First impression matters. And given the digital world, the first impression is not made during phone calls or interviews but as people look at your LinkedIn profile. An incomplete or sloppy profile can give the wrong impression to others, seriously sabotaging your efforts. To be discovered and recognized for the right things, it is essential to build your personal brand most effectively. Let’s see right away what you need to know about creating a successful personal brand that will further advance your career.
Most often, branding is associated with companies and products, but you can also use the same strategy to stand out and impress a potential employer or hiring specialist. Personal branding is a strategy of creating an image of yourself that fits the story you want to tell. It is how you communicate your best assets, skills, and values. To be truly impactful, your personal brand should represent what makes you a unique professional and a powerful candidate for any job position you want to land.
In social media, everything is algorithms. LinkedIn’s algorithm favorites professionals who have complete profiles and gives them a boost in search results. With a complete and well-crafted profile, you definitely have a massive advantage over others. The different profile sections allow you to describe your strengths and experience best and add more relevant keywords that make you pop up in searches. Make sure you take the time to fill each section with accurate, relevant information. If you need some inspiration, look at LinkedIn profiles of well-established IT professionals to get some exciting ideas.
Pay attention particularly to the Experience and Licenses & Certifications sections. Rather than just listing your job duties under each entry, detail your achievements. Each bullet point should describe not only what you did in your past positions, but also how you did it and how it impacted your team or company. Make sure you include relevant keywords to show off the used skills and rank higher in the searches.
If you now start your career journey and don't have any working experience, include info for volunteering work, work on personal projects, published blog posts or any other relevant experience. The experience section allows you to add links and media, so use this feature to showcase your accomplishments.
As a technical recruiter, the Skills section is one of the first things I check in a profile to see if a professional match the requirements of an open job position. However, I often realize that most people don't mention their skills! LinkedIn allows you to add up to 50 skills, so grab the opportunity and make sure you add all your hard and soft skills.
You can also mention various technologies and tools as keywords within your Experience section as part of your responsibilities. Adding relevant keywords will help you pop up higher in searches, increasing your chance to get an invitation.
What everyone sees first when looking at your profile are your profile and cover photos. This is a so important yet neglected detail. Having a great photo of your face makes you identifiable and relatable. People want to know who you are, so it’s essential to ensure your photo represents you in the best way. You don’t need to spend money on getting a professional headshot. Your smartphone has a high-resolution camera to ensure you get a clear picture. Avoid images with a noisy background or inappropriate outfits. And please, don’t use any image where you cropped other people out or a photo from a party, wedding, or your last vacation. Just don’t.
Your outfit should look simple and professional, and your hair should be clean and neat. Then, get in front of a blank wall in a neutral light color (white is the best), face a natural light source (like your window), and look at the camera. It would help if you aimed for your face to take up to 60% of the image once it’s cropped. For optimal results, crop your photo into a 1:1 aspect ratio.
Now, let’s talk about the cover photo or banner. Along with your profile photo, the banner is the first thing someone sees on your profile, so you want to make a good impression. A landscape, a picture that reflects your profession, or a customized banner with words can do the job perfectly. To customize your cover photo, adding info that reflects your skills, services, or even a relevant to your profession quote, you can use a tool like Canva, which offers free, customizable templates for LinkedIn.
The summary or About section is the place where you can tell your story, free of titles and duties. This is your chance to show off your personality and highlight your biggest achievements. Along with your photos and headline, the summary enhance the first impression you give to others in a way no other section can. It's best to avoid cliché or cheesy terminology like "guru", "master", or "unicorn".
A successful summary format could be the following one:
Grab readers' attention and make them want to keep reading and know more about your exciting personality. Only the first three lines are visible when someone enters your profile, so you need a hook to ensure they click on the "...see more".
Tell people why you do what you do and what you're good at. What is your impact on others, and what are your best achievements?
Call to action: invite people in your network or get them to contact you to know more about how you can help them in their business.
You've optimized your profile, so what's next? Creating a top-notch profile is the crucial first step toward building a solid personal brand on LinkedIn, but you can do a lot more to make your profile easy to find and nurture your connections. You need to engage with your network. Here are some ideas for you to boost your visibility and interaction with people on LinkedIn:
Follow influential companies and people in your target field to stay up-to-date about your professional sphere's trends, discoveries, and events. You can also follow companies you'd love to work with one day so that you see their job posts asap and increase the chances to show up in their recruiters' searches.
After all, LinkedIn is a social media, so posts, likes, and comments are the best way to interact and engage with your network. Authoring valuable, original posts is one of the most effective ways to boost your visibility.
If you're not into writing, don't worry, you can also engage by liking and commenting on other professionals' posts, elevating your profile's visibility.
Good team players recognize the contribution of others. By endorsing and recommending former and current co-workers, you can show future colleagues that you are a person who acknowledges your teammates. Recognizing your people's achievements and best assets will deepen your relationship with your network, increasing the likelihood of someone endorsing you in return. It's a win-win situation.
Optimizing your LinkedIn profile is essential for showcasing yourself to recruiters and potential employers. After building your personal brand on LinkedIn, make sure you connect with other industry professionals to create new professional relationships, learn more about a job position you'd want to land, and increase your impact on others.
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