Professionalism Is Great, but Please Don’t Be Boring!

At the moment, I am in a phase of life where most of my friends have recently or are soon graduating and moving to the work life. Aiming high, but often also a bit unsure of their professional reputation, they tend to freak out a little. Suddenly, their social media accounts are wiped clean of all the content that might hint that a) they have ever attended a party, b) looked like a teenager and c) had fun. And all that is replaced with sudden opinions about current economics politics and photos showcasing the sharp edges of their brand new dress-shirts. Interest in “adult things” is perfectly okay and natural, but please don’t make the mistake of wiping out your personality in the process of creating the professional brand you wish to achieve.



Professionalism should not be confounded with the lack of personality. Think about it – was Winston Churchill always appropriate and diplomatic in his statements? Do you think Gary Vaynerchuk reached his position as an awarded social media guru by pleasing everyone? What made so many people think that voting for Trump is such a good idea? They have personality. And bold opinions. And that’s what’s interesting. But this is where it gets complicated – you shouldn’t focus on pleasing everyone, that’s never going to happen. But neither should you insult anyone – that choice will backfire faster than you would ever think. Try to find the golden mean – keep it professional when needed, but make sure you always make an impression that lasts.


Ditch the ‘what’s’


Do you ever browse through your old posts? I really hope you do, especially if you want to achieve something with your social media efforts, not just post random stuff for fun. Take a look on your Instagram (or any) feed. Often people tend to focus on a few themes – maybe friends and family, hobbies, perhaps work. Some love fashion, others love food. Whatever your passion is, don’t hesitate to share it. But keep an eye on the likes and shares your posts get. Is there something particular that is often less popular than your other posts?



Once you discover this happening, it’s time to think about the reason. Is there something all these posts have in common – a style or theme perhaps? Sometimes the reason is simply bad quality, but sometimes it’s just because the posts are not aligned with your brand. I am not saying that everything that stands out from the crowd is bad, but there are two kinds of reactions to surprises: the ’Oh wow!’ and the ’What it this?’. So, if the success of your feed is important to you, focus on the wows and ditch the what’s – they give you nothing.


Be bold, be memorable


As you probably have already guessed, one of the key things on the road to success is to stay in people’s minds. Nothing you do or say doesn’t really make a change unless others remember it. This is where it goes back to having a personality. People tend to remember the details that seem surprising. Especially pleasant surprises. So whenever you feel that it is crucial to stay in someone’s mind, one way to do that is to add a personal touch – something positive that differentiates you from the others. And when you need to follow-up, remind them about it.


If you take anything from this, keep in mind that often all you need is a little touch of personality. Personality is how we distinguish ourselves, and when we are getting to know new people, we tend to look for similarities, or get interested in the differences we see.