Personal branding and building a strong work portfolio is key to getting a job in today’s technologically advanced world. However, I know it can seem daunting for people who don’t know where to start.  Trust me, the process isn’t as difficult as it may seem from the outside. Below are some of my best tips on how to optimize your LinkedIn and create a strong personal brand. Think of it as your digital résumé.

Being on LinkedIn is more necessary than ever for the job search. According to Omnicore, there are over 675 million LinkedIn users as of 2020. The opportunities for jobs on LinkedIn are endless with over 100 million job applications on LinkedIn every month. Not to mention, over 95% of recruiters also use LinkedIn regularly.

Do not skimp on your about section.

It is one of the first parts of your LinkedIn profile that employers will see. As a result, you should include your current work position, your relevant skills, and education. It may also be useful to provide information on what type of work you are seeking here. In order to write a killer About Me, consider these tips. 1. Make your current job title clear. 2. Weave in keywords pertaining to your skillset and past experience. 3. End with information about what you hope to accomplish in the future.

Pick a professional and appropriate photo for your profile picture.

You don’t necessarily need a professionally-done headshot. However, you should make sure your profile picture is of good quality and cropped to be a medium shot (shoulders up normally). Make sure your attire looks appropriate and professional. A picture is worth a thousand words, so make it a good impression. 

Add relevant links in your work experience section.

Links are a chance for you to show off your projects and publications for employers to browse through. You can also link to company websites for places you have worked. Links add visual interest and interactivity to your LinkedIn page. 

Be detailed and specific in your job descriptions.

Using the résumé format of listing out your duties while in the role is one way to approach it. You can also use a more longform, prose description of your job duties if you’d prefer. Giving numbers and mentioning specific skills and technologies helps show the employers your impact and what you have to offer. 

Keep all sections as up-to-date as possible.

Your LinkedIn can’t fully represent you and your accomplishments if you don’t take the time to update it frequently. It’s easiest to do so after a couple weeks working at a new job. That way you’ve had time to adjust and your duties are fresh in your mind. 

Ask previous employers to endorse skills in your skill section.

Having endorsements on your skills looks great and can boost your credibility in the eyes of potential employers. 

Don’t be afraid to input relevant courses, published work credits, and organization memberships.

Some people neglect the accomplishments section on LinkedIn, but it can be a great way to showcase who you are outside of jobs and internships. Plus, you never know what organizations could connect you to employers. 

Connect to your employers and coworkers on LinkedIn. 

Networking is a huge part of the job search. Connecting with people you have worked with in the past keeps them in your network, so you are able to reach out in the future and find new opportunities. It also builds rapport between yourself and coworkers. You can even reach out to people your own age whose work you admire and ask them if they want to connect and provide you with advice on how they got to where they are. Some other great ways to Network include: following thought leaders, putting up blog posts in connection to your career and accomplishments, and engaging with threads for companies you admire.

Consider starting a blog or portfolio website to showcase your additional work.

There a tons of easy ways to start your own website, either a blog or portfolio site. WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, and PortfolioBox are a few user friendly options. They are highly customizable and allow for you to house your professional work. It can also pop up (if you have killer SEO) when a prospective employer is Googling for people with your skillset. Tailoring a website to your taste is a great way to also assert your personal brand and showcase it to the world. I myself have been running my own blog for several years, along with a portfolio website.

Now, you’re well on your way to creating a personal brand. These tips will help you reach your potential when it comes to creating a professional showcase of your skills and experience. You’re ready for the job search!

  • Maggie Mahoney

    Maggie Mahoney is an editorial fellow based in Washington D.C. She is a soon to be graduating senior at American University studying Literature with a minor in Communications. Maggie is passionate about poetry, elementary education, blogging, and R&B music. She loves to cook and try new cuisines and considers herself a textbook Virgo.