Why Writers Need to Get "LinkedIn"

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It finally happened.

For years I’d dreamt of someone I’d never previously worked with coming to me and asking me to freelance for her publication. And last month I was approached by a local news website about being a contributing features writer.

I had imagined the editor would say, “I came across some of your work on the web and I just knew your voice was what my publication was missing.” 

Um, yeah. It didn’t quite happen that way. In actuality, the editor said she found me through LinkedIn.

Say what?!

My first thought was, “Wait. I have a LinkedIn account?”

I admit I’m not a huge fan of the social networking site LinkedIn. It’s like Facebook for grownups and even though I’m 31 I still feel like I’m 16 (except when I’m paying bills and when my back and knees ache). I prefer the bells, whistles, and complete nonsense of Mark Zuckerburg’s evil, yet oh-so-entertaining creation.

And perhaps you feel the same way, but it seems as if we writers need to give our LinkedIn profiles a little more TLC. I can’t help but wonder how many other editors visited my LinkedIn profile and chose to pass me by.

For help I turned to Samantha Collier’s Ultimate LinkedIn Profile Cheat Sheet. She recommends that you do the following. 

Use a professional profile picture, one you wouldn’t be ashamed to show your grandma or mother-in-law. Here’s mine:

I kind of hate that picture, but it should pass for professional. I have on a blazer and everything!

Create a keyword rich headline that focuses on your specialty. My headline reads “blogger, freelance writer, founder of See Jane Write Birmingham.” It could probably stand to be a bit more specific, but I suppose that will do for now. Check out Collier’s article for more tips on this. 

Update your status. Ugh. I’ll try. This will be tough for me, but I’m going to try to update my LinkedIn status at least once a day. She recommends you comment on the status updates of others too, you know, like on Facebook.

Claim your vanity URL. Mine reads http://www.linkedin.com/in/javaciaharrisbowser

Personalize your website URLs.  You can customize your links by editing your profile, clicking edit on your website links, and selecting “Other” in the drop-down menu to customize the anchor text. I have links for this blog and the See Jane Write blog

Add your Twitter account information. I have links to both my personal Twitter account and the Twitter account for See Jane Write.

Check out Samantha Collier’s Ultimate LinkedIn Profile Cheat Sheet for more detailed instructions on how to build the best profile. 


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