“You did great, but they ultimately went with someone with more energy.”
We all know what more energy really means, right? They think you’re too old.
But here’s the thing: our current President is 70 years old, the oldest in history. The median age of a Fortune 500 CEO is 58. So clearly age isn’t a stumbling block under the right circumstances.
So the question becomes: how do you build a brand that turns your age and wisdom into an asset instead of a liability?
Make it Personal
The age of using clichéd buzzwords as a stand-in for a powerful brand are over. According to LinkedIn, the average employer spends between 5-10 seconds viewing a candidate’s profile. When they see terms like self-starter and detail-oriented in there, it sends a message that this person belongs to the old guard. It’s time to fix that.
Ask yourself the following:
- Who’s my target audience?
- What’s my purpose?
- What are my values?
- What are my passions? Include both professional and non-professional passions here.
Now it all together into an executive brand statement:
I’m a CEO that brings an unmatched track record of success, an enormous love of people, and an all-consuming desire to positively impact the world. Securing profits and being able to hold your head up high as one of the “good guys” aren’t mutually exclusive- I show companies how to strike that balance.
This is the core of your brand and should serve as the touchstone for every piece of content and every asset you put out there. Keep returning to it regularly, and ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing actively supporting my brand?”
Make it Social
Controlling the first few results that show up during a Google search for your name is the foundation of “social proof” and a shortcut to establishing credibility. Regardless of your experience level, if you’re not actively managing this you will be perceived as dated.
-Snap up your “name” assets. Secure your domain name (ex. FirstNameLastName.com) or something as close to it as possible. Do the same for LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and any other relevant social media platforms. Remember: just because you’ve secured it doesn’t mean you have to start using it right away. You just want the flexibility to grow into a new platform, using your name, at a time of your choosing.
-Establish Authority. Creating a powerful, branded presence on a platform like LinkedIn will do wonders for social proof. Be sure to create a headline which goes beyond your current job title (ex. “Executive Chairman, XYZ Company and Force for Positive Social Change.”). Create a “Summary” section which highlights and expands upon your brand statement. And include bulleted CAR format accomplishments (Challenge-Action-Result) within the “Experience” section to really stand out.
–Go Visual. Upload a clear, friendly headshot across your social media sites and website. Add links to any recent media articles. Consider creating a “Case Studies” document or portfolio of recent work which you can share. These lend depth to your online presence.
Make it Dynamic
What’s your #1 career goal? Is it to secure a new role? Drum up business? Increase your media profile and become a “go to” voice in your industry? Your answer will inform everything you do in terms of actively promoting your brand.
-Deploy an engagement strategy. Regularly sharing content, both yours and that of others, is the key to building an audience. Focus on addressing major pain points- sometimes the best way to achieve this is through an in-depth blog post, other times it’s firing off a Tweet or LinkedIn status update that offers a “hot take” on what’s currently going on. Expert tip: use a service like Buffer or Hootsuite to “tee up” weeks, and even months worth of posts in advance across all of your social media channels.
-Create a Brand-Centric Resume. A key component of a successful executive brand is synchronicity across online AND offline channels. Replace that tired “Objective” section with 3-4 bullet points that immediately address the pain points of your audience. Use a “Cluster” format for the Professional Experience section that ONLY elaborates upon those roles which support your goals, and consolidate others into a “Prior Experience” or “Years” section (ex. Experience 1997-2001).
Remember: the more you develop your brand, the more your unique voice will rise to the surface. Experiment across platforms, track what’s working and what’s not, and show the world that your value is ageless.