An impactful highly-optimized LinkedIn profile can be the gateway to new networking and executive job opportunities. But what will make you stand out among the other 450 million profiles?
If your goal is to increase your visibility to the executive search community and perfect your person brand, it is vital that you incorporate these key three elements into your executive LinkedIn strategy.
- Your Personal Brand
- LinkedIn Profile Pictures and Background Pictures: LinkedIn profiles with a profile picture are 14 times more likely to be viewed than those without, therefore adding a profile picture is really non-negotiable if you want to raise your visibility. But it is important to ensure that you select the right profile picture for the platform, noting that more casual photos such as those used on Facebook are not appropriate. Top tips for choosing the perfect photo for LinkedIn, if you don’t already have professional company headshots, would be to select a recent photo where you are wearing professional clothing in front of a relatively plain background. Your face and shoulders should make up around 60% of the image, similar to the format used for passport photos.
- Now that LinkedIn has introduced background photos, users are expected to utilize this function too as it can help your profile stand out and strengthen your brand. As before, make sure the photo you select is professional, eye catching and is consistent with the image and branding that you are trying to create throughout.
- Vanity URLs: When creating a new LinkedIn Profile, LinkedIn provide you with a personal URL to your LinkedIn profile, which usually consists of the LinkedIn web address followed by your name and a jumbled series of letters and numbers. To highlight your tech savviness and branding abilities, you can clear this up in one easy step by creating a custom URL (also known as a vanity URL). To create your custom URL, follow LinkedIn’s own advice here.
- Your Summary: One way in which your LinkedIn profile differs from your executive resume/CV is that you have the space to tell your professional story in more detail. Although you should be mindful to keep this section concise, your summary is your opportunity to explain and summarize your professional passions, interests, achievements and goals. It is also an excellent opportunity to incorporate industry related keywords which will help you appear in more candidate searches.
- Skills: LinkedIn also gives you the ability to list your relevant skills and allows your connections to endorse those skills. With this section, the rule is definitely quality over quantity. Make sure that rather than creating an endless list of skills, including skills that are not entirely relevant to what you do now or where you want to go, be selective and choose your core skills. This will help readers immediately identify what you excel at and what your strong suits are at a glance.
- LinkedIn for Networking
- Growing Your Network: Once you have create your LinkedIn profile, there are many ways in which you can build and expand your network. Firstly, LinkedIn offers users the option of syncing their email contacts with their account and will send invitations to all those approved from that list. When growing your number of connections it is important to follow up with new professional connections with a personalized invitation to connect. This can be a great way to learn more about new connections and to build a mutually beneficial relationship.
- Writing, and Receiving Endorsements: LinkedIn Endorsements can help to authenticate your claims of experience and skills in a way that will reassure and intrigue a potential employer or recruiter. An easy way to encourage your connection to endorse you on LinkedIn is to either ask them directly or write one for them first.
- Content Sharing and Thought Leadership
- Sharing industry related media and marketing: As a social platform, LinkedIn allows you to communicate with your online community in a range of ways, including by sharing and commenting on digital content and articles. By sharing thought-provoking and interesting articles you will help establish yourself as a thought leader, help people understand your interests and specialisms, and connect with people through the comments function.
- Creating your own articles and using publications: Aside from sharing articles written by others, for those who have the time, writing regular thought-leadership articles can really set you apart from your executive peers. The Publications section of LinkedIn now allows all users to share their work, rather than just LinkedIn Influencers. If you want to increase your visibility, this can be a powerful tool to achieve that aim.