What's Your LinkedIn® Story?

BusinesswomanOn Monday night I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Tai Goodwin, The Career Makeover Coach, for her Diva Toolbox Radio Show, Career Makeover Strategies. Tai helps people find their way to the career that’s right for them and she’s a great interviewer. I recommend her series highly and plan to tune in myself in the future.

We talked about telling your story on LinkedIn® and ways you can use the LinkedIn platform effectively. Developing an effective profile is an important first step. An effective profile tells your story in a way that helps you connect with your reader. People connect to emotions and personal qualities. Using vivid language to talk about your work experience and the qualities that your actions reveal can move you out of the land of resume-speak and into a conversation more suited for social networks.

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It’s crucial to keep the medium in mind when you’re crafting your message. Social networks are growing at phenomenal rates because people crave connections, an outlet to express themselves, and ways to add meaning to their lives. Biologist and Conflict Theorist Mary Clark identifies three basic human needs—bonding, autonomy, and meaning. People share these basic needs across cultures, time, and space.

Social Networking meets ALL those essential needs.

When people participate in social networks they’re looking for interesting, engaging people, information, and experiences. If you want to catch their attention as a job seeker, professional, or entrepreneur, then you need to be in the conversation. Participation on LinkedIn includes keeping your profile up-to-date and letting people know what you are doing, but it doesn’t stop there.

LinkedIn also offers Groups to help you connect to likeminded people, and an answers section to help you connect with others by asking or answering questions of people that are like you and those that are completely different. Asking and answering questions contributes to the overall conversation, whether you do it in Groups or in the Answers section.

Take the time to craft quality questions and answers and share valuable information with your network and you will raise your professional profile and standing in the LinkedIn community. Not to mention the potential of connecting with people who can support your professional and business goals. We are all our own marketing departments these days, so take responsibility for marketing yourself by making great contributions to the conversation and telling your story.

Leveraging LinkedIn for marketing yourself or your products is a hot topic. Want to know more? Have a look at Nate Kievman’s blog or his join his “Linked Strategies Group” on LinkedIn. If you’re interested in the idea of engaging very specific groups that you don’t belong to, but perhaps want to learn from or connect with (like venture capitalists, for example), check out Nate’s book LinkedIntoMarketing to learn how he followed his business needs, engaged different groups, and developed relationships as essential parts of his method for success with LinkedIn.