Getting The Most Out of Social Media: Task#1 Your LinkedIn Profile

chalk1THE Careerpilot’s high TECH-HIGH Touch philosophy comes into play with the explosive growth of business professionals using social networks to build relationships, meet new contacts, and market themselves.  While the Internet provides many choices, diving into the virtual meet-and-greet can represent a real challenge.  Which one is worthy of your start-up investment: learning curve time and actual ROI of your efforts…

Where to begin? THE Careerpilot encourages a choice that reasonably assures one’s confidentiality, has a multitude of useful applications, and can serve as your focal point of networking decisions.  A terrific launching site for such an effort is LinkedIn.


THIS Week’s session, Thursday, January 24th… A LinkedIn Primer: Task #1 Your Profile, a discussion to help you make the push-pull decision in creating your digital footprint


Pilot OnboardJoining a network like LinkedIn is simple, but turning it into a powerful networking tool takes a bit of savvy. Here’s a start at how to set up a profile and put it to work — without HIGH TECH, social-networking anxiety.

Plan to spend a few hours simply exploring the site and its many applications… Your first goal is to establish your profile and begin developing your network. Then make time to check in at least once a week to see what everyone is up to.

TASK #1… The Evolution of a Compelling Profile

Before you connect to others, you must first set up a profile page at http://www.linkedin.com. While your page will detail your work history, don’t assume you can copy and paste your resume and be done with it. Your profile page should reflect your professional interests, passions, and ambitions at this point in your career.  It becomes the core of this high tech, written collateral.

As you proceed, keep your goal in mind…

·         Do you want to have that fully optimized, SEO-centric magnet that attracts interested parties TO you?  -OR-

·         Do you want that terrific, user-friendly home page and profile that is easy for a reader to navigate?  -OR-

·         Do you want your profile and homepage to be appealing to both?

A checklist of things to include:

  1. A picture. It’s been said that, “People do business with people.”
  2. A specific and high impact “headline” with keywords relevant to your industry… your headline follows you around through several of the interactive applications.
  3. Preferred contact method and data… At the bottom of your profile, you can let people know how you want to be contacted — through LinkedIn, by e-mail, or over the phone.
  4. Desired information, networking “targets… What you want to be contacted about… At the bottom of your profile, you can select interests like reference requests, consulting offers, or career opportunities. Be sure to update your profile to stay in synch with your career.

…and don’t overlook the “power” of recommendations… start thinking of who you might want to encourage to endorse you and your services.  Job seekers: your references are a great start!

The LinkedIn site will walk you through filling in the blanks, but you’ll want to think ahead about two areas:

Positioning Yourself

Just like on a GREAT RESUME, directly underneath your name will be a short headline of four or five words. More than anything else in your profile, these words are how people find and define you.

Are you seeking to connect mainly with others in your field and industry? Then a simple, title-oriented headline like “Senior Product Development Director at The XYX Corporation” is best. Are you seeking to branch out into other areas? “Leader of High-Performing Engineering Projects” alerts others quickly to the value you would bring to an organization. Regardless of how you phrase your headline, make sure to use keywords that will help others find you.

Be Clear on What You’ve Done, and What You Want to Do…

Whether you are an active job seeker, or simply using LinkedIn to extend the reach of your personal marketing plan, POSITIONING yourself clearly is the epicenter of efficient networking… just as if you were beginning to launch an active JOB search to implement your Personal Marketing Plan!

When listing your past job experiences, use verbs as much as possible. Show what you’re passionate about, and what you’ve learned from each job. Consider listing “non-jobs” you’ve done, like chairing a conference or leading a panel.

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REMEMBER: NO Session Today!

fourth-of-july-fly-overRemember… there will be no regular session TODAY, July 5th.

We will be resuming next week, July 12th at the eginning of our sequence of topics.


NEXT Week’s Session, July 12th: Embracing The OTHER Job Market, our introductory and overview session


 

What do you mean…a GREAT Resume?

Compass-seaLDepending on how you’re using them, positioning statements and the ensuing qualification summaries can either be a complete waste of space or a total game changer. For those of you who don’t know, a Positioning Statement is where the resume writer clearly, and specifically, connects with their reader on what service they offer to their next employer.


Thursday, November 2nd… Developing in-sync Personal Marketing collateral materials: Having a GREAT Resume


Pilot OnboardThere are several ‘cosmetic’ ways for a job seeker to position themselves.  It can be as generic as the functional area of expertise… or as specific as the actual title that is of interest, for example: A job seeker looking for a role in OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT might be interested in an employer’s need for a

SW REGIONAL OPERATIONS DIRECTOR

Because job titles can be very misleading from one employer to another, the knowing job seeker further ‘defines’ their positioning with ‘keywords,’ functional terms that describe the work performed.  Again, this can be as generic as…

OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT

Strategic Planning | Operations Analysis | Process Improvement

 OR, very specific, with defining keywords selected from the employer’s actual job description… or better still, from the job seeker’s research of the employer’s actual needs…

SW REGIONAL OPERATIONS DIRECTOR

Multiple Facility Management | Quality Control | Staff Development

 Following these concepts, the job seeker actually can control for the nature of ‘FIT’ that they will be measured against by the employer!  But, let’s give the job seeker even more advantage with a Qualification Summary that allows the reader to see evidence of the great ‘FIT.’  A well written summary essentially consists of a few pithy and strong statements at the beginning of your resume that help summarize your skills and experience in order for a prospective employer to quickly get a sense of the value you could offer. Here’s a sample:

The editorial concept sounds great, right?   Minus the part where you have to give up valuable resume space for information that’s already on your resume. So, the big question is: Do you really need one?

The short answer is, it depends. Summary statements are usually best for more experienced professionals with years of experiences to tie together with a common theme (read: brand). Or, alternatively, they can be used to tie together disparate experiences with a set of key transferable skills. On the other hand, if you have a pretty linear or straightforward career path, the space is probably better used for additional bullet points in each role.

If you do decide that a summary statement is right for you, get ready to do some digging and some introspection. You only have a limited amount of space for your summary statement (think four to six bullets, give or take a couple), and you don’t want to a) regurgitate your resume bullets or b) sound like a list of buzzwords.

Once you have these two cardinal rules down, the real fun begins. Here’s a three-step plan to help you craft the perfect summary.

Step 1: Figure Out The Most Appropriate ‘NEXT STEP’ in Your Career

Since you need to be concise, it’s important to figure out what you want in your next position, so you know exactly what skills and experiences to highlight. If you are not absolutely clear about what you want, envision an ideal position that will value you for the main characteristics and experiences you want to be hired for.

Step 2: Analyze Your Target Industry

Once you know what you want to do, your next step is identifying where you want to be—think industry, city, and companies. Then, research your industry and key trends affecting it now: Read relevant industry news articles, research companies, and analyze job descriptions you’re interested in.

Ask Yourself

  • What is most valued in your target industry?
  • What experiences, skills, and characteristics matter in your target jobs?
  • What would you look for if you were the hiring manager?

 Step 3: Find Your Fit and Condense

With your knowledge of your target industry, it’s time to figure out how you fit in (or want to). Identify, describe, and refine your key selling points with your end goal in mind. Then, craft them into 4-6 bullets, shooting for statements that are vivid and that clearly illustrate what you bring to the table over anyone else.

Ask Yourself

  • What is the intersection of your ‘value proposition’ and what your target industry, or specific Company, needs?
  • What are your most impactful areas of experience, knowledge, or skill?
  • What critical problems are you well suited to solve?

A well written qualification summary can be a powerful branding tool the helps send the message that you’re a great FIT for the job. The best thing about taking the time to put one together (whether you decide to actually use it or not) is that it not only helps hiring managers get a clear sense of what you have to offer, but also helps you better understand what you bring to the table.

So, you get the added benefit of knowing exactly how to sell your value proposition the next time you’re networking, interviewing or presenting yourself online.

So, What’s YOUR Story?

To manage your career you should…

  • Keep your “offer criteria” in that dynamic state of change that allows you to adapt to market conditions…stay aware of ‘next steps.’
  • If your current goal is to find a new position, then you should prepare your search as a “business model”, manage it accordingly, be flexible, and be ready for the unexpected.

THIS Week’s session:  CareerFIT II… Understanding how and what to communicate about yourself during active career transition.


Pilot OnboardYou understand that managing your own career involves three key ingredients:

  1. Confidence in knowing that your career is on the right path;
  2. Continuous research and networking leading to awareness of potential “next steps…” to keep your career moving forward;
  3. Competency with career transition strategies and job-changing skills.

To manage your career wisely has you extending the same concepts.  Consider some of the factors listed below … Examine each factor through the questions listed – and then ask “does this opportunity fit me?”

Work Requirements and Expectations: What is the next  appropriate work for you? Is the work process or project oriented?  If it’s process oriented, are the requirements and expectations clear?  What kinds of projects will you work on? Will you work on one project at a time, or multiple projects? Are the projects long term or short term? Will you work on a project long enough to see the end result? Is it important to you to be able to see the project as a whole, including the result? Or will you be content to do the work without a big picture understanding?

Work Environment: Will the work space be a source of comfort and confidence for you? How formal or informal is the environment? Hectic, fast paced? Will you have the opportunity to have flex time, or to tele-commute? How many hours a week does the employer expect you to work? Will you have the freedom to wear casual clothes? What is a typical day like at the company you are considering?  Would they allow a “trial visit” or at least a site visit?

Career Path: Is there a defined succession plan? What position(s) can you move to next? How long do new hires generally stay in the same job? How quickly do people get promoted? Are your opportunities for professional development well defined and available to you? Are mentors available?

Training and Personal Development: what kind of training will you get from the employer to do the job? What kind of training will you get to stay current in your area of interest? Are the answers to these two questions different? Does it matter to you if the answers are different?

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GETTING RECRUITED

Determine your career objective…Know what your next right employment  is. This will help focus your actual search. With clarity in your positioning goals, you can write a great resume to convey your story.

“WORDCRAFT” your resume and other collateral materials…Create a forward looking “story” of what YOU CAN DO. Target your accomplishments, such as increased sales and profits, reductions in costs, etc. Focus on achievements that support your qualifications for your job goal.

Are you challenged in finding the right words?  LinkedIn can be a valuable tool for you to use in self-assessment.  Access the LinkedIn Profiles of other professionals like you… experiment by searching for a person like you in LinkedIn.

KEYWORDS become personalized phrases by incorporating adjectives and adverbs that uniquely FIT you…

Those phrases should be confirmed for the reader and listener with high-impact accomplishment statements (think behavioral evidence, like the bulleted information in a well written resume)…

a well-‘crafted’ accomplishment statement can trigger appropriate questions that allow you to expand on your strengths, with positive, supportive examples, elements of your career story—PROOF of your value proposition.

NEVER Waste a Good Mistake

fourth-of-july-fly-overHave you ever made a mistake? A really BIG one? Maybe you did something careless, without proper planning or attention to the depth and breadth of detail? Something that might have cost you dearly in some way like a job, time, money, health, or a relationship? Unless you were just born, you surely have.


We’ll be taking a break for the long, July 4th Holiday weekend ahead… our next session will be Thursday, July 6th: Closing The Deal I: An exploration of interview strategies, including MoneySpeak and PRE-Offer negotiation!


Pilot OnboardSo, the more important question is “are you better off as a result of your mistake?” As painful as mistakes can be, there is no teacher better than adversity. People do their best learning through tough times, mistakes, and failures. Prosperity is great, but not a good teacher. Those who live a privileged, sheltered, and adversity-free life miss life’s education.

In contrast, those who deal with tough bosses, demanding clients, relationship conflicts, and their own bad decisions, learn many valuable lessons.  However, adversity is only beneficial if it is properly processed.

When people make a mistake, they have three fundamental choices on how to process it. Two of the choices lead to no benefit and the other to significant benefit.  Choice #1 is to be frustrated by or dismissive of the mistake.

Choice #2 is to blame others or circumstances.

Choice #3 is to reflect on and find the learning in it.

Intellectually, people see choice #3 as the correct choice, yet regularly practice choices #1 and #2 because ‘the lesson’ is difficult to identify, and it is easier to let your emotions take over, or to shift the blame. Rather than embrace the opportunity for change, they stay in their comfort zone. They may be quick to correct others, but unable to see the need for change in themselves.

Remember, you have earned the opportunity to learn from and be better for it! Don’t waste a good mistake.

Generally speaking, we all share the same experiences in life. The key difference is that successful people grow through their experiences, particularly their adversity. They accept responsibility when things don’t go well, reflect on what happened, and make adjustments in how they think and act.

In contrast, unsuccessful people tend to dismiss their role in their misfortunes, blame others, blame circumstances, or simply ignore what happened.  Sound all too familiar?

Whether in your professional or personal life, your future success largely depends on how well you learn from your experience, especially your mistakes. Here are five easy guidelines to follow to get the most benefit from your mistakes:

  1. Acknowledge the mistake. Don’t let the good qualities of being calm, resilient, and forgiving prevent you from seeing that a mistake was made. Confront reality.
  2. Take responsibility. Don’t be quick to fault external influences. There are always contributing circumstances.
  3. Reflect on the mistake to determine root cause. Identify the specific real issue. Most mistakes are symptoms. Ask “why did this happen?” Consider the possibilities and narrow them down to the likely culprits. Then ask “why did this happen?” again. And again, as needed, until you’ve exhausted the likely root causes that deserve your attention.
  4. Interact…involve others. Seek input from others who can help you objectively think through your assessment. Share your reflections with someone you trust who can help you understand the nuances of your situation.
  5. Look forward. Forgive yourself and others. Realize that you are not perfect and its okay. Recover and move on. Embed your lessons learned into your plans, processes, and daily habits. Don’t ruminate any longer. Be glad that you now have knowledge that will help you as well as others as you go forward.

Don’t waste a good mistake. Don’t miss the opportunity from your hardships to gain the greater benefit and become extraordinary.

Your Personal Marketing PLAN

Compass-seaLWhile involved in ‘the challenging waters’ of career transition, the same chaotic, jobless, trying times are very productive times.  Don’t waste them by floundering with lack of focus and direction, falling into the dark, depressive attitude of distractions and, worst of all, inaction…

When we are employed, we tend to function under the guidance of our employer’s business plan, or, more specifically, our job description. Our ‘routine’ is defined by:

  • Personal accountability to a labyrinth of responsibilities, some structured— some not structured at all—but all contributing to productive work activities…
  • We create productivity and efficiency with our sense of time management…
  • And as ‘top talent’ professionals, we often take initiative, make process improvements, and contribute to the Company’s growth.

                                                    This week’s session, Thursday, May 25...

             Developing Your Personal Marketing Plan


Pilot OnboardSo, why not recreate all that with OUR OWN PLAN, a Personal Marketing Plan, to move toward job satisfaction, commitment, and appropriate compensation, for the rest of our careers… including any current, short term job search?

If an individual is under-employed, seeking a change, or actually unemployed, they must be visible to potential employers who are seeking their services. Creating this visibility is strategic, personal market planning and execution—in can be marketability without rejection!

And, employed or not, Modify and improve your Personal Market Plan’s implementation model as needed… As you move through your career transition or ‘job search campaign,’ make adjustments as you would a business model.

AjustDaSails

 

ACHIEVING CareerFIT: Your PMP’s ‘PRODUCT’ ANALYSIS

Compass-seaLIn order to market yourself, you must first know yourself.  The job search process is essentially a highly personalized marketing process.  The process starts with your candid self-assessment, which allows you to gain a thorough and workable understanding of who you are in product marketing terms.

When a Company looks for qualified employees, they seek functional evidence that demonstrates a job seeker’s ability to perform to expectations… JOB REQUIREMENTS represent the HR screening process!

Especially if you are starting a resume “from scratch”, or if you are truly unsettled on next steps along your career path, this becomes a necessary first step in the process.

What YOU Do Best, and are motivated to do for a future employer…

What do you do best?  What are your strongest transferable skills?  Think broadly in terms of managerial and technical/ functional strengths involved in what you have to offer.  Discovering your “pattern of success and satisfaction” is your goal, here.

Your ability to express the collection of your functional strengths will measure your marketability.  This collection of keywords and their supportive evidence creates your communication strategy, the basis of your value proposition.


THIS Week’s Session, Thursday, April 27th is Achieving CareerFIT I, facilitated by Brian Allen.  He’ll be exploring the motivational side of your personality with us.


Pilot OnboardThe old “round peg in a round role” theory of career planning is dysfunctional.  In the typical professional environment today, job descriptions are changing faster than ever before to keep up with the challenges of an economy in transition. In the traditional job market, job seekers are the sellers and their potential employers are the buyers.  The commodity is JOBs and the competition is fierce.

In The OTHER Job Market, buyers and sellers hold equal responsibility for the recruitment process.  The commodity is available, productive WORK… When employers have a need for someone to fulfill a specific role, often the most desired candidates are employed individuals with the credentials they seek.  Thus the employer must sell their Company to potential employees in the marketplace in order to attract the best of the lot.  Once identified, they simply select their choice and buy their services.

Seize control of such challenges.   Understand the nature of FIT.