9 Ways to Stand Out on LinkedIn

One of my most popular programmes is my 1:1 personal brand makeover. It’s all about helping you understand what you want from your career and how to put it out there, either to get noticed where you are, or make a complete career change. Visibility is a crucial element of this, and as a result I’ve been looking at all the ways to achieve this, inside AND outside your organisation. LinkedIn is the perfect tool, whether you’re looking for a new job or a promotion.

I’ve a confession to make, I’ve become a bit of a LinkedIn addict! It’s crept up on me lately as something that’s become both interesting and useful.  I’ve been on it for years, but until recently, I didn’t pay much attention.  Here’s the thing, gone are the days of it being an online CV, these days it’s a great place to learn, connect, and importantly; be seen.

Why is LinkedIn worth a Second Look?

Firstly, it’s popularity is going off the charts!  With over 530 million users worldwide and 106 million unique visitors a month, it’s time to pay attention if you’re not already.  Secondly, it’s the main professional tool out there. It’s sole purpose is to connect and raise the profile of people in businesses.  Thirdly, it’s the acceptable social media platform to be seen using at work, so you have a licence to get on it. The others, not so much.

How can I make the most of it?

Before I share the tips I want to issue a general social media health warning. Like all platforms, post with care.  What you post is there for millions to see (including your work colleagues that you avoid on Facebook) and will stick around, so think before you post. You don’t want your personal brand makeover to work against you.

1. It is a visible platform

It stands to reason then that you’re going to want it to say the right things about yourself. Forget the staid and boring CV approach, this is your chance to share who you are, what you’re great at, and what you have to offer the business world! Take some time to think about what your strengths are, what your proudest achievements have been, what your values are, and inject your profile with the essence of your brand. If you’re not sure about any of those thing, check out my previous blogs on vision, values, purpose.

2. Use a great photo

This is crucial to your personal brand makeover. When you have no picture up at all, quite simply, people don’t trust your profile.  And let’s face it, you’re hiding, so what’s the point of being there?  If the one you have isn’t appropriate for a professional context, then you’re also damaging your brand. You don’t have to have a professional pic done, get a friend to take one on your phone. Make sure you’re dressed professionally, that it’s a headshot, and it can help if it’s in front of a light background. No selfies please!

3. Your headline

This will be the most read piece of information on your profile and is fundamental to your personal brand makeover. You want it to represent you and what you do. You’ve got space for it to be much more than a job title. And let’s face it, who ever really understands what you do from your title. Here you can bring in key strengths, what you do for others, and something about you! You have 120 characters to use.  Maybe, instead of ‘Business Improvement Specialist’ how about you say ‘Change Agent | loves connecting teams with their why so they are engaged and productive’. Or instead of just saying ‘Marketing Manager’ add something like… ‘loves helping businesses connect their brand with their audience to create a steady stream of customers’

4. Write a great summary

The first 100 characters are your most important, as they are always visible, so whatever your gold is put it there.  This is your opportunity to expand on your brand.  Think of who will be reading it and what you want them to know about you.  If you want to increase your visibility then it’s about setting yourself up as the expert in X or the go to person for Y.  If you’re looking for a new job, then it’s going to represent your ideal role.The important things to include are your achievements, the types of work that you get the most energy from, and the things you’re proudest of.

5. Recommendations

Start giving and asking for recommendations of others. If someone tells you you did a great job at something, ask them to put it on your linked in profile. This bit is most important when looking for a new role, but you want to be building it when you’re not.

6. Skills List

Keep your skills list to a minimum, 5 to 10 at most. I made the mistake of selecting loads of skills when I set up my profile, as of course I can do everything (ha!).  But what you’re doing is diluting what you’re actually great at. Not just because it’s a list no one will read, but also you will have too many options for people to endorse you for. Think about it, you want people to see that you are great at the things you thrive on doing. And when people are looking to endorse you for something, they only have a few to chose from. Better to have 30+ endorsements for 3 or 4 skills, than 1 or 2 for 30 or 40.

7. Interact with others

Interacting with others on LinkedIn will build your network on and off line. By spending a bit of time on it 2 or 3 times a week you’ll get more in touch with what’s going on in the business world and create the opportunity to strengthen your connections.  Try liking, sharing, and most importantly commenting on others posts.  Give your opinion, give feedback, and offer support. Most importantly, be positive. You want your growing profile to be one others want to engage with and paints you in the best light. You’ll reap what you sow, and will find people will reciprocate.

8. Share Content

Share content that grows ‘brand you’ awareness. If your passion is employee engagement, or how to be a great manager then share articles about that. Find good sources for material and follow them. Spend a bit of time on the web researching good articles that will help you learn and grow, and share the best ones. Post with your own intro. You might share something you got from it, or your favourite quote, or if it’s a controversial opinion in the article ask what others think. When you engage others in commenting, your reach will increase and your personal brand makeover will be more effective.

9. Grow your network

It’s best not to use a scattergun approach, think about who you want to connect with. Send them a simple message, or connect and give a thank you to them.  For credibility it helps to have >500 connections.

Taking a regular and consistent approach will definitely pay dividends. Very soon you’ll have raised your profile and increased your network. Now it’s time to take it offline and in person, and that’s a whole other blog!
I’d love to hear how you’re getting on, so feel free to email me sinead@sineadsharkey.co.uk

If you’re interested in learning more about my Personal Brand Makeover check it out here.