Are Japanese and Indians truly Linkedin? Two Angles

Japan and India-Personal Branding from Two Angles


Peter Sterlacci from Japan


Are Japanese LinkedIn?
LinkedIn operates the world's largest professional network on the Internet with a current membership of over 135 million.  Close to 60% of these members are located outside the US. The latest data shows that professionals are signing up to join at a rate that is faster than two members per second! Clearly LinkedIn has become an essential tool for professionals all over the world to network, share business expertise, find jobs, advance professional knowledge, and build personal brands. 

Recently, LinkedIn has set up shop in Japan with offices in Tokyo and the inclusion of the Japanese language on its site from October 2011.  For Japan, LinkedIn’s proposition is to focus on local professionals and students keen to build their true identities and personal branding for their careers as well as the ability to connect with a global network.

Yet Japanese are still not that familiar with it.  In a recent presentation I gave to business management majors at a university in Japan I surveyed the room about their social media usage.  Almost all students use Mixi, Japan's original social network. 75% are on Twitter, about 50% on Facebook, maybe 15% on Google+, and absolutely 0% on LinkedIn.  Out of a room of over 50 business majors, not even 1 person had a profile on the most powerful professional network in the world! 

When I asked why, their answers ranged from not knowing how to use it to not even knowing what it is. Japanese university students about to graduate and current working professionals in Japan need to be on LinkedIn now more the ever.  Global companies are actively using LinkedIn to find new talent in Japan, and head hunters throughout the country are sourcing experienced professionals on the network.  My advice to these students was to sign up for an account TODAY.  

Once signed up, here are 5 tips I share for you to effectively use LinkedIn to build and promote your brands.

1) Have a headline that sells an experience 
When people visit your profile the first thing they will see is your name and headline at the top of your "profile box".  This is the most visible part of your page and you want people to continue exploring your profile.  People often fall into the trap of identifying themselves in their headline by a job title ("Accountant") or label ("Business Major"). While this is a valid representation of what we do, it actually groups us into the same category as everyone else doing the same type of job or studying the same subject matter.

You have 120 characters to describe who you are.  This is the first place to stand out. Consider your target audience and sell an experience not a title or label.  Instead of saying you are a "psychiatrist" tell others you are "The Shrink for Entrepreneurs who want freedom, wealth, and sanity.”  

2) Get a Professional Headshot
Absolutely do not leave out a photo and make sure that the photo you use is professionally done. Take the time to invest in high quality headshots as you will use them everywhere.  Remember, LinkedIn is a professional business network. Your credibility is at stake so avoid photos of you at college parties or with groups of people where it is not clear which person is you!

3) Edit your LinkedIn URL to include your name
Do not overlook this critical branding point.  Beyond the power of simply having a profile on LinkedIn is the fact it is highly optimized on Google.  Once you adjust the URL to include your full name, your profile will always show up at the top or near the top of the first page of your Google results.   This presence on the first page of search results will reinforce your online brand identity so that opportunities do not pass you by.

4) Write your 'Summary' in the first person and tell a story
By using "I am...." or "My name is..." you are speaking directly to those looking for you on LinkedIn.  While the summary is not immediately visible unless someone views your full profile, it is probably the most important area on your profile.  Treat this summary box as if it were your 'elevator pitch'.  Convince the readers of your LinkedIn profile that you have something unique to offer. Differentiate yourself from everyone else who seemingly offers the same service or who have similar skills, experience, and background.  Michael Margolis, founder of Get Storied, tells us that "character trumps credentials". There is plenty of space to show your credentials in the 'Experience' section of your profile.  Use the Summary section to tell your story and show your character!

Also, your name is a key word and by using it in your summary you are improving the appearance of your name and profile when other search for you online.

5) Ask for recommendations (and recommend others!)
Build your credibility and validation for your brand and experience by having people who know you well write recommendations on LinkedIn. Once you start adding people to your network, LinkedIn makes it easy for them to write you a recommendation.  You also have the power to review the recommendation someone writes and decide whether to add it or ask for edits or a different spin on what they wrote. As a student you can request recommedations from professors, classmates, internships or virtually anyone with whom you have shared an academic experience.  And make sure to return the favor and write a recommendation for those who have taken the time to write one for you.
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Brief Profile

Peter Sterlacci has handled many senior roles including Director-International Outreach at San Jose State University and corporate training before venturing out into Personal Branding in Japan. He specialises in Intercultural Personal Branding and his philosophy is "Empowering you to Believe, Become and Be your Brand"



To know more:-

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Dr Amit Nagpal from India


Are Indians Truly Linkedin?
Are we really getting the best out of Linkedin in India? I have my doubts. Though Linkedin has been fast catching popularity with professionals of all age groups and industries, we are far from getting optimum results from Linkedin. Remember, our potential clients, employers, partners and so on first check our Linkedin profile to verify our education, experience, interests, recommendations and common connections. Many people even post jokes as updates which hardly adds to your brand and may be more suitable for a lighter platform like Facebook.

Here is my opinion on how Indians are currently using Linkedin and suggestions for what they can do to get the best out of Linkedin.

Getting the best out of your LI Profile
Linkedin profile has many features which most Indians are not aware of and hence they are not using it. Some of the important features include Slideshare, Blog, Reading list, Events and Trip it. Through these features you can share your presentations, blog links, books read (or you want to read), events attended and travel schedules respectively.
The profile is often incomplete, lacks keywords and is rarely updated. People often make a Linkedin profile and don’t open the Linkedin account for months.

Getting the best out of groups
I find most of the groups hardly have discussions and people only post their blogs and other links. The Group Managers and Moderators need to take some initiative here. I faced the same issue in my Linkedin group and after several encouraging mails to members; the group has now become really live which also attracts more members to the group.
It may be impossible to participate in discussions in 50 groups (or even 20 for that matter) but one can always choose 5-10 groups of core interest and be active there.

Courtesy and good manners
Whenever a person invited to connect, accepts your invite, a courtesy mail must be sent. Very few people take this effort which goes a long way in giving a good start to the new relationship. Remember first impression is the last impression.
Many people also send bulk mails which can be irritating for people with large number of connections and they can even delete you from the connections, if you do so repeatedly. Though people are more open-minded to such mails during festive occasions like New Year and Deepawali, it is not very effective to send a bulk mail. A personal message to fewer people works better.

Linkedin Answers
This is another feature which has very low usage and people do not know the power and potential of this tool. You can raise the right questions and come up with the right answers, in your domain to prove your expertise. If your answer is rated as the best answer, you have a proven credential which is reflected on your profile helping you build your brand. Reading the answers of course adds to your knowledge in desired/weak areas.

Balancing Quality and Quantity
People often give too much importance to quantity or number of connections ignoring the quality aspect and interaction. The number of connections you have and the number of cities/countries where your connections come from do contribute in different ways to your brand but if you do not write a single mail during one year of making a new connection, the connection may be of no use. 
Even a personal message of 2-3 lines is powerful in building and maintaining relationships.

We need a more delicate balance between quality and quantity for sure.
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Brief Profile
Dr Amit Nagpal is a Personal Branding Consultant & Global Success Coach. He is based in New Delhi, India and specializes in personal branding with a holistic touch. His philosophy is, "Take charge of your life and your brand.” He writes a blog, ‘The Joys of Teaching

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