A powerful online presence can establish your personal brand. The internet provides extensive opportunities for networking and career growth. But with so many social platforms and online profiles, it can be hard to stand out. These seven tips will help you create an authentic online presence.
- Have professional photos taken
While it might be tempting to find the greatest photo of yourself from your camera roll, it is worth it to get a skilled photographer take your profile shot. Have professional pictures taken or have the best photographer in your life take photos of you wearing career-casual or more formal business attire, depending on your field.
You want to make sure that some of your personality is coming across in your photo, whether it's for your LinkedIn profile, company website or other social media handles. This is an important part of how you present yourself to peers, clients and potential future employers. Ask yourself if your online profile photos say, “I am an expert in my field, but also approachable for potential opportunities." Use this same photo across all social media accounts so you are easy to recognize by anyone who looks up your name.
- Make sure your visual social media is appealing
If you intend to use social media as a way to further your personal brand and career, each profile needs to be polished.
For image-heavy and video-based social media profiles, like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, you have only a few seconds to grab someone's attention through your digital media. You don't need to hire a professional photographer to follow you around nor do you need to capture lifestyle brand inspired vacations in order to have content to post. Instead, you need to be mindful of how each post is representing you and the things that matter to you in a visually pleasing way.
Ideally, your posts should illustrate you as a balanced person. That could mean each week you can post something about topics like your family, your career role and something you are passionate about.
- Use Clubhouse to audio network with like-minded leaders
One of the newest social media platforms, Clubhouse, is a mix of LinkedIn and your favorite podcast. Leaders can use Clubhouse in two distinct ways. First, you can join rooms and listen to other speakers. If you find an influential woman who aligns with your career principles, you can seek her out on other social media platforms, such as LinkedIn.
Secondly, you can present yourself as a speaker by either “raising your hand" and waiting to be invited to speak or by launching your own room as the main speaker. By regularly launching rooms, you can develop your voice as a speaker and find like-minded listeners and speakers in the process.
- Don't be afraid to let your passions show
Showcasing your passions alongside your expertise can help highlight your authenticity and help others get to know you better. Your passions might even lead you to career opportunities you would have otherwise overlooked. Say you are a financial expert that loves to cook traditional French cuisine. An enticing profile could lead to unique job offers, like a financial advisor for a start-up app designed for freelance chefs.
- Be specific about your accomplishments
Skip the generics when describing your career accomplishments. If you have more than 10 years of experience leading a tech start-up, make sure your LinkedIn profile and other online profiles reflect that full background. List specific career details, such as executive health director for a team of 30, instead of just your job title. Don't forget to highlight your expertise as well as any wins or awards you or your team have won.
If you are struggling with showing that you are a one-of-a-kind expert, try asking yourself, “What sets me apart from every other (insert your career here)?" To further emphasize what makes you unique, try including career highlights for which you want to be known most. Perhaps it's that you are a computer analyst who developed streamlined processes that saved your company thousands of dollars each year. Potential bosses and HR reps are looking at several profiles each day to find new talent. You want to include information that is going to make them stop in their tracks and think, “this is something new" or "our team needs that."
- Be consistent and sincere
Have you ever seen an individual post a career update, such as a promotion or job change, and 30 people will comment the same, “Congrats," message? While that is a nice gesture, it is more meaningful to put a bit more thought into your message. Taking the extra time to share a special comment to a connection on your professional platform could be as simple as saying, “Congrats on the new position at (employment)! This sounds like a great opportunity for you. I can't wait to hear how your first week goes." Not only is this response more personable than a standard “Congrats," but then it also gives you the opportunity to follow up with them in a week and ask how their first week went.
These small connections will make your networking more intentional. You never know when a small compliment on someone's profile can turn into a casual conversation that eventually turns into a job lead. That's the beauty of networking. Not every conversation leads to something, but you also never know when the right connection can advance your career.
- Ensure that your professional profile is interesting
One of the top mistakes that people make when creating career profiles is that they copy and paste their resume and toss it into the summary and work experience boxes. Your profile is your opportunity to represent yourself in ways that a one-page resume can never do. Use your summary area to colorfully describe why you love your job and what led you to this career in the first place. You can show viewers where you succeeded in different fields and tasks.
To better illustrate how to do this, consider what a LinkedIn profile for a Canadian associate editor might look like. Under her work experience, she could say something simple like "manage company's Instagram account across Canada." But this description would be vague and not at all that exciting. more detailed, illuminating options might include:
- I created engaging Instagram posts and stories that grew Company Name's audience by 1,500 followers in 6 months.
- I curated gorgeous photos and stories daily to promote women's empowerment for Company Name's 7,500 Instagram followers.
- I crafted on-brand Instagram posts to further drive follower interaction and drive Company Name's sales up 25 per cent.
The specifics of what you include will depend on the task you performed and your results. Beyond the achievements you are most proud of professionally, don't underestimate the smaller wins. Make sure your online profiles reflect your many successes.
Update your profile now
Consider these seven tips as a starting point to help you design or update a career profile that is uniquely yours and a professional standout. For more resources on how to grow and expand your career, visit Scotiabank's Women Initiative.
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