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CEO sitting with laptopWe have been laser focused on LinkedIn profiles this month. Why? They are so important. Profiles showcase who you are to the world. LinkedIn profiles are search engine friendly and have the potential to connect you with your next big deal, the speaking gig you’ve been coveting, key talent and strategic partners who influence potential business and other like-minded professionals.

It may not be about who you know but who you might know as a result of your current network and LinkedIn’s algorithms. The juice is in your extended network; especially your 2nd level Connections.

Your 1st level Connections know you and may not care if your Profile is not rock star status. They know you’re committed to your business, industry and a great customer experience. They may know you have an M.B.A. and are incredibly philanthropic, studied and certified within your industry. They know you lead an amazing organization of other rock stars.

If I looked at your LinkedIn profile as a 2nd level Connection, I may see something completely different. I might see someone who is too busy, doesn’t get it, isn’t forward thinking, or possibly even contrary.

I’d rather you didn’t have a Profile at all than an anemic version of who you really are. An underwritten profile is more damaging than no Profile. In the end, it shows apathy. (P.S. – Lack of time is not an excuse. You have resources and we all know, time is a value choice).

Intellectually, I know this assessment may be completely inaccurate and biased. And clearly, I understand that not everyone is going to value LinkedIn the same way we do. That’s okay. But over and over I have conversations with CEOs, business owners, marketers, salespeople and recruiters who say they need better talent (especially salespeople), more business, better business, new revenue sources and stronger referrals.

I actually know that someone’s LinkedIn profile has the potential to increase the likelihood of success in those areas. Even an anemic profile may get some love every once in a while but to benefit from a pipeline of good karma and intentional connecting, your profile needs to represent you in the most professional of ways.

Your LinkedIn profile should share your professional story. What does that mean? It informs others of your professional journey. How you built your business, changed industries to pursue your passion, developed sought-after expertise, solved a problem that led to a new patent or discovery. That’s just the beginning but what if I knew that about you?

Oh, you’re a private person and don’t like to talk about yourself? I understand and appreciate that. Humility is a virtue and can also be conveyed through a well-written profile. Unless you are off the grid (that means no mobile phone) privacy is an elusive quest these days. It’s no longer realistic. Once again, manage the expectation and the reality of who you are.

You can let other LinkedIn members know that this won’t be your preferred mode of communication. People will understand this.

There is also the convenience of having your background and career history visible through your LinkedIn profile. One of the last things I want to do is share my experience and career history with everyone I meet. “Schooling” others on our experience and background is not a productive use of time during a meeting. Let your Profile do the work and inform others so time can be better spent on the important matters of doing business.

Your profile is your context and should enable connections that add greater value to the conversation or potential business engagement. Who couldn’t benefit from greater context, better meetings, shorter sales cycles and higher level talent?

LinkedIn is your 24/7/365 publicist.

Better than a more traditional PR pro, LinkedIn’s platform blankets the largest professional network and works behind the scenes to put you in front of those people that potentially make the most sense for you and your business.

As you hem and haw about whether LinkedIn really is for you, others are setting meetings, sharing their content, talking with passive candidates, joining Groups, researching companies, asking for introductions and introducing others all from the convenience of their office. In other words, others are achieving their goals at a higher level and with greater success. Isn’t that worth creating an awesome LinkedIn profile?

Check out our other recent blog posts about your LinkedIn profile, where you will find additional in-depth how-to’s and insight on what should be included and why.