Competing in the job search is healthy

The story of John and Amy

John is a marketing manager who was laid off a month ago. He worked at a large cloud software company but was told that their largest client dropped a multi-million dollar contract. So his VP gave him the bad news with tears in her eyes.

Amy is a project manager whose fate was a little more extreme. The new president didn’t think her team was meeting tight deadlines, so he let her go. Amy was devastated and is having a hard time getting her mojo going. She’s been holed up in her house for two weeks.

Compete

The job search begins

John and Amy meet each other at a career center orientation and then later in an advanced résumé writing workshop. John asks Amy if she would like to attend a large networking event in the local area. Reluctantly she agrees; networking has always made her uneasy. They agree to carpool.

To her surprise Amy enjoys the networking event. She is content talking with two or three people at length. John also enjoys the event as he works the room, meeting a large number of people. When they meet up at the end of the event, they agree that they’ll attend the next networking event.

At the next event Amy is the one who shines; she meets two project managers who are empathetic to her plight. One of them was also let go under upsetting conditions. He assures her that being let go isn’t as uncommon as she thinks.

The project managers are also part of a buddy group that meets for lunch before the networking event. They invite her to join. Amy agrees but only if her fellow job seeker, John, can join them. The two project managers say they’d love two new members.

Competition in the job search

The buddy group proves to be just what Amy needs; it’s smaller than the 80-person group that she and John have been attending. John also enjoys the intimacy of the group, even though the large networking group excites him more.

One-on-one networking

During the buddy group, one of the members brags that he’s had phone conversations with four people and is having dinner with two of them the following week. They are key players in the companies for which he’d like to work.

Another member tells a similar story about how he’s having coffee with three people, two of whom work for his desired companies. The members of the group declare him to be the winner of this week of networking.

John and Amy are both confused and ask what the group members are talking about. They’re told there’s a competition for landing as many one-on-one networking meetings with people at your desired companies. The weekly winner’s lunch is on the group.

While driving together to the next networking event, John and Amy talk about having a competition of their own. Because they’re new to the job search, they decide they’ll start with easier job-search techniques. They’re both on LinkedIn, so they’ll start by improving their LinkedIn campaign.

LinkedIn connecting and engaging

Connecting with 15 quality contacts a week is harder than Amy thought it would be. John, on the other hand, has no problem connecting with other marketing managers, MarCom specialists, marketing vice presidents, as well as decision-makers in his target companies.

Amy hasn’t even settled on 10 target companies, whereas John has 20. By the end of their first week of competition, Amy has connected with five project managers and five friends. “Friends don’t count,” John teases. Amy retorts with, “How many posts have you responded to?”

Amy has John there. He has only responded to one post that week. Amy responded to one post a day and has written two of her own. Amy is definitely engaging more than John. “Online is not my thing,” he tells Amy. But he knows he has to engage more if he wants to be top of mind.

John and Amy agree that developing their LinkedIn campaign is a tie. This will be ongoing and just one piece of the job-search plan they’ve devised. They strive to actually meet with potential leads like the two members of the buddy group have.

John has his first one-on-one networking meeting

John receives a direct message from one of his LinkedIn connections. A general manager at one of his target company says in his message that he came across John’s profile and likes John’s marketing experience in a cloud company. He invites John to meet him for drinks 20 miles from where John lives.

Amy hasn’t been as fortunate. With 180 connections, she’s not getting any leverage from LinkedIn. John decides he needs to give Amy some help. He creates an invite template for her that explains her goals to create a network of like-minded people. As a marketing manager, he knows a little about writing copy.

John’s meeting goes well. The person with whom he meets tells him the company is looking for a marketing manager with his experience. He wants John to meet with the VP who is currently in Germany but will return next week. John says he’d love the opportunity.

This week goes to John. Amy gives him this and says she’ll buy him coffee at the next buddy group.

Professional Networking Document

The topic at the next buddy group is Professional Networking Documents. John and Amy are unaware of this networking tool but quickly catch on. One member, a director of engineering, explains the concept.

“Essentially the top half of your document is your résumé,” she explains. “Include a headline and a brief summary of your recent, greatest accomplishments. The second half includes your desired positions, types of companies you’re targeting, as well as the actual companies you’re targeting.”

John is confident he’ll have the edge for the last part of the Professional Networking Document. He already has 20 target companies. Amy realizes she’ll have to work on her target companies. There’s no way she’s going to lose to John two weeks in a row.

When they compare their Professional Networking Documents that week, John is blown away by the 25 target companies Amy has for her document. He’s happy for her but also reminds her that she’ll have to connect with people at the companies she has listed.

She tells him she has sent invites to at least two people at each company. She has already been accepted by at least half of them, thanks to John’s template he devised for her.

Amy connects, really connects

Two weeks after John and Amy have completed their Professional Networking Documents, Amy hears from a manager of project management at one of her target companies. Not her favorite company, but one that is 10 miles from her home and has a reputation for healthy, work-life balance.

Amy arrives at the networking meeting equipped with her Professional Networking Document. She is nervous but the manager of project management comes across as kind and sincere. The conversation flows nicely until he asks her why she left her last job. Amy is not prepared to answer this question.

Somewhat emotional she tells him the long version of the story. Later, on the ride home, she regrets not having an answer prepared for his question. She knows she blew it. In addition, she didn’t even give him her Professional Networking Document.

However, the next day she receives a direct message on LinkedIn. It’s from the gentleman she spoke with the previous night. He writes that the VP of the organization would like to meet with her next week for an interview. Is she available?

A week later

The interview with the VP goes well. He isn’t as personable as the manager of project management and he asks her more technical questions, but she feels more confident. Besides, he doesn’t ask her why she left her last company.

Before she leaves the meeting she asks when she should expect to hear from him. He tells her that the manager of project management will contact her within a week.

The week of the competition goes to Amy. John buys her a coffee before the buddy group meets. While they’re drinking their coffee, Amy expresses doubt about doing well if she’s offered the position. She can do the work, has the skills, but her former president did a real number on her.

A week later

Two hours before the buddy group is to meet, Amy receives a phone call from the manager of project management. He is offering her the position and wants to apologize for the salary, which he anticipates to be 80% of what she previously made. It is. The salary is non-negotiable, he assures her.

But the company can offer her four weeks of vacation, two weeks more than they usually offer new employees. As he’s explaining the vacation time, Amy suddenly says, “Why me? I mean…I didn’t think anyone would ever want me.”

The manager of project management laughs, “I know you’re not broken, Amy. I knew this when we talked. Your sense of self-awareness and passion for what you do won me over. Your explanation of why you left your last job was a bit long, but I get it. I was in your situation once.

And, your friend John contacted me before I reached out to you. He said he’s never met someone as committed as you….I think you owe him coffee this week.”


John lands after six months of being unemployed. He continued to attend networking meetings and eventually became the leader of the buddy group. The two members, who taught Amy and him that competition in the job search is healthy, also landed.

Photo: Flickr, Yeo Kai Wen

9 reasons to feel optimistic while searching for a job

I have the privilege of leading a job club for people I deeply admire. The reason I admire them is because, as the saying goes, they “keep on keeping on.” Sure, they face setbacks and sometimes trudging to our career center in downtown Lowell, Massachusetts, is hard. Nonetheless, they arrive with a friendly smile and warm handshake.

small-group-1024x576

Recently I led the job club which I’ve done hundreds of times. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. I felt unprepared. But minutes before it began, the topic I wanted to address came to mind.

“Optimistic,” I said when they settled down. They looked at me quizzically. “Optimistic,” I repeated. “I want to hear about something that makes you optimistic. It doesn’t have to be about your job search. It can be about something in your life.”

I asked a woman sitting across from me—we sit together as a group, as equals—what makes her feel optimistic. She announced to the group that she is applying for two jobs that she’s stoked about. That’s a start. Another member said he’s lost 20 pounds since being out of work. I told him I was jealous.

Reasons to be optimistic

There are reasons to be optimistic while you’re trying to land your next job. They can be the small things you do that make you feel a sense of achievement.

1. Attend Networking groups

Attending networking groups to find opportunities can make you feel optimistic. Will you come away from every event with leads to pursue? Not always; but if you attend consistently, it will give you a sense of achievement.

2. Begin a healthy routine

I tell my workshop attendees that when I was unemployed I had already been walking 45 minutes a day. I increased my walking to 90 minutes a day. This helped me clear my mind of negative thoughts. Your thing might be going to the gym, doing yoga, meditation. These are all great ways to feel optimistic.

3. Plan to take some time off

You might think this is counterintuitive, as your goal is to conduct a proactive job search. But you deserve a break to recharge your batteries. Go to a museum with your family or friends. Many museums have free events.

If museums aren’t your thing, go to a movie (bring your own snacks) and take the rest of the day off. Feel optimistic that you will resume the job search with vigor.

4. Meet a former colleague for coffee

Tell your former colleague that you’re paying for the coffee in exchange for some information. The information you’re seeking is what you’ve accomplished where you last worked.

You might be too close to your accomplishments to see them. Others might speak to them better. Feel optimistic when you hear about your accomplishments.

5. Celebrate your successes

A great interview is a success. Sending a tailored résumé to a company for your desired job is a success. Informational interview, success. The point is to celebrate the small things you’ve done.

You don’t need to go crazy–maybe a good bottle of wine, a short road trip with family, letting your job club know about your successes. Be optimistic about these small successes.

6. Getting to the second, third, fourth round of the interviews

Look, if you get this far in the process, you’re doing something right. More specifically, you are desired for your skills, accomplishments, experience, and personality. Will you get the job? Hopefully. But if you don’t, be optimistic nonetheless. Think to yourself, “I got further than many other people.”

7. Start a side hustle

You’re a graphic artist. Spread the word that you will design graphics for 3/4 the price companies would have to pay. This is a great reason to feel optimistic. You are creating another stream of revenue that can keep giving once you’ve found your “real” job. This is a great reason to feel optimistic.

8. Be able to conduct your job search

There are times your job search is disrupted. Childcare might be one of those reasons. Your spouse works full-time and you can no longer afford childcare. Lean on a friend to watch your children while you attend a networking event, meet someone for an informational interview, escape to the library to write your résumé. Your job search is important; find a way to make it work.

9. Volunteer

You might not want to work for free; I get that. Think of it this way, you’re volunteering for a good cause. Is an animal shelter your thing? Or volunteering for an organization where you can enhance your skills might be what you want to do.

There are practical reasons to volunteer, such as using this experience as fodder for your résumé, or networking your way to a paying job. Volunteering has proven to be a very effective way to find a job. Besides, it will get you out of your house. Another great way to feel optimistic.


There are other ways to feel optimistic during your job search and many of them don’t have to relate to your search. Every little victory is helping you get to your end goal, as they will give you a sense of achievement.

If you can think of other reasons to feel optimistic, I’d love to add them to this article.

Why your LinkedIn profile resembles a combination résumé

You probably know what chronological and functional résumés are. Now imagine the two documents joined together as one. What you have is a résumé that demonstrates your areas of expertise as well as your accomplishment-rich work experience.

Reading a Resume

A while ago I wrote an article on how your LinkedIn About section can be similar to a functional résumé. Now I’ll take the concept a little further by explaining how your About and Experience sections can resemble a combination résumé if done properly.

The About section as the résumé Summary and  functional area

You might have been told that the About section needs to tell a story, which it should. However, if you want to highlight your areas of expertise (the functional résumé), you need to make them blatantly clear.

Following is partial example of one of my client’s About section which closely resembles the functional piece of a combination résumé beginning with ► BUILDING TALENTED TEAMS.

New technologies have the power to transform a business, especially when brought to market in the form of new products and services. That is what I enjoy doing.

Advanced materials and processes can form the basis for a product portfolio that will generate repeat revenues for years to come – if a company is able to leverage those innovations. I have been fortunate to participate in several technology firms where we did exactly that. Here are a few keys to our success:

► BUILDING TALENTED TEAMS – of professionals who are leaders in their respective areas. Then, encouraging and rewarding them for their collective success.

► ENGINEERING CREATIVE SOLUTIONS – that solve the customer’s problem, but also create manufacturing differentiators that will lead to follow-on production.

► OPERATIONAL SKILL – to simplify designs, improve on-time delivery, reduce rework and enhance efficiency.

► BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT EXPERIENCE – with more than 15 years of experience in technical sales and marketing of engineered solutions.

Differences between the About section and functional résumé area

1. Your LinkedIn About section is more than a Summary. There’s probably a good reason why LinkedIn went from calling this section Summary to About and most likely it’s because your About section can/should include elements of a typical résumé Summary and functional area.

2. No introductory paragraphs. Your résumé should not include the opening two paragraphs of your LinkedIn’s About section. There’s no need, or space, to explain the challenges of your industry, your passion, or a mission statement, etc.

Golden rules: résumé Summary is three or four lines at most, must grab the reader’s attention, and should include an accomplishment or two in order to show value.

3. Your résumé’s functional area won’t be as long.  The example above nearly reaches the 2,000 character limit. But the idea is the same. Under each area of expertise, you explain why they’re your strength in three or four lines.

The main reason why the About section is long is because your profile is a static document and therefore must cover more ground containing more information.

4. Tailor your resume’s functional area. Another difference is that your résumé will be tailored to each employer’s needs. Perhaps the employer is most interested in Team Building, Customer Relations, and Business Development. You simply highlight these areas on your résumé.


linkedin-alone

The Experience section as the chronological résumé

Now let’s see how my client’s Experience section clearly shows what he’s accomplished. (Again, this is a partial sample.)

A nice touch is how he breaks down his accomplishments by types, e.g., SALES GROWTH, PROFITABILITY, ON-TIME DELIVERY…

Led the transformation of this start-up, engineering research firm into a mature, product-based manufacturing business; sold the company; then helped to integrate it with a new parent company.

► SALES GROWTH – Increased product sales by 800%; now 87% of MSI’s total business.

► PROFITABILITY – Improved key production lines 30% by investing in Lean / Six Sigma / Kaizen initiatives.

► ON-TIME DELIVERY – Consistently achieved delivery commitments through tight-knit production teams, centralized reporting, targeted cross-training, and earned-value project tracking.

► HARVEST & DIVESTMENT – Marketed and sold the business. Leadership role in all stages of the sale process: selecting investment banker, identifying potential acquirers, preparing marketing materials, and communicating with prospective buyers.

► BUSINESS INTEGRATION – Successfully integrated MSI with new parent company. Retained customers while relocating and re-starting core manufacturing operations on the west coast.

Differences between the LinkedIn About section and Résumé Experience section

1. The value is clear. This position’s highlights clearly show value, as it is broken down into accomplishment types, e.g., SALES GROWTH, PROFITABILITY, ON-TIME DELIVERY…More so, the all-caps format makes it easy for the reader to see the accomplishment types my client delivers.

There really isn’t a distinguishable difference between the LinkedIn About section and résumé Experience section. Both should highlight accomplishments.

2. The length of my client’s Experience section for this job alone brings his combination résumé to two pages. He has two other roles as director of business development and principal engineer. In all, his combination résumé could be three-pages long, which is acceptable within a 10-15 work history.

3. The résumé Experience section must be tailored. It must be a reflection of what each individual employer requires. Your LinkedIn profile Experience section is static, like most other sections, so it has to cover a large swatch of value statements. Choose the ones that are of most importance to the employer.


If you need to revert from a chronological to a combination résumé, it would be a good move. Think about how your LinkedIn profile’s About and Experience sections are an example of how the combination résumé should be crafted.

Hot résumé trends for 2020: what the experts say

A decade has ended and now a new one is upon us, so what will 2020 bring in terms of résumé trends?

resume woman with coffee

One thing is for sure; if you plan to submit the same tired résumé for all positions, your chances of success will hover around zero percent.

Another well-known fact is that your résumé must demonstrate your value.

Some résumé trends will stay the same as they did in 2019; whereas others will change, or at least be reinforced.

Advice from 5 résumé experts

To discover which résumé trends you should follow in 2020, I asked five renowned résumé writers their thoughts on this topic. Each of them offers valuable advice from being aware of applicant tracking systems (ATSs) to ensuring your document expresses value to demonstrating emotional intelligence (EQ).

Virginia Franco: leverage alternate channels  

Virginia Franco, Executive Storyteller, Résumé & LinkedIn Writer, believes getting your résumé to decision makers (networking) will be key to your success in 2020, so the look of your résumé must pack a punch,

Virginia writes:

Because applicant tracking systems (ATSs) are so inundated with résumés, increasingly more people are recognizing the wisdom of throwing their hat in the ring via alternative channels that include a focus on networking and getting in the door through referrals.

As a result, it will be more important than ever in 2020 to write your résumé first and foremost for human beings.

This means embracing design elements that can range from the use of color, shading, and/or bold to draw the reader’s eye where you’d like it go – to even a graph, chart, or box with some standout text to illustrate a point you are making elsewhere in the body of the résumé (I’ve used them to convey a snapshot of powerful sales stats or even call out a compelling recommendation).

Because at some point in the hiring process you may have to submit online, your résumé should also aim to be ATS compatible. This means ensuring that any point you make via a text box, chart or graph appears elsewhere in your document – as ATS can’t read it otherwise.

More about Virginia: Virginia’s LinkedIn Profile, Virginia’s website, and Virginia’s articles in Job-Hunt.


Donna Svei: be mobile friendly  

Donna Svei, Executive Résumé Writer, says that hiring authorities will read your résumé on devices like your mobile phone. She also emphasizes that your résumé must be ready at the drop of a hat, not that you’re necessarily looking.

Here’s what Donna has to say:

When I think about résumé best practices, I ask myself, “What will make my clients stand out to hiring managers and recruiters?”

A big trend impacting all content consumption, résumés included, is the practice of using mobile devices as people’s preferred reading platforms.

Thus, your résumé needs to be easy to read on a phone. Send your résumé to yourself, open the file, and make sure you can easily read it. Check for:

  1. White space.
  2. A font suited to being read on a mobile phone, such as Calibri.

Adequate font size. I like 11-point.

Technology has made the traditional job search with a beginning, middle, and an end outmoded. The opportunity now comes from people you know, recruiters who constantly scrape databases looking for viable candidates, and alerts that tell you about openings for your dream jobs the moment they become available.

Because of this, I see more careerists preparing their résumés just to be ready. They aren’t looking but they want to be able to take their best shot when the big one comes along. That’s your competition. Be at the head of the pack, not limping into the mix with your newly updated résumé while the best-prepared candidates wrap up their interviews.

Résumé trends change slowly, even generationally. Regardless of your age, be a person who knows the trends and uses them to make the best presentation of themselves.

More about Donna: Donna’s LinkedIn Profile and Donna’s website.


Laura Smith-Proulx: be brief but powerful  

Laura Smith-Proulx, Executive Resume and LinkedIn Writer, emphasizes value, readability, and branding as important components of your resume.

Read what Laura has to say:

To keep pace with ever-shorter attention spans, résumés must prove their value to employers in 2020. Rather than dense paragraphs describing your work style, your résumé needs quantifiable results, a potent mix of keywords to satisfy ATSs, and powerful branding statements relevant to employers.

In 2020, brevity will be an important factor in capturing attention from your résumé. Branding headlines, which are simply statements encapsulating your value, can help cut excess verbiage.

For example, a paragraph on your technical sales skills could be replaced with “165% Annual Growth and 45% Profit Increase From AI Sales Techniques” – packing keywords, metrics, and technologies into a single sentence.

ATSs continue to be an important factor for résumés in 2020, especially if you’re applying to job postings. For example, a Revenue Officer résumé should mention contract negotiations and team direction, and if you’re seeking IT jobs, the résumé must reference emerging technologies and business collaboration.

There’s a plethora of tools such as Wordle or TagCrowd to parse job descriptions for keywords. Think of your résumé as a website that needs SEO strategies to be found, and you’ll get the idea.

A résumé with no quantifiable metrics is likely to be ignored in 2020. By putting figures to the cost savings, budgets managed, speed of implementation, market share growth, revenue produced, products launched, or profit generated from your actions, you’ll increase the chances of landing an interview. Be sure to align these stories with what the employer is seeking.

More about Laura Smith-Proulx: Laura’s LinkedIn Profile, Laura’s website, and Laura’s articles in Job-Hunt.


Adrienne Tom: share your career narrative  

Adrienne Tom, Executive Résumé Writer, LinkedIn Profile Writer, and Job Search Coach, encourages job candidates to apply stories to their résumés. Use SMART statements, she advises.

Read further to find out what Adrienne has to say about SMART statements:

2019 taught us about the importance of building and sharing a powerful career narrative. As we transition into 2020, I see career storytelling continuing to play a heavy hand in the creation of a modern résumé.

The reason for storytelling is simple. A flat file of facts does not compel résumé readers. Instead, employers wish to be engaged by meaningful content that summarizes relatable facts, applies authentic language, provides proof, and demonstrates a clear fit for the role.

To help craft your career story in 2020, share SMART statements in the résumé. Just like a SMART goal, a SMART statement is Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Results-Oriented, and Time-Bound.

When delivered correctly, SMART statements help share and reinforce a career story –allowing for personalized detail that both differentiates and elevates. Also, all good stories have happy endings (or at the very least, wrap things up with a result). A modern résumé is no different.

Strengthen a career story with results-driven details. Align results with employer requirements for greater impact. Even better, lead with results as often as possible, reducing the risk of key facts becoming buried or overlooked.

An example of a SMART statement, that leads with rich results:

Generated over $600K in annual cost-savings and raised staff efficiency levels 65% after designing and implementing a global operational improvement plan across 3 countries with 6,000+ staff.

Ultimately, résumé strategy continues to evolve in the delivery of details. In 2020, ensure the résumé includes a variety of accomplishment statements, including SMART ones, to share your story better.

More about Adrienne Tom: Adrienne’s LinkedIn Profile and Adrienne’s website.


Erin Kennedy: demonstrate your soft skills and EQ  

Erin Kennedy, Executive Résumé and LinkedIn Profile Writer, says a résumé can show emotional quotient (EQ) better known as “soft skills.”

Erin offers:

During 2019, career professionals noticed a shift as corporations began seeking EQ from their executive candidates. In the past, these skills were considered fluff and a résumé no-no.

However, the dependence on technology and targeted specialties has caused a slight breakdown in communication skills leading companies to seek more “well-rounded” leaders.

Emotional intelligence is not something you can earn with a degree; rather it is part of your personality cluster. Are you adept at figuring out complex problems? Are you able to manage conflict?

Possessing strong EQ means you have self-awareness and the ability to understand your effect on others.

Corporations are looking for leaders with high EQ — if you don’t understand your own behavior and motivations, it becomes difficult to understand those who work for you. Displaying empathy and thoughtfulness rather than judgment increases productivity and solidifies loyalty.

So, how do you capture soft skills and EQ on a résumé while still showcasing numbers-focused accomplishments? The great thing is, they really go hand-in-hand. Easing soft skills or EQ onto your résumé can be as simple as:

Provide strategic and decisive leadership while collaborating effectively with fellow Board of Directors on a $23 million-dollar expansion.

Blending soft and hard skills together creates a much-sought-after candidate.

More about Erin Kennedy: Erin’s LinkedIn Profile, Erin’s website, and Erin’s articles on Job-Hunt.


The bottom line

If you’re writing your résumé for the first time or updating it, you will want to heed what these experts say about submitting the best document possible. This means:

  • Presenting a document that not only passes the ATS but also is appealing to the human eye.
  • Making sure your résumé is adaptable to all devices, including a Smart Phone, and is ready at all times.
  • Highlights your value and brand while also being easy to read.
  • Uses Smart Statements to craft a cohesive résumé.
  • Demonstrates your EQ.

If you accomplish all of this, your job search will be successful in 2020.

This article originally appeared on Job-Hunt.org.

Photo: Flickr, Fort Belvoir

5 steps to take on LinkedIn to be proactive in your job search

To land a job in 2020, more than ever, you’ll need to be proactive rather than reactive. In other words, stop blasting out job applications 10 per day. If you’ve been doing this for months, by now you know the ROI is very low. In some cases my clients, who are spraying and praying, haven’t heard a peep from employers.

proactive

This act of futility demands different approaches. I’m going to talk about one of them: how to be more proactive in your job search by researching and using LinkedIn. Below are the five steps you should take to do this.

  1. Research to identify companies for which you’d like to work
  2. Identify the people in said companies who can be of assistance
  3. Utilize your shared connections
  4. Get an introduction from your shared connections to the key players
  5. Follow up

Identify companies for which you’d like to work

For some this is a difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s going to take some work on your part. Let’s say you’re in the digital marketing space and want to work in or around Boston, Massachusetts, for a company that requires someone with your expertise.

You Google, “companies in digital marketing, boston” and arrive at sites that include the types of companies you’re seeking: Digital Agency Boston, Digital Agency‎ | Top Creative Agencies in Boston – 2020 Reviews, Clutch.co | Top Creative Design Companies in Boston, January 2020.

Selecting Top Creative Design Companies in Boston, January 2020, you see it provides information important to you such as the size of the company, it’s location, and the clients it serves. Now your research begins, as you go through each of the agencies’ websites to determine if they will be included on your list.

Note: you can develop your list of companies by talking with people in the industry. In many cases they’ll have a better idea of the culture and management of the companies in question.

Identify key players in your companies using LinkedIn

You’ve completed perhaps the most difficult process of being proactive in your job search. From here on in you’ll be using LinkedIn for your proactive job search. I’ll walk you through the steps of finding people who work in departments for which you’d like to work.

You read the short descriptions of the companies on the website and one company catches your eye immediately because of its size and location. Plus they have a really cool website. They also have a LinkedIn company page which shows that 92 people are on LinkedIn. Now it’s time to use Search and All Filters on LinkedIn.

1. Using Search type in the name of a company. You’ll see an option to choose People, which will give you a list of those who currently work for the company as well as those who used to work for the company. You’ll select from people who currently work there.

2. Go to All Filters (seen below) and select your company in Current Companies. This will give you the people who currently work there. Past Companies can be useful if you want to contact people for the lowdown on your company’s management and culture.

3. Other filters you’ll want to select are Connections (2nd), Locations (Boston), and Industries (Broadcast Media and Marketing & Advertising). This should give you a more manageable list of people from which to choose.

All Filters GYK

Utilize your shared connections

Shared connections can be extremely helpful when asking for an introduction to the people you have identified as key players in the company. This is why it’s important to have a focused network with like-minded people, as they can vouch for you when you want to correspond with said key player/s.

The connections you and your key player share is located under your key player’s name (seen below).  Josh is the one you want to contact and potentially connect with. You’ve identified Meredith (last name) as a shared connection who is trusted by you and your key player.

Shared Connections

Get an introduction to your key players

Sending a cold invite to a desired connection is the least of successful of the three methods I’ll mention, especially if you send it with the default LinkedIn message, “I would like to add you to my professional network.”

The second least successful, although much better than the aforementioned, is mentioning a shared connection in it. “Meredith (last name) and I are connected and she strongly suggested I invite you to my network.” This is the gist of the second type of invite.

Your best route to Josh is having Meredith send him an introduction. Of course she will, but out of courtesy you send her an email outlining the purpose of connecting with Josh. As well, you ask her to point out three of your areas of expertise.

Meredith sends Josh an email carbon copying you:

Hi Josh.

I’d like to introduce you to Sherri Jones, a trusted friend of mine. She is a marketing specialist with extensive knowledge in digital marketing. I worked with her two jobs ago in our marketing department.

Sherri has recently been laid off, along with her whole department, due to the company being acquired. She has many accomplishments to tout in data analytics, lead generation, social media marketing. I know the two of you can benefit from connecting and having a discussion.

Sherri,

You’ll find Josh to be a great resource for questions you have about companies similar to his. I hope you and he have the opportunity to connect on LinkedIn and then speak in person. You two will hit it off.

Note: Meredith could send Josh a LinkedIn message but he is more likely to open his email, especially if it’s sent to his work email address.

But you’re not finished

That’s right, you’re going to follow up with Meredith to thank her for the introduction. She did you a solid and you promise to keep her in the loop by pinging her on any progress.

Next you send Josh an invitation to connect with him, referencing Meredith and the email in the invite. Josh naturally agrees to connect because, as I once said to one of my close connections, “When you recommend someone to connect with, I do so without hesitation.”

After thanking him for agreeing to connect, circle back to Meredith and thank her again for the introduction. You tell her that he agreed to connect.

Start building the relationship by sending a message to Josh, further introducing yourself to a greater extent and offering your assistance in any way. You noticed on his profile that he’s from the Greater New York area, so yo ask him, “Yankees or Mets?”

When he returns your message with an answer to your question–it’s the Yankees–you first tell him you’re a Red Sox fan and tell him you won’t hold it against him for rooting for the Yanks. In the next paragraph, you ask if he’ll be willing to give you some advice at his convenience. You’ll be willing to call or set up a Zoom session.

He gladly accepts to Zoom with you and so the relationship begins.


To recap

The year 2020 will be your year if you’re proactive with your research and utilizing LinkedIn. Keep the five tenets in mind:

  1. Research to identify companies for which you’d like to work
  2. Identify the people in said companies who can be of assistance
  3. Utilize your common connections
  4. Get introductions to your key players
  5. Follow up

 

7 sins you’re committing with your LinkedIn campaign

You’ve heard of the seven deadly sins—Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed, Sloth. Two years ago I heard a podcast talking about them. Naturally, I thought about how they could relate to the job search, so I wrote an article titled, “7 job-search sins and what to do about them.

job-search-sins

Two years later I’m writing an article focusing on the sins you’re committing with your LinkedIn campaign. They are not the deadly sins discussed in the podcast I listened to, but they can definitely hurt your campaign and, consequently, your job search.

1. Apathy

If you’re put little to no effort in creating a strong profile, developing a network of like-minded people, and engaging with your network; your campaign will hit rock-bottom. At this point you need to determine if you should even be on LinkedIn.

Instead: LinkedIn takes work. Start by attending free workshops to learn how to write a profile that sells your value, develop a network, and engage with your network. You can find free workshops at One-Stop career centers across the US.

Another option is hiring a career coach who can teach you the ropes. Look at paying your coach as an investment for the future. Your coach will teach you how to master your LinkedIn campaign, which you can use if/when you want to leave your next job.

2. Fanaticism

The opposite of apathy, you can hurt your LinkedIn campaign if you’re overdoing the three components of your campaign (profile, network, engagement). An example is trying to optimize your profile by doing a keyword dump in order to be found.

Yet another example is taking engagement too far. I’m sometimes guilty of posting too often on LinkedIn. (Some of you who know me are thinking, “No kidding, Bob.”) When you do this you come across as a fanatic or even desperate.

Instead: Understand that optimizing your profile is important but also important is branding yourself with a profile that is focused, demonstrates value with quantified accomplishments, and shows your personality.

Don’t over engage; pull back on the throttle. One golden rule to follow is to post one time a day, four-five days a week. Here’s the thing, LinkedIn’s algorythm is more interested in quality, not quantity.

3. Anger

This is one of the seven deadly sins and one that comes into play with your LinkedIn campaign. There are LinkedIn members who come across as angry and, as a result, seriously damage their on-line brand and lengthen their job search.

An example of anger is bashing recruiters and hiring managers. Do you think employers aren’t reading what you write on LinkedIn? Don’t be naive; hiring authorities are trolling LinkedIn for talent. If they see your outbursts, you will be passed over.

Instead: When you find your blood pressure rising, resist commenting something like, “All employers practice age discrimination” or “I’m qualified for positions. What more do I have to do?” Remember that hiring authorities hold the cards; keep your angry thoughts to yourself.

4. Selfishness

It is a sin to expect help from others but be unwilling to help others. In fact, helping others first should be your mindset. One of my valued connections, Austin Belcak, writes about giving on LinkedIn as his number one LinkedIn tip for 2020. I agree.

Someone who is selfish will invite a LinkedIn member to their network and immediately ask for a favor. Another example is people who steal thoughts from other LinkedIn members—perhaps profile verbiage— and use them as their own.

Instead: Think of giving before receiving. This sentiment has become somewhat of a cliche, but it’s so true. One example of this is sending an article to one of your new connections that you think they would appreciate. Just this morning a long-time connection sent me an article that I found compelling.

5. Humility

To brag is sinful. To not promote yourself within reason is more sinful. As a career strategist and LinkedIn trainer, I encourage the appropriate amount of self-promotion. Your profile, like your résumé, should express the value you’ll deliver to employers. Avoid using platitudes you can’t back up.

Connecting with only a handful of people because you think other like-minded people don’t want to connect is counter-intuitive; LinkedIn is about developing a network of like-minded people. Similarly, feeling that because you’re unemployed and don’t have the right to write long posts is absurd.*

Instead: Many times I’ll sit with our career center clients to talk about their accomplishments. Without failure they tell me they have no accomplishments. But when I ask probing questions, the accomplishments come pouring out.

You have an obligation to promote yourself in your written and oral communications. Because if you don’t, no one will.

6. Denial

There are two types of denial. The first is denying that you need to be on LinkedIn. I see this with some of my clients who don’t believe in the power of LinkedIn for job-search success; continuous learning; and connecting with others to develop enriching, life-long relationships.

The second is denying that LinkedIn isn’t for you. Contrary to what I say about needing to be on LinkedIn; some people who are on LinkedIn have to come to the realization that the platform isn’t for them. This speaks to sin number one, Apathy.

Instead: There are three considerations. First, determine if LinkedIn is of value to your job search? For many it is, for some it isn’t. Second, if you join LinkedIn, understand it will take work to be successful. Lots of work. Third, it’s a life-long process; your campaign continues throughout your career.

7. Abandonment

I’ve seen people disappear on LinkedIn after a nice run. This is a sin because you’re not finishing what you started. Yes, LinkedIn is a lifelong endeavor. This sounds extreme but let me ask you, “Do you want to abandon networking and learning?”

There are those who are diligent about using LinkedIn while searching for work, but once they land their job they do the disappearing act. This is a huge mistake that I address below.

Instead: I strongly assert that you should not only use LinkedIn to find your next gig; you should also use LinkedIn while working. There are many reasons for this.

  1. The old saying, “Dig your well before you’re thirsty” is real. If I had a dollar for every client who struggled to get up to speed upon being unemployed, I’d be a rich man.
  2. LinkedIn can help you connect with potential business parties after you’ve landed our next gig.
  3. You are the face of the organization. Therefore, you should present a strong profile and show your engagement.

If these three reasons aren’t enough, re-read the second paragraph of sin number 6. In other words, there’s no helping you.


Here we have seven sins, albeit not deadly, you should avoid committing. But if you are committing any of them, pay attention to my recommendations on how to fix them.

*I remember one of my former clients saying, “I have no right to write articles on LinkedIn because I’m unemployed.” No word of a lie. Ironically this person is a director of Marketing and an excellent writer. Repeat after me, “I HAVE A RIGHT TO SHARE MY EXPERTISE EVEN THOUGH I’M UNEMPLOYED.”

 

How you can direct visitors to your LinkedIn Accomplishments section

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

Accomplishments2

Now raise your hand if you list important projects, patents, organizations, honors & awards, and others in your Accomplishments section. I think I’m hearing crickets?

Quite honestly I don’t blame you if you didn’t raise your hand to the questions above. After all, Accomplishments is buried in the basement of your profile; it can’t be moved. (I wrote about this here.) I wonder if LinkedIn users even know if Accomplishments exists or what it’s for.

The question now is how do you alert visitors of your LinkedIn profile of your Accomplishments section.

One solution: mention Accomplishments in your About section

You can write about your outstanding projects and other notables in your Experience section, which is a good policy. However, I suggest making note of them in your About section.

About is most likely the first section visitors will read. Unlike your resume, it is more personal and, in my mind, more enjoyable to read.

Enjoyable in what way, you might wonder. In About you can: provide a creative hook in your first three lines; express your passion for what you do; describe the problems in your industry and how you can solve them. It’s a section where you can tell your story. Read what I wrote about here.

How to point your visitors to your Accomplishment section

Given that your About section can draw the attention of visitors, doesn’t it make sense to point your audience to Accomplishments? Unfortunately, we don’t yet have the ability to post links to Accomplishments, so words will have to do.

For Projects you can write a brief statement:

“If you would like to read about my outstanding projects in Landscape Architecture, scroll down to Accomplishments.”

Perhaps you Published a book or article. Offhand I can think of three of my close connections who’ve written books, Jim Peacock, Brian Ahearn, and Donna Serdula. I also wrote a book, which is mentioned in my About section:

“Do you know I wrote a book on how Introverts succeed in the job search? Well, you can find it in the Accomplishments section at the bottom of my profile.”

Many of my clients have Patents for products that they’ve created in their career. This can’t go unnoticed. If you’ve own patents, draw your visitors’ attention to them:

“I’m proud of the patients I own in the field of medical devices. They’re listed in my Accomplishment section below.”

College students should make use of the Courses they’ve taken and Test Scores they’ve achieved. If you earned outstanding Honors and Awards, use About to point visitors to Accomplishments.

Other types of accomplishments not obvious unless you point your visitors toward Accomplishments include: Languages, Test Scores, and Organizations. You now have the idea of how to help your visitors find what can be a bona fide feather in your cap.


Recently I shared a long post titled: YOUR LINKEDIN ABOUT SECTION IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU THINK. This post is relevant because it shows how others feel about the importance of the About section. Thus, it can be a vehicle for directing your visitors to Accomplishments.

Photo: Flickr, Amit Shetty