Maximizing Your Online Brand

When you think of your social networking profiles, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?  Perhaps it’s the recipes you share with your friends on Facebook, or the latest news updates you look at on Twitter.  What do you think of in terms of your Linked In profile?  That’s what the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Manitoba Chapter set out to explain on Wednesday, April 15.

Laine Jubinville is a Senior Career Management Consultant with People First HR Services here in Winnipeg; by all accounts she is an expert in her field and has a lot of valuable information and experience that my fellow students and I could really take advantage of.  The statistics she shared with us were staggering:

  • 7 out of 10 LinkedIn users do more harm than good with their profiles as the profile page lacks content and detail
  • 80% of organizations within North America are utilizing various social media platforms to “vet” candidates (LinkedIn tends to be the first stop)
  • 95% of North American organizations are now using LinkedIn as part of their recruitment process in some way shape or form
  • 7 seconds – that’s all the time you have to grab someone’s attention before they move on to the next profile

Chances are you’ve at least heard of LinkedIn, if you’re not already a member. At its core, it’s a professional social networking tool. The key word in that sentence is professional.  It is not meant to be a repeat of your résumé; in fact, it should be looked at as an extension of your personal brand and marketing package.

“Having a LinkedIn profile without a summary is like having a résumé without words.”

– Laine Jubinville

Let that sink in for a moment; just like with resumes, what you are looking to do is entice viewers to contact you and follow up.  Whether you’re looking for a job, an educational opportunity, or just networking, your personal brand is what you can offer others.  It is the value that someone receives by interacting with you.  Unfortunately, it’s just the way the world works – people don’t care what you can do until they know what you can do for them.

When asked what are the 3 most important aspects to your profile, Laine offered these points:

  1. A professional, quality headshot without any distracting effects or objects – first impressions happen quickly;
  2. Catchy headline – if you are seeking employment, it should capture the essence of your brand and what you would like to; if you’re already employed, it should explain what you do in a concise and compelling manner;
  3. Effective summary – this shouldn’t read like a website bio, but needs to be written in the first person. This is the one area that most of us fall short in, and where we really need to step up our game.

As a public relations/communications professional, my industry is one of the most heavily criticized when it comes to the content of our online marketing strategy – our brand.  This is because it is literally our job to effectively craft compelling messages, and if we can’t sell ourselves then who is going to want to hire us?

Listening to Laine’s presentation, I immediately cringed at some of the mistakes that I’ve made.  The worst part?  I knew I was making those mistakes at the time, but I figured it was better to at least have something up.  You can bet I’ll be making some changes to my profile!

The final take away from this event was that the ‘hidden job market’ plays an even bigger role than before.  You may think that you are doing all the right things: you have an interactive and visually pleasing resume, your online brand is on-point with what you’re looking for, and your LinkedIn profile is up to date, filled with recommendations, and compelling.  However, Recruiting and Human Resources professionals AKA “The Hunters” are now looking in one place that most of us (myself included) are not using, and that’s the groups.  It’s not enough to have good content, you need to also be creating content, following businesses and organizations, and adding value to the conversation.  There are literally hundreds of thousands of groups on LinkedIn, and there is the ability for us to really target our interests.  This means that there is the ability for recruiters to target their searches as well.  Use your profile and opportunities wisely, and you’ll soon find that there is a whole world of possibilities out there!


I was very lucky to win the door prize which was a consulting session with Laine where we can go over anything that I have questions about!  The presentation she did was only a small portion of her normally two hour talk on LinkedIn.  She gave me an inside scoop that many companies are hiring because public relations, communications, and marketing individuals are demonstrating their expertise in LinkedIn groups!


About Dani K

Passionate young professional with a commitment to positive change. Partisan politico. Sometimes runner.
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