Getting that next position can be pretty frustrating. You know you’ve accomplished a lot, and that you’ve got the right experience. But no one is paying attention to your profile. No one is responding to your resume.
You feel like you’re hanging out on the line in a deserted landscape. You’re just blowing around in in the wind, unable to move or go forward. This limbo state is lonely and difficult. Waiting for someone to take you off the line and put you into that dream job can be demoralizing.
You just need someone to pay attention long enough to see your value.
But how do you make that happen?
Position Yourself Using the Right Keywords
I advise people refining their personal brands to do market research. Just like an organization going through the branding process, study your market. Look at your competition and at your target market.
For resumes and LinkedIn profiles, your competition is others who have the position you want. Your market is the people hiring.
4 Steps to Positioning Your Resume or Linkedin Profile
Step 1: Identify the right keywords. Look at other people’s profiles. Try to find 5 – 10. Identify and write down the words you see over and over. How are people in your field describing themselves? Their work? Their value?
Next, look at job descriptions for the position you want. Same thing – which words are they using to describe their desirable candidates? Which words are you seeing over, and over?
When I went through this process with Lynn Burdick, we chose the following keywords after doing this research:
- Stronger employee engagement
- Improve performance capability
- Develop systems that accelerate productivity
- Implement solutions
Step 2: Format your experience using these keywords. Take that big data set of your experience and start to format it with the right keywords.
For Lynn, we chose the following format to showcase her experience.
For each organization:
- 1-2 sentences describing the organization’s mission and how your work impacted that mission.
- List of successes expressed in metrics
- List of any outstanding accomplishments, promotions, or special projects
- List of your relevant skills
Step 3: Draft your summary section.
For Lynn, we chose the following format to show why she’s unique and has value for future employers.
- What motivates you to perform in this particular position?
- What drives you towards improvement?
- Under what circumstances do you succeed?
- Why do people choose to hire you?
- How did your background prepare you to succeed in your next role?
Step 4: Get market validation. Will this new presentation of yourself work? Only one way to find out! Talk to people who can give you authentic feedback.
The people you choose must be in a position to judge your resume or profile. That means reaching out to the people who understand the position you want, and possibly look at those resumes when choosing a candidate – superiors, recruiters, those doing that job right now. Make a list of people you know who work in organizations that have your desired position. Ask for introductions.
Arrange coffee dates. Ask for informational interviews. Take people to lunch. Email them. Reach out! Some people won’t respond, but some will. For those who are willing to talk with you, you’ll be top-of-mind when they hear of an open position.
Up Next – Establishing Social Proof of Your Value
You know your experience and summary are market-ready. Now it’s time to make it easy for others to talk about your work.
Ready to Get Started on Your Personal Brand Update?
Learn my process for getting recommendations, endorsements, and letters of recommendation. This process has worked every time I’ve used it.