In this article we explore how to get started with LinkedIn for those of you who are reluctant about having an online presence.
As an inherently private person, I understand the discomfort of presenting the online version of you. The process of embracing and leveraging my online presence has been a gradual journey. Many people are reluctantly realising they need to better represent themselves online with an updated LinkedIn profile.
While you may have traditionally been taught to be humble and let your work and results speak for you, the world has changed. Recruiters, head hunters and clients are using tools like LinkedIn to research and find us.
If you do not have an online presence then you may be reducing your chances of being considered for interviews and opportunities. I encourage you to ‘google’ your name on a public computer or via incognito mode on your laptop, and see what comes up. If you’re happy with what people can find about you online, well done. If you’d like to take better control of what people can find, especially if you are in active job search or lead a business, please read on.
The 5 Steps to Help You Get Started with LinkedIn
I believe there are 5 key steps you can take to help you get started with better leveraging LinkedIn to control what recruiters, potential clients and employers can find out about you online.
1. Take Control of Your Online Presence
If you have a well optimised LinkedIn Profile, this is one of the first listings that will appear with your name when people type your name into online searches. This is due to the sheer size and activity of LinkedIn.
Tending to your LinkedIn garden and ensuring the information in your LinkedIn profile is up to date and presenting the best version of you means you are more in control of what people find online when they search your name.
It means you can be more intentional about your professional presence, opportunities and new business conversations.
2. Lock Down Your Privacy Settings on Other Platforms
With the invasiveness of platforms like Facebook and the ability for organisations to use your Facebook activity as a way to market to you, it is no surprise that your online activity and comments are very searchable. I encourage you to take control of your privacy settings and lock down what people can view if they search your name online or while on Facebook.
You can also lock down some of the public profile settings of your LinkedIn Profile, although I would suggest this is a short sighted view of this platform, given you can use it to control the information people can find out about you online. If you are keen to know how to adjust your privacy settings on LinkedIn, please read this LinkedIn article.
3. Decide What You Want to Be Known For & Who You are Trying to Influence on LinkedIn
The two questions I ask clients who are thinking about spending more time on LinkedIn are:
- What do you want to be known for?
- Who are you trying to influence?
Being able to clearly answer these questions, which I do not ask lightly, is the key to writing a relevant LinkedIn Profile. It will help you get found by and into conversations on LinkedIn with the people that matter to you. It will also help serve your professional goals, and means embracing the idea of cultivating a personal brand. I understand it can be uncomfortable to step into the limelight.
To help you become more comfortable with developing your personal brand, you may like to read more about my journey with developing my personal brand in this article – 5 Steps to Build Your Personal Brand Online.
When updating your profile and telling your story on LinkedIn, do not make the mistake of comparing yourselves to others. I believe it’s distracting and recommend you focus on your answers to my two questions above. Take some time to think about what is unique about you. Consider what it is that others value about your approach. Perhaps even ask your favourite humans why they value working with you.
I’m confident you’ll be pleasantly surprised by just how much value your unique style adds to those around you.
4. Take a Fresh Look at Your LinkedIn Profile
Steps 1-3 have hopefully given you a few things to think about. If you’d like some suggestions for how to update your LinkedIn Profile, this article shows you how to make some overall changes for the following features:
- Summarise Experience & Goals
For more comprehensive resources on how to write your LinkedIn Profile please download my LinkedIn Profile Checklist.
5. Ask Colleagues and Clients to Endorse & Recommend You
Your colleagues and clients may also be able to play a role in providing social proof on your LinkedIn Profile that support what you’ve said about yourself in your summary and experience. This can be done via the endorsement of your skills and providing you with a recommendation. To find out more about these features and how to maximise them, please visit the following resources.