How's your personal branding? - Business Works
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How's your personal branding?

Darain Faraz, LinkedIn Spokesperson Most of us have some sort of social network presence these days and it is largely only the latter-day luddites or technologically-illiterate that have continued to shy away from such things. However, are we using these networks to their optimum efficiency and for the 'right tasks'? Different networks have different 'uses' and the one we, as business people, leaders and managers, should focus on for our careers is LinkedIn. So, how can we be sure we are making the best use of it?

Originally, the LinkedIn founders began by inviting a number of their most well-connected and trusted contacts to join the site. In doing so they quickly established it as a place where successful businesspeople go to swap ideas, share information, access business insights and opportunities and do business. As the site continued to grow, more features were added to allow members to derive more value from their time on the site. We now have 161 million professionals on LinkedIn and today it is available in seventeen languages.

An online professional profile can help you discover new career opportunities and instantly makes you more visible to recruiters and HR professionals. Having a strong 'BrandYou' - an individual's professional brand identity - will continue to grow in importance, and the traditional static CV no longer effectively communicates a person's true value to an organisation. In today's competitive business environment, personal branding has never been more important. The way we present ourselves, our experiences and aptitudes are integral to career success.

As a start it really helps to have a complete as possible profile ... You can find your level of completeness on the top right of your LinkedIn profile page.

Other tips to stand out:

  1. Informative profile headline: Your profile headline gives people a short, memorable way to understand who you are in a professional context. Think of the headline as the slogan for your professional brand, such as 'IT specialist with years of experience'.

  2. Display an appropriate photo: choose a professional, high-quality headshot of you alone. Leave your party shots and pet pics for your social profiles.

  3. Show your connectedness with LinkedIn Group badges: Joining Groups and displaying the group badges on your profile are perfect ways to professionalise your profile and show your desire to connect to people with whom you have something in common. Most start by joining their university's LinkedIn Group as well as the larger industry groups related to the career they want to pursue.

In addition to helping professionals form relationships with potential employers, LinkedIn can also help people achieve more in their existing roles by connecting to others in their industry and sharing expertise and insights. An individual's network consists of their connections and their connections' connections, potentially linking you to a vast number of qualified professionals and experts around the world. Just by having an online profile on LinkedIn presents you with more opportunities to connect with other professionals than any other network or event allows.

But how much time should we spend improving our LinkedIn profiles? According to recent research by IPSOS Mori and LinkedIn, involving 3200 working professionals globally, just nine dedicated minutes a day of professional 'me time' can make you more productive and improve your career.

World leading personal branding expert William Arruda, who partnered with LinkedIn to identify the optimum amount of time to spend daily on what he has termed 'continuous career management', says that fitting 9 minutes of career management into your daily schedule is all it takes without adding stress or pressure. He explains that if you have a good LinkedIn profile, you can be approached at any time by a prospective employer about a job that they already think you are perfectly suited for, so it's worth spending the time to keep your profile current even if you are not actively looking for a job.

Arruda confirms that 9 Minutes is easy to adopt. Activities that professionals can do during their 9 minutes include:

  1. Building your network: building and maintaining relationships is a major component of a successful career.

  2. Maintain relationships by recommending and congratulating others in their careers - everyone enjoys being recognized and LinkedIn provides an easy way to do this.

  3. Request recommendations from your network as credibility is critical

  4. Document achievements and wins on your LinkedIn profile to stay current and relevant.

  5. Update your status every day and make sure your profile and photo is current.

  6. Expand on your thought leadership: lead a forum or LinkedIn group; publish an article; start a blog; speak publicly or recommend books on the Amazon LinkedIn app.

  7. Use the power of video and create a video bio of yourself for your LinkedIn profile.

  8. Source staff: one of a manager's hardest jobs. If you build your brand community, you'll create fans who want to work for you.

  9. Research: Make an effort to get to know more about your clients or partners and competitors.

Start working on your profile now at:

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