Following up on our Jan. 25 article about the differences between your resume and your LinkedIn profile, here are four tips for getting the most out of LinkedIn.
Personalize Your URL
When you join LinkedIn, you will be assigned a unique, but clunky, URL (Uniform Resource Locator, aka web address). It includes your first and last name and nine numbers and letters. For example, the URL for one of the thousands of people I found on LinkedIn named John Smith is https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-smith-3375a713b.
Your LinkedIn URL should be part of the contact information on your resume, and a personalized URL looks better than the one you are automatically assigned. In addition, you can use your personalized URL to advertise your business or specialty: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexfreundcareercoach, for example, or https://www.linkedin.com/in/hirejohnnemo.
Personalize Your Name
If a prospective employer likes your resume, the typical next step is to look for you on LinkedIn, to learn more about you. If your resume includes your LinkedIn URL, no matter how clunky, it is easy to find you. But if your resume does not include your LinkedIn URL, finding you can be a challenge.
We all think that we are one of a kind, but we likely share our name with many other people. For example, I found that there are 189 people in LinkedIn named Daniel Goldstein and 316 people named Benjamin Cohen. How likely is it that a prospective employer will take the time to sort through many profiles to find yours?
These numbers are dwarfed by the number of LinkedIn members with more common names. For example, I found 2,426 people in LinkedIn named Thomas Jones, 4,341 people named Tom Jones, and 62,465 named John Smith.
To find a specific Daniel Goldstein or Benjamin Cohen, it is possible to search within LinkedIn by state or other descriptor, but not every prospective employer can be assumed to know how to do this.
Finally, you can distinguish yourself from all the people who share your name by using your middle name, a middle initial, and so forth.
Personalize Your Invitations
To grow your LinkedIn network, you will want to invite people to connect to you. LinkedIn provides the generic text with an offer to let you customize your invite and the advice that “LinkedIn members are more likely to accept invitations that include a personal note.”
If you are inviting someone who knows you reasonably well, a personal note may not be necessary. If, however, you met 10 people at a conference last week and are inviting each of them to link to you, a personal note may help refresh their memories when they see your name. For example, you might say: “I enjoyed meeting you at the [name] conference last week and discussing [topic] with you.”
Use Capital Letters to Format Your Profile
Relative to Microsoft Word, LinkedIn offers few options for formatting your text. In Word, you can bold, italicize, or underline text to make it stand out. In LinkedIn, by contrast, you can do none of those things.
However, you can use CAPS to set off sections of text. For an example of using CAPS in this way, please watch John Nemo’s 18-minute video on how he reformatted the LinkedIn profile of Tom Ziglar, son of super-salesman Zig Ziglar, at http://linkedinriches.com/tz/.
Bottom line: You can get more from LinkedIn by personalizing your URL, invitations, and name, and by using capital letters to format your profile.