Your 2013 LinkedIn checklist to enhance your personal brand


LinkedIn may have played second fiddle to the likes of Facebook and Twitter for some time but things have changed. Besides the explosion of LinkedIn user numbers on a global basis, LinkedIn has introduced a whole bunch of new features and functions which has radically improved the user experience. If you are serious about exposing and enhancing your online brand from a business perspective, LinkedIn is the place to be, however if you are going to use LinkedIn, I advise you not to do things in half measures. Here is a list of LinkedIn “must do’s” to start your 2013 off with a bang.

1. Upload a decent photo

Statistically, there is a greater propensity for people to connect with you if your profile has a DECENT photo. LinkedIn is a business social network, so in most (if not all) cases, the accepted norm is a colour head and shoulders shot. If you want to project a professional image, then I suggest that your attire is business casual. Make sure the image has enough resolution to be enlarged without blurring.

2. Include job history

As you would do with your resume when seeking a new job, include a detailed account of your past employers and your role within the organisation. You wouldn’t go to a job interview with half a resume, so don’t do this online for all the world to see. Even if you are not a job seeker and you are using LinkedIn to promote your expertise, potential clients will want to know what you did in the past.

3. Provide a good summary

The LinkedIn summary is your “brag sheet” or 30 second elevator pitch. You want to create a good impression as quick as possible and this is the ideal place to do so. Use the summary to explain your core skills, where and how you add value with one or two examples.

4. Where were you educated?

Besides your job history, potential employers and clients want to know where you were educated and what qualifications you have. Besides schooling and tertiary education, make mention of the certificate courses, diplomas, short courses, awards achieved.

5. Add skills and ask for endorsements

A recent addition to LinkedIn is the ability to have other LinkedIn users you are connected with to endorse your skills. This is the LinkedIn’s version of word of mouth marketing. If I have heard from multiple sources that a person is good at something, there is a good chance that I will believe it. The best way to get endorsements is to endorse others and they will reciprocate. If they don’t, then ask them to.

6. Ask for recommendations

Reach out to your colleagues, clients, ex-clients, past employers and manager and ask them to add a recommendation. When applying for a job or tendering for a project you always include references. This is exactly the same. The more references the better. Just remember to reciprocate!

7. Connect!

This is what LinkedIn is all about. Reach out to all your colleagues, friends, associates, past employers, past and existing clients and connect with them. Remember to follow LinkedIn protocol when doing so otherwise this feature will be blocked. If you do not know someone personally, but would like to connect, ask someone you are connected with to introduce you.

8. Join groups

There are MANY LinkedIn groups out there so take your time joining groups. The idea behind joining groups is so you can interact with LIKE-MINDED individuals. If this is not happening, then leave the group. You also join groups to learn, so if there isn’t decent interaction and/or the subject matter is poor, then leave the group. You can use groups to build credibility and to let people know that you are knowledgeable around certain subjects. In order to do this you have to participate in discussions. Ask questions, post content, use the polling feature, but participate.

9. Monitor updates

Check updates on the LinkedIn home page. This is where you have visibility of all the updates made by your connections. If there is good content, read it, share it and comment on it. The more you do this, the more you are noticed and the more your connections will support you. Remember that your connections have extended networks. As soon as they start sharing your content and comments, the more your content is noticed.

10. Share articles where you have been published

LinkedIn provides a great feature where you can showcase articles that have been published which you may have wrote or where you have been interviewed or quoted. This just helps to build your credibility.

11. Include contact information

Make sure to include all contact information such as email address and telephone numbers. If you use Twitter and have a blog, be sure to include links to these platforms to. Just ensure that your blog and tweets are current if you are going to do this.

There are many other great features and functions available on LinkedIn which you should take the time to explore, but I will leave you with these 11 tips to enhance your personal brand for the time being. I can assure you that if you use this advice, you will see the results. Have a great 2013!

Do you have any other LinkedIn tips to add? Would you like to share any of your personal experiences? What is your opinion of LinkedIn?

I invite you to connect on LinkedIn or chat on Twitter

44 thoughts on “Your 2013 LinkedIn checklist to enhance your personal brand

  1. Jodene

    This truly is so helpful David. For the longest time I have known that I need to put more time and effort into LInkedin because I believe the value is there, but I have also found that it’s a platform I was not truly familiar with or knew how to incorporate into what I do in the social media space.
    I will be exploring all the new features, updating my profile and start actively participating in the Linkedin space. Thank you for making it an approachable and valuable source for me.

  2. thomasmarzano

    Hi David! you are on a blogging spree! 🙂

    Good overview for someone who is beginning with LinkedIn!

    I would also mention to add content like movies, presentations etc. to each position if you have it available. And also to keep posting content on your feed as well so that the people who follow you can learn about your area of interest and expertise.

    oh and… join & participate actively in groups on LI… as that’s important for people to see that you have something of value to say and contribute 🙂

    Keep those posts coming David!

    1. David Graham Post author

      Thank you Thomas. One feature that LinkedIn offers is the ability to include Slideshare presentations into your profile. It is really easy to upload PowerPoint presentations and .pdf documents to your slideshare account. Besides the social sharing links provided by Slideshare, your slideshare documents render superbly. The same goes for Youtube. It is relatively simple to share into relevant groups from updates. Thank you very much for your input.

  3. Martin Slabbert-Capper

    Another great post, David. Yes, very good pieces of advice. I see so many people who use Linkedin with no clear strategy in mind – you’re promoting your own personal brand, so why not do it properly? You cannot be half pregnant! Best wishes for the year ahead.

    1. David Graham Post author

      Thank you Martin. I read an interesting article which stated that people were less likely to “lie” on their LinkedIn profile as opposed to their resume.

  4. Rachel Miller (@AllthingsIC)

    Thanks for sharing David, this is a useful overview. One thing I’d add on the photo point is to ensure ladies aren’t wearing strapless tops – as this often looks like they aren’t wearing one at all – and I’m sure that’s not the impression they were planning to give!

    I also agree with choosing and reviewing groups, I went through my list a couple of days ago and updated my group membership to ensure I’m a member of ones that are of interest to me. As your career evolves you may find your choices change, so keeping that list relevant to you is key, Rachel

    1. Kudzai Chigiji

      I agree completely. I’ve noticed a lot of “less-than-professional” picutres on Linked In of late. I’d recommend a blazer or jersey for all women to ensure a professional image.

  5. Linked Media Group (@LinkedMedia)

    Great Content David – to underscore your point about SlideShare integration, we have seen much more marketing ROI for clients by helping them set up a paid account (very affordable) with SlideShare and integrating with LinkedIn. LinkedIn owns SlideShare and we expect to see tighter integration with both platforms moving forward. Another great thing to do with a personal profile is to Keyword Optimize your links (you have three).

  6. Stephen Huppert (@stephenhuppert)

    Another good article, David. Here are a couple of additional thoughts that I have on LinkedIn.

    Users need to focus on the ‘social’ of ‘social media’. Let people know that they are connecting to a person who is interested in them and their views,

    1. When inviting people to connect, add something to the standard invite. Maybe let the person know why you would like to connect or comment on a recent interaction with that person
    2. When accepting invitations, again add a comment or two – or, at the very least, a thank you for the invite.
    3. Keep an eye out for job changes and send an email of congratulations
    4. Comment on posts from your connections (think how you might feel if you are constantly posting articles etc but receiving no acknowledgment from your network). Maybe not all the time for those that post regularly, but every now and then would be very welcome.
    5. Your comments about being active in Groups are good. If people find it overwhelming, just focus on a couple of relevant Groups to what you are trying to achieve.
    6. I am not sure of the relevance or value of endorsements. I find them more a nuisance than anything else. But if you do get endorsements, continuing my theme, send a thank you. It doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes.

    Overall – try not to be one of those people whose only activity is making new connections.

  7. Papi

    Thanks David. The tips came right on time. I think very soon I will also upgrading to LinkedIn Pro version to enhance userbility.

  8. Alex Haseley (@AlexHaseley)

    Great article David. I think the value of LinkedIn will continue to increase as people realize the importance of their personal brand and thus work to improve their public profile. I know that some recruiters even print out a person’s LinkedIn profile and include it in the resume folder prior to giving it to an interviewer. The number of connections a person has is interesting, but the value of the included content could make or break an interviewer’s first impression. Lastly, with the integration of LinkedIn with Outlook and other desktop platforms, it’s highly likely that a person may be viewing pieces of your profile with every email you send them or any meeting you attend!

    Please let me know if you have any great examples – besides your own, of course!

  9. Juggie Naran

    Hi David, yes it is true. LinkedIn Groups are expected to compete with twitter and Facebook. I agree because Linkedin joined me up with a journalist group which is what I do. I get a lot of feedback from the group about what is happening in the conventional newspaper world and also social media networks. They feed me with a lot of useful tips etc, but twitter also feeds me with some of the latest stories that are generally doing the rounds. I believe they more like compliment each other but Linkedin is definately on the move.

  10. Craig M. Jamieson

    Great tips, David and I’ll have to strongly endorse comments made by you and others. You only do get one chance to make a good first impression and if that impression is a crummy profile page, a 3rd grade class photo, and a template request to connect, it ain’t gonna’ happen with me:)

    I would encourage folks to write recommendations more so than endorsements. These show thought and consideration whereas the new endorsement feature is the LinkedIn version of “like” (I have mixed feelings about these).

    Take advantage of LinkedIn’s new profile content features which have taken the place of applications.

    Groups and answers are LinkedIn’s hidden gems. I would suggest that you join a limited number of groups that you can be active in. Cream floats to the top!

    Finally, if you are a cross-poster, please do not share your twitter breakfast on LinkedIn:)

    1. David Graham Post author

      Thank you for the great advice Craig. I agree with you about Groups and Answers because this is an ideal place to connect, interact and build credibility. Using the overused “cocktail partY” or “dating” analogy, this is the time when you can make or break a relationship.

  11. John Langford

    Hi David
    Thanks for your simple, straightforward and clear explanation on how to use LI. I always appreciate what you have to say. People often assume that because they have read something they know it, whereas the key is moving from head knowledge to experience by doing it – consistently. So, thanks again and keep the flow coming.

  12. Sagar

    Hi David!

    Thanks for your detailed description about what you can do to Improve Your Personal Brand image… It actually displays and talks about What you are and what you can do with LI… Rather than just having the LI profile.. if we can make it a practice to maintain our profile like you mentioned then thats THE BRAND YOU!!!… Also I will also go with Craig’s opinion about Writing more of recommendations rahter than Endorsing… Coz its like the Active feedback..

    I guess we can also have our own “Tagline” so as to talk about the Brand YOU in one line….

    Thanks a lot for sharing!!

    1. David Graham Post author

      Thank you very much for your comment Sagar. I agree that recommendations carry more weight. LinkedIn has made it way too easy to endorse skills. In a lot of cases people are being endorsed by connections that actually do not know them that well.

  13. Suchitra Mishra

    Hello David,

    Thanks for this checklist – I have been “updating” the LI profiles for some of my clients and friends and this serves as a good checklist for me as well as others.


  14. Jair

    Thanks David! Once again another set of simple but important rules to make positive use of LinkedIn. Please keep them coming they are appreciated.

  15. Bipul

    A very useful article for people who want to make themselves ‘Visible’ on linkedin. I will follow these tips for sure and would recommned my friends and knownones to do the same.


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