Do you know how to build your personal brand on LinkedIn? If done right, you can actually make companies come to you with job offers!
For the new generation of innovation and technology-driven millennials, social media is a concept of immense proportions. In fact, it is so powerful that each 60 seconds, 3.3 million posts are published on Facebook, 65,972 photos are posted on Instagram, 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube, and 448,800 tweets were made public all around the globe!
However, with the popularity of social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, there is one social network that seems to be underrated by millennials when it comes to time investment. Despite its continuous growth, LinkedIn, the business-oriented social network made for connecting professionals all around the world, is still not receiving the attention it should.
Despite the fact that it is still behind in social media engagement compared to other platforms, LinkedIn remains the most effective social media network for building your personal brand. In this post, I will show you how to optimize your profile to position yourself as a professional in your field, and how to make companies come to you with job offers.
How to build your personal brand on LinkedIn:
Step 1: Your visual identity
The first step towards creating your business profile on LinkedIn is the photo. According to the social network itself, a profile with a photo gets 14 times more views than a profile without one. Before submitting one, take into account the following:
- Having a professional photographer take your photo is the best way to make sure that you will make a good impression;
- Your face should take up 60% of the frame;
- Avoid unnatural face expressions or poses – smile just enough to transmit friendliness and confidence, but without looking goofy or unprofessional.
Now, while the social network doesn’t necessarily require a professional photo, it is always much better than a self-made one, especially if it is a selfie. Transmitting confidence and expertise is a huge step towards building your personal brand on LinkedIn as a professional.
Having a header is optional, but it’s a great way to personalize your profile, and it can do wonders when it comes to building your personal brand. Let’s take a look at the header that the CEO of LinkedIn chose for his profile:
As we can see, Jeff Weiner has chosen a highly-relevant header photo, related to his own company LinkedIn, that adds professionalism and gives a personal touch to his profile.
Step 2: Your job position and summary
The upper part of your profile is probably the most important – it is the first thing you see when you open a profile, and it makes you decide in the matter of seconds whether you are interested to keep on reading.
For this part, I will be using my personal profile in order to avoid copyrights.
As you can see, I’ve indicated that I am a Marketing Assistant in the FinTech sector with focus on startups, and I am currently doing an MBA.
Usually people choose to put their profession and workplace only, but I do recommend that if you’ve specialized your skills in a specific sector or a segment, indicating it on your profile will make recruiters see immediately that you are the right catch for the job position. For example, maybe you had a few job positions at B2B-oriented companies, or a couple years of experience in the Real Estate sector – the more specialized you are in a niche, the better, because it means that you have developed specific skills that are unique to the segment.
Of course, it is up to you to decide what information to put in this line – but make sure to indicate your field of expertise and what makes you stand out from the crowd.
Summaries are extremely important if you want to build personal brand on LinkedIn – they give you the opportunity to sum up your experience and skills in a few lines. It is your professional elevator pitch to proving that you are a suitable candidate for future job positions in your field.
When writing your summary, take into account the following tips:
- Select the right keywords related to your job position – summaries are an excellent source of keywords that help you get discovered by search engines. If you are not sure how to choose them, take a look at job postings relevant to your career path, and review the terms that appear more often.
- Don’t focus only on hard skills – companies are not only looking for people who have the right hard skills for the job position, but they also want to see whether you are a cultural fit. Make sure to mention your soft skills such as teamwork, emotional intelligence, communication skills, and state the job or internship where you obtained them.
- Optimize the appearance of your summary – if people are looking at your profile from desktop, you have 220 characters to convince them to click on See more. If people are looking at your profile from their mobile, you have 92 characters for it. Make sure that your first few phrases are catching the attention right away, so that people are motivated to read the rest of your summary.
Step 3: Experience and Education
One big mistake that a lot of people are doing is stating their job position, company and time duration, and leaving the hiring manager to figure out what exactly they did there. A Marketing Director in one company can have extremely different functions than a Marketing Director in another company, and you want to make sure that you will be selected for the right skills that recruiters are looking for.
When you add a job position, I recommend the following:
- Place one phrase that sums up the company and its business purpose, as well as the sector in which it’s operating. This way, recruiters can have a quick overview of the company without having to go to the website themselves. It is especially important when you want to show that you have specialized your efforts in a specific segment.
- Place your main functions with bullet points. Make your experience easy to scan and read by avoiding large paragraphs that nobody will have the time nor patience to go over.
- Focus on listing your hard skills and carefully select the right keywords for them. Many times recruiters use software that automatically goes through your profile looking for keywords, so make sure you have it optimized to pass through the test. List the functions you did, the software or hardware you used, who you reported to – everything that’s relevant to your experience in this company.
- If you have changed a lot of job positions, it is a really bad sign for recruiters, so avoid adding everything that comes to your mind. Add those that are relevant to your field and where you gained the most experience from.
When you add education to your LinkedIn profile, I do recommend summing up the Degree in one phrase before anything else. While it might not be necessary to put all the courses you did there as I did on my profile, mention the ones that are relevant to your career path. Additionally, if you did extracurricular activities or had any specific achievements, it is a great idea to add them; and if you wrote an interesting thesis or dissertation related to your field, make sure to post it as well. Did an Erasmus? This is the right place to highlight it!
Volunteer Experience – companies love to see the human side of every professional. If you volunteered for a cause or an organization, placing it on your profile gives additional value to your personal brand on LinkedIn.
Featured Skills and Endorsements – don’t go overboard by placing every single skill that comes to your mind. Select up to 15 skills that you want to be associated with, and focus on them. A great tip for receiving endorsements is by endorsing other people – they usually return you the favor.
Recommendations – they are extremely valuable for recruiters, especially if they come from people who have worked with you. LinkedIn gives you the option “Ask to be recommended” so you can directly post it on your profile.
Accomplishments – certifications, languages, courses, awards, projects…I guess I don’t need to state the obvious that they are extremely valuable if you want to build your personal brand on LinkedIn. Research for free courses that give you certifications, focus on learning languages, and don’t ever stop developing yourself as a professional.
The best time to build your personal brand on LinkedIn as a professional in your field is right now. Take care of your LinkedIn profile, nurture valuable connections, and dedicate some time to engage with them so they can get to know you. Don’t use LinkedIn only when you are searching for a job – instead, try to build your own community and get the best of this social network by actively participating in trending conversations. LinkedIn was not designed for short-term goals – it’s a long-term investment that will be absolutely worth it.
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