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Continuing with the topic of Jumpstarting a second career, let’s consider the LinkedIn profile and describe how experienced professionals should be leveraging it to jumpstart their careers – if they’re switching, or even if they’re staying put in the same field.

Yes, even if you’re in the very same career you started in, you can use LinkedIn to enhance your stature, effectiveness, and probably even your pay.

Let’s have a  look at that profile and using it to build a personal brand.

What I said

The earlier article had this to say about profiles for those starting a second career:

LinkedIn allows for only one industry, title, location, and summary.

But that’s ok because how many of you are there?

The trick is to weave those elements into a cohesive picture that builds off the past and positions elements for the future. And to do that, you have to focus on a personal brand.

The thing that will set you apart from everyone else.

Let’s look forward – the industry is the one you are entering. The location is where you want to live. The summary is a few paragraphs describing your qualities, abilities, and establishing that personal brand.

The title is the condensed form of that personal brand.

Because you’ve got this robust work history, you have a natural resource – all of the positions you’ve held.

The rationale

What’s the one area (in general) where recent graduates suffer?

Experience.

They just haven’t been around enough to have done a whole lot of meaningful work.

And no, I’m not saying they can’t or never will, I’m just saying that getting into the ring, the experienced professional has an inherent strength.

And that’s where LinkedIn comes in.

Building off success

The basis for a personal brand is that you, as an individual, are much more than a job title.

If every hiring decision, job promotion, or project assignment was just based on taking the next person in line, we wouldn’t need to differentiate.

But experience, education, and training do matter.

So the person with the decision to make is trying to find the best overall fit. They’ve got a description of what is required and what would be nice across all of the professional, managerial, and social dimensions. (and even if they don’t have a formal description, they’re working off a mental image of the same)

During your career, you’ve worked in a variety of situations, but probably excelled in one core area. Perhaps it’s time to call yourself a specialist. Or go the other route and claim that you’re successful because you have a grasp of so many diverse factors. In any case, by claiming a brand, you’re setting yourself up as the leader. And when a decision has to be made about finding someone to take a role, you’re going to have an advantage.

To do so, take the time to support your brand with the language in each portion of your profile:

  • Headline – the one line version
  • Summary – the whole brand
  • Specialties – niche phrases and capabilities that support the brand
  • Job Descriptions – supporting details
  • Other Information – fleshing out your persona
  • Groups – more supporting details

The sum total of your profile will position you as someone that should be considered.

TMI

Yes, it’s possible to include too much information.

How will you know?

Because that bit of information doesn’t really tie to your brand, makes a point that has already been supported, heads off into a tangent that might confuse the reader, or presents controversy that might damage your chances.

(And I say “might” for this last one because there’s no knowing  for sure. Some controversy could attract attention, other situations might turn off your existing employer or sour prospective employers – you’re going to have to consider it carefully)

Saying no to some things

Perhaps you’re reading this and saying “But I just want a position as a software developer, I don’t care much more than that.”

So you’re not required to specialize, but if all you are is a generic software developer, consider how many other software developers there are out there – just like you.

Go ahead and get in the same line as all of the others and wait your turn.

By saying no to some positions, you say yes to others much more strongly.

Add one small phrase – be an embedded systems software developer.

You won’t get considered for those SAP positions, but should be much further along for those within your specialty. Positions that are in demand.

Any questions?

Ok – that’s why your personal brand carries weight.

Because you’ve got an established professional history, you ought to be able to support your brand with details. Details that will be able to help you with a new career – or within your current career.

If this seems like a great nugget of advice but you’re left with a need to understand LinkedIn from beginning to end in one concise read, try “The LinkedIn Personal Trainer“. It’s perfect for the newcomer, and you have my guarantee that it will get you going with LinkedIn or I’ll refund the e-book purchase price – which isn’t all that much to begin with.

If you have a single question on the topic of profiles and branding, leave it here as a comment and we’ll look at it together.

Next up – searching.

To your continued success,

steve

Steven Tylock
http://www.linkedinpersonaltrainer.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevetylock