LinkedIn – Differentiation = Remembered!

“All publicity is good publicity,” as the saying goes. I’m not so certain I fully agree with the P. T. Barnum quote, but differentiating oneself in job search can help you get hired considerably faster.

‘Differentiation’, what do you mean?

During the Great Recession, a Fortune 150 power generation company had a single requisition for an administrative assistant. Let me translate, they had a job for a secretary. They received over 1,200 applications for the one job. You have to figure the person they hired, Person #1, was a darn good admin, and if all of them could be graded, person #1200 was probably not-so-good.

Let’s forget about that position for a second. How many people in your metro area have your job title Hundreds? Thousands? How many times have you seen jobs that you are perfectly qualified for, submitted your application and never heard a word? Yeah, me too!

What does that have to do with differentiation?

You have a resume, maybe even a keyword-loaded resume, but it’s two pieces of paper just like everyone else’s. When it comes right down to it, what sets your resume apart from theirs? NUTHIN’!

You have a LinkedIn profile, but most people’s LinkedIn profile…to put it kindly…stinks. So what makes yours better? NUTHIN’!

You are attending networking events, chatting with other attendees, making nice with employers in attendance just like everyone else. What makes you more memorable than your competition? NUTHIN’!

Are you telling me I’m a whole lot of nothing?

Nope. Wouldn’t it be great to stand out from all the competition for your next job? In my hometown of New Orleans, we have a saying that should be applied to your job search: Lagniappe (a little something extra). Lagniappe applied to job search will make you stand out to become the benchmark candidate, the one all others are compared to.

Starting with networking events, I think back to what my habits were, and I bet yours are pretty similar. I used to meet an employer, wow them with my winning personality and my rapier wit, give them a business card and wait for them to call. I’m still waiting.

What if you try to be smarter than me (not a heavy lift) and follow up with a “Marketing Plan.” This could be a 1-page document sent (mailed) to the person you spoke with (hiring manager or any other connection) stating a bit of detail on what you are seeking (my background was as a Sales Executive, but everyone assumed I was looking for a job as a sales representative). It should include your contact information and professional objective (title or titles), and maybe a bit of a description of that role. The Marketing Plan needs to BRIEFLY showcase a few bullet points of your value proposition (what you bring to the table in that role) or a couple accomplishments in similar roles. It should also include a few competencies that apply to your desired position. At minimum, you have taken a second bite at the apple which puts you front-of-mind of the person.

What about my resume & LinkedIn profile?

It’s a given that you need an optimized resume to take advantage of the Job Boards’ algorithms and other Artificial Intelligence products. Hopefully, it will get you more interviews. But if the statistics are anywhere near correct, the vast majority of available jobs are in the Hidden Job market…and the further up the corporate totem pole you find yourself, the greater the percent of non-posted jobs. But having something no one else has is smart no matter your level.

LinkedIn allows you to “upload media” to your activity posting and any experience listed. (I recommend against uploading your resume because it’s a bit too much information for my taste). But what if you created a deck largely in pictorial form that tells your professional story without using a lot of added words?

A Value Proposition deck can come in many formats: Bi-fold brochure (one sheet of paper turned landscape with two columns. It’s folded down the middle to create a four-panel document. One can create a multi-fold brochure by using an additional piece of paper and a staple which doubles the number of pages. Trifold brochures are a single sheet of paper turned landscape with three columns thus creating a six-panel document. PowerPoint is an excellent method to employ for Value Proposition creation. These can even be narrated, animated, uploaded to YouTube and a link put onto your LinkedIn profile.

A Value Proposition can use images and logos to limit the number of words. They should be short & sweet (no show-up and throw-up!) so the reader can use their own imagination.

How do I use a Value Proposition deck?

  1. Your Value Proposition deck can be sent to target executives.
  2. You can ask recruiters to connect and invite them to review it.
  3. They can be printed and mailed to members of your network.
  4. They can be used as a focal point or merely a leave-behind during an interview.

Best of all, NO ONE will have anything like it. You will be amazed by the reaction of Hiring Managers including, “This is the most professional document I have ever seen” and “In all my years, no one has ever used a document like this.”

Oh, a Value Proposition deck isn’t just for NEW job searches, they can help you get a promotion at your current company.

As you begin the exciting journey of implementing all of the things you’ve learned regarding how to improve your LinkedIn profile, I want to leave you with an encouragement from Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”  

Al Smith is a Career Coach, Head of Job Networking at Unity North Atlanta Church, long-time volunteer at Roswell UMC Job Networking, keynote speaker and author of two job search books including the Amazon #1 Bestselling, HIRED! Every Employment Method.  



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