Your “Digital Footprint”

Compass-seaLHow 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.

TASK#1: Your Profile

Your LinkedIn Profile can be your optimal DIGITAL aid to networking.  You 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 has sufficiently high SEO score to rank you in the first several pages of a keyword search, AND…

…AND narrative enough to be appealing to the actual reader of your profile.

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 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 put personality back in to it.

TASK#2: Developing YOUR Network

Goal: Continue to gain benefits from your social network — without making it your full-time job.  Don’t expect that you can post something (TASK#1) one time and get ongoing benefits.    Rather, you’ll need to continually update and refine your profile and your network. The most obvious way to do this is to add new contacts.

When I come home from a conference, for example, I go through the business cards I’ve collected to see who’s on LinkedIn.

Adding new contacts, sometimes from outside your immediate field or industry, is also a subtly persuasive way to sell yourself by letting others see how far your professional sphere extends.

I encourage job seekers to reach out to contacts even when you don’t have a business concern.  I try to touch base with a few contacts every week for no other reason than to check in and see how things are going.

TASK#3: Job Lead Development



Your Personal Marketing Plan: A CAREER Strategy

Your Career CompassWhile involved in ‘the challenging waters’ of career transition, the same chaotic, jobless, trying times are very productive times. Don’t waste them by floundering with lack of focus and direction, falling into the dark, depressive attitude of distractions and, worst of all, inaction…

When we are employed, we tend to function under the guidance of our employer’s business plan, or, more specifically, our job description. Our ‘routine’ is defined by:

  • Personal accountability to a labyrinth of responsibilities, some structured— some not structured at all—but all contributing to productive work activities… 
  • We create productivity and efficiency with our sense of time management…
  • And as ‘top talent’ professionals, we often take initiative, make process improvements, and contribute to the Company’s growth.

    THIS WEEK’s Session, Thursday, June 23rd: Developing your Personal Marketing Plan… being prepared for a productive and efficient job search.

Pilot OnboardSo, why not recreate all that with OUR OWN PLAN, a Personal Marketing Plan, to move toward job satisfaction, commitment, and appropriate compensation, for the rest of our careers… including any current, short term job search?   But, before looking at what such a Personal Marketing Plan would look like, you should review the PREPARATION Portion of the 12-step Process Model.

If an individual is under-employed, seeking a change, or actually unemployed, they must be visible to potential employers who are seeking their services. Creating this visibility is strategic, personal market planning and execution—in can be marketability without rejection!

And, employed or not, Modify and improve your Personal Market Plan’s implementation model as needed… As you move through your career transition or ‘job search campaign,’ make adjustments as you would a business model.

Personal Marketing is a contact sport.

Following the first three steps, it may feel like you’re ready to take on the job market… but, THE Careerpilot encourages you to be totally prepared before you do.

4)  “Coaching” Your Chosen REFERENCES…  It is essential that you make certain that persons you use as a reference will respond in a positive manner. A good rule of thumb is to select four to six references, including supervisors, indirect supervisors, customers, peers, and possibly someone of stature in your profession.

Contact every person you are using for a reference, get their permission, discuss what type of position you are targeting, and send them a copy of your ‘market-ready’ resume template. There are times when you can actually negotiate what you want them to say.

Practice your networking skills while you validate your RESUME TEMPLATE, tweaking as appropriate based on feedback from those that know and respect you.

 5)  BRANDING YOURSELF In The Marketplace… Your “market-tested” RESUME TEMPLATE can now serve as the basis of your correspondence templates. Become familiar with the AUTO TEXT and MAIL MERGE applications within MS Word to create efficiency in the editing of your templates to meet the needs of specific opportunities that you are marketing yourself to.

Now it is REALLY beginning to feel like YOU are market-ready… but, THE Careerpilot encourages you to be totally prepared before you do. Let’s not forget to be prepared for the digital face of the job market…

 6)  INITIAL RESEARCH:  To Create Focus… Make a concerted effort to research trends and target organizations of geographies, industries, and functions that interest you. Access market research reports, the Internet, your own network… start with the resources with which you are already comfortable. Develop your research awareness and abilities.

7) Begin to assemble your INITIAL Target Organization List…  Start your list of companies and industries that are attractive to you. Your targets are companies that utilize the functionality and RESULTS that you can bring to the table. A great start is to consider industrial trends in the marketplace that point to an organization’s need for your services.

 8) INITIAL CONTACTS List… Make a list of coworkers, bosses, customers, suppliers, associates, external consultants, etc. Make a SINGLE list of family, extended family, friends, relatives of friends, neighbors, people you know from special interest groups like bowling or bridge, church contacts, former classmates or alumni, and professionals like your doctor, dentist, or hair stylist.

“Drown-proofing” Your Resume

Your Career CompassMany job seekers feel “swamped,” like being pitched overboard from their boats in the challenging waters of career transition.  When they lose their job, they realize that they have not provided themselves with the appropriate life preserver.  In today’s digital world of recruitment, the traditional approaches to job search seem to provide more opportunities to drown, than to survive and thrive…

Many job applicants and resumes must first survive the applicant tracking system (ATS) before a live person even looks at them.  Even experienced and strong swimmers know to wear their life jackets in challenging waters.

Next week’s session: Thursday, June 23rd… Developing Your Personal Marketing Plan (PMP) BEING prepared for a productive and efficient job search.

Pilot OnboardIn “Embracing the OTHER Job Market,” we learn to be aware of our surroundings in the challenging waters of career transition.  We learn to provide ourselves with supportive career strategies to avoid the “black hole” of Internet job and resume banks… So, to come back on point, job seekers need to find out how to get your resume ranked highly within applicant tracking systems, so that it can then go on to the real human beings who will call you for interviews.

An ATS is a type of software application that handles the recruitment process, namely by sorting through thousands of resumes, to determine which ones are the best fit for the positions for which they were submitted. Applicant tracking systems do not process your resume so differently from recruiters glancing at your resume, as both are looking for certain criteria for inclusion. Whereas human recruiters are often looking for grounds for automatic rejection, such as spelling errors or lack of relevant skills, applicant tracking systems operate by searching resumes for keywords.

USER-friendly applicant tracking systems…

Applicant tracking systems help employers save time and paper and help them stay organized. Without them, recruiters would have to spend much more time filing and shredding papers or moving and deleting emails. With applicant tracking systems, there is no risk of an employer accidentally deleting the email containing the resume of the applicant the company wants to hire. An ATS also makes it easy for employers to keep tabs on the hiring process and to communicate with applicants directly.

Applicant tracking systems were first used by large corporations that receive thousands of applications, but smaller businesses are now also using them. Just as companies use software applications and other dashboards to keep track of relevant information on their customers, using similar software to organize information on prospective employees makes sense for employers of all sizes.

Telling “Your Story” in The OTHER Job Market

Your Career Compass

The problem with traditional job search tactics is that they take you directly into the teeth of the screening process, forcing you to be judged “yes-no-maybe” prematurely… worse still, this judgement is usually being made by a computer through a dysfunctional KEYWORD filter.  NOT good odds!

Next week’s session:  Thursday, June 16th… Developing high impact and IN SYNC Personal Marketing collateral materials

Pilot OnboardYour work in Achieving CareerFIT led you to the determination of your career objective, exactly what is the best next step for you in your career transition?  It also suggested strongly that you set your straw-man offer criteria to guide you in moving forwardKnowing what your next right work is.

This will help focus your actual search. With clarity in your positioning and targeting goals, you can write a great resume to convey “your story.”

Your Personal Marketing Collateral


  1. A GREAT Resume that positions you clearly as a terrific FIT with your career objectives… and in today’s technologies, a database-friendly, asci version;
  2. A correspondence template package that consistently carries your communication strategy, your message… and in today’s technologies, a reformatted, text only version of your resume ready for email needs;
  3. A high impact, personal biography and/or NETWORKING PROFILE that you can lead with in your referral based networking strategies.
  4. A clear and complete LinkedIn Profile, one that is based on your communication strategy and in synch with your other written collaterals.


  1. A well rehearsed “two minute commercial,” your answer to the most asked question during career transition, “Tell me about yourself.”
  2. Several, well though out, “elevator speeches,” examples that support your primary, positioning, key words. These are usually your representative accomplishments under the SUMMARY of your resume. (30 seconds to 1 minute)
  3. A succinct “qualification statement” that you can use as an introduction at networking events. (usually 20 – 30 seconds)
  4. An “exit statement” which explains your availability, to address the second most asked question during career transition.

Having your collaterals prepared and rehearsed prior to active personal marketing is central to your success and builds confidence.

Consistency in the delivery of your message is what creates memory… and frequency of your message helps you get there… strive for top-of-mind awareness where it relates to your candidacy.

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.

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.

A job-seeker, then, can give themselves choices when they choose to embrace the OTHER Job Market. They improve their probability of success by nearly eliminating the pre-mature screening and rejection process.

Instead, the SMART job-seeker chooses to build relationships with potential employers first, researching attractive trends and targeted organizations in order to maximize probability of success, avoiding the HR-driven screening process to identify appropriate opportunities for securing their next right employment.