8 Characteristics Of An All-Star LinkedIn Profile

linkedin_logo_11I Love LinkedIn

I was recently accused by a buddy of mine of having too slick of a LinkedIn profile. With a sly wink, I said “No way. I’m sure mine’s a pretty basic profile.” I was exaggerating though. Over the last few months, I have purposely put a lot of work into creating an above average profile.

I love LinkedIn for a lot of different reasons. It’s a great social web platform that allows professionals to make professional connections instead of just friends or followers. These same professionals also publish some great articles as well as post links to articles out on the web.

It’s also a great place to have a quasi-home base platform to showcase you as a professional. I view a quality LinkedIn profile as an online resume on steroids!

8 Characteristics Of The Best LinkedIn Profiles

Over the last several months as I have been designing my own LinkedIn profile, I have read one book, scanned several web articles, and viewed the profiles of other professionals. I believe the following 8 characteristics represent the best practices of stand out profiles.

  1. A recent, decent photo of yourself. Now, you would think that this small, basic item wouldn’t need to be included, but there are a lot of boring profiles with no photos. C’mon people. Uploading a simple digital picture of yourself is not that difficult. People that want to make a connection with you would really like to see what you look like. Just do it already!
  2. An interesting summary. What makes you, well you? What unique qualities do you bring to the professional world? Don’t just list a bunch of certifications you have. Really tell us what makes you an all-star employee, writer, business person, etc.
  3. Quality recommendations. If you’re a half-way decent, friendly person and have enough pull with people, you can politely ask several of your best LinkedIn connections for a recommendation. Ask them to focus their recommendation on your personal character and specific, best work practices.
  4. Projects. See if you can add 3-4 larger-scale projects in which you have been heavily involved. Also, try to link up fellow team members who are also on LinkedIn to these various projects with you.
  5. Link up projects and recommendations. Link the proper projects and recommendations to the appropriate positions of experience you have held or currently hold.
  6. YouTube videos. If you have any decent video clips of you doing what you do, then you need to get these uploaded to YouTube and linked up to the appropriate work experience. I recommend using Apple’s iMovie to edit your videos as needed. So, for example, if public speaking is part of a particular position or passion, then you need to put a video of you speaking in public. If you’re a musician, then you need to get a video of you playing your instrument, and so on.
  7. Publications. In the information age, you should be known for publishing something, anything, whether it’s your personal blog, business writing, ebooks, or traditional print publishing. Get these listed and add samples and links to your work wherever possible.
  8. Get some endorsements. A unique quality about LinkedIn is that people can give you quick, little endorsements on your various skills and abilities. I put this last on the list, because personally for me, it’s just way too easy for people to endorse you for any and all areas of skills and expertise. I have a bunch of endorsements from people who barely know me, so I question the overall credibility of them. But, there are others out there who believe they are useful to get a snapshot of your best skills and areas of expertise.

My Profile

My personal “front door” profile can be viewed at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/joneswlarry

You can view all 8 of these characteristics on my own profile if you are connected with me on LinkedIn. If you are not a connection, then I extend an invitation to connect with me.

Questions: So, what do you think of my list? Am I missing any additional important characteristics of a quality LinkedIn Profile?

How’s your profile looking? What do you need to add or fix to your own profile?

51 Must-Scan Blog Posts To Move Your Life To The Next Level

Photo by chrisinplymouth

Photo by chrisinplymouth

Blog Post List-mania

I don’t know about you, but I love me a good blog post list. I especially enjoy the ones you can quickly scan through for a few actionable ideas that can improve your life.

Well, this particular blog post itself is a scan-able listing of various blog posts of interest that contain hundreds of ideas that can potentially take your life to the next level.

These various 51 posts come from the following websites and blogs:

So, without further delay, here’s my list. Drum roll, please …

51 Must-Scan Blog Posts From The Blogosphere

  1. 12 Things Successful People Do Differently
  2. 30 Challenges For Thirty Days Of Growth 
  3. 10 Ways To Make Life Good Again 
  4. The Top 100 Secrets Of High Achievers
  5. How To Be A Better Person: 101 Ways 
  6. 101 Important Questions To Ask Yourself 
  7. 101 Ways To Live Your Life To The Fullest 
  8. What’s On Your Bucket List? 101 Things To Do Before You Die
  9. Create Your Life Handbook 
  10. You Are The CEO Of Your Life 
  11. 101 Important Life Principles To Live By Every Day 
  12. Gandhi’s Top 10 Fundamentals For Changing The World 
  13. Bruce Lee’s Top 7 Fundamentals For Getting Your Life In Shape 
  14. 10 Quick Actions You Can Take Today That Can Instantly Improve Your Life
  15. 7 Habits of Extraordinary People 
  16. How To Effortlessly Attract Your Dream Life By Designing Your Perfect Average Day
  17. Seven Lessons To Reboot Your Life 
  18. Incredibly Simple Steps To Living A Truly Great Life
  19. 7 Habits of Highly Excellent People
  20. 22 Secrets To Discovering Your Dream and Living It 
  21. One Question That Will Change Your Life Forever 
  22. How To Live The Maximalist Life
  23. 21 Simple Ways To Live An Exceptional Life 
  24. 12 Ways To Jumpstart Your Life 
  25. 7 Life Changing Lessons Learned From Walt Disney 
  26. 7 Amazing Lessons From Peak Performance Coach Tony Robbins 
  27. 20 Powerful Beliefs That Will Push You Toward Success 
  28. How To Discover Your Life’s Purpose – 7 Questions To Ask 
  29. How To Be Your Own Life Coach and Save Some Cash 
  30. 5 Ways To Stop Procrastinating And Get Things Done 
  31. 5 Reasons Why You Should Take A Nap Every Day
  32. 7 Steps To Getting Unstuck And Becoming More Productive 
  33. How To Better Control Your Time By Designing Your Ideal Week
  34. Creating Your Personal Life Plan 
  35. Top 10 Tips For Productivity And Peace Of Mind 
  36. 10 Hacks That Can Change Your Day Immediately 
  37. 5 Simple, Yet Little-Known Ways To Improve Your Productivity 
  38. The Ultimate Lifehack Guide For Your New Year 
  39. Ask The Entrepreneurs: 11 Bloggers To Follow For Lifestyle And Productivity Tips
  40. 9 Ideas To Get Your Work Organized For The Year Ahead 
  41. Top 20 TED Talks That Will Improve Your Productivity 
  42. Ask The Entrepreneurs: What Do You Cross Off Your To-Do List First? 
  43. How To Consistently Come Up With Great Ideas 
  44. 5 Tried, Tested, And True Ways To Level Up Your Life 
  45. 9 Unconventional Habits Of Extraordinary Success 
  46. 62 Tips To Get Unstuck In 2013 
  47. The 50 Business + Life Lessons 2012 Taught Me
  48. 21 Tips To Become The Most Productive Person You Know 
  49. 17 Tips To Double Your Productivity In 14 Days
  50. 15 Ways To Do Your Best Work 
  51. 35 Fast Tips To Make This Your Best Year Yet 

Question: So what did you think of this list of 51 various blog posts from the web? Do you have any specific blog posts or websites that you would like me to consider for an update to this particular list? Feel free to comment to this post and let me know!

BERY5Q9S7SJM

17 Strategies To Be Successful In A Continuing Bad Economy

Reality Sinks In

Photo by Newbirth35

Photo by Newbirth35

I believe reality is finally sinking in for many of us that we are looking at several more difficult years of the “New Economy.” With the re-election of Mr. Obama, we will have at least at four more years of bad federal fiscal policy for any real economic growth.

We will continue to have rising gas prices and, in turn, a rising cost of goods and services. High unemployment will continue to drag on. The national debt will soar higher and higher. And, of course, we will have additional higher taxes in every area imaginable – income, estate, fuel, utilities, and healthcare. This will impact all of us, not just the super rich.

I don’t want to be Mr. Doom and Gloom here, but if you’re just hoping things are going to turn around financially and we’re going to be back in the “good old days” (financially speaking) of Reagan, Clinton, and the Bushes, then keep on dreaming.

If you want financial change, then you’re going to need to become the change you desire. You’re going to need to be way more proactive about money than you probably want to be. You’re going to need to work harder and smarter than ever to provide for your family. The sad reality is that the folks in Washington appear to want a bunch of mediocre wage earners. They have no real desire for you to become high achievers. Excellence and success are definitely not words in their vocabulary. In fact, they are punishing achievers more than helping them.

17 Strategies For A Bad Economy

As I wrestle with the reality of the New Economy in regard to my own family finances, here are some thoughts on becoming successful in spite of the insanity:

  1. Take personal responsibility. Resist the urge to just give up and jump on the dole. The unfortunate goal of a bunch of politicians today is for you to take advantage of every available free money handout from the government. They want you hooked for life, and then they want you to vote for them because of their benevolence. I say, dare to be different and take personal responsibility. Avoid the handouts. In the end, you’ll be better off for it. It’s about character building, not easy street.
  2. Get out of debt ASAP. Definitely do not emulate the federal government in regard to debt! Start working your debt snowball, immediately. Unloading the burden of debt will free up your resources. You will be able to focus all your available resources on what truly matters as we continue in the new economy.
  3. Build up your emergency fund. In the new economy, this will be more critical than ever. Once you get of debt, be sure to build up an emergency fund of at least 3-6 months worth of living expense money. Having this stash available will help your family through any unexpected job loss or downturns.
  4. Grow in your generosity. Even in difficult economic times, we need to maintain lifestyles of giving. This will enable an attitude of gratitude. I’ve seen it in so many people. A generous life unleashes greatness and, of course, God’s hand of blessing.
  5. Brand yourself. No, I’m not talking about making marks on your body with a hot piece of metal. In the job market of the new economy, you have to stand out. You must be unique. So, what will make your name rise to the top of a stack of resumes? What qualities or characteristics do you possess that people want and need in their workplace? What niche do you cover better than anyone else? Once you figure out what makes you unique from everyone else, then you have to sell that uniqueness in anything that has your name attached to it.
  6. Create a platform. Related to #5, once you have figured out your personal brand, then you need to release your brand out to the world. You accomplish that through some type of platform. This could be a personally branded website (such as larrywjones.com), a blog, a book, podcast, or series of YouTube videos. The best book about creating a platform is Michael Hyatt‘s Platform: Get Noticed In A Noisy World.
  7. Create multiple streams of income. In the new economy, you must think multiple streams of income, so that if one dries up in these challenging economic times, you will have other sources of cashflow to get you through. Long gone are the days of one solitary income sustaining an entire family. Consider ways you can create residual income streams on the side in addition to the income from your day job. Check out this awesome resource from Pat Flynn: smartpassiveincome.com.
  8. Find a mentor. The fastest way to get where you want to go is to find someone else that has already been there. If you want to be debt free, then find a debt free family and pick their brain about how they accomplished that. If you want to brand yourself through a personal platform, then find someone who has done this and emulate what they are doing.
  9. Network. In today’s world, we have various ways to maintain and even expand our network. We can go out to lunch with friends and acquaintances. We can attend networking events, such as our local chamber of commerce. We can network through the various social media channels: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and so on. The overall goal, of course, is to maintain a group of social connections that will help you long-term with business and job opportunities.
  10. Become a life-longer learner. In today’s ever-expanding Information Age, it’s critical to always be reading and learning. Paper books, ebooks, white papers, blogs, and more. Be well-rounded and think “generalist.” Know a little something about everything. This can make you a more valuable employee over the long haul. The best leaders are actually generalists surrounded by specialists.
  11. Short and long-term financial planning. More than ever, you need some type of monthly cashflow plan during these turbulent times. You also need to be thinking out ahead for the next several years. Got goals? Do your current plans line up with those goals?
  12. Hire financial experts with the heart of a teacher. Related to #11, an excellent financial expert can help you navigate both short-term and long-term money issues. Also, there is much confusion with all the new laws coming out of Washington, especially with the massive changes in healthcare taking place, today. It’s better to get help from people who understand these new laws than to figure it all out on your own!
  13. Embrace simplicity. The simple life is way underrated. Get rid of all the extra junk in your life. Have a massive garage sale. Give away all the leftovers to your favorite charity. Keep your life and your stuff as simplistic, clean, and organized as possible.
  14. Bargain hunting. Paying full price for stuff anymore is not very bright. Learn how to find great deals at great prices. Learn how to negotiate. Be a cheap skate, but always consider the quality of the product before purchasing.
  15. Discover ways to save in the areas of fuel costs. Due to current political policies, these costs are only going to continue to rise. Does that mean go out and buy a hybrid vehicle? Probably not, because the cost of a brand new hybrid vehicle still outweighs the cost of fuel long-term. In regard to gasoline, consider less driving. Make as few driving trips as you possibly can. In regard to home utility expenses, do an energy audit and see where you can make some reasonable home improvements in order to save on those bills long-term.
  16. Pursue a healthier lifestyle. With the Affordable Care Act going into full force over the next few years, here’s another area that will continue to grow financially out of control. If you aren’t healthy, you will end up paying higher costs, fees, and taxes in order to get healthy. Pay the price on the front end with a better diet, exercise, and clean living. If you don’t do it on the front end, you’ll end up paying through the nose on the back-end.
  17. Pray. Although I have listed this last, it really should be at the top of this list! As a believer in Christ, I believe in God’s protection and provision. I know that He owns all things. I know that He is crazy in love with me. He can and will provide for me during difficult times.

Question: So, has it sunk into your brain that our current economic climate is going to persist for a while? What long-term strategies are you employing in order to survive and thrive going forward? Do you have additional suggestions to this list of 17 strategies?

The Importance of Daily Rituals In The Pursuit Of Excellence

Photo by theimpulsivebuy

Photo by theimpulsivebuy

Our Instant World

We live in an instant world. Quick mp3 downloads from iTunes. Instant oatmeal. Movies on demand. Kindle book downloads from Amazon. Instant cup of soup.

In our instant everything world, it’s hard to have patience for much of anything, anymore. The challenge for us is that the things which have true meaning and lasting value in our lives, take time to develop.

If we want to have a growing spiritual life with our Lord, then we have to spend time in His Word and in prayer. If we want to have meaningful relationships, then we need to carve out quality and quantity time to make those happen. If we want financial peace in our lives, we need to spend time doing a budget and working on a solid financial plan.

Excellence Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

Photo by r0sss

Photo by r0sss

The same is true with the principle of excellence. If you want to excel at anything, then you have to set aside regular, consistent time to work on whatever you’re trying to be excellent at.

Excellence is not a “one and done” proposition. Excellence takes time. There are no shortcuts.

The best analogy I can come up with is playing a musical instrument (I’m a trumpet player). If you’ve ever played an instrument, then you know what I’m talking about. You can’t just practice your instrument one time and be done with it. If you truly want to excel at that musical instrument, then you have to develop a regular practice routine (such as an hour a day) and stick with it.

Here’s another life example of growing in excellence and appropriate rituals.

If you want to be in excellent health, then you will need to put an exercise regimen in your daily schedule. You will need to schedule regular doctor check-ups to monitor your overall health. You will need to determine a healthy meal menu and shop at the grocery store, accordingly.

Daily rituals are the best way to grow in excellence in any area.

Got Rituals?

How about you? Do you have regular routines or rituals that you practice on a regular basis in order to be excellent in specific areas of your life?

If not, here’s my recommendation. Pick just one area of your life that you want to be excellent at. Focus on that one area for several months. Establish 2-3 rituals in that area. Make these rituals a regular habit in your life. Get this one “plate” spinning really well.

Once you feel like you have the rituals firmly established in that area, then consider another area of your life in which you would like to excel. Follow the exact same pattern.

Before you know it, you will have several “plates” spinning, a number of rituals established in your life, and you will be growing in your personal excellence.

Question: If you had to pick a specific area that you need to focus on excellence in your life, what would it be? What rituals do you need to establish in order to get growing in excellence in this particular area?