LinkedIn is more than your online résumé. Sure, it has your work experience, but it can be so much more. Treat the website like an online portfolio. It is where someone can go to see what you've accomplished. Better yet, put on your marketing hat and convert your LinkedIn profile into a multimedia advertising campaign.
Think about the big name brands: Coke, Ford, The New York Times. Their websites and commercials contain customer testimonials, product demonstrations and visual proof of their products. Companies are doing much more than stagnant print advertising, and with the power of the Internet so can you. It just takes a little creativity.
What media can I add? LinkedIn says it officially supports images, video, audio, presentations and documents by certain providers, but others may work too. The one thing you should know is that the media you include in your profile has to have been published to the Web (it needs a URL). Where can you put these nifty media clips in your profile? They can be part of your summary, incorporated into each position listed in your experience section, and in your education section. Just look for the little blue box when you edit your profile.
What to showcase. Think beyond boring job duties. Instead, think about the problems you've solved at work. What differentiates you from the hundreds and thousands of other people who have the same job title as you? Is there a picture of you receiving an award? Have you given a presentation or spoken at a conference? Have you written articles? What would you want someone to find if they were searching for you on the Web? These are the images, articles and content you can create and publish yourself online. Please think of your LinkedIn profile as a brag book and begin collecting screen shots and links.
I've got nothing. If you don't have anything, create it! You can create a PowerPoint highlighting your accomplishments and publish it to SlideShare, which is fairly simple to do. The most difficult part is figuring out what you will put into the presentation. Search around SlideShare and get ideas from other people who have created online resumes or personal profiles. If you're interested in creating something a bit jazzier than PowerPoint, you may want to test Prezi.com.
Grab these ideas. These are some other ideas of content you can include in your presentation or media links:
Letters of recommendation: You have probably received letters of recommendation or testimonials from past customers. Why not create a presentation featuring these quotes? Just be sure to ask permission to use the quotes or testimonials from the people who have written them. And by the way, this is a great opportunity to re-establish your connection with these people.
Work samples: You may have created reports, work instructions, work flow diagrams and other content as an output of projects you worked on. While you may not be able to use the actual documents, you could create a mock up to share. You can upload and publish documents into Box.com or Slideshare so you have a Web page to link to your LinkedIn profile.
Video: Everyone may not be comfortable in front of a camera, but the video doesn't have to be your face. It could be a "how to" video. For example: You could create a video on how to create pivot tables, or how to create project plans, or how to organize your email. Use screen casting tools to record your demonstration and upload it to YouTube. Just remember to keep it short. Most ads run under three minutes. Other video ideas might include showcasing photos or images. Animoto.com can turn these into a 30-second video and publish it to the Web for free.
Think like a marketer. The résumé is not the only way to demonstrate what you've done. Today, there are many more options to publish content and create a robust, interactive representation of who you are. LinkedIn has become the go-to source for employers seeking new talent. Make sure they find more than just a boring profile.
Hannah Morgan is a speaker and author providing no-nonsense career advice; she guides job seekers and helps them navigate today's treacherous job search terrain. Hannah shares information about the latest trends, such as reputation management, social networking strategies, and other effective search techniques on her blog, Career Sherpa.