Professional Branding: Build the First Impression You Want on LinkedIn

What is LinkedIn personal branding and how can you get it? LinkedIn is a powerful tool to build your personal brand.

It’s not only where hiring managers go to find information about potential job candidates or where clients go to source information about service providers, it’s where business people will form a first impression about you.

Yes, that’s right. LinkedIn is the place where hiring managers, potential clients, investors, and partners will go to create their first impression of you.

Online First Impressions

If you’re familiar with studies that have been done about the psychology of first impressions, you’ll know how critical and lasting the first impression others form about you is for relationship building.

There once was a time when first impressions were always formed in-person. Before we ever existed online, you physically had to meet the other person in order for them to form a first impression about you.

However nowadays with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and the many other social media platforms we “live” on, more often than not, the first impression others form about you will be done based on what they see online.

  • Do you look friendly and approachable?
  • Do you show authority and power?
  • Do you look competent and capable?

I was recently a guest speaker at Geneva Business School where I taught students LinkedIn personal branding. Part of this talk was about online first impressions, and I shared with this group the following key message:

You have total control over your first impression on LinkedIn.

In your LinkedIn profile, you can decide what information gets out there about you. You can decide what profile picture you want others to see. And, you can decide what professional brand you want to create.

LinkedIn gives us total control over the first impression others form about us, and total control over our professional brand.

On LinkedIn, you can build the first impression you want.


How to Create Your LinkedIn Personal Brand

To help you create the first impression you want on LinkedIn and refine your professional brand, I’ve outlined the following actionable steps:

1. First, take a few moments and think about the professional brand you want to create.

In three words, write down how you want others to see you? E.g. authoritative, friendly, approachable, trustworthy, or creative.

2. Second, objectively look at your current LinkedIn profile.

Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager or a potential client. What impression do you think they would walk away with after looking at your LinkedIn profile?

3. Third, do the adjectives for #1 and #2 above, align?

In other words, does your current LinkedIn profile project the professional image you want?

If you find a certain level of dissonance, then perhaps you’ll want to update and polish your LinkedIn profile this weekend.

If you’re eager to work on your LinkedIn Profile and improve your LinkedIn Personal Brand, then check out my video course, “Business Etiquette 101: Social Skills for Success where I have a whole section on LinkedIn. Click the image below.

Business Etiquette skills for professionals and leaders
Click the above image to preview this course. Find out why 5,000+ other students enrolled in this course!
About Kara

Kara Ronin is the founder of Executive Impressions. She is an executive coach who specialises in leadership presence, social skills and business etiquette. She is also the creator of Bestselling Udemy course, Business Etiquette 101. Kara’s advice and unique perspectives have been featured in Time Inc., Business Insider, Ignites Europe (a Financial Times Service), The Muse, The Local France, The West Australian, and more. Kara works regularly with lawyers, investment bankers, and finance professionals to help them build presence, authority and influence in business. Get Kara's insights delivered straight to your inbox