Your Professional Brand Includes Linkedin
By Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
I’m a superfan of LinkedIn and use it frequently to find contacts at potential client companies, engage in industry dialog, connect with other professionals, and position myself as a thought leader on topics that matter to me. As a superfan, I’m always stunned when I don’t find profiles for retail RDs.
LinkedIn puts your professional brand out there for recruiters, potential employers, and community and vendor partners to see. It allows you to engage in dialogue related to your industry and be up-to-speed on the latest news, concerns, and trends in retail. It builds trust in you as others see your connections, recommendations and evidence of how you add value.
Here are tips to build an effective LinkedIn profile:
- Pick the right profile picture. The picture should be recent and professional in nature (don’t use a picture of you and your family, for example). Your face should take up more than half of the space allowed on LinkedIn.
- Lead with a headline, not your job title. LinkedIn should reflect the totality of you as a profession, so lead with a description of what you do and what makes you tick. Specific roles, job titles and companies are included in the Experience section of your profile.
- Include a summary. This is the chance to tell your story and highlight why others will want ot engage with you. Bring to life your skills and experience.
- Use the Skills section. This is an quick and easy way to highlight your skills and talents. Include hard skills as well as soft ones, and think broadly about your skills going beyond just nutrition.
- Seek endorsements and recommendations as a way to lend credibility. Consider contacts on LinkedIn that you’ve partnered with effectively or from whom you’ve gotten rave reviews at work. Reach out with a polite note, asking them to endorse or write a recommendation of you.
- Join groups. There are more than two million groups on LinkedIn. Seek out those related to the retail industry, food marketing, food regulations or other topics of interest to you that also highlight your expertise. Participating in the discussions in these groups not only keeps you in the know on key topics, but allows you to showcase your thought leadership.
While engaging in any new system takes time to get the feel of, I can guarantee that overtime you’ll find significant value in being a part of the LinkedIn community.