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  • building a linked-in profile that gets attention part 1When LinkedIn first launched in 2003, many (including myself) wondered if the platform would be one of a long list of here-today-gone-tomorrow websites. Would it burn hot for a while and then faded away? Well, more than a decade later, building a LinkedIn profile that captures attention is an important part of career management. LinkedIn is going strong, and growing! It boasts more than 467 million users (2 people join every second) in 200 countries and territories around the world. Some say LinkedIn will eventually replace the resume (but slow ya’ roll, people). For now, a powerful LinkedIn profile can serve as an effective partner to the resume when constructed properly.

    In part 1 of this 2-part series, we touch on changes you can make to some of the more basic aspects of the profile to help give it purpose and identity. So, what changes can you make to the profile that can help you today?

    Determine the Purpose for Your Profile

    When it comes to your career, every move that you make should be strategic in nature. Nothing should be done by chance. Your approach to the development of your LinkedIn profile should no different. Before you make one single change, give some thought to whether the profile is for near-term employment or long-term branding. How you build it out depends upon this. For example, a professional seeking employment as a Data Analyst may consider going heavy in that direction. But they may decide to brand themselves as an all-around IT professional for consulting purposes. This will affect your approach to every section of the profile, so slow down and give this some thought.

    The Killer Headline: Who are you? (To your audience, that is)

    Sadly, many people ignore the headline field. After all, it automatically populate with your most recent job title and employer name, correct? Besides, most professionals on LinkedIn choose to go with this auto-population. But you’re not most people. This is prime personal ad space and you should be strategic in how you use it. A well-crafted headline can benefit you in a couple of ways.

    First, with this being what people see before they even get into your profile, the headline can go a long way in kicking off your brand to your visitors. This is especially valuable if you possess a diverse background where you can be “perceived” in several different ways. Second, the headline is an excellent place for the inclusion of quality, searchable concepts. If you are in the middle of a job search, or simply open to recruitment, you want opportunity to find you.

    Construct a Profile that Sells!

    In case you were not aware, you get to use up to 2000 characters in the development of your profile section. But don’t get into all of the flowery self-congratulatory descriptors that end up lumping you into the same category as most of your competition. Just as with your resume, keep it tight, keep it relevant, and keep it searchable. Additionally, the profile section is also an excellent place to integrate concepts and information that doesn’t really have a home in any other section of the LinkedIn profile.

    But in the development of the profile, remember that while a professional platform, it is also a social medium. Your verbiage and tone should be less rigid than it would be in its resume counterpart. And yes, this can be done without an overabundance of reliance on soft skills that normally don’t move the meter for recruiters and hiring managers.

    Click here for part 2 of our LinkedIn makeover tutorial.

  • personal brandingWe all look to stay as employable as we possibly can. Not necessarily “employed”, but “employable. Being employed is always good. But being employable comes in handy when you happen to find yourself unemployed. As part of your career management strategy, ensuring an optimal skill set should not be the only item on your “To Do” list. What is the use of a killer skill set if no one knows you have it. Yeah, yeah, your Resume Clinic resume and cover letter will definitely give you an advantage, especially at the beginning of the process where 85% of applicants will be weeded out. But you have to think bigger than that. When you’re managing your career the right way, you should be looking for ways to raise your profile within your chosen profession. Here are a few easy things you can do to get started in establishing yourself as a leader in your chosen field.

    Personal Branding Strategy #1: Start a Blog or Vlog

    Hey, if you do something for 2080+ hours every year (the official number of work hours for the standard 40-hour per week employee), you are bound to know a lot about it. Well, there’s no easier way to let the world know than to begin your own blog or Vlog on the subject. There are any number of platforms you can use for free, including WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr, which is hot right now. A well maintained blog / vlog with thoughtful and insightful posts tells other professionals you take your career seriously. You can also offer to guest post on related blogs to increase your profile even more. Let others do the same. Also, if you maintain a website, a regularly updated blog give your website a consistent boost of fresh content that helps your SEO.

    Personal Branding Strategy #2: Be Visible

    Getting out into the community to represent your profession establishes you as a champion for the trade. Offer to deliver presentations at the local community college on subjects related to your chosen profession. Join the local Chamber of Commerce, as well as local and national branches of associations serving your industry, as well as related ones. Serve on their committees and take an active role.

    Personal Branding Strategy #2: Social Media

    Man, I can’t tell you how many people are wrecking their brand daily on social media. Well, if you have a social media account, you already see it. Many of us make the mistake of thinking our social media accounts are separate from or professional lives, but it simply is not true. Employers are not only hiring talent, they are hiring personalities and people who will in one way or another represent THEIR brand. If you’re smart, you’ll delete all of the skimpy selfies and pics from the keggers and use the platform to reshape the view of your persona to the rest of the world. When employers are making the decision between you and your competition, they’ll see you expounding on the nuts-n-bolts of your industry, while your competition is posting fight videos and vines.

    In the future, think of your personal brand in terms of dollars and cents. Every public interaction (either real or digital) has the ability to add to your pocketbook, or subtract from it. Manage these interactions accordingly.

  • laptop and notebookEvery now and then, the subject comes up at to whether or not hiring a resume writer is considered perpetrating a fraud upon the reader. Usually, those who are asking the question do not truly understand the hiring process is supposed to achieve. Or just not thinking about it. Let’s use an example to illustrate the point.

    A company finds itself in need of a top-notch business development professional. There are several critical qualifications of each applicant they will want to consider. However, this critical juncture in the sourcing and hiring process also involves limited reader time and concentration. After all, you are looking at anywhere from dozens to hundreds of resumes that need to be reviews prior to selecting the lucky interviewees. Now, if our esteemed HR professional has to review 175 resumes in order to find 15 qualified and this needs to be done by end of business tomorrow, what type of document do you believe this professional would want to see? Do you believe this individual would want to wade through poorly organized resumes to determine our business development professional’s network building skills, presentation development acumen, or sales closing skills?

    Think of it this way: is someone misrepresenting themselves in a court of law when they hire an attorney to speak on their behalf? Of course not. A smart person knows that in order to get the desired legal judgment, they need someone who knows the process and has the resources to quickly get and interpret the information necessary for their defense. What a professional resume writer does for their clients is similar in nature to what an attorney does for theirs. We help our clients to navigate the process by avoiding the pitfalls that can hurt your cause. You can bet that our HR professional does not care who wrote the resume. As long as it clearly and honestly communicates our professional’s relevant skill set in a way that can be easily digested, they will be happy.

    After all, do you believe our hiring authority really cares about the resume writing skill of a rainmaker who can bring home a $38 million account? Nah, me either.

  • help your careerWe are head-long into the meat of an election year. The mud is being slung and the posturing has begun. But did ever consider how this time of year is a great opportunity to help your career management efforts? Whether you are out of a job and looking, holding down a great job, or a business owner, lending a hand to your local (or national) political figures can help you position yourself for success.

    Networking Bonanza

    Make no mistake, no matter how advanced technology gets and how many avenues are developed for finding a job (or a better one), nothing will EVER beat your well-developed and diverse network of contacts. And where better to grow and strengthen that network than within the political sphere? From your fellow volunteers, to campaign contacts of influence and the candidates themselves, it is a veritable cornucopia of fertile relationship development ground. Campaign volunteers should approach this opportunity the same way a young intern would and internship. Keep your eyes, ears, and contact book open for leads that can help your career and long-term professional mission.

    Understanding the Political Process / Business Symbiosis

    When most people see a business open, they never consider all of the things that may have gone into making that possible. Everything that makes up the climate in which that business can flourish (zoning laws, grant money, tax issues, etc.) had its evolution come from the political process. Donating your time in a campaign can give you a better understanding as to what goes into creating a particular business climate that may affect everything from businesses relocating to your town, to potential hiring windows coming down the line. Hey, you may be looking to start your own business one day soon (at least you should be). This is an excellent way to learn the terrain that helps you build one that is viable and sustainable.

    Looks Great on Your Resume (Maybe)

    Okay, how much your campaign involvement will help your career through your resume is not as clear cut. One’s resume writing strategy needs to revolve around keep the reader engaged POSITIVELY. That means avoiding content that can be a turnoff to your reader. If you are supporting a far left candidate through your volunteer efforts, you may have better luck getting your resume past the gatekeepers in a social service non-profit on the west coast than you will an oil and gas company in the deep south. Regardless of the political affiliation, the extent in your involvement in the campaign can communicate to your resume’s reader that you may have inroads to certain rainmaker that can benefit their long-term cause. If this is the case, consider dedicating more than just a one-line blurb. Elaborate a bit on any notable interactions with high profile personalities that can be a conversation starter. Or perhaps you can document involvement in any noteworthy events.Either way, always think about your audience before including this information on your resume.

  • career managementToday you made headway. You applied to several posted job vacancies, made sent in cold resume submissions to target companies your research showed might be hiring soon. You’ve reached out to your members of your LinkedIn network for information on potential employment in their spheres and you’ve done the same when it comes to your social network. But if you are not taking the time to document your progress, you are being as efficient as you can be with your career management.

    You of course have the option to keep it simple. Some opt for the everyday garden-variety spreadsheet. While Microsoft Excel is of course an excellent tool, the advent of free cloud based services such as Google Docs give you real-time updating ability through the use of Google Sheets. But regardless of the spreadsheet program or platform used, it should contain the same track categories to help you stay on top of your job search. You will want to keep track of everything related to the search. Some column titles may include:

    Job Applied For
    Company Name
    Contact Name/Title
    Phone
    E-mail Address
    Mailing Address
    Date of Last Communication
    Website
    Date Resume Submitted
    How Resume Submitted
    References Sent
    How I Heard About This Job
    Job Description/Keywords
    Status of Application
    Comments and Notes

    It may not be just the vacancies and potential positions to which you have applied. You will want to track communications with those in your network that can either assist you with finding a position this job search cycle, or could be of value in the future. Remember, good career management is not just about the job that you need today. It is about building those relationships that can open doors tomorrow. In fact, if you manage your network properly today, your next job search is likely to be much shorter.

    If you are looking for existing job search tools to help with career management, there are several out there that are proven to be effective. Most job seekers already know about JibberJobber.com, which has been around since 2006. This platforms free version gives you the ability to track 250 companies and 250 contacts. Not bad. The premium version is only $9.95 per month. Others such as Careershft.com are a little more expensive, but is a more comprehensive tool with an interface that allows for more efficient management of your time and process. They also have patented technology for performing address and telephone searches for contacts. Others include ApplyMate and StartWire.

    Whether you use a career management tool that already exists, or decide to go to the spreadsheet route, it is always good to know when those targeted resumes were sent, to whom you’ve spoken, and the status of those applications, among other things. But what that list can also provide is new members of your network, as well as an excellent starting point for the next job search.

  • resume strategy tipsWhen one decides to become an entrepreneur, it comes with inherent risks. Not every business is going to make it. Sometimes, it just isn’t in the cards. When you’re forced to shut the doors (or at least do so temporarily), it then becomes time to dust off the ol’ resume that you have been using to scout out investors, business loans, and clients. But wait a minute. Your audience is now different. What you will be looking to communicate will be different. How they read the document will be different. As such, your resume must follow suit. Here are some resume writing tips on bringing that entrepreneur resume closer in line with what your new reader needs to see.

    Resume Strategy Tips 1: Leave the “Jack of All Trades” Angle Back with the Business License

    Many job seekers believe that employers and hiring managers want to see a resume that demonstrates the breadth of your experience and demonstrates your versatility. And erroneously so. Recruiters and HR personnel are crunched for time. When attempting to fill a position, they are worried about solving a specific set of problems. When retooling your resume, take into account what problems the reader will be looking to solve and make this the focus of the resume strategy. Remember when Liam Neesen told those kidnappers that he “had a particular set of skills”? Follow his lead, folks.

    Resume Strategy Tips 2: Minimize the Business Ownership Emphasis

    In most cases, hiring managers are afraid of entrepreneurs. The fear comes from the potential to lose the new hire to yet another business opportunity that our free spirited friend might come across. Or perhaps the candidate is using the job to supplement income until the ship rights itself, and then planning to leave. Training new employees has a real cost. Some believe it costs up to 9 months’ salary every time an employee has to be replaced. Here is another article on the subject of training costs. Forget the “Owner” or “Proprietor” titles. (Check your ego at the unemployment office, my friend). The good news is that as the owner of the business, you have likely worn many hats. Hats that can be used to populate your new resume. So if you are seeking a Business Development Manager position, you likely did a good deal of business development for your business. Why not use that as your job title?

    Resume Strategy Tips 3: Structure the Resume for Brevity

    The resume you developed for that investor or business banking loan officer was prepared for a captured audience. These individuals are usually prepared to comb over that resume and the rest of your documentation before making a decision. But in the job search arena, your resume usually has less than 10 seconds to deliver its message. Then the reader moves on to the next resume. Be sure you layout and design are conducive to visual navigation ease. Check for superfluous language in your sentence structure. Look for low-relevance concepts.

    Transitioning back to the salaried world is a big adjustment in mindset and approach, especially when it comes to the buildout of your new resume. But one thing has never changed: you always take into account your audience and environment when developing any form of communications. Picking up valuable tips can always help. But trust me when I tell you: the touch of a certified professional resume writer is likely improve your results even more. But if for some reason time is not on your side, these tips will at least give you a better shot at getting the interview.

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