bottom of your page that displays reviews and recommendations about you and your job skills from credible sources (which requires you to know credible sources).
- How about your accomplishments?
This part might not help everyone, but if you are a member of interesting organizations and have other accomplishments, then list them. Not everyone belongs to country clubs and wine societies, but these kinds of memberships say a lot about a person (where the frequent, who they know, and what they like). For example, if you are a member of the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, like our CEO, Michael Allen, then you want to share that in case there are others who also belong and share this affinity. For example, there are more than a few chairman of firms and prominent lawyers in this group, and sharing membership to this society creates a bond. The same applies to non-profits, social organizations, and the like. If you are aiming for that board position, you can really separate yourself from other candidates by listing your outside activities. Take a quick look at the accomplishments of our CEO, Michael Allen. I imagine there are lots of folks reading this article who also share the same ones. That makes use feel closer to one another and creates a warm affinity.
By just going through this short exercise, you know more about Michael Allen’s professional background and accomplishments than probably most of his family members. Most people don’t share these types of things when first meeting in person or over Thanksgiving. That’s crude. But it’s not crude, and in fact, is expected that you broadcast your background on LinkedIn. Decision makers will review your bios. They will pass judgement quickly. Within 30 seconds of looking at a candidates LinkedIn page, you can tell if they are qualified and credible. The sad part is when someone who is otherwise qualified is judged incorrectly for not having fleshed out their bio on LinkedIn. It is as important a tool as anything today and you should use it to its fullest potential.