If You Have To Tell Someone You Are, You’re Not

I’m stealing that from my grandmother. It comes from watching an interaction with a disturbing lack of what used to be called social graces. After which, she turned to me and said, “If you have to tell someone you are a lady, you’re not.

I think this is one of the wisest things I have ever heard. Change out “lady” for anything of importance. This then lends to a question that will serve as your guide:

Am I saying it or am I proving it?

It doesn’t matter what you say, it matters what you do. People can say anything. I can say I’m six foot tall, that doesn’t make it true. (I’m five foot, by the way).

Never is this concept more important than in your resume and LinkedIn. These are the foundation pieces to your personal brand – the business you. The you that represents your promised delivery, the ROI, in doing business with you or hiring you.

When building your brand, resume, LinkedIn etc. there is purpose in every statement. Each has to pass the “so what” test.

I’m a project manager. – So what?

I’m a dynamic leader. – So what?

I’m an efficiency expert. – So what?

The three statements above are just that – statements. No proof. No meaning. There is more to the so what, it actually ends with “why should I care”.

I just earned my degree. – So what, why should I care?

I have 10 years’ experience. – So what, why should I care?

I used to work in the Automotive industry. – So what, why should I care?

These generic statements don’t build a connection or show value. They are telling, not proving.

Let’s prove value. Let’s make these statements mean something. Let’s tell a story. Let’s tell your story with these four steps.

1. What’s important

We need a purpose for our story. This comes from your audience. What is important to them? Saving time, making money, expanding territories, brining in the right people, streamlining processes, making things more efficient – what are their pain points? Where do they need help? What do they value the most?

2. Pieces of the puzzle

Here we are going to ask a few questions to get to your ROI. Once you have identified what’s important, we need to go back and find where you have done these things. That’s the basis.

Now fill it in by answering: who did you work with, how did you work with them what did you do, and how did something benefit?

3. Value

This is the key. How did something benefit? Answering this is your value. The something could be a team member, team, company, client, process, industry – anything. That’s your hook.

4. Lead with the greatest impact

These are the building blocks for your resume, LinkedIn, networking, elevator speech, and interviewing. This is how you prove your ROI with ‘here’s the value I bring by doing … (filling in what it is you do).

Let’s say you had a problem with time consuming programs that took a lot of time and effort to run. They drive your people crazy.

Now let’s say you were to hear (or read) the following:

“I save client’s an average of $150,000 by guiding them through replacing all their outdated processes for a single system that takes half the processing time.”

“I’m an account manager.”

Who do you want to talk to?

I would say the first person because they are speaking your language. They address your pain and tell you how they solve it. They tell you what you will most likely get in working with them (or hiring them).

 

When you start telling your story, which describes the value in what you do, that’s when you’ll start connecting.

 

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As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help amazing professionals get career happy.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

They Don’t Like You and That is Okay

sticking tongue out

There are times that I talk to someone who is in the midst of job transition and they tell me, with a great deal of frustration, that they use their current resume to apply to everything and never hear back.

My initial response to that is “don’t do that.”

You see, when you apply to everything using one form, you match with nothing.  One size does not fit all.  It is important that you tweak your resume to match with what that employer wants.  Sometimes those tweaks are making sure you bring out more of one quality than another.

For example, if they want someone who has experience as a Zebra wrangler and a bit of Cobra coaching and your resume speaks equally to Zebra wrangling, Cobra coaching and Ant farming, well then a modification needs to take place.  Highlight more of the Zebra with second emphasis on Cobras.

But, they still might not call you.  Even if you match up on their ATS pretty well (the software that analyzes your resume against their opening), they still might not call you.

Why? They may not like you.

“Hey! That’s not fair, they don’t even know me, how can they not like me?!” you might say.

You are right, they do not know you because dollars to donuts you are not in your resume.  This is the voice part that is very important.

It is about fit.  It is about culture.  If you are doing any type of research on job transition you have surely run across articles that speak to the importance of company culture and finding individuals who fit in or can thrive within a company’s culture.

If you are a very outgoing person, full of energy, really bring the life to the relationships and help people and processes get better every day but your resume looks like it was shot down the side with a BB gun and would put you to sleep reading it  – then you are not in your resume.

If you are a behind the scenes kind of person who likes the analysis and roll up your sleeves kind of work to make a difference, putting a splashy resume full of high energy words is not you.  You are not in your resume.

When someone reads your resume – and yes, people do read them after the computer is done – they form an image of you based on the words you chose.  Much like forming a picture of a character of a book based on the words the author uses.  If that image matches with what they want, and what is in line with their company and culture, you will hear from them.

If not, then that phone just won’t ring.

What if you are in your resume, and you are matching the keywords and concepts for each job, and you are still not hearing back?  Well, sorry cupcake, they may not like you. And that is a good thing.

It is a fact that not everyone in the world is going to like you or me or anyone else for that matter.  You have heard the old phrase, ‘not everyone’s cup of tea’?  I was once told “sweetie, you are not a cup of tea, you are a shot of tequila”.  I am more than okay with that.

Not all clients are a great fit for me and I am not a great fit for all clients.  That is why I insist on a conversation before accepting any projects.  Rarely do I come across someone that it is not a good fit.  I put myself out there in my LinkedIn, website and articles who I am and I know that it resonates with the people I like to work with: amazing, fun, intelligent, compassionate professionals who blow me away with their talent, career and genuine personalities.

Back to you, in our prior two examples: the bubbly and the behind the scenes, if you are the bubbly and they want behind the scenes – or visa-versa – they probably won’t call.  That is a good thing.

Think about it, if you like doing your own thing – do you really want to work for a company who wants and expects you to be the bubbly?  No!  If you are bubbly are you really going to be happy relocated to a little cube somewhere in the back without any team interaction? No!

This is when it is time to look at what you are applying for and get a sense of them.  Just as they form an image or impression off of what you have presented, you need to do the same for the company and position.  Do your homework.  If it feels like a drag then do not apply.  Why set yourself up for rejection of something you really did not want in the first place?  Talk about adding salt to the wound!

Some job descriptions are horrendously written.  I mean, c’mon, could you be any more vague?  That is when you need to do some research on the company – if it is listed.  Dig deep, look at other similar openings (if the position is new to you) and get a sense of the job.

Here are three steps to help you hear from the right ones:

  1. Get a feel for the job and company. Really feel it out. Do not check off all the skills that meet what they list – read it.  Listen to it and listen to your gut.  Does it sound like a fit for you beyond the skill set?
  2. Now go back and highlight the keywords and phrases. Match those in your resume and cover letter.
  3. Read your resume again and make sure you are in there. Describe what you did by how you did it and start using words that really resonate with you.  Bubbly might use revitalized, revamped, revolutionized (quite the busy little bee, weren’t they?) and do your own thing might use words like structured, architected, executed.

 

Stop applying for things you do not want.  You are wasting your time and setting yourself up for rejection or worse, getting the job and hating it.  Be you. Do you. Bring it in your resume and allow that right company to see you and come get you!

 

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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

 

 

 

 

Branding Fail: Putting A Bandana On My Dog Did Not Make Him A Pirate

pirate bandit

If you ever saw my dog Bandit while on a walk, you would think he was quite an intimidating fellow.  His Great Pyrenees/Lab sister towers over him, but he struts like he is ten feet tall and bullet proof.  If he sees another animal, he puffs up and gives the impression that, by golly, it is a good thing he is leashed or he might just go after them like a Tasmanian devil.

Then of course, there is reality.

He is a cupcake.

He barks at hot air balloons; a fly buzzing around him makes him duck his tail and hide; toads fascinate and frighten him; delivery drivers are the greatest threat to mankind until they offer a belly rub, then he is a sprawled out pile of jell-o.  The dog has literally jumped at his own gas and shadow.  A cupcake.

But I can’t take him in nature twice a day and let the other animals know he is a cupcake. Those squirrels can be quite vicious in their teasing and we don’t want the skinks and toads gaining up on him.

So what do I do? I get him a bada$$ bandana – a black pirate bandana with skulls and everything to complete the look.  But that bandana does not make him tough, we have to sell it.

While on our walks and he begins his ‘routine’ I back him up. I tell him he’s a good guard dog, to stay put and even make it look like I am struggling holding him back. I say, “I know you want to go tear that apart but I won’t let you.”  To all the other woodland creatures, I am the only thing holding him back and saving their certain doom.

What on earth does this Dr. Doolittle-ish tale have to do with personal branding? Personal branding is all about positioning yourself the way you want people to see or get you.

The bandana on Bandit – that is your title.  You title is nearly meaningless.  Wearing a pirate bandana did not make him a pirate. You are not your title. Your title does not define you. What is important is what you do, how you do it and how it provides value to others. Titles rarely convey that.

His title is guard dog, not cupcake.  His title does not convey his ‘image’. Our charades during walks, well that is what people see.  It is how he presents himself. I also let him go chase after things once in a while. As he darts off at full speed, I know that if what he is chasing turns around, he will run for the hills and that he is good for a “I’m gonna getcha” run of less than a minute.  So about 30 seconds into it, I make a big show of calling him back. I help my dog save face.

Bandit truly believes he is the biggest, baddest guard dog around. He puts it out there. You can’t fake it like my dog. My dog also thinks he is a pirate.

What are you putting out there? Now, granted he relies on me to help sell the story…but are you selling your own story?

This part belongs to you. It is the how you do things. If you tell people you are passionate about a certain industry or topic yet cannot muster above monotone when speaking about it – you have brand clash. If you portray that you are an amazing listener yet when networking ask no questions – you have brand clash. Your actions define you. How do you back up your brand?

Do you use words that resonate with you and the brand you want to portray? Do you convey value or duties? Do you engaged, network, with others to build your brand?

You can’t be a pirate by wearing a skull and crossbones bandana. If you are going to be a pirate, be a pirate. Be your own pirate, whether that be Pirates of the Caribbean or Black Sails. Be a pirate in owning your own brand – get it shipshape then weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen!

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A little about me: I do what I love: help people break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews and celebrates 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

 

 

 

Craft Your Communication Wisely – Rarely Do We Know 100% of Our Audience

who-is-reading-your-communication

Several years ago as a leader, I got my hand smacked about an email in which I added a touch of effervescent witticism.  It was appreciated by my staff, but not my director.

In the very large organization it was not uncommon for updates to fail leaving my staff completely frustrated. During staff meetings and one-on-ones we began adding humor while implementing contingency plans to make the best during these situations.

An update was not successful and another was schedule, I sent out an email to my staff to keep them apprised of time-frames and the situation. The problem is I added a sentence with something similar to “I know you are surprised” after the not working part.

My biggest mistake (and there was more than one) was not realizing my audience was not only those on the email list.

It was a poor reflection of me as a leader supporting another team and the organization as a whole. My communication was not consistent or positive for all who could have seen this communication.

I was young at the time and had a good director. I took appropriate action and accountability. it was a good lesson.

Some companies and representatives do not get the benefit of good coaching or bad mistakes that are good lessons.

I heard a reminder of this and of not being aware of your audience and the misalignment of communication.

There are parts of the south that have experienced quite a winter storm after the holidays. During the weeks of December 26th and January 2nd most services in one small town were pushed back at least a day due to holidays.

The winter storm closed schools, government offices and businesses everywhere and created an even greater delay to some services effectively cancelling them for a week.  Ice covered streets made travel extremely dangerous.

One of these services was trash service, which is provided by a contractor to the town. Many residents passed their trashcans at the end of their driveway day after day for nearly six days after the originally expected delayed pick up date. Then they received communication.

A voicemail was recorded by a representative of the municipality and sent to all customers.

This was the good part – there was communication.

Here is the not so good part – the communication itself.

  • It detailed, in length, the timing of the holiday, how that week and the prior trash had been delayed due to the holidays and in even more detail the storm that hit the town.
  • The representative’s statement threw the service provider under the bus. It was stated that: “we are at the mercy of the service provider, so to speak”. The provider’s name was used only when speaking despairingly about them.
  • It was pretty easy to surmise that the communication came after numerous calls, questions or complaints about the trash not being picked up, that frustration came through.
  • Nearly a minute into the voicemail the most important elements came to fruition: the new collection dates, ability to handle two weeks worth and credit for the missed week.
  • Not only was it was nearly a minute and half long (I am wondering how many listened to the entire message) the tone and delivery was very, very casual.

I believe the communication was to inform and ease. Yet the delivery and dialog delivered a different message: stop calling us, it is not our fault.

If the intent was to address 98% of the complaints, there was a better way. I say 98% because there will always be about 2% who will still complain no matter what you do.

A positive impact could have been had by simply stating: “Due to the holidays and recent winter storm, our service provider delayed trash service for the safety of their employees and those in our community. You will receive a credit for last week and they will resume pick up on X and Y dates with the ability to pick up any additional trash caused by the missed week. Thank you for your patience and understanding, we and the service provider apologize for any inconvenience.”

In twenty seconds this addresses the majority of concerns while demonstrating professionalism , courtesy and appreciation.

When crafting a message we do not always know our entire audience.

If it is an informative message there may be others that the communication touches than the original distribution.

If it is a blanket message (websites, LinkedIn profiles, biographies etc.) the audience is limitless.

If it is a reactionary message, there may be more than one concern. The other thing about reactionary messaging is that it is very easy to slip into blame mode or be a bit testy. Neither is appropriate and either or both will not be viewed well by your audience.

For a more positive, impactful communication, keep these points in mind:

  • There will be the 2%’ers who will not be satisfied or will complain, not a lot you can do about that.
  • Even though there may be one glaring issues or topic, there may be underlying concerns. Your communication should be holistic to cover beyond the most obvious, but not the realm of minute possibilities. In other words, look at it again before you send it out, could there be another concern, are you addressing to many and diluting your message?
  • Speak to the entire possible audience. This means you may have to be less personalized in order to effectively communicate the entire message. Remember throwing in a quip – one group of the audience was okay with it, another was not.
  • If it is a message representing an organization, the voice of the organization should prevail, not an individual.
  • Do not throw anyone under the bus. It does not make you look better by making them look worse.
  • Be brief when you can to maintain the attention of your audience and not dilute your points.

Communication in every form is a representation of the organization, teams and individuals.

For the greatest positive impact, your communication must align in both message and delivery for every person it touches. Reevaluating before distribution can mean the difference between engagement and disengagement of your audience; even those you do not know are listening.

 

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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. 

 

LinkedIn All-Star Status Rocks & How To Reach it in 7 Steps

linkedin all star banner

The year is coming to an end and soon people will be making New Year Resolutions or professional goals for 2016. I imagine on many lists will be to either:

Get a better job or move up in their industry
Grow their business

Growing your network is paramount in accomplishing either one of those goals. The good news is LinkedIn is king in growing and nurturing your network.

Before you can leverage the power of LinkedIn, you must be able to be found, understood and add value.

Today begins a series of LinkedIn tips and insights to building a strong profile before the New Year to prepare for another series on leveraging LinkedIn to accomplish your 2016 goals. The topic today:

Achieving All-Star Status

There are five levels of status, from least complete to highest completion: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert and All-Star.

Why it is important to be an All-Star

According to LinkedIn:

Users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.

That is forty times more likely to receive opportunities including job offers, new clients, new markets, new connections to centers of influence and more.

Whether you are actively looking for a new job or open to hearing about opportunities, a 2014 Jobvite survey found that 94 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to source and vet candidates.

It might be safe to assume that recruiters find plenty of candidates within the All-Star category without venturing into Expert or Advanced profiles.

What it Takes to Reach All-Star

For your profile to be considered complete, there are seven criteria:

  1. Profile Picture
  2. Experience
  3. Skills
  4. Summary
  5. Industry & Location
  6. Education
  7. Connections

It is not enough to have each section, they must be completed in the most impactful way.

Profile Picture

Although the statistic of profiles with a picture are 14 times more likely to be viewed, the caveat this statistic does not mention is that profiles with professional pictures are more likely to be viewed.

Not just any picture will do.

Your photo should be current showing you in a relaxed, inviting, professional manner. This means no bathroom selfies, Facebook fun pictures, pets, kids, families or group photos.

There are exceptions to every rule and if your business is all about dogs, having a puppy in your photo may just be the ticket for you – as long as it matches with your profile headline.

Headline

You have a limit of 120 characters for your headline. Yes, I said limit. Your title and company name is not all that you can fill in for this section. This about this as a very short introduction, you want to be known for more than just your title and company, right? Add keywords and phrases here that represent you and the value you provide.

Experience

Your experience section will need your current position and two prior positions, all completed with supporting information. In other words, simply listing two previous positions is not enough.

Use experience section to build your story of where you have been and how it is getting you to where you are going. List the value you provided, who you served, how you served them and the difference you made while there.

You have the parameters of 200 minimum characters in the experience summary and a maximum of 2,000. You do not need to use all 2,000 characters – a short paragraph will do; accompanied with a couple of supporting bullet points is even better.

If you are a student or unemployed, you will still need to list a current position. Without it you will not be ranked as an All-Star.

Skills

For All-Star status, you must have at least five skills listed. You can add up to 50 skills, but let’s not get carried away. Fire eating, fire breathing, small talk, cat herding, chewing gum, Halloween, snacks and drinking water are all listed as skills. Seriously, type them in and see for yourself!

If you do not have a skills section click Skills section under profile summary at the top of your profile. You may need to click View More to find this section

To add more skills:

Select Edit Profile under Profile at the top of your page
Scroll to the Skills & Endorsements section of your profile
Click on +Add Skill button in the top right corner of this section
Select Yes after “I want to be endorsed”
Type in skills and when they populate, click on the skill then click on Add
Click Save when done.

Summary

Your summary is your introduction to you. This is your opportunity to speak to your audience directly, in a one-on-one conversation. It should be an expansion of your headline and incorporate your style, strengths, specialties, experience and atta boys.

Use keywords to emphasize and describe rather than throwing in industry jargon to try to appease. Remember, this is a conversation, not a script.

Think about writing your summary from this perspective: you are sitting down at a foo-foo coffee house across from someone you want to read your profile.

They ask you, “So, tell me about yourself” Now go! How you answer that in a relaxed, professional environment is how you write your summary.

You have 2,000 characters to play with so make them count. It is not necessary to use them all as long as you tell your story the way you want the reader to understand it.

Industry & Location

These two areas simply tell readers where you are located and in what industry you operate.

When editing your profile, click the edit button next to these fields (see below). Enter your country and zip code then enter your industry. To finish, click Save.

Education

Simply add your education in this section. It is not necessary to put graduation dates. The additional benefit of adding education is it gives you an opportunity to connect to fellow school attendees and alumni – you have a built in connection!

Connections

For All-Star status, you need at least 50 connections. Start by connecting with professional contacts you know. Use the search feature to search companies you worked for to find former or current employees on LinkedIn. Do the same for the schools listed in your education section.
These are the basics for reaching All-Star status. Look for articles soon to feature:

Where, when and how to leverage keywords to complete your profile
Above the fold, maximizing the spaces you are not completing
Telling your story to reach and connect with your audience
Recommendations – how to ask for and receive recommendations that work for you
… and more!

★ I have created a tip cheat sheet on several sections and character limits; to view or download, just click here: LinkedIn Personal Profile Cheat Sheet 

Dad’s Advice for College Turned Out to be a Key to Customer Service

dad and daughterMy dad gave me great advice, adages and tidbits of wisdom. One of my favorites is, “If you are never sure what to do, imagine me standing next to you.”

He told me this before I went off to college and considering he was the dad that scared the heck out of all my high school dates, I know the primary intent of this little tidbit. It worked. There is a certain filter that comes with being around your parent, even if you just imagine them there.

I kept this little tidbit in the back of my head throughout my career and as a business owner. I find it very helpful with customer service, good or bad. This week I experienced a contrast in customer service.

The transmission in my car when out. We called several places, priced many options and decided upon one company. Initially it looked as though all would be taken care of in less than a week. Then the transmission goblins stepped in – it is close to Halloween you know. Long story short – three bad rebuilds lead to the company sending it to a dealership for a new one and nearly a month later I (according to the manager) had hit the transmission lotto with a perfectly running car.

I was not happy that each week there was a problem with the newest install; however, this was not the fault of the company, it was a bad transmission from their supplier. Even though I was not happy, I could not blame them; I did suggest they find a new supplier.

In the end, they kept us apprised of what was going on and held true to the original cost and increased the warranty. Things that were out of their control they handled on their end and upheld good customer service to us.

There were plenty of opportunities for great customer service and they kept them front in mind.

This weekend, we stopped in to a McDonalds to grab a quick breakfast. We had a lazy day planned so we were not in a hurry, thank goodness. There were only two young people in front of us and several people waiting on their order.

After we got our drinks we sat down and got engulfed in conversation. At one point we realized we had not heard our order and I saw the young girl still standing near the counter that ordered before us so I knew it had not been called. That is when I looked at the receipt to see what time we ordered. 10:47. Our order was called at 11:15.

It also had to change because one item we ordered were hot cakes, when they handed us the food they told us that they were out of syrup. Well, that would not work. So we asked for something different and got it immediately.

The young girl in front of us who also waited over a half hour for her food – she ordered a cinnamon role and hash brown.

As we ate we tried to figure out what went wrong. Why did it take over a half an hour for these things. That is when dad’s adage came into my head.

The young man at the register never smiled or greeted any customer. He simply took the order without ever moving from his spot. When one angry customer made the comment, “Thanks, a half an hour later!” he made a snarky remark under his breathe. Would he have acted like that if his parent were standing next to him?

The backup crew were busy but without urgency; often standing in front of the screen waiting and watching. If what they needed was not there, they just waited. If their parent were standing next to them, perhaps they would have looked to see what else they could be doing before the order came up.

The woman who called out the orders was brisk; calling out the food and leaving it on the counter. Not once did I see her say, “Thank you for your patience” or “I’m sorry about your wait”. Would she have done so if her parent were next to her?

The thing I realized is that the tone was set before we even walked in. One gentleman walked in and let out a loud groan looking at the line. We told him they were a bit slow today, taking about a half hour. He remarked that they always took that long. I could not understand if he thought this then why was he there and why was he complaining?

Yet the tone was set. There was no customer service. There was no friendly. There was no “we are so sorry for the wait” there was no urgency or energy.

Perhaps they were short staffed, or just had a huge run and obviously the stocking and ordering were not done properly to account for a weekend. Yet, even with these things, there were opportunities for great customer service. They were all missed.

Most customers do not care about your short staffing problems or rushes that you just handled. They care about their experience only. Each and every one is unique and an opportunity to prove yourself all over again.

You cannot always handle or predict what happens during the day; however you have complete control over how you treat each and every customer or client.

My dad worked hard all day on his feet. It did not matter how bad his day was, he always came home and was a great dad. It did not matter what happened five minutes before, it was the immediate interaction that counted.

Putting this with the adage of what would I do if he were standing next to me, I realized that customer service is about that moment. Not the one before or what comes next, just that one moment of interaction.

Perhaps the transmission place got it right because of their advertising or tag line. After all, their commercials are done by the “owner’s mother” and ends with the line, “My Edward, he’s such a good boy.”

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I hope you enjoyed this article and it provided value for you. If so, please click on the follow button so I may continue to share valuable content with you or the share buttons to share with your network.

I help people identify and set a path to achieve their career goals by using the V Formula:

Your Value + Your Voice = Visibility

Visibility is the leverage to move in, move up or move on in your career; expand your book of business or territory, grow your company and strengthen your team.

–Lisa

Lisa K. McDonald, Owner and Principal of Career Polish, Inc. is a favorite speaker and seminar facilitator at companies, professional organizations and colleges speaking to leadership, sales, teams, transitioning/downsized employees and networking groups about career mobility, personal branding, networking, creating executive presence and achieving career movement success. To find out more, visit Career Polish, Inc.

Stop Ignoring The Most Important Person To Give You Job Search Advice

confidenceWith the ability to have instant access to a wealth of information on any topic known to man, it would seem to be a pretty easy task to become fairly well educated on a desired topic. The flip side to this is information overload which leads to analysis-paralysis.

If you are in the process of making a change in your career – moving up or changing industries – it is natural to do a little research to be prepared. So you begin a search on the internet. You find information on job search strategies, resumes, networking, LinkedIn, interviewing – just to name a few topics that you are likely to run across.

So you pick on and start doing some real research on one topic to get started and that is when the fun starts.

One site tells you that you should always have a one page resume, another says that two pages is preferred or most common. One expert tells you that you should never have a summary on the top of your resume, another says it is an absolute must, and the list goes on and on and on and on….

What you start to quickly realize is there is a lot of conflicting information out there, with an emphasis on a lot of information out there. By the time you amass all the tips, tools, tricks, insight and recommendations your head is about ready to explode. You feel worse than you did when you began the process.

Perhaps you feel like you thought you knew a thing or two but now you feel you really do not know a darn thing about this whole process after all. A sense of doom and gloom starts to creep in.

Should you redefine your brand, resume, LinkedIn, networking, interviewing and everything else that you do every single time you leave the house or apply for a position? Everyone seems sincere and authoritative, even if conflicting, so who do you listen to?

Let’s not forget the well-meaning intentions of family and friends. Some turn into instant experts on job searching and all the elements as soon as they find out you are in that mode. They tell you with extreme confidence exactly what you should do. Sometimes, if you are really lucky, they badger you asking if you have followed their advice to the letter and if not why not and it can turn into berating rather than supporting.

Professionals, websites, articles, videos, seminars, books, friends, family, former bosses, co-workers, networking groups – who do you listen to? You have so many options of who to listen to but odds are you are not listening to the person who has the most to contribute, your most valuable expert.

What if I told you there is one person who knows you better than anyone else and who can guide you? They can weed through the landfill of information and pick out the gems that benefit you the most because it is in line with who you are and what you want.

Who is this person??

It is you.

That’s right; you need to listen to yourself. Your gut, intuition, little voice in your head – whatever you call it you need to learn to listen to it.

No, you do not know the world of job searching, but you know you. And selling yourself in a way that resonates with you is the foundation and vital to your job search success.

You can gather the best advice in the world but if it does not work for you than it is worthless. Listening to yourself allows you to pick and choose among the strategies and suggestions and mold them into your comfort level.

For example, if you read a very persuasive article advocating for colors, graphics, charts and statistics on your resume but your stomach tightens just thinking about it. That would be a signal not to do that. If you choose to ignore this advice from yourself and do make those changes you will probably end up not liking your resume.

This in turn means you will be less likely to utilize it and send it out. That means less visibility and not creating opportunities for you to be considered. This could prolong your job search, deepen your frustration and make you feel worse than before.

If your gut says absolutely no but you think there might be some value in the advice, see if you can find a compromise. Say, “Self, I know I cannot do the fancy-smancy resume, but is there something here we can use? I really want to upgrade the look of my resume.”

Self may very well respond with, “How about using a different font, work with the white space, change your letterhead and make smaller visually impactful changes?”

Now you create a look that you like, that you are proud of and one that you happily send it out. You therefore increase your chances for visibility, communication and action.

The bottom line is this: it is your career, your life, your resume, your LinkedIn profile, your networking, your brand – it should represent you! Do research, listen and then have that conversation with yourself. Find a compromise in order to build a personal brand, make connections, expand your network and capitalize on opportunities.

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I hope you enjoyed this article and it provided value for you. If so, please click on the follow button so I may continue to share valuable content with you or the share buttons to share with your network.

I help people identify and set a path to achieve their career goals by using the V Formula:

Your Value + Your Voice = Visibility

Visibility is the leverage to move in, move up or move on in your career; expand your book of business or territory, grow your company and strengthen your team.

–Lisa

Lisa K. McDonald, Owner and Principal of Career Polish, Inc. is a favorite speaker and seminar facilitator at colleges, professional organizations and companies around the US speaking to leadership, sales and athletic teams; transitioning/downsized employees and networking groups about personal branding, networking, creating executive presence and achieving career movement success. To find out more, visit Career Polish, Inc.

Character Limits and Special Characters for Personal LinkedIn Profiles

linkedin character image limitsAs an advocate, trainer and coach of LinkedIn, I write a lot of articles and facilitate numerous workshops on how to leverage the power of LinkedIn to get hired by the right company or clients. There are so many fantastic integrated elements to writing a profile that works for you.

This article is all about the space.

There is a blessing and a curse to the character limits to LinkedIn: it allows a cut off for those who have a tendency to ramble on and on and on and on while reducing the stress of those who are not comfortable talking to a great extent about themselves.

Here is a breakdown of the character limits for personal profiles. I am also attaching a list of special characters that you can use in your profile (heading, summary, title etc) that can be copied and pasted directly from this article.

For the visually driven, here is a link to a profile with highlighted blurbs giving each element’s character maximum: LinkedIn Personal Profile Character Limits.

All of the character limits listed are maximum unless indicated otherwise. In LinkedIn, everything counts as a character – spaces, punctuation, returns etc. To easily determine your character count, at the end of this article, I have included instructions for a quick check in Word and two external links.

Header/About You/Headline

First Name: 20 characters, Last Name: 40 characters.
Professional Headline: 120 characters
(Don’t forget picture – your profile is 14 times more likely to be viewed with a professional profile picture)

Contact Information

Phone number: 25 characters (only visible to first degree connections)
Address: 1000 characters (only visible to first degree connections)
IM (Instant message): 25 characters (only visible to first degree connections)
Vanity URL: 29 characters after the http://www.linkedin.com/in/
Website Anchor Text: 30 characters
Website URL: 256 characters

Summary

Summary: 2,000 characters

Experience

Position Title: 100 characters
Position Description: 200 minimum and 2000 maximum characters

Recommendations

Recommendations: 3,000 characters

Interests

Interests: 1,000 characters (only visible to first degree connections)

Skills

Skills: Up to 50 skills using 80 characters per skill

Additional/Contact

Additional Info / Advice for Contacting: 2,000 characters

Status Updates

LinkedIn Status Update: 600 characters – unless you chose to update LinkedIn and your Twitter, Twitter updates are 140 characters.

If you write articles or blogs on LinkedIn using LinkedIn Publisher:

Post Headline: 100 maximum characters (LinkedIn recommends up to 70)
Post Body Text: 40,000 characters

Character Count

In Word: Highlight your text (Control + A); Tools (Alt + T); Word Count (W)
External Links: Letter Count or Character Count

Special Characters

Please use them wisely! Remember, you can copy and paste right from this article.

Stars: ⋆ ✢ ✣ ✤ ✥ ❋ ✦ ✧ ✩ ╰☆╮ ✪ ✫ ✬ ✭ ✮ ✯ ✰ ✡ ★ ✱ ✲ ✳ ✴ ❂ ✵ ✶ ✷ ✸ ✹ ✺ ✻✼ ❄ ❅ ❆ ❇ ❈ ❉ ❊
Hand: ☜ ☞☝ ☚ ☛ ☟ ✍ ✌
Copyrights: ™ ℠ © ® ℗
Yes: ☑ ✓ ✔ √
No: ☐ ☒ ✇ ✖ ✗ ✘ ✕ ☓
Triangles: ▲ ▼ ◄ ► ◀ ◣ ◢ ◥ ▼ ◤ ◥ ▴ ▾ ◂ ▸ △ ▽ ◁ ▷ ⊿ ▻ ◅ ▵ ▹ ◃ ▿
Quotes: ❝ ❞ « » ‟ ‹ › ⟨ ⟩ „ ′ ‵ ‘ ’ ‚ ‛ “ ” ‷ ‴ ‶ ″
Round: ◉ ○ ◌ ◍ ◎ ● ◐ ◑ ◒ ◓ ◔ ◕ ◖ ◗ ❂ ☢ ⊗ ⊙ ◘ ◙ ◍
Boxes: ❏ ❐ ❑ ❒ ▀ ▁ ▂ ▃ ▄ ▅ ▆ ▇ ▉ ▊ ▋ █ ▌ ▍ ▎ ▏▐ ░ ▒ ▓ ▔ ▕ ■ □ ▢ ▣ ▤ ▥ ▦ ▧ ▨ ▩ ▪ ▫ ▬ ▭ ▮ ▯ ☰ ☲ ☱ ☴ ☵ ☶ ☳ ☷ 
Arrows: ➟ ➡ ➢ ➣ ➤ ➥ ➦ ➧ ➨ ➚ ➘ ➙ ➛ ➜ ➝ ➞ ➸ ♐ ➲ ➳ ➳ ➴ ➵ ➶ ➷ ➸ ➹ ➺ ➻ ➼ ➽ ← ↑ → ↓ ↔ ↕ ↖ ↗ ↘ ↙ ↚ ↛ ↜ ↝ ↞ ↟ ↠ ↡ ↢ ↣ ↤ ↥ ↦ ↧ ↨ ➫ ➬ ➩ ➪ ➭ ➮ ➯ ➱ ↩ ↪ ↫ ↬ ↭ ↮ ↯ ↰ ↱ ↲ ↳ ↴ ↵ ↶ ↷ ↸ ↹ ↺ ↻ ↼ ↽ ↾ ↿ ⇀ ⇁ ⇂ ⇃ ⇄ ⇅ ⇆ ⇇ ⇈ ⇉ ⇊ ⇋ ⇌ ⇍ ⇎ ⇏ ⇐ ⇑ ⇒ ⇓ ⇔ ⇕ ⇖ ⇗ ⇘ ⇙ ⇚ ⇛ ⇜ ⇝ ⇞ ⇟ ⇠ ⇡ ⇢ ⇣ ⇤ ⇥ ⇦ ⇧ ⇨ ⇩ ⇪ ⌦ ⌧ ⌫
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Money: € £ Ұ ₴ $ ₰ ¢ ₤ ¥ ₳ ₲ ₪ ₵ 元 ₣ ₱ ฿ ¤ ₡ ₮ ₭ ₩ ރ 円 ₢ ₥ ₫ ₦ z ł ﷼ ₠ ₧ ₯ ₨ K č र
Compare: ≂ ≃ ≄ ≅ ≆ ≇ ≈ ≉ ≊ ≋ ≌ ≍ ≎ ≏ ≐ ≑ ≒ ≓ ≔ ≕ ≖ ≗ ≘ ≙ ≚ ≛ ≜ ≝ ≞ ≟ ≠ ≡ ≢ ≣ ≤ ≥ ≦ ≧ ≨ ≩ ⊰ ⊱ ⋛ ⋚
Phone: ✆ ✉ ☎ ☏
Write: ✐ ✎ ✏ ✑ ✒ ✍ ✉ ⌨
Question: ❢ ❣ ⁇ ‼ ‽ ⁈ ¿ ¡ ⁉ ؟
Smileys: ☹ ☺ ☻ ت ヅ ツ ッ シ ϡ ﭢ
Love: ♥ ۵ 웃 유 ღ ♂ ♀
Scissors: ✁ ✂ ✃ ✄
Music: ♪ ♫ ♩ ♬ ♭ ♮ ♯ ° ø
Religious: ✡† ☨ ✞ ✝ ☥ ☦ ☓ ☩ ☯ ☧ ☬ ☸ ♁ ✙ ♆
Political: Ⓐ ☭ ✯ ☪ ☫ ✡ ☮ ✌
Chess: ♔ ♕ ♖ ♗ ♘ ♙ ♚ ♛ ♜ ♝ ♞ ♟
Cards: ♤ ♧ ♡ ♢ ♠ ♣ ♥ ♦
Weather :☼ ☀ ☁ ☂ ☃ ☄ ☾ ☽ ❄ ☇ ☈ ⊙ ☉ ℃ ℉ ° ❅ ✺ ϟ
Flower: ✽ ✾ ✿ ❁ ❃ ❋ ❀

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I hope you enjoyed this article and it provided value for you. If so, please click on the follow button so I may continue to share valuable content with you or the share buttons to share with your network.

I help people identify and set a path to achieve their career goals by using the V Formula:

Your Value + Your Voice = Visibility

Visibility is the leverage to move in, move up or move on in your career; expand your book of business or territory, grow your company and strengthen your team.

–Lisa

Lisa K. McDonald, Owner and Principal of Career Polish, Inc. is a favorite speaker and seminar facilitator at colleges, professional organizations and companies around the US speaking to leadership, sales and athletic teams; transitioning/downsized employees and networking groups about personal branding, networking, creating executive presence and achieving career movement success. To find out more, visit Career Polish, Inc.

Branding is Not Just a Catch Phrase

lots of wordsMy internet went out.  For about four days it played hide and seek in working.  Yesterday my allocated appointment finally arrived and I was able to get rebooted, connected and upgraded.  All was right in the technology world again.

It was not without incidents and the poor technician sat patiently on the floor of my office while we waited to see if the new equipment was going to play nice.  Making small talk, he asked what I did for a living. 

I explained what I do and told him it was all about branding and that I was a Brand Strategist.

He told me that it was interesting that I said “Brand” because he is going through management training and they keep emphasizing knowing and managing your brand.

Coincidence?  I think not.

For your career, your next promotion, in securing that ideal client or breaking into your target market – it is vital to know and be able to communicate your brand. 

Branding is an important concept, one which I do not want to get dismissed by having it relegated to a catch phrase.

Branding is not just the way you look or behave, it is a matter of value.

Branding is like your reputation, it is not what you say about yourself, rather what other think of you.  In branding it what others see, feel and receive as your value. 

Branding is not a title or slogan. 

Branding is what sets you apart from others, whether they be competitors or team mates. 

You can do the same job as someone else, but you do it in a different way.  Defining that difference and why there is value to it is the essence of branding.

The best piece I can give to anyone in conveying their brand is to convey their value rather than their title.

Immersing yourself only in a title can do you more harm than good.  Only using a title to describe yourself allows your audience to define what that title means to them, this could be a good thing or a bad thing depending upon their personal experiences. 

Identifying and communicating your value – your brand – allows you to set the appropriate stage for you and the expectations for your audience.

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Brand Strategist & Career Coach

Certified Professional Resume Writer

www.CareerPolish.com

 

LinkedIn – Are Your Invitations Being Ignored?

linkedinI saw a friend this weekend who was in town to visit his daughter and best friend.  As we were talking about work he asked, “What is it with this LinkedIn thing?”

He has a very prominent position with a respected firm in Texas.  He is on LinkedIn because “everyone told him he should be” but pretty much hates it.

Why?

Mainly because he gets connection invitations from people that he perceives as only wanting to connect with him to get a job.

So what does he do – he ignores or deletes them.

Are you one of those people?  Are you sending out invitations to high ranking individuals hoping to buddy up so you can get a job?  Are you just sending out the standard, “Since you are a person I trust, I wanted to invite you to join my network on LinkedIn.” message?

Are you being ignored?

Most likely.

Why?

Because you are not offering any insight as to why they should connect with you nor are you offering any value.

People in those positions don’t have the time to scan through and connect the dots.  If you do not give them a reason they have no reason to connect with you.  Not all connections need this type of reason – often the standard connection message will suffice.  But due to the position, responsibility and limited resource of time most individuals in executive leadership positions within an organization normally do need a reason.

If you have a mutual connection that suggested you connect – tell them.

If you have something of value to offer them – tell them.

I work in the world of communication – I’m all about branding yourself to get noticed and get hired.

The worst thing you can do is leave room for assumption for the other party.  Assumption leads to speculation and speculation is normally approached from a negative standpoint.

Why do they want to connect – they want something from me.

First, think about why it is you want to connect with them.  Being their buddy on LinkedIn is no guarantee for a job.  By the way, just because you connected does not mean you are automatically buddies.

Next, craft the invite that delivers this message.

If they do connect with you do not try to suck up using the recommendations.  Pointing and clicking that you recommend them for a trait that you honestly have no idea of their ability does not add to the buddy factor.  Also, do not overwhelm them with requests and time wasters.  Respect their time and position and make sure your communication is value-added and professional.

The first step is communicating why you want to connect; the second is proving you are a valuable business connection.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

www.CareerPolish.com

Please do not get me wrong, this is not in any way, shape or form a subtle hint from those that send me invitations to explain yourself.  I love connecting with everyone that send me an invitation.  Many I have worked with in the past, met in networking or have attended seminars/workshops.  Others may want a resource for job searching or business building and still others may be looking to hire a professional coach.  My hope is to add value to anyone who connects with me either through the positive quotes I post, blog articles or personal assistance so I am appreciative of your connection.

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