To Get Over Fear In Your Career Let It Kick You In The Butt A Little

fight fear

The greatest single constriction that keeps us from reaching our goals, any goal, is fear. No matter what type of goal: personal, financial, career or spiritual, once you boil down all the reasons or excuses the limitation is fear.

I call it a constriction because it is like a choke hold on us, the longer it linger the more it squeezes the hope, joy or optimism from us when thinking of our goal. It suffocates the living breath of this goal.

One of the best ways I have heard to describe fear is: False Evidence Assumed Real.

Fear begins as a notion of unworthiness or inability. Your mind then manufactures or grabs on to things around you to support this idea and it then becomes “evidence”. You then accept this “evidence” as proof, becoming insurmountable and it becomes a reality that you are unable or unworthy.

All this from a notion.

We cannot always eliminate fear; however, I propose that we use it instead of letting it paralyze us. Here is how we can steer that notion for our intent and purpose.

Look fear in the eye and ask yourself, “What is the worst possible thing that could happen to me?”

Death. That is the worst possible outcome of anything.

So is this thing going to kill you? Be honest – is a career move or going after a promotion going to kill you?

No. Now get silly with it. Imagine going on an interview and completely bombing – then the floor is going to swallow you whole.

Or you will get faint from nerves, fall out of your chair, hit your head and there is your interviewer having to call an ambulance.

Can you imagine? That would seem mortifying, but that is a story that I would laugh at. Learn to laugh at the worst case scenarios. Make them bigger and give yourself the giggles.

Honestly, what most people think the worst case scenario would be is looking like a fool. So what? Is it the first time and really, is it going to be the last? Did you die the last time you looked like a fool? Then why would you this time?

The worst case scenario is the least likely –  face it, embrace it, laugh at it and let it go.

If you were not afraid, you would not want it. Another great saying is: there is no growth in your comfort zone. Would it not be wonderful if every time we were ready to stretch ourselves our pinky finger twitched uncontrollably? Think of it – a sure-fire, less physically exhausting way of letting us know that it is time.

Fear is our internal voice finding a way to get our attention. If you had an twitchy pinky finger, you might just ignore it or learn to live with it. Fear really gets your attention by engaging your mind and body.

Some part of you deep down is telling you that you are ready for more. Listen.

Now that you have a better perspective of fear, here is a secret to conquering it: let it kick you in the butt a little bit. Let it become the dismissive voice in your head that challenges you, not defeats you.

Get competitive!

One of the best ways to get me to do something is to tell me I cannot do it. I am a competitive person – just ask my family, son and boyfriend. I am competitive. Tell me I can’t do something then get out of my way because I am going to do it.

Some of my greatest successes came from this competitive spirit, despite fear.

At one point when I was in the financial industry I was in a new position and expected to get my Series 7 and others. It was at this time that my son’s father was diagnosed with cancer and was going through experimental chemotherapy treatments given a less than 10% survival expectation and our son was very young. I had a lot going on at the time and fear of passing these exams was not helping.

One day my boss told me to just try to pass the 7 and we will see what I could do on the others.  I think he meant it in a supportive way, given all that was going on with my family.

That was all it took.  My competitiveness side kicked in.  Oh, pity me and “see” what I can do without expecting anything?

A few months later I passed the 7, a few months later I then passed the 63, 65, 9 and 10. Tell me “try and we will see what you can do.” Ha!

When I had the idea to start my business, I was told it was a horrible idea, I would never succeed, I was ridiculous for even trying. Those statements at first fueled my fear. For a short time; then competitiveness kicked in.

Fear says, “You can’t do it”  Answer, “Shut up and watch me!”

That’s right – I told fear to shut up. The harder it kicked in the harder I fought back. Get pushed down seven times, get up eight.

Fear can deflate you, defeat you and leave you paralyzed unable to reach goals and dreams – or – it can motivate and fuel you. The choice is yours to make.

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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 and their leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, 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 Career Polish and what we can do to help you.

Build Better Business Relationships With 2 Simple Steps

coffee meeting

How many times have you met someone through networking or business connections and want to build a business relationship with them? What is an almost knee jerk action to do so – invite them for a coffee meeting (or lunch/drinks/dinner/etc).

Before you do, let me give you the two steps to dramatically improve your budding relationship:

1. Stop wasting their time
2. Know your why

I used to get asked for coffee meetings a lot. Used to – now I rarely have them.

For one thing, I don’t drink coffee, but more importantly – they were a huge waste of time. The person either had no idea what they wanted to talk about or they wanted to sell me the entire time.

My secret in killing the coffee meetings – I started asking people why they wanted to meet. It is amazing to me the number of people who cannot answer that question. Mostly I get a stammering close to, ‘so we can learn more about each others business.’

Not to be unkind, or rude, yet this is a media age: look up my LinkedIn, my website, my articles; email me to start a conversation. Requesting me to commit to the most time consuming event – of scheduling an outside meeting – to find out what I do is nutty.

Even if they have an idea of what I do and wanted to schedule a coffee meeting ‘to find out more’ or ‘get clarification’, I would ask them – right there on the phone or in the email –what is it they would like to know?

It can really take the wind out of a coffee meeter’s sails when you fill them in either right there on the phone or by email thereby eliminating their whole reason for getting together.

I cut to the chase to eliminate time wasters.

I am very happy for the coffee meeters – those that seem to have an endless supply of time on their hands to joyfully go around town and drink lots of java, then have lots of lunches followed by lots of cocktails or dinners.

I do not have that kind of time.

I am not special or better than anyone else in my network or business circles – all of our time is valuable. I have a thing – I will not waste your time and you are not going to waste mine. It is very simple.

Coffee meetings, or lunches, dinners – anything outside the office – may not be the most conducive to your audience. Perhaps a half hour phone call is better for them. Be considerate and ask what is best for them and their schedule. It is not all about you. You may be dying to get out of the office; but some of us are not.

Knowing your why is critical. Before you even attempt to engage someone in any type of meeting – you must know your why. What is your agenda, what are you looking to get out of it and equally as important – what are you bringing to the table for them?

Relationships are give and take; if you have nothing to give what is their reason for going? Be clear when you request time with the other person, give them the purpose.

Sometimes you may not have an exact why. For example perhaps you have met someone in networking that you think there might be good synergy between your businesses. This is your why, yet you should explain why you think there is potential synergy. How could you help each other. No one is going to jump at the chance to meet with you because you have a golden book of business for them with nothing in return.

Perhaps your why is information. If you are breaking into a business and you know of this person and are looking for advise – be honest and tell them. Do not try the ‘get to know each other’ bit when you are looking for an hour of schooling. That is disrespectful and trickery.

Do not feel as though you are being rude by asking them to qualify the meeting. I once was given the name of a woman that a mutual friend said I should call, using their name, because we should connect. I was an idiot. I did not ask why. But she did! When I called her up I told her our mutual friend had given me her name and said we should connect.

Her response was, “That’s nice – why?”

I was stumped. I told her that I honestly had no idea and apologized for intruding and wasting her time. She was very kind and told me no problem and that if I found that we had a mutual business interest perhaps we could reconnect then.

I ran into her a year later, luckily she did not remember me, and we had a great conversation. We did have many shared interests and we began to speak frequently. I did tell her about the first meeting we ever had and how it had really helped me. Sometimes looking like an idiot can be a great learning experience.

On behalf of your business and networking community – I gently request that before you type up that email or make that call to know your why and offer options that do not waste their time. We thank you in advance and look forward to hearing from you.

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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 and their leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, 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 Career Polish and what we can do to help you.

You Lost Your Job – Congratulations!

You Lost Your Job – Congratulations!

Be forewarned – this article contains feel good, ooey gooey type messages and perspectives. If you prefer to wallow in anger, frustration, misery or blame – do us both a favor and stop reading now!

In one week I spoke to two different people in two different situations.  The first was a woman who proudly announced that after 17 years at her job she was quitting.  I immediately told her “Congratulations!”

The other, the next day, was a young man who told me after six years, his position is being downsized.  I responded with, “Congratulations!”

These were not sarcastic comments; they were heart-felt, sincere congratulations.

I have been doing career coaching for some time now and the one thing I have learned is this: every opportunity is a – wait for it – blessing in disguise.  The first ooey gooey!

I know you are probably not bought in yet, so let me offer the most powerful example or “insight” that I can:

We stink at planning our own life.

There may be factors that you are really good at: what college to attend, getting the right internship, getting the right car, having the right house in the right location – yes, sometimes we can plan things out wonderfully and they even go according to plan.

But life does not work exactly according to plan and we stink at planning our lives. If we were so good at it, we would not lose jobs, lovers, friends or opportunities.  One of my favorite sayings is “Man plans, God laughs.”

Life laughs. and laughs….and laughs…and laughs.

If we got everything we asked for – everything we plan, we would be miserable.

Remember that person you were madly in love with in your 20’s and you wanted to spend the rest of your life with them?  You really dodged a bullet there looking back 20 years later and realizing they were a self-absorbed pig with no heart.  Or that company that you were dying to work for that turned out to be a soul-sucking institution of self-loathing?

That pretty much negated the ooey-gooey, but the fact is what we want in the immediate is not always what is best for us in the long term.

Sometimes what we think we want is not really what we want, it is just what we have always thought.

Here is a good example and to add a little more ooey-gooey back in. If you were to ask my beau a year and a half ago about his ideal girlfriend he would have told you at least 5’8”, brunette, health nut, someone really into running with a pretty conservative existence, a bit shy or quiet – not someone to really rock the boat or be out there.

I am 5’, blond, eat what I want, when I want it, only run if someone is chasing me and am anything but shy, quiet or contained.  There is absolutely nothing about me that met with his ideal; what he is to military guy I am to modern hippie, and yet we are blissfully happy – sometimes sickening so.  We have formed a partnership based on respect and communication.

What we think we want is based on what we know.  What we know is based on our past; it is solid.  What we are is in the present and it is semi-solid.  What awaits us is in the future and it is fluid.  How can we use our past to determine what is best for our future when it changes based on the present?

Just call me Buddha.

But seriously, what were your life goals at 22?  Have they changed?  Have you changed? I wanted to be a lawyer with five kids.  Well, that certainly changed.

I am a firm believer in this thing called life is not a test, a series of unfortunate events that lead to glimpses of happiness.  It is an experience.  It is a game that offers wins every day if we open our eyes.  It is fun and interactive, like all good games should be. When we get stale in our routine, we lessen our impact and our personal joy.

That is when it is life’s turn to play.  I would say it throws you a curve ball, but if you have good reflexes you are either going to learn to hit a curve or get out of the way.  No, life plays dodge ball.  You get one of those red rubber balls right upside the head!

Booom!  Wake up

You’re out of that game, time to start another.  But this time, you have to approach it differently so you don’t get beaned in the noggin.

Then it is your turn to play, you get to throw the balls back.  You get to identify your targets and pick them off!

This is your opportunity!

I ask every single client, what do you want to do next – don’t tell me a job or title, what do you want to be doing.  Many times they cannot answer that.

I get a lot of, “well, I’ve always done this…”  Nope.  What. Do. You. Want. To. Do.

We got stuck in adult.  Adults are supposed to have all the answers, all the time, in every situation without hesitation.  It is exhausting to adult.

Oh my, we were so entrenched that we have forgotten how to think about ourselves and what we want.  It is like someone flipping on a bright light after coming out of a cave.

There is a lot of blinking, stammering and shielding ourselves from the light.  It is finally revealed in an almost apologetic voice, “I don’t know.”

Good for you!

Seriously – good for you!  That means you are open to possibilities.  I want my clients to create a “no” list.  Here are the things I do not want in my next position.  Whatever it is that you really do not like doing.  I had one client that had been a manager for many years realize that he really did not like managing people.  Good to know.  When we first talked, all he talked about was he should go into managing teams because that is all he had ever done.

Now, get your “no” list and start exploring.  When you find something that gives your belly a little twinge, take out that no list and see if there is anything in there that matches up.  If not, then go for it!

That little twinge, is excitement.  It is joy.  It is time you find it again and that is the reason for the red ball upside your head.

It is yours to find and own.  The next job may not be all that and the bag of chips, but you know what, you went for it.  You tried; you expanded your playing field.

Losing your job is giving you the opportunity to expand, explore, create and for goodness sakes, live!  Look at that person in the mirror and get to know them again, what they like, what they don’t, what they have to offer and what brings them joy.

Stop forcing yourself into the misguided perception that you should have all the answers right now.  Why do we have it stuck in our heads that it is an absolute must that we should have all the answers, every minute of every day for every aspect from what’s for dinner to what is our next career move.  That’s right – we are doing adult.

Doing adult 24-7 is icky.

You may have to adult and take something that keeps that roof over your head and the bellies full, but do not give up on the twinge!

Here is the other thing about life – in the core of your life – it really is all about you.  If you are not happy, how can you provide happiness to someone else?  Yes, you have others depending on you and you need to make wise choices for what is best for your partner, children, family, employees – but what about you?

If you are a miserable person, how do you give them joy, inspiration, hope and confidence?

You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. Part of taking care of yourself is asking yourself, “What do I want to do – if I could do or be anything, what would that look like or feel like?”

It may take a step or two to get there and in the process it may change; but do not think just because you have always done something that is what is meant to be, period, end of story.  Your story is not over or predetermined.

Life isn’t a test – you are not required to show up with all the answers.  It is a game that you learn to play and it is made up along the way.

I remember as a kid my friends would get together on the playground and there was seemingly nothing to play with – we made up games.  We would create combinations of baseball, red rover, freeze tag and whatever else we could imagine.  Just when we started to get the hang of that made up game, one of us would introduce a new rule.

Welcome to life friends, the playground got a lot bigger and the made up rules became a lot more fun – and rewarding, if you stop trying to adult every second of every day and listen to the kid inside of you wanting to find joy – and bean life back with one of those red rubber balls.

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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 and their leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, 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 Career Polish and how we can help you.

Customer Service – Are You Even Listening?

customer service reading a script

The customer is not always right.  The computer is not always right.  They system is not always right.

But do you know how to make it right if your clients or customers have a problem?

I have been a business owner for several years.  There is one thing that drives me every morning rain or shine, weekend or week day, feast or famine.

It is not the benefits of setting my own schedule, the ability to choose the clients I work with, the freedom to explore new opportunities or the control of my finances; although these are all great perks, they are not the driver. There is only one true core to my business:

It is a privilege and honor to provide service to my clients.

I remind myself of this after each win with a client – and when there is a challenge.  This week is a great example.  I spoke to two different clients who were thrilled with our work.  I spoke to three others who are beginning new opportunities.  I also spoke to one who was not happy.

I do not always get it right the first time.  I let my clients know this and encourage open feedback.  Bless my client, he is a very polite, respectful gentleman.  Yet, he was not happy with the initial direction.  He was kind in attempting to relate his thoughts.

I encouraged him to give me open, straightforward feedback, even if it meant he hated it. This allowed him to be more honest with me which allows me to zero in on exactly what I need to do.  I encouraged the negative feedback and then thanked him for providing it to me.

Not all companies have the luxury or desire to be selective in choosing their clients.  Some offer services that cater to a wide range of markets.  Some want to be so big that the more clients the merrier the company.  The revenues and conquering of markets and competitors takes a backseat to that fundamental core of having the privilege to serve. Clients take a backseat to expansion and profits.

I personally experienced this today.  I have a service provider that is huge.  I am just one little guppy in their ocean of customers.  I noticed two errors and called to have them corrected.

Long story short – the computer made two mistakes.  The first was reading the system wrong and showing a bill for twice the amount owed.  The second was a reconnect charge when service was not interrupted.

I spoke to three representatives, two initial level and one the next level up.  I was told that the system made a mistake on the billing but not on the fee.  Each one was staunch in telling me that since it was showing on the system that the service was interrupted, than it was true, nothing could be done, pay the fee.

I was told, “I am verbalizing to you that the system says this happened.” I have to admit, that is the first time I have ever had someone tell me they were ‘verbalizing’ something to me.  Where I come from, we normally said, “And I am telling you…”

I was also told that the only solution they could provide is that I would have to pay the fee. In what world is that a solution?  I will admit, I am very impressed with the wordplay used by this organization.

I walked away from this experience feeling that I had just experienced three conversations, no, not conversations, three sessions of reading from a script to a blank wall – and I was the blank wall.

More importantly, I walked away grateful.  This was a wonderful reminder to me to remember my core guiding principle: it is a privilege and honor to provide service to my clients.

Back to my original question: do you know how to make it right if your client has a problem?

No matter the size of your company, your customer base or service you provide; here are three things that will help make it right for your clients when there is a challenge:

Listen

Recognize

Bend if Possible

 

My biggest frustration is feeling as though with the three individuals I talked to, no one listened.  They spoke to me, but not with me.  If one person had said, “let me make sure I understand this” and reiterated what I had asked, I would have felt like a client – not a blank wall.

Listening is not, “I understand you are frustrated and I am sorry to hear that.”  No you are not.  That is a script.  When a client explains a frustration and you respond with a canned line, that is not listening.  That is responding.

My second biggest frustration is the refusal to recognize that there might be an issue with a system, process or program.  If it screwed up one thing, is it not possible it screwed up another?  If one of those three people took the time to say, “There is a possibility that our computer screwed up more than one thing” it would have validated my thoughts. Even if there was not a darn thing they could do about it.

My last frustration, and most minor, was the ‘solution’ was not a solution.  Since they had not heard me, no recognized that there might be an error there was no reason to attempt any type of solution.

The bottom line is, I am paying a fee – no matter what the discussion.  Perhaps I would not have such a bee in my bonnet about it had I been treated like a person.  Validating frustration, recognizing the potential for an error – even if it cannot be corrected – will go a long way in keeping clients.

Sometimes a solution is not possible; however, there are times that it is possible to bend – offer an alternative to bridge the gap even if you cannot repave the road.

In customer service it is paramount to remember that behind each account name and number there is an actual person, not a revenue source, for whom you have the privilege to serve. You may forget this, but they will not when they choose another service provider.

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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.

 

It Is Your Resume – So Why Are YOU Not In It?

why aren't you in your resume

You found the perfect job to apply to. You meet all requirements and can do the required duties in your sleep. This is a no brainer. You submit your resume and wait for that phone call.

Surely they will call you immediately upon reading your resume and offer you the job. It is all there in black and white – you are the perfect candidate.

But they do not call.

And don’t call me Shirley. Showing my age on this one, but darn it, that was a funny movie and I couldn’t help myself.

Why did they not call? Did some cataclysmic event happen that prevented your resume from being received? How could they not see you were the perfect candidate? What gives?

Perhaps they did not see the full you, the one that is a perfect fit for that position. How is that possible? Because you were left out of your resume.

Let’s try an experiment. Take out your resume and read it from a hiring manager’s perspective, not as the author.

Read the entire thing, top to bottom, read every word. Now, describe the person that you just read about.

Can you?

Or can you just give a list of duties that the person on that paper was hired to do?

That is how the most important element of your resume may be missing – you.

There are two important elements in putting you back in your resume: your value and your voice.

Value

If your resume is structured in a manner that simply gives job descriptions of your current and former position you are not representing yourself. You are giving a dissertation on the jobs accepted by that candidate in your hands.

Detailing job duties is not conveying competence or value. It is simply telling the reader what you were hired to do. No one cares what you were hired to do; they care what you did.

Why is it important that you performed those duties?
How did you perform them better than anyone else in that position?
What value did you add to your team, company, clients or stakeholders?

When you describe how you did what you did and how others benefited you are demonstrating value rather than stating duties. Employers are looking for value, not bodies.

Voice

Who are you?

The next step is putting a “face” to the person. Think of it this way, when you read a book, you mentally create an image of the characters based on the words the author chooses to use. This is why I can never watch a movie of a book I have read: The Firm and One for the Money are perfect examples.

Choose your words carefully. They should resonate with you as a person and your work style. Use these words when you describe how you did what you did:

How did you work with the people you work with?
How do you perform your duties?
How do you approach new tasks or challenges?
How do you complete or overcome them?

Have you ever been in a crowded room not knowing a soul? By the end of the event you find the one person that you have something in common with? You seem to be drawn together. Using words that accurately describe you and your working style will draw organizations that best support you to you.

Bringing It All Together

Bring you back into your resume to give the reader the full picture of who you are, what you have to offer and the value you bring to teams, leadership, stakeholders, clients and organizations.

To bring your voice and value to your resume, take each duty or bullet point and think about:

Who did you work with?
How did you work with them?
What did you do?
How did others benefit?

This will open up the thought process to go beyond a job description into the full breadth of what you bring to an organization, team or clients. From there you can then paint the full picture that is you and allow the reader to truly see how you are that perfect fit for the position you desire.

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As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career coaching and practice firm, I am a Brand Strategist, Professional Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, sales teams, leadership and companies to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, 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 Career Polish and what we can do to help you.

Your Executive Resume is Boring & Being Ignored – Bring it Back to Life with 7 Changes

boring executive resume

One of the things I hear most often from executive leaders is: I am bored.

They love what they do creating and driving change; yet they are stagnated or suffocated.

At some point, their career went into autopilot. They stopped being able to do what they do best and love.

This is when the decision is made that it is time to find that next position that will give them juice again, a reason to get excited in the morning and make positive changes.

With resolve, they start sending out resumes and get radio silence.  But why, they have an incredible track record, it is all there in black and white!

Because they are presenting themselves as they are-  at this moment – not who they are as a leader:

Bored

Career objective – boring
Career history – boring
Format, bullet points, descriptions… – boring

Why would a company looking for a leader to make a positive impact want to talk to a boring, bored executive?

Would you?

Unless you want to be stuck in that monotony, we need to make changes – now.

Change 1 – Mindset

Your mindset is the single most important element in career transition. What you think is what you believe; what you believe is how you behave. If you can only see the dreariness that surrounds you, it becomes a part of you and what you broadcast.

Stop looking at the mud you are stuck in and view your entire career. What gets you jazzed, what did you enjoy most, what do you want to be doing again? Reconnect with your passion, talents and value. Find that spark again and light it up.

Change 2 – Direction

One key to a resume is to write to where you want to go, not where you are at the moment. Too often resumes are written from the perspective of where you are, not what you want to do or where you are going.

What does that next move look like? What do you want to be doing? How do you want to make an impact? Imagine that next role and own it. Now think about what it takes to be there. What is important to that role?

That is what you write to – take the fire and point it right there.

Review your career history and describe the value you contributed in a manner that aligns with these defined key criteria.

Change 3 – Visual

You are an executive leader. Why does your resume look like every other resume?

You are unique, you are accomplished, you have value and can add immediate impact – where is that?

An executive resume should subtly demand attention because it has the stuff to support the attention. This does not mean add a flurry of colors, tables, fonts and “prettiness”. It should be subtle yet strong. A consistent font style with larger size, bold, italics, shading and lines will add subtle distinction while creating an overall presence.

Shake it up a little.

It is fine to use a title; however, titles can be confined to the definition given by the reader rather than the true extent of your experience. If you want to align with the position by using a title, use it in a short statement that gives an impactful, immediate synopsis of who you are as a leader.

Change 4 – The Why

Are you answering their why – why do I want to read your resume? If you are using a standard objective statement you are not. You are boring them.

A typical objective statement is something to the effect of, “wanting to use my talents and skills with a track record of success looking for a rewarding opportunity blah, blah, blah.”

This is telling them what you want, not how you benefit them. What is most important to that next organization is what you can do for them, not what they can do for you.

If someone asked you to cut to the chase and tell them what you bring to the table – what would you tell them? Start with that, but take it a step further.

Demonstrate it. It is not enough to claim to be an executive leader, you have to prove you walk the walk and talk the talk. If you are aligned with specific industries, target markets, business situations – this is the place to tell them. What you do, how you do it and your success.

They will not believe you just because you say so, you have to prove it.

Change 5 – Support

After your opening executive summary, support the magnitude of your value by giving a list of proficiencies or expertise that aligns with an executive leadership role. This list should bring impact, not simply fill space, and should be tailored to each position.

Remember, this is about what is important to them and demonstrating symmetry with your expertise and experience. Think beyond common terms to ones that align with the position and bring impact, for example, Global Strategy rather than Strategy.

Change 6 – Impact

When describing your current and past roles, position them from a value perspective rather than a list of job duties. This will distinguish you from what you were hired to do to how you made an impact.

Present your qualifications demonstrating how and where you made an impact. The how is describing the strategy and execution for your successes, the where is in various arenas – financial, human resources, culture or business. Speak to the role when highlighting your accomplishments, value and impact.

Change 7 – Spotlight

I have found one thing to be true of all the amazing executives that I have worked with, no matter the industry or title – they all stink at talking about themselves. Great leaders bring out excellence, propel others and lead by example and with their teams. This means they are not egocentric, it is about their people.

That is great, except one thing – your resume is about you. Get comfortable putting yourself out there. This does not mean that you describe what you did in a way that suggests you were the be-all-end-all. This means you must describe it in a way that demonstrates how you made an impact.

You are a leader -you lead – describe how you lead.

Making these seven changes will transform your resume into a true reflection of who you are as a leader and what you can do for them.

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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 Career Polish and how we can help you.

What Hiring Managers & Recruiters Won’t Tell You: Stop Being a Whiner

no whine

I can look at a resume and tell you what job the person loved, which one they hated and if they are still ticked off about looking for a job. You can use all the keywords and phrases you want, but that anger or frustration still comes through.

It is not just what you say; it is how you say it. This is translated through the written word and verbal communication.

This is proven in our daily interactions frequently. Think of a time that you sent a written message to a friend or significant other and they responded in a way that was completely off the wall and contrary to your meaning.

Better yet, try gently telling your girlfriend or wife in a very even, soft monotone that you want to not go out to dinner because, “I think we need to watch what we eat.” That “we” will get you. I will bet dollars to donuts that if you meant that you want to eat healthier that is not how she is going to translate that sentence. Have fun with that.

Job searching is not fun. It can be humiliating, frustrating, aggravating, gut-wrenching and exhausting. You may still be smarting from having to look in the first place. Being placed in this situation, voluntarily or not, is much like a death or divorce and as such, you go through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

A company downsized, they let you go unfairly or they finagled their way of managing you out – it is not fair and it really ticks you off. You have every right to be mad. I encourage you to get mad, go for it, let it all out. Do it once and do it big – alone in the privacy of your own home. Get it out of your system. Give yourself permission to be mad, then let it go.

It is important for your mental health to allow yourself to be angry but even more important to let it go. It is not healthy to hold on to that anger. It also sabotages your job search efforts. People can pick up on that and it makes them uncomfortable. No one wants to hire the angry person.

It is natural to want to explain, to rally others to your side. You want to feel vindicated, understood or be the good guy who was wronged garnering more and more support for your side as you go to make you feel better.

The problem with this is – no one cares in the business world. It was a business decision. Take the personal feelings out of it and remind yourself that it was business.

If it was a hideous boss that manipulated to get you out of the company, well, they are an a-hole and they will get theirs. Don’t sweat it, it will come. And really, you do not want to be the person to deliver the karma. When it does come, it will come from someone or something much bigger than you that will give them what they deserve.

I had this happen to me and for a long time I about bit my tongue off taking the high road. Karma finally did step in about a year later and by that time, I had let it go. Although, it did please me in a small, dark place deep inside me – I’ll be honest. But I was also glad that it was not me because I could have lost credibility by looking like a whiner or disgruntled employee screaming, “It’s not fair.”

How to Eliminate the Whine from Your Job Searching

 

1. Your Resume – Descriptions

Even if you absolutely hated a job, put on your big person shoes and take a different approach. There is a benefit to every job you had – otherwise someone would not have paid you to do what you did. Find the benefit in the job. How did you add value? How did you contribute? What did you learn?

Find the positives and write about it from that perspective – the positive. This will change your tone and allow you to make minor changes in your verbiage that will make a huge improvement in your communication.

One dead giveaway that you hated a job is lack of information. If you worked for a company for five years and have two bullet points – guess what…. Really dig to find out the value. Think about who you worked with, how did you work with them, what did you do, how did you do it and how did it add value to others?

Even if you worked at the most monotonous job there is, you may have found a way to make your life easier in performing your tasks. Guess what, those are improvements. Write about them from the improvement perspective.

2. Your Resume – Departures

Often people want to state that it was not their fault for the departure. Do not do it. The resume is not the place to talk about why you left. Save it for the interview. Then you can leverage the powerful tools of tone and inflection to convey the right message. Often applications ask why you left a position – give a short answer not a dissertation. Plant closing, company downsize, recruited for advanced position.

3. Craft Your Message

This is the hardest part. You need to find a way to deliver the message of being let go yet put it in a positive way. No, you cannot tell people that your boss was an a-hole, even if it is true.

Downsizing or closures are easier to deliver, a simple, “Unfortunately, the company downsized; however, this is a great opportunity that allows me to bring xyz to a new organization and really make an impact” can be all you need to say. No need to add “because they wanted to bring younger people in with less experience so they could pay them less and not pay me what I am worth and I hope they burn in hell” in between the two thoughts.

Quitting or getting let go is a little more bitter pill to swallow or deliver. Try as hard as you can to be positive and deliver it in a non-demeaning, professional manner. “There was a change in structure or direction and felt that brining someone on with a background in this direction would be an immediate value; however, this allows me to get back to xyz, which is my greatest strengths and passion.”

The critical element of your message is ending it in a way that focuses back on your, in a positive way, highlighting your strengths, skills and value.

Practice your message over and over and over again, in front of a mirror and whenever you are alone until it comes easily, naturally, professional and positive. Watch your facial expressions and body language when practicing in front of a mirror to identify and eliminate any tells.

Practice it infinitum and eventually your mind shift will be to see it as a positive.

4. Networking

It is very easy to get comfortable with people you are networking with and your connections leading to a comfort in going into the gory details of your departure or job search. Stop that train before it leaves the station.

Your network is a professional network. Sure, you may drum up some sympathy, but in doing so you will not create any allies in helping you find a new position. They will get the impression that you are not ready.

If your network helps you in your search, they are putting their name out there and no one wants to tag their name to the angry person.

After the networking event, grab a bottle of wine (the good kind) and get with your partner or best friend as an accountability person and then let it all out. Set a limit to the whining – half an hour or one glass, whatever works for you.  Make sure your accountability person cuts you off on the whining and you get back to the positive.  The positive is you networked and remained professional!

5. Don’t Get Sucked Into Gossip

Unfortunately, there are those that love a good little bit of gossip or bad news. They may sound innocent enough with, “Oh, I’m so sorry, what happened?”

Answer this with your prepared message. The identifying bait for this type of person would come next. It can come in the form of, “I’ve always heard bad things about that company/manager” or “Did they tell you why?” or even as blatant as, “oh my gosh, tell me all about it!”

Do not take that bait. If they try to bait you to say something negative, do not bite. Remain upbeat and positive with a short statement putting an end to their probing. Smile and tell them that you are very excited to take on the next great adventure or opportunity. If they still try to probe, leave them. Politely excuse yourself to the rest room, to go get more networking chicken or that you just saw someone that you need to go speak to – just leave them.

6. Interviewing

This can be similar to the networking; however, there is intent in their probing rather than morbid gossip. Keep with your message and if you need to expand, do so in a way that is not disparaging to the company, managers or team member and end it on a positive for you. If you were fired, take ownership, let them know what you learned and how you incorporate that into your strengths.

Everyone makes mistakes, organizations downsize, companies close and sometimes you have a horrible leader. It is life. This is one event in your life, not the defining moment. You define yourself in how you learn, grow and move on from this event.

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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 and their leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, 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 Career Polish and how can help you.

Why Writing Your Own Resume Is So Darn Hard – And How To Get Over It

why is writing your own resume so darn hard

It is time. You have decided you are ready to leave that mind-numbing, life-sucking job of yours, go after that next step or change careers all together. You have finally decided that now is the time to go after it.

You create a plan, maybe just in your head, but you have a plan. Get your resume together, your LinkedIn profile cleaned up, let your network know, research, identify and conquer. Great.

So you begin – sitting down at your computer with an old resume or a blank page and start to let the career history and amazing points about you flow.

And you sit….and sit….and sit…..

A great thought just came to mind and you write that out like a masterpiece. Perfect, now just to fill up the rest of the page. But then that little voice in your head starts talking:

“Really? You think that is good? Sure, but for you? That is pretty boisterous, don’t you think? I mean c’mon, you really think you are all that and the bag of chips?”

Scratch that last thought.

And you sit….and sit….and sit…..

Research! That’s it, research how to write a resume or what companies are looking for – that is what you need to get started.

Oh. My. Goodness. Could there be any more information on how to do this and could it contradict just a little bit more? One page, no two; fancy-smancy, no plain and concise; bullet points, no paragraphs – seriously, make it stop.

At some point a level of frustration comes over you and you say to yourself, or in your outside voice, “Why is this so hard?! It is about me for crying out loud, I know what I have done!”

Welcome To My World

Would it surprise you to know that two of the largest groups of professionals I work with are Human Resource and Sales Professionals? One group can read a resume like no one’s business and the other can sell anything. But they, too, struggle with writing their own resume.

Why does it feel so uncomfortable writing your own resume? Three reasons:

Fear, nakedness & monotony

Fear of saying the wrong thing, not saying it in the right way, not using the right format or looking like an idiot.

Nakedness in being in the center stage spotlight and feeling like you are bragging.

Monotony in that what you have been doing has become “just part of my job” and the value that you bring has been overshadowed, covered up and buried in the everyday and expected.

Conquer the Madness

Fear

First, realize you are not the only person that struggles with this. No matter what position someone is in their career, they can struggle with this so relax.

The most important thing you need to “say” in your resume is your value. The reader wants to know what you can do for them and why they want to talk to you rather than the 300 other candidates. This is their most important question.

Turn this around in your mind from describing yourself as an individual to a professional there to solve their problem(s). What is the position, requirements, industry, issues, expectations, audiences, scope and relevancy? Identify these main components to speak to them in your resume.

Next, fight against giving the reader bullet points of your job duties – this is what you were hired to do and no one cares what you were hired to do; they care what you did.

Demonstrate your skills by creating bullet points that speak to who you work with, how you work with them, what you do, how you do it and how they benefit. Not each of these elements will be represented in each bullet point; however it is a good place to start in getting the feel for demonstrating value.

Write this in a manner that is conversational to you, as though you are explaining to someone who has never met you what it is you do all day. Then fine tune it in resume language.

Oh yes, resume language. It is horrible, isn’t it? Incomplete sentences, feeling like you are fluffing when you just want to say something in five words or less.

Stop it. It is not about you. It is about the reader. Your resume is your story, which you get to tell in the way that you want the reader to understand. Any good story must create interest. To create interest you must speak to what is important to them and in doing so paint a picture.

Think about reading a novel. You form an image of a character based on the words the author uses. The reader is doing the same about you. Use words that resonate with you. Be descriptive not for the sake of being flowery, use words to emphasize and create a sense of ownership, expertise, commitment, passion, innovation, excitement or confidence.

As far as the formatting – there are no hard fast rules for resumes. Sure, there are some general guidelines, but nothing concrete “DO NOT EVER DO THIS” because for every one of those, I bet we could find 20 articles telling you to do it.

This is your story, the words and imagery should reflect you. Go to Google and type in “resume sample” then click on images. Look at all those resumes. Do not read them! Just look at them. Which one is your eye drawn to? Use that format. If you like it you will be more likely to promote it.

As far as the one page versus two pages – the person that matters to the most is the person reading your resume, which you will never know their preference. You have a fifty-fifty shot here. What is more important to the reader is three things: 1. Tell me what you are applying for, 2. Tell me how you qualify and 3. Make it easy for me to find and understand in your resume.

Nakedness

It is so very uncomfortable talking about yourself. That bragging thing is a confidence killer. By using the demonstrative process it takes the bragging issue out of the equation and instead becomes a matter of you stating facts.

If you are really struggling, approach it as though it is not your resume. If this was your best friend or spouse how would you write it for them? We beat ourselves up much too quickly and jump at the chance to promote those we love. Love yourself.

Think of this – if you do not tell someone how good you are, who will? Your mom or spouse cannot hand deliver your resume to them and give them a sales pitch for you. And if they do, there are way bigger issues at hand than struggling to write a resume.

Monotony

This is the forest for the trees syndrome. We have been doing something for so long that it becomes routine. It is probably unnoticed or unappreciated by your current employer or become expected (perhaps why you are leaving) therefore you no longer see it as added value.

Break it down, start at the beginning. Go back to when you first started. How did each job evolve? How did you get from one step to the other? Not in terms of “here are my responsibilities and my accomplishments” but the real story. Tell your story to the computer. Type it out.

Get out of resume mode and get into conversation mode, that is when you will start to recall the story and that is when those lost points of value start coming back to you.

If you have some generalized statement on your resume, like, “Implemented a standardized X program” break it down. How did you implement it, why was there a need, who identified it, how did the process start, how did the implementation go, what were the hiccups, how did you solve them, who were you working with during the process, how did it benefit people?

There is a gold mine of value in answering those questions. You can demonstrate a number of skills: communication, project management, strategic thinking, problem solving, collaboration, team building, leadership – and the list goes on.

If You Need Help

Even after this article, you may find that you want help in writing your resume. You may be able to conquer those three monsters, but then it is a matter of time.

How do you find a person to help you? First, do not ask your friends. They will say it looks good even when it doesn’t either to pacify you or make you go away. For more on that, here is a related post on that:

It would be shameless for me to, at this point, say hire me. So I will not. I am not the right resume writer for everyone and not everyone is the right client for me.

Writing your resume is a personal endeavor. It is important to find a professional that is a good fit for you. The professionals in my field take different approaches, just as the professionals in your field do.

What are your priorities when having your resume done? Cost, time, quality? Know your priorities before you do your research. There are companies that will promise a 24 hour turn around, some offer very low prices – there are writers to fit everyone’s needs.

Do your homework. If you are going to employ a 24 hour turnaround company, look at their site and know what to expect. Talk to the professionals and get a feel for how they approach you and your resume. Do you communicate well with each other, in other words, do they get you and what you want out of this?

Do you need someone that will tell you what to do or someone that will expect you to be a contributor in the process? Know yourself and what you need.

Let It Begin

When you start this process, be gentle with yourself. It can be frustrating and you are a novice creating a new sales piece; however, you are the expert on the subject. Take your time and take breaks. Work on it then walk away, come back with a fresh set of eyes. Copy and paste your work into a word cloud to make sure you are emphasizing the main keywords. Tagcrowd.com is a great site for this.

If you were never taught how to write a resume, what makes you think you are should know it all right now? Take the pressure of the search and perceived expectations out of it and start by telling your story to your computer.

Let it evolve, review it as though it was not yours and enjoy the process of rediscovering your value.

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career coaching and practice firm, I am a Brand Strategist, Professional Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, sales teams, leadership and companies to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, 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 Career Polish and how we can help you.

Why Your Employees Are Calling Me To Help Them Leave You

desparate phone call

If you are any way responsible for employees at your organization, I have a truth you may not want to hear: either you take care of your employees now or I’ll be taking care of them soon.

I am a Professional Resume Writer and Career Coach, I help people find the jobs they want rather than the ones they have. Your employees may be talking to me now and you do not know it; you probably will not know until it is too late.

According to Gallup Workforce Panel study 51% of employees were considering a new job, 2015.

There are severe consequences to losing an employee including major costs. According to a Catalyst.org, employee departures total costs can reach as high as 90% – 200% of their annual salary. This includes time, money and resources. A departure can also significantly impact engagement within remaining employees.

They are not all leaving for promotions; many are leaving for a lateral move.

It is not just about money. It is about personal satisfaction.

You could be losing your staff and it can be avoided.  Employees leave for a variety of reasons; however, they can generally be categorized within five areas, which may overlap:

Boredom

According to the Gallup study, 58-60% of individuals said the new job allowed them to do what they do best, as opposed to 41-49% that left due to a significantly increasing their income.

This is a sentiment that is becoming more and more common. A client perfectly illustrated this point by saying, “I can go anywhere and make good money. Where I am, I am bored. I need to be challenged. I can do what I do where I am with my eyes closed. I hate it.”

Broken promises

This can come in many different forms:

A promise of advancement or pay increase after a probationary or specific time period.

A misalignment of what they were told they were going to do and what is being asked of them.

The company culture is not at all what was represented in the interview.

Unappreciated

Employees know they bring value to the table; it is nice to be recognized for it. They do not want to feel like a nameless face. One of the worst feelings for an employee is to know that their leadership not only does not know anything about them, they do not care.

An employee may go the extra mile to make something happen for a client and never hear a word from their leadership.  It is worse to hear that that is their job, they should go the extra mile.

They have strengths and ambitions that they have tried to discuss with their leadership only to be responded to with brush off comments.  Now is not the time, we really can’t spare you right now or I don’t know why you would want to do that, it’s not your job.

Pay that does not meet industry or market standards is another form of lack of appreciation.  Income is a motivator, it may not be every employee’s primary motivator; however, it is a significant factor.

Underutilized

Leadership diminishes the value of their employees when an employee volunteers or requests to take on additional responsibilities or learn new tasks and is met with, “I know you could do more, but we really need you to just do what you are doing right now.”

Another form of under-utilization is not listening to employees.  They know.  They know about the clients, failings in the processes or opportunities to improve service or products.  By failing to ask and worse – listen – to employees leadership is under-utilizing its most valuable asset.

Environment

The gamut of bad environments include being unclear of what is expected of them (and worse, getting bad reviews because of it), favoritism, bullying, strong-arming them to stay, increased responsibility without increased pay and sabotage.

What You Can Do Now

  • Talk to them – make it a two way conversation. Do not assume that everyone is just fine because they do not complain. Not complaining does not mean they are happy.
  • Make sure their compensation is right. Throwing money at them when they are on the way out is not the time.
  • Find out what excites or motivates them: opportunity, income, growth, personal fulfillment, empowerment or stability.
  • Find out what frustrates them and what can be changed. Have an honest conversation about this.
  • Discover their strengths, find out their ambitions and help them align the two areas.
  • Help them grow: develop a plan that meets their personal learning style and strengths – one size does not fit all.
  • Treat them as a treasured, valuable employee that you are grooming to leave for a higher position. They may get recruited for another position, but if they feel valued where they are and the rest of their needs are met, they will stay with you, because you value them and allow them to grow.
  • Have continual conversations, set benchmarks, establish deadlines, follow up and ask them for their feedback.

There is a theory that for a successful long term personal relationship, you should treat your partner the way you did when you were dating; the same could be applied to your employee work relationship. You should view them as a valuable investment worthy of your time, attention and mentorship.

We have all heard the saying, “Nobody is irreplaceable”, that holds true for employers, as well. If a company does not create an environment that fulfills them, they will replace that company.

 

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

In other words: 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 Career Polish and we can help you.

Is Your LinkedIn Profile Telling Recruiters To Ignore You?

waiting for the phone to ring

With so many articles, tips and advice on crafting your LinkedIn profile, some might wonder – is LinkedIn really an important tool for transitioning in your career?

Yes.

Not because Career Coaches and Branding Professionals like me say it is, research provides the numbers:

89% of recruiters use LinkedIn to fill positions
94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates

LinkedIn can be instrumental in your career progression, transition and trajectory. It allows you to broadcast your personal brand in the professional arena and cultivate a strong presence. If you can be found.

How Recruiters Use LinkedIn

Recruiters utilize LinkedIn to research candidates, companies and employees. Investigating companies and existing employees allows them to get a sense of the company culture in order to recruit the best possible candidate. With an effective profile, recruiters can identify candidates that fit their clients’ environment, expectations and value required.

Recruiters also leverage LinkedIn for networking as an ideal way to expand their network and build referral sources.

What Recruiters Want To See in Your LinkedIn Profile

Here are six vital areas that recruiters focus on when reviewing a profile. Having all six areas complete, in the most impactful way, demonstrates that you are worth their time and effort to research and contact.

1. A Complete Profile

A bone structure of a profile is not enough. It conveys to the reader that, although aware that this is a valuable tool, you do not care enough about your profile to leverage it. Not the message you want to send to someone who could help catapult your career.

To be considered a complete profile, you should be at All-Star Status.

For a quick reference on achieving this status, click here LinkedIn All Star Status Rocks – How To Reach It In 7 Steps.

2. Photo

Your photo should be professional, current and in line with your industry and position; or the position that you want.

For tips on capturing your best photo, click here: LinkedIn Profile Pictures – This is NOT Facebook

3. Recommendations

Recommendations are icing on the cake. What an easy and impactful way to reinforce your value. It is important that your recommendations support your selling statement and key points as a candidate.

To ensure your recommendations are working for you, click here: 5 Steps For LinkedIn Recommendations That Work For You

4. Activity/Engagement

Being connected and active increases your LinkedIn SEO and demonstrates your level of commitment in your job search and industry. Connect with groups, thought leaders and the LinkedIn community answering questions, posting/sharing articles, endorsing members of your network and updating your profile when relevant.

The size of your network also can demonstrate your business savvy. The opinions vary; however, the general rule of thumb is under 50 connections and you are dipping your toe in the water; 50-100 connections you have a good starting point; 300-400 connections you are one savvy cat; over 500 connections, you rock.

5. Results

Having an All Star status profile might get them to your page, now you need to give them something to read. Demonstrate your passion, engagement, effectiveness and value by doing three things:

✔ Using Action Words – throughout your summary and experience
✔ Demonstrate Value – tell how you do what you do rather than giving job descriptions
✔ Highlighting Accomplishments – give numbers when possible and feature the impact you made on an organization, team, position or client experience

6. Relevance

Relevance is similar to results; however the difference is in building a history of trajectory or a case for transition into a new industry. Throughout your experience and within your summary, paint the picture of the path to where you are going next.

Tell the story in a way that builds from one position to the next highlighting your responsibilities, accomplishments, skills and abilities as natural progression. This is your story; tell it in a way that you want the reader to understand. They may not be able to see the correlation of how one job to the next was a benefit in your career progression – it is your job to tell them in way they can understand..

Additional tips and links to help you boost your profile and catch that recruiter’s eye:

1. Accurate Title. Your title should match what is used on your resume as a matter of integrity; you do not want to explain a made up title or one that cannot be verified.

2. Value Title. If you are in between jobs, guard against using, “Unemployed” “Seeking Opportunity” or listing current volunteer/nonprofit activity.

The volunteer activity as a job title could be misconstrued as you work for the organization. It also weakens your SEO by misaligning with your preferred industry/position, if unrelated.

Create a job title that would be similar to a headline if you held the position you desired. For example, incorporate the position: Inventory Manager with your value: Profitability, Accountability & Cost Reduction with industry: Health Care. Now you can put them all together as:

Inventory Manager Looking to Increase Profitability, Accountability & Cost Reduction in Health Care
3. Include Industry. Statistics indicate that profiles with an industry listed are 15 times more likely to be viewed as those without.

4. Keywords. Utilize keywords in your title, summary, experience and headline. Quick tip: use a space between keywords, for example: use sales / marketing instead of sales/marketing to ensure search engines recognize both words.

For a refresher on how and where to use keywords, click on this article: How & Where to Best Use Keywords for LinkedIn Profile SEO.

5. Completed Job History. Give accounts for your last three positions, if possible. These descriptions should not be a detailed career history or resume, rather they should be a highlight of your responsibilities, skills and expertise. Leverage the description as a conversation starter, not the full story.

6. Leverage White Space. These are humans reading your profile, make it easy and inviting for them to read. Use short paragraphs and think about – sparingly – using characters.

For a plethora of special character options for LinkedIn, click here: Character Limits & Special Characters For LinkedIn Profiles

7. Your Voice To Tell Your Story. Your story should demonstrate the value you bring to an organization and answer any potential questions. Write it as though you were sitting across from your audience and answering the question, “Tell me about yourself”.

For tips on finding and using your voice in your LinkedIn summary, click here: LinkedIn – Pick Your Voice & Stick With It

With the right profile, LinkedIn is a wonderful platform and strong partner in building your network, showcasing your brand and draws opportunities directly to you.

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰

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

In other words: 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 Career Polish and what we can do to help you.

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