3 Networking Lessons From Barbie's LinkedIn Profile

Barbie has a LinkedIn profile, and it is more useful (and slightly less pink) than you'd probably guess, if you still think of America's plastic sweetheart as a Corvette-driving, Dreamhouse-owning, Malibu beach babe. Entrepreneur Barbie is a businesswoman. Current venture? Dream incubator.

Barbie 

(Photo via Mashable)

"My new business is 'Dream Incubator' where I act as a consultant, helping girls around the world play out their imagination, try on different careers, and explore the world around them," reads Barbie's page, which also notes that she has had 150-plus occupations in her 55-year career. "Our company tagline is 'If You Can Dream It, You Can Be It!'"

Perhaps the biggest surprise about Barbie's new career is that it offers some practical advice, along with career inspiration. As Margaret Eby at Hello Giggles points out, Entrepreneur Barbie's LinkedIn page alone offers several lessons of how to network online like a pro. In addition to Eby's list, we'd offer the following observations:

1. Barbie gives, as well as takes.

Remember the favor rule, which states that you shouldn't ask to connect with anyone you wouldn't help out, if asked? Well, Barbie's probably couldn't lend a hand to all 3,000-plus of her followers -- and, as the subject of a Showcase Page, instead of a regular Profile, she's not really expected to do so. But her team gives back. Her featured URL leads to a page full of biographies of female entrepreneurs, like Reshma Saujani of Girls Who Code and Jennifer Hyman and Jenny Fleiss of the Rent the Runway, who will offer advice to budding entrepreneurs.

2. Barbie doesn't believe in a static page.

At this writing, Barbie hasn't updated in about a week. (Maybe she took off work for the Fourth of July.) However, her page is robust with links to advice from her Chief Inspiration Officers, giving the appearance of a well-populated blog, rather than a flat online resume.

You might not have time to make this sort of investment in your profile, but at the very least, you should be updating your information as your job changes, even if you don't switch titles or companies.

"I've had the same job title at SmartBrief for 2.5 years -- but in that time, I've had at least three distinct phases, each with different responsibilities," writes Jesse Stanchak at SmartBlogs, in a post dated December, 2012. "If I'd set up my profile in 2010 and just left it alone, my LinkedIn profile would in no way reflect how I currently spend my workday. If you've been in your current position for more than a year, I'm willing to bet the same is true for you."

3. Barbie understands her brand.

Barbie, to put it mildly, is a positive (faux) person. She averages about an exclamation point a post, which is more than most career counselors would advise for the average job seeker or entrepreneur, but not so many that it dilutes her message or makes her writing seem like the text equivalent of vocal fry.

In short, her profile conveys a cheerful, professional, upbeat image -- exactly what her creator, Ruth Handler, probably had in mind when she said:

"My whole philosophy of Barbie was that through the doll, the little girl could be anything she wanted to be. Barbie always represented the fact that a woman has choices."

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