If you’ve been following my mini series on personal branding, you’ll know that today it’s time for part 3 of how to craft a successful identity to help you achieve your goals:
In the past there was no such thing as an “online identity”, but in the era of quickly developing technology and globalization, your online identity could very well be your entire identity, or at least it could be perceived as such.
In the past you may have been advised to keep your social media presence “clean” and free of any offensive material in case anyone you want to impress took a look. While this statement still definitely holds true, the “clean” online profile is no longer sufficient when it comes to marketing yourself. Taking initiative is key.
As always, let’s use an example:
Meet Xingyi Yan, a 21-year-old University of Toronto graduate.
Image courtesy of Marta Iwanek, Toronto Star
Two years ago, determined to get a job and show her knack for marketing, Xingyi Yan walked the streets of downtown Toronto for weeks with a sign advertising her skills. Her photo, captured by the Toronto Star and passersby, went viral. That is when she received more than 14 job offers, including for the position of a search analyst for a media and SEO optimization company which she later accepted.
This is the power of social media.
I am not recommending that we should all make a sign and stand in the streets of downtown Toronto for a job; my point is that initiative and creative thinking works. Not only did Xingyi Yan create a personal brand for herself — a young adult who is persistent and innovative — but she landed herself a valuable job in a field she was passionate about.
Based on my personal experiences, the social media platforms that provide the best personal branding and networking opportunities are Twitter and LinkedIn. While LinkedIn is a professional Facebook of sorts, Twitter is a less formal, multi-media platform that allows you to display your personal brand vision.
For the purpose of this post I will focus on LinkedIn and provide the readers of the YUBlog with five tips for a stellar LinkedIn profile.
Tip #1: Be detail-oriented
This seems like an easy thing to do, but you would be surprised how many people forgo this step. When using a platform like LinkedIn, it is important to remember the amount of people that could be visiting your page. If your profile is incomplete, misses details or has grammatical errors, it could reflect badly on your personal brand. Ensure that your profile is on point and seamless.
Tip #2: Head shots are important
Head shots and professional-looking photos are very important on LinkedIn. It is proven that we tend to click on and view more favorably profiles with pictures of actual people, rather than images that display standard icons. Research also suggests that your LinkedIn profile is 11 times more likely to get clicked on if you add a photo. Your photo does not have to be taken professionally; just ensure that it is appropriate and has good quality.
Tip #3: Be unique
It is especially important to have a creative/unique heading and profile summary. These are two things that people view first. Remember, you only have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention before they move on to another profile.
Tip #4: Get involved
LinkedIn is all about networking. It is useless to have a LinkedIn profile if you do not create new or maintain established relationships. This can be done with personalized messages (very important AND very effective!), liking/sharing/commenting, joining relevant groups and endorsing people.
Tip #5: Add publications, projects and even other media links
It is very important to provide support and evidence where necessary. In my own profile summary, for example, I have attached a few media links that feature my work. This gives credibility and creates a sense of trust. But worry not: if you do not have media links, that is also completely OK! Add any unique projects you completed at school or a program you made at work to prove your abilities to those viewing your profile.
For more LinkedIn tips, visit the York Career Centre’s workshop handouts page.
What do you think? Do you have any additional suggestions for a great LinkedIn or other online profile? Comment below or tweet us at @YorkUStudents with the #YUBLOG.