Building Your Branded LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is the most popular business social media site on the web, and you want to ensure that your LinkedIn presence represents you and the personal brand that you've developed in the most positive way. You make a first impression online in much the same way as you do in person. The ultimate goal is for your LinkedIn profile to provide answers about you and your personal brand that visitors typically look for when visiting any website:

  • Who are you?

  • What do you do?

  • What can you do for me?

  • Do you have proof of what you say you can do?

  • Who else can comment on your expertise?

Consider your answers as you fill in the LinkedIn sections. The following table guides you through each section of LinkedIn to help you build a stellar profile.

Item Action Items
Profile headline: up to 120 characters This information will default to your current job title, so make it different from your current title. Stand out with a keyword-rich headline that describes how you want to be known on LinkedIn.

Example: Public Relations Advocate dedicated to making the message understandable
Update headshot Take a professional-looking photo alone with a solid background — just shoulders, neck, and head.
Change public profile URL Ideally, this should just be your name. Personalize it under "edit your profile."

Example: www.linkedin.com/in/susanchritton
Update summary: up to 2,000 characters Include a brief professional bio that paints a picture of who you are, what you can do, what you're studying, and what you're looking to do with your education. Add specialties to your summary by including keywords/special skills/major study topics. Use AKA (also known as) if your name has an unusual spelling.
Experience List professional positions and experience, including jobs, volunteer posts, military, board of directors, nonprofit, or pro sports.
Certifications List certifications, licensures, or clearances you've attained.
Build your LinkedIn network Add contacts: colleagues, former coworkers, friends, vendors, neighbors, professors, and other business people.
Join groups Consider joining industry-specific groups, university alumni groups, career interest groups, or companies that you're interested in.
Endorsements Skill endorsements are an effective way of building your professional brand and engaging your network. Be selective in the skills that you want to be endorsed for.
Request recommendations You can request professional recommendations and display them on your profile.
Education List school and educational information.
Projects Showcase the projects you've worked on, along with team members.
Volunteer experience & causes Include organizations you support, causes you care about, and the types of volunteer opportunities you're looking for.
Privacy settings Control what others see about you and what types of notifications are sent out to your network.
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