Boosting Your Profile
One of the first things that clients will see, either when scouting for talent or when you apply to them directly for a job, is your personal profile. Whatever kind of site you feature this on, it’s essential to make those first digital impressions count. Today, I’ll show you how to craft a winning appearance on your profile from day one, to attract those crucial first clients. This will ensure that you book early jobs so you can get a system of ratings and recommendations going, which in turn, will strengthen your profile for future employers who may be looking to hire you, purchase your work, or send you products for appraisal.
Here are the key points for profile creation.
• Highlight your primary skills in a clear, concise list. It’s important to think about your platform choice here, and list your skills in an order that makes sense for what the clients of that platform are likely looking for. Typical skills like deadline punctuality, good organization and good communication are always pluses, but try to mix these in with your unique talents so the list is interesting to read and not too predictable.
• Feature your personality among your profile information, but make sure that it relates to the types of jobs you’re trying to find. For example, when I was an English language teacher online for foreign students, I would cite my love of travel as a hobby but also explain how it develops my interest in other cultures and my understanding of different types of international students. Be sure that any personality notes you give in your profile add a positive boost to your work prowess.
• Provide links to any external work that you have available online, which may or may not be included in your portfolio. It’s important to show off any completed jobs you have already done in this or a similar line of work in order to show clients that you have the skills you are promising and that you are capable of completing their tasks.
• Select a casual or social media-style profile picture. Do take the time to get a high-quality shot of yourself looking professional and positive, or have a professional take the shot if you can. If you’re able to show a little personality among the professional images, then that’s great. For example, in many of my headshot sessions, I wear a formal blazer, but you’ll also catch me wearing a subtle spider necklace, indicating my primary career as a horror author.
• Overfill the profile section with enormous paragraphs of unnecessary information. Do start any prose paragraphs with the main topic that the paragraph is going to be about, for example: “In terms of digital illustration, I am capable of producing …” It’s also important to use bullet points and lists wherever you can in order to break up the profile into easy-to-read sections and keep clients engaged in finding out who you are and what you can do.
• Avoid making it difficult for clients to find out more information about you. Do include as much contactable and interactive content as your profile will allow, including social media links, online video introductions or “trailers” of your work, and portfolio links. Different clients will prefer different platforms to engage with your existing profile and work, so be prepared to have multiple ways that they can contact you and see what you’re about.
Ultimately, the important thing is to view yourself as a product and do all that you can to sell, sell, sell. One of my favorite online mentors, the talented performer and educator, Marisha Wallace, always says that you should view yourself as a can of soup with unique ingredients. It is my hope that this lesson in profile-building has shown you how to boost your ingredients and show people why they should choose your soup above all the others on the shelf.
In Lesson 4, we’ll explore the next essential online document that you’ll have to create when you’re first starting out: the portfolio. In stage one of the process, I’ll take you through essential tips for at-a-glance presentation and content that will make clients stop and pay attention.
Until then, raise your profile game!
For more advice on what makes a good self-presentation, you could explore this excellent article on Linked In professional profile summaries.
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