Brands have evolved over the past decades and no longer are products, services, companies, and organisations the only things that can be branded but also people i.e. personal branding. As a concept, a personal brand is the synthesis of all the expectations, images, and perceptions it creates in the minds of people when they see or hear your name.
Given the current state of the world, where it’s not advisable for friends, family, and potential employers to meet with us in person due to the coronavirus. Social media is by far the most ideal channel to promote your personal brand. And I think you can agree with me that LinkedIn is the most dominant social media networking site for professional personal brand development.
What I learned about LinkedIn is that, besides just serving as an online CV (curriculum Vitae); LinkedIn offers you a portal, an opportunity, a hope for you to connect, learn, enable yourself and ultimately find like-minded people to engage and share ideas with. Furthermore, LinkedIn can also help you to promote your personal brand through networking opportunities, connecting with alumni, business partners, and potential employers. However, from my observation, most LinkedIn users are not utilising the full potential that LinkedIn offers for their personal brand.
If you are one of them, here are a few tips to ensure personal branding success on LinkedIn; I strongly urge you to have a look at them and update your profile accordingly:
– Upload a professional profile picture
– Connect to real friends and colleagues
– Keep profile current
– Delete spam
– Craft a compelling summary
– Avoid using it like Facebook and Twitter
– Accept invitations
– Check spelling and grammar
Uploading a professional picture creates trust and authenticity which increases the chances of connecting with other professionals and employers; because they can put a name to the face.
In South Africa, the usage of LinkedIn has grown tremendously, with a number of users reaching 8 440 000 at the end of 2020; the number accounted for 14.2% of the entire South Africa population. And 87% of recruiters in South African use LinkedIn as a vetting tool, which helps them narrow down the list of potential candidates for a specific position.
I reached out to a couple of recruiters on LinkedIn, and the majority mentioned that they assess the following sections when vetting a potential candidate:
– An incomplete profile
– Professional profile picture
– Discrepancies (correct dates, previous positions, and qualifications),
– Powerful summaries
– Great headline
– Jargons and inflated headlines
– Inappropriate language.
Some might argue that not all recruiters look at the sections mentioned above or there’s an additional section that other recruiters consider which is not mentioned. I would agree with you; because there is limited research that investigates the most important sections of an individual’s profile for recruiters; But, to be on the safe side, I stress that your entire LinkedIn profile must be up to date with no exclusion of specific sections.
Recruiters have digitalised their processes since we are already in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and the South African unemployment rate is constantly increasing. It for these reasons that I keep urging people and stressing how vital it is for you as a professional to build a strong personal brand on LinkedIn because recruiters extensively use LinkedIn, the job market is expanding and competition is getting tougher.
However, merely having a LinkedIn profile that is up to date is not enough for you to ensure complete success and increase awareness for your personal brand. The key is to engage with your audience (connections, peers, prospects, partners, potential employers, etc.) to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
Engaging with your audience will give you an opportunity to start a conversation that will deepen the connection and relationship while helping with increasing awareness for your personal brand.
You may be asking yourself, how does one utilise LinkedIn’s full potential to increase awareness for their personal brand once they have a complete and up to date profile. Well, in my next article I will take you through some of the strategies that I have used to increase awareness for my personal brand. I will discuss tactics for composing posts that drive engagement, effectively using native LinkedIn videos, the power of images, the relevance of LinkedIn articles, and many other strategies.
NB: This article also appears on my LinkedIn profile where other people have shared their views in the comments section.