Building a brand on LinkedIn is critical for CIOs, IT professionals and other businesspeople who want to network and grow their careers, but the process doesn’t happen overnight. Some users spend years crafting their profiles, building a network of peers and promoting their achievements, while many others all but forget about LinkedIn until it’s time to look for a new job.
Dozens of simple tips exist to boost your presence on LinkedIn and get more value from the platform, but keeping a well-maintained profile is an ongoing effort. These three tips, provided exclusively to CIO.com by LinkedIn, are for professionals who already have stellar profiles and enviable connections. If you already consider yourself an experienced LinkedIn user, but you want to take your profile to the next level and get even more from the service, you’ll appreciate these tips from Catherine Fisher, LinkedIn’s career expert and senior director of corporate communications.
Publish on LinkedIn Pulse, engage with peers
If you are an expert in your field, your peers will likely want to read your opinions and perhaps engage with you and share your content. “Publishing and sharing on LinkedIn gives you a megaphone to reinforce what you know, debate about a hot-button issue in the world of CIOs, and foster meaningful discourse with your network and your network’s network,” Fisher says.
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As of earlier this summer, more than 1 million unique writers posted to LinkedIn’s publishing platform, Pulse. Collectively, those writers now publish more than 130,000 posts a week, and LinkedIn says 45 percent of readers are in the “upper ranks of their industries,” with job titles including manager, vice president, founder and CEO. Technology, financial services and higher education are the industries with the most Pulse content, according to LinkedIn, and the average post reaches professionals in 21 industries and nine countries.
There’s lots of useful and thought provoking content on LinkedIn, but the million-plus members who have published to date represent only 0.26 percent of LinkedIn’s total 380 million users.
Industry veterans and experts can reinforce their professional brands across their networks by sharing thought-leadership advice or commenting on industry trends, according to Fisher. “It’s a great way to stay top of mind with your business contacts, whether you are looking to build business, looking for a new job or to spread awareness about your company.”
Don’t forget experience, top skills sections on LinkedIn
Your LinkedIn profile should not be a simple copy of your resume or cover letter. Profiles can, and should, be dynamic portfolios of their owners’ work, talents, accomplishments and accolades.
Advanced LinkedIn users can make their experience sections visually pop by including specific examples of the work they performed under each position listed in their profiles, according to Fisher. Case studies, compelling videos, published work and awards all catch the eyes of recruiters, prospective clients and other business contacts, she says.
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If you recently spoke at a conference on enterprise security, upload a photo to LinkedIn and add it to your credentials. If you moved up the ranks at your company to a leadership position, list each consecutive promotion you received to get to your current role, and highlight your biggest accomplishments at each position with “punchy language” and examples, Fisher says. Profiles that have more than one position listed are 12 times more likely to be viewed than those with a single role, according to LinkedIn.
Finally, don’t neglect the top skills section of your profile. LinkedIn members should add, remove and reorder the skills they want to be best known for, and place the most important skills at the top, Fisher says.
Tout your volunteerism on LinkedIn
LinkedIn may not seem like the most natural place to showcase your volunteer experience and identify the causes you choose to support, especially if they could be deemed controversial. However, the company wants its users to overcome that hesitation. Profiles that include volunteerism and charitable causes receive six times more views than those without them, according to LinkedIn research, and 42 percent of hiring managers consider volunteer work as valuable as paid work experience.
“Be sure to translate your volunteer work into the vocabulary of employment by highlighting transferable skills and relevant accolades,” Fisher says. It’s also a good idea to list valuable skills such as leadership, organization and recruiting in the description of your volunteer experience, according to Fisher.
So instead of simply boasting about the neighborhood cleanup project you organized, explain how you assembled and led the team. You should also highlight your organizational skills and willingness to take on new challenges for the greater good.
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“A current and well-maintained profile opens up an array of technology-facing opportunities like upper management and technology job opportunities, new business ventures to strengthen intra-organization communication, referrals that substantiate CIOs’ responsibilities that advance a company’s technological direction, and beyond,” Fisher says.
Even if your profile is already top-notch, you shouldn’t wait for your employment status to change to start developing your voice, highlighting your accomplishments or bolstering your volunteer experience. Doing these things proactively just might lead to a key connection or job opportunity you never thought possible.