For the third year in a row, Bustle's Upstart Awards are honoring young women who are doing incredible things in the realms of business, STEM, fashion and beauty, the arts, philanthropy, and beyond. Want to be an Upstarts honoree one day? Read on for career tips, insights, and inspiration to help get you there.
If you’re anything like me, you log in to Facebook or Twitter whenever you’re bored, but your LinkedIn profile just sort of sits there. Not a lot of people dedicate time to building a personal brand on LinkedIn, but if you do, it can have major payoffs. LinkedIn connections really can lead to job offers and other great opportunities, and it starts with presenting yourself the way you want people to see you.
“Building a personal brand is all about meeting the needs of your particular audience, so when it comes to building that personal brand on a social platform, it's important to consider the particular audience on that platform and what their needs are when they use it,” Stefanie O'Connell, a millennial personal finance expert and author of The Broke and Beautiful Life with a large following on LinkedIn, tells Bustle.
“For example, the audience on Snapchat, is going to be different from the audience on LinkedIn, and where there is overlap, that audience will have different expectations of each platform,” O’Connell explains. “Whereas they might login to Snapchat for entertainment and social connection, they might login to LinkedIn for inspiration or professional networking. So as a personal brand on social, your mission is to find that overlap between the purpose of the platform, your audience on that platform, and your own brand mission.”
With that in mind, here are a few tips on presenting the best possible version of yourself on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has a feature that lets you write and share blog posts, which can be a great way to establish expertise in your field, Devon Ryan, an entrepreneur with a large following on LinkedIn, tells Bustle.
You can ask people you’ve worked with for recommendations through LinkedIn, and they’ll go right on their profile. Ryan suggests asking people in the field you most want to be known for so that your profile emphasizes the brand you aspire toward.
Part of your brand is in the conversations you have with individuals and groups, not just the words you broadcast to the world. So, if you want people to notice you and view you in a certain way, commenting on their posts is one place to start.
You can add keywords to your LinkedIn profile so that people searching for users with your skills or experience can find you, Jennifer Lee Magas, MA, JD, VP of Magas Media Consultants, LLC and a Clinical Associate Professor of Public Relations at Pace University, tells Bustle. Think about what words someone might enter if they want to find someone like you, and fill in all your education and work experience so nobody misses you.
It’s frustrating, but people do judge books by their covers. It’s not about being attractive as much as it is about having a photo that’s in line with your personal brand, Kari DePhillips, Owner of The Content Factory, tells Bustle. “Perception is reality, and in many cases you make your first impression online without ever realizing it. Thanks Google!”
LinkedIn isn’t the place to make your personal brand too personal, Kiira Mancasola, marketing, branding, and social media expert, tells Bustle. Stay away from your day-to-day life and politics and keep the posts related to your work.
If you’re using LinkedIn to get work, OConnell recommends posting things that show you’re capable of the jobs you want. If you’re looking to get a book deal, for example, you might show off your writing. Or if you’re looking to work in tech startups, post articles related to the tech industry to demonstrate your interest. “On LinkedIn, I know my audience is potential brand partners and clients,” says O’Connell. “So on LinkedIn, I showcase how my work can meet their needs, sharing feedback from past clients, photos and videos from past brand partnerships, and features that reinforce my role as an industry expert.”
The time you'll invest in updating your LinkedIn profile is time well-spent, because after that, your professional image will get a permanent upgrade.