Big data is a hot topic. Mega corporations like Google and Amazon glean huge volumes of information about their customers’ interests and spending patterns. The furore over the Edward Snowden revelations propelled the word metadata from the private lexicon of IT professionals into the mainstream political and media spotlight.
So how do you Treat Your Professional Identity Like Metadata?
What is the relevance to your career? It serves as a useful analogy for your personal brand, a way to identify and promote your professional identity.
Metadata is data that describes other data. For example, the metadata containing this web page’s description and summary is displayed in search results by search engines. It can determine whether someone decides to visit this site or not.
According to Wikipedia, “a text document’s metadata may contain information about how long the document is, who the author is, when the document was written, and a short summary of the document”.
The Guardian has a guide to metadata – “An easy way to see some of your own metadata is by looking at your browser’s history which provides information about what websites you visited and when… It’s generally transactional information about the user, the device and activities taking place.”
Your professional identity is like metadata. It describes who you are, what you stand for, your relevant experience and expertise, your value. It can determine whether an employer, recruiter or potential customer decides to connect with you or not.
Make your professional identity visible through strategic targeting of your online and offline presence. You are more likely to be attractive to others by your profiles being clear, concise and coherent. Your LinkedIn headline is metadata. Your statement at the beginning of your CV is metadata. It is something more than a summary rooted in facts. More like your essence.
Capture your reflections, experiences and career history. Build up your data bank (the facts about you), information bank (the stories about you) and wisdom bank (the ‘so what?’ your unique take on the world). Use your metadata to position yourself towards the job or career you want.
Take control of what you share about yourself. Be magnetic. Be searchable. And be more than a set of data.