The power of a great profile

Did you know that Leonardo Da Vinci wrote the first professional resume during 1482? Ever since, we have seen various versions of resumes, but the core design remains the same. Most of us have a resume in a Word document format, tucked away somewhere. Some of us may have used our creativity and ventured into other formats. We have also created profiles on professional networking platforms. However, true innovation around profile creation still eludes us.

In the current digital era, our identities are defined by our profiles. People look up our profiles online and form an impression about us. And you know what is said about impressions — you only get one chance to make a first impression. So, have you invested time and effort in creating a great profile? Does your profile effectively convey your credentials, skills and accomplishments? Is your profile unique enough to communicate who you are as a person?

Here’s my take on what makes a great profile:

Be creative: While you must mention your academic credentials and highlight your work experience, talk about it in creative ways. Instead of sticking to a narrative about your credentials, try to focus on the skills you’ve acquired, how the assignment changed you and the exposure you achieved. Don’t just focus on the ‘What’, but also tackle the ‘How’ and ‘Why’. Every experience in our life teaches us something new, changes us and enriches us. Ensure that you cover these aspects in your profile. For instance, my consulting career involved extensive travel across 5 continents. And I worked with clients across a variety of industries. Such cross-cultural and cross-industry exposure made me versatile, instilled self-confidence and endowed me with unique perspectives around problem-solving.

Be visual: Long and verbose resumes are a thing of the past. We are now in the Visual era. People have limited attention spans and long-winded content tends to put them off. It is time to use visual content on your profiles. Use pictures to communicate your skills and credentials and to tell your story visually. If you’re a photographer or an artist, use pictures of your work to highlight your skills. If you’ve won awards or spoken at conferences, showcase pictures of such accomplishments. Also, video content is a great opportunity. Using a video to showcase your profile can make the entire narrative extremely interesting and effective.

Go Digital: Gone are the days when our resumes resided on our hard drives, to be shared with recruiters when we decide to apply for a job. In current times, people first look at your online profile to decide whether to do business with you or pursue you for an opportunity. If they like your profile and are convinced about your value, then they get in touch with you for further discussions. Hence, your online profile needs to be compelling. Whether you create a profile on a professional networking platform or host it online yourself, ensure that you have a digital profile.

Let the real you shine through: Let your profile showcase your individuality. Even when two or more people have similar education and work experience, their skillsets and strengths and talents could be very different. I’ve often heard senior leaders say that they hire an individual for her personality, strengths and values. Knowledge and skills are easy to acquire, but the core of a person needs to align with the job/role at hand. Hence, within all the details, facts and figures that your profile contains, let your true personality shine through.

There are a variety of tools available to help you create a strong profile. We recently launched a professional platform called ‘The star in me’ in the form of a mobile app for women in India. ‘The star in me’ offers a unique profile builder that enables women to create their professional profiles using videos, pictures and stories.

Your professional profile will go a long way in creating and establishing your personal brand. Hence, give it the attention it deserves.