Archive for the 'LinkedIn' Category

LinkedIn Jobs App Launches

LinkedIn has taken the next natural step in its business by allowing job seekers to apply for positions from their mobile devices. Search jobs and apply with a tap, sending potential employers your expression of interest and an invitation to check your profile. It sounds easy, doesn’t it?

This is, to be sure, a blade that cuts both ways. If you have a strong LinkedIn profile, one that is filled with relevant skills and results, one that is well-written and error-free, this could accelerate your job search. If, on the other hand, you have a lackluster profile, one that does not help you differentiate yourself, it will make no difference. Employers will ignore mediocrity where they find it.

Also, this app can have you destroy opportunities at record speed if your profile contains errors or factually incorrect experiences and skills. Search, tap, apply, and get rejected, all at Internet speed.

The early reviews are good, and if you are in job seeking mode now, it is worth a look. The tool is adaptive and will show you more relevant and interesting positions as you use it.

The takeaway is this: You have a cool new way to be considered for positions, but the same old rules apply. Your LinkedIn profile must be results-driven and error free. That has not changed.

The LinkedIn Job Search app is free and available for iOS and Android platforms.

Bill Florin is a pro resume writer and coach. Connect on LinkedIn or at www.Resu-mazing.com.

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Annual Review Lemonade

Turn that big sour review process into tasty resume and LinkedIn lemonade.

Turn that big sour review process into tasty resume and LinkedIn lemonade.

Everyone hates annual reviews, right? Many are dealing with the process now, either writing their self-evaluations or thinking and writing about their employees (or both). The whole effort takes a lot of time, and many see it as just a necessary hoop that must be jumped through to placate the HR people to get to the raise on the other side. Here is another way to look at it: Use the time to capture the history of your best work.

Annual reviews are often the best source of information for people to use when writing résumés, LinkedIn profiles, and cover letters. It’s also a terrific resource to refresh one’s memory before a job interview. As a pro résumé writer, I love it when clients have reviews available as there will be solid and quantifiable information to include in the career marketing package.

Here are a few compelling points that should change your mind about annual reviews.

It’s a paid mini-résumé writing session. Think about the résumé creation process. You have to sit down and think about the work you have done and the accomplishments you’ve achieved. Isn’t that what happens when you do your self-review? You are writing about your year and putting your work in the best possible light to earn a big, fat, bell-ringing raise. Your employer is paying you to write this year’s section of your résumé.

You have access to information. When you write a résumé after leaving an employer, you may or may not have access to the data you need to tell your story. How much was that sales increase in 2009? You have access to information now that you can include in your review, and nobody will think twice about you researching it. If asked, you say, “I’m writing my self-review.” Done!

You get documented feedback from your boss. Many people complain that the only good feedback that they get is at review time. If that is you, capture this information and use it later if needed. Positive quotes can be showcased in a cover letter or (sparingly) in a résumé.

Get copies and bring them home. Be a freak about this! Ask for or make hardcopies of your completed, delivered reviews (with your boss’s comments and scores). Bring them home now and file them where you will find them later. Gather previous year’s reviews if you don’t have them.

Keep this in mind and use the annual review process as your time to document your year. Annual appraisal lemons can be squeezed into résumé lemonade later.

If you found this article helpful, please take a moment to share it. Also, be sure to follow this blog to get notifications of new stories. Thanks!

Bill Florin is President of Resu-mazing Services Company. After writing hundreds of résumés, he knows the value annual reviews in the résumé writing process.

10 Social LinkedIn Things to Do Now

Your LinkedIn profile is more than an electronic résumé. LinkedIn is a social media site, and if you want to get the most out of it, you should be spending some time each day, or at least every few days, on the site. Activity creates visibility and connections. Punch through this list and figure out how you can be more effective while being LinkedIn.

1. Seasonal Greetings. As I am writing this, Christmas is just two days away. New Year’s Day is a week later. Scan your contacts list and send a note to say hello and share good wishes. Tip: Rather than typing the same statements over and over again, open your word processing program, type out a few greetings, and copy/paste from there. Easy!

2. Share News. Chances are that you work in an industry where something new is happening. If you see news stories that would be of interest to other people in your company and industry – any community with shared interests – post a link. IMPORTANT: Add a comment (a sentence or two) to your post to tell your network why you found the article valuable. Help them understand why you shared it and why one would want to spend time reading it.

3. Congratulate. This one should be obvious. You will see updates informing you that someone got promoted or landed a new job. Beginners: congratulate the person using that link. Pros: Send a private note, offering encouragement based on what you know about the person. Example: “You did such great work when we worked together at XYZ Company. I know that you will be amazing in this new job. Congratulations!”

4. Watch for Jobs for Others. Is there someone in your network who is looking for a new job? You might run across opportunities on LinkedIn and in other ways. Pass along these leads.

5. Participate in Groups. Participating is more than sharing a link to a story or promoting yourself. Read what others are sharing, get involved in discussions, and offer positive feedback. Part of the fun of social media is recognizing and being recognized for adding value. Give some love to others and they will do the same for you. Relationships start that way.

For 21 great tips on building a better LinkedIn profile, see 21-Point LinkedIn Check-Up. It’s the most viewed and shared article on this site.

6. Be Free with Knowledge. What are you good at? What are your areas of expertise? Monitor group discussions to offer ideas and advice when others ask for it. Your reputation can only get stronger for being so generous.

7. Ask Questions. If you are working through an issue, need advice, or just want to bounce ideas off of others, post a question to your network. You can do this as an update, to groups, or both. You might be surprised by the amount of help and engagement you get. Don’t forget to thank others who help you.

8. Be Gracious. Say thanks! When people endorse you, recommend you, recognize you, or help you in any way, say thank you. You can do this publicly. Better, send a private note thanking the person. Do both! Why not? You can never make a mistake by offering appreciation and thanks.

9. Recommend Businesses. This is especially true for smaller businesses that will care about your recommendation. Think about the businesses with which you have experience. Look for their LinkedIn company pages. Write recommendations that are specific about a product or service provided. This can lead to connections with the company and a more diverse network.

10. Recommendations & Endorsements. You should be doing these already, but if not, get going! When you write recommendations, be brief and specific about an accomplishment or quality about the person. Save your endorsements for people whose work you have seen.

What else are you doing with the service? How are you being social? Please share your ideas.

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Bill Florin is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Employment Interview Professional, Coach and President of Resu-mazing Services Company in Monroe, CT.

Your “Me Too” Résumé Isn’t Working

Anyone who has ever me_tooworked on the receiving end of a job announcement – they get to swim in the résumé tsunami – says the same thing. “I’m busy, and I only have a few seconds to look at your résumé. If it isn’t obvious that you’re a fit, you won’t hear from me.”

Knowing that, why do people still fill their résumés with clichés?

Proactive, results oriented professional…

Strong attention to detail…

Team player with a strong work ethic…

Stop! Everyone says that! If you want to be like everyone else, and not get the call, use the same words, phrases, and sentences. Copy your résumé from a template or a book. At least you will have saved some time.

If, on the other hand, you want success, describe what you have done using key words and phrases that recruiters will search on LinkedIn and in other résumé posting sites. Explain how you used a specific technology, tool, or business practice to achieve a result. Describe it plainly. Eliminate adverbs (e.g., successfully, proactively, anything ending in “ly”) as much as possible. Use the space for real information. Here’s an example:

Implemented lean methodologies to reduce production time by 2.5 hours per unit, increasing productivity by 17% and gross profit by 22%.

Reduced geriatric patient hospitalizations by average of 1.5 days in first six months on new case management and follow up initiative.

“Me too” doesn’t work when you need to differentiate yourself and get attention. Eliminate the filler and replace it with hard-hitting detail. It will make a difference.

21-Point LinkedIn Check-Up (2013)

You know that LinkedIn is the place to be for online professional networking. It can be one of the most productive tools available, but it can also hurt you if you are not careful. Use this check-up to be sure that you are using the platform to its potential. Here is an updated check-up for 2013.

  1. Your Headline: Get creative here, using the few words that you have to build your brand. Rather than limiting yourself to a simple job title, think about how you could use this space more effectively. Before: Accountant. After: CPA and Client Magnet. Have some fun!
  2. Your Picture: This is not Facebook. Make it professional. Use a picture that shows you in your grown-up clothes. Smile.  Make sure that you have a picture. Studies have shown that people view profiles without pictures as “suspicious.”
  3. Your Profile Address: Did you know that you can customize this so that you don’t have all of the random letters, numbers and slashes tacked on to the URL? Do it. It will separate you from the LI rookies.
  4. Don’t Stalk: Everyone hates the notifications that an anonymous LinkedIn user viewed her/his profile. Be public. LinkedIn is for professionals seeking to network. Going stealth does not help you do that. If you view a profile for someone you don’t know, you just might make a new connection.
  5. Spelling/Grammar: LinkedIn is your professional face to the 225 million-member universe. Also, remember that your public profile can be viewed by non-members too as it is searchable on Google and other engines. Spelling and grammar errors are the equivalent of showing up at a business function wearing different color shoes. Spell check and proofread before posting. Use a word processor with spell check to write your copy and copy/paste into the profile.
  6. Formatting: You can’t use special characters and graphics, but you can use spacing and ASCII characters to make material >>> POP! <<< You can do something ##> SPECIAL with a few basic characters and an extra line or two.
  7. Summary: Remember that LinkedIn is a social media platform. Write a summary that lets your personality come through. Use the first person as you write. Remember that this is not a résumé. You can even give your readers information on why they should contact you. If you are looking for a job, mention that. If you aren’t, you can say something like this: “I welcome conversations with others in the industry so that we can share ideas and explore business opportunities.”
  8. TMI: Be careful about sharing too much information about your current gig. You should not be sharing confidential material unless you are seeking an involuntary departure. Loose lips…you know the rest.
  9. Results: Here’s a reality check. Does your profile read like a job description? If so, nobody is going to read it. Bor-ring! Give us one or two accomplishments from each job. Share some details. Pay attention to #8 above. Don’t forget your volunteer work.
  10. Files & Links: You can add samples of your work and links to other sites to your profile. If you did incredible work of a project for which there is a credible link, share it. Did you create a killer PowerPoint deck (good killer, not bore-to-death killer)? Do you have a writing sample? Are there pictures somewhere? Share it all here. Get creative.
  11. Recommendations: One of the best features of LinkedIn is the recommendation feature. Your connections can write in-depth recommendations for you that you can approve for posting to your profile. Be proactive and ask for recommendations. Be specific when you ask, reminding your connection about the work that you did together and what you would like to recommendation to include.
  12. Personal Invitations: As you think about and search for people with whom to connect, send invitations that are personal and will help the other person remember you. Bad: LinkedIn form-letter invitation. Good: “I enjoyed working with you at the NSA and I look forward to re-establishing our professional relationship.” Better: “You did incredible work of the XYZ project when we worked together at IBM. I am looking forward to reconnecting and sharing ideas.”
  13. Introductions: You know and are connected to Jane (1st level). You want to be introduced to John (2nd level). Ask Jane to make the introduction, explaining why it would benefit all involved.
  14. Groups: Explore your interests and connect to like-minded professionals. Search for groups that are related to your profession and interests. Check out the groups that LI recommends. Once a member, get involved in the conversation. The invitations to connect will flow when you engage professionally, intelligently and constructively.
  15. Follow Companies: Even if you are not looking for a job, there might still be companies that you admire or think about. If you didn’t work where you are anymore, where might you want to work? Follow them.
  16. Jobs: That’s one of the reasons why you are spending time here, right? Check the jobs link and set up monitoring alerts for jobs that you might consider. Check out companies that are actively recruiting through the site and see if you know anybody there. You might find that you have multiple 2nd level connections that are just an introduction away (see #13).
  17. Posting Quantity: Once or twice a day is plenty. A few times a week is OK, too. More than that and the value of your posts will be dubious and connections will start to tune you out. This is not Facebook. Nobody wants to hear about your tough commute, your lunch choice, or how hard you worked out today. Quality professional updates are the rule.
  18. Speaking of Quality: Remember that you are logged into a professional networking platform. You should conduct yourself here, with constructive, well-considered comments just as if you were at work. You can make a great impression or a bad one. It’s your choice.
  19. Give Recommendations: Make someone’s day special. Write an unsolicited recommendation for someone you’ve worked with or have done business with. Make it sincere and specific. OK: “Bob is a great guy.” Much better: “Jane completed the Flux Capacitor project two weeks early and $15,000 under budget. Her work allowed us to launch early and beat competitors to market.”
  20. Follow Thought-Leaders: Some of the biggest names in business write for LinkedIn. Richard Branson, Jack Welch and others are there. Follow them and read what they are writing. If you have an intelligent comment to add to the conversation, go for it. Your network will see it and might learn something about your interests and professional thoughts. Don’t forget about your connections; give them some love for their posts, too.
  21. Endorsements: Don’t spend a lot of time here. You might find that people who don’t know you well (or at all!) are endorsing you for things that they can’t possibly know. Take the endorsement pledge: I will never endorse anyone for anything that I don’t have first-hand knowledge about. My guess is that endorsements will be removed, though I have no reason for knowing that. That opinion is an awful lot like some of the worthless endorsements floating around.

Bonus: See 10 Social LinkedIn Things to Do Now for a quick list of activities you can be doing right away to build your reputation and grow your network.

There it is! Work through this check-up and you can earn the coveted “All-Star” rating for your LinkedIn profile.

Do you have other tips to share that aren’t included here? Please comment and share!

If you found this article helpful, please take a moment to share it. Also, be sure to follow this blog to get notifications of new stories. Thanks!

Bill Florin spends a lot of time coaching Resu-mazing Services Company clients on getting the most from LinkedIn.

Four Job Search Truths: Take Nothing for Granted

“Should I customize my resume for each job?”

“Do I really need a cover letter?”

These are two questions that I heard recently from people concerning their job searches. Let me answer your question with a question. “Do you want the job?”

If the answer is yes, then the answers are yes to both questions. And that’s just the beginning. Here are some harsh realities of the 2013 job search.

Networking is essential. If you see a job that you really want, work to identify someone in your network who can get you in invitation to interview. This might be a second or third level LinkedIn connection. It may be someone you know in the “real” world. It will be worth your time to find the connection, because your competition is working to get the advantage of a warm introduction.

It’s You Versus the Machine. I’m referring to the ATS (applicant tracking system) machine. Employers are flooded with résumés from people with little or no qualifications, so they set their force fields on “high”. You must (must, must, MUST) customize your résumé and cover letter to match the qualifications and requirements of the position. Don’t do it and your résumé will never be seen by a human. You will be filtered out and auto-rejected by ATS.

Sell Yourself with the Cover Letter. The letter explains why you are the best candidate for the job, what special skills you have that make you a cultural fit, and addresses any easily identified obstacles or objections. For example, if you are applying for a position in a different city, explain your relocation plans and that you will NOT be looking for relo assistance. Answer the obvious questions. Each letter should be different.

It’s Hard Work. There it is! Finding work is work. You must take the time and invest the energy into making yourself appear to be the ideal candidate for every position that you want. If you don’t, someone else will. Quality of your marketing documents beats quantity, but you need quantity, too. You are facing intense competition for every position.

If you aren’t making a full-time effort at finding your next full-time gig, you are not working hard enough. Make a plan to conduct meaningful job search activities every day. Then do them. Take nothing for granted and assume that the competition will be willing to do the things that you don’t feel like doing. Work hard. It will be worth it.

Here are some earlier stories to help you jump-start your search and find your next job faster:

8 Résumé Must-HavesStart Your Résumé Strong!Get Busy!Do What You Can

Bill Florin, CPRW & CEIP, is the President of Resu-mazing Services Company in Monroe, CT

Five Reference-Gathering Tools & Tips

Specific, concise, results-centered references are an important part of a job search. Hiring managers and HR people want to know what others think about the candidate they are considering. In fact, many companies make this a mandatory part of the process. The HR folks will not be doing their jobs nor will they advance even the best candidate in the process without this box checked.

Here are the five things that you will make your references another compelling part of your career marketing package, supplementing and complementing your résumé, cover letter and LinkedIn profile.

Get them now. Don’t wait until you start your job search to get well-written recommendations into your portfolio. If you are especially marketable, the process could move faster than you thought. You don’t want to be empty-handed when asked for them.

Direct the reference writer. When you ask someone to write a reference for you, tell the person what you would like her/him to write about. Remind her about the project you worked on. Ask him to discuss your negotiating skills and how it helped your company get pricing concessions. If you don’t, all of your references will say “Jim is a great guy” or “Mary is a team player who multitasks well.” You don’t want generic mush. You want focused, valuable and diverse letters that create a comprehensive picture of you, your abilities and your accomplishments. You have to direct the process.

Learn more about LinkedIn recommendations & endorsements here.

Get durable contact information. By durable, I mean at least one way to contact the referrer that is not dependent on employment. If you and Travis worked together at IBM and Travis has since moved on to another company, what good will Travis’s IBM email address and phone number be? A LinkedIn profile address is good, as is a personal email address. Keep them current.

Make it easy. Make life easy for the person giving you the recommendation. Offer to write the letter for him or her. You write it, your buddy Travis reads it, copies it and pastes it into the letter format of his choice. Done! Don’t feel nervous about this. Instead, know that you are making it easier for people to help you. They are doing something that they wanted to do and you have done most of the work for them. Everyone wins.

Create a LinkedIn version. A recommendation letter may be several paragraphs long. A LinkedIn recommendation should be just a few lines. Depending on your relationship with the referrer, offer to write a condensed version of the recommendation and ask Travis to post it to your LinkedIn profile as a recommendation that the world can see. Then you can tell an interviewer that you have more complete letters of recommendation that support the LinkedIn versions.

If you do these things, you will be more marketable and more confident. After all, you already know what your referrers are going to say. That confidence will come through as you interview and you just might become the top candidate.

Bill Florin is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and Certified Employment Interview Professional, and President of Resu-mazing Services Company in Monroe, Connecticut.