Do you own your LinkedIn profile?

LinkedIn Profile – is it yours or not?LinkedIn connections from your profile

Years ago as LinkedIn became more popular, I noticed people who left their jobs and abandoned their profiles. In some cases, it may have been a non-compete situation, or it may have been a lost password. Some folks just didn’t know that they could add new work experience to their existing profile.

Now that LinkedIn allows you to start a profile at the age of 14 in the United States, individuals who start at that early age will definitely own their profile.

“Minimum Age” means (a) 18 years old for the People’s Republic of China, (b) 16 years old for the Netherlands, (c) 14 years old for the United States, Canada, Germany, Spain, Australia and South Korea, and (d) 13 years old for all other countries. However, if law requires that you must be older in order for LinkedIn to lawfully provide the Services to you (including the collection, storage and use of your information) then the Minimum Age is such older age. The Services are not for use by anyone under the age of 13.

Who owns the contacts on your profile?

If you have been using LinkedIn for a number of years and have built your connections up, you may be a valuable commodity to an organization who wants to broaden their reach. Personally, I worked for an organization where one of my major duties was to network and spread the word about the services offered by that organization. Everyone I met was added to my LinkedIn connections if they had a profile.

If your company relies upon you to be their data collector, shame on them. They should employ a CRM of some sort to track their clients, not your LinkedIn profile. In my case, not everyone I met was because of the organization for which I worked. I was involved in community organizations, a family business, and other activities where I met people besides on the job.

The biggest reason you need to be aware of company policy for any organization for which you work is what they deem as appropriate use for their clients in your contacts. This news item from February 2015 on a Fox News Station in St. Louis reminds us to read what you are signing when you enter into an employment agreement with any company. Know whether your clients can be your connections. If you bring a robust profile with you, your profile is yours, but the connections you gain related to your employment may become the non-compete property of the company.

Fortunately, with the tagging function in LinkedIn, you can easily tag any new connections with a tag related to that company so you know down the road what you can or cannot do with that connection.

It is a different situation if you are managing company profiles. Whatever the contacts are that follow a company social media profileIf you are personally

This brings up another question: What happens to your contacts if you bring contacts to the table when you are hired? I asked Jim Voigt of Lavelle Law to help me out with an answer. Here is what he offered:

  • In the rare situation where you actually have an employment contract, the use of your contacts should be spelled out;
  • If there is and employer handbook, you need to review it to see if your employer is making a claim to your contacts – read it!  Even if that claim is made, it does not mean the employer will prevail.  But it is at least good to know that your employer considers your contacts to belong to the company so you can head off misunderstandings early.
  • Whether an employer could legitimately make a claim to your contacts would very much depend on the circumstances.  Were you hired specifically because you had several, or perhaps certain key contacts?  Were you separately paid for those contacts beyond your regular salary and benefits?
  • Analysis in any potential law suit will be very fact specific.  If an employer is making a claim to your contacts, it would be worth your time to at least talk it over with an attorney.  Most attorneys offer a free initial consultation.

Here is my profile tip to you:

Make sure you have at least two email addresses associated with your LinkedIn Profile. People will often invite you to connect based upon the email address that they have for you. It isn’t the correct way, but it happens. When you have a work and personal email address, you will always have access to your account. If you get terminated, just go into your account and switch which email address is your primary email address.

Let us know if you have any social media needs with which we can assist you!

Hands-On LinkedIn Workshop

Take some time to participate in the Hands-on LinkedIn Workshop!LIworkshop200

When was the last time you spent any time on your LinkedIn profile? There have been a number of changes recently. Take this time to help yourself better understand a few things to make LinkedIn work better for your business.

Bring your laptop! We will:

  • work on your profile to make sure it will be found with a keyword search;
  • show you how to maximize your exposure; and,
  • give you direction on how to warm-up cold leads.

Interested? Here are the details:


October 30, 2014

QCI Restoration
1155 Bowes Rd
Elgin, IL 60123

Cost is $30. Register by going to:

Enter your name under the LinkedIn Workshop option.
Click pay now, use either PayPal or a credit card to register.

Sorry No Refunds on registration.

Thanks to T.G. Consultants who will be sponsoring the breakfast goodies!

Top 10 LinkedIn Profile Words to Eliminate

Being able to constantly update a LinkedIn profile is one of the best things about the on-line tool.  A small tweak here and there, could ultimately make your profile show up in a search result that can land you a new job or a huge contract.

Job seekers are advised to craft their resume to the description for a specific job to which they are applying. But if you are applying to a number of jobs should you be changing your LinkedIn profile for each of them?

Keywords is the biggest tool that you can use when creating or updating your on-line resume,LI words or your LinkedIn profile.  Make use of the Skills and Expertise component, place keywords strategically in your summary and descriptions of your job, and make sure not to overuse buzzwords.  This article from gives you the Top 10 Words Not to Include in Your LinkedIn Profile. Make use of a thesaurus and be creative in your descriptions.

Let’s look at one of the words in the list – Expert. I once heard in a training session on social media, that if someone says they are a social media expert to turn and run away fast.  Is that true in all industries?  Should you ever call yourself an expert, or should you leave that to people who are introducing you, or writing you a recommendation or referral?

In essence, someone reading your profile wants to know how you can solve their problem. The best way to do that is to give them some examples that they might be able to translate into their own situation.

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Your LinkedIn Photo

Your LinkedIn photo is one of the first things that seasoned LinkedIn users look for when they search your profile.

  • To see if that is you when they invite you to connect
  • To recognize you when meeting face-to-face for the first time
  • To check out how serious you are about yourself (I am not sure if this is a valid reason, but it could be)

When I coach people or teach LinkedIn classes, I discuss the benefits of having a professional image attached to their profile.  That image should be used across all of the professional platforms you are using.  It is one of my top 5 tips that I have written about previously.

Your profile image does not have to be a professionally taken image, but don’t fall victim toThis LinkedIn profile image shows a man with a huge cocktail that has two bottles of beer being poured into it. thinking that something cute will suffice.  This image is one of those things that you should definitely NOT DO.  Can you tell me why? Your image represents how you want to represent your personal brand.  In many cases, it will represent your business as well.

Unless you are a pediatrician or day care provider, no kids.  Unless you are a veterinarian or animal shelter, no pets. Unless you are realty team, no spouses, and that is iffy.

In my opinion, people want to see your face, smiling with limited props.  It gives them a good feeling about how your business relationship might proceed.


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Recent Profile Changes, so…

If you haven’t already changed it, Twitter made an update to include a header image on your profile, LinkedIn company pages now include a header image on the overview page, and Facebook always has some update in the works or just changed. So…

My thought is: for new visitors to your platform, you need to have everything optimized to take advantage of all the real estate the various tools are allowing you.  The BIG question is – once you follow a brand on social media how often do you return to their page?  If you are like most people, you see the “welcome” or profile page when you sign up because that is where you landed.  I propose ( I am sure I am not the first) the theory that almost everyone just sees your updates in their streams of whatever platform they happen to be looking at at that moment.

So engagement is key. Is it more important to drive people to your website, your blog or to your profile page on a social media platform?  Tell me your opinion!

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