In order to build up your personal brand, you need your digital presence to match the impression you want to convey.

LinkedIn is a great way to build and maintain professional connections throughout your career. But you need to think about what your LinkedIn profile says about you, and if it’s consistent with how you want to portray yourself. It’s important to stay active on LinkedIn through engagement and sharing content, but first, you need to make sure your profile is up to date and optimized to portray your personal brand.

There are many aspects of your LinkedIn profile that you can build out and that you should continuously update, but there are some areas that are easy to overlook. Let’s begin with the basics.

Profile Picture

You need to have a professional photo of yourself on LinkedIn!

This might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t do this. Your headshot is your first impression, so make sure you have a professional headshot of yourself that’s in focus with good lighting. Here are examples of some good and some bad photos.

If you want your picture to convey that you’re all business, then dress that way in your photo. At the same time, if you would like to be a little less formal and more casual, that’s ok too.

As for your banner image, you can use a simple graphic or image that fits the measurements allotted. Feel free to be creative. But neither your headshot or your banner image should tell people where you work. This is about your personal brand and not your employer’s brand. If you want the images to portray the industry you work in or your personality, that works great.  

Just remember, personal branding is about making yourself known for what you do, not being known as a person who works for a specific company.

Title and Summary

Too many people leave the summary section blank when it’s one of the most important aspects of your LinkedIn bio.

It’s your chance to let your visitors know who you are, what you do, what makes you different and what your aspirations are for the future. It’s definitely important to fill this out, but don’t just use your job title for your LinkedIn title, and don’t write a timeline of your past experience as your summary. That’s already listed in the experience section.

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For the title, write a concise phrase that captures your passions and what you do. For both the title and your summary, it’s always a good idea to keep keyword phrases and search terms in mind.

When writing your summary, consider your target audience. Talk about why you got into doing what you do, and explain what you love about it. It’s also important to describe what makes you unique and what you bring to the table.

Highlight your victories and include metrics if you can on specific areas you’ve helped improve. For example, a social media marketer might describe the brand accounts they oversaw, what kind of reach and engagement they helped these accounts grow to, and what methods they like to use. This isn’t required, but it helps the reader get a better understanding of how you’re credible.

The summary isn’t a cover letter, so don’t treat it as such. You want to be authentic. Write the way you speak and feel free to share some interests you have outside of work. LinkedIn summaries can be tricky, and even some of the best writers can find it hard to write about themselves. Just remember that you can adjust and edit your summary whenever you’d like. The best writing is rewriting, and none of this is set in stone.

As you progress in your career, you should continuously update your summary along with the rest of your LinkedIn page.

Experience, Skills, and Education

Add only relevant work experience to your LinkedIn profile.

Explain what you do at your job and the most important tasks you carry out. These need to be relevant to the area of expertise you want to be credible in and speak to the audience you want to attract. Try to be detailed but also be concise.

When highlighting your skills, add anything you think applies, but have friends and colleagues give you endorsements and write recommendations for your work. This part is important because it lets people know there are other people who like working with you and trust your abilities.

Make sure to highlight your education, and definitely highlight any awards and accomplishments you had. If you were part of a group or club at your school, that’s important to put in there.

Also, highlight anything you did to continue your education after graduation. People appreciate when professionals continue their education and earn certificates to better themselves in their field. You should definitely do this and highlight them in your LinkedIn bio.

Sharing and Engaging With Others

After you’ve worked hard on building out your LinkedIn profile, don’t just rely on search for people to find you.

The first thing you want to do is share content consistently that’s relevant to your target audience, but don’t overwhelm anybody’s feed. If you have your own blog, that’s great! Promote it on LinkedIn and people in your field will respect you for it. But don’t just promote yourself. It’s important to share content from other outlets as well. This lets people know that you’re knowledgeable and you make an effort to stay aware of what’s going on in your industry.

Starting a conversation by sharing is great, but don’t forget to participate in conversations as well. Commenting on other people’s posts is a great way to connect with someone for the first time and can lead to more interactions in the future. Simple things like “Great read! Thanks for sharing.” can go a long way. If you have the time, typing a thoughtful response that touches on the topic shared is an even better way to build and strengthen relationships on LinkedIn.

Last but not least, make sure everything you share and say is on brand. You don’t want your followers to be surprised about anything you shared. Of course, you can be creative, but you want to always speak to your audience.

LinkedIn is a great way to portray yourself, your abilities and your accomplishments to others in your industry. Many people have grown an incredibly large presence on LinkedIn, leading to all kinds of opportunities. If you build out your personal brand correctly, you can do the same.

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