LinkedIn Spring Cleaning: Five Tips to Spruce Up your Profile

linkedin tips blog post

When is the last time you looked at your LinkedIn profile? Answer honestly. If it’s been a while you’re probably not alone. Why? Because we get really busy fielding hundreds of emails and making sure our daily checklist is clear that we forget to spend time building our online presence.

If you’re still not convinced you need LinkedIn, start by reading Don Schindler’s post, “Why should you be using LinkedIn as an executive?

So how do you stand out in a network of 300 million plus? Here are five things you can do today that are sure to help your profile views and connections.

Stop! Before we go any further we need to turn off your notifications. Not everyone needs to know you’re putting your last 5 years worth of experience in LinkedIn in the next thirty minutes. You can find this setting in “Privacy and Settings” and then select “Turn on/off activity.”

LinkedIn Notifications

1. Who are you? And better yet why do I want to talk to you?

Every profile needs a summary. The summary sits at the top of your profile and is one of the first (and sometimes only) thing people will read. Think of this as your in-person elevator pitch. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Don’t write it in third person
  • Use a conversational tone
  • Make it personal. What makes you interesting?
  • How do I reach you?  (Email, Website/Blog, Twitter, etc.)

Check out my summary below:

Hands down the best part of my job is working with America’s dairy farmers. I usually get a confused look when I tell people I train farmers on social media and digital communications.
How are these connected? In my current role as Manager, Digital Initiatives, I’m committed to helping the dairy industry (farmers, staff and industry professionals) confidently tell their story with digital communications tools.
I like things fast-paced and enjoy keeping up with the latest digital trends and insights. I’ve had the opportunity to consult and mentor staff, executives and dairy industry companies/organizations. In the past, I worked heavily in website management and played key roles in launching and managing corporate social channels to drive social business.
Did I grow up in farming and agriculture? Sort of. I grew up in small town Indiana where I worked my way around most of the chores on a dairy farm. Thanks to my background as farm tour guide, I feel confident in answering any farm related question you send my way.
I’m always searching for new adventures to check off my list. I live for laughable puns, red wine with cheese and running for fun.
Here’s my mantra. I believe in the power of social media to drive important conversations, connections and relationships between farmers and consumers. Each day, my goal is to get more farmers online!
Connect with me to hear more:
https://jamievandermolen.wordpress.com/
http://twitter.com/jamie_vm
https://www.facebook.com/jamie.vandermolen
vanderjamie@gmail.com

2. Show me your portfolio.

Within your profile, you can add recent work projects to build credibility and showcase industry successes.

LinkedIn Media

Think about recent presentations you’ve given, websites you built or a video you helped create. It doesn’t have to be something you tackled alone, you can tag coworkers and teammates in on your projects to give them a shout out too! This will help visually bring your experience to life.

LinkedIn Projects

Don Schindler Profile

3. Don’t be shy. Ask for recommendations!

These are golden and carry a lot of weight (not to be confused with the bogus endorsements). If you present at a meeting…follow up by asking the organizer or participants to recommend you online. I know it can feel awkward, but recommendations really going to set your profile apart. It just takes a couple of minutes with these steps:

Start by entering “Settings and Privacy.” Once you’re here you’ll want to click “Manage your recommendations.”

LinkedIn Recommendations

From here you can check on recent recommendations, give recommendations to others and ask for a recommendation. Right now we’re going to ask a coworker. Click “Ask for recommendations.”

LinkedIn Recommendations 2

You’ll see that you’re only a few steps away from sending the recommendations. Fill out the information about your current role and how you know the person who will be giving you the recommendation. Feel free to also include a short personal note in the message section – you’ll be more likely to get a recommendation back.

LinkedIn Recommendations 3

You’re done! It’s not a bad idea to follow up in-person or via email to remind them that you would greatly appreciate a recommendation.

4. Choose your words wisely.

Image Source: uberof202 ff via Flickr

Image Source: uberof202 ff via Flickr

Be strategic about the words you use in your profile because that is how people search and find you. Be careful with abbreviations and acronyms. Are you a VP? Spell it out. Use words that describe job you want. Are you looking for a job in digital? Use digital words/phrases consistently throughout your profile.

5. Share! And then share some more! 

LinkedIn Pulse is a great way to stay on top of all the latest industry news and trends. If you want to be seen as an industry leader, you must be sharing relevant and interesting articles with your followers. Start by setting a goal for yourself – maybe try sharing 3x/week.  You can use Pulse to sort information that’s in your wheel house.

LinkedIn Share

6. Okay I might have six tips, but this one is more BONUS.

LinkedIn now gives EVERYONE the option to publish blog-style posts. This used to be exclusive to top industry leaders. Why should you post to LinkedIn? Posting is a great way for you to showcase your expertise, build your professional reputation and create important conversations and discussions with your large network of professionals. Already blogging? Consider reworking your post to fit the LinkedIn audience.

LinkedIn Publish

Maybe you need a little competition to get you started. See how you rank against others in your company when it comes to LinkedIn profile views.

What are your tips?

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Five Time-Saving iPad Tips for Farmers

Image: Sean McAEntee via Flickr

Image: Sean McAEntee via Flickr

Between GPS tractors, robotic milkers and apps that provide soil conditions at the tap of a finger…most of you are ahead of the game when it comes to technology. If you have an iPad, I’m sure you’ve appreciated how it allows you to stay more connected to people and important information that makes your job more efficient. There are so many helpful iPad tips and tricks that it’s hard to know where to get started, but here are my top five time-saving tips for farmers:

Easily share your photos
You just captured several photos of your fields or new farm equipment and need to share it with an employee. Don’t waste your time emailing each photo or putting the photos on a flash drive. You can quickly and easily share photos with one or more people at once using Apple’s photo stream share. As long as the person(s) you’re sharing with also have an iPad/iPhone it will work.

So how do you do this?

1. Click on your “Photos” App
2. At the bottom of the screen, select “Shared”

ipad

3. Select the “+” sign at the top left
4. Type in a name for your stream (Ex. New Farm Equipment)
5. Start typing in the email addresses OR phone numbers of those you want to be able to view the album. Once you invite them to join, the members can add their own photos.

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6. Select “Create.” Each person you invited will receive an email.

Once you start using it you’ll find that it’s such an easy way to share photos and also collect photos from others in one place.

Never lose your notes again
Do you have several notes scattered between your office and truck? It’s time to make your notes digital with the Evernote app. With the Evernote app, you can take notes on your phone, iPad or computer and you’ll have the most recent version of your notes on you at all times. The best part? Your notes are easily searchable. No more digging through files to find a note that you made six months ago. If you made it in Evernote you can type in one word from the note and it will bring up your note from months ago in seconds. If you’re not a big fan of typing out your notes, there is also an app called Penultimate that lets you hand write on the iPad and transfers your notes to Evernote. Learn more about Evernote in Don Schindler’s blog. It’s an adjustment to start using this app, but once you begin the payoffs are huge!

Get all your news in one place
Do you like to keep up with Hoards Dairyman, Farm Journal and Dairy Business? It can be hard to keep up with each site on a daily basis. Guess what? There’s an app for that. Feedly is a reading app that collects all of your favorite news sites and online blogs into one place that’s frequently updated so you can get the latest news at any moment.

ipad3

Once you have downloaded the app you can start searching for your favorite blogs and adding them to your reading list by selecting “Feedly +.”

You’ll never go searching for the news again!

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Stay on task
If love the feeling of checking off a daily list. You’ll never forget to call someone back, pay an invoice or pick something up from the store again with the Wunderlist app. It’s an app to help you check off your daily to-dos. What’s the coolest part about it? It’s a sharable list so you can invite your family or others on the farm to join the list and get notifications when they’ve completed their chores. Maybe a good one for the kid’s chores.

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Keep your iPad secure
We all know it happens. If you lose your iPad anyone can get into your pictures, apps, notes and more. There are a couple things you should do to prepare yourself for this situation:

1. Download the Find my iPhone app. Once your iPad goes missing you can log into Find My iPad to locate where you left it.
2. Make sure you have a passcode on your iPad. This means that each time you open your iPad you’ll use 4 numbers to access which will protect you in case it’s lost or stolen. Many iPads now have fingerprint touch ID sign-in, but you should always have a passcode back up. Create or change your passcode by going to the Settings App<Touch ID & Passcode.

Hope that you found some of those tips helpful. What are some of your favorite iPad tips and tricks?

Tough Mudder Training Meets Cross Country Skis

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Today I was on my way to work and the radio finally confirmed what I’ve been feeling for the past 4 months – this has been Chicago’s coldest winter EVER. I prefer outdoor running on the pavement, but draw the line to icy sidewalks and below 0 temps. As winter drags on, my anxiety about not training for the upcoming Tough Mudder becomes realistic.

That is until I discovered cross country skiing! I’ve been on skis since the time I could walk, but was never been tempted by the energy and endurance cross country skiing demands. This past weekend I learned that this sport is all about endurance, consistency and a little coordination – making it a great Tough Mudder workout!

Am I “Tough” Enough for a Tough Mudder?

I finished the Chicago marathon last October and continued to ride the race high for another couple of months. I felt fit, strong and ready for my next challenge. It only took a little nudging and a promise of beer to sign me up for another extreme race – the Tough Mudder. In hearing its name alone, I visualized placing another notch on my belt.

Fast forward to now and find me spending countless hours on the couch looking through cold-fogged windows. My “no mountain is too high” attitude shrank and my thighs have done the opposite.

My first step was to gage my race preparation level. Logically, I took the, “Are you ready for a tough mudder quiz”on their website. I prefer Hulk Hogan mustaches, can carry a case of Miller Lite and climb a latter with little fear so I’m apparently categorized as “Mudder Ready.”

So what exactly am I ready for? Arctic enemas, balls to the wall, fire walkers and electroshock therapy just to name a few obstacles. I knowingly signed up for a face full of mud and dirt under my finger nails, but somehow I skipped over the part about being voluntarily shocked!

It’s going to be a blast!

Off to scale city walls, jump over burning trash cans in my alley and carry the elderly across the street on my back – all in a day’s training.

Volley for a Cure: Beach Volleyball Fundraiser for TNT!

We’re just 5 weeks out from the 2013 Chicago Marathon and there’s a lot of work to be done – fundraising & training! A couple weeks ago my running buddy, Erin, and I hosted a successful fundraiser. If you’re looking for summer fundraiser ideas, this is a great option! We invited friends, teammates and coworkers to help us “spike out cancer” in a friendly game of beach volleyball.

Along with the cost to play/spectate, we sold burritos donated by Chipotle, drinks and held a silent auction for gift cards donated by local businesses. What was the most difficult part? Figuring out the player bracket. 

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Go team!

Training on the Road.

Good morning Charlotte!

I mentally prepared myself for a long, solo run all week…but It took everything in me to crawl out of the large, comfortable hotel bed at 5 AM. I was prepared though – my favorite chocolate cherry shot bloks, GPS watch and even the gel I use to avoid chaffing 🙂

I ran a few miles in the fitness center on the treadmill until it was light enough outside. Outside the hotel, it was an eerie morning on the streets of Charlotte.

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Since I am with a bunch of other Ag Nerds at AgChat 2013, I proudly sported my “Team Dairy” shirt!

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I love exploring new roads, but at the same time have to remember to stay cautious. Always check with the hotel front desk to ask about parks, running trails, sidewalks and safe/unsafe areas of the city.

Song: Wake Me Up – Avicii
Recovery: 1% Chocolate Milk

Our Path to the 2013 Chicago Marathon


I’m gearing up to run the Chicago Marathon for the 2ndyear (after skipping last year). What made me skip a year? It’s a huge commitment. What made me come back? It’s a huge commitment for the best cause and most amazing feeling of accomplishment.
It’s something I cannot explain to anyone unless you join me at 6 AM in the wet grass as a cancer survivor takes the bench to tell her story to a group of scrounge runners. I can’t explain the intense exhaustion you feel while you cross the 6, 10, 16, 20 mile markers; only to hear a supportive crowd of strangers scream your name. And unless you’ve experienced it, I definitely cannot explain the pure emotion you feel crossing the finish line after running 26.2 miles!
Former winner of the Boston Marathon, Amby Burfoot, once said, “Every mile is a gift.” Every second, every minute, every day is a gift and that’s why I’m running for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. We’re an unstoppable purple army out to fight cancer for those we love and those we may not even know.
For more information, visit my page:  http://pages.teamintraining.org/il/chicago13/jvandermolen