Using LinkedIn To Boost Your Professional Brand

Quite frankly, the quality of LinkedIn profiles for people 25 years old and younger is underwhelming. What gives? LinkedIn is a great tool that can be used to connect with industry professionals and to brand oneself as a business samurai, so to speak.

No matter how hard everyone tries, they’ll never get anywhere on LinkedIn without adding some real quality to their profiles. The following are four critical areas for leveraging LinkedIn to create a glowing personal brand.

Get a Professional(ish) Headshot
Of course, most people don’t have the dough to go get professional headshots taken; it’s OK to start small when selecting a profile picture. The picture I use on my profile was taken by one of my college roommates, who just so happened to be a film major (this also meant he had the best DVD and BluRay collection in the world — I was lucky).

He made me stand at an angle, tilt my head, protrude my neck and smile maniacally before closing the shutter. After some editing magic, the final picture was surprisingly impressive. Everyone should start by looking for people who actually know how to take good pictures (note: these aren’t the people who flood Facebook feeds with “hip” pictures of every “vintage” brick wall they find).

Use Resume Content
Here’s a fun fact: LinkedIn is great for sharing resumes with recruiters. Users should just put all of the details from their resumes — and then some — onto their profiles, making sure the important stuff included (like job duties and achievements) is measurable — use numbers everywhere! Recruiters and interviewers love numbers. Throwing percentages, dollar signs and raw data at them in bullet points as liberally as possible (while maintaining relevance and quality, of course) is an effective strategy to catch some attention.

Connect
Every high school class has one kid who everyone knew would grow up to be a millionaire, and he probably already has a LinkedIn profile. By connecting with the high school “most likely to succeeds” on LinkedIn, users can build a good professional relationship; eventually, this type of connection could yield job leads or other opportunities to network with industry leaders.

Users should also hit up college professors, high school teachers and anyone who they’ve worked with before. Making sure to focus on the quality of each connection is important, though; LinkedIn isn’t the place to accumulate “friends.” To add value to their personal brands, users should establish quality connections.

Interact in Groups
Another great way to find new people to connect with is to join groups and interact with members. For example, users who want to find a career in accounting should join several groups that have accounting as their main focus.

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