Use Your LinkedIn Profile as a Strategic Online Branding Tool versus an Online Resume
Many professionals do not use their LinkedIn profile strategically. Whether entrepreneurs or job hunters, they make the classic mistake of using their LinkedIn profile as an online resume tool. The more strategic way of using LinkedIn profiles is as an online branding tool , where the focus is on your online reputation and career future versus your past. And since LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network where people look for other people to do business with, it’s ideal to use your LinkedIn profile as a digital introduction of who you are and what you can do for others now.
Here are 5 clear signs that you are using LinkedIn as an online resume versus an online branding tool. These are also clear signs that you need to update your LinkedIn profile, especially if you are looking for a job or starting a new career or business.
- Your LinkedIn Headline Lists Your Job Title
By default, LinkedIn lists your current job title as your LinkedIn profile headline. This is not the best way to use your headline. You have 120 characters to fill with keywords and a short story about who you are. You are more than a title. You are a unique person with unique talents. Showcase yourself here as if you were writing a headline in a newspaper. Grab your target audience’s attention and keep in mind that this is one of the single most important places to describe yourself and your brand. In fact, Google search engines often pick up LinkedIn profiles in the search results. So, be strategic and thoughtful about what you want your LinkedIn profile headline to say about you.
- You Haven’t Completed Your LinkedIn Profile
Did you know that 50% of LinkedIn users have not yet completed their profile? If you are one of them, consider this. 20% of people choose to hire or do business with people based on their volunteer experience. If you simply put your resume into LinkedIn, you may not have completed the volunteer and interests sections. These are great places to show your personality and what you stand for. Remember that people always do business with people they know, like and trust. So, show your personality and complete your profile.
- Your Headline and Summary Don’t Clearly Describe You
To use LinkedIn as an online branding tool, you need to include a digital introduction in your headline and summary. Don’t just copy from your resume, think strategically about what you want to achieve with your LinkedIn Profile Headline and Summary. Ideally, you want to include answers to the following questions.
Who is your target audience for your LinkedIn profile?
What do you want them to do?
What do you want your target audience to know about you?
What do you want to be known for? What do you stand for?
Why should someone choose to work with you?
Tell your story. You have 2000 characters in your LinkedIn Summary. You can tell your story and SHOW your story (e.g., add videos where you demonstrate your expertise). You can include website links and how to contact you. You can create an online elevator pitch. But, no matter what you include, make sure that you ask others for feedback. What do they think you do based on reading your LinkedIn profile headline and summary? If they don’t understand what you do, you need to keep going until you have a clear and compelling brand that is authentic to you.
- Your Profile URL is Generic
If you still have the LinkedIn profile URL that LinkedIn automatically generated for you, then this is another clear sign that you need to update your LinkedIn profile. This is particularly important to your brand because you want a URL that you can include in your email or website that is easier to pass on to people you want to connect with. The good news is that this is something you can fix in just a few minutes. Simply change your default URL to a branded URL ideally using your name.
- Your Picture Doesn’t Put Your Best Foot Forward Professionally
Another sign that you aren’t using LinkedIn strategically as an online branding tool is having a photo that isn’t the best. You ideally want a LinkedIn photo that is a professional headshot, is high resolution, you are smiling and you look your best. Recent research shows that one of the most important attributes of successful professionals is their grooming and how polished they look. So, you don’t need to look like a model, but you should take the time to look your best as it will help your brand– both online and offline.
Do any or all of these 5 signs relate to you? If so, I would encourage you to update your LinkedIn profile. To help you get started, I have put together two FREE eBooks. Select the one that is right for you.
LinkedIn Profile Optimization for Entrepreneurs: https://inspiredworknow.leadpages.co/free-linkedin-enterpreneur-book/
LinkedIn Profile Optimization for Job Seekers: https://inspiredworknow.leadpages.co/linkedin-ebook/
Finally, I would like to invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn, if you haven’t already, at https://www.linkedin.com/in/vickimorris1