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Why Executive Women need to learn to speak to their own results, despite feeling icky!

The No. 1 #mistake in #selfpromotion is not what you might imagine

It’s not sounding arrogant - although given the 714,000 Google search results on the topic that’s a big concern.

It’s that we imagine that our results should speak for themselves.

Yet we live in a world that’s increasingly busy, where distraction is everywhere and people are the protagonist in their own movie - so others won’t always naturally see or remember your results unless you remind them.

And because we believe that results should speak for themselves, we then think there is something wrong with us and our achievements when no-one notices, or even remembers.

It’s a bit like getting upset when no-one remembers your birthday - but you didn’t even tell anyone when it was.

And that’s ridiculous.

The best bit? When we use real examples with real stories and real impact and outcomes, that helps you avoid sounding arrogant anyway, plus helps align others with your vision.

#executivewomen #womenofimpact #personalbranding

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Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

6 Signs That you need to Take your Personal LinkedIn Strategy Far More Seriously

Be aware of what your LinkedIn profile says about you without you even knowing

Did you know that women dominate every social media platform except one? Guess which one. Yes you are right - LinkedIn.

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Did you also know that some organisations are making decisions about whether or not to interview you based solely on your LinkedIn profile?   I heard this interesting (and rather scary) fact as I met with clients from a major corporate in the Melbourne CBD.  And while I was a little taken aback at the supposed “unfairness” i.e. you didn’t even know you were in the running for the role and you were passed over without being able to stun them with your amazing new CV or wow them with your polished interview techniques, I’m actually not surprised.  

So if recruiters and others are able to make assessments about your suitability for a role based solely on your LinkedIn profile - perhaps it's time that you got your house in order and your profile into professional gear.  Here are the big 6 signs that you need to do some work.

1.     No photo 

This says straight up front that you are uncomfortable in a modern social media environment and don't really want to be recognised.   Gone are the days when not having a photo was simply a holdover from not wanting to be identified on RSVP (that "old" dating site - is it still around?).  Basically, if you don’t have a professional photo on your profile it looks like you are timid or trying to hide something.  

There is the exception to the rule – social media stalkers are real. For those in roles where protecting your identity is an issue then please disregard my suggestion re a photo.  However, if its purely because you are shy or nervous around social media – then its probably time to take a teaspoon full of cement and get with the program.

2.     Photo looks like a laptop selfie or that you’d rather be anywhere else but at work

With a few exceptions such as creative types, outdoor types and entertainers (where a creative photo actually sells "brand you") then remember that the following types of images are better suited to Facebook:

  • the home job selfie,
  • the pic of you holding a fish you just caught on holidays, or maybe
  • the glamour shot you had taken for your hubby last year.

  Think of this as your professional CV summary. Your photo should represent you - professionally.

3.     Too few contacts

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Many sources say that the magic number for contacts on LinkedIn is 500+. I suspect this is purely for mechanical reasons (LinkedIn doesn’t publish the specific number once you bypass 500) and it means you are perceived as "well connected"

For those selling services and utilising LinkedIn as a leverage point commercially I’ve heard that the “magic number” is 3000+

Whatever the actual sweet spot is,  if you’re in a regular role that’s not about sales, my best guess is it needs to be more than 400 but less than 2000 – especially if you have been in business for 10 years or so.  

Contacts correlates with your ability to network in a social online environment. In this modern era with information and connection as valued currencies, then your number of contacts says a lot about you.   But unless you are selling stuff to people then you don’t want it to look like you spend all day on LinkedIn either.  It's actually pretty easy to load your email contacts these days. Just be sure to personalise your contact note (unless you know someone really well) and you'll be fine.

4.     Too few endorsements

If you want to connect with me and send me an invitation - imagine for a moment that I can’t remember exactly when I met you so I open your profile to check you out and jog my memory. Your credibility drops to zilch if you have no endorsements.  How do you grow endorsements? Networking of course. And making sure that your settings allow endorsements. If you are connected with someone on LinkedIn and you know they do good work around Stakeholder Management –why not endorse them?  And it's highly likely they’ll return the favour and endorse you for something you've got listed in your endorsement settings.

5.      No current recommendations  

Now this might be because you are busy, but when you remember that your profile is in someway the modern shop-front, public version of your resume, then keep it up to date. As soon as you finish a big project or significant piece of work, ask for a recommendation. Don’t wait til you are changing roles when you want to update your CV. Get it done while the quality of your work is front of mind.  That way when you do get to update your CV you are on the front foot with remembering what it was that was a significant achievement in the past year.  By the way – quarterly or half yearly updates of your CV are highly recommended in any case.

6.     Not active

Remember, social networking is social. It's just on a different platform.  You need to be active to be ranked by LinkedIn and "float" to the top of search criteria. LinkedIn even provide rankings for you to see how you are doing in terms of activity.  

Share, like, comment, connect and email away  - and here is a basic plan to get you started.

  • Work out what it is you stand for professionally - great customer service, strategy, leadership, wellness and/or success,
  • Like what others in your network share - as a way of connecting socially or as a way to enhance what you stand for,
  • Share links to articles  that inspire you professionally (with your own summary for time poor colleagues) once or twice a week,
  • Get involved in a discussion once a week - so comment and acknowledge you value wha't others have shared, add your insights,
  • Build your network - once a week get online and actively look for others in your network to connect with, 
  •  Don’t be shy. You won’t break the internet if you make a mistake.  Go on! You know you want to.

There are many more things you can do but this LinkedIn top tidy will stand you in good stead and keep you on the front foot.    LinkedIn is simply a tool in your professional tool kit that you will want to keep up to date. Given it dovetails really nicely in with your CV development and professional connection keeping, it won’t be a waste of time, especially when you do change roles.

One proviso – cat photos or videos or pics of friends and family are not really suited for this forum just yet. I’m sure the lines will be blurred one day, but right now, LinkedIn represents a platform you can professionally leverage and position yourself.  Don’t mix the personal and professional too much, too soon.

But most importantly, have fun. I call it the LinkedIn game. What about you?

Vive la révolution! 

  • I am the creator of The Ambition Revolution – the science and  art of amping smart and savvy. 

  • I mentor ambitious professionals to ensure they remain strategic, agile and focused on the bigger game. 

  • I also work with organisations who are trying to increase the profile of women in leadership, but struggling to do so.

 

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

5 Tragic Errors Women Make That “Sink” Their CVs

Over the years I’ve had the privilege of working with many women, recruiting for many roles and helping women with CV rewrites. In fact, it all started 25 years ago when I was starting out in my own career and I paid for my first professional CV to be rewritten. The new CV was well written, strategic and clearly sold me and my skill set which helped me think about myself differently and gave me a huge boost in confidence. Voilà! Dream job landed and a new career launched in a field that was far more lucrative.

Let's add some new science into the mix. Genetically and biologically, male and female brains are different. For most this is not rocket science but with use of FMRI scans we can now see that female brains are wired differently to male brains, we scan the environment differently, we experience lower confidence than men, resulting in valuing ourselves lower, plus socially and culturally we are brought up to be compliant, inclusive and not to big note ourselves.     

Men look in the mirror and see a senator, and women look in and see somebody who needs more experience
— Anne E Korblut - author/writer

So with that in mind here are five tragic and quite common errors that I see women make that totally sink their CVs when it comes to landing their dream job.

  1. Use of passive language – “I was tasked with”, “I was given responsibility for” - of course you were! That’s a given if its written on your CV. In fact nearly everything on your CV are things you were tasked with or were responsible for. This sort of language diffuses responsibility and makes you seem weaker. Lose the passive language. Use active language – created, managed, executed, led, delivered, implemented, restructured, built, achieved, decreased, optimised, programmed or transformed are a few to choose from.
  2. Use of words that could also be used to describe a pet or work horse – loyal, hardworking, committed, capable, team player or supportive. You can bet our bottom dollar that men don’t use that language in their CVs. Culturally women are brought up to be compliant, to be team players and not rock the boat, but our fast paced, commercialised world requires a ”smarter not harder” mentality PLUS confidence. Learn to describe yourself with words that “up-play” not down-play your contribution - excellent, driven, dynamic, highly accomplished, experienced executive, strategic, proven track record.
  3. Apologising - women apologise a lot. There is a great advertising campaign by a brand name who shall remain unnamed that draws attention to how frequently women apologise ...... and then what happens when we stop. Sheryl Sandberg says its because have been told we are too bossy since we were little girls. Use unapologetic language and you immediately look far more capable. If you were part of a team who delivered something major, instead of vaguely referencing your own contribution, point out your contribution and the result that you contribution made. If you took a career break in the last 10 years then of course you should list it – but one line only and frame it positively. Don’t apologise, fumble, disguise ever on your CV. Own it with pride - travel breaks, career breaks to raise kids, career transition breaks and study breaks are big important things for you to do so stop trying to hide them.
  4. Too long and hard to navigate – both men and women do this, perhaps because we forget the purpose of the CV – it’s a strategic sales document designed to help people easily see why you are the best candidate for the job. Frequently we’re so scared we’ll miss the “thing” that is the magic bullet that we include everything except the kitchen sink. Often too when we apply for a new role we rush the CV update and don't have enough time to focus on what to eliminate. So get on the front foot. Prepare in advance. Take pity on those who may be receiving 100s of these. Use formatting to draw the eye to Major Achievements, section headers and results  you are proud of. If you’ve been in this role for 5 years there’s a really good chance you can drop the first role off your list in your career history leaving 10 to 15 years at maximum. Also, don’t list everything from your job description. Instead use broad brush overviews of your responsibilities not the detail - and never include “other duties as required”.
  5. Down playing major achievements. After looking at many CVs I can confidently say that men and women write their major achievements differently. This is critical. What was the outcome of you working so hard for the past few years? As females we tend to think in process terms so understand in advance that process thinking will be easier for you - and make the shift to outcomes thinking. The Major Achievements  section is just like a movie trailer that draws people in – rather than the entire feature length film. Include interesting or strategic items that position you well, and be sure to describe them in strong, essential and result orientated language.

For successful and ambitious people, the CV rewrite is done well in advance, is strategic, and delivers exponential impact to your finances along with your career satisfaction levels. Start thinking about this document as the critical, strategic and marketing positioning piece that it truly is.

Check out how this post tracked on LinkedIn and

Vive la révolution! 

—    If you missed it - 3 Signs Your LinkedIn Profile Sucks

  • I am the creator of The Ambition Revolution – the science and  art of amping smart and savvy. 

  • I mentor ambitious professionals to ensure they remain strategic, agile and focused on the bigger game. 

  • I also work with organisations who are trying to increase the profile of women in leadership, but struggling to do so.

 

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months