As an executive level woman, you probably invest a significant amount of time and resources on making a good first impression and in your personal brand. Unfortunately, many professionals forget to apply this type of grooming to their digital presence. And with LinkedIn being the biggest and most credible professional networking platform and home to over 560 million users, it’s typically the first place a fellow professional will go to learn about you. Or perhaps, someone who has the power to get you on a corporate board.
Additionally, LinkedIn is one of the first queries to show up in Google when someone searches for you, and if you don’t show up in Google in 2020, do you even exist? So, have you taken the time to stop and ask yourself, “What does my LinkedIn profile say about me?” If not, or even if you have, here are some quick and essential tips from Women in the Boardroom experts about how to power up your LinkedIn account.
Your personal brand should mirror who you are in the real world, so be authentic when developing your digital presence. A great way to do this is to position yourself as a thought-leader by presenting diverse content to your audience. For instance, you should be developing your own podcasts, videos, op-eds or articles, and pumping out professional commentary within your area of expertise.
You should also be engaging with your peers, citing and sharing articles, and hopefully, garnering feedback from others within your field. This helps to validate, especially to those who are viewing your profile for the first time, that you are who you say you are.
Keywords, Keywords, Keywords
We can’t stress this enough; Include keywords relevant to your experience, positions, and achievements. It’s important to optimize your digital presence with these types of keywords in order to make you more searchable within LinkedIn.
You should also be sure not to overuse meaningless adjectives like “passionate”, “strategic”, “‘innovative”, “experienced” or “focused”, without actually illustrating you are all of those things throughout the narrative of your profile. In other words, don’t just tell your reader who or what you are, show them!
Update Your Image(s)
Your profile picture is one of the top three things a potential connection or board member appointee will see when they access your profile and it governs the kickoff of a first impression. You should be using a professional headshot, in which you’re looking straightforward, so if you don’t have one yet, we recommend investing in a session with a photographer.
Another great tip we like to mention to our Women in the Boardroom members is to include your name in the filename of the headshot, so that when someone searches for you, your headshot also pops up in the image section. This a great way to optimize your profile and also “make you a real person” to those who might be searching for you online.
Finally, don’t forget to update the background image in your profile; personalize it so that it stands out and really pops!
…in your headline and summary. This is the most read portion of your profile, and so it’s important to include essential information that acts as a real selling point for your audience. It’s here you should be showcasing intriguing information about what makes you stand out as a person and professional.
Across those 560 million users, you’re bound to find more than a few women with similar qualifications, awards, and impressive degrees, but what makes you, you, and what can your offer to as a potential board candidate?
That’s right. You should be asking your network for endorsements. This ties back into our first tip, authenticity. When you get endorsements, you’re signaling to those that view your profile that you’re an expert in your field, and doing so through the glowing words of others. This can be one of the most impactful updates you make to your profile.
Be sure to engage in the process of asking for and acquiring endorsement so as to avoid allowing this portion of your profile to become stale.
It’s important to keep in mind that having a fresh digital presence can have a significantly positive impact on your personal brand. In many cases, your LinkedIn account is the first impression you’ll get to make with a potential board appointee, maybe even before you’re aware you’re being considered for an interview. Be sure to set aside some time within the next few weeks to give your profile a bit of a facelift.
Sheila Ronning, Founder, Women in the Boardroom.