It is essential to have a consistent and professional online brand when conducting a job search or just maintaining your visibility to potential employers.
Branding yourself can be done in many ways, and it works best when customized to fit each person's personality, life experiences, and work experiences.
So how do you "brand yourself"?
It is vital to start by choosing what you want to integrate from your past profession or personal experience. When you do a career change, you don't have to throw away those past experiences. Past experiences help mold you into who you are and are valuable in other fields.
Ask yourself, where do I see myself in two years? By thinking about that early, you can craft your path to that goal. Knowing where you want to go allows you to start learning now and making necessary connections.
LinkedIn: Manage your professional identity. Build and engage with your professional network: access knowledge, insights, and opportunities.
LinkedIn contains some key sections that you need to complete. Each section serves a purpose to help you build the online representation of your experience and achievements.
The Background photo is the first thing your profile viewers see; it should be professional and straightforward. Many people overlook their background photo, so it stands out when someone takes the time to have a custom image.
Your profile photo should reflect the real YOU and should be a professionally taken headshot. You don't want to use pictures with alcohol, sunglasses, or where you cropped out half of someone else's face.
LinkedIn is not a place to put your nickname, a business name, or anything else others may call you. People want to know that you're a genuine person, first and foremost.
The headline is a section at the top of each user's profile where they can create a short description (120 characters max). This description appears next to the user's name in search results and written in a way to entice readers to learn more about the user's experience and background.
LinkedIn shows only the first three lines of your profile summary (around 290-310 characters) before readers have to click to see more. Consider those three lines to be similar to a quick elevator pitch. Try answering these questions to help uncover a compelling statement about you:
- What sets you apart from everyone else?
- What combinations of skills help you achieve results?
- Why do you love your work?
The Experience section should contain detailed descriptions of your work or other professional experiences. You now have an opportunity to list details that you may have had to cut out of your resume due to the need to save space. Just remember it is ok to remove older positions that are no longer relevant in your career once you have built up your accomplishments.
Your education section says a lot about you, but you don't have to list every level of education you received. Remember to keep it professional listing the schools/colleges/universities which matter and relate to your profession.
While adding a school in your education section, consider supplying any additional information that may be useful, such as:
- Extracurricular activities you participated while attending that school/college in Activities and Societies text box.
- Awards or honors you received from the school/college in Description
- Add media such as photos, videos, links, or documents to showcase your accomplishments.
Companies like to see if you are about more than just the work. Showcasing how you support the community, environment, and other causes show that you give back, which your profile visitors may find interesting and impressive.
Skills & Endorsements
The Skills and Endorsements section not only allows you to showcase your skills but also receive endorsements by others who loved your work related to the skills you added. You want your skill section to tell others who you are and what you can do while including keywords that make you more searchable.
Endorsements on your skills provide social proof of how skilled and expert you are in those skills. It is common to ask people to endorse your skills, and you can even endorse others to get endorsed back for your skills.
The Recommendations section allows you to showcase how your peers and supervisors thought of you and your skills. Each recommendation enhances your profile and provides authenticity to claim your expertise to others. Including recommendations on your profile can increase your chances of being contacted by potential professional parties, and you may even secure an interview with them.
To get recommendations, you need to ask people to give you recommendations. A sure way to receive recommendations is by recommending others.
There are 9 different types of accomplishments you can list:
- Honor and awards
- Test Scores
It is an excellent opportunity to showcase all the hard-earned accomplishments you have achieved to the potential professionals and visitors. Remember to be truthful and don't over exaggerate.
This section of your LinkedIn profile comprises all the influencers and companies you follow and LinkedIn groups you've joined. The interest allows you to connect with your visitors on a more personal level as it resembles that you have got a life outside of work. By adding a company or person in your Interests section, it adds them into your LinkedIn feed so you can keep up with the latest news.
Customize Your URL
If you are using the default URL that LinkedIn assigned your profile when you create it, you see something like this, linkedin.com/pub/yourname-298903g8. By customizing the URL, you can remove the random numbers assigned and make your LinkedIn profile look professional while making it easier to find. Let's be honest; linkedin.com/in/their-name looks better than linkedin.com/pub/yourname-298903g8.
Resources for getting attention using LinkedIn
You don't have to use every online platform out there just because you are a developer. When you use an online platform, your goal should be to share what you are working on, gain knowledge, and highlight your interests. If you don't plan to be active on a platform, it is better not to have it than to have no activity.
Here are some online platform options to consider:
- GitHub: GitHub brings together the world's largest community of developers to discover, share, and build better software.
- Meetup: Find Meetups so you can do more of what matters to you. Or create your group and meet people near you who share your interests.
- Twitter: From breaking news and entertainment to sports and politics, get the full story with all the live commentary.
Just remember, if you use one or more platforms, it is essential to stay consistent with your profile photo, name, handle, and headline.