Your LinkedIn page is often the centerpiece of your online career persona, yet most of us barely consider what we’re offering there. We serve up a motley buffet of achievements, experiences, identities, missions, and passions for readers to shovel through. Or we go the other way and set a sparse table with only the four basic food groups: name, current job, past experience, and education. The first approach overwhelms the reader — employer, investor, client, or ally — and the second leaves them starved for information and less likely to connect. The opportunity is lost and we all go hungry. No matter how great you are in a role, if you can’t articulate your value, it’s that much harder to gain the sponsorship you need to move into the leadership positions you seek. With your LinkedIn page, telling the story of your professional progression, leading your audience to its happy ending, and framing it in terms they care about is the difference between casting a wide net to catch Arctic Char in the Caribbean and chartering a harpoon boat in the Norwegian Sea. The result: you get the meetings, leads, and interviews that you actually want.

 

 

In my work as a career coach, I help mid-career women get hired, promoted, and buy in for the impact they want to make. To a one, that means establishing a compelling leadership brand identity the best, stickiest, and most effective way possible: by telling a cohesive and concise story that connects to the audience you want to reach most and getting them to reach out to you. To curate your LinkedIn page for storytelling success, follow these steps.

 

Write your own happy ending

Where is all your hard work leading? Are you the innovative CEO of a fast-growing company bent on bringing solar technology to every home along the Eastern Seaboard and then the world? Or the female Diversity and Inclusion evangelist who won’t rest until half the CEOs of all Fortune 500 companies are women? Knowing your professional story’s bright, bold, happy ending anchors the narrative and helps you understand which pieces of your experiences, achievements, and results are relevant to your story.

 

Know Your Audience and Connect the Dots for Them

 

 

When you know your ending, you get a better sense of what your LinkedIn is for. Are you here to generate leads? Get the attention of recruiters? Make professional connections in your industry to move forward your vision? It’s common to think that your LinkedIn should be about you. But as any brand strategist will inform you, every message is about positioning the product to meet the needs of its consumer. On your LinkedIn page, your mission is to present yourself so your partners, employers, sponsors, investors or clients think “this person has the answers I need!”

First step to doing that: narrow who you’re talking to and identify their needs.

 

Look for inspiration

With your future clear and your audience set, we can now move onto style. Despite what the Internet might suggest, there is no one perfect template. Creating your leadership narrative on LinkedIn is a creative endeavor so make like all great artists and steal, steal, steal.

Choose a LinkedIn profile or two that speak to you and break down what’s working and not working about yours as you see it, and what you love about these other people’s profiles. Frankenstein the exact pieces of their profile you love into your own draft to get a sense of the right type of phrasing and order you might want.

 

Get to work

With all the pieces in front of you, it’s time to make this story your own. Keep what you love about your profile and ape the other people’s style, line by line if you want. If you love how someone tells a transformational story in their summary paragraph, go through each sentence of theirs and see how you could tell a similarly impactful story by swapping their details for yours. If you love how boldly someone describes their mission, try out your own. Even if it isn’t perfectly worded, it’s a start and definitely clearer than nothing, or what you had before. Remember, you can rewrite your LinkedIn.

 

You can have great dreams and the best experience to achieve them, but at some point, you’re going to need help from others. If you can’t communicate what you want and instill confidence in others that you’re the right person for that job, you’re fighting an uphill battle with one arm tied behind your back and an eye patch. Developing a story around your leadership to suit your audience’s needs is the first chapter of your gripping personal brand story. Spoiler alert: learn how to use your LinkedIn to tell a great story and you’ll reach your vision faster.

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