Is Your LinkedIn Profile Doing Its Job?

Newsflash: May isn’t just the perfect time to spring clean your house, it’s also the ideal time to spring clean your job search material – and your resume and LinkedIn profile are the perfect places to start.

Over the past few weeks, I have received several requests to help clients update their LinkedIn Profile along with their resume. More and more job seekers are becoming aware that their potential of acquiring their dream job rests not only on how completely B.A. their resume is but also the effectiveness of their online identity as well.  

As I dove into the world of LinkedIn and my clients’ profiles I learned two things.

  1. People generally think about their LinkedIn ONLY when they start looking for a new job.
  2. Creating an active LinkedIn profile is a task that is tedious, but extremely worthwhile!

So, today I ask you…Is your LinkedIn profile up-to-date and doing its job?

Whether it is or it isn’t, here are a few tips you can use to make the most of your professional social media presence!

UPDATE YOUR LINKEDIN REGULARLY

The first mistake I see people make with LinkedIn is that they treat it as a “set it and forget it” tool. Instead of continually updating it with their most recent accomplishments and accolades they check in on it once a year, add a few new skills and call it quits.

Here’s my advice.  Make it a priority to log into LinkedIn AT LEAST once per month (truthfully you should be doing it more frequently) and update your current position to reflect your most recent accomplishments, connect with any new professionals you have met, and give someone else a recommendation! Doing these few simple tasks will keep your presence active and increase your potential for formative relationships through the site!

REACH OUT FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

Out of all the sections on LinkedIn, in my experience, recommendations is the one that is utilized the least.  Perhaps it’s because it can feel uncomfortable to reach for endorsements. I do believe, however, that if you can get over your fear of reaching out to your co-workers, former employers, and professional connections the recommendations section can be the most powerful component of your LinkedIn profile!  

Think about it this way…would you rather hire someone who has three reviews about how amazing they are or someone who doesn’t have even one? It makes a difference!

This week, try reaching out to just ONE person for a recommendation. If you don’t know how to do it, check out this article.

CONNECT, COMMENT, SHARE

LinkedIn is a SOCIAL site, which means it works a lot like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook (if you are using them as a marketing tool).  The more you engage, the more effective it will be!

Here’s how you can engage. Connect with new people regularly. Comment on posts on your homepage. Share news articles about your company. Share posts from your peers. OR share your own articles! When you connect, comment, and share, you never know who is going to notice your activity (hint: it might be your next boss!).

ASK FOR HELP!

If you are reading this and still feel overwhelmed about where to start with LinkedIn, my best recommendation is to reach out for help. Find a friend who knows about it and request their advice OR (better yet) send me a message!  I would love to help you make the most of your online presence so you can land the job of your dreams!

How To Find a Knock-Your-Socks-Off Copywriter

I’m going to start by saying this is most definitely a shameless plug for my business because I want to be the knock-your-socks-off copywriter you hire. It is also, however, packed full of information on how to make the most of your money when hiring someone to write the words you need to make your business thrive.

So, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and give me a few seconds of your time. If your website could use an injection of personality, your blog could handle a face lift, or you require some killer marketing materials you’re going to want to read this.

#1 Look for someone who is well practiced in their craft.

There are websites upon websites that work to convince everyone that they “have what it takes” to be a six-figure earning copywriter. These websites claim to give them all of the training they need in 6 easy steps. As enticing and exciting as this sounds, unfortunately (most of the time) it’s not true.

I’m not here to say that there are only a handful of people in the world qualified to write copy for you. I’m simply saying, like every other craft, creating quality copy takes A LOT of hard work, time and practice. You don’t just magically become a copywriter overnight.

When you look to hire a copywriter, don’t be afraid to ask them about their experience or ask for samples of previous work. A great copywriter should be able to show you a portfolio and tell you about the type of work they have completed in the past.

#2 Know the difference between someone who will churn and burn your copy and someone who will get to the bottom of what you actually need by getting to know you.

I can tell you firsthand that great copywriters can create content rather quickly. That content, however, is much more effective and satisfying if it is created from a place of understanding and knowledge instead of just on a whim.

The copywriter you choose to work with should have a process in place to get to know you and what you are looking for. You should expect to receive questions from them and exchange in a little back-and-forth conversation before they can get started on your pieces. Asking questions helps a good copywriter get to know your audience and therefore determine the type of voice to use and the best information to incorporate.

The bottom line, if someone (or a platform) promises to turn around your copy in 24 hours for you without asking ANY questions…you will likely not receive the quality content you are looking for.

#3 Find someone who appreciates YOUR talent!

Just like other creatives, great copywriters are talented individuals who have taken the time to master their craft.  That being said, they should appreciate the value of your skills and talents as well! They should show an appreciation for your business and the services you offer. A relationship with a great copywriter should feel pleasant and beneficial for BOTH parties.

The bottom line: If you happen to be looking for a knock-your-socks-off copywriter, I’d love to get to know you and what you’re looking for! Let’s Talk today!

4 Questions To Ask at the End of an Interview

While I was looking for my first job after college I had A LOT of interviews.  I had so many interviews I don’t even remember what jobs I was interviewing for.  This basically proves that I was AWESOME at writing my resume and TERRIBLE at landing the job.  I attribute this fact to one main thing… I NEVER asked any questions.

You heard that right. Zip, zero, zilch.  When the end of an interview rolled around and the interviewer offered their time to answer my questions—I had none.  For some outrageous reason, I thought that asking questions made me look weak.  I thought that if I didn’t ask questions I would prove I knew it all and that I could handle the job.

I now realize how ridiculously arrogant that sounds, AND what a big mistake it was.  The truth is, you NEED to ask questions at the end of an interview. Here’s why.

Questions help the interviewer see that you are interested in the job, that you have done your research, and that you have critical thinking skills. Asking questions at the end of the interview is also a great way to leave a lasting impression.

Now, without further ado—-here are my recommended questions to ask at the end of an interview…

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Why do you enjoy working here?

Asking your interviewer why they enjoy working at the company is a great way to put a spin on the interview. Hopefully, it will also give you some insight on additional perks the company may offer, or a glimpse at the company culture.

What is a typical day like in this position?

Truth be told, most job descriptions are pretty generic.  They list the basic requirements, but not the nitty-gritty.  Asking about daily tasks allows you an opportunity to find out if you the job might not be everything it seems.  It also allows you a chance to boast about additional skills that you may have related to daily tasks brought up by the potential employer.

Is there room for growth within the company/position?

You gotta have goals.  Asking about growth within the company shows that you have big ambitions, but you are not opposed to sticking around.  Employers like to know what your long-term plans are, but don’t always come out and ask. Therefore, if you ask about company growth and the long-term, they will receive a subliminal green light on hiring you.

Are there any qualities that you want the person taking this position to have that you don’t see in me?

Mic drop. This is a GREAT question on which to end the interview.  Asking about ay missing qualities forces the interviewer to reflect back on your conversation creating a stronger picture of you in their mind.  PLUS, if there are any qualities they are looking for that you haven’t talked about yet, you get a chance to bring them up.

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This list certainly isn’t all-encompassing, and of course, you can expand upon or modify these questions in your own way.  If you use any of these questions in an upcoming interview, leave me a comment. I would love to know how it goes!

Good luck!

3 Lessons I Learned From Hearing “You Need More Experience.”

I can vividly remember searching for my first job after college. I spent my days scouring job sites, updating my resume and dreaming of endless possibilities. You see, I was a fresh, young graduate ready to tackle the world and solve its problems one non-profit organization at a time. After all, that was my dream and with all of my passion, I couldn’t see how anyone would be able to turn me down.

My to-do list was checked off, I had completed internships in college, held a steady job (or two, or three…at a time), completed a few side projects and had great recommendations. Yet, after countless, and yes I really mean countless, applications I was still waiting to hear the words “You’re hired!” I had only heard “You need more experience.”

Feeling down and out as I was reflecting one night in the midst of my job search I remembered some solid advice from my favorite college mentor. On my last night in her “classroom”, as we were saying goodbye, she said to me, “No matter what you decide to do after graduation, no matter what opportunities you take advantage of, you won’t be making a mistake. You will always be making gains if you think if it that way.” 

I took that advice to heart. And, I am happy to say it has not let me down. Here’s what I learned along the way.

Be willing to apply for positions that don’t sound like your dream job.

This was hard for me. My heart was set on working in non-profit development, but I needed a job. Right after graduation, my husband and I moved out of state to take advantage of an opportunity for him to pursue a master’s degree. Needless to say, I didn’t have the option of moving home to my parent’s basement. (No offense meant to people who did, cheers to saving money!)  So, I just started applying everywhere with health insurance benefits and even some places without.

I finally landed my first job after college in a call center.  Was it glamorous? No. Did I love it? Absolutely not. But, did it teach me something? Yes. In that position, I learned A LOT about corporate environments, employee reviews, and working the traditional 9-5. I also gained experience in that position that I have used as examples in EVERY interview since.

After my husband received his master’s degree we moved back to Illinois. This time I found myself employed by an insurance agency. It was literally the furthest thing from what I pictured myself doing. In fact, just months before I interviewed for the position I told a friend that his insurance job sounded “mind-numbing.”—Funny how life does that to us sometimes.

I’m not going to elaborate on everything the position in insurance taught me, I’ll save that for another time. But, I will tell you that in that position I was able to be part of the interview process for new hires, train other employees, and help design customer service processes. Eventually, all of that experience helped lead me here. So, there ya go!

Volunteer

Honestly, there are so many reasons that volunteering is important, but right now I am going to focus on how it can help you professionally.  For example, it was during that first position in a call center when I started volunteering at a local alternative school. It wasn’t a non-profit, but I had experience in education, I loved working with the kids and giving back was selfishly satisfying. 

It was my time spent volunteering there that gave me the fuel I needed to get through my day J.O.B. and pay the bills.  Long story made short, eventually, I was able to transition my volunteering into a full-time position and leave the call center.

Volunteering can give you an outlet to use the amazing skills you have while building your resume.  Find an organization that needs someone to volunteer time to help grow their social media, create marketing materials, get their finances in order, or make-over their conference room.  Whatever your talents are, I guarantee you someone needs them—they just may not have the means to pay for them. Make it a win-win. Help them out AND gain experience.

Work hard—work really, really hard

This statement probably sounds as generic as they come, but it contains so much truth that it just has to be said.  In order to land that dream job or maybe just a job in your field of choice you are going to have to put in a lot of “grunt work”.  

Truth bomb. Having a college degree in your hand doesn’t guarantee anything. According to the 2015 US Census, 1 in 3 Americans holds a bachelor’s degree or higher. That’s a lot of educated people, so roll up your sleeves and get ready for some late nights and a few long work weeks, it’s time to prove you’ve got what it takes.

I’m hoping that my tough love there at the end didn’t scare you away and that you’re still reading because the truth is you’re going to reach that dream and accomplish that goal. Don’t doubt yourself.  Just know that the journey will be worth it, so make the most of it. Hearing “You need more experience.” is not the end of the road, it’s only the beginning.