There seems to be an invisible line between personal and professional on LinkedIn. Walking that line does not need to be as stressful as it seems. Creating a personal and professional brand on LinkedIn is about combining your career goals and passions with your current position and determining how they fit together in the larger narrative of your career journey. It is all about balance. When done effectively, your personal-professional brand may attract potential clients, employers (check out our tips for optimizing your profile for recruiters), and/or partners.
Below discover some of our tips for crafting your personal-professional brand on LinkedIn….
Updating and Maintaining Your Profile
Understanding and crafting your brand, or the way you want to be perceived on LinkedIn, begins by completing – and maintaining – the key aspects of your LinkedIn profile.
Profile image and banner image
Your profile and banner image help form the “first impression” of your profile. They appear in search results and are, of course, at the top of your profile.
While the profile image can just be a recent headshot, the banner image is an opportunity to be creative. LinkedIn has a few already created that you can choose from, or you can use a software like Canva that has templates that you can customize. Consider featuring your volunteer work or a hobby, incorporating your accolades, or make it a virtual business card with a link to your website. According to LinkedIn’s data, having a profile image and banner image can result in 9 times more connection requests, 21 times more profile views, and 36 times more messages.
Keywords serve as indicators of the type of content you want to be associated with. By utilizing the right keywords your profile will be more easily discoverable by the people you want to engage with. We recommend identifying 3-4 keywords that you can use throughout your profile in your headline, your summary and when relevant, your work experience. Do be careful not to overstuff your profile with these words.
Think through these questions as you consider which words might best suit you:
Who or what do you want to be known as (your type of work, a leader, advocate, etc.)?
Who are you trying to reach or get the attention of on LinkedIn?
What are these people looking for and what words might they use to search on LinkedIn?
What words stuck out to you?
For instance, if you work for a human services organization in development, here are some keywords you might consider incorporating: fundraising, major gifts, nonprofit(s), volunteer management, diverse populations, human services.
Work experience is likely the first thing you added to your profile; it is worth building out this section. Ensure the first sentence includes what you most want people to understand about this role, and then be sure to include quantifiable impact and results that you have achieved. Keeping this section up to date can result in 5 times more connection requests, 8 times more profile views, and 10 times more messages. People who add volunteer experience receive up to 6 times more profile views.
Writing Your Summary to Convey Your Personal-Professional Brand
In your summary, take advantage of the opportunity to combine your career goals, passions, and your current role. This is where your personality can shine through, and you can provide context to you career journey.
Below are the building blocks of an effective summary:
An attention-grabbing opening sentence. Try to keep this under 300 characters, as anything longer will be hidden behind the read more option.
This can be an anecdote, a quirk, or a passion that drives your work. Including a personal touch will highlight your personality and help your profile stand out.
Contextualize your current role, or where you are in your career, in your larger professional journey.
Consider these questions: What do you want to do? And why? This could be in your current position, more generally, or both.
As with your work experience, it helps to quantify your accomplishments and skills when describing them.
Call to Action
End with asking people to connect or send you an email if you are comfortable, or some other relevant call to action.
As you draft and refine your summary, remember to use the keywords you identified. Also consider readability. Most people are daunted by large blocks of text, so consider breaking it up using paragraphs and bullet points.
Other Suggestions to Consider
Once you have the basics of your profile set up and some keywords to help guide your profile and content, there are a few other features that you can consider adding to your profile to make it more unique to you.
This is a 30 second video that overlays on your profile image. You can use this feature to introduce yourself, share your expertise, and highlight your goals – sort of like a commercial for your personal-professional brand. We recommend taking the time to write out the script and consider the composition of the video beforehand.
This is a curated slideshow of content that appears near the top of your profile. This content could be a post that speaks to your passions, an article related to your work, a link to your online portfolio, or an image of your team. This can be edited as you see fit and is an opportunity to tell your story in a visual format.
Creator mode is a profile setting – which can be toggled on and off easily – that allows your profile to be more easily discoverable and showcases your content front and center. This is something to consider if you are hoping to grow your audience significantly and plan to post 1-2 times per week.
You can promote your own interests and your employer – it doesn’t have to be one or the other. There are of course considerations to keep in mind, such as you are representing your company as a brand on LinkedIn, so while all of your content need not be directly associated with your company it should be – to some extent – in line with their values.