It should be no news at this point that LinkedIn has emerged as the #1 social media venue for professional business development. It is THE place where current and future employers or customers are looking for their next investment.
Are you giving them a compelling reason to do business with you or hire you? In addition to looking at your corporate website, they are also looking you up on LinkedIn to find out whether you “make sense” to them in meeting their business their needs.
Think about it.
Any engineer or technically-oriented individual – BLUE COLLAR AS WELL AS WHITE COLLAR – who has not established a LinkedIn profile is simply not managing their career path. The importance of having a current, up-to-date LinkedIn profile is critical to personal and professional development. No one else is going to do this but you. Face the facts.
Before you can develop a credible LinkedIn foundation, however, you need to develop your Value Proposition. Your Value Proposition, in the words of Jill Konrath, Chief Sales Officer at Selling To Big Companies, is “a clear statement of the tangible results a customer gets from using your products or services. It is focused on outcomes and stresses the business value of your offering.”
Most of you have multiple versions of your resumes. You recreate them depending on the job you are going after or the proposal you are presenting to a prospect. It’s like trying to be all things to all people so you don’t miss out on all opportunities for…. everything?
A Value Proposition is your focused, enduring Personal Branding statement. No matter how many resumes you have circulating. It doesn’t change depending on the weather, the job or the prospect. It is a statement of WHO YOU ARE no matter what, day in and day out, throughout your business and personal relationships. It’s not about the job. It’s about who you are and what you value.
Which is why individuals who have LinkedIn profiles that are created based on a clearly articulated Value Proposition are highly sought after by employers and prospects. Anyone who has taken the time to develop the “why I am who I am” and is willing to walk that walk and talk that talk – honestly, accountably, responsibly – on the Internet, phone, email and in person is someone who has provided folks with a compelling reason to do business with him or her.
Marketing yourself is not a form of narcissism. It’s a necessity.
For those of you who are displaced, or for those of you that wish certain aspects of your job chronology would disappear into a black hole, STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP. You have always brought certain abilities, skills, values, beliefs to the table no matter how well run your former employer’s business was or how perfect that last proposal was – even if it did not result in a project. You may have been totally ineffective at your last job or jobs because you aim too high or low or don’t full realize what you bring to the table even when there seems to be a good fit. You may be targeting the wrong target time and time again. Your Value Proposition is about why you are extraordinary – even if you do the mundane and rote extraordinarily well.
Perhaps the first person you need to articulate your Value Proposition to is YOURSELF. Live it, breathe it, believe it. So you can walk the walk and talk the talk. No hesitation.
After all is said and done, you aren’t your job. YOU ARE YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION and value statements which comprise your LinkedIn profile. It is a rich tapestry of what makes you, well, “you”. No matter what career train wrecks happened over the course of your career.
Grab a sheet of paper or sit down at the computer and write out what you bring to the table. Something like : “I work with [what industry or types of customer or students] to develop [what is the end result? A solution? A product? A grade?].On average, my clients / friends / partners enjoyed a [some dollarization of return on investment or durability or artistic enjoyment] which resulted in [increased profit, less downtime and therefore less overhead]. “
So even if you have participated in jobs that resembled train wrecks, you still brought this valuable skill and outcome set to the table. Maybe if you were successful, but still were let go, you still brought this same skill and value set to the table.
YOU need to articulate your value. Don’t wait for someone to “see” what you do and reward you. Not in this economy. Even your current employer doesn’t realize everything you bring to the table. Unless you tell him. Perhaps you should be looking forward to your next career move, whether it happens or not. Take charge of marketing your Personal Brand, of “you.”
Which is why articulating your Value Proposition on LinkedIn under the Summary section becomes so critical for letting your light out from underneath the proverbial bushel basket.
You will not be rewarded for keeping your cards close to your chest. You only will continue to be the best kept secret that only you know about.
As I’ve said before: What are you waiting for?