Your online personal brand, that is how you portray yourself and how others see you, is very important for your networking and job search process. Even if you are not looking for a job, how your brand yourself online matters. Below are a few examples.
If you follow up with someone at a networking event, you will probably send an email with a LinkedIn request. When someone clicks on this, what will they see? Will they only see your titles or something more descriptive like actual details about what you have done in each of your positions? Will they see a picture or a blank space where your profile picture should be? Will they see organizations that you belong to and publications that you have?
When people look at a profile, they prefer to see a professional profile picture (so that they can see if they remember you), along with details about background, experiences, and education. If you have a nicely built out profile, then it shows that you are serious about your professional persona and by default probably your career.
Informational interview scenario
If you ask for an informational interview, the person you ask will almost always look at your LinkedIn profile, even if you send them your resume. Why? Well, they want to see more about you and also if you happen to have any connections in common. If they look you up and if there is no information, it does not help them gather additional details about you to assist them with providing you useful information during an informational interview.
Job interview scenario
If you are actively interviewing for jobs, more than likely, the people interviewing you will look you up on LinkedIn to see more about you. Similar to the previous example, if your profile does not have much detail, then they cannot become more informed about you or see how you showcase yourself.
Recruiter search scenario
Recruiters, either internal to a company or external to a company (i.e. in a recruiting firm) routinely search LinkedIn to identify individuals who could be relevant for jobs they are working to fill. They search by using key word searches and also search on title, company, education, etc. If you don’t have any details in your profile, then you probably won’t be picked up by their searches, lessening the probability that they will contact you. Also, even if they find you, without details in your profile, they may not contact you since they won’t be sure if you are relevant.
In today’s web based world, information is everywhere. The way people brand themselves online matters, more than you may initially think. Good luck building out your profile – the effort will go a long way!