Tag Archives: competitive advantage

Story differentiates your body of work

In today’s world of work, which is characterized by abundance, instability, and ingenuity, professionals have to find ways to differentiate themselves from the many others out there who possess the same or similar skills. How does one rise to the top of a mountain of great communicators, strong work ethics, and innovative, effective, responsible workers (these words all come from LinkedIn’s top ten most overused buzzwords of 2013)?

In oder to differentiate yourself and maximize your competitive advantage, you have to tell your story. Pamela Slim, author of Body of Work: Finding the thread that ties your story together, uses story herself to illustrate the resonance an engaging story can have. She tells the story of her father and John Legend among others, and shares her advice via stories of her own experiences as a career coach.  What story does is place your body of work:”…everything you create, contribute, affect, and impact. For individuals, it is the personal legacy you leave at the end of your life, including all the tangible and intangible things you have created” (Source) into a unique context.

Slim’s book is a great starting point for discovering how to tell your story, but you can also draw much inspiration from the remarkable examples of professional stories on Slideshare.net. One such story is Matt Henshaw’s “How to Rock the Perfect LinkedIn Profile”:

Henshaw’s deck is of course a beautiful example of clean, minimalist design. It’s also one of the best examples of a professional story I’ve seen since David Crandall’s “Anti-Resume Manifesto.” Henshaw tells the story of being “this close” to achieving his dream–being a professional musician–losing a major record contract, redefining himself as a college graduate and computer science sustainability research assistant (phew!), finding his way back to his passion, and articulating a successful plan to pursue this passion as career.

It’s so difficult to tell our own stories at times, especially through a visual medium. Finding the right way to begin a story that for us has very fuzzy beginnings can stop most of us from sharing that story with others (no one tells you to think about how working at a local grocery store is the start of you becoming a teacher 20 years later). Matt’s deck is both inspirational and useful. It shows us that a story can compel viewers, contextualize “failure”, and that careful attention to every version of your story on the web can make a difference. If you want to maximize your competitive advantage, create a body of work and then tell your story.

 

 

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Slideshare of the Day: Advice for Graduates

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Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn has written one of my new favorite books and produced two decks that have absolutely inspired me as we move into the second half of the new year. The Start Up of You explains how an entrepreneurial spirit and approach can help all professionals (even us teachers) grow and develop.

His second deck, “The Three Secrets of Highly Successful Graduates”, is a must share (and view) from teachers to students. It’s also inspired me to add a few bits of Hoffman insight to my latest deck, “Tweak Your Resume”. Check out the deck below:

Tweak Your Resume Preview

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I felt Hoffman’s discussion of what competitive advantage means fit right in with why a visual resume is so useful.

What are your assets, aspirations, and how do those fit in with what your industry wants and needs?

What are your assets, aspirations, and how do those fit in with what your industry wants and needs?

Finally, here is draft two of my unemployment slide. What do you think, Margaret?

Tweak Your Resume1.012

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