3 LinkedIn Strategies Marketers Can Use to Build Personal Brand

Tim Tyrell-Smith and Sima Dahl
Marketing News
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Key Takeaways

 What? LinkedIn offers professionals a way to regularly update and control their own personal brand.

So what? Even if you aren’t looking for a new job right now, keeping your LinkedIn profile updated and fresh helps you control and communicate how you are viewed.  

Now what? Attend the 2017 AMA Annual Conference and learn how to optimize your LinkedIn profile during one-on-one coaching with marketing leaders during networking breaks.

If you’ve logged into LinkedIn lately, no doubt you’ve been besieged with requests to endorse members of your network for this skill or that area of expertise. It can be a bit annoying, but the Skills & Expertise section of LinkedIn is a powerful one. Think of this area as the place to position yourself with personal brand keywords, words or phrases that underscore who you are, what you do and what makes you special. Here are three tips to maximize the usefulness of this pivotal element of your professional online profile.

1. Choose wisely.

The Skills & Expertise keywords that you select serve two main purposes. First, they help your profile be “found” when someone (a recruiter, perhaps?) is searching for talent with your core competencies.

Not on the hunt? This applies to happily employed people, too. Increasingly, human resource departments consider your LinkedIn profile to be a more accurate reflection of your career aspirations than the outdated résumé that they have on file for you. In recent months, several organizations’ HR departments have brought me in to teach personal branding and social networking skills to their staffs as part of larger retention strategies. The way they see it, the better able you are to articulate your career aspirations and network your way into a fulfilling lateral role or even a promotion, the longer you’ll stay on the team.

Second, these keywords help quickly convey to anyone scanning your profile how you wish to be known​. Remember, just as brands are aspirational, so, too, are personal brands. You may be a rock-star e-mail marketer with your sights on moving into marketing analytics. Adding keywords such as performance measurement, marketing mix modeling and campaign effectiveness to your profile helps you position yourself as someone capable of making the transition.

Choose your keywords wisely. Just include those marketing terms that you want to be known for. Many years ago, I held a job in which I was responsible for doing market research. Now, if you know me, you know that, a.) I’m not good at it, b.) I don’t like it, and, c.) I’d rather stick a hot poker in my eye than do it again, so you will not find those words anywhere on my profile.

You’re permitted to add up to 50 keywords in total, but don’t feel compelled to select them all at once. Consider focusing on the dozen or so words that underscore your personal brand essence first and add more over time as you secure endorsements from your network.


Need some more tips? Attend the 2017 AMA Annual Conference September 11-13 in Las Vegas! Attendees will benefit from one-on-one time with marketing leaders during our MarketingCareer Speed Mentoring and LinkedIn Profile Coaching.​ 

2. You’re the CMO of ‘Brand You.’

Oftentimes, I log into LinkedIn and find that well-meaning members of my network have endorsed me for all manner of talents that I either don’t have or don’t want to be known for. Don’t let anyone tell you how he knows you. Instead, tell the universe how you want to be known.

Just because someone thinks that you can do something well does not mean that you have to showcase it on your profile. As the CMO of Brand You, you call the shots.

3. Give to get.

Once you have your keywords carefully selected, how exactly do you get those shiny endorsements from your network? The easiest way is to give them first. The more I give endorsements, the more I seem to get, and not just from the same people. You reap what you sow, right?

The second way is to ask. I will freely admit that I have “traded” endorsements with close members of my network. I’m trying to up my rank on a few keywords and I suspect that many others are, as well. From where I sit, there’s nothing wrong with a friendly barter.

Now what? Take a few minutes to benchmark yourself against your peers, or those people who have the job that you ultimately aspire to have, by visiting the Skills & Expertise section under “More” in the top navigation of your LinkedIn profile. You’ll find other network members with similar profiles as yours, companies with related career tracks, a ranking of the most popular skills in your field and other keywords that you might consider adding to your own profile.

Remember that personal branding and social networking are action verbs. Do your ABC’s and articulate your story, build your network, and create personal brand champions who are ready and willing to help you achieve whatever it is that you aspire to do.


Your Career Questions Answered 

Tim Tyrell-Smith, an author, blogger and entrepreneur, is the founder of Tim’s Strategy, an online resource for job seekers.

Q: How do you get around being 55 and over and not considered too old? 

– Anna-Marie Kelly

A: Hi Anna-Marie,

“Old is as old does.” While there is clearly an issue with age discrimination in the U.S., we 55+ individuals are not doomed. The truth is that some people will decide to leave you off of the interview list if they had someone younger in mind and, frankly, there’s not much that you can do about that decision.

However, and this is important, age discrimination is a perception on the part of the hiring company or hiring manager. They may perceive that your age suggests something about your personality, knowledge, technological skills, or ability to socialize or work on a team with younger employees.

You can do something to change someone’s perception of you, and you do that with networking. Networking reduces the perceived risks associated with hiring you. This is especially true if you’re introduced to the hiring manager by someone she knows and trusts. It increases your social credibility.

By networking your way into the key hiring staff, you can show them that you absolutely should not be defined by or judged based on your age, but on your skills, impact potential and ability to succeed in the job. And if they like you, they are more likely to forget your birthday. Hope that helps, and good luck!  

Q: Any tips or suggestions to help with the psychology of getting over the negative feelings of your previous job?

– Kevin McKernan

A: Hey, Kevin,

This is such a great question. It is one of the most important yet least discussed topics in the career space.

The truth is that some people start their job searches with some very bad feelings, such as anger, resentment, disillusionment and abandonment. If you feel this way, it’s critically important to work through the feelings and find a happy place before you head out to begin networking—and absolutely before you begin meeting with recruiters or go to an interview.

Find a coach or a friend to help you get past the negative feelings because no one wants to hire or network with a negative person.

And spend some time focusing on the positive things that are happening along the way. Pay attention to your small wins, such as a call back from a recruiter, a new job lead, a new networking friend or a big improvement to your résumé. You will feel more upbeat and have something positive to say when someone asks, “How’s it going?”

This was originally published in the May 2013 issue of Marketing News.​


Author Bio:

Tim Tyrell-Smith and Sima Dahl
​Tim Tyrell-Smith, an author, blogger and entrepreneur, is the founder of Tim’s Strategy, an online resource for job seekers. Sima Dahl is a marketing consultant, social media strategist and personal branding expert with experience working with Fortune 500 corporations, venture-backed startups, nonprofits and academic institutions. Dahl is president of marketing consultancy Parlay Communications Ltd., and founder and chief connector of MarketingJobWire.com. Prior to founding Parlay, she held senior marketing management positions for software and services companies SAP and Intentia, and she worked with high-tech startups Expand Beyond, Proxicom and Neoglyphics Media Corp.
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