August 19

Episode 48: How to Optimize your LinkedIn Profile to Build Your Personal Brand with Deborah Krier


This week’s guest is LinkedIn Strategist Deborah Krier. Deb explains the value of having an up-to-date LinkedIn profile and how to make changes to it so that you are making more meaningful connections. Her advice is particularly important in this digital age with more and more employers connecting online rather than offline.

Deborah Krier’s Biography

Deborah Krier is a LinkedIn Strategist with more than 25 years of experience in personal branding. Deb is the founder of Wise Women Communications, LLC,  a digital marketing agency. She also hosts The Business Power Hour, a podcast on the C-Suite Network.

In This Episode, You’ll Learn…

  • How LinkedIn works.
  • Why it’s important to make your presence known on LinkedIn.
  • Why having a great-looking LinkedIn profile is important, especially for those who want to someday become executives.
  • How to define your personal brand, especially on social media.
  • How to build your personal brand.
  • Why it’s important to have a current headshot.
  • What a great headline looks like on LinkedIn.
  • What to write in the about section on LinkedIn and how long it should be.
  • How to write the experience section of LinkedIn.
  • When it’s okay to brag about your experience.
  • The reasons why volunteer experience is important to put on your LinkedIn profile.
  • How to use LinkedIn for employment.
  • How online presence has changed over the years.
  • What employers look at when they look up a potential employee online.


  • “When I look at someone’s profile, and I see that it is years old and it has not been updated it really does not matter what level they are, but my first thought is, are they keeping up with technology? Do they even realize just how important something like this is?”—Deborah Krier
  • “It’s better to have no presence than an outdated presence.”—Deborah Krier
  • “That’s the key in the picture. You want people to think that you are approachable.”—Deborah Krier
  • “In many cases, if you are applying for jobs, what someone finds about you online, especially on LinkedIn, is actually your first interview.”—Deborah Krier
  • “Look at how many times you look people up and then realize: what are they going to find when they look my stuff up?”—Deborah Krier

Links & Resources Mentioned…

Don’t Miss an Episode!

We provide every episode in audio, text, and video so you can learn what you need to get unstuck no matter how you learn best. Head to to subscribe and view past episodes.

Read The Transcript

Episode #48

Mike O'Neill: Welcome back to the Get Unstuck & On Target Podcast. I'm Mike O'Neill with Bench Builders and we're business coaches who love helping leaders sleep better because they solved their tough planning, process and people problems. In this podcast, we're talking with thought leaders to get their insights on ways to help you or your business get unstuck. Joining me today is Deb Krier. Deb is the founder of Wise Women Communications, a full service marketing agency, but it was while helping organizations with their marketing and PR needs that she noticed that their executives were often overlooking the value of building their own personal brand online. And in response she founded LinkedIn for C-suite to provide busy leaders the help that they need to build their networks worldwide. Welcome Deb. 

Deborah Krier: Well thank you so much, Mike. I truly appreciate being a guest on your program. This is going to be so much. 

Mike O'Neill: So what I failed to mentioned in my intro is that Deb is also a podcast host. And so this gives her the opportunity to be quote on the other side of the microphone. 

Deborah Krier: I know its kinda scary. 

Mike O'Neill: Oh no, you're going to do very, very well. And I told her before we started recording, I'm going to learn from her. What we had discussed as a topic is of all the things you could talk about. I would like to kind of key in, on how can our listeners, our listeners are comprised mostly business leaders. How can they optimize their LinkedIn profile to build their personal brand? That's the topic. And so what if we start this kind of breaking that down, Deb how do you define a personal brand? 

Deborah Krier: Well, again, thank you so much for, for having me on your program. I do truly appreciate it. You know, your personal brand is, you know, how do other people think of you? You know, if someone were to say, tell me about Mike, What would people say? And, and so that is your personal brand. And, you know, it's, it's something that is very fragile because it, you know, one misstep can, can damage your personal brand. But I think it's also something that we tend to sometimes forget even exist.

Mike O'Neill: You know when LinkedIn first came out, I was an early adopter of LinkedIn and, I at the time was in a corporate HR role and I just saw it primarily as a recruiting tool. And it seemed like most people were, developing profiles because they were i n the job market. Now that is the case, but I know that you have found that oftentimes key leaders tend to think, Hmm, there maybe isn't that much value for me as an executive to do so. How would you challenge that thinking? 

Deborah Krier: Well, you're right. It is still a great platform to get jobs. And when it initially came out, we dutifully cut and pasted our resume and then never went back to it. Right. I think it's a great tool for executives because as a business owner, as a business leader, we get very caught up in promoting our business, which we should be doing. You know, we're talking about the products we're talking about, our services, things like that. But we forget that we are still a very important part of that business, that industry, you know, that whatever it is, and LinkedIn is a fabulous place to have your personal brand to have your personal identity. You know, yes, there's other social media platforms. It's not appropriate really on Facebook or Tik TOK or Instagram or Twitter, or, you know, any of the myriad of platforms that come and go LinkedIn truly is where your professional identity can live. And it's a great place for people to, to do that. 

Mike O'Neill: You know, I didn't think about that until you just mentioned this, but, a potential employee who's kind of doing due diligence on a potential employer. You know, they go to the company's website, they would probably go to the company's LinkedIn profile and then they would probably begin checking out key leaders. And I'm realizing that if the key leader doesn't have a profile. They're left to guess, but if their profile is incongruent with the business, right, then there's a potential disconnect, 

Deborah Krier: Right. Or out of date. I mean, you'll how many of us, like I said, we put our resume. We, we never went back to it. When I look at someone's profile and I see that it is years old and has not been updated and it really doesn't matter what level they are, but my first thought is are they keeping up with technology, you know, do they even realize just how important something like this is? It's better to actually have no presence than to have an outdated presence. 

Mike O'Neill: So let's say that what you have shared just then has convicted some of our listeners. They say, you know, I fit that definition on a key leadership role. Yeah. I set up this profile way back when I hadn't touched it. Could you just kind of walk us through some of the major steps that you advise your clients on? What should they be thinking about when it comes to building their personal brand? 

Deborah Krier: Sure. Yeah, one of the first and most important things to me is to have a current photo, you know, for many people they do have professional photos that, that their business has taken, but it, you don't have to spend the 5, 6, 700, you know, whatever it is to, to have professional images taken for this, you know, a LinkedIn photo is simply a headshot. You want to have a nice plain background, for example, what I have behind me, for those who are watching the video is too busy. You know, you want to have just a nice backgound. And really you can take it. Let me rephrase that. You can have someone else take the photo with your smartphone. I mean, it's a good resolution. Things like that. Selfies. No, no, no, no, no. Because your it's, it's awkward to hold the camera at a good angle. So you want to have someone else take the picture and make it current. And it's always a challenge, especially for women because. We change our hairstyles fairly often for some of us. And, you know, my goal is that if someone were to actually meet you in person, if they've never met you before, they should be able to look at your LinkedIn picture and pick you out of a crowd. So, you know, it does have to be fairly current. You know, if you, if you've gone a little gray, that's all right, we know that, you know, maturity adds knowledge and experience. And so that's fine, but it does need to be a current picture. Then you also should have. Great headline. LinkedIn still defaults your headline to whatever your most current job description is. And I'll be honest. I don't care that you're president, founder, CEO, whatever of ABC widget company. Doesn't matter to me in the slightest. I want to know a little bit about what you do and what you stand for. Think of this as a newspaper headline, you know, yes. Newspapers still exist. But we'll, you know, we all remember right. Get somebody's attention with that headline and, and put it in there. Then there's also a great, a spot behind you called the cover image. Think of it as a billboard, you know, what do you want to put there? Now, the tricky thing with LinkedIn is they change where your headshot appears. So you kind of have to play with that a little bit.

So you might just want to have like a, a background that's a solid image, you know, something so that if your headshot is in different places, it's okay. As opposed to having texts that might get covered up. But use that billboard. I mean, that's, it is, it's a billboard, give people a chance to, to see a little bit about you. And then the next, most important thing is your about section. That's where you're telling your story. You know if no one reads anything else in your LinkedIn profile. They should know enough about you in the about section to know, oh my gosh, I really have to reach out and connect with this person. So when people ask me to review their profiles, I tell them without even looking at it, You need more and take advantage of how much space LinkedIn gives us to, to fill those out. So your about section should not be two sentences. Your about section is you have 2000 characters. That's a lot. They might not want to fill that. I mean, you know, that's, that's a lot, but have more than two sentences, tell people, you know, your hopes, your dreams, your aspirations, and it's okay to put a little bit of fun stuff in there. Just remember it is the professional network, so don't get too carried away. 

Mike O'Neill: So Deb, I'm actually looking at your LinkedIn profile as we're recording this. 

Deborah Krier: Thats always like ekk.

Mike O'Neill: No, no, no, no, because you are in fact practicing what you're preaching. Let me share what, what, what Deb has, she prefers Deb, so she actually puts Deb in parenthesis versus Deborah. And I noticed something that you didn't mention, but the, the little speaker icon.

Deborah Krier: Right.

Mike O'Neill: Now, your last name is Krier. 

Deborah Krier: Correct. Most people would say it crier.

Mike O'Neill: You've taken advantage of a relatively new feature. So if I click that right now, it would have you in your own voice pronounced. Your first and last name. 

Deborah Krier: And you've got 10 seconds. So you can actually even say a little bit more than just you pronounce my name, Krier. 

Mike O'Neill: Ah, I like that. So you mentioned headline. So let me read parts of your headline, unabashed connector, brimming with information, knowledge, and resources, strategic relationship builder podcaster, college sports fan and on. So I can read those bullets and I'm kind of going, I get it in real crisp ways. But then, so you got your photo, you got your, your headline, you've got the background. And for those who are looking at Deb's background, it's got Deb signature. It's very personal. And as I'm just looking at it, you're smiling and you appear very approachable. And I have. To your about section. 

Deborah Krier: Well, and that's the key in the picture is you want people to think that you are approachable. For some people that's a little bit difficult, you know, smiling is it doesn't always come easily to folks, but you want people to know, Hey, this, this is a person that I really want to have a conversation with.

Mike O'Neill: So you've shared, it's important that you have a current photo it's important that you take advantage of the headline that you, don't miss the opportunity for the billboard in the form of a backdrop. And that the about section is a wonderful set of real estate to kind of tell your story. So what else are you advising people to pay attention to? 

Deborah Krier: Well, obviously you need to have your experience in there. You know, I've again, you know, write quite a bit. You do have a lot of space for, for those. I always tell people, try to stick with experience that pertains to what you're doing now. For example, many years ago, I was a waitress. I was horrible at it. And there would be no way I would ever include that in my LinkedIn profile because it doesn't in any way pertain. You know, and, and so go back as far as you want. It's, it's one of those areas where some people struggle, especially if they are older with, isn't going to show my age. If I'm showing, you know, that that I've been in my career for 40 years or whatever. And again, I see. Brag about it. You know, that experience is why people want to connect with you. You've got that treasure trove of experience and knowledge. So it's okay to brag about that. Plus, you know, people can do the math, they can figure things out anyway. So, so don't try and hide it. You've also got one of the important sections is if it pertains volunteer positions that you have held. Volunteer positions are great ways for people to get experience sometimes that they can enhance their careers. So, you know, maybe you, you, I had someone ask me one time, you know, he was a lay minister and he said, should he put that in there? Well, he, I said, yes, For two reasons, you know, first, I said, it shows that you have management experience because a lay minister was a leader in the church working on budgets, hiring things like that. But more importantly, it showed that he was a public speaker. And so he, he put that in there because of that. And he said, people mentioned it, you know, they, they knew that he would be comfortable getting up in front of people and speaking. And then of course you have your education background. You know, so put that in there because that's a great way to network with folks. You know, you can look for other people who are alumni of the various places you've been, you don't have to receive a degree. I mean, it's any type of education experience, so it can be training programs. You've had maybe, you know, there's a community college that anything and everything, you can put that in that education section. And we're probably not going to have as much content that we want to put there, but it's, it's okay to say that you are a member of, you know, a certain fraternity or sorority, you graduated Magna Cum Laude, you know, all of these various things. Again, it's more just to give people more in depth knowledge about you. 

Mike O'Neill: You know I know we kind of started this conversation, talking about the value to an executive, a LinkedIn profile. And so we're going to be kind of toggling between an executives value and just the general public. Is it your sense that most people. Create still to this day, a LinkedIn profile for job search purposes? 

Deborah Krier: I think so. Which is why, you know, and, and, and that's great. I mean, you know, LinkedIn is an absolutely fabulous resource for employment. There are now you know, many companies that never list their job openings anywhere other than LinkedIn, there are certain ways that you can apply for jobs on LinkedIn and have it send your resume directly to the hiring manager. I mean, all sorts of things like that. So again, that's where you want to have that completely filled out. And I tell people in many cases, if you are applying for jobs, what someone finds about you online especially on LinkedIn is actually your first interview. You know, if they like what they see there, then they proceed. So you really want to have that fleshed out and, and have that information. But then it is, you know, it's, it's kind of that two part thing. It's for people who, you know, aren't looking for another job, they might own their own business. They're a senior level executive, but one of the I've I've heard this also several times where people have said we're really happy with where we are. We're not looking for another job. But a head hunter or someone found them and made them literally an offer they couldn't refuse. So, you know, it's, that's another way that, that you can use it for employment. But it is a great way to have your personal brand, as we were talking about at the start, have your personal brand out there so that people know who they're going to be working with.

Mike O'Neill: You know I just thought of something else as you were talking. And that is, I have a friend, who is an executive and she's very well-placed in this organization and has decided that she would like to serve on for profit boards. 

Deborah Krier: Oh yes. Fabulous. 

Mike O'Neill: And so what she has to be mindful of is that her LinkedIn profile has to speak to about what our current role is, but these organizations that would be considering her for a board position, if they go to that LinkedIn profile and it doesn't really reflect that personal brand you're talking about, then that may be a missed opportunity.

Deborah Krier: I actually had that happen personally. I was asked to serve on, the Dean's advisory board at the University of Colorado, which is my Alma mater. And as part of that process, they said, we need your resume. And I went resume? I mean, I haven't done a resume in 30 years probably. And I told him, I said, but I do have a pretty killer LinkedIn profile. And that was what they let me submit. Because you can print that as a PDF and save it or, you know, and, and, download it and save it. So that was what I submitted. And for them, it worked out perfect. 

Mike O'Neill: You know, we've we kind of have talked through the, the parts of a LinkedIn profile and that it applies equally regardless of where you might be in your career. Let's go back to this, online presence. And, in my intro, I made reference to the fact that this is not accessible, not just in your own community your own state for that matter, your own country. And an online presence is now world wide. How have you seen that change in the time you've been working with, folks on LinkedIn? Has it really exploded to the extent that I suspect it has?

Deborah Krier: It has. You know, I think that one of the things that I have seen is whether it's a job interview or maybe you're thinking of working with someone, you're having them be a business. Associate or you're wanting to hire them, you know, as a consultant and employee or whatever. I think one of the very first things many of us do is we Google someone and we look to see what is out there. You know what, and that's where it gets tricky because we do have all of these, these online presence. So. Yeah. Is your Facebook, is your Twitter, all of those accounts, are they going to withstand that, that you know, that, that scrutiny, you know, again, what would they find with someone on LinkedIn? You know, we do use some of the other social media platforms, obviously very personal. And so we might be posting about things that, you know, we don't always want our business associates or people like that to see. And so there's, there's various ways where you can tighten that privacy down. You know, and, and that's certainly something to consider is, you know, if, if someone, you know, is wanting to, you know, maybe hire you as a consultant and you're posting about your weekend drinking binges, you know, might not be the good thing to do unless, you know, you're being hired by say a distillery. But you know, it, you can change your privacy settings to be friends only, you know, and, and so that way they don't see it, but always be aware that even if you just met someone at a networking event or one of my favorite things, you know, we're all zooming now. Right. You know? And so you've got all these little people that are up here. And so I've got two big monitors so I have my zoom monitor on one and on the other, I have LinkedIn and during webinars, I'm looking people up know, I'm like, Ooh, let's see what this person is like, what's the, what's this person like. And so I'm, I am continually looking people up all the time, again, to see, is this someone I want to want to have a business relationship with? Or is this somebody that looks like a cool friend? I mean, you know, because we're always expanding who we're connected with personally and professionally.

Mike O'Neill: So what you just shared I, that describes me to the T I've already shared that I had your LinkedIn profile, but when I am on a group zoom, if I'm not presenting and I'm listening and I'm listening to someone, I can just easily on that second screen, pull that up. I don't, I've done it. And I've received LinkedIn invitations while in the middle of the meeting. Right. So it tells me that I'm not alone. But that kind of stresses the, the sense of immediacy that we live in right now. And if you've not paid attention to your LinkedIn profile for awhile, I I'm, I'm getting a clear signal. This is a good wake up call to why you should do it. 

Deborah Krier: Well, I think, especially because of the pandemic, we're doing so much more online and, and it's just, you know, it's, it's, like we said, it's a natural thing to be doing is you're in the meeting. You're looking him up at the same time or immediately afterwards. 

Mike O'Neill: You know Deb you've been working with, with leaders for a long time and you know, in your description you described helping C-level executives become more successful in business and in life. Can you reflect on maybe an example by which either you or a client got stuck. And what did y'all do to get unstuck? 

Deborah Krier: You know I think that the biggest reason why we get stuck is lack of time or perceived lack of time. You know, we, we don't update our LinkedIn profile. We're not active on LinkedIn because we think it's going to take too much time. And, you know, I'm, I'm guilty of that. I do. I check my LinkedIn profile every day, but am I really active? Not as active as I should be. You know, and, and, and even just updating it, you know, it's, it's interesting, you know, I was kind of the cobbler's kid, there for a while my profile, if you looked at it would have been embarrassing. You know, and, and so it's the matter of taking the time and doing it. And it's really not something that takes a ton of time just to, to bring it back up to speed. And clearly you can go beyond that, but, you know, just to bring it up to kind of that, that place where if people look at it, you wouldn't be embarrassed. That doesn't take a lot of time, but it is hard because we've got so many other things that we're doing that we think. Yeah. Yeah. Whatever. But just, you know, look at how many times you look people up and then realize, oh, what are they going to find when they look my stuff. 

Mike O'Neill: And I know you have a business. In my intro I described at LinkedIn for the C-suite, therefore connections are obviously vitally important for you. Let's talk about that a little bit as I'm looking at it, according to this, it kinda masked, it says you have 500 plus connections, but you have 4,800 followers, right? What's a follower? 

Deborah Krier: So. It's a feature that you can turn on. And so it may even be one of the features that not everyone has right now. Someone can just follow you and not be connected. So they're going to see your posts, but that person isn't going to see your so it's not reciprocal. Yeah. I got mixed up as I say that. So, so, so a one way thing, I see your posts, but they don't see my posts. If you are connected, you're also a follower because you are seeing those posts. And so your connection number is the it contains the number of followers. So it's kind of a weird thing. And that is something that's fairly new, that, that LinkedIn has done. I'm not sure why. I think maybe it could be because there are people who have massive numbers of just followers, you know, it's, they're, they're not connected with 10,000 people, but they might have a hundred thousand people who follow them for great content and, and things like that. 

Mike O'Neill: You know I've learned a lot about LinkedIn and how LinkedIn as an organization has evolved over the years. It does describe itself as a connector. And not necessarily just for those in the job market. I can't tell you my default search when I am researching a company or individual has moved from Google to LinkedIn. And I don't know if I'm alone out there, but I think that just, it just really stresses how, how very, very important. 

Deborah Krier: We make snap judgements. I mean, you know, that's the thing is, as we were saying at the start, if, if I look at somebody's LinkedIn profile and it's clearly out of date, I might not go any further.

Mike O'Neill: Deb I know that you could speak at length on a wide variety of topics. We kind of took a slice and that is, why having a current and well done pardon my bad English, LinkedIn profiles important for all. But you've kind of stressed why that's particularly true for those in key leadership roles. And you're pointing out that, that personal brand that they are managing needs to be aligned with the business that they're managing. And we've listed several other things. As you kind of reflect on some of the things that we have talked about or have not talked about what would you want our listeners to have as takeaways? 

Deborah Krier: You know I think it's also important for people who want to be those executives to have a great LinkedIn presence, because those executives are looking up they are going to hire people that they're going to work with also. So what are they going to see? And of course it's a great way to really be establishing yourself as that thought leader, as that person in the industry you want to. And just because maybe you're 20 years old, I mean, you know, it doesn't mean that you don't have important information that you want to share with people, even if you're just sharing other people's content. You know, you're sharing articles from Forbes, from Ink, from Entrepreneur, from, you know, industry publications, things like that. You know, it is a great place just to be making your, your presence known in a business world.

Mike O'Neill: You know as I'm listening to you, it does come through loud and clear. You are. You're a gifted speaker and I've introduced you as, as a podcaster. But podcasting from many as a relatively new thing. You've been podcasting since 2011. 

Deborah Krier: Long time of talking. 

Mike O'Neill: So you you've, I believe this is episode. 48 for the get unstuck. How many, how many podcasts have you recorded? 

Deborah Krier: Well, August 31st will be our 700 podcast. So yeah, we've been doing it now. We do two a week. So that does kind of w you know, do a little bit more, but yeah, we hit 700 on August 31st. 

Mike O'Neill: That's phenomenal. The name of the podcast that you host, what is it? 

Deborah Krier: It's pretty easy. It's The Business Power Hour. 

Mike O'Neill: Hmm. I love it. Now, if folks want to reach out to you, Deb, what's the best way for them to do that, 

Deborah Krier: Obviously, LinkedIn, you know, and, and so there's, I think there's only three Deb Kriers in on LinkedIn, actually in the world, you know, and, and. Yeah, quick search in there. Now on LinkedIn I am Deborah. That is my, as you were mentioning, I have my full name because Deb Krier was taken. And that's the other thing when you're creating your personal URL, sometimes it's a little difficult and you have to add a middle initial, you know, some, some things like that, but yeah, if you look on LinkedIn for Deborah, The old fashioned way. D E B O R A H Krier. K R I E R. You'll find me, send me a request to connect and please, please, in the request to connect, tell me that, that you heard our interview because of, you know, I love to connect with people who already have kind of a, a connection with us. 

Mike O'Neill: That'd be fantastic now, we will be including, Deb's LinkedIn profile. We'll be including a link to her website. We'll include a link to her podcast in the show notes. So, if don't feel like you've got to go write that down. 

Deborah Krier: Don't scribble it down, especially if you're driving. No, no. 

Mike O'Neill: But I, this wa s expected, this was, it was, was so much fun. I, and, I kind of wished this was an hour long podcast cause I could easily go.

Deborah Krier: Oh, we could have so much fun.

Mike O'Neill: Well, yeah. And maybe we have that opportunity again, so Deb, thank you so much.

Deborah Krier: Well thank you.

Mike O'Neill: I also want to thank our listeners for joining us for this episode of Get Unstuck & On Target. Every Thursday, we upload the latest episodes to all the major platforms. So if you haven't already please subscribe, you know, life really is too short to let business problems keep you up at night. So if you've been listening to my conversation with Deb and you're realizing that something's keeping your business. Let's talk, just go to our website, to schedule a quick call. So I want to thank you for joining us, and I hope you have picked up on some tips that help you Get Unstuck & On Target. Until next time.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}