August 12, 2020 – Too many business leaders make the mistake of dismissing the very idea of having a LinkedIn profile. After all, they say, they are not looking for a job. What’s the point?
Here’s the point: Contrary to popular belief, looking for a job is not the top use for LinkedIn, according to a new report by executive recruitment firm Strawn Arnold & Associates. In fact, the two main reasons for being on LinkedIn are thought leadership and to attract top talent. With professionals signing up at a rate of more than two new members per second, having a strong profile and presence is essential, said the search firm. Not only do employers in every industry use LinkedIn for talent acquisition, it is still the number one site for professional career networking.
With over eight million C-suite executives on LinkedIn, however, it is easy to get lost in the crowd. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the internet, with nearly 675 million members in over 200 countries and over 184 million in North America alone. Needless to say, in order to stand out, you need to optimize your profile.
Here are three easy ways, said Strawn Arnold & Associates, that will give your LinkedIn an effective makeover in 10 minutes or less:
1) A good profile picture – It may seem obvious, but first impressions really do matter. While it doesn’t necessarily need to be a professional headshot, it does need to be clear. It is the first thing people will see and if you don’t have one, it looks like you’re hiding.
2) Create a customized URL – This shows the world that you are savvy enough to edit the default URL. When you don’t take the extra second to make this change, it sends the message that you’re potentially out of touch with current trends.
3) Share your accomplishments – Your profile needs to be more than just a job history list. It’s meant to showcase who you are as a professional, and accomplishments present a well-rounded picture. You don’t need to list everything, but do be sure it’s up-to-date and relevant.
But those are just the basics. To kick up your LinkedIn presence a notch, Strawn Arnold & Associates suggested that you start by changing the default banner picture. “Get rid of the LinkedIn constellation,” said the report. “Your banner should reflect you. It’s simple and it’s free. Consider it to be part of your personal branding. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out LinkedIn Background.”
It also helps to write in first person. “Show others that you are aware of modern social media best practices,” said Strawn Arnold & Associates. “Third-person summaries put a wall between you and the reader. On social media, it’s all about connecting.”
Keywords should also be chosen wisely. “Remember you are found through an algorithm so consider keywords for you and your organization,” said the report. “When choosing keywords consider how others will search for you or your company. Then repeat those words in various sections of your profile.”
Focusing less on promoting and more on connecting is essential. One of the biggest mistakes people make on social media, in fact, is heavy self-promotion. “To strengthen your presence, you need to become part of a community and find ways to engage in genuine dialogue with business partners, industry influencers, and potential clients,” said Strawn Arnold & Associates.
Attention must especially be paid to effectively conveying your company vision. “An easy way to do this is to share content that reflects your brand’s mission,” said the report. “More specifically, this means telling people what your company does and why. Explain the value your business brings to the table. As a general rule, with every piece of content you post, you should always be asking yourself: why should they care? What’s the takeaway?”
The bottom line is that cannot establish yourself as a thought leader without using social media, and LinkedIn is the best place to start, said Strawn Arnold & Associates. “The benefits go beyond better personal branding,” the firm said. “By boosting your executive visibility, you’ll gain more credibility, generate more engagement for your business and significantly broaden your network.”
Austin, TX-based Strawn Arnold & Associates is a premier provider of executive search to the life sciences and healthcare industries. With nearly four decades of service and experience, its reputation has been built through executing searches for directors of governance boards, all levels of general management, as well as selected functional experts. Many of its partners are recognized as “best in class” in their market segments.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media