Rebrand yourself in 3 easy steps.
In an economic downturn, it is more crucial than ever to stand out amongst the crowd. This is the season to take the time to rebrand yourself and get noticed. There are endless pages of mediocre profiles on LinkedIn, filled with people who are there because everyone else is. Taking these steps will make all the difference when someone is looking to hire.
1. Get a professional headshot
No matter how much you fiddle with the controls, your smartphone simply can not replicate a professional profile photo. It will always have that amateur look. You can spot these images on profiles everywhere - flat lighting, shadows, dull colours, that selfie angle, cluttered backgrounds. Your photo is the first thing people see on LinkedIn. It makes an instant impression as to whether someone takes you seriously. That one second is where a viewer decides if they want to see more from you. A weak photo more often than not turns people away.
Power profile idea: To make your profile even stronger than 95% of existing profiles, add a personal video of yourself sharing your personal values and accomplishments. Keep it short - under 2 minutes, with professional quality of course. Use a professional videographer with real audio, video and lighting equipment. All the rules of a photo headshot apply here. An iPhone video will work against you. The echoey sound and lower image quality will communicate "amateur" faster than a click from anyone. Here's a sample of what that might look like: https://www.dayone-media.com/fluorwomen
2. Max out your profiles
Complete all of your social media profiles. I regularly see people with incomplete profiles. This is counterproductive to having a social media account. Your goal in social media is to introduce yourself and make new connections. Not completing a profile projects an image of "laissez faire", an attitude of indifference, and an even a feeling of laziness.
In LinkedIn, there is room to communicate a great deal of interesting information about yourself. Once you have maxed out all of your education and work experience, it's time to really make your profile outstanding. Find interesting images that correspond with your schooling and employers. Typing in the company name so it matches what's listed in LinkedIn will ensure the company logo is displayed. Next, write short newsworthy tag lines to match every image. LinkedIn gives you a nice summary at the top of your profile. Images and great tag lines will make your profile really pop like a mini website. The rest of the site will no longer be a long scroll of text but become interesting areas, inviting viewers to explore further. Finally, don't overlook adding your volunteer experience, projects and publications, course and awards.
Now it's time to spread the news. Take a bit of time now to increase your LinkedIn network. Chances are you still know many people who aren't connected to you yet. Be sure the "Notify your network" switch is on in the upper right. Message your connections and ask for endorsements. All of your key skills should have numerous endorsements. Lastly, ask your close connections for personal recommendations. These are powerful testimonies from individuals who know you well and can testify that you are indeed an exceptional individual.
3. Get an online resumé
That Microsoft Word resume you've used for the last 20 years just isn't going to cut it anymore. With millions of pages of resumes moving around the internet, your's will be lost in the ocean of text no matter how outstanding your experience is. Unless you are a household name that people are searching for, you are going to need a stronger presentation. Luckily some powerful tools have arrived to help.
about.me gives you a beautiful personal webpage for free. I was able to set this up for myself in about 30 minutes without any technical skills. This is a perfect online resume for audiences whom you know don't have a lot time (well, isn't that everyone? or, maybe not the cat video lovers.) about.me's one page design has a nice parallax effect. The viewer quickly sees all the most important details about you. Here is my page: https://about.me/dayonemedia
branded.me gives you a full-on website with navigation that has fluid motion like many Wordpress word sites. It features the great ability to import your LinkedIn profile and place your information in all the right areas. It looks very polished and took even less time than about.me once you have a complete LinkedIn profile. Here is my page: https://gilngai.branded.me
These easy tools give you further online presence and communicate that you have fresh thinking, and are connected with technology, all in a stylish package. Be sure to include the URL of your site in your email signature.
Rebranding yourself can be a daunting task but following these focused steps will put you one major step ahead to moving where you want to be in your career. If you get overwhelmed in any of these steps, I can help.
Photos: © Day One Media (Canada) 2015
Gil Ngai is the Chief Storyteller at Day One Media, a creative production company that helps businesses tell great stories.