Updated August 2023

Lots of folks are tuning up their personal marketing content: LinkedIn profiles, résumés and stressing over cover-letter writing. These tasks -- though sometimes stress-inducing -- are a smart way to shore up your value to your current employer and to catch the eye of recruiters and others who might be your next one.

It’s crucial to have well-written and well-designed documents even in an age of algorithms. Keywords and clear fonts are important. But so are thoughtful prose and a clean, organized layout.

Create a brand for your career

The Word Factory Creative Director Marc Borzelleca explains why you need visuals on your LinkedIn profile
Creative Director Marc Borzelleca

While the words get a lot of attention, many of us overlook the design side of the equation. That's a missed opportunity both on LinkedIn and in your routine communications.

"Just like someone can make a snap judgment in the first few seconds of meeting you, they can also make a snap judgment of who you are in the first glance at your branding, so it should be on target," says our Creative Director Marc Borzelleca.

Your goal should be combining your professional persona with the sensibilities of your industry and/or prospective employers to form an identifiable personal brand.

"You have to feel comfortable about what your brand shows the world, so it should fit who you are and who you want to be," he continues. "For instance, you wouldn’t want a funky, wacky personal brand if you’re trying to further your career in a conservative white-shoe law firm."

Improve your LinkedIn profile with visuals

A cover or banner image is a great way to stand out in the cluttered world of social media, including LinkedIn. It may seem silly to invest time in choosing a good cover image or adding slide decks to your profile, but the pictures add context and a break from all the text.

"It shows you took the extra step to create a unique look, and have the creativity to make something reflective of your personal brand," Marc adds. Your cover image can be almost anything -- an abstract image, a stock photo from your industry (like a server wall for a coder or a blank tax form for a CPA), a logo array, a skyline or colorful pattern. The goal is to have as complete a profile as possible because it shows attention to detail.

We know some folks don't feel comfortable with a profile photo out of fear of being discriminated against. That's not unfounded and we take it seriously. That's why Marc suggests using a different kind of image instead of the default silhouette.

It's also smart to feature visuals throughout your profile, like in the job sections. Slide decks, articles and other assets improve readability and add important context for human readers. To help the algorithms and people with visual impairment, don't forget to add Alt-Text to your images.

Looking to upgrade your writing skills across the board? Check out the different writing coaching options Margot offers.

3 articles on updating your personal marketing:

  1. Update to a stronger LinkedIn profile
  2. Write a better cover letter
  3. 3 tips for working with photographers