How to show your personality online and still look professional

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Image courtesy of Angelina Litvin

Many corporate clients I work with want to bring more of who they are as an individual into their professional image or ‘personal brand’. This is a great idea, since people do business with people and showing who you are is your best bet at standing out and really connecting.

A concern that sometimes comes up is, ‘If I bring my personality into it, will I still look professional?’ The short answer is, if it’s done right, then absolutely. Being yourself is always better than being someone you’re not or just being boring.

Perhaps you:

  • have a creative streak
  • tell hilariously funny jokes
  • have a sixth sense in understanding the other person’s point of view
  • are cruel to be kind (or just a little bit tough-talking)
  • have a quirky sense of humour
  • are still a country kid at heart
  • bounce back from adversity or setbacks
  • have an unusually inquisitive mind
  • will talk to anyone about anything
  • are a walking encyclopaedia of fun facts

Whatever your stand-out personality traits, you can infuse your professional image with the essence of who you are, still remain credible, and even seem more desirable to work with. You are probably already doing this in person, with the way you speak, the words you say, what you focus on, your general energy or ‘vibe’, what you wear, how you walk, etc. etc….

You can also bring who you are into the online representation of your professional personal brand, perhaps through a personal blog, the bio on your company website, your LinkedIn profile, your social media interactions and your photos and videos. Here are few quick ways to show your personality in the professional online space:

  • Write your bio or LinkedIn summary from your point of view, with some interesting personal details thrown in, and – more importantly – what you love about the work you do.
  • Get a professional profile photo that speaks of your personality. For example, have it shot in a location that is meaningful to you, or jazz up your corporate clothing with a splash of your favourite colour.
  • Write LinkedIn articles on topics that relate to your industry and appeal to your stakeholders (potential/existing clients, for example), and give it your own flavour or point of view: Use your everyday conversational language – just leave out anything offensive or overly negative; tell real-life anecdotes that illustrate what you have to teach people about your area.

If you keep it positive, being mindful of how readers might interpret what you write, and have professional standards in the presentation of your content (such as a good profile photo and making use of Spellcheck before posting anything!), you should be able to authentically bring who you are into your professional image in a way that helps you achieve your aims for being online.

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