Tag Archives: resume

4 areas in your job search where you’re broadcasting your age

One concern I hear from job seekers in their 50’s and above is the prevalence of ageism they encounter in their job search. While I don’t disagree with these job seekers that it exists, I also tell them that they could do a better job of not broadcasting their age.

Networking group older workers

There are four major areas where older job seekers need to be cognizant of how they present themselves:

  • Résumé
  • LinkedIn profile
  • Networking
  • The interview

If you’re an older job seeker and feel that you are experiencing ageism, take a close look at these major areas and ask yourself if you are broadcasting your age.

Your Résumé

You’re definitely broadcasting your age if you begin your Performance Profile with, “More than 30 years of progressive project management in manufacturing.” Just do the math. That puts you at least around 55, or quite possibly higher.

Another way you’re broadcasting your age is by listing every job you’ve had since the 80’s. Many job seekers feel that going back 25 or more years demonstrates relevant experience, but this is erroneous thinking; technology and procedures have changed. I advise job seekers to go back no further than 10 or 15 years.

The most obvious way to broadcast your age is by listing your graduation date from university or high school. Someone who graduates from university in 1985 makes them around 55. (I know this because I graduated in 1987.)

I’m often asked, “Why should we lie? They’re  going to know our age when we get to the interview.” True, they will or can guess  your age when you get to the interview, but the idea is to get to the interview, where you’ll have the opportunity to sell yourself based on the benefits of a mature worker.

Besides, you’re not lying. You’re just not disclosing the whole truth.

For more résumé writing tips, read this article.

Your LinkedIn Profile

make mistakeHere’s the most obvious way to broadcast your age…you don’t have a LinkedIn profile.

Here’s another red flag: you don’t have a photo. What is a recruiter to think when they don’t see a photo? The answer is that you’re trying to hide something.

Here you’re probably thinking that I’m contradicting myself. I shouldn’t reveal my age on my résumé, but it’s alright to show my age with a photo? Here’s the thing; your profile is a networking document and without one, you’re killing your networking opportunities.

When people tell me they don’t have a photo because they look too old, I have two responses. First, it’s not your age that matters, it’s the quality of the photo. A little brushing up doesn’t hurt, and if you want to color your hair (guys), that’s an option.

My second point is perhaps the most salient; you’ll never know if you’re a victim of ageism because the few employers daft enough not to give you a second look won’t contact you. Whereas the ones who appreciate an older worker will reach out.

But really, LinkedIn is a networking application, and to network you need to come across as personable. This means having a photo which makes you memorable and shows your personality.

Finally, like your résumé, you list too many years of employment. I suggest being consistent with the number of years you list on your résumé.

While Networking

I’ve heard people broadcast their age by saying to me, “I’ve been out of work for six months, probably because of my age.” Or “Getting a job will be tough because I’m over 55.” Or “Would you hire someone my age?”

To the last remark, I think, “No. Not because of your age; because you’re already giving up the fight.” If you want someone in your corner—going to bat for you—you need to come across as confident; not demonstrating a defeatist attitude.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d have the same concern if I were to lose my job. But I also believe that to dwell on your age and talk about it while networking is a complete turn off. It doesn’t express your value; it detracts from it.

Your goal is to show value with whomever you speak; this includes people who can be your greatest allies. It’s not only people you network with at organized events; it’s also people in your community and your former colleagues.

To show vitality, dress in more fashionable clothes. I’m not suggesting that you dress like my teenage boy, but perhaps drop the expensive all-weather wool slacks and opt for Khakis. Nice polo shirts during the summer hours are great.

And please smile. A smile goes a long way in terms of showing friendliness and enthusiasm, two traits all networkers appreciate. Someone who constantly appears negative or angry is not going to attract the networking bees.

During the Interview

Older job seekers tell me it’s in the interview where they experience blatant ageism, whether it’s because of the interviewers’ body language or the questions interviewers ask. But how the job seeker feels may not be reality; it may be a preconceived notion.

The first mistake an older  job seeker can make is going into the interview thinking they’ll suffer discrimination. It is written on their body language and evident by their attitude. Their EQ rapidly plummets, and the game is already lost.

Instead of assuming the worse, you should dispel the myth that older workers are not physically up to the challenge by entering the room with a skip in your step. Not literally, of course, but you know what I mean. Show vitality immediately.

Your firm handshake and steady eye contact are very important in demonstrating your confidence and strong presence. Don’t disregard these first impressions, as they speak volumes about your personality.

Have I mentioned smile?

As well, speak with confidence, addressing the interviewer/s with clarity and the proper tone. Timidity is not how you want to project yourself. Separate yourself from younger job seekers who are not self-assured.

When you answer questions be sure you answer them with confidence and always include statements about how you are willing to learn new technologies or procedures. Talk about your ability to work with a diverse group of people.

If you are directly asked how old you are (it’s happened), don’t get indignant and say, “That’s an illegal question, and I refuse to answer it.” (Unless you want to end the interview.) Instead answer truthfully and follow up with the benefits someone your age offers an employer.

Most importantly always provide answers that express the value you’ll bring to the company. The interviewer/s cannot discount this, especially if you include quantified results in your answers.

Remember that you have more job and life experience than your counterparts and can hit the ground running. Employers want people like you. Believe this.


Succeeding in these four areas of the job search are essential to your success. Maintain the mentality that you are young in spirit, yet more experienced than younger workers. Remember that you have much more to offer in terms of your maturity and EQ.

Sure there will be challenges, but you’ve faced many challenges and have successfully overcome them. This is yet another strength of older workers. Continue to focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses.

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4 reasons why personal pronouns are acceptable on your résumé

During a résumé critique one of my customers presented me with a résumé that was quite good. When I come upon a great résumé, I don’t try to to rip it apart like some people, who want to show off their expertise do.

Grading Papers

Could it have been better? Sure, but for starters it had the elements of a solid résumé—a branding headline; a short, yet factual Performance Profile; few duties and numerous quantified accomplishments; and was well formatted and easy to read. You get the picture.

There were a few things I suggested he correct, but the one big thing I took issue with was his use of personal pronouns. It’s not that I’m opposed to the use of personal pronouns on a résumé.

It’s that his résumé was littered with them throughout the whole document, in the Performance Profile and in the Work Experience. So I was curious why he decided to go narrative with it.

He simply said it felt right. OK, that’s like asking my kid why he skipped track practice and him telling you…because he wanted to.

Later in the week this guy’s Career Advisor (my colleague) approached me with a quizzical look on her face asking me why I thought said person’s résumé was acceptable. Is this how résumés are being written, she asked me.

My response was that some job seekers, not many, are using personal pronouns on their résumé.

She then wanted to know if I condone personal pronouns on a résumé. That’s like asking me if I condone red hair. I continued to say that many professional résumé writers are also including personal pronouns on their client’s résumé.

Here’s my opinion.

If there is any section on the résumé where the personal pronoun  is justified, it’s  in the Performance Profile where it can add value without distracting the reader. Consider the following separate statements that emphasize the two candidates’ value:

Increasing sales—the past five years running—through a customer-centric approach has been the hallmark of my career ~ I lead with a unique style that increases production from colleagues of various talent levels.

And

I develop and nurture  lasting relationships with partners, customers, and the media; resulting in an increase of visibility for organizations  and 75% new business ~ My managers often referred to  me as a prolific writer who enhances the value of an organization’s print and on-line literature.

Here are four reasons why personal pronouns work in each of these statements:

  1. Show ownership. Each statement can be written without the pronoun, “I,” but they lose their emphasis and originality. 
  2. Personality. True, the candidate could eliminate the personal pronouns, but then the accomplishments seem more impersonal. The personal pronoun gives the résumé a stronger voice.
  3. Flow. The first statement can be rephrased to carry the same message of “customer-centric approach,” but we speak in complete sentences. Résumé sentences are grammatically incorrect.
  4. It’s unique. A very small percentage of résumés employ personal pronouns. Whether you agree or disagree with the use of personal pronouns, your document will grab the attention of the reader.

Arguably some recruiters or employers may question job seekers for taking liberties and breaking the traditional mold—that which says, no personal pronouns—but would they automatically discount a job seeker for going against tradition? Only if they are out of their mind.

Nonetheless, I decided to query professionals on LinkedIn to get their opinions.

One former recruiter wrote: “Candidates certainly benefit from a professionally written résumé, but in my experience as a recruiter, we hired plenty of candidates… with ‘I’ on their résumé.”

Another respondent was very adamant about the use of personal pronouns: “Personal pronouns should NEVER be used on a résumé.”

A professional resume writer and former hiring manager, with whom I’ve worked, responded to my query by saying he uses personal pronouns “sparingly,” adding, “Who can realistically find fault with a little sprinkle of personal pronouns in an impressive career document from an impressive candidate?” My point exactly.

Yet another respondent supports the use of the personal pronoun: “As a recruiter, I really enjoy reading a résumé that tells who the person is, where they came from and where they want to go.”

Read this article on WSJ.com from one of my valued LinkedIn connections, Lynda Spiegel. She’s a resume writer who believes in the first person résumé.

I personally think personal pronouns are acceptable in the Performance Profile section but using them in the other sections…goes too far. If you have a strong opinion, one way or another, let’s hear it.

If you join LinkedIn, be prepared to work. 10 activities required to be successful

It hurts my heart when job seekers tell me they’ve been told that LinkedIn will be the reason for their success in finding a job. It’s great they’re using LinkedIn as part of their job search, but to believe that LinkedIn will the golden ticket to their success is false thinking. They need to combine it with face-to-face networking and other job-search methods.

hard work

This said, If you’re going to use LinkedIn in your job search, you have to put your all into it. So what does it look like to work your arse off on LinkedIn, to take full advantage of what it offers?

1. Create a full profile

  • The first area where you band yourself is a background image, not merely the default, light blue background LinkedIn provides.
  • A professional photo that best reflects your industry. If you’re customer facing, you’ll dress to the nines. An engineer, most likely business casual is fine.
  • A branding headline that tells more than your occupation. It also shows the value you can bring to an employer. Think of your areas of expertise, as well as your occupation.
  • A creative and somewhat lengthier Summary. (Some say it should be short. Let’s agree to disagree.) Your Summary should demonstrate the value you will bring to employers from the get go. To understand what I mean, read Create a kick-ass Summary with these four components.
  • An Experience section that focuses on accomplishments more than basic duties. The mundane duties might be on your résumé. You want to highlight the great things you did.
  • An Education section that goes beyond the name of the institution; degree; major; and, perhaps honorary designation. Take advantage of an area where you can show personality, describing what was going on in your life at the time.
  • Skills and endorsements. The skills you list–you can list up to 50–count toward the keywords by which people search for you.
  • Speaking of Keywords that will help you get found. After optimizing her profile, a former client said she went from close to 100 in rankings to 13.

2. Demonstrate commitment

Spend at least four times a week on LinkedIn. For the diligent job seekers, every day of the week should be the norm. Spend at least 20 minutes a day on the platform. LinkedIn never sleeps; it’s 24×7. But don’t overdue it. You don’t want to be un-followed.

3. Frequent updates

Update at least once a day. Occasionally you can explain your situation but not every day. Your updates can also include industry news, questions you have, sharing articles and media, tips or advice, and more. Updates keep you top of mind. If you’re really adventurous, you can consider posting short videos (only from the LinkedIn app).

4. Develop a quality network

What I call phase two of a successful LinkedIn campaign is accumulating quality connections, totaling at least 250 over a two-month period. Twenty connections will not impress anyone. You’ll be seen as timid and afraid to develop relationships. As well, your search engine optimization (SEO) will suffer, unless your a taxidermist.

5. Skill & Endorsements

Playing the Skills and Endorsement game, where you can list as many as 50 skills and be endorsed for those skills. All one needs to do is click on any of your skills to endorse you. It’s not necessary for them to witness you demonstrating your skills; although, LinkedIn now asks about your level of expertise and how the person knows you. Can you tell I’m not a big fan of this feature?

6. Recommendations

A certain number of recommendations were once necessary for All Star status, but this sections was taken over by Skills & Endorsements. I’ve been vocal about my displeasure at how Recommendations are disrespected. Request recommendations from former employers who are your 1st degree connections.

7. Companies

Use one of LinkedIn’s best features, Companies, to locate key players in your job search—the better to get your résumés in the hiring managers hands. Before you connect with someone, ask for an introduction from one of your shared connections. Or mention your shared connection in a cold connection request. Read 5 steps to connecting with LinkedIn members.

8. Jobs

Use LinkedIn’s Jobs feature which has been enhanced to include demographic information, including other positions viewed by job seekers, who you know at the company, the ability to apply to the company on its website or through Easy Apply. For Premium members there are additional features that give you access to big players and provide you with demographics.

9. Engage on LinkedIn but be professional

This is a very important part of you LinkedIn campaign, so work hard on it. But, keep your engagement on LinkedIn professional. If you are more of a Facebook fan, refrain from posting family photos, video of the presidential primaries, and no mention of your frustration in your job search. Be relevant.

10. Use LinkedIn after you land your next job

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


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

Photo: Flickr, João Guilherme de Carvalho Barbosa

5 ways dwelling on your age will hurt your job search

angry man

I’ve added one more reason why dwelling on your age will hurt your job search. As with anything you try to achieve, attitude is key.

One of my connections sent me part of an email he received in response to a job lead he shared with a networking group. The damning part of her email to him was when she wrote, “Most of their workers are under 30. So…that puts me out of the running.”

Some of you might be thinking this person is absolutely correct in writing this. You may have experienced some age discrimination and it pissed  you off. I get this. But the point is that this woman already hurt her chances before even getting to any interview. She let her age hurt her job search.

Yes, it can be difficult landing a job the older you get, but your age can also be a selling point. Before you get to the interview to sell yourself on your job experience, maturity, dependability, and life experience, there are four distinct aspects of your job search that need attention.

Your attitude shouts angry

A successful job search will take a positive attitude and a projection of friendliness, or at least civility. One thing I’m acutely aware of in job seekers, as well as people currently working, is their anger.

Job seekers need to contain their anger, if not in public, certainly online. You must realize that the majority of people on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are currently employed, and don’t share your anger.

Even most job seekers do their best to contain their anger, and are careful of what they write. How do I know? I’m constantly trolling LinkedIn and checking out my connections.

When I see comments about how it’s the employer’s fault that a person didn’t get hired, two thoughts come to mind: maybe it’s true. Maybe said employer practiced ageism. The second thought is “Ooh, people are watching; they’re looking. And they’re not liking what they see.

As I said, most people on social media are employed and may be in a position of hiring employees. If you don’t think employers keep track of you on social media, think again.

Jobvite’s 2014 Social Recruiting Survey found that 93% of hiring managers will review a candidate’s social media profile before making a hiring decision, states an article on Namely.

One instance of releasing your anger can be all it takes. So all I’m asking is that you think twice before hitting “Send.” No, give it a night.

Your résumé is NOT your life story

He who retires with the longest work history doesn’t win. I’ve said this to my Résumé Writing workshop attendees after looking at their résumés, some of which show 30 plus years of work history.

Years ago a job seeker showed me his résumé, which went back to the time he graduated college…30 years or so. I told him, “Paul (that was his name), your résumé goes back too far in your work history. And it’s four pages long.”

“I know,” he told me. “I want people to know about my life.”

Paul’s résumé is not uncommon. I’ve had job seekers who hold the same belief, the more experience they show the better. Stop the record. First remember that what interests employers most are the most recent five to seven years of your experience.

Second, they want to see job-related accomplishments. I’ll repeat what many professional résumé writers spout, fewer duties and more accomplishments are what will impress employers.

Third, your résumé has to be easy to read and must be conventional in appearance. White space and shorter paragraphs (no more than four lines) improves readability. Today’s résumé is written in sans serif font, such as Arial. Stay up with the times.

Fourth, limit your work history to 10 or 15 years at most. Don’t show your age immediately and give an employer the opportunity to think you’re too old.

Marc Miller of Career Pivot offers other suggestions in a great article5 Things on Your Resume That Make You Sound Too Old.

Your LinkedIn profile lacks vitality

Does your LinkedIn profile present a poor first impression and turn people away? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen job seekers with photos that look like mug shots from the eighties. This alone is inviting age discrimination.

I know this sounds weird, but if you guys are concerned about being judged based on your photo, color your hair. I’ve seen plenty of fine color jobs. But if coloring your hair is not your style, at least smile.

Other ways to show vitality include using positive language in all sections of your profile. One line I show my workshop attendees is one from a LinkedIn member’s Summary, “I love what I do and I’ve been doing it successfully for 10+ years.”

What about you job seekers who feel compelled to explain your unemployment status? Don’t make this the gist of your Summary. Instead sound more upbeat with something akin to: “Currently I am enthusiastically searching for a career as a registered nurse. I am increasing my skills by taking courses at a accredited university.”

Use the media feature in the Summary, Experience, and Education sections. Show your vitality like my former customer who landed a job as a landscape architect. She shows off momentous work, both residential and commercial, that she produced. Think about producing a YouTube video the wind turbine you engineered just recently, including rocking music.

Take a look at a video produced by Al Jazeera America about one of my connections photographing models and homeless people. This is a great example of bringing a LinkedIn profile to life.

think positiveUpdate often with positive messages. Read articles and write supportive words about said articles. When you write about how employers are essentially the devil in disguise, employers take note of what you write.

Don’t turn people off at networking events

Most older workers I know can carry on an intelligent conversation because they’ve had years of practice. At our career center networking events, they carry on conversations far beyond the two hours allotted for the event. Much of what I over hear is positive talk about the progress of their job search, about their personal commercial, about their daily lives.

On the other hand, I will occasionally hear negativity seep through like black bile. This is when I hear one networker tell another that he can’t get an offer because of his age. “Not necessarily true,” I pipe in.

What I didn’t tell you about the email I mentioned at the beginning of this post is that my customer said this woman’s attitude seems rampant throughout the networking group.

If this attitude is rampant throughout the group, it may not be a healthy group to belong to. Networking groups should not provide a forum for commiserating with fellow networkers; they should offer positive support.

It is essential that you talk positively about your job search. Leave out of the conversation the fact that you experienced ageism at one of your interviews. Instead focus on the value you’ll deliver to potential employers.

Do this through a natural elevator pitch that doesn’t sound too rehearsed. Be a listener, as well as a talker, and be genuine. Most importantly, sound positive, even if you’re hurting emotionally. I always remind my workshop attendees that those who appear positive are more likely to receive help.

One of my connections, George Armes advises older workers to “Get out of the house. If there’s a certain industry you’re interested in, join an association connected with it and seek out volunteer openings. Attend industry and professional meetings and conferences. You never know who will know someone who is hiring….Read the full article.

Your attitude sets the wrong tone at the interview

It begins when you enter the room. According to a study of 2,000 interviewers, a third of them will make a decision of whether to hire you based on your first impressions, which include your eye contact, smile, handshake, and how you enter the room.

Let that sink in.

If you walk into the room slowly, with your shoulders slumped, a frown on your face, eyes diverted, and offer a weak handshake; your chances of success are nil to none. You need to enter with a skip in your step. Stand erect. Smile to show your enthusiasm. First impressions matter.

Expect the obligatory question, “So why did you leave your last position?”

Do not answer with, “There was a conflict in personality. My new supervisor was a 30-year-old woman. She knew less than I did about managing an assembly process. We didn’t see things the same way.”

The interviewer who’s asking the questions is 40 and will be your direct supervisor. He’s thinking chances are you won’t do all that well when working together. So leave reference to age and gender out of your answer.

You’ll probably get the directive, “Tell me about yourself.”

Do not begin by telling the interviewer that you have 35-years of experience in project management in the telecommunications field. This comes across as your main selling point.

Instead focus on the fact that for the past four years you’ve consistently cut costs by applying agile techniques.

You may be asked why you’re willing to accept a position that offers less responsibilities and lower pay. Many of my older job seekers are fine with this, as they’re tired of managing others and the bills are paid.

One of my former customers accepted a job that will require him to be a mentor to younger technical writers. This is a valuable skill older workers can perform at their jobs, and a viable reason for accepting a position that offers less responsibility.

Practice makes perfect

So what’s the solution? I’m brought back to the statement the woman made in response to my customer reaching out to help the networking group: “Most of their workers are under 30. So…that puts me out of the running.”

This attitude has to be dropped. You may feel that you’ll experience ageism around every corner, but don’t give into these fears, or at least try to veil them when you’re conducting your job search. I don’t buy that people will instantly right themselves at the interview. I believe it’s a prevailing attitude that travels like a speeding train that can’t be stopped.

By the way, my customer Paul I told you about took his four-page resume and came back to me with a resume that was three and four quarters long. I guess he took some of what I said to heart.

Photo: Flickr, Oliver Nispel

5 ways the introvert succeeds in the job search

IntrovertExtravert

Do you know an introvert who is an active listener and can also make small talk with the best of them; is enthusiastic about writing and also enjoys speaking in public; and thinks before he acts, yet takes well-timed risks?

This person combines the best of his introvert and extravert traits. When it comes to the job search, this is exactly what the introvert does in order to succeed.  Adopting traits of both dichotomies may be difficult, awkward, and even exhausting; but he must maintain his focus on the endgame.

Here are five crucial areas of the job search and how the introvert combines both traits to succeed in the job search.

1. Being proactive. The introvert is reflective… focused…when it comes to the job search, but thinking too much about the proper ways to make that call to a desired employer can hinder her efforts. Making personal contact can delay the inevitable if she’s unwilling to get outside her comfort zone.

The extravert can teach the introvert a lesson on taking action. She will do her sleuthing (LinkedIn, Google, or a connection within a company) for a hiring manager’s contact info and  pick up the phone to inquire about openings or secure an informational meeting.

Note: A blend of strategic planning and taking the necessary action isthe solution for success. To act without thinking can blow the deal and may cause damage to the introvert’s reputation.

2. Networking. The introvert listens to a potential connection, asks insightful question, and actually retains the other networker’s answers. But have you ever encountered an awkward moment when you’re standing with someone and he’s not saying a word, just staring into his glass of wine? The silence is so loud that you can hear a pin drop.

This is when the extravert’s ability to engage in small talk must be emulated by the introvert to save the day. The extravert will fire up the conversation with talk of current events (not religion or politics), inquiries about her new friend’s family, occupation, or sports, etc.

Note: The introvert makes networking enjoyable because of her ability to listen and engage in small talk. As well, she can utilize her introvert nature by talking in depth.

3. Marketing material. Because the introvert prefers written communications, writing résumés and cover letters should come easy to him. Research is essential in understanding employers’ needs and then describing how he can satisfy those needs. This is right up the introvert’s alley. How the introvert distributes his written material determines the success in getting it to the person that counts.

The introvert can again benefit from the extravert who will use his outgoing nature to distribute a résumé and cover letter in person, at an informational meeting or persuading the right person to hand them to the hiring manager. He will not spend hours a day blasting his written communications into the dark void known as the job boards.

Note: The introvert must ensure that his résumés and cover letters demonstrate value; effective distribution is not enough. Introverts must take appropriate time to complete his marketing materials, not too long.

4. Following up. The introvert understands the importance of following up after a networking event or meeting someone for coffee, and will send an email or even a thank-you card. The correspondence is in the form of written communications, which is comfortable for the introvert, but not always the most effective way to follow up.

The extravert, on the other hand, will pick up the phone and call her new connection the next day at an appropriate time, taking one more step to securing the relationship. She will suggest another time to meet at a convenient time, perhaps for coffee. Email is too slow, in her mind; it doesn’t get immediate results.

Note: Relying on only on email will not seal the deal, so a combination of email and verbal communications is required for the introvert to succeed.

5. The interview. The introvert prepares well for the interview. He has done his research on the position and company, as well as the industry. The difficult questions will not surprise him because of his preparation. He is reflective and this will come through during the interview. However, he may come across as too reflective, not spontaneous enough.

The extravert, on the other hand is all about spontaneity. He is outgoing, gregarious, and feels comfortable making small talk. The introvert can benefit from his extraverted side by adopting these traits. He must also remember to smile and show enthusiasm.

Note: This is the most important stage of the job search; therefore, it’s important that the introvert calls on her extraverted traits. Most interviewers are drawn to outgoing, confident candidates, which come through easily for the extravert.

The introvert/extravert make a good team. For some introverts, all of this is easier said than done. However, she must call upon her extraverted attributes. On the introvert/extravert spectrum, lying closer to the center makes the transitions easier; lying closer to the extreme makes the transitions more difficult.

Photo: Flickr, Ewa Henry

6 things to think about before including your LinkedIn profile URL on your job-search documents

I often get this question during a Résumé Advanced workshop, “Should I include my LinkedIn URL on my résumé?” My answer to this is, “Sure, as long as your profile will serve you well.” This is to say, your LinkedIn profile must impress prospective employers, not turn them away.

LinkedIn puzzle

Here are 6 rules to adhere to if you’re going to list your LinkedIn URL on your résumé, personal business cards, or cover letter.

  1. Customize your URL. LinkedIn provides a default address that includes additional numbers and letters behind your name. In Edit Profile, click on Edit next to your default URL and remove all the additional numbers and letters by simply typing your whole name in the field provided. A public profile URL that is clean tells employers you’re LinkedIn savvy, not a babe in the woods.
  2. Your profile must be complete. You’ve probably read many articles about the importance of a complete profile. The bottom line is that a barren profile shows a lack of effort, At the very least your profile must have the following: 1) professional photo; 2) branding headline; 3) creative, story-telling Summary; 4) full Employment section, which includes quantified results; and 5) LinkedIn’s added marketing tools.
  3. Think about your profile as a complement to your résumé. In other words, your profile is not your résumé; it is more dynamic. To make your profile more exciting, you can add additional sections to it, such as Skills and Endorsements, Certificates, Projects, Languages, Media, and more. LinkedIn aficionados can spot when someone simply copy and pastes their résumé to the profile–not impressive.
  4. Make it easy for people to find you. If you’re in the job search and prefer not to list your phone number on your profile, I might accept that as an employer. However, if you also don’t list your e-mail address, I’d be on to the next profile. Don’t play hard to get and make it hard for potential employers to find you.
  5. Participate. Participate in what? you may wonder. Show employers that you update on a regular basis and that your updates are related to the work you’re pursuing, not about how Big Kitty is doing well after his surgery.
  6. Show off. I’m not saying go overboard, but make use of the media section as your online portfolio. You can post PowerPoint presentations, videos, audio clips, your résumé, photos of your architectural work (one of my customers did this), and more. Make your profile truly dynamic by doing this.

If you haven’t followed the above suggestions, sending employers to your profile (via your résumé, business cards, and other written communication) will cause more harm than good.  One more thing, certain elements of your public profile will be absent from your full URL, such as Media, Recommendations, view of Endorsements, and list of connections. This is why you must provide access to your full profile.

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4 ways to break down your time in the job search

There’s been speculation as to how jobseekers should segment their time for the job search. Some embrace the idea of dedicating a certain amount of time to their job search methods; They have a well-devised plan.

Others don’t give much thought to how they’ll spend their time and energy on the search. This can be a mistake.

Having guidelines, whether you adhere to them or occasionally drop the ball, provide objectives which are necessary to achieve your goals. The job search is not an exact science, however you need a guideline to give yourself direction. Consider the following way of segmenting your job search into job-search methods.

60% Networking related activities

The Department of Labor has stated that at least 60% of jobs are gained through networking, and most pundits would agree that networking is the best use of your time. However, some people have the misconception that attending networking events only constitutes connecting with people who can be of mutual help.

Networking should be a daily event that comes about naturally, such as during family gatherings, on the sidelines of a soccer game, while getting your hair colored, in the grocery store, etc. You must prepared to present yourself in a favorable manner at all times; first impressions count. Read this article to learn about networking naturally.

Note: Awhile back, Lou Adler, expert recruiter and author of The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired, wrote an article for LinkedIn in which he states networking should constitute 60% of your job search. 

20% LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the best way to network online, period. Facebook and Twitter are great media for communicating real-time, but serious business people and jobseekers use LinkedIn on a regular basis with great success.

I only suggest 20% percent because putting more effort into LinkedIn can make you complacent, believing that it’s a replacement for personal networking. It isn’t! LinkedIn is a great supplement for personal networking.

Once you’ve developed connections on LinkedIn, it’s time to reach out to them and touch them in a personal way: meet with them in person, talk on the phone (if they’re long distance), and at the very least communicate via e-mail. Read this article to find out how.

10% Job Postings/Researching Companies

Estimates for success using this method to search for work only range from 4-10%, according to the well-known Richard Bolles, *What Color is Your Parachute.  The image of jobseekers hunched over their computer mechanically zipping résumés into the clouds depresses me.

Why not develop a list of companies for which you’d like to work, follow their progress (or lack thereof), and send a nicely crafted approach letter (which indicates your interest in a possible positions) to the companies that show movement? Or better yet, call them.

Let’s adjust this figure. Spend 5 percent of your time playing the lottery by sending out your generic résumé that most likely will be lost in companies’ huge databases; spend the other 5 percent doing your research and composing introductory letters or making phone calls that will garner greater success.

10% Agency/3rd Party Recruiters

This figure assumes you use agencies or 3rd party recruiters. Some of us stiffs, perhaps more than one would think, don’t use recruiters due to the industry in which we work. So this 10 percent can be thrown out the window for people who haven’t even run across a recruiter.

On the other hand, if you are in an industry where working with recruiters is the norm and you demand a high salary, this figure seems a bit low. Richard Bolles gives this method of job search a 5 to 28 percent chance of success if used alone, taking into consideration the salary requirements of the jobseekers.

Put it in action

I’ve heard pundits claim that creating a weekly schedule to follow is fruitless. I disagree. Having a schedule to follow on a consistent basis gives you structure and objectives toward an attainable goal.

Let’ say you’ll spend 30 hours a week to conduct your job search—a good number, I think, as you’ll want time for other important things in your life. Of those 30 hours you’ll spend 18 combined hours on networking activities, only 3 or 4 of those hours attending networking groups; 6 hours on LinkedIn; and 3 hours online and recruiters.

Of course your plan may be derailed for one reason or another–Uncle Al blows into town. You don’t have time to attend the third networking event of the week. No sweat, get back on track the next week and stick to the theoretical schedule. The most important thing is that you are proactive in your job search, not spending 30 hours a week sending your résumé into the dark void.

*Bolles wrote this way back in 2011, but I think it still holds true.