Donna Serdula: What Does Your Profile Say About You?
Does this sound like you?
- You created a LinkedIn profile several years ago by copying information from your resume.
- You added some people you know as contacts.
- You visit LinkedIn only when people ask you to add them as contacts.
If this sounds all too familiar–in particular, if you are in sales–then you’re not using LinkedIn as effectively as you could be.
Donna Serdula was once in the same position, until she had what she calls a “LinkedIn epiphany.” Now she helps others optimize their LinkedIn profiles through her company, Vision Board Media, and its website, LinkedIn-Makeover.com.
Donna shared some of her insights recently on our Sales Lead Dog podcast.
Donna started in sales and was working as an independent reseller for AutoDesk Software, makers of AutoCAD. This was a challenging task because all her competitors were selling the exact same thing, and she was at a loss as to how to differentiate herself.
She got into the habit of checking out her prospects’ LinkedIn profiles before cold-calling them. That led to her epiphany: Her prospects were probably checking out her profile as well. She realized LinkedIn could be more than just an online resume: It could be a fun and engaging introduction to her brand, and the key to differentiating herself from her competitors.
Once she updated her profile, her sales went through the roof, and she knew she was on to something. She made a career pivot by establishing her own company, Vision Board Media, to help others with their LinkedIn brands. Her company has now optimized over 6,000 LinkedIn profiles.
Effective LinkedIn Profiles
The most common mistake that people make with their LinkedIn profiles, Donna says, is not thinking strategically about them. In particular, people tend to set up their profiles and then forget about them, not realizing that the message needs to change depending on where they are in their careers. As time goes by, it becomes the story of where you were five or 10 years ago, not where you are now or where you want to be.
Thus, keeping your profile up to date is a key factor in optimizing it. Donna recommends updating it at least once every three months.
Another issue with LinkedIn profiles is that many people are passive rather than active users. Active users contribute to their community of contacts by posting their thoughts. LinkedIn shows your activity on your profile, and visitors respond more to profiles with recent, regular activity than to those with only occasional posts or posts in the distant past.
How often should you post things? Donna recommends posting as often as you can, at least once every two to three weeks, and working up to at least once per week.
Donna tells sales leaders that their team members’ LinkedIn profiles can be an important tool in the sales process–it’s not just for people looking to change jobs. At the same time, the process of crafting a good LinkedIn profile can be a catalyst for people to think about who they are, where they want to be, and what they are passionate about. “It’s a self-directed approach to managing your career,” she says.
Still, many people need help in making their LinkedIn profiles stand out, and that’s what Donna’s company is all about. Vision Board Media helps clients in all professions and all career stages optimize their LinkedIn profiles.
For more on Donna’s thoughts and insights, listen to her interview on the Sales Lead Dog podcast.