I recently created a new website called davidmunk.com—really more of a digital business card—to draw attention to my client communications work. (When I’m not writing this blog, I concentrate on writing everything from speeches to ad copy, really anything that requires words and messaging.) When I went to integrate the new davidmunk.com material into my LinkedIn profile, a platform I really don’t care for much, by the way, I realized that my LinkedIn page was not only too dense but way too serious—even for me. I came up with a strategy that I think makes my LinkedIn page both more personal and more engaging and I think it will work for you too. After the jump, I’ll tell you what I did and give you some pointers on how you can make your LinkedIn profile stand out and get you a much more vocal response.
The truth is, I don’t know anyone in the entertainment business or in any creative field who ever benefitted from LinkedIn, do you? I think it’s rather like the Google Plus of job hunting: everyone deals with it to some extent but no one really knows why or enjoys it very much. If you’re a creative person in a creative field, why not try something different in your profile, like I did. What do you have to lose?
Here’s what I did:
So in my LinkedIn profile, after streamlining the “Experience” section and really winnowing it down to just a few of my most essential accomplishments, I scrolled down and noted the sad, empty “Honors and Awards” section. It looked so depressing with it’s expanse of nothingness. I thought to myself that there must be something I’ve won, some honor that I could mention there that would say something about me and give my LinkedIn profile some pizzazz. I thought back through my music business career, but I didn’t think gold and platinum records for long-forgotten projects I’d worked on was a winning strategy. I considered the Grammy nomination that Natalie Cole got for best R&B vocal for a record I executive produced, but that wasn’t really my award, it was hers, and she didn’t win either. Also since my career has for the most part shifted from entertainment to corporate communications, I wanted to find something that was less specific and more relatable. Just when I had begun to worry that I’d never in my life done anything award-worthy…BAM!, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I just wasn’t thinking back far enough:
As the School Safety Patrol award indicates, I helped “to protect schoolmates from traffic dangers,” which is true. But this award also reflects my precocious survival skills, because that badge gave me the authority to protect myself from a veritable armada of homophobic tween bullies who populated my grade school like termites; Irwin School was simply rotten with ten-year-old evildoers. This safety patrol thing worked like a charm and I would encourage anyone who is getting picked on out there to consider getting yourself signed up and propped up. If you’re disinclined or physically unable to fight back (as I was), it’s just astounding what you can do with a badge a little bit of power. Like I always said, “Why punch you in the face and probably get the shit beat out of me when I can write you up and send you to the principal’s office?”
The earlier award for my limbo expertise is far less complicated by childhood emotional trauma: I was flexible and thus one long-ago summer day became a limbo champion. Oh yeah, excuse me: “joint limbo champion.” I think it is awesome that the camp administration felt strongly enough about my shared award that they needed to type it on the certificate for posterity. Of course this begs the question “who was the other winner?” This I do not know, but I would be very interested in learning who that person is that I shared the incredible honor with and do they also still have their certificate? I guess we all hang on to the honors and awards we need to get through our lives, especially the ones that validate the narratives we create to make sense out of what happened. Apparently I still need my limbo certificate
Of course I can’t put all this on LinkedIn, but if my profile can make even one person who takes the time to read it laugh, then I’ve probably done something that would make my profile stand out from the rest—and you can too. So give it a try. Laughter is always disarming, appreciated, and appropriate. In the vast D.M.V.-beige LinkedIn landscape, the occasional laugh can only help your cause—especially if your creative because the odds are you’re not going to get a job from a website anyway. And if you’re not a particularly funny person, you can always consider a hyperlink to this piece. Okay, that last part was a joke.
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