Put together a barely-there LinkedIn Profile, but you’re not sure how to expand it or make it stronger?
Nearly every executive I speak with laments the lack of time and ideas for creating an engaging, interesting LinkedIn presence.
Yet, all it takes is a quick glance at your Profile, changing it section by section, until you’re happy with the final result.
Try these strategies for building a strong, relevant portrait of your executive competencies on LinkedIn:
1 – Tune your LinkedIn Headline for the right executive role.
Don’t settle for LinkedIn’s default (your current job title). Instead, provide a keyword-rich descriptor that positions you for the role you hold now, plus a step up in the future.
As an example, Senior Vice President Sales at ABC Manufacturing implies strong team management and closing skills, but SVP Sales & Revenue Officer, Top Team Results & New Consultative Processes Distinguishing Manufacturing Firms tells a more complete story.
Out of ideas for your Headline? Start with your career level (CIO, Sales Manager, Director of IT, etc.), then add key skills, such as IT Roadmaps or Product Strategy. Make reference to a result, such as New Technology Platforms or Revenue Growth.
Last of all, keep the Headline to 120 characters or less – and road test it by asking trusted contacts for feedback.
2 – Write an engaging LinkedIn Summary.
Your LinkedIn Summary is one of the best places to reflect a strong executive brand message; yet, many rising leaders leave it blank or worse yet, write it in third-person (much like a biography).
Rather than ignoring this crucial section of the site, consider using a conversational tone, much like you would when interviewing, to tell your story. Interject keywords and job titles that show your stature, as this allows you to imply that you might be open to a new opportunity (rather than giving away your intentions).
As an example, your Summary might open with:
** Senior Operations Executive **
Manufacturing & Retail Industries
As a COO and VP of Operations, my work is relevant to the efficiency and daily functioning of 7 manufacturing plants across Americas, Europe, and Asia. By increasing our productivity and maintaining a tight culture of safety, I’m able to maintain peak production (5 years and counting), while looking out for the best interests of our manufacturing teams.
Note how this Summary uses first-person language to build rapport with the reader, pulling in a strong suite of keywords (Manufacturing, Operations, Retail, Productivity, Production, Safety, etc.) and describing this executive’s ROI at the current employer.
3 – Quit ignoring LinkedIn’s Skills & Expertise section.
Learn to play LinkedIn’s Skills section as a key part of the online identity game. A notable factor in your traffic, this list of competencies can draw employer eyeballs to your Profile when populated with desirable skills and endorsements from your network.
Here’s how it works: you specify skills related to your field, such as Data Center Strategy, Marketing, Lead Generation, or Operations in this section. Other users endorse you for these skills (which typically happens when they visit your Profile, receive prompts from LinkedIn to do so, or receive Endorsements from you).
LinkedIn then recognizes the value of these terms as key areas of your expertise, and starts to feature you more often in searches for these keywords. It’s as simple as that.
4 – Provide an corner office-worthy LinkedIn Photo.
Did you skip out on providing a photo on LinkedIn, telling yourself you’d take care of it later? You could be missing out on solid connections with recruiters and employers, who often avoid reaching out to LinkedIn users without a headshot.
If you’re not sure what type of photo to provide, take a look around at professionals and executives in similar roles. Are they wearing a traditional, conservative suit and tie, or using a headshot from a more relaxed setting? You can gain clues from looking at what others use in your field.
In addition, the old advice about dressing for the job you want holds true here. If you’re ultimately aiming for a CEO role, start to look the part (even if you’re still a Director or Manager). Colorful attire is a good idea if it reflects your brand personality and industry, particularly in a creative field or a job that requires a bold presence.
Get a variety of photos and poses from a professional photographer and watch your results for a few weeks after posting each headshot. (Insider tip: reach out to real estate agents who can provide the name of a good headshot photographer!) You may be surprised at the reaction you’ll receive upon updating your LinkedIn photo.
In closing, there’s no time like the present to update your LinkedIn Profile to match your executive leadership skills.
Start by trading blank space for powerful, keyword-specific descriptions of your capabilities and results – then continue to tune your Profile to fit your brand and career goals.
Need a competitive edge in your job search? As an award-winning executive resume writer, I create branded, powerful resumes and LinkedIn Profiles that position you as the #1 candidate.
My clients win interviews at Fortune 500 firms including Citibank, Google, Disney, and Pfizer, plus niche companies, start-ups, and emerging industry leaders.
Get in touch with me to experience the outstanding results I can bring to your transition.
– Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CPBA, TCCS, COPNS, CIC, CTTCC