Thursday, February 28, 2013

How to Build a Personal Brand Through Linkedin

LinkedIn has become one of the most important professional network platforms on the planet. It has grown phenomenally in the last 5 years, with over 200 million members worldwide and 7 million in Canada alone. With every Fortune 500 executive having a LinkedIn profile, the website has become popular not only among students, but also corporations and individuals.
In a recent article published in Forbes MagazineSusan Evans discusses a report released by Bullhorn Company concluding that LinkedIn is the dominant networking site among job seekers and recruiters. As LinkedIn's CEO Jeff Weiner states, "It's not just about job seekers looking for the perfect job it's also about entrepreneurs looking to make money, sales reps looking to turn warm cold calls into prospects, and journalists looking to break a story."
Given LinkedIn's growing worth, with the company reporting on Feb. 7 a 192% earnings per share as revenue rose 81%, and Facebook struggling to stay afloat in the markets, a LinkedIn profile is definitely an asset to your networking cocktail. The site provides attractive options to those who wish to market themselves to potential companies, recruiters, or customers, allowing users to display their academic credentials and professional experience at the top of their profiles. In addition, users now have a larger profile picture, an attractive contact button, and the elimination of job titles at the top of the profile to make the playing field more level.
At a recent Toronto event hosted by HAPPEN (professional networking group that links professionals with opportunities), Perry Monaco, Recruitment Product Consultant at LinkedIn, spoke about the benefits and tips for building your personal brand.
Here are a few highlights: 
• LinkedIn offers 4 product lines: Personal Membership, Sales Solutions, Marketing Solutions, and Talent Solutions. The Personal Membership product (personal profile) line is one of the fastest growing in the world. Visit LinkedIn's product page for more information.
• Adding designations beside your name puts you lower on the search ranking algorithm. You want to be found and found near the top of search rankings.
• Students and new graduates are recognizing LinkedIn as one of the best tools to connect with potential employers. 
• LinkedIn provides free job listings for anyone looking to hire a student or individual with less than 6 months of work experience.
• LinkedIn has undergone a major facelift and in September 2012 a new "Endorsement" feature section was added so fellow users can endorse your listed skills. 
• The more completed your profile is, the higher number of searches your profile will appear in. 
• You can join up to 50 groups and up your exposure by posting to groups with relevant content.

What should you include in your LinkedIn Profile?  Read what to include and the complete Huffington Post Article

How To Make Them Respond When You Apply For A Job Online

Susan Adams

Last week I got a note from a reader, asking me for advice about how to elicit a response to her online job applications. “With the technology age upon us, I have been actively applying to employment opportunities on numerous websites,” she wrote. “My problem is that I am not getting any type of feedback.” She estimated she had pursued 100 openings in the last year, and received only two responses. Neither had led to a new job. This job seeker wanted my advice about sprucing up her online applications and in particular, how she could get employers to reply to her queries.

I talked to three of my regular career coach sources, Robert Hellmann and Anita Attridge in New York, and David Couper in Los Angeles, and all of them say that two responses to 100 online applications is in fact a strong showing, given the competition.

Couper is the most blunt. “I tell my clients that they’re wasting their time applying online,” he says. “To me you’ve left it too late,” he says. “Once it’s online, millions of other people have seen it.” Often, he says, online job postings are just a way for hiring managers to claim they’ve looked at lots of applicants when, in fact, they have already decided in advance on an internal hire. Other times, a job is posted and then a budget cut ensues and the position is eliminated before it’s been filled.

Hellmann and Attridge are slightly less pessimistic than Couper, and both say they have had clients who landed jobs by applying online. Attridge says the more specific your skill set is and the more closely it’s matched to the online ad, the greater chance you have of success. Within the last six months, a client of Attridge’s, a technical director in information technology, answered an ad that listed the precise skills that he had under his belt. After an initial phone screening, he went for an interview and wound up getting hired. If you’re not a strong match for the listing, Attrdige says, it may not be worth your time to apply.

Hellmann agrees with Couper and Attridge that most online applications are more trouble than they’re worth, but he has come up with some tips for filling them out efficiently. “Think about the application as a bureaucratic formality,” he advises. “It’s a one-size-fits-all form that has every possible thing on it,” he says. You don’t need to write detailed answers to every question.

In fact, there are a number of queries you should not answer. One is about salary. Many forms won’t let you complete them if you leave spaces blank. Hellmann advises putting in $1, $10 or $100, “anything to show you’re not listing your real salary.” Hellmann insists it’s not fair to discuss compensation before you’ve had a real job interview. Likewise, if there is a question about the name of your current boss, do not fill it in. Write, “to be discussed.” Or if you’re out of work, you can also say, “to be discussed.” In addition, Hellmann says it’s inappropriate for an application to request that you list references. In that slot, he says you should write, “available upon strong mutual interest.” Says Hellmann, “only give your references when you’re close to an offer.”

Most applications ask for your current position and then request a description of your job. Hellmann recommends simply writing, “please see résumé.” Though Hellmann cautions that writing out a description of your work could introduce spelling and grammar mistakes, you could also consider cutting and pasting from your résumé or LinkedIn profile, directly onto the form.

Then there is the issue of keywords. Hellmann says you should make sure your résumé “is filled with keywords that come from the job you’re targeting.” If the online job listing asks for an applicant who is “experienced in portfolio analysis,” make sure you have the words “portfolio analysis” on your résumé. Likewise, if the listing says, “social media marketing expertise,” do have “social media marketing” somewhere on your résumé.

An excellent Wall Street Journal story today underlines how important keywords can be, especially if you’re applying to a large company like Starbucks or Procter & Gamble, both of which use automated tracking systems that screen résumés for keywords, former employers, and schools attended. An example from the Journal story: PNC Financial Services Group filters out bank-teller applicants whose résumés don’t show they have had at least two years of cash-handling experience.

Hellmann says it’s always a good idea to include a concise, specific cover letter with your application. Write a letter, he recommends, “that makes it really hard to screen you out.” Address the job requirements directly and list accomplishments that speak to them, preferably as bullets.

All that said, the most effective thing you can do is to find a personal connection to the hiring manager at the company that’s made the posting. That means networking, which can be made easier by tools like Facebook and LinkedIn. But don’t forget your face-to-face network. If you’re interested in a job posting, do ask everyone you know, including family, friends and colleagues, if they know anyone who works at the company posting the job.

Hellmann tells a story that illustrates the importance of having a direct contact. A client of his recently responded to an online job listing for a lawyer with international tax expertise. The client followed Hellmann’s guidance about including a keyword-filled résumé and bulleted cover letter. He did get a response, a form letter rejection. But then he did some research, figured out who the hiring manager was and contacted him directly with another cover letter and résumé. He followed up with a phone call three days later, and now he’s one of the top two candidates for the job.

The bottom line, as I’ve written before: Spend a minimum of your time applying to online listings. Despite the explosion of online job boards and websites promising a quicker path to employment, most people still find jobs through people they know.

Speaking of precise bullets, here’s a recap of how to get a response to an online job application.  Read The Bullets And The Complete Forbes Article

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Perfect Job Interview in 8 Simple Steps

Jeff Haden

You landed the interview. Awesome! Now don't screw it up.

I've interviewed thousands of people for jobs ranging from entry-level to executive. Easily three-fourths of the candidates made basic interviewing mistakes.

Did I still hire some of them? Absolutely... but never count on your qualifications and experience to outweigh a bad interview.

Here are eight practical ways to shine:
  1. Be likable. Obvious? And critical. Making a great first impression and establishing a real connection is everything. Smile, make eye contact, be enthusiastic, sit forward in your chair, use the interviewer's name.... Be yourself, but be the best version of yourself you possibly can. We all want to work with people we like and who like us. Use that basic fact to your advantage. Few candidates do.
  2. Never start the interview by saying you want the job. Why? Because you don't know yet. False commitment is, well, false. Instead...
  3. Ask questions about what really matters to you. (Here are five questions great job candidates ask.) Focus on making sure the job is a good fit: Who you will work with, who you will report to, the scope of responsibilities, etc. Interviews should always be two-way, and interviewers respond positively to people as eager as they are to find the right fit. Plus there's really no other way to know you want the job. And don't be afraid to ask several questions. As long as you don't take completely take over, the interviewer will enjoy and remember a nice change of pace.
  4. Set a hook. A sad truth of interviewing is that later we often don't remember a tremendous amount about you -- especially if we've interviewed a number of candidates for the same position. Later we might refer to you as, "The guy with the alligator briefcase," or, "The lady who did a Tough Mudder," or, "The guy who grew up in Panama." Sometimes you may be identified by hooks, so use that to your advantage. Your hook could be clothing (within reason), or an outside interest, or an unusual fact about your upbringing or career. Hooks make you memorable and create an anchor for interviewers to remember you by -- and being memorable is everything.
  5. Know what you can offer immediately. Researching the company is a given; go a step farther and find a way you can hit the ground running or contribute to a critical area. If you have a specific technical skill, show how it can be leveraged immediately. But don't say, for example, "I would love to be in charge of revamping your social media marketing." One, that's fairly presumptuous, and two, someone may already be in charge. Instead, share details regarding your skills and say you would love to work with that team. If there is no team, great -- you may be put in charge. If there is a team you haven't stepped on any toes or come across as pushy. Just think about what makes you special and show the benefits to the company. The interviewer will be smart enough to recognize how the project you bring can be used.

13 Tips to Get That Job in 2013 on LinkedIn

LinkedIn emailed me that I'm in its "Top 1 Percent" of viewed profiles. Only two million of us are, so I'll share my pearls of LinkedIn Networking wisdom. On LinkedIn you should:
1. Use a picture and real name.
2. List a profession, even if you're jobless. Examples: "Financial Services Professional," "Global Brand Marketer" or "Fortune 100 Accountant." Your headline doesn't need to say unemployed. If you don't list your company's name, the assumption is you're seeking new opportunities.
3. When you reach out to someone, know what they and their company do. Don't assume you already know. I often get emails from people about Latin American marketing because I work at Telemundo, whose primary business is TV for U.S. Hispanics. Not the same thing. It's not cheating on LinkedIn to use other sites like Google to research a company before emailing new contacts.
4. If you want a contact to forward your info, write an email that is easy to forward and helps you. An email with typos won't cut it. Neither will one that says you'd like a job in three different industries like wealth management, public relations or sales. Nor does one about your interest in jobs at three competitors.
5. Don't say that you'd like any job in the field. Know your skills and explain how they match a particular job or opening. The job opening for a jack-of-all-trades is rare.
6. Do not send job requests in an email with multiple cc's at various companies. Court your contacts. Make them feel special. No one wants to see that you want any old job. We'd like to feel that you want a job from us or with our companies.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

8 LinkedIn Etiquette Mistakes

If you want to network professionally today, you have to be on LinkedIn. And, just as in face-to-face interactions, there are some specific no-no's when it comes to communication and collaboration on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn hangs its hat on being the most businesslike of the major public social networks, and many people who would never dream of liking something on Facebook or tweeting status updates on Twitter will participate on LinkedIn. Many people, on the other hand, are pros at using social networks and might think of LinkedIn as just one more. That would be a mistake. One of the biggest missteps people make on LinkedIn is treating it like any other social network. Think of it like flip-flops: Would you wear them to a job interview? Probably not. Likewise, you shouldn't do the virtual equivalent of kicking off your shoes on LinkedIn.
Another way in which people sometimes falter on LinkedIn is by taking advantage of their connections. Yes, it's really cool that you are directly connected to the CEO of your company, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you should direct message her on the network. And just because you have, say, 500 connections, it doesn't mean that you should be sending out 500 requests for recommendations. As in real-life business situations, discretion, judiciousness and courtesy should guide your interactions on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has been making many changes to its interface lately, and some of the features have been met with more enthusiasm than others. Endorsements have been a particularly prickly subject, with many people believing they are meaningless or manipulative. It's important to keep abreast of changes to LinkedIn's platform, and to develop an understanding of how new features are being used and perhaps even abused. You don't want to be the one in breach of some unwritten rule. Two other mistakes people tend to make on LinkedIn are to do too much or to do nothing at all.
In trying to get into the spirit of using LinkedIn, it can be easy to go overboard updating your status, requesting connections and joining groups. But watch out. These activities can be perceived as spamming your connections.
Doing nothing, on the other hand, can be even more problematic because it renders you almost invisible and negates the very purpose of being on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is one of the most powerful networking tools out there, and it grows in power as more people see it as the de facto professional social network. Doing nothing can be the worst LinkedIn no-no of all.

1) Don't Be Promiscuous With Endorsements

With just a click of a button, you can endorse the skills and expertise of people you are connected to on LinkedIn. But that doesn't mean you should. Have you actually experienced this person's skills and expertise first-hand? For that matter, have you actually ever met the person whose skills and expertise you are endorsing? Do you expect something in return? If you answer no, no and yes to these questions, an endorsement will do you more harm than good.

2) Don't Ask Everyone And His Brother For A Recommendation

As in the non-LinkedIn world, it should be considered a big deal to ask for a recommendation, and it should be a big deal to be asked to give a recommendation. Don't blanket everyone you are connected to with a request to recommend you. You'll put people who don't know your work well in an awkward position, and the recommendations you do get won't be as meaningful as if you had asked in a more pointed way

8) Don't Do Nothing

Doing anything too much -- whether it's updating or messaging or liking or whatever -- isn't good, but doing nothing at all might be worse, at least when it comes to your career. On LinkedIn, why wouldn't you keep your profile updated, update your status with relevant news and content, connect with people you have met at conferences, and join and participate in industry-specific groups? When it comes to any social network, one of the biggest no-no's is to do nothing at all.

4 Job Search Mistakes That Can Cost You the Interview

You take a deep breath and hit that momentous “send” button. Out goes the email that will deliver your cover letter and resume to your (cross your fingers!) future employer, and you breathe a sigh of relief. But that moment of ease doesn’t last long—for the next few days, you check your email obsessively, watch your spam folder like a hawk, and keep hoping for a call from an unknown number.

And after such optimistic anticipation, nothing can fully prepare you for the heart-dropping feeling you experience when you receive an automatically generated, dream-crushing rejection email, letting you know that you haven’t been selected for an interview.

What happened? Your application may have been perfect in your eyes—but if you didn’t land an interview, it’s time to take a good look at your application—from your potential employer’s point of view. While recruiting preferences definitely vary by company, here are four common reasons why you didn’t get that call back.

1. You Didn’t Follow Instructions

Sure, the job application process can be tedious and time consuming (“They want a cover letter, resume, three writing samples, and a YouTube video?”). But the first thing that will knock you out of the running for a new position is failing to follow instructions.

Whether you omit a required element of the application, send the email with something other than the requested subject line, or call the office when the company specifically requests no phone calls, you’ll likely be dismissed right off the bat.

These offenses seem innocent enough, but to a hiring manager, they come across as warning signs that you’re either blindly applying to as many jobs as possible (without actually looking at the application requirements), or that you lack attention to detail—something your future employer is probably not willing to risk.

2. You Lack Experience

When you come across a listing for your absolute dream position, it’s hard to evaluate the job description with an objective eye. No matter what the position requires—and how your experience measures up—you’re going to be 100% certain that you’re the perfect fit.

Unfortunately, if the job requires 10-15 years of experience, the hiring manager isn’t going to view the four years listed on your resume with such a lenient eye. Aiming high is one thing: If you don’t meet the required experience by a small margin, but make up for it with other stellar professional accomplishments and skills, you may still have a chance. But if a glance at your resume clearly indicates that you’re under-qualified for the job, you aren’t going to be getting that interview—so don’t waste your time, it’s better spent elsewhere.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Tips in Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile for Successful Job Hunting

LinkedIn and job hunting – a match made in heaven

Can your LinkedIn profile help you land your ideal job? Yes, it very well can. Considering the fact thatLinkedIn is the single largest social media platform that specializes on business networking, putting an impressive profile in this network can significantly increase your chances of getting discovered by job recruiters and employers alike. 
However, since there are millions of people who are also trying their luck in finding a job through the site, you need to create an outstanding profile and optimize it accordingly to get found by the right people. If you are absolutely clueless on how to accomplish this goal, here are some tips that may help you.
Use a powerful profile headline. For the record, a simple and direct headline or personal tag line is all you need. You can develop an effective personal brand by describing the services and the qualities you can offer without going over the top. Avoid using buzzwords such as extensive experience, innovative, motivated, results oriented and dynamic, to name a few, since they are really quite overused. Tip: Consider branding yourself on who you want to be seen to increase your chances of landing your dream job.
Highlight important details. Write a compelling profile summary to build your readers' interest and urge them to know more about you and what you can bring to the table. Keep in mind that the topmost part of your profile is the most important so try to make it more substantial and interesting.
Use industry keywords. Increase your chances of getting found by job recruiters and employers alike by optimizing your profile for the search engines. However, avoid overdoing it or Google may penalize you for keyword stuffing.
Be wise in using recommendations. In this case, more is not necessarily better. Consider featuring only the best or most recent recommendations and keep the rest away from the public to keep your profile clean. If you don't have any experience relevant to the job you are seeking, consider asking for recommendations from your professors and classmates. You can also ask for recommendations that highlight your work ethics instead.

Want the Job? Change How You Job Search

by Hannah Morgan

Do you spend the majority of your job search connecting with people – networking both online and in-person?

If you’re like most job seekers, the answer is likely, “no”. In fact, the average job seeker spends most of their time applying to online applications, tweaking their resume… and applying to more job postings.
If this sounds like you, stop… right now!

Just as the old way of searching through the newspaper job classifieds gave way to job postings online… your job search must transform again. The majority of hiring now happens through referrals!

I remember when I was working with one job seeker in particular, he asked what advice I had to help him improve his job search. Simple, I said, “I forbid you from applying for any more jobs. Go talk to people instead!”

A friend sent me this article, Job-Hunt Tips from the Depression-Era Playbook, from the Wall Street Journal (quite a fascinating read!) During the Great Depression, unemployment was above 24%. (And we’re complaining about 8% now, jeez!) Many were able to find work or created work. This article tells the tales of some of the survivors of the depression. Read and learn!

The article also sites a paper presented at the Brookings Institution by Princeton economist Alan Krueger and Columbia Business School’s Andreas Mueller. In their survey of over 6,000 job seekers, this is what they found:
Alan Krueger Andreas Mueller paper
Why, when we know a referral is the best chance we have of getting a job, are we stuck in a job search strategy that hasn’t worked since 2007? The body of proof is out there across so many studies… recruiters prefer to interview and hire people they know or whom are referred by people they know.

For the next 30 days, I challenge you to drastically change how you spend your job search time. I challenge you to do something dramatically different.
If you are unemployed, you should be spending at least 35 hours a week in job search related activities… and 70% of that time should be spent networking!
job search hours
It will take time and great effort on your part to make this transition. Be patient. You won’t feel immediate gratification. Here are some thoughts on how you can begin to make this happen as quickly as possible:  Find out how and read the complete article

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Secret Benefit of LinkedIn Endorsements


A little while ago, LinkedIn began allowing members to endorse each other. Unlike recommendations, endorsements were simply a way for one member to confirm that another member has a particular skill. Because LinkedIn made it extremely easy to quickly endorse people for multiple skills, and because there is no verification required at all, many observers questioned the validity or use of the feature, myself among them.

Of course, it’s nice to have a great list of skills on your profile, and having tons of endorsements for your skills is certainly more impressive than none at all. Furthermore, each time you endorse a potential partner or prospect, that person gets a nice email telling them that you thought they deserved to be endorsed for some skill.

If you thought that was all there was to LinkedIn Endorsements, then you might not have noticed the Skills & Expertise section.

Skills & Expertise

Like the old LinkedIn Answers, Skills & Expertise is hidden within the More drop down. If you can find it, you’ll be rewarded with a great-looking landing page that announces that Skills & Expertise is there to help you “Discover the skills you need to succeed. Learn what you need to know from the thousands of hot, up-and-coming skills we’re tracking.” According to LinkedIn, this feature is still in beta.

The top of the page features a search bar where you can begin typing in a skill. It can be for someone you wish to hire, or something you want to learn about and are looking for someone who’s blogs you might want to read. Or, more interesting, do a search on one of your own skills to see where you stack up.

Below is a summary of a couple of specific skills. For me, iPhone was the first “skill” listed, and the summary included cities, related skills, and featured professionals.

Skill Details

If you search on a skill and select it, you’ll see the full Skill Details page. The left side lets you search for a different skill or take a look at related skills. We’ll get back to the importance of related skills in a moment.

In the middle, you’ll see your selected skill and a nice box that details the industry the skill is typically associated with, whether or not you current list that skill, and a button to see suggested skills. You’ll also see a percentage followed by y/y, which stands for year over year. We’ll talk about the importance of this metric as well in a moment.

Below the info box will be a list of professionals who list that skill. You might think that these professionals are ranked according to the number of times they’ve been endorsed for that skill, but that isn’t the case. The top ranked professional for “Social Media Marketing” only has 33 endorsements for that skill, while the #2 individual had 99+. So getting ranked isn’t solely based on the sheer number of endorsements.

At the bottom is a list of LinkedIn Groups that are associated with that skill.
Along the right side you’ll find buttons to share the skill, charts for relative growth, size and age, related companies, related jobs, and related locations.

More Benefits and Complete Article

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Job Search Tips For The Over 40 Crowd


Looking for a job as an experienced 40+ candidate is hard! That news is bad (and obvious enough) but the worse news is that many of the job search tips you as an experienced, older candidate are receiving isn’t designed for you. They are designed for new grads or the 25-35 year old crowd.

Constantly running up against the “age discrimination” wall could be contributing to being a discouraged job seeker or job search depression.

Let me explain why these job search tips are bad for you with a few simple examples:
  • “Selling” your experience on your cover letter, resume and as often as you can in an interview is not advice designed for someone with 15+ years of experience. It is advice for people with the little or enough experience. Not for people with “too much” experience.
  • Listing your experience, all of your experience in chronological order on your resume is for people with little or enough experience. Not for people with lots of experience like you.
The even worse news is, if you have been using these job search tips, you have either been dramatically increasing your risk of being eliminated or more realistically getting yourself eliminated. Let’s not forget the small chance that you could end up with a bad job!

If you are not sure whether or not to believe, check for yourself. Go onto whatever job board and search jobs in your industry that are asking for 10+ years of experience. 80 – 90% of postings are asking for anywhere from 3 – 8 years of experience.

The message you are sending when you use common job search tips by “bragging” that you have more experience that the person you will report to is… My goal is to “push you out” of your job to make room for myself.

The message you want to send is… I want to “push you UP” in your job and because I understand what you do and have helped you, you will bring me along with you. Look At that, a job search tip for people over 40!

It is a small shift, but an essential shift and I know you asking, “ but Corey, how do I make this shift?” Good question!

Here are 3 small job search tips I can offer you – a job seeker who is 40+. I would say they are simple, but they are not. To make the shift requires you to abandon much of what you have been doing in the past, stop thinking of yourself as just a “job seeker” and acknowledge that you have unique challenges and therefore need to take a unique approach.

1) Stop talking about “all” of your experience and start talking about your “relevant” experience and your knowledge of this particular job.

2) Stop talking about “how you can do whatever is needed” because you have “done it all” and start talking about how you understand the requirements of THIS job, how it affects the business and how you can “assist.”

TIP #3 and Complete Business2Community Article

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

29 LinkedIn Tips Everyone Should Use

LinkedIn continues to be cited as one of the top sites for sales professionals, recruiters, and job seekers. Is the site continuing its’ explosive growth? LinkedIn recorded 4.2 billion professionally oriented searches on the platform in 2011 and is on pace to surpass 5.3 billion in 2012. Additionally, they’ve added 1,000 employees this year. Yeah, that’s growth.

We’ve been working with the Minnesota Recruiters community on publishing some great content for job seekers and recruiters. 2 of the most recent posts include 25 social media tips from Recruiters and 50 job search tips. The focus for this article is LinkedIn and goes beyond the basic tips of using a professional photo.. Here are 29 LinkedIn tips everyone should use:
  1. Looking for a promotion or ideas to advance in your current role? Use LinkedIn to search for people and titles of the jobs you’re interested in. This is great research for what skills you’ll need to obtain.
  2. Use the CardMunch app for growing your network and LinkedIn connections. It’s quick and easy – use it for every person you meet and business card you receive.
  3. Use spellcheck. As Steve Levy told me in a recent call, you don’t want the word moron added to your skills inventory. A great example of this:  Are you the “Director of Pubic Relations”, or the “Director of Public Relations”. :)
  4. Create a more compelling summary. Many LinkedIn profiles lack information in the summary which is near the top of the profile. This is a quick way to stand out from others on the site.
  5. Take initiative beyond connecting. Don’t be afraid to ask for a call, a meeting, an informational meeting, or interview .
  6. Write and include a creative headline in your profile.
  7. Stay up-to-date with your network and use the site often. Don’t just engage with your network when you need something. Give back, frequently.
  8. There are now more than 2.6 million company pages. Use the company search function and use the results to research and connect with employees from target companies and follow their pages.
  9. Save time by signing up for job alerts – and let the site do the searching for you.
  10. Clearly articulate the value and impact you have made in current and past positions.
  11. Include specific information throughout your profile (context of roles, location, direct contact info, etc.).
  12. Connect your LinkedIn profile from other sites you use (twitter, facebook, blogs,, etc.).
  13. Keep the skills section of your profile updated throughout the year.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Social Branding: How To Create The Perfect LinkedIn Profile Blueprint


Optimizing your social media / LinkedIn profile is key to you managing your social brand. Using this The Perfect LinkedIn Profile Blueprint will help you make your social brand work a little harder for you!

I just returned from SAP’s field marketing kick-off meeting where we provided social media brand tune-ups using a similar format as the blueprint outlines.  Many of the 2,000 people who stopped by our Social Media Genius Bar had their profiles tweaked and enhanced to highlight their true brand! There are many platforms on which your brand can excel, however, one of the key components to your social brand is your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is the digital hub for your experience and network of past, present and future clients! You need to invest some key time into your profile because it is the first thing that your contacts check out when they meet you are going to meet you. Did you know that LinkedIn states that only about 50% of users have a completed profile? This under-completed profile is an enormous missed opportunity to be found and to position your social brand!

How To Build The Perfect LinkedIn Profile

Use this social media blueprint to help you build your perfect LinkedIn Profile.
Social Branding: How To Create The Perfect LinkedIn Profile Blueprint image Slide111

2013 LinkedIn Profile Character Limits

Knowing the space with which you can work in your LinkedIn profile is key to helping you build your perfect social brand! Here are your character limits:  More tips and complete article

6 Ways to Organize your Job Search

Shala Marks 

I don’t know many people who actually enjoy looking for a job (me included), but at some point in our lives, we all have to. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average unemployed person spends more than eight months looking for work. The economy and job market can affect this time-frame, increasing or decreasing it, but so can another important factorbeing unorganized.

The say looking for a job is a full-time job. Well, like any type of work, being unorganized can prolong your workday and make it that much more difficult to complete tasks. If your desk is messy it may be hard to locate the files you need. If you don’t use a calendar or scheduling tool, you may be cramped for time as your tasks and meetings run together.

So, to avoid making your job search any longer (or stressful) than necessary, I have outlined six ways to get organized:

Think about your short and long term goals in relation to this job search. What date would you like to have a job by (e.g. in x amount of months)? How many jobs do you want to apply for per day/week? What is the best time for you to apply for jobs during the day? As you answer these questions you will begin to formulate your job-search plan because 1) you’ll have your end goals setup 2) you will have your target ‘applying goal’ in place and 3) a routine for when and how much time you spend applying for job will be established. Planning is the first step to becoming organized.

Look up the industry or industries you want to enter and the types of jobs you’d like to apply for. Create a list of possible occupations and their degree and/or skills requirements. This will help when you start searching for jobs because you will have some background knowledge on various roles and can eliminate the time you spend reading job ads you’re unsure about. For example, perhaps you want to enter the PR field and come across a marketing associate position. If you have prior background knowledge of what a marketing associate does, you would know that this role is not the press-release writing/written communication role you’re looking for. Then you won’t waste time reading the job description.

Conducting research prior to your job search will also help you discover new career choices you may not have known about.

Update your cover letters and resumes to the present day (or your last occupation). Be sure to keep both documents general until you’re ready to apply for jobs. As you apply for various positions, you can personalize your cover letter and resume. Also, be sure to have these documents ready in an electronic form, and update your LinkedIn profile as it is its own type of resume.

Tips 4-6 and Complete Article

Monday, February 18, 2013

Top nine tips for your LinkedIn profile


“I pretty much hang around and point out my staff’s shortcomings, talk on the phone, and complain about how things should be ... Sometimes I make a sales call.”
Art Flater became something of a celebrity thanks to this amusing LinkedIn profile. The owner of an office equipment company based in Waukesha, Wisconsin, also claims to have “invented the 2-hour lunch break, which has been adapted by sales slackers everywhere” .
But Kellie Tomney, owner of personal and employer branding company Stand Out Advantage, says Flater’s is a high-risk strategy. “I would only recommend using humour if it is truly authentically you – and it should be used with caution,” she says.
LinkedIn now has more than 200 million users worldwide and is increasingly being used by recruiters and employers to research job candidates and employees, as well as by many others before business meetings. The Australian Financial Review asked two experts for their top tips on creating an outstanding profile.
1. Get on it. Peter Williams, chief edge officer at Deloitte’s Centre for the Edge, says “LinkedIn is definitely not new but it’s the dominant business social network. You’ve got to be on there.”
2. Don’t lie. “While you might get caught lying on a resume, the chances of getting caught are higher on LinkedIn,” Williams says. “This makes you lose credibility with people who know you.”
3. Don’t be too honest. Tomney, who also works in recruitment, says she’s come across LinkedIn profiles that announce things like “I’m not a team player”. “It attracts attention for sure, but what employer or connected sales person is going to want to deal with you?”
4. Remember who is watching. Williams says he is interested when a staff member or competitor starts “polishing” their profile or receiving lots of recommendations – “it’s a tell tale sign you are looking elsewhere”, he says.

8 Sure Signs You Aced The Job Interview!

by Ritika Trikha

Whew. The job interview is over!

You’re out of the woods. You’ve done your best and now it’s all up to the employers — or the universe, stars, lucks, fate… whatever it is you believe in. Aside from proper follow-up, there’s really not much you can do at this point.

Except worry, or speculate… maybe even self-judge.

Vickie Austin, founder of CHOICES Worldwide, advises her clients never to judge how an interview goes because “we jump to conclusions when we really have no way of knowing how it went until we’re asked back or offered the job.”

But if you’re anything like me, you just can’t help but replay the whole production in your head. Maybe indulge in a few face-palms after wondering if you stuttered too much or littered your responses with “like,” “um” and other annoying filler words.

It’s natural to analyze — but there’s a more constructive way to gauge the success of your interview. Rather than playing the “what if” game in your head, consider what experts say are some positive clues that an interviewer is really into you.

Austin along with Judi Perkins, the How-To Career Coach and President and Founder of Find the Perfect Job, shared with us some insightful signs that likely mean you didn’t screw up your interview and are, in fact, on the right path!

1. They Discuss Your References

If your employer is asking about people who can vouch for your work, it’s two thumbs up! In fact, Austin goes as far as to say that: “The most positive indicator that a job offer is pending is a request for references.”

2. Hypothetical Questions

If your interviewer seems to be beating around the bush a little bit, it could mean he’s invested in you. Consider Perkins’ example: “The unconscious phrasing of the question “Can you travel?” is pretty neutral.
“On the other hand, ‘Would you be willing to travel’ is less blunt, and a more invested way of asking the same question,” Perkins says. “It has to do with the degree to which the asker wants a positive answer.”
Still, an even better (a super invested) variation would be: “If we were to ask you to travel one week of every month, could you do that?”
The more suppositional, the more they want you to say yes!

3. Talking about the Ex-Employee

Perkins notes that mention of their old hire could be a strong indication that you’re a potential shoe-filler – especially if that info reveals “that person’s disappointing performance.”  If the recruiter opens up this much: good sign for you.

4. Shooting the Breeze

If you walked away feeling like you simply chatted for about an hour—chances are they like you. Of course, a formal conversation doesn’t automatically mean they’re not into you. Their interview style heavily depends on the company culture, and some employers just prefer a more Jerry McGuire-professional style.
Either way, if “a conversation is taking place rather than a Q&A session, and there’s laughter or a sense of camaraderie” – it’s a good sign, says Perkins.

Signs 5-8 and Complete Article

Thursday, February 14, 2013

5 Reasons Why a Personal Website Should be Part of Your Job Search

By: Erin Palmer

These days, a job seeker has to stand out. And in a difficult job market, a strong resume just isn’t enough.

One option for getting an edge on the competition is to build a personal website.
According to The Multi-Generational Job Search Study by Millennial Branding, less than 15 percent of job-seekers have their own professional website. The study shows only 14 percent of Baby Boomers and 13 percent of Gen Y and Gen X have a website or online portfolio, which means job seekers of any age can use this tactic to distinguish themselves from their peers.
Here’s how having your own website can help your job search:

1. Helps employers come to you
Recruiters can’t reach out to you if they can’t find you. Building a website makes it easier to be found by a wider array of potential employers.
By creating a website, you can also influence your personal search results. Companies often search for an applicant before an interview, so a personal website can help lead employers to a positive, work-driven search result rather than an old Myspace profile.

2. A personal website allows you to show instead of tell
Resumes and job applications tell potential employers about your experience and skill-sets. A personal website allows you to show your talents instead of simply listing them. An online portfolio can let your work speak for itself.
Certain skills are better exemplified through showing actual work. A graphic designer, for example, could list “created logos for several businesses” on a resume. However, showing those logos is a better indicator of the designer’s ability.

4. Builds your personal brand
Branding is just as important for individuals as it is for businesses. You want to showcase who you are and what you do in a clear and consistent manner. Building your personal brand can help you control how you are seen by others, which is especially important when job searching.
Your website can help build your brand and your network. Providing links to all of your social profiles on your website will allow people to connect with you on every available platform. Having a consistent message on your social networks and your website can make it easier to gain authority while gaining followers.

Reasons 3,5, and The Complete Article

5 Ways You’re Not Using LinkedIn (But Should Be)

by Hannah Morgan

How do you use LinkedIn?
If you’re an internship or job seeker, you might be using the number one professional network to look at open positions. If you have a job already, you may use the site for networking with colleagues or finding leads.
The reality is: this is a much more powerful tool than that… and you may not be using LinkedIn to its maximum benefit.
Job seekers can not only find jobs, they can research target companies, study the backgrounds of upcoming interviewers and hiring managers, and network to get “inside” a company before getting hired. Current careerists often use LinkedIn for generating leads and researching their next job opportunity.
Here are some other ideas on what you could be doing with LinkedIn:

Personal Branding

LinkedIn is a terrific outlet to share expertise and promote your personal brand. If utilized purposefully and intelligently, LinkedIn is a great way to be found… just by showing what you know.

Keep Up With Industry News

How are you keeping up with what is going on in your industry? What publications or news sources do you regularly read? With a little effort, you can set up your LinkedIn News… and save time scouring news sites… by having that information delivered to you automatically.

Make New Connections

People define their LinkedIn connections differently. Some, known as LIONs (LinkedIn Open Networkers) connect with any and all. Other LinkedIn users only connect with people they’ve met or know well. And then there are those who fall in between or have no specific logic at all for whom they choose to connect with. Here are some ideas on how to find great contacts on LinkedIn.

Ways 4,5, and The Complete Article

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How to Prepare for an Interview

by Hannah Morgan

The interview is scheduled!  You are ecstatic, as well you should be!  But now what?  How will you prepare?  Here’s a quick checklist with links to more information to help you succeed!

1. Get a copy of the most current and/or in-depth job description (Hint:  the internal job posting may have more detail)

2. Prepare a STAR story for each of the job requirements. (What is a STAR story, read more here)

3. Prepare and practice out loud answers to these questions.

4. Craft your opening statement “Tell me about yourself” and “Why should we hire you”

5. Research the company using their website, LinkedIn and on sites such as  Hoovers Online, Forbes lists, and Dun & Bradstreet
If you can’t find them there, then visit your local library and speak to a reference librarian!
Be able to answer:  What do you know about us, What do we do, Who are our competitors

6. Know something about the people who will be interviewing you!  Research them via LinkedIn and Google!

Tips 6-12 and Complete CareerSherpa Article

How To Create a Brilliant Personal Brand on LinkedIn

Whether we are walking through town late at night, catching a train or queuing at the supermarket checkout, we make assumptions about people we don’t know: sometimes positive, sometimes negative.

When delivering my employability seminars, I often show a number of images of me. I ask the audience to shout out words they would associate with each picture. I never have to wait longer than a few seconds before people start throwing all kinds of descriptions at me.

A few years ago I presented a TV show that had a business element to it. The professional photos I had taken were black and white; I wore a power suit and was asked to look directly into the camera (without even a hint of a smile).

Well, they were professional shots, so I thought little about it and just used them on my LinkedIn profile.

A few months later, a fantastic company was looking to recruit. The hiring manager asked around for recommendations and a lovely lady, who had worked with me previously, very kindly recommend he contact me.

He searched me on LinkedIn, saw my image and felt like I was the last person he wanted to work with. He thought I looked hard nosed, arrogant and a little scary. It was only when our mutual contact persuaded him that I was none of those things that he eventually called.

We have since become good friends and luckily he told me how my LinkedIn image made him feel. After we had a giggle, I obviously changed it straight away.

I was extremely grateful for his feedback, but saddened to think about how many other people may not have contacted me because they felt the way he did.

I don’t believe those words define my personal brand; it was just a poorly chosen photograph. I had failed to recognise the way the photographer wanted to portray me, was not actually who I was. You may not like me, but you definitely won’t think I’m ‘scary’.

The reason I want to expose my mistake so publicly is to encourage people to think about their own LinkedIn image. I would advise you do the following:
  1. Choose three words you want your personal brand to be. Describe the way you want employers and potential business partners to perceive you.
  2. Choose a few images that you feel are suitable.
  3. Choose three people who you believe will tell you the truth and place the images in front of them. Ask them to pretend they don’t know you and to list words that describe the person in the picture.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

5 LinkedIn Marketing Tips to Grow Your Business


Are you looking for ways to expand your business with LinkedIn?
With a recent homepage redesign, profile and company page redesigns, new mobile apps and the introduction of notifications and endorsements, engagement on LinkedIn is growing.
Understanding a few simple strategies that can help you become a smarter and more effective marketer can really boost your results over time.
Here are 5 high-impact strategies to boost your marketing results on LinkedIn.

#1: Review and Reboot Your LinkedIn Profile… Frequently

Most recently, LinkedIn made some major changes both to personal profiles and company pages. For a comprehensive review of the most recent updates, visit this post to learn more about how to optimize your LinkedIn profile and company page.
In addition to making sure that you adjust to the changes in your profile layout and features, it’s a good idea to “reboot” your profile from time to time. I tend to reboot my profile every couple of months or so to keep it fresh, relevant and interesting.
Each time you update your profile, the update is shared to your network as long as you have this feature enabled in your settings.
adjust profile settings
Adjust your profile settings to show profile updates in your activity feed.
Is your LinkedIn profile picture outdated?
It may be time for a new one, especially if you’ve changed your look. Do you have a new hairstyle or color? Have you updated your wardrobe?
If it’s been a couple of years, your picture is most likely outdated. If you want to be recognizable in person at meetings, conferences and events with your LinkedIn connections, make sure your picture really does look like you today!
current profile image
Keep your LinkedIn profile image current and update your headline with relevant keywords.
Refresh your LinkedIn headline
I’ve found that when I update my primary profile headline every few months, my profile views jump. Also, when you add new keyword phrases to your profile summary and new relevant skills it may help you show up in more LinkedIn searches due to the search value of these key areas on your profile.
You can review your LinkedIn profile stats provided in the sidebar of your homepage to keep an eye on the number of times your profile has been viewed, as well as how many times you appear in LinkedIn searches.
Remember you won’t be able to determine who’s viewed your profile without apremium account, but you can still access the number of views you are receiving.
profile views
Review your profile stats frequently from the sidebar of your homepage.
The more people who view your profile, the more likely a percentage of those visitors will click through to your website or blog and learn more about you!
Keeping your profiles fresh and active will not only enable you to grow your visibilitywithin the network, it will also allow you to potentially drive relevant traffic to your blog or website.
Remember, your profiles are the foundation of your presence on LinkedIn. Don’t let them get outdated and rusty!

#2: Build a Deep and Wide Network

One of the best ways to get found on LinkedIn is to build up your network of connections. Certainly you will want to focus on having a quality network, but don’t be afraid to expand your connections.
LinkedIn does value both the depth and breadth of a member’s network, especially when showcasing search results. Every new connection you make is an opportunity toenhance your visibility.
Typically my rule of thumb is to review each invitation request received and make sure that the person has a completed LinkedIn profile with a picture.
Also make sure there is some relevant reason why it would make sense to connect.
  • Do they live in my community?
  • Do we belong to the same group(s)?
  • Are they connected to someone I know?
  • Do we or have we worked in the same industry?
  • Do we share common hobbies, interests or causes?
  • Have they read or spread my content?
  • Have they included a personal note with the invitation?
I’m much more likely to connect with people if they provide a good reason why they would like to connect, rather than sending a generic invitation.
By the way, you should use these same suggestions when identifying and reaching out to others to connect with youPersonalize your invitations when possible and provide a compelling reason why someone should connect with you.
What you will find is that as you grow the quality and quantity of your LinkedIn connections, there will eventually be a tipping point. This means you won’t have to proactively seek out new connections all the time, because they will come to you. Doors will open and more opportunities will come your way if you are more open to growing your connections!
It’s also perfectly fine to remove a connection, especially if over time you find that there really isn’t a good reason to be connected with a particular individual. If you do so, the person whom you remove will not receive any kind of notification of this action.
Another simple and effective way to build your connections is to invite other group members to connect with you. Hopefully by now, you’ve joined some groups that are relevant to your industry, community, alma mater or even your targeted prospects. If so, LinkedIn allows you to send invitations to connect with other members within the group.
group invitation
Connect with mutual LinkedIn group members who share common interests.
Be cautious not to send too many invitations to people whom you don’t know and may have never seen you before. For example, it makes sense to be consistently active within a group before reaching out to other members to connect.
To grow your network deep and wide, always be connecting! Connect with clients, prospects, partners, vendors, colleagues, community leaders, fellow alumni and anyone you meet face to face at networking events or conferences. Let those people you meet know that you’re going to be reaching out on LinkedIn to connect with them.

#3: Be Consistently Visible, Valuable and Timely

If you have a great LinkedIn profile and lots of connections, it’s not going to do you much good unless you become more active on the network. You can’t position yourself as a go-to resource unless you are visible, valuable and timely with your participation on LinkedIn.
Additionally, your most recent activity on LinkedIn now shows up toward the top of your profile. If you haven’t been sharing, commenting or interacting, nothing will show. Take advantage of this real estate and post a status update to your profile once or twice daily.
profile activity
Your most recent status updates now show near the top of your LinkedIn profile.
The great news is, you don’t have to spend a significant amount of time to truly be visible and valuable on LinkedIn. By focusing on critical activities, you will be able tostay top of mind with your connections with ease.
What are critical activities on LinkedIn?
There are activities that have the potential to grab the most attention from your connections. These include media-rich status updates (links that showcase images) with compelling headlines; thought-provoking questions; comments on the status updates of your connections; and overall the sharing of reputable, relevant and interesting content with your network. You should engage in these critical activities on LinkedIn 2-3 times daily.
Need some ideas for what to share with your network? Tap into LinkedIn Today for popular and trending news topics, as well as the LinkedIn INfluencer program toshare and comment on insights from well-known thought leaders!
Although it’s impossible to keep up with every single update from your network of connections (and beyond), LinkedIn now provides some nifty tools to make sure your interactions are more timely and relevant.
Check out your Notifications at the top of your profile. This is a new feature that LinkedIn recently added to make it easy for you to review the most recent interactions from your network.
Now you can easily scroll through these notifications and respond accordingly, in a timely fashion. This feature makes LinkedIn more of a true online networking destination.
Notifications can be found at the top of your LinkedIn profile.
Another timely networking option for being visible and valuable is to filter the updates on your LinkedIn homepage by Shares. There you will find what’s trending in your network and you can jump right in to contribute to the conversation!
network shares
Filter your homepage updates by Shares and participate in trending conversations.
LinkedIn status updates are by far the most powerful opportunity to be visible and valuable with your network. Many of the inbound inquiries I receive in my business are a direct result of being consistently visible, valuable and timely through my LinkedIn status updates.