6 Reasons We Hate Your LinkedIn Connection Requests & How To Make Us Love Them

LinkedIn Connection Requests We Hate

To build a network you need to connect to people.  To connect with them you have to meet them.  On LinkedIn, more often than not, you need to send connection requests.

Sounds easy enough, LinkedIn even makes it easy for you providing you with an opening:

“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

Yes, it is boring and a template.  Yet, in a pinch it will work.  I get a lot of the template connection requests and I pass no judgement on any of them.

I understand some people are still getting their sea legs on LinkedIn and some may feel uncomfortable scripting something to a professional that specializes in LinkedIn.  Some are just busy and this is an easy, fast method.

Let’s face it, if people did not connect using this opening I doubt LinkedIn would still be providing it for us.

That being said, I do not recommend using the generic template.  It is best to craft a personal message (which I will discuss in short order) however, there is a line.

These next six examples cross that line.  They crossed it two time zones ago.  These are the types of messages that drive people away.

1. I Am Not Looking To Buy

This is another type of template – a cold, uninformed, annoying sales pitch of anything.  I do not know you, I am not going to buy from you because you clogged up my LinkedIn request with:

“I can save you (pick from the following): money, time, get you more prospects, get you a better job, reduce your stress, blah, blah, blah.

Nope.  Delete.

2. My Name Is Important

Back in the day (as my son would say) when we used phones mounted on the wall and no Caller ID, we had to answer the call and then determine if it was a sales call.  For my house, it was easy.  My maiden name is Teepe.

Yep, Teepe – c’mon, I’ve heard them all – the wigwam and toilet paper jokes.  Yeah, it was a blast growing up with that last name.  The one benefit is I could always tell a solicitor because they did not know how to pronounce it.

Misspelling someone’s name in a connection request is the same as butchering their name in person.

My name is pretty simple – Lisa.  Can’t really go wrong there, although here is a trick: I use my middle initial in my profile.  When you use something to automatically fill in the first name, for me it will populate “Lisa K”

My dad was and will be the only person in this world who ever called me Lisa K.

3. Do You Even Know What I Do?

This goes along with number one, but to a different degree.  These connection requests seem like they are more personable because they are not obvious mass copies; however, there is one problem: they did not read your profile.

They are sending you something that demonstrates they did not even look at your profile. Case in point: I had a connection request from someone offering their services as a LinkedIn profile writer.  Really?  Even if they had just looked at my title they might have seen that, gee whiz, that is what I do!

These are the ‘personal’ messages selling rawhide bones to cats and catnip to dogs.

4. Shotgun Recruiter

I have a great deal of respect for recruiters, I really do. I do not have a great deal of respect for recruiters who send out blast messages.

I have received connection requests from recruiters saying they have a great job opportunity for me…in some obscure field I have no experience in whatsoever.  That is cheap, throwing a bunch of requests out there with a potential hook to see what sticks to the wall.

As for me, I love what I do.  I also have a pretty cool boss and my office mates are three crazy dogs. Top that work environment!

5. This Would Not Pass Mrs. Traycoff’s Class

Mrs. Traycoff was my high school English teacher.  A very tiny yet powerful woman who would perch at the front of the class on her three legged stool wrapped up in a shawl or blanket and with one gaze she could stop you in your tracks and make you fear getting an adverb and adjective mixed up. I loved Mrs. Traycoff.

Connection requests with bad grammar, horrible spelling  and just no sense to your sentence structure equates to spam or someone who has not grasp the whole communication thing yet.

6. This Is Not A Party line

Do not hit on a potential connection.  This is not an online dating site. It is creepy and wrong.  Just stop it.

To take your connection request up a notch from the standard template do this one thing:

 

Think like a person.

 

If you were meeting this person in-person, what would you say?  How would you introduce yourself? LinkedIn is a digital handshake.

“I noticed that we have 13 connections in common, I thought it would make sense for us to connect”

“I see that you and I are both a member of Community Volunteer Group, I don’t know how I have missed meeting you…..”

What do you have in common – people, organizations, schools, passions, past employer – find it and mention it.

Maybe you have read an article that someone wrote or a presentation they gave, that is your opening.

“I really liked your article XYZ and would appreciate connecting with you on LinkedIn.”

These are all examples, but the most important thing is to make them your own.

Remember, you are just a person digitally standing in front of another person asking them to connect to you. Be yourself and you will do just fine.

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A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right

 

My Dogs are Jedi Masters

mom and boys

 

Yoda has nothing on my dogs.  They really are the Jedi Masters of peace and tranquility.  They are so good, they taught me to chill out.

 

I got to the point in my life that chaos was the norm. My best friend and I used to joke about how we have this sick tendency to actually enjoy having a full plate. It makes us energized and even perform the competing tasks at hand better than if there was only one to do.

 

Chaos became the norm.  That was okay when it was work, I felt I could handle it.  But it never just stays at work.

 

I used to work for an organization that was simply exhausting.  Chaos would have been a welcome break.  I had over an hour drive from work and would use this time to ‘decompress’ and put myself in a better place for when I got home and was with my son.

 

When I quit that job the first thing he said to me was, “Thank you, you were always in a bad mood during the week when you got home.”

 

So much for decompressing and being in a better place.

 

I used to run around on the weekend trying to accomplish what needed to be done throughout the week in a day. Cleaning, cutting the grass, weeding, grocery shopping, laundry – and by the way, how do two people have so much dang laundry?  Chaos was becoming a norm in my personal time, too.

 

One night I was sitting down, exhausted, and over came one of my pups.  He nonchalantly plopped his head on my lap.  My first thought was “I am too tired to play” but then I looked down at him.

 

If you are a dog person, you will understand the look I saw in his eyes.  If you are not, just go with it. He looked at me as if to say, “really *sniff* you don’t have time to even pat my head?”

 

Guilt by dog.

 

Of course I patted his head, rubbed his ears, and gave him undivided “mom” time.  This brought one of the other ones over and it became a puppy love fest. For that period of time I did not think of any tasks or things left undone, I just enjoyed getting happy mauled by my dogs.  Once they had their fill of attention, they went back to sleep.

 

Just as easy as that.  Fifteen minutes of play time then so relaxed that they took a nap. Seriously?  I want that!

 

As crazy as it sounds, I studied my dogs that weekend.  I was like a modern day doggy Jane Goodall. When they had a task to complete (eat, chase, dig) they gave it their complete and undivided attention.  When they were done, they were done.  They did not go back to that hole and think, “I could have done more, maybe I should dig from the outside in next time.” The threw themselves into the task at hand.

 

Then they napped.

 

They enjoyed the outside, laying in the sunshine, soaked it all up until they sounded like they were about to pass out, then they went in the house and laid on the cool tile floor.

 

Then they napped.

 

On walks they literally stopped to smell the roses…and the grass, and the mailbox posts, and the other dogs poop, and the wind and their own butt…  Even if we just saw that mailbox post yesterday, they were going to sniff it again, you never know what could have happened in 24 hours. Every smell was awesome! They took full advantage of what was around them.

 

Then they napped.

 

At night they nestled close by, getting belly rubs, rolling their little puppy eyes back in their head from sheer pleasure then started snoring.

 

These guys know how to live! Besides realizing my dogs took a lot of naps, I realized they had taught me a thing or two:

 

  • Put all your effort in the task at hand; when it is over, it is over.
  • Enjoy your surroundings.
  • Rest and rejuvenate.
  • Move – play, keep your body active.
  • Every day is a new day, you never know if there is something new in your same old path.
  • Relax, it gives you more energy when you have tasks to accomplish.
  • There is great joy in the smallest pleasures.
  • Treats are good.
  • Take time for yourself.
  • Take time to love the ones you love.

 

I have incorporated my Yoda dogs teachings into my daily life:

meditation pup

 

I take breaks throughout the day to go outside and enjoy the sunshine, birds, clouds, rain – whatever the situation is, I do a mental break and immerse myself in the sights and sounds of the right there.  Recently I put up a couple hummingbird feeders outside my office – I am in heaven during these breaks watching those little guys buzz about.

 

When the work day is done, it is done.  Then it is time for the family, dedicated, quality time.

 

Sleep.  We get sleep now as a regular thing not as a so-exhausted-I-fell-into-bed thing and please let me get just a couple of hours.

 

Daily walks with the dogs and time at the gym to keep physically active helps reduce stress.

 

And treats, lots of treats.  A massage, a manicure, a day trip, a special meal – whatever it is, treats are good!

 

Try following a dog’s life this weekend and see if you don’t get converted by these Jedi Masters of happiness.

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right

 

 

Don’t Let One Word Sabotage Your Message

not listening

I am going to make a generalization here and throw this out there: if you do not think one word is important or can change the whole meaning of your message or dynamic of your conversation – you have never talked to a woman.

Don’t believe me? Try this little experiment: tell your wife or girlfriend tonight “You never do …” fill in the blank.  (By the way, it works for men, too).

That never will probably get you a raised eyebrow, followed by an “Oh, really” and then the fun begins.  Never and always are pretty much banned in our house.  My boyfriend and I are challengers – give us a challenge and we will make it our life’s mission to do it.  Give us a ‘never’ or ‘always’ and we will mentally rehash over two years of our relationship to find that five second interval that proves the other wrong.

Communication is the most important tool we have, yet it can easily be turned from a tool to a weapon with just one word.

The weapon can provoke or harm your audience.  With one little word you can completely destroy someone’s confidence in themselves, or you; deflate their attitude or progress; cause them to be defensive or completely shut down in listening to you altogether.

Some of the words that create such chaos include: ever, never, always, but, only, guess, try and might. These are just the beginning pack of words, but enough to get you started in being more cognizant in how you use them.

“Did you ever finish that report?”

“You never answer my calls”

“You did a good job, but…”

“You only had to do this task”

“I guess I could help/attend…”

“I can try to help/be there…”

“I might be able to…”

In the above examples, the underlying message is disappointment, disengagement and insincerity – to name a few.  Is that really the message you want to convey?

Just by being a bit mindful of the small little words we throw into our communication we can keep peace, harmony and momentum while still getting our original or intended message across.

‘But’ is my personal most hated word.  When you use but in a sentence it completely invalidates everything before it and puts the receiver immediately on the defensive.  If you think someone did a good job and there is a bit more to do, try saying it in a different way:

“You did a good job on this project, now let’s try making these tweaks and it will be fantastic.”

“You did a great job; however, this part missed the mark a little, what do you think we can do?”

“You did great and we are almost there we just need to tweak these two parts…”

Your message of ‘there is still work to be done’ is conveyed without losing the positive message.  The receiver will be more inclined to listen to ideas, take direction and keep momentum in completing the task because their effort was recognized, appreciated and clear direction was given for what is next.

Removing small little words that create big conflicts sure makes life easier for everyone.  And just for the record, I really would not suggest doing the experiment mentioned above, to make your life easier, just take my word for it.

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance! 

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding coaching and practice firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

★ To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button above

 

 

 

One or Two Page Resume – Why It is a Shot in the Dark and Doesn’t Matter

One or Two Page Resume

One of the most frequent questions I am asked is should my resume be one page or two?

It is no wonder people are confused. If someone were to try to find an answer online it would take all of .81 seconds to get about 15,800,000 results of articles that do not all agree on the subject.

– Shorter is better.
– You cannot encapsulate your experience in one page.
– No one likes a two-page resume.
– A one-page resume does not have enough information.

And so on and so on.

Here is the bottom line.: The only person it matters to is the person reading your resume. Since you cannot exactly call up this person and ask what they prefer, you just do not know. It is a 50/50 shot in the dark.

That does not seem quite helpful. But here is the good news, the answer to three questions more important to the reader than page length:

1. What are you applying for?
2. How do you qualify?
3. Can I find it easily on your resume?

These are the items you should focus on with your resume rather than making page length a priority. Write your resume for context, value and readability and then you can play with it to see if it works better on one page or two.

What Are You Applying For?

If there is a direct correlation between the job you are applying for and your current position use the job title as a title on your resume. If there is not a direct correlation (moving up in your career) incorporate the job title into your opening.

How Do You Qualify?

What strengths, skills, experience and value to you bring to the position that are in direct alignment with that they want adding value to the position, teams, clients and organization? Use key words and demonstrate your expertise using four questions as a starting point for your bullet points:

– Who do/did you work with?
– How do/did you work with them?
– What do/did you do?
– How do/did they benefit?

These questions help transform job duties to demonstrated value-add and expertise.

Can I Find It Easily On Your Resume?

This is not only a visual element but a structural one. For human nature, if something looks hard to read (too small of text, everything condensed, no white space) people are not inclined to read it or give it a good read.

Use white space to make it easier on those human eyes. Structure your resume so it makes sense, flows and easy for someone to find exactly what they are looking for. If you have been at an organization for quite some time, instead of having a large portion of your resume look like death by bullet point, use subheadings.

Break down those 20 bullet points into 4 or 5 categories and use those as your subheadings. For example, these can include things like, “Project Management, Risk Management, Cost Controls, Training & Development, etc.

Focus on your value, writing for the reader to answer their most important question: what can you do for me? If you have a value-driven, easy to read resume, the reader will be more interested in the content and you, rather than if your resume is one page or two.

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As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding coaching and practice firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

I help people get from where they are in their jobs to where they want to be in their careers.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

★ To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button above ★

Just Who Does Your Resume Think You Are?

questioning grampa

The point of your resume is to tell your story the way you want the reader to understand it. What story is your resume telling right now?

If I were to say there is a mistake made on most resumes it that most people tend to use their job descriptions as their bullet points. Job descriptions are easy to copy and tell the reader about your job, right? Wrong. Well, they are easy to copy, but they miss the mark about telling the reader anything of real value.

There are two problems with this approach:

1. This tells the reader what you were hired to do, not what you did.
2. It eliminates you from your resume.

The two most important factors in telling your story are your voice and your value.

Your voice is you speaking through your resume. When someone reads your resume they form an image of you based on the words you choose. It is just like when you form a picture of a character in a book (and why I cannot watch a movie of a book that I have read).

Use words that resonate with you. If you are outgoing and driven use words that match your energy. If you are a behind the scenes driver use words that convey that strength.

Your value is not what you were hired to do, but what you did and how you did it. Think about who you work with, how you work with them, what you do and how they benefit. That is a story of your value.

A duty is running reports. A value is gathering all the information, compiling, partnering with ABC team in providing the report which they use for XYZ. Maybe it is a sales team that uses the report to track their success, identify new target markets. Maybe it is a committee to track and manage expenses. You added value by providing the information needed to increase revenues or reduce costs.

If your resume is bleeding from duty driven bullet points then your resume does not think much of you. It thinks you are one dimensional and boring.

If your resume paints the picture of the value you brought to an organization, clients, teams or community in a manner that sounds like you then your resume thinks you are the bomb – and that is what it will convey to the reader.

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As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career coaching and practice firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.
I help people get from where they are in their jobs to where they want to be in their careers.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.
★ To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button above ★

Why Your Network May Secretly Hate You – And How To Win Them Back

tantrum

Your network is a two way street, if you only travel one way, you will find yourself alone at the end of the road.

One of the most important resources you can have throughout your career is your network. This group of individuals can provide support during transition, inspiration during evolution and opportunities during growth. This valuable group should be respected, honored, nurtured and not taken for granted.

Have you noticed your network is not responding to you as much as they used to? You may be driving them away.

Throughout our career, we have bumps in the road. Someone else got the promotion, the boss is being unfair to you, job loss, crappy assignments – these things can put us in a bit of a tailspin. We naturally go to our network for support or guidance.

As any good network will do, they will support you. When you ask questions or seek advice, they gladly impart their wisdom. It is how you respond to these acts of support and kindness that will determine if you are driving your network away.

Quite naturally, when negative things happen, we can tend to be a bit defensive or self-absorbed. I have yet to meet a person who does not experience this. I have been down this dark place myself so no stones are being thrown.

How do you know if your network is beginning to secretly hate you, it begins with a rehash of this type of exchange:

“I don’t know why I didn’t get the promotion”
“Did your boss say anything to you?”
“No”
“They didn’t give any reason at all?”
“Well, yeah, but it was bs.”
“What did they say?”
“That I didn’t’ have enough experience in XYZ”
“Ok, well, is there an opportunity to learn that or get more exposure?”
“That’s not the point, I should have gotten the promotion, I have been there longer than Susie who got the promotion.”
“Did she have experience with XYZ?”
“Yeah like five years working with it, but I’ve been there longer.”
“But the job required XYZ and she had five years of experience and you haven’t had any, it sounds like you just need to get involved with XYZ if you want to move into that position”
“I don’t thing that is it, I think my boss is just being unfair and bad things happen to me.”

When your network tries to help, offer suggestions, provide alternatives or downright point out what is black and white right there in front of you but you continue to argue with them, they are not going to get the warm and fuzzies.

When someone asks your opinion, you assume they are going to listen to it. When someone asks your opinion then tells you that you are wrong, it is annoying. Continually having these conversations where you are so entrenched in refusing to listen to any possible reason, annoying turns to avoidance.

Do you find that when you ask for your network’s opinion they answer with things like:

“I really don’t know.”
“I’m sure it will work out.”
Or silence.

What they are probably thinking is, ‘why do you keep asking me then arguing with me about it? Why ask my opinion to tell me I am wrong? Why is this the only thing you ever talk about? Why didn’t I decline the offer to meet, I could have had a root canal without sedatives and it would have been more tolerable.’

Being around someone who only wants to have a conversation so they can bemoan some more, blame everything and everyone, argue with anything offered and refuse to see that they might actually have some factor in the negative situation is not fun.

At this point there are two options: work to repair your relationships or stay in the poor me mode alone. If you are ready to repair, just a few simple actions can do a world of good:

Recognize

When interacting with your network, take a minute to evaluate time. How much time is spent on you and how much is spent on them? Are you asking them questions, are you interacting or are you using them as a sounding board with no interest in them or their life? Recognize if you are hogging all the time.

Apologize

“I know I have been a bonehead recently and seem to only complain about this event, I am sorry.” This can go a long way to repairing some damage, it shows respect to your network. Dollars to donuts they will forgive you – however, once you apologize, do not follow it up with, “it’s just….” and dive right back into it.

Let Go or Listen

You have two options: either let the situation go when talking to your network or hush up and actually listen to what they have to say, although they may not offer it up again since you did not listen the first hundred times. Take that unflattering look at yourself to see if you have any accountability in the situation. It is not fun but it is a lot easier when you have people there to support you. Sometimes things happen that are completely out of your control. The accountability in this situation is your attitude.

Give

If you find yourself in driving your network away mode, now is the time to remember the golden rule of networking: give first. Reach back out, apologize for being a stick in the mud and re-engage with “what are some things going on with you right now that I can help you with?” Put them first. It will also help you put a little distance between you and the negative situation.

Ground Yourself

Put a time limit on yourself for not asking anything of your network, you are now grounded from asking for help. Why? Because you abused it. You need to prove to your network that you are serious about respecting them and being there for them. If you apologize, ask what you can do for them and let go of the negative one day but turn around the next and start right back up, you have just proven that you did not mean a darn thing you said yesterday.

When negative things happen in our career, our network can be our lifeline. Your tribe will understand if you get in a funk and act a little brattish. Just don’t abuse this understanding. But if you do remember, you can turn it around with a little work and repair that little bump in the road for smooth traveling for all.

I do realize that anyone who is in the middle of this mode will probably not recognize it, so maybe if it is someone in your network you can print this out and leave it on their workstation. Just as a gentle hint.

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As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career coaching and practice firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.
I help people get from where they are in their jobs to where they want to be in their careers.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.
★ To get all my latest articles, visit LisaKMcDonald.com and click the “Yes Please!” button ★

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5 Ways Your LinkedIn Profile Is Killing Your Personal Brand – And How To Fix Them

linkedin police

Your brand is the perception you create for the way you want others to think of you.  LinkedIn is a powerful tool to help crate, substantiate, communicate and further your brand.  The sheer number of members of LinkedIn points to its power, as of the third quarter 2016, LinkedIn had 467 million members – with an increase of 17 million members from the previous quarter (Statica).

Brand is critical in your career.  Your brand not only includes the skills, talents, value and capabilities you bring to the table, it also communicates how you will fit in with a company’s culture.  According to a Forbes article, 89% of hiring failures are due to poor cultural fit.

That equates to a lot of wasted time and money invested by organizations.  Perhaps that is why it has been noted that 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates (DMR, 2013) and 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn as part of their process (Adweek, 2015).

Brand is important, your brand on LinkedIn is critical, this is why these five things could be killing your brand.

Profile Picture

You are faceless without a profile picture and damage your brand with the wrong picture.

Remember the old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words”?  Your picture should reflect the brand you are creating.  This is about you so no group photos. This is professional so no friends, family or pets unless it ties directly to your brand. No Facebook selfies.

Think of the image you want to project and incorporate a few guidelines:  your picture should be clear, with you as the main focal point, be current and you should look approachable.  In other words, smile.  Not the cheesy or forced smile, but a genuine smile.   Here is a little trick – have whomever is taking your picture get you to laugh, not a belly laugh, but a can’t-help-but-smile chuckle.  That will be the genuine you.

Headline

If your title is boring, confusing, silly or desperate, it is killing your brand.

It is easy to stick with the default of your title and current company, however, that is not brand driven.  It is boring. Your title does not convey value, sometimes it creates confusion.  If your title is Associate Manager – what does that mean?  No one will reach out to get clarification.

Putting in ‘creative’ muses such as “Wizard of any skill” is silly and a bit too flippant and probably not the business brand you want to create.   Overly stressing you really, really need a job comes across as desperate, i.e. “Seeking new opportunities to immediately bring value”.

Value is key and to incorporate value tell your audience what you do for whom and how that makes their life better from a business perspective.

Instead of “Account Representative at Company Name” try something like “Transforming Accounts to Alliances Through Exceptional Customer Care at Company Name”.  Value is the key.

You have 120 characters to work with so take advantage of that.  The previous example is 84 characters, you could even go a bit more: “Transforming Accounts to Alliances which Propel Profitability by Delivering Exceptional Customer Care at Company Name”.  That line is 117 characters.

You can create a headline that combines keywords and short phrases separated by characters like ■ ♦ ◆or  ▶ to create interest.   Lastly, do not yell at your audience by using all capital letters.

Summary

Without a summary you have not brand.  With a rambling, incoherent word filled just to use all 2,000 character third-person narrative you create a brand, but not the one you want.

LinkedIn is a one-on-one conversation with the person you want to read your profile.  Think back to writing a term paper.  The first paragraph tells them what you are going to tell them and the body tells them just that.  Your headline is like that first paragraph and the summary is the body of the paper.

Tell your story, from your brand perspective of who do you help, how do you help them and how do you do it in a way that is different/better/unique than anyone else?  Thank about what you do and why you do it, what drives you?

Think about sitting down at a foo-foo coffee house with someone from your desired audience and they ask the “tell me about yourself” question – how would you answer in this business, casual one-on-one conversation?  You certainly would not start with “I am a professional XYZ with 20 years’ experience” because no one talks like that in real life conversations.

Be clear, be yourself and do not rely filling your summary with empty words: things like highly accomplished, highly adaptable, strong business sense, effective communicator or proven track record.  You may be one or all of those things, but those alone mean nothing.  Also, those jammed into one or two sentences is overpowering.   Demonstrate, do not merely state.  If you have a proven track record then by all means, tell them what it is, and by the way, if it is proven, you do not have to say it is proven.

Replace your go to buzzwords by answering “how”.  How are you highly adaptable, how are you highly accomplished, how do you have a strong business sense?  When you answer the questions, the buzzwords are no longer necessary because you have demonstrated rather than merely stating.

You are allowed 2,000 characters, but that does not mean you have to use them all.  Having a clear message and plenty of white space is preferred to a character filled ramble.

Lastly, incorporate a keyword section in the end to mesh your brand with industry important keywords, this helps not only the affiliation of the two, but makes you more searchable on LinkedIn.  End your summary with a call to action – invite them to connect or contact you and give your information.

Experience

Not providing a background or only limiting it to titles, companies and years takes away from your brand.

Often throughout our careers we have different twists and turns that make no sense whatsoever at the time. However eventually we see that each step added value to where we are now and where we want to go.

Look at where you want to go (or if you are there – where you are) and identify the most important elements of how you provide value meeting what is most important to your industry, company or clients.  These are now the parameters to write – or rewrite – your experience.

For example, if collaboration is a critical success factor, go back through your history and think about times you demonstrated the ability to lead collaboration or participated to deliver a result.  Use what you want to define your past to fill it in for a complete profile.

Avoidance

If you have not touched your profile since you created it or avoid interacting on LinkedIn often, you are damaging your brand. 

LinkedIn is an interactive, vital community driven by networking, sharing and connections.  If you only update it when you are looking for a job, you are missing a tremendous amount of opportunity.  It also triggers to any coworkers or bosses that you are connected to that there might be something up if all of a sudden you start updating and posting a flurry of activity.

One word that used often in this article is value.  In LinkedIn world, you increase your value by providing value to others.  You do this by connecting, connecting other members, give recommendations, share information, repost articles, join groups, ask opinions and contribute to discussions.  Give back to get.

It is not exactly like Samuel Goldwyn’s quote: “The harder I work, the luckier I get”.  You do not have to work hard to generate results on LinkedIn, you just have to be consistent, clear and mindful of your brand to see the results you want.

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As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career coaching and practice firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.
I help people get from where they are in their jobs to where they want to be in their careers.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

★ In order to be kept up to date on all my articles Click the “Yes Please!” button on the right side. 

 

 

Make Your Resume Stand Out: Know The ‘What’ And ‘Why’ Before The ‘How’

what-why-how-resume

 

There are no hard and fast rules for resumes, which can make it difficult to know what to write. A lack of knowledge or overload of information, if doing research online, can lead to generalization.  Generalization is using your job description as your resume.

It is perceived safe to use a job description – and easy. What you do is already written out and can easily be plunked in your resume. However there are two challenges with this theory:

  1. It tells the reader what you were hired to do, not what you did.
  2. It leaves out the two most important elements that should be in your resume: you and your value.

The point of your resume is to convey to the reader that you are their perfect candidate for the position. Generalization does not accomplish this goal, it actually works against you: you end up sounding like everyone else.

Before you begin to write – the ‘How’ – think about the position you are targeting and clarify two items:

  1. What skills or strengths are necessary for this position?
  2. Why are these things important?

These are the ‘What’ and ‘Why’ and will make the how easier.

Roles are changing in business, rarely is one position siloed. There is an interconnection to strengthen two most important aspects: revenue and efficiency. A Chief Financial Officer is a great example. This role is evolving from a purely finance function into a strategic leadership partner.

They have a key role in decision making from strategy creation, implementation and measuring impact. They must be able to communicate their insights to the executive team in a manner that allows them to fully grasp the relevance and practical application of the information to identify risk management, value creation and opportunity to improve efficiencies.

They can have a unique advantage in understanding the organization in full spectrum for a high level to in the weeds perspectives. On a broad scope they can ground the executive team conveying real time consequences of financial or operational decisions while directly impacting line functions from vendor selection to system changes to realize improved efficiencies or cost reductions.

Given this we can quickly pick out a few ‘What’s , what stills or strengths are important for the role: strategy, communication, collaboration, vision to name a few. The ‘Why’s following the ‘What’s are the results: smart decision making, strategy design and implementation, capitalize on opportunities to improve profitability, reduce costs, expand markets and so forth.

Now to the how: how did you do what you did, who did you work with, how did you work with them – these questions help you frame the how. Sometimes it is helpful to include the challenges in the ‘How’. If you helped overcome a significant challenge, knowing why it was so challenging gives more depth and impact to your contribution.

Here is an example:

  • What is important: Get everyone on the same page and moving forward on new initiative
  • Why: Do the right thing for the client – new initiative mission and motto
  • How: Communication, leading change
  • Challenge: big internal resistance to change

After a bit of tweaking – and adding language that supports and represents you:

Overcame internal barriers by championing X initiative leveraging targeted, consistent communication and internal advocates to create enterprise-wide buy-in with the overarching vision: do the right thing for the client.

As said before: the point of your resume is to convey to the reader that you are their perfect candidate for the position. You are actually writing for them – to them – to get this exact point across.

Know what is important for the position and why is actually knowing what is important to them. When you speak their language demonstrating your value, your message will be heard loud and clear.

 

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As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career coaching and practice firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.
I help people get from where they are in their jobs to where they want to be in their careers.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

★ In order to be kept up to date on all my articles Click the “Yes Please!” button on the right side. 

 

Sometimes The Best Thing For Your Career Is To Not Listen To Everyone Else

not listening

 

Nearly a decade ago I had an idea. I was working in an industry that I loved; however, I had an ethical dilemma. I was recruiting individuals for a job that I would not do myself.  I found myself coaching potential candidates on how to get hired anywhere but there.

Two things hit me one day:

  1. I probably was not going to continue to get paid for helping people not get hired at my present company
  2. I loved helping people get into industries and jobs that they really wanted

Then a faint little noise popped in my head. A thought, a possibility – but was it crazy?

I made an appointment to talk to a woman who was in a related industry to bounce the idea off her. I had known her for some time and had a great deal of respect for her as a business owner, expert in her field and someone that was always very straightforward and supportive.

When I shared my idea, the frail little concept that had embedded itself in my head she squashed it like a bug. She told me that it was a terrible idea. No one needed someone to help them write a resume or worse yet write it for them, everyone already knew how. She repeatedly bludgeoned my idea and ended our conversation with “and you’ll never make any money”.

I was devastated, humiliated and crushed. I did not think my idea was that bad. On the way out of her office I beat myself up for being so stupid to even have such an idea. All the way down the elevator my spirits sunk quicker than the ever-increasingly claustrophobic box descended.

Then something changed when I walked out of the building and made my way to the car. Something shifted. Instead of beating myself up, I started to get mad.

It was not a stupid idea.

No, not everyone knows how to write a good resume – I had seen this first hand in recruiting.

There were plenty of people out there that could use help.

I had been helping people.

I loved it.

It wasn’t about the money.

Could she be stomping so hard on that idea because it was actually a good idea that she did not think or, be able to implement or found it threatening to her own business?

That is when I committed to my idea. I set off on a journey the next week and never looked back.

Nearly a decade later my business and I have evolved tremendously. I still love what I do, even more now than when I began. I am not on the cover of Forbes yet my family and I have been very blessed.

If I had listened to “well intended” advice, I would still be dreading a daily commute. I would have missed embracing and further delving into my greatest passion. I would have missed nearly 10 years of amazing people and experiences. I would have missed the life I never thought possible.

When I facilitate workshops, speak to groups or talk with an individual one-on-one there is one piece of advice I learned from this experience that I pass on: listen to your gut first. I may suggest ten actions and eight inspires them, but the other two just do not ‘feel’ right. My advice is do not do the other two, or modify them to what feels right to them.

Do what feels right to you. Defend it to make sure it is not fear driven, but truth driven – your truth.

My job as a coach is to provide advice, expertise, guidance and support yet I want what is best for my clients. This means that my suggestions come after their gut feeling. When they have that conflict, I have them express or defend it to me. Not to prove I am right or change their mind, but to get them to believe in and trust themselves to blend the information, tools and tactics into what works best for them as individuals.

If you are in the midst of a career change, advancement or search – get advice. Talk to people you trust or are experts. Gather the information that is pertinent to you but do not let it overtake you. Do not let it change your truth.

When you get a spark of insanity, do not let anyone else stomp it out. Sometimes people want to eliminate our ‘terrible’ ideas because of their own fear.

Something different scares, intimidates or angers people. They get jealous that they did not think or it or worse yet, do not have the guts to do it. That is them, not you. If you run across those people, thank them for their input and move on.

Find those that challenge you to defend your spark, to strengthen your resolve, to develop a plan of action and support you through the unknown. Then go after it with a determination fueled by all the information you have gathered and the resolve and excitement you hold for your idea.

Then remember it. When you then hear of someone with their own spark of insanity, be the person to inspire, encourage and champion their crazy idea. You may be the little push they need to get that next promotion, start their own business or change industries.

You can be someone’s hero because you became one for yourself when you stopped listening to everyone else.

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As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career coaching and practice firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.
I help people get from where they are in their jobs to where they want to be in their careers.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

★ In order to be kept up to date on all my articles Click the “Yes Please!” button on the right side. 

Would You Hire You?

Jake and me 2014

My son turns 24 tomorrow. The light of my life, my sweet baby boy. My sweet, very tall, sarcastic, challenging, turned-my-hair-grey-in-my-20s boy.  Obviously, he did not get the height from me (as you can see in the picture – I’m even wearing heels!) but he sure got my sarcasm. In spades. Must be genetic.

The challenging part – well, I take the ‘blame’ for that, it was something I taught him to do.

When he was a little boy and would do something not so good followed by a halfhearted ‘sorry’ I would immediately ask him ‘for what?’ then make him explain. In detail. He hated that.

When he would struggle with a school problem I would ask him rapid fire questions of why or why not repeatedly with little time in between his answer and the next why.  I ignored his “I don’t knows” and instead asked what ifs. He hated that.

There was a method to my madness.

It is never enough to just say sorry, you have to know why you were saying it and at least try to mean it.

When you are struggling with a problem, often you know the answer. You either doubt yourself or do not trust yourself to follow through on your own answer.

After the rapid fire and the light turned on that he did know the answer, I would tell him ‘you got this’ and he would smile with a ‘yeah, I do.’

How does this at all relate to careers? Doubting oneself is a major roadblock in writing your resume.

There are two primary themes in the advice I give for writing your resume:

  1. Write toward what you want
  2. Write for your audience

Your resume is your branding statement to show the reader that you can solve their problems. If they did not have a problem, they would not be talking to you (or rather readying your resume).

It is important to know what is important to your reader, the position, the company, the industry. What are their problems, where do they need the most help, what is most important to succeed in that role?

You may not know the specifics to a company, but you should know the importance to the position. If you cannot answer those questions then why are you going after it?

Here is my challenging to you: if you cannot answer what is important in the job you want and how you can add value – then what are you doing? Why would anyone want to interview you if you do not even know anything about the position? How can you possibly sell them if you cannot speak to what is important to them?

I am not a car person, I once confused the oil light for the low on gas light. I am not a car person. If I were going to go buy a new car I do not want to get the sales person like me in terms of car knowledge.

Someone who comes up and says, “yeah, I don’t really know anything about cars, but I am a people person so I know I can do this job. Gas mileage on this one? I don’t know, I think it takes unleaded. You should buy it, it has four wheels, lots of shiny things on the dashboard and a great color of blue.”

Here is the thing – you DO know.

If it is a lateral move you really know. If it is a move up in your career, you have a pretty good idea. Stop doubting yourself so much. Besides, you can do research to back it up for crying out loud.

If you are doing a lateral move – think about it from this perspective: who would you hire? What would you want them to do? What skills, strengths, aptitudes and attitudes do they need to do well? How will they be measured? What would be expected of them? Write a job description for that job wanting to attract the best/perfect candidate. Then compare it to your resume. Did you even pass your own job search/interview?

If you are moving up, think about people in that position that you know or knew that did well or what you feel it would take. Research the position, connect with people in that position on LinkedIn and talk to them. Do some research, trust yourself and start putting it together then make sure your resume reflects the attributes that are necessary to perform the duties.

If you are transitioning into an unknown area, start with the research. Dig into the job, industries, markets, trends and reach out on LinkedIn to those in the industry or positions. Ask questions, take notes and put it all together. Then take a step back and identify what strengths and skills are required to perform the duties. Highlight those skills  – they are called transferable skills.

Did you notice a bit of a theme here – talk to people. Leverage LinkedIn, it is an amazing business tool. Find an accountability partner who will ask you those rapid fire questions so you stop thinking so much and spit it out.

Time to get back in the game – you’ve got this!

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As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career coaching and practice firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.
I help people get from where they are in their jobs to where they want to be in their careers.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

★ In order to be kept up to date on all my articles Click the “Yes Please!” button on the right side.