When it comes to developing your personal brand as an accountant or as an accounting student, one of the key steps is cultivating an online presence. Your prospective clients and employer will be looking to the internet to see if you can provide the service they need.
In fact we all do it. Think about your own process for vetting a business. What’s the first thing you do when considering a restaurant option? You go to Yelp!
And when you’re booking a hair appointment? You go to the salon’s website to check out the services and get a feel for the vibe.
I discovered my eye doctor on Instagram. Instagram!
Your potential clients will do the same thing when they are looking for an accountant. The first place that they’ll go to is your website and afterwards they will check out your LinkedIn profile. They’ll use your profile to get a better sense of your approach to business, if you have any mutual connections, which groups you’re a part of and your career history.
LinkedIn is an easy to establish credibility online and generate leads. Here are 5 steps to improve your LinkedIn profile.
- Update your head shot. You want to make sure the photo looks professionally done. The best investment is to hire a photographer. For a corporate head shot, this will cost between $150-$300. If you do a more extensive shoot, it will cost more. You will want to ask the photographer to send you the raw images, and then ask them to edit 3-5 of your favorite images. If the cost of working with a professional photographer is not feasible, do a search of your local University or community college classes and see if they offer photography classes. Send an email to the professor and ask if there are any students willing to do a photo session as a trade. Many new photographers are eager for the experience and opportunity to build their portfolio.
- Update your headline. You want your headline to indicate your area of expertise within accounting and the niche you specialize in. For example, let’s say you work with creative agencies. Your headline should read: accountant specializing in cash flow management for creative agencies. Construction? Accountant specializing in project management for construction companies. Startups? Accountant specializing in growth strategies for startups. You want your headline to be descriptive so that potential clients immediately know that you are the right person for their company. If you are currently a college student, type in the area of accounting or industry you would like to work.
- Description.This is where you want to blend a mix of personality and professionalism. Take 1-2 sentences to describe the work you do and your area of expertise. Followed by 1-3 bullet points of success. For instance, I helped creative agency X reduce their overdue invoices from 180 days to 60 days within six months. As a student, you can write: I helped grow our Beta Alpha Psi chapter from 25 to 35 students. After the bullet points, include your areas of interest and passions. People want to work with people, and as an accountant they want to feel that they can trust you. Include any passions you have for the arts, or visiting baseball stadiums, or publications (outside of accounting!) that you enjoy reading. A great way to start these 1-2 sentences is, “When I am not managing your company’s finances, you can find me traveling to another state to check out their local baseball stadium and brewery scene.” For more tips on combining your passions with your career, be sure to check out Tyler Skelton’s (Roger CPA Review Businterview on Episode 30 of the Future of Accounting podcast.
- Career Journey. Your career journey should list all of the relevant experience you have attained thus far and the education you have finished. If you are newer on your career path, be sure to include any internship experience or work experience that demonstrates you have the ability to draw experience from a lot of different areas.
- Recommendations. Ask one to three people for a LinkedIn testimonial. It isn’t necessary, but a few will help elevate your credibility online.
Thanks to Danetha for her guest blog today!
About Danetha Doe
Danetha is the host of the Future of Accounting podcast, which covers emerging technologies and their impact on the accounting profession. She has been named a next-generation accountant by Quickbooks and one of the top 40 under 40 accounting professionals by CPA Practice Advisor.