Which Are You: Vanilla or Jamoca Almond Fudge?

You want to be memorable, genuine, sincere, likable, maybe even the real deal, but you don’t want to divulge too much personal stuff. If your online profiles and summaries are lacking flavor, you may be missing out on opportunities. So what is the right recipe for a tantalizing impression?

What is too personal?

There may not be a definitive answer to this question. People have preferences. Just like some people prefer vanilla over more exotic ice cream flavors, so do some hiring entities prefer more traditional (read sterile) resumes and profiles. However, the majority of recruiters looking for their next great hire want to know as much about the candidate they are researching as possible to determine what motivates them, skill level, and compatibility with the company culture.

What are you known for?

Your coworkers know your strengths and weaknesses because they’ve seen you in action. Out in the job market, strangers have no idea what you bring to the table, except what you tell them. We stink at this. It is tough work to describe who we are. It takes deep thinking and sometimes soul-searching. But don’t let that stop you. Try the things listed below.

10 Ways to Spice Up Your Profiles

  1. Use “I”, “Me” and “My”:  Your online profile should be in your voice. Speaking in the third-person sounds pretentious today (the exception is your resume – assume you are writing in the first person, but do not use those three words).
  2. Headshot, Please! What do people see when they look at your social network profiles? It is REALLY difficult to like someone without a face. If your LinkedIn profile doesn’t have one, you are in the minority, so upload one today.
  3. Ditch the Historical Baggage: Summarize experiences that are important to where you want to go next. If you don’t want to talk about it or do it again, don’t call attention to it by listing it in your summary.
  4. Carbon Copies Not Allowed: If your online profile is identical to your resume, without any additional information, you’ve missed a golden opportunity to convey who you are and what is important to you. You are not limited by page length on social profiles (though you may have character limitations), so yours flavorful and fill it with juicy details not in your resume.
  5. Quirks and All: We all have outside interests, obsessions, and flaws. Don’t be afraid to include that you are a “Number One Bruins Fan,” “caffeine junkie,” or “often derailed by details”. These quirks may just get your phone to ring by someone with similar interests.
  6. What She Said: Have your past colleagues coined a phrase associated with you or written a testimonial or recommendation? Call attention to the positive word-of-mouth endorsements from others.
  7. Try the Pixar Pitch: Have you heard about the Pixar Pitch? Walter Akana wrote a post about his new favorite story telling format, which he learned from Carol Ross, who read about it in Daniel Pink’s newest book “To Sell Is Human.” (You’ve got to love social media!) This is the formula for the Pixar Pitch: “Once upon a time _____. Every day, _____. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.”
  8. Your Story is Your Brand. Unique experiences and lessons learned often influence who we become. If you have a life or career altering story, this just might be the ticket to set yourself apart.
  9. SEO Still Matters: Search Engine Optimization means you’ve used words and terms recruiters are likely to search for to find someone with your background, skills and experience. Strategically toss them into your profiles!
  10. Push Beyond What Is Comfortable: Take some risks. Try some or all of these recommendations and see what happens. You can always change it back.

The Bottom Line: People Hire People

You want anyone reading your profiles to feel like they know you. Remember, people prefer to do business with those they trust and know. If you have done a good job personalizing your profiles, you should see more people taking the next step which means they call you, contact you, or connect with you. Your job is to share enough information so they feel comfortable enough to take the next step.

By Hannah Morgan

Hannah Morgan provides no-nonsense help for new job seekers. She provides advice and serves as a guide to traverse the treacherous terrain of today's economy by focusing on pro-active strategies for job search and leveraging social networks. Career Sherpa is one of many outlets where Hannah shares her information. Follow Hannah on Twitter @careersherpa!