Get Your Professional Image 2019 Ready
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a new job opportunity, or not, professional profile is everything.
In a normal working context, it’s no longer good enough to assume people will know or buy-in to you purely based on your job title. Customers, partners, peers, future talent, etc… all will seek to evaluate your profile as an introduction to who you are, your vision and your way of working. It’s not uncommon for people to look up your profile on LinkedIn before they meet with you, for even a simple supplier or customer meeting.
In other words, first impressions, usually gained via a search engine, count more than they ever have done before.
What this means is that unfortunately, that brief shopping list of job titles you placed in your LinkedIn five years ago is no longer good enough. You’ve got to present something more meaningful that creates that all important impression you need to make to gain cut through in an increasingly digital world.
Like it or not, your ‘image’ matters.
Make Sure You Are Up to Date and Expand on Your Current Role
If you haven’t been regularly using your LinkedIn profile, check it’s not out of date. First step is to make sure all of your job changes or promotions are documented, and your education is up to date. Also, make sure that the summary title under your name is reflective of your current position and area of focus, e.g. ACA Financial Controller experienced in driving business turnaround.
You don’t need to go into massive detail about all of your roles but do make sure you write something about what you are doing, right now. It can be as simple as:
‘Currently engaged to oversee the production of financial and management accounts, I lead a team of 10 including a small project team focused on driving a number of continuous improvement projects across processes and systems. I regularly partner with the MD to provide strategic support and insights on business development activities.’
Don’t Leave Your Summary Blank
It’s so tempting to ignore this bit. However, it’s a really great way to communicate your vision or working philosophy. Remember, your LinkedIn profile is about ‘you’ and it is not a CV.
Don’t just list your skills. Think about what makes you unique or valuable as a finance leader. For example, if you are a Financial Controller with 5 years’ experience in FMCG, what makes you different to one of your peers who has had a similar career progression to you? This isn’t an easy question, but it is one you need to think through with some clarity. Think about what others rely on you for, where you have been commended in the past, or where you have your most success in work. This point of difference is your defining strength, or USP, it should sit at the core of your summary.
Change Your Photo and Update Your Background
A simple change that can make all the difference. Look at your photo through your business eyes. Does it scream credible professional, or does it look like something you’ve uploaded from Facebook? Simple light backgrounds to headshots work well – a well set up shot on an iPhone of you in smart business casual gear will still look a thousand times better than that one of you at that gig in 2010.
Updating your background will also freshen things up, improve the perception of someone looking at your profile and show that you have spent some time on making sure your profile in the market is as professional as it can be.
Here’s to the new you in 2019!
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