Every Sunday night a habit developed within me to go through the ‘People You May Know’ section on the LinkedIn app. Not sure exactly how this habit came to be, it must be the fact that Monday morning work load begins to call out to me like an internal to-do list.
But last night, and after a two weeks of speaking in my workshops about LinkedIn and the importance it has as part of a personal brand I noticed something I never really thought of before. That is how people describe themselves on the tag line. This is what you see as you browse down through the list of names. As a fictitious example, Joe Blogs – MD of blogs industries, Emily Wright – HR manager of Really Ltd etc. It is that tag line that grabs the attention of the viewer. LinkedIn is for professionals looking to connect with similar professionals particularly in the area where you live or conduct the most business. It is a social networking platform on a professional level. Other platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have a more laid back approach where you can share more, make jokes and have conversations. LinkedIn has more of a serious tone, but it’s purpose is highly effective. But like all social networking platforms, you still need to grab the attention of the viewer in order to connect.
Some of the lines describing certain people led me to believe that they really do not know who they are and therefore why should I connect with them. Describing yourself as “looking for opportunities” only says to me, looking for what exactly and where have you come from? What background have you and what is your goal? A multitude of questions that I don’t have time to ponder. Another tag line is “experience in business” – ok, so my nine year-old also has experience in business as she sold Christmas cards for charity. What business are you in then and again, what is your goal? The one I could have placed myself in for many years, but chose not to use is the “experience home maker”. That’s great and hard work, I know but you must have come from a profession prior to that, that would entice a conversation with connections within that said profession, tell me more. These people would benefit from an exercise I show in my workshop and consultations where I ask my clients to describe themselves in words and use those words to develop a profile. It is not as easy as it seems and takes them a while to formulate a good one. (It took me many tries).
I have been saying in my workshops over the past two weeks about the importance of a good profile and to keep that profile consistent through all platforms you use. A good profile will allow viewers to gain an insight in a short sentence of who you are, your background and your goal. So for me it’s “Personal Branding Consultant”. Prior to that it was “Marketing Professional, studying Digital Arts and Humanities, UCC”. Viewers were always able to see where I come from and what I’m doing now.
A profile is like that of your 90 second evaluator pitch where you need to pack that punch to get a reaction. That is what personal branding represents, the WOW factor to make you stand out from the crowd. This is true no matter what your background, professional, student, graduate, researcher, jobseeker and so on. I urge you all now to take a look at your LinkedIn tag line and profile and really think about the impact on your personal brand. Edit it if you think it is too weak or even too strong. But do keep it true, short and snappy.
Maeve Ahern O’Neill