By Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter
In a prior post, I wrote about The Value of Writing a LinkedIn Profile That's Different From Your Resume. In that article, I focused on the content: how and why the 'words' woven strategically throughout your LinkedIn profile help shape a compelling career marketing message.
Enrich Your LinkedIn Profile With 'Sections'
Beyond the Summary, Experience and Education sections, which, I would speculate (and suggest), are where most careerists (should) center their attention when first building their LinkedIn profiles, various other 'sections' and 'applications' avail themselves for your attention. In fact, this little notice is draped across your LinkedIn profile when you are in Edit mode.
By clicking on 'Add sections,' you'll see a drop-down screen with more than a half dozen sections that you can preview/add to your LinkedIn profile. As you add sections to your profile, they are subtracted from the drop down screen. Here's what the Add Sections screen looks like with the drop-down function enabled:
Adding Certifications is one example of how you may choose to add a section. In many careerists' profiles, Certifications are relevant, as you have earned one, two or more career, job or industry-specific credentials that add value to your career portfolio. If you are a human resources professional, demonstrating that you are a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), may prove to a hiring manager or recruiter that you meet their requirements or, perhaps, exceed their requirements for an advertised and highly competitive HR position.
Even if you have mentioned the certification elsewhere (such as in your Summary section), I would encourage you also to add the Certifications section to your profile and include whatever certifications you have earned IF they are relevant to your target goal and/or add value to marketing you into your next role.
Additionally, Languages are imperative to careerists seeking global work that involves multilingual capabilities. Ensure you add the Languages section to your Profile and include the language and level of proficiency in which you are trained and experienced in order to distinguish your value from other internationally savvy career professionals.
These are just a couple of examples of how to vet which sections to 'add to' your LinkedIn profile.
Bolster Your LinkedIn Message With 'Applications'
If you scroll past the Sections in the Add Sections drop down screen you will see an introduction to the Applications that you may add to your LinkedIn profile. Below is a snippet of those Applications. As well, not displayed in my snapshot example are more than a half dozen additional applications; e.g., SlideShare Presentations, Tweets and more.
In short, in regard to leveraging Applications, think strategically about what information and additional 'content' you feel will add value to your profile. For example, some careerists maintain a current, professional blog on WordPress. Therefore, adding the WordPress application to your LinkedIn profile may add value. Every time you update your blog with a new post, the post will automatically publish to your LinkedIn profile.
By routinely adding your professional blog content to your LinkedIn profile, you will demonstrate thought leadership, professional opinions and professional fact-sharing that shows you are passionate and informed about the career field within which you wish to attract hiring decision makers. Caveat: avoid automating content into your LinkedIn profile that mixes your professional ideas with your personal opinions related to religion or politics.
Bottom Line: Add Value, Not Clutter, to Your LinkedIn Communication
Moreover, if the applications are inoffensive, yet offer no value-add to your goals, then they may appear as clutter. Omit those applications, as well. Bottom line, when adding applications to your LinkedIn profile, think, 'value add' – only add applications that will enhance your opportunity to attract your target reader.
Supplementing your already content-pithy LinkedIn profile with Sections and Applications can add value, if done correctly. Just remember, incorporating these components creates additional content, some of which may overlap that which is in your Summary, Experience and other sections. Reinforcing or extending those messages with specific, tailored content, key language and application strategies can be a 'good thing,' if well managed and well thought out.
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