Big Tip: Your LinkedIn Profile = Your Personal Brand

Want a BIG LinkedIn Tip?  Your LinkedIn Profile is now the online articulation of your Personal Brand.  If you are a business professional working in the corporate world or are an entrepreneur who owns a business you’d better have a GREAT LinkedIn profile.

If you don’t have a complete, great-looking LinkedIn Profile, where have you been? Don’t say you’ve been busy, we’ve all been busy. Don’t you know that this is the age of social communication? If you don’t have a professional looking profile, here is what you are communicating: I don’t care about my online image and reputation. You wouldn’t dream of being this careless with your corporate brand. You might not realize the damage this oversight is doing to your personal brand.

9 times out of 10 if you Google someone, the first thing that will come up is their LinkedIn Profile. If someone has a meeting with you, they will see your LinkedIn profile. If someone is considering hiring you, they will look up your LinkedIn profile. If someone wants to ask about you and what you are like to work with, they will look at your shared connections and will call someone on the QT. Take a moment and look. Is your current LinkedIn Profile really the way you want people to think about you?

For most people the answer is no. I want you to STOP thinking about your LinkedIn Profile as a smaller version of your resume or a business networking tool. I invite you to think of your LinkedIn profile as the platform for crafting your personal brand.

That’s right! You PERSONALLY have everything you need to create and design the message that is out there about you.

What is a personal brand?

Personal Branding is about identifying and then communicating what makes you unique, relevant and differentiated for your target audience. It incorporates your strengths, passions, values, skills and has you stand out from people with a similar background to you.

I think of it like this. Imagine all the people who do the same thing that you do or have the same job that you have. Now think – what makes YOU special, unique and different? If you can’t find anything, then you are headed for trouble because you have become a commodity in time where specialization matters.

A great Personal Brand is a clear, consistent message about who you are and what you have to offer. It sets you apart. It’s authentic.

When you look at your Personal Brand there are three elements:

  • Value Proposition: What do you stand for?
  • Differentiation: What makes you stand out? What makes you unique?
  • Marketability: What makes you compelling?

Another way to look at your personal brand is that it’s your reputation. However with LinkedIn – this reputation is reverse-engineered. Rather than people talking about you and then creating a reputation for you – you are talking (writing) about yourself and are inventing / creating / designing / crafting your own personal reputation or personal brand. Then you can reach out to people and ask for their recommendations and endorsements of that brand.

As a recruiter when I’m trying to figure out someone’s personal brand I look at their image, communication style, IQ and emotional intelligence. I look at their LinkedIn profile. I read all the recommendations they have on their profile.

Then I look for evidence of:
1) How did they make their company money?
2) How did they save their company money?
3) How did they save their company time?
4) How did they improve or innovate products or processes?
5) What kind of leader are they and what examples to they have to back that up?
6) How did they add to or contribute or impact the company culture?
7) Are they likeable? Do they look like they would be a good colleague?

Here are some steps to creating your personal brand

1)     Google yourself. Find out what is out there already. If you don’t like what you see about you online, take the steps to get that content removed.
2)     Get clear about your core values and then express your personal value proposition.
3)     Articulate your mission statement – this expresses what you are all about and what you want to do in life.
4)     Communicate your strengths
5)     Get Specific about the goals that you want to achieve.
6)     Include Your Education and Work Experience (where you’ve been)
7)     Detail your Passions and Interests
8)     Get Feedback from people who know you. They can provide really great insights.
Wait a minute… do you see what we are doing here? We are doing your LinkedIn Profile! Your LinkedIn Profile IS the online expression of your Personal Brand.

I no longer want you to think of your LinkedIn Profile as the online version of your resume. Treat it with the same care and attention that you would treat your corporate brand.

Written by Shanna Landolt, President – Secrets from a Headhunter & The Landolt Group You can reach Shanna at shanna@landoltgroup.com or 416-849-3855