How to Present and Sell Yourself Online

October 7, 2013

who-are-youI’m constantly amazed by how many people just don’t know how to communicate their own story digitally. They may be okay in a job interview, at a cocktail party, or a run-in in the elevator, but when it comes to personal storytelling online, they become a deer in headlights.

Just look around. Have you ever seen a LinkedIn profile that immediately grabbed your attention, or a visual resume on SlideShare that blew your mind? These gems are very rare and hard to find online. Today, I want to empower you to become of those few who are doing it the right way. Here are 6 steps to presenting and selling yourself online.

Step 1: Know Thyself

You are never going to be able share your story, if you don’t know yourself. So, I have three suggestions: 1) Take a personality test like the Meyers-Briggs, DISC, or my personal favorite - The Predictive Index. These tests will provide a ton of insight on who you are in your natural state. Are you dominant? Do you get energized by people? Are you impatient? These answers are priceless. 2) Journal. The best way to process your life and experiences is to document them. It will help your capture a better sense of reality. 3) Discover your strengths. I recommend starting with the StrengthsFinder assessment test, since it will allow you to pinpoint your top-five strengths.

Step 2: Sharpen Your Knife

Once you determine your behavioral tendencies, find out your IQ and cognitive ability. How can you sell your abilities to someone if you don’t know what you truly bring to the table? My suggestion is to take a simple 12-question test called the Wonderlic. If you don’t like your results, then maybe it’s time to sharpen your skill set and expand your depth of knowledge.

Step 3: Focus on One Big Thing

I have always found that most interesting people are usually really good at 1 or 2 things. That’s what makes them pros, rather than amateurs. They have an insane focus. Find that one thing you are absolutely passionate about and go become an expert. The work, energy and investment you make will give you a storyline worth sharing.

Step 4: Embrace Brevity and Levity

Once you have a solid idea of who you are, and what your abilities and expertise are, you are probably ready to begin the digital storytelling process. If you are going to share your story online via a medium like SlideShare, you must absolutely focus on brevity and levity. No one is going to want to read your longwinded story. If you are that important, someone would have written an autobiography about you by now. So keep it simple in your approach -- you only have a couple minutes of their attention, if that. Keep your story brief and to the point, and make sure you embrace a 30,000-foot perspective.

Step 5: Sell Your Problem-Solving Abilities

Here’s an interesting fact: Your pay is based on your ability to solve problems. If your biggest stress is about not burning the fries, then you will get paid according to that skill set. However, if your biggest stress is building and designing an employee incentive program, then you are probably in a whole different pay grade. If you are going to sell yourself online, sell your ability to solve problems.

Step 6: Create a Motto

Make sure you nail your selling points down to three simple takeaways. For instance, let’s say you are putting together a visual resume for your next employer. Your goal should be to condense your message into a slogan, personal statement or three takeaways like: Passionate. Experienced. Driven. Okay...maybe not that cheesy but you get the idea.

Selling and presenting yourself online is not an easy task. It requires an extra sense of awareness, coupled with a creative ability to construct a compelling narrative. With a little bit of practice, you’ll be able to do it in no time.

Read More: 4 Steps to Creating a Visual Resume That Stands Out

About the Author

Scott Schwertly is the author of How to Be a Presentation God and CEO of Ethos3, a Nashville, TN-based presentation boutique providing professional presentation design and training for national and international clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to branded individuals like Guy Kawasaki. If Scott is not working with his team building presentations, you will find him in the pool, on the bike, or on a long run. Scott lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and three dogs. He has a B.A. and M.B.A. from Harding University.