Personal Branding and Your LinkedIN Profile

Have you ever noticed, when you look up a person or company on Google, that one of the first 3 links that appears in the search results is a LinkedIn profile? Such is the power and influence of your LinedIN profile, if it’s not strong and accurately reflecting you at your best, it’s absolutely a hindrance and could be holding you back! You have one shot at a first impression and your LinkedIN profile is usually that shot!

In this day and age, it’s like your shop window, it’s the difference between getting opportunities, making the right impact or not. In an online world where we are all a click away from each other, your brand is widely represented by your online presence and this includes one of the largest and most popular networks for professionals and businesses: LinkedIn. Many times we underestimate the importance and the potential of a well crafted LinkedIn profile that represents our professional and educational background, including our experiences, skills, achievements, and qualifications. While LinkedIn is a tool many people use to look for career opportunities we sometimes forget it is also an active network where you can connect, share, follow groups and companies, contribute and advertise, as well as be recommended and endorsed for your skills and expertise. Therefore it is also a great tool to promote your personal brand.

Let’s have a look at the 5 most important things that will guarantee you a LinkedIn profile that counts!

Profile picture
Don’t forget to add this to your LinkedIn profile. It will make your profile more attractive and people will remember you by visualizing your face. The profile picture should be a professional headshot and should be consistent with your personal brand. Additionally it’s now possible to have a background image that can add a personal touch to your profile. If you’re in the corporate world, the image should be polished, professional and formal. Head and shoulders are best, a suit, dark colours are best. If you’re in the creative industries, a profile picture that shows your personality, sense of style is obviously important, but we suggest still keeping it within the professional confines. We have seen profile pictures that aren’t very flattering, or people’s expression are anything but warm, inviting and engaging, so if you’re unsure, ask a few friends or colleagues for feedback. Profile pics do count.

Your title, company, and location should be clear and always up to date. Remember that your headline, together with your picture, is the first thing readers see when you appear in their search results or when you interact on the network.

Profile summary
Don’t make the mistake of leaving this blank or just having a few lines which don’t say much about you. This is where you can promote your personal brand, be creative and make an impact by giving a good summary of who you are, what your area of expertise is, and what you are looking for. You should use this summary as an extended elevator pitch, hence it should include the most important things and lead your reader to want to know more about you.

This section can vary a lot depending on your years of experience, number of jobs you’ve had in your career path, and length for each role and company. Nevertheless it should always be well organized, easy to read and up to date. The most recent jobs in your employment history are the most important ones, so you can shorten the oldest unless these are still relevant to where you are today or want to head towards. Try to keep the content of each work experience tidy by using hyphens as bullet points or by diving the content in brief paragraphs. Don’t forget to show your achievements, not only your responsibilities, and quantify them where possible.

Multimedia items
While this may seem a bonus point, it is actually becoming as important as the points already listed. You can now add photos, videos, presentations, PDFs and links on your LinkedIn profile, and so you can really make it stand out. You can use multimedia to show a variety of items related to your profile and professional activity, be it a conference you attended, an upcoming event, a blog post, a latest addition to your creative portfolio or the presentation of a product or service your company offers, just to name a few. In my work with SEVEN’s career coaching clients, Flossy and Fausto, we worked on making the best of their LinkedIn profile to reflect their personal brand and to use it as a tool to achieve their goals.

We worked on Flossy’s LinkedIn profile to project leadership, using the right words to define her title and produce a powerful profile summary. We expanded the key work experiences including main achievements and results, and we tidied up other parts where the content wasn’t clear enough and didn’t make an impact. A professional profile picture was also important to project leadership in her image.

With Fausto we worked to make his LinkedIn profile reflect his creativity and his goal to become an artist. We created a profile summary that showed the achievements in his fields as well as his passion for artistic productions. We slimmed down the content of his work experience to make it consistent and relevant. In his field, adding multimedia items and a catchy background image were especially important to make his profile stand out.

Time to update your Linkedin profile, expand your network, promote your brand, and get ready for that professional opportunity you are looking for!