3 Ways to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

The other evening I was approving members for the NFPW group on LinkedIn and deleting some individuals who are not members of NFPW. The NFPW LinkedIn group is a closed group, meaning it is open only to members of NFPW.

For a communications group that seems a bit odd, but we had to do it because we were receiving so many solicitations. Many of the conversations had nothing to do with communications and the mission of NFPW.

I realized as I was checking names that it would be helpful if members included a profile picture. I may not have had conversations with everyone I come in contact with at national conferences, but I do have a good memory for faces. Also, because it’s a professional site, I’m left wondering why a person doesn’t want their photo included.

That led me to think what else you can do to improve your profile.

Post at least once a month. Speaking of conversation, I often hear, “I don’t have time to be on LinkedIn every day. It’s hard enough being on Facebook.” No one is saying you have to update every day on LinkedIn. Providing an update every few weeks is good because when you update your profile, an update is shared with everyone in your network. It’s a good way to get yourself noticed. If you blog or tweet, use a widget to automatically pull in your posts or tweets so others can see what you are saying.

Explain what you do. When you share your career highlights, provide more than your job title. As with any resume, you want to describe your role and explain how you helped your organization. This will help set you apart with all the other members who have the job title of “reporter” or “communications specialist,” for example.

Grow your connections. Each time someone hands you a business card, update your LinkedIn connections by adding that person. It’s an easy way to keep up with your contacts. Once you have several connections, join LinkedIn groups, including NFPW. It’s a simple way to meet other relevant contacts.

Who are you going to link with today?

How to Help a Student

I had breakfast this morning with a student from VCU. I was introduced to him by email through a colleague who had spoken with him. James wanted to know more about PR and, specifically, about PR work in nonprofits.

Early in my career I had good mentors and met with individuals who were willing to share their experiences and advice so I’ve always tried to do the same. I have one rule, though, if we’re going to meet in person, it has to be breakfast. That way I can tell how committed they are.

James was committed. He arrived by bike through thick fog and had lots of questions. He shared his experiences, too, and he’s on the right track. I suggested some articles for him to read and websites to review. I also encouraged him to get on LinkedIn because most college students aren’t, but most recruiters are. I encouraged him to connect with me. I’m perusing my list of contacts for some additional introductions for him.

So why take the time out of my schedule to meet with students? I enjoy helping them. And I love recalling my college days and the anticipation of what was ahead of me. The students always remind me of why I do what I do and of some of the basics that may have slipped.

It’s a win for both of us.

I hope it was worth the bike ride, the fog and the early morning breakfast. I think his tweet means it was.

Have you thought of offering your wisdom to a college student? If you’re already doing it, what other advice would you offer?

Maximizing Your LinkedIn Profile

Often described as the social networking site for professionals, LinkedIn is a great way to connect with others in your profession.

On Feb. 13 I wrote about how to get started on LinkedIn. Now that you have established your profile, what else can you do?

The first thing is to join groups related to topics of interest to you and to network with others in your field. NFPW has a group, and if you haven’t already connected to us, we encourage you to join.  Membership is only open to those who have paid their dues. We’ve had to limit it to avoid marketing pushes by those who aren’t members.

To find other groups, visit LinkedIn Groups Directory.

Participating in a group by asking questions or responding to a question also helps build your reputation and provides you with valuable information. Also, if you have a job opening, share it with relevant groups. You’ll reach your target audience. The best part is it’s free.

What else can you do on LinkedIn?

  • Reading List by Amazon. According to the site, you can, “extend your professional profile by sharing the books you’re reading with other LinkedIn members. Find out what you should be reading by following updates from your connections, people in your field, or other LinkedIn members of professional interest to you.


  • Company Buzz lets you know what people are saying about your company. It shows you the twitter activity associated with your company.


  • My Travel by Tripit is a great way to know when those in your LinkedIn network are traveling and when you will be in the same city as your colleagues. I’ve learned about colleagues being in a nearby city and have been able to connect for dinner and a bit of networking. Just be aware that it also lets others know when you aren’t at home. 


  • SlideShare Presentation allows you to upload and display your own presentations and check out presentations from your colleagues. Lynn Hazan, who presented at the NFPW conference in Chicago shared her presentation using SlideShare.

How are you maximizing your LinkedIn profile?

Getting Started on LinkedIn

According to the LinkedIn site, “Over 90 million professionals use LinkedIn to exchange information, ideas and opportunities.”

Why should you use it? It’s a great online resume if you are job hunting. It lets you connect to business partners and current and former colleagues.  LinkedIn says you can find the people and knowledge that you need to achieve your goals. And you control your professional identity online.

Getting Started If you aren’t on it, it’s easy to get started — go to www.Linkedin.com. Enter your name and email address and create a password. Now you are on LinkedIn.

Complete Profile You’re going to want to create a profile that is 100 percent complete. LinkedIn makes that easy by informing you how you are progressing. Start by adding your current position. Then add at least your two past positions. Include details about your education. Write a summary of your background/experiences.

Profile Photo Add a professional photograph so that people can identify and connect with you. If you introduced yourself to a dozen people at a conference, your photo will help them remember the conversation.

Build Your Network Then begin building your network of relevant connections. You can grow your list of LinkedIn connections through webmail contacts (email contacts who are already on LinkedIn), colleagues and classmates, and through networking on LinkedIn groups.

Recommendations Recommendations are an important part of your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn suggests that users with recommendations are three times as likely to get inquiries through LinkedIn searches. To initiate a recommendation request, go to the Profile tab and select Recommendations. There you will find a list of your jobs and education and you can choose what you want to be recommended for, decide whom you’ll ask, create your customized message and send from within LinkedIn. Don’t hesitate to offer guidance on what you would like them to highlight in their recommendation. If possible, return the favor by recommending them.

Next time I’ll write about how to maximize your LinkedIn experience.

NFPW Community on LinkedIn

Are you searching for a job? Do you have a question you need answered but don’t have a contact in that field?

Then try LinkedIn, a business networking site that enables you to network, hire, post jobs, get business advice and share your expertise.

You can also join various groups and share information. NFPW has a group on the site. It’s a great way to get others interested in NFPW. If they see you are a member of the group and are in the communications field, they’ll ask you about it and then you can have a conversation about the benefits of joining NFPW.

So if you aren’t already, join the NFPW LinkedIn group. And if you aren’t on LinkedIn, why not take the plunge into this business networking site? It’s a great way to polish your resume, learn about social media and define your brand.

Once you are on the site you will create a free account and then you will create a profile. Use a professional photograph and share highlights of your professional experience. Then begin adding contacts. Expand your network over time.

If you are feeling ambitious ask for recommendations. If you disagree with what the person wrote, you can reject that recommendation. You also can recommend people. Add your Web site or your Twitter account. Again, it’s all about connecting.

I’ve used LinkedIn to post jobs, to find out more about candidates, to ask professional questions and get answers from those with more expertise.

Are we LinkedIn? If not, let’s connect!