Smart jobseekers understand the value of building up their brand and raising their profile. They know that strong, coherent and consistent use of the right online platforms improves how you are perceived as a professional. They also know that correctly crafting their professional online profile attracts the attention of finance employers and professionals who can shape your career.
How you represent yourself online is an integral element of your personal brand and has a huge bearing on your job prospects. Whether you’re a LinkedIn expert or are yet to venture into the world of social media, read on for how you can optimise your professional online profile in a way which will best impact your career.
What should it look like?
Presentation is paramount, so get started on a profile overhaul by making sure you have a photo. Your LinkedIn profile is 21 times more likely to be viewed if you have included a profile picture, so make sure it is in high resolution and professional looking. In addition to having a photo, a professional online profile should include a summary giving a quick overview of your strengths, key skills and unique attributes – but try to avoid overused buzzwords.
Even more important is making sure your online profile aligns with the information you have on your CV. They should both be up to date and match up in terms of employment dates and experience. More candidates fail to make shortlists because of discrepancies that show up between their social media accounts and offline CV, particularly surrounding employment dates. Even if the discrepancy is due to a genuine mistake rather than an attempt to cover something up, it could indicate a poor attention to detail and that you are prone to making errors.
What should you post?
When it comes to finding the right content to post, most would agree they want their organisations to be seen as the experts in their field. Strive to source, share and even create knowledgeable content which gives your audience a unique insight into your industry.
If you don’t know where to start, ask yourself what it is that you understand best about your field or your role to identify your area of credible expertise. Then use this lead to source related online content to share, or perhaps even write your own in the form of a LinkedIn blog post. Whether you work within an accountancy firm, in-house or elsewhere it’s likely your employer will already have a wealth of accessible content you could be sharing with your online network. Check with your employer on the social media policy at work first though, before you start posting.
Finally remember that what you post should be influenced by the ideas, values and initiatives that are aligned to you as a professional or the activity of your company. Professionals in the recruitment sector, for example, have an opportunity to give real insight into different job markets and promote initiatives that will lead to growth in employment. If you are unsure about what content will best align to your professional persona, seek the help of your marketing or PR department who should be able to guide you.
Where should you post it?
For many, the platform that springs to mind when it comes to boosting your professional profile is LinkedIn. LinkedIn remains hugely popular – as of March this year it reported having 610 million registered members in 200 countries, of which over 250 million are active. The platform allows you to showcase your experience and achievements, join relevant groups, and share and post your insight. Take the time to learn about all the different features on LinkedIn, as understanding how you can personalise and promote your profile will give you the best chance of getting noticed.
Twitter is another platform used by professionals and organisations for engaging their audience and sharing expertise. It’s great for connecting with leaders you look up to, and along with other less obvious professional platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, helps professionals keep up with a company’s activities and gain insight into their culture. For example, at Hays, we like to show our Instagram followers what it’s like to work for Hays, so we encourage our staff to post images of staff socials, award ceremonies and fun office activities using the hashtag #WeAreHays.
Social media is now an integral part of career progression and if used correctly, should be seen as a positive asset for professionals and job seekers. Remember that your personal brand is just a click away for employers, potential managers and future clients so it’s important to take the time to get it right. With careful cultivation of your online presence you can maintain and control your professional brand which is a critical element dictating your success.
About Karen Young
Karen Young, Director, Hays Senior Finance
Karen is a Director and recruiting expert at Hays Accountancy & Finance. She provides strategic leadership to a team of 400 accountancy and finance recruitment professionals across 100 UK offices. With 20 years of finance recruitment experience, Karen has a track record of recruiting top finance talent for businesses across a range of industry sectors, and is a trusted industry voice on career planning and market insights.