Glenn Bass, CPA
Director of Recruiting, Security & Investigative Placement Consultants, LLC
At the ACFE Global Fraud Conference this past June in Las Vegas, I had the opportunity to sit down with CFEs or soon-to-be CFEs in the Professional Development Center. Through strategic one-on-one sessions I offered guidance on professional advancement, résumés and cover letters, interviewing tips and techniques, and career changes.
While many topics were covered, there wasn’t a single session that didn’t lead to questions about LinkedIn and how to build a better profile. Since it was such a hot topic at the conference, I’d like to take the opportunity give CFEs in our community tips on crafting a standout LinkedIn profile.
The LinkedIn profile page is the foundation for your personal branding. Even though your focus is primarily on preventing and detecting fraud, you must not neglect or forget the importance of personal branding. It is your opportunity to exhibit some flare and expertise amongst your peers. It helps with business leads, job opportunities and building your network. It helps you get noticed within the ever-increasing community of fraud and investigative professionals. Bottom line: with a larger network, you will get more clients. And with more clients, you will prevent and detect more fraud.
Some of the tips that follow are low-hanging fruit and easy to implement, while others will take some effort. However, all of these are worthwhile in building your personal brand through your LinkedIn profile.
- A professional headline — Be creative. You’re given 120 characters to populate your “headline” field and there’s no rule that this has to only be a job title. Begin with a tagline to make a first impression. It’s okay to get personal and say why you do what you do or how you see your role. Include keywords describing yourself and your areas of expertise to help people find you via search.
- Photo — Professional photos please! Right or wrong, first impressions are made from your photo. LinkedIn is a professional network so I recommend a professional picture. Your photo should be a high-quality headshot in which your face takes up around 60% of the picture. And don’t forget to smile!
- Background — The second visual element at the top of your profile page is your background photo. Choose an image that reflects well on your brand. It helps your page stand out and be memorable.
- Summary — Don’t skip this section! Your summary is your chance to tell your own story. Include keywords for search purposes, but try to bring to life why your skills matter. Try to make it exciting or interesting so that those reading it will continue on. This could be the most challenging section of your LinkedIn profile. Spend some time on it and seek opinions from your inner circle. It will be well worth the effort.
- Skills and endorsements — A quick way to highlight your expertise is within this section. Scroll through the list of skills and identify all of those that are relevant to you. This area helps support the description in your Headline and Summary, and provides a platform for others to endorse you. The key here is staying relevant. Think quality over quantity. Endorsements from other members are a great way to increase your credibility. Showcase your work — LinkedIn makes it easy to upload your work. Marketing collateral for your company, your professional bio, case studies, white papers and other brand content helps to show what the business you work for is all about, as well as gives additional insight about your expertise.
- Experience — Your work history should match your printed résumé, as potential employers will undoubtedly cross-reference the two.
- Share content — Sharing relevant content is a great way to add value to your network while appearing in your connections' LinkedIn feeds.
- Recommendations — These are endorsements that were noted earlier on steroids. Written testimonials are even more powerful than endorsements. Endorsements give people viewing your profile a quick sense of skills. Recommendations illustrate the experience and value of working with you.
- Additional profile information — A number of other sections exist to help you build a strong LinkedIn profile. Groups, certifications, publications, projects, honors and organizations are a few. Only publish the things you feel are relevant credentials and/or supplemental information that will capture the attention of the reader.
These adjustments to your LinkedIn account will result in a profile that is compelling and true to you, making your LinkedIn experience and networking within the anti-fraud community all the better.