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Within every industry, there is a select group of executives who always seem to be in the spotlight. These leaders regularly speak at industry events and are consistently interviewed in well-known industry publications. You may even be envious of their spotlight—but it’s not the spotlight they’re after, it’s the branding.

While these leaders, some may even call them thought leaders, possess a wide variety of characteristics that make them likeable and successful, they share one, significant strength: the ability to brand themselves.

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?

For years, executives hoping to improve their career trajectory have been advised to build and maintain a personal brand, but with increasing competition for top executive roles, it now takes more to stand apart from industry peers. Great executives are easy to find, but industry thought leaders are irreplaceable.

As more senior-level executives are becoming active LinkedIn users, including a reported 80% of CEOs, recruiters are also tapping into LinkedIn’s potential when researching new executive candidates for their searches. But with such time-demanding jobs, what can executives do to optimize their LinkedIn profiles to increase their visibility to search consultants?

There are many simple alterations that can be made to your LinkedIn profile that can have a considerable impact on your searchability to recruiters and only take a matter of minutes to achieve. Here are our top 6 LinkedIn hacks for busy executives:

How can executives and researchers ensure that they’re using social media effectively, efficiently and lawfully?

Social media is a staple in the career marketing mix today. Recent research from the Pew Institute shows that social media usage has risen significantly from adults over the age of 50 over the last decade. But only one-third (35%) of adults over the age of 65 use social media for any purpose. Do executive search firms, whose businesses hinge on long-standing and trusting relationships, really lean on social media as much as higher volume recruiters? How much time should executives looking to establish new relationships with executive search firms spend on social media and which sites should they prioritize?

As an executive, your time is valuable and opportunities to pursue personal goals can be limited. However, in today’s social economy, developing, optimizing, and continuously maintaining your social network is critical to your professional reputation, your brand and building your community. Your social network also plays a key role in positioning you for your next career opportunity and demonstrating your ability to deliver key business results.

When creating, building and maintaining a network consisting of both fellow executives and search consultants alike, LinkedIn can be vital tool as it allows you to strengthen existing connections and make new ones with ease. However, it is important to make sure that your approach to LinkedIn networking is focused and strategic to boost its effectiveness.

To make sure your LinkedIn networking efforts are fully optimized for success, here are three key fundamentals of LinkedIn networking for executives.
 

Many executives think the professional promotion they put online will jeopardize their employment with their current company. They don’t want their employer to think they are actively looking for a job. Thus, they deliberately withhold information on LinkedIn (and other social sites), refuse to get recommendations and expand their social networks with new contacts.

Any career transition requires making your professional competencies visible online, as that’s where search firms and employers look. Though there is no avoiding visibility, you can approach it without risk by blogging in any language. Making a career transition can take the most advantage of a blog with least risk of your employer’s retribution.
 

BlueSteps recently hosted an #ExecCareer Chat on the topic of executive LinkedIn profiles, featuring Tiffany Hardy, BlueSteps Executive Career Services, and Luis Truchado, Odgers Berndtson Iberia.

Some of the questions asked included:

You’ve probably heard this comparison before: A job search is in essence a marketing campaign with you as the product. Your career communications tools are your marketing collateral, and your executive job search strategy equates to your marketing campaign. A smart campaign hones in on specific targets with specific marketing messages built around a specific career brand aligned with specific proof points.