How to Use the New LinkedIn for Executive Personal Branding – Part 2

by Meg Guiseppi on June 24, 2013

In Part 1 of this 3-part series on LinkedIn, personal branding and executive job search I covered:

  • Why All Executives Need to be on LinkedIn
  • Getting Your Personal Brand Into Your LinkedIn Profile
  • Customizing Your LinkedIn Profile URL for Better SEO

In Part 2 here, I discuss:

  • Why You Really Need to Include a Photo
  • Taking Advantage of the Skills & Expertise Section
  • Expanding Your Network with Quality Connections
  • Benefitting from LinkedIn’s Company Follow
  • Updating Your LinkedIn Network

Part 3 covers:

  • Getting and Giving Great Recommendations
  • Getting Busy With LinkedIn Groups
  • Tapping into LinkedIn’s Jobs Pages
  • LinkedIn and Confidential Job Search

Why You Really Need to Include a Photo

Discussions persist over whether including your photo can lead to discrimination. You may have good reason not to include a photo, but I encourage you to include one. Branding is about creating emotional connections. People believe content more when it’s accompanied by the author’s photo.

Many recruiters and hiring professionals will not consider candidates with profiles that do not have a photo.

Choose your LinkedIn photo wisely. When people open your profile, this is the first thing that will grab their attention. Choose an appealing photo that strikes the right image and professional tone for your industry and niche.

More in my post, Does My LinkedIn Profile Really Need a Photo?

Taking Advantage of the Skills & Expertise Section

You can list up to 50 skills and areas of expertise. Again, these are your relevant keywords and phrases – the SEO-friendly terms that reinforce your brand and value, and help people sourcing candidates land on your profile when they search those keywords.

Having this list of skills encourages your first-degree connections to click and endorse you for those skills and expertise.

Endorsements, a relatively new feature that appears to have legs and may be here to stay, make it easy for people to recognize your areas of expertise, without taking the time to write you a recommendation.

Expanding Your Network with Quality Connections

Unless it’s really important to you to have a huge number of connections, be selective about who you connect with. Choose quality over quantity. You should have some affinity with these people. The idea is to surround yourself with people you can help, and who will help you reach your career goals.

Make inroads positioning yourself in front of and connecting with key decision makers and their circles within your list of target companies. If you’ve done your job search targeting research work, you should have the names of these people.

You may be sitting on a lead right now that you haven’t leveraged. Make a list of everyone you know at work and in your personal life. See if they’re on LinkedIn and connect with them. Let them know what kind of job you want and who your target employers are.

Benefitting from LinkedIn’s Company Follow

By setting up “follows” for your target companies, you’ll receive email updates on their new developments, business opportunities, and jobs.

It’s possible that people at that company are tracking who is following them. Hiring decision makers may notice you as a follower.

Company profile pages also offer a wealth of information, including:

  • A brief company overview
  • Employees who are on LinkedIn, and to what degree you’re connected to them
  • New hires
  • A “careers” page with recent job listings
  • Company activities on LinkedIn, including recent promotions and changes
  • Company mentions in the news

Updating Your LinkedIn Network

Get yourself into a regular routine (say, once a week or a few times a month) of posting status updates to your Activity Feed, which is displayed directly underneath the top section of your profile, and is only visible to others when they’re signed in to LinkedIn.

Select an option for your Activity Feed by going to “Settings”, then “Select who can see your activity feed.” Choose from these four – Everyone, Your network, Your connections, or Only you.

Most people will want to select either Your Network or Everyone, to extend their messages as far as possible.

Remember to add a link to more about the update, if applicable. The Activity Feed represents another opportunity to brand your profile with relevant key words, so keep your brand and ROI value in mind when you post an update.

Some ideas for updates:

  • An online article, blog post, or white paper you’ve published
  • An event or seminar you’re presenting
  • A new project you’re working on
  • A promotion, transfer or new assignment
  • A comment you’ve made on a relevant blog that demonstrates your subject matter expertise
  • Professional development, training or new certification
  • A significant accomplishment or contribution to your company
  • Activities with your networks or LinkedIn Groups
  • An important seminar or event you’ll be attending or have attended
  • A community project you’re working on

If you’re in a confidential job search, don’t post anything here even hinting that you’re looking for a new job.

Related posts:

Online Presence and Personal Brand Management: 5 Things to Remember

Social Recruiting and Your Executive Job Search

LinkedIn’s Free Executive Job Search Resources

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