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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!)

  • 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.

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