Is your LinkedIn profile feeling fat? Not sure exactly what is necessary and what is just extra sugary fluff? Are you just connecting with anyone and everyone to create a large number of first degree connections? Maybe your LinkedIn strategy is suffering from gluttony…
While I’m not a religious person, the traditional Seven Deadly Sins can be an interesting exercise in evaluating our networking efforts on platforms like LinkedIn. Simple deadly sins – like sending off an invitation without customizing the greeting – can inhibit our ability to connect with others. However, the major Deadly Sins – Sloth, Pride, Greed, Lust, Envy, Wrath, or Gluttony – can have a more dire impact than just one missed connection. In today’s article, we’ll explore how gluttony can take over your profile and turn off potential employers, recruiters, and prospects.
As defined by Vocabulary.com, gluttony is “characterized by a limitless appetite for food and drink and overindulgence to the point where one is no longer eating just to live, but rather living to eat.” [https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/gluttony] In terms of LinkedIn, this can be seen in two ways: creating a fat book of contacts and creating a fat profile.
It is true that once you have over 500 connections, your profile will show up in more LinkedIn search results. However, this doesn’t mean that you should accept every request without looking at the person’s profile first. In truth, a strategic approach to building your contact database is more important than just the numbers.
Consideration #1: Your Comfort Level
I often encourage people to evaluate their own social media comfort level: if you aren’t comfortable with accepting invitations from people you don’t know, don’t do it. You can limit your 1st degree connections to people that you have actually met. There are ways to grow your network without making over 500 first degree connections with strangers.
For example, search parameters take into account not only 1st degree connections, but 2nd degree AND Group connections. So, joining a large and local group will increase your exposure without taking on a personal relationship with every group member. In Denver, the “Linked to Denver” Group has over 40,000 members in it. While I don’t monitor every discussion, I still enjoy the boost of my secondary network by creating that instant group connection with every single one of those 40k+ members.
On the other hand, if you are an open networker, you may prefer a wide network as opposed to a deep one. In that case, you may have many personal connections (for example, I have over 2,600 1st degree connections), but you probably won’t be able to develop a genuine, personal relationship with most of them.
Consideration #2: Quality of the Connection
When receiving an invitation, or sending one out to someone else, look at the motives. If all you are doing is hoping to get something from the other person, you are probably consuming them. On the other hand, if this is a legitimate basis for a relationship as possible employer/employee, recruiter connection, potential colleague, fellow association member, fellow group member, or someone who posts quality content, then building the relationship makes sense.
As an open networker, I tend to accept most connections. However, I always follow up with a message, asking if I can do anything for the other person. This opens the dialogue and has led to great connections and even clients. Similarly, it reveals a creepy or weird person – such as those trying to get a date – pretty quickly. I just delete that connection and move on.
Consideration #3: Know Your Standards
One symptom of gluttony is not just eating too much, but also eating what’s bad for us. The same is true with connections. If we invite or accept every single person on LinkedIn, we are probably getting a big dose of “junk food” along with the quality contacts.
In my case, I had to set some standards. I rarely accept connections from out of the US, unless the person is in one of my niche markets. If someone’s profile is a big sales pitch for their services, I probably won’t accept that one either. I also make sure that my invitations to another person offers them some quality as well – I don’t want to be junk food either!
THE FAT PROFILE
There is a significant difference between your resume and your LinkedIn profile. In some ways, the information should be scaled down to the most important essence of what you want to say, and in other areas, the profile expands on parts that may not even be in the resume. How do we find the balance?
Easy-To-Read and Key Word Rich Summaries:
Your Summary is the first impression on your profile and needs to be strong. I prefer to use first person, as if I were introducing myself at a networking event. That being said, I need to balance the use of key words and their variations with use of white space to direct the eye. To do that, I often use a bulleted list within the body of the Summary:
Lean, Muscular Experience Sections:
Typically speaking, the Experience in a resume is more formal than the LinkedIn profile. Why? Because a trimmed-down Experience that only addresses the most important responsibilities and results is easier to read online or on a mobile device.
For example, here is my own resume section for my current position:
By comparison, here is my LinkedIn profile experience for the same job:
Unless you are a relatively new graduate, listing a lot of extracurricular in the profile can add unnecessary fluff. The main exception would be if the activities or clubs are in-line with your professional goals.
IT’S NOT FAT, IT’S BIG BONED
While we’ve got some of the profile streamlined, additional sections can be added to give value to the candidate that the resume alone may not have conveyed. Consider adding these “big bones” to give even more strength to your online presence:
- Descriptive headline
- Personalized background picture
- Key word optimized Skills section
- Written Recommendations
- Volunteer work or causes you support
- Personal hobbies and interests
- Uploaded content, including presentations, videos, and documents
- Published articles on LinkedIn
- Projects, Publications, and Awards
GOING ON THE LINKEDIN DIET
Gluttony is the act of consuming more than we are due or require. In the social media sense, we can be more effective when we concentrate on what we can do for others, as opposed to filling our own agenda exclusively.