Career Advice

How to Spring Clean Your Professional Brand

posted on April 28, 2020 | by Sophia Ronga

How to Spring Clean Your Professional Brand

Spring cleaning is all about taking stock of what you have, Marie Kondo-ing what doesn’t spark joy, and making room in your life for things that might. This doesn’t have to apply to just your closet, but can apply to your professional life too. 

After all, there are plenty of things in your professional brand that could use a thorough eye: should your resume really say that you have proficiency in Spanish if you haven’t used it since high school? Should you really have put your full name in your Tik Tok profile? I’m guilty of both of these things, and more, so I’m a huge proponent of spring cleaning at least once a year.

Read on, and I’ll walk through the steps you can take to tidy up your professional brand and get you in the right professional place for the new season. 

Take stock of what you currently have

Give a good look to your resume. Your LinkedIn profile. Any projects (writing samples, sample presentations, etc.) that you typically send over in a job application. And yes,if you’re less vain than I am and don’t already do this regularly, Google your own name. Look at these things in the same way that a recruiter might. 

Marie Kondo’s famous line is “does it spark joy?” If not, toss it. In a similar manner, your line here should be, “Is this still representing the best, most accurate version of me?” Per my example above, I recently realized my resume had my Spanish proficiency listed under skills. I haven’t set foot in a Spanish class in years and haven’t uttered much of the language beyond “Puedo tener una margarita?” in just as long. While at one point it may have been accurate to say that I had Spanish proficiency, I simply haven’t been flexing the muscle often enough to put it on my resume. 

Similarly, if you are applying for positions in which you have to send in samples of your work, take a hard look at those. Often, we send in the same samples over and over, because we know they’ve worked in the past. But are these samples now out of date? Have you produced some others that might be even stronger? 

Update your resume and LinkedIn profile

Once you’ve made mental notes as to what does and doesn’t spark that joy, you need to update those things! Remove the Spanish line from your resume, update your writing samples, and give a good hard look at your LinkedIn profile. Typically any changes to your resume or sample work should be carried out in your LinkedIn profile as well. 

Take extra time researching and updating your LinkedIn profile. If you’re someone who is active on Instagram, you know that the algorithm changes and can make it easier / more difficult for someone’s content to appear on your feed. The same can be said of LinkedIn. Do some research into what makes a strong profile (a summary, recommendations, and connections with people you know will go a long way) and be sure to update accordingly. 

Remove anything online that does not help boost your brand

At this point, most of us know not to post anything online that you wouldn’t want published on the front page of a newspaper. And while I don’t think my dance moves on Tik Tok are problematic in any way, it doesn’t necessarily show the best professional version of myself. 

Give a hard look at your social media accounts and your published online content. Take down or make private anything that you wouldn’t want an interviewer to notice. 

Look for opportunities to keep building

The best part of spring cleaning is that it makes room for more! After spring cleaning my closet, I make sure to have an idea not only of what I’m getting rid of but of what I’m missing. Those shoes that I threw out because they’re five years old and the heels were worn out? They were still my go-to summertime Fancy Shoe. Now I need a new one. 

Keep an eye out for professional, volunteer, or personal opportunities to keep building out your brand. Grab hold of them when the moment feels right. 

If you’ve spent your time in COVID quarantine redoing your closet for the umpteenth time, maybe give your professional brand a look instead. If it’s been a while since you’ve updated anything, try out these tips! Then let us know what you think in the comments.