Women’s Forum – LinkedIn and Building Your Personal Brand

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by Caris Rubenzer, Women’s Forum coordinator, and Immigration Advisor with Student and Academic Services

Women's Forum leaflets and biscuit tin

For the Women’s Forum June meeting, we invited Careers Consultant Tim Summers to come and talk to members over lunch (biscuits included) about LinkedIn and the benefits of creating and maintaining your ‘Personal Brand’.

For someone who was aware of LinkedIn as a concept, but had not managed to get past the profile creation stage (my account had been created back in 2013 and I had dutifully ignored it since then), I felt like this was a topic that would be useful for many women working in Higher Education.

Not only do studies indicate that women are less likely than men to apply for jobs where they feel they do not meet the job specification completely, but also that men and women actually employ different tactics to find jobs. Even more worrying, according to LinkedIn’s Gender Insights Report, recruiters are less likely to click on woman’s profile when searching for candidates.

Because of this, it is incredibly important for women to be aware of how valuable tools such as LinkedIn can be ultilised effectively to network, advertise and sell oneself as a unique individual with a wealth of expertise to offer employers.

Tim started the session by posing the following questions:

  • What does ‘Personal Brand’ mean to you?
  • How do you rate your social media confidence?
  • What positive change could LinkedIn support you to achieve?

From there, the Women’s Forum explored what LinkedIn has to offer and compiled a handy Top 10 Tips for creating your personal brand:

  1. Complete your profile! Include your work experience, job title and an engaging summary;
  2. Be engaging. ‘Add spice’ but don’t ‘over egg the pudding’. If your job title is Careers Consultant, it might be a bit over the top to label yourself as a ‘Transformation Specialist’;
  3. Edit your public profile URL. This will be easier to remember and share. You can also add it to your CV!
  4. Add connections. Don’t be shy! Write a note with your request explaining why you’d like to connect. You’ll be surprised with how effective this can be;
  5. Engage with the newsfeed. Commenting, posting and sharing on LinkedIn gets your name out there and you’re more likely to be recognised within your sector;
  6. Post questions. Posting questions can encourage others to engage with you and raise your profile;
  7. Join groups. Joining groups relevant to your sector provides a wider network and many more opportunities you may have otherwise missed;
  8. 5 minutes a day. Just 5 minutes engagement per day can inform algorithms to make LinkedIn much more relevant to you;
  9. LinkedIn Salary. Use this LinkedIn feature to compare salaries of similar jobs or to see what you can expect if moving into another sector;
  10. I’m free! Actively looking for another job or just keeping an eye out? You can turn on the “Open” option on LinkedIn to notify employers that you’re available.

Tim ended the session by providing some useful links for those who would like to find out more on the subject, including HE-specific resources created by LinkedIn:

UWE Bristol also provides career development support for staff. The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) (staff only) offers 1 hour career consultations.

Additionally, UWE Bristol runs a mentoring scheme (staff only) which assists all staff with their career development and finding professional opportunities.

To summarise, the session was a short but useful introduction on the possibilities of using LinkedIn to enhance the way you navigate the often intimidating world of job hunting or networking within your chosen sector.

For me personally, the session inspired me to go through my now ancient account and give it a little spruce. The idea that 5 minutes of engagement a day can enhance your professional life astronomically seems like a win-win situation. If you also take into consideration the statistics around women not feeling confident about applying for certain jobs, engaging with LinkedIn can give you that extra confidence to go for that job you may have previously disregarded as an impossible dream.

If you are interested in finding out more about this session or the Women’s Forum in general, please contact us at womensforum@uwe.ac.uk

You can connect with Caris Rubenzer on twitter at @CarisRubenzer, or on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/caris-rubenzer/.

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