- Marietta Gentles Crawford is a writer and personal brand strategist who founded Mari Brands For You.
- Crawford landed a lucrative speaking gig — among other jobs — through her personable and easy-to-read LinkedIn profile.
- Her tips for creating a profile to attract job offers include using keywords, positive reviews, and a call to action.
- Click here for more BI Prime stories.
When I resigned from my corporate job in 2018 to pursue my writing and brand consulting business Mari Brands For You, I questioned everything. Luckily, I had been building my business on the side for seven years, so at least I had a plan.
But I was also 15-weeks pregnant when I made the leap. Expecting a baby and taking on an entire entrepreneurial adventure at the same time can make you second-guess the spelling of your own name.
So more than ever, knowing that making a name for myself was the key to gaining clients and driving business, I focused on finding opportunities to build my personal brand, something I was already an expert in because I trained under William Arruda’s “Reach Personal Branding” certifications. Known as the personal branding guru globally, Arruda has worked with Fortune 100 companies, so I soaked up a lot of his expertise — especially when it came to LinkedIn.
Four months later, an opportunity knocked on my door. I got a message from a leadership and development manager at a $5 billion global tech company. She was organizing an event and needed a speaker to talk about personal branding.
Bingo! I scheduled a call.
I remember asking, “How did you find me?” as I tried to play it cool. “Your profile came up when I was searching for a personal brand strategist on LinkedIn,” she answered.
After we spoke, I was officially offered the gig. We then confirmed the details, which included a $5,000 half-day fee for a keynote presentation and workshop based on my book “From Nine to Thrive,” paid hotel and travel expenses, and car service.
The morning I emailed the final contract, I was admitted to the hospital for labor (that was not on my to-do list that day!). And I delivered the speaking gig eight weeks after my son was born.
This gig, among other paid opportunities, came to me because I was found on LinkedIn. And while it may seem like a crowded social media platform, there are opportunities waiting for you, too. What made me stand out? Here’s my profile — and here’s what makes it shine.
This may sound like “duh” advice, but using keywords is key (no pun intended). My headline has a combination of titles that are keywords (for example, “speaker,” “personal brand strategist,” “writer”) and a statement that describes what I do.
While I may sometimes tweak my statement, I always include keywords because I know using them in my headline, and strategically throughout my profile, increases my chances of being found via search results. Remember, the manager at the company found me when she was doing a search.
Your headline isn’t the time to be super clever or vague. Instead, use title-based keywords related to the opportunities you want to attract. Ask yourself, “What words would my target audience search for?”
My philosophy is to let your reputation precede you. And one of the best ways to do this is to establish your authority as an expert in your field and let other people sing your praises.
While I don’t have the bragging rights of influencers with six-digit followings, I have an engaged audience, several posts that trend under the hashtag “#personalbranding,” and recent recommendations from clients, conference coordinators, and attendees from events where I was a speaker. All these factors made LinkedIn a lucrative platform for my personal brand — even with a small network.
The truth is, as much as I was pleasantly surprised when the company found me, I know that my profile validated my experience before I even got on the phone with the manager. A company isn’t going to seek out or pay a premium speaking fee to an amateur.
There are plenty of experts on LinkedIn. And many of them do exactly what you do. So, the next question you need to ask is, “Does my profile accurately reflect my experience once I’m found?”
Support your personal brand by including recommendations, articles, and any media features that prove your expertise.
I’ve made several changes to my profile over the years. Some have been obvious, like photos and background banners. But a change that had a bigger impact was subtle: I included a call to action at the end of my “About” section.
There’s a link to my website and free LinkedIn guide so that people interested in learning more and contacting me know exactly what to do. (Remember, attention spans are short!)
During the call about the speaking gig, the manager mentioned that she liked my content and appreciated that I showed my personality. She was able to get a clear snapshot of my brand because she easily found both my LinkedIn profile and website, which was my intention.
Few things happen simply by chance, so include information like your email address, website, or freebie directly in your profile. Tell people what action you want them to take.
If you haven’t thought of your LinkedIn profile as a magnet for dream opportunities, consider these questions: “What is my target audience looking for?” and “What action do I want them to take when they find me?”
These answers will help you optimize your profile. And make it easy for the perfect opportunity to knock on your door.