How to Boost Your Career by Enhancing Your Digital BrandSep 16, 2021
Remember the yellow pages? Everyone who was anyone could be found there. Of course, now people wonder the same thing if you're not on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn raises your expertise, authority, and visibility and allows your network connections to expand. With over 740 million users worldwide on LinkedIn, it's a fantastic way to showcase your brilliance, expertise, and availability to the world.
I like to think of LinkedIn as your personal website and a powerful tool to represent your brand on your behalf. With that in mind, you want to optimize your profile and create something that positions you for success.
Here are three ways to boost your career by creating, managing, and protecting your digital brand on LinkedIn.
Creating or Updating Your LinkedIn
There are five crucial LinkedIn tips that will help build a 3D impression of the real you that will attract your target audience through your authenticity and expertise. It may be time for you to do a complete revamp of your LinkedIn profile, particularly if you haven't touched your profile in a while.
- Add an Updated and On Brand Headshot: The simplest thing you can do to upgrade your LinkedIn profile is by adding a good headshot. Be sure you're looking at the camera, smiling and in colors that complement you.
- Create an Eye-Catching Headline: You can use part of your brand narrative or part of your personal statement. Your headline is the first bit of text that shows up right below your name on your LinkedIn profile. The default settings will fill this in with your current position, and that’s okay for starters— but it can be whatever you want. You have 120 characters to work with, so why not add on a little? Think of it as a small billboard advertisement for you and what you do. For example, instead of just listing your job title, mention your specialty and how you benefit your company or customers.
- Showcase Your Brand Statement in Your About Section: Write your profile in third-person; third-person makes it easier to brag and be found on Google. Or, you can also use the first person to help build chemistry and connection. Whether you are writing in the first or third person, be sure to infuse some personality into the professional.
- Highlight Your Experience Using Your Brand Attributes, Strengths, and Skills: You can do better than simply cutting and pasting your resume onto your LinkedIn profile. You don’t have the same two-page rule here, but you do have internet readers’ short attention spans. Be sure to include any jobs that you deem relevant to where you want your career to go, and use two to four exciting and impressive bullet points for each job you include. Also, use good action words to show what you did and what you accomplished in each position.
- Choose Your Top Three Skills in the Endorsement Section: LinkedIn is primarily a search engine, so using keywords is the best way to get found. Next, refer to your top branded skills that you want to be known for and ensure they are the top three skills shown in your profile. You can list up to 150 skills, but you want to display your top three prominently.
Also, don't forget to customize your URL, so that's not your name and some random numbers. Remember, treat it like a website and add your name as you'd like it to appear.
Managing Your LinkedIn
When it comes to managing your LinkedIn, you want to remember that LinkedIn is a platform for not only showcasing your brilliance but making connections. If you're not regularly making connections, posting, and engaging with other's posts, LinkedIn will think you're not a serious player on the platform.
Here are three things you can do to maintain your profile:
- Keep your experience section updated. Add new roles or changes in your position. For every organization you've worked for, be sure their logo is present. Since most organizations have a company page, it should be relatively easy to associate yourself with that organization. If you worked with a company subsidiary, use the primary company logo if the subsidiary doesn't have one.
- Add any volunteer work, board work, awards, or continual education. There's a Feature Section on LinkedIn that will allow you to highlight anything you want to appear prominently on your profile. For example, you can add presentations you've given, interviews, articles, etc. You can also add an Accomplishment section to add leadership roles in volunteer organizations, awards, etc. Sharing things lets others know about your growth and evolution.
- Seek recommendations. Whether you're looking for a new role, seeking promotion/advancement, or trying to land new clients, it's a good rule of thumb to have at least five recommendations on your profile. It provides social proof on your behalf and helps to bolster your credibility.
Protecting Your LinkedIn Profile & Digital Brand
Reputation management is an essential aspect of maintaining your brand and protecting your career. In the digital age, we live in, the first thing people will do after they meet you is to conduct a Google search. The information that surfaces about you makes up your online reputation. These can be articles written by or about you, photos or videos of you, or online profiles of people with your name. Even unwanted pictures of you from Facebook may pop up (think last year’s Holiday Party).
The best way to protect your digital brand on LinkedIn is to master the narrative. Post your thoughts, share your expertise by writing articles, and continually publish content on the platform that can readily be found and identified with you. That way, when others do a Google search, what you want them to know about you is what will show up. This information can be critical useful when interviewing, going after a promotion, or even if you're transitioning into a new career.
Create a content calendar for yourself that outlines when you plan to show up on social media and what you'll post or talk about. It's the best way to ensure clarity, consistency, and constancy, the three keys of branding.
Finally, LinkedIn has been diligently working on creating changes and improvements for users to maximize the process. Stay abreast of these changes and incorporate them when you can. That keeps your digital profile current and up-to-date. Here are a few of the latest upgrades that have taken place over the last year:
- Ability to list your pronouns
- Video cover story (can upload through mobile only)
- Name pronunciation (can access through mobile only)
- LinkedIn stories (can access through mobile only)
- Creator mode to list hashtags that are associated with your expertise and to get reviews of your work.
Check out my segment on AM Northwest, where I touch on a few of these points!