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How to Plan for Your Career Using LinkedIn

Optimize your profile

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If one of your goals this year was to grow your career, but you’re not using LinkedIn, you could be seriously missing out on this platform’s potential.

LinkedIn is a favorite networking tool for senior leaders at the top of their games. It’s also an important part of building a personal brand and creating a digital presence, whether you’re a jobseeker looking for a career change or a thought leader wanting to develop your reputation in your current industry.

Here’s what you need to know and do to capitalize on the power of LinkedIn as you craft a compelling online persona that opens doors to new career opportunities.

The Power of Personal Branding

A personal brand is very similar to a corporate brand. When you think of a favorite brand, you likely experience certain emotions but also think about how that brand solves problems in your life. Your personal brand presence is the same way, and it’s essential to the advancement of your career. It’s what people think of when they think of you, both in terms of how you make them feel and what solutions you can provide them.

If you haven’t put any effort into a personal brand strategy, don’t make the mistake of thinking you don’t have one; every businessperson has one, but some are more well-thought-out and strategic than others.

Within the professional landscape, a personal brand can help those who connect with you or come across your digital footprint immediately recognize who you are, what you can offer them, what problems you can help them solve, etc. A digital presence is incredibly valuable for individuals who want to catch the eyes of recruiters, those who are striving to build a network, raise capital, or those who just want to establish themselves as thought leaders and make an impact in their industry.

Luckily, LinkedIn makes all the above easier by giving you a one-stop platform for personal branding within your industry, allowing you to build a community, engage with that community, and promote your personal brand in ways that benefit your career.

According to stats from this year, there are nearly 900 million LinkedIn users worldwide, with nearly 80% of those users working outside the United States. Every minute, eight people are hired for jobs through LinkedIn. In other words, the potential to use LinkedIn to connect with a global audience, as well as global employers, is vast.

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How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

To take advantage of all the potential LinkedIn offers, though, you’ll need to optimize your LinkedIn profile — and that starts with developing a personal brand strategy. What are your goals, and what do people need to know about you for you to reach those career goals?

Once you’ve cemented a personal brand strategy, you can begin optimizing your LinkedIn profile accordingly. Craft a captivating headline and summary for your LinkedIn page, something that goes beyond just listing your name and current title. Ask a question, pose a solution, tell viewers exactly how you can help them, or sum up your most valuable experience.

For example, an effective headline might include: “Your Current Title – Thought Leadership Services Offered – Helping Others XYZ”.

When personalized to your experience, this might say “Founder & CEO at Jones Consulting – Speaker & Author – Helping Others Discover Their Best Selves”.

Use keywords and hashtags to boost your visibility, too. For example, Bill Gates, who has the most-followed page on LinkedIn, features a range of hashtags at the very top of his profile, including #books, #healthcare, #innovation, #climatechange and #sustainability.

When you get into the meat of your profile, which includes your work experience, avoid listing your experience as bare-bones bullet points. Instead, adopt a storytelling approach to showcase how you solved problems, helped others, and made a difference in past roles.

Building a Thought Leadership Presence

Once you have an effective profile, begin establishing a thought leadership presence by publishing engaging content that gets your audience talking. You’ll need to post consistently and participate in broader and relevant conversations, too, to get the most eyes on your posts.

Be sure to add value to all your interactions as well to build a more engaged and authentic audience. Examples of viral LinkedIn posts show that the most popular posts are those that offer something to the reader, whether that be tips, advice, entertainment by way of saying something controversial, etc.

Connecting and Networking Strategically

As you use LinkedIn’s networking features, build a quality network and connect with individuals who can help you reach your career goals. That means not only sending connection requests to anyone and everyone but also personalizing your connection requests and proactively building relationships within your network.

When you send a connection request, introduce yourself, state why you’re reaching out and offer something of value (even if it’s just a compliment). Don’t overthink it. A connection request can be as simple as…

Hi Jill,

My name is Jan Smith. I’m a fellow Penn State alum and I recently caught your talk on 2024 marketing trends and forecasts. I loved your insight and fresh take and wanted to connect further. If you’re looking for research and analytics for future presentations, Smith Consulting could be able to help.


The Bottom Line

LinkedIn is an invaluable resource when it comes to career and leadership development — and it’s incredibly easy to get started building a personal brand on the platform.

As you uncover the power of LinkedIn and use this instrumental tool to build your personal brand, enlist support to get you to your goals faster. Learn about Arootah’s unique Career Coaching offerings by scheduling a free discovery call today.

Get practical strategies you can apply for personal and professional growth. Sign up for The Weekly Return newsletter today.

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Disclaimer: This article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be taken as professional medical, psychological, legal, investment, financial, accounting, or tax advice. Arootah does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or suitability of its content for a particular purpose. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read in our newsletter, blog or anywhere else on our website.

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