Imagine that you’re in the middle of the ocean at night. Surrounding you, just out of sight, are hundreds of ships loaded with treasure. Everything you want is aboard these ships: power, prestige, success beyond your wildest dreams.
How do you go about getting it?
Most people spend their time sailing to as many ships as possible. They busy themselves with logistics- having enough fuel for the journey, saying the right things to come aboard- and always wrestle with the doubts in their mind that whisper: what about the ships I haven’t sailed to yet? It’s an exhausting way to hunt for treasure, and requires an immense amount of effort to see any results.
Then there are those who don’t sail.
These people don’t spend their time fixing their boat and laboriously sailing out into the darkness.
Instead, they string up lights. And they connect it to a source of power, and they send out a beacon which draws ships in.
You need to think about your career in this way.
Recruiters are swamped with hundreds of emails per day, all of which represent people aboard their boats trying to gain access. The moment an employer posts a job on their website or LinkedIn, they can be assured of a veritable flood of applicants that run the gamut from “qualified” to “are you kidding me?”
Prospecting will always result in poor outcomes, and when you’re answering job postings and reaching out “cold” to people, that’s what you’re doing.
Positioning is all about being found. And when recruiters and hiring agents come to you, you don’t have to establish credibility and stand out. You’re already doing those things!
Here are some tips to light your beacon:
1) Create a Competitive LinkedIn Profile
The quickest way to gain traction on LinkedIn and start popping up on recruiter and hiring agent searches is to benchmark your competition, and adopt some of their strategies.
Let’s say you’re a General Merchandise Manager (GMM) at a luxury brand. Run a search on LinkedIn for GMMs at comparable companies, and closely study the profiles which turn up within the first 5-10 results. How do they describe themselves in the “Summary” section? Which keywords are in the “Skills” section? What LinkedIn Groups do they belong to? How do they engage with the community? Make a list of improvements, and then utilize these strategies for your own profile.
2) Turn Your Resume into a Networking Tool
Who says resumes need to be dull summarizations of your work history? Create a 1-Page “Networking” version designed to open conversations with people, and to further establish credibility when someone reaches out to you. Here are some details I use when developing these types of resumes for clients:
-Adding testimonials from peers, bosses, and colleagues. A great testimonial says more about you than pages of boasting. If you’re on LinkedIn, you may already have a few of these. If not, it’s well worth a polite ask to your network.
-Bulleted value-based highlights. Every detail within a Networking Resume should answer the same question: how did I add value to a particular situation? A good tip here is to describe the end result first (ex. Transformed IT from cost enter into a profit growth driver…) and then describe how you accomplished it.
3) Thought Leadership Through Writing
People get discouraged by the prospect of writing posts because they’re not starting out with a huge audience. Let’s face it, the first few (or few dozen) articles you publish online may not exactly be high traffic generators. But it’s important to remember that there’s a huge long-term upside to writing about your industry. These types of pieces establish your standing in the field, and help people to get a sense of your unique “voice”. Over time, it can lead to opportunities to publish in industry and mainstream publications. I’m still seeing clients come in from articles I’ve published back in 2009- there is no other form of marketing that has this kind of long-term traction!
-Start small but consistent. Schedule some time on a set day every week to write and publish at least 1 piece about your industry. You can expand your commitment as you start to see results.
This post originally appeared on WorkitDaily.com