My Love/Hate Relationship With LinkedIn

I’ve got a love/hate relationship with LinkedIn, although my mum would say, “Hate is a very strong word,” so perhaps it’s more of a like/dislike relationship. But in these times of coronavirus lock-down it’s getting amplified. (If you want to see what I mean, I’ve included a list of thoughts at the end.)

But like it or dislike it, I do believe LinkedIn to be the #1 place to be seen online if you, like me, work business-to-business. (Rather than business-to-consumer, in which case Facebook or Instagram are better places to hang out.)

What will they see?

As people are likely to have more time on their hands – either because (as for me) work has been cancelled, or because they’re working from home and their commute time is zero – there’s a greater chance they’ll end up mooching around LinkedIn at some point. The question is, if they come across your profile, what will they see?

If you’re answer is, ‘No idea, I’ve not looked at my profile in years,’ then now is the time to take action. (Seeing as how you’ve probably got time on your hands too.) And even if it’s, ‘Well, I think they’ll see a good profile that’s conveying my personal brand in a positive way,’ it’s still worth taking a few minutes to check you’re right.

Here are three things I want you to do

1. Look at your profile photo and ask yourself these questions:

  • Is this a current photo? If it’s more than two years old, ask yourself…
  • Do I still look like that now? If so, ask yourself…
  • Is this how I would look if I was going to see someone for a business meeting? If so, ask yourself…
  • Do my facial expression, pose and clothing convey my personality? If so, ask yourself…
  • Is the background plain and/or not a distraction? If so, ask yourself…
  • Is it cropped well so that my face takes up between 60 – 80% of the picture area?

If you were able to answer ‘yes’ to each and every question, well done – you’ve earned the right to feel smug. If not, you’ve earned the right to add ‘update my LinkedIn profile photo’ to your to-do list.

2. Look at your headline and ask yourself these questions:

  • Is my headline more than just my job title and/or company name? If so, ask yourself…
  • Does it explain what I do and/or who I help? If so, ask yourself…
  • Does it contain any keywords for the area I work in? If so, ask yourself…
  • Does it give a hint to my personality? If so, ask yourself…
  • Have I used all of the 120 characters I’m allowed?

Top marks if you’ve answered ‘yes’ to every question. You’ve a little further to go to get a house-point if you haven’t.

3. Look at your About section and ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I have an About section? If so, ask yourself…
  • Is it specifically about me and not just my company? If so, ask yourself…
  • Is it individual enough that nobody else could say the same thing about themselves? If so, ask yourself…
  • Have I included elements that illustrate my credibility? If so, ask yourself…
  • Have I included elements that illustrate my personal brand? If so, ask yourself…
  • Have I included elements that are a little more personal and not just about business?

Once more, if you’ve said ‘yes’ to everything, you’re acing this! (That smugness rating has just gone up a notch, hasn’t it?) If you said ‘no’, then with a little work you could be just as proud of your profile as anyone.

What to do next

If you’ve discovered your LinkedIn profile needs a little polish, or indeed a complete overhaul, I can help. (Whoa there! I’m not offering to do the work for you.) If you message me via my contact page I’ll send you my free LinkedIn guide offering practical advice on how to tackle the task.

You may as well because, once we’re out the other side of this (and I believe we’ll get there) and busy like you were before, finding the time to appraise and adjust your profile will become a lot harder. And if you’ve already got a great LinkedIn profile to offer, your chances of getting busy again should increase. Bonus!

For what it’s worth, here’s a list of my likes and dislikes about LinkedIn. Feel free to add to the list with a comment in the box below if you’d also like to vent some steam.

  • I like that LinkedIn provides a distraction from my usual online activity of reading Covid-19 updates in the news (not always a good thing).
  • I dislike that when I go on LinkedIn, 90% of what I see is about the exact same subject.
  • I like that LinkedIn offers a way for me to stay in touch with my network.
  • I dislike that the algorithm tends to serve me up posts from the same set of people, so I get a narrowed view of that network.
  • I like that it’s easy to proactively put up a post and even easier to reactively engage with other people’s posts.
  • I dislike the feeling that, in doing so, I’m simply adding to the noise of daily life when there’s more meaningful stuff that should be getting our attention.
  • I like that I get to see other perspectives than my own – some of which can change my opinion.
  • I dislike that some people feel the need to post rude and abusive comments to anyone who has a perspective different than their own.

Like this? Share it or join in the discussion…

6 responses to “My Love/Hate Relationship With LinkedIn”

  1. Michelle Barclay says:

    Great post, Jennifer – I think I have adhered to most of your suggestions above. I updated my profile and CV last week, so hopefully when we get back to ‘normality’ – whatever new normal looks like, I least know I spent some of my ‘Pandemic Pause’ time wisely 🙂

    • Jennifer Holloway says:

      That’s a positive way to think of it: a pandemic pause. Good luck with getting up and running again once we all press ‘play’.

  2. Meg Burton says:

    Some great tips to spruce up your LinkedIn profile Jennifer and I echo some of your likes and dislikes.

    I like the community of support from LinkedIn and being able to connect with my network
    I dislike being flooded by InMail messages selling to me
    I like reading content from other people I respect and admire
    I dislike algorithms that seem to filter out peoples news that I would be interested in but don’t get to see

    • Jennifer Holloway says:

      I think the algorithm is certainly necessary for LinkedIn to run, but just wish someone would set its parameters up to be a bit more in tune with what we’re looking for!

  3. Emily says:

    Thanks for the tips Jennifer. A few to add to the list:

    That it constantly reverts to ‘Top’ posts – and these are not posts from people that I would be most interested in.

    That, being in HR, whenever someone asks to connect, 90% of them have an employee benefit system/ recruitment offer to sell me. ( I get they are only doing their job).

    That (and this is purely personal) I was able to come across a retirement home/village that might be suitable for 1 set of grandparents to consider when we do start to get back to normal.

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