Best Practices for Personal Branding on LinkedIn

July 19, 2022
CJ Darnieder

Create a Profile to Help you Find Your Next Job and Build Your Network

LinkedIn can be a compelling platform to help you shift your life in a different direction or build momentum in a new market. Connecting with other like-minded professionals can be insanely valuable and often mutually beneficial to those professionals. Whether learning more about your line of work or cultivating relationships that could land you your dream job, LinkedIn provides incredible opportunities for those who take advantage of it.

If you’re going to put in the work to create a LinkedIn profile, then it’s worth it to spare the extra effort to make it unique. To stand out from the crowd and have people take notice, you’ll need to understand, communicate, and grow your brand. Here are a few practices you can start doing today that will make professionals want to get to know and do business with you.

KISS: Keep It Simple, Searcher!

Recruiters value clarity and directness. Try not to muddle your profile with too much jargon, buzzwords, or unnecessary information. Many recruiters will see right through this, and they don’t add anything of value to your profile. Be specific about what you’ve accomplished, avoid generic language, and above all else, keep it simple!

When you’re writing your bio, think about how you can demonstrate the value you’d offer to the job. Try to resist the urge to pepper your bio with fancier words: it’s best to stick to a quick paragraph at around an eighth-grade reading level. And make sure you check your spelling and grammar - there’s nothing more embarrassing than claiming you have “grate” attention to detail.

The Profile Photo

First impressions matter, and before the hiring manager will see anything about who you are, they’ll think about what they see in your profile photo. The adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” is especially true on LinkedIn, and you can use that to your advantage. Use a profile photo that shows off your personality while still being professional.

The golden rule for your profile photo? It needs to be a picture of your face. And a clear picture as well: consider mobile users who may have a hard time getting a good look at the profile photo. These aspects may seem small, but they show significant consideration and care in how you curate your profile, which will look good to recruiters and those you’re looking to network with.

The Cover Photo

The cover photo is a wider photo that allows you to set the tone for your page and express who you are as a person. An ideal cover or background photo will be memorable and visually exciting. You should still be in your cover photo, like with your profile photo, and it’s best to ensure you’re doing something relevant to the type of work you’re looking for or that you do in your photo.

Many might view this photo as an afterthought, but a visually enticing profile with action makes it more likely that someone will linger and read more about you. Use your cover photo to say something about your story - it’s a great alternative to another block of text!

Connect One on One

Genuine connection isn’t exactly a hallmark of social media, but LinkedIn can be the exception to the rule. A quick one or two-sentence message is often enough to create a connection; no need to stress yourself by penning a thoughtful letter of introduction.

You can’t just set and forget your LinkedIn profile, hoping that people will want to connect with you at some point. Sometimes, it’ll be up to you to put in the effort and introduce yourself to other professionals in your field. Be sure to mention something that made them stand out to you, let them know why you want to connect with them, and what value you can bring to the table.

Stay Current

If you’re going to be one of the 1% that creates original content, which you should be, make sure it always has value and is well thought out. You should aim to keep your profile updated regularly. Comment on posts, like the content you see, and share things that resonate with you.

Keep Your Network Realistic

LinkedIn isn’t Facebook or Instagram. It’s not about how extensive your network is; it’s about the quality of the connections you make within it. If your network starts getting too big, you’ll end up seeing and possibly sharing content that doesn’t align with your original goals. Remember that LinkedIn is social, but it’s still primarily meant for creating meaningful professional connections.

The more you give to refining your LinkedIn profile, the more success you’ll have in capturing the attention of hiring managers and finding exciting new opportunities. Following these tips can get you one step closer to snagging your dream job and influencing respected leaders in your field.


CJ, contributing author from Chicago, IL, shown in headshot photo.

CJ Darnieder is a freelance writer and editor in Chicago. He is an avid lover of classical music and stand-up comedy and loves to write both in his spare time.

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