The world of work has changed considerably in recent years. Gone are the days of relying solely on your resume to land a job. It's all about building a personal brand in today's marketplace and ensuring you stand out from the crowd.
Your personal brand can play a critical role in your ability to secure a new position. The problem is traditional methods of finding employment leave you lost in the shuffle, with employers receiving hundreds of resumes and cover letters that all look the same.
To make matters worse, Ladders, Inc., a leading job search site for $100k+ jobs, released an "Eye-Tracking Study" that revealed employers spend on average just 7.4 seconds reviewing a resume. In that 7.4 seconds, you need to make your best first impression, or you might lose the opportunity.
To stand out, you need to get your brand in front of the people who need to see it, and LinkedIn is a great place to start.
What is personal branding?
Personal branding is how you portray yourself based on your area of expertise, experiences, personality, and more; it completely encompasses you. In the digital age, your brand is everything. It is on display 24/7 for millions of people to see at any given time.
If you share a significant project or accomplishment on LinkedIn, due to the platform's organic reach, thousands may be able to see it. Whenever one of your connections likes or comments on one of your posts, LinkedIn shares that activity with all of their connections, too. This organic reach can quickly grow your network and put your personal brand on display to thousands of people, so you want to make sure you are representing yourself well.
Isn't LinkedIn just your online resume?
Think of your LinkedIn profile as your public persona. It tells the story about you more than your resume ever could. Rather than quick one-liners about your successes, LinkedIn lets you embellish on your experience, show off your major projects, and give credibility to the statements on your resume.
You do not want to replicate your resume on your LinkedIn profile—copying and pasting your resume won't be effective. Instead, share the background of the metrics you are sharing on your resume. If you beat your sales goal by 10%, use LinkedIn to explain how you surpassed your goal.
JWU marketing professor Kristen Regine, DBA, considers your LinkedIn profile to be your portfolio. She explains that it is a place to build recommendations based on your endorsements and to show if you will be a cultural fit for an organization.
In a previous article, Regine explained how social media sites are a part of your "toolbox," each serving its purpose in building a personal brand. LinkedIn is no different, as it is an essential location for professionals to network, prospect for leads, and show off their portfolio.
How can you start?
When building your profile on LinkedIn, you should think of a few key elements that will attract potential employers' attention.
1. Add a profile picture.
Your profile picture is going to be the first thing that someone sees on LinkedIn. Having a professional headshot is crucial in making a great first impression. Your work ID photo or a picture that was taken at a conference, receiving an award, or in a professional setting are ideal.
2. Writing a snappy headline.
Like your profile picture, your headline will be seen by everyone who sees your content on LinkedIn. Many people just go with the LinkedIn default headline (position and company), which can be watered down and cause you to blend in. Your headline should be bold and make people want to learn more about you. Whether you go with a witty/clever statement, a self-proclamation, or an explainer headline, you want to catch your audience's eye. Additionally, it would help if you tried to incorporate keywords into your headline. Keywords help improve your LinkedIn SEO and can help you appear in more search results.
3. Don’t slack on the summary.
Like your headline, you want your summary to catch the audience's eye and make them want to read more. Think of this as your condensed cover letter that excites people to learn more about you.
There are many aspects to your profile that you should pay attention to. Of course, you want to make sure your work experience is kept up to date. This section is where you should embellish some of the accomplishments you have had in the workplace throughout your career. Your profile is a never-ending process. You should constantly be updating it, adding new content to your activity and features section, and (hopefully) getting more endorsements that add to the credibility of the statements you have made on your site.
If you’re interested in learning more about building your personal brand, consider earning a degree in Digital Marketing and Social Media through Johnson and Wales University’s College of Online Education! For more information, complete the Request Info form, or call 855-JWU-1881.