I read this article on the Forbes website. It was written by William Arruda, a personal branding expert who wrote the book, Ditch, Dare, Do.
There are literally thousands of personal branding activities you can engage in every day that will help your career thrive. Sound overwhelming? Not to worry. Almost all of them can be accomplished through LinkedIn.
If you are going to choose only one personal branding tool to invest time in, choose LinkedIn. With a smart profile and a well-honed strategy, LinkedIn can become your powerful partner in long-range branding and career management.
First introduced as little more than an online resume, LinkedIn has quickly transformed into a rich, customizable, multi-faceted personal branding platform. It helps you do your job better and manage your brand throughout the longevity of your career. It brings a diverse “staff” to your keypad. Think of it as your agent, recruiter, mentor, reference check, teacher, publicist, and more. Here’s how:
1. It’s your agent. Like a seasoned team of promoters (without the fee!), LinkedIn makes you visible to decision-makers who are looking for exactly the services you provide. Replete with the right keywords, your LinkedIn profile connects you with people who need what you have to offer. You may not know who might be looking for you, but a profile packed with the right search terms will help you get found. I call it “planned serendipity.” You want to make yourself open to all potential opportunities – especially the ones you didn’t know existed. Real growth comes from branching out into new territory.
2. It’s your 24/7 billboard. Often delivering the first impression to a prospect, your LinkedIn profile is you when you aren’t there. Even if people are researching you in Google, it’s likely that they’ll end up at your LinkedIn page. That’s because when someone searches your name, LinkedIn will typically show up at the top of the results – making your profile their most likely resource for learning more about you.
3. It’s your professional association. It allows you to be part of the right community and the right conversations. More and more, you need to be connected to others who share your expertise and interests. The world of work is moving so fast, you need to be proactive to stay on top of developments in your area of thought-leadership. LinkedIn groups make it efficient for you to be part of targeted discussions so you can remain current and participate even more than you could with your local professional association.
4. It’s your personal web site and Blog. LinkedIn lets you showcase your expertise and express your point of view. It’s not just about accomplishments. It’s about your unique perspective. Through the way you write your summary to the content you share in your activity feed, the groups you join, and the conversations you have, you bolster your brand, sharing your thoughts in a personal way with connections and those who visit your profile.
5. It’s your portfolio. It helps you paint a 3D portrait of the value you create. Once completely text-based, LinkedIn now allows you to integrate images and videos into your profile summary and experience, making it a true multi-media portfolio of who you are, what you have to offer, and why your work is valuable. And with the new custom background feature (they are rolling it out to Premium first and then to free users), you can add images to the top of your profile making it more interesting and differentiated.
6. It’s your reference check. By allowing your community to applaud your accomplishments, LinkedIn provides validation for everything you say about yourself. Endorsements help confirm your strengths and skills. Recommendations allow you to put the spotlight on testimonials that are associated with your various roles.
7. It’s your teacher and mentor. It helps you learn and grow. LinkedIn Pulse helps you stay on top of topics and news, as well as the wisdom of key influencers. Groups also allow you to stay current about relevant issues, helping you build relationships with people who can guide you in your career decisions.
8. It’s your recruiter. LinkedIn not only helps others find you, it helps you find the ideal people you need for those open positions on your team. When you are looking to source staff, LinkedIn is among the first places you should go to create a short-list of potential candidates. You can learn a lot more about someone from their LinkedIn profile than from their resume.
9. It’s your salesperson. Because LinkedIn lets you showcase your achievements, it opens doors that otherwise would be closed. If you’re looking to get in to see a client or potential business partner, your complete and compelling profile can make the difference between being invited to pitch and having a door closed in your face. Use groups and connections to identify which doors you want opened.
10. It’s your career coach. It’s the tool that provides continuity for your career. When you use LinkedIn as your primary repository for your career content, it becomes your accomplishment journal. And now there are ways to export your LinkedIn content into sites that can serve as your website. Services like ResumUP and strikingly.com use your LinkedIn content as the basis for vibrant sites that are easy to maintain.
11. It’s your contact management system. It allows you to organize and manage all your contacts. You can add your email and phone contacts to your LinkedIn connections – making it the only tool you need to find the key players in your community, even when they switch jobs. Thanks to tagging, you can group your contacts and communicate with them by category.
12. It’s your researcher. Whether you are looking to learn about a new field, want to see who the experts are in a specific industry, or would like to know more about a particular company or product, LinkedIn provides a wealth of knowledge and analytical tools.
Spending a little time on LinkedIn every day can deliver big rewards. This one resource gives you a dozen key tools for delivering greater value, growing your team, and building your personal brand—for many years to come.