A Few Obvious (But Maybe Not So Obvious) Tips to Design Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn

Most people are pretty familiar with the rules of engagement for LinkedIn, but a little self-check wouldn’t hurt to make sure you’re properly representing your personal brand.

Here are a few simple, yet important reminders:

Post a professional, high-quality photo

This is seemingly obvious, but we’ve all spotted those profile photos that were missing professionalism, quality, or both. Let’s outline both attributes, to be clear:

Professional

· Shot by a professional photographer (if possible) or with an acceptable quality camera

· Appropriate attire and grooming (club outfits, sloppy clothing, etc. not suggested)

· Avoids awkward body stances, weird angles, extreme close-ups, and strangely cropped photos

High Quality

· High in image quality (not a 30 x 30 pixel thumbnail snagged off a cell phone). FYI, LinkedIn will compress high-resolution photos for web optimization and suggest using a photo between 400 x 400 pixels and 20,000 x 20,000 pixels.

· Resolution can be 72 dpi or more, as long as the image quality is high

· Not pixelated, blurry, or grainy

· Good lighting and composition

· Uses a solid, nicely stylized, and/or uncluttered background

Professional and high-quality doesn’t have to mean boring. Creative and unique photos can serve you well, but be sure to do it with taste. For those participating in webinars, conferences and speaking engagements, be aware that someone may be pulling your photo from LinkedIn to promote you. Make sure you are representing yourself well.

Post a photo

This may be even more obvious, but there are some professionals out there (you know who you are), who currently do not have a profile picture at all. Maybe you forgot to upload it, you are anxiously awaiting files from your fabulous photo shoot, or you just don’t trust the Internet like that. Whatever the reason, understand that humans like to interact with other humans, and your credibility raises a few points when others know that they are interacting with another human being (not a fake profile, spam bot, etc). Furthermore, an accurate photo serves for good human verification that you are, in fact, who you say you are.

Use a current and relevant headline

Clear and concise is the way to go. Your headline should speak to what you do, what you offer, or what you’re looking for — professionally. This may include job title(s), career title(s), or strong traits that describe your awesomeness as a person.

Think of your headline as the first point of contact or initial selling point that persuades prospective connections or followers to explore your profile.

It’s not really the place for your life story; a short and clear introduction will suffice. If your headline requires encoding, interpretation or clarification, then it may be worth simplifying.

Keep your tone and content relevant

There’s been plenty of debate about what people should be talking about on LinkedIn. Some think the conversations should be purely professional and less random, self-indulgent, gossipy, and entertainment-focused (like Facebook or IG). Some use it a little more liberally. Most of us can agree it probably isn’t the appropriate platform for daily selfies and cat videos.

Remember the purpose of why you joined a professional network in the first place and use that purpose to leverage relationships, position yourself as an expert, learn, inquire, inspire, share tips or information within your industry or desired field, and/or strategically market your products and services. Put out the energy you want to get back.


Build you presence and credibility by intentionally shaping your personal brand. Be authentic, professional and helpful — the rest will fall into place.