You & Your Brand - LinkedIn Profiles

Brand. Brand brand brand brand brand brand. Brand? BRAND!

Have you been on LinkedIn the last few weeks? Then you know what I am talking about. No...not Blockchain. The other topic. No...not posts that start with "I don't post here often." Forget it. Brands, I am talking about Brands. More specifically, your Brand. It's more than a buzzword, and you don't want to be left out.

Personal Brands. Brand Audits. BRAND! So...what is your Brand? Your Brand is you. What you bring to the table. Who you are, what you have done and, most importantly, what you are going to accomplish. This is HUGE when looking for a new job. Sure, you have a resume. Blah. Your experience neatly compartmentalized on one or two pages, tidied up with .5 margins. BORING. And necessary unfortunately. I've discussed resumes in the past (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/does-your-resume-pass-6-second-revie...). And I have always offered to give anyone's resume a quick look over to note any glaring issues. As a result I believe I have reviewed most of LinkedIn's resumes. Also I am going blind.

But what about your LinkedIn profile? That's your landing page. Take a look at it. Go ahead. I'll wait. Does your profile highlight you? Or does it highlight your employer? What you bring to the table? Or what you did for your last employer? You have your resume and then you have your LinkedIn profile. That's where you can get a little creative and show off your personality. A bit. It isn't secondary to your resume. Your resume and your profile are teammates at this point. You can have a fantastic resume, but when that recruiter or potential employer looks you up on LinkedIn (oh, you thought we were kidding about that? We're looking you up online. Every. Single. Time.) you better hope they are impressed. Same rules apply for the most part. No typos. Extra points for coherency. But its also a platform to let your personality AS WELL AS YOUR EXPERIENCE shine. Resumes summarize what you have accomplished. LinkedIn profiles broadcast what you can/will accomplish. Your potential.

Lets get down to it, shall we?

BRAND!

PROFILE PHOTO

This is a judgement call based on your comfort level. It's not quite a Twitter Egg scenario if you don't have a photo. But it does come off as more welcoming if you have one. It also allows for familiarity when you are networking (and/or creeping on someone's profile. You know who you are.) Black and white professional headshots are nice, but they aren't for everyone. It can reflect your personality a bit, but just make sure of a few things.

  1. The picture has a good resolution
  2. The picture is not a scan of a picture
  3. The picture doesn't have a copyright, proof image, or watermark on it
  4. The picture is "appropriate." You'll know it when you see it. Rather, others will know it when they see it.
  5. Please please PLEASE make sure the photo is not rotated askew. I see it all the time and it makes me question everything I believe in.
  6. No logos and/or photos of other things. In fact, I believe it is a violation of LinkedIn's TOS.

HEADLINES

This is where you can be a bit creative. A bit. You also want it to be beneficial. Recruiters/HR tend to go thru 100s of pages of LinkedIn results. So you want your headline to stand out AS WELL AS give an accurate picture of what you do. It will also avoid being contacted for roles that ARE not a fit, which saves you time as well as tears.

For example:

"Sr. Accountant" Congratulations. You are boring.

"Sr. Accountant - Real Estate Industry" Better.

"Sr. Accountant With 10 Years Progressive Experience In The Real Estate Industry" Good.

"The Best God Damn Senior Accountant YOU WILL EVER TALK TO" Too far. Back it up a bit.

You get the idea. Give a quick general sense of your job and a dash of your experience. It'll help. You know what doesn't help? Something witty and/or irreverent. If you know me, you know that no one NO ONE appreciates irreverence more than me. It may get you followers if that is your goal. But, for the most part, it will NOT go over well with potential employers.

For example. A month or so ago I was involved in a discussion on LinkedIn that centered around recruiters reaching out to candidates. One individual stated that they "Have never had a recruiter reach out to them on LinkedIn. Not once." This person's headline was "Human." So, being the helpful person that I am, I politely pointed out that the headline may be the reason why. They didn't take it well. I was not surprised. Is it different? Yes. Funny? Debatable. Productive? Probably not.

BACKGROUND PHOTO

Please don't get confused and post another headshot as your background photo. When I am in bed at 1am scrolling thru profiles on my iPad, I don't want to have the hell scared out of me. If you own your own practice, consider putting your logo back there. If you are in marketing or art, put something you created back there to make your profile pop. Or if you just want to stand out, put a picture back there that will give the viewer a little sense of who you are. Again, don't go too far. It's not like I would put a picture of chicken wings back there.

CURRENT POSITION

Headlines are for being a bit creative. Current positions are not. Recruiters search by job title. You might think its cool to be a Ninja, but unless you are hoping a dojo owner is looking for you, you aren't going to be found. Avoid being cliche here. Do you have your company job description? Do you have business cards? Good, then you know your job title. You aren't a Guru. Unless you have achieved oneness. If that is the case, please contact me IMMEDIATELY.

EDUCATION

Self-explanatory. I hope.

LOCATION

Be specific...if you want to be found, make it possible to be found.

If you are looking to relocate to a specific area, change your profile's location to the location you want to relocate to. That way you can be found by local recruiters/HR.

INDUSTRY

Recruiters have a tough time with this. For example. If you are a Property Accountant, should your industry be Accounting? Or Real Estate? I have always felt that for candidate searching purposes, the industry should be based on your job duties, and not the area you work. I don't know if there is a right or wrong answer, but most recruiters I know operate with this assumption. Something to think about. I think LinkedIn should operate like some job boards where you select both Job Type (in this case Accounting) and Industry (in this case Real Estate).

SUMMARY

This is it....THIS is what separates the profile from the resume. This is where your Brand has a chance to stand out. The summary is like a mission statement, objective, and career summation all wrapped up into one. Who are you? What have you accomplished? WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN YOUR NEXT ROLE? The is almost like an exploratory conversation or first phone screen. DO NOT LEAVE THIS BLANK. You don't have many opportunities to sell yourself in a job search...this is one of them. Take full advantage of it.

Also, it is a good place to put contact info if you want people to be able to reach you. I suggest a good burner account i.e. firstname.lastname.linkedin@domain.com

MEDIA

Any examples of your work? Anything you want to show off? Media can be your digital portfolio. A resume lists your experience...your LinkedIn profile allows you to actually show people what you do, and how well you do it. Upload away!

EXPERIENCE

This should match up with your resume EXACTLY. Recruiters and HR are fanatical about finding discrepancies. Even if it is an honest mistake, it'll cost you. Make sure titles, duties, dates...it all matches up. And list the experience/bullet points, not just the titles. You want people to see your experience, where you gained that experience, and how your experience has progressed. Remember, recruiters search LinkedIn by keyword, and if your experience is missing keywords, YOU WILL NOT BE FOUND. So shoot a keyword flare and be rescued.

SKILLS & ENDORSEMENTS

Again with the keywords?!?! Yup. The interesting thing is anyone can endorse anyone else's skills...but LinkedIn has a feature in that is highlights when someone particularly skilled endorses you. For example. I have 99+ people endorsing me for "Recruiting." (Go me!). But then it highlights the fact that people who are "highly skilled at this" have endorsed me. PEOPLE WHO KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING can vouch for you. Can your mom endorse your skills? Yes. Is she highly skilled at said skill? LinkedIn knows!

Many people don't take advantage of this. List all of the skills you have experience with and watch your contacts endorse you. The best way to get the ball rolling is to endorse others. They will return the favor. Good old quid pro quo.

NOTE - Be careful with the individuality here. I've seen "Awesomeness" listed. Not all of the people who list "Awesomeness" are in fact awesome. If you aren't sure if you are awesome, don't put it out there for a public referendum. If you know you are awesome, and you wind up with a 99+ for "Awesomeness," congratulations. You are officially awesome. BUT if you are a 0 for "Awesomeness?" Don't bum out everyone that visits your profile...that wouldn't be right.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Recommendations? Is there anything your LinkedIn profile doesn't take care of in the hiring process? It's like the cover letter, resume, interview AND references all wrapped up in a single page.

Recommendations are the ultimate endorsement. People actually care enough about you to take the time to write something. No just clicking here. Actual thought is involved. Leverage all of those bridges you haven't burned. Previous supervisors, peers, etc. Anyone who can vouch for your professional experience. If you have a recruiter or even a hiring manager/potential boss looking over your profile, and there are people who vouch for your work product? That's the kind of candidate hiring managers want on their team.

So...you're shy? Humble? A little of both? Don't worry about it. Just send a Recommendation request with a nice little message. I always include a low-pressure note in case someone isn't comfortable doing it for you. It's a built in "out" to avoid any potential awkwardness or passive aggressiveness. Something like "I know that some people aren't comfortable posting recommendations for the entire internet to see, so please know I understand if it is something you would rather not do." No pressure and no hurt feelings. Just remember that when they ask you for their recommendation. I'm kidding (no I'm not).

Also another way to get the recommendation ball rolling would be to write someone else a recommendation and sit watching your inbox for that reciprocity to pop up.

CONTACT

Pretty self-explanatory. I will say put whatever email you plan on checking the most, esp for job search purposes. If you do use a burner account, make sure you are checking that. And it might seem silly to post your Birthday, but it pops up to your network and it's an easy way to start a dialogue or check in with people you haven't heard from.

Also, there is a space for your Twitter handle. Don't list your Twitter unless you want potential employers seeing what you are up to on Twitter.

INTERESTS

I always suggest following companies on LinkedIn that you

  1. Have an interest in working for
  2. Have applied to

You never know who will be looking at your profile, and if you show interest in their company, it can't hurt.

SETTINGS

If you want to be found, make sure your settings are as open and public as possible.

  • Share your profile changes with your network
  • Let viewers see your name and headline if you view their profile
  • Let everyone on LinkedIn follow your updates
  • If you have a premium account, make sure you switch your Open Profile to on. It allows ANYONE on LinkedIn to contact you directly for free, even if they are not connected to you.

You want people to know you. You want people to find you. You want people to be impressed with you. You want to stand out. You NEED to stand out. It's not about ego. It's about your career.

Oh, I almost forgot...BRAND!

Thanks for making last week's article "Candidates Are People, Not Produce'" a featured article on RecruitingBlogs https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/candidates-people-produce-adam-karpiak

If you have any questions about anything I discussed in the above article, looking for a job and/or working with a recruiter, just ask! Shoot me an email at akarpiak@karpiakconsulting.com

For more about me or my firm, please visit www.karpiakconsulting.com or www.linkedin.com/in/akarpiak I am always looking to network with good professionals that share my values in recruiting, so shoot me an invite if you agree with me!

You can find job postings, as well as loads of content on Karpiak Consulting's Facebook page www.fb.com/karpiakconsulting Please "like" or follow the page to be kept up to date on all of new content daily. I re-post articles of interest I find online regarding recruiting & public accounting, and I also post emails & messages I get (redacted of course) regarding recruiting that I think are of interest, including stories from candidates about other recruiters doing bad/confusing things.

I am also featuring a Candidate Of The Day. If you are interested in being featured in one of my daily LinkedIn posts, shoot me the following info in an email (I've created a Gmail account to stay organized: DailyJobCandidate@gmail.com) with the subject: Daily Job Candidate. Tell me your desired position, industry, and geographic area. This way my entire network of recruiters and networkers could see if they could help out the candidate in any way with leads or point them to someone else that might be able to help. Just by reading the post, people in my network would be able to:

1) Reach out to the candidate directly if they think they can help them.

2) Like or share the post with their network, in the hopes someone in their network can help the candidate.

3) Tag a person in the post's comments that may be able to help the person.

Views: 148

Comment by Joanne McDonagh on July 6, 2017 at 9:10am

We do lots of blogs on personal branding on blog.rezoomo.com it is so important to express yourself and really your market yourself through your personal brand ..... great read :) 

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