Women Of Influence: Interview With Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s Career Expert

November 20, 2013

Women Of Influence: Interview With Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s Career Expert | CorporateFashionista.com

I’m always on the lookout for new ways to empower myself, especially when it comes to my career.

When I feel like my best self and super confident at work, life just seems to run more smoothly (and joyfully)…business solutions and ideas come faster, relationships are fun and easy; plus I need fewer cups of coffee, because it’s a dose of adrenaline like no other where anything and everything seems possible.

So when I had the opportunity to interview business maven, Nicole Williams, I jumped at it!

I’ve actually been following Nicole’s career for years. I believe the first time I saw her was on The Today Show. You’ve probably seen her too from one of her many TV appearances. In fact, last week she was on Katie Couric’s daytime talk show sharing her expertise. Or you may have read one of her bestselling books, the latest of which, Girl on Top: Your Guide to Turning Dating Rules into Career Success, has been optioned by the producers behind Academy Award winning films American Beauty, Milk and Silver Linings Playbook. Pretty cool, huh?! Or are you a fan of her website, WORKS by Nicole Williams, which was named one of Forbes magazine’s Top 10 Career Websites for Women?

Nicole is also LinkedIn’s Career Expert helping professionals understand how to enhance their careers using the LinkedIn network. Now, she’s just partnered with the Secret brand as their Secret Career Confidence Coach.

Let’s find out more directly from Nicole herself:

CF: You’re a true powerhouse in the field of career management and advancement for women. Where did this passion and dedication to enable women to live their best lives and achieve their professional dreams originate for you?

Nicole: I appreciate you saying that. I feel like I’ve been living this dream forever. I grew up in a small, industrial based town and my mom worked at the local paint and chemical manufacturing factory. Every day she would come home exhausted, defeated and kind of dead. I realized before I was even 7 or 8 that the work we do affects all aspects of our life – and that if you hate your work, it sucks the life out of you. As a kid I would ask everyone I would meet what they did, how they got there, where they went to school, how much they made – I was a career explorer long before this kind of work even existed. I promised myself I would strive to work in a way that is meaningful to me (not that there aren’t bad days) and then I committed myself to helping other women get to that goal along with me.

CF: My audience is really interested in professional presentation, because it’s such a visual world. What are your thoughts about what to wear to work? Do you have any go-to pieces that make you feel fearless?

Nicole: Your audience is right to be interested! You have about 2.2 seconds to make a first impression and your posture, clothes, hair and makeup all go into the mix. In terms of feeling fearless there are two parts to the equation: 1) What can you wear that will stand out and make you look amazing, but at the same time fit the culture of where you’re working? For example, the other day I had two meetings. One was an on-air segment on The Today Show and the other was a casual dinner with my investor. Each meeting had a different tone and required a different look and I actually took the time to change. 2) What makes you feel amazing? The better you feel, the more likely you are to feel confident and fearless. Work everything, including your wardrobe, in your favor. My go-to’s are shift dresses and at this point in my career, something that doesn’t need to be ironed! And no matter what color I’m wearing, I always use Secret Clinical Strength’s new Clear Gel form so I don’t have to worry about white marks on my outfit. Ed. note: Secret is one of Nicole’s sponsors, as is LinkedIn. Corporate Fashionista is not a paid or unpaid sponsor of Secret.

CF: I know you’re interested in all of the tools that enable a professional woman to feel self-assured and dynamic in the workplace. Why Secret Clinical Strength deodorant? And what’s new in its Collection?

Nicole: I am interested in all those tools and as simple as it is, Secret Clinical Strength is a primary tool that insures confidence. What I’ve learned in working with Secret is that body odor due to stress is worse than even athletic sweat! They partnered with Monell Chemical Senses Center who published a peer-reviewed study that revealed stress sweat odor causes people to negatively judge women’s confidence, competence and trustworthiness. Those are the basic tenants for creating career success and one day without antiperspirant/deodorant can have a tremendous impact – and I’m just not willing to risk that and I don’t think other women should either. In terms of what’s new, and this is amazing for those of us who love to wear black, Secret has just launched Clinical Strength in two new forms: Clear Gel, for no white marks, and Invisible Solid that goes on dry! The new Secret Clinical Strength Collection is the first and only clinical strength line available in all of the forms women want, with guaranteed 100% odor protection for the confidence to be fearless, everyday.

CF: As a LinkedIn Career Expert, what are your top three ways a professional women should be taking advantage of all that LinkedIn has to offer her? Is there a way to take these business relationships online to offline and vice versa?

Nicole: 1) Professionals who share articles or content with their LinkedIn network at least once a week are nearly ten times more likely to be contacted by a recruiter for new opportunities than people who don’t share with their network. So ask your network a question via your status update like “I’ve got a new business pitch with Nike tomorrow. Does anyone have any contacts over at Nike?” Or make a general comment like “I’m heading to the airport for a client meeting in Denver.” Remember it’s about quality over quantity because every status update you share is a reflection of who you are as a professional.

2) People always say dress for the job you want, right? Well, maybe it’s time to dress up your online profile picture. People with photos are seven times more likely to have their profiles viewed. Having a more polished image will not only make you visible, but it also lets employers know that you are serious about representing their company in the most professional way. A bare bones profile and presence on LinkedIn suggests that you don’t have stellar online networking skills. Plus, you’re twelve times more likely to have your profile viewed if you add more than one position to your profile.

3) When making a Connection Request always personalize your Message. Let the person know who you are and why you would like to connect with them.

CF: What’s next? What would make you feel good about the direction of women in the workplace? Do you foresee more women in leadership roles? Are there any direct steps she can take right now to ensure her success?

Nicole: I feel great about the direction women are taking in the workplace. I see women in more leadership roles and building their own businesses, creating productive and supportive environments for other women. There is a level of momentum and excitement in the world of work right now that I haven’t seen in years. The opportunities are endless – you just need to get out there and be fearless.

For more information on Nicole Williams, visit www.nicolewilliams.com.

Did you find Nicole’s tips to be helpful? Do you appreciate when brands such as LinkedIn and Secret partner with business experts to provide you with tools and encouragement to live your best life?

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