Did someone already tell you how ‘personal branding’ seems similar to ‘self-seeking’? Most have come across this statement, and some of them even got fooled by that. Building brands require both time and effort. To increase brand recognition, a Company works hard to capture and hold their customer’s interest. For online visibility, social media marketing strategies are actively built and deployed.
Why should this not apply to individuals – to us?
You could argue that we spend a lot of time grooming our social media profiles on Instagram, Facebook, etc. But these profiles cater to non-professional social circles -friends, family, and whoever else we want to engage with informally.
What I want to talk about is professional branding. While broadcasting your personal life on social media has become socially acceptable, even if it is under the ruse of “staying in touch.” Doing the same for your professional achievements has still not gained a similar foothold, especially in Asian countries.
I want to ask you: If you cannot promote your brand – “you.” Who can? How will anyone know what your professional aspirations and achievements are if you do not speak up? It is not about blowing your own trumpet; it is about being seen. And being seen is the key to the chest of opportunities that you seek.
So, invest in your professional social media platforms. So get the word out in LinkedIn, SkillCounty, Github, etc. Being a hidden gem professionally will only make you gather dust, so invest time and energy into your professional profiles. An excellent professional profile is a must-have to get recognized among the million other users. And, that is precisely where most lack.
Let us discuss the features that would make your profile look a bit more engaging yet professional.
Choose the right profile picture and background photo.
As you must already know that your profile picture introduces you to people, you must take care of the first impression. Avoid using group photos or selfies. If you think you do not have a good enough shot for your profile, photographers are everywhere, engage someone.
The right background photo adds to ‘what is important to you.’ An engaging background photo is another insight you must offer to folks who come upon your profile.
Your headline is more than ‘just a headline.’
Rather than just mentioning your job title, you can make your headline a bit more engaging by adding your role and the ‘why I like to do what I do’ part. It is annoying every time I come across ‘looking for opportunities’ or ‘in need of customers’ tags, and you know why.
To make people look back at what you got for them, they need to know ‘why they need to know what you do.’ A cut and dry ‘I need you’ can drive people away, while ‘this is why we are amazing’ can easily attract them.
Your summary can be your elevator pitch.
So, what makes you different is either ‘your unique story’ or ‘your role.’ As you have already mentioned your role & motivation in the headline, the next step is bringing people along with how you got here, what you have got to offer, and, very importantly, your aspiration. The professional world is a give and take, so make sure you are balancing both.
Your skills add color to your story.
They are the highlights of your game. If you want people to engage with your game, make your highlights count.
Adding a couple of cool meaningless skills can do nothing other than driving your visibility down. You will better place search results and get more profile visits if you highlight wisely. Your skills talk about what you have in store when you work with someone. Be wise, and it gives them a reason to choose you over others.
And then, there are features like ‘skill endorsement’ or recommendations. It is a circle; give as you would like to receive. When you endorse somebody, you put your brand online, so choose consciously and be thankful when people do the same for you.
Capture the “so what” in your resume.
Your resume is not just a list of things – education, work experience, certification. It is not only a database – it should all add up to the intelligence that you have tried to deliver in your headline and summary – the “so what.” And don’t forget to keep the resume section updated. It is not there for nostalgia, but context so keeps it current.
Now get out there: Network and Update!
What do you do after understanding and applying the basics of ‘creating a professional profile’? Sit and wait to get recognized? No. You are here for online visibility, and for that, you need to ‘network.’ People say, “You need to network to know your net worth.”
Networking with people can not only help you know people, but it also widens your circle of opportunity. The opportunity that you can provide others and what others can open for you. Send connection requests or messages if the platform allows you to—set up informational interviews. Give out informational interviews. Share articles. Let the community know about your professional journey and achievements. Acknowledge the professional journey and achievements of people in your network. Invest in your professional community.
Creating your professional profiles, making them relevant and exciting, keeping them updated, and networking through them needs time and effort.t. But it is worth it. You spend about ~40hrs/week pursuing your profession. Let your online brand reflect your commitment to it.