LinkedIn…A Self-Promotional Powerhouse

LinkedIn is a Godsend. Here you can post a flattering photo of yourself and verbally put your best foot forward.

Honestly, if you don’t include a photo, some people will simply not look at your profile, so make your “head shot” speak volumes. Every aspect sends a message. Study corporate head shots on various websites. If you can afford a photographer, pay to have your portrait done. This shot will be used in multiple places, especially on business cards. Lighting, dress, background, pose, smile or lack thereof, and retouching, are all elements of a good head shot, and it’s vital that they are considered.

Being an amateur  photographer with professional equipment, I took my own photo with a tripod and a timer and did some post-production.  I tried looking outdoorsy at first, but decided to go with the buttoned-down at-the-desk look. Most in my profession (environmental consulting) go both ways, likely sticking with khakis or jeans most of the time. I thought the button-down shirt lends a little more maturity and professionalism to someone trying to win the trust of a potential client!

If I was looking for employment I’d spend most of my waking hours perfecting my LinkedIn presentation and learning how to exploit it. Being gainfully employed for now, I’m still trying to perfect my page. What I normally do with a new client to which I am sending a proposal is include a link to my profile. This provides instant credibility presented in a classy way. It’s all there, and to my mind, much better than a resume given the endorsements and recommendations

Come to think of it, one facet of your LinkedIn page that’s essential is the recommendations section. Beg, borrow or…well…respectfully request recommendations from key people in your work life. Where else can you get a virtual tailor-made endorsement?

As for groups, join those which are strategic. Also use your memberships to communicate more about yourself. This is where you round out your character. I’m a member of a photography group of a particular brand of cameras. This could say that I spend time outdoors or that an otherwise left-brainer has a creative side.

I’d steer clear of turning my LinkedIn page into Facebook, constantly sharing clips and commentary. Be very careful of what you post. Keep it absolutely professional and apolitical. Share what’s in line with your profession. If you’re a writer and seasoned, share thoughts that can enhance your credibility or help your peers.

The Elephant in the Room

What if Mark had a Linkedin page? This guy had connections. Capable of dropping names like Apostles Peter and Paul. Cousin of the son of encouragement Barnabas. Son of Mary, at whose home the church  met.

And he had accomplishments. A ministry that ranged from Jerusalem to Rome. In on the founding of the church. Gospel author. On the first recorded missionary tour.

But he did have a blip on the radar screen. A blemish on an otherwise stellar resume. Unfortunately, as it turns out, the incident found its way onto his permanent record.

We all have episodes in our lives that we’d rather not rehash. What do we do to get the gawkers to look the other way? How do we regain our footing? More importantly, how do we address the elephant in the room?

One, is to know that God has created  these circumstances as a learning experience. It’ll always be there in the back of your mind, and in the minds of those with whom you must function.

It’s actually a good thing, and thankfully, not a real thorn in the flesh like Paul’s.  Remember, Jesus built off Peter’s failure big time.

Here’s the key. The only way we make it back is to be a humble person. Humiliation, by definition, must proceed this step. You could be a bitter person, but we don’t want to go there, do we?

Two, the contrast will be stark when you prove the detractors wrong. Mark did an amazing job returning to good graces. Just think, it’s time for the second missionary tour and Barnabas wants him back on the team, and is willing to split with Paul over him!

It turns out, by the end of the lives of both Peter and Paul, Mark’s shuttling back in forth between them as a useful person. Reading between the lines, this guy was really indispensable to two of the greatest men who ever lived.

So, get back in the game. Work hard to prove them wrong. Learn from your mistakes. Be honest. Be humble. Use your time wisely–Mark took his hiatus to write a very important book. Persevere.

As an aside, Mark might not have wanted to go to Perga, but he did not in the end shy away from ultimately travelling into the belly of the beast–Rome.

Back to LinkedIn. How good was it to get Paul’s recommendations posted in the end?

Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also Barnabas’s cousin Mark (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him). Colossians 4:10

Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. 2 Timothy 4:11