Turning an Incredible Executive Career Into the Interim Career You Want: Get LinkedIn or Get Left Out
In our ongoing blog series, we explore ways to grow your interim career and secure the opportunities you want. In this blog, we promote strategies from Mark James (founder and president of Hire Consulting Services) to help you leverage LinkedIn to its fullest.
What’s happening: Talent exodus is driving interim opportunities.
Across the world, today’s biggest organizational challenge is talent. Finding it. Retaining it. Optimizing it. There’s a major exodus of employees changing jobs or leaving the workplace altogether. Organizations need help retaining the talent they have, finding new talent to fill open roles, and ensuring they have the leadership they need to move forward. Many are turning to interim executives as a solution. And for interim executives seeking new roles, the conditions have never been better.
What’s required: Clear differentiation and savvy self-promotion.
To stand out in an increasingly competitive environment, you need to become an expert at promoting yourself. And it goes farther than simply having a great resume and CV (although that’s important, too). You also need to know how to stand out on the world’s largest professional online networking platform—LinkedIn.
10 Tips to Optimize Your LinkedIn Presence
During a recent conversation with Mark James (founder and president of Hire Consulting Services), we learned several tips to improve your visibility.
“Today there are over 450 million LinkedIn subscribers worldwide, but if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile that’s ranked and optimized, you really don’t get seen,” he said. “If it’s your goal to get more consulting or interim/fractional management roles, you have to be very prominent on the #1 social media site in the world (LinkedIn).”
1. Know (and share) your story.
What’s your greatest talent? Your most valuable deliverable? The thing (or things) you do better than anyone else on this side of the equator? That’s your “story” – and it needs to be clearly communicated everywhere you promote yourself, especially on your LinkedIn profile.
2. Define your DNA.
That means your Drive (what motivates you); your Niche (your exclusive area of focus) and your Accomplishments (what sets you apart). Take time to describe how you got to where you’re at today, and what you can do to satisfy a company’s needs and wants.
3. Know your keywords.
On LinkedIn, everything revolves around keywords. Whatever it is that defines you (your expertise, deliverables, skill sets, unique value), use those keywords throughout your profile to get a higher ranking during a search. Optimize those keywords by using them repeatedly in different sections.
4. Maximize your banner headline.
Your banner headline used to be limited to 20 characters, but it’s now been expanded to include more information. The more you can share about your uniqueness and special skills in the headline, the better. Think about sharing a mantra, slogan, philosophy or whatever you’re passionate about.
5. Make (and build) thoughtful connections.
When you meet new business colleagues, ask to connect with them on LinkedIn. If you get a connection request, make sure you know them or have a mutual connection. Don’t just accept the connection automatically. Take time to introduce yourself and see if there’s relevance in the connection. If so, accept the connection, but take it one step further by setting up a phone call or Zoom meeting to get to know each other and see how you may be able to help each other in your careers.
6. Harness the power of groups.
With premium LinkedIn membership, you can join up to 50 different groups, including industry associations related to your field (e.g., finance, manufacturing, sales, marketing), or vertical markets you support. Look at discussions, review others’ posts and offer your perspective (see formula below).
7. Use the “5-3-1” daily activity formula.
One of the best ways to boost your LinkedIn visibility is to take these actions every day (five days a week):
5 times a day: “Like” something you see. Look for people who have posted something that you like or agree/align with. Click the like button. It’s a great way to get noticed and appreciated.
3 times a day: “Comment” on a post you like. Share why you agree, how you can relate to it, or add another idea, suggestion or tip.
1 time a day: Post or share one thing new from you. It could be something you wrote or a relevant article you found elsewhere online. Simply post it and add a comment about why it inspires you, why you agree, or any additional perspective that demonstrates your expertise. All of your followers will see the activity, which increases your visibility as a subject matter expert or thought leader.
8. Be diligent and consistent.
Commit to doing some activity on LinkedIn five days a week. The activities themselves may be small, but they all add up to much greater visibility over time.
9. Find a customized image.
Use a high-resolution background image behind your profile picture—something related to your industry or vertical market. A Google search will pull up hundreds of free options.
10. Build your bank of recommendations.
Offer to recommend your clients, colleagues, or customers, then ask if they would be willing to return the favor. (Most will say yes.)
Want to keep growing your interim career? Stay tuned to this blog series for additional guidance to help you find and land the roles you want.