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Selling your skills

How can you turn your experience and skills from your CV into something presentable?

By this stage you’ve started to plan your bio. Now that you’ve created a brief introductory profile that encourages people to find out more about you, it’s time to ensure that when they click through you have the content that does you justice.

When you’ve created a brief introductory profile that encourages people to find out more about you, you need to ensure that when they click through there’s actually content that does you justice.

So, what should you be doing to market yourself effectively, either on your personal site or on dedicated professional sites like LinkedIn?

Composite or close up image of LinkedIn logo, or hand holding phone closeup with LinkedIn app

The following four conventions will help you to make the most of your online professional profile:

1. Make it comprehensive

Include your complete employment history, education and skills. If you’re early in your career or haven’t got a lot of headlines to put in these boxes, think instead about how you can talk about what you learned, or how you developed through a particular role or activity. Focus on professional skills if you haven’t got much professional experience.

If you’ve had a career break (for maternity leave, travel or otherwise), reference it as ‘Planned career break’ with dates, and try to describe the marketable skills or experience you have gained during that time away from the professional world.

Don’t forget to add any voluntary roles you’ve taken on. For example, being on the school parent-teacher association or acting as a race marshal for your local charity run demonstrate that you are responsible and trustworthy, and willing to give back to your community. Remember to include any training or courses you have done, whether as part of a job or self-initiated, online and offline.

2. Keep it up to date

People frequently fall into the trap of creating a CV or professional profile and then letting it stagnate online, especially if they haven’t changed jobs or aren’t actively looking for one.

There are two reasons to keep your work-related content fresh. First, because you’re always learning and developing, and that needs to be acknowledged and highlighted. This might include finding new ways to talk about what you’ve done in the past, for fresh eyes.

Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, sites like LinkedIn and Google prioritise content which is more recent, so if your profile is being updated, your visibility will get boosted more frequently. In fact, LinkedIn also has an option (on as default) to broadcast to your network whenever you update a single element of your profile. As such, there’s a definite benefit to putting a note in your calendar to check and update every few weeks, if not more frequently during a job search.

3. Make it personal

Does your profile talk about the overall businesses that you’ve worked in, or people you’ve worked with, rather than talking about you? For example:

2012-2014: Personal Assistant to CFO, who was responsible for all purchasing decisions at PaperCorp, the largest paper distribution centre in the south west of the county.

That’s not about you, and it doesn’t reveal what you did, or why you’re worth hiring.

How do you avoid this? Don’t tell potential employers what the company you worked for did, or the department, or even your boss. Focus on what you personally did, for example, what were your responsibilities? How did you make change? What was your task or action?

Montage of people using technology

4. Make it relevant

Be clear, concise and easy to read. Highlight experience and skills that employers seek, or that feature in job ads you’ve been interested in recently. Avoid buzzwords, and make sure you use relevant keywords that potential employers and connections frequently use when searching online.

In the following steps, you’ll explore other things you can do to boost your profile, including interacting with others, building a network and enhancing your visibility online. But if you follow the suggestions above, you’ll have something valuable and compelling to direct people to, which will work for you.

Share your thoughts:

Is there anything else you could include or link to which would help to showcase your professional experience and skills? Think especially about content that can be updated or added to regularly. Share and discuss your responses with other learners in the Comments section. You might inspire someone, or be inspired yourself.

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This article is from the free online course:

Create a Professional Online Presence

University of Leeds