I’ll be honest, I never paid much attention to LinkedIn. I always thought of the network as little more than a résumé site. And since I have a job that I love already, I only logged into LinkedIn once a month at most. I just didn't see the value in it.
Then, my buddy Dennis Yu showed me just how much LinkedIn had changed and how useful it's become, even if you already have a job.
I'll show you the important things on your LinkedIn Information Card to update right away, and leave you with some tips on building your personal brand while you're at it. Let's dig in.
Your Linkedin Headline
The first thing you'll want to do is update your “Headline.” By default, the Headline displays your current job title, but this is your opportunity to use something a little less formal and fun to explain what you actually do. I agree with Lydia Abbot, a LinkedIn Editor and Content expert, when she says, “After your profile picture, your headline is the first thing people look at on your LinkedIn profile.”
“Helping you build a stronger personal brand” feels way closer to what I do than my title, Employee Advocacy and Personal Brand Manager.
A popular strategy I've seen is to saturate the Headline space with industry buzzwords related or maybe semi-related to what you do. I advise against that tactic. This is where a stranger builds their first impression of you, don't waste that opportunity by sounding like a corporate robot or SEO machine. Using a conversational tone here is more impactful because it’s human.
I would rather have a lower number of connections that are actively engaged with what I'm posting than a larger connection count of strangers who never engage. Quality over quantity is key here.
Your Linkedin Accomplishments
This is another underused section of LinkedIn. If you write blog posts about a subject you're an expert on, share them in your “Accomplishments.” Every time I publish a new article online, I immediately add it to my Accomplishments. It's a great way to build authority with potential connections.
It’s one thing to say you’re an expert in something. You ask strangers to take you at your word. Sharing the articles you’ve published other places online, you show visitors that you really are an expert in your field.
If you haven't published any articles online yet, write one and publish it over on medium.com for free. You might find you're a blogger at heart once you start.
Your Linkedin Recommendations
One of my favorite new features from LinkedIn is “Recommendations.” If you've used LinkedIn for awhile, you're probably familiar with Skill endorsements. They can be fun, and I noticed my friends created and started endorsing me for fun skills like “ninja.”. And while I love the idea of being a ninja, I, sadly, have zero ninja skills and no amount of endorsement will change that.
Recommendations are a different story. I’ve started asking my professional colleagues and partners to write them for me. I'll reach out to someone I personally know and respect in the industry I want to be known for, and then I ask them for a Recommendation. If you're shy about asking, a great tactic is writing one for a friend, and then asking them if they would write one for you in return. You both benefit.
Your Linkedin Groups
The last tip I'll share with you is one of my favorites: Join some LinkedIn Groups.
Do a search for a topic or area of expertise you have, and look for groups that match. Most are closed groups so you’ll need to request access to the group and wait for an admin to approve it. Once you’re added, take a look at the topics the group is discussing and offer any helpful feedback you have.
By contributing to group discussions, you show other members that you have skills in that area and you're interested in helping others. You’ll build your professional reputation in the group and keep busy accepting those connection requests from others as they get to know you and your skill set better.
LinkedIn isn't just for finding a job anymore.
Your LinkedIn profile is just as powerful at building your personal brand as it is in helping you find your next job. Take the time now, and invest in you.