By Anja van den Berg
Your LinkedIn page is often the focus of your online career persona. Yet, most of us barely consider the narrative we offer on this platform.
Alex Cooley, the founder of a leadership storytelling consultancy, says that people usually go one of two ways. Either they offer an assorted buffet of achievements, experiences, identities, missions, and passions or they set a sparse table with only the bare basics.
The first approach, she says, overwhelms the reader while the second leaves them starved for information. In both scenarios, people are less likely to connect with you.
To secure the meetings, leads, and interviews that you are aiming for, you would need to frame your narrative to speak to your target audience. Cooley unpacks her suggestions below:
- Start with the end in mind.
Clearly define your career objectives for yourself. Knowing where you want to go will anchor your narrative and help you understand which pieces of your experiences, achievements, and results are relevant to your story. Boldly rewrite your internal dialogue and external communications to only include the parts that are relevant to your ideal professional future. Align this dialogue with LinkedIn’s offering. Are you on LinkedIn to generate leads? Get the attention of recruiters? Make professional connections in your industry to move forward your vision? Set a definite reason in your mind.
- Connect the dots for your audience.
On your LinkedIn page, your mission is to present yourself so that your partners, employers, sponsors, investors or clients think, ‘This person has the answers I need!’. To do that, you will need to narrow down who you’re talking to and identify their needs. What does their industry need more than anything, and how will you be able to fill that void? How does your work experience interlink to provide a unique perspective on solving their problems? Focus on the gems you’ve picked up on your career path and showcase the professional treasure chest you bring to the table.
- Build your own ‘template’.
With your future clearly defined and your audience set, it’s time to get to work. Despite what the Internet might suggest, there is no one perfect template, says Cooley. Creating your leadership narrative on LinkedIn is a creative endeavour. Examine LinkedIn profiles that speak to you and break down how they compare to yours. If you like how someone tells a transformational story in their summary paragraph, go through each of their sentences and see how you could tell a similarly impactful story. If you love how boldly someone describes their mission, try building one of your own. Then, with all the pieces in front of you, make your account your own.
Developing a story around your work experience to suit your audience’s needs is the first chapter of your gripping personal brand story. If you can’t communicate what you want and instil confidence in others that you’re the right person for that job, you’re fighting an uphill battle.
Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2020/04/how-to-tell-your-story-on-linkedin