With over 800 million users globally, LinkedIn is the go-to database utilised by recruiters (including myself) to identify and engage with prospective candidates for vacancies we are recruiting.
However, it is not only recruiters that are looking at your LinkedIn profile.
So too are prospective employees thinking of joining your organisation, prospective customers looking to purchase your services, suppliers, joint venture partners - the list goes on.
So whether you are looking for a new job, or looking to build a successful business, it is critical that you have a LinkedIn profile that makes you look awesome.
Fortunately, doing so is easy to do and doesn’t require you to spend any money. Just following the steps outlined here will result in your profile standing out from the crowd and developing a strong personal brand.
The 6 fundamentals
1. Have a good quality headshot, where you look friendly and you are dressed professionally.
2. Edit your headline (the section that appears directly under your name) to clearly articulate your value proposition and what you want to be known for. If you don’t edit this, LinkedIn will simply paste in your current job title and employer.
For example, mine says, “Founder and CEO at Arete Executive (Executive Search Specialists) and The Boardroom (formerly The Champions' Forum); Podcast Host (The Arete Podcast); Best-Selling Author (Uncover the Hidden Job Market).” As you can see you can add quite a lot of content here so use it effectively.
3. Use the “About” section to really tell your story. People want to get to know who you are, what you’re proud of (i.e. your key achievements) and what you’re good at (i.e. your transferable skills).
4. When you list your career history, don’t just put in your job titles and employers. Add in your key responsibilities and key achievements whilst in the various roles.
This can usually just be cut and pasted from your CV. No doubt you have done some awesome things in your career, so tell us about it.
5. Add all of your relevant education.
6. Finally, try and get some recommendations – these are short testimonials that people write about you which add credibility to your profile (and hopefully you will reciprocate).
Growing your connections
Now that you have a good quality, exciting LinkedIn profile, it’s time to start to leverage it. Start to proactively grow your number of connections with people who are relevant and potentially valuable.
For example, for many years I set a goal of achieving 100 new connections per week, with CEOs and senior leaders across Australia’s leading organisations.
I now have 28,451 connections (the maximum you can have is 30,000) and would be regarded as one of the most connected executive recruiters in Australia.
I’m not suggesting you need anywhere near these many connections, however the more the merrier.
People want to connect with like-minded individuals, they want to grow their own network, and they want to get to know awesome people like you.
So, connecting with people from your industry/role or family/location is an excellent thing to do.
You now have a great profile and you’re building out a fantastic network. It’s time to put your attention on building your personal brand as a Key Person of Influence.
You want to be regarded as a thought leader in your space, in order to attract the best jobs, best staff and best partnerships. Again, LinkedIn is a great platform for this, and it costs virtually nothing to do so.
Standing out from the crowd
Start by reading the articles and posts written by other key influencers in your space/industry, adding comments and then reposting these out to your network. This will register as “Activity” on your LinkedIn profile and the more active you are, the greater visibility you’ll receive.
How about posting any blogs/articles from your employer (or your own business)? Are there posts about new innovations/success stories/new hires etc. that you can repost on your own profile?
Perhaps you can start writing some posts yourself? Publishing is a great way to build your personal brand.
I decided to write a book a few years ago and start a podcast, both of which have been integral in building my personal brand.
If you feel this is a bit too ambitious a goal to begin with, start with some short 300-word posts that demonstrate your expertise, plus allow your personality to shine through.
People want to do business with people they know, trust and like. The more you can bring your personality to light, the more awesome you appear, and the more likely you will be to receive the best job offers, attract the best employees, and build great professional relationships for your future.
LinkedIn is a wonderful tool for doing this and you owe it to your future success to invest the time in leveraging LinkedIn to do so.