Leave a STRONGER Digital Footprint

chalk1Creating visibility for yourself through posted “white papers” or blogging can be very useful if you’re looking for work. On the LinkedIn platform, such ‘activity’ will contribute to your serach page rank.  Blogging can give you that edge over other candidates…without taking any of the original fun out of it!


NEXT Week’s Session, Thursday, March 28th… GUEST PRESENTER Locke Alderson will be exploring your use of LinkedIn, your GPS to networking… bring your laptop!


Here’s how blogging can land you your next job. It can help you:..

1. Stand out
When a recruiter or potential employer searches your name, your blog will be one of the first things to come up, increasing your online visibility.  Unlike your resume or cover letter, a blog presents tangible evidence of what you can do, or how you think. See it as your online portfolio, with examples of your work readily available to whoever wishes to see it…visible and tangible evidence of your strengths.

This kind of exposure constitutes a valuable addition to your professional profile and will make you stand out to employers.

2. Gain new skills
Blogging can help you develop many online skills. Besides the obvious – but extremely useful – ones like writing, research and communication skills, there are also more technical skills to gain.

You can gain hands-on experience working with a content management system by using a platform like WordPress; learn about the marketing side of things – for example how to use SEO – or try your hand at visual design creating your own, customized blog template.

3. Build your network
Your blog can help you to connect to others who are as passionate about the topics you’re writing about as you are, allowing you to build up a relevant network of contacts.  And, if you blog regularly, and people begin to ‘follow’ you, you’ll be developing a powerful, influential ‘networking machine.’

Following other bloggers and engaging with their content is a great way to attract visitors, while promoting your blog on your social media channels can also help to boost engagement.

4. Stay up to date
The more you integrate yourself within the online community surrounding your preferred field or topic, the easier it will be to stay in the loop of the latest news or developments.

Being able to show a thorough understanding of the state of the industry you are applying to will be looked upon favorably by employers while also providing a confidence boost for when you go in for an interview or start your new role.

5. Show rather than tell
There is only so much you can convey to a recruiter or potential employer through your CV or cover letter, and the emphasis tends to lie in key achievements and experience over strengths and personal attributes.

Blogging allows you to showcase those things that need to be seen to be believed. Your creativity, dedication and passion to learn can all easily be conveyed through your blog by how often you post updates and the care that goes into each one.

It may take more time than occasionally updating your CV and cover letter, but running a personal blog is definitely an investment worth making. As tangible evidence of your capabilities and personality, it can get you that crucial one step ahead of other applicants.

…and the by-product of your efforts…

You will be building your comfort and confidence in the use of social media, like more participation in LinkedIn Groups of your peers.

Advertisements

YOUR DIGITAL FOOTPRINT: A LinkedIn Primer

chalk1Networking is a primary means of finding and landing  that next right employment opportunity. Social Media is an internet phenomenon that has become a very important tool for job seekers to use in their networking efforts. It is an extraordinary method for self-marketing. In fact, I like to call it your “GPS for Efficient Networking Activity.”

CAUTION:  USE TECHNOLOGY to save time and access information, but NEVER allow technology to replace person-to-person networking and relationship building. NETWORKING is a (very personal) contact sport!


THIS WEEK’s Session:  Thursday, October 11th, 8:45 AM at The Egg and I:  A LinkedIn PRIMER:  TASK#1, Evolving Your Profile


Pilot OnboardThe “top three” social media sites for job search are Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter

LINKEDIN

LinkedIn is the most used social media site for business and professionals. Thus, it is an excellent site for job-search purposes. Recruiters and the more sophisticated companies use LinkedIn to source potential candidates for their open positions.  Facts about LinkedIn…

  • LinkedIn is a business networking tool, not a social networking site
  • Over 500 million LinkedIn users and trending up
  • Approximately I million new users added each week
  • Close to half of all LinkedIn users are in the U.S.
  • Executives in every Fortune 500 company are users
  • It is estimated that 85% of all recruiters use LinkedIn to find talent
  • Recruiting services is one of the major sources of revenue at LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn offers both free and fee-based services, but you do not need to pay to effectively use this networking tool

LinkedIn is like a multi-faceted “diamond” for networkers.  In fact, it might be helpful to see the multiple functionalities of LinkedIn in three “tasks.”  Your TASK#1 Is to have an account and create a high impact Profile that is in sync with your resume.

Already you need to make an important decision.  Will you be using LinkedIn to PUSH your message outward, creating visibility for you availability?… or using LinkedIn to PULL people to your KEYWORDS?… or, my favorite, using both approaches together.

TASK#1: Having a LinkedIn Profile that “fits” your use of social media, including a Headline and SUMMARY that allows you the best of PUSH and PULL marketing tactics…

YOUR HEADLINE…

BUSINESS ANALYST: Operations Accounting | Database Administration | Financial Analysis | (more if space allows)

 YOUR SUMMARY…

(Start by copying and pasting from your resume… then personalize by putting the nouns back in and adding KEYWORD accomplishments…)

I am a resourceful and productive Business Management professional with over twenty years of diverse and progressively responsible experience in a fast paced dynamic environment.  My proven strengths lie within the areas of accounting and administrative assistance.  I am used to the dynamic demand of operations accounting, customer service, database management, data collection and analysis, and prioritizing workload.   I’ve been reviewed consistently for having a pro-active attitude, focusing on the customers and their needs.

Managers seem to value me as a detail-oriented, critical thinker who thrives in a team environment with diversified stakeholders and clientele, focused on personal development and process improvement. Proficient within proprietary and other systems, as well as Microsoft Excel.

OPERATIONS ACCOUNTING: I was promoted to continue previous retail billing duties with the addition of commercial billing duties for commercial and retail platform.  I coordinate with customer service and manufacturing to obtain information related to customer’s account and orders.

DATABASE ADMINISTRATION: I’ve prepared detailed invoices per customer contract for commercial accounts, including credit allowances to customer as required by account contract.  I have also assisted with individual account budgets, providing data input of pricing, cost, VAR information.

FINANCIAL ANALYSIS:  I prepare detailed invoices, including credit allowances to customer as required by account contract.  This requires knowledge of customer contracts, pricing list, invoice discounts and rebates when applicable.

Available for immediate contact at phone# and email address

***

TASK#2 is to learn the various functionalities that allow you to find new connection, grow and focus your network, and find useful information.

  1. Join LinkedIn groups and post comments
  2. Post relevant content in groups
  3. Post questions
  4. Promote events in which you are involved

 TASK#3 is to exploit the JOBS and job seeking functionalities.

YOUR Digital Footprint

REMEMBER Memorial DayThe 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?


Bob is back and will be facilitating This Week‘s Session, Thursday, May 31st…                     A LinkedIn Primer: Task #2 and #3, a discussion of how to extend the reach of your contact network…extending your digital footprint


Pilot OnboardThe 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. Developed specifically for business, the site doesn’t run the risk of blurring your professional life with your private one; and, it serves virtually every industry and profession.

Joining a network like LinkedIn is simple, but turning it into a powerful networking tool takes a bit of savvy. Here’s how to build a network, leveraging your available time… and put it all to work — without HIGH TECH, social-networking anxiety.

TASK #2  Build Your Network

Goal: Stay focused.  Only connect with others who share your professional interests or are related to those interests in a complementary way… and can help you meet your goals.  After you’ve created your profile, it’s time to begin to connect to others.

LinkedIn will allow you to search for people you know to see if they’re already members. But once you connect to someone, you can also look at the profiles of anyone they know, and in turn anyone those people know. Because of these three degrees of separation, your network can grow rapidly.

Before you begin connecting, decide who you want to connect to. LinkedIn suggests in its FAQ, “Only invite those you know and trust.” 

The 411 on “How Not to Be Connected”

If someone contacts you and you don’t want to form a connection with them, you don’t need to flatly reject them and worry about the attendant awkwardness. When looking at the invitation to connect, simply hit “Archive.” The other person does not receive a message saying their invitation has been rejected, and you don’t have to worry about unwanted invitations clogging up your inbox.

Likewise, if you find that an existing contact is blasting you with too much information or making overly aggressive requests for introductions and recommendations, LinkedIn will let you remove that person easily — and without the contact knowing they’re out of your network.

If only it were that easy in real life.

What’s Next?

  1. Check in on “Network Updates.” Found on your LinkedIn homepage, Network Updates are kind of like your Facebook news feed. Check these periodically for a quick snapshot of what your connections are up to and sharing. And, it’s a 2-way street: Your updates, including white papers you may choose to “publish,” go out to your network.
  2. Be identifiable. Find out who’s checking out your profile by allowing others to see who you are if you view theirs. When you click the information under “Who’s Viewed My Profile” on your profile page, you’ll be able to view users who have looked at your profile, stats on your profile’s number of views, and its appearances in search recently. To change this, go into your settings and click “See what others see when you’ve viewed their profile.”
  3. Export connections. Transfer your LinkedIn connections to another contact management system? LinkedIn enables you to easily export your connections. Just click on “Contacts,” “My Connections,” and then scroll down and click “Export Connections.” You have the option of either exporting as a .CSV or .VCF file.
  4. Leverage the power of LinkedIn Groups. Did you know that if you’re a member of the same group as another user, you can bypass the need to be a first degree connection in order to message them? In addition, group members are also able to view the profiles of other members of the same group without being connected. Join more groups to enable more messaging and profile viewership capabilities.
  5. Link your Twitter acct to LinkedIn. Share your LinkedIn status updates on Twitter, and vice versa. Learn how to connect your Twitter account in your “settings” area.

Task #2 and 3: Building a FOCUSED LinkedIn Network

AjustDaSailsNever allow your LinkedIn usage to spiral out of control… However, that said, you want to get to your statistical ‘tipping point’ as soon as possible to cut the workload.

Your ultimate goal with social media is to STAY FOCUSED.  Only connect with others who share your professional interests or are related to those interests in a complementary way… and can help you meet your goals.  After you’ve created your profile, it’s time to begin to connect to others.  Remember your goals and adjust to your growing comfort and confidence with this ever evolving digital tool.


Our next session is Thursday, September 14th… LinkedIn Primer Task#2&3: Build your social network and explore ways to apply for posted jobs.


Pilot OnboardLinkedIn will allow you to search for people you know to see if they’re already members. But once you connect to someone, you can also look at the profiles of anyone they know, and in turn anyone those people know. Because of these three degrees of separation, your network can grow rapidly. Before you begin connecting, decide who you want to connect to. LinkedIn suggests in its FAQ, “Only invite those you know and trust.”

I started with twenty contacts from my MSOutlook.  My first line has grown to well over two hundred by accepting and sending out INVITATIONS to people I know, are likely to be interactive within our network, or who could provide resources to me or the Candidates I serve… what’s really impressive is how this translates, numerically, into your second and third lines of contact… we’re talking, WOW!!!

The 411 on “How Not to Be Connected”

If someone contacts you and you don’t want to form a connection with them, you don’t need to flatly reject them and worry about the attendant awkwardness. When looking at the invitation to connect, simply hit “Archive.” The other person does not receive a message saying their invitation has been rejected, and you don’t have to worry about unwanted invitations clogging up your inbox.

Likewise, if you find that an existing contact is blasting you with too much information or making overly aggressive requests for introductions and recommendations, LinkedIn will let you remove that person easily — and without the contact knowing they’re out of your network.

If only it were that easy in real life.

What’s Next?

  1. Check in on “Network Updates.” Found on your LinkedIn homepage, Network Updates are kind of like your Facebook news feed. Check these periodically for a quick snapshot of what your connections are up to and sharing.
  2. Be identifiable. Find out who’s checking out your profile by allowing others to see who you are if you view theirs. When you click the information under “Who’s Viewed My Profile” on your profile page, you’ll be able to view users who have looked at your profile, stats on your profile’s number of views, and its appearances in search recently. To change this, go into your settings and click “See what others see when you’ve viewed their profile.”
  3. Export connections. Transfer your LinkedIn connections to another contact management system? LinkedIn enables you to easily export your connections. Just click on “Contacts,” “My Connections,” and then scroll down and click “Export Connections.” You have the option of either exporting as a .CSV or .VCF file.
  4. Easily find email contacts on LinkedIn. Speaking of connections, the “LinkedIn Companion for Firefox” is a great plugin that helps you identify the LinkedIn profiles of people who are emailing you. It also enables you to easily access other LinkedIn features via your browser.
  1. Leverage the power of LinkedIn Groups. Did you know that if you’re a member of the same group as another user, you can bypass the need to be a first degree connection in order to message them? In addition, group members are also able to view the profiles of other members of the same group without being connected. Join more groups to enable more messaging and profile viewership capabilities.

The THREE Phases of an Interview

Compass-seaLEvery step in the job search process is aimed at obtaining interviews.  It is at that point, a potential hiring manager decides if you are right for the job, and, just as important, it is your time to evaluate whether the job is right for you. Most interviews follow a predictable format, with steps that both the interviewer and applicant follow to decide if both will benefit from working together.

Pilot OnboardThe best interviews are ones in which both participants are equal and can have a mutually beneficial, interactive conversation regarding the opportunity at hand.

Think of an interview as the natural extension, the successful result of your effective networking.

Many networking conversations actually become screening interviews, where influential contacts are assessing your qualifications, skill sets and experience relative to an opportunity at hand.  “Perfect practice” of the basics builds the confidence necessary to perform well in formal job interviews.  Let’s break down the basics into four areas…

  1. pre-contact preparation/ research,
  2. greeting and rapport,
  3. questions/answers, and …
  4. meeting closure.

Next week’s session: Thursday, April 6th:  Closing The Deal I, covering interview strategies and PRE-Offer negotiation


All four stages are equally important and deserve your consideration and preparation.

The Three Phases of Every Interview

There are three things that must be discussed in every interview:  First, the Candidate, a discussion usually conducted in the past tense to assess experience, knowledge, and skills… do they meet the potential employer’s REQUIREMENTS?

Second, the job itself.  Beyond meeting requirements, each Candidate must be judged for their potential to meet EXPECTATIONS.  As important, will the Candidate “fit in” on the team and Company culture?  This discussion occurs in the future tense… very obvious transition in a “good” interview.

Last, but certainly not least, is the quality of FIT.  While this is the most subjective and dysfunctional part of the process, it is where both sides must come together for a desired outcome.  When both sides like and find the other to be attractive, a “right” employment opportunity can result.

This is also where the QandA can become more defensive in nature.

 Research the company/position

Second level research will help you to identify attractive companies.  But, this is third level (in-depth) research.  Learn as much as possible about the company, the position and the individual who will be conducting the interview.

Your research goals ought to include developing information about the company’s products, people, organizational structure, successes (and failures), profits (and losses), capital spending, strategic plans, philosophy and labor climate.  Showing your knowledge of some of this information can give you added credibility over other candidates interviewing for the job.

Use the following research strategies:

  • FOLLOW the Company through LinkedIn.  Research the company web site, looking for information relative to your function and level… a company’s financial and annual reports can provide clues to their stability and market share.
  • Don’t forget directories, trade journals, the “business press,” and databases of articles and other news.
  • Ask a friendly recruiter, business acquaintance or stockbroker what they know about the company… and by extension, call people with whom you have networked and ask what they know about the company and/or individual conducting the interview.
  • Check with the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau.
  • Call the company directly; request a sales brochure, annual report or other company information. Companies have to market themselves, too, you know!

Know the needs of the company

Once your basic research is complete, you must next identify how your abilities, experience and expertise can meet the needs of the interviewer, the company and the job.  This point cannot be over-emphasized.  It is the company’s needs that you must fill, not your own.  Surprisingly, however, by meeting the company’s needs, your needs also will be met.

Your VALUE PROPOSITION

Prepare for your interviews (and networking meetings) by fully understanding the value you bring to a potential employer and hiring company.    Incorporate portions of this information into your interview responses, or use some of the material in your interview closing remarks.  Tell them why you are good at what you do!

Good CONTENT To GREAT RESUME

Compass-seaLYou’ve had a great career, and you’ve ‘captured it all’ in your resume.  But, the average time human eyes scan your resume is around 20 seconds before the  ‘YES-No-maybe judgment’ is rendered.  And in the digital world of recruitment, Automated Tracking Systems (ATS) are even more ruthless in their time management.  Therefore, you should get rid of as much excess material as you can in a resume and only keep the stuff that employers want to see.

THE Careerpilot will always encourage you to ‘write for the reader,’ giving them what they need to read to make the most positive recruitment decision about you.


Thursday, September 15th… The Anatomy of a GOOD Headhunter, an exploration of the third-party recruitment world.


Pilot OnboardLess is more in this case, because every bit of relevant information supports your personal brand and the ‘story’ you have to relate regarding your candidacy. You need to strike the right balance between just enough data to pique someone’s interest and leaving the hiring manager(s) wanting to hear more of your story in an interview. Take your current draft resume first to good CONTENT, then on to becoming a GREAT RESUME.

Power up your resume draft by acting on your awareness of the following issues:

  1. CONTACT INFORMATION

Search engines have a blind eye toward header and footer data within a document, so make sure your contact information is the first readable data in your resume draft… after all, the best ‘unique identifier’ of YOU in any database is your name and contact info!  Simplify your contact information as much as possible.

  • City, State and zip code is all the address you need.
  • You only need to provide one phone number, and it’s the one that you access most regularly. You want to be available during career transition.
  • Create a branded email address for your career strategies.
  1. Objective Section

The ‘traditional’ objective section of a resume does not say anything about your story.  “Seeking a challenging and responsible role within a growth motivated and customer centric organization… one in which my personal growth can be in sync with Corporate objectives.”

Gag me with a spoon!

 Rather, consider drafting an ‘executive summary’ of your value which contains the following elements of ‘your story:’

  • A clear positioning statement, with defining keywords, to clarify your value proposition relative to an organization’s needs. Avoid generic positioning when going after a specific opportunity!
  • A Qualification Summary covering the depth and breadth of your experience, skills, and knowledge… your uniqueness that differentiates you from ‘one of those…’ and a brief statement regarding your personality and work habits.
  1. Unrelated Experiences

Include only relevant information regarding your previous work experience. If you worked as a car salesman for six months and the attractive opportunity is for an entry-level IT position, you can exclude any use of vertical space for positions that have nothing to do with IT work… That said, cover all chronological gaps.

  1. Fluff Words

Fluff words are descriptive, qualitative or partial terms that recruiters do not want to see.  Remove the fluff, and other ‘corporate-ese,’ to leave only concrete examples and relevant information about how your work experience prepared you for this given opportunity.

Your networking approach should get interested parties to request your resume. Let your resume lead interested parties to your LinkedIn Profile. 

      5. Typos and Grammatical Mistakes

This should be common sense, as even one misspelled word shows you lack an attention to detail. Have a grammar-gifted friend or colleague, one who is aware of your industry, or functional-specific language,  look over the document to catch any typos or grammar mistakes.

On a related note, be aware of ATS protocols regarding common cosmetic treatments within your resume draft. 

What IS The Next Right Opportunity For You?

Your Career CompassJust as the competent sailor must select their destination in order to have a successful voyage, so must the productive and efficient job seeker know what is a right work opportunity to identify, proceed toward…and secure!  While this seems like an incredible over-simplification, mere ‘common sense,’ it is knowledge that eludes most unemployed people.  You see, when you’re employed you tend to assume that your employer will help you to navigate those ‘next steps’ in your career.

Ah, but when you’ve lost your job, your fellow employees, and your employer… WHOA… the rules seem to have changed!


Pilot Onboard

While the sailor’s journey could be defined by its destination, his success is determined by the course he selects, and, most significantly, having an appropriate ship to make the passage as smooth as possible.

In Steps #1 and #2 of our 12-step process we learn to assess (know the features of our ship) and set our objective (select our destination and course) so that we can develop a GREAT Resume, one that allows our future employer to help navigate our journey, thus we embrace the OTHER job market!

Right Resources for An Effective Search

In Steps #3 through #7 we assemble supportive ‘tools and resources’ for the job search ahead (a competent sailor ‘provisions’ his ship for the journey)… the most important of which is having a plan, a Personal Marketing Plan (our charted course to get us to our destination)…which is Step#8.

3. Develop Personal Marketing collateral materials (Resume, etc.)

4. Test Market with References

5. Branding via social media (LinkedIn ‘footprint’)

6. Basic market research to determine trends and targets

7. Determine potential marketplace (your initial contact list)

8. Develop your PMP (chart your course)

Eight out of your 12 Steps and you haven’t even left the harbor yet!