How to update your LinkedIn profile for personal branding

BLOG HEADER updating your linkedin profile for personal branding and thought leadership

Your LinkedIn profile is like your business card for building your personal brand as a thought leader, coach and a business to a business influencer.

With nearly 600 users worldwide, LinkedIn is your best social media for building valuable business connections, opportunities and social networks for lead generation.

It’s time to stop ignoring what impact your LinkedIn profile and bio have because it may just well be negative!

To get the best value out of LinkedIn, you need to be strategic about what information and keywords you put on your profile to drive results for you.

Your name on your LinkedIn profile

Make sure you use the name you are known by but don’t think I’m talking about silly nicknames!

You may want to include your former name in brackets if you are married or have changed your surname for any other reason.

Image of Susanna Rantanen LinkedIn bio stating Susanna (Vuorinen) Rantanen; branding, marketing and communications consultant and coach for HR professionals and growth companies; Top 10 European employer branding agency owner; podcaster and speaker

The profile headline

You have only 120 characters to explain what you do, who you help and target.

This is where it is imperative to use your chosen keywords.

What keywords and phrases will your target audience likely use when searching for people like you and the services and support you offer?

When you write your keywords and phrases, you may want to separate each item from the other as I have. As you can see from this image, I’m using “|” between each keyphrase on my headline.

Your LinkedIn profile photos

LinkedIn allows us to add two types of photos to our profile.

The other one is the profile photo which should be a good, smiley, personal, yet professional photo of your face. Yes, a close-up.

You should also add a background image. You probably have to create it or at least adjust an existing image. The right size is 1584 x 396 pixels and smaller than 4MB.

The background image is a wonderful real estate showcasing what you offer and who you want to help and connect with. I’ve made mine with Canva, which offers you free templates to work with.

Make it yours with your chosen colour scheme, fonts, and image(s).

Make your keywords and phrases about your target audience, not about you

One thing that will greatly help you with personal branding and becoming a thought leader is that you make your communication and key messages about how you help your target audience.

Here are some great tips to apply to your profile content:

  • Speak to your target audience. Literally, like you would speak to a person in your target audience.
  • Tell them what you do and how you can help them.
  • Use simple words and common language. Trying to sound smart will only confuse them!
  • Use keywords and phrases to list how you help your audience.
    • “Inspiring to get started..”
    • “Teaching how to..”
    • “Helping to find your dream job..”
    • “Coaching you to create a perfect resume..”
    • “Matching you with your ideal employers..”
  • Showcase some of your greatest achievements in your work. A list will do.
  • List your key areas of expertise.
  • Don’t write long paragraphs and sentences.
    • Use bullet points and emojis, or other symbols
    • Break long sentences into short ones.
    • Write only 2-3 sentences in one paragraph for ease of browsing.
  • Use the Featured section to highlight blog posts, videos, presentations, media clips etc., supporting your message.

Include your contact information

This section lets you add your contact information and any links to websites and other social media profiles you may want to add.

Make sure you add contact information that you also check regularly. Oftentimes, people use their personal emails instead of their current work email and forget to check them.

Top tips for updating your work experience

Make sure your work experience section is up to date.

Each position should include your title, the company’s name and when you started and ended in this role.

I recommend adding your key achievements and results for each role instead of describing the role in length. When someone reads what you have achieved, they will understand your role.

Using bullet points and emojis is a great way to communicate your results and achievements.

You should also not forget to use your keywords in all of your work experiences. This will further boost your discoverability on LinkedIn.

The education section

Add all your education from the college or university level.

If you have taken additional courses and have certifications for those, another section is available to add certifications.

The skills section

Have you used the skills section before? If not, it’s time to make that public!

You can select up to 50 skills, so make the most of it!

When choosing what skills you want to include, select at least those that support what you offer and what you want to become known for.

You can also connect each skill with your education and work experience listed, so make sure to do that!

Create your LinkedIn profile custom URL

You want to replace the terrible row of random numbers with a custom URL on your LinkedIn profile!

susannarantanen LinkedIn profile custom URL

Not only is it professional, but it’s also easy to find and share.

  • Go for first name and surname if not taken yet. If that is taken, try surname and first name.
  • You can combine letters and numbers if your first name and surname is already taken.
  • You can not use symbols or special characters.

The edit section on your right-hand margin is just below the header. Click on it to edit your custom URL.

Make your profile visible to the public

If you want to become discovered, as you do if you are chasing thought leadership and/or personal branding, your profile must be visible to the public.

You want to turn on the visibility:

  • Basic (this is the default)
  • Profile photo to public
  • And turn on the “show” for all of your profile sections

Hidden photos and sections are not helping you to build trust and become discovered.

Turn on the Creator Mode if you want to enjoy proper analytics

Finally, turning on the creator mode gives you access to better profile analytics. I highly recommend turning it on.

Scroll down to the resources mode. You’ll find it immediately under your profile header section.

All you need to do is turn it on. Click on the toggle bar and turn it on.

LinkedIn profile and creator mode

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