Strong, compelling personal profiles — why it pays off and how to get started

Simone Hughes
Make it Count
It’s that time of year when we make New Year’s resolutions and clean up after the holidays. What better time to establish a new habit? Book a recurring meeting with yourself each month to update and freshen up your profile.    

There are compelling reasons why you need a strong profile. First, what is a “strong profile?” It is one that:
•    Is easily found by people or search engines;
•    Is quickly understood;
•    Is interpreted as relevant;
•    Creates a favourable impression and human connection;
•    Is memorable;
•    Moves people to contact you, save and/or share you;
•    Enables and permits you to trace and contact them.

Benefits of a strong personal profile
The key benefit of creating and maintaining a strong profile is that you will have to do less work explaining yourself and have more time to directly interact with pre-qualified potential clients and referring colleagues.

By thinking about and creating your strong personal profile, you will also benefit by:
•    Finding your focus and establishing your vision for your future practice;
•    Knowing which people are best to help you achieve your vision;
•    Determining the key things that differentiate you from your competition;
•    Understanding and consistently communicating your value and expertise;
•    Standing out in your firm and your practice;
•    Being asked more frequently to write, speak and present;
•    Ultimately, being more credible, confident and successful faster.

Benefits of monthly personal profile maintenance
Many of you may say that you’ve already done the above. You have a firm biography on your website and your LinkedIn profile is complete. Well, that’s not good enough. If you never change and update your profiles, they get old and lost from search engines and people become bored of you and forget you. Communicators use the term “top of mind.” That simply means that when someone needs someone like you, your name comes to their mind first — you are “top of mind” to the right people. Likewise, you remain ranked on search engines.

The other benefit of monthly personal profile maintenance is that you have to think about what’s happening around you and how that affects the people and business you want to attract. This exercise keeps you current and relevant.

How to get started on your strong personal profile
Lucky for us there are a ton of resources to help with this. Business developers and marketers use the words “personal brand” instead of “personal profile,” but it’s much the same thing. You can search for this term and find many resources that will help you. In researching for this column I stumbled on Personal Branding for Dummies Cheat Sheet. If you can get past the marketing jargon, it’s actually a quick way to start defining yourself more effectively.

 At the very least, you need to:
•    Define what work you want to do for which there’s a profitable market;
•    Figure out how to differentiate yourself in this market and how to position your uniqueness in a way that is beneficial to clients;
•    Communicate it in a consistent, succinct and persuasive manner;
•    Identify which people will help you and reach out to them;
•    Give yourself a monthly time slot to think about yourself and update your profiles online and in person.

The bottom line
A strong personal profile is a fundamental and proven business tool that helps you quickly and efficiently realize your goals. Most of you have to spend time each month on business development. This time should include spending time on yourself — it will pay off sooner than you think. Happy New Year!

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