You have just graduated and you are looking for a job opportunity to start your career. Sounds simple, but is it really?
You start asking some friends and everyone keeps telling you about the power of LinkedIn and how it can boost your personal brand.
That’s true! But LinkedIn is not just a social medium, but rather a mindset.
Don’t worry, though! Creating and maintaining your personal brand is not easy, but it can get easier with these simple ways. You just need to think about brand marketing and how would you engage customers for a brand!
Set A Clear Goal
Have you ever started a trip without not knowing where to go? I guess not!
The same applies to starting your trip on LinkedIn. You need to think and set a certain goal, otherwise you’ll not know what to do next, how to plan ahead!
LinkedIn is as personal as any other social medium. But its purpose is to connect professionals. And for that you need something unique, something that makes you different than the others.
That’s your brand identity!
So, make sure that you have a goal, a brand identity which will define your personal brand!
Make Your Friends Your Heroes
Why? Because our friends know us better. Sometimes better than we know ourselves.
Friends can always provide you insight and let you know about all the things that make you different.
Create a simple questionnaire, add some open-ended questions, let them express themselves!
The information gathered can help you a lot, as you can understand where to base your personal brand and your unique selling proposition (USP).
Brand your profile page
So, you have found your USP and need to create your LinkedIn Profile page. Your page is like going window-shopping, but for possible recruiters. You need to engage them and make them remember you!
Everything must scream “ME” when you visit your profile page, always keeping in mind that you need to remain professional.
Your profile picture, your cover photo, your headline, your “about” section.
Let’s take it step-by-step and turn you into your own brand manager!
Add an engaging profile picture
That’s one of the most important things. People tend to think that visual features of LinkedIn are not important.
However, a proper profile picture is crucial! People visiting your page should be able to “put a face” on everything they’ll read.
A nice picture of yourself, slightly smiling, with clear colors is enough. Focus on your facial features and make it simple and capturing with a bit of color contrast.
There are a few quality apps that you can download for free to edit your picture!
So, no blurry cropped group pictures, no landscapes/animals/plants, nothing too disturbing.
Make Your Cover Photo Count
Most people keep the default cover photo of LinkedIn. But that’s a no.
It’s like keeping the same haircut your parents gave you as a child. It might have worked for a bit, but you are a grown up now.
Just image-research a bit and you can find hundreds of options. Even Pinterest can be of help and has several choices.
Personalize your URL
No one likes to visit the profile of “linkedin.com/jf8r03Ufiw73r4dd2ac”. It’s complicated, you can’t find it easily in your search history and shows imperfection.
Just go to your “Profile”. Then, on the right upper corner, you can see “Edit public profile & URL”.
Go through and change your URL to as near as you can get to your name and surname!
Just like Dave, a Mortgage Broker at Think Plutus has done, on his LinkedIn profile here!
“Headline” and “About” Are Your Punchlines
You have two chances to engage your viewer. And turn your viewer into a visitor.
Here is where you need to put yourself in their shoes!
A: I am John, a junior school teacher, focusing on maths and chemistry, but I can help with other subjects too.
B: My name is John Smith. My story started the day I was born. My mother held me and was always a guardian angel, showing me right from wrong, good from bad! Having always a strong role model next to me, I have recognized the importance of proper guiding. As such, it was only natural for me to become your junior school teacher!
Between these two, no one would choose to keep reading the first profile. It lacks emotion, story and no one could relate.
But, the second “About” section would be more capturing!
So, do not be afraid to show a bit more of yourself on LinkedIn!
Be authentic, true and vulnerable! People relate and respect that!
Deliver Facts, Not Fiction
You are at this point that you need to put all the details of your degree(s), your (un)employment history!
It just gets uncomfortable, right?!
You are not sure which things should be included! So, ask yourself one question:
“What would I share with my mother?”
And here you are! Put all the details in, but don’t exaggerate! No one will believe that you were the first one to travel around the world in 80 days!
Make sure that you add some statistics, figures, and milestone achievements!
Numbers are always engaging!
Your LinkedIn is not your Resume
Creating your personal brand on LinkedIn means that you shouldn’t cut things out. Not like we usually do for a resume recruiters want.
Branding yourself takes some salesman skills and a lot of storytelling. Storytelling is this process of giving a broad emotional context in your life and career, making it more relevant to the reader.
Make sure that your page feels human, just like you, focus on your values and mindset, and show your diverse personality!
Connect your brand identity with your storytelling to make sure that every post counts!
Create A Good, Broad Circle Of Connections
LinkedIn is a professional social medium, and as such, getting connected with the right people is necessary!
Start by getting connected with your friends, university colleagues, professors, people from conferences you have attended!
Take it from there!
Then, you can slowly expand your connections and send connection requests to more people that share content and have a strong opinion on matters.
This will keep you updated and you’ll learn new things all the time!
Engage With Your Connections
Ok! You have your connections, which keep increasing! What should you do now?
Do you have someone that you call a “friend”, but never go out with, speak to, interact? I guess not!
It’s the same with LinkedIn connections. If you want your personal brand to be out there, you need to engage with your LinkedIn connections on what they share!
But, do not just like their posts! Write a comment, something complimentary creates the magic! You just need to agree with the point of view that you compliment, of course!
You can always comment giving a different opinion, but do it with respect and kindness!
No one likes to be connected with rude, disrespectful people, especially if you cannot back up your claims with experience, data and evidence!
Bring Value With Your Content
The next step of engaging with your connections is to bring value!
Value is something that we hold important, something that is useful and can bring a new insight to a topic.
How can you do that?
Research on the topic, check the latest trends, read related articles! And then, bring your own story in the game!
Based on your experience, background, academic and professional skills, you are able to provide a new angle, something that no one else would be able to say!
Why? Because they are not you! And you are unique!
Create Conversations Regularly
So, now you have started commenting and writing your own point of view!
You should do that regularly, even if they do not reply or give you credit in the beginning! It’s natural!
Do you give the same credit to the advice of a new friend as to the advice of an old friend, who has already proved her worth and value?
Trustworthiness and credibility need long-term engagement and keeping your expectations low!
Give some time to people to get to know you and then, they will want to discuss with you on a regular basis!
Post Professional and Personal
Another important thing is that you should post your own content. Meaning posts and articles that people see on their homepage, or when they go to your activity!
Here, you can feel a bit free and start sharing articles, posts and quotes, based on your personality and diversity!
Do not try to be a one-trick pony, because this will get boring and not engage people!
Your audience (aka connections) is as diverse as you are and have different backgrounds, stories and elements that they like to share and talk about!
So, do not be afraid!
You can share an article about the latest trends in human resources, a post about the issue of climate change in Latin America, and an article about how yoga helps you redefine failure!
Make It Relatable And Interactive
Your content is out there, it aligns with your personal brand and your personal experience. Still, you feel like something is missing!
Only one advice: make your content relatable and interactive!
Just think about Coca-Cola and how it has branded itself!
Even reading these words brings you a very clear image of the Coca-Cola bottle and how it is connected with sentiments of joy!
People around you and your audience should think of your name when mentioning something specific around your expertise.
You can easily make your content relatable, by emotional branding and storytelling, but also make it interactive!
Let people express themselves, ask them to give you their opinion, ask them to comment on your posts with their thoughts and opinions!
And the next three are your bonus tips, if you feel confident enough and have extra time!
Join Related Groups
There are a lot of groups on LinkedIn! You should check them out, start joining some and start reading the uploaded posts! Whenever you feel confident enough, start creating your own posts in groups, as well! Don’t remain on the sidelines! The downfall is that there are a lot of inactive groups and/or groups where certain people tend to “promote” their own business!
Tip: Do not forget to check the members of the groups that you are interested in! You can find some very cool people to connect with! Just because you are in the same group!
Use LinkedIn Learning
LinkedIn Learning is a great platform with hundreds, if not thousands, of courses and videos on a great variety of topics!
You need to pay for that, of course, but compared to what you get in return, it’s a small price to pay!
You can find updated courses for Photoshop, Excel, coding systems, marketing tools, interview techniques and everything that is necessary!
So, you keep your brain and profile active, gain extra knowledge and manage to add some desired skills in your arsenal!
LinkedIn Skills Assessment
And, since “desired skills” got mentioned, the last, but not least, step is the “LinkedIn Skills Assessment”.
As it is stated on the LinkedIn website, it is a feature which enables you to prove without any questions that you indeed have expertise on certain skills that you mention in your profile!
A person checks your profile for a certain skill? He can also see that you have verified your knowledge!
The negative part is that it’s still at the experiment level and includes a specific “set of skills”, which can be easily assessed online! So, there is no way to verify your “strategic thinking” or your “Cross-Cultural Team Leadership”.
You are ready!
You were brave reading this long list of tips and tricks for branding yourself on LinkedIn!
I am sure that you are brave enough to start implementing the advice given and start working your magic on your own personal brand!
As LinkedIn is growing, reaching its milestones, always try to be ahead and play the game of the future!
And always ask yourself “if I can’t work magic for myself, how could I work magic for others?”