Professionals invest a lot of time into building brands, but how much time and resource do you invest on your own personal brand? Oftentimes, not enough. Neglecting personal branding often leads to selling yourself short, missing out on big opportunities.
LinkedIn is one of the best ways to personally brand yourself – skills, achievements, professional successes, interests. Recruiters spend a good deal of time combing through profiles. After a while, they begin to blend together, which means that whatever you can do to stand out, you should be doing. The beauty of LinkedIn is that it can showcase things your resume cannot – professional past, future career goals, along with your personality.
I have put together a list of profile features you should check and update for 2022. Some of them are quick fixes, whereas some may require you to invest more time, but all of them are worthwhile.
- Choose an appropriate profile picture.
This is the first impression of your profile; how people are introduced to you right off the bat. When it comes to picking the right profile picture, here are some quick tips: make sure the photo is professional and recent, with your face being 65% of the photo. Wear what you would wear to work, and smile with your eyes. If you’re unsure, look at what the people in your target company or industry sector are posting.
- Add a background photo.
This is the second visual impression of your profile. The right background photo will tell a little about what matters to you, help your page stand out, and can stay memorable to people who visit your page. Make your profile jump off the page!
- Summary is a must-have.
First thing to say about a profile summary is that it is a must-have. This is your chance to tell your story – don’t only list your skills, but instead explain why those skills matter. This is an element that will require some time. Bring light to what matters to you, this is your most personal piece. If you are open to work, explain in your summary what roles you are open to and what skills you bring to the table. Use keywords that are strongly connected to your profile.
- Customize your URL
Along the right side of the profile, click “Edit public profile & URL” and go to “Edit Your Custom URL” in top right-hand corner. Why not make your LinkedIn URL cleaner and more relevant?
- Grow your network.
LinkedIn can be an intimidating social network platform. This platform is focused on building a network through quality connections – family, friends, present/ past colleagues, prospective clients, classmates, and so much more. Join groups associated with your professional interests. LinkedIn Groups are an incredible resource and they can do wonders for your job search. Start to connect with people that you may not already know well. The best practice is to add a personalized message to your connection request, and in doing so this will help you stand out from most others who are only sending a connection request.
- List relevant skills.
Scroll through the list of skills and identify those that are relevant to you. This allows others to endorse you, but stay relevant. At a glance, this will allow employers and recruiters to see what you are qualified for.
- If you’re open to work, explain what you are looking for.
The simplest way to showcase that you are interested in exploring new job opportunities is by letting recruiters and your network know that you are open to work. If you specify the types of job opportunities and your preferred location, your profile has a greater chance of showing up in search results when recruiters look for suitable job candidates.
Allowing your LinkedIn profile to set you up for success does not need to be a time-consuming task. Whether or not you are looking for a new job right now, take my advice on these ways to build your profile, and you will find that you can make progress easily. Make 2022 your year for success and self-branding!
CD Wicks serves as a Director at RETS Associates, a national real estate executive search firm. She can be reached at CD@retsusa.com