I’ve been a LinkedIn member and professional LinkedIn profile writer for more than 10 years. Working hard at it over the years, I’ve learned how to help my clients leverage their LinkedIn personal brand for job search.
At the same time, I’ve learned how to use LinkedIn to build my own personal brand and business. In fact, most of my clients find me through LinkedIn.
Running a successful job search is very similar to running a successful business. Therefore, LinkedIn is just as important to you (the job seeker) as it is to me (the business owner).
In both cases, you need to:
- Determine who your target audience is – for job search, that means target employers,
- Define your personal brand – what makes you unique, valuable and a good-fit for your target audience, or employers,
- Communicate and market those good-fit qualities across various channels,
- Connect and network with your target audience, or people at your target companies.
Unfortunately, many job-hunting LinkedIn members have a “build it and forget it” mentality.
They put up a bare-bones profile, maybe years ago. They never came back to complete it, update it or take full advantage of all that LinkedIn offers.
Below you’ll see a few strategies that I rely on to build my LinkedIn personal brand and promote my business.
These same strategies will help you increase your LinkedIn profile traffic, build your personal brand, position yourself as a good-fit candidate and help you land a job.
3 Insider LinkedIn Tips to Build Your Personal Brand
1. Build Personal SEO by Fully Populating Your LinkedIn Profile
A robust, fully-fleshed out profile, with each applicable section filled, will build your personal brand visibility and boost traffic to your LinkedIn profile.
Why is plenty of LinkedIn profile content so important?
Recruiters and employers search LinkedIn to identify and assess candidates using relevant keywords and phrases. These keywords usually represent your “hard” skills or areas of expertise.
More content = More relevant keywords = Better personal SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or visibility
Most people know enough to put at least some information in the Summary/About, Experience and Education sections. But take a look at all the other sections available to you and use each one you can. Here are some of the often neglected or under-used sections (at this writing):
- Honors & Awards
- Test Scores
To make it easier to add the right amount of content, first create it in a Word document and then do a character count before copying and pasting into your profile.
Better yet, do the character count and then use Grammarly to fully check for grammar, usage and spelling errors.
Each profile section has a maximum number of characters and spaces. Do your best to use all the allowed space for content. At this writing, here are the maximum character counts for the most-used sections:
- Headline = 120
- Name field, last name = 40 (allows you to add suffixes, certifications, former names, maiden names, nicknames)
- Summary/About = 2,000
- Company names = 100
- Job titles = 100
- Job descriptions = 2,000
For more information about achieving the right mix of personal branding and relevant keywords, see my post How To Balance Personal Branding With Personal SEO.
2. Keep Your Personal Brand Top-of-Mind With LinkedIn’s Pulse and LinkedIn Comments
Posting articles on LinkedIn’s Pulse allows you to reap many of the benefits of blogging . . . without the hassles of maintaining one of your own.
LinkedIn offers this powerful platform to demonstrate your subject matter expertise, express your opinions, influence people, build your personal brand online, and stay top of mind with your network.
Get all the details on leveraging this powerful LinkedIn feature in my post, The Value of Blogging Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn.
Regularly posting brand-reinforcing LinkedIn comments is a powerful way to accomplish those things. Since you probably won’t be writing more than a paragraph or two, at most, it’s also quick and easy.
LinkedIn comes to the rescue offering several ways and places to post your comments on relevant topics, including Pulse, LinkedIn Groups and LinkedIn updates.
Read more in my post, Showcase Your Personal Brand with LinkedIn Comments.
3. Build Personal Brand Equity by Surprising Someone With a LinkedIn Recommendation
LinkedIn recommendations are important. Think about it, when you are reviewing someone’s qualifications, for whatever reason, reading a glowing recommendation from a peer, or manager, or business associate will probably reflect well on them.
Want to get more people to write LinkedIn recommendations for you? Write one for them first.
Reach out to people whose work you know and for whom you can write a paragraph or two that will resonate with their target audience. Whether they’re in job search or doing business with you, this a thoughtful way to support them. In addition, it’s also just about the best way to prompt them to reciprocate with a strong recommendation for you.
And, there are two other selfish benefits to writing LinkedIn recommendations:
- Each recommendation that’s approved and posted includes a link to your profile which, you can bet, plenty of people will click on to view and assess you.
- This thoughtful gesture – doing something nice for someone you admire without being asked – strengthens your network. In addition, it builds evangelists for your personal brand and candidacy.
LinkedIn offers so many ways to help you land a great-fit new job. Go beyond the basics. Set aside time to explore all your options, and take advantage of each one you can.