Oftentimes, one question that I get is how do I build my professional brand? Or how do I set myself apart at my organization and beyond? Surprisingly, when I ask if they are using Linkedin actively, the answer is no.
LinkedIn is a valuable tool for business professionals. However, as a platform, it’s often misunderstood and not utilized to its fullest extent. Today, I want to walk through 6 LinkedIn tips that will help you better position (or even reposition) your professional brand.
#1 Make sure your profile is complete
Before you tackle any of the more thorough tips below, you need a complete profile. For example, many of us set up our LinkedIn profile years ago. Have you since revisited it and taken the time to add recent experiences, updated your photo or cover photo, or added featured sections? Did you include certifications, education, and your interests?
Here’s a tip: LinkedIn should always be professional. Your profile and cover photo shouldn’t be of your kids, pets, or your latest vacation. It’s not Facebook and serves an entirely different purpose. Use a professional headshot for your profile photo. Your cover photo should tie into your professional brand. If you’re looking for an example of either of these, HERE's is mine.
#2 Create your unique headline banner
Now, let’s dive deeper into how to use your LinkedIn for career branding. The first thing people see from you is your headline. Think of this as your first opportunity to convey your professional brand to a profile visitor. Your headline also appears on everything you share, which helps to reinforce your image.
Next, highlight your accomplishments that are related to your professional brand. For example, if your goal is to be known as a digital marketing expert or product evangelist then
highlight this throughout your experience. Showcase how you’ve helped others with their digital marketing or product roadmap initiatives, whether at a place of employment, volunteer work, or with clients.
An often overlooked (and sometimes hard to quantify) area on a LinkedIn profile is the skills section. I get it, sometimes it’s hard to talk about ourselves and not feel like we’re bragging. Nevertheless, include anything and everything that supports your professional brand. Your connections can then endorse you for those skills, which both builds authority and grows your brand marketability.
#3 Grow your network organically
Speaking of connections, it’s time to address the elephant in the room. There are competing approaches to adding LinkedIn network connections:
Some believe you should connect with anyone and everyone, including those you may do business with at some point.
Others believe you should only connect with those you’ve actually done business with.
I want you to forget both of those for a moment. LinkedIn is about showcasing your professional expertise and helping you build career success. Neither of these address that goal effectively.
Rather, you should take an organic approach. Yes, connect with those you have worked with in the past and those you are working with now.
Next, send connection invitations to those who share like-minded content. These can be others in your profession, career stage, or that you admire. In other words, you may have 500+ connections, but if 99% of them don’t support your professional brand, you may want to do some pruning as you reposition your profile to reflect your career goals.
#4 Ask for and give recommendations or endorsements
At its core, LinkedIn is a social network. It’s just far more professionally focused than any of the others. As a part of that “social” aspect, you should ask for recommendations from those who can speak well of your experience and expertise. As I mentioned earlier, showcasing skills on your profile allows your connections to endorse you for those abilities. This is particularly handy if another recognized expert in your field endorses you for that skill; it’s even better if they’re willing to give you a written recommendation!
Likewise, you should also be willing to give recommendations and endorse others. You should always be willing to give back, especially if it helps others grow in their careers.
#5 Join like-minded groups
LinkedIn has had groups years before it was even a thing on Facebook. In fact, LinkedIn had groups before it had business pages. They’ve been around forever, and are a valuable tool to help reposition your LinkedIn resume as an expert.
In that way, when someone asks a question or needs a recommendation for a service, be willing to give it. This helps to cement your reputation in their mind as an expert. Moreover, by engaging with them, you’ll also discover opportunities to grow your connections organically as I mentioned before.
#6 Use LinkedIn regularly, not just when you’re job hunting
This is a short tip, but an incredibly important one. A common mistake for most LinkedIn users is that they only utilize the platform when it’s time to make a career change. Proactive use of LinkedIn is a better way to maintain your professional brand image.
If you want to pivot your career towards success you need to be intentional and fearless in building your professional brand.
The simple truth is that leveraging LinkedIn can help grow your career in ways you never thought possible. Most people don’t fully utilize this platform correctly, whether they have incomplete profiles, have connections that don’t support their long-term career goals, or only engage on the platform sporadically.
To pivot your career towards success, be sure to use all six of these tips. Start by filling out your profile completely, expand it to highlight your professional brand accomplishments, grow connections that support your expertise, participate in groups that further accentuate your skills, and engage with others proactively (not just when job hunting).
I would love to help you further leverage your LinkedIn profile to build career success. If you’d like to arrange a chat to see how I can partner with you, just CONTACT me to set up an appointment. We’ll sit down, go over your goals and see how we make sure you are leveraging your unique voice and experience to reach new heights in your career.