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  • linkedin profileMake no mistake, the value of building a LinkedIn profile of quality is only going to get more important as we get deeper into the 21st century. If you haven’t at least opened a basic LinkedIn account, then you should do so as soon as possible. In our first installment of “Building a LinkedIn Profile that Gets Attention”, we touched on the value of first knowing which audience you were seeking. We also stressed the development of high-impact and creative use of our introductory aspects of the profile. Let’s look at deeper at the various aspects of the LinkedIn profile to see where we can make set ourselves apart.

    Professional Photo

    Facebook and Instagram may be great places to use “creative” pics for your profile, but remember that LinkedIn is where you are solidifying your professional brand in the digital world (although it can be argued that the other social media accounts play a role in establishing your brand that many downplay). If you have not already, locate a corporate headshot photographer in your area and have headshots taken. This is the first exposure many will have to you professionally, and first impressions matter. Does your profile picture say “I am a career-minded professional looking to make strong, mutually beneficial relationships”? Or, does it say “I am a bit of a flake who doesn’t take my role as a professional very seriously”?

    Job Descriptions: Balancing Brevity with Search

    Your job description entries in the LinkedIn profile allow up to 2000 characters. Well, in the digital world, we are not bound by the two-page limit we have to recognize for the resume’s development. However, we do not want to use all 2000 just because we can. You still want to respect show respect for the time and attention of your reader. So efficiency in phrasing and word choice is still the order of the day. However, the 2000 characters allow us to enter information that would otherwise may have had to be removed from the resume itself. This can add some breadth in terms of keyword reach, which helps increase the search strength of your profile. Many underuse the job description section by not entering any content at all, relying only on the header information. Big mistake when it comes to developing a LinkedIn profile that is searchable and easily locatable by recruiters and other professionals looking to connect. Remember, we also want to communicate using a more conversational style since this is a social medium. So craft your verbiage accordingly.

    Making Use of the Project Feature

    The more you can populate your LinkedIn profile with relevant (yet non-intrusive) content, the better. The ability to link extra project information under each position is a great way to give your reader addendums that demonstrate your awesomeness! The beauty is the flexibility to use the feature for whatever works best for your situation. As a resume writer, I use my project fields to show samples of work. But once can just as easily use it to show critical work project, post letters of recommendation from clients, give access to PowerPoint presentations, display company marketing materials, etc. Did you know that you can even add other team members to a project? If you are connect to project collaborators on LinkedIn, their name will appear as a hyperlink. But you can also add the names of other who are not connected on LinkedIn. Their names will simply appear as regular text. Neat, huh?

    Select Skills and Endorsements Entries that Differentiate

    The Skills & Endorsements section of your profile is one of its most important elements. How important? Well, according to LinkedIn, members who take the time to list skills on their LinkedIn profiles receive 13 times more profile views . How’s THAT for important? When selecting which skills to include, remember to think of what you want your profile to accomplish. So if you are looking to advance I your career as a pharmaceutical sales professional, the skill “Dewey Decimal System” from your time volunteering in the school library while in college doesn’t help. When selecting your skills, always think “relevance and search”. If someone were looking for someone of your skill set, which skills would they search, and how would they be phrased? Also, don’t forget to endorse the skills of others you know and ask them to do the same. The more endorsements of your skills that you receive, the better your LinkedIn profile rates!

    Part 3 coming soon!

  • How Industry Associations Can Bolster Your Career

    whodoitellaboutmyjobsearchTo establishing yourself as an expert in your field usually takes hours of study, time and patience. But to make the road easier to travel, you want to have access to as many resources as possible. Industry associations provide a wealth of benefits that can support you on your way to subject matter expert status.

    Networking Opportunities

    Industry associations serve as a hub for the best and the brightest within any particular craft. If there are movers and shakers within your shown profession, you can bet that they have a strong presence within these types of organizations. Joining an industry association gives you access to other professionals with which you can build supportive relationships. As a member of the same association, you have common ground with other professionals with which you can form strategic alliances that can help your career endeavors through information sharing or introductions to other bigger players within your profession.

    Continuing Education

    Most credible industry associations offer programs that help their members to strengthen their knowledge base within the profession, secure valuable career-advancing certifications and gain CEUs to keep them. One can usually access course recordings online (some free, some for a small fee) to listen to at your convenience.

    Resources

    A good industry association will provide its members with tools that help them improve the value of their professional “product”. Membership should provide members with advantages not enjoyed by non-members, or why else would they join? For example, resume writers have several organizations that provide everything from keyword research tools to job descriptions to help its members provide a higher quality product to their clients. Most associations also have message boards and chat rooms where professionals discuss their challenges and get input on resolving them. Good associations will also provide their members with excellent discounts programs on items, product and services as excellent incentives for membership.

    Branding

    When employers see that you are an active member of a credible organization, they feel better about you being one who takes their career seriously. This gives you a bit of a leg up on those unaffiliated with such organizations. Employers know it is possible that you bring to the table the three points mentioned above (a network, access to resources) and a strong knowledge base), which only helps their cause.

    Aligning yourself with a strong industry associations is always a good move. You will find that the bonds you form with fellow industry professionals can provide you with numerous benefits in the form of support, new business partnerships, industry intelligence, or perhaps just someone to listen that understands your plight.

  • Let’s say you have 10 people confined to a house and every day you bring in 10 sets of meals for them to survive. Everybody’s pretty happy and content with that arrangement. But what happens when you increase it to 12 people and cut the meals down to 9 sets? How about we make it 14 people and cut the meal sets down to 7? See where I am going here? It is obvious that at some point you are going to have some starving people on your hands, but this will follow the violent struggles for the limited food supply. So, what I would like to know is “¦ how is the current state of our economy any different.

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  • College GraduateRemember the “good old days” when landing corporate job meant a fat income, a robust benefits package, and lifelong employment stability? Well, as you know, those days are over. What has replaced job security and longevity is a consistent uncertainty, no matter the career level. That’s right, everyone from the mail boy to the Director of Finance is looking over their shoulders for the Hatchet Man. But that doesn’t mean you can’t put yourself in the best position possible.

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