LinkedIn is not your resume, but it's pretty darn close these days. The 200 million+ strong professional social network is anchored by your profile, so doesn't it make sense that you'd want to do what you can to make it stand out to potential employers and networking contacts? Check out these seven LinkedIn personal branding tips that will make your profile stand out.
1. Give Your LinkedIn Profile 100%
The first tip is as much a metaphor for networking online as it is practical advice: put 100% into filling in your profile. There are a lot of neat, yet lesser-known features of LinkedIn that might help say something about you, such as a reading list, a Slideshare.net feed, and more. Take the time to fully navigate LinkedIn's profile editing options to make sure your profile says as much about you as possible.
2. LinkedIn is Search Engine Optimize-able
LinkedIn has a search engine that operates on the same principles as Google. Its contents are archived in an index, then accessed and processed against an algorithm for authority and relevance. Spend time thinking about the career titles and words you want to be associated with and weave them into your profile as a way to SEO your LinkedIn profile. Pay special attention to your professional headline (i.e., the "LinkedIn page title"), your summary, and any skills you list.
3. Don't Scrimp on the Photo
A picture is worth a thousand words, and your LinkedIn profile photo is often the first thing new business contacts will see when trying to connect with you. You can't afford to scrimp on your LinkedIn profile photo, so do what it takes to get a high-quality, high-resolution photo for your profile. Bite the bullet and bribe your photography-inclined friends, because it's just too important to not invest in this key aspect of your personal brand. Use that same photo across all of your digital outposts to create a consistent digital presence across the web.
4. Connect Your Worlds
Chances are good that many of the people seeking to connect with you on LinkedIn are doing so because they already know you or want to meet you as a result of your involvement with your current or past projects. List all of your jobs and what you did there, as well as your blog(s), website(s), and any other social networks you're on. Make it easy for people to connect with you across platforms and your personal brand will spread more easily.
5. Grow Your Recommendations and Endorsements
The expression, "you have to give to get" is just as true on LinkedIn as it is anywhere else. Make a habit to regularly and genuinely thanking your colleagues and clients through recommendations, and you'll likely end up with a large list of your own in due time. Reciprocity is a wonderful thing, and giving recommendations and endorsements openly and proactively is a great way to end up never having to ask for one in return.
6. Paint a Picture of Your Personal Brand
Ultimately, you want your profile to say a lot about you. More importantly, you want your profile to say clearly a select handful of critical things relative to what makes you unique and special.
Be sure to put some thought into how you can create a clear overall picture of the value you provide and some themes that go along with your personal brand. Are there skills you've employed throughout your career or jobs that were seemingly unconnected until positioned in a certain light? What's the big picture of your personal branding plan, and how can you stress those themes throughout your profile?
What tips on this list have you tried or think would be the most valuable? Are there LinkedIn personal branding tips you've developed and would recommend? Be sure to leave your thoughts about the career-focused social network and your personal brand in the comments below.