Question; when was the last time you tried a new restaurant without a recommendation or Google search to hear what other customers had to say? After all, why would you? There’s no need to risk a bad meal with so many reputable options to choose from.
In fact studies show that only a small percentage of people are willing to take a risk on a service, product or person without an independent review.
This natural tendency to follow the crowd is known as social proof. Social proof is the concept that most people will follow the actions of the masses. Regardless of whether you fall into this category, the idea is that with enough third party endorsements, the person, product or service appears tried and true.
This is why social proof is critical to building a powerful online brand.
Now for a moment, I’ll ask you to try on a different hat. Pretend you’re in the position of interviewing candidates for a program manager position at your company. Hiring is inherently risky, and your job is at stake. The wrong hire could put the entire project at risk. In addition to skills and abilities, you’ll want to cover your bases by accessing as much information as you can about candidates before you bring them in for an interview.
Makes sense, right? Since the hiring process is fast and the opportunity to get to know candidates is limited, potential employers look to social proof to confirm you’re a great choice. The power of social proof lies in the objectivity. That is, someone else is telling your story, so theoretically, the credibility is higher.
Of course, relaying your experience, education and accomplishments on your resume still establishes the foundation for your brand, but your resume can’t do all the talking. Hiring managers want proof that you’re a great candidate before they bring you in for an interview. By including 3rd party endorsements and testimonials you can use this process to tell the story you want them to hear.
3 Steps to a Powerful Online Brand:
- Not sure what to say? Take a personality assessment
This is a great starting point for your brand foundation. Describing yourself as other’s see you is hard! We’re not always clear about the impact we make in the workplace, so it’s not uncommon to struggle with what to say. So look at past performance evaluations for clues, or try my favorite tool; professional assessments.
My personal favorite is an assessment known as Strength Finders. It’s 19.95 for the basic version, but if you’re looking for clues to your strengths and characteristics, it’s worth the investment. Another free option is Via Character Strength Finder: https://www.viacharacter.org/character-strengths.
Note: you’re not looking for a deep dive analysis here, but rather a strong starting point from which to answer the question “tell me about yourself”, in a way that’s clear, concise and compelling.
Now you can start your branding statement with;
- I’m a builder
- I’m an extroverted geek
- I’m a diplomat
This is a much better way to introduce yourself than repeating the job title and your summary statement. That’s what your resume is for.
- Frame it as a third party endorsement
Hiring managers expect you to claim the skills and characteristics listed in the job description. What makes it more compelling is communicating what other people say about you. For example you may be:
- Recognized for excellent communications skills
- Known as the office negotiator
- (a) recognized expert in conflict resolution
Once you identify your unique value proposition, your branding statement can go something like this:
- I’m a builder, a highly skilled project manager recognized for my ability to take an idea from concept to completion.
- I’m an extroverted geek, known as the go-to person for resolving tech challenges, because colleagues find me so easy to work with.
- I’m a diplomat. I’m known as the office negotiator for my ability to quickly and calmly help to resolve interpersonal conflict.
3. Use testimonials in your LinkedIn profile
You can leverage the power of testimonials to let prospective employers know what kind of employee and team member you’ll be as soon as they see your LinkedIn profile.
As opposed to formal recommendations, testimonials can come from colleagues, customers, anyone in a professional setting familiar with your work. If someone emails something nice to you, like “I appreciate your strong follow though, and attention to detail”, you’ve got the makings of a powerful testimonial!
You may already have testimonials in the form of recommendations on LinkedIn. These are great, but when prospective employers are skimming LinkedIn, they may not take the time to scroll all the way down. Remember, this is a fast-paced process and you need to make a great first impression.
So, make their jobs easier by placing a powerful one-line testimonial in the About section of your LinkedIn profile. Be sure to keep it “above the fold”, or the point where a reader has to click to see more.
Here is an example of a LinkedIn profile with a testimonial in the About section:
Angela Apple Helping manufacturers become more efficient through process engineering | GMP-Certified | Project Manager | CQE
I’m a builder; a GMP-Certified project manager recognized for the ability to take an idea from concept to completion. Equally comfortable with Agile, Scrum, and Lean Six Sigma methodologies, my projects succeed because I remain focused on the big picture while ensuring project members have the resources necessary to achieve engineering milestones.
“Angela is a highly skilled project manager who remains focused and effective, regardless of how challenging the job becomes. I can always count on her to keep her team on track and moving forward”. – Gwen Russell, former manager
Leverage your brand throughout your professional communications!
Google yourself to review your social profiles. You’ll want to establish consistency and stay memorable by weaving you brand into cover letters, even your email signature. &You can use it to introduce herself in interviews or professional networking conversations as well.
This strategy not only differentiates you from candidates with similar backgrounds, it uses the power of social proof to help you overcome the barriers standing between you and your dream job.
Here’s to your success!
Are you ready to take your job search to the next level?
Studies show career candidates who work with a certified career coach get placed significantly faster and at higher paying jobs than those who self-search. If you’d like to explore some options,
connect with me on LinkedIn; linkedin.com/in/elizabethborelli
or email me at email@example.com to schedule a complimentary 20-minute intro session to learn if NextCareerCoaching is the right fit for you!