Now that summer is over, it is the perfect time to focus on your personal brand and professional image, starting with your LinkedIn profile. Your profile is often the first impression a potential client, partner or prospective employer will have of you in today’s virtual world. Is your profile a true reflection of who you are? Does it showcase your skills and expertise? Are your key accomplishments and contributions clear? Do you come across as an expert or a leader?
An updated and complete LinkedIn profile is critical because it can be viewed as an extension of both your personal brand and that of your company. If your profile is incomplete, it can reflect poorly upon both you and your company.
Consider the following key elements to ensure you have the most professional, robust and compelling LinkedIn profile:
Increase Visibility with a Complete LinkedIn Profile
A complete LinkedIn presence helps people, organizations and media see your value. The more complete your profile is, the higher it will come up in search results. LinkedIn’s search algorithm is dependent on a variety of factors, including information in key areas like the headline and summary, so giving thought to these when creating or updating your profile is key. Remember, increasing your professional visibility can help you get in front of potential clients, search firms, potential employers or strategic partners, and it can also help you land speaking opportunities or media interviews.
Write A Strong Headline
Since your headline is one of the contributing factors to your appearance in search results, including just your current title alone does not provide enough information. A title is not fully reflective of your level of responsibility, expertise and seniority, and can unintentionally pigeonhole you during a job search. Instead, use keywords in your headline that show your value. If looking for a job, emphasize your expertise based on what you want to do next.
Provide Detail About Your Current Role
In the Experience section, always include a description about your current role and responsibilities. Listing your title, company name and time you’ve been with the company provides limited information. Make sure you have at least a few bullets that enable people to gain insight into what you’re doing right now. Show the impact that you’re having on the organization. Communicate key results and wins. If you’ve been promoted, update your title.
Be Engaged So People See You
Participation is a great way to increase visibility. Liking, sharing and posting meaningful content can strengthen your position as an expert and trusted source, which is helpful for future opportunities. It can also be highly beneficial to write informative long-form posts on Pulse, LinkedIn’s professional news service, so you are seen as a thought leader and someone who keeps up with trends in your field.
Have A Good Headshot
Your profile can be someone’s first visual impression of you, so invest in yourself– get a professional photographer to take a polished headshot. LinkedIn is not the place to post a picture from a vacation, crop yourself out of a group photo or use a selfie.
Evaluate Your Groups
Take a look at the groups you’ve joined. Are they appropriate for your current professional level, industry and functional area? If you have changed careers, did you leave groups that are no longer relevant and join new ones that reflect your current path? Groups provide a great way to share knowledge and discuss current issues related to your industry or functional area, and can help increase your visibility, grow your network and identify business and job opportunities.
Include Certifications, Articles And Speaking Engagements
Add things to your profile that are relevant to your professional experience and show your depth, including certifications (e.g. Six Sigma, SPHR, CFA II), links to articles you’ve written and key speaking engagements. These can help position you as a skilled, accomplished and trained expert.
LinkedIn is a powerful and beneficial tool, whether you’re looking to change jobs, grow your business, do research, find new customers, identify like-minded professionals or position yourself as an expert. A strong LinkedIn profile can help elevate your professional presence and bring your personal brand to life. Your profile is a virtual document that should grow as your career grows.