by Shea Ki
What if you could do something to boost your career momentum that didn't cost anything but some courage and a little time?
You can! It is called creating your LinkedIn Cover Story. This feature on your LinkedIn profile allows us to record up to 30 seconds for a video introduction message.
I hear a lot of different reasons that many still have not recorded and posted theirs.
"It feels weird talking about myself like this...."
"I don't know what to say...."
"I'm fine until I hit the record button, then I start not sounding like myself...."
It can be an overwhelming step to take. And yes, it has risk involved, too. If it isn't done well, a 30 second intro video could lead to experiencing harmful bias in a world of work that is still so sadly saturated with racism and hiring bias issues.
However, I also believe that when we share communication about our work that is authentic, captivating, and effective, it opens the door to more possibilities.
As I offered in my previous blog post, when you learn how to ACE your message of professional value, it quickens the journey to aligning with work opportunities that fit and feel good.
But life gets busy. Trying something new, no matter how beneficial it may be for our career growth, can be hard to find time to execute. Even as a coach who constantly helps other professional women learn and practice how to communicate with impact, I kept putting creating my cover story off. This prompted me to start a LinkedIn Cover Story Challenge to see if that would help myself and others get it done.
I discovered through this challenge some GREAT NEWS! When you invest the time to learn a few tips on how to do your LinkedIn Cover Story, you can experience a big return of benefits back. Reflecting on what you will say, practicing it, and then creating a Linked In Cover Story that you are proud of will serve you in so many ways, including:
1) The clarity you will gain in talking about who you enjoy doing work for brings much relief. Getting more clear on this is also extra useful if you have been feeling stuck in your career journey or not sure what next best step to take.
2) You can use all or parts of your intro/cover story in networking meetings, to help kick off any interview on a more engaging note when they say, "tell me about yourself", or as a post to help clarify to others what your work is about on other social media.
3) The boost in confidence I saw myself, my clients, friends, and colleagues experience once we posted our LinkedIn cover story is priceless.
🌟There is a new energy that comes from knowing for sure we have given ourselves time to look inward so we can clearly express outward on video a highlight about our professional value.
For me, getting out of my own way to get this done felt empowering.
The incredible professionals I list below all tagged in to complete the challenge and volunteered to share their lessons learned. I hope these examples, tips, (and resources listed later in the blog post) will spark you up about the advantages that adding a cover story to your LinkedIn profile can provide.
Amazing Cover Story Examples & Tips
The idea of me doing a LinkedIn Cover Story Challenge was made possible first by Cathy Francois's willingness to be a good sport when I asked if she wanted to start a challenge with me. I knew I needed an extra supportive nudge to commit to recording and posting one and accountability.
Cathy and I gave each other one month and checked in every week to see how it was going. If something was holding us back, we could share that with each other openly whether it was a tech issue or feeling like maybe we should get our hair done first.
I highly suggest to start a challenge with a co-worker or friend as it makes the journey to get it done SO much more enjoyable. Having someone else to share your excuses for not doing something that you know will be helpful to your career momentum can spur you into action to GET IT DONE.
As Cathy put it best in one of our recent conversations about doing the LinkedIN Cover Story Challenge, "it's nice to get an external push and support from someone who can relate."
Here are time-saving and practical tips from Cathy about creating your LinkedIn Cover Story:
One more suggestion that resonated with me that she shared was, "I adjusted the pitch of my voice to bring a level of excitement because I can sound monotone in my relaxed voice." I also set an intention of how I want the tone of my voice to sound before recording and it helps every time.
View Cathy's cover story on her LinkedIn Profile for an excellent example of someone who is offering lots of value to others through several professional roles as well as being the founder of Rezume Forward.
Have you ever crossed paths with someone who right away you can tell they are golden from the inside out?
It's such a great feeling! Alison Bucklin is one of those brilliant bright lights on LinkedIn who is just as warm, caring and positive in person as she is in her inspiring content she shares. Somehow she made participating in the cover story challenge a priority, despite the long list of professional commitments and personal responsibilities she juggles every day.
When she agreed to do the cover story challenge, I did a little happy dance in my home office. I know for sure this is a professional, energizing woman who walks her talk and would share some fantastic guidance about what she learns.
And here it is:
"When creating my cover story I approached it as a welcome to my profile and an introduction to me and who I am. What was important for me was to incorporate my values into the video. As a suggestion for someone who is thinking about what to say, I would suggest they bring their values into it! A short video welcoming viewers to their profile and stating what their top five values are would be a simple way to utilize this feature as well as attract those with similar values!"
View Alison's cover story on her LinkedIn Profile so you can see the powerful difference it makes to talk about your top values and how it engages others into wanting to learn more about your work.
Another fantastic professional on LinkedIn who stepped up to do the cover story challenge includes Philip Wilkerson III. With his SUPER full plate as an industry advisor at George Mason University, running his own podcast, doing all the work needed for getting published in a highly respected journal in his field, and much more, Philip still made the time to create and post his LinkedIn cover story.
We can all benefit from his guidance on getting this type of video done:
"Don't overthink your video. It is just a brief introduction of who you are. You can always update the cover video in the future. Now, I plan to update my video at least once a year to keep it fresh and current with what I am doing."
I appreciate Philip's way he helps us not take these types of things too seriously, as that often makes us our own worse enemies in getting something new like this recorded and shared with others.
Keep the pressure to get it exactly right in perspective, or as Philip shared with me, "Nothing is permanent, so don’t trip if your cover video is not perfect.”
View Philip's LinkedIn Cover story and notice how engaging it is when someone shares their genuine self and offers a specific call to action to the audience they most want to connect with.
I knew I would come up with excuses to keep procrastinating from posting a LinkedIn cover story and I did. ☺️ But once Sabrina Woods joined in the challenge with me, it shifted my thinking and lack of action. I admire her work considerably and consider her a good friend, so I wanted to make sure we both finished out the LinkedIn cover story challenge feeling proud of ourselves.
I think Sabrina's lessons learned demonstrate the type of grace we all need to give ourselves when creating a 30 second LinkedIn Cover Story. Since for many it is outside our comfort zone, she advises:
"Try not to over think it. But of course easier said than done. Also, it doesn’t have to be perfect. I looked back at mine and thought I looked kind of tired, but I’m just letting that go. I’ll also add that it can be really short, you don’t have to use the full amount of time."
View Sabrina Woods' LinkedIn cover story to see how being concise and open about what lights you up can add a new, powerful dimension to your introduction on LinkedIn.
With everyone who participated, it took some nudging back and forth and at times helping each other with tech issues in figuring it out. Other priorities in work and life also rose to the surface and needed our energy and attention, but remembering the benefits of conquering this challenge kept us all on board.
WE all crossed the finish line by conquering the challenge and finally posting our first LinkedIn cover stories!
Here is where you'll find mine on LinkedIn or you can view it on my Instagram, too. It took me way more takes than I expected. ☺️ I had to re-post it a few times because of tech issues, my brain freezing up, or words going too fast. Thankfully, when I remembered to treat this professional activity more like an interview and do some energy work with a pre-ritual, like the one I talk about here, it got much easier and enjoyable to do.
No, this isn't my Instagram "Top 9".
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