Sandra Long Is Totally LinkedIn

Sandra Long did not like my LinkedIn profile.

At first, I didn’t care.

In my social media life, the networking website ranked far below Instagram and Facebook (not to mention “06880”). It hovered just above Google Plus — but not by much.

Yet when Sandra — a longtime Westporter who offers LinkedIn training for businesses and individuals, as well as profile makeovers for executives, consultants, attorneys and other professionals — offered to spruce mine up, I said, “why not?”

Yet I was about as enthusiastic as when I had a root canal.

Sandra Long offers LinkedIn training to individuals and organizations.

Sandra Long offers LinkedIn training to individuals and organizations.

But then I met Sandra. And once she went to work — drilling down through my profile, into my life, work, passions and dreams — I was all in.

All LinkedIn, I should say.

I had been agnostic about LinkedIn’s potential. But Sandra is a true believer. “You’re missing lots of opportunities,” she said.

I considered myself a freelance writer. I didn’t see how LinkedIn could help. Yet Sandra had already stalked me — I mean, done her homework — and thought that tying together everything I do would help my overall “brand.”

“You write. You coach soccer. You’re an expert on Westport. You’re an LGBT activist and mentor,” she noted. A stronger LinkedIn presence — including keywords, which I sorely lacked — could help people find me, leading to paths I never expected.

And, she pointed out, my entire internet presence was a mess. My LinkedIn profile was not, um, linked to my Amazon author page (which, she added with a sympathetic smile, was pretty weak itself). My YouTube channel did not even showcase my speeches.

There was some good news. My name is unique enough that I could really capitalize on it. Sandra would have a fairly easy time finding my scattered web life, then tying it together.

My LinkedIn main page before Sandra Long got to work. Sure, it says 500+ connections. But I hadn't really "connected" with many of them in years.

My LinkedIn main page before Sandra Long got to work. Sure, it says 500+ connections. But I hadn’t really “connected” with many of them in years. Plus, my photo was from before LinkedIn was even born.

Quickly, we got to work.

Talking about myself was sort of like going to a therapist — without the anxiety.

Sandra is a master at asking the right questions, analyzing the answers, and organizing it all in a coherent, presentable fashion.

I am not (for example) an “independent writing professional.” That was my old headline. My new one is much more inclusive.

Turns out I’m a “community builder.” My writing, coaching, LGBT and Westport work — all of it develops community. Who knew?

Part of my new banner. Ta da!

Part of my new banner. Ta da!

I should note here that Sandra drew from me that 2 sidelines are teaching writing, and consulting on writing projects. Somehow I had forgotten to include that on LinkedIn. Oops!

Also, my photo sucked. Thanks to Sandra: not anymore!

On we plowed. She rewrote my (very important) personal summary; added “Experience” sections with new titles, descriptions and images, as well as more publications, organizations and awards; rejiggered my “Skills” section; gave me a way-cool background banner of Westport scenes; threw in my contact info and a customized URL — and linked to “06880.”

All that was just for LinkedIn. Soon, she worked similar magic on my Amazon and YouTube pages. For the latter, she discovered videos about me in cyberspace I never knew existed. Fortunately, they’re good ones.

My Amazon author page before Sandra Long went to work. Only 2 of my books were listed -- and I had no author bio.

My Amazon author page before Sandra Long went to work. Only 2 of my books were listed — and I had no author bio.

The process took just over a month. It was empowering. It was also painless. (At least for me. I was the duck you see on the surface. Underneath the water, Sandra paddled furiously.)

My new Amazon page. It has many more of the books I've written -- and every "06880" story appears as soon as it's posted. Crazy!

My new Amazon page. It has many more of the books I’ve written — and every “06880” story appears as soon as it’s posted. Crazy!

The results were impressive — and not just to look at.

Throughout the process, Sandra kept telling me that I underestimated the power of LinkedIn. I was missing opportunities, she preached (always, thankfully, with a smile).

The day after my fresh, comprehensive, tied-together profile went live, I got a “notification.” I clicked it. (Sorry, Sandra, but yeah — the first time I’ve ever done that).

A woman developing a new website about sports had searched for “soccer,” “writing” and “community building.” My name popped up.

She liked my “interesting bio,” and wondered if I’d be interested in working for her.

Instantly, I felt linked in.

(Sandra Long’s Post Road Consulting has offices in Westport and Stamford. Click here for more information. To learn more about Sandra’s book, “LinkedIn for Personal Branding: The Ultimate Guide,” click here.)

Bonus feature: My new YouTube channel.

Bonus feature: My new YouTube channel.

 

7 responses to “Sandra Long Is Totally LinkedIn

  1. “Dan is the man!” I’m changing Sandra’s Last name from Long to ‘Wrong.’

    Respectfully,

    Senia

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. Rick Rosencrans

    Sandra has done the same thing for me and the team here in our 30 person Jones Lang LaSalle office. She helped us create a cogent presentation that captures our strengths and assets as individuals, organizing and presenting them on LinkedIn to maximize their reach, and then showing us how to connect to the people that can help us grow our network, creating new business opportunities. She really is one part therapist, one part LinkedIn evangelical, and one part advocate for building her client’s personal brand. Can’t say enough good things about Sandra Long.

  3. Dan Woog you hit the nail on the head precisely about Sandra Long. She has a motivational engine that runs 24/7. Like you discovered, she’s able to take a 360-degree view of a person and gently nudge the individual to see themselves, their story, with 20/20 clarity. Your story is fascinating – both the one of who you really are – and how Sandra helped you tell it on LinkedIn.

    Truth is we all have a compelling story, but removing the dated and irrelevant and tying it up in a powerful bow is a struggle for most of us. Sandra’s book LinkedIn for Personal Branding takes you through all the steps you outline. It’s a wow for any professional. Thanks for the inspired read!

  4. As a former executive recruiter working with Fortune 500 companies, it was essential to convey to my candidates the importance of LinkedIn.
    LinkedIn has become a valuable resource not only for candidates but also hiring managers. There is a higher level of access (fee based) which provide database search capabilities using keywords and other criteria for hiring managers and recruiters. I used it often in my recruiting efforts.

    Glad to hear that you undated your profile which may now appear on some of the thousands of searches done everyday. Good luck!

  5. So glad Sandra shared her magic with you, Dan. She is a Westport treasure! She has applied her branding skills masterfully with some of my speakers at SecuritySpeak. Her gifts are her unique eye for what motivates us as professionals and her knack for translating them for the LinkedIn platform. Especially for those of us with decades of experience, Sandra’s makeover is invaluable!

  6. Dan thanks so much for writing this article about all the fun we had working on your new online presence! I have enjoyed getting emails and calls today from several of your loyal readers. Also, I hope all of your readers will connect with you on LinkedIn (with a personalized invitation); follow you on Amazon (& check out your books); and then subscribe to your YouTube Channel – because you are amazing!

  7. Dan,
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful LinkedIn “do over” with Sandra’s superb guidance and professionalism. I know of you and your writing from living years ago in Westport; in fact, you were a support and friend to my son Jeffrey. Good memories forever. Your new profile tells your whole story; a very good one! Wishing you all the best as you forge forward in your ever upbeat life and career.
    By the way, Sandra re-did my LinkedIn profile a couple of years ago. Working with her was a joy and I certainly look a lot better on LinkedIn!
    Best, Lynn Garelick

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