How to use LinkedIn to Develop Your Personal Brand

Use this step-by-step checklist to guide you through the process of effectively using LinkedIn to grow your personal brand. You'll learn how to optimize your LinkedIn profile, connect with influencers and build your network.

Grow your brand
Send this to a friend

Optimize Your Profile

Your LinkedIn profile is the first thing your existing and new connections see. First impressions matter, especially when it comes to building your personal brand, so you want to make sure your LinkedIn profile showcases you well! The better your LinkedIn profile, the more people will connect with you voluntarily and accept your connection requests.

Additionally, an optimized LinkedIn profile means your profile shows up more often in search results. Business owners, recruiters and professionals are constantly searching LinkedIn for people with your skill set, and if you show up in their search results, it's more likely you'll connect with them. Optimizing your profile takes just a few minutes, and can drastically improve the number of people directly contacting you for opportunities.

What you should do

Update your LinkedIn profile

Keep your LinkedIn profile and your work experience up-to-date.

⭐️   Use the free LinkedIn Optimization tool to get actionable tips on how to improve your LinkedIn profile. Most users see an overnight uptick in search appearances and connections after making the suggested changes.

⭐️   Be specific in your experiences (e.g. job titles).

⭐️   Recommendations from others add value to your LinkedIn profile. Here's a template you can use to ask an ex-colleague for a recommendation.

Use an engaging LinkedIn headline

Your headline is the most seen component of your LinkedIn profile. It appears everywhere your name does and gives recruiters and potential prospects a quick overview of who you are and why they should click into your profile.

⭐️   Use an engaging LinkedIn headline. See examples here.

⭐️   Generate a LinkedIn headline here.

Write an effective LinkedIn summary

Your summary gives you the chance to make a great first impression to recruiters, potential clients, and other professionals who rely on LinkedIn, and is where you explain why you're the right fit.

An optimized LinkedIn summary not only creates a better first impression, but also helps drive more views to your LinkedIn profile. This can result in up to five times more jobs, leads and opportunities for you.

⭐️   Generate a LinkedIn summary here.

⭐️   Write your summary in a first-person conversational style.

Clean up your social profiles

Spend time going through all your social profiles, not just LinkedIn. Your personal brand includes everything that's public online, so make sure there's nothing you don't want new connections to see.

⭐️   Put your non-professional social profiles (e.g. Instagram, Twitter) on private if you need to!

Keyword optimize your LinkedIn profile

An optimized LinkedIn profile helps your prospects or recruiters find and contact you when they search for people with your sills. To identify keywords to use in your profile, look at top LinkedIn profiles in your industry.

⭐️   Use the free LinkedIn Optimization tool to get actionable tips on how to improve your LinkedIn profile and optimize it for specific keywords. Most users see an overnight uptick in new recruiters reaching out to them for the roles they want.

⭐️   Tailor your LinkedIn profile to the industry or job you want to join; update your job titles accordingly.

Add value to people in your network. Send them this checklist or share it on LinkedIn.

Share on Facebook   
Share on Twitter   

Share on Linkedin   

Build Your Audience

LinkedIn has made possible connecting with people who were previously out of your reach. Think about it - with LinkedIn, you're just a connection request away from having CEOs, recruiters and influencers in your immediate network. In this section, we'll show you exactly what to say when connecting with people on LinkedIn.

Don't only focus your connection requests on large influencers (i.e. people with hundreds of thousands of followers). You want to build up your audience and relationships with everyone who might be a good fit for your network, regardless of their audience size.

What you should do

Connect with and message people on LinkedIn

Whenever you come across a profile of anyone interesting in your feed, send them a connection request! You can also actively search for profiles in your industry by using LinkedIn's search features.

⭐️   Click here for excellent examples of connection requests you can copy-and-send to new contacts on LinkedIn.

Reconnect with your first degree connections

Chances are that you have friends - or friends of friends - who are influencers on LinkedIn. Follow up with people you know already on LinkedIn (i.e. your first degree connections) and reconnect with them!

⭐️   Here's a template you can use to reconnect with a contact you haven't spoken to in a while.

Ask your connections for introductions

LinkedIn makes it easy to find people that are outside your immediate network. LinkedIn refers to these people as your '2nd degree connections'.

Click the link below to open LinkedIn's Advanced Search for second degree connections. We've pre-selected some filters (Keywords, Location and Current Companies) - change these to fit what you're looking for.

⭐️   Be polite and respectful when asking for introductions. Remember that just because your contact is connected to someone on LinkedIn, they don't necessarily know them well enough to be comfortable with making an introduction.

⭐️   Here is a template you can use to request an introduction.

Add value to people in your network. Send them this checklist or share it on LinkedIn.

Share on Facebook   
Share on Twitter   

Share on Linkedin   

Engage and Add Value

Developing your personal brand is so much more than just increasing your audience or follower count on LinkedIn. You need to add value to your audience too - this not only boosts your reputation, but it also encourages more people to connect with you and recognize you as a thought leader. Engaging with your audience and adding value is the most critical component of building your personal brand.

What you should do

Comment on Trending posts

Search for trending posts and add a thoughtful reply; Not fluff comments that so many bots leave, but something meaningful that shows that you actually consumed the piece of content.

⭐️   On the right of your news feed, there's a "What People Are Talking About Now" box. Click on topics that are interesting to you and reply to posts with something meaningful - whether that's a thoughtful thank-you, an interesting point of view, or tagging someone else in your network.

Contribute to discussions in topics you're interested in

Search for topics you are interested in using LinkedIn Hashtags and reply to interesting posts you come across. Remember to add thoughtful replies only, and not generic, bot-like comments like "Great post". Show that you actually consumed the piece of content.

⭐️   Never used LinkedIn's hashtags before? Here's a quick overview. Search for topics you're interested in the search bar, e.g. if you're interested in "marketing", search for #marketing on LinkedIn search.

Post daily

Consistency is everything when it comes to building a personal brand. Schedule a reminder to post something on your LinkedIn feed every day.

Remember, it doesn't need to be a long post! You can even just share links to articles that you read that were interesting that week. It's important to just get into the habit of posting something useful, consistently.

⭐️   This article has a number of content ideas you can get inspired by.

⭐️   This newsletter sends out resources you can share on LinkedIn every week.

Share your story

As the name suggests, your personal brand is meant to be personal to you. A huge element of cultivating your personal brand is about sharing stories and telling your audience about who you are and what you think.

⭐️   Be authentic. Don't be afraid to share your personal struggles or challenges, and how you're overcoming them.

Publish articles

LinkedIn gives you the ability to share your articles and blog posts with the people you know on the site. This is a great way to get your work in front of the people you want to be reading it. You can even reach out to industry professionals and offer to interview them, while you write up a summary in an article - this can be a very effective way to build relationships.

⭐️   Don't be afraid to share your work! You never know where it will lead.

Offer help to your audience

You can help people with anything from coaching, sales advice, or design reviews - whatever you're good at! Here's a simple one - you can help other people in your network with improving their LinkedIn profile! Use what we've taught you in this checklist and offer help to people with their LinkedIn profile.

⭐️   You can contact people on LinkedIn offering them (free) feedback on their articles, websites, or profiles! Alternatively, you can also post something like this on LinkedIn: "Hey everyone! In light of everything going on, I wanted to help people with X (for free!). Comment or message me if you're interested!"

Add value to people in your network. Send them this checklist or share it on LinkedIn.

Share on Facebook   
Share on Twitter   

Share on Linkedin   

Additional Ideas

Here are a few additional ideas you should consider when growing and developing your network.

What you should do

Participate in LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn Groups are a great way to meet other professionals in your industry, discover new opportunities, and keep up to date on the latest industry news. It is a great place to build relationships with potential connections and employers.

⭐️   Actively engage with people in groups, leave thoughtful comments and add value to other members.

⭐️   This is also a great way to build a network and personal brand in your industry.

Alumni Search

Your alumni network can be a jackpot when it comes to professional networking. You’ve got an instant connection, one that can open the door to seasoned insider advice on your career plan and industry insight or, if things go well, a job lead or a referral. LinkedIn allows you to search for and connect with your college alumni. The best way to do this via LinkedIn's university/college's pages - here's a quick link to go there.

⭐️   Here are sample LinkedIn messages you can send your alumni

Career Advice

LinkedIn's career advice tool automatically puts you in touch with new people who are willing to give career advice. Here's a quick link to check it out.

⭐️   This typically has a higher response rate than cold outreach since people have already opted in to give career advice.

Set up for informational interviews

An informational interview is a great way to connect with professionals and gain industry insight from someone already deep in the trenches. You’ll build your network while strategically placing yourself in the mix for any future opportunities. While it's common for to set up informational interviews to get a job, you should also be setting them up to grow your network and build your brand.

You can request informational interviews from people who went to your school, professional contacts, or even people in your LinkedIn network.

⭐️   Here are a few email and LinkedIn message templates you can use to set up informational interviews.

Add value to people in your network. Send them this checklist or share it on LinkedIn.

Share on Facebook   
Share on Twitter   

Share on Linkedin   

Good luck!

Developing your career and personal brand can be hard, but we hope our free tools make it easier. To get tools like this and career insights straight to your inbox, join our private list here.

Behind the curtains, we're a small team obsessed with doing everything we can to help you get what you want out of your career. We hope that every tool or resource we create will add value to you - that's our mission. If we can make them better or you have any feedback, please get in touch - we'd really appreciate it.

If you found this playbook useful, we'd really appreciate you sharing it with your network. Not only would it also benefit them, but it also enables us to reach more people and as a result, maintain this guide and invest into creating new free material.

Get expert insights from hiring managers