LinkedIn Must Haves for your Professional Brand

I recently spoke to an audience about the basics and ‘must haves’ of LinkedIn networking and personal branding. My focus was targeted on how an individual can enhance their own professional brand efforts as well as their job hunting and networking efforts.

While I discussed the personal aspects of LinkedIn, my colleague Emily focused on the efforts a company can utilize for branding, marketing and content sharing on LinkedIn. After our demos, we had several opportunities to dive in with hands-on demos of how to improve the LinkedIn presence.

I wanted to share the 5 basic tips that everyone should be utilizing as it relates to their professional brand and personal networking from the event. As well as ‘why’ it’s important.

1.  ETIQUETTE / PROFESSIONALISM: Contrary to other social tools (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc) it’s important to follow proper etiquette and be professional on LinkedIn.

  • WHY? LinkedIn is for professional networking and job search, so stay in a professional mindset at all times. This includes your profile image (no selfies please), your resume content and shared posts.

2. INSTANT CONNECTION / FOLLOW-UP: After any networking event, timing is critical. You should connect with all of the contacts that you received business cards from via LinkedIn, preferably within 1-3 days. Thank them for the meeting and as relevant set up additional coffees and introductions.

  • WHY? Besides enhancing you own ‘Rolodex’ of professional contacts, you may also find that someone you connect with may bring you one level closer to a contact you’d like to meet now or down the road. And always remember to reciprocate as able.

3. TARGETED PROFILE: Enhance your profile and take the time to utilize keywords related to jobs and business you’d like to be considered for.

  • WHY? LinkedIn is a simpler platform (unlike Google) when it comes to how recruiters are matched with prospective hires. So frequency and specificity can be huge. If you are looking for a position as a marketing manager, make sure that you utilize that phrase throughout your online resume for starters.

 4. GROUPS: Find a few groups that are of interest for your industry and your aspirations and then join them and engage. Look for groups that have a few active people and aren’t overrun with sales chatter.

  • WHY? Establishing yourself as part of the right community can open new doors and connections. You also might get first-hand knowledge of a company culture and job openings from connections within the groups.

 5. COMPANY RESEARCH: When looking into a company, always check them out on LinkedIn.

  • WHY? You will find tons of data and also identify which members of your own network work there, or are connected to someone who does.

 Make sure your profile and your actions match these efforts and you will continue to see your LinkedIn presence and network grow in numbers and influence.