Sunday, March 26, 2017

Five Tips To Make an Instructional Designer’s LinkedIn Profile Shine

LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network with approximately 467 million members across the globe. It can offer a great networking experience to eLearning professionals and can also lead to new business or career opportunities. LinkedIn is a powerful tool to promote your brand (could be your company or you as a professional) amongst thousands of like minded professionals, decision makers, partners, talent seekers, or customers. 

LinkedIn recently redesigned its UI, thus bringing Conversations and Content to the heart of the platform. In-line with this redesigned user experience that LinkedIn offers now; I am going to share some tips that could make your profile stand out as an eLearning professional, and specifically as an instructional designer. Some tips would be generic and fairly simple, while others could be used to specifically display your work and skill set.

1. Picture
This is the simplest of all. Your LinkedIn profile picture puts a face to your profile, a face that people could relate to. Not having a profile picture or using an unprofessional one is not admirable. So stick to a good profile picture, a professional headshot always does the trick.
The new thumbnail of your LinkedIn profile picture is a circle. To ensure that the thumbnail image looks like what it should, go to edit your picture and confirm that it appears the way you want it.

2. Background Photo
Use the background image to talk about something significant like your organization. The new dimensions for the background image are 1536 x 738. Even when you use the correct dimensions, ensure that you consider the image and text positioning. A fuzzy image that doesn’t adhere to the required dimensions or an image with text or graphics getting cut is not appealing to the viewer. So double check once you are done. An interesting way that graphic designers could use this feature is by using some innovative infographic or tag-cloud as the background photo. The infographic could be made from snapshots of your work, whereas the tag cloud could speak about your skills.

3. Headline
The headline is possibly the most important part on your LinkedIn profile. It should be about what you do rather than what you are. Use these 120 characters to generate curiosity in the viewer to know more about you. Weave in your specialty and leverage it to the fullest. For example, if you are an instructional designer, a very creative and jazzy headline could be something like this: Instructional Designer, Storyteller and Thinker who weaves magic in her courses. Oh, and people love my storyboards.

4. Summary and Experience
The Summary section is a very critical element of your LinkedIn profile as it showcases your professional story. With the new look, only the first two lines of your Summary are visible upfront. You need to grab people’s attention now to read more. So let your summary be crisp, and include the most important and interesting stuff at the top. Also, be mindful of spacing. Nothing puts down a viewer as much as an unevenly spaced summary text.
While stating about your experience, state your current position and also fill up information about all your previous work assignments. It adds credibility to your profile. Ensure you do not add any incorrect information.

Add your Portfolio
A very interesting and effective way of making your LinkedIn profile stand out as an instructional designer is by adding your portfolio. And as the LinkedIn team itself states, rich, tangible examples show your quality of work and give people a reason to interact with you. You could do this by uploading relevant media files or sharing links to any external media under the ‘Summary’ or ‘Experience’ section.
This makes your profile visually appealing and also helps people see samples of your actual work rather than just reading some text around it. You could also design your own examples to be uploaded as media. But ensure you do not include anything that comes under the ownership/copyright of your current or previous employers. 

How to do it?
Well, PowerPoint and Videos are two effective ways of going about it. If you choose to go with a PowerPoint, make it interactive by inserting ready-to-use interactivities from a tool like Raptivity. The benefit of interactive stuff is that it can engage the viewer unlike a static PowerPoint. 
You could even demonstrate a complete project story by building a PowerPoint with interactivities. It can talk about everything right from your course objectives to the software you used, to the challenges you faced and how you overcame them. Leverage the power of storytelling using interactivities.
If you choose to go with creating a video, you could either add narration and convert your PowerPoint to a video or build a video from scratch depending on what works better for you. Videos are undoubtedly the most effective way of conveying your story and examples.

5. Strengthen your profile further
  • Education: Filling up the following sections - Education, Certificates, Awards (If applicable), showcases your continual growth and helps you strengthen your profile further.  Also make sure to add your contact information so that people can quickly reach out to you if required.
  • Featured Skills: The new profile view only shows the first 3 skills you have listed in the Skills & Endorsements section. Since you can reorder your skills, select the top three that are most important to you to be visible.
  • Groups: Join the right eLearning and instructional designing groups and be an active member there. Start commenting on posts and articles, or initiate your own discussions whenever required. This will help you become visible to the fraternity and will also serve as a platform to showcase your expertise.
  • Incorrect Spellings and Grammar: Be wary of incorrect spellings and grammar, be very wary! Wrong spellings and grammar can spell disaster for instructional designers, or rather all eLearning professionals. So proofread everything that you post, on your profile, or anywhere else on LinkedIn. 
Got more tips on using LinkedIn to the fullest? Share them with us below. Let us promise ourselves to leverage the power of this amazing platform called LinkedIn. Let us all rise and shine.