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  • linkedin profileHopefully, you have already read through the first two installments LinkedIn profile improvement and optimization recommendations. Now, let’s wrap it up in a nice bow so that you can put it over the top.

    LinkedIn Profile: Unique Presentation for Optimal Effect

    If there is one overall weakness to the LinkedIn platform, it is the lack of built-in formatting options to help with the visual presentation of your profile to your connections and page visitors. But that should not stop you from creating uniquely designed profile with accents that help to differentiate you from your competition. While the LinkedIn platform does not offer symbol and bullet options native to its system, there are some that you can manually include within your content that will help to make your profile easier on the eyes and easier to navigate.

    Make New Connections

    Okay, so now you have a well-developed profile that is content-rich and attractive. But what difference does it make if there is no one to see it? Building an impressive LinkedIn profile and not making connections is like getting dressed up in your best power suit to sit on the couch instead of going to a meet-and-greet. Look for and make strategic connections that can be of benefit to you in the future. Did you know that your connection makeup can affect the search strength of your LinkedIn profile?

    LinkedIn Profile: Join Groups to Stay Connected

    LinkedIn is not only good for building strategic connections with those who can help you to advance your career. It is also a great way to keep your ear to the ground on information that can help with the same. The best way to get access to like-minded professionals in live conversations about specific points of interest that can add to your knowledge base is to join groups aligned with those interest.

    I know, I know, who has time to check in on every group to get the latest on subjects being discussed? Well, you can adjust your settings within the group so that you receive updates on the latest chatter. Have an email notification arrive once per day, or make it once per week (my preference).

    Additionally, you can use groups to share information of value to the community. After all, if you’re receiving quality input from the community, you should contribute where possible, right? Not to mention you begin begin to establish yourself as a subject matter expert in your field. And that has real value, people.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  •  online career managementI can remember back in the late 90s when I ran across the first person I knew who had no home landline phone. He was a cell phone only guy. It thought the guy weird. But dude was just ahead of his time. At some point, the weird looks began to be reserved for those who didn’t have a cell phone. Today, you would think that a cell phone comes with a social security number. Our presence on social media is currently cycling through such a transition. When they first appeared, social media accounts were seen as novel entertainment vehicles (well, they can STILL be quite entertaining, and time draining if not careful). But we are moving into a time where people begin to wonder about you if you are NOT on some type of social media.

    How does this relate to one’s online career management, you ask? Well, let’s remember that hiring managers are always looking to eliminate candidates to manage the process. They may get 185 applicants for 1 position and need trim that resume stack to 20 interview-worthy candidates in 48 hours. Trust me when I tell you they manufacture reasons to get rid of applicants. With social media being such an integral aspect of our society, one begins to wonder “Why AREN’T they on social media?” The hiring manager’s mind is suspicious by nature, so the imagination begins to go into overdrive:

    • “Is this candidate avoiding social media because they have high-drama people they are trying to avoid?”
    • “Were they once on social media and left because they became addicted to it?”
    • “Are they in trouble with the law and staying off social media to avoid being caught?”
    • “Are they not up with the times and not comfortable with the changes in technology?”

    Social media has almost become synonymous with your driver’s license and other forms of ID. Not necessarily passing opinion on whether it is a good or bad thing, but it is a TRUE thing and should be considered an important aspect of online career management. Did you know that as of the 2nd quarter of 2016, Facebook had 1.71 billion monthly active users? Many want to avoid the noise that social media brings. But one doesn’t have to fully take in the noise to get the benefits that social media can provide in establishing ones brand and confirming they are in fact of the 21st century.

    Don’t do it for the celebrity gossip. Think of online career management activities instead. Join professional pages, participate in career related conversations, and build your professional network. Let your social media footprint communicate your relevance and professional knowledge.

    And stop making people think you’re on the run! (geez!)

  • job searchGet Your Hustle On! (That Job Search Won’t Manage Itself)

    You just received your degree, your company is closing, or you are just tired of your most recent employer. Either way, it’s time to begin a job search. But before you do, Let’s be clear on one thing: no matter the economy, jobs rarely just fall of the tree. Now, there are exceptions to that rule. You might be in an industry experiencing a talent shortage. Perhaps you are a high profile commodity within your profession. But if neither of these is true, you need to be ready to “shake a tail feather”.

    Perhaps it is a sign of times, but job search persistence seems to be in short supply these days. It is a bit myopic and self centered to believe that using an average resume to apply for an average number of position using an average methodology is going to produce results. Forbes Magazine once reported that the average number of applicants to apply for any particular job was 118, with only 20 of those getting an interview? So, your middle-of-the-pack effort using your middle-of-the-pack tools would mean you likely won’t even sniff an interview in this scenario.

    To ensure optimal success, your job search efforts need to be put into overdrive! Have your resume professionally written. Then, plot your job search meticulously. Look for any and every entity that hires people with your skill set, not just the ones with posted openings.

    • Have you tapped all of your friends, family and colleagues for their contacts?
    • Are you on LinkedIn? No, are you REALLY on LinkedIn? Is your profile optimized for search and visually appealing? Are you using enough of the character limitations to give the search algorithms something to hold onto?
    • What about your other social media profiles? Have they been sanitized, free of “hot mess” of fight videos, incessant complaints and personal spats?
    • Do you put in a full 8+ hours of effort every day on something toward employment?

    The period of unemployment is no time for a lack of intestinal fortitude. There are going to be moments of self-doubt and disappointment. But expect it. And then fight past it. Trust your job search strategy and stick to the plan, regardless of how you feel.

  • interviewsHow to Make the Most of Your New Resume to Manage Your Career

    In our last blog article, we addressed a couple of the things that you should do to manage your career once you have your brand new resume in hand. We went over storing electronic copies in various places for easy access. We also went over how to treat your social media, at least during a job search. Keep it clean, keep your professional.

     

    Build a Complete and Search-Friendly LinkedIn Profile

    Your brand new resume is only part of your toolbox in getting a new job to help manage your career. A LinkedIn profile is quickly becoming a necessary part of your job search package. Did you know that there were more than 300 million LinkedIn users and that 1 in 20 of these are recruiters? Folks, I’m afraid LinkedIn isn’t optional anymore. A few weeks ago, I ran across a job posting that specifically asked for the LinkedIn URL and not to send in the resume. LinkedIn is here to stay people!

    Be sure to develop your profile fully. Incomplete profiles do not score as well in their search database. Also, sit for and upload a professional photo. Did you know that a LinkedIn profile is 11 times more likely to be viewed if there is a photo in the profile? Flesh out each of your professional experience positions as well. LinkedIn profiles allow up to 2000 characters for each of these. Best to make use of the available space to help with Search strength. And don’t forget to make connections and get recommendations.

     

    Make Your Battle Plan In Writing

    So now that you have your resume, a refined LinkedIn profile, and a cleaned up social media space, it is time to create a plan for your approach. How many hours per day will you spend networking vs applying for openings to mange your career? How much time will you spend researching companies that hire people with your skill set, but just may not have posted openings yet? Identify those viable targets and build an action plan for reaching out to each and every one of them. Put those whom you communicate with, be sure to track those conversations for future reference. Always seek to make your communications a personal one. Your competition won’t always do so. Use any scheduling software on your phone or computer to ensure that you execute all stages of your plan in a timely fashion. (No, that fancy phone isn’t just for playing Candy Crush)

     

    Get a Mentor

    Now, this is more of a long term strategy than a short term job search move. What a mentor will do for you is keep you from unnecessary making mistakes in your career path. Often, a mentor’s personal experiences, trials and tribulations can serve as warnings to you to ensure that you reach your goals with minimal stress. Perhaps there were classes you are planning to take that are unnecessary. Your mentor may know this as they took those classes and found that it was a waste of time and resources. And perhaps they can be of some short-term service to you. As a member of the industry or profession and which you are seeking membership, they may have a colleague looking for someone exactly like you.

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