Professional Branding: Build the First Impression You Want on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a powerful, powerful online networking platform.

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.

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 how to build a professional brand online with LinkedIn. 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.

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.

To be sure your LinkedIn profile projects the right professional brand for you and will help you achieve your career goals, I would love to work with you. Contact me to see how I can help you achieve the right professional brand on LinkedIn.

I also want to invite you to download my Formula for a Magnetic Personal Summary on LinkedIn which will guide you through creating the most important (and often most neglected) part of your LinkedIn profile.

Formula for a Magnetic Personal Summary on LinkedIn

About Kara

Kara Ronin is an international business etiquette expert and founder of Executive Impressions. Kara’s advice and unique perspectives have been featured in Time Inc., Business Insider India, Ignites Europe (a Financial Times Service), The Daily Muse, Women 2.0, and more. Kara offers corporate seminars and online training programs on business etiquette, leadership skills, and executive communication around the world. Get Kara's insights delivered straight to your inbox