V-Hive – Personal Branding 101- How to Build a Profile and Boost your Career

MASH Project Foundation along with United Nations Volunteers (UNV) India organised a V-Hive on Personal Branding 101: How to Build a Profile and Boost your Career on Thursday, 2nd July, 2020 from 5 PM to 6 PM (IST).
V-Hive is a flagship initiative of UN Volunteers India that aims to create a platform for young college students to discuss and learn about social issues and become agents of behavioural change.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon once said, ”Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” The term “branding” is no longer reserved for businesses. Personal branding has become fundamental in shaping careers. A personal brand is the unique combination of skills, experiences and expertise that makes one who they are and differentiates them from the competition.
The pandemic has given rise to uncertainty and ambiguity. In a time when there is heavy reliance on digital platforms for not just education but also to find jobs, it is important to build a profile that helps you stand out! The session on Personal Branding aimed to guide and help the youth to create a brand for themselves which would enable them to move up in the world!
The session was conducted by Tanvi Bangia, Client Solutions Manager, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, India. Tanvi has vast experience in media sales, digital marketing and digital ad sales and has worked with NDTV, CNN International and Times Internet in the past. She engaged in an insightful session with the audience and shared various points that are helpful in building a strong profile.
Tanvi started the session by listing down the ways through which one can learn how to build a stellar profile on LinkedIn and launch their career. She began by asking what personal branding means to the audience. One of the participants wrote, ” Personal branding is like putting our best foot forward to get better career opportunities.” Tanvi explained that the working world is so chaotic in today’s world as competition is arising and new skills are emerging. She shared that LinkedIn endeavours to connect professionals all around the world to make them more productive and successful. There are more than 675M members present on the platform with more than 50M companies providing extensive jobs. More than 36 thousand skills have been recognised as the key skills to get a job. Tanvi added that LinkedIn is a digital reflection of who you are as a professional. Finding a job that matches their profile is one reason students join LinkedIn.
She stated that students join LinkedIn as it enables them:
  • To connect to the professional world.
  • To stay informed through professional and industry news.
  • To get hired and build their career.
Tanvi described the four key differences between a LinkedIn profile and a traditional resume:
  • Depth – A LinkedIn profile gives you room to elaborate which is not the case with a traditional resume.
  • Reflection of your personality – A LinkedIn profile allows hiring managers and recruiters to actively seek you out.
  • Recommendations – A resume rarely contains recommendations from peers, professors or past co-workers whereas there is a section on LinkedIn where people can add recommendations for you.
  • The platform – LinkedIn is a living and breathing network.
She listed down the steps on how to build an exceptional LinkedIn profile:
Step 1. Add a formal profile picture that makes you approachable professionally. The picture must be in a neutral background with a professional clothing.
Step 2. Education is the key section that is relevant to be updated on the platform. This demonstrates how you are a truly potential candidate to the recruiter.
Step 3. Profiles with work experience are 10 times more likely to get messaged. It is imperative to list down your internships, part-time jobs, etc., and demonstrate your accomplishments through your profile.
Step 4. Hiring managers value work and volunteer experiences. It is a great way to round out your professional ability and highlight your interests, courses and awards.
Step 5. Students who add five or more skills receive up to 17 times more profile views. Therefore, add relevant skills acquired from internships, volunteer experiences and paid job experience. Mention hard skills as well as soft skills since all of these skills reflect your personality.
Moreover, get your endorsements from your co-workers, seniors or others as this is an important step towards creating a better LinkedIn profile.
Step 6. A summary must be drafted where you can talk about yourself, what motivates you and show your personality. It should be in first person, crisp, short and well-written so that it enables the readers to get a quick introduction about you.image
Another important point is to follow companies, subject matter experts and opinion leaders you care about and are interested in working for. Most LinkedIn users follow companies and influencers in their field of interest. She stated that one can also start a linkedIn influencers page.
She shared that groups are a great way to expand one’s reach, talk about specific topics, develop knowledge and build a career. Joining groups and building networks can help one gain insider knowledge from leading industry voices.
She pointed out that a number of things must be remembered with LinkedIn groups:
  • Listen in and collect insights for future job interviews.
  • Demonstrate your knowledge and start building your reputation by sharing relevant articles or commenting on an article posted by a moderator or a discussion from another group member.
  • Grow your network by connecting with new professionals such as business and community leaders and mentors.
  • An insider tip is to keep it professional as everyone can view your full profile and stay up-to-date with group conversations in your LinkedIn newsfeed. You can view senior professionals’ profiles to see what groups they participate in.
She stated that LinkedIn has helped a number of professionals who have been looking out for a transformational journey in their career to reach their goals. Tanvi added that one must connect with their alumni through the alumni tool as companies also hire through alumni using their reference. Thus, it is important to search for the profile of your alumnus, talk to them and take their advice to stay connected.
Tanvi gave a few tips about networking advice to the participants:
  • Break out of your comfort zone and share your goals with friends, family and co-workers so that they know how to help you.
  • Deepening ties with past and present mentors and professors will increase the value of your network. Add these people as connections, stay in touch with InMail and offer assistance, if it seems relevant.
  • Build a board of advisors which must include an advocate that acts as a trusted sounding board, a strategic and well-connected individual who is willing to make connections on your behalf and a subject matter expert who can give unbiased opinion.
She shared the route to an effective search includes the following steps: 
  • Develop and strengthen weak connections as it is all about building organic and lasting relationships.
  • Follow specific connections template. Your custom connection message should demonstrate a good reason for connecting.
  • Build relationships through informational interviews.
  • While preparing for an interview, research the company page, look at the content there’re posting and what projects there’re engaged in to understand the culture of the company. It is often helpful to connect with people already working in the company.
She advised the participants to check out the paid and unpaid courses on LinkedIn to learn various soft skills and hard skills. She stated that the headline for a profile must use 2 or 3 creative keywords to attract the attention of the recruiters and hiring managers. In the second half of the session Tanvi engaged in an informative Q & A round where she answered the queries of the participants.
Following Tanvi’s session, Arun Sahdeo from UNV stated that it is imperative to highlight your competencies and he requested to devote a lot of time to build a LinkedIn profile as this is the first impression that recruiters look for. Anubha from UNV concluded the session with the thought that it is important to preserve oneself and not burnout admist all the pressure to stand out. She emphasized on being competitive but also taking out time on why you’re doing what you’re doing. 
The webinar had more than 150 participants and we received a very positive feedback from the participants! We look forward to organizing many more such valuable sessions.
COVID Action is an initiative by MASH Project Foundation that endeavors to provide a platform for the collaborators who want to bring about a positive change in the society when a pandemic has gripped the nation. Know more about our initiative and our work on www.covidaction.in and you can connect with us on covidaction@mashglobal.org

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