How to Use Your LinkedIn Profile to Build a Valuable Personal Brand

Writing a compelling LinkedIn profile is a must if you want to attract positive attention. Your profile is your face to the world of online networking, thus, it should be your primary means for introducing and promoting yourself.

Our aim here is to show you how you can develop a LinkedIn profile that will be an effective and career-enhancing networking tool.

2014-08-CCCBefore we proceed to discussing what you should put in each part of your LinkedIn profile, keep in mind these important guidelines.

Keep it real and be honest. Thousands of people can read your profile. If you exaggerate facts or even lie, there is a huge possibility that you will be caught.

Beware of grammar and spelling mistakes. You don’t want to look very amateur and unprofessional by creating a profile that is full of grammatical or spelling mistakes.

Keep your profile current. There is no use having a LinkedIn profile that is not updated.

LinkedIn Profile Sections

Photograph: Make sure that you use a recent photograph on your profile. You should also look very professional in your photo. Remember that people always want to see who they are communicating or dealing with.

Professional Headline Box: This should be a brief, one-line description of yourself that goes right below your name. This section is very important since it is one of the very first things people would see as they try to view your profile.

Many people use their actual job title as their professional headline. This is not necessary, though, because this could properly go to the current employment section. In your professional headline box, it is recommended that you write words that will distinguish you from others. Make sure that it will effectively describe who you are as a professional.

Post an Update: You should use this section to regularly refresh your profile and to keep it updated. The objective here is to catch the attention of your connections, so it is best to update this part at least once a week.

You can mention in this part a short description of any recent developments in your work. If you have recently been invited to speak at a conference, for instance, you can indicate it here. And if you are currently looking for a job, provide details of the position you are searching for.

Education and Employment History:  When filling in details of your employment, be sure to include those of your previous jobs, and not just of your current job. This will give you a chance to make more connections, especially because LinkedIn will give you a list of professionals who have worked for the same companies as you have.

Another thing to keep in mind is how you write your job title. Make sure that it is understandable within your industry or career field. As for your job description, it is not a good idea to just summarize it. If you do this, there is a big chance that it will be identical to many other job descriptions in LinkedIn. Instead, you can describe your career goals and accomplishments in this section.

Recommendations: In this section of LinkedIn, you are allowed to include testimonials coming from the people you have worked with in the past. Recommendations are believed to play a significant role in increasing the value of your profile.

As much as possible, you want your recommendations to be very specific. Prospective employers will definitely appreciate seeing a reference of yours that is directly related to your performance in a certain project, for instance, rather than a very common statement indicating how good you were as an employee.

When trying to get recommendations, remember to be respectful and courteous. And if you receive a request for a recommendation, do not hesitate to give one. This is a good way of interacting with your connections in LinkedIn.

Listing Websites: You may include up to three websites on your LinkedIn profile. You may choose websites containing information that you find interesting and beneficial to be associated with. If you have your own blog site or company website, don’t forget to include the links in this section.

Making use of this facility in LinkedIn better optimizes your profile, which means increased possibility also of your getting found easily.

Public Profile Address: You will have your own public URL in LinkedIn, and this is what you should use to lead people to your profile page. In your email, for instance, you may include your URL in your signature. Do not forget to customize your URL to make sure that nobody else may use it.

Public Profile: In terms of which parts of your profile may be available to the public, you can actually change the settings. But if you want to have a big chance of getting more connections, you had better choose “Full View”.

Summary: This section is where you can actually promote or sell yourself. Here, you should make viewers know who you are and what you do. You can do this by emphasizing the high points of your career and stating what made you stand out. Write something that will be interesting for the viewers to read without making it too long. Also, you should write in the first person and in a way that shows how confident you are without sounding boastful.

Specialties: You may enumerate your specialties right after the summary section. This is where you should put your areas of expertise you wish to promote. To make your profile more optimized, include relevant keywords.

Personal Information: Near the last part of your profile, you will have your personal information section. Ideally, there should be your mobile number, email address or even a direct dial number. This will make it easier for your connections or prospective employers to contact you.

Additional Information: In this section you may add other details to show your vast experience and special skills. You can list the awards and qualifications you have. If you are a member of any professional groups or associations, you should mention them here as well. And do not forget also to mention what your interests are outside your work.

Contact Settings: In this part, you may specify how you prefer to be contacted by other LinkedIn members. There is also an option where you can specify what categories you like to be contacted about.

As any career coaching professional would say, your brand is a very important element in your job search, which is why you should make an effort to build your personal brand. Your LinkedIn profile is such a helpful tool you can use to let people know about you and your field of expertise.

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