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How to Create a Board Ready LinkedIn Profile

by LinkedIn Profile

In this article we explore how to create a Board ready LinkedIn profile. If you are seeking Board Roles or you are a senior leader wishing to quietly refresh your profile to see what’s out there, these insights will help you maximise LinkedIn.

Since becoming a member of the Women on Boards community I’ve been invited to share my LinkedIn insights as part of the Women on Boards WOBSX program; an intensive director-led peer-to-peer support program that accelerates women into ASX board roles. It has graduated almost 130 women since inception in 2018 of which 15 have achieved at least one ASX role, while others have directorships on large organisations in the private, government and superannuation sectors.

At this session and the subsequent LinkedIn profile session I ran for the WOB members, we explored how to maximise LinkedIn for your career, with a focus on activating the free tools available via your LinkedIn profile to help build your influence and create a Board ready LinkedIn profile.

How to Create a Board Ready LinkedIn Profile

What I love about the increasing number of features available via your LinkedIn Profile is that they can be used in different ways. In the case where you are actively seeking Board Roles there are some key elements of your profile to consider, beyond your profile photo, experience, education and volunteer experience sections (which are all important).

Headline

This should be customised and include your areas of expertise, industry focus and relevant accreditations. Here are some examples. If you are a GAICD, make sure it is featured in your LinkedIn profile headline.

Background Image

Add an image, or series of images, that reflects your core focus as a Non Executive Director.

board ready linkedin profile To create a background image, source copyright free images from Unsplash and create it in Canva.

Here is a great example from Nicolle Rantanen Reynolds.

 

About Section

How would you answer the question “Please tell me about yourself”? This is the role the About Section plays in helping determine your suitability for a particular board role. When writing the About Section of your LinkedIn Profile for this purpose I recommend you use a writing style that is less formal than your Board CV. Inject a sense of your professional style and approach and write in the first person. This means you talking about you, not describing yourself in the third person. While writing in the third person about yourself may still be suitable for annual reports, for LinkedIn Profiles it can disconnect you from the reader. The only exception to this is if you are applying for roles at extremely conservative organisations who would prefer a more traditional approach.

You are not the sum of your roles. You are a unique individual with the relevant experience, qualifications and know how who will bring a certain something to a Board. The About Section is your opportunity to tell that story. While you may not need to use all of the 2600 characters available in this section, what you write does give decision makers a sense of who you are, what you believe and your credentials.

How to Write a Good LinkedIn Profile About Section

Featured Section

This section of your profile allows you to showcase key information for readers. If you’re wanting to be considered for Board Roles, I recommend you activate this feature by sharing the most relevant public information, either from reputable news sources or on LinkedIn, that have featured you in a professional context. Include three examples that enhance the information in your profile. You can add external links, media and LinkedIn posts.

How to Use the Featured Section On Your LinkedIn Profile

Open to Work – Is it suitable if I’m applying for Board Roles?

The Open ToWork feature is suitable if you activate the recruiters only option. Make sure you specify your role title preferences. Use the drop down menu to choose similar roles. You can list up to 5 roles.

Important to know: If you are concerned about your current employer finding out you are seeking Board Roles, ensure your employer is listed in your experience section of your profile.

To protect your privacy, LinkedIn takes the current company on your LinkedIn profile marked as I am currently working here to know who to hide your Open to Work status from, however, they can’t guarantee complete privacy.

 

How LinkedIn Helps Build Your Influence

There are many ways LinkedIn can help you build your influence and enhance the great work you are achieving in your career, including it can:

  • Keep you relevant and ‘top of mind’: Spend time on LinkedIn each week to accept invites to connect and engage with your organisational and professional community’s updates.
  • Help you stay informed of global trends and news: Curate your newsfeed to get better updates about what’s going on with your industry.
  • Help you ‘be discovered’ by others: Ensure your profile reflects your focus for your professional goals so the right people (stakeholders, clients, recruiters and headhunters) can find you on LinkedIn
  • Help you continue face to face conversations online: In an increasingly disconnected world, LinkedIn helps you stay connected to your network via LinkedIn messaging.​
  • Be a place to begin new conversations​: LinkedIn enhances in real life conversations by creating a forum for follow up and connection via messaging.
  • Create opportunities to add value to your community: LinkedIn provides members with many ways to share helpful content and start conversations for posts, polls, articles and newsletters.
Karen Hollenbach, LinkedIn Expert Consultant, Educator & Mentor

Karen Hollenbach, LinkedIn Expert Consultant, Educator & Mentor

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