Vanguard personal branding

Kick starting your social brand by looking your best

Our new blog series will help kick start your personal and professional brand on social media. We’ll cover looking your best, growing your network, sharing your story, and staying engaged.

Personal versus professional branding. It’s a blurred line. Any information about you that can be found in a Google search (try it!) or on social media is a part of your brand. Make sure that what you are sending out into the social universe reflects how you want to be perceived. Personal branding is the image you portray and the lasting impression you make.

Speaking of your image, do you look like this on LinkedIn?

Vanguard personal branding

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered below.

Is your LinkedIn profile stale? Maybe you set up your profile when you were job hunting, but haven’t updated it since. LinkedIn offers more than just jobs. It’s a legitimate professional networking site and your image on it is important. It’s also a good starting place to create a professional persona that can carry over onto other channels.

Vanguard personal brandingYour story on LinkedIn begins with your profile. Here are five things you can do to start building your brand.

  1. Start with a professional headshot and background image/cover photo. Profiles with photos generate 21-times more profile views*. Profiles without both of these images look incomplete. Don’t have easy access to a professional photographer? The new smart phones have great cameras. Grab a friend to help. Avoid wearing white or too much of a pattern, look for good lighting, and pick a plain or pleasant background for your headshot.  For the cover photo/background image, choose something that is personal to you. The most widely used background images are landscapes. Don’t use family photos and make sure the image isn’t stretched or blurry.
  1. Include the basics: the location where you are based, the industry in which you work, your education and interests. These essentials are key and should be fairly easy to update.
  2. Draft a headline and a personal summary: Your headline can be a more straight forward or fun version of your job title. Your summary is your elevator pitch. If you already have a bio, start there and change it to the 1st person. Include keywords in both.
  3. List your experience over the past 10 years, at least. Describe your major wins or projects, and the value you brought to your team in two or three sentences (updated experiences will get you 8 times more profile views*). This is not a resume with a bullet list, it’s a summary of each role. If this step is overwhelming, start by listing the position titles and add in the details later.
  4. Provide work samples: use photos, videos, presentations, blogs, and other media to make your story jump off the page.

*Source: LinkedIn

Once you look good on LinkedIn, take a look at yourself on other social platforms.

  • Do you want those channels to be open to the public or private and for personal use only?
  • If your Facebook settings are not “friends only” it’s likely that anyone in the world can see your profile and posts. Even if you have it locked down, your profile picture and cover image are still visible to others who search for your name. Be wary of putting anything inappropriate or controversial in those photos.
  • The same goes for Instagram and other channels. If they are open to the public then recruiters, colleagues, peers at other companies, and employers can all see that you were out until 2am last night at the bar. That’s not viewed as professional in most workplaces!
  • If you participate on multiple channels for professional reasons, make sure your look is consistent and consider using the same profile and cover photos so that you are easily recognized.
  • Be careful of comments and content you share on LinkedIn and other channels. If you get into a debate on a public forum it could reflect poorly on your image.

Looking at other people’s profiles is the #1 activity on LinkedIn. Job seekers now behave like consumers, but they trust people more than brands. Job seekers research people currently in roles they are interviewing for and follow leaders at companies they are interested in. When networking, LinkedIn users search for peers at other companies in similar roles to connect with and follow influencers and experts working in their space. People will find you. And on LinkedIn especially, you not only represent yourself, but also your company and your company’s brand, so make sure you represent it well.

Vanguard personal branding“The one thing you can control in today’s war for talent is having a completed LinkedIn profile. Think of your LinkedIn profile as your online business card. It’s the first thing someone will see when they’re researching you about your next potential job, or when you’re recruiting someone to come to work at your company. This is your chance to build your personal brand and be visible to your network. When you have a completed profile you build authenticity and credibility. Brand or be branded.”

– Brian U., Senior Talent Acquisition Consultant

Set a goal!

Work on one section of LinkedIn at a time – sitting down and doing it all at once can be overwhelming. If you schedule 10-20 minutes every day for one week, you’ll have it updated by the weekend!

If you follow through with the tips above, you will look great and be ready for the next step in building your brand on social media– growing your network. We’ll talk about what you can do to build your own community in part two of our series.

For more career tips and advice from Vanguard follow us on LinkedIn and check out our careers blog. If you are interested in this niche of personal marketing and branding check out some great LinkedIn advice from J.T. O’Donnell on the WorkItDaily YouTube channel.

Recent Posts