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Atlanta Career Coach Dana Maggi Shares Best Practices at IABC Luncheon
By Anne Wainscott-Sargent, Special to IABC Atlanta
With more than 450 million members, LinkedIn continues to be the social channel of choice for today’s working professionals. IABC Atlanta’s September luncheon focused on ways to leverage the online channel to accelerate career success.
Presented by Dana Maggi, a 20-year career coach and owner of Career Pain Relief, the session included cutting-edge strategies for how to brand effectively on LinkedIn. Maggi demonstrated tips using her own profile and those of the audience. She began her talk explaining that LinkedIn’s tagline is “relationships matter,” noting, “Relationship are the single most important way to manage your career.”
Event sponsors at the meeting included Hire Profile, a recruiting firm specializing in placing Atlanta’s marketing, communications and design professionals into permanent and temporary jobs, and Blue Fetch, a builder of mobile applications dedicated to helping enterprise clients solve business problems using mobility.
Nancy Gamble, president of Hire Profile, states that she and her recruiting staff are power users of LinkedIn. “LinkedIn is the number one tool any job seeker can use, and the first stop we go to after seeing a candidate resume to not only validate what the resume says but also to dig deeper into more personal traits and into our shared network,“ she said. “People need to make sure that their profile is always up to date and very engaging.”
Maggi, an advanced LinkedIn trainer, noted that communications professionals spend so much time promoting their companies and clients’ businesses, that they often don’t take time investing
in their own online brand.
“This is a social forum and people will stick around and will typically stay a little longer if you tell a story or if they have something visual to look at,” Maggi says.
Communication pros often have a lot of content to post “that really represents your work, your brand, your ability to write really fantastic content.”
14 Tips for Leveraging LinkedIn
Here are 14 takeaways from Maggi’s presentation that LinkedIn users should employ to make the most of this networking and career management tool:
- Write a really strong headline and summary: “Think about how to describe your value and core competencies – both in your summary and your headline.”
- Think visual: add a background image that is visually interesting to your profile; use symbols to enhance your brand; select a photo that reflects your brand (Maggi’s informal photo reflects her brand to be approachable).
- Post content that showcases your work –photos, videos, links to other content.
- In the Experience field, avoid simply copying and pasting your resume and instead, tell a story that showcases what makes your experiences and you unique.
- Strengthen your profile with fields that allow you to add more details – such as fluency in multiple languages, certifications, coursework, volunteer experience, honors and awards, etc.
- Use LinkedIn’s blogging platform to establish credibility and perspective on what you are passionate about (LinkedIn’s blog interface allows you to tweet it simultaneously. Adding your post to Facebook is also easy).
- Ask to be recommended and give recommendations unsolicited.
- If you are changing career direction, begin to brand yourself by highlighting work experiences of roles that you would like to have moving forward.
- Make sure that skills and endorsements reflect your brand (you can prioritize which skills are highlighted first): “Make sure the top 10 things that show up are really relevant to what you do now.”
- Notify your network when you make an update: “That’s how people know you are out there.”
- Make sure people know how to contact you. Include an email or phone number on the “Advice for Contacting” and “contact info” fields.
- Check out how your profile compares with your competition—what key words do other professionals in your field use? How do they brand themselves?
- Follow groups and influencers that are most relevant to your brand and participate in discussions/ posts.
- Invest in your network: spend five minutes a day keeping up with your connections: “LinkedIn tells you what’s going in the networks of people you care about. You may see folks who have changed jobs, had a work anniversary or a birthday. It’s the perfect opportunity to reach out. Don’t just like an update or comment on it — send a message to that individual recognizing that unique event in their lives and start a dialogue.”
Leverage Search Capabilities
One of the more powerful illustrations Maggi gave was showing LinkedIn’s advanced search capabilities, including the ability to search for first and second connections by company, geography and even by college attended (Under My Network, click on “Find Alumni”). All these search results and a person’s connections can be downloaded into an Excel or PDF file.
“I recommend that you assign a number to your top connections – say 25 people in your network and create a strategy for keeping in contact with them,” Maggi said.
Speaking to the communicators in the room, Maggi emphasized that “there is no right way to do this. Find a way to engage your reader.”
IABCer Calls Session ‘Fantastic’
Following the meeting, audience member Chip Bush, manager with Global Asset Protection in Strategic Security in The Coca-Cola Company, reacted positively to the presentation. “I thought the session was fantastic primarily because I learned some new things about LinkedIn I didn’t know before that I can employ with my own LinkedIn profile,” he said, adding, “I love the search functionality and being able to find people who not only work at a certain company but who also went to school with you, so you have some connections you can leverage with that company.”
LinkedIn Fast Facts:
- +450 million members in 200 countries
- More than 2 new members sign up every second
- Fastest-growing demographic are students and recent college grads – 40 million of them use LinkedIn
- Adding photo makes you 36 times more likely to receive a message (DMR)
- Listing skills in your profile increases 13-fold the number of profile views (DMR)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anne Wainscott-Sargent is an Atlanta-based communications strategist, storyteller and author. Find her online at http://annewainscott.com/writing-consulting-services/ or on Twitter @annewainscott.