By: Lexie Newhouse
LinkedIn has 500 million users. Are you one of them?
On February 21, 2018, Gregg Burkhalter, otherwise known as “The LinkedIn Guy,” visited the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute for the “LinkedIn for Entrepreneurs” workshop.
Transitioning from the music industry, he began building his professional identity through LinkedIn. He ran with his success on LinkedIn to begin guest speaking. By June 2015, he spoke before 75 groups and participated in four broadcasts within those six months alone.
Burkhalter describes LinkedIn as the “home of your personal and professional brand.” He designated the desktop version of the platform has the place to “build the brand” and the mobile version to “maintain those relationships.”
Regardless of which version, he shared that three elements immediately appear when viewing a LinkedIn profile: Picture, Name, and Title. The profile photo should be a professional headshot, and the header photo should represent the industry. Maintaining consistency with name is also imperative, especially with the search feature. As for the title, Burkhalter advised to avoid generalities like “Student” to offer specific information of the industry, interests, or major.
This then leads to the “Summary” section. This section offers a glimpse of users’ backgrounds, interests, and passions. Summaries offer emotion that resumes cannot, which is “incredibly powerful” as Burkhalter described. Whereas LinkedIn is an “us” channel to focus on your connections and community, the summary is the only place for “I” on the platform. On desktop, the profile automatically features the first two lines of the summary, but on mobile, it only features the first ten words, proving the importance of an articulate introduction.
Diving into the “Experience” section, Burkhalter suggested copying bullet points into the descriptions to maintain organization while beginning each bulleted point with an action verb. He also stressed the importance of integrating multi-media content into those descriptions to visually validate those descriptions and experiences.
Skills was another critical section that he covered. Connections offer “endorsements” of particular skills, something that Burkhalter likes to refer to as a “digital wink.” To validate those endorsements, include those key words in the “Experience” descriptions. Through visiting www.linkedin.com/directory/topics/, LinkedIn offers a list of all the registered skills for inspiration.
Recommendations are an additional opportunity for connections provide endorsements. To ask for a recommendation, first be connected with the individual, select “Request Recommendation,” and send a personalized message. Within the message, include three talking points that relate and build that relationship with the recommender and a “thank you” statement offering a reciprocated action for their time and effort.
Additional sections to be added include Courses, Languages, Publications, Test Scores, Patents, Honors, and several others. Through these sections, Burkhalter emphasized the importance of the three D’s: (D)efine your brand, (D)evelop strategies to grow brand, and (D)eliver on those brand promises.
From building the profile to building connections, networking is a core element to LinkedIn. As Burkhalter revealed, “It’s who knows you, not who you need to know.” When networking, find branding partners to help build each other’s brand together. This is most effectively achieved through liking and commenting on connections’ updates, followed by growing the network with invitations, then sharing updates with quality content. For posting purposes, the best times are Tuesday’s and Thursday’s from 7 to 9 am and 5 to 6 pm. To close, he emphasized the importance of networking with the idea that “Relationships are key to personal happiness and professional success.”
Although originally developed in 2003, Burkhalter shared some secret LinkedIn features to be released in the coming months, so stay tuned for those major innovations from LinkedIn as they continue to grow and evolve. In the meantime, keep updating those profiles and building those lasting connections!
Stay tuned for more ENI Live events! The Entrepreneurship & Innovation Institute designed this series to educate students on topics pertaining to entrepreneurship and innovation. For more, check out our events calendar!