Win Visibility and Positioning in 2010

One of my readers asked for some tips on winning visibility and positioning in anticipation of a recovering 2010. Josie, this post was written with you in mind.

If you read my post from last week, The Competition is Heating Up, you know that competition for every job is going to be even more fierce in 2010. The competition for opportunities though, can be far less. Amazingly, companies are still complaining about finding top talent. That means, it’s time to move out of the war zone (posted position game) and into a smaller battle field (online and offline networking) in order to out-maneuver the competition!

Visibility … With today’s Web 2.0 technology, there is just no excuse for any CFO to not have a strong digital footprint. Create an integrated strategy with all of your social networking sites, using hash tags to push a post or tweet to your other sites. For example, use a Twitter account to gain visibility among recruiters AND build credibility around your digital footprint. Push selected tweets to your Facebook account and Linked In status update bar merely by using hash tags. 

You are who Google says you are … particularly to people you want to know about you. Set up Google alerts on your name so you can see what’s being said about you and by whom. Google your name, in quotes (i.e., “cindy kraft”), at least weekly to monitor your digital footprint. It’s not enough to have “stuff” in Google, a credible online reputation delivers clarity and consistency around your value proposition.  

Positioning … Boring, dull, commodity — being like everyone else — is out. Well, lost in the masses for sure. In high school we all wanted to be “like” the cool kids. As senior-level finance executives, the goal is to stand alone so you can be noticed. Identify what you have that a company is willing to pay (big bucks) to get, and then shout it to your target market … clearly, consistently, and constantly.

I was asked in Monday’s Netshare Ask-a-Coach call about the marketability of a subject matter expert vs. a generalist. My belief is that knowing a lot about a little trumps knowing a little about a lot … and, that everyone is an expert about something, they just might not realize it or know how to unearth it. 

Win solid positioning by understanding what it is that you do well and love doing and who needs it, and then build your communication strategy around that message. 

How Critical is Linked In?

That was one of the many great questions asked during one of my recent Netshare Ask-a-Coach calls. My response … so critical that it is part of every package I sell and we spend at least one coaching session around how to leverage the power of that Web 2.0 technology. While you are launching a proactive effort, Linked In is an ongoing, powerful, portable, 24/7 strategy.

In order to understand how important Linked In is to my clients’ career management strategy, I talk with recruiters. I have yet to talk with one who does not use Linked In as one of his or her primary tool to source passive candidates. In fact, “A Recruiters Guide to the Universe” ranks Linked In and Linked In Groups as the two primary ways to connect job seekers and recruiters. Networking accounts for 40-70% of all opportunities. Being active on Linked In is networking. 

So what’s “most important” about your Linked In profile. I’ve come up with 5 things:

Create a Powerful Branded Summary 


This is not your daddy’s boring bio either. This summary, limited by 2,000 characters, is your opportunity to showcase how you do what you do (your brand) that is different and unique from others who do the same or similar things.  


More is Better 


It is great to have your employers and job titles, past and present, listed as part of your profile. But that is not enough. In the world of key searches, more is better.  The amount of information online acts as a pre–qualifier and gives both you and a prospect a framework to begin establishing a relationship. 


Create your Vanity URL 

Linked In allows you to create vanity URLs, and it is a great way to increase your Google rankings … if you have also made your stellar profile available for public viewing … which I highly recommend.  


Join Groups 


The big fish, small pond analogy definitely applies here. Joining groups allows you to mingle with like–minded folks and gain access to their contact information … even if the person is not a 1st degree contact in your network. Be sure to set your contact information option to open, so others can contact you as well. 

And finally … 

Third party recommendations are extremely important on Linked In. These are very powerful endorsements that add credibility to the statements in your profile and employment history, and are critical to your positioning.

Career Protection Plan

Monday was my turn to host Netshare’s Ask the Coach call – always a very fun time for me – and there were a record number of folks on the call. A sign of the times I suppose. Many more people unemployed, which means much stiffer competition for the few available top jobs. 

While it is too late to evangelize to those already in the tough position of being unemployed, it is not too late for those of you who are safe and secure, at least for today. No job is secure forever. Not even the CFO role. If you are employed, now is the time to create your career protection plan to help ensure a smooth transition to the position you want, when you want to make the move.

What better time to create a 3-5 year business plan for your career then the start of a new year? Here are a few first steps for you to consider …

–What is it about you that is unique and marketable? The only way to beat the very stiff competition is to be crystal clear about the value you bring to a potential company … and then,

–And not until then, develop your marketing documents around a branded marketable value proposition (MVP).

–Get on the radar of your target market. What does your digital footprint say about you? Can you be found by the people who are looking for folks like you? 

–Network even when you don’t “need” to be networking. Your network is never more valuable then when you are in a position to help others … because that earns you the right to ask for help when you need it. 

–Build recruiter relationships in advance. The chances of a recruiter being available to you when you are ready to move are much greater when you have established a strong alliance with him … in advance of needing him.  

Your marketability is highest when you are gainfully employed with a clear marketable value prop. Create your plan, and then execute. A mere 15 minutes a day can mean the difference between sitting among the ranks of the unemployed or being a high-value, hunted prospect with a continual stream of potential opportunities.

Maintaining Control

I was the guest coach on yesterday’s “Ask the Coach” call for Netshare. Since we always have new people rolling into the call, the questions are sometimes repeats from prior months. Yesterday was no exception.

The question was, generally, “when should I follow up after the interview?”

The job search market is tough. Waiting to hear after the interview oftentimes forces you into a frustrating, anxiety–driven state. You think the interview went well, but you hear nothing. It’s been two weeks, and you don’t know what to do or when to do it.

Here’s where maintaining control becomes your most empowering weapon. Ask when you can expect to hear back and follow up by asking permission to call them if you haven’t heard by a time certain. You will know what to do and when to do it.

Maintain control and keep the power.

Of course, my philosophy is that your real power comes from having a 3 to 5–year strategic plan for your career. Knowing where you want to go, when you want to arrive, who you need to know, and who needs to know about you is where the real power lies.