Stop. Polish, as in polish your shoes, not Polish as if you are a descendant from Poland.
I’m talking about preparing your Linkedin profile for the masses to see. I’m not talking about copying and pasting your resume for all to see. With Linkedin, you have a bit of wiggle room, in my opinion, because it is not yet the “traditional” resume therefore why should you have to act in the “traditional” way?
The new Linkedin Profiles are gorgeous and allow for much more sharing and much less sticking things to a bulletin board. That brings me to my first step.
But Joe I already have my resume done so what more do I need? Listen, this may be different for you but it shouldn’t. My Linkedin summary includes talking about Zelda, the NES, and reading books as fast as I eat my French toast. I don’t foresee this changing anytime soon regardless of what position I move up to in the coming years. If that makes me the first SSAO to mention those things on Linkedin, so be it. Remember, I mentioned this wasn’t traditional and I’ve actually been told by some non-higher education folks that my summary is one of the best they’ve read on Linkedin(!). Your summary is your chance to take your typical cover letter jargon one step further. Don’t think about putting your experience down on your profile, think about it as sharing your story. Step one is to prepare to think differently about Linkedin and your “online” resume.
Shoes not countries, remember? Ok. I mentioned that I’ve received nothing but positive feedback on my Linkedin summary. That didn’t happen overnight – it took a lot of polishing. I had some friends read it. I had some outsiders read it. Most useful of all was reading what I could about making things stick, marketing, and storytelling.
Now that last piece is the most important in my opinion. I read everything that Mike (@getstoried) had to share. Thanks to SkillShare I was able to attend a morning workshop and learn from Mike, in-person, his story telling techniques and how to be a better story teller. Finally, I attended TEDxMillRiver which was all about story telling (Mike was featured) and witnessed one of the best examples of storytelling I’ve ever seen. It was through these people, these resources, these exercises that I started honing my story telling skills. It is on Linkedin that I try to use those skills to draw you into my Linkedin profile with my main summary. That’s the polish. Once you are able to construct your summary, you can use those skills on other platforms. The polish is important because this major step sets you up for step three.
This is no typo. You’ve prepared to change the way you view Linkedin. You’ve polished your profile with some storytelling, marketing, and sticky skills. Now you’ve got to prepare to share your hard work, this is the hardest part. As part of the SkillShare seminar that Mike hosted about storytelling he had us pair up and gave us 60 seconds to share our story. That was it. “Pair up and I’m going to time you. You have 60 seconds to tell your story.” Folks, try this. 60 seconds is a long time when you don’t have 60 seconds worth the material ready. You will be left rambling about some irrelevant story about your dog or stubbing your toe or saying “Well I guess that’s my story” and awkwardly looking around the room thinking “What could everyone else be possibly saying?!” Time ends and now you are critiqued by your partner. It doesn’t end there though.
Mike then had us pair up again, this time with only 30 seconds to tell our story. Folks, try this. Just after trying it once for 60 seconds, the 30 second chance was like a whole new ballgame. Again time ends and you get critiqued. That exercise has stuck with me since and now when I’m asked who I am or what I do I’m not left saying “uh, educator?” “uh, my title is…”, I have a 30 second narrative and pitch that doesn’t sound like a pitch and doesn’t sound too rehearsed. Don’t believe me? See for yourself.
Now that you have your story, you have your revamped profile, get out there and share it. Still feeling uneasy about it? Let’s chat. I’d love to help you out and explore some wording, ideas, or curiosities you might have. Connect with me on Linkedin and let’s set up a time to talk.