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LinkedIn has evolved to stay relevant since it launched in 2003. The upgrades that focus on your profile have been the most interesting to me – because they help you convey your personal brand to your audience. Your LinkedIn profile has been your first impression for years. And moving to WFH a year ago only increased the importance of your profile in connecting and interacting with your stakeholders.
If you’re one of those people who only updates their profile when they’re looking for work or announcing their recent promotion, you’re living in 2003. That means the Concorde is still flying, Arnold Schwarzenegger is the Governor of California, and “Friends “Is number 1 in TV shows! It’s time to bring your outdated thinking of “LinkedIn is where I go when I’m looking for a job” in “LinkedIn allows me to make an authentic and compelling first impression and helps me do better at my job ” to change.
This latest version has many features to help you implement this new way of thinking. Upon launching this major profile overhaul, LinkedIn announced, “Sharing your professional journey in an authentic and engaging way is the starting point for connecting with the communities that matter most to you. That’s why we’ve thought about ways to bring your professional story to life on LinkedIn and introducing tools to help you build a more expressive and comprehensive profile. ”
This version contains numerous improvements and new functions. Here are the ones that I think are the most compelling and helpful to you as you build your personal brand:
Video cover story
I was excited to see LinkedIn adding more videos to your profile for a decade. This new tool allows you to personalize your first hello with a video message for your audience. And it’s really cool the way it works – LinkedIn calls it the “Harry Potter Effect”. After you’ve added your video cover story, an orange ring will appear around your profile photo and a preview of your video story will automatically play with no sound. LinkedIn will add closed captions to the video in a future update. Video is a much more powerful form of communication than words. It’s more visceral. Since we rarely connect with people in the same physical space, video is the best substitute for face-to-face interactions. This feature makes it easier for you to introduce yourself and connect with people on a deeper level.
If you’re building your personal brand by adding articles, blogs, or videos to your thought leadership, LinkedIn wants to help you get them noticed. In the creation mode, which will be available on your profile dashboard, you can share your thoughts on the events in the messages. In creation mode, you can identify hashtags that highlight the topics that you post the most about. Also, the “Featured” and “Activity” areas of your profile will be more prominent.
LinkedIn profile backgrounds provide a way to brand your profile and make it stand out from the crowd (and also replace the boring greenish-gray standard wallpaper). If you’re a LinkedIn Live broadcaster, your brand profile background will appear when you stream live. This reinforces your message and increases the visibility of your content.
Creating an authentic LinkedIn profile is essential. And for many of us, part of that authenticity is expressing our preferred pronouns. Pronouns are important to our identity and how we want to be seen. For the past few years, LinkedIn members have been adding their pronouns to their heading. With this new feature, you no longer have to assign part of this limited headline area to your pronouns. An optional new field at the top of your profile allows you to add your gender pronouns next to your name. According to LinkedIn, 70% of job seekers think it is important that recruiters and hiring managers know their gender pronouns, and 72% of hiring managers agree.
Present your content
Now you can present your offers from your personal profile. You don’t need a company page to do this. These new landing pages are known as service pages and can be found by members in LinkedIn search – even members who are not members of your network (if you make your public profile visible). Regardless of the level of connection, LinkedIn members using your services can contact you. The offers on your service page will appear in both your network’s feeds and your own feed. LinkedIn is planning a future upgrade that will allow you to view ratings and reviews right on your service pages. So stay tuned.
As is common practice with LinkedIn, these features are being rolled out gradually (and seemingly randomly) and may not be available to you at this time. So, take care of your profile and update it with the features that will be helpful to you as soon as you can. These are great new benefits that will help you make a strong first impression and strengthen your personal brand.
William Arruda is a public speaker, co-founder of CareerBlast, and author of Digital YOU: Real Personal Branding in the Virtual Age.