One of the most common assumptions that people make – and that we find ourselves refuting, day in and day out as recruiters – is the assumption that personal branding and networking is something that people only need to focus on when they’re looking for a job. Our lives are busy and only getting busier it seems, between work, family, and all the myriad forms of entertainment competing for our attention. So it’s not surprising that people treat something like personal branding and networking as an in-between-jobs activity. It’s not surprising that people think “I better gussy up the resume and LinkedIn profile” only when they’re looking to make a move in their career, or circumstances change and they’re on the hunt again.
The fact is, it’s harder to accomplish solid personal branding when you’re in between jobs. And while we wouldn’t suggest that it’s more important than work or family itself, it’s easy to make building your professional online presence a small part of your social media ritual – and more productive than checking Facebook again. It’s easier to find a job when you’ve put the legwork and built your brand before. But the thing is, having a solid personal brand on LinkedIn and other professional networks pays dividends even if you’re the farthest thing from an “active” candidate! Having a solid personal branding presence will help your career in a myriad of ways that have nothing to do with looking for a job.
LinkedIn profiles are still the most valuable personal branding tool for most professionals.
LinkedIn faces some declining user engagement numbers – part of why many are hoping Microsoft, in its recent acquisition of the company, will help right the ship – but the issue of candidates not having solid profiles has been an issue for as long as the network has existed. And the network is still incredibly valuable.
Many people recognize that they should have a LinkedIn profile, then make a bare-bones attempt and leave it almost empty for months, thinking that they’ve “checked off” that box on their personal branding activities. But as we write about quite a bit, those kind of barebones profiles can actually hurt, more than help your personal brand.
So here are just a few reasons to think about building out your LinkedIn profile even if you aren’t looking for a job:
- Stakeholders in your current job are checking your profile. You’re visible to vendors, negotiation partners, and coworkers in other departments. So a strong personal brand only helps your perception within your job.
- Your supervisors or higher-ups will take a look at your online presence when it comes to promotions. Having a LinkedIn profile with 15 connections, no picture, no education or work history might send the message that you’re not as committed to advancement in your career as you could be – especially in customer-facing fields.
- If you have a great LinkedIn profile, you’ll show up in searches more often. We always bring this up when it comes to hearing from recruiters, but put that aside for a moment: you’re also more visible for networking and business development opportunities, possible speaking engagements, and other kinds of activities that will boost your career even if you aren’t looking for a job.
- A solid LinkedIn profile gives you stronger “Personal SEO” – so that when someone Googles you, rather than looking you up on LinkedIn, the first thing they’ll see is a strong picture of who you are professionally ahead of other references to you online.
We understand that not everyone knows how to boost their personal brand, and how to build out their LinkedIn profile. If you’re interested in what your personal brand needs to get to the next level, we can help! Comment below and we’ll be happy to be of assistance, especially if you’re in Supply Chain, Procurement, Logistics, Operations, or Planning.