Like many people, I watched with interest both the acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft and the subsequent commentary in the market since.
Microsoft views LinkedIn as “the world’s largest and most valuable professional network.” While I am not sure what Microsoft has in mind for LinkedIn, I do know that with more than 400 million people on the platform and an investment of $26bn, it will not be wound up any time soon.
Many commentators have dismissed the platform as irrelevant, over-subscribed and annoying. Which it can be. They also predict its demise and liken its metamorphosis as an inappropriate style of Facebook and yes, LinkedIn, as with many other platforms can have those sorts of posts.
However, it’s important to note that in this day and age we all have a personal brand and it’s up to us to manage it. Like it or not, LinkedIn is still the best platform for doing this.
This is because people need to find you to do their job. For example, anyone preparing for a meeting is likely to do a little desktop research to find out a bit more about you. Where do they start? Google. Which in turn leads them to LinkedIn.
So you need to be present and you need to be in control.
Are you an expert in your field or do you work on some really interesting projects? It’s very hard to be known as an expert in your field if no one can find you and what they find doesn’t adequately sum up what you are competent at or capable of.
Use LinkedIn to highlight these skills. Own your space, your brand and your message.
Just don’t put your whole CV up on LinkedIn. There are obvious privacy issues with this, but that aside, think of it as the “date me before you marry me approach.” Hold a bit back for an actual meeting or interview.
Best practice is to create a pithy summary – this is the most important thing you can do aside from a profile photo. Then write 1-2 sentences about each relevant role you have held. If you flipped burgers in McDonald's 20 years ago, it can go on the cutting room floor.
These things are important because if you’re going to be present online – including being searchable by Google – you need to take some steps to control that environment, to own your message and control your personal brand.
Thanks for reading and please let me know your thoughts on this article.