We all have at least one friend populating our mini-feed with questionable content. Whether it’s an inappropriate rant, a play-by-play of an avocado-heavy brunch or some seriously snap-happy moments from Saturday night, you can always count on them. When it comes to your professional life, there’s no way you want your clients or prospective employers to view you in the same way your friends on social media might. With online now being the first touch point for anyone seeking you out for a potential position, first impressions are now more important than ever.
So, before you read on, google yourself.
Do you like what you see? Or is there a slightly embarrassing photo of you popping up from a few years back, or perhaps there’s a head shot of yourself rocking that cringe-worthy haircut you hated? (Will it ever leave me?) Whatever it is, what you need to understand is that your online brand should be a combination of who you are, where you want to be and how you’re going to get there.
When you strategically apply yourself to your personal branding, you can gain significant returns of growth across your business accounts and raise your profile in your professional network. There’s a reason you don’t put a picture of you at a festival as your LinkedIn profile, for example. Doing personal branding right can help you open the door to deals and placements that in turn, will help you create new opportunities both for yourself, your business and/or your workplace. Here are three things you can get started with ASAP, to get your online presence as glistening as your resume.
First: make a plan
Before you know what to add, you’ll need to know where you’re going. Try mind mapping these points: where are you currently in your industry? Where are you currently in your role and management level? What does success look like for you and where do you want to be? What do others at that desired stage do and what do their channels look like? How did they get there?
Once you have a deeper understanding of yourself, your goals, others who’ve made it and how they did it, you can start to road map your (online) path to success.
Get active and stay current
Now it’s time to get going on your profiles. Make sure to have your existing profiles current and engaging. Don’t doubt the positive effect of a LinkedIn account with a great (current) profile picture, and an updated profile summary. The best place to start is by asking yourself where you want to be and who you want to meet or work with, then weave these potential touch points into your profile.
Then, review your professional associations and target those you need to be on. If they add value to your career or business, they’re worth investing time into. You’ll also then be known within your communities and industries as the person who’s best for the job or opportunity when the time comes.
And don’t just do this once – keep checking in. Someone who is active on social media seems proactive, enthusiastic and as though they take initiative and what employer wouldn’t want a proactive employee?
Step out and up
Now that you’ve got your online self prepped and primed, your next step is to choose which activities you’re going to do to take your online brand into the real world. Were there any gaps you spotted while doing an online-self audit? Whether it’s teaching yourself coding, building your own website, nominating yourself to be the Chair of the committee that you’re on, or requesting a coffee date with a colleague you admire professionally, all of things equate to the offline version of what you’ve been putting into place online.
A little tip? If you’re not uncomfortable doing it, then you’re not doing it right. It’s time to put yourself out there – online and IRL.