By Meg Guiseppi
You have a "brand" new resume aligning your unique set of qualifications with the needs of your well-researched target employers, and differentiating your value proposition (or personal brand) from your competitors in the job market.
Don't stop there. A great resume is not enough any more to land your next great gig.
You'll need a strong, on-brand online presence so recruiters and hiring decision makers, searching for and assessing candidates like you, will find plenty of diverse information about you.
Start with LinkedIn – the most important social network for any job seeker, but especially for executive job seekers.
Many savvy executives competing for the jobs you want have already embraced all that LinkedIn has to offer. Even if you don't use all of LinkedIn's features, you should have a great Profile there, just to keep pace with your competition.
Recruiters and other hiring authorities routinely search LinkedIn for viable candidates, and even have special applications designed for that purpose. If they don't find you on LinkedIn, they may not find you at all. And if they do find you elsewhere, they may wonder why you're not on LinkedIn. They may wonder whether you're up-to-date and social media-savvy.
Merely throwing together your LinkedIn Profile without strategizing its impact on your target audience may render it ineffectual or even a detriment to you.
Your Profile needs to be 100% complete ("All-Star" in LinkedIn terms) and contain all the right keywords and phrases, positioned in the right way so that your Profile lands high in search results for those keywords, when the right people are searching for candidates like you. (See LinkedIn's Simple steps to a complete LinkedIn Profile.)
Once these people land on your Profile, it needs to immediately capture and hold their attention, and brand your potential value to them.
The "Professional Experience" section of your resume can be the foundation for the "Experience" section of your LinkedIn Profile, as you'll see below.
Here are some tips, working down through the various sections, as they stack up at this writing, starting with the main column in the center.
This is the first section visible when someone visits your Profile page, so this is the part of your Profile that will be seen most often. And the top 3 sections follow your name throughout LinkedIn whenever you share information. Your photo and name are visible whenever you "like" or add a comment.
The numbers below correspond to the numbers in the image above.
This section is below Your Dashboard and will appear only if you post updates and/or publish articles on the Pulse platform. Click on the "Home" button at the top of your Profile to add content.
On your Home page, you'll see the query "Share an article, photo, video or idea," beside your headline and photo. Your entire network, which in time should become large, will be notified via email whenever you (or anyone else in their network) post an update or make any changes to your Profile.
Regularly posting updates or making changes (say, every week or at least a few times a month) keeps you and your brand top of mind with your network. Updates also represent another opportunity to brand your Profile with relevant key words. Include a link to more about the update, if possible.
(See Keep Your Personal Brand Top-of-Mind with Your LinkedIn Updates for more details.)
For each job, pump up this section with more details than you could fit in your resume. LinkedIn gives you plenty of space (2,000 characters for each job) to provide more brand-reinforcing, keyword-rich content here for each of your jobs.
(See Top 25 Keywords for You in Your Job Search for ideas about what to include.)
You can copy and paste this information from your resume.
Pull together a list of your top 50 skills (or areas of expertise), and post them to your Profile in order of importance to your target employers. Then you can reach out to your connections individually and ask them to endorse you to build up your numbers. And you’ll see others you haven’t asked add endorsements to your Profile.
LinkedIn lets you reorder and delete skills. Come back, say, every few months or so, and repeat to keep this section up to date.
(See 4 Steps to Leverage LinkedIn Skills & Endorsements for a More Powerful Profile for more details.)
Keep building up brand and value-reinforcing recommendations within each job you've held. Nothing speaks to your unique value proposition better than what others who know your work best have to say about you.
If they're amenable, it's okay to help them write a brief paragraph or two by providing them a little information about the kinds of positions you're seeking, so that they can align what they write with what hiring decision makers will be looking for.
As you join LinkedIn Groups, this section will fill out. A very powerful LinkedIn feature, Groups help you uncover new networking opportunities, reconnect with your neglected network, demonstrate your subject matter expertise, connect with people at your target companies, and potentially land your next job or business opportunity.
Learn more in my article, "Personal Branding with LinkedIn Groups."
The elements below are currently located in the right column of your LinkedIn Profile, starting at the top.
These tips will help you extend the value of your branded resume and bio, while building your online presence and brand reputation. If all of this is beyond your capabilities, consider working with a professional job search strategist who knows how to leverage these tools to best position your unique value proposition.
Meg Guiseppi, Job-Hunt's Personal Branding Expert and 20+ year careers industry veteran, has earned 10 certifications, including Reach Certified Personal Branding Strategist, Reach Social Branding Analyst – LinkedIn Profile Strategist, and Certified Executive Resume Master. Meg is the author of "23 Ways You Sabotage Your Executive Job Search and How Your Brand Will Help You Land." Connect with Meg at ExecutiveCareerBrand.com for c-suite personal branding and executive job search help and on Google+ and Twitter (@MegGuiseppi).