11 job-search blunders I find hard to believe

scaleSome things I find hard to believe; like I stepped on my scale this morning expecting to be two pounds heavier, due to weekend of overeating, and I was actually two pounds lighter.

Or I deliver the best workshop of my life and receive less than stellar evaluations. What about my wife still talking to me after I haven’t installed a new screen door on our house three weeks after she’d asked me to?

Other things I find hard to believe are things that jobseekers do in their job search. For example:

  1. After getting laid off, they think it’s a great time for a three-month vacation, especially during the summer. Take a week off and then start your job search is my advice. Some downtime is healthy, but the longer you’re out, the harder it will be to get a job.
  2. They tell me they have no accomplishments to list on their résumé, so they have a résumé that looks like a grocery list of duty statements. One jobseeker told me that in five years of working at a company he hadn’t achieved anything great. Come on, try, guy.
  3. They send the same résumé to employers thinking targeted cover letters will address the requirements of a job. One customer admitted he sends out the same résumé but makes sure to tailor the cover letter to meet the employers’ needs. Half way there.
  4. Related to #3: They don’t send cover letters with their résumés. Come on, it only takes an hour at most to write a cover letter that elaborates more on your qualifications and accomplishments. Unless specifically told not to send a cover letter, send one.
  5. They think it’s acceptable to dress like they’re going to the gym while they’re in public. You’re always in the hunt and you never know when someone who has the authority to hire you—or knows someone who has the authority to hire you—will bump into you in the grocery store.
  6. Speaking of networking…they think going to networking events are the only places networking is allowed. Newsflash, networking is ongoing and happens wherever, whenever someone is willing to listen. Next time you’re getting your hair styled or cut, put a bug in the ear of your hairstylist.
  7. They start a LinkedIn profile and just leave it there like a wilting plant. Do you think doing this will create a positive impression on recruiters and employers? No, it will do more harm than good. Having a profile is one part of the equation; being active is another part. Be active on LinkedIn.
  8. They spend the majority of their time on the computer, posting résumés to Monster, SimplyHired, the Ladders, etc. Richard Bolles, What Color is Your Parachute, says your chance of success is between 5%-10% when using this method alone. To me this is not a great use of jobseeking time.
  9. They spend mere minutes researching companies and the jobs for which they apply before an interview. Really now, don’t you owe employers the respect of being able to articulate why you want to work at their company and do the job they’re advertising? Do your research.
  10. They expect recruiters to work for them. Who pays the recruiters’ bills? Recruiters work for employers, and any optimism you hear in their voice is to give you confidence when vying for the position, not to indicate you have the job. They’re busy people who don’t always have time to answer your phone calls or e-mails, so don’t feel slighted.
  11. They don’t send a thank you note to employers after an interview. I know, people say it’s a waste of time; but don’t go about your job search in a half-ass way. Thank you notes are an extension of the interview and could make you or…break you.

If you’re committing all of these blunders, or even some of them, consider correcting these aspects of your job search. I’m curious to know of any blunders that come to your mind. Let’s add them to the list.

The first of 3 steps for a successful LinkedIn campaign: creating a presence

linkedin2Some of my LinkedIn workshop attendees have told me they were encouraged to join LinkedIn because LinkedIn is the answer to their job search. I cringe when I hear this because what they were told is only partly true.

Being on LinkedIn will increase your chance of getting a job, but it isn’t a guarantee, especially if you don’t understand what it takes to be successful on LinkedIn.

I tell my workshop attendees their LinkedIn strategy involves 1) creating a presence, e.g. your profile, 2) connecting with others, and 3) being active. Without all three, your LinkedIn campaign will crash and burn.

Creating a presence. Let me make this easy for jobseekers who are starting their LinkedIn campaign. Leverage what you’ve already created, your professional résumé, by copying and pasting it to your profile. However, don’t stop there. After doing this you need to revise it to reflect a networking document.

Many pundits have written about how to create a powerful profile, so I’ll simply outline the necessary components:

Your Snapshot area is where you capture readers’ attention with your quality photo and branding headline. Don’t waste this area with a poorly done photo and a headline that simply states your title at your previous job. Both your photo and headline can brand you–a photo that shows you’re a professional and a headline that states your strong areas of expertise.

Let’s not forget how your headline can contribute to the keyword count. These are the skills recruiters/hiring managers/HR type into Search. Having the proper keywords and more instances of them will rank you higher and, consequentially, garner more visitors.

Make your Summary worth reading by writing it in first- or third-person point of view; include some Wow statements; and express your passion for what you do. You’re allowed 2,000 characters for you Summary, so use them all. This will allow you to tell your story, as well as give you more space for those ever important keywords. For more on this, read 4 reasons why you need a strong LinkedIn Summary.

Your Experience section can resemble your Work History from your résumé or you can simply highlight the accomplishments. I favor the latter, but some think their profile might be the only document an employer sees, so showing all is the way to go, duties included. One of the areas weighed heavily for keywords is the position’s title. You’re not limited to your title; you can add some areas of strength as well.

Ex. Project Manager | Budget | Lean Six Sigma | Cost Reduction | Leadership

The Media section is where your profile can be really dynamic. I tell my workshop attendees that it’s their online portfolio. There are a number of different media you can include in your Summary, Experience, and Education sections. On mine I share PowerPoint presentations and a link to my blog. Others, like my valued connection Anton Brookes, have YouTube videos and/or documents. What do you want to share with your LinkedIn visitors?

The Interests section is awesome. I don’t know why I love this area of the profile, but I always point it out to my workshop attendees with enthusiasm. Tell me where could you include such cool information on your résumé. I explain that this is similar to their Hobbies and Interests, but much more. Here are some snippets from my profile:

PERSONAL ME | Spending time with my familySpending too much time on LinkedInblogging about things career relatedchillin’ at Starbucks….PROFESSIONAL MELinkedIn trainingLinkedIn strategyLinkedIn profile critiquesLinkedIn profile writingLinkedIn for business marketing….

You’ll note these interests are hot links to people who also have these words on their profile. This is a great way to find people who also have interests in, say LinkedIn training or blogging.

Your Education is more than what you include on your résumé. It allows…or rather encourages you to expound on your degree and/or training. Along with the traditional information–college or university, dates attended (optional), GPA (also optional)–you’re given the option to include Activities and Societies, as well as Description.

Next we’ll look at the second of three components necessary for a successful LinkedIn campaign, connecting with other LinkedIn members.

9 reasons why I update so often on LinkedIn

update2Yesterday I tried really hard to refrain from sharing more than one LinkedIn status update. This resolution lasted an hour before I gave in to my urges, like someone on a bad diet. I don’t know what it is about this habit of mine, where I update no less than five times a day.

Daniel Newman an Adjunct Professor of Management at North Central College probably had me in mind when he posted Six Bad LinkedIn Habits That Must Be Broken on TheSavvyIntern.com.

I quote Daniel, “People don’t check LinkedIn nearly as often as Facebook or most other Social Networks for that matter. So I recommend that statuses are updated no more than once or twice a day.”

It’s not only Daniel’s suggestion that makes me examine my propensity to update. One of my colleagues told me I’m over the top and need an intervention, some kind of professional help he told me. So to validate why I update no less than five times a day, I came up with nine reasons.

Visibility. I reason that to be relevant on LinkedIn one must update. But how visible is too much? When people tell me they see me a lot on LinkedIn, are they just being nice and really thinking they see me too much on LinkedIn?

It’s fun. I can hear the guffaws from the peanut gallery, those who can’t think of what to update to save their life. Believe it or not, I enjoy writing and sharing articles…sometimes my own.

It keeps me from having to watch crappy television shows. Weighing watching The Bachelor against scanning my home page or Pulse for articles to comment on. Well, I’ll take the latter any day of the week.

It’s ideal for introverts. Here you go again, Bob, talking about introverts. I personally believe that updating on LinkedIn is an ideal way for introverts to communicate their thoughts. (Read 6 reasons why introverts prefer to write to understand what I’m talking about.)

I’m competitive. Or somewhat narcissistic if you like. Maybe subconsciously I enjoy receiving “Likes” or, better yet, comments on them gives me a feeling of being on the screen in Times Square.

I want to educate my followers. This is my pat answer to my aforementioned colleague and others who ask why it’s important to update at least once a day. Sharing articles…many times my own…what’s going on in my professional life, sage words of advice, etc, are intended to help my connections.

I’m addicted. This is perhaps my greatest fear. That I’m out of control and may need an intervention, as my colleague suggests. But like any addict, I can’t stop going to the strategically placed Share an Update box on my home page. It’s calling for me, “Bob, why aren’t you updating. It’s been an hour since your last one.” STOP, I yell. But then I give in.

I’m not as bad as some. I know this is a lame reason, almost an excuse, but some of my connections show up on my home page 10 times in a row. Do I remove them from my list of connections? No, I HIDE them. So I try to space out my updates.

I use it as a teaching tool. During my LinkedIn workshops when my attendees are outraged by the idea of having to update at least once a day, I demonstrate how to share an update within three minutes.

So here you have the reasons why I update and feel it impossible to follow Daniel Newman’s suggestion to update (only) once a day. I hope that he’ll revise his article to say, “Update as much as you’d like.” But I don’t think that’s likely because in all honesty, I’m the perfect example of an update freak.

 

 

4 ways to take control of your job search

Some jobseekers tell me they turn on their computer every day to log on to Monster, Dice, CareerBuilder, Indeed, and other job boards. They spend many hours a day applying for posted jobs, sending as many as 20 cookie-cutter resumes out a week, anticipating a call from a recruiter or Human Resources. They wait and wait and wait.

To these jobseekers I point out the futility of a job search like this, explaining that if they want faster results, they have to be more proactive. I tell them this in my Career Networking workshop.

First I talk about the “Hidden Job Market” which is a concept they understand, but I’m not sure they accept. When I tell them them connecting with others is the best approach to penetrating the HJM, I can hear them thinking how difficult it will be to get outside their comfort zone, to get away from their computer.

The message I try to deliver is that they have to be proactive, not reactive. They have to take control of their job search, not let it control them. Here are some ways you can be proactive in your job search:

Approach letters. Not oft used, these documents are ideal if you prefer writing more than using the phone, so you might be somewhat introverted. No job has been advertised. (Advertised jobs represent 20% of the labor market.) You’re not reacting to an advertisement.

The goal is to get an informational meeting or better yet, chance upon a possible opening that hasn’t been advertised (80% of the labor market). You must describe your job-related skills and experience and show the employer that you’ve done research on the company to boost the employer’s ego. Read Teena Rose’s article on approach letters.

Good ole’ fashion networking. Normally we think of networking as strictly attending organized meetings where other jobseekers go, doing their best not to seem desperate. (I’ll admit that this type of networking is unsettling, although necessary.) The kind of networking I’m referring to is the kind that involves reaching out to anyone who knows a hiring manager.

Most of the people who contact me after they’ve secured a job tell me that their success was due to knowing someone at the company or organization. You must network wherever you go. Network at your kid’s or grandchildren’s basketball games, at the salon, while taking workshops, at family gatherings (see Any Time is Time to Network)—basically everywhere.

LinkedIn and other social media outlets. I recently received an in-mail from someone who is currently working but is not enjoying her experience. I’ll keep my ears open for the type of position she’s looking for because she asked me to. LinkedIn members who know the potential of this  professional online networking tool are reaching out to other LI members for information and contact leads.

Another one of my jobseekers is doing everything possible to conduct a proper proactive job search. He updates me on his job search and sends me job leads for me to post on our career center’s LinkedIn group. I’ve got a good feeling about this guy. He’s being very proactive by using LinkedIn and his vast personal network of professionals.

Follow Up. Allow me to suggest a must-read book called Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. I think this guy gets more publicity from me than any author I’ve read. The reason I recommend this book is because none of these three proactive approaches are useful unless you follow up on your efforts.

Never Eat Alone teaches you how to network in every situation and then how to keep your network alive by following up with everyone. I mean everyone. Send an approach letter, then follow up with the people to whom you’ve sent it. Network face-to-face, then follow up. Connect with someone on LinkedIn…you guessed it, then follow up.

Being proactive sure beats the hell out of only reacting to jobs that have been advertised and visible to hundreds, if not thousands of other jobseekers. It gives you a sense of accomplishment and yields more results than exclusively participating in the visible job market. Being proactive makes you believe that the job search will finally come to a halt, that the job search is in your hands.

If you join LinkedIn, be prepared to work. 8 tips required to be successful

linkedin-sumary1It hurts my heart when jobseekers tell me they believe LinkedIn will be the success to finding a job. I mean it’s great that they’re using LinkedIn as part of their job search, but they have the misconception that LinkedIn is a job search tool that will deliver jobs to their lap.

LinkedIn is a networking application that was originally developed to help businesses network with other businesses, build leads, and help in marketing. Which is precisely why jobseekers should use LinkedIn to network and market their product (themselves); but in order to do this they need to clearly understand the purpose of LinkedIn.

An article, What To Say On LinkedIn When You’ve Been Laid Off, nicely says your profile is an online résumé  of sorts, which should be used to help in your networking endeavors.

“‘Until they are laid off, some folks either don’t know how to use LinkedIn, or have a very skeletal presence on the site,’ VanGilder says. Perhaps they think of it as a job search tool….” Deborah Jacobs writes.

And this is the conundrum–jobseekers who only become active on LinkedIn when they need a job. It’s almost like it’s too late. Their profile is incomplete, they have 4 connections, they haven’t joined any groups….But, alas, it might not be too late. What these jobseekers need to do about this problem is work their arse off.

Once that “online résumé ” is created, it must be modified to resemble an inviting networking document, and you must invest some time into stepping up your activity. This includes:

  1. A creative and somewhat lengthier Summary. (Some say it should be short. Let’s agree to disagree.) This, according to the author of the article, is where you should indicate you’re actively seeking employment. Agreed.
  2. Frequent updates, at least once a day. Occasionally you can explain your situation but not every day.
  3. A campaign to accumulate quality connections–20 connections will not impress anyone–totaling at least 150 quality connections over a period of time should be your goal.
  4. An Experience section that focuses on accomplishments more than basic duties. The mundane information might be on your résumé. Why repeat it.
  5. Playing the Skills and Endorsement game, where you can list as many as 50 skills and be endorsed for those skills. All one needs to do is click on any of your skills to endorse you. Can you tell I’m not a big fan of this feature?
  6. Acquiring recommendations. This feature was once considered for 100% completion but was taken over by Skills and Endorsements. Request recommendations from former employers who are your 1st degree connections.
  7. Joining groups that are compatible with your occupation and industry; for example, I would never join an IT group. But, like me, you might be interested in a variety of occupations or industries, such as social media, career development, and education.
  8. Use one of LinkedIn’s best features, Companies, to locate key players in your job search–the better to get your résumés in their hands.

Do you get the sense that LinkedIn will require hard work and may not yield immediate results? Good. Do you also feel that joining LinkedIn on the bottom floor will be to your benefit, as opposed to giving up on it? Good.

There’s one more thing to consider. Once you’ve created a great LinkedIn profile, have established a presence, and are active on LinkedIn leading to a job; don’t give up your activity on LinkedIn. You may need your network in the future. This time instead of having four measly connections, you’ll have hundreds.

Don’t disappear from LinkedIn, my valued connections

Why Connections DisappearI connected with a childhood friend about a month ago, and it was like a reunion where we caught up on good times, exchanged professional information, and were happy to reconnect. For the last two weeks, though, I haven’t seen hide nor hair of him.

What’s funny is that his profile was respectable; nay strong. He even used the media feature in his Experience section. He put real work into it and wrote to me, “I don’t know why people think building a profile is so difficult. All you have to do is play with it.”

But this post isn’t about the best way to build a profile; there have been many posts on this topic. What I’m constantly wondering is where are the people? The people who seem to be going strong, like my childhood friend, but suddenly disappear as if they’ve gone on an extended vacation.

One of the most important aspects of networking—online or personal—is maintaining a presence. I tell my LinkedIn workshop attendees to update at least once a day. That’s correct, once a day. This is how you communicate with your connections and…stay in their minds.

Of course there have to be viable reasons for updating daily. It’s not like you can write, “I’m off to the beach; let’s meet up,” like you might on Twitter. No there must be intelligent and professional topics on which to update.

Let’s start with the most common:

  1. Sharing articles—one of my favorites, especially articles from which people will learn. A good source for articles is Pulse.
  2. Posting quotes—some enjoy doing this. I’m not a big fan.
  3. Writing about skills you’re developing—great for jobseekers to show their value.
  4. Letting people know what classes or conferences you’re attending—perhaps you can meet up with people while you’re in DC.
  5. Are you leading workshops—updating is a great way to promote them, as well as strengthen your brand as a workshop facilitator.
  6. A great book you’re reading—keep it professional. Because LinkedIn eliminated its Reading List feature, you might want to let people know you’re reading Twitter 2.0, for example.

Maybe updating on a regular basis is not your thing. You might simply want to “Like” what others update, or write a short comment, or thank people for visiting your profile. The point is to be active and maintain your presence. It’s really not that hard, my valued connections.

I guess what I’m saying is I miss you. You are part of my network, so don’t disappear like a poof of dirt. Are you getting tired of LinkedIn? Are you spreading yourself too thin? Did you feel forced to join? Be persistent because, as you know, success only comes to those who work hard.

What fun is that? 5 reason why you should contribute on LinkedIn

thinkingRecently I spoke to a person who uses LinkedIn on a fairly regular basis, at least four times a week he said. When I asked him how often he updates, contributes to discussions in groups, or shares his thoughts in general; he told me never. So naturally I asked him what he does on LinkedIn, to which he said he reads what others have to say.

So I’m trying to figure out why someone would just read what others write or would share articles written by others. What fun is that? I’ll be the first to admit that I over contribute. I joke with my workshop attendees that I am probably the most hidden person on LinkedIn. In fact, I probably am.

Which isn’t to say I don’t read other’s updates and share articles written by others. A great deal of what I know comes from reading articles about the job search, LinkedIn, and introversion. I am constantly trying to increase my knowledge so I can share it with my customers and colleagues. Call me an equal opportunity contributor.

Back to the person who told me he doesn’t update, contribute to groups, or share his thoughts in general. Here’s the thing: LinkedIn is a platform that encourages its members to share information. Thus its recent roll out of the publishing feature—yes, I’ve contributed posts on LinkedIn—which gives anyone the ability to share their words of wisdom and thoughts.

For those of you who are on the verge of contributing to LinkedIn but can’t take the plunge, here are five reasons I hope will urge you to make that leap.

It gives us a voice. Whereas some people are verbal communicators, others are written communicators. They find comfort in being able to express their thoughts without interruption. Updating and contributing to discussions in groups follows Parliamentary Procedure which allows one to speak, receive feedback, respond to feedback, and so forth.

LinkedIn is educational. When you write an update, contribute to a discussion, or post an article; you challenge yourself to present viable information, which means it’s best if you do a little research to back up your assertions. Similarly you can be assured that what others write is well thought out and educational. Challenge yourself to produce updates, contribute to group discussions, and post on LinkedIn information that others will find interesting.

What you contribute isn’t done with impunity. On occasion I’ve been told my blog posts are utter shite, so I have to brace myself for this possibility. When this happens my first instinct is to feel hurt, but then I think, “Hey, people are paying attention.” And that’s a good feeling. You may want to be fairly conservative if you don’t want to be criticized harshly for your thoughts.

Contributing to LinkedIn can position you as a thought leader. Not everything one writes is worthy of a Pulitzer. But when you contribute to a group discussion with well thought out content, or, now, write a post that adds value; you’re positioning yourself as a thought leader. I encourage my jobseekers to write articles on their area of expertise, even if they feel deflated from being out of work.

It’s fun. This is a matter of opinion. I find writing on LinkedIn extremely fun. For the four reasons listed above, plus an escape from the demands of daily life, as well as not having to watch mindless television; I love expressing my thoughts. My family doesn’t understand it until I ask my girls why they spend endless hours taking photos for Instagram. Enough said.

These are my five reasons for contributing to LinkedIn. To simply read what others write and not write stuff of my own is not my idea of fun. I guess if I were a more understanding of people who feel shy about writing, I’d come up with five reasons why it’s cool not to update and contribute to discussions. Hey, there’s a topic for my next post.

11 reasons why we are a community on LinkedIn

communityTwitter has been called a “community.” It’s an appropriate designation for this open-ended platform that asks, “What are you doing and thinking?” Twitter is a place where people go to talk, offer advice, ask questions; but mainly talk–and all within 140 characters, including spaces.

LinkedIn, on the other hand, isn’t heralded as a “community” as much as a professional network, where people connect for business and job search possibilities. But a community?

Although LinkedIn doesn’t promote itself as a community of followers who want to know what you’re doing, LinkedIn is a strong community from which my close connections and I derive many benefits. Here are 11 reasons why LinkedIn is a strong community.

  1. We help each other. Whether its posting an article that points out important information on the job search or answering a question from a connection or providing advice on professional branding or generating sales leads; LinkedIn is about making people better.
  2. We celebrate each others’ successes. Nothing satisfies me more than to see someone land a job or announce a speaking engagement or gain some business. A community celebrates the successes of its members.
  3. We don’t disappear. My reliable connections will rarely drop off the face of the earth, not to be heard from for months. If they take a reprieve, I’ll write, “Great to see you again on LinkedIn” upon their return. Occasionally people need a break.
  4. We join and participate in groups.  At the moment, for example, I’m engaged in a group discussion which has been going for approximately two weeks. There are 40 responses multiple “Likes” to the discussion I started. It’s a nice conversation that’s taken a life of its own. Being a member of groups is truly a feeling of community.
  5. We are professionals. “Fun” is a word associated with Twitter. But LinkedIn?  I love LinkedIn for its professional business approach to online networking which is devoid of conversations you’d find on Twitter. To me, LinkedIn’s approach to professional networking is fun.
  6. NofoulWe enjoy LinkedIn’s reputation. In almost every article you read, LinkedIn is lauded for its use by recruiters and hiring managers to find talent, not to mention its use for relationship-building in business. No foul language or inappropriate conversation allowed.
  7. We display professional photos. The majority of the members in my community understand the importance of a professional photo. I will not accept in invite from LinkedIn users who don’t have a photo; it’s pet peeve of mine.
  8. We keep no secrets. Honesty is my policy when it comes to visiting someone’s profile. In my community most people feel the same. For those who don’t, I ask why? I don’t bite.
  9. We blog. Many members in my LinkedIn community blog and eagerly share our posts with each other. We find this a great way to demonstrate our expertise. I enjoy reading the works of my community and commenting on their opinions.
  10. We update on a regular basis, as well as communicate in other ways, such as “Liking” and commenting on updates. People in my community know I’ll thank them for visiting my profile (related to #7) by simply writing, “Thanks for stopping by.”
  11. We reach out to each other. My connections in my community are bona fide ones, because we reach out to each other via phone, if long distance, or in person. Twitterers converse online without the pretense of networking face-to-face.

These are but 11 reasons why LinkedIn is a community. When I think of it as a community, I think of my connections who appear on my homepage on a regular basis, reminding me of the impact they have on my LinkedIn involvement. Thanks I say to those who contribute to my community.

10 signs your job search resembles The Middle

The middleOne of my favorite TV shows is ABC’s The Middle. You know, the show about a family struggling just to get by. The character I like best is Brick, the youngest of the Hecks who is a genius yet oddly strange. (“Oddly Strange,” he whispers to his chest.) I also like Mike who my kids say I resemble, until I threaten to cut off their food supply.

Watching The Middle reminds me that some people conduct their job search as if it’s…The Middle. How, you may wonder? Think about the way the family never seems to get ahead, how their lives remain the same; and despite the fact that the show makes us laugh, we find it somewhat depressing. This is my point. There are 10 signs of your job search that resembles The Middle.

  1. No game plan. Does this not describe the Heck family to a T? Having a plan and goals also means you need to know what job you want to pursue, which can be the most difficult part of the job search for some. Without a plan, you’ll have no direction, which is essential if you don’t want to be stuck in The Middle land.
  2. A résumé that fails to brand you. Most important is writing a résumé that is tailored to each job, showing employers you can meet their specific needs. A Summary that fails to attract the attention of the reader, lacking a Core Competency section. no accomplishments to mention; are all signs of a The Middle job search.
  3. No online presence, namely LinkedIn, the premier social media application for the job search. At least 94% of recruiters/employers use LinkedIn to find talent, so if you’re not on LinkedIn you’re definitely hurting your chances of advancing in the job search.
  4. cover letter that doesn’t excite. You’re writing cover letters that fail to express your personality and are, well, boring. Worse yet, you’re sending form cover letters that don’t show you meet the specific requirements of the job. Further, you’re a believer of not sending cover letters. The Middle material for sure.
  5. Only applying online for positions. I’m not saying not to use job boards, but don’t use them as the foundation of your job search; networking still is, and will be, the most successful way to find employment. Don’t be fooled into thinking that sending out hundreds of applications will advance your job search…definitely reminiscent of The Middle.
  6. Networking isn’t part of your vocabulary. If you’re not going to networking events, meet-ups, or connecting with everyone you know, you’re missing the boat. Networking is proactive and a great way to uncover hidden opportunities at companies/organizations that may be hiring.
  7. Informational interviews are alien to you. The goal behind information interview is networking with people who are in your desired industry and selected companies. Impressing the people with whom you speak can create opportunities that might include being recommended for a job developing in the company, or may lead to speaking with other quality connections.
  8. Following up with potential connections is missing from the equation. You’re great at meeting people at networking events or other places to connect. You promise to e-mail or call your connections. But you don’t. This is a sure way to be stuck in The Middle, where nothing seems to change.
  9. Preparing for interviews as an afterthought. Oops, you go to interviews without having done your research on the position and company. You think you can wing it because you know your business like no one does. You’ve heard of behavioral-based questions but aren’t too concerned. You don’t get the job because of your lack of preparation.
  10. Not sending a follow-up note clearly says you don’t care. And simply thanking the interviewer/s isn’t enough; show the interviewers you were listening and engaged by mentioning some points of interest or revisiting a question you didn’t elaborate on. If you want to remain in The Middle, don’t send a follow-up note. But if you want the job, show the love. And no form thanks-yous please.

The Middle teaches a good lesson about how we need to put more effort into the job search. Doing a few of these activities does not make a successful job search; they must all be done and shorten the search. Can you think of other components of the job search that are necessary to make it a success?

If you enjoyed this post, please share it on LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

3 reasons why you need a strong LinkedIn Experience section

recruitersWhile I’m amazed that some people don’t have a LinkedIn Summary, I’m just as befuddled by folks who don’t see the value of a strong LinkedIn Experience section. When employers and visitors see a profile that lacks details in this vital section, the letdown is like air escaping a balloon.

Here’s the thing, a stunning Summary is great, but when your Experience section comprises of bare essentials, such as your titles, company names, and dates of employment, you’re LinkedIn profile lacks the punch that propels you to the top of the list.

Many believe the Experience section is the most important part of your profile, as it includes your years of experience, accomplishments, a story of what you did for each position, and keywords for search engine optimization (SEO). So here are three reasons why you need a strong LinkedIn Experience section.

Your experience section needs to tell a better story. A quick fix of copying the content of your résumé to your profile is the first step in building your Experience section; however, you’re not done yet. You still have to modify your profile to make it more of a networking document. This means your point of view should be first person and, of course, include quantified results.

Take, for example, an accomplishment statement from a résumé I recently read: Trained 5 office staff on new computer software, increasing production by 75%. It has the action statement and a quantified result, but it lacks excitement, the excitement you get from a LinkedIn profile.

Instead: I extended my end-user expertise by volunteering to train 5 office staff on our new database software. All members of the team were more productive as a result of my patient training style, increasing the team’s output by 75%.

Your position doesn’t tell it all.  You’re a director, CEO, or CFO, so you think that says it all. Wrong! Executive Resume Writer, Laura Smith-Proulx believes the more relevant information, the better; particularly when you’re trying to differentiate yourself from other executives. She writes: 

“The key to a strategic message in your CFO résumé is to do MORE with the details – taking the hard facts of budgets managed, teams directed, or cost savings achieved to fold in personal brand messages.”

At the very least, your leadership as a director of an organization plays an essential role in its success. What is the scope of your authority? How have you helped the organization grow? Have you contributed to the community or charities? Have you turned around failing companies and made them more profitable? Remember, you’re representing the organization. Or perhaps you’re passively looking for another job.

The power of LinkedIn is greater than you think. LinkedIn’s search engine is extremely powerful. If you have the proper, and numerous, skills (keywords), your chances of being found are great. Don’t forget to emphasize the quantified accomplishments!

Businesses are looking to connect or employ people with expertise; and although you have what they need, without the skills listed your message isn’t crystal clear. An organization would like to pay you to talk about how you developed a fund-raising process that resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars, but your Experience section is nothing more than a place mat. Lost opportunity.

Suppose you find yourself out of a job and suddenly need to connect with others who can help you in a big way. Rushing to create an Experience section that warrants the assistance you need is a bit late and will lengthen your job search.

These are three reasons why you require an Experience section that is strong and worthy of your greatness. Your Summary is a great start; now you need to follow it with an Experience section to support it.

Next read 4 reasons why your LinkedIn profile needs a strong Media section

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