Your Personal Brand is how others perceive you. It’s your reputation. If you are on any media space today (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, TikTok etc…), your activity, posts, comments, shares, likes… are all shaping your personal brand and how others perceive you. If you are hiring, looking for a job currently or will be in the future, you should be intentional with your personal brand by developing awareness and by being intentional about your reputation and branding.
It takes time, intention and effort to build your network. Waiting until you need a job, or you’re desperate to hire top talent for your organization, will not benefit you in the long run. Start, or become more intentional, now.
90% of employers research candidates online before contacting them. What does your name reveal in a Google search? Do it! Search your name on Google now. What comes to the top? For many, it is their LinkedIn profile. As the top professional network in the world, LinkedIn is your face to the business world. If you’re an active job candidate, NOT having a LinkedIn profile may be perceived as a red flag to many employers looking for a professional. Especially if you’re in a position of influence (Sales, Marketing, Talent, Leadership).
LinkedIn’s Mission: connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. LinkedIn has more than 875 million subscribers, and just celebrated its 20th anniversary. (Fun Fact: Bill Gates is the single most followed account on LinkedIn with more than 35.8 million followers, followed by Richard Branson, Jeff Weiner, Arianna Huffington, Staya Nadella, Mark Cuban, Tony Robbins & Melinda Gates.)
I’ve been using the platform for 15 years and a lot has changed over the years. As I’ve researched and reflected on personal branding and LinkedIn, I’ve taken steps to update my profile and here are tips and best practices I’d like to share with you.
Best Practices for LinkedIn:
Headshot – This is your first impression to the business world. I recently found photofeeler which tests your photo for appeal. My new headshot photo is "Competent, Likable, Influential". While your photo doesn’t have to be a professional headshot, I believe the investment in your branding is a worthwhile one. I’d like to give a shout out here to J.Fiereck Photography whose photos truly bring out a person’s best self.
Background Photo – You can use one of LinkedIn’s templates, one of your own photos or create a banner like I did on Canva. My recent update is sharing a more personal side to me than I’ve done before. I’m choosing my brand, my reputation.
Headline – This is where you begin to build your profile and brand. Use your headline to say more than your job title or industry. We are more than the work we do. Talk about how you see your role, your area of expertise, and for a more personal touch, who you are or what you are passionate about, outside of work. This headline will evolve as you do and should be updated to reflect that.
About – This is a 500-character paragraph that will be shown on your profile. You can expand it to 2600 characters to turn your summary into your story.
Connect intentionally to grow your network. Connect with family, friends, co-workers, customers, vendors, alumni, past and present colleagues. My best practice has been to connect with people I know at some level or want to connect with for a specific purpose.
List your relevant skills – this adds validity to your headline and summary and provides a platform for others to endorse you. It doesn’t have to be a long list, just relevant.
Endorsements – Endorsing your connections' skills will frequently trigger connections to return the favor. Relevance matters – be intentional.
For a deeper dive into the importance of personal branding, we recommend this recent article from Harvard Business Review "A New Approach to Building Your Personal Brand".
If you're looking to build your connections on LinkedIn, please follow Wynne Hires.