In the digital age, how you connect with potential employers has evolved, so it’s time to embrace a more innovative approach to LinkedIn (LI) outreach. This article will explore how harnessing the power of digital storytelling can be a game-changer when it comes to engaging employers on LinkedIn.
The Power of Storytelling
Storytelling harnesses the power of emotions. Therefore, your LinkedIn content should resonate with prospective employers on a personal level. Your story should present you as a relatable character with relevant and relatable experiences. This relatability engages your audience, promotes their active participation, and establishes a deeper connection.
Additionally, a story’s clear structure aids recall by creating mental images that activate visual memory, and its sequential nature aids retention. When that structured content is relevant to your audience’s pain points, it creates a personal connection, and personal anecdotes and experiences establish a strong rapport. Overall, storytelling is a memorable communication tool because it leverages the brain’s natural affinity for emotional, relatable, and structured narratives, making information—your information—“stick” in your future employers’ minds.
Crafting Your Professional Narrative
A good story has several important elements:
Hook – “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” Sound familiar? Great stories have memorable first lines. Regarding a LinkedIn headline, LI coach Marie Fray says, “You have to encourage the recruiter or prospect to click on ‘see more.’ To do this, get straight to the heart of the matter” (Welcome to the Jungle).
Exposition – The exposition is your summary, or the background information that sets the stage. Use it to answer the questions: Who are you? What is your objective? What value do you bring to the table? Let your personality shine in the first few sentences, and try to take a unique angle that highlights your personal brand.
Rising Action – Here’s your chance to tell a story-within-your-story by recounting an experience (or more than one) that showcases your value proposition. Here, recount a scenario in which you proved your worth by describing the ‘situation’ and ‘task’ portions of the STAR method (situation, task, action, and results).
Climax – This is the ‘action’ portion of the STAR method. What did you actually do? Describe the process in expressive, specific language.
Dénouement – This is the ‘results’ part of the STAR method. How did the situation resolve? Did your actions increase productivity by (X) percent? Did they solve a specific problem? How did they save the day?
The Visual Storytelling Advantage
Visuals enrich an already-great story and make it even more memorable. By taking advantage of LinkedIn’s visual options like photos and videos, you increase your profile’s appeal, making employers more likely to engage with it. Visual content also enables you to showcase your work, projects, and portfolios, which gives potential employers a clearer understanding of your skills and expertise than words alone. Finally, using strong visuals in your LinkedIn outreach provides a competitive edge in a visually-driven digital world, helping you stand out and make an unforgettable impression.
Interactive Storytelling Techniques
Interactive storytelling is a product of our digital world. In essence, it leverages “visually dynamic digital elements—including video, illustrations, 3D objects, and animations—which allow audiences to experience and interact with stories” (Vev).
In your LinkedIn Outreach to potential employers, you might want to try some of the following digital techniques to set yourself apart. Each element on the list is linked to an article that explains it in more depth.
- Scrollytelling – Using the scrolling function to sequentially reveal content; combining text, multimedia, and interactivity to guide the user through a narrative.
- Text Animation – Altering the appearance of written words through visual effects, movement, or transitions to convey information in a visually engaging manner.
- Microinteractions – User interface design details that provide feedback or enhance the user experience by responding to small user actions and behaviors.
- Audio – Using sound to bring a rich, multisensory dimension to stories.
- Video – Video instantly creates a more engaging user experience.
Personalizing Outreach Stories
Your LinkedIn outreach shouldn’t simply be a sterile list of skills and degrees that could apply to the majority of those who work in your industry. Include elements that are unique to you. Don’t be afraid to get personal: What are your hobbies and passions? What is your family dynamic? Where are you from? Who are your heroes? How did you land in this career? You don’t have to answer all of these questions, of course. The idea is to get you thinking about how you can spotlight your individuality and give your story a personal touch.
To get employers to notice you, tell them a story they won’t forget. Hook them with an eye-catching headline, set up your unique backstory, recount an action-packed, results-oriented narrative, use plenty of engaging visuals and digital storytelling techniques, and then sit back and watch the requests pour in.
By Octavio Lepe
Octavio is the search practice leader for Executive Management, Sales & Marketing, and D&I in the Americas.
Barbachano International is the premier executive search and leadership advisory firm in the Americas (USA, Mexico, Canada, and Latin America) with a focus on diversity and multicultural target markets. Outplacement, Exe