Professional Identity: what it is and how to build it in digital marketing

The construction of a professional identity is a very complex process that each individual undertakes over the years as a result of his or her studies and experiences, which characterizes an individual and guarantees his or her authenticity in the world of work.

In this article, I will show you the following:

  • what professional identity is;
  • how to build an effective professional identity;
  • the importance of having a professional digital identity.

Are you interested in adding new skills and experience to your professional identity to enhance and make your professional profile more attractive? Discover the Certification in Digital Marketing.

What is professional identity?

In general, the concept of identity in the social sciences refers to the idea that each individual has of himself, both in the individual and in the social sphere. In practice, it is the set of characteristics that distinguish an individual and make him or her unique and, therefore, distinguishable from others. Thus, professional identity is that set of skills, experiences, and passions that make it possible to define and uniquely identify one professional profile from another. Identity is not something immutable, but through the growth of the individual and the changes that occur over time, it is transformed.

To sum up, identity is something variegated that encompasses all aspects of life in a coherent whole that is not stable over time because it is subject to changes in the most diverse spheres of our lives. Thus, professional identity represents a fundamental part of individual identity that integrates well with identity in general but also has its own independence; indeed, aspects of personal identity do not necessarily intervene in the work component, and vice versa.

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How to build one’s professional identity?

The professional identity of each individual is certainly constructed from the choice of training pathway. It represents a central aspect in the construction of an individual’s self from a professional point of view. The choice of an educational pathway is always a delicate and difficult one to make and must necessarily be made according to one’s personal inclinations. At this stage, it is necessary not only to focus on the skills sought by the market but also to understand what one is, what one wants to do, what one wants to be, and what one can offer the market. This is the moment when one must understand what one’s vocation is and try to follow it.

Here are some tips for discovering one’s professional identity:

  • to ask oneself what one can do, in particular, by focusing on one’s personal and professional growth and how this can be transferred to the workplace;
  • identify one’s objectives, breaking down macro objectives into smaller ones and the latter into actions;
  • Once these objectives have been defined, it is necessary to plan them and work toward them on a daily basis;
  • find out what they like to do and ask themselves whether this can become a profession;
  • face and not hide any fears.

For this purpose, the help and supervision of a coach can be very helpful.

Professional Identity in Digital Marketing

Nowadays, an effective professional digital identity is crucial for success in business. For those wondering what to do if you can’t find a job, building a strong digital presence and networking through platforms like LinkedIn can open new doors and opportunities. By actively participating in your professional community online, you can enhance your visibility and increase the chances of finding the right job

Therefore, the importance of building a digital work identity stems from the fact that nowadays, there is a close connection between the real and virtual worlds; they have become two complementary worlds. The main purpose of such construction is to take advantage of digital tools in order to draw positive consequences from them rather than suffer the negative ones that might result. Incorrect use of our personal and professional information could lead web users to form a bad opinion of us, thus tarnishing our online reputation.

Before analyzing some of the tools that can be used to enhance one’s professional online identity, it is useful to remember that it is necessary to periodically check, monitor and then improve one’s digital identity.

Social networks to build one’s professional identity on LinkedIn

One of the best ways to establish a professional digital identity is to actively participate in conversations. In fact, just as offline, online, it is necessary to respond, comment, participate in conversations initiated by other users, and again, create and share content that contributes to the construction of one’s online identity. Therefore, lively participation is very important, as is the quality of the content we post, which must be of interest to other individuals in one’s network. The more one is able to expand this network, the greater the benefits will be in building one’s online reputation.

using linkedin for professional identity

With their peculiar differences, all social networks allow one to build a unique digital identity, so the advice is to be present on the main social networks. However, the social network par excellence most suitable for building a professional identity is certainly LinkedIn. LinkedIn, with around 900 million users, is undoubtedly the most widely used digital tool for professional purposes. Born to create connections between workers, today, it represents the best social platform to look for a job and build one’s professional digital identity.

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Steps to follow to make your work identity stand out on LinkedIn

LinkedIn makes it possible to build a network of connections, reconstruct one’s educational and professional career, and above all, it allows users to reach out to different recruiters (there are an estimated 5 million job opportunities on the platform) and potential clients.

Here are the different steps to best build one’s presence on social.

  1. Building your profile: this phase is very important because it is here that the foundations are laid for creating an effective professional identity in the eyes of employers. The profile is divided into different sections: summary, job position, education, skills, references, and so on.
  2. Identify your target audience: depending on our purpose, the people we address will change, and consequently, the content we will publish or the links we will request. For example, if the objective is to increase one’s network, the solution could be to extend the network to other professionals in the same sector. On the other hand, if the aim is to promote products and services, the target audience will certainly be potential customers.
  3. Building professional identity: in order to be able to make the most of the potential this social network offers, it is necessary to increase one’s credibility in the relevant sector. To this end, it is advisable to: share or (in the best of cases) write articles relevant to your profession or field of work. In fact, LinkedIn has a section where you can write articles as if it were a real blog.

In addition to creating and sharing content, it is certainly useful to interact with other users with comments or via the recommend button (similar to the Facebook like button) or to join groups related to one’s profession or sector. In the latter, it is, once again, important to interact with members in order to bring out individual expertise and experience in the sector.

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In summary, through LinkedIn, it is possible to effectively take care of one’s professional identity because it is essential to increase one’s network of knowledge, with reference to one’s professional field, and thus to highlight one’s skills and experience and to build a high-level online reputation.

Personal Branding

Personal Branding, literally “marketing of oneself”, is a way in which one can build one’s professional identity and reputation online. It allows you to instill in the minds of others a judgment that is formed as a result of a series of factors that lead the potential employer, customer, or even collaborator to choose that particular professional figure.

girl smiling using laptop

As mentioned earlier, everything one does and says online, but also offline, creates a certain judgment in one’s possible interlocutors. Thus a post, a photo, but also silences can be decisive in the choice of others; hence the watchword is planning: nothing can be left to chance if one wants to achieve a certain professional success. Thus, Personal Branding is something that must be studied and managed in an organized and strategic manner without letting temporary moods prevail.

Personal Branding is, therefore, a long process that starts from a deep knowledge of oneself and what one wants to achieve, which allows one to identify the professional identity of each individual, which is elaborated through a special strategy with the aim of communicating one’s image effectively.

The name Personal “Branding” refers to the strategic communication of a subject’s identity, applying the same principles that are used for corporate brand communication. The principle is that, as with companies, the quality of reputation derived from a simple online search influences the user’s judgment, so it is crucial to monitor and build personal identity, just as is done by companies.

How to create a personal branding strategy?

Personal Branding techniques and strategies take the techniques used by companies to promote their products/services adapted in a “personal” key. They can be broken down into several parts:

  • Define professional identity: identify one’s skills, strengths, and aptitudes, but also weaknesses and motivations.
  • Studying the market: who am I addressing? Who are my interlocutors?
  • Create your own style: it is essential to differentiate yourself from others in order to stand out through the use of certain images, scenic effects, motifs, and tones of voice.
  • Social Branding: identifying the right social channels. Each society has its own peculiarities; Facebook is the most used in general, Instagram and Pinterest are mainly used for images, YouTube for video, and Twitter is the most institutional one, microblogging.
  • Engaging your customers: you can do this through the form of online storytelling, i.e., telling a story through the use of persuasive communication. The aim is to tell one’s own story and also tell about one’s profession in a balanced and engaging way, communicating one’s own ideas and sharing knowledge and experience.

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Personal website or blog?

Another way to assert one’s professional identity on the web is to create a personal website or blog. Both tools are useful to be able to “feed” one’s articles or other content that affirms one’s competencies and skills on the web. In particular, the personal blog has the ability to “manipulate” readers and, thus, allows you to direct them toward what you want them to think of you. Obviously, in order to do this, it is necessary for the blog to be rich in content that is useful to users, otherwise, the aim will not be achieved, and readers will make a bad judgment of the blog, and thus indirectly, its creator.

Ultimately, it is possible to say that digital offers each individual different possibilities to create a strong and effective professional identity. Over time, digital has evolved and amplified the ways in which content can be expressed and shared. Tools that in the past were used purely for the purpose of socializing or sharing personal passions have now become professional media.

This path has not only made it possible to express one’s identity online, both personal and professional, but at the same time, has made everyone aware of the importance of careful and continuous monitoring of content and the need to feed this content day by day in order to create an online reputation of a certain depth.

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Building a professional identity is a rather complex path full of pitfalls. The job market is constantly and rapidly changing, so it may be necessary to rely on professionals to avoid making mistakes that can affect our image and reputation online and offline.

How to do this? Well, you can rely on Digital Coach®, a leading school in Digital Marketing. Through an online coaching session, it can help you improve professionally.

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