Tag Archives: summary

The first of 3 steps for a successful LinkedIn campaign: creating a presence

linkedin2Some of my LinkedIn workshop attendees have told me they were encouraged to join LinkedIn because LinkedIn is the answer to their job search. I cringe when I hear this because what they were told is only partly true.

Being on LinkedIn will increase your chance of getting a job, but it isn’t a guarantee, especially if you don’t understand what it takes to be successful on LinkedIn.

I tell my workshop attendees their LinkedIn strategy involves 1) creating a presence, e.g. your profile, 2) connecting with others, and 3) being active. Without all three, your LinkedIn campaign will crash and burn.

Creating a presence. Let me make this easy for jobseekers who are starting their LinkedIn campaign. Leverage what you’ve already created, your professional résumé, by copying and pasting it to your profile. However, don’t stop there. After doing this you need to revise it to reflect a networking document.

Many pundits have written about how to create a powerful profile, so I’ll simply outline the necessary components:

Your Snapshot area is where you capture readers’ attention with your quality photo and branding headline. Don’t waste this area with a poorly done photo and a headline that simply states your title at your previous job. Both your photo and headline can brand you–a photo that shows you’re a professional and a headline that states your strong areas of expertise.

Let’s not forget how your headline can contribute to the keyword count. These are the skills recruiters/hiring managers/HR type into Search. Having the proper keywords and more instances of them will rank you higher and, consequentially, garner more visitors.

Make your Summary worth reading by writing it in first- or third-person point of view; include some Wow statements; and express your passion for what you do. You’re allowed 2,000 characters for your Summary, so use them all. This will allow you to tell your story, as well as give you more space for those ever important keywords. For more on this, read 4 reasons why you need a strong LinkedIn Summary.

Your Experience section can resemble your Work History from your résumé or you can simply highlight the accomplishments. I favor the latter, but some think their profile might be the only document an employer sees, so showing all is the way to go, duties included. One of the areas weighed heavily for keywords is the position’s title. You’re not limited to your title; you can add some areas of strength as well.

Ex. Project Manager | Budget | Lean Six Sigma | Cost Reduction | Leadership

The Media section is where your profile can be really dynamic. I tell my workshop attendees that it’s their online portfolio. There are a number of different media you can include in your Summary, Experience, and Education sections. On mine I share PowerPoint presentations and a link to my blog. Others, like my valued connection Anton Brookes, have YouTube videos and/or documents.

Your Education is more than what you include on your résumé. It allows…or rather encourages you to expound on your degree and/or training. Along with the traditional information–college or university, dates attended (optional), GPA (also optional)–you’re given the option to include Activities and Societies, as well as Description.

Next we’ll look at the second of three components necessary for a successful LinkedIn campaign, connecting with other LinkedIn members.

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When your LinkedIn profile says practically nothing; 8 key areas

I recently read an article by Laura Smith-Proulx, Quick Fixes to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile, that addresses the “Minimal-Effort Profile.” She writes, “Here it is—your name, college education, and current job. Wait – where’s the rest?”

While Laura points out the profiles that show little effort on the user’s part, I’m going to talk about the profile that contains practically nothing. You wouldn’t think it possible, but I’ve seen and immediately abandoned such profiles. I bet I’m not the first either.

Has no photo. This makes me wonder, “Are you faceless?” Can’t you see how a photo can make you easily recognizable and say more than thousand words about you? When I see a photo, I see possibilities–a person who’s a manager, a caring therapist, an established resume writer, a CEO, an aspiring actor.

Lacks a branding, keyword-rich title. Laura nicely states it this way: “This is where you make your opening statement. The key in altering your Headline is to use terms that will trigger your hit rate for both your job target and current position (and potentially your industry).” I say, “No branding title, time to move on.”

Is devoid of a story-telling Summary. Can you believe I’ve seen summaries that…don’t exist? Not even a heading. Why? Because the person hasn’t gotten around to writing one? Here’s where you get to explain your professional experience, state your aspirations, tout your accomplishments. Write in first person if it suits you. Explain why you’re looking for a new career and how your transferable skills make this possible.

Contains no descriptive Experience section. Essentially it says the person has done nothing, accomplished zilch. It says, “I worked as a Graphic Designer at ABC company from 1996 to 2012, and this is all I want to share.” This is where you can dump the content of your résumé or highlight four or five accomplishments. I prefer the latter. How far do you go back? My opinion is stay consistent with your résumé–10-15 years.

Has nothing in the Education section. If you went to college or just high school, you must list it. Not only that, list the activities and societies to which you belonged. In Additional Notes list the most relevant courses and internships in which you partook. You interned at the New York Times? My god, boy, that needs to be said.

Doesn’t make use of Applications: A great way to brand yourself. Do you blog? Show your expertise and writing abilities by starting a blog. WordPress is free (this is not a plug) and there are others. Excellent work to show, like a PowerPoint presentation on the 10 Must-Haves to Be a CEO. This can be placed in Box.net Files. These are just a few.

No Skills section. This is a fairly new LinkedIn feature that requires at least three skills on your way to 100% completion. It is essentially replacing the Specialties feature. Show visitors, including employers, the skills you demonstrate, as well as increase your SEO potential. Check out the bells and whistles this feature provides. People with whom you should connect and projected growth of a skill are just a couple.

Haven’t requested and written recommendations. The last section I’ll address is recommendations, which do a tremendous job of telling visitors who you are through the eyes of your former supervisors, colleagues, vendors, partners, etc. Ask for and write at least five or six recommendations. A profile without recommendations tells employers 1) you haven’t taken the effort to request them and 2) no one will write one for you.

It’s frustrating for me when I see a profile that is bare and demonstrates no effort. My reaction is to move on. And if I’m sent an invite from someone whose profile contains practically nothing, I click “Ignore.” I don’t think I’m superior–I really don’t–but I see a bare profile similar to meeting someone at a networking event who doesn’t talk. Says nothing….

When someone writes your résumé, they need to thoroughly interview you. The experts will tell you

You’d think that writing a résumé that is typically one, two, three, or even four pages long shouldn’t be difficult, yet even the most accomplished professionals find it daunting. Self-analysis is not an easy thing, as it involves some soul searching and brutal honesty.

Although some can easily identify their skills and experience, others need help in the form of a résumé  interview. Professional résumé writers will tell you that the interview is just the beginning of the entire process.

My Résumé  Writing workshop attendees often confess that they dread writing their résumé —these are people who have written white-pages, proposals, product documentation, newsletters, and other business correspondences. To answer them, I’ll say, “You just have to do it. Your livelihood depends on this document.”

The workshop runs two and a half to three hours long, depending on the number of questions I get as well as how talkative I am. The focus of the workshop is to help my customers 1) formulate a strategy, 2) position themselves through a Summary/Personal Profile, and 3) sell themselves to the employer by showing quantified accomplishments. This, however, is all theory. In other words, it tells them how they should go about revising an existing résumé , how to make it stronger.

Where my customers benefit the most is when I meet with them one-on-one. They revise their résumé  after the workshop and then send a copy of it to me. I’ll review and write comments on it, usually pertaining to a lack of accomplishments and/or a Summary statement that fails to illustrate their job-related skills. If their résumé  is outstanding, I’ll say so; but in most cases it needs at least some minor work.

What results from the critique is usually a soul-searching meeting where I’ll interview my customers for half an hour to dig into their background. The interview process is where it comes together for them. It’s the “Oh Yeah” moment where they see better their accomplishments and understand why a Summary statement full of fluff is not impressive.

“You say in your Summary that you trained staff to be more productive,” I’ll begin. First of all, employers have seen this claim many times. How can you elaborate on it? Give me a WOW factor.”

“OK. When I trained other staff on how to use the proprietary office management software, I noticed a rapid improvement in their output, perhaps double what they were doing prior to my training. Do you mean like that?”

“Exactly. Now tell me more about your training style. Why was it effective?”

“Oh, and also I won an award for training my colleagues. I, like, totally forgot about that.”

And so it goes. With fresh new ideas in their heads, my job seekers leave my office armed to revise their résumé  for yet another time, and probably not the last.

Some jobseekers have the resources to hire a professional résumé  writer who will guide them through the entire process, beginning with the interview and culminating with a product that should get them a number of interviews.

I won’t dissuade my customers who ask me if they should hire a writer, especially if they can afford the cost. However, there’s one condition I lay down; if a résumé  writer is going to take their money, the writer must interview them for an appropriate length of time before going to work writing it.

I’ve seen too many job seekers come through our urban career center with a poorly written résumé . In some cases, they spend up to $700 for a résumé  that is worth no more than the paper on which it’s printed. One woman I spoke to said she was interviewed for 10 minutes. What she showed me was no more than a work timeline with a long column of keywords. Oh, but it had a nice border around it. Plainly stated, it wasn’t a résumé .

Writing one’s own résumé  takes self-reflection, so it follows that assisting with or writing another person’s résumé  requires the time to completely understand the client’s relevant experience, scope of their duties, and, most importantly, what accomplishments they’ve achieved that separates them from the rest of the pack.

WHAT THE PROFESSIONALS SAY:

Wendy Enelow, Co-Owner of Career Thought Consortium and author of many résumé  writing books, articulates in one of her blogs the need to capture her clients’ accomplishments: “As professional résumé  writers, we all know that a great deal of a résumé ’s effectiveness is based on accomplishments—what a job seeker has done to improve operations, increase revenues, strengthen bottom-line profits, reduce operating costs, enhance business processes, upgrade technologies, and so much more.” To write about a job seeker’s accomplishment, the résumé  writer must invest time in learning about that person. Wendy puts no limit on the time it takes to interview her clients and write some of the best résumé s out there.

Darrell DiZoglio, Owner of RighteousRésumé s, emphasizes the importance of setting his clients apart from the ordinary. He states, “[Clients] want a serious advantage over their competition in the race to get hired and do not mind paying for it. It is my mission in life to give it to them.” I’ve spoken with Darrell on a few occasions and got the impression that he loves what he does and takes pride in producing the best possible résumé s for his clients. When talking about the time he takes to interview his clients, he says, “I don’t wear a wristwatch.”

“The amount of time I spend interviewing a client before pen is put to paper is no less than 2 hours, but there is no restriction on time. Our process is one of working to accomplish a goal that is not driven by time.” states Marjorie Kavanagh, President of Panoramic Résumé s. She also says the interview process helps people realize accomplishments they may not have considered.

Tracy Parish, CPRW, Executive Résumé  Writer, says that sometimes her clients don’t talk enough. But knowing the importance of getting valuable information from them, she won’t give up until she has that information. She mentions a funny occasion when her fear of a silent client was subsided after she used her charm to warm him up, “I’ve also had the extreme where you couldn’t get them to talk at all. I’m usually great at getting them to open up. One guy had his wife sit in on the call too—she warned me he wouldn’t talk much so I thought having her there for input would be nice. However, he talked so much [his wife] was shocked. She told me she had never seen anyone get him to talk so much!”

Whether my customers attend my workshop and a critique session or pay someone to write their résumé , the interview process is an essential component of the process. I understand the difficulty of interviewing job seekers, as do the professional résumé  writers who I contacted; but when done well, it lays down the foundation of the most important document of their life.