by Nancy J. Miller
Your career is the story of your personal life, education, training, and work. You choose what parts of your story to share. Your profile is the career story you want to share with colleagues, customers, clients, or friends.
A profile in the context we are discussing, according to Merriam Webster online, is “a representation of something in outline.” Your profile is a representation of you. It is the story you want to tell about yourself. Your profile puts you in charge of your story.
Your profile is an outline of you, your interests, and accomplishments. Creating your profile is fun and easy when you know what to say, you know your audience, and you know where you want to share it.
Know What You Want to Say About Yourself
- Make a list of accomplishments you are proud of and skills you want to use.
- Create your career-success portfolio.
- Find awards, thank-you notes, degrees, training certificates, publications, media coverage, etc. Your items may be the actual papers, copies, or lists.
- Put your credentials in a binder to create your personal portfolio.
- Take out anything that doesn’t fill you with delight.
- Revisit your accomplishments list now that you have a picture of your career success story in front of you. (You can learn more about creating a portfolio full of your strengths and accomplishments in the book, Fire Up Your Profile For LifeWork Success.)
- Write down examples of your values and interests. For example you might say, “I value the outdoors and have an interest in hiking and paddling.”
One of the best ways to connect with someone is by telling them your interests and see what you have in common or what they find fascinating about you. For example I asked someone who connected with me on Linkedin what her interests were. She said one of her interests was canoeing with the alligators. She helps women over 55 with their careers, and she is very adventurous. She is someone I watch on Linkedin because we share career interests and both love the water.
Write Your Profile Story
- Include your strengths, values, interests, and experience.
- Prioritize your story ensuring you are stating the most important and interesting aspects first.
- Write your story.
Once you have written out your profile you have the information you need to share when you network, write a letter of introduction, resume, or social-media profile. You will share different parts of your profile with different audiences. Get to know your audience, and you will know what gets their attention.
Share Your Profile
- Social media
- Letter of introduction/Cover letter
- Website “About” page
- Personal business plan
Your profile is an effective marketing tool for your business or job search. Using social media to build relationships takes time and planning, but there is no financial cost and there are many rewards.
Test Your Profile on Social Media
- You choose your purpose, your audience, and what you want to say.
- You can test drive your profile on social media on various platforms: a profile on LinkedIn, an album on Pinterest, pictures on Instagram, and much more.
- You can try out your story in different ways until you get the response you want from the audience you want to hear from.
- Use social media, preferably with a career professional to assist you, as a tutor for creating a powerful profile. It is fun to share, switch things around, add and subtract information, and see what responses you get.
You gain confidence when you share your story on social media. You can now write a headline on LinkedIn that is your one liner to use when networking or describing your work. Try out various descriptions. You can adjust your Linkedin settings so that you choose whether or not you share each of your changes with your connections.
Once you test and approve your profile, choose which parts to use for creating your Website “About” page (you now know how to say who you are), resume (you will already have a list of most important skills and experience), your cover letter (you thought about your interests and know what is unique about you), personal business-plan summary (you know who you are and what you have to offer your customer or client).
Outcomes from Having a Fired Up Profile
You will be preparing to:
- Say who you are and what you do.
- Widen your network of friends and colleagues.
- Get new ideas for business and projects.
- Broaden your global perspective.
- Grab opportunities to sell products/services.
- Connect with people to collaborate with, hire for projects, and find jobs.
- Find ways to do good for people and/or the environment.
Final Thoughts on Your Profile as Your Story
Many have told your story for you including parents, teachers, employers, and possibly even media. You might be very pleased with the coverage of you by others, but when you know how to tell your story your way, you not only gain confidence, you also highlight the picture of you that you want your audience to see. You will be amazed at the results when you learn to create and use your fired up profile.
Finally, if you need additional help, go to Fire Up Your Profile.
For more information, see also these sections of Quintessential Careers:
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
This article is part of Job Action Day 2014.
Nancy Miller is a LifeWork Creativity Coach at Creative LifeWork Design. She is author of the book, Fire Up Your Profile For LifeWork Success. Her new book, Vegetable Kids in the Garden will be out later in 2014. With a master’s degree in counseling with a career specialization, Nancy uses a holistic, practical approach to coaching entrepreneurs, professionals, and writers to create business and career success in harmony with their values. Contact Nancy at success(at)nancyjmiller.solutions, connect with her on Linkedin, and visit her website.