The Power of Your Online Persona
The Power of Your Online Persona
There’s no tool that matches the Internet in terms of speed and breadth when it comes to connecting people. Whether you are looking for new clients, hoping to expand your business, or searching for a new job, creating an accurate and compelling online representation of who you are is integral to success. Unfortunately, some trivialize social media as merely a source of entertainment, and don’t spend the necessary time and effort to perfect their personal and professional brand.
If you’re an active participant in the modern professional world, your name has most likely been Googled. The makeup of your online presence usually consists of social media profiles you’ve created, content you’ve written and published, or content written about you. The beauty of your online persona is that you’re able to build and shape the majority of it to accurately reflect what you want to showcase.
With over 430 million members, LinkedIn is the world’s leading professional networking tool. Your LinkedIn account should be an accurate embodiment of your professional brand, but most people simply don’t know how to market themselves effectively. Perfecting the humble brag can be a frustrating task; writing about yourself is hard! Of course you can throw up a flattering photo, a short blurb about yourself, and a brief work history and be like millions of other LinkedIn users. Or you can set yourself apart and use LinkedIn to its fullest potential as a unique marketing and relationship-building tool.
Here’s a few tips to help get your LinkedIn profile on the right track.
- Your profile should read like a story, not like a resume.
Give your reader some real insight into who you are as a person and as a business professional. Open your summary with a catchy line to attract attention and give a brief background on your notable work history, after all, you are more than a bunch of bullet points! Lead into a highlight reel of your career path, your accomplishments, and how you got to where you are today. Make sure to emphasize what inspires you to do what you do!
- Your photo is more important than you think.
People are visual creatures, and your profile photo is the first thing your reader will see. All too often great profiles are hidden behind outdated or poor quality photos. Find or take a picture with a professional camera from the chest up, preferably wearing business attire suited to your industry. If you have dark hair/features, choose a lighter background for contrast, and vise versa. Try to look warm and approachable in your facial expression to convey to your reader that you are confident, friendly, and trustworthy.
- List your experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your current position.
It is in these sub points that you can go into more detail about your work experience. Begin by explaining your role at the company, playing up any numbers or specifics that showcase the impact you had in your position. Mention any awards you earned or goals you accomplished. Don’t forget to briefly explain what the company does, and add a link to the company’s LinkedIn page if applicable. Write your current position in present tense and the positions you held in past tense. Lastly, consider the audience you would like to appeal to, and revise with them in mind.
- Don’t underestimate search optimization.
There are a few things you can do to make your profile more visible to those looking for your professional traits. There is an option to customize your public profile URL (e.g. www.linkedin.com/johndoe). Your profile will look much more professional and will be easier to search and share if your URL is simply your first and last name. Another tip is to add keywords throughout your profile to increase your chances of being found as well. Say someone is looking for a financial advisor: add a string of applicable keywords under each experience section, such as finance, financial advisor, financial planning, investment, etc., and your profile will be more likely to pop up in their search engine.
- Don’t forget to list any volunteer experience or organizations in which you are a member.
Highlight the fact that you are a well-rounded individual who cares about more than just work! Who knows, maybe you belong to the same organization or have the same interests as your reader. They are much more likely to reach out if you have something in common. There are also thousands of LinkedIn groups you can join that are related to your professional field or causes that you are passionate about. These groups are also a great way to network online.
If you haven’t found the time to mold your online presence, that could be the difference between missing an opportunity and making a potentially profitable connection. In the digital age, your reputation is no longer limited to word of mouth. Gone are the days when the only way to broaden your network was through networking events and business cards in rolodexes. So use the tools you have at your disposal to the fullest extent possible. Take a few hours out of your week to make yourself more accessible and appealing to those businesses, clients, or employers that you want to connect with!
Written by: Amanda Grover,