4 LinkedIn Power Moves to a Stronger Online Brand

I’ve been getting many questions about LinkedIn lately, so I thought I’d share some quick tips that I offered in an article I wrote that was originally published by the American Society for Association Executives (ASAE)  (I have permission!). Hope you find it helpful.

Do you know what shows up when potential employers or recruiters Google you? (Yes, they will google you.) If you’re on LinkedIn and have a strong, branded profile, you’re in luck. Chances are that your profile will be one of the first things they see, as LinkedIn profiles generally rank high in Google searches.

LinkedIn is also the number 1 social network of choice for recruiters, so using it strategically can help you position yourself as an expert and differentiate yourself from other job seekers.

Here are four quick steps you can take today on LinkedIn to strengthen your online presence.

1. Complete Your Profile. Your profile sets the foundation for your LinkedIn activity, and is your opportunity to showcase who you are professionally and what you would like to be known for. First impressions matter — so make sure you’ve made your profile as complete as possible, which means you’ve included the following:

  • Your industry and location
  • An up-to-date current position (with a description)
  • Two past positions
  • Your education
  • Your skills (minimum of 3)
  • A profile photo
  • At least 50 connections

Power Tip: To get the full branding benefits from LinkedIn, your profile needs to go further than completeness. Your LinkedIn profile should complement — not duplicate — your resume by expanding on your qualifications, positioning you for your next career move, and showing a bit more personality. Three key areas to look at:

Your headline: This is your chance to describe who you are as a professional. For example, you can use a phrase that describes your profession broadly such as “Association Publishing Director” or a branding statement that describes what you’re known for, such as “Connecting Smart Professionals with Smart Employers.” You can change the default setting (your current position) to better position you for your goal.

Your keywords: 94 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn, so your profile must have the appropriate keywords associated with your profession or industry to be found in their searches.

Your summary: You have 2,000 characters of opportunity to tell your professional story in a way that’s concise, distinctive, somewhat personal, and brings your profile to life.

2. Grow Your Connections. You can choose to connect selectively, accepting invitations only from those you know and trust, or you can be more open and use LinkedIn to connect with anyone interested in connecting with you to grow your network.

Power Tip: The power of networking depends on the “friends of friends” concept, so the larger your network, the easier it will be to connect with others who may work or be associated with organizations or people of interest to you. When thinking about whom to invite or accept into your network, first remember your goals—i.e., looking for a new employer or moving into a new profession—and then consider connecting with people in these categories to extend your reach:

  • Former coworkers and professional colleagues
  • Those in your current profession or a profession you’re interested in
  • Those working for organizations of interest to you
  • For association professionals, often you’ll find members interested in connecting with you, which can pay off well when you are looking for volunteer board members, authors, or presenters.

3. Give to Get. Authentic, genuine recommendations can add instant credibility to a LinkedIn profile. Get recommendations from people who know you and can speak specifically about your experience, skills, and ability to work with others. The best way to get recommendations is to give recommendations. You will be surprised at how many people will reciprocate.

Power Tip: Make sure you recommend those whom you would feel comfortable recommending to another colleague—someone whose work you admire or whom you have personally worked with and know. When writing recommendations:

  • Be specific. Talk about specific projects you worked on together or specific accomplishments, skills or strengths of the person. Avoid being too general, using words, such as “great person” and “nice job.” Give an example whenever possible.
  • Talk about results. Tell how the person actually helped you or your company achieve a goal or desired result.
  • Tell how you know the person. This will put the recommendation in context and add to its credibility. Is the person a customer, co-worker, or service provider?

4.  Get Involved. LinkedIn groups are built-in communities of like-minded professionals or colleagues, which you can join and participate in. You can find groups for school and university alumni, former and current employers, trade groups, industry associations, and more.

Power Tip: One way to establish yourself as a subject matter expert on LinkedIn is to start or comment on group discussions and post links to relevant content. You can see who is a member of a particular group and likely to read your posts by clicking on the “Members” tab. Other group benefits:

  • Connections. You are automatically directly connected to and can email any group member through the group and invite them to join your personal network.
  • Knowledge. Groups are where you can go to keep up on the latest in your profession or field via posts and comments by experts.
  • Visibility. Belonging to several relevant groups raises your visibility in your LinkedIn network without having to add additional contacts.

Incorporating these four steps in your LinkedIn strategy can be a great start to reinforcing and building your online brand while enabling you to take advantage of LinkedIn’s rich networking platform. Happy connecting!

This article originally appeared on asaecenter.org. Reprinted with permission. Copyright ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership (May 2015), Washington, D.C.

Did you know ...

… that 89% of employees admit to wasting time, reports Inc. magazine, which cites research by Salary.com. Topping the list of time wasters is Google, followed by social media and meetings. What do you think? Check out the article for more research details.


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