Personal Branding – LinkedIn Edition
If you’ve ever tried to make it big online or observed your favourite artists and, sigh, influencers, you know that success is defined by a mixture of originality and consistency. Social media is full of various reels, memes, parodies, covers, baking tips, etc., but not all of this reaches any audience. One needs to create original-enough content and persevere in promoting it until it becomes a personal brand. Popular social media aside, you could use this strategy to boost your employment chances. That’s right; I’m talking about LinkedIn personal branding!
Anyone who has ever tried to get a job solely through LinkedIn knows that it’s not an easy feat. With so many people floating around jumping at every opportunity, it’s hard to stand out unless you resort to other measures. After all, hitting the same wall of automatic screening is only endurable so many times.
And that’s where personal branding comes in. Personal branding refers to creating a particular image of yourself online. Its purpose is to give people a solid and unequivocal impression of who you are and what you can do.
Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn: Tips
Getting a job is a slippery slope for many people, especially in those career entry stages where you don’t have enough experience to be hired but cannot gain any unless you’re hired – a curse on capitalism! What you can do is boost your visibility on job hubs such as LinkedIn.
There are various strategies for doing so, some of which require more effort than others. In fact, you could say personal branding is almost a job in itself, as you genuinely need to devote some time to it.
Let’s start with the easier bit.
LinkedIn Profile – Personal Branding Starts with You (+ These 4 Things)
Since YOU are the one who needs to be hired, you must optimise your profile in a way that will make you stand out, reach various audiences, and be easy to process with a glance. In a screen-driven world, our attention span is declining. This is tragic, and it hurts me to say, but you must jump on the bandwagon and play the tragedy to your advantage.
- Pick a convincing picture. Profiles without pictures do not come across as trustworthy – don’t fall into that trap. Pick a picture that shows your face clearly (avoid selfies). You can smile but avoid any hand gestures. Think of this as a CV photo – you want the employers to get a good impression of you.
- Include the headline. Each profile has a headline section that you should, under no circumstances, leave empty. By default, this is your current or last position, but you should definitely customise it with strong adjectives (like experienced, trusted, innovative) and add succinct detail. Under your name on your LinkedIn profile, you can also include hashtags on the topics you post about regularly. For example, if you’re a copywriter, you can write #copywriting #copywritingtips #seo #marketing in your bio.
- Tidy up your experience section. Don’t list every little part-time job you’ve had if they’re not relevant to the positions you’re interested in applying for. If you want to work as a backend engineer, you should focus on your experiences in the field.
- Use strong keywords. To stand out, you should check out some of the most common and popular job ads related to the field you want to work in. Use the most common keywords in your profile (beat those automatic screening machines, curse on them, too!).
You could also enhance your profile by adding a background photo. You can use stock images, but it’s better to go for those that demonstrate your interests and experience.
7 Steps to Success: Communication Strategy for LinkedIn Personal Branding
It’s not all about the profile; it’s how you use it. LinkedIn is a social network, just like any other. The only difference is that this is where you socialise with potential co-workers, employers, and companies. As a result, it needs to be curated. In other words, it’s great that you’ve successfully grown a temperamental plant, but unless you’re a botanist, save that information for your TikTok profile.
Instead, focus on the following:
- Building a network. Add people you know on LinkedIn – former university peers, friends, acquaintances. Some of them may already be working in relevant sectors – use this to follow their companies and HRs. On the other side, you don’t have to accept all connection requests – some people really are on there to spam you or slide into your DM, literally.
- Engaging with potential employers. Follow companies you want to work with and get in touch with their HR managers. If you’ve applied for a job there, contact the relevant manager/interviewer on LinkedIn to express your interest in the position and ask for further information.
- Posting. Repost impactful stuff from big companies (e.g. sustainable living content) with your own thoughts, engage in socially beneficial causes, and demonstrate your interest in current events. I would gently dissuade you from being overly political, although some causes are more than worth fighting for – cue in EQUALITY FOR EVERYONE! Posting is the part of the LinkedIn experience that demands your constant attention – don’t post once every two weeks and forget about it. Make it a priority to update your status regularly. The more you post (and I mean post readworthy, relevant content), the more engagement you’ll get. It’s all about finding your own voice, offering advice in specific areas, and engaging with those who interact with your posts. Don’t expect this to happen overnight … it will take time, dedication, and patience.
- Create personal content. It’s not all about reposting other people’s stuff. Instead, give your own two cents through LinkedIn short form. Advertise your ideas, give opinions, and share tips. Make these posts engaging to gain attention. (And please, for the love of all things good, make sure you post helpful tips related to work/jobs/your profession – LinkedIn is scarily becoming too much like Facebook with people sharing selfies and way too personal things … just don’t do it!)
- Customise your URL. Default URLs will have random numbers and details – get rid of them. Make your URL about your name, and share it on your social networks.
- Add skills. Soft skills are super important in any work environment, but it’s even better if you can include some more specific pieces of information. Everyone loves a good team player, but not everyone can do proper software development – boast about what you’re good at.
- Don’t be shy. LinkedIn is, in a way, a place to sell yourself to employers. I know that sucks, but that’s the truth. To do so, don’t cling to your own modesty. Show the world who you are and what you can do! 😊
LinkedIn Personal Branding – A Short, Sweet Guide
The point of personal branding is to send a unified impression of who you are. You want to be noticed and hired, which is easily achievable with several strategic steps:
- Optimise your profile.
- Build your network.
- Get in touch with powers that be (i.e. employers).
- Update your status regularly.
- Don’t be shy!
And, always (and I mean always) remember that LinkedIn is like a living CV – update it whenever you gain any new professional experience!