|Online search to check out job applicants is now routine for most employers. As a job seeker or career changer, you need to pay attention to your online profiles, whether on LinkedIn or elsewhere. Check out this issue for tips to help you enhance your online profiles.
CAREER MENTOR SERIES: MAY 2012
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Ask these 2 Questions to Improve your Profile
One of the biggest challenges for today’s job seekers is getting attention from the right people. Your online profiles can help as part of an overall communication strategy.
Even if writing comes easily to you, it can be challenging when it comes to writing about yourself. To begin with, you often have very limited space to write what you want to get across. What should you include? What should you leave out?
The 2 questions below will help you to make better choices for your profile.
1. Who are my audiences?
This is an easy step to forget. After all, your profile is out there on the internet and can be read by anyone. So how can you define your audiences? Here is one way to begin.
List all the groups you would like to connect with.
Some examples might be:
- employees at companies you might want to work for in the future
- peers in your profession
- speakers and participants at a conference you plan to attend
- individuals in your industry in different locations
- individuals with shared interests
Choose Your Primary Audience
You may end up with a long list. Now it’s time to choose.
Decide which group do you most want to reach based on your current goals.
If you are a job-seeker, this will vary for different phases of your job search.
Choose one as your primary audience and write for them.
You can always change it later as your needs change.
2. How can I write in a way that connects with my reader?
Because your online profile may be your first contact, it can help to think of it as an introduction. What is your reader comfortable with? Selecting a primary audience allows you to make more informed choices about the style and most important content.
An Audience that is You Know Well
Write in a way that is familiar for your audience in this context.
For example, what style is your reader accustomed to? How formal is the culture of the group you want to connect with?
If your target audience is your own professional group, you will already knowthe “unwritten rules” and what is expected.
There is often debate about writing in the first person vs the third person. There is no correct format for everyone. It is a matter of both judgment and personal preference. Think also about what your reader might prefer.
An Audience that is New to You
If you are changing direction, it can be more challenging. How well do you know the culture of the group you want to move to? If you are unsure, you can learn a lot by reviewing existing profiles from members of your target group. Once you have written your profile it is also helpful to get feedback from within that group.
Ease of Reading
Another important consideration is ease of reading. Because reading online involves scanning, make it as easy as possible. Depending on the platform, you may be able to break up the text into paragraphs and include headings.
It’s not easy to get attention amidst the vast amount of information that we are exposed to each day. The challenge is to stand out, without alienating your readers. By knowing your audience and tailoring your profile for your reader, you are off to a good start.
The use of a story structure and format is another way to further engage your reader. Look out for more on how story can help in a future issue.
What challenges do you have in writing your online profiles?
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