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Building your online professional profile – Just start!

The digital world has brought unprecedented change to the way we represent ourselves as professionals. Where once a resume told your entire professional story, you can now use a huge range of online platforms to grow your professional profile. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit are just some of the digital channels you can start to use, to build (or ruin) your reputation online.

But it can be daunting to know where to start when building your professional profile online. The answer? Just start somewhere.

Start 2020 with action and avoid these 5 common mistakes:

Aiming for perfection

Whilst planning where you build your professional profile online is important, don’t feel you have to have the whole map planned out before making a start.

For example, your first step might be to start commenting more regularly on the content that others post on LinkedIn. Sure, you might not have your LinkedIn profile perfectly set up, but by becoming more active on LinkedIn, you are improving your online visibility with others in your network.

Finessing words, images, colours or video length before posting on your digital platforms of choice is tempting. You could spend hours perfecting every one of your posts. That is not always time well spent. Yes, your content should be checked for spelling and grammatical errors and the tone of the content needs to be professional, but spending hours honing one content post is not necessarily the best use of your time.   

Remember, many digital platforms allow you to edit your posts. So, if you put up content that you want to tweak later, you can.

It’s all or nothing

Yes. It is overwhelming thinking about all the digital channels you could use to build your professional profile online. So, start small. Rather than trying to post across a range of digital platforms (eg LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc) all at once, choose one digital platform to contribute to in the beginning.

Once you have your head around that digital platform, and you’ve been able to find time in your diary to contribute on that platform regularly, add another platform to your profile building efforts.

Not choosing horses for courses

Not all digital platforms are going to help you build your professional profile in equal measure. The platforms that work for you will vary depending on your job and the industry sector you work within. For example, let’s say you are a Graphic Designer. Using Instagram to showcase your work is really useful. But if you are a Software Sales Consultant, LinkedIn might be a better fit for you.

Have a look to see where others in your industry “hang out” online and give that platform a go. You don’t have to use every single social media platform or professional networking channel to build a reputable professional brand online.  Trial and error is a perfectly acceptable approach when building your professional profile online.

Over researching

Spending time researching how others are building this professional digital profiles can take you down many different digital rabbit holes and waste a whole lot of your time.

Sure, be inspired by the content that others are creating, but once you have a few ideas, implement those ideas for yourself. Resist the temptation to list all of the methods you could use to build your digital profile before starting to take action.  

A quick project mindset

The new normal created by our digital world means that content online grows by the second. Did you know that over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every single day and that volume is growing. That is mind blowing. What does this mean for you? You need to be active on digital platforms consistently over time if you want to effectively build your professional brand profile.

You cannot just update your resume and LinkedIn profile as a one off project. Building your digital profile takes efforts over the long term and requires active contributions to digital platforms such as LinkedIn in the form of comments, content posting and idea generation. A professional branding strategy is very helpful in this regard.

Keeping up with the digital Jones’

You might know people in your professional network who are killing it with their online profiles. They use all sorts of content including well edited videos, infographics, moving imagery and seem to have the gift of the gab.

So how on earth are you going to keep up with them? You don’t need to. The key to developing and sustaining a professional branding strategy long term, is to make sure it reflects your own personal voice (albeit a digital one!). 

If you are confident to use similar content strategies to those nailing their digital profile development, then go for your life. But it is also OK to just be yourself online. Not confident to develop video content, don’t. Not sure how to create a compelling infographic to support your point of view? Don’t attempt that either.

Your representation of your unique point of view and commentary alone is enough to held you stand out in the digital crowd. Find ways to contribute in the digital world that reflect exactly who you are rather than trying to compete with the digital Jones’.

Avoid these 6 common mistakes and simply make a start on building your digital professional brand. We live in an exciting and unprecedented time of digital connection which allows you to build your own unique professional brand online. Taking small steps over time is the key to developing content and digital contributions that resonate with others in your network and beyond.

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