I wrote an article earlier this year that outlines important branding tips, 3 Juicy Insider LinkedIn Personal Branding Tips:
1. Building Personal SEO by Fully Populating Your LinkedIn Profile
2. Keeping Your Personal Brand Top-of-Mind With LinkedIn’s Pulse Platform
3. Building Personal Brand Equity by Surprising Someone With a LinkedIn Recommendation
They’re all things you need to do, but they require a lot of effort and writing time:
In this article, I’ll make things a lot easier for you, with quick fixes that should have a big impact right away.
With just minor additions and tweaks, some pieces in your personal brand communications plan can be greatly improved, increasing your chances of landing a good-fit job faster.
Here are 3 things that shouldn’t take long to do, especially if you’ve already done the job search targeting, research and personal branding work . . . a must before you seriously tackle job-hunting.
1. Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile Headline
This tip, in particular, can be a game changer.
Your LinkedIn Professional Headline is the phrase that lands at the top of your profile, just below your name.
If you’ve done nothing regarding your headline, LinkedIn’s default will be to copy the most recent job title you’ve placed in the Experience section.
“Optimizing” means improving your personal SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. That is, jigging your profile so that it will increase the chances your LinkedIn profile will land higher in search results for relevant keywords and phrases.
You accomplish this by identifying your most important relevant keywords, representing your areas of expertise that will be most important to the employers you’re targeting – and using those keywords in your LinkedIn Professional Headline. LinkedIn allows you 120 characters and spaces for your Headline. You may be surprised by how powerful a Headline you can create, keeping to that maximum.
In my opinion, since the Professional Headline is such an important SEO spot (because it lands so high on the web page), most of what you put there should be hard-hitting keywords. It’s doubtful that things like “results-oriented” or “successful professional” will be keywords that anyone will search, when they’re looking for candidates like you.
And, this is not the place to put things like “actively seeking opportunities in [whatever industry, company or field you’re seeking]”. Move such information to your Summary section.
Here are a few examples of good LinkedIn Professional Headlines:
Senior Change Management Executive – Operational Excellence, Performance Management, Risk Mitigation, Compliance
Senior R&D Executive, Thought Leader & Chief Innovator for the Fortune 500 – Global Strategic Marketing | Data Analytics
Senior Technical Project Manager & Change Agent for Banking & Financial Services. Industry-leading BI and MDM expert.
How do you know which keywords and phrases are your most important ones? Go back to the research you’ve done on your target companies or organizations, or get going on that research.
2. Brand Your Email Signature
An often overlooked tactic, savvy job seekers take a few moments to provide a little bit of concise information about themselves in their email signature, along with their contact information.
You can set your outgoing email message to automatically insert your signature, once you create one.
Here’s what you should include in your email signature:
Your Name (use whatever name – full name or nickname – that you consistently use online)
Current job title and employer (if you’re employed). If not, include the job title or job function you’re seeking, such as “Global Business Operations Leader” or “Senior Turnaround Management Executive”
Brief brand statement highlighting the unique value you offer (your branded, keyword-rich LinkedIn profile headline is a good option, but you can also enhance that by adding a little more information.)
Email address (use your personal email, not one associated with your current employer, unless you’re self-employed)
Phone (the best one to reach you – don’t confuse by including more than one)
Your personal website name with URL (if you have one and it’s job search-focused)
Social media – include links to each of your accounts, if you’re active there. At the very least, you should have a fully complete LinkedIn profile, to lead people to further information about your brand and value.
LinkedIn – your LI URLTwitter – your Twitter URLFacebook – your Facebook URL[list other applicable social media]
Enhancements available to you are minimal, but anything sitting on your keyboard should work:
Pipes ( | ) and colons ( :: ) to separate the text, andTildes ( ~ ), hyphens ( – ), or asterisks ( * ) for bullets
Be aware that graphics and images may not display in the recipient’s email, or they may be required to click on something to make them appear. It may be best not to rely on them. Stick to a stripped down, plain text version, with stacked content and include URLs instead of hyperlinks, which also may not display.
So, here’s how the email signature for the candidate with the first LinkedIn Professional Headline I noted in #1 above might look:
Senior Change Management Executive“Operational excellence – results through strong leadership”Performance Management | Strategy & Planning | Organizational Structure & Process Management | Talent Development & Team-Building | Risk Mitigation | Regulatory Compliance
firstname.lastname@example.org(XXX) 000 – 0000
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/johndoeTwitter – https://www.twitter.com/johndoe
3. Add a Photo To Your LinkedIn Profile Or Upgrade Your Existing One
I know that many people hesitate to include a photo because they fear discrimination, based on age, appearance, ethnic background, etc. I understand, and these concerns are certainly valid. But I’d like you to consider the benefits of having a photo in your profile vs. not having one.
Most executive recruiters and hiring decision makers at the companies you’re targeting will see your LinkedIn profile before they see anything else about you, online or elsewhere. Put yourself in the shoes of these people assessing your candidacy through your LinkedIn profile.
The first thing they’ll notice when they land on your profile is your photo . . . or lack of one. If you have NO photo, their initial thought will likely be “What is this person trying to hide?”
Branding is all about making an emotional connection. People connect easier and believe content more when it’s accompanied by the author’s photo. They’re more likely to reach out to someone when they can “see” the person. Your photo helps to personalize and humanize your brand-driven content.
Another issue associated with not having a photo – your profile may be flagged as a fake, especially if there’s very little content within the profile.
And profiles with photos typically get more views. Your photo will go with you everywhere on the site, with any of your activities, not just when people click through to your profile. If you have no photo, people may not click through to your profile, and rule you out as a potential candidate.
Choose your LinkedIn photo wisely. Select an appealing, inviting photo that strikes the right image and professional tone for your industry, niche, and personality. Executives typically wear suits, but if your leadership style is relaxed, then a more casual, but still professional, look may be right for you.
Make sure your headshot is a close-up that is crisp, clear and well-composed. No one else but you should be in the photo. Don’t substitute a drawing or cartoon, instead of an actual photo of you.
This post first appeared on Job-Hunt.org for my Personal Branding Expert gig.