We asked W. P. Carey Alumni: What personal branding tips do you suggest students leverage on LinkedIn?
Here are the 7 tips they shared:
- Be Authentic
- Get An Authentic Headshot Photo
- Make Your Headline Pop
- Make LinkedIn Part of Your Daily Routine
- Demonstrate Your Eagerness to Learn
- Write, Engage and Empower
- Be An Expert in Your Field
Your personal brand should be authentic, unique, and true to yourself. Take the time to self-reflect on the traits and competencies you would like to portray to your LinkedIn network about who you are as a professional and individual.
Your personal brand should speak to your personal values, your purpose, and what is important to you as an individual. Share with your network how that drives your career path and journey.
When we align our personal brand and values with the vision, mission, and shared purpose and values of a company, we are more likely to ensure culture fit, function as the best version of ourselves, remain engaged and connected through the contributions of our work.
Your work experience may not always tell the whole story. Still, you can enhance your personal brand by demonstrating how you dedicate your time to family, health, wellness, mentorship programs, volunteer activities, and/or hobbies.
Keyla Velazquez, MBA ‘09, Walmart
Get An Authentic Headshot Photo
Get an authentic, professional headshot photo for your LinkedIn profile, in business attire. Avoid casual shots with other people, who are then cropped out of the photo from a party or other social event. In addition, make sure your photo is socially appropriate (no drinking, cigarettes, etc.). By honing your professional appearance on LinkedIn, you will get more potential employers reaching out to you, and it will, in turn, make your profile more credible. It worked for me, and it will work for you as well!
Vincent Ferraro, MBA ’82, Business Finance and Marketing, San Diego State University
Make Your Headline Pop
The introductory headline, or summary section, at the top of your LinkedIn profile is key!
Think about what motivates you, what you’re skilled and what makes you unique. Use keywords and phrases that recruiters might search for and stick to phrases that are well known; data analysis, graphic design, project management, financial accounting, etc.
Michelle Cirocco, MBA ‘08, Televerde
Make LinkedIn Part of Your Daily Routine
A thorough profile highlights your career and educational experience, but the rest of your activity on LinkedIn shows who you are and what drives you. On a daily basis, share high-quality content you find interesting, and even better, create your own content. Align what you share with your career goals. If you’re looking to move into a leadership position, share stories about the leaders who inspire you. And always add your thoughts and key takeaways when you link to articles or other sites. When you consistently stay active with quality content, it not only helps recruiters find you, but gives them a sense of who you are and why you may be a fit with their organization.
Allison Teska, BS Marketing ‘02 & MBA ‘10, Rush Enterprises
Demonstrate Your Eagerness to Learn
Post-grad life has taught me to maintain the attitude of a student. With the world constantly evolving, businesses will eventually need to follow. COVID-19 impacted everyone. I had to switch to a new industry as film/entertainment marketing was struggling. Changing career paths provoked me to learn new skills & practices to help me stand out despite lacking experience.
LinkedIn offers skill assessment quizzes that can help you demonstrate the industry knowledge you are seeking. Although I was not actively working in Marketing, I sought out freelance projects through networking on LinkedIn while maintaining a day job. LinkedIn is a great platform to pursue new roles. The Jobs section suggests companies based on experience and skills. The badges you earn from quizzes will help you stand out in the application process.
After landing the job I have now, the answer that stood out in my interview was that I value a growth mindset. Even in post-grad life, no one is ever done learning.
Marissa Velasco, BS Marketing ‘19, Ideas Collide
Write, Engage and Empower
When you’re building a personal brand, you’re not only centering your strategy around what you offer but also on what others want to see.
1. Write that first post and don’t let fear of judgment stop you from sharing your wealth of knowledge or experience.
2. Network, network, network! People are the key to building a successful brand. Build authentic connections by engaging with other people and their brands.
3. Uplift and empower others. Publishing content is one way of empowering others but partnering and collaborating is the best way to create an engaged audience.
Ramona Arora, Master of Science, Business Analytics ‘19, Hims
Be An Expert in Your Field
When people need information or a specific product or service, they will think of you if your brand is strong and consistent. To be seen as an expert, you should post on social media consistently by sharing articles, quotes, stories, opportunities, and resources that are related to your topic/brand. One key is to set up Google alerts with keywords from your field so that you can receive e-mails with information that you can summarize and share! You should create your own hashtags, as well as use popular hashtags connected to your topic to help people locate you. You should write a small guidebook on your topic and offer that for free to increase your following and gain leads to your target market. Lastly, use pictures and videos that help connect your audience to the real you and your expertise so that they feel comfortable reaching out to you!
Mona Dixon, BS Business Management ‘14, Inspired By Mona