Let's talk about first impressions.
At past networking events, when someone asks you what you do, do you know what to say, or are you a deer in the headlights?
The truth is, networking is difficult for most people, including people who consider themselves extroverts or who are even really good at their jobs. It's very intimidating to go up to someone you don't know and talk about yourself in a way that's confident and impressive. Personally, I find it difficult, and I literally do this for a living.
So I want you to take a deep breath and step back. It's time to do some critical thinking.
What do you really want out of your career? What kind of work really excites you and makes you feel fulfilled at the end of the day?
Is it leading a team? Strategic analysis? Research? Training and education? Getting others excited and onboard? Compliance? Product development? Improving existing products? Customer care?
Because job titles and industries change, but you are who you are. And there is nobody on this earth like you. And although you might not be where you'd like to be right now, you've developed skills that employers are looking for.
Let me give you an example. I live in Orlando, Florida. Our economy relies heavily on tourism. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the entire hospitality industry has taken a huge hit. Hotel occupancy is down. Restaurants are closed. Events and conventions have been cancelled. I've seen friends who are amazing at what they do get laid off. Which begs the question… how do you move on when your industry changes dramatically?
I have a friend named Matt who has worked in the hospitality industry for twenty plus years. He's done everything from being a hotel valet to managing the front desk to putting on incredible events. He was recently laid off from a large hotel chain, and like many people, he is at a stage in his career where he wants to take his skills and pivot to a job that's a little more work from home and strategy-oriented.
This is where a concept called transferrable skills to come in. These are the skills you have cultivated throughout your career that are an asset to any organization. Whether you are looking for a job in a similar industry or a different one, you have to think about which skills are applicable to a new role. For instance, Matt loves people. He's extremely patient and caring. He's good at multitasking and moving all the little parts around to accommodate guests.
These tasks are much different than, say, client management. He would make a phenomenal project or account manager, which is a job that can be done virtually rather than in-person.
Many companies have had to move their workforce from an office to working from home. When Matt markets himself as a project manager, he is strategically positioning himself for future, higher-paying work.
If you are looking to stay in a similar position you are in now, which job tasks do you want to keep on doing? If you are looking to make a career change, which transferable skills have you developed in past jobs that would be applicable to transitioning to your new career of choice?
It's time to think back to times in your career when you really felt you were winning. When you were killing it. If you are having trouble remembering, maybe look back on past projects, old emails, or talk with a friend or colleague, so they can remind you how amazing you are.
Our brains have a built-in negativity bias. Negativity bias is a psychological inclination where we tend to feel the sting of defeat more than the joy of success. We can do 100 good things in a day, but that one awkward interaction or time we screwed up will keep us up at night. It can be easy to forget the wins along the way. I hope you take this time during your research to remember the incredible things you've done, because you're going to continue to do more incredible things in the future.
Before we get into the actual writing of the LinkedIn profile itself, I want you to think about what you enjoy and who you want to be. Visualize it. Our lives are so jam-packed, it's often easy to forget how far we've come. So take some time to remember. It's time to step out of the shadows and into the light.
Because in the next lesson, we are going to create a LinkedIn headline that immediately communicates your value.