LinkedIn is the leading social networking site for professionals and offers countless opportunities for both building your brand, as well as for advancing your career and career search.
Here are just some of the ways that you can leverage this network’s features to more effectively establish credibility and communicate your personal brand:
Complete Your Profile: Take the profile creation process seriously and follow LinkedIn’s suggested steps to complete your profile 100%. Add a professional picture/head shot and fill in key information and work and education history from your resume that strengthen your personal brand and desired reputation. The more complete and compelling your profile is, the more professional and credible you will appear to your profile visitors.
Subtitle: Depending on the reputation you would like to have and area of interest and/or expertise you are pursuing, choose professional, yet intriguing title(s) for yourself. Whether you have a different full-time job or not, list that you’re an author, a blogger, founder of an organization or community, an entrepreneur or any other appropriate and relevant designation. Also, include your unique one word or phrase personal brand and possibly any certifications or advanced degrees as these can increase your credibility.
Summary: While not everything that you would want to share to build your reputation can be included in your work history, your profile’s summary section is a great place to detail your personal brand, list your awards, press or media you have received, books you have written, organizations you have founded, blogs you write and manage, and anything else that sums up the unique value you have to offer others.
Customize Your Website Links: Use your external profile links to connect your profile viewers to your website, blog, company site, online resume or other networking profiles as this will help promote other platforms on which you are creating and contributing value.
Recommendations: Ask for brief recommendations from as many past supervisors, co-workers, classmates, customers etc. as possible, especially from people whose testimonials of your work would support your personal brand and reputation. Recommendations or testimonials for a blog itself from partners, readers, clients, community members, customers etc. also increase your credibility.
Join Groups: LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups. There are groups for every industry, functional area, association, company, university, event and more. Groups allow you to engage with professionals beyond your profile. Joining groups also can help expand your visibility and messaging access to individuals as you begin to increase your network.
Contribute: There are numerous ways you can contribute value to the groups you join, including contributing high-value articles and commentary both as new discussion threads and as responses to others. The more value and insight you can contribute, the more credible and professional you will come across.
Start Groups: If there seems to be a niche area with no current group, don’t hesitate to start one up. It will take some work to grow it; however, it might be an opportunity for you to establish yourself as a community founder and leader while creating a community opportunity for your blog readers to join. If starting a group isn’t up your alley, consider helping moderate a group to get more involved. Send a message to one or more group owners and ask them if there are some ways you could contribute as part of the group administration.
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