Today’s article will help those of you who are reluctant about having an online presence. Let me start with, I get it. As an inherently private person, the process of embracing and leveraging my online presence has been an uncomfortable journey.

Marina, Think Bespoke’s Job Search Coach, and I often discuss how many people we come across who have not taken the time to tend to their LinkedIn garden. There are many reasons for this, and the main one is that they are really not sure where to start.

For the more mature professional, let’s say 40+, it’s less comfortable to write about ourselves. We were taught to be humble and to let our work and results speak for us. You probably don’t need me to inform you that the world has changed, and an increasing number of decisions are made about potential candidates based on what people can find out about you online. If you do not have an online presence you may be damaging your chances of being considered for interviews and opportunities.

Have You Ever Googled Your Name?

I encourage you to ‘google’ your name on a public computer next time you’re at your local library and see what comes up. If you’re happy with what people can find about you online, well played. If you’d like to take better control of what people can find when they google your name, especially if you are in active job search or lead a business, please read on!

I believe there are 5 key steps you can take to help you get started with better leveraging LinkedIn to control what recruiters, potential clients and employers can find out about you online.

1. Take Control of Your Online Presence

With over 500 million members and 4 million company pages, as well as all the activity on LinkedIn each day, if you have a well optimised LinkedIn Profile, this is one of the first listings that will appear with your name when people type your name into online searches.  This means if you fill in the relevant details on your LinkedIn profile, the sheer size and activity of LinkedIn will mean your LinkedIn profile is then likely to be the first thing that comes up when people search your name online.

I get comfort from this fact, as I have a strong desire to protect my privacy and ensure I am in control of what you can find out about me online. I have nothing to hide. I just want my professional presence and business to be the focus of online conversations.

 2. Lock Down Your Privacy Settings on Other Platforms

With the recent news of the invasiveness of platforms like Facebook and the ability for organisations to use your Facebook activity as a way to market to you, it is no surprise that your online activity and comments are very searchable. I encourage you to take control of your privacy settings and lock down what people can view if they search your name online or while on Facebook.

Here’s how to make changes to your Facebook privacy settings.

You can also lock down some of the public profile settings of your LinkedIn Profile, although I would suggest this is a short sighted view of this platform, given you can use it to control the information people can find out about you online. If you are keen to know how to adjust your privacy settings on LinkedIn, please read this LinkedIn article.

3. Decide What You Want to Be Known For & Who You are Trying to Influence on LinkedIn

The two questions I ask clients who are thinking about spending more time on LinkedIn are:

  1. What do you want to be known for?
  2. Who are you trying to influence?

Being able to clearly answer these questions, which I do not ask lightly, is the key to writing a relevant LinkedIn Profile that helps you get found by and into conversations on LinkedIn with the people that matter to you and help serve your professional goals. In many ways this means embracing the idea of cultivating a personal brand.  I understand it can be uncomfortable to step into the limelight. To help you get more comfortable with developing your personal branding, please read my journey with developing my personal brand in 5 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand Online here.

The mistake you can make when updating your profile and telling your story on LinkedIn is to compare yourselves to others and be a version of the leader in your industry. I believe it’s distracting, unproductive and limiting to compare yourself to others and recommend you focus on your answers to my two questions above. Take some time to think about what is unique about you and what it is that others value about your approach. Perhaps even ask your favourite humans why they value working with you. I’m confident you will be pleasantly surprised by just how much value your unique style adds to those around you.

 4. Take a Fresh Look at Your LinkedIn Profile

Steps 1-3 have hopefully given you a few things to think about. If you’d like some suggestions for how to update your LinkedIn Profile, this article shows you how to make some overall changes for the following features:

  • Photo
  • Skills
  • Location
  • Summarise Experience & Goals

For more comprehensive resources on how to write your LinkedIn Profile please visit this page.

5. Ask Colleagues and Clients to Endorse & Recommend You

Your colleagues and clients may also be able to play a role in providing social proof on your LinkedIn Profile that support what you’ve said about yourself in your summary and experience. This can be done via the endorsement of your skills and providing you with a recommendation. To find out more about these features and how to maximise them, please visit the following resources.

I hope you have found today’s article helpful. Please contact us if you would like help getting started with LinkedIn for your Career or Business.