Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Managing Your Personal Brand with LinkedIn

Everyone knows resumes serve as the quantification of who you are, what you've accomplished, and what expertise you can bring to your next employer. A professionally written resume is a necessity in today's business world that no savvy business person would forego.

But today's business people also need actively managed profiles on the social media sites that recruiters and others are using to find and learn more about potential hires.

LinkedIn is the most popular of these sites. While many people think of it as a Web-based contact management system, it's so much more. In fact, it's really a 24/7 personal branding machine.

The first step to fully leveraging LinkedIn is to think about your "positioning." Since most people will not remember a lot about you, you want to give them one or two nuggets of information to associate with your personal brand. Let's say you're a salesperson who specializes in selling widgets to emerging bio-tech companies. Your profile should be constructed around reinforcing that bit of information so anyone reading it knows that's what you are about: selling bio-tech widgets.

You'll want to populate your profile with keywords that someone looking for a person with your expertise would use when they search LinkedIn for job candidates. This helps LinkedIn serve your profile to them as an option.

Once your profile is configured, you'll want to proactively cultivate your image as an expert. An easy way to start is to join LinkedIn Groups where people with similar interests congregate. Resist the temptation to jump into the conversations you find posted there. Rather, sit back and observe for a week or so, getting a feel for the ways people communicate, then start participating in discussions. Eventually you will want to begin new discussions for others to join too.

These are just a few of the ways you can make better use of LinkedIn for business networking. For more on using LinkedIn and Facebook for business networking, order Jump Start Social Media's reference guides. And if you'd like expert help in setting up your profiles and LinkedIn and/or Facebook, order the professional set-up services which include the guides. You'll be networking like the pro you are in no time.

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