Ever wonder if you are putting the *right* information on your LinkedIn profile?
This is a common question I hear, “I don’t know if this or that should be on there” or “I wasn’t sure so I just downloaded/copy/pasted my whole resume to my profile.”
While you want to establish the information you add is relevant to your brand and impactful, you don’t want it to be a duplicate of your resume. They are meant to complement one another. You want your reader to see a little more of a human side to you as well. Think of the LinkedIn profile as the friendly, humanized version of your resume.
Here are some things to think about when building and adding to your profile:
☑️ Fill out all the sections. Don’t leave anything blank. Fill in the volunteer, certifications, languages, projects, honors, awards. You can add PowerPoints, photos, samples of your work (I have these on my profile) coursework, and things you have done in your career.
☑️ Add a profile photo AND a background cover photo (get rid of that blue LI background!). This makes it uniquely you. I love seeing customized background cover photos on LI profiles. They definitely add personality and/or help brand the client by having a photo of the company, service or product they represent.
☑️ Write a headliner that sizzles. Instead of “Account Executive”, write “Account Executive specializing in the development of groundbreaking sales and service strategies internationally”. Add a little zing to it. Get your reader interested. Some even call the headliner “prime real estate” meaning it’s a great place to add keywords and branding that help direct LinkedIn’s algorithms to your profile. Get as clear and focused as you can. Add buzzwords if you know what they are. Not sure? Find jobs that interest you and notice the same words listed over and over? Add them. Don’t neglect this section.
☑️ Create an About section that speaks to the reader. That section used to be more formal and many people wrote theirs like a biography–3rd person, boring, etc. These days, it’s all about the conversation. Get them interested in what you have to say. Write in first person. It’s OK to be a little more human here. People expect it—and love it. The About section should be engaging, interesting, and conversational. Think of it as if you are speaking to someone at a networking event. How would you speak? What would you say? You’d keep it professional but interesting, right? You want to tell a story about why you do this type of work and what makes it interesting. Be enthusiastic.
☑️ Add Content! Make sure to add descriptions of what you do at your job. Add your daily responsibilities as well as your accomplishments. This is where I see clients fall short. They add their company and job title but nothing else. LinkedIn rewards content. While you don’t want to copy and paste chunks from your resume, you also don’t want to leave critical information out. Rewrite those areas but make sure to add content to your roles. What were you most proud of accomplishing? What projects have you worked on that added value? What is interesting about where you work?
You can also add numbers and percentages. If you are hesitant about sharing exact figures, you can say, “increased revenue 87% in two years”. Adding numbers adds to your credibility and gives the reader a glimpse of what you have done.
☑️ Get a recommendation. A recommendation or two on your profile livens it up and gives you more credibility. What good do thousands of connections do for you if you don’t have one recommendation? It might feel awkward, but once you’ve asked it’s done and guess what? You’ll most likely get that recommendation!
☑️ Create an endorsements section. Complete the skills and endorsements section and pin the top 3 that related to your job hunt. Again, these are key with algorithms and recruiter searches as well.
When all of this is done, remember the key to a strong LinkedIn profile is engagement. The more you use LinkedIn, the more it rewards you by showing your profile in recruiter searches. Reach out, plan on getting on LinkedIn 10-15 minutes every other day and watch it go to work for you.
Do you treat your online presence as if it were your small business? You should! Otherwise, you may end up like the unfortunate guy in this recent story on LearnVest titled, “Saving Face: Does Your Online Reputation Need Managing?” He googled himself to prepare for a job change and was unpleasantly surprised.
The article has some very good points about determining whether to invest in an online branding service or dealing with the details yourself. I think that once you learn how important your personal brand is in today’s employment market, you’ll want to at least invest in some online branding/profile development coaching so you are equipped to do this important task.
So, why would I say that your personal brand is your business? There are two ways to read that statement:
Your personal brand is your BUSINESS because you are selling yourself when you put out resumes and apply for jobs. Many of the marketing tactics employed by small businesses are applicable to individuals. Get a lot of positive information on yourself online and there’ll be good stuff on those first pages when they search for you.
Your personal brand is YOUR business because you are ultimately the person responsible for seeing to it that your name, image, and reputation accurately reflect who you are. You can delegate all you want to, but ultimately the information that initially comes up on a search engine when your name is entered determines what that searcher thinks of you. So be proactive and make those search engines work for your benefit.
As hard as it sounds, many employers look at you as an asset rather than a person. This doesn’t mean that they don’t appreciate you – but it means that they look at what you can offer to the company as a whole rather than an as an individual. This means that you need to look at your personal branding methods and how you can make sure that you are seen as the best possible asset for a company to have. There are different ways that you can do this, but the whole point is to look at what you do as a whole rather than the individual aspects that these offer. This means that you need to look at your resume and your cover letter, and even what to wear to an interview – to help make sure that you are seen as a valuable asset to any company. You need to make sure that a company sees you as a must-have brand, something that they feel their business can’t do without! Sell yourself and create a little bit of a buzz about you, so that they are curious about what they are missing out on – which will encourage them to employ you! Personal branding is easy to implement, especially if you take a sensible approach and make sure that you think about what an employer is looking for and how you can accommodate this.
Social Media has dramatically changed the job landscape. Today’s job seekers must remake themselves as a brand. Think of McDonald’s golden arches or Ford’s iconic script logo. People remember these brands because they set themselves apart from the rest. People don’t settle for any old hamburger when they know what they will get at McDonald’s. Brands build trust with people and that trust translates to increased business and a reliable customer base, which is exactly what you want your online brand to do for you.
Your personal brand builds trust in prospective employers and opens the doors for you to find new positions. Unfortunately, most people don’t think that they need a personal brand, and they are so wrong in assuming this.
Below are 5 reasons why you should establish a personal brand on your resume and online: 1. A personal brand differentiates yourself…
When an HR Manager scans the pile of resumes on their desk, they look for someone who stands out. But, they don’t just focus on the resume, they also look for your online presence because the internet contains much more information about you as a worker. Do you have an industry specific blog or website that you regularly update? Is your personal brand listed on your LinkedIn profile, along with your best career achievements? Listing a successful work history and any extracurricular activities that you’re involved in helps to build your online brand. 2. Make your name a well-known brand…
Who do you think HR Managers are going to go for? The new guy fresh out of college or the big name attached to great companies and amazing projects? Of course they are going to go with the big name. So to capitalize on your opportunities, you must make yourself into a brand name. Instead of seeing “John Smith – New Graduate”, they see “John Smith – Marketing Guru”. 3. Set you apart from your peers…
Your goal is to set yourself apart from your peers. You’re in direct competition for open positions. It’s just the way it is and having an online brand sets you apart from the rest of the pack. Start an industry blog, start a side business or develop a new marketing strategy that you can pitch to prospective employers. There are so many things you can do to highlight how you are a notch above your peers and get your brand out there. 4. Make you more attractive to employers… Establishing your brand makes you more attractive to prospective employers because they know what they are getting. You’re not a faceless employee; you’re the one who wrote a new programming language, the one who developed supply chains that drastically reduced company overhead, etc. Match your brand to your achievements and employers will stand up and take note. 5. Open yourself up to new opportunities…
You want to find open positions and sometimes they may not be in your chosen profession. But, does that really matter? What if the perfect position is in another industry that you have minimal experience? Well, having an online brand opens the doors to those new arenas. HR Managers are looking for people with experience, and thankfully, your online brand is built around your experience. By viewing your online brand, HR Managers and potential employers can see what you offer the company. They are excited to find somebody with your expertise and skills, and you should be too. You have clout that you never knew you had and your personal brand should reflect the best you have to offer.