This is the first in a series of Personal Brand Audits, where we’ll make sure you’re keeping the touch points of your personal brand fresh and up to date.
LinkedIn is an absolutely vital part of your personal branding efforts online. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account yet, start by reading Dan Schawbel’s How to Build Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn.
Personal Brand Audit: LinkedIn
1. Is your headshot up to date?
If you want people to remember you, a picture is worth a thousand words. Have a photographer friend snap a few pictures in the studio to keep your professional headshot up to date.
2. Is your profile 100% complete?
Log into your account and make sure your profile is 100% complete. It only takes a few minutes.
3. Is your professional headline up to date?
Update your professional headline, which is separate from your current position. Make sure it reflects what you’re up to today. You can also use it to display your future goals.
4. Is your summary up to date?
Your summary is one of the most important parts of your profile. It’s the first thing people read to find out who you are, what you’re all about, and what you’re up to today. Keep it concise, compelling, and current.
5. Is your experience up to date?
It’s easy to let the experience section go stale. Make sure that you include new items if applicable, and if you change careers, tweak your experience section to reflect how it applies to your new career path.
6. Are you using applications to promote your content?
If you have a blog, display your feed using a LinkedIn application like the WordPress app. Same goes with SlideShare and your presentations. Aggregate the external touchpoints of your personal brand into one place on your LinkedIn profile with apps.
7. Are your recommendations current and applicable to your current goals?
Stale recommendations reflect the fact that you haven’t been WOWing anybody lately. Check out Jason Alba’s Asking For LinkedIn Recommendations for tactful advice about soliciting recommendations.
8. Have you claimed your public profile URL?
Claim your public profile URL so you can promote your profile in your email signature, resume, business card, blog, etc. in an attractive and easy to read format.
9. Have you imported your email contacts to connect with contacts you’re missing?
Import your email contacts to make sure your email acquaintances are also your LinkedIn connections.
10. Have you boycotted the default Invitation to Connect text, and customized your invitations?
Nobody wants to hear this boring default text three times a day: “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” Personalize your invitations to connect to people in a meaningful, human way.
11. Have you joined relevant groups?
Join relevant groups and discussions to connect with major players in your industry by using the search tool to find groups by industry. Join groups, post relevant articles and participate in discussions.
12. Have you joined in relevant discussion in the past two weeks?
Meet people with common interests by participating in discussions related to your personal brand. Make yourself known as someone with thoughtful insights and a helpful attitude.
13. Have you asked or answered questions on LinkedIn answers in the past two weeks?
Use LinkedIn Answers to ask intelligent questions and answer others’ questions in your field. Remember to cite facts by linking to their sources.
14. Have you tapped your network in the past two weeks?
Let your network know what you are looking for. Searching for speaking gigs? Organizing a workshop? Building a mastermind group? Message people directly and set your LinkedIn status to reflect what you’re looking for to build your brand.
Tally Up: What’s your LinkedIn Audit Score?
Tally up your answers to determine your LinkedIn audit score. If you scored 0-7, take a few minutes right now to improve your standing. If you scored 8-11, set some time aside this weekend to improve your score. If you scored 12-14, you’re on the ball – keep up the great work.
Here are the audit questions, to recap:
- Is your headshot up to date?
- Is your profile 100% complete?
- Is your professional headline up to date?
- Is your summary up to date?
- Is your experience up to date?
- Are you using applications to promote your content?
- Are your recommendations current and applicable to your current goals?
- Have you claimed your public profile URL?
- Have you imported your email contacts to connect with contacts you’re missing?
- Have you boycotted the default Invitation to Connect text, and customized your invitations?
- Have you joined relevant groups?
- Have you joined in relevant discussion in the past two weeks?
- Have you asked or answered questions on LinkedIn answers in the past two weeks?
- Have you tapped your network in the past two weeks?
Good luck, have fun, and remember: a little personal branding effort now pays off dividends later.
Pete Kistler is a leading Online Reputation Management expert for Generation Y, a top 5 finalist for Entrepreneur Magazine’s College Entrepreneur of 2009, one of the Top 30 Definitive Personal Branding Experts on Twitter, a widely read career development blogger, and a Judge for the 2009 Personal Brand Awards. Pete manages strategic vision for Brand‐Yourself.com, the first online reputation management platform for job applicants, named one of the Top 100 Most Innovative College Startups in the U.S.