How to Brand Yourself on LinkedIn
How you brand yourself online and offline is widely considered the most important way of standing out in today’s competitive job market.
A personal brand is what people say and think about you. Personal branding, on the other hand, is what you say about yourself and the image you present of yourself in the business world.
When it comes to building your brand, your online presence is just as important as how you’re perceived in the real world. And among the many social media websites, LinkedIn is unarguably the site where you should pay the most attention to personal branding.
More than 95% of recruiters utilize LinkedIn for recruitment and constantly scour the site to find new talent, according to US News and World Report.
Building a solid personal brand on LinkedIn involves many aspects of simply creating a good profile. Here’s what you need to know:
It All Starts with a Great Resume
Building your brand on LinkedIn all starts with writing a killer resume on the site. Empire Resume advises writing what’s known as a “master resume” instead of a “target resume.”
Here’s the difference: A master resume is used for general purposes and should include a wide variety of your career experiences. A target resume is narrowed down and should include only what’s relevant to a specific job you’re applying to. You should write a targeted cover letter to each job using the same master resume.
It’s smart to list all the jobs you’ve worked in the past to show recruiters your diverse skill set and industry knowledge. If you list more jobs in the experience section, you’ll be able to cast a wider net of career opportunities.
Under each job, don’t just list the duties and basic job description. Instead, showcase your achievements at each position by writing about specific accomplishments.
Have a Great Photo and LinkedIn Summary
Your profile picture on LinkedIn is your first chance to make a favorable impression and build your brand – so choose your picture wisely.
A great photo should be a recent one where your face is taking up about 60% of the frame. Make sure the photo is high resolution, you’re the only one in the picture, and you’re wearing what you’d typically wear to work.
Your facial expression matters in your picture, too. One recent study revealed that people will see you as more likable and competent if you’re smiling. Do what feels natural when getting your photo taken but remember a smile can take your brand a long way.
The LinkedIn profile summary is one of the first things people will see when they visit your profile, so writing a good summary is vital to building your brand.
Start your summary strong by describing the top thing you want people and potential employers to know about you. Also, make sure your summary is rich with keywords that’ll help you show up in search results.
When employers do searches on LinkedIn, the summary is one factor that plays into the results. That’s why it’s a good idea to review job descriptions that interest you and notice the keywords that are used. Then incorporate some of those top keywords into your profile summary.
Showcase Your Career Achievements
A great way to build your brand on LinkedIn is to show you’re a top performer. And the best way to do that is to showcase your achievements.
Showing off your achievements is simple, and the accomplishments don’t have to be all that major. When going through your resume on LinkedIn, simply rewrite your job duties by showing the positive impact you had on the company.
If you find it hard to think of any accomplishments, think about your job duties and ask, “How did they positively affect the company’s bottom line, budget, production or effectiveness?”
It’s helpful to include a friend in the process. After a while, our work can become mundane because we’re so efficient at it, and you may not realize the impact you’re having. During a brainstorming session, a friend may be able to point out the impact you had in previous jobs that you’ve tended to downplay.
Be Sure to Include All Relevant Information
Two other important sections of a LinkedIn profile that’ll help you build your brand are Skills & Endorsements and Accomplishments.
You can add up to 50 skills on your profile, and the ones with the most endorsements will be listed first. Showcasing a relevant list of skills will help you match up with the right career opportunities and let employers know what your strengths are.
You don’t need to ask a first-degree LinkedIn connection to endorse one of your skills, although you can. It’s generally a good idea to endorse the skills of some of your connections on the site to recognize the abilities they’ve demonstrated. They may return the favor by endorsing one of your skills.
Make sure you take full advantage of LinkedIn’s Accomplishments section, too. In this section of your profile, you can add articles you’ve had publishes, courses you’ve completed, honors or awards you’ve received, and even languages you speak (if you’re bilingual).
Create Many Connections
When growing your network on LinkedIn, remember the quality of your connections is better than the sheer quantity.
LinkedIn advises users to send connection requests only to people they know well. If you send a request to a total stranger, they can deny you by marking the request as, “I don’t know the sender.” If this happens to you five times, LinkedIn can suspend your account.
Growing your LinkedIn network is important for your brand. A wide network will help you with job leads, recommendations, and it may even help you land a job directly. But those connections should be strong ties to people you’ve worked with before or people you know well.
Having a huge network of connections to people who you only have weak ties with can backfire. If you share a connection with a recruiter, the recruiter may contact that person. If the person reveals he or she doesn’t know you that well, the recruiter may think your huge LinkedIn network is suspect.
Ask for Recommendations
Potential employers usually ask for references near the end of the hiring process. With LinkedIn Recommendations, you can beat them to the punch.
Gathering solid recommendations on LinkedIn is an excellent way to lend credibility to your brand and convince recruiters you’re a top performer and strong job candidate.
Just like with growing your network of connections, be deliberate and thoughtful in who you ask for a recommendation. It’s best to ask only former and current co-workers or bosses who know your work well.
It’s not a good idea to ask for too many recommendations at once. LinkedIn Recommendations are timestamped, so if you have several posted within a short period, a recruiter may suspect you pressured people to give them.
Stay Current and Active with Your Profile
Staying active on LinkedIn and keeping your profile up to date will increase your chances of being discovered on the site. If you’re looking for work, Empire Resume recommends sharing two updates per day during the workweek.
Posting updates is a smart way to grow your brand. A report from career expert Hannah Morgan shows that job seekers who post updates weekly are 10 times more likely to be contacted by a recruiter than job seekers with stagnant profiles.
Avoid posting updates where you voice a desire to land a new job. Instead, think of sharing things that can help your network or target audiences, such as industry insights and news or information about products or services.
Work Toward Building an All-Star Profile
Creating a complete LinkedIn profile will allow you to reach what the site calls “All-Star” status. An All-Star profile is one with a professional picture and all the pertinent sections filled, including experience, skills, summary, industry and location, and education.
Users with All-Star profiles are 40 times more likely to receive new opportunities from recruiters on the site, according to LinkedIn. By following the advice in this article, you’ll be well on your way to building an All-Star profile.
Numerous studies show LinkedIn is the premier place to build your professional brand. The social media site is one of the first places recruiters and hiring managers go when researching job candidates. And strong profiles on LinkedIn can even cause hiring managers and recruiters to contact you.
Your brand is all about what people say and think about you. By crafting a solid LinkedIn profile, you can build a brand and professional image that’ll help your job search tremendously.
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Maria Gold is a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate and motivate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. Her interests range from writing to programming and design. She is also passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.