The social realm is all about building your brand. With social sites and blogs people can define the persona they want to present to their friends, family, co-workers and the general public at large. The dilemma is separating your personal person(s) from your professional one. LinkedIn provides the perfect social platform to build out your professional brand.
With more than 225M global users and a whopping 155M user visits per month*, LinkedIn has become the virtual Rolodex for professionals. It’s the place where you can showcase your professional experience, build out your networks, participate in discussions and showcase your professional portfolio of accomplishments. Savvy users have realized its potential by using it as a marketing and talent tool to promote their professional brand by seeking recommendations and showcasing their career journey.
LinkedIn can also launch students and new grads into the talent market through their professional profile. Students have realized that employers are using LinkedIn to proactively communicate, promote jobs and source new talent. Extending engagement beyond on site campus/college events. That’s why it’s important to create the best impression.
Here are ten tips to building your stellar online professional brand on LinkedIn:
- Summary– Your LinkedIn profile is about you. The summary section provides a great way to introduce yourself. What makes you a seasoned professional? What’s your area of expertise? What are you passionate about? What makes you stand out? Put some thought into this. The best practice is two to three paragraphs. Write your summary in the first person. There’s nothing more annoying than reading a profile where people reference themselves in the third person.
- Showcase your work experience- Your career history is important to building your professional brand. It outlines your career journey and showcases all of the experiences, knowledge, skills and expertise that you have built up over the years. The best practice is about 8-12 bullet points that accurately reflect the work you do. What are your key responsibilities? What business groups do you work with? What are your outcomes? Do you specialize in a job family or region?
- Education– Your university/college. This can help build your network as LinkedIn may suggest other people who went to your school to connect with. If you’re a graduate, only list your post-secondary education. No need to put dates. For students ensure you document your education with your forecasted graduation date. This helps employers seek out students who will be graduating in the upcoming year(s).
- Skills– What skills have you acquired? What industries have you worked in? You may wonder why this is important when you may have documented this in your work experience. The skills section makes it easier for others to read, and for your network to endorse you. It’s a great way to showcase skills you’ve acquired from all of your experiences, work related or not. For students, this is a great place to showcase skills you’ve acquired in school, through volunteering and/or work.
- Volunteering– What things are meaningful to you outside of work? Are passionate about any causes? Students, what volunteer experiences have you completed? Volunteer work is also important in shaping your skill set. You may acquire skills in your volunteer work that are broader than your work skills. Take a few moments to think about your volunteer experiences. How have they built your skill set and/or shaped your career path?
- Certifications– In addition to your education if you have obtained a license or certification (e.g. Society of Actuaries, PMP, CSC, LLB, etc.) this section lets you document it with ease. Other similar professionals looking to expand their network can find you easily. Certain LinkedIn groups’ require designations as a pre-requisite to joining their groups.
- Languages – Languages can become an important part of building broader networks. Not only can you add languages on your LinkedIn profile, but you can create your profile in more than one language. This increases your network reach. If you speak more than one language make sure you have your profile available in those languages.
- Add your Awards– Have you been recognized at work, in your community or at volunteering? Are you a recipient of an award? The awards and honours section is a great way to showcase your recognized accomplishments. You’ve earned it, so show it off!
- Solicit a few recommendations –People put a lot of credibility into recommendations because they’re hard to get. While skills can easily be endorsed recommendations require more thought and are specific to you. A good place to start is asking previous employers, community leaders and work placement leaders. Recommendations are about quality not quantity. Think about what skill sets and work experiences you want someone to endorse. Those are the people you should reach out to for recommendations.
These are just a few examples of tips you can use to boost your brand presence. What tips would you recommend?
by Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy
*according to Techcrunch.com