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Build Your Personal Brand

Earlier this year I wrote about how the job market had become a truly candidate driven marketplace. We continue to see strong hiring and a real talent shortage in the Retail Home Furnishings sector. This is being driven by this month’s continued low Unemployment rate of (3.7%) and this means the white-collar worker segment is nearing full employment.  The accelerating level of changing demographics from retirements of baby boomers to the rise of the millennials in the workforce is changing the number of qualified candidates in the Retail Labor market.

As a Candidate you should focus on refreshing your resume and your LinkedIn profile to make sure that your profile stands out.  Here are some tips to make sure that you stand out from the crowd.


Being on LinkedIn is a must for every executive job seeker.  In fact, 9 out of 10 employers and recruiters will want to see your LinkedIn profile before they will invite you for a job interview. Therefore, having a compelling LinkedIn profile is a smart thing to do.


LinkedIn profiles have the components of your ‘regular’ resume such as a summary, education, experience and special skills.  The way you present these determines how companies will perceive you as a potential hire.  Employers can see LinkedIn profiles 24/7, and if the descriptions are minimal (as frankly most LinkedIn descriptions are), they may not be impressed.

As with resumes, average candidates with superior profiles often get better offers than superior candidates with second-rate profiles. It may be impressive that well-known companies employed you or that you have prestigious job titles. However, by themselves, these factors are not enough.


A solid LinkedIn profile has substance and sophistication. It shows not only where you have worked and for how long, but also gives a persuasive synopsis of what you accomplished, implicitly suggesting how your experience can help potential employers achieve their goals. Great LinkedIn profiles articulately communicate one’s signature value and strengths that positively differentiate a particular executive from other leaders.

Strong LinkedIn profiles also have an abundance of relevant keywords. When employers look for candidates, they usually seek definite talents and skills. Having a profile rich with contemporary industry terms and expressions gives you a competitive advantage and demonstrates that you are a proficient candidate.

Keep in mind Recruiters use Boolean search strings to find relevant candidates and all are based on the industry specific keywords.  This is discussed in item #2 below.

HOW TO Build Your personal brand with a Superior PROFILE:

The easiest and most logical way to prepare a compelling LinkedIn profile is to first prepare an outstanding ‘regular’ resume. Then, you can effortlessly paste the key elements of your resume into your LinkedIn profile.  As a result, you’ll have the best of both worlds – a powerful regular and an online executive resume.

After you paste your resume information on LinkedIn, you can add other personal components such as a photo, memberships, and connections. It’s really straightforward.

In fact, LinkedIn has a wonderful Learning section available to you with experts and thought leaders giving out advice just like this to help users with their online profiles.

Bear in mind that content quality and relevance are the most important parts of your profile, so always revisit and keep it up to date when you update your resume.


1.     Invest in getting a professional photo taken

According to a recent LinkedIn Survey, your profile is 2.1 times more likely to be viewed if you have a photo in your profile.  

a.    Here are some tips: If you can afford a professional head shot find a local photography studio and tell them you are doing a Linked in profile head shot.  The photography studios in malls or chain stores are all set up for taking Linked in head shots. They can typically do a great job and at an affordable rate. Have someone accompany you…that special someone that can make you laugh, feel natural and give you sincere feedback.

b.    Do wear the appropriate business outfit, however, make sure that it represents you as a person. The more comfortable you are in your attire, the better the result.  

c.    We do not recommend including anyone else in your picture including spouse, significant other, pets or anyone else in your business head shot.  From my seat and POV this is not Instagram or Facebook…this is your business image.

 2.    Craft a more strategic headline.

Your Linkedln headline is important for two reasons: It creates the first impression of you and the keywords you select for it are the words that help recruiters find you.  A nice feature is that your headline can change on demand.  You can go into your account settings and you can use up to 120 characters to craft your headline. 

To craft a strong headline:

a.    Be specific about who you are and what you do. For example, instead of using a generic title like "Distribution Manager," use Distribution and Logistics Executive/Warehousing and Final Mile expertise

b.    Incorporate relevant keywords. To find the most impactful ones, look at job descriptions for positions you'd love and check out your most relevant Linkedln groups to find industry appropriate terminology.

c.     Avoid using "unemployed" in your headline. Instead, use strategic keywords that convey your value statement. For example; titles such as Business Development Leader/Hunter, Sales Generation Expert, Top Performing District Sales Leader, or Highly Engaged Sales Coach and Servant Leader demonstrate what you could bring to a company.

3.    Ask for Linkedln recommendations.

Getting them from your Linkedln network, as well as Featured Skills/Endorsements (that's No. 4), lets others sing your praises and keeps you from appearing boastful.

a.    For optimal results, ask for a recommendation immediately after the successful completion of a project or when you receive an important accolade or award. Make your request in person or by phone, if possible. It's more personal than email and gives you an opportunity to talk about specifics for the recommendation. 

4.    Manage your featured skills and endorsements.

You know those annoying messages that pop up on Linkedln asking if you'd like to endorse your contacts for a variety of skills? I've always considered that feature worthless. After all, I've had people endorse me for public speaking who've never heard me speak and received endorsements for career coaching from people I've never met.

a.    According to a recent Linkedln study, users who display five or more skills are messaged 31 times more and viewed 17 times more than those who do not! So as meaningless as endorsements seem, they do attract more eyeballs to your page.

 5.    Incorporate  photos and video.

When it comes to building a powerful Linkedln profile, remember  the old adage: A picture is worth a thousand words. You can now easily post photos and videos to your Linkedln profile under the Experience, Education or Summary sections.

a.    You can also use images in the background banner of your personal profile, where you can feature a logo, photo or image that colorfully enhances your brand. For example, a realtor might display a photo of the city skyline or an executive might use a photo of a conference she recently organized.

b.    Remember, it's far more effective to post a speaking clip that demonstrates how engaging you are than to simply state, "I am a strong public speaker." 

6.    Show off your expertise with SlideShare.

Linkedln recently bought the SlideShare presentation platform and now integrates it within your account. This way, you and your work can be easily discovered through a specific SlideShare search or through Google. It's another dynamic and interesting way to display your thought leadership and draw traffic to your profile. 

7.    Blog with Linkedln Publisher.

Finally, consider posting blogs on Linkedln to build your personal brand as a thought leader. The posts you write will be displayed on your Linkedln profile and as your connections like and comment on them, they'll be seen by your wider second- and third-level networks as well as through Google searches.

Final Tips and ongoing Brand update and Maintenance Tip for Executives…

Look at your personal profile on Linkedln

•       Compare it to the seven tips in this article and to your competition

•       Spend five minutes a day on Linkedln by sharing, liking or posting to increase your presence and profile.

 Bill O’Malley is President of Connector Team Recruiting a firm headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia specializing in the Furniture | Appliance and Sleep verticals. Connector Team is an affiliate office of MRINETWORK, Philadelphia, PA.  Connector Team is a full service Search Firm offering permanent placement recruiting solutions and also contract staffing solutions.

For comments or to reach Bill contact him at

Reference and credit to: MRI Learning and Talent Development - Personal Branding