3 career strategists provide tips on how 50+ job seekers should approach their search

I won’t deny that ageism exists. I’ve heard of hiring managers who’ve told their recruiters that they don’t want older candidates. Some recruiters demand to see every job you’ve held since 1984. You might have been asked on an application when you graduated from high school.

One of my clients told me as the second question in an interview he was blatantly asked about his age. He shook his head in bewilderment as he told me about this.

Another one of my clients was told in an interview, “We don’t typically hire people your age.” Who the hell is stupid enough to say this as an interviewer? These are two poignant examples of ageism.

There are other examples of ageism that 50+ job seekers experience, which makes me wonder if I were to lose my job, would I experience ageism. After all, I am in the 50+ category. I’m an older worker, but I could become an older job seeker.

While age is just a number — not an indicator of performance, education, productivity or skill — ageism is still widespread in the workplace. It can be experienced by both younger and older workers, but most frequently to those who are 45 and over.

Indeed.com

This is the grim reality, especially when we consider that older job seekers comprise the largest population of long-term unemployed, defined as those unemployed for 6 months and more. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the LTU rate for December 2021 reached a record 45.5%.

But all is not lost. As the pandemic is waning and employers are hiring at a greater rate, the older job seekers are increasingly seeing more opportunities. I see this effect in the Job Club I run at MassHire Lowell Career Center. People who’ve been out of work for more than six months have had multiple interviews and they’re landing.


I asked three of the most revered LinkedIn voices—Marc Miller, Susan Joyce, and Hannah Morgan— their thoughts on older job seekers who are looking for work. They answered five questions that address the struggles and strengths older job seekers possess. (Learn more about these thought leaders at the end of the article.)

Does ageism exist, and if so, where is it most obvious in the job search?

MM: Ageism has existed for a long time. In fact, many older workers practice ageism towards younger workers. This is a problem that goes both ways.

I think the most obvious example of ageism is asking for a range of year of experience, like 5-8 years of experience in digital marketing. Knowing how many years of experience one has is not a qualifier or dis-qualifier for a position.

This is a simple way to filter out older job seekers who have more experience but isn’t relevant on whether they are qualified.

What employers should be looking for is relevant experience and not trying to quantify this by length of time someone has worked in any single discipline.

Another example of ageism is when recessions occur this is the time that employers have to cull out who they think, notice I say think, will not be as valuable in the future. This is why older job seekers traditionally make up the bulk of the Long Term Unemployed (LTU). Employers have determined they will be less valuable in the future and therefore, will not hire them back first when the recession ends.

SJ: Unfortunately, there is no question that ageism exists. Numerous studies have documented and quantified it, noting that discrimination begins when people hit their 40’s.

It is most obvious in a job search after the interview when the job offer is not made to the 40+ job candidate, even after a great job interview.

HM: Yes. Job seekers convey their age and mindset in how they write their resume and LinkedIn profile. From using outdated resume formats to including References Available Upon Request to including all dates of employment to dates on education older than 5 years.

Older job seekers also may tend to apply for jobs they have significantly more experience than required. They may not have a good idea of how much they are worth in today’s marketplace.

They may not have the most current skills or demonstrate an understanding of current methodologies or trends. During job interviews, older job seekers may come across as arrogant, inflexible or condescending, or unable to relate to younger interviewers.

What is the most obvious stereotype employers have of older job seekers, and why do you think this is?

MM: Employers look at many older job seekers as not up to date with technology and slow to change. Some might say that older seekers can be stuck in their ways.

Is this universally true? Of course not!

I worked for IBM for 22 years through some very exciting innovative times. After I left I worked for 2 extremely innovated and successful tech startups. I am not a model baby boomer but I am no unicorn.

One of the challenges is the adoption of technology which has accelerated in the last 20 years, and the pandemic has supercharged that adoption. On top of that, if you are keeping up with the new innovations, it is not about just keeping up but getting online and engaging to prove your knowledge.

I will readily admit I hate getting on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter and regularly engaging to promote my “personal brand.” I was raised to work hard, keep my nose to the grind stone, do what is right and I will be rewarded. The world today is counter intuitive to the way I was raised. It is in this way that I am not terribly unusual.

All of this frames how employers see older job seekers on a macro scale. Unfortunately, hiring is very personal and if an employer believes an older job seeker is A, B or C then they will filter out some of the best candidates.

SJ: The most obvious stereotype I encounter is that older job seekers are less up-to-date with technology. Employers probably make these assumptions based on the behavior of an older relative or an older colleague or manager who was not up-to-date.

The best way to overcome this assumption is to have a complete and robust LinkedIn profile plus relevant professional activity on LinkedIn (posts, comments, and articles) that display both current knowledge and communications skills. This visibility and activity will demonstrate their understanding of how important LinkedIn is and how to use LinkedIn effectively (up-to-date!).

If possible, take a LinkedIn Skill Quiz for one or more of the skills in the Skills & Endorsements section of the profile (perhaps the Skills with the fewest endorsements). Or take some of classes that result in professional certifications relevant to the job seeker’s target job.

HM: That their skills and knowledge are not up-to-date and they will be slow or hesitant to adapt or change. Older job seekers may not address the changes they’ve recently had to adapt to or may not have needed to use new technology or update skills in their last roles.

This doesn’t mean they can’t adapt or aren’t interested in learning. Stereotypes exist because of someone’s previous interactions. So if an interviewer or hiring manager has spoken to or worked with an older job seeker who lacked current skills or was hesitant to change, that cements the stereotype.

What is one major strength older job seekers demonstrate, and why do you think this is?

MM: The one thing that an older job seeker has is years and years of experience. I like to think of this as 30-40 years of big data.

We have seen a lot of problems, and solved a lot of problems.

Years ago I developed and taught a problem determination workshop for IBM’s support staff. The more problems you experienced in any given domain enhanced your ability to solve the next problem in the same or adjacent domain. My job was to help them experience and solve as many problems as possible AND understand how they did it.

The issue is our ability to use that database of knowledge called experience and then being able to communicate in a coherent, easy to understand way so that employers see the value.

Remember it was not that long ago that CEO of Facebook said “I want to stress the importance of being young and technical. Young people are just smarter.”

What they do not have is that database of big data that comes from experience.

SJ: Contrary to the “set-in-their-ways” assumption, I think that older job seekers have more options available based on having more experience. Because of their age and experience, they have a bigger “window on the world” and can see more alternatives than someone with less experience.

For example: If you need someone to drive you to the airport in a busy city at a busy time with the flight leaving soon, would you prefer a young driver who followed the route given him by his boss or an older experienced driver who knew all of the short cuts and alternate ways to get to the airport even if a traffic jam on the primary route stopped other traffic? Not hard to conclude the older driver would be a better choice!

Maybe the employer has always done a process in one specific way, or viewed a customer or an opportunity in one specific way. An older employee with more experience may see—and have more experience with—using other methods to accomplish that (or similar) tasks with different processes that may ultimately be more successful.

HM: Older job seekers tend to be more loyal, possess a stronger work ethic, and have stronger leadership and decision-making skills from experience and training. Their work ethic was formed early in their career when hard work and dedication was rewarded. And their life experience and access to training over their career have given them tools and experience to draw upon.

How can older job seekers improve their written and verbal communications in order to land a job?

MM: This is all about doing new things before you are ready.

To quote one of my favorite and irreverent journalist Hunter S. Thompson,

“Anything worth doing, is worth doing right”.

When you do something for the first time you will rarely do it right!

I have helped many start blogs and podcasts. I always tell them that what they produce may suck at the beginning. You will have to exercise the communications muscle to find your voice. That may mean producing material that is not very good.

Early blog posts on the Career Pivot blog were pretty bad. That is why I hired people to help me in areas where I was not very good. I am not a good writer but I have learned how to leverage people, like a virtual assistant, who edits my material, and technology like Grammarly.

Over time the communications muscle has gotten stronger through repetitive action. However, this requires taking chances, taking some criticism and admitting that you do not know how to do everything.

You have to move forward and do new things before you are ready.

SJ: Observe what people are writing and saying in social media and elsewhere. Focus on those people who are the most successful (in a positive way). Then, practice, VERY carefully by asking and answering questions on sites like Quora, Reddit, Digg, etc. When ready, start a blog or write articles on LinkedIn (relevant and professionally), Medium, or a personal/professional blog.

For verbal communications, join Toastmasters. The meetings may be virtual now, but the training, experience, and network are invaluable.

Possibly, take some classes in writing and speaking. Free classes are frequently available online. Or read some good books about those topics.

HM: Being active on social media, older job seekers can show that they don’t fit the stereotypes. Posting and commenting about new trends in their industry can demonstrate an interest and understanding. Comments should be respectful and convey an understanding and tolerance for others viewpoints.

The act of being active on social media also shows a willingness to embrace new technology.

What advice would you give an older job seeker who’s hunting for a job?

MM: In post-pandemic recovery, every older job seeker needs to reassess what he or she really wants to do. This is not about what you used to do because what you used to do may be gone or changed significantly.

Did you actually enjoy doing what you used to do?

If you did, what was enjoyable?

If not why were you doing it?

You really need to look at the disruption that COVID-19 pandemic has created. There will be a lot of good that will come out of this black elephant event called the COVID-19 pandemic. Where do you want to fit in?

What problems do you want to solve? Who has those problems?

If you are going to continue to work because you either have to or want to, you will have to reassess where you fit in this new world and what will energize you to keep moving forward at the same time.

To quote the famous executive coach Marshall Goldsmith, “What got you here, won’t get you there”.

Your first choice, are you willing to evolve and grow in the 2nd half of life.

Then it is your choice how to evolve and grow.

SJ: I have 2 pieces of advice for older job seekers who are job hunting now.

  1. FOCUS!

Know the job wanted next and, preferably, at least 10 or 20 target employers. Being an either-this-or-that does not work today when LinkedIn profiles are so visible! Recruiters avoid someone who doesn’t seem to be really interested in the job they are trying to fill. And an either-or candidate looks undecided.

In addition, the undecided job seeker does not usually effectively demonstrate their professional expertise in both kinds of jobs. Their LinkedIn profiles are “watered down” because they cover multiple topics superficially—not very convincing and not including a sufficient quantity of the right keywords to be found easily by recruiters.

  1. NETWORK!

The fastest, inside track to landing a new job is being referred by an employee. One of the biggest advantages of being an older job seeker is all the people the job seeker knows and has worked with over the years. From family, friends, and neighbors to co-workers, bosses, and employees—that network is one of the biggest benefits of being an older job seeker.

Reaching out and reconnecting to people from the past using Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. to find current location and contact information is a great start.

My favorite tools are LinkedIn Company pages for the target employers and the School pages for the colleges, universities, and other schools the job seeker attended. To find them, just click on the logos beside the employer and school names in the LinkedIn profile.

The benefits:

■ Company pages for target employers provide excellent information about employees. What they do, where they work, where they went to school, and how the job seeker may be connected to them. Click on the “See all people highlights” to find those details.

■ School pages for colleges and schools the job seeker attended provide information about where alumni work, where they live, what they do, and how the job seeker may be connected to them. Again, click on the “See all people highlights” to find those details.

The biggest benefit of being an older job seeker is that great network that provides an inside track to a new job.

HM: Before launching a job search, evaluate the marketplace to understand the skills required at the level you are interested in as well as understand pay ranges for those types of job. You should review lots of job postings to look for technology and skills frequently mentioned. Also ask for honest feedback from people you talk with about what you may be lacking or how you communicate. Finally, maintain a life-long-learner mindset.


Marc Miller is a champion of older job seekers. He writes of his award winning podcast: “Repurpose Your Career, brought to you by Career Pivot, is a podcast for those of us in the 2nd half of life to come together to discuss how to repurpose our careers for the 21st century.” Marc has dedicated his life’s work to helping Baby boomers.

Susan Joyce’s well-known Job-Hunt.org blog has millions of views and is considered one of the most popular sites for the job search. Since 1993, Job-Hunt.org’s genuine experts have shared advice that helps job seekers shorten their job search, including advice on resumes, job interviews, LinkedIn, Working from Home, and much more.

Hannah Morgan’s blog, CareerSherpa.net has gained great acclaim as one of the best job-search blogs out there. Hannah has written for major online publications like BusinessInsider.com, USAToday.com, Money.com, Forbes.com, HuffingtonPost.com, and others. Hannah is truly considered an influencer on LinkedIn.

Photo by Gary Barnes on Pexels.com

3 tips on how to get LinkedIn users to see your recommendations

By Bob McIntosh


Raise your hand if you visit a LinkedIn user’s profile and get as far as the Recommendations section. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t. Rarely do most LinkedIn members travel that far down another member’s LinkedIn profile. I usually don’t.

Now raise your hand if you feel the recommendations you proudly tout on your profile are helpful or essential to your business. I don’t blame you if this request gives you pause. After all, the Recommendations section is anchored in the basement of your profile. It’s likely that even you have forgotten about this section. We tend to forget what we don’t see.

There was a time when Recommendations was one of the most valued sections on the profile. That time was so long ago that I can’t remember when this was the case. My LinkedIn historian, Kevin Turner, reminded me of when Recommendations were banished to the cellar of our profile, and we lost our ability to move all our sections about:

“Recommendations were banished to the bottom of the profile around 04.07.2018 when the New Look was established.  Around ~03.2017 we lost the ability to reorder, having the corresponding [recommendations] under each job, and the ability to pull it to the top of the profile.”

I believe there is a segment of the LinkedIn community who still believes in the value of Recommendations, particularly business folks who use them as testimonials. I recall some of my connections who would move their recommendations to below Summary—as it was called then—to highlight the excellent services they provided.

But I also believe recommendations on a job seeker’s profile is also of great benefit. Think about how some hiring authorities might be more interested in a candidate’s recommendations and not so interested in their skills and endorsements. Reading some stellar recommendations could lead to a telephone call and subsequent conversations.

So, how do you direct visitors to your Recommendations section? I put forth three solutions.

First solution: mention Recommendations in your About section

Given that your About section draws the attention of visitors, doesn’t it make sense to point your audience to Recommendations within this section? Unfortunately, we don’t yet have the ability to post links to Recommendations—similar to the links to our Current Employer and Education—so words will have to do.

Matt Warzel has this simple statement in his About section: “I’ve earned 740+ LinkedIn recommendations.”

Or you might want to give your visitors a taste of your recommendations by including a few excerpts from them. This is how I do it:

𝗪𝗛𝗔𝗧 𝗠𝗬 𝗖𝗟𝗜𝗘𝗡𝗧𝗦 𝗦𝗔𝗬 𝗔𝗕𝗢𝗨𝗧 𝗠𝗘 (𝗘𝗫𝗖𝗘𝗥𝗣𝗧𝗦 𝗙𝗥𝗢𝗠 MY 𝗥𝗘𝗖𝗢𝗠𝗠𝗘𝗡𝗗𝗔𝗧𝗜𝗢𝗡𝗦)

“Bob’s expertise regarding LinkedIn is second to none. He is always looking for ways to leverage the platform for the benefit of his clients and his approachable style makes it easy to work with him and understand what he is saying.”

“Bob is the real deal. With his consistently published articles, super actionable tips and daily dose of inspiration here on LinkedIn, Bob is really the King of all Things Career Related. He made an appearance on my weekly live broadcast a few months ago, and the audience loved him. No surprise why.”

There are two other excerpts from some of my recommendations I list in About . Following the excerpts, I direct visitors to my Recommendations section by writing: “⬇️ 𝐈𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐬𝐞𝐞𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐦𝐲 𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬? 𝐒𝐜𝐫𝐨𝐥𝐥 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐨𝐭𝐭𝐨𝐦 𝐨𝐟 𝐦𝐲 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐟𝐢𝐥𝐞 ⬇️”

Second solution: point visitors to your recommendations in Experience

If you want to include excerpts from your current or previous positions, they’ll make a splash as worthy accomplishments. As I tell my clients, “What others say about you weighs heavier than what you say about yourself.”

Susan took our marketing department to greater heights with her advanced knowledge of product marketing. She and her team increased revenue over the course of 10 years to the tune of $400 million dollars.

You can point your visitors to your Recommendations section in the same manner you use in About. Susan’s excerpt can be followed with: “To read additional testimonials, visit my Recommendations section.” Again, it would be nice to have a link bringing your visitors to recommendations.

Third solution: point people to your recommendations in Volunteer Experience

By this point, your visitors have traversed a great distance on your profile, but why not direct them here as well? I will read a person’s Volunteer Experience section if I want to know more about the work they’ve done. And yes, volunteer work is experience.

Again, the process is the same as it is in your About and Experience sections. Take another example of someone who has volunteered to perform duties for his alma mater:

“Jason put in endless hours developing the University of Massachusetts license plate initiative which has exceeded expectations by 30,000 participants. There are hundreds of thousands of cars donning UMass license plates. This is special.”

Jason writes: “To the full recommendation from the director of Alumni, scroll down to my Recommendation section. Can a say it again? It would be nice to have a link to Recommendations.


It’s unfortunate that you can’t move your Recommendations section to the top of your profile — like you could on your resume—or LinkedIn doesn’t allow you to link to it. For some people like Matt Warzel, he displays hundreds of recommendations to prove his work. I wonder if he would want to reorder his Recommendations section.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

5 ways my job search can be a learning lesson for other job seekers

By Bob McIntosh

Most job-search articles, posts, videos, and podcasts offer tips on how to succeed in various components of the job search. This article is different. Different because it’s based on the failures of my job search. I’m writing it because I believe one can learn from the successes, as well as the failures of others.

Since my failure of a job search in 2003, I’ve coached thousands on how to do it properly. In a few situations, I was successful in hunting for other jobs because I practiced what I preach. This article’s purpose is to tell readers not to do what I did.

My story begins when I was laid off from marketing, where I was unhappy. My unhappiness wasn’t due to the people with whom I worked; it was due to a lack of purpose. I was peddling software I didn’t believe in.

Daniel Pink, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, claims that purpose is a key motivator. He’s correct. I saw my purpose as helping people land jobs, not marketing document storage media.

After being laid off, it took me seven months to land a job which was a gap filler at best. Looking back on it, I can see clearly what I could have done to make the journey shorter for me and my family. Here are my failures.

The beginning of unemployment wasn’t too bad, but it became worse

When I was laid off, I wasn’t devastated; it was more like I was relieved. I was called into a conference room where my boss and our “HR” person was sitting with papers spread out on the table. “This isn’t good,” I thought. Sure enough, I was getting laid off.

My boss, who happened to also own the company, was weepy-eyed, a little upset, and constantly apologizing for having to lay me off. During the meeting I was the one who was consoling him, not the other way around. “George,” I said, “It’s business, nothing personal. I’ll be alright.” He seemed relieved to hear me say this.

I found comfort in getting together with a former colleague, who had been laid off with me, by drinking beer at a pub down the road from where I live. Our times of commiserating became increasingly more frequent; so frequent that I had to call a halt to it. I realized that it was destructive behavior.

Two months after I was laid off it became apparent to us that we needed more than what Unemployment Assistance was providing, $565 which included allowance for three dependents, and that using credit cards was not the best option

My wife had to return to work full-time at a nearby town. Now raising the kids became my full-time responsibility. This wasn’t a bad thing necessarily; it was unfamiliar territory for me. I now had to tend to their every needs. Our oldest daughter was 7, followed by our 4-year-old daughter, and the baby boy was 1.

Looking back on it, I was grateful for the opportunity to spend quality time with our kids.

Quality time included bringing the two youngest to play group while the oldest was at grade school. I was also responsible for driving the kids to their locations and grocery shopping. In all instances I was the only male present, which was embarrassing. I once witnessed a woman at playgroup breastfeeding two children at once.

I felt trapped at home while my wife was doing what I wanted to; she insisted she didn’t want to work full-time, but she was growing happier with “real” responsibilities as I was growing miserable with unfamiliar responsibilities. Was I jealous of my wife? Yes.

My temper grew increasingly moodier and at times angry. I lashed out at my wife who was only doing what had to be done. There came a time when she demanded that I see a therapist. I agreed and met once a week with a kind gentleman with whom I couldn’t relate.

If there was one thing I could have done better, it was not turning into an asshole.

My time management skills sucked

To say raising the kids impeded my job search would be an excuse. The second failure that comes to mind was the inability to schedule job-search activities around caring for the kids. I could have risen early in the morning to job search and continue the process when my wife got home from work.

When I had some free time away from the kids, I could have done some administrative work, e.g., written resumes and cover letters. But my mind was consumed with making sure the kids were fed and entertained.

Instead of using the evenings to call people who I could have met while networking I walked the streets of my city for hours. I had to clear my head of the frustration that was building inside me. I often tell my clients that walking is good medicine, but in my case it was a way to escape the family.

One of the good things that came from being home with the kids was creating a website and maintaining it for my oldest daughter’s school. I asked the director if she would allow my child to attend school free of charge in exchange for the website. Apparently she didn’t know how easy it would be, because she happily agreed.

I didn’t network

I said I should have contacted people I met while networking, but the sad fact is that I didn’t network as much as I should have. The extent of my networking was sending a group email to everyone I knew, letting them know I was out of work and attaching my resume to the emails.

This method was ineffective, as I hadn’t clearly indicate what kind of work I was looking for. My resume was sound but not targeted to the career I was pursuing, career development. This explains why group emails are not the best way to network.

What I should have done was reach out to people individually and asked to meet for coffee or simply have a phone conversation. I should have asked for advice on where I could pursue positions in career development. I should have gathered information on the labor market by talking with said people.

Who did they know that I didn’t? Who would they suggest I talk with? One of my contacts might know people in the nonprofit world, perhaps in a municipality. That could have led to connecting with people in social services. I knew what I wanted to do, but I didn’t know how to ask for information.

Networking groups? I had no idea what they were and that they even existed. I hadn’t visited my university’s career services, where they would have told me about job seeker networking groups. Perhaps they would have mentioned professional associations. When it came to networking, I was totally in the dark.

The bottom line: I should have been more proactive

To preface, the first job I landed in marketing was through a referral from my university professor. The second position was an interesting story. Briefly, I was laid off from my first job in marketing. The same day my president introduced me to the marketing manager of the second company for which I started that day.

These jobs were essentially handed to me. This time around I didn’t have help like this.

I sent close to 40 resumes and cover letters for jobs which resulted in two interviews. Even in 2003, the way to land interviews for rewarding jobs was not to send a generic resume and a tailored cover letter to employers, especially if you weren’t qualified for said jobs.

The shotgun approach wasn’t working. I became increasingly more discouraged. The one thing I had going for me was knowing what I wanted to do, as well as what I didn’t want to do. (To the chagrin of my wife, I wasn’t applying for marketing positions.)

This must have made employers wonder why a marketing guy wanted to work in career development. Had I asked for informational meetings I would have built a more focused network. My one attempt at asking for an informational meeting was a complete failure.

I only landed two interviews and one job

The first interview after my marketing career ended was as painful as it could get. It was for a Development position at my alma mater. I was ill prepared and insulted one of the interviewers by asking her why she was on the interview panel. To my defense, I phrased my question wrong, but the damage was done.

My second interview was the winner…in a way. I landed a job that was a two-year gap filler as a program manager for technical training for people with disabilities. There were enjoyable aspects of the position, but I was yearning to get more entrenched in career development.

The most important skill I developed in this program manager position was the ability to speak in front of groups of people, explaining the purpose of the program. It was during one of the speaking engagements that I employed my networking skills. I presented to my current employer directing my attention to my future manager.

Whether directing my attention to my future manager was the reason I landed the job is debatable, but it certainly was intentional. The interview had with her was a formality because it lasted 15 minutes. Half an hour after the interview she called to tell me she was forwarding my name to the city manager.


Lessons learned

My suggestion to people who’ve lost their job for any reason is first, think about the others around you who are probably struggling as well. I should have been more cognizant of my wife’s feelings; rather than thinking only of mine.

Second, don’t let caring for children or elderly adults be an excuse for not getting things done. I had a client who said he would rise at 5:00 am to conduct his job search until his children would rise at 7:00 am. He would grab any moment he could during the day, including attending my Job Club in the afternoon.

Third, be more proactive in your job search. Simply sending out resumes won’t do it. Implement networking into your routine and follow up with those you network with. Again, the resume shotgun approach will not yield great results.

Lastly, anyone you run into can be a potential boss. Do your best to impress people who have the authority to hire you, like the person who became my boss after my presentation.

One more: don’t be an asshole during your job search.

Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

5 reasons to let your boss know about your accomplishments

By Bob McIntosh

A woman I work with whispered to me that one of her customers wrote her an email complimenting her on a job well done. I congratulated her on her accomplishment and told her to forward the email to our boss.

Sell Yourself

“No way,” my colleague said. “I don’t need to show her what I’ve done. She knows.”

I argued my case for a brief moment and then realized that convincing my colleague to promote herself was a lost cause. She’s just not that kind of person. She would rather have people see her great work—she does great work—than point it out to them. She doesn’t like to “brag,” in her words.

If you’re like my colleague and don’t feel it’s necessary to promote yourself, consider the following points.

The philosophical question

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” comes to mind in the instance of my colleague. I reason if your boss isn’t around to hear or read of your accomplishments, she won’t hear it; there will be no sound. All the good work you’ve done may go unnoticed and unrewarded.

Bring your boss into the forest so she can hear the tree fall. You don’t need to burst into her room exclaiming, “My customer loved the work I did implementing our CRM software. He couldn’t stop praising me. I’ll need the rest of the day off to celebrate.”

It’s okay to promote yourself in a tactful way

The wrong way to self-promote would be to announce during a meeting that your customer said you’re the best thing since sliced bread. This will cause your colleagues to turn to each other and mouth, “What a braggart.”

The correct way would be catching your boss alone and making her aware of the flattering email you received, without going into detail ad nauseam. If you are more introverted, forwarding the email to your boss would be fine. (It also creates a paper trail for future recall.)

If you don’t promote yourself no one will

Do you think your colleagues who are eyeing a promotion that is suitable for both of you is going to promote your greatness instead of his? Hell no. Additionally, he might make it clear that he is the best person for the job by touting his accomplishments any time he can (even when it’s not warranted).

You are the captain of your ship, so don’t let anyone else steer it. By no means am I saying to look for opportunities to self-promote. No, promote yourself when the time warrants it.

Your chances of advancing at work will be greater if you promote yourself

My colleague believes her results speak louder than words, and this may be true; but the spoken word can better reinforce her results than if she were to say nothing…or not send an email.

Advancement comes to those whose performance are recognized. When it comes to performance reviews or approaching your boss for a raise or promotion, she will most likely remember the times you told her about your accomplishments. In fact, she might have written them down.

You will feel good

Especially if you receive positive feedback from your superior. I know this because when I promote myself, via email mostly, I receive an email from her congratulating me for my success. I could care less if she is annoyed by my self-promotion.

If my boss tells me to stop, I’ll cease promoting myself. But I’ve never been told to stop sending her emails or telling her about my success, nor do I expect her to cease my self-promotion. If or when I do, I’ll simply tell her, “I’m practicing what I preach.”


You may feel the same way my colleague does about self-promotion. But ask yourself this: “Will I kick myself for not at least forwarding an email to my boss? Is it possible that she would appreciate knowing about my accomplishment?”

If the answer to these questions is yes, promote yourself in a way you’re comfortable with.

Flickr: Phoenix Tso

Looking for a job, why not use Facebook to announce it?

By Bob McIntosh

One Facebook announcement tells me a friend is eating dinner in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Another announcement let’s me know that a friend is taking a cruise from Seattle to Alaska and back. And one more shows how a friend is using his pressure cooker to cook baby-back ribs. Yum.

This is all nice and good. After all, Facebook is a true social media site, where people share their personal life; maybe too personal. Every once in awhile you’ll come across political and religious musings which might offend your senses. But if you understand the purpose of Facebook, you won’t be too offended.

According to the Guardian.com, “Facebook was developed back in “February 2004 when Mark Zuckerberg launched ‘The facebook,’ as it was originally known; the name taken from the sheets of paper distributed to freshmen, profiling students and staff.

Then it took off from there, enticing people from all over the globe to sign up for this free platform, where they could tell their stories, play games, donate to charities, record videos, and many other activities too numerous to mention here.

Ironically, very few people (who I know of) don’t use Facebook to announce they’re looking for work. “Ironically,” I say because who can be some of your strongest allies than your friends? A friend tells me he needs to find a job, I do my best to keep my ears to the pavement for him.

LinkedIn is where 78%-90% recruiters look for talent, but…

We all know that recruiters hang out on LinkedIn to find talent. Many of them will tell you that it’s their go-to source for finding talent, but a recent Jobvite study found that 60% of recruiters also use Facebook to find talent.

Still, we associate LinkedIn as the “professional network,” where business and the job search are conducted. Tis true but would it hurt job seekers to employ both, cover all bases?

In a long-post I wrote, I mentioned a conversation Hannah Morgan and I had in which we agreed that Facebook and LinkedIn would be great platforms to announce job seekers are looking for work. Why not use both? To use Facebook, you need to do it correctly. Here are six pointers.

How to use Facebook to announce you’re looking for work

1. Post a friendly, upbeat message. This doesn’t have to be a novel. Remember that people like to read concise informative word blocks. You might want to begin your message with something like: “Hi friends and family! I’m currently in transition and looking for my next great opportunity.”

2. Tell your friends the type of work your pursuing. It’s important to be clear on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for something in project management but your friends misconstrue your message and think you’re pursuing program management jobs, they’ll be of little help.

3. Provide some brief, recent accomplishments so connections and friends can spread around. Because you’re addressing friends, you don’t want to come across as bragging, but you also don’t want to let opportunities to slip away because your friends don’t know how great you are.

4. Reiterate your appreciation for help in advance. These are one of the things you learned in kindergarten, right. Thank people for their help.

5. List your LinkedIn URL in the message. Some of your friends might not know you’re on LinkedIn. Hell, they might not even know what LinkedIn is.

6. End by asking them to be safe. In these times, it only makes sense to show gratitude, as well as concern.

The old saying that everyone can be a part of your network is true. Remember that friends, relatives, and associates can be your strongest allies. Even if they’re not in your industry, they might hear of opportunities you’re not aware of.

Another option is to send a direct message (DM) to your Facebook friends. A close friend who commented on my post suggested this approach rather than sharing a blanket post.

Let’s look at some reasons why Facebook might be a better platform to use when announcing you’re looking for a new job.

Reach out to recruiters on Facebook

Go where the recruiters hang out. Recruiters Online has more than 20,000 members. This group is strictly for recruiters, states group administrator Mike Kelemen; so, if you want to find recruiters to approach, go where they graze.

But make sure you have you deliver a strong message when approaching a recruiter on Facebook. Of course it will start with a friendly introduction, but the gist of your message needs to highlight your top skills and relevant accomplishments. Bottom line, recruiters don’t have a lot of time to waste on a weak intro.

While some recruiters might not consider Facebook to be a pool of talented job seekers, there are plenty who do. Recruiters have one goal in mind, and that is to fill positions. So, if they are presented with an opportunity to present a quality candidate to their employer, they’ll take it.

Recruiter David M. Marr keeps an open mind: “Facebook groups are way more active and useful now than LI Groups are. You can post jobs on Facebook now. You can search inside Facebook and XRay Facebook for Talent.

“Their jobs and skills section are not as advanced as LinkedIn, but considering they have 2.3 Billion users globally and the global population is 7.7 Billion, and you compare that against LI’s 200+ Million profiles. It’s really a no brainer based upon the data alone.

“That and EVERY recruiter is sourcing for the same talent from this channel and it’s over saturated. If you want to find new talent that your competitors aren’t, take the time to source from Facebook.

“You can even message someone not in your network. And you have the personal touch of actually getting to know about them as a person vs a professional Profile on LI.

“I cross reference against all of their social media profiles I can find and try to craft a customized email template with at least 3, but ideally 7 touch points that shows I read their profile. Videos and Gifs and humor work great.”

What others say about announcing you’re looking for work on FB

Emily Lawson: One thing to keep in mind with your Facebook community is to communicate level, industry and types of companies to help your network zero in on what’s ideal. Many of those connections are not familiar with your career history or LinkedIn profile.

If I was looking for HR work, and shared it with my Facebook network, I’d likely get all kinds of responses since I’ve lived in many different areas and have friends all over. Here’s an example: “I’m looking for a senior level HR Manager or HR Business Partner role in the technology or medical industry. Preferably, within a mid to large company with an established positive culture. It may seem like a lot up front, but it would actually save them time so they don’t share information that isn’t the right fit.

I think a more tailored approach would work better. There are likely many job seekers who could say the exact same thing. The key to differentiating yourself as a candidate is to focus in on value and alignment. For example… If the message is regarding an existing opening, I would focus on your value and how it relates to that specific role.

I would highlight experience based on major requirements from the job description. If the message is regarding your interest in working at that specific company, then I would focus on alignment with their values or culture.

I would expand on “why” and what’s driving your interest. Both provide great storytelling opportunity that holds far more interest and relevancy for a reader who needs to build confidence in your ability to provide solutions and fit where they need it most.

Paula Christensen: Years ago when I changed industries I found that my Facebook friends were my biggest supporters. In some instances, these people knew me the longest and trusted me immediately because of that tenure and my reputation in previous jobs.

Sarah Johnston: I’ve relocated a number of times for my husband’s job. I’ve posted an update on FB every time letting my friends and acquaintances know about my relocation. My FB community never disappoints me. I’ve made many real connections through friends of friends… online social networking sites were designed to help you stay in touch with more people and are great for building “friend of friend” connections

Jayne Mattson: If you are want to broadcast, then do it with 2 things in mind, which are giving and receiving. In the broadcast ask 3 even 5 questions or advice that will help you in your search. More than likely you will get responses with information that will benefit you. Telling people you are in the market could lead you to advertised jobs and maybe ones that aren’t posted. However, I believe it is unlikely. Now the major part of your message, thank everyone in advance and with a “please do not hesitate to reach out to me for help if there is information you are seeking.”

Erin Hutchinson: I tell people that the more they can get their brand/value across in the message, the better chance they are of having a friend/connection reach out to help! As a workforce professional, I even hate it when people ask me to help them find a job, but have no direction or understanding of what they bring to the table! Help me help you!

Jean Avery: I’d add: if there’s a specific company of interest, it’s worth mentioning. “I’m looking for a data analyst role, and would love a connection at Salesforce or Amazon here in Seattle.” This is a good way for people who don’t have a lead to help, by tagging friends at a specific organization. If it’s not clear, I’d mention whether it’s a local or national search (or clarify onsite vs. remote work). I also explicitly say ‘comment or message me’ so people are less intimidated to follow up with a general question or inquiry/lead.

Read what others have to say in the long post that inspired this article.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

6 major reasons why it’s painful for me to read your LinkedIn profile

By Bob McIntosh

I’ve written or critiqued hundreds of LinkedIn profiles in my role as a career coach. Whether this impresses you matters not. I only mention this to let you know I’ve seen brilliant, so-so, and downright terrible profiles. In this article I’m going to address what makes a profile terrible.

You don't want to write your LinkedIn profile so it's painful to read. Here are 6 tips on how NOT to write your LinkedIn profile.

Don’t be offended if your profile falls under the following faux pas; not everyone has the gift to write their own powerful profile. Nor do they have the resources to hire a professional resume/LinkedIn profile writer (the two are mutually exclusive).

Let’s start at the top.

A painful background image

I experimented by searching for a Project Manager to see what the first profile would have for a background image. Much to my dismay the first one at the top of my list had the default one LinkedIn provides (below).

I say “dismay” because the person whose profile sports this background image presents an outstanding photo, which I’d show you if I weren’t afraid of retribution from said person. Why didn’t this person finish the job? Said person could have Googled “LinkedIn background images” to find a free one.

A painful photo

There are numerous photos that I find painful. Here they are in no particular order:

  1. The imposter. This photo is 10 to 20 years old. Come on, we al realize that people age. I’m not satisfied with the photo that depicts my age, but it is what it is.
  2. The over-the-top photo. You know these photos of people who are trying too hard to impress us with their creativity.
  3. The group photo. Not really a showing the group but someone who has an arm draped over their shoulder.
  4. The blurry photo. I can’t make out who the person is. This shows they don’t care about quality.
  5. The selfie. I’ve seen photos of people shooting selfies in their car.

These are only a few of the photos that make reading a profile painful. Trust me, it’s worth investing some money in your photo; it’s part of your personal branding.

A painful Headline

Some will tell you that the Headline is the most important section of your profile. In a poll I conducted on LinkedIn, 46% out of 1,176 voters concluded that the Headline is more important than the Experience (30%) and About (24%) sections.

I wouldn’t neglect this section if I were you. This is prime real estate that is weighed heavier than others in terms of keywords. Read this article if you need ideas on how to write your Headline: Is your LinkedIn profile Headline memorable? 5 ways to write it

A few painful Headlines include:

  1. Unemployed statement. Writing that you’re Unemployed, Seeking Employment, Open to New Opportunities, etc. do nothing for your branding. Save that valuable space by using the Open to Work badge LinkedIn provides.
  2. Your title and current employer only. If you have enough remaining space to show your value, it’s fine to state this. But it’s more important that you have keywords that help others find you. A branding statement is helpful, as well.
  3. The scatter-brained Headline. This Headline gives readers no idea what you do or want to do. Visitors must have a clear vision of your career direction and areas of expertise at least.

Here’s one from Elise Finn which is nicely written:

Director and Co-Founder of Nkuzi Change – helping large organisations unlock the potential of Middle Leaders through Coaching | Leadership Coach | Senior Exec in FTSE 100 Companies | She/Her

And read some of the best Headlines here.

A painful About section

Although the poll mentioned above might indicate your About section isn’t as important as the other two, it is extremely important. So don’t fudge on this one. The About section is read by people who want to know your story; it’s where you can describe your passion, excellence, and voice.

A painful About section looks like this:

  1. It’s your resume’s Summary. Enough said on this. I can see a person’s resume Summary a mile away. It’s short and devoid of first-person point of view and sometimes is full of cliches.
  2. It’s too brief. I wouldn’t assume that your About section should be as long as mine, but I will advise that it provides some value. Some visitors find this section to be of most interest, so don’t disappoint.
  3. It’s too dense. When I see a paragraph that’s 10 lines long, I ignore it. If I want to read something that long, I’ll read Moby Dick.
  4. There are too many keywords. Some people like to cram as many keywords in their About section in order to be found by recruiters who are looking for particular skills. It’s best to sprinkle them throughout your profile to create a flowing document.

I wrote a recent, comprehensive post on what a strong About section looks like, so I won’t go into great detail about what to include in yours.

A painful Activity section

If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, it means you’re not using LinkedIn for one of it’s greatest assets; allowing you to be heard. This is where I like to see that people have shared long posts, commented on what others have written, created polls, maybe written articles.

Read an article I wrote on 10 easy tips on how to communicate with LinkedIn members. In it I explain how to make your voice heard on LinkedIn through the aforementioned paragraphs.

A painful Experience section

This section is one of the most neglected ones on a LinkedIn profile. And I don’t understand why. Here’s where you can really tout your greatness through accomplishments that are hopefully quantified. If not quantified, you can qualify them using first-person point of view.

A painful Experience section looks like this:

  1. Only includes the bare basics. This means one’s title, place of employment, and months and years of tenure. Come on, show me the money! Give me some description.
  2. Like About, it’s the resume’s Experience section. Here’s where you want to include only the best of the rest. In other words, highlight the accomplishments and the accomplishments only. If you have mundane duties on your resume, no need to mention them here.
  3. It shows no character. Start creating your profile by copying and pasting your resume content to it, but then personalize it with, you guessed it, first-person point of view.

    For example, “The team I lead keys into the business priorities, builds learning experiences to amplify the superpowers of the organization, and crafts engagement experiences to retain and celebrate the employees who achieve incredible results. We have such a blast making Inspire a place where people feel connected and are stretched to reach new heights.” ~Madeline Mann
  4. You don’t utilize keywords. This is similar to your Headline where you simply write, “CEO at ABC Company.” Boring. Instead, write, “CEO at ABC Company ~ New Business Development | Global Strategic Relationships | Marketing and Sales

This article explains why you should ignore your Experience section.

A painful Education Section

Yes, your Education section can be painful. Many assume that LinkedIn wants you to write this section like it would appear on your resume. Wrong. You want to put some detail into it.

This is painful:

University of Massachusetts
Bachelor’s Degree, English

Here’s my colleague Stacy Thompson‘s profile’s Education section, which is much better:

Boston College
Bachelor of Arts Field Of Study Sociology, Pre-Law
Activities and Societies: Undergraduate Government of Boston College, AHANA Leadership Council-Event Planning Director, Voices of Imani Gospel Choir

Member of the Undergraduate Government
AHANA Leadership Council Member
AHANA Leadership Council Assist Director Event Planning
AHANA Leadership Council Director, Event Planning
Voices of Imani Member, Leadership Role

In case you’re wondering, AHANA stands for: African, Hispanic, Asian and Native American descent. I’m proud to say that Stacey is a member of our city’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee.

A painful Recommendations section

I include this section because Recommendations (section) doesn’t get the respect it deserves. I recall when this section was considered to be one of the most popular among recruiters. Now it’s anchored in the basement.

Skills and Endorsements took its place as one of the criteria to have an All Star profile. Now S and E is also in the basement. There’s justice for you.

A painful Recommendation section looks like this:

  1. Poorly written recommendations. There are multiple typos and grammatical mistakes. Sharing them is just as much your mistake as the writer’s. You have the ability to send them back for revision.
  2. This section is all about you. So you have 20 recommendations. Great. But how many have you written for others? Are there crickets going off in your head?
  3. You got nothing. You’re so afraid of asking for recommendations that you literally have none to show. Which leads to….
  4. They’re old. The recommendations you have were written for you when you last looked for work, which was 10 years ago.

You might hate me for pointing out the faults of your profile, but I’m not writing this article for love. I’m writing it to make you better. When you write a strong profile–or have someone do it–it makes you think of your greatness. You need to think about your greatness.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

10 easy tips on how to communicate with LinkedIn members

By Bob McIntosh

Most people have a hard time engaging with the LinkedIn community, according to a poll I’m conducting on LinkedIn. Although the poll’s only on its second day, it reveals that 42% find it difficult to engage and 21% feel it’s somewhat difficult. Only 37% have no difficulty engaging with the LinkedIn community?

As someone who engages on LinkedIn on a daily basis, I find it hard to believe that others find it hard engaging with the LinkedIn community, but I’m the exception to the rule. This article is for job seekers (career advisors might learn a thing or two) and goes over the tips that will make it easier for them to engage with other members.

The first thing job seekers need to do is change their mindset and understand that engaging with LinkedIn members is no more than starting and nurturing communication with them. Think of engaging as conversations you gradually become immersed in.

Note: Don’t confine communication to your 1st degrees; communicate with your 2nd degrees, as well. Doing this can result in connecting with your 2nd degrees who could potentially be your best relationships.

Why it’s important

I’d be remiss in not telling you why it’s important to communicate with LinkedIn members. You know the old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind.” This is a good way to look at it. You want to stay top of mind, not be forgotten. In addition, recruiters and other hiring authorities will see you in their feed.

Follow these tips on how to make communication easier.

1. Start by following LinkedIn members

You might want to start following people before connecting with them. You will still see their content in your feed, but you won’t be able to communicate with them directly unless you have a premium account and use Inmail to send them a message.

Another benefit of following someone is getting on their radar for potentially connecting with them in the future. Some of the best invites I receive are those that say a person has been following me and enjoys my content. Would I like to connect with them.

Note: If you see a Connect button on their profile, click on the More drop-down and choose Follow. In some cases, people will prefer that you follow them and won’t be notified that you’ve started following them.

2. Actively search for content from LinkedIn members

Hopefully your first- and second-degree connections, and the people you’re following are like-minded and produce content that gels with you. For example, if you are in Supply Chain and want to read, view videos, or hear podcasts on this topic simply type “Supply Chain” in the Search field at the top left-hand corner of any page. Then select Posts.

I found 525 results for this topic, which is way too many to consume. By going to All Filters, one can select, Date posted, Sort by, Author industry, and Author company. I chose Past Week, Top Match, and typed in Pharmaceuticals. These filters garnered 21 results, including videos, posts, and an invite to join a webinar.

3. Search for content companies produce

Assuming you have a list of target companies, you can find content by visiting their LinkedIn page. I’m going to go to Fidelity to see what kind of content they’re producing.

On their page I see options for Posts which include All, Images, Documents, Videos, and Ads. Under All, there is a link for an article titled: Markets, emotions, and you. Currently there are 53 reactions and zero comments. This is your chance to react and comment on the article. (More on this later.)

Out of curiosity I select Videos, where I see that one was produced three months ago. It’s titled Mastering Stability Amid Change. I decide to watch it and am pleased that it’s only 31 seconds long. It’s obviously an advertisement. There are 138 reactions, five comments, and 5,190 views.

4. Use hashtags (#s) to find content

LinkedIn allows you to select hastags (#) which categorizes content. Instead of spending time on your feed searching for your desired topics, type in the Search engine #(topic). For example, if you want to read articles on digital marketing, type #digitalmarketing and select Posts.

How are hastags created? When people share content, they can choose existing hashtags or write their own within a post or at the end of it. Additionally, LinkedIn allows you to choose existing hashtags by clicking Discover More on the left of your homepage.

5. React and comment on what others write

Once you’ve chosen who to follow or connect with, their content will be displayed in your feed. However, LinkedIn doesn’t show all of the content that LinkedIn members you follow produces. You’ll have to actively search for it. This might seem like a needle in a haystack.

When you happen upon a long post, article, video, or podcast you read or listen to, choose one of the reaction buttons. They are: Like, Celebrate, Love, Support, Insightful, and Curious. Don’t leave it at that, though, write a thoughtful comment on something that resonated with you.

Here’s an example of a comment from someone who read one of my posts:

All are good points about resumes, Bob. I would say more important than anything about your formatting is the content. That is what the reader cares about above all else. Tell a compelling story that explains what value you bring to the employer. That is what will get you an interview.

Notice that my name is highlighted in blue and underlined. This commenter tagged me so I would be alerted in Notifications of her comment. More on this later.

6. Share articles of interest and comment on them

One of the benefits of using LinkedIn is that you can read, see, or hear content that is relevant to your occupation or industry and, in effect, learn from it. Many of my clients will share a post, podcast, or YouTube video with the people in my job club.

I began an assignment by sharing an article I read and asked the members of the group to do the same. There were two stipulations. First, they had to share the content with everyone. Second, they had to react and comment on what they shared.

Like commenting on a post, this is one of the easiest ways to communicate with your network and followers. I suggest to my clients who are just starting on LinkedIn that they do this on a regular basis. When they tell me they don’t have time to research topics on LinkedIn, I tell them it’s one of the best ways for them to use their time.

7. Write posts of your own

Once you’re use to commenting on other LinkedIn members’ posts, it’s time to write your own. I know what you’re thinking, “I’m out of work. What do I have to add?” You have a lot to add. Did you forget your expertise in marketing? No you didn’t. You are still an expert in your field.

My valued connection, Hannah Morgan, came up with a list of what you can write. She’s titled it: 25 Inspiring Ideas for What To Post On LinkedIn. Here are just a few of the ways you can communicate with your connections:

  • Industry insights
  • Tips and hacks
  • Ask question
  • Share what other LinkedIn members wrote (and comment on it)
  • News about companies (mentioned above)
  • Commenting on a photo
  • Producing a video (for the more advanced)

These are just a few ways you can communicate with your connections. It’s up to you to determine at which level you want to go.

8. Tag people

There’s nothing I dislike more than coming across a comment or even a post in which I’m mentioned but not tagged. I’ve had people share my articles without letting me know. It’s like people talking behind your back.

When you comment on someone’s post, for example, do the following: type @Bob McIntosh. Before you write my last name, I’ll appear in a drop-down of names. Simply click on my name and I’ll be inserted into your comment.

As soon as you do this, I’ll see a number appear on my Notifications icon. I’ll click on the icon and see that “(someone) has mentioned you in a comment.” Thus begins the conversation with whomever tagged me in a post or shared article.

9. Be consistent

I was told years ago that the way to gain a following is by being consistent. So, what I try to do every week—I’m not always successful—is create a poll on Monday, publish an article on Tuesday, write a long post on Wednesday or Thursday, and publish what I call “Blast from the past Saturday.”

By no means am I saying you should do what I do. What you should do is try to communicate with your connections at least four days a week. Whether it’s commenting on posts or articles, writing your own posts, or even writing articles and producing video—it’s your call.

10. By no means, be negative

This should go without saying, but I’ve seen some pretty nasty comments on posts. My thought is that if you read something you don’t like, keep scrolling until you find something you do like.

This is not to say you can’t disagree with something someone wrote. Just do it in a diplomatic manner. You could write, “You make some excellent points, Bob. However, I don’t agree that the #resume Summary should be written in bullet format.”

I would be more likely to respond with “I can see your point, Cheryl. I just feel that too many bullets will confuse the reader.” No harm, no foul.


There you have it. My final tip is to simply do it. As I mention above, if you want to stay on your connections’ radar, you must communicate with them. I know if might be intimidating at first, but once you begin the process and maintain consistency, it’ll be come second nature.

Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova on Pexels.com

How a resume should be written and comments from 13 resume writers

By Bob McIntosh

It’s a fact that if you hire 10 resume writers to write your resume, you’ll get 10 different resumes. It’s also a fact that there are some traits of a resume that are universal. In other words, they are a staple of a resume.

The most obvious traits begin with a Summary statement that effectively expresses the value a job candidate will deliver to employers. Skills/Core Competencies required for the job at hand follow. Of course a value-rich Experience section and Education piece complere the resume. Or is Education placed at the beginning?

Bonus: a great resume writer will most likely include a headline or branding statement at the top of the resume. This is one addition that will give their clients a foot up on the competition.

In a poll I conducted on LinkedIn, some of the best resume writers weighed in on what they consider to make an outstanding resume. I presented two resume groups, both containing some do’s, as well as some don’ts and asked which one they would select.

Thinking that most of them wouldn’t go with Resume A or Resume B, I gave them the option to choose Resume C, which essentially meant they could create a stellar resume based on the traits of the first two. They could also add others. Here are the two groups I presented:

Resume A must:

  • Brand a candidate with a value proposition or headline
  • Contain accomplishment statements with quantified results
  • Be no longer than one page
  • Have the Education section near the top
  • Utilize graphics and color

Resume B must:

  • Be readable with paragraphs no longer than 3 or 4 lines
  • Consist of bullets only, as they make a resume easier to read
  • Include a candidate’s entire work history
  • List the candidate’s home address in the Contact Info
  • Be written in sans serif font

Resume C must (voters could customize their idea of a stellar resume)

Surprisingly, only 39% of the voters chose Resume C; Resume A edged out Resume C with 43% favoring this group. Resume B only garnered 18% of the voters.

I was one of 101 commenters who added my two cents. I chose Resume C with the following traits:

  • Brand a candidate with a value proposition or headline. This is a two-line statement that includes the title from a job add and below that some areas of expertise.
  • Contain accomplishment statements with quantified results. Agreed, not always possible to quantify results with #s, $s, and %s but they have more bite to them.
  • Be as long as warranted, all within 15 years. If you have all accomplishments, your resume can be as long as three pages. Acceptation to the 15-year rule would executive-level job seekers.
  • Utilize graphics and color is appropriate. Graphics appeal to hiring authorities like visuals. However, applicant tracking systems (ATS) don’t digest them well.
  • Be readable with paragraphs no longer than 3 or 4 lines. No one likes to read 10-line paragraphs. Shorter ones are more digestible.
  • Be written in sans serif font. Arial and Calibri are most common these days. Times New Roman dates you.
  • Include in contact info your name, professional email address, LinkedIn URL, cell phone. Key is a professional email address that includes your whole name, not something like hotlegs@aol.com.
  • Must be ATS friendly. The only way to ensue this is by tailoring your resume to each job. A tailored resume will include the necessary keywords.

The fact that people were torn between Resume A group and creating their own Resume C group is telling. Maybe the traits of Resume A are acceptable, almost preferable. I found the one-page rule, for example, unacceptable. And placing Education at the top? This doesn’t apply for all people.

I decided to include in this article what some of the voters added in comments for this poll. You can read what others said by going to the poll.

What some voters said

Sweta Regmi: One Size Doesn’t Fit All. Have them at hello from the top part, would they want to continue reading? Hook them 👇 Use the marketing commercial of 10 secs to get them hooked and call you.

Less is more, make them curious to call you but don’t leave [out] crucial info related to JD. The education section depends on job descriptions and career level. Personal preferences here. The recruitment industry wants education on top. Coaches customize based on client’s experience and job descriptions.

Adrienne Tom: I can find potential hang-ups with both A and B, depending on the person and their career level. For example, a senior-level professional wouldn’t showcase their Education section near the top of the file (nor should they), and not everyone needs to stick to 1-page.

Listing a complete work history may not be relevant. Ultimately, how your resume looks and is formatted all ‘depends’. You are unique. Therefore, your resume will be too.

Lezlie Garr: I’m not really a fan of ‘musts’ for a resume, except for this one: a resume must be relevant to the position you are applying to. All the other details are subjective and variable, depending on how relevant the information is to the position.

These are some great examples of things that CAN be included, and some typically and probably should be included, while others can be used less often.

Maureen McCann: Every person is different. They deserve a resume that highlights what’s most valued about them. Some people have recent and relevant education, so if that was the case, I’d highlight that. Other people might have direct work experience. For them, I’d highlight their work experience, skills and time spent in the industry.

Derrick Jones: First “There is no one-size-fits-all” when it comes to writing a resume. Both use strong resume writing principles. I could use several strategies from Resumes A and B. It depends on the role and industry. The “No one-size-fits-all” principle is different from essential components of a resume which should have the right: 1. Content 2. Format 3. Design.

Virginia Franco: I’m with you Derrick Jones, CPRW/CEIP. Everything depends on the story and the job target. All my resumes, however, contain a headline and summary, and are designed to be read on mobile just as easily as in print.

Donna Svei: My sister paints. I write. Sometimes we explain how we do what we do to each other, but we both know we’re only scratching the surface. A resume “should” be written by someone who wants to tell a story in a way that will make others want to read it. If you let that be your guiding principal, you will write a good resume.

Loribeth Pierson: I agree with Donna, a resume “should” be written by someone who wants to tell a story in a way that will make others want to read it. Also, Adrienne has a great point, “Ultimately, how your resume looks and is formatted all ‘depends’. You are unique.” A lot of misleading data out there, which makes it difficult for the job seeker today. 🤷‍♀️

Scott Gardner: 👉🏻Brand a candidate with a headline, tag line and value proposition. 👉🏻Focus in accomplishments and quantify the results. 👉🏻As long as needed, but make sure to highlight the last 7-12 years, and have the rest just form the foundation of the career. Exception to this is an early career success that is truly impressive.

👉🏻 Leverage graphics and color as appropriate. 👉🏻Consumable content with paragraphs no longer than 3 or 4 lines and bullets at 1-2 lines preferably. 👉🏻Use a sans serif font. Contact info Name, email address, and create hyperlinks for the LinkedIn URL and cell phone.

The biggest thing is that these are all just general guidelines. A great resume reflects the candidate, targets their career goals, and speaks to the hiring authority managing an open position at a desired employer.

Julie Walraven: Many job seekers are confused by the misleading data out there on 1 page resumes and ATS-friendly to the extent that they eliminate marketability of the resume. The reality is that focusing on telling your story is key to creating readability and enthusiasm for you as the candidate. I agree with Erin Kennedy, MCD, CERW, CMRW, NCOPE, CEMC, CPRW that all bullets or all paragraphs makes for a dull and boring resume.

Gillian Kelly: Open with a powerful pitch that features metrics and branding, leverage metrics and storytelling throughout to leave the hirer in no doubt about your capability to do the role and potential value to their business, and optimise your content and design to work for both the reader and technologies. 

Note: Richard Grant’s and Wendy Schoen’s comments were outstanding but too long to include here. Please read them in the comments of the poll.

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How to Be Found by Recruiters on LinkedIn: 6 Important Tips

Guest writer and recruiter Jeff Lipschultz is a 20+ year veteran in management, hiring, and recruiting of all types of business and technical professionals. He has worked in industries ranging from telecom to transportation to dotcom.

With all the rage around social media in job searching, LinkedIn stands out as the tool of choice for many recruiters to connect with job seekers (or future job seekers). Knowing how recruiters use the tool may shed some light on how to leverage LinkedIn in your own job search efforts.

Granted, good recruiters use many social media tools to find candidates, like Facebook and Twitter. However, LinkedIn.com is the largest social network for professionals. LinkedIn provides the best avenue for a recruiter to quickly learn enough about a person to see if they should be contacted for a particular job opening.

Candidates need to leverage LinkedIn as much as possible to be included in these searches.

1. Have a large LinkedIn network

To be found on LinkedIn, you need to have a large network because…

LinkedIn search results are limited to those accounts which are the searcher’s first, second, and third level connections. If you aren’t connected to someone at one of those levels, you won’t appear in their search results.

Although many recruiters know how to search for candidates who are outside their own LinkedIn three degrees of connectivity or pay LinkedIn for that access, not all do. Therefore, the more people you are connected to, the more likely you may be connected to recruiters.

Many recruiters, especially independent recruiters who don’t work for a single employer, love invites to your network, too. Don’t be afraid to ask recruiters to join your network — they may be unable to ask you to join their network because of LinkedIn’s built-in rules.

2. Use the right keywords to describe yourself

When recruiters search for candidates in LinkedIn, they focus on keywords just like the resume databases and applicant tracking systems do. Without the right keywords, your LinkedIn Profile will not be found.

Your LinkedIn Professional Headline is the perfect place to include the right keywords for your job search. Be specific to attract recruiter attention.

No one searches for a “business professional” but they do search for a “marketing manager who understands how to leverage social media for B2B visibility and sales.” So, avoid being too general — general headlines will not be impressive or contain the right keywords.

There are also ample opportunities to sprinkle in your key abilities and skills within the Summary and Experience sections. Every job you list should include the expertise that you demonstrated in that job. Think keywords!

Read the articles in Guide to LinkedIn SEO to understand more about the techniques: 25 Best Keywords for Your Job Search, 7 Best Ways for IT Professionals to Optimize Keywords for a More Powerful LinkedIn Profile, and Choosing the Best Keywords for Your LinkedIn Profile for more information.

3. Demonstrate your professional credibility

Prove that the keywords you have used to describe yourself are accurate.

LinkedIn offers many opportunities to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise, including these five:

⏩ LinkedIn recommendations

Having recommendations within LinkedIn is a nice way to convey you are a quality candidate. But having more than two from each job looks like you are just asking everyone you know for a recommendation. This can diminish the value of the best and most articulate recommendations you have.

So, unless you have been in one job for many years, two short recommendations are best.

Recruiters sometimes ask for references who are not included on LinkedIn, so be prepared for that request.

Read How to Gather LinkedIn Recommendations for Your Job Search and How to Manage Your References to Close — not Kill — Opportunities for more details.

⏩ Blog, presentations, and videos

If you publish a blog, include it in your Profile. Add it to the contact information near the top of your Profile. Click on the “See contact info” link near the top of your Profile, and then click on the pencil icon in the dialog box that pops open to add and edit the information.

Having a blog included on your Profile adds to your credibility, too. You can show off your technical knowledge and insights as well as your writing skills.

Similarly, you can use another application, SlideShare (which is owned by LinkedIn), to post a PowerPoint presentation on related subject matter. Link those SlideShare pages to your LinkedIn Profile. These will catch the eye of the recruiter, and provide more information about you and the knowledge and skills your presentations demonstrate.

⏩ LinkedIn posts

This may look a bit like Facebook’s news feed, but remember that it is NOT!

Keep in mind that LinkedIn is NOT Facebook, and should not be the place where you share photos of you and your child playing in the snow (unless taking care of children is your profession) or making political statements.

Use Status Updates in your Profile to share good relevant news and other helpful information, including:

  • Share good information posted by other professionals on LinkedIn, whether as a “post” (short discussion in the news feed) or as articles they publish on LinkedIn.
  • Share important happenings in your industry, and whenever you publish an article, are quoted in someone else’s article, or receive other positive visibility, share that as well.
  • Share images, videos, or documents you upload.
  • Link to good information you find (understand the LinkedIn does not distribute links to external websites as generously as it distributes content inside of LinkedIn).

Of course, if you are actively looking for a new job (and are unemployed so you safely can announce this), feel free to post a status of exactly the type of job you’re looking for.

Also, check the “Notifications” stream, and “Like” or share good information shared by others. When appropriate, comment on the others’ posts (positively and professionally, not negatively or nastily).

[Read Publishing on LinkedIn: Gain Both Visibility and Credibility, 3 Benefits of LinkedIn Status Updates for Your Job Search, and How to Leverage LinkedIn Status Updates for Your Job Search for more information.]

⏩ LinkedIn groups

Currently, every LinkedIn member can belong to as many as 100 Groups, and over 2.1 million Groups exist.

You can be found more easily if you are a member of LinkedIn Groups for your specialty (i.e., .NET, SQL Server, Flex, Information Architects).

LinkedIn will suggest Groups for you to join if you click on the “Work” link at the top of your Profile, which opens the dialog box shown on the left here.

As the image on the left shows, you can also find Groups to join by clicking on the “Groups” icon in the options that drop down when you click on the “Work” icon at the top, right of most LinkedIn pages.

Recruiters love to scan discussions on topics related to positions they are working on in order to find “subject-matter experts.” Posting good information or making well-informed comments on Discussions in Groups relevant to your profession, industry, or, even, location can bring you to the attention of recruiters scanning the Group for good candidates.

Employers and recruiting companies even start their own Groups to share news and attract members. Join, and contribute to discussions or provide valuable news relevant to members.

You can meet and even connect with people on LinkedIn through the dialogs that develop over discussions. People notice those who “like” their posts, and also those who make positive, relevant comments — not necessarily saying everything is “Great!”

Don’t automatically “like” a Discussion to bring yourself to the attention of the person who shared it. Read the related web page first to be sure that you do actually agree with it. If you do, then “like” it.

[More: How to Be a Successful LinkedIn Groupie.]

⏩ LinkedIn articles

If you are a reasonably skilled at writing and have good information to share, LinkedIn’s blog is a very visible platform. The articles you publish are highlighted by LinkedIn near the top of your Profile for everyone who visits your Profile to see (and, potentially, read).

Simply click on the “Write an article” link at the top of your LinkedIn home page, as shown above, and get started. You choose when your article is shared with the public on LinkedIn.

Well done, these posts can dramatically raise your visibility as more and more people read and share them. But, even if they don’t end up with 5,000 views in a week (or even 50), they demonstrate your communications skills and some aspects of your professional knowledge. A recruiter scanning your Profile is apt to check your articles to gain more insight into your qualifications and personality.

4. Provide contact info!

If you want to be contacted by recruiters and potential employers, you must share your contact info.

If they cannot contact you, they cannot hire you.

You can list your Twitter handle and can include your personal Web site or blog (which should also have your contact info). Edit the “Contact Info” in the column on the right near the top of your LinkedIn Profile. You can safely include your email address and phone number. Read To Be Hired, Be Reachable – How to Safely Publish Your Contact Information on LinkedIn for how to do it without compromising your privacy or putting your job at risk.

5. Include your photo!

It’s not a bad idea to include a picture, too.

Recruiters roll through dozens to hundreds of Profiles a month. They don’t always remember names they have seen, but they do remember pictures.

This will help them remember if they have contacted you in the past (and check their files accordingly). Also, Profiles without pictures can send the message of “anti-social media” or “not social media savvy” or even “fake LinkedIn Profile” or “hiding something.”

[Read How Recruiters View Your LinkedIn Profile Photo, Why You Need a LinkedIn Profile Photo, and LinkedIn Profile Photos for Job Seekers Boomers and Over 50 for more information.]

6. Be open to connections

Obviously, you need to make sure you are open to invitations to connect or InMails from recruiters. Make sure your contact settings are set appropriately on your profile.  You can include your preferred contact information in this section, as well as, the Personal Information section.

You should be open to connecting with recruiters even when you are not looking for a job. You may not currently be a job seeker now — but some day you likely will be.

If you already have a strong network of recruiters on LinkedIn, you’ll be way ahead of the game when it’s time to look for your next opportunity.

[Read Refusing or Accepting LinkedIn Connections for more information.]


Bottom line

Notice that the advice above is all about getting a recruiter to find you, not the other way around. You are presenting yourself to recruiters without any extra outreach work on your part. All you need to do is set up your Profile well, keep it current, stay active on LinkedIn (ten to twenty minutes a day reading and sharing), and LinkedIn does the work for you.

This post originally appeared in Job-Hunt.org and has been slightly edited.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

Shorter is better when it comes to your elevator pitch: the people have spoken

Has it always been the case that shorter is better? I’m sure there was a time when verbosity was appreciated; when long-winded stories captivated the listeners. Even elevator pitches—statements that answer, “Tell me about yourself”—were longer. I remember a workshop I led where I encouraged two-minute elevator pitches.

But times have changed. I’ve changed. An elevator pitch that’s anywhere between 30-45 seconds is more digestible. One that’s 90-120 seconds is a tad long. Two minutes is way long. This is my opinion. The trick job candidates need to learn is mastering a short, yet value-packed delivery. Again, my opinion.

It matters where you deliver your pitch. At a networking event, your elevator pitch can be 15-30 seconds. Any longer is considered obtrusive. In an interview keeping it under 45 seconds is advised.

But wait? you ask. To answer the directive, “Tell me about yourself” requires a longer explanation in an interview; certainly more than 45 seconds. Here’s my question for you? How long is the average attention span of a human being? I’ll tell you. Eight seconds.

This isn’t to say that after eight seconds we zone out and stop hearing what others are saying. No, we zone out and zone in. Here’s another fact, the attention our attention span has decreased from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 present day. Says Time magazine, the Telegraph, the Guardian, USA Today, the New York Times or the National Post.

Dr. Gemma Brigg from the BBC disputes this: “It’s very much task-dependent. How much attention we apply to a task will vary depending on what the task demand is.”

This article is not about the average attention span of a human, though. It’s about the proper length of an elevator pitch. According to a LinkedIn poll, which has garnered more than 7,000 votes, 16% say the pitch should be approximately 15 seconds, 46% 30 seconds, 31% 45 seconds, and 8% more than 45 seconds.

Here’s are the outlines some interview-prep pros and I offer to structure your elevator pitch. Notice, like snowflakes, that no two are exactly alike, save for the fact that expressing your value is a key element of all elevator pitches. These outlines are laid out in the discussion of the poll.

Sarah Johnston
✔ The hook
✔ 2 Strengths that relate to the job
✔ And WIFM (Which stands for “what’s in it for me?)

Rachel Montañez
✔ Story
✔ Story climax/intrinsic motivation
✔ Evidence of your capabilities and not just your skills
✔ Current goal – Tie it to the corporate values

Me
✔ Ask yourself, “What are the companies pain points?”
✔ Demonstrate your value in form of your passion for the job.
✔ Next talk about your relevant accomplishments.
✔ Why you’re a fit.

KRISTIN A. SHERRY
✔ Three strengths you bring to the job
✔ Plus, the value results
✔ Plus, a story to back it up

ALEX FREUND
✔ Provide some concrete facts the of work you performed.
✔ Give an example of a professional success story.
✔ To follow up immediately on that, ask the interviewer a question about the job’s responsibilities.

Go to Sarah Johnston’s article that describes the following outlines in greater detail.

This still leaves us with the question of how long the elevator pitch should be. Here are the stats again: 16% of voters say the pitch should be approximately 15 seconds, 46% 30 seconds, 31% 45 seconds, and 8% more than 45 seconds.

Let’s hear it from some career-search strategists

Of the 7.065 who voted, some had opinions on the length of the elevator pitch. Most agreed that it depends on the situation, but given the nature of LinkedIn’s polls, listing all the variables is not an option.

Hannah Morgan—Context matters A LOT. Is this pitch being delivered during a job interview? Is it a first interview? Who is asking the question (HR, recruiter, hiring manager).

All these things matter and that’s why one answer won’t work all the time. Attention spans are short. But if you are interviewing for a job, you have up to 1 minute to convey why you are interested and a fit for the role.

Austin Belcak—I’d encourage people to time themselves before answering Bob! I’m a BIG fan of being direct and concise but it’s pretty darn hard to get everything across without leaving out value in <30 seconds even if you have it down pat.

Jim Peacock—I voted longer than 60 seconds because I often think it is more like a conversation about value you bring to the company…specifically that company. If it is in an interview situation then less than 2 minutes for sure.

KRISTIN A. SHERRY—Being able to share your pitch in 60 seconds or less demonstrates confidence and clarity about the value you bring. People can ask for more detail if they want it, so it’s best to be concise. Thank you for the mention!

Angela Watts—As we know, there is rarely a one-size-fits-all approach to these kinds of things. I think it’s always a good idea to err on the side of speaking briefly and allowing the other person to hone in on what interests them most.

Ideally, you would give the pitch and they would be so intrigued by something you said that they will ask for more. When this happens, you’ve got their full attention and intrigue.

Jayne Mattson—If you are referring to being asked “tell me about yourself” as the first interview question, your answer needs to apply to the position. Your examples ideally should be related to what you will do in this role. Have it be 2 minutes and well prepared, so you don’t ramble.

I work with clients on answering with their head and their heart. I always encourage someone to share something about their human side too. After all they are hiring a human being and you can use something that relates to the culture or mission

LoRen 🚀 gReiFf —I advise for 60 seconds; right not rushed. Which means no fat. And the other key to getting it right is lots of practice. “I fear* not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times” – Bruce Lee *Of course the goal isn’t to generate fear, but the take away still applies!

Wendy Schoen—This is a question that is asked in EVERY interview. And a canned answer isn’t going to do it. I am a believer in the 60 second answer. It needs to be tailored to the specific job/company you are interviewing for/with.

It needs to cover who you are, WHAT you have accomplished and WHAT/WHY you are sitting in that chair today! IF you are able to craft the answer in a story, all the better for you. Engage the interviewer with your answer!

Ed Lawrence—In my MCOA sessions, I advocate a concise answer for networking situations. I follow Stephen Melanson’s approach—aim for 15 seconds: continuing if there is clear interest or a question from the other party.

I direct people to work on their 30 second elevator speech, if they want to. I then say it can be the basis for their interview answer to “tell me about yourself.” I think the goal there is one minute. Two at the absolute max and only then if you have led a fascinating life.

Becca Carnahan—I go with three relevant strengths, brief examples/stories, why you’re looking to make a change (in brief- one major reason related to growth/investment in industry/function/role, and why this company is the ideal fit. I recommend 60-90 seconds because the extra length helps answer the interviewer’s next question and ties the interviewee’s experience directly to the role.

Paula Christensen—The pitch length depends on the audience. I recommend between 30-90 seconds. Job seekers need to use their intuition here. The elevator pitch will be longer for someone in your industry who is engaged, like an interview with a hiring manager. Use a shorter version for networking.

Sweta Regmi—It depends on the role, industry and job description. I have coached up to 2 minutes. Use the tactics of commercials we see on TV. If you could pick one pain point on tell me about yourself and say “why you can solve their ongoing problem.” it hits the hiring manager’s head.

Have them at hello. “I understand that your customer satisfaction survey was only 60% last year. I have a formula on how to get that higher. I have saved xxx for my previous company” Dare to show numbers on tell me about yourself.

Rebecca Oppenheim—This is a really important topic – but I strongly disagree with a “one size fits all’ approach. It’s like telling people their resume needs to be X amount of pages. Too many variables. Unfortunately, many interviewers start out with “so tell me about yourself.” And if you go on for a long time, monopolizing the conversation, you’ll lose the interest of the interviewer before you even get started.

Ana Lokotkova—The way I see it, anywhere between 30 and 60 seconds works well. You want to be concise, but at the same time give enough “flavor” to leave the other person curious for more.

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