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Personal Branding

  • 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.

  • job searchIts dangerous when one’s technology grows faster than he ability to responsibly manage it responsibly. No, I am not talking about nuclear warheads or automatic weapons. I am talking about the almost instantaneous proliferation of social media into our mainstream existence, and how it affects your job search and can be keeping you unemployed.

    Don’t get me wrong. Social media has provided us with some extraordinary capabilities that we did not have in the past. In the 21st century, you can send a kid off to college and communicate as though they in the next room. Small businesses can reach large numbers of potential customers through engagement.

    But as I peruse some folks’ social media profiles, I can only hope they are self-employed or work for family. Because with some of the content in these profiles, they are making themselves unhirable and ruining their job search.

    (Hey, before anyone lights into me, this isn’t about the “should-or-shouldn’ts”, its about the “is-or-isn’ts”)

    Social media communication is like talking in public where the room is bugged. And hiring managers are in another room with a listening device. Before you hit “post”, pretend a potential employer is standing over your shoulder. If you’re good with what they can hear and see, then by all means go for it!

    Now, before you all go patting yourself on the back about your privacy settings protecting you during your job search, perhaps you should read this:

    https://storify.com/sarahhazell829/are-my-privacy-settings-really-private

    Let me be clear, I am personally all for people being able to say and post anything they want to on their social media accounts. Your account, your business. But when one does, one should just be able to accept the fallout, whatever it may be. And that includes hurting their job search by creating a negative perception with employers.

    There is a lot of debate (and some litigation) going on as to whether it is right or wrong for an employer to use social media in their hiring decisions. But if you are looking for employment TODAY and your rent is due TOMORROW, one needs to consider the impact of their posts as the hiring environment currently exists, whether or not one agrees with the merits of it. As they say:

    “Freedom of speech is not freedom of the consequences OF that speech”

    Now, let me get back to this cat video.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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