7 Ways to Make the Most of LinkedIn in 2018

Managing your LinkedIn profile like a digital Rolodex could lead to countless missed professional opportunities.

In spite of the many social platforms, LinkedIn remains the ideal social network for business professionals. According to the Society of Human Resource Management, more than 90% of recruiters rely on the platform to find candidates. And today, it’s used in nearly every industry.

Each year the platform continues to improve its interface to remain an invaluable networking resource for professionals. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure you’re marketing yourself effectively on LinkedIn. Here are 7 ways to have an effective LinkedIn profile.

Be active

LinkedIn is a powerful resource. But, to make the most of the social platform, you’ll need to be socially active. Being an active user means engaging with your contacts by liking, sharing, and commenting on their activity.

However, it can be difficult to interact with your contacts throughout the day. One of the simplest ways to be active is to download the mobile app. The LinkedIn app provides an easy-to-use interface that makes networking a breeze.

Another part of being active is to ensure your profile remains current. Continually update your profile with projects you’ve worked on or presentations you’ve given. You can share your work by writing articles or posting pictures and videos. The goal is to provide content that will benefit your connections and make them want to interact with you.

Becoming a member in groups is another way to be effectively active. LinkedIn will allow you to join up to 100 groups. Once you join a group you become connected to the members within the group. This causes your profile to show up in more search results when someone is looking for your skillset.

Write an effective tagline
Your tagline, also known as your headline, should be optimized and captivating. It will default to your current job title if you don’t change it. But this is what potential connections and hiring managers will use to find you. To ensure it’s optimized, include words that you want to be discovered for. 

Rather than allowing it to default to your current job title, use the 120 characters to give the reader a snapshot of who you are. Provide a brief description that is both interesting and engaging. A captivating tagline will motivate them to click on your profile link to read further.

Use keywords

In addition to your tagline, use keywords throughout your profile. Include keywords you want to be targeted for within your headline, your position titles, summary, experience descriptions, projects, certifications, publications, and anywhere else they can be placed.

Currently there are more than 11 million active job listings on LinkedIn. If you want to be considered for a new opportunity, you’ll need to include those words within your profile. Recruiters use keywords to search LinkedIn for the job description they’re trying to fill.

Look through jobs you’re interested in, and make note of the specific skills and words used within the descriptions. Sprinkling those words throughout your summary and experience sections will help you connect with your desired opportunities.

But don’t stuff your profile with keywords. Injecting too many keywords is going to be obvious, and demonstrates poor communication skills. It will be obvious to the reader that the profile was created only for LinkedIn’s search engine optimization.

Discover your niche

How are you going to stand out among the millions of people on LinkedIn? At first, this may be overwhelming. But the solution is to select your desired niche. Identify yourself as specifically as possible.

You’ll be lost in the crowd if you simply market yourself as a manager. To attract the attention of a hiring manager, present yourself as an IT Security Manager with a CISM Certification. Distinction will make you standout and make you a more attractive candidate to the appropriate hiring managers.

Make sure your profile is complete

Don’t be satisfied with an incomplete profile. Complete all sections, including education, certifications, and interests

A complete profile will provide better position within search results. Be sure to include your information for all the applicable profile sections. As you complete your profile, contemplate your personal brand and the impact of the information you provide.

Consider the details that will help you standout among the competition. Include any certifications you have, projects you’ve been a part of, or foreign languages you speak.

Consider your images

There are two images within your profile you should pay special attention to: your profile image and your background image.

Your profile image says a lot about the rest of your profile. It’s often someone’s first impression of you. Your photo should be professional and appropriate for your industry.

The profile picture provides a personal connection for recruiters and hiring managers. An unprofessional or missing photo can seriously impact your job search. The image increases the likeliness of your profile being viewed by 40%.

In addition to your profile picture, use a background photo for additional personal branding. Use a photo that you have the rights to and communicates what you stand for. The size of this photo is 1400 x 425 pixels and should be a .jpg, .gif or .png file.

Get recommendations and endorsements

Having the recommendation of your peers is one of best ways to improve your profile’s social standing. It may be uncomfortable to request a compliment from a colleague, but offering to reciprocate the favor can make it feel more natural.

Don’t overlook the importance of endorsements. LinkedIn provides you complete control over your them. You can select the skills users can choose to endorse you for. You can also delete any undesired endorsements.

Endorsements also provide a unique networking opportunity. Whenever LinkedIn notifies you of an endorsement say “Thank You” to your endorser. This is a great way to naturally start a conversation with someone.

Final thoughts

Understanding the features of LinkedIn can impact the success of your job search. Knowing what areas to focus on will increases the opportunities of your profile being viewed by the right person.

Implement these 7 suggestions within your LinkedIn profile to help you connect with the right person in order to obtain the job you’re searching for.

5 Ways to be Effective at a Networking Event

Networking events sometimes feel like speed dating. Talk to as many people as you can until you find a mutually beneficial connection. It can be less than comfortable.

These events are created with the best of intentions, but trying to create organic conversation in a manufactured setting can be difficult.

The thought of networking will cause you to reach for a stack of business cards or hide in the coat closet depending upon your personality. Rather then shuffling through your forced mental script of rehearsed questions, consider the following 5 ways to be effective at your next networking event.

Be memorable

We don’t mean wearing a flashy tie. Be the man or woman who is remembered by what you say.

We’re all used to the standard, “So, what do you do?” line of questioning. Simply being prepared for these standard questions can leave an impression.

Come up with an honest answer that is engaging and makes the other person want to know more.

Donald Miller, best selling author and CEO of StoryBrand, gives the following example of a conversation between two people at networking event.

Other person: “So, what do you do?”

You: “You know how hard it is to make a healthy dinner every weeknight with all the stuff your kids have going on? Well, our company delivers homemade frozen dinners that are actually affordable, so parents can relax and enjoy time with their families at night.”

As Miller explains, this method works because you’re telling a mini-story with this type of answer. This also positions you as the person who can solve a specific problem. If the other person can’t work with you at the present time, they’ll be able to file your name away in their mental Rolodex as the person with a specific solution.

Be genuine

Vanessa Van Edwards, a human behavioral expert, and author of Captivate, tries to provide a “me-too!” moment for the other person in every conversation. “It makes us feel accepted. It makes us feel heard. And most importantly, it makes us feel calm,” she explains.

Genuinely showing you care goes a long way. During most of these events, you’re surrounded by people searching for what they can get out of the other person. But entering a conversation with the desire to solve their needs often results in mutual benefit. Maybe you’ll get their business or maybe you’ll just get the blessing of being able to help someone.

Show the other person you care by asking questions you actually want to know the answer to. Rather than the standard, “What do you do?” or “What brought you here tonight?” try the following:

What are you most excited about with your job right now?

What are you most excited about with your industry right now?

What’s the biggest challenge you’re currently facing?

How did you end up in your line of work?

What are you looking forward to this week?

Know where to stand

It may sound trivial, but the location you choose to stand in a room can make all the difference. Rather than backing yourself up into a corner, choose strategic high-traffic locations within the room.

More specifically, stand where people are walking away from – against the flow. Find a place where there is a natural traffic flow such as a few feet from the bar or hors d'oeuvres table. This will allow you to make eye contact and be in position to naturally engage other attendees.

Check your body language

In a recent interview, Van Edwards explained that you want to maintain open body posture. This shows the other person you are open to conversation and non-threatening.

A simple way to demonstrate open body posture is to show your hands. Van Edwards says this is a primal survival mechanism showing that we are not carrying a weapon. Conversational stature often causes us to place our hands in our pockets or fold our arms. Subconsciously this communicates that we are closed off or even untrustworthy.

It can be hard to avoid folding your arms as this can be a natural tendency for many. However, if you need to, hold a glass or folder to keep yourself from placing your hands in your pockets.

Have a plan of action

You can usually decide early on in the conversation whether you will want to stay connected with the person you’ve been speaking with. If you do, you’ll want to have a practical way to follow up. But if you decide that you won’t want to stay connected, you need to have a natural exit strategy.

If you desire to stay in contact, provide them with your business card and tell them you’ll be following up with them. Depending upon the conversation, you may be able to offer to email them a helpful resource.

However, if you realize you won’t want to stay connected beyond the conversation, you need to have a way to remove yourself from the conversation. Simply asking to be excused in order to attend to needed business before the next session can be a honest, natural method. You can also watch for a natural break in the conversation and cordially thank them for their time and wish them the best of luck with the remainder of the year. While you want to show genuine interest in the other person, you need to value your own time as well.

Summary

Depending upon the length of the event or conference, you may have several conversations, but you’ll only have one or two memorable connections. Once the event is over focus on the conversation that you see providing the most direct benefit.

Today, it’s easy to make connections, but developing relationships can be difficult. Developing these relationships requires you analyze yourself and be proactive. While searching for connections, you need to be the person someone wants to network with. Keep these five tips in mind to make the most of the next networking event you attend.

Resources:

http://buildingastorybrand.com/episode-96/

http://buildingastorybrand.com/network-without-being-annoying/

Effective Ways to Close an Interview

You have made it to the final interview for your dream job and now the conversation is winding down. The interviewer asks you: “Do you have any questions for me?” Now is not the time to say “No”! This is your moment to interject your own personality, comments and leave a favorable impression.

So many candidates fail to take advantage of this opportunity. Some of the best-qualified candidates fall short of the interview finish line and therefore, lose the job. Even if your interview went very well, the way you end the interview can make or break your chances of landing the position.

To help you cross the interview finish line, here are some effective exit statements to close out your interview:

1) Express your enthusiasm and interest. “This is an exciting position and just the kind of challenge I’m looking for. I feel that I’m the right candidate for this opportunity.”

2) Summarize why you’re right for the job. Reiterate your strengths and how they tie into the critical skills the company is seeking. Include several reasons why you should have the job.

3) Ask about any hesitations: “From what you heard today, do you think there are any issues or reasons that would prevent us from moving to the next step?” Address any hesitation.

4) Thank the interviewer for their time. Let the person who interviewed you know how much you appreciate their time, interest and consideration. Also, mention that you appreciated meeting their staff along the way (if others were involved in your interview).

5) Ask the final question: “What is the timeline for filling this position and when can I expect to hear from you?”

Make sure the interviewer’s last impression of you is a good one. Closing out your interview with the right statements will significantly increase your chances of landing the job.

5 Biggest Resume Mistakes

The quickest way to eliminate yourself from a job process is by having mistakes on your resume. Beyond the obvious grammatical and spelling mistakes to avoid, there are 5 other BIG mistakes to be aware of and stay away from:

1) Not including keywords that match the job. Your resume must show that you are qualified for the job so include keywords on your resume to refer to the specific position. You have very little time to grab a hiring manager’s attention so don’t send a generic resume. You will be lost in the pile.

2) Focusing on the wrong thing. Candidates often explain their responsibilities but forget to include results. Set yourself apart from the pack by highlighting specific accomplishments. The more quantitative, the better. In fact, numbers and metrics speak louder than words.

3) Being too modest. Don’t forget to include any awards or recognition you’ve received such as “President’s Club Member” for being over quota by 25%. Also, include any community service awards you received. Hiring managers look favorably upon people who not only work hard at the office but make a difference in the community as well.

4) Leaving unanswered red flags. Candidates usually wait until the first interview before addressing any gaps that may be on their resume, but this can prove to be a mistake. Most candidates won’t make it to a first interview if the issues are not explained on their resume, cover letter or even LinkedIn profile. So if you moved around a lot in your career, it would be to your benefit to explain the reasons for your movement.

5) Writing too much. When writing your resume be as succinct and concise as possible. Keep your resume to 1 or 2 pages max. Bullet points and short paragraphs enhance readability. Limit your resume to the last 10 – 15 years of work experience. You don’t need to include everything you ever did.

How to Grab the Attention of Hiring Managers and Recruiters

January 2, 2018

By Barb Miller, Marketing Manager

If you’re seeking a job, standing out and capturing the attention of hiring managers and recruiters can be a challenge. This means that you have to cut through all the noise out there, online and offline, in order to make yourself easy to find.

Here are a few suggestions:

Upload your resume to job boards. Hiring managers and recruiters often rely upon sites such as Career Builder, Monster, and Indeed to find candidates who aren’t in their internal applicant tracking system. These job boards are a gold mine for trying to find the perfect candidate for a role. Large career sites such as Career Builder will ask you upload your resume into their database at no charge. Resumes stored into their database are then available to hiring managers and recruiters who pay for access to search their bank of resumes.

Keep your resume up-to-date. Make sure you update your resume every few months and make it stand out. Tailor your resume to your desired job title you’re seeking and show how you’re different. For example, every time you have an achievement or are recognized by your company or industry, brag about it. This is not the time to be humble. You need to showcase the stuff that hiring managers and recruiters are looking for.

Develop online presence at beBee.com. beBee is a new personal branding platform. The network was created to allow people to showcase and share their personal brand and market themselves to employers, clients, customers, vendors and media in their respective industries. beBee allows users to network with each other through common personal and professional interests, uniting their personal and professional lives in one place.

Beef up LinkedIn profile. It’s no longer enough to just build a LinkedIn profile. You need to include the most relevant keywords used in your industry, highlight your skill sets, keep your accomplishments up-to-date, quantify achievements whenever possible, such as “increased productivity by 25%” or “doubled sales quota” and make sure your personal settings are allowing hiring managers and recruiters to view your profile. Double check by clicking on Settings, then click the Privacy header, you’ll see a Job Seeking section. Set it to the mode that allows hiring managers and recruiters to know that you’re open to opportunities.

Add Google+ to social media efforts. In addition to your LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter profiles, add Google’s social media channel, Google+. It’s definitely worth exploring. Google+ offers great chances for professionals to showcase their work through online portfolios. Check out the Google+ communities and you’ll discover a number of Google+ users are from various industries and job levels. Remember to keep your profile updated in Google+ including your current location so hiring managers and recruiters can easily find you.

Be seen in the right places. Never miss an opportunity to connect with key influencers and leaders in your field. Networking at industry events is the perfect environment to approach these people and have a discussion. Too often people shy away from the trade show exhibit hall at conferences. They fear that they will have to talk to salespeople, but these industry suppliers are some of the best people for you to get to know and learn more about the current business climate. Approximately 85% of jobs are filled through networking.

Volunteer in the community. To fill time between jobs or explore new opportunities and careers, many people are finding that a volunteer job especially in the nonprofit sector can sometimes lead to permanent, salaried employment. For example, each October, there’s the “Make a Difference Day,” one of the largest annual single-days of service nationwide. People from all walks of life, professions and industries come together with a single purpose…to improve the lives of others. On a day like this, you never know who you could meet or work alongside.

If you are in the job market, let us know what other ways you’re using to grab the attention of hiring managers and recruiters. Please post below.