As a millennial, personal branding has been a priority for me before I knew what it meant. From my first YouTube subscription in 2007, I have been aware of the various communities I am a part of and how they perceive me based on my likes, comments, posts, and pictures.
This construction of an online identity is so ingrained in the younger generation that many of them – now recent grads and young professionals – find themselves challenged to adjust their personal brand for a professional community such as LinkedIn.
Building an online presence on LinkedIn is old hat for many – you find (an appropriate) profile picture, connect with the people you know, add some personal information, and maybe endorse a few friends; To our detriment, however, this is where our excitement about LinkedIn usually comes to a halt. We millennials know how to apply our personal brand to a new profile, but LinkedIn is like any other social media – an active medium for connecting, sharing, and developing with others online.
Here are some tips to avoid the stagnant LinkedIn profile and to strengthen your personal brand:
- Your Connections want to Know About You
When I first created a LinkedIn account, I thought that my connections were only connecting with me because they were supposed to, not because they actually wanted to know more about me. We befriend people on Facebook and Instagram because they want insight on our lives – treat LinkedIn the same way!
- Be Yourself, and Be True to your Interests!
Maybe a former manager posted an article about the industry you both currently work in. Maybe the CEO of your company gave a talk at a conference that you’d like to see. On LinkedIn, your connections not only see posts that you’ve written or shared, but also ones you’ve liked. Liking your connections’ posts, when they genuinely interest you of course, will make you present in their timelines. The more present you become, the more your connections will remember your name when a perfect opportunity comes along, which is what LinkedIn is all about!
- Write Posts of Your Own!
If you really want to impress your connections, publish your own essays, photos and ideas! If you aspire to be a multimedia designer, publish a [SFW] story about your most recent vacation with your own photos and graphics! If you’re a computer programmer, write a reflection about the most recent project you completed or worked on.
- Log on once per day!
None of this can be possible without actually logging into LinkedIn on a somewhat regular basis. Don’t let your LinkedIn profile be buried beneath your other social media accounts – download the LinkedIn app and place it with your other social media priorities. If permitted, log in at work while you’re in the professional mindset. Five minutes a day is all it takes!
Contrary to popular belief, “professional” does not mean “the same as everyone else.” Just because our personal brand on LinkedIn should not include cat videos does not mean we can’t use our individuality to make the most of the LinkedIn platform.
What does your personal brand include?