5 ways to improve your LinkedIn profile

  • personal brand
  • May 12, 2016

How long does it take you to recognize the Nike swoosh, the Coca-Cola script or that omnipresent lower-case Facebook “f” that pings your smartphone notification bar a thousand times a day? Consumers easily identify with these logos due to their companies’ strong brands.
 
Sure, all those household names above are selling a product or service, but in the job market, you are selling something as well: yourself. To compete in today’s workforce – filled with quality candidates for a limited number of jobs – you need to ask yourself: how do I promote my personal branding to quickly gain the attention of an employer?
 
One good place to start is with a superior LinkedIn profile. There are over 400 million registered LinkedIn users. Even if only one-tenth of one percent of those users work in professions similar to yours, we’re talking nearly half a million people with comparable resumes and skill sets, so you want a profile that distinguishes you from your peers.
 
Here are a few ideas on how you can use LinkedIn to improve your personal branding:
 
Consistent constancy.
If any of the mega brands named in the beginning of this article were still pushing products or advancements originally introduced in 2010, they’d be left in the dust. Better brands continuously iterate, improve and innovate – and you should too. Always keep your LinkedIn information updated. If you’ve picked up a skill or learned a new program in the last week, month or quarter, you should add it to your profile. Also, it’s not a bad idea to update your photo. Recruiters may give your profile a second look if your photo feels fresh.

The right links.
You often can’t put a value on the number of people you know. When it comes to your LinkedIn profile, though, remember this rule: quality over quantity. If you want a foot in the door, you need to have the right connections. Linking with hundreds or thousands of people you can’t keep track of might help you feel well-connected, but a strong connection to someone relevant to the job opportunity can do much more to influence potential employers.

Focused skill sets.
LinkedIn skills example

People don’t just change jobs frequently, they change careers. If you’re using LinkedIn to promote yourself in a specific industry or role, be sure to make the applicable skills and accomplishments the most obvious and prevalent in your profile. For example, your foray into massage therapy might have been fun, but your massage proficiency won’t help you nab that high-paying tech job veteran programmers are also applying for. In this case, you would want to put your tech skills front and center and move your massage experience to a less prominent position on your profile.
 
Maintained narrative.
Everyone has a story to tell. LinkedIn posts and updates offer a great place to accomplish a personal employment narrative. Be on the lookout for articles to post or spend time drafting professionally sound thoughts, tips and advice to frequently share. What you post reflects your interests (character) and showcases your creativity, writing skills and unique thought process.
 
SEO your profile.
Search engine optimization has undergone somewhat of an overhaul in the last few years, but its purpose remains: to make something easy to find. And to help employers easily find you, add keywords or phrases throughout your profile that you want to be known for and place them strategically in headlines, status updates or posts. For example, an artist seeking employment with a marketing team might use the phrase “Dynamic Graphic Designer” or “Design Agency Veteran.” To accomplish this, closely investigate job posting requirements for the position or career you want. To let employers know you have the skills they are looking for, try to mirror their language in your profile.
 
So what are you waiting for?
Social media and online networking can be powerful assets to bolster your job search and uncover employment opportunities, but you have to use them right. Don’t just have a LinkedIn profile. Have a better LinkedIn profile. Remember that when you put yourself out there, you’re sharing something important with the world: the brand of you.

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