Daily, we are bombarded by digital media – from the news we read to the way we search for jobs. First impressions happen online before you meet anyone in person. COVID-19 has increased the need for a professional digital brand.
I challenge you to Google your name to see what others see about you. Pay close attention to page one (on a desktop or laptop search), because that’s where hiring managers and recruiters will spend most of their time. Answer these questions:
- As you scroll through your digital brand, does it represent you the way you want to be seen?
- Did your LinkedIn profile show up on page one?
You might think that the lack of a digital brand is a good thing, however, you are mistaken. It is a red flag for hiring managers. As Warren Buffet said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
You only have one chance to make a first impression, you need to make it count. For job seekers the hiring manager’s first impression of you is usually made online through your LinkedIn profile. According to Eliot Hoppe, “hiring managers, while they may not even be conscious of it, “size up” a candidate for the position, right from the first glance” in the first four seconds.
The most important aspect of your digital brand is your LinkedIn photo. When selecting your photo for LinkedIn consider the top characteristics based on your perceived competence, likability, and influence. Hiring managers will subconsciously ask themselves the following questions:
- Do I like you?
- Do I trust you?
- Are you competent?
- Are you able to influence others?
There is a free site to test out your LinkedIn profile picture in real time. Try out https://www.photofeeler.com/
Creating a digital brand is easier than you might think. It starts with what you want to be known for – this is more than your job titles. It is part of your reputation but also consider where you add value in the workplace. If you were on a giant billboard along the highway, what would you want on that sign?
Once you understand your overall brand, you are ready to add your digital brand to your LinkedIn profile in four areas:
- Customize your public URL
- Have a professional looking photo
- Edit your headline to be your brand statement
- Write an engaging “about” statement in first person