In this article we explore LinkedIn Profile resources to help elevate your voice on LinkedIn. If you are seeking Board Roles or a senior leader wishing to quietly refresh your profile to see what’s out there, these insights will help you maximise LinkedIn.
I was recently invited to share my LinkedIn insights as part of the Women on Boards WOBSX program. This is 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 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.
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:
- Keeps 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.
- Helps you stay informed of global trends and news: Curate your newsfeed to get better updates about what’s going on with your industry.
- Helps 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
- Helps you continue face to face conversations online: In an increasingly disconnected world, LinkedIn helps you stay connected to your network via LinkedIn messaging.
- A place to begin new conversations: LinkedIn enhances in real life conversations by creating a forum for follow up and connection via messaging.
- Creates 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.
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.
Key Profile Features for Board Roles
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).
This should be customised and include your areas of expertise, industry focus and relevant accreditations. Here are some examples.
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 you 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.
All LinkedIn profile memberships (free or paid) allow you to add a background image to your LinkedIn profile. To create a background image, source copyright free images from Unsplash and create it in Canva. The dimensions required are
This section of your profile allows you to showcase key information for readers and is missed by many people. This may be because they don’t know the featured section exists or they don’t think it applies to them. If you’re wanting to be considered for Board Roles, I recommend you activate this feature based on sharing public information, either from reputable news sources or on LinkedIn that have featured you in a professional context.
Include three examples and access this section of your profile via the Add profile section under your follow count. Choose Recommended and Add Featured. Add relevant external website links, media (e.g. PDF documents or photos) or LinkedIn posts (that you’ve already posted),
Use Gender Pronouns
You can add your gender pronouns to your profile and control who sees them. Gender pronouns play an important role in creating a welcoming community for members of all gender identities.
The profile visibility options are:
- 1st degree-connections: Only LinkedIn members you’re directly connected with
- All LinkedIn members: All members signed into LinkedIn
Based on your visibility choices, your gender pronouns will appear next to your name on LinkedIn in three places: your profile, the feed (whenever you share or comment on a post), and in messages.
Further Resources to Help Your Career Plans
- Download our latest Professional Profile Checklist
- Read this article – How to Use LinkedIn for Job Search
- If you’re thinking about your next career move, you’re welcome to access Think Bespoke’s latest Career Action Plan E-book.
Some professionals tell me they don’t feel comfortable with LinkedIn. In a podcast interview with Executive Legal Recruiter, Alex Correa, I explored this common feeling about LinkedIn and provided suggestions for how to overcome it.
- Listen to the podcast episode – Your 24/7 Ambassador | Make LinkedIn work for you with Karen Hollenbach
- Read the related article – Getting Comfortable with LinkedIn – Your Professional Ambassador