Online professional profiles proliferate – call it the 3Ps of personal professional branding if you like. Apart from the must-have LinkedIn, having a personal website as a way to brand themselves as experts is a strategy many businesspeople will follow.
There are other social media platforms that can be used to market yourself as well as a variety of directories and industry bodies you may decide to make use of. Apart from being relevant in your choices of where to display your professional profiles, good presentation is a must if you want to reflect a positive image of what you do. Let’s take a look at some tips.
1. Your Headshot
Visulas resonate in our minds before we have time to read as much as a word. At the resolution your image will be viewed, you don’t need a professional photographer. A photo background remover may prove to be a useful tool for removing distracting details in a good head-and-shoulders shot of yourself. Paste it onto a background that isn’t too harsh and flat in colors representative of your personal brand.
When choosing an image, try to make it create instant associations with what you do. For example, a lawyer would be in formal business wear; a farmer may choose a cool cotton work shirt, and a photographer may want to be seen with his or her camera. It’s a bit stereotyped, but do remember that stereotypes are mental pathways that get activated with first impressions. You’ll move beyond the stereotype in what you do next.
2. Your Headline or Profession
If you want to start differentiating your profile, the headline may be the place to begin. Consider the character of your industry. If it’s a very conservative one, you might want to stick to the basics. In more contemporary industries, you may be pardoned for getting creative here. For example, a tour guide may headline as an “unforgettable journey guide,” which, you’ll have to admit, is way more appealing than just a “tour guide.” The key takeaway? When you’re in a crowd and need to stand out from it, be unusual if you can get away with it!
3. Your Bio and Achievements
This is your chance to show others why you’re passionate about what you do and what you’ve achieved to date. Be honest and try to avoid cliches. Avoid exaggerating what you achieved while not being overly modest, and choose an industry-appropriate language. But don’t be afraid to let a little enthusiasm shine through. No matter how formal the context, try for a little engagement. Stilted phrases and buzzwords should be kept to a minimum, and avoided altogether when possible. There’s a person behind every profession, and if you can show a little of that personality, do so! Check out these bio examples.
Remember that Your Personal Platforms Are Also Part of Your Brand
In closing, don’t forget that everything you post in the public domain in your own name may be checked out by people who have discovered your professional profiles. If there are areas of your life or thinking that may seem at odds with your image, they may well surface when you least want them to. Having created a striking professional profile, don’t spoil your efforts by posting incautiously, even if you do so in your private capacity.