Linkedin: Prepare, Polish, Prepare

Stop. Polish, as in polish your shoes, not Polish as if you are a descendant from Poland.

Now that that is out of the way. Let’s talk about my favorite online tool, Linkedin. To catch you up you may want to read this, and this first.

I’m talking about preparing your Linkedin profile for the masses to see. I’m not talking about copying and pasting your resume for all to see. With Linkedin, you have a bit of wiggle room, in my opinion, because it is not yet the “traditional” resume therefore why should you have to act in the “traditional” way?

The new Linkedin Profiles are gorgeous and allow for much more sharing and much less sticking things to a bulletin board. That brings me to my first step.

1: Prepare
But Joe I already have my resume done so what more do I need? Listen, this may be different for you but it shouldn’t. My Linkedin summary includes talking about Zelda, the NES, and reading books as fast as I eat my French toast. I don’t foresee this changing anytime soon regardless of what position I move up to in the coming years. If that makes me the first SSAO to mention those things on Linkedin, so be it. Remember, I mentioned this wasn’t traditional and I’ve actually been told by some non-higher education folks that my summary is one of the best they’ve read on Linkedin(!). Your summary is your chance to take your typical cover letter jargon one step further. Don’t think about putting your experience down on your profile, think about it as sharing your story. Step one is to prepare to think differently about Linkedin and your “online” resume.

2: Polish
Shoes not countries, remember? Ok. I mentioned that I’ve received nothing but positive feedback on my Linkedin summary. That didn’t happen overnight – it took a lot of polishing. I had some friends read it. I had some outsiders read it. Most useful of all was reading what I could about making things stick, marketing, and storytelling.

Now that last piece is the most important in my opinion. I read everything that Mike (@getstoried) had to share. Thanks to SkillShare I was able to attend a morning workshop and learn from Mike, in-person, his story telling techniques and how to be a better story teller. Finally, I attended TEDxMillRiver which was all about story telling (Mike was featured) and witnessed one of the best examples of storytelling I’ve ever seen. It was through these people, these resources, these exercises that I started honing my story telling skills. It is on Linkedin that I try to use those skills to draw you into my Linkedin profile with my main summary. That’s the polish. Once you are able to construct your summary, you can use those skills on other platforms. The polish is important because this major step sets you up for step three.

3: Prepare
This is no typo. You’ve prepared to change the way you view Linkedin. You’ve polished your profile with some storytelling, marketing, and sticky skills. Now you’ve got to prepare to share your hard work, this is the hardest part. As part of the SkillShare seminar that Mike hosted about storytelling he had us pair up and gave us 60 seconds to share our story. That was it. “Pair up and I’m going to time you. You have 60 seconds to tell your story.” Folks, try this. 60 seconds is a long time when you don’t have 60 seconds worth the material ready. You will be left rambling about some irrelevant story about your dog or stubbing your toe or saying “Well I guess that’s my story” and awkwardly looking around the room thinking “What could everyone else be possibly saying?!” Time ends and now you are critiqued by your partner. It doesn’t end there though.

Mike then had us pair up again, this time with only 30 seconds to tell our story. Folks, try this. Just after trying it once for 60 seconds, the 30 second chance was like a whole new ballgame. Again time ends and you get critiqued. That exercise has stuck with me since and now when I’m asked who I am or what I do I’m not left saying “uh, educator?” “uh, my title is…”, I have a 30 second narrative and pitch that doesn’t sound like a pitch and doesn’t sound too rehearsed. Don’t believe me? See for yourself.

Now that you have your story, you have your revamped profile, get out there and share it. Still feeling uneasy about it? Let’s chat. I’d love to help you out and explore some wording, ideas, or curiosities you might have. Connect with me on Linkedin and let’s set up a time to talk.

LinkedIn: What do you want?

This is part of a series of posts about LinkedIn. First one found here.

You’ve probably heard that you should never go food shopping while hungry because then everything just looks good and you end up with a carriage full of…stuff.

Well, you shouldn’t be on LinkedIn just because someone told you that you should be on there because it will show up on Google. Now, chances are you heard of LinkedIn and you signed on to LinkedIn as the “professional Facebook” and haven’t touched it since. Or you may be like the hungry shopper, randomly looking through the “People You May Know” section adding people like a hoarder hiding beanie babies from the family. This is NOT the point of LinkedIn.

Folks, when you are signing on to LinkedIn and you haven’t touched it in a while…cleanse. Seriously. Disconnect from everyone. Start fresh. Chances are no one will notice if you haven’t been active on it in months. If they do, use it as a talking point. 🙂

Now, you have zero connections and you are wondering what to do next. What I am going to tell you is simple but not easy. Have a plan!

What do you want to get out of LinkedIn? How will you use it? Are you hoping to make connections with folks you plan to work with in the future? Are you using it to connect with folks from your past that you don’t want snooping on your Facebook? Are you using it so when an employer Googles you they find an outstanding professional version of your digital identity?

Whatever the case is, don’t go into LinkedIn and wonder. Go into LinkedIn and conquer.

Still confused? Here is the plan I have when I go onto LinkedIn.

1) Reconnect with students that I’ve worked with. From the ones I’ve reached out to and reconnected with I’ve learned that hey have become amazing professionals with incredibly cool positions (lawyers, Disney Imagineers!, nurses, trainers, founders of their own businesses).

2) Connect with those that I value. These are the folks that you see present something incredible. Folks that you aspire to be like. Folks that when a cool opportunity comes up you can perhaps call them for words of wisdom (especially if they are already connected on LinkedIn). We will get into the value of connections in another post!

3) Reach out folks on the fringe. These are neither students nor professionals I’ve met but have been introduced to on Twitter. They are not in higher education circles. They are folks that provide me with an outsider’s view and some perspective on everything not education.

Those are my three goals and that’s my plan. What’s your plan for conquering LinkedIn going to be?

Week Wrap – 1/28-2/1

Here are the posts you may have missed from this week:

Book #2 of 2013 – The Alchemist

Every time I read this book, it always gets me thinking deeper about where I am, what I’m doing, and where I’m going.

Thinking about Job Terms
Part of my quick thoughts, what would happen if your job was term limited?

Gatekeepers & Agents
There are two roles people can play in this world. Which one will you play?

Living with LinkedIn
The first of what will be a series of posts about my love of LinkedIn. This one has 3 steps to get you started.

Favorite video from the week? Has to be….this (thanks Andy!):