Personal Brand

Powerful Article on LinkedIn Profile Management

This is the best article​ I’ve read yet on creating a high impact LinkedIn profile. It motivated me to make some tweaks and I had thought my profile was ready for prime time!​

How Do You Describe Yourself?

We all have positive qualities, but often don’t take time to identify them. This activity is a simple way of becoming aware of your qualities. You can even use some of them in your cover letters and interviews.

Instructions: Circle the words that relate to you. Think about how you see yourself, your character, intellect, and outlook on life. Circle as many words as you want. Be as honest and objective as possible. You can even ask people who know you well to do this activity!

Accepting Achieving Active
Adventurous Affectionate Ambitious
Articulate Assertive Attractive
Caring Charismatic Charming
Cheerful Committed Compassionate
Confident Congenial Conscientious
Cooperative Creative Dedicated
Dependable Determined Disciplined
Distinctive Dynamic Efficient
Empathetic Encouraging Energetic
Enterprising Entertaining Enthusiastic
Expressive Fair-minded Friendly
Gentle Genuine Good-natured
Graceful Helpful Humorous
Happy Imaginative Independent
Insightful Intelligent Intuitive
Knowledgeable Logical Likeable
Open-minded Optimistic Objective
Organized Orderly Original
Outgoing Patient Perceptive
Persistent Persuasive Poised
Precise Productive Professional
Quick Rational Realistic
Receptive Reassuring Responsive
Self-aware Self-confident Sensitive
Serious Sincere Skillful
Sociable Spontaneous Steady
Stimulating Strong Sympathetic
Talented Thoughtful Tolerant
Trusting Truthful Unique
Unpretentious Vigorous Warm

Managing Your LinkedIn Brand

You have a brand, whether or not you’re aware of what it is. If you are a job seeker, striving to get ahead in your career, or looking to attract customers, your brand is your most important asset. Don’t let it shape itself passively!

I am an evangelist of being intentional. Deliberate. Directed. Purposeful.

Prospective employers and customers research you online with the goal of forming an opinion about you. Becoming very intentional with your LinkedIn profile, and activity, is crucial to influencing the opinion they form. LinkedIn activity? That’s right. Your activity, not just your profile, says a ton about you.

Are you “liking” and sharing posts related to workplace drama?

You may be perceived as someone who will bring or attract workplace drama.

Are you “liking” and sharing memes that are not professional, or are ill-suited for an environment such as LinkedIn?

You may be perceived as someone who doesn’t have a sense of propriety. Someone who doesn’t know what behavior is appropriate in various situations and environments.

Sidebar: I’m speaking specifically of posts that are either in poor taste, or in no way related to the world of work, such as a picture of a cat with a caption: “Where is that damn human? My bowl is empty!”

What do your posted comments say about you?
Ideally, you want to be viewed as someone who is constructive, appropriate, positive, professional, and adding value to the network.

What does your picture convey? Does it look like a photo from an online dating site? Can people see your arms in it, posed “selfie” style?
Ask someone to take your picture, or use a camera with a timer. Don’t take your own photo belted in the front seat of your car, wearing sunglasses, or with your arms extended. It’s hard to imagine you in professional dealings when your photo is not professional.

Here are some of the positive messages you could be sending with your LinkedIn activity:

  • This person appears to be interested in big ideas and casting a vision
  • This person possesses technical savvy, or is a subject matter expert
  • This person has a vast range of perspectives and interests
  • This person is engaged with content and communities related to their profession
  • This person posts thoughtful and engaging content
  • This person is a kind, responsible, and mature citizen

When interacting on LinkedIn, before you “like”, post, or share, ask yourself:“Would I want this activity to be the basis of a customer or hiring manager’s opinion of me?”

All the best to you!

Quick Tips to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

Fi​rst things first. If you’re not using LinkedIn for your job search, you’re behind the times. 94% of recruiters use, or plan to use social media for recruiting. This number has increased steadily for the last 6 years. (Source: Jobvite)
  1. ​Optimize your exposure by customizing your headline to state your expertise.
  2. Don’t put “Seeking Employment” or “Looking for New Opportunity” in your headline. Recruiters often seek employed (passive) candidates and may pass you over.
    • ​​Note: it will make you stand out if you have a reflection of your personal brand and expertise, instead of a job title.
  3. ​Your summary is your showcase. Write a first person narrative about your brand and story, highlights and goals. People want to do business with people, not skills on a page, so human voice is best. It should not be just a copy/paste of your resume.
  4. ​Request recommendations, post pictures of your results, and provide statistics about your achievements to build credibility.
  5. Have a fully completed profile. Completed profiles are viewed more than incomplete profiles.
  6. Expand your network and increase your chances of being found by industry leaders and recruiters. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
  7. Join relevant groups.
  8. Follow leaders in your industry.

What’s YOUR Value?

​Let me start with the bottom line first: Knowing your value sets you apart.

Since only 25% of people know their strengths, fewer still have translated their true strengths into a value statement.

If you’d like to learn more about identifying your strengths, read this article.​

Before I continue, I’ll share two caveats:

1. I’m not suggesting your worth or value as a person is rooted in your job.

Human value does not lie in aspects of work, or performance. The context of this article is to convey the value you’ll bring an employer to help you land a role that is well-suited for you, and will ignite your passion (that is another article, for another time).

2. I almost never ask people, “What do you do (for a living)?” I prefer to learn about people through organic conversation. I like to know if they read, and if so, what book might they recommend? I like to discover what people are passionate about. If that leads to their work, well, so be it!

The truth is, many people ask this question, and you should be prepared to answer it without merely stating your job title. That’s boring. Even worse, saying “I’m a project manager” doesn’t tell me anything about why you’re a good project manager. What value do you bring?

Value statements

Your value statement (sometimes referred to as a value proposition) is simply the primary benefit you can bring to an employer.

Why have a value statement?

Well, value statements:

  • Are a great way to answer the question, Why should I hire you?
  • Provide an opportunity to explain what makes you unique
  • Frame what you’re good at in networking or exploratory conversations
  • Provide great language for your LinkedIn profile summary
  • Can be leveraged in your resume, and cover letter
  • Demonstrate you’ve got a handle on who you are
  • Set you apart (most people don’t have one)
  • Display confidence
  • Need more reasons? I could continue, but let’s get down to brass tacks…

Example value statements

Here are some example value statements of people who know the strengths they want to highlight to employers:

  • I have confidence, drive and courage to take risks, overcome problems, and take on new ideas. My communication skills, flexibility, adaptability, enthusiasm, and optimism translate to social ease within, and across, teams.
  • I’m an innovator. I have a natural tendency to come up with new ideas and combinations of ideas spontaneously to solve complex problems. I’m able to identify solutions that lead to success, and turn those solutions into actionable steps to bring about excellence. My strong communication skills ensure I effectively manage change throughout a transformation.
  • I analyze and strategize before I act. In my work, I’m organized and structured. I can be counted upon. I set high standards for myself and I believe I can achieve them. I scan available ideas and concepts, weighing them against a current strategy, and plan for every conceivable contingency.

One might be thinking, “Hey, I own a house cleaning business, and I’m not going to say that when someone asks me what I do for a living.”

That’s a fair criticism. You should have two versions of your value statement; one spoken, one written.

Here’s an example:

John Doe: “What do you do for a living?”

House Cleaner: “I provide white glove cleaning services to help people bring order to their busy lives, and free them up to have more time to focus on what matters to them.”

Personally, I’d like to hire a cleaner that expresses purpose in their work, and desires to bring value to my family. It’s certainly more compelling than, “I clean houses.”

The best advice I can give is your value statement must be comfortable for you. You’re the one that’s going to speak it, so it has to feel natural.

Creating your value statement

1. Make a list of words that are true of you.

Using feedback you’ve repeatedly heard about yourself, assessments you’ve taken, and self-evaluation, generate a list of words or short phrases to describe you (e.g. responsible, achievement-oriented, peace-maker, negotiator, idea-generator, problem-solver, accurate, diversity-oriented, safety-conscious, self-confident, learning agile, comfort with ambiguity, motivates others, entrepreneurial, diplomatic, organized).

2. Cross out words and phrases that are ambiguous or cliche, such as “team player”, and choose words that are specific. What makes you a team player? Are you collaborative? Do you listen well? Are you empathetic? Do you have strong accountability? Say that, instead.

3. Ask others the following:

  • What are three words that describe me?
  • What am I really good at?

When writing this article, I turned to my husband and asked him the questions. These were his answers:

Passionate. Dedicated. Visionary.
Reading and understanding people.

Let’s create a draft value statement using his feedback:

Using my ability to read and understand people, I help my clients see a vision for their future. My passion and dedication inspires them, and helps them strive for success.

I wrote that off the cuff in four seconds, but hopefully it demonstrates potential to help you express the value you bring. It’s a great starting point to craft and hone your message.

I would not have thought of those words, nor would I have answered what I’m good at the same way. The perspective of others is valuable. Tap into it.

4. Once you’ve drafted your message, practice aloud. If it doesn’t flow, reorganize it until it feels natural.

5. Tell someone else. Practice your value statement on your partner, or a close friend. Ask for their feedback, make adjustments, and repeat.

Now, I leave you with the question. What’s your value?

All the best to you!
Kristin​