LinkedIn isn’t your résumé. It’s your handshake and business card.

In the course of my normal schedule, I’ll meet people at events, meetings or gatherings, by appointment or by chance. Not surprisingly, afterward I’ll look them up to connect on LinkedIn. What I tend to find more often than not, however, is that the person I just spoke with is nowhere to be found on their profile. Sure, they have a page, but the person — and the personality — that I was able to connect with is absent from their online profile.

Over the past year or so, I have been trying to share more of my activities out and about in the region. By highlighting the things I’m doing, who I’m meeting and those I’m reconnecting with, I believe the greater network that I show up in gains an understanding of who I am and what I am trying to accomplish in my role.

LinkedIn can be a digital business card, résumé and Rolodex, but it can be so much more in your relationship-building arsenal. Here are a few things I’ve found that have helped me shift to the next level of engagement on the platform:

*  Move beyond the silo. LinkedIn is unquestionably skewed toward the professional side, but your posts should be about you, not just your current role. I’m always interested in seeing the organizations others are involved with, what their workplaces and colleagues are like, and what extracurriculars keep them busy outside the office. Moving beyond just your perception of what LinkedIn is supposed to be used for actually makes the platform so much better.

*  You > Your Company Page. At the IEE, we’ve found that time and time again, posts from an individual perform way better than posts that originate from our company page. Posting from your own page, in your own voice, impacts your connections and followers in a way the company profile just can’t seem to muster.

*  Don’t be afraid to use video. I admit that I haven’t fully committed to this part yet, but the impact of video is unparalleled. Besides duplicating the experience someone would have when you meet in person, content shared with video is retained almost 10 times more than text and image content. Posts with video are also shared 1,200 percent more than image and content combined. It can be the next best thing to being face to face.

If you feel like you could be doing a better job at bringing your true self to your profile, try to use these upcoming summer months — with networking events, time out of the office, or on vacation — as an opportunity to practice sharing what you’re keeping busy with in new and expansive ways. I’ve found through my own attempts at sharing more about myself that my engagement has gone up, both on the platform and in real life. People ask me about my posts, I can remark about things they’ve shared, and connections seem to form more quickly and naturally. Relationships that I’ve had for years also seem to pick up right where they left off. So, whether meeting you around town or engaging through the platform, I look forward to connecting with you all better! 

Bob brings to his role more than 20 years of entrepreneurism, nationally recognized technology expertise and visionary leadership. In addition to leading Pitt’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence as its executive director, Bob comes from a history of entrepreneurism through his family-owned coal processing business.

Bob Stein

Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation & Entrepreneurship