By Meg Guiseppi
Do you want to build your personal brand, accelerate your job search, and land a good-fit job faster?
Get busy on LinkedIn.
Recruiters and hiring decision makers at your target companies rely heavily on LinkedIn when they’re sourcing and assessing job candidates.
A clearly presented personal brand visible on LinkedIn will be easily found by employers and recruiters looking for someone like you.
You already have a brand. Your personal brand is your personal DNA -- the combination of personal attributes, values, strengths, and passions that people know you for and that represent the value you offer.
Today, LinkedIn is the most important social network for making that brand clear:
LinkedIn is a robust site offering many ways to get your personal brand and job search in sync.
Step one in job search is targeting and researching specific employers that are a good fit for you. Targeting and research are also critical for defining and communicating your personal brand.
You'll need to know who you'll be writing your personal marketing communications for and how to speak about the value you offer specific companies or organizations.
LinkedIn is a good place to start doing research on your target employers:
Leverage all that LinkedIn has to offer – both passively and proactively – to promote the unique value you offer your target employers.
To get a handle on how to best use LinkedIn for personal branding, download and read my free ebook, Smart Personal Branding with LinkedIn.
Then, build a robust LinkedIn profile that will lead people to you:
A robust, fully-fleshed out Profile containing content that supports your personal brand, with each applicable section completed, will build your personal brand visibility and boost traffic to your LinkedIn Profile.
Why is plenty of LinkedIn Profile content so important?
You need to be highly visible and findable on LinkedIn. 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.
Most people know enough to put at least some information in the About (formerly the Summary), Experience and Education sections. But take a look at all the other sections available to you, and use each one you can. Many people don’t know about, or neglect these sections:
To make it easier to add the right amount of content, first create it in a Word document, then do a count and spell check, before copying and pasting into your Profile:
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:
For more information about achieving the right mix of personal branding and relevant keywords, see my post To Succeed Today, Balance Personal Branding With Personal SEO.
As time passes and your job changes, be sure to update your LinkedIn Profile to reflect your new accomplishments and to keep your terminology (keywords) up-to-date and relevant to your career. Update your Profile on a quarterly basis, at a minimum. Then, carefully include contact information on your Profile so that people can contact you while you retain your privacy.
Log into your account frequently to promote your personal brand, demonstrate your subject matter expertise, and express your thought leadership.
Build and engage your LinkedIn network:
Take it further. Log into LinkedIn regularly to proactively build your personal brand, express your opinions, influence people, and stay top-of-mind with your network and other people on LinkedIn:
Avoid off-brand or unprofessional content. Keep your brand clean and clear..
If you’re still employed and job-hunting undercover, as so many job-seekers are, LinkedIn is still for you.
Write the content in your profile so that it supports your good-fit qualities for your target companies while supporting your current company, without saying outright that you are looking for a job.
LinkedIn is also an accepted overall career management tool when you are not job hunting. New members of your network as well as potential clients or customers, suppliers, even people who might consider dating you will check out your LinkedIn Profile and activities.
Many employers want their employees to be active on LinkedIn, promoting the products and services and the "employer brand" as a good place to work.
When you’re employed and not looking for a new job, stay busy on LinkedIn:
Whether you are job hunting or not, proactively promote yourself as an employee of your current company, while promoting your personal brand, subject matter expertise, and thought leadership.
Meg Guiseppi, Job-Hunt's Personal Branding Expert and 20+ year careers industry veteran, has earned 10 certifications, including Reach Certified Personal Branding Strategist, Reach Social Branding Analyst – LinkedIn Profile Strategist, and Certified Executive Resume Master. Meg is the author of "23 Ways You Sabotage Your Executive Job Search and How Your Brand Will Help You Land." Connect with Meg at ExecutiveCareerBrand.com for c-suite personal branding and executive job search help and on Twitter (@MegGuiseppi). And, you may also download Meg's free ebook - Job-Hunt Guide to Smart Personal Branding with LinkedIn.