This is as much a “series” as much as it’s a reflection of the fact that people who are involved in the social sphere of the Higher Ed Community themselves struggle with certain things too. For me, that current beast is LinkedIn. I’ve had accounts on the site no less than four times over the years. At one point, I deleted my recommendation laden account with connections all because I sort of hated the site.
I don’t really like having my resume out there, because it just all feels a bit weird to me. Nonetheless, I show up only to leave again. It’s not that I didn’t understand how to use the site, how to manage it or anything like that. I just think one of the advantages you have in personal branding is not giving it all away for free. That is to say, I think there’s a particular competitive advantage to people who are looking for the same jobs you are not knowing every aspect of your pitch.
This time, I’ve decided I’m staying. I came to this conclusion, because it’s not like I’m not already online. My rationale for years has been that if people were going to Google me, that I needed to have some control over what they found first. Maybe they’d dig up some old article I wrote when I was in my early 20s and impressionable. That’s fine. (After all, I can explain.) But it would be better if the first few things that came up (or in my case, the entire first page of what they get) are things that I’ve curated or intentionally want them to see.
I figured that highlighting my struggles with the site — and working through them in real time — might help one or two of you out there manage your own LinkedIn identities. This isn’t meant to be a definitive reference, but rather just how one random guy decides to use it — based on cobbled together information, but also just my limits. If you’d like a primer on LinkedIn before getting started, check this one out from Joe Ginese.
1. My public profile is intentionally sparse.
I don’t really want my LinkedIn profile to make the first page of my Google results. So I don’t go out of my way to elevate the content. For a long time, I didn’t have one at all. But I came around on the idea, figuring that if someone were looking for it it’d be better to make it possible to find it without being logged in. I make just enough information public to verify (along with a photo) that I am indeed that Ron Bronson, but anything more and they’d need to be 1) connected to me and/or 2) logged in.
2. Decide who you’re writing this profile for.
We preach audience a lot in the web content world anyway. It’s no different for LinkedIn. Your profile would be structured differently for recruiters than if you were just trying to use your profile for networking. Understand the “average” user that you’re targeting. In my case, it’s literally for networking purposes and even that’s confined to people I’ve met in real life, know from someplace (former colleagues, et. al.) or meet at conferences. To that end, I’m not doing things like filling in job descriptions. There might be a time when I feel like that’s necessary, that time is not now.
3. Don’t be afraid to shine
Look, you do good work. You shouldn’t hesitate to share those successes, because if there’s anywhere worth sharing them outside of a personal site, it’s a place like LinkedIn. I don’t think there’s a limit, though assessing what your goal is will determine specifically whether talking about the awards you won in 8th grade are relevant for your profile or not. Ultimately, it’s up to you.
Don’t be afraid to be toot your own horn, though. Other people will be, that’s for sure.
This is just a starting point. But with anything, starting is how you make progress. Good luck and don’t be afraid to reach out.Read More