Saturday, 26 March 2016

How creatives make “About Me” pages FUN

Thanks to some awesome online articles, I revamped my “About Me” page into something I’m actually happy for people to look at!
It’s the section on every personal profile I dread, but I have to fill it in, because I need to make people think I’m clever, awesome and special, but normal, relatable and human at the same time. I need to write just enough to show I give a damn, but not too much so others won’t give a damn.

This task should be a doddle for a Creative Writing graduate, but I’m also a perfectionist with an unhealthy desire to please people. And I want to be taken seriously. What’s wrong with that? Well, I end up writing a boring and pretentious profile that doesn’t actually show anyone who I am.

I have a creative friend who swears by this philosophy. She’s an actress and also a writer. When applying for university and jobs, she ignored advice to put professionalism first and instead decided to put herself first. Watch her profile video to hear what happened.

I’m private about my personal life and prefer not to share too much. I’m also an amateur illustrator, so unlike established artists, I don’t have a jaw-dropping list of impressive clients and haven’t won any awards for my achievements.

This was where the online articles became really useful. I recommend following the links to get all you could ever need, but these are the tips from each article that helped me most:

How to Write an “About Me” Page that Gets You Hired (by Nicole Fenton)
•    Remember that you can (and should) revise and rewrite the page as you grow as a creative.
•    Dream big! Focus on the type of work you’d like to do and the kind of people you’d like to work with.
•    It’s easy to get distracted on the web. Give it to them straight: Tell people to commission you for artwork, subscribe to your blog, visit your online shop, etc. and link to pages you want them to see.
•    Share your passion and interests. To keep things relevant, I thought it’d be fun to dedicate a section to the anime and cartoons that have influenced my art.
•    Try not to ramble!

The Five Beats of Successful Storytelling & How They Can Help You Land Your Next Job (by Jenn Tardif)
•    Treat your “About Me” page as a short story where you’re the lead character.
•    Show you’re human and acknowledge the obstacles you’ve climbed to get to this point. Make it clear how the experience influenced your current work or outlook. I recommend not descending into emotional rants; this isn’t your diary! You can stop yourself from getting sentimental by keeping things factual.
•    End positively by talking about your achievements and goals.

The Resume is Dead, the Bio is King (by Michael Margolis)
•    Your “About Me” page has to let people know that they can trust you.
•    Mention interests you’re most likely going to have in common with the people reading your page.
•    Show you’re human by sharing a guilty pleasure (be memorable without scaring people).

I turned uploading content into a relentless regime. I worked hard to keep up the momentum and enjoyed what I was doing. The problem was that I started to forget why I was drawing and writing. That’s part of the reason why I’m taking a step back to review my stuff; it doesn’t seem to have the strong purpose I thought it had.

I watched an eye-opening video featured by Distilled, an online marketing agency. The speaker was Melanie Spring, who is “Chief Inspiration Officer” (how cool is that job title?!) at branding company Sisarina. This exclusive video was all about making you ‘rock your brand’. One of the things that struck a chord with me was the benefit of having core values.

Consider what you (your brand) are all about. What common themes are reflected across the work you produce? If you pin that down and live up to it, people will be more likely to remember you. If you’re thinking this process sounds pointless, meet the power-punches in The Distilled Manifesto and Sisarina Core Values and tell me you don’t want to work with the people who believe in them!

The thing is, your target audience doesn’t have to know what your values are. What matters is that you have etched them into your psyche and they will impact the quality of work you produce.
I came up with three values I want to live up to as a creative professional. I presented them simply as things that make me happy. Rather than bullet-point them, I thought it’d be fun to make them stand out as mini inspirational posters (I’ve only just looked into Distilled’s and Sisarina’s core values for the purposes of this post and was happily surprised to see that they played with font styles and sizes like I did!). I’m effectively framing and displaying the things that matter most to me and giving myself direction and purpose.

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