Benefits and Compensation

10 Secrets to a Powerful LinkedIn Presence

Donna Serdula, author of LinkedIn Makeover: Professional Secrets to a POWERFUL LinkedIn Profile, shared her tips at the recent Employers Counsel Network meeting in Austin, Texas. (The Employers Counsel Network is comprised of the attorneys from all 50 states who write BLR’s state-law-based Employment Law Letters.)

First of all, what is LinkedIn? It’s a social network, Serdula says. It’s a way of branding yourself. It’s a way to keep in touch with professional connections. Consider it your up-to-date Rolodex, but with the advantage that the people in the Rolodex keep it updated for you!

It also helps you discover ideas and opportunities. Ultimately, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, Serdula says.

To optimize your LinkedIn profile, you should look at it strategically and think in terms of your target audience and what they need to hear/know about you.

1. Work Your Summary

Your summary is an introductory statement on why people should want to connect with you and get to know you better.

For the summary, think of your résumé as your professional past. It’s what you did. Your LinkedIn profile is your career profile and where you are going.

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2. Get a Decent Headshot

Serdula recommends a professional headshot—it makes people take you seriously and shows you aren’t a spam profile.

Find a professional photographer who does business headshots. If your headshot is more than 3 years old, get a new one. It should make you look professional but approachable. Looking away from the camera can make you look shifty.

3. Write a Compelling Headline

Also important is a compelling headline that makes people want to read more. The headline is 120 characters and needs keywords and a benefit statement. (You have to go in and add this yourself, Serdula says; otherwise, LinkedIn will just pick up your position and use that.)

For keywords, think in terms of search—What kind of people are looking for you, what kind of people do you want finding you, and what words might they be using to search?

If you go to and submit your e-mail address, Donna will give you 5 steps to use to make a good headline.

4. Include Contact Information (duh)

And obviously, for contact info, you have to include your phone number and e-mail or else no one will contact you.

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5. Be Choosy Posting

Often, people won’t need you when you first connect. If you don’t stay on people’s minds, they won’t call when they do need you.

Posting articles, links, and threads is like “drip feed marketing” to stay on your audience’s mind. Think of LinkedIn as a newspaper curated by people with similar interests that you trust.

When posting articles, what is right for the professional audience you want to connect with? Determine what really belongs on LinkedIn. What does the person you are trying to draw in want to see? What will mean the most to him or her? As with many things, less can be more; highlight the high-impact stuff and let it stand out, Serdula says.

Continually evaluate to decide how many articles to keep and which ones to kill.

In tomorrow’s Advisor, the rest of Serdula’s tips, plus an introduction to the all-things-compensation-and-benefits website,®.

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