How to Position Yourself to Attract Opportunities
It’s a well-known fact that organisations no longer take responsibility for career development. With redundancies and restructures now the ‘new normal’ we need to be mindful of our positioning within our industry.
I believe that we all need to think of ourselves as our own CEO. We are our own business unit. If you can think of yourself as a ‘solopreneur’ who is currently working for one company, but needs to invest in building relationships, maintaining your brand and increasing your ‘authority’ within your market, you’ll have the perfect mindset to attract new opportunities.
I know this is counter intuitive, because we want to be seen as loyal and 100% committed to our employer, but really, it’s about being 100% focused on building security for ourselves and our family. Many of us are working mothers who contribute at least 50% of the family income, and we need to protect our most important stakeholders, our family, so this article is designed to help you establish your personal brand on LinkedIn.
Read on to learn some tips on how to use the LinkedIn platform to develop relationships and invite opportunities for higher levels of career success.
The Top 10 LinkedIn Elements
Most of us have a professional head shot, but some images don’t emanate warmth. We need to ensure the photo projects your warmth and personality, so people feel compelled to want to reach out and connect with you.
Action Step – Ask 5 people for their opinion on whether your photo emanates warmth and trust. If more than 2 people don’t give a straight out positive answer, then organise for another photo to be uploaded.
The short tagline that sits under your name in your LinkedIn profile is called your headline, and it should let the reader know exactly what you do, and who you do it for.
Action Step – Use this formula to write your headline: “I help <insert target market/stakeholders> with <insert the job function you want to be known for using keywords> to <insert the result your work delivers>
- Contact Details
Insert your email and phone number in the summary section and employment section of your LinkedIn Profile, as many people can’t find the official ‘contact’ section within a LinkedIn profile. This makes it easy for new connections to reach out to you and organise a time to meet to discuss future opportunities or possibilities for collaboration.
- Industry / Location
Inserting the relevant industry and location is important for when recruiters and headhunters are looking for candidates for a particular role. You need to ensure that you choose the industry and location you want to be found in, so your name comes up in the search results for candidates to consider.
- Summary Section
This section gives an overview of who you are, and why you do what you do. The reader wants to find out about what drives you, what you are interested in, and what you’ve achieved over the last decade or so.
Action Step – Write this section with 2 elements in mind. What do you want to be known for, and what information do you need to convey to your target market to compel them to want to get in contact with you?
- Employment Section
The people that are really interested in you will scroll down to this section to learn more about your current and past history. It’s important that you provide an overview of the key functions you are (and were previously) responsible for, and the top 2-3 achievements that you are most proud of.
If you hold a board position, even one that is not paid, insert it into this section, and articulate the skills and knowledge that you contribute in your position.
This section should be written in a way that is going to promote the skills and expertise that you want to do more of in the future, so you attract opportunities that are exactly what you are looking for.
Action Step – Update your current and previous roles to include the relevant information, including achievements that you’ve completed within the last 10 years. Be specific with outlining the results in measurable terms, such as “Increased performance by 25%”, “Reduced staff turnover by 35% within 12 months”, so that the reader can easily see the value your organisation has benefited from.
- Skills / Recommendations
Surprisingly, the “Skills” section is an important feature of your LinkedIn profile, as the more people who endorse you for the right skills, the more your name is likely to turn up in a search result.
For example, if a decision maker from an organisation that you would love to work with uses LinkedIn to do a search for possible candidates, she might search for words like “Business strategy” or “Compliance” or “Innovation”. The candidates who have these words in their profile, and have been endorsed for these skills by others, are more likely to turn up in her search results, which leads to more opportunities.
Action Step – Go to your skills section and delete any redundant skills that you’ve grown out of (i.e. they appear too junior for the roles you are hoping to secure in the near future). Insert new skills that you want to be known for in the next 2 – 5 years. Rearrange them in priority order, as LinkedIn will invite your connections to endorse you for the top 5 – 10 skills you have listed.
There is a field under your summary and employment sections that allows you to upload media files such as PDFs, JPGs, videos and PNGs. I recommend you upload content, so others can learn more about the key messages you want to be known for. This is essential if you are building your personal brand for future consulting, coaching or advisory work, as your IP is what differentiates you from the thousands of other consultants and contractors who are pitching to the same market.
If you are not interested in developing opportunities for consulting or advisory type work, you could give this space to your current employer to help them build their online positioning. This would be a good move if you are currently in a ‘client facing’ role where your target market is looking you up on LinkedIn.
Action Step – Upload 3 to 5 pieces that help to build your personal brand and help your audience learn more about the key messages you want to communicate. Alternatively, speak with your employer and ask for some content that they would like to promote to the LinkedIn business community.
To build your brand and your reputation, I would recommend writing an article on each of the key messages you want to be known for. I would upload an article at least once a quarter, to bi-monthly if possible.
For example, if you are passionate about helping mid-level women to rise into senior leadership roles, then you could write articles that promote the key concepts and strategies that you believe to work.
If you are a consultant or advisor, I recommend you write an article that describes the framework that you work with. For example, this could be the 5 key principles that underpin a successful transition, or it could be a 7-step process that effectively moves people from where they are now, to where they want to be.
Action Step – Write one article at least once a quarter about a topic that you are passionate about. Ask 2 or 3 people to read and critique it before uploading it to LinkedIn (these could be your mentors on the topic you want to be known for), and then upload it along with a relevant image that will become the ‘thumbnail image’ that sits in your profile. Finally, ask those 2 or 3 people to support you by liking or sharing the article with others in their network, so the article is seen within the LinkedIn community.
- Posts / Status Updates
If you’ve done the nine steps above, you now have a strong online profile that is going to help you attract opportunities, so well done for getting this far. The next step is to start becoming more active on LinkedIn, so your name starts to appear in the LinkedIn ‘news feed’.
Start by sharing articles that others have written. When you read something around the topic you want to be known for, press the share button, and tell your audience why you believe it’s a great article. Go to Buzzsumo.com and insert the keywords around the topic you want to be known for, and it will give you an updated list of popular posts and articles that you could consider sharing.
If you are working for an organisation that puts out posts on the Company Page, you will be highly appreciated for sharing those updates with your connections, so this is a smart move.
Sharing inspirational quotes with your LinkedIn community is also another great way to remain ‘top of mind’.
You could also start making “Tips of the Week” to share some of your wisdom around the key topics you want to be known for, and I recommend using a graphic design tool called Canva.com to create your image posts (it’s awesome, it’s free and it’s an Australian software company!).
Action Step – Choose one of the methods listed above to start building rapport with your connections.
LinkedIn Gives You Security and Freedom to Choose
LinkedIn is a great platform to build your brand as an executive woman and to start connecting with a wide range of decision makers.
Even if you feel you are secure in your current role, I want you to start attracting more opportunities over the next 6 – 12 months, so at the very least you can feel like you are in a powerful position to choose where you want your career to head.
I’d like you to make it part of your daily routine to start using LinkedIn to build your personal brand and start connecting with the decision makers within the organisations you’d like to work with.
Ready, Set Go!
It’s game on, and anyone who is sleeping at the wheel on this is going to be left behind in a dangerous position where they are extremely vulnerable.
Please be mindful if you feel you have been neglecting to grow your personal brand and business connections – this is the perfect time to take action.
I hope this article has been helpful to you.
Now I have one favour, please implement some action steps from this article, and then be so kind to forward it to another woman who you feel could benefit from learning these tips.