Author Archives: Things Career Related

About Things Career Related

Bob McIntosh, CPRW, is a career trainer who leads more than 17 job search workshops at an urban career center, as well as critiques LinkedIn profiles and conducts mock interviews. Job seekers and staff look to him for advice on the job search. In addition, Bob has gained a reputation as a LinkedIn authority in the community. He started the first LinkedIn program at the Career Center of Lowell and created workshops to support the program. People from across the state attend his LinkedIn workshops. Bob’s greatest pleasure is helping people find rewarding careers in a competitive job market. For enjoyment, he blogs at Things Career Related and Recruiter.com. Connect with Bob on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.

Reciprocity in the job search isn’t as hard as you think

After reading an article, Principle #1-Reciprocity, from my valued LinkedIn connection Brian Ahearn, I began thinking about how difficult it is for some people to reciprocate in the throes of their job search.

talk

This is not the first time Brian has given me an idea that can help job seekers. Brian writes about the art of persuasion. He is “one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, the most cited living social psychologist on the topic of ethical influence.”

One example of a job seeker having a hard time reciprocating is when he’s networking and wonders how can they return the favor. For example, a fellow networker provides him with a few leads of people they can contact. One of the leads turns into an interview and eventual job offer.

He might not be able to reciprocate in the same manner, but he can do something as simple as help the giver with enhancing her résumé. Or he may let her know of any openings at his new company. I’ve witnessed many of my former clients reciprocate in this manner.

Read Brian’s article, Principle #1-Reciprocity, and see how you can reciprocate a favor someone pays you when you are networking.

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How to answer, “Tell us about a time when you were successful at work.”

“Tell us about a time when you were successful at work” is a behavioral-based question you might face in an interview. This is a common question which can be challenging if you’re not prepared for it.

successfull

Most people who I ask about their successes at work have difficulty coming up with one on the spot.

Some believe that as children we’ve been conditioned not to promote ourselves. We have been told talking about a success is bragging, and we should not brag.

Nothing can be further from the truth if we’re asked by an interested party — interviewers in this case — who are trying to determine our value.

We should be able to talk not only about one time we’ve been successful at work. We should be able to recall many times we’ve been successful.

How to answer this behavioral-based question

A vague answer is not going to impress interviewers. In fact, it might eliminate you from consideration. Remember, how you have succeeded in the past is of great interest to interviewers, so interviewers want a specific answer.

The purpose of behavioral interview questions is for interviewers to understand how you have responded to certain situations in the past to gain insight into how you would act in similar situations in the new job.

Keep the following thoughts in mind:

1. Show enthusiasm  

When you describe this situation, be enthusiastic about your success, but stick to the facts. Describe a specific time when you were presented with a challenge and overcame it. This scenario makes the best success stories.

But don’t embellish, and don’t take credit for anyone else’s work — in fact, share credit with co-workers, management, or others, as appropriate.

2. Understand their reason for the question  

Interviewers are looking for high achievers who show motivation and don’t shy away from hurdles in their way. They want to hear about your actions which led to a positive result.

They also want to know if you succeed by yourself or as part of a team, and how you succeed — demonstrating your intelligence, your leadership skills, your diplomatic skills, or some other skills you have.

Tell them about a relevant accomplishment demonstrating the skills required for this job. You can gain an understanding of what’s relevant by carefully reading the job description to determine their most pressing need.

3. Have your story ready

Be prepared to describe a true situation when you were successful at work. It’s best to write your example, as well as others, down in order to better tell it. We learn best by first writing what we must say. It becomes ingrained in our mind.

Think of an example of leadership or management success for a manager job, an example of creativity or problem-solving success for an individual contributor job, an example of closing a big sale for a sales job, whatever is appropriate and relevant to the job.

Sample answer

What is very important in answering this question is to go into the interview with a specific Situation in mind. This is the beginning of your story. The remaining parts of your story are: your Task in the situation, the Actions you took to solve the situation, and the Result.

Let’s look at a STAR story to answer: “Tell me about a time when you succeeded at work.”

Situation

I was managing one of the largest ABC stores in New England. Although we were leading in revenue; we also had been experiencing a two percent loss due to theft.

 Task

I was tasked with reducing theft to one percent.

Actions

My first action was to have my assistant manager do a full analysis of the items which were stolen most frequently. Not surprisingly, smaller items like pencils, staplers, and calculators were stolen off the shelves.

However, large amounts of other items of all types were being stolen by my own staff and not making it to the shelves. This was of most concern to me, as the majority of money lost was happening here.

For the theft committed by customers, I instructed my staff to smother the customer with kindness. In other words, attend to any customer who seemed to need help or who was lurking around.

For the theft from the dock, my assistant and I brought our un-loaders into my office one-by-one and asked each of them if they were skimming merchandise from the trucks. One out of five admitted to doing this, so I released him without pressing charges.

I instituted a policy that prevented any vehicles to park or drive to within 100 feet of the unloading dock. I also had cameras installed facing the point of delivery. Previously there were no cameras.

Result

Both the external and internal theft was reduced significantly. The policies, extra personnel, and cameras I implemented were successful in reducing theft to .75% and have been doing the trick ever since.

Bonus – Learned

I learned that while most employees can be trusted, unfortunately a small few can’t. I also learned that theft can be reduced at a minimum cost, e.g., I didn’t have to install more expensive cameras to cover every square inch of the store. After all, the store wasn’t a casino.


The Bottom Line

Expect behavioral questions to be asked by most interviewers. Have examples of how you have handled difficult situations, structured as STARs so you clearly present both the situation and the positive result.

This article originally appeared in Job-Hunt.org.

If you enjoyed this article, check out others about tough behavioral-based questions:

Photo: Flickr, Marc Accetta

The truth: introverts and extraverts are wired differently

Guest author Edythe Richards

Two of the most common misunderstandings of the Extravert-Introvert dichotomy is that 1.) Introverted types are more introspective than Extroverted types, and 2.) Introverted types enjoy solitary activities more than Extraverted types.

Extravert Steve Balmer

The MBTI® relies on a dichotomous scoring procedure, and the instrument depends on this perspective of personality. The MBTI® assumes a person falls into 1 of 2 “sides” on each of 4 dichotomies, which results in one of 16 “Types.”

It is therefore a “forced choice” assessment (a person only has the option of “A” or “B”). We use both preferences on every dimension at different times, but we’re predisposed toward one over the other.

Unfortunately, some people who use the instrument do not fully explain the concepts of preferences to ensure an understanding of the dichotomies. The proper verbiage is not “You’re an Introvert” but “You have a preference for Introversion” or “You’re an Introverted type.”

The nature versus nurture debate is one of the oldest in the field of psychology, and I believe it can also apply to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator:

Introverts and Extraverts’ brains are simply wired differently. One major difference is the way they each respond to the neurotransmitters dopamine (which provides motivation to seek external “rewards” such as money, happy faces, food, exploration of the environment, social status and affiliation), and acetylcholine (which powers the ability to think deeply, reflect, and focus intently on one thing for a long period of time).

Dopamine:  while both Introverts and Extraverts have the same amount of dopamine, it is more active in the brains of Extraverts. This means that Extraverts are triggered by the expectation of these “rewards.”

In short, Extraverts have a low sensitivity to dopamine and therefore require large amounts of it, and they need adrenaline to increase the dopamine in their brains. Therefore, the more active they are, the more dopamine they have.

Introverts’ brains, on the other hand, are not as activated by these external rewards from the environment, so it may appear that they are less enthusiastic about these rewards. They are just less energized by external stimulation.

Acetylcholine: this neurotransmitter also rewards us, but on a more subtle level. It is more active in the brains of Introverts. When it is engaged, the body conserves energy, muscles relax, pupils constrict, blood pressure is lowered, and we relax as we withdraw from the external world. In short, the body is getting ready for “hibernation and contemplation”: two of the things Introverts like the most.

Introvert Reading

Additionally, Introverts and Extraverts process stimuli differently. The “dopamine pathway” Extraverts use is shorter than the Acetylcholine pathway Introverts use. This could explain why many Extraverts are able to respond faster to an onslaught of stimuli.

This explains why Extraverts may appear to like face-to-face networking more than online networking: they prefer the effects of dopamine, which are aligned with the interactions, new experiences and expressions of people that in-person networking events reinforce.

Too much dopamine overloads the brains of Introverts and they may be prone to over-stimulation at such events, thus preferring online networking where they can be more relaxed in their own homes in familiar territory.

It’s important to note, however, that correlation does not imply causation. Though science says we’re pre-disposed to Extraversion or Introversion, our own individual experiences, families of origin, and culture all play a part too.


To use myself as an example: my mother was my primary caregiver, and she is a very clear Introvert. As a child, my behaviors and activities that were rewarded were Introverted ones; solitary activities such as reading, piano (solo – not with groups), and individual sports like horseback riding. I was taught to think before I speak, be mindful of other people; don’t interrupt, etc. We also lived on a farm, isolated from other people. I used to beg my mom to move us to a neighborhood so I could play with other kids. As a teenager, I craved group activities, and in college, I actively sought out group affiliates. As I became more aware of Type Theory, a light-bulb clicked: I am naturally an Extravert, but due to my upbringing, I became very comfortable in the world of Introverts – so much so, that even today, I’m often mistaken as an Introvert.

To be clear, there’s no right or wrong: we are who we are. All of us fall somewhere on the spectrum between Extraversion and Introversion – and all of us use both in our day-to-day lives. Neither is better or worse; we can all learn from each other.


Edythe Richards, founder of A Top Career (www.atopcareer.com) is a Career Counselor and Corporate Trainer in the Washington, DC Metro. She was one of the first 50 people worldwide to receive the Myers-Briggs Master Practitioner designation for her work with Type Theory in career development.

Photo: Flickr, Norbert Stuhrmann

Photo: Flickr, Brianthesnugglebunny

The (now) 50 most important words on your LinkedIn profile

By now I’m sure you’ve noticed that the new LinkedIn profile Summary has been dramatically altered. You’ve noticed that it no longer has a section header and that it is included in the Snapshot area, where only three lines are displayed—or approximately 50* words. To see your whole Summary, visitors will have to click “See More.”

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What you might not know is that you must revise your Summary, at least the first 50 words or so. And you should do this quickly. Furthermore, you might want to develop a branding statement that grabs the readers’ attention with those 50 words.

Previously approximately 39 words were visible to your visitors, so this is progress.

The reality is that your Summary is not the one you wrote a year, two years, or three years ago. The folks at LinkedIn have sent a clear message that its new, slimmed down profile has no room for the expanded Summary of old. Too bad.

With the former expanded Summary, your value statement/s could be seen at a quick glance, particularly if they were placed within a HIGHLIGHTS section; or if you set them apart with “THE VALUE I DELIVER.” Your value statements could be placed anywhere in your Summary.

What if busy hiring authorities only read those three revealing lines of 50 words to decide if they’d read the rest of your profile? It’s live or die then. Some hiring authorities have indicated that the profile Summary is something they’ll return to. Why not entice them to click “See more”?

Writing an eye-catching opener

To see what I mean, here are some eye-catching openers from my LinkedIn connections.

Take the direct approach with your call to action. Bobbie Foedisch lets her visitors know how to contact her right off the bat and follows with a branding statement, telling visitors that CCI drives business results.

✉bobbie.raffetto@trinet.com ➡ https://ptdrv.linkedin.com/4wifrr8 ☎(610) 457-2561 ➡https://calendly.com/BobbieRaffetto-Foedisch Life Sciences benefit from an HR solution that supports innovation. TriNet Life Sciences reduces the time you spend on HR issues, so you can focus on achievin

There’s no hiding her contact information; she wants to be contacted and is making it easy to do so. Perhaps job seekers should take the same approach. Another thing I like about her opening are the colorful icons, which say something about her character.


Talk about your industry. A former client of mine, Gerald Schmidt, begins his Summary with a statement of how new technologies are relevant to product development, and that he’s a player in this arena.

New technologies have the power to transform a business, especially when brought to market in the form of new products and services. That is what I enjoy doing. Advanced materials and processes can form the basis for a product portfolio that will generate repeat revenues for years to come – if a compa

Read the rest of his profile to see his major accomplishments. They’ll blow you away.


Show you can help. Sarah Elkins is a storyteller coach who has a strong passion for helping people gain success through telling their stories.

Improve Relationships Through Storytelling <> Experiential Workshops, Keynotes <> No Longer Virtual Creator and Chief Storymaker <> Podcast Host: Your Stories Don’t Define You <> Gallup Certified Strengths Coach When we create an environment that encourages and inspires authentic connection, p

This is a clear statement about the services Sarah provides for helping people tell their stories.


Say it with confidence. Laura Smith-Proulx is an executive resume writer who makes a very strong opening statement.

Executive Resume Writer for C-Suite, Board, & Rising Leaders ● Gain a Powerful, Competitive Edge With a Razor-Sharp Message of ROI. ● As a former recruiter and the #1 US TORI Award-Winning Executive Resume Writer), I work directly with you to get RESULTS, differentiating you in a competitive job market.

Laura’s goes on to tout her achievements. She is one who believes that achievements should be stated up front. I agree.


Use humor. Sell pens to sharks? This is how Donna Serdula explains the difficulty of trying to sell oneself. A little bit of humor can grab a viewer’s attention.

➡ It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, it’s not easy to write about yourself. You can manage complex projects, sell pens to sharks, or lead exceptional teams… but sell yourself? That’s HARD! Besides,do you even have the time (or desire) to write your LinkedIn profile yourself? You know this: People are

Donna’s statement rings true for many job seekers and salespeople. Her opening makes people want to click “See more.”


Start with your story. Mario M. Martinez is a CEO and founder of Vengreso who had a dream. His dream came true, and he wants to help you succeed.

I had a dream. That dream came true on June 20, 2017, when I announced a merger of the world’s top Digital Selling minds now under one brand. Vengreso is committed to one thing – your sales success! As a former VP of Sales, now a Speaker & Digital Sales Evangelist, I am #SalesObsessed! I’ve spent 82 cons

I like Mario’s message of meeting a goal and dreaming big.


Start with a quote. Brian Ahearn, Chief Influence Officer, let’s Robert B. Cialdini, PhD speak for him. This is a very effective way of demonstrating his value.

“You hit it out of the park! The last time I’ve seen such high marks was when we had Colin Powell as our keynote a few years ago.” – Jim Hackbarth, President & CEO, Assurex Global “When Brian Ahearn speaks, people listen. That’s because he knows his material thoroughly, and he knows how to present it supe..

I tell my clients that others’ words can speak louder than theirs. Brian starts with a bang to draw viewers’ attention to his Summary.


Have a strong branding statement like Michael Spence. There’s a lot of strength behind Michael’s 26-word opening statement.

Exec’s, Boards, and IT departments work with me to improve operational excellence and be known as forward thinking business leaders. We infuse transformative technology into your business so you can achieve more. If you want the benefits of tech and peace of mind of security, with the best TCO…let’s ta

I read the rest of his Summary and was impressed with the statement: “My teaching roots proved to be a great tool, equipping me to train and boost the intellectual capital, skill development, and performance of others. ”


The situation is more dire on your smart phone

The bigger challenge is writing a Summary opener for LinkedIn’s app. First of all, visitors only see approximately 10 words. And secondly, they have to know to tap on these words to open your Summary.

So now LinkedIn users have to ask themselves, is the Summary on their computer adequate for their smart phone app? Give it a spin to find out.


*How I came up with the number 50 words

My Summary opener contains 47 words. I’m sure the ones I included above contain more or less than 47 words.

I empower job seekers to land rewarding careers by ◆ delivering today’s job-search strategies in group and individual settings ◆ training job seekers to strengthen their LinkedIn strategy and profile ◆ writing popular articles that educate job seekers on the job search and LinkedIn. If you’re unemployed, you do

When I wrote my 47-word opener, as soon as LinkedIn truncated the Summary, I thought about my contribution to what I do. Although I couldn’t quantify my results with job placement numbers, I tried to think of the most powerful verb I could, “empower.”

If you want to learn more about LinkedIn, visit this compilation of LinkedIn posts.

5 phases of the introvert’s journey to landing interviews

Ask anyone. They’ll tell that interviews are tough. Some will say they’re tougher for introverts than extraverts. Introverts, they argue, don’t make small talk as well as extraverts. They don’t come across as outgoing or friendly. They’re not as likeable. They get easily flustered. This is bunk.

Man interview

Here’s a fact; interviews are tough for both of those who prefer introversion or extraversion. Are they equally tough for both dichotomies? This is hard to say. Another fact is that introverts can shine in interviews, but they must be successful completing all phases that lead to and include the interview.

For the sake of this article, I’ll assert that interviews demand characteristics that introverts might find more difficult to master than their counterpart. Introverts might have to focus or concentrate more during certain phases of the interview process.

It all begins with research

Introverts are strong researchers. And this carries them through the process of landing interviews. The steps that lead to interviews require them to be prepared. They can’t cheat on any of the phases that follow.

Researching the job description and contacting people in the company can help them with writing their résumés, as they should be tailored to each job. Understanding the required skills and responsibilities is essential.

Similarly, researching the job description will help them answer the tough interview questions. They must go further and study the company’s website, use Google, perhaps Glassdoor.com, and read press releases to gain a full understanding of the company. Researching  the company will help them answer question about the company.

To take it a step further, it would behoove them to use labor market websites so they can answer questions about their industry and the company’s competition. Interviewers will be extremely impressed if job candidates can speak to their competition.


Writing compelling job-search marketing literature

This is a phase of the interview process where introverts can really succeed. They enjoy writing and are reluctant to pick up the phone. As I was explaining to my clients, the nice thing about writing their job-search documents is that have time to collect their thoughts.

Introverts will spend more time constructing their marketing literature, e.g., résumé, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. There can be a risk in spending too much time during the writing phase of the job search, so introverts need to be able to say “done” and not obsess over getting it perfect.

This speaks to the ability to process information. Introverts prefer writing because they can take their time formulating their thoughts. Generally, they spend more time writing than speaking to communicate.

Introverts need to take it a step further and disseminate their résumé in a more effective way. Pundits believe that the success rate of sending one’s résumé to employer via job boards is 4%-10%. Further, there’s the applicant tracking system (ATS) to contend with.

Therefore, it’s important that introverts deliver their résumé/cover letter directly to hiring decision makers, as well as through the job boards. This is a tall order for some introverts, because it requires…you guessed it, networking.

Read: 10 reasons why recruiters and hiring managers dread reading your resume.


Now it’s time to network

Networking can be intimidating for anyone. The word connotes gathering in a large group of people you don’t know and being forced to make conversation. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Networking should be looked at as “connecting with others.”

Generally speaking, introverts are excellent listeners who come across as truly interested in what others have to say. This can be a benefit while networking. Along with being great listeners, introverts tend to ask questions, which their networking cohorts appreciate.

Keep in mind that one’s preference for introversion or extraversion is about energy level. It’s not about one’s ability to speak. Introverts generally don’t have the energy level and/or the inclination to be with people after a hard day of job hunting.

Because introverts are thoughtful thinkers and excellent listeners, connecting with others can be a strength, not a weakness. They need to keep the following in mind:

  • Establish a doable goal. Introverts don’t have to “work the room”; they can talk with two or three people and call it a successful day.
  • Networking is a two-way street. Don’t go to an event expecting only to receive. Go to give as well.
  • Approach people with the appearance of confidence, even if they’re shaking in their boots. Once conversations begin, the confidence will come.
  • Ask questions. People like to be asked questions about themselves.
  • Always bring personal business cards. This very popular article explains why they’re needed and what to include on them:
  • Finally, don’t assume networking can only occur in a formal setting. Other great ways of connecting with others is by creating buddy groups, which are smaller and more intimate; connect in the community; and schedule coffee dates.

The ever-important interview

What happens before the interview? The correct answer is preparation.

What too many people fail to realize is that preparation is key. With preparation comes confidence, with confidence comes better performance. Introverts are masters at research.

Introverts learn best by studying and researching information and then reflecting upon that information. They internalize what they learn and often put it to writing. In some of my workshops I ask the attendees to write 10 STAR accomplishments on index cards. This helps them remember their accomplishments better.

It’s great that introverts prepare for interviews by studying the job description, the companies website, and labor market information; however, they need to network in large groups or meet-ups, where they can gather important information.

Real-time labor market research, e.g., networking, is sometimes the best way to gather important information.

Listening is an introverts’ strength

Being a great listener can also be beneficial in an interview, where it’s important to hear the questions being asked and not trying to answer the questions without hearing them through. The ability to listen also comes across as being interested in the conversation.

What’s the flip-side of talking too much? That’s right, not talking enough. Here’s where introverts need to be mindful and demonstrate their value through answers that aren’t too short, nor aren’t to long. It’s a tough balancing act.

Be ready to answer tough interview questions

This is where the rubber meets the road, as they say.

With their inclination to research the position, company, and the competition, introverts should be prepared to answer tough interview question, such as behavioral-based ones. They should have their stories ready structured in the STAR format. For those unfamiliar:

S is the situation

T is the task in the situation

A is the action taken to solve the situation

R is the result of their actions.

Read this article to get a better idea of behavioral-based questions.

Whereas introverts might not talk enough, extraverts tend to talk too much. We’ve heard people bemoan, “He must be an extrovert. He talks way too much.” This is believed be true because extraverts aren’t as comfortable with silence as introverts are.


Finally, follow-up

Here’s where introverts can really shine. Given their preference to write, thank you notes should be no problem for them. There are well-stated rules for writing follow-up notes, though.

  • The thank you notes must arrive 12-24 hours after the interview.
  • Every thank you note needs to be tailored to each interviewer. No formatted notes allowed.
  • Do more than thank each individual for their time. Put more effort into it, such as bringing up a point of interest that was mentioned during the interview.
  • Also send a thank you note to the recruiter. They greatly appreciate them, and it keeps the recruiters in your network.

Failing to send a thank you note is failing to conclude the interview. I’ve been told by recruiters, HR, and hiring managers that they appreciate thank you notes. They really do. A few of them have said that not sending one can disqualify job candidates.

 

 

No One

I’ve been ripping through Games of Thrones, trying to catch up to season eight. At this point, Arya Stark has manged to get back to Winterfell by concealing her identity at times. She learned how to do this by being trained by Jaqen H’ghar and the Waif.

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When she’s asked who she is, she declares, “No One.”

For those of you who haven’t watched Game of Thrones or have no inclination to do so, let me get to the reason why I’m writing this post.

I received a belligerent Facebook message from a person who wrote, “Hi Bob…..do you even remember me or know who I am?”

To be honest, I don’t remember her. So what I did was look at her Facebook page to see if there were any photos of her. An image of a woman holding a baseball bat with a Bruins’ logo in the background is her photo.

There were pictures of many people young and old, but nothing clearly indicating her countenance.

Then I looked her up on LinkedIn, and guess what. Right, no photo on her profile.

Don’t remember her.

This account of mine might seem insignificant. And really I’m not rattled by it. However, it goes to show you that if you’re on social media and have no photo of yourself, you’re No One.


Here’s one thing to consider if you’re No One, you will not be trusted, liked, or remembered by LinkedIn members, including recruiters and other hiring authorities.

Photo: Flickr, loganathan kutty

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College students, 7 steps you need to take to be successful on LinkedIn

I believe that colleges should be teaching courses on LinkedIn and make them mandatory…for every student. Although this might seem extreme, the fact remains that increasingly more employers are using LinkedIn to search for talent.

UMass

Some sources like Jobvite.com estimate as high as 94% of recruiters search for and contact employers by using LinkedIn. To some recruiters, LinkedIn is their main tool for sourcing job candidates.

For two years I’ve been trying to impress upon my college-age daughter that she should take advantage of LinkedIn, especially at her young age when she can get on the bottom floor.

If you’re a college student, you should be building you network before you need it. This will take time, but you’ll realize the advantages your generation has over job seekers who are scrambling to join or strengthen their LinkedIn strategy.

As a college student, you can join the party early, but you’ll have to do the following to be successful:

1. Learn about LinkedIn. Learning about LinkedIn will give you a huge advantage over people already in the workforce. What has taken years for workers of all ages, including myself, you can get a head start on the learning process.

The purpose of LinkedIn is the first topic that should be covered. LinkedIn isn’t only an online Rolodex; it’s the best way to network online, a great source of relevant information, a way to build your brand, and most importantly how hiring authorities can find you.

2. Begin constructing your profile. Now, if you’re thinking you’re too young; keep in mind you need to produce a résumé for when you enter the labor market. This is just a start, but with guidance you can do it correctly.

A former friend of my daughter began constructing his profile after his senior year of high school, and it was pretty good for a graduating high school senior. Granted he didn’t have a lot of accomplishments to tout, but he made the best of what he had.

I wouldn’t expect you to have a profile made for prime time. You have accomplishments to accumulate; recruiters realize your career is in its infancy.

3. Develop a quality network. This network will consist first of peers in your discipline, college professors, colleagues of your parents, and like-minded students at other schools. It’s just the beginning.

My daughter is considering becoming a nurse. I’ve suggested she talk with nurses I know. And while she’s at it, connect with unfamiliar nurses on LinkedIn. “Won’t that be creepy,” she complains. No, this shows initiative.

4. Connect with alumni. This is a treasure trove for college students. Alumni are currently employed and want to pay back the school that played a part in shaping their lives. Yes, alumni are complete strangers, but the goal is to turn strangers into networking contacts.

You and my daughter need to get outside of your comfort zone and reach out to your alumni if you’re really interested in achieving success. It’s that simple. Read this article: Use See Alumni to connect with your alumni with 3 easy steps.

5. Start their research earlier. Astute college students will use LinkedIn’s Companies feature to follow target companies. When they graduate, they’ll have more knowledge of these companies than their classmates.

Further, they can identify top players in their industry. It is highly likely a college student won’t have a first or second degree connection at a company or organization; so an introduction or bold connection request will be required.

6. Start engaging with their connections. This might seem scary for some college students, but they can start slowly and build up their engagement to the point where they’re sharing articles, commenting on the, and even writing their own posts.

College students, like my daughter, have to realize that what they’re learning in school can be of interest and value to their peers, or tribe. The posts they write will impress recruiters if not for the fact that they’re taking to bold step of sharing them.

7. Building their brand early. If the foundation of your brand is your reputation, your years in college is the best time to establish a solid reputation. This is the time for you to repair your reputation.

Keep in mind that branding also means being consistent in presenting your value to future employers. Be all in when you decide to create your LinkedIn profile, build a focused network, and engage with your connections. If your connections aren’t as dedicated as you, weed them out.


You might be thinking making it mandatory for college students to take a course on LinkedIn, regardless of their major. extreme; but consider the advantages of learning about this premier networking application early in their lives. It’s hard to argue against this idea.

Photo: Flickr, Chris.OKeefe