You’re stuck job hunting because you are invisible online. You have a network that you aren’t sure how to tap into, your online presence isn’t stopping employers in their tracks, and you have no distinct voice. Luckily, there is a solution. For millennials, it is crucial to leverage your personal branding to accelerate your career. According to PayScale, a whopping 98 percent of recruiters report that they turn to LinkedIn to find and contact top candidates. Recruiters and employers no longer wait for in-person interaction for the first impression. Instead, recruiters spend their time reviewing social media profiles and blogs.
One common mistake many women make is ignoring the narrative. They have not taken time to assess their skill sets, acknowledge their accomplishments, establish their expertise and proactively promote themselves. Each person has a compelling story to tell. Your professional narrative is a way to communicate where you have been, what you have learned, and how you apply it to the here and now. You focus on the obvious work of sending out resumes, networking at events, or putting in overtime at your job to get noticed. But what about developing your narrative? Many people jump into the creation of a personal website, social media channels, and blogs without thoroughly considering the message that they are trying to send.
SocialTimes reports that 92 percent of U.S. companies have used social media networks in 2012 as a part of their recruitment efforts. Additionally, 7 out of 10 employers have successfully hired a candidate through social media. Recruiters want to learn more about you, so you must clearly communicate the value that you can add to their organizations without a single spoken word. Online you are not able to explain yourself the way you would verbally, so your professional biography, about pages, portfolios, blog posts, and recommendations on LinkedIn are key in speaking for you.
Take hold of your narrative. Create a powerful personal value proposition (PVP) statement that helps others understand who you are and what qualities, skills and experience you bring to the table. How do you do things better or differently from others in your industry? Your PVP explains why someone should hire you or work with you. What skills can you leverage to make you stand out?
Explain what you do
Never go on to simply state your job title. You want to give the listener an idea of what industry you are in and your main responsibility. By simply stating your job title, you lose the power to control the first impression, because the reader will already have a preconceived notion about what that “title” entails.
Present your value
What are your skills? Help the listener understand how you add value. Share the skills you have developed and how you utilize them.
Highlight the outcomes and showcase your accomplishments
How have you made an impact as a part of your companies or organizations? Show how you have delivered results with specific examples.
Collect three recommendations on LinkedIn
Have some supporting evidence for your value proposition. Use LinkedIn to request a recommendation from a former supervisor, a peer who has worked with you or a client that you have served, and a mentor or adviser. Each of these people should be able to speak to different qualities and skills providing a well-rounded view into your abilities.
Ready to write your own narrative? Here’s an example for inspiration:
Elizabeth Grant is a digital marketing professional that creates audience-driven campaigns for non-profit organizations. As a professional working in the marketing industry for five years, she has worked with clients such as the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club of America, increasing their engagement on channels such as Twitter and Facebook. Elizabeth currently works for an agency where she has learned to manage online communities and is skilled in proving her return on investment through the reporting and metric processes she has developed. For more information, visit her website or follow her on Twitter.
Now it’s your turn! Fill in the blanks below, and you’re set for success with your personal narrative.
______________ is __________________ (what you do) that _____________________ (problem you solve and who you solve it for). As a _________________ (your expertise or notable achievement), ________________(proof of your expertise and ability to solve stated problem using skills or past accomplishments). _______(name) currently __________________ (what you currently do) and ______________ (value you have added to you organization or team). For more information/to contact __________ (contact information).
By having the answers to these questions, you will be able to piece together a narrative that communicates who you are and what makes you a valuable asset in a quick snapshot. This is the start to the creation of your personal brand. This exercise and more are also available in our Break The Internet Muse Manual.