One of the most common errors I see when reviewing LinkedIn profiles is when people fill out the profile as if it’s a history document without first considering what their purpose is for using LinkedIn. Now, don’t get me wrong, people are interested in learning about your experience because it gives your credibility. However, experience and history are two different things.
When you treat your profile like a biography, the problem is that it’s not likely to compel people to action. Further, if it does, it’s not created to compel a specific type of action, such as contact you about a job opportunity or to do business.
Essentially, I have found that most peoples’ purposes for being on LinkedIn can be boiled down to three main purposes: Business Development, Personal Branding, and Job Seeking.
Business Development: The goal obviously is to find clients and customers on LinkedIn to grow your business. If this is your purpose, then your profile should be focused on what you do. It should identify the services or products you provide, who your target client is, and what results you get. Your summary is your elevator speech. Your past is only as important to the extent that it builds the case of why people would want to do business with you.
Personal Branding: A personal branding profile is for people who are career oriented but not working in a sales capacity. This profile is about who you are. It should address your mission and values and identify your future career goals so that those opportunities can find you.
Job Seeker: The job seeker profile is a combination of the business development and personal branding because it has to address both what you do and who you are. Recruiters want to get to know both sides of you as a candidate. With the third party applications, LinkedIn gives you an opportunity to show recruiters that you are much more than a resume.
Ultimately, when people land on your profile, you want your purpose and message to be crystal clear. If you’re looking for a job, say you’re looking for a job. If you offer payroll services to small and mid-size businesses in the Greater Cincinnati area, then say that! The more fancy you get with your language and the more you leave up to interpretation, the less likely people are to understand what you want.