I've been a traveling fiend the last couple of weeks (Spain > Chicago > Spain), and I'm finally back. I had to learn a tough lesson during my traveling this time around, which I obviously need to share with you: Give yourself a break, and schedule your off-time into the calendar. Especially if you're on the hustle, job search, or stress-express. Phew.
So. Meanwhile. Back at the ranch. Someone said to me recently, "Your past is just a story you tell yourself." I'd heard this before, but it resonated particularly loudly this time around. As you may have experienced personally, the Tell Us About Yourself portion of an interview or networking event is the most painful for pretty much all people.
Which is why I'm not going to dive into it right now. Because we would probably need a licensed therapist in the room, and it would take years.
Instead, I choose to flip it. Let me explain. During work hours, I'm a content strategist, right? I realize that's a vague and suspicious job title. So, I use the Summary part of my LinkedIn to explain what I mean:
Makes a little more sense now, right? Let's break down what I'm doing in this summary:
- Talking TO you, instead of ABOUT myself. Do you really care about my past experience? Do you really need to know what my Bachelors degree was in? Not really. You need to know how I can help your business right. this. second. So....
- I focus on my client's (or employer's) main stress area above all else. For me, that's content creation and organization. The new digital content space can be very overwhelming, and I explain that I am here to help with that exact problem.
- I spell it out, in tangible specifics. See the format in paragraph three? "My KPIs are _____. I improve these by doing ________." KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator. New grads: use this acronym. It will take you places.
- I tell you exactly what I'm working on now. No current "real" job? No problem. I may have mentioned this already, but even while you're job-searching: you need do be doing something. Use your skills for charity work. Shadow a mentor around the office one day a week. Do.
- I let you know how you can contact me. Granted, this is just my social handle. But for online marketing, it's the only way to go.
Instead of focusing on explaining your own past, which is muddled in self-assessment and doesn't provide much value, go straight in for the kill. Stay present-tense, and stay specific. In short: "I can solve this problem. I have these specific, tangible skills. I bring you the value you need right this second."
Start with your LinkedIn summary, and then -- the world! Let me know how you get on with it,
PS: I came up with that KPIs thing in this interview for the Geekettes.
PPS: I'm exploring Periscope. Today's was about stormy weather. (Download the app to follow me in real time.)