One of the greatest advantages that being on LinkedIn offers is the opportunity to build your personal brand. We tend to think of having a brand as something only large corporations like Microsoft, Or Apple have but the term can be applied equally to you as an individual. Your brand is what people think of when they think of you and like the large corporates, can be just as valuable.
When we think of people as Oprah Winfrey or Victoria Beckham, it is easy to see that their name has value. If Oprah for example recommends a particular product, then hundreds of thousands of people will purchase based on her recommendation alone. If Victoria Beckham wears her hair a certain way, then others are likely to seek to have their hair cut in a similar style. Whilst most of us might not want to reach the stature of these two individuals you can use LinkedIn to develop the value of your own name.
Unlike a traditional CV where you need to try and fit all of the information about yourself and your experience into a limited space, LinkedIn allows you room to add whatever you want to your profile. You can include links to your personal website or blog or to your twitter account. Also unlike a CV, your LinkedIn brand is dynamic, which means it develops over time as you interact and build your network with others on LinkedIn.
The first step to developing your brand should be too make sure that your profile is complete and as perfect as possible. That means removing any spelling mistakes or anything else that would make you look unprofessional. Secondly you need to make sure that you include in your summary anything that you have achieved that sets you apart from your competition. Include any awards or recognition that you have received.
Next, change the default URL that you have been provided with as part of your LinkedIn Profile to a custom URL. The default URL that you are given includes a series of meaningless numbers and looks unprofessional. Go to edit profile and then next to public profile you should see a URL for yourself. Click on edit to change it to a custom URL. Most people choose to use their name for this section.
The headline is your next best opportunity to brand yourself. When you sign up your headline will be whatever you have entered as your current job position. Your headline however also provides an excellent chance to sell yourself in the way you would like to be perceived. Use power words to describe yourself, for example if you are a Marketing Manager, you may want to describe yourself as a Marketing Manager and Brand Developer or Advertising Expert. This gives the reader an immediate understanding some of your skill sets.
Branding yourself will set you apart from your competition and in these days of constant job change it is more important than ever before that you market yourself. LinkedIn is the best opportunity that you have to develop that brand.