Take Your Executive LinkedIn Profile from Basic to Best-in-Class

Need to expand your presence on LinkedIn – but confused about how to promote yourself without taking overt steps?

You may have created a basic Profile outlining your work history and education, then stopped while your career took off, with little time to use it or supply more details.

If so, you’re hardly alone.

Many executive leaders have started to fill in LinkedIn Profile details, but stopped due to confidentiality concerns or confusion with the site.

No matter if you’re planning an active job search or simply want to educate others on your professional achievements, building up your LinkedIn Profile is a very good idea.

Convert it to a best-in-class representation of who you are and how you get results.

5 Steps to a Best-in-Class LinkedIn Profile

These steps can help you move ahead on social media, without giving up too much detail or feeling self-conscious:

  1 – Add More Content.  

If you’ve barely filled in your LinkedIn Profile, you’ll find additional content will pique the interest of recruiters and employers – even if you’re not intently seeking a new position. By adding details on career promotions, accomplishments, and aspirations, your Profile will become more searchable by the phrases and keywords embedded in this new content.

For example, you might have added job titles, but no descriptions in your Experience section. Rather than expecting Operations Director, Technology Sales Executive, or VP of Product Strategy to speak for your career, add keyword-rich success stories, as in these examples:

Greenfield Operations: Expanded production sites to Latin America, adding 54% increased capacity at 12% less projected expenses.

Sales Results: Met aggressive annual revenue benchmarks against flat economy by building and leveraging AI industry relationships.

  2 – Adjust Your About.  

Only the first several hundred characters of your LinkedIn About section (formerly called the Summary) are displayed when others view your Profile (they’ll have to click “More” to see the rest). Since you only have a few lines to attract attention, make them count!

Rather than filling your About with bland descriptors (Highly accomplished, Proven Leader, etc.), try adding specifics on job titles and areas of expertise. Your new About introduction could look like this:

VP Sales & Business Development
Sales Rainmaker – Next-Level Growth Throughout Americas & EMEA
Led 185% results as sole VMware sales driver; expanded wins through sales process rigor, new benchmarks, and sales process reengineering.

Again, by incorporating job titles and keywords in these opening Summary lines, you’ll have a better chance of rising to the top of the candidate list in recruiter searches – and engaging them when they find you.

  3 – Populate Other Corners of LinkedIn.  

Did you know the Certifications section has a strong ranking in LinkedIn’s search algorithm – or that you could be filtered in search results based on Education? If you’ve neglected to add a credential in these areas, you could be missing out on valuable contacts.

The same goes for the Job Title field. If your past role looks like IT Director, but you’ve been standing in for the CIO, you could specify “IT Director, CIO Level Authority” in this field to gain more traction on your desired job title.

If you started, but didn’t finish, a degree program, you can (and should) include this entry in your Education section. Simply add the type of degree and put “Studies” or “Coursework” behind it in the Degree field, which allows freeform data. You’ll still come up in employer searches for candidates with this educational background.

  4 – Maintain visibility through LinkedIn activity.  

When you’re first logged into LinkedIn, you’ll see a scrolling News Feed that shows discussions and posts from your Connections or people you follow. Designed for interaction, this content provides an easy way to join in the discussion and add your thoughts.

In addition, LinkedIn “rewards” users who regularly post or initiate commentary in the News Feed, showing your Profile and your activity more often to other users. Since these users can include employers or recruiters, you’ll gain a higher level of visibility by joining in the discussions.

It’s best to restrict your activity to the same type of dialogue you’d expect in a professional setting, however. Your posts, Likes, and comments stay on your Profile indefinitely in the Articles & Activity section under your summary. This means avoiding topics such as negative experiences in your job search, or volatile discussions on politics.

Instead, consider posting informative data on industry-related topics, such as new concepts related to your field or insights on how to use specific skills. By maintaining some activity in the News Feed, you’re essentially helping promote your personal brand.

  5 – Leverage Online Content or Images.  

You can add work samples to your LinkedIn Profile that represent company announcements for a project you’ve completed, presentations you’ve delivered, or images, among other types of files. Simply click on the Media area under your Summary (or under each job entry) to incorporate these items.

What media should you consider adding? Try an image of a new building site, a press release, or a link to a media interview you’ve given. You can incorporate documents in numerous formats, such as PowerPoint or PDF.

The best part about Media entries on your Profile is that they’re featured prominently as images, giving your Profile a pop of color and demonstrating your leadership capabilities in an eye-catching manner.

The Bottom Line

Fleshing out your LinkedIn Profile will strengthen your online presence, whether you’re in a stealth job search or openly displaying your value to competitors, potential business partners, and to potential employers. Consider taking the time to fill in additional detail and participate in activity with other users, with as much emphasis on your successes and skills as possible – to build a stronger online portrait of your career.

More About Succeeding on LinkedIn

Laura Smith-ProulxAbout the author…

Job-Hunt’s LinkedIn for Job Search Expert Laura Smith-Proulx, Executive Director of An Expert Resume, is an award-winning executive resume writer, national columnist, author, LinkedIn and SEO enthusiast, and past recruiter. Laura is author of How to Get Hired Faster: 60+ Proven Tips and Strategies to Access the Hidden Job Market. Follow Laura on Twitter at @ResumeExpert and on LinkedIn.
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