“Your BATW Profile…A Tool to Manage and Promote Your Professional Image”
by Marc Longwood
The membership directories have been a great success as a tool for Associate Members and outlet editors to browse our membership in search of great talent within BATW. From the many profiles, they can glean a list of individuals whose experiences are best suited for specific projects. So how can you present yourself in your profile to best reflect yourself? There are but three things you can do to stand out. First, edit your profile judiciously. Second, edit your profile judiciously. And third, you guessed it, edit your profile judiciously.
As successful as the print directories have been, they do not directly reflect the profiles posted in the online directory. We have enlisted the efforts of volunteers to edit the content in the print directories to create some sense of stylistic consistency between the posts (such as punctuation, abbreviations, redundant use of the word magazine, etc.) to a stylistic standard that you might expect among professional writers. With each print directory we’ve produced, this task alone has been quite daunting, and we could only achieve so much perfection within a volunteer effort. Let’s face it, everyone is quite busy and, it would seem, some profiles were written either in haste or without considering how important this tool is to managing one’s image as a professional writer.
Consider for a moment how careful every word and concept is scrutinized in advertising copy. Every bit of your profile content should be equally scrutinized to best present you as a professional talent, not just in terms of grammatical style, but also in choosing what you decide to include, or even exclude, in your content…sometimes, less is more. A good example might be found in how photographers edit their portfolios. It’s best to edit out pictures that don’t hit the viewer as your very best work. You don’t need a lot of images to show that you’ve been to China, for example, just a few that really grab the viewer’s attention and show what you are capable of producing. You also hone your presentation to show work focusing on what you want to do more of, rather than what you mostly have done, to get more of the work that you really want to do. It’s no different when you cut articles out of your profile that don’t really reflect your most desirable editorial specialties or direction. Less is more.
The cost, time and effort of producing the print version of the directory have given us plenty of reasons to look for alternatives, not to mention the means to keep it current and make it more useful to our market, the Associates and editors looking to give you an assignment. In keeping with the 21st century, we are exploring technologies to create a digital version that would best serve our purpose for future directories. Perhaps the best function of such a directory is that a user could search on fields to get a list of people with certain experience, like everyone who has been to Spain or is an expert on bullet trains. What this means, of course, is that it will be up to each individual to scrutinize the content of their own profile and manage the presentation to reflect not only their experience, but also their professionalism and editorial direction.
Don’t fret just yet, however, as there’s plenty of time before we work out the form of the digital directory, what it will consist of, and style and content guidelines to help you prepare. In the meantime, begin to organize your experiences and clips with an eye toward how they can best benefit you as a marketing tool to manage your image as a professional talent, beyond what might otherwise be an entry in a curriculum vitae.