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.

Is the résumé summary dead?

Once a staple of the job search, the résumé summary statement may be on its way out — or perhaps it’s already dead. There are two camps; one that believes the summary is alive and kicking, another that feels the summary has run its time.

tombsones

I’ve read many résumés that contain summary statements which are full of fluff and, in effect, say nothing at all. I’ve spoken to many recruiters and hiring managers who have told me they don’t even read summary statements when they come across them.

Recently, I posed a question about résumé summary statements to my LinkedIn followers — and I received a lot of responses.

Executive resume writer Adrienne Tom said she often considers leaving the summary statement off the résumés she writes.

“I think a lot of professionals feel compelled to share a summary which then comes out forced, with generic word choices,” Tom wrote. “Instead, a better strategy is to focus on value points. Share with the reader the ‘hows and whys’ (provide the proof), and word selection won’t matter as much.”

So, is the summary statement just wasted real estate now? Once a vital résumé component, the summary statement is, I fear, gradually losing the foothold it once held. What used to be a poetically written three or four lines of prose is becoming obsolete. It may soon be excluded from résumés altogether, simply because the people who read résumés don’t have the time for summaries.

I hope I’m wrong, because I do think summaries can be quite powerful. Consider this summary statement:

Information Systems Department Director specializing in new project planning and achieving business objectives. Budget hundreds of thousands of dollars in project resources. Lead efforts that consistently generate sales exceeding $15K in a competitive pharmaceutical market.

Does this summary say enough? It illustrates the candidate’s value with quantified results and should generate interest in the reader. It’s brief, and there’s no fluff.

But not all of my esteemed colleagues agree that summaries add value. As mentioned above, I recently asked professional résumé writers and recruiters whether they thought the summary is dead. Here’s what a few of them wrote:

“I have my candidates compose what I like to call a ‘career highlights’ section: just a bullet-pointed section of some actual career accomplishments. It catches the potential employer’s attention immediately. I feel objectives/summaries are just antiquated in a job market that is currently flooded with candidates.” — Adrienne Roberts, Branch Manager, Robert Half

“Are they on their way out? No — they have already left. Most hiring professionals will tell you that the summary, at least in the US, is an ignored piece of fluff, better left off to make room for the information they need/want to know.” — Sarah Douglas, G.C.D.F

“I feel that summary statements are still an essential component of a résumé. However, I am looking for qualifications and hard data, not fluff about perceived skills. If you can quickly read about relevant experience, results achieved, number of direct reports, and so on, then the soft skills can be explored further in the interview.” — Judy Hojel, CEO, People and Performance Training Pty, LTD.

“No, a well-written summary statement is a must on any resume. It brings together the many details of your achievements and education to focus the employer on exactly how you fit the job position. It gives one a big-picture view, with the detail to follow [in the rest of the resume].” —  Jay Barrett, Human Resources Executive

“A poorly written, anemic summary section (especially one that is basically just a string of keywords) does nothing to differentiate the job seeker. Such prime real estate gives a candidate the opportunity to concisely lay out their good-fit qualities, qualifications, and ability to meet specific needs of that specific employer. A well-written, targeted summary will stand on its own on the résumé. As well, it piques interest, and compels the reader to continue reading down the page.” — Meg Guiseppi, Executive Resume Master

As you can see, opinions vary on whether the summary statement is on its way out. I, for one, hope it remains a vital resume component — but I also agree with Adrienne Tom. The summary must provide proof of one’s greatness. Otherwise, there’s no use in having one.

What do you think? I’d love to read your comments.

This post originally appeared in Recruiter.com.

Photo: Flickr, aninwardspiral

 

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The sport of the job search: 3 types of job seekers

This past summer I saw my son’s basketball team lose a close playoff game. I noticed a mixture of emotions. Some of the players, including my son, played hard until the final whistle blew. Others gave up the game when the other team began to dominate. And some demonstrated a downright negative attitude, including fouling out of frustration.

basketball hoop

The team could have won if they had more confidence and stayed the course. But they didn’t stay the course and unite as one. It was interesting to see the clear distinction of attitudes between the players. I witness the same attitudes in some job seekers.

Some job seekers don’t give up

These are the people who are a pleasure to assist. They wear a smile on their face, despite how they’re feeling inside. They don’t hear back from employers after working hours on their résumé and cover letter. They make it through three rounds of interviews only to lose out in the end to someone who was a “better fit.” Despite this, they trudge on.

One job seeker I helped, when I started delivering workshops, would ping me on his progress. “Bob, I had a great interview today. I have a few coming up this week. Ciao.” Then, “Hola, didn’t make the final cut. Better luck with the next interviews.”

When he finally landed, I asked him how he felt during his job search. Not surprisingly he told me there were times when he felt despair and wondered if he would ever land a job.

He was so grateful for the services I and others offered him at the career center that he speaks to our networking group when I ask him. He also let’s us know when there are openings at the company for which he works. This is the true nature of networking.

Some job seekers throw in the towel

It shows on their face. They say they’ll never land a position. They lose sight of the bigger picture. Like my son’s teammates during the game, they walk through their job search rather than run. Their despondency is understandable, but they don’t see it hurting their chances of landing.

They lose confidence. They make excuses like, “It’s my age.” I’m not naive enough to believe that ageism doesn’t exist; however, I believe if you adopt that attitude immediately, you’ve already lost the game. Hopelessness settles in.

When employers see your lack of confidence, they wonder if you’ll demonstrate confidence on the job. Similarly when people with whom you network see your lack of confidence, they’ll wonder if they should back you as a reference.

This was not the case when I recently acted as a reference for a woman who had been out of work for more than two years. I loved her “can do” attitude so was glad to speak to her personality. She landed a job based on her rich experience and, I’m sure, her attitude.

Some job seekers let their anger show

As soon as I saw my son’s teammates get angry, I knew “that’s all she wrote.” There was no chance they could regain their composure. The other team noticed this, and I’m sure it boosted their confidence. I wondered if I were coaching if I could reign them in. I concluded I couldn’t. It was in their personality makeup.

I see anger in few of my clients. It may be a workshop or during a one-on-one appointment. When I see their anger, I’ll tell them their anger is written on their face. They’ll deny being angry, but it’s so apparent that there’s no denying it.

I understand they are angry; I was angry at times during my job search. However, I tried hard not to let it show in public. Public anger might be witnessed by people who have the authority to hire you or know someone who has the authority to hire you.

Job seekers who let their anger show don’t think others notice it. After one workshop a recruiter who was between jobs approached me and said, “You know, I’ll eventually find a job in recruiting, and I’m going to remember the people in this workshop who are angry. They’re not the ones I’d present to my client.”


The job search is like sports. Moreover, how you handle yourself during this time of transition can be more important than your technical expertise. Don’t give up and don’t show your anger; your job search will be longer if you do either or both.

This post originally appeared in Recruiter.com.

Photo: Flickr, Sar_Proc_

5 places where introverts need to get away to recharge their batteries

There are places where introverts need to get away to recharge their batteries. In this post, I’ll address five places where introverts sometimes need to escape for a moment. First I’ll relate a story of a family party, which illustrates the first place where introverts need to get away.

lake

A few years ago my family celebrated our daughter’s graduation from high school with a small celebration. We were near a lake and the temperature was in the 90’s. Many of our friends were there with their kids, who immediately took to the water.

It was the perfect setting. I enjoyed conversing with our friends, as we talked about kids and past events; and I was particularly animated as I talked.

Then it hit me like a title wave. I needed time to get away and recharge my batteries. Did I care if company would miss me? Not really.

As an introvert, group events can take a toll on me. I enjoy the company of others, but my energy level for talking with them is not as enduring as it is for extraverts.

Extraverts have that energy that drives them through a party; it charges their batteries. They derive mental stimulation by talking and being listened to.

I don’t’ envy them, though. The time alone to watch the kids swimming in the lake or even sitting in silence next to another introvert is as rewarding as it is for extraverts to talk to others at length. It’s a time to reflect.

Networking events. As an introvert, you may find yourself enjoying a conversation with a few people, but suddenly it occurs to you that where you’d rather be is in a quiet place, such as outside getting some fresh air.

What’s likely to happen is another introvert joining you, perhaps by mistake or because she saw you escaping to your place of reflection.

This is fine, because it’s you and she making small talk, such as, “Had to get away from the crowd.” I know what you mean, she tells you. And so you’ve established a bond.

Like the time I stole away from our guest at my party, you’ve had the opportunity to recharge your batteries so you can return to the larger group, which is now in the “needs and leads” portion of the event.

One of my LinkedIn connections told me this type of break is what she needs during a business event and possibly an extended after hours. Sure, she’d like to retire to her hotel room, but understands the value of personal networking and pushes herself to keep going.

reflect

Work. Some introverts enjoy the opportunity to take a lunch-time walk, while their colleagues, most likely extraverts, are gathered in the staff room engaged in a boisterous conversation.

Walking alone or with a walking mate is a great way to recharge your batteries. I personally prefer listening to music or talk radio, as it allows me to walk at my rapid speed and lose myself in thoughts of the day.

If you’re fortunate to have an office or cubicle away from the fray, this type of situation is ideal after a day full of meetings, not only to recharge your battery but also to respond to any e-mails following the meetings.

Introverts are more productive when they have solitude and moments to reflect and write, something they prefer over meetings and brainstorming sessions. They derive their creativity from being alone or working with one other person.

Watch this TED talk by Susan Cain who explains how introverts are most creative.

Research

At home. Even when I’m home, I feel the need to wind down by reading a book or watching Netflix. This is alone time I value you very much.

My wife says I’m rigid, because I usually won’t join her when she goes out with our friends for dinner, as I know “dinner” can mean staying out past my bedtime. I don’t mind missing the interaction with our friends, and they understand my need for solitude.

Introverts need the opportunity to recover from an intense day of job searching or working. It’s the perfect conclusion to their day. Of course this doesn’t mean you neglect your family; be sure to engage with them before you get away to retire to a quiet place.

Vacation. Two summers ago our family was fortunate to vacation on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. (I say fortunate because we can’t always coordinate time when we’re always together.)

In my mind, this was a great vacation because it afforded me the time to reflectdraw my energy inward, and not concern myself with too much external stimuli. In three words: an introvert’s paradise.

We enjoyed many activities, including body surfacing in the ocean, people watching in Province Town, buying and eating lobster, taking walks to the Bay, and relaxing by the nightly fire.

The best part of the vacation was the time I spent reading alongside my daughter, who was engaged in Gone Girl. The rest of the family was down by the ocean body surfing or floating on the surface. Occasionally they’d beckon us to join them, but we’d wave our hands at them indicating we were happy where we were.


 

Whether you’re at a family gathering, a networking event, at work, at home, or on vacation; getting away is important for maintaining a strong energy level. Introverts are capable of interaction for extended periods of time, but we’re more comfortable if we take time to get away.

Don’t deny yourself this opportunity and don’t feel as if you’re being antisocial. You’ll be happier and more productive if you tend to your preferred way to energize yourself.

Photo: Flickr, Dave McGlinchey

Photo: Flickr, Kirsty Harrison

Apply for some jobs already! 5 reasons why you’re not applying.

And what you should do about it!

It’s called paralysis by analysis. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, or even suffered from it. I have. Suffered from it, that is. This is when you’re caught up more in the process than achieving the goal. No, this is different than procrastination. This is the inability to act.

Man from recruiter

I see it in the resource room of the career center for which I work. A person sits down in the morning; opens their résumé on a computer to revise it; and when I walk by at the end of the day they’re still revising the same résumé, their eyes bloodshot. I ask nicely, “Are you applying for jobs?”

“Not yet,” he replies. “I’m waiting until my résumé is perfect.”

“You’ve been here all day working on the same résumé.”

“I want it to be perfect.”

One time I must have been heard throughout the career center as I raised my voice at one person, “Apply for some jobs already.” I was being playful, but I also meant it.

Another person is doing such a great job of networking. He is meeting people for coffee or lunch, going to networking events and buddy groups. This has been going on for weeks. I ask him where he’s applied.

“I want to make sure I apply to the right companies,” he says. “I’m trying to get a sense of their culture.”

“Great,” I reply. “But you need to start applying. Apply on line.” And I hate saying this, because to me applying online is equivalent to throwing chumline in the ocean and waiting for fish to surface.

These are but a few examples. It could be trying to make their LinkedIn profile perfect before sending invites to people, asking for recommendations, or engaging with their network. Anything less than perfect is unacceptable.

Are you suffering from paralysis by analysis? Here are a few reasons why you might be, as well as some advice on how to move forward:

You’re shell shocked

Losing a job is a terrible blow to your psyche, even if you weren’t to blame. Additionally you’re wondering how you’re going to pay the bills. What will working again be like, you wonder? It might be 15 years since you last engaged in the job search. A lot has changed since then. This is a scary prospect.

What to do

I’m not going to say, “Get over it.” But I am going to say, “Take some time—a week or two—to realize that the more you’re out of work, the longer it will take to find employment. Understand that:

  • this is temporary,
  • it happens to many people,
  • it’s natural to feel despondent,
  • there is help from your One-Stop career center and a therapist, if necessary.

Writing résumés has changed over the past 15 years

The way résumés are written has changed. Recruiters want to see accomplishment statements, with quantified results. The applicant tracking  system might not have been used by organizations, as well.

What to do

Don’t be obsessed with writing your résumé; however, make sure it meets the following criteria:

  • shows value with accomplishments,
  • is tailored to each position,
  • is readable with short paragraphs and plenty of white space,
  • doesn’t exceed 15 years of work history,
  • finds itself in the hands of the hiring manager, as much as possible.

Networking is key

Most companies want you to apply online or go through recruiters and staffing agencies, but you’re more likely to get better results by getting your resume in the hands of the hiring manager directly. Most companies prefer to hire job seekers through referrals from people they know and trust.

What to do

Despite what most people think, networking events aren’t the only activities that constitute networking. Look at networking as connecting with people everywhere. Your neighbors, relatives, friends, store owners, dentists — essentially everyone can be a valuable networking connection. Make sure to reach out to former colleagues and supervisors who can act as references. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Social media plays a large role in the hiring process

In today’s job market, you have to be cognizant of your social media image. According to a 2014 survey, 94 percent recruiters look for and vet talent on LinkedIn. Four years later, the number may be even higher. Employers are also checking you out on Facebook and Twitter to dig up any dirt that may disqualify you from the running.

What to do

First of all, LinkedIn will not land you a job by itself. It is a supplement to your face-to-face networking events. However, it can be very helpful if used properly. Like your résumé, don’t dwell on trying to make it perfect. There are two other components that make your LinkedIn campaign a success—growing your network and engaging with your connections.

The interview process is longer

You might have to endure as many as five telephone interviews before multiple face-to-face interviews. The types of interviews you will participate in could vary, including Skype, Zoom, group, and, of course, one-on-one.

What to do

Go with the flow. It’s a known fact that employers dread hiring the wrong person because it’s costly and embarrassing. It may seem like they’re looking for the purple squirrel, so be patient and persistent. Most importantly, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Some job seeker tell me they’re only applying to a couple of companies, because they’re the ones. Apply to the right companies, but have a list of at least 10 companies for which you’d like to work.


If my clients think I want them to scatter their résumés around the state, they’re wrong. All I’m asking is that they don’t spend more time doing nothing than doing something. Yes, they should recover from their trauma…or fake it til they make it. They need to connect with people in their community. The interview process, and the methods employers are using, is taking longer.

One thing we all an say for certain is paralysis by analysis is real and detrimental to your job search.

Photo: recruiter.com

__________________________________________________________________________

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. Bob’s greatest pleasure is helping people find rewarding careers in a competitive job market. For enjoyment, he blogs at Things Career Related. Follow Bob on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

45 Résumé words that need to be made extinct

Attention job seekers; there are some words you should not include on your résumé. They are overused, clichés, plain ole fluff. One of the biggest offenders in my mind is “dynamic.” Before you type such words, ask yourself, “Does ‘dynamic’ show what I’ve accomplished, or does it simply say I’m dynamic, without proving it?” See what I mean?

Wordcloud

What’s the big deal with fluff words, you might ask? To illustrate, read this sentence: “Dynamic, results-oriented, innovative professional with vision and leadership abilities required to deliver projects on time and under budget.” Five words (one hyphenated) and a phrase that are considered fluff.

I’m not the only one who cringes at fluff words. The belief among most executive résumé writers I know is that job seekers need to eliminate overused adjectives and replace them with strong action verbs. (However, there are even action verbs out there that are considered fluff, such as “spearhead.”)

The problem with fluff words is that they’re meaningless; employers are tired of seeing them on the hundreds or thousands of résumés they read. Job seekers who write them on their résumés might believe they possess these traits or skills, but what they must do is show, rather than tell.

It all began with “utilize”

What prompted this post? Donna Svei, Executive Résumé Writer started a major discussion with a post she wrote on LinkedIn. She asked, “What’s your least favorite RESUME WORD or PHRASE? The one you’d like to see made extinct?” The driving force behind her LinkedIn post was her disdain for the word “utilize.”

At this writing there are 206 comments. Which means résumé pundits and people who happened across this post feel very strongly about this red-hot topic. From Donna’s LinkedIn post, many fluff words emerged. Here they are in alphabetical order, as well as the number of times they were listed in the post.

Best of Breed

Bottom Line

Capable

Catalysis

Championed

Change agent

Creative (3)

Dedicated

Detail oriented (3)

Driven (2)

Duties included

Dynamic (3)

Enthusiastic

Excellent communication skills

Experienced

Expert (3)

Extensive experience (2)

Go-Getter (2)

Think Outside of the Box (2)

Go-To Person (3)

Hard Worker (3)

Innovative

Motivated (2)

Organizational (2)

Out of the box thinker

Passionate (3)

Professional

Proven track record

Responsible (3)

Result driven (3)

Seasoned

Self-Motivated (2)

Spearhead

Strategic (3)

Strategic Thinker (2)

Superior

Synergy (3)

Talented

Team player (4)

Thought leader

Thought Leadership

Track record (2)

Utilize

Value Add (2)

Visionary (2)

World class

LinkedIn and resume yield similar results

Awhile back in 2015, LinkedIn came out with 10 of its outlawed words. All the words it listed are included in the list above. Alison Doyle wrote an article that includes some of the fluff words in Donna’s list.

This is a hot topic. Glassdoor.com, BusinessInsider.com, TheMuse.com, Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com and a whole slew of other blogs have weighed in on words that should not be included on a résumé.

When using fluff words is unavoidable

If you’ve had the pleasure of applying for positions which were advertised with poorly written job descriptions, you noticed some of the aforementioned words in those descriptions. You’ve probably been warned by professional résumé writers to avoid using such words on your résumé.

Therein lies the rub. If you are applying to companies that use an application tracking system (ATS). One of the golden rules of writing an ATS-friendly résumé is including keywords found in job descriptions.

The question I ask my clients is, “Do you want to take the high road and write a great résumé, or do you want to play the ATS game?” Their response is somewhat ambivalent.

Jon Shields, a content manager and writer for Jobscan.co, states in an article that most job descriptions are poorly written:

The people tasked with writing job listings aren’t typically experts in the field. It’s not their fault– HR professionals can’t be expected to have encyclopedic knowledge of every new role in the company and how it will interact with existing positions.

In addition to job posts neglecting to include key skills, they also are full of fluff words. Take an excerpt of a job post for a marketing manager:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Detail-oriented and process-driven.

“Excellent written and verbal communication skills” is a phrase that is as overused as an old shoe. Similarly, “detail-oriented” and “process-driven” are huge offenders. If this phrase and fluff words are not used on a résumé, it could result in being disqualified by the ATS.


What’s the answer? Take these words that should be made extinct with a “grain of salt” and try to “straddle the fence.” In other words, don’t feel guilty if your résumé contains a select few fluff words. Just as long as they aren’t “dynamic,” “innovative,” “detail-oriented….” Need I go on?

Are there any other words you consider to be “fluff”? Please list them in the comment area.

Visit Donna Svei at AvidCareerist, where you can learn about her services and take a peek at some great résumé examples.

The Ultimate LinkedIn Guide, Engaging on LinkedIn: Part 3

In part two of this series, we looked at how to optimize your LinkedIn network. This post will address how to engage with the connections within your network in various ways. When I explain this concept to my clients, I tell them that they can have a stellar profile and large network, but if they don’t engage their connections, it’s like they don’t exist.

linkedin-alone

Being Active Vs. Being Engaged

First let’s talk about the distinction between “active” and ”engage.” It’s possible to be active on LinkedIn, while not being engaged. When you’re active, you’re simply there and not making an impact. Whereas when you’re engaged, you’re truly communicating with your connections.

Let’s first look at examples of being active, followed by being engaged. Think about what you’re doing and if you need to change how you interact with your connections.

Being Active

Liking What Your Connections Post

There’s not much you can say about simply liking what your connections post, other than your connections might appreciate the number of Likes they receive. Then they’ll wonder, “What did Bob think of what I wrote?” This is the ultimate example of simply being active.

Sharing What Your Connections Post

Similar to liking what someone posts, simply sharing a post is clicking the Share button. Again, people will be grateful that you shared their post or article, but couldn’t you do more? “I’m glad Bob shared my article,” they will think. “But why did he share it? What did he think of it?”

Posting a Picture and Sharing a Quote

Posting a picture is nice. It adds color to peoples’ homepage feed. They may pause to look at it. A picture says a thousand words, right? Wrong. You want to explain why you’re sharing the picture, not have people guess. The same goes for sharing a quote without an explanation as to why you shared it.

Writing Brief Comments

Writing comments to what your connections post is a step toward the right direction, but your comments should be meaningful. For example, “Great article, Susan,” is not very meaningful. It is similar to Liking what someone posts.

One excuse I’ve heard from my clients is that it’s difficult to write a lengthy comment with their smartphone. My reply is wait until you’re in front of a computer, if that’s the case.

Asking a Question and Not Responding to Answers

Asking questions is fine; I do it all the time. However, just letting the responses you receive sit is disrespectful to the people who provided the answers. Make sure you ask meaningful questions, though.

Endorsing Connections for Their Skills

This doesn’t constitute engagement. You are simply clicking on your connections’ skills. Further, you might not have seen them perform the skills for which you’ve endorsed. My opinion of endorsements is well known by my clients. The opposite of endorsements are recommendations (discussed below).

Engagement

Writing Comments that are Meaningful

The opposite of writing a brief, meaningless comment is putting thought into what you write. The best way I can illustrate this is by sharing one I wrote for this article:

“Great post, @Susan Brandt. Your statement about a company lacking a social media campaign being akin to living in the dark ages really resonated with me. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other platforms can create that ‘like, know, and trust’ relationship between the company and its’ customers. You’re also correct in stating that all platforms should be connected, as well as linked to and from the company’s website.”

Note: always remember to tag a person with @name so they will be notified in LinkedIn’s Notifications. I was scolded once for not doing this.

Sharing Original Updates

To stay top of mind, your shared updates must show engagement. LinkedIn encourages you to share an article, video, photo, or idea. Take the opportunity to engage with your connections by providing valuable content that elicits responses. A sign that you’ve succeeded would be the number of Likes and, more importantly, Comments you receive.

Note: Many LinkedIn pundits suggest keeping your status updates to one or two a day. I blatantly break this rule.

Responding to What Others Write about Your Updates

One type of update I find successful is asking an illuminating question. If you’re going to do this, be diligent in replying to your connections’ and followers’ responses. Failing to reply to your connections who answer your question does not demonstrate engagement. I am impressed with people who take the time to answer every reply they receive. I try to reply to all the feedback but, alas, I am only human.

Sharing Your Connections’ Articles AND Commenting

Unlike the aforementioned example of simply sharing someone’s article, you will go a step further and share a short synopsis of the message it delivers. This says, “I’ve taken the time to read the article, understand its meaning, and will elaborate on it for the benefit of the readers.” To be a curator is the true definition of networking.

Writing and Sharing your Articles

Writing an article with unique and fresh content takes engagement; it shows you’ve considered what your audience would benefit from. My primary audiences are job seekers and career coaches, so I write articles focusing on the job search and using LinkedIn in the job search. You can write an article on the LinkedIn platform or share one from a blog, such as this one.

Note: refrain from only sharing your own articles. This gives off the sense of superiority.

I include creating and sharing videos under engagement. This is a fairly new concept—probably a year old by now—but it’s catching hold among LinkedIn members. If you are going to share videos, make sure you’re consistent and produce videos your connections will appreciate.

Sending direct messages

Sending individual messages to your connections is the most obvious form of engagement. This is where relationships are cemented, or not, depending on the interaction you have with said person. I received from a client a question about sending mass messages. This is not considered proper policy; but if you need to reach many people at once, you are allowed to message 50 people at a time.

Writing Recommendations for Your Connections

Unlike endorsing your connections for their skills, writing recommendations take thought and time. To write a recommendation requires having supervised a connection or witnessed them as a colleague, partner, or vendor. This is a true form of engagement, but isn’t getting the respect it deserves. Listen to my interview on The Voice of the Job Seeker podcast.

Following Up with Your Connections

To truly show engagement, you must follow up with your connections. I have developed many relationships by reaching out to my connections via telephone, if they live a distance away. If they live closer, I’ll meet them for coffee. One of my connections and I had been exchanging discussions via LinkedIn. Yesterday we had our first phone conversation. Although we will not do business together, it was great finally “meeting” her on the phone.


Perhaps the most difficult part of a successful LinkedIn campaign is engaging with your LinkedIn connections. To do so requires you to extend yourself; perhaps reach outside your comfort zone. One of my clients told me, “I don’t know what to write.” I told her to write what she feels.

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Avoid résumé obsession by following these 6 rules

I’ve been helping a client with his résumé. Originally it was a sound résumé but weak in certain areas. He lacked a branding headline, so I suggested he use a headline similar to what he uses on his LinkedIn profile but stressed it needed to be tailored to each job.

obsessed-with-your-resume

He also needed to tighten up his writing, pay attention to typos, and avoiding being verbose. I also suggested he quantify his results. Mission accomplished.

Shortly after our meeting, he told me he would send me his “next” revision in a few days. In addition to the changes I suggested, he said he prettied it up a bit. They were aesthetic changes that probably wouldn’t play a big role in garnering him an interview.

I sent comments back to him, ending it with, “Ready to go.” He sent me two more updates, each containing minor changes; not much had changed. There was not much I could add.

He was suffering from résumé obsession.

While aesthetics are nice, your résumé needs to be much more impactful than pretty font, interesting layout, unique bullet points, etc. Here are six general rules about putting your résumé to best use.

1. Yes, a powerful résumé is necessary. A résumé should lead with a strong branding headline to capture the employers’ attention, tell them who you are and what you’re capable of doing for them. This is where you first introduce the job-related keywords.

Follow your branding headline with a concise, yet grabbing Performance Profile. All too often I see profiles with lofty adjectives that have no meaning. Your profile is the roadmap to your work history; whatever you assert in it, you have to prove in the experience section.

The work experience must demonstrate accomplishments that are quantified. Employers are looking for numbers, percentages, and dollar signs. Having accomplished this, along with an education section, your résumé is ready to go.

2. It’s only one part of your written communications. Let’s not forget a well-written cover letters that grab the employers’ attention with the first sentence. Forget the tired, “I was excited to read on Monster.com of the project manager position at (company). Please find below my accomplishments and history that make me a great fit for this job.”

You have to show the employer you’re the right person for the job. This includes highlighting job-related skills and mentioning a couple of accomplishments. Like your résumé, the cover letter is tailored to each job.

3. Send your résumé to the hiring manager. Some of my customers are shocked when I tell them that they need to send their information to human resources and the hiring manager. The reason for doing this is because the hiring manager may see something in you that HR doesn’t.

Another reason for sending your résumé to the hiring manager is because she may overlook the fact that you don’t have a certain requirement, such as education, whereas HR must reject you for this deficiency. One of my job seekers, a former hiring manager, confirmed this assertion, adding “experience trumps education any day.”

4. How you distribute it. It doesn’t end with hitting “Submit.” You can’t sit back and wait for recruiters and HR to call you for a telephone interview. Some believe that sending out five résumés a day is a personal accomplishment; yet they fail to follow up in a timely manner.

Worse yet, they don’t send their résumé and cover letter to targeted companies. This involves networking face-to-face or via LinkedIn to determine who the right contact is at the company. Distribute your résumé to the people who count when you can; rather than applying online and taking your chances with the Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

Note: one product I swear by to determine the effectiveness of keywords on your resume is Jobscan.

5. LinkedIn is part of it. Whether you like it or not, it’s time to get on board with LinkedIn. Countless success stories of job seekers getting jobs are proof that employers are leaning more toward LinkedIn than the job boards.

They’re enabling the Hidden Job Market (HJM) by not advertising their jobs; rather they reach out to you to have you come in for discussions first..

Your LinkedIn profile should mirror your résumé (branding headline, summary, work history, education) to a point. Each section on it will differ, plus there are sections and recommendations you can display on your profile that you might not on your résumé. There must be a harmonious marriage between the two.

6. Just get it out. I know this sounds odd coming from a person who writes and reviews résumés. “Are you suggesting I send out an imperfect product?” you’re wondering. Well, yes if it’s holding you back from getting a job that’s available.

All to often I see clients in the career center for which I work spend too much time trying to make their resume perfect. Days, weeks, months go by before they’re “ready to send it out.” Don’t sweat the small stuff, as they say. Because while you’re doing this, opportunities are disappearing.


Fruitless pursuit. Trying to perfect your résumé and neglecting the aforementioned steps needed to make it work is similar to cleaning every snowflake from your steps and neglecting your entire walkway. A great résumé is what you aspire to create; a perfect résumé is not possible. To aspire to perfection will most likey prevent you to send out your résumé all together, just like my former client.

Photo: Flickr, Jordan