There are so many websites that ask us to create a profile for ourselves….Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, you get the idea. How do you convey the message you want people to remember in a tiny box? It’s tough, especially if you aren’t used to summing yourself up in 500 words or less. So, what do you say to make sure you are telling people the right things about yourself? The profile is like a mini-resume, and it can be memorable, or it can be a waste of space. Check out the 5 points I put together to setup a profile that will tell the world what you want them to know.
#1. THE IMPORTANCE OF PURPOSE: First, determine your number one purpose for being part of this network. Are you looking for a new job? Do you want to hire top talent? Are you trying to network and learn more about what other people in your industry are doing? Are you here to share your knowledge and be looked at as a resource, or something else? One you have determined your purpose, you will use this as your starting point to create your profile.
#2. MESSAGE IS EVERYTHING: Once you have decided why you are here, you need to be able to tell people why they should pay attention to you. What makes you different from other people in your field? If you don’t know the answer to this question, ask friends, family members, co-workers, and past acquaintances to help you. Ask “If you could define me in one word, what word would you pick?” This is a great exercise because it helps us to start thinking outside of ourselves and it gives us a good starting point to build a message around. For example, if the most popular response you receive is “creative”, this gives you a foundation for a message that tells people you are an excellent problem solver who doesn’t always look for the most obvious solution (or something else that says creativity is your game). Have fun with it and create a solid sentence or two that really defines what you have to offer. This will become part of your personal brand on the site. You could also include some interesting work experience that tells the reader in 3 or 4 lines what you have done. This is NOT an opportunity to cut and paste your resume! Keep it short and simple, like this: “I’m known as a “Creative Maverick” by co-workers and friends. I turn nothing into something. Awarded Employee of The Year in 2009″.
#3. FIND YOUR PASSION: Let’s face it, there are a lot of people who don’t care about their jobs. On the flip side of that, there are many people who are excited to get the opportunity to do the sort of work they do. If you are in the latter category, make sure you communicate that! Tell us why you care, why your work is important to the world, and what you are doing to change the future of this industry. If your work is more than a job to you and you are going to revolutionize the way business is done, tell us! It’s not only important to tell us why you’re here and what you want us to remember about you, but it’s also nice to know that you are one of the leaders and what you are doing to create change. If you haven’t thought about the impact you are trying to make, today is your day to figure out what that will look like.
#4. POST CONTACT INFO: There seem to be a lot of people who are afraid to post their contact info on social networking sites. My thought is that if you are here, let people know how to get in touch with you. If you are serious about making connections, put your work phone on your profile. Post your website, email address, profiles on other networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc), and let us get in touch with you! Networking doesn’t start and finish online. This is a place to build connections that you can cultivate beyond web interactions.
#5. GET PERSONAL: This goes along with the last one. Don’t be afraid to post personal information about yourself so your readers can get to know you a little bit more. If you are a proud father and want the world to know, add it! If you love animals or boating, add that too. It’s nice to read profiles that say more about a person than just their work philosophies and background.
Have fun with your profile and remember that the average attention span is 2.9 seconds! You only have a short amount of time to bring your reader in and make him or her interested to read more. Create something catchy and fun, and remember that your profile is all you have to represent what you stand for, until others interact with you. You can update it frequently, but try to keep the same basic information on there so people start to know you as the go-to person on X. If you have questions about how to do this, post a comment and we can discuss. Have fun!
Here’s a good one: