How LinkedIn can get you a new job: Why it’s crucial for every job seeker

Most people are familiar with LinkedIn but I talk to far too many people who don’t actually utilize it properly. If you don’t know what LinkedIn is, it is a social media platform for professionals, a lot like a resume you create online and it’s a great way to connect with others. It’s funny, but I interview people all the time who tell me they have an account but they don’t really use it… Don’t really use it?!?!? If you are looking for a new job or even if you are a professional who might want to hear about new opportunities from time you absolutely have to have a LinkedIn account. Not only do you need to have one, but you are missing a real opportunity to if you don’t have it optimized.

Let me tell you why it’s so important. According to a recent LinkedIn investor call, LinkedIn has 332 million members and every second it gains 2 new members. That comes out to 1/3 of the professionals on the planet!  To me that is amazing. So while those numbers are pretty amazing, how does that impact you? It impacts you because people like me, recruiters, are constantly on LinkedIn trying to find professionals to tell them about roles. So if you set up a great LinkedIn account it literally can do the leg work for you getting a new role. In fact 2 of my last 3 roles came through LinkedIn. Ultimately, even if you aren’t looking for a role, wouldn’t you want to know what’s out there?  I wasn’t actually looking for a role either time I was contacted via LinkedIn but it just so happened that the opportunities were awesome and I ended up taking them.

You want that to be you, a good LinkedIn profile can the leg work of a job search for you and land you interviews. But again, just having a LinkedIn account isn’t going to it. There are many little tweaks and changes that can help get you viewed more. For example, according to LinkedIn you increase your views by 11 times by simply including a photo. For other ways to optimize your LinkedIn profile take a look at this link, Service Offerings.

People like me do searches every single day based on job title and keywords located in your LinkedIn profile. In fact, a good portion of the recruiters have an advanced account on LinkedIn that gives them the ability to view and message more people on LinkedIn than the average user.  These accounts are called “LinkedIn Recruiter Seats” and at every single company I have worked at we had access to them.  Not only did we have access to them but when it comes to looking for candidates who are “passive”, it is by far the most commonly used tool.

Setting up a good LinkedIn profile is a must for any professional in my opinion. It’s a free tool that allows you to connect with other professionals and even if you just want to use it passively, it might just land you your next job. Besides potentially landing you a great job and it being a great way to network with other similar professionals, it is a great medium for consuming professional articles and is filled with great content.  If you don’t have a LinkedIn account I would encourage you open one up today and if you do have one but you under-utilize it, I challenge you to go make it more robust. LinkedIn actually helps you make your profile better with tips and tricks. If you really want to make yourself visible to potential employers you can use a service like this, Service Offerings. Not only will they help with making sure it’s a properly functioning profile, they also utilize SEO (search engine optimization) tactics to make sure that you come up in those searches more frequently and give you the advantage in landing your next role.

The 3 P’s of Interviewing: The three things you need to do to succeed in interviewing

There are so many things that are important to getting a job. There are so many topics I could cover on this topic that I could write a book on it (I actually have, it’s currently being edited and will be out soon). However today I wanted to cover three things that are essential to interviewing successfully. In fact, for me these are the things that I consider to be most important. This post will cover the three P’s of successful interviewing and what they mean to me.

Passion

I once heard a quote that stuck with me “Hire for passion. Skills are cheap, passion is expensive”.  It’s so true, the fact of the matter is that people hire people they like and people like people who are passionate. When you are passionate about what you do, you are giving off the message that for you it’s not just about a paycheck. It’s about doing good work that you believe in.

Its funny, another important thing happens when you are passionate. When you are passionate you come off as confident. When you are upbeat and expressing your passion for something it is almost impossible to come off as timid. People love confidence. The fact of the matter is nobody is going to believe you if you don’t believe yourself and when you are confident you are projecting that you know what you are doing. Being confident and passionate is a recipe for success in so much in life and interviewing is no exception.

Preparation

You would be hard pressed to have a single conversation with me about interviewing or your career in general without me mentioning preparation. If you are failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. You can be excellent at what you do but if you come into an interview under informed people are going to think they aren’t a priority to you. That is never what you want people who are interviewing you to think.

I have written posts about this before and how you adequately do it, in my opinion but the main takeaway here is to put in the work. Come into your interviews knowing what the company does, some of the things currently going on with the company and in their market, know about some of their struggles and what someone like you can do to help. You will never walk away from an interview wishing you were less prepared. 

Persistence

The last critical point I want to make is that regardless of your struggles and how many times you bump up against rejection, stay persistent. So much of life is just showing up and sometimes, you have to show up a lot before you get that breakthrough. There have been times when I thought I nailed an interview and through I was perfect for a role but I didn’t get the job. Sometimes, it’s just the way it goes. Maybe someone senior had come in and interviewed well, maybe you are getting into the process too late, maybe someone interviewed who knows someone who works for the company and got a strong recommendation or maybe they hired an internal candidate. Some companies will end up filling about 40% of their roles with internal candidates. Quite frankly, that’s great for the company and once you are hired by a company, that’s great for you as well but it can certainly make it tough to get into a company. So what I am saying is don’t get discouraged. If you are determined to make a move and get a new role, don’t let the setbacks temper your enthusiasm and stop your ambition. Use every interview as an opportunity to improve your interviewing skills and nail the next one!

The 7 things you can do right away to make your resume stand out: 2 of which can be done in 15 seconds!

The next time you apply for a job, before you hit the submit button on your application I want you to ask yourself a couple of questions. Does my resume make me standout from my competition? Does my resume put me at an advantage or a disadvantage? If I was a hiring manager looking at my resume, would the content compel me to pick up the phone or the next resume? You see, the fact is most people don’t put enough value in having a good resume and the truth is that it can be the difference between getting an interview and being one of the many people receiving rejection emails. You know, the ones where they thank you, aren’t interested and want you to apply again in the future. The point of this post is to give you seven things you can today to vastly improve your resume and at the end, if you still want more direction I will include a link for further assistance. In addition, if you aren’t sure your resume is formatted right you can always Google resume templates or check out Resume Samples .

1. No more than two pages!

So many people make the mistake of having these incredibly long resumes. If you resume is longer than two pages than it is highly unlikely the entire resume is being read. It also means you didn’t do a good job summarizing and prioritizing the information that will get you hired. Keep it to one or two pages and if you feel like you can’t do that because you have 25 years experience, then I would advise you to only go back 15 years and leave the stuff before that off. Odds are it isn’t as relevant to the roles you are applying for today anyway.

2. Drop the objective!

This is a personal pet peeve. Here is why objectives are pointless. I have never looked at an objective and said “Oh my god! Their objective matches my job, they must be a great fit”. You are a fit or you are not, having an objective never helps your cause. However I have seen resumes where the person has applied to a job that is completely different than their objective and thought to myself, well maybe they don’t want this type of role. What it comes down to is that an objective can very much so hurt you in the application process but is highly unlikely to help you. Drop it.

3. Quantify your results!

Hiring managers and recruiters love it when candidates do this. If you made an impact at your last company and you are bale to quantify it, why in the world wouldn’t you? What sounds better to you, “I reduced waste and saved the company money” OR “I lead a Kaizan event that reduced scrap 20% and saved the company $250,000 over the first 18 months after it was implemented”? To me, clearly the second example is way better. It lets the decision makes know what you have done and how you might be able to make a similar impact to them. You did the work, make sure you give yourself credit and advertise your capabilities appropriately.

4. Add bullet points!

To me there is very little that will make me look at a resume and have a hard time focusing than seeing a bunch of paragraphs describing what someone has done in the past. Bullet points are extremely helpful because they draw the eye and help you be concise when cataloguing your previous experience.

5. Spellcheck

People are often surprised about how much this matters. Do yourself a favor and spellcheck your resume as well as having someone proofread it. When I see a spelling error on a resume to me it says a few things. Either the person is dumb, they are careless or they didn’t care enough about this role to put the appropriate time into making sure there resume was ready.

6. Lose the picture, crazy font and colored background

And yes, I have seen all of these. I assume that when people do this they do it because they want to out. I get wanting to do that but this isn’t a good way to go about it, do that with your content. Having pictures or crazy fonts or a colored background is just kind of odd and I wouldn’t recommend it.

7. Make your resume keyword heavy!

When you apply to a role it goes into an ATS (applicant tracking system). Depending on the ATS there are either going to be search functions that use keywords or there will be an algorithm that matches your resume against the job description. In either of these cases it behooves you to be heavy on the keywords. So if you are a Software Engineer, have a section where you catalogue the programming languages you are proficient in but then also when you are describing individual roles, include the languages you used in those roles as well. While it may seem a tad redundant, it is ultimately more ATS friendly and increases your chance of getting noticed.

So there you have it. Those tips alone should make a significant impact and help you get to the first round of interviews. However if you need more help formulating your resume or need additional coaching try a service like Great Resumes Fast that specialize in career assistance.

Telling the Right Story with Your Resume

Recently I was talking with a candidate who was concerned about how taking his next job might impact the way his resume is perceived by potential future employers. I thought to myself, what a great thought to have. Fortunately for this candidate, I don’t think the move does anything to adversely impact his resume. However it does beg the questions, is taking this job allowing me to tell the right story of my career on my resume? It’s a question I don’t think people ask themselves enough and it’s a question I believe you need to ask yourself before you ever accept a new role.

Whether you like it or not, when you accept a new role it becomes part of what future employers will look at for the rest of your life. It becomes an indelible mark on your life’s work and in virtually every interview moving forward you are going to have to answer questions about it. Why did you leave ABC company to go to XYZ company? I see you used to be a (insert role) but then you took a job as a (insert newer role), why did you do that. Questions like these and more are standard components to early phone screens with the people who decide whether or not you get further in the process and therefor you have to be able to answer these questions.

Whenever I consider a role I think to myself, how can I paint this move in a positive light to future employers? If the answer doesn’t sound right, you really have to consider the ripples it will have moving forward. For example if you are in a senior role or a people manager role  currently and you take a role that is neither senior nor managing people, you better believe every recruiter in the world who sees your resume is going to wonder why you did that. Were you laid off? Could you not handle the responsibility and therefor decided to take a step back? These are all logical questions really, if you think about it. What is unfortunate is that not only can it be hard to explain and answer these questions, but for certain roles it will also keep you from getting that first interview. Recruiters and hiring managers alike will look at your resume and make their own assumptions and perhaps pass on you as a candidate.

The takeaway here is to think about the story you tell with your resume. Too often people consider the company, the salary or the benefits but don’t realize the other impacts their decisions may have. There are indeed times when this makes sense, perhaps it’s a great company or it’s working for a manager you are dying to work with. In those cases maybe you make the move anyway but make sure you consider the consequences. Another thing to consider is that perhaps the company would be willing to offer you the title that makes more sense for you. Maybe you apply for a Mechanical Engineer role but the title you really want is Senior Mechanical Engineer because you already hold the title Mechanical Engineer at your current company. This is something you might be able to negotiate. Perhaps you let them know that while you are very interested and feel like you would be able to make a measurable impact right away, you have decided that in order to move you would need for the role to be in a Senior or Lead capacity.  Have any of you ever been in this position or took a role that you later regretted because it was hard to explain your rational?