How to Brand Yourself on LinkedIn
By Sofia Zafeiri, Social Media Coordinator, IIL
With approximately 467 million users in 200 countries, LinkedIn is undoubtedly the largest Professional Network on Social Media. Yet, there seems to be a significant number of users who ignore the very rules of this platform. Here are some tips that will help you maximize your presence and brand yourself successfully on LinkedIn.
Headshot and Cover Photo.
It takes a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger. This is your moment to make a great first impression! A warm and welcoming smile will tell more about you than a thousand words.
Depending on your industry, you can add a bit of a flavor and color to your cover photo. A great example is Ashwath (found below). His headshot is professional with a clean and solid background, yet his cover photo reveals his adventurous nature and love for diving.
I cannot begin to count how many times I’ve witnessed entirely inappropriate photos for the nature of the LinkedIn platform. Although I do understand how you like to zone out and party once in a while, there’s a good chance that your future employer won’t. So keep it simple, solid, and avoid filters from other social media platforms.
What’s a good rule of thumb? My advice for your headshot is simple and pretty straightforward:
- Wear a suit or a blazer
- Have a solid background
- Adjust the lighting to your benefit
- Be confident and smile
Ashwath Muralidharan is a Senior Consultant for EY and a Duke University graduate.
That’s the first virtual handshake where you present yourself to a global network of professionals. You wouldn’t approach an employer in real life with the opening line, “I’m an Account Executive for XYZ company,” but rather, you might present yourself as a “Social Media Producer working for a tech startup.” So why act differently online? Customize your headline to your career goals. In other words, focus on who you are as a professional and what industry you’re expanding to.
An additional benefit from tailoring your headline with industry keywords is that it gives you an edge on the algorithm search. Subsequently, your profile ends up appearing on more searches from recruiters and professionals who are looking for someone just like you.
Here’s the example of Jessica Lyon, an award-winning Communications Strategist, who is a 40 Under Forty winner, and a frequent presenter at conferences.
See this part as your time to shine —this summary is your 15-second elevator speech. That’s a good space for you to talk about your passions, your strong points, and what your experiences have taught you so far. Unlike cover letters, LinkedIn still remains a Social Media platform which allows your summary to be creative, fruitful, and have media attachments. Another use of this area is to optimize your industry’s keywords and list some of your most relevant skills.
In the example below, Fangzhou demonstrates her passion for technology and communications by combing pieces of her past and future goals. She also highlights some of her most relevant skills, such as programming languages.
Fangzhou Cheng is a Data Engineer at the Earnest Research Company and an NYU graduate.
In the Skills section, you can add all of your skills that set you apart from the rest. From coding to media planning, and data analysis to spoken languages, LinkedIn allows you to add up to 50 skills. It’s a good idea to demonstrate a variety of your competencies in that section, such as programming languages, Microsoft Office Excel, Media Planning, Project Management, etc.
HINT: if you’re a job seeker, LinkedIn will show you how many of the required skills for the job you have listed.
The majority of young professionals fail to ask in time for a recommendation on LinkedIn. Either shying away from it or neglecting it, having zero recommendations is definitely not, well, recommended. Ensuring your Professional Network will get a chance to see what type of team player you are, your work ethic, or your contribution to a certain project from
the perspective of the people who’ve worked with you is the best type of advertisement. So next time you’ll work with or for someone, take initiative and simply ask them to write a few things about their experience working with you.
Sofia Zafeiri is a Social Media Coordinator at IIL and and NYU graduate.
Regardless of your industry, being a good writer and efficient communicator always sets you apart as a thought leader. Writing articles often and discussing current news or predicting industry trends demonstrates your thought process and in-depth analytical skills. The downside of this part is that not all of us like writing. If writing is not your best trait, keep in mind that your posts don’t have to be long nor extensive. A well-written article of 350 words is all you need to showcase your expertise on a certain matter.
Additionally, being active on the platform and sharing valuable news is another easy and fast way to show that you stay updated with current issues.
Fred Helio Garcia is president of the crisis management firm Logos Consulting Group and brings his 37 years of experience to NYU students and CEOs around the globe.
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About the Author
Sofia Zafeiri is the Social Media Coordinator at IIL. She graduated from NYU with a Ms in Public Relations and Corporate Communications. Before moving to New York City, she worked for a variety of organizations in Europe.