How to Brand Yourself as an Expert Through LinkedIn

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Suryabala Shenbagamurthy_Headshot

Suryabala Shenbagamurthy is a digital advertising professional with an authentic love for the field. She works at a digital agency in midtown and prior to was with Goldman Sachs and the United Nations. Her accolades had her participate in Google’s 2015 Online Marketing Challenge and she was featured in the Hindu, one of India’s most influential media outlets. Surya holds a master’s degree in PR and corporate communications from NYU, Class of 2015, and gave a TEDx speech on social media influence in 2016. 

1. LinkedIn Headline
This is probably the easiest way to attract a potential employer. It’s also the most important and your first step towards personal branding. Most students assume that LinkedIn headline – the text following your name – must reflect field of study or internship position title. That’s not true. For starters, your LinkedIn headline can say whatever you want!!! So get creative and position yourself as a specialist. For example, if you’re majoring in integrated marketing, your headline can be “Marketing Specialist.” Or if you’re majoring in public relations, your headline can read “Media Relations Strategist.” Refrain from using “Actively looking for jobs” in the title. You might come off desperate and miss out on networking opportunities. Another great example is highlighting your skills or aspirations in your headline (Screenshot below).

Prachi Gohil
Source: Prachi Gohil LinkedIn Profile, M.S. Integrated Marketing, 2016 New York University Graduate

2. Profile Picture and Cover Photo
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I couldn’t agree more. Especially in a platform like LinkedIn where you can show your potential employers that you’re the right cultural fit by adding a little color to your profile. For example, Yang Zhao branded her LinkedIn profile with a black and white theme and used a cover photo of a man feeding swans and ducks from a snowy river bank in Krakow, a famous photograph by Marcin Ryczek. Though her major is in marketing, she wanted to differentiate herself from other candidates by branding herself “cool” and “creative.” On that note, here’s a secret: NYU Photo Bureauoffers free in-studio headshot appointments for students from June through April, 10:30am to 4:00pm.

Yang Zhao
Source: Yang Zhao LinkedIn Profile, M.S. Integrated Marketing, 2016 New York University Graduate

3. LinkedIn Summary 
Most students and professionals overlook this section. Or they end up giving a literal summary of their professional background. Best LinkedIn summaries are written with passion. Unlike your resume, LinkedIn is first and foremost a social media platform. So be casual and speak about why you’re in the industry. What motivates you. Your expertise and skills. And maybe quote a famous saying that you live by. Most importantly, capture the reader’s attention. It’s truly an art. And it comes with many versions of edits. You can also brag a little by including images of your accomplishments and your online portfolio. Here’s a great example:

Sanya Deshpande
Source: Sanya Deshpande LinkedIn Profile, M.S Integrated Marketing, Brand Management and Digital Marketing, 2016 New York University Graduate

4. Recommendations
There’s a misassumption that only full time experiences deserve recommendations. And in a student life, internships, on campus jobs, and student club management activities along with classes form a full-time job by itself. So how to evaluate these experiences and show a potential employer that these experiences matter too? Simple. Ask your internship or on campus job manager, and club president to write you a recommendation. It can be about a contribution to the team, your personality, work ethics, professionalism, or a random quote saying “She’s just awesome! We couldn’t have done this without her!”
Nishita Tamuly
Source: Nishita Tamuly LinkedIn Profile, M.S. Integrated Marketing, 2016 New York University Graduate

5. LinkedIn Posts
If you’re not a fan of writing, you might not like this idea. But hey! You don’t have to publish a LinkedIn blog post for 700 words. Just sharing your views on industry trends in less than 350 words could go a long way. Or you can write about your final project, talk about research and findings, and even include a presentation. The goal is to share your knowledge and differentiate yourself from many other candidates in the job market. As a bonus, potential employers can browse through all your LinkedIn posts just below your summary enhancing your profile.
Suryabala Shenbagamurthy
Source: Suryabala Shenbagamurthy LinkedIn Profile, M.S. Public Relations and Corporate Communications, 2015 New York University Graduate