LinkedIn is a rich tool and the company just keeps adding more and more ways to help you create a more enhanced profile. Who hasn’t been assaulted (oops – I mean invited) to add connections, add more information, add a volunteer position, endorse someone, accept an endorsement, etc. etc. It’s all very helpful of LinkedIn but I’ve noticed a negative effect. For all the years LinkedIn has been around and all the times Silicon Valley professionals have had to update their profiles on LinkedIn after the latest layoff, I have been finding lately that my speaking engagement audiences and workshop participants have worse profiles that I saw a couple of years ago.
What do I mean by a “worse” profile?
- No photo
- No keywords in the headline
- No summary
- Few connections
I think people are just overwhelmed by all that they could do that they can’t even take care of what they should do. I liken it to a reaction I had this past month when I thought I would jump-start my weekly blogging habit by participating in a 15-day challenge to write a blog daily – perhaps even add in video blogging (vlogging.) Rather than getting my creative writing juices flowing, I didn’t even write my weekly blog. I felt frozen/overwhelmed with all the great ideas emailed to me every day – I couldn’t even open them as they induced such a feeling of guilt/inadequacy/incompetence.
What is the LinkedIn Naked movement?
If I was clever (and in violation of the whole keep it simple movement I’m recommending) I would come up with a catchy acronym. But I just wanted to catch your attention for now. Let’s just keep things simple. For the next month at least, I grant you full immunity from paying attention to any of the helpful hints from LinkedIn so long as you take care of the basics.
Just the basics
Take a look at your LinkedIn profile.
Make sure you have a photo (yes, a professional headshot is best but so long as you have one that looks like you on a reasonably good day, you have a pass for this month)
Choose 3 keywords (the words someone might use if they were looking for your services/skills) and put them in your headline. Add a tag line if you have one that differentiates you (and if you don’t or you don’t even know what a tagline is, just forget about it for now)
About (formerly called Summary)
Include a summary (I’ve noticed record numbers of people skipping this entirely lately but even the “Go Naked” movement needs a loin cloth (and maybe I’d better stop with this analogy!) Write 2 sentences in the first person – what you might say when introducing yourself at a networking event. Then add your 3 key words as bullets under those two sentences. If you want to make it easy for people to contact you (e.g. job seekers or business owners with a product or service to sell), then add your email and/or phone number.
Just for this Go Naked month, you can add your jobs like your resume with just the titles and the company name. Include your key words in the description of what you’re doing/you did (or not – remember your free pass for Go Naked month)
I think you can handle this.
Make sure your 3 key words are included plus relevant other skills. Use the editing pencil to move your top 3 to the beginning. Just because you can list 50 skills doesn’t mean you have to. There’s something to be said for focusing on a more limited number. So – for Go Naked month – choose 10-20 and get a gold star!
Naked or not, you just can’t ignore that size matters when it comes to the number of connections you have so look at where you are now and set yourself a goal. Do you have 50 connections? Aim for at least a hundred by the end of your Go Naked month. Whatever number you have, aim for 50 more EXCEPT for those of you who already have over 500 connections. The goal I set for those of you with larger networks is to reach out to 50 of your existing connections in some way – send an email, give someone a call, comment on or like their status updates, congratulate someone on a promotion or job change. It’s not just about the numbers – it’s about meaningful contact.
NOTE: It is always best to add a personal note to your connection request and not use the default LinkedIn connection request “I want to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” Add a brief sentence before that default sentence, please. For this “Go Naked” month, I’ll let you off the hook. I no longer send people to LinkedIn Hell (we’ll talk about LinkedIn Hell another time) for people who use that default as sometimes I just have to accept the modern ways of doing things. But you’ll go to LinkedIn heaven for adding a personal message.
Groups and Activities and More – Oh My!
And what about all those other things that you can add to your LI profile? Just for Go Naked month, I give you full dispensation to ignore them. You need to walk before you can run. Go Naked month is all about taking care of the basics so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. Quite frankly, from what I’ve been seeing lately, if you take care of just the basics during Go Naked month, you will have a better profile than 95% of others out there. Relax. Have some fun. We’ll talk about some serious additions to your Go Naked profile soon enough.
*The LinkedIn Go Naked Movement is not recognized or approved by LinkedIn but I am hoping they forgive my sense of humor.