The way you position yourself online can seriously impact how quickly you’re able to advance professionally. Whether you’re a consultant focused on building credibility with potential clients or you’re looking to land that next big promotion, a well developed personal brand can position you above the competition. LinkedIn is an important part of your personal brand, and if used correctly it can make a huge difference. Here are a few tips to fix up your LinkedIn presence and improve your personal brand.
Your LinkedIn profile photo speaks volumes about you, both personally and professionally. Pay attention to the following elements as you choose what photo you want to use to represent yourself.
- High quality: not blurry and no selfies
- Stand alone: no friends included in photos, just you
- Shoulders up: not too close, not too far
- Smile: look personable
- Fit your goals: style should represent what you do and who you aspire to be professionally
Pay careful attention to the quality of your profile photos. It’s your first impression, and first impressions tend to stick.
Your Title and Experience
When employers and potential clients search LinkedIn, they’re served up results based on what copy you choose to use in your profile. This starts with your header. Make sure you use more than just your job title. Try to fit in some keywords that describe what you do and keywords you know people are searching for.
Your title and experience should:
- Include keywords for which you want to be found
- Target keywords found in descriptions of jobs in which you’re interested
- Represent your capabilities accurately
- Add keywords that expand upon your title
By placing critical keywords within the copy of your title and your experience, you’re much more likely to be found by the right people.
Treat LinkedIn as a sort of virtual networking event. There’s no value in hiding in the corner at a networking event, and the same goes for LinkedIn. In order to really benefit from LinkedIn and show those who land on your profile that you’re serious about your work, you’ll need to do the following to build a network.
- Connect with co-workers
- Actively engage those in your field
- Connect with people on LinkedIn who you meet in person
- Build up to five hundred or more connections within relevant professionals
When you reach out to someone to connect, be sure to leave a note for that person explaining why you want to connect. If you ignore this step, you’ll likely be viewed as a spammer or salesperson and denied.
Joining groups with likeminded professionals is another great way to enhance your LinkedIn networking, but the value goes further than that. By actively engaging in discussions, you’re able to present your expertise to others with similar interests and begin building credibility in your field. In order to get the most out of groups, be sure to do the following:
- Join groups that are a fit for your field or area of expertise
- Only join conversations to which you can truly add value (you’ll be exposed easily if you don’t know what you’re talking about)
- Go beyond commenting on other’s conversations and start your own by posting engaging content and asking questions
And don’t forget this one last tip to help you succeed in groups. Don’t overdo it. Joining too many groups can wear you thin and you won’t have the bandwidth to add any value to any one of the groups, so you’ll end up gaining nothing.
Sharing articles in groups and from your profile can add lots of value to your personal brand. Actually presenting your own ideas can take it one step further. LinkedIn’s publishing tool allows professionals to write articles and publish them for others to read. In order to ensure that your content gets read and helps build your personal brand, be sure to take these steps.
- Know your stuff and write about a topic in your area of expertise
- Add an engaging image and header
- Use rich media like Tweets, video, podcasts and more
Creating your own content shows initiative, and it allows you to get your own ideas and concepts in front of the audience you’re targeting.
LinkedIn is a very effective tool in improving your personal brand. If you use it wisely, you can position yourself at the head of the pack. By following this advice as a guide, you’ll be taking a huge first step toward improving your personal brand.
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