LinkedIn is a great tool for professionals. But to be useful you must understand the structure and parameters of the Profile. This will be the place prospective clients and business partners first check your professional status and expertise. The LinkedIn website makes it all straightforward – they even give you a score to tell you how well you are doing in the Profile stakes. The mechanical details are easy, but it nevertheless requires a degree of subtlety.
A Professional Profile
Obviously you want to highlight what you do – but to what extent, and where should you place the focus? Contrary to what may appear to be a common sense view, your history is somewhat irrelevant. Really, it’s not very important to any prospective client that you once captained the school under-18 seniors football team. That’s important to you. How about your first job in a multi-national accounting firm where you fell out of love with the corporatized culture and decided to open your own firm based on your own values. Sorry, no interest there either. Ah yes, there was the time you took a chance on an Indian immigrant just arrived in the country who turned out to be something of a genius in the money markets. Great story, yes? No.
Can you see a pattern here? No one is interested in any aspect of your career that has no quantifiable value to them today. It’s fine to write that you have been a personal injuries lawyer for thirty years and an accredited expert for the last fifteen years, but that’s sufficient.
There is a place for greater detail, and that’s in your About Us page (or whatever you call it – “Our People” or “Our Team”) which resides happily on your website. The only criteria there is whether you have an arresting story to tell that is well written and informative. That’s the opportunity to create your firm’s narrative, not your LinkedIn Profile.
Use Your Client Persona
If you have created a client persona, this is where to put it into action. Who are the people who use your services, or those you would like to see come in for a free first interview? The answer to that question should determine the tone, content and tenor of your LinkedIn Profile.
Let’s say that you are a professional provider of financial services, and in particular self managed superannuation funds. Who is your ideal client persona:
- New business owners who have moved from the employed sector and have had an industry fund, and will look to roll over to a self managed fund.
- “Aspirationals” who are looking for a safety net for the future to buttress their present-day risk.
- Those who want cutting-edge advice.
- People within a decade of retirement. They need reassurance, a firm hand on the tiller and the beginning of a plan to see them into retirement. They are less interested in the here and now, they are starting to focus on the future.
Based on these “ideal clients”, these are the facts you should emphasise in your Profile:
- Do not describe yourself as a “financial adviser”, even if that is the way you identify yourself. It’s too nebulous for your target audience. You could be a “Certified financial and strategic superannuation investment adviser”.
- Concentrate on your expertise as an expert strategic investor for their futures – they want to concentrate on building their wealth.
- Show you understand the needs of prospective clients whose retirements are drawing closer and worry about the lifestyle they will be able to afford, for themselves and their family.
Obviously the needs are different if you want to focus on your career opportunities, in that case recruiters will want to know more about your experience. But for mature professionals whose focus is prospective clients, it is their needs that are paramount.
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