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.
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.
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?
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.
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.)
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.)