“GETTING” LinkedIn

Your Career CompassYour LinkedIn Profile can be your optimal DIGITAL aid to networking… like your GPS to guide you through all the necessary networking.


This week’s session: Your LinkedIn Primer–TASK#1  Your Profile

Thursday, January 29th, 8:45 AM at The Egg and I Restaurant in Addison


As I see it, there are two central functions that you must pay attention to, on a regular basis for the rest of your career… and a third when you are actively seeking work.

  • TASK#1 Your Profile
  • TASK#2 Developing your network
  • TASK#3 Identifying jobs and other opportunities

Pilot OnboardYou can ‘design’ your Profile to draw interested parties TO YOU… this is called a ‘pull marketing’ effort and is heavily dependent on your search engine optimization (SEO) score.  This is an over-simplification, but the name of that game is to find creative ways to stack your keywords, using every allowable boundary of LinkedIn.

The challenge is to create this heavy barrage of keywords in a less than obvious manner, so that your Profile is still reader-friendly to those potential contacts, recruiters, or hiring authorities.

On the other hand, you may elect to use your Profile to get your story out to potential interested contacts, recruiters, or hiring authorities.  This would be utilizing a ‘push marketing’ design and would integrate a more narrative approach, with all due grammar in place…making it much more reader-friendly.

The challenge is to create such a narrative ‘storyline’ which still has sufficiently high SEO score to rank you in the first several pages of a keyword search aimed at an individual like you… yet still narrative enough to be reader-friendly for those that take the time to read through “your story.”

I encourage the Candidates that I serve to get the best of BOTH marketing approaches—both push and pull marketing strategies.  Remember, the LinkedIn search algorithm looks for your activity level FIRST and your SEO score SECOND (a close second)… so let your desired results be your guide.

While your Profile page will detail your work history, don’t assume you can copy and paste your resume and be done with it. Your profile page should reflect your professional interests, passions, and ambitions at this point in your career.  It’s not a mistake to start with cutting and pasting from your resume.   It becomes the core of this high tech, written ‘personal marketing’ collateral.

…But then edit your storyline and personality back in to it.

How can one accomplish this critical element of your Personal Marketing Plan, your ‘digital footprint?’  Use the time you spend on LinkedIn to address your two critical tasks:

1.   Task #1 is to keep your profile as a dynamic reflection of what you learn from your networking experience, tweaking your way to better search page results.  This is worth more time in the beginning of your career transition, but regular time throughout.

2.   Task#2 is to be interactive by participating in appropriate Group discussions, ‘like-ing’ comments of your choice, private messaging the writers of those comments as potential new contacts, following targeted Companies, and regularly ‘updating your network by ‘share-ing’ articles or posting brief ‘white papers’ than express your knowledge and expertise.

Set your job search habits to take full advantage of LinkedIn’s ever-changing algorithm and functionality.  LinkedIn can be your ‘digital roadmap’ to finding new contacts and being found!

Where Do The Words Come From?

Your Career Compass

 

Your personal marketing COMMUNICATION STRATEGY, your story, must be built around keywords and phrases that best describe your unique value proposition. These words come from your concerted self-assessment process. The challenge is matching the words that best describe your next right employment with the words that best describe a potential new employer’s needs.


Thursday, January 21st… Evolving In Sync Personal Marketing Collaterals: Your resume, et al


A communication strategy that does not achieve that is doomed to otherwise controllable difficulties—and, worst…failure. So, understand that getting recruited involves two distinct elements…

  • Being screened for meeting a JOB’s requirements… a subjective process created by the potential employers of the marketplace. They set the bar HIGH, defined by functional experience, skill set, and knowledge standards so they don’t have to interview every JOB applicant.
  • Being selected by the hiring authority… another subjective process which now involves their assessment of a job-seeker’s FIT with their needs, including personality, work habits, and other ‘cultural’ standards. They cannot hire all qualified candidates. They must choose.

Are you challenged in finding the right words for your resume? LinkedIn can be a valuable tool for you to use in self-assessment. Access the LinkedIn Profiles of other professionals like you… experiment by searching for a person like you in LinkedIn. Modify and improve your Personal Marketing Plan’s implementation model as needed… “Listen” to the marketplace, learning from it and adjusting your PMP accordingly.As you move through your search, make adjustments as you would a business model.

Ask for input from people you respect. In order to market yourself, you must first know yourself. The job search process is essentially a highly personalized marketing process, consultative marketing, that is.

Pilot OnboardThe process started with your candid self-assessment, often integrating feedback from colleagues and supervisors who know you best. Or consider ‘interviewing’ incumbent professionals, those who have positions and roles that are attractive to you.  This explorative step allows you to gain a thorough and workable understanding of who you are in product marketing terms. Especially if you are starting a resume “from scratch”, or if you are truly unsettled on next steps along your career path, this becomes a necessary first step in the process.

Are you challenged in finding the right words?  LinkedIn can be a valuable tool for you to use in self-assessment.  Access the LinkedIn Profiles of other professionals like you… experiment by searching for a person like you in LinkedIn.

***

“WORDCRAFT” your resume and other collateral materials…Create a forward looking “story” of what YOU CAN DO. Target your accomplishments, such as increased sales and profits, reductions in costs, etc. Focus on achievements that support your qualifications for your job goal.

KEYWORDS become personalized phrases by incorporating adjectives and adverbs that uniquely FIT you…

Those phrases should be confirmed for the reader and listener with high-impact accomplishment statements (behavioral evidence, like the bulleted information in a well written resume)… a well-‘crafted’ accomplishment statement can trigger appropriate questions that allow you to expand on your strengths, with…

…positive, supportive examples, elements of your career story—PROOF of your value proposition.

To achieve a good “careerFIT” between you and any future opportunity, you have to ask yourself some basic questions about yourself and your prospective employers. The fit depends on how well the jobs meets your needs and how well your skills and abilities meet the employer’s needs.

Creating a GREAT Resume

Your Career CompassAre you challenged in finding the right words for your resume? LinkedIn can be a valuable tool for you to use in self-assessment. Access the LinkedIn Profiles of other professionals like you… experiment by searching for a person like you in LinkedIn. Modify and improve your Personal Marketing Plan’s implementation model as needed… “Listen” to the marketplace, learning from it and adjusting your PMP accordingly.


Thursday, January 21st… Evolving In Sync Personal Marketing Collaterals: Your resume, et al


As you move through your search, make adjustments as you would a business model. Ask for input from people you respect. In order to market yourself, you must first know yourself. The job search process is essentially a highly personalized marketing process. The process started with your candid self-assessment, often integrating feedback from colleagues and supervisors who know you best. Or consider ‘interviewing’ incumbent professionals, those who have positions and roles that are attractive to you.

This explorative step allows you to gain a thorough and workable understanding of who you are in product marketing terms. Especially if you are starting a resume “from scratch”, or if you are truly unsettled on next steps along your career path, this becomes a necessary first step in the process. What YOU Do Best, and are motivated to do for a future employer… What do you do best? What are your strongest transferable skills? Discovering your “pattern of success and satisfaction” is your goal, here. Your ability to express the collection of your functional strengths will measure your marketability.

Pilot OnboardYOUR STARTING POINT

A GREAT RESUME REALITY THERAPY:

  1. There is no such thing as a perfect resume.
  2. If you seek editorial advice from 100 trusted colleagues, HR folks, or even highly skilled and experienced Career Consultants and resume writers… You will get 100 different pieces of editorial ‘advice.’
  3. Books and The Internet will allow you to choose between hundreds of ‘excellent templates,’ formats, and example resumes to FIT your positioning and targeting (read chaotic choice, here)
  4. The ideal resume CAN BE created for any JOB that posts a realistic set of requirements and an accurate job description.

However… A lesson that the marketplace has taught us over the years is that realistic requirements and accurate job descriptions are elusive, moving targets. That said, a GREAT resume, then, is a journey that SMART professionals choose to pursue for the rest of their career… NOT a destination sought before entering the marketplace during active job search.

Look at your “journey” like your own personal marketing LABORATORY—one in which you’ll spend significant time during active job search in order to develop an effective communication strategy and tactics. Be your own best Marketing Department… know the time tested, vital ingredients and components that you will need for your laboratory…

CONTACT INFORMATION

This component sounds like a ‘no brainer;’ however, even this basic requires some experimentation and choices. A great resume is written for the reader, not to please the writer. So, even YOUR NAME requires that you select exactly how you want your reader to access your background and credentials… Their ‘offer criteria.’

Your choices…

  • FULL legal name, including recognized credentials… or,
  • Your full name, including middle name or initial… or,
  • The name that you are usually called, potentially including… or,
  • A nickname (a rare choice for a professional resume)

YOUR MAILING ADDRESS also requires some choice. Does it potentially create a discrimination based on your ‘neighborhood’ or geography? In today’s digital world of recruitment, your actual residential address is rarely used until hired. So, you may elect to use just your city and state… or simply use your email address as a preferred method of contact. If hired, however, be prepared to give your employer more complete and accurate mailing address.

Make a choice of which PHONE NUMBER you want to use. The traditional stacking of home, office, and cell numbers gives you little control. Rather, select the single best number to reach you during normal working hours— remember your are writing for the reader. An alternative is using a number that can be forwarded to you, where-EVER you are.

…And what about your EMAIL ADDRESS? Please be aware that while your family and friends might enjoy communicating with you at ‘happymom@aol.com,’ you will be more professionally received at ‘JaneDoe1@gmail.com,’ one of your FREE alternatives. Google allows you to forward from an email address that you can create to present a more professional “brand” for yourself—for example… ‘QCPro@printmedia.com,’ an opportunity to express your positioning and targeted industry. You’ll want to create and control for accessibility during active job-search.

You thought these were going to be EASY choices?  Remember that, in the digital world of recruitment, your contact information is your best ‘unique identifier’ of who you are in the mega-databases out there.

POSITIONING STATEMENT

When a reader makes it through your contact information, in the top portion of a great resume they must have a clear picture of what you are motivated to do for them. In today’s digital world of optimized screening and recruitment, THE Careerpilot encourages a very simple, straight-forward approach—one example…

DISTRICT OPERATIONS MANAGER

Business Development | Operations Analysis | Project Management

Process Improvement | Quality Assurance | Staff Development

Note the ‘defining keywords.’  It would be ideal to edit your resume template to precisely FIT each job or employment opportunity’s title and requirements. However, this professional’s more generic template might start with the following positioning…

GENERAL MANAGEMENT

Strategic Planning… Operational Analysis… Manufacturing Process Improvement… Multi-unit Leadership… Customer Service

YOUR QUALIFICATION SUMMARY

Pardon this metaphor, but if the readers are attracted to the title of your story, isn’t it natural for them to look at the ‘table of contents’ or the chapter headings?  In a great resume, you make this reader’s choice EASY by supplying a high impact presentation of your qualifications.  As was the case of your positioning statement and keyword definition (above), your qualification summary can be presented in several attractive formats.

One of the more common and effective is a narrative paragraph the covers the depth, breadth, uniqueness, and a glance at your work ethic and personality FIT… all in 4- 5 tightly word-crafted sentences. For example, following the positioning above…

Successful general management professional with over fifteen years of progressively responsible experience in the (targeted) XX industry. Fully accountable roles have demonstrated consistent leadership in strategic planning, business development, operations analysis, multi-unit responsibilities, project management, process improvement, quality assurance, and customer satisfaction. Uniquely valued for team-building and staff development commitment. Solid reputation as a customer’s business partner and staff’s respected leader—listens, responds and implements effectively.

…more to follow

How Important is CareerFIT??

To achieve a good “fit” between you and any future opportunity, you have to ask yourself some basic questions about yourself and your prospective employers. The fit depends on how well the jobs meets your needs and how well your skills and abilities meet the employer’s needs.


Next Week’s session: Thursday, January 14th Achieving CareerFIT with Brian Allen facilitating


The employer will make a decision and extend an offer to you: now it is time for you to make your decision.  Write out the factors that are important to you in a job… actually write out your list.

You understand that managing your own career involves three key ingredients:

  1. Confidence in knowing that your career is on the right path;
  2. Continuous research and networking leading to awareness of potential “next steps…” to keep your career moving forward;
  3. Competency with job-changing skills.

To manage your career wisely has you extending the same concept.  Consider some of the factors listed below … Examine each factor through the questions listed – and then ask “does this opportunity fit me?”

Work Requirements and Expectations: What is the next  appropriate work for you? Is the work process or project oriented?  If it’s process oriented, are the requirements and expectations clear?  What kinds of projects will you work on? Will you work on one project at a time, or multiple projects? Are the projects long term or short term? Will you work on a project long enough to see the end result? Is it important to you to be able to see the project as a whole, including the result? Or will you be content to do the work without a big picture understanding?

Work Environment: Will the work space be a source of comfort and confidence for you? How formal or informal is the environment? Hectic, fast paced? Will you have the opportunity to have flex time, or to tele-commute? How many hours a week does the employer expect you to work? Will you have the freedom to wear casual clothes? What is a typical day like at the company you are considering?  Would they allow a “trial visit” or at least a site visit?

Career Path: Is there a defined succession plan? What position(s) can you move to next? How long do new hires generally stay in the same job? How quickly do people get promoted? Are your opportunities for professional development well defined and available to you? Are mentors available?

Training and Personal Development: what kind of training will you get from the employer to do the job? What kind of training will you get to stay current in your area of interest? Are the answers to these two questions different? Does it matter to you if the answers are different?

And, what about YOU?

Ultimately, your goal is to secure the right employment for yourself… that must start with your identification of what right is.  THAT requires some exploration, identification of key elements of your Career FIT, and planning to pull it all together, create focus… make it happen.

Yes…. FIT Happens!  Creating an action plan, your Personal Market Plan, during career transition, will reap rewards during your implementation campaign. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  To achieve a good “careerFIT” between you and any future opportunity, you have to ask yourself some basic questions about yourself and your prospective employers.

The FIT depends on how well the jobs meets your needs and how well your skills and abilities meet the employer’s needs.  This is your value proposition and is reflected in your QUALIFICATION SUMMARY.

OFFER CRITERIA

Write out the factors that are important to you in a job…actually write out your list. During your career transition, you learn the value of setting your offer criteria.

1. Creates an objective target for your efforts ahead;
2. Gives you a meaningful set of questions to ask during research and networking;
3. Provides an objective way to analyze and react to offers as they occur.

To manage your career wisely has you extending the same concept.  Keep your “offer criteria” in that dynamic state of change that allows you to adapt to market conditions.  If your current goal is to find a new position, then you should prepare your search as a “business model”, manage it accordingly, be flexible, and be ready for the unexpected.

 

 

The EMPLOYMENT EQUATION… What Gives?

The Internet has spurred many new, employment related businesses to flourish in the past twenty years, some with great financial success  Small start-up HR and recruitment/placement technology firms are receiving two to three times (or more) their revenues in new investment from private sources. Many ask, “What gives?


Thursday, January 7th… FIRST Session of 2016Embracing The OTHER Job Market… A terrific way to ramp up your efforts in the New Year as this is the session where we cover basic philosophies and run through the entire 12-Step Process.


Placement numbers have barely budged in relative terms, and the job seeking public has become disenchanted and frustrated by this new digitized process that has created a huge ‘black hole’ from their perspective.”

Much is prophesized by the many investors who represent huge sources of capital, and the conversation inevitably leads to “Why can’t real technology do to EMPLOYMENT what it has done to so many other businesses?”

Why can’t the capital and the smarts of Wall Street and Silicon Valley figure out how to disrupt traditional approaches to sourcing, recruitment, and the on-boarding of new employees and drive huge valuations for their efforts? After all, it has worked almost everywhere else.

Corporate recruitment and hiring is a transaction that is infrequent, complex, and fraught with downside when things go wrong—driving consumers to use someone who knows how to reduce their fears, doubts, and threats and help them get a result they want: the smoothest employment transaction possible.

However, the process, itself is flawed and dysfunctional.

That’s it: a great $multi-billion business, an oversupply of money, and investors who want to disrupt an industry and hopefully make a fortune doing it. Who knows, these smart investors may be right, and one of them will find the key to take the middleman out of this business and make a fortune.

Or, they may be one of many who have come before and not quite found a way to do so. Just don’t get hung up on the efficiencies promised in today’s market… they too will pass.

NEXT Week’s Session: Embracing The OTHER Job Market … Thursday, January 7th at 8:45 AM @ The Egg and I Restaurant in Addison

BEING A ‘Valued Partner’

Whether you are an operations manager, an internal HR professional, senior finance executive, or a key player on the IT team—ANY experienced and valued professional job seeker—ALL and EVERYONE wants to become a valued partner in the business of their next employer. Everyone wants a voice in strategic decisions and to be included in ‘the conversation.’


Thursday, January 7th… FIRST Session of 2016 Embracing The OTHER Job Market… A terrific way to ramp up your efforts in the New Year as this is the session where we cover basic philosophies and run through the entire 12-Step Process.


To truly be included, you need to be invited. And you will only be invited if you are seen as absolutely essential to the TEAM.  Remember, team player and team leader CAN BE interchangeable terms.

Here are some tips on becoming a valued partner…

Walk the talk.  Nothing speaks louder than results…. From the recruitment perspective, the best indicator of one’s potential for success is one’s prior experience and results gained.  A partner helps others within the organization achieve their goals. And results require actions, not just words. The better the results you get, the more likely you are to be invited on to ‘the team.’

Deep knowledge. You must have a true understanding of every aspect of the business, how all the moving parts work together, the obstacles ahead, and intimate knowledge of the competition in the marketplace. In other words, you’ve done your homework and understand your potential employer’s need.  And you must be able to articulate your understanding to anyone involved in the decision-making process in a manner that demonstrates that you truly get it.

Two of the many ways of accomplishing this image are to…

  1. Keep a file of relevant articles to share with key decision-makers, take advantage of the approaches that email and social media have to offer… create and maintain top-of-mind awareness.
  2. Further, create a set of ‘white papers’ that express, from your knowledge and experience, your perspective on relevant issues to your Profession or industry of choice.