Cast your mind back to when professional networking was done mainly in person at events, conferences, unconferences and festivals. You’d walk into a buzzing room clutching your drink of choice and it would hit you – “I don’t know a single person here.”

Even for extroverts, initiating that first conversation with strangers at professional events is hard. Now imagine trying to establish rapport without sharing anything about who you are, what you do or why you’re there.

With online and virtual networking in professional social networks and online communities that’s essentially what you’re doing if your profile page is incomplete.

It’s the digital equivalent of the being the person in the corner staring at your phone. 😬

Guild can help you connect professionally with others, network and uncover new opportunities, so a feature we put a lot of thought into is your profile section. It’s your professional shop window, personal brand and elevator pitch in one.

Your Guild profile should give strangers enough information to have a meaningful conversation with you: “Ah, I see you worked at X do you know Emma?”, or “That's a really interesting career change from comms to UX. Why the change?” "You write about female senior leadership, I'd really like to know more."

Here’s how to create the perfect Guild profile in five easy steps:

1.Show your face

Just because we’re typing not talking, it doesn’t mean that online communities should be devoid of human interaction. A good (and appropriate) professional profile photo, should represent who you are. A profile picture builds trust and makes you look approachable. It doesn't have to be stuffy.

A professional headshot is great if you have it. But if you don’t, choose a picture of yourself that you like so you’re comfortable with it being seen by people you don’t know (yet!). Remember, most Guild users will be using a mobile phone and your profile photo will pop up in comments and DMs, so an in-focus, closely cropped head and shoulders image is best, like Aimen Chouchane's  excellent photo.

Aimen Chouchane profile on Guild

2. Tell us a bit about yourself

A few key points about you, your experience and your work will give members useful background context and increase your chances of receiving introductions to others and invites to other groups. The Guild ‘Short professional bio’ is limited to 400 characters, try to tailor this as much as possible to be relevant to who you are, the Guild groups and communities you’re involved in. There isn’t room for your life story, as interesting at it may be. Katy Howell's Guild profile is a great example of a 'short but sweet' elevator pitch. She certainly knows her stuff when it comes to personal professional branding.  

Katy Howell profile on Guild

3. Don’t be afraid to ask

Many of us aren’t great at asking for help, even though the overwhelming majority of people on Guild are very happy to offer it. Even the most senior people on Guild are hungry to learn from others every day - it’s usually the secret of their success. The ‘I’d like help with…’ section on your profile gives guidance to others as to how they might be able to support you. Think about what you ask for. You’re likely to get many more valuable, generous, proactive offers of help than you expect!

Even if you don’t have a specific vision and mission like Josh Akapo, think about what your fellow community members might offer freely that could benefit you professionally.

Josh Akapo profile on Guild

4. Finish with a flourish

We all need to big ourselves up from time. Running a business is hard. Building a career is hard. Getting a new project off the ground is hard. Which is why we created a dedicated section for our members to celebrate their career highlights. Needless to say, many have achieved incredible things, but it’s also a chance to show off your personality by sharing moments that gave you a personal sense of satisfaction. One of the earliest Search Marketing experts Will Critchlow, SearchPilot CEO and shares his great satisfaction that many colleagues have gone on to succeed in the industry.

Will Critchlow CEO of SearchPilot profile on Guild

5. Leave them wanting more

Make it easy for others to find out more about you and what you do by including links to your website, social channels, and anything else that matters to you, such as blog posts, articles, interviews, podcasts, reports/guides, programmes events you’ve organised. Michelle Goodall links to her other professional social profiles, websites and a body of work including reports, webinars, training courses etc.

Michelle Goodall profile on Guild

You've built the perfect Guild profile...what next?

Building trust and professional relationships takes time, but it's rewarding in so many ways.

This article is a helpful guide to getting the most out of Guild, if you want to build your professional network:
How to use Guild for professional networking and personal brand building.

Most Guild groups are private and invitation-only so you won't know about them unless you're invited. However, there are also an increasing number which are more open and happy to accept new joiners - sometimes with a vetting process, sometimes not. Here is a list of some of the Guild groups and communities you can join.

Join Guild for free today

See for yourself how the Guild experience is different to WhatsApp, Slack, LinkedIn or Facebook Groups.

Go to our pricing page and join free as a member, create your Guild profile, join available groups and build your network.

Ready to run your own professional, private, branded groups, communities or networks? Excellent! Check out our Business (free) and Business Plus (custom pricing) options.

Guild is proudly British, fiercely independent, ad-free and GDPR compliant. Guild is the best place for professionals to connect and communicate. Come and join us on a different and decent kind of messaging platform that is designed for business and done with integrity.

Contact us if you want to know more or have any questions.

Photo by Megan Markham on Unsplash