As a college student, I am immersed in a world of learning and possibility while quietly left to ponder my future and career. My time as a promotions intern at NowSourcing has provided me with an avenue to explore and learn new things, get professional experience in a highly-relevant field, and challenge my preconceived notions in several areas. One of the biggest surprises I encountered to me had nothing to do with promotions, or even infographics at all. It was actually that I haven’t been paying enough attention to LinkedIn.
I recently had a chance to chat with Brian Wallace, the Founder and President of NowSourcing, who, among his many titles and skills is by any measure a LinkedIn expert. He enlightened me about the many changes in the platform and how savvy users are successfully leveraging it to get noticed, advance their careers, or win business.
I’d like to share with you a few of his most salient nuggets of wisdom. I hope you learn something too.
Your banner picture is probably bad.
Brian was clear – the top of your profile is prime real estate and it is a shame to waste that space. If you have no picture at all, well, you just told the world that you haven’t even bothered to log in for a while. If you have a grainy picture, a stock photo, or something generic – you are wasting a precious chance to make a good first impression! Your banner picture should be treated as equal to, if not more important than, your profile picture. It should be professional without being bland and should give a visitor a visual clue about what sets you apart. Brian suggests the best banner pictures are photos of you in action, doing something you are passionate about. Capture the attention of a visitor and start telling your story.
You need a narrative.
Speaking of story – Brian is a big proponent of narrative. His title is more than just what he calls himself. It contains major accomplishments, things he did. His profile summary isn’t just a grocery list of achievements or awards, it is constructed like a story – a journey of how he’s gotten where he is and what he’s learned along the way. The idea behind this, he says, is to compel a visitor to continue reading. Once someone is interested, they are invested in learning about you – and it starts to feel personable, relatable. Building this element of a relationship is key to gaining attention, getting jobs, and winning business online. The more you can become human, the more the screen disappears.
Content is king.
Everyone knows that LinkedIn is a social media platform, but not everyone has always treated it as such. Far from its old reputation as a sort of online resume database, people are now finding tremendous value in the variety and quality of user-generated content. For some, content creation is their raison d’etre on the site – they regularly connect with hundreds, or thousands, or hundreds of thousands of followers by using their skills and expertise in novel ways to produce content that addresses current issues and events in their professional field and beyond. And don’t think of this content as just articles or blog posts – LinkedIn has quickly become a popular platform for producers of videos, pictures, infographics, and other multimedia. Brian says the key to setting yourself apart with content, aside from producing relevant and high-quality stuff, is to vary the type of content you share – do a little bit of everything and find a voice that resonates with your peers.
You’ve all heard of LinkedIn Local , right? Wait, you haven’t? That’s okay. LinkedIn local was started independently by three users a little over a year ago. The idea is to get together with local LinkedIn users and exchange ideas, talk about your career, generate business opportunities, or just share common interests. Usually, events take place at a local gathering place after work, and feature a speaker or panel presenting on a specific topic. Guests have the opportunity to engage with the presenters and ask questions. LinkedIn Local isn’t in every city yet, but the response from these events have initially been very positive, which means if it’s not in your area yet, it probably will be soon.
Ian Anderson is a Promotions Intern at NowSourcing