Show Your Best Self: 5 Tips for a Better Professional Profile
Your online professional bio is not exactly attention-grabbing. In fact, it’s downright underwhelming. It inspires no one and achieves nothing.
Harsh, right? But fair.
And fixable. Because you shouldn’t have to settle for the same old, same old professional profile. You deserve different; you are different. It’s time everyone else knew that too.
Molding your online professional bio into something you can be proud of is a task worth prioritizing. But there’s a correct way and a not-so-correct way to go about it.
Follow these tips to get it done right the first time.
Table of Contents
- 1 1. Link Out to Your LinkedIn
- 2 2. Mention Prominent Past Roles, Even If They’re Not Directly Relevant
- 3 3. Lead With Your Value Proposition (Elevator Pitch)
- 4 4. Mention Your Current Charitable Activities Just After Your Current Professional Role
- 5 5. Use a Headshot That Actually Looks Like You
- 6 Start Standing Out From the Crowd
1. Link Out to Your LinkedIn
Before you get too far, make sure your profile links to the most important URL for your professional standing: your LinkedIn profile.
This should be easy to do even on properties you don’t directly control. Few publishers will refuse to link to your LinkedIn unless they have an agenda. To see how this looks in the real world, check out the Inc profile for Steve Streit, a former financial executive and current lead partner of SWS Venture Capital — it links both to his personal website and LinkedIn page, covering two important bases in the process.
2. Mention Prominent Past Roles, Even If They’re Not Directly Relevant
Your professional profile shouldn’t simply restate your CV, even if there’s enough room. You want to edit your work history to make it relevant for your expected audience (which can certainly vary from site to site).
This sets up a situation where you’d be better off mentioning older roles with more bearing on your current role or the brand you’re trying to create than, say, the last job you held before career change and/or professional rebrand.
3. Lead With Your Value Proposition (Elevator Pitch)
Get to the good stuff first. Your profile readers need to know why they should care about you — and why they should keep reading — within seconds of arriving on your page. Because, let’s face it, they’re not going to give you any longer. Attention spans may or may not be shortening, but that shouldn’t stop you from respecting your prospects’ time.
4. Mention Your Current Charitable Activities Just After Your Current Professional Role
Your professional worth isn’t only correlated with your ability to create value for your business or employer. In fact, a better measure of your worth may well be what you choose to do when you’re not on the clock. So mention your charitable endeavors, your work with community organizations, even activities like coaching your kids’ sports teams — anything to show you have other priorities.
5. Use a Headshot That Actually Looks Like You
A professional-grade headshot no longer requires a professional to produce. That’s great news, and all the more reason for you to ditch the grainy photo you’ve been using for the past decade.
You want people who visit your website to see the person they know now, not the person they knew back in college. And you don’t want people who’ve never met you to be surprised when they do. Talk about awkward.
Start Standing Out From the Crowd
It’s about time you stood out from the crowd. With an attention-grabbing professional bio that speaks directly to the people you want to reach and paints you in the best possible light, you’ll do just that.
As we’ve seen, creating a great professional bio isn’t that difficult as long as you keep a few pointers in mind.
Like acknowledging and linking out to your LinkedIn profile, the nerve center of your professional presence online (most likely, anyway). And using a headshot that actually resembles your present-day self. And framing your value in terms of how you can help others, not just what you do every day.
You have the tools. You have the desire. Now it’s time to get it done.