LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool for executives — if you know how to leverage your profile to build your executive brand. To attract hiring managers, establish yourself as a thought leader or network with C-level colleagues, you need more than just a good headshot. You need vision and a strong game plan for making the most of the platform.
Luckily, improving your LinkedIn profile and presence doesn’t have to take too much time or effort, but if you follow these four easy steps, you can expand your reach and solidify your executive brand.
Streamline your online image
Your LinkedIn persona won’t mean much if the rest of your online presence doesn’t align. That includes profiles on other social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter and anywhere else online, such as a personal website or tech blog. Here, it’s essential to figure out what you want to put out there and what you want to keep private, says Tamara Gartner, author, speaker and founder of Becoming Bodacious, which offers individual and group life-coaching programs for women and teen girls.
“Ask yourself what you want — or need — others to see in you,” she says. Whether you want to be seen as a ‘credible thought leader’ or a ‘jobseeker with a strong value proposition,’ pinpointing your brand will help dictate your approach.
It’s counterproductive to have an “impressive LinkedIn profile and then have a potential employer or colleague see you in an unflattering light on Facebook. And yes, people tend to look at both,” she says. Once you establish your mission statement, figure out what you want to make private, and what you want to keep public on your personal accounts.
Brush up your LinkedIn summary
As of 2017, your LinkedIn profile shows only the first two lines of your summary — users need to click “read more” to expand it, says Kelly Donovan, principal of Kelly Donovan & Associates, job search specialist and executive resume writer. The first two sentences of your summary carry a lot of weight — you need to capture the reader, prompting them to dig deeper.
To achieve this, avoid clichés in your summary, such as “results-oriented” or “hard-worker.” Instead, “focus on highlighting your brand — the unique value you offer an employer, and some examples of results you’ve achieved,” she says.
Avoid being too formal in your summary. LinkedIn isn’t the same as your resume, so you can inject more personality into the content.
“You’re a real person, not just a talking head from a company. People do business with humans, so let them know that you are,” says Robin Samora, a small business marketing and PR expert, mentor and speaker from Boston.
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