The Most Important Part of Your LinkedIn Profile

Chief Digital Officer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and former Columbia University CDO, Sree Sreenivasan (@sree), recently said in a series of spring lectures on Social Media Best Practices, the “most underused and underappreciated” social network of them all is LinkedIn.

Sree advised his audiences to practice and use it now for when they might need it later. But how on LinkedIn can you distinguish yourself from everyone else in your field?

You may have already guessed that it must be done almost at first glance at the very top of the profile summary. Tell the reader something about yourself as a person and save your CV info for later.

It’s amazing how many people think what they’ve done is more important than who they are.

Patricia Kitchen (@patriciakitchen), Newsday digital reporter, educator and LinkedIn expert, helped me identify this critical, yet frequently overlooked best practice a few years back.

It can be tough to achieve this challenging self-description and self-marketing copy. Here are few tips Kitchen taught me if you’re having trouble.

Use the third person. There’s no harm in starting your text with “I” , “I’m”, or “My”, but unless you can get past the self-consciousness of that style, refer to yourself as would a third party.

That leads to this suggestion. How would a good friend or co-worker describe you to someone else? What might she/he say about your personality that can be related back to your work?

Exhaust your Thesaurus. Try to avoid all those cliché, overused words and phrases. Note that during his walk to the park, my dog, Google, is “excited”, “passionate”, “enthusiastic”, “focused”, and “committed to details.”

If the reader can get a true sense of who you are as a person and not just your job qualifications, you will not just be LinkedIn, but personally connected.  

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