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.

Why Your LinkedIn & Resume Are Flatlining – And How To Revive Them

Are you sending out resumes that are getting lost in the blackhole of no responses?

Are people looking at your LinkedIn but not connecting or responding?

These are two strong indicators that your resume and LinkedIn profile are dead. Or dying a slow painful death.

What happened? You’re using keywords to describe your experience. It should be obvious that you are a match. Why won’t someone talk to you? Why is your resume or LinkedIn on life support or worse?

Because you are not talking with anyone. You’re writing at them.

That’s the cause of death.

Here are the symptoms

Is your job description your main points? Are you trying to talk “resume” or “professional”? If so, you’re not engaging. You are not only killing your brand; you’re killing the conversation before it starts.

You’ve got your eyes closed, hands over your ears talking in a different language to the person in front of you. You can’t have or invite a conversation that way, now can you?

Here’s the why

Resumes are a funny thing. No, strike that. Resumes stink. They are in a weird language, use the assumed “I”, and you’re not sure of what to include, how, or even the current rules. Writing your resume is a frustrating, mind numbing, nerve racking, exercise of torture.

Given this set up, is it any wonder that most people do what is easiest – use their job description as bullet points? No, of course not.

But easy isn’t always right.

The problem in doing so is many:

  1.  You are not conveying value.
  2. You are writing what you were hired to do.
  3. No one cares what you were hired to do.
  4. They only pay attention to what happens when you do it.
  5. They only care when it relates to them – what can you do for them.

In other words: boring, irrelevant, snooze fest, they have moved on. That’s if someone actually reads it. If it is your resume, it probably hasn’t passed the ATS system. But that’s another conversation.

Here’s the fix

Stop trying to be the right words and be you.

Have a conversation. I know resumes are a bit awkward. I call them an arm’s length conversation. You aren’t sure who is going to read them so it might be a bit removed, but you are still having a conversation.

Talk to them!

Take those bullet points, job duties, and bring them to life. Tell them why they want to talk to you. Break them down to include points of interest. Do so by examining them with these questions:

  1. Who did you work with?
  2. How did you work with them?
  3. What did you do?
  4. How did something or someone benefit from this?
  5. How is it better since YOU did it?
  6. What is unique about how you did it?
  7. What was the problem?
  8. Why was there a need for this?

It’s a bit of storytelling, a dash of context, sprinkling of keywords, and a whole lot of demonstrated value. Mix this all up and you have a conversation starter.

Talk with your reader. Imagine them asking you a question – “tell me about a time you fixed this problem”. Then answer it speaking to them directly, without the $10 words and fluff. Tell them what matters to them in a fast and understandable way.

If you drone on in person, people will tune you out. Drone on in your resume, they do the same thing.

Now LinkedIn is a bit different. The conversation changes. Instead of an arm’s length, it is now a one-on-one with the person you want to read your profile.

Think of it – and write it – from this context. You’re sitting in one of those ridiculously overstuffed chairs in a foo-foo coffee house across from your target reader. They ask you to tell them about yourself.

How do you answer that?

If you answer it like your resume, “I’m a senior technical professional with 20+ years’ experience….” Zzzzzzzz You killed the conversation. Why? Because no one talks like that in real life!

Answer it as a person. A real-life person facing another real-life person. What would you say – in person – in that casual, professional environment?

One of my most favorite examples is a client with boundless energy. And a LinkedIn opening of: “I am a TITLE with COMPANY who covers TERRITORY.” Zzzzzzz

We captured her energy by opening a conversation with an engaging statement that represents her, her industry, and her clients. In less than 10 seconds you know she is an influencer, a winner with a healthy balance of work and play.

We used “me”, “my”, “I” and “our” in her profile. She is talking directly with her audience.

Her views shot up 300% in the first week and recruiters were engaging with her.

Summary

Yesterday I talked to a young man frustrated at the lack of responses and engagement. When he explained to me one of his bullet points, he could tell me the value. His resume was a job duty. He exclaimed, “I don’t know what to say or how to say it!

My answer – to him and to you – stop talking at someone using words, phrases or even a style that isn’t natural. Pretend you are talking to me. And be you.

You are going to get noticed and hired due to a combination of things. Your experience, skills, expertise, and/or potential. But don’t forget the most important part of that equation, what it all starts with, even that sentence: you.

How can you tweak your profile to invite a conversation?

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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.

You made me delete you, I didn’t want to do it…..

 

About a week ago I accepted a LinkedIn connection request. As is my practice, I responded by thanking them for the connection to open the door to conversation.

Today, I shut that door. Locked it. Deadbolts. No vacancy sign. Moved without a forwarding address.

Every once in a while I will have a new connection respond to my door opening with a sales spiel. Ugh. Although slightly perturbing, I usually just delete it and move on.

The sales spiel is immediately discoverable because it starts with “Hi Lisa K.”

I do not go by Lisa K. I use the “K” professionally to delineate myself. Lisa McDonald is a more common name than one might think. My middle name is Kaye. The only person who ever called me Lisa Kaye is my dad. To get my attention – which it did.

Often starting your message with ‘Lisa K’ shows a formatted list that imports names.

If it is a persona message, I get it, you don’t know me. You probably don’t know about the “K” thing. It is forgivable. In this case, I gently guide my conversation partner by signing off any future messages with simply “Lisa”.

Barraging someone you just connected with to sell them is a big no-no in networking. LinkedIn is networking. The foundation of networking is relationships. To build a solid business relationship it takes three aspects:

– Cultivate interest

– Motivation to help each other

– Establishing trust and credibility

These three things take time. Appropriate time is not five minutes or a day after I accepted your connection request.

For Mr. Happy, I deleted his first salely message and moved on. Then a few days later, I got another “Hi Lisa K.!”

Now, I’ve gone from perturbed to annoyed. Yes sir, I saw your first message and no, I was not interested. Go away.

Today I moved from annoyed to “oh for crying out loud”. There was no cultivating of interest. I have no desire for you to help me. Your credibility is completely shot. Not only are you spamming, you did not read my profile.

You see what this gentleman was selling was branding. More specifically LinkedIn branding. He was promising he could take my lackluster profile and make me a social media sensation. Hey, guess what I do? That’s right – branding. Guess where I focus – right again – LinkedIn among other places! Go figure!

So in the spirit of the holidays, this ‘branding genius’ (his sentiment, not mine) went to my naughty list. Marketing yourself to a colleague using an outside our industry message is not genius-like behavior.

Let us learn from Mr. Happy. Your network is a sacred thing; you should treat it as such. Nurture it, care for it, protect it, give to it and it will flourish like flowers in the Spring. Spam it and disrespect it and it will die. Think dead of winter with no sunlight. (I had to follow my flower theme) It is that simple. In the end, the quality of connections and contacts, not the quantity, will yield a beautiful garden. (I couldn’t end without another flower reference!)

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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 ★

Why Dumping a Resume/Bio in Your LinkedIn Summary is Killing Potential Conversations

road block stop

 

Do you know why someone is reading your LinkedIn profile? They want to get a sense of you: who you are, what you do and what you enjoy doing – in a professional context.

I heard it said that LinkedIn is a virtual handshake.  I think that is perfect.  Although it is a huge, digital platform, it is very business-personal because it is a one-on-one conversation between you and the person reading your profile.

The reader is imagining what your voice sounds like, how tall you are and all the little particulars about you based on the words you choose.  They are going beyond putting together the face with the name, they are filling in details.

The reader can look at your experience section or perhaps they have read your resume.  That is the business-business side of you.  LinkedIn is the business-personal side.  This is where your personality should shine through.  Instead of assumed I statements on the resume, you are speaking directly to the reader using I and me.  (i.e. resume: “Manage team of 30” – LinkedIn: “I manage a team of 30”)

You are beginning a business, networking relationship with the reader by digitally extending your hand and using your summary to say, “Hey, nice to meet you, let me tell you a little bit about myself”.  You are speaking directly to them, again, a one-on-one conversation.

Writing about yourself is hard.  I get it.  Even though branding is my passion and business, I cringe every time I have to put something together for myself when I lead training or for a speaking engagement.

The easy thing is popping your bio or resume into your LinkedIn. Just because it is easy does not mean that is the best plan.  For your experience section, it is doable – just remember to insert the I’s and me’s so it is more of a conversation and not so standoffish.

However, for your summary, dropping in your bio or resume is a terrible plan.

Bad to Worse

Imagine you are at a networking event.  Go ahead, close your eyes to visualize – no, wait, if you do that you won’t be able to get the rest of this.  Scratch that.  Keep reading and imagine an event with 25 people or so.  It is business professional environment, pretty lively with everyone getting to know each other.

Now imagine a professional looking person walking towards you and extending their hand, introducing themselves at Pat.  You tell them “Nice to meet you Pat, so tell me about yourself, what you do.”

Now imagine this response:

“I have 15 years’ experience as a financially savvy, customer experience-oriented Operations Manager with a passion for success.  I have proven success in process efficiency in manufacturing and am proficient in Windows, Access, PowerPoint and Excel.”

Did you stop listening at customer-experience-oriented? Probably, because that is not normally how people communicate in a face-to-face, relaxed business environment.  It is boring, it is memorized, it is robotic and not a person.

This is the resume dump in your summary. The distance puts up roadblocks in starting a conversation.

Let’s set the stage again for a different response:

Professional Pat comes over, handshake giving their name. You say: “Nice to meet you Pat, so tell me about yourself, what you do.”

“Pat has 15 years’ experience as a financially savvy, customer experience-oriented Operations Manager with a passion for success.  Pat has proven success in process efficiency in manufacturing and am proficient in Windows, Access, PowerPoint and Excel.”

Whoa!  Wait, what? Who is Pat? I thought I was talking to Pat but is Pat talking about a different Pat?  It feels like a SNL skit.  When I hear someone who talk about themselves in third person little buzzers and flashing lights go off in my head and I look for the quickest exit possible.

This is the bio dump in your summary.  This goes beyond roadblocks into the road was swallowed by a sink hole.

Do not take the easy way in dropping into your LinkedIn summary.  Take a few minutes to ask yourself:

  1. Who do I want to read my profile?
  2. What is important to them?
  3. What do I want them to know about me?

Write the answers to these questions down.  Then say it out loud as if you were standing in front of that person in a business, casual environment.

That, my friends, is your summary and one that will start great conversations!

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career, 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 ★

Stop overlooking the one BLARING way your LinkedIn is hurting your job search

incognito

 

Incognito.  What a great word and one that is fun to say.  The dictionary defines incognito as:

incognito [in-kog-nee-toh, in-kog-ni-toh]

Adjective: having one’s identity concealed, as under an assumed name, especially to avoid notice or formal attentions.

Adverb: with the real identity concealed: to travel incognito.

Noun, plural incognitos: a person who is incognito, the state of being incognito, the disguise or character assumed by an incognito.

There is a lot of incognito in my world.  Many are looking for that next great step in their career while they are still employed.  They are performing an incognito job search.  They do not post their resume on job boards.  They communicate with their networks in a selective and professional manner so not to raise suspicion.  They even let companies that they contact know that they are performing a confidential search.

Very incognito.  Very super-secret, James Bond-ish  and slick cool.  Bravo incognito people!

But why – oh why, oh why, oh why are you blaring your intent on LinkedIn?

Oh no, you are not posting that you are looking for a job but your profile screams it!

Here are the two most common ways people subconsciously or inadvertently announce to the LinkedIn world they are looking for a job:

  1. Your summary sounds like a resume
  2. You make statements that one would make when looking for a job.

LinkedIn is not your resume

If your summary starts with “Dedicated Operations professional with over 15 years’ experience driving blah, blah, blah” your LinkedIn is a resume.  Don’t do this.  LinkedIn is a one-on-one conversation with the person/persons you want to read your profile.  If you talk in ‘resume’ language you kill the conversation – and you sound like you are looking for a job.

When you have a one-on-one conversation with another person, do you speak for yourself in the third person?

“Hi Peter, how are you today?”

“Peter is well today, how are you?”

No!  You do not talk like that to other people so why – oh, why, oh why, oh why are you using the third person in your LinkedIn profile?  Stop that.  It sounds weird and freaky.

Job searching statements

Statements within your LinkedIn profile that tell all your experience and value and how you look forward to bringing that to an employer are job search statements.  Great when you are openly looking for a job.  Bad when you have a job and are looking for a new job.

Here’s what those statements convey to the reader, in the words of my step-son Jesse, “once a poop-eater, always a poop-eater.”  He and I saw my little dog Lexi eat poop in the backyard.  A couple of days later she jumped up in his lap to give him kisses.  He held her at arm’s length saying she might have eaten poop.  I told him that she had been inside with me and had not, he responded with, “I don’t care, once a poop eater, always a poop eater. I’m not getting kisses from her.”

The meaning: if you will blatantly look for a job while employed with your current employer, you will do so when you work for them.  It is also disrespectful to your current employer.

The super-easy quick fix

Talk to your audience the same way you would in a business, casual professional environment.  Tell them where you are, what you do, how you bring value and how your past contributes to that value.

This will show respect for your company and allow you to cast more light on your skills, abilities and strengths in a positive, business manner.  It will also make you sound like a happy employee.  No one cherry picks the grumpy or unhappy employees.

Take a few minutes and read your profile – not as yourself, but as a potential employer.  Do you see any red flags?  If you do, they already have – time to fix them!

 

Need more help? Here is an article that will be helpful in cleaning up your profile:  The 2 Step Process to Write Your Best LinkedIn Profile.  Or reach out and let’s talk about how to make you less ‘yelling from the rooftops’ and more James Bond-ish.

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career, 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 ★

 

Before They Find You on LinkedIn, Make Sure You Are Worth Finding – An Overview

Be found on LinkedIn

 

In case you didn’t know, LinkedIn is kind of a big deal.  It is a great networking and business building tool.  It is a phenomenal tool for those who desire to make a change in their career.  According to a survey by career website Jobvite, 93% of hiring managers search LinkedIn for recruits. That bears repeating:

 

93% of hiring managers search LinkedIn for recruits

 

If you are having a career itch and not sure what you need to do – I think that statistic points you in the direction of LinkedIn. However, just being on LinkedIn is not enough.  You need to accomplish two things: be found and create interest.

Be Found

Title me: I am not a fan of titles; however, they are a default search criteria.  Make sure you list your current and past positions, times and companies in the experience section.

Not being a fan of titles, I would caution you to not depend on titles alone.  A title does not convey your value – it is your job to convey your value.  Leverage the space in the experience section and summary to demonstrate value.  More on this in a bit.

Use keywords: do not let this freak you out.  I know there is a lot of emphasis on keywords – especially in this very ATS system driven world – but take a step back.  Look at your industry, position and desired next steps – what are the keywords that you know?  If you boil it down, there probably aren’t as many as you fear.

Do a little research, look up profiles of those in the position you desire (if a move) or in your position (if a lateral).  Search job boards for open positions or job descriptions.  Then compare.

A super simple way to compare different sources of information is to use online tools like WordCounter.com. Simply copy and paste the job description or profile into the box, click on “No” to exclude small words like “it” and “the”, decide if you want words grouped by root word or variations and select how many words on your list (25-200). Bam! You are done.  You can then compare the results across the board to get a sense of the most commonly used words to identify keywords!

Write smart: It is as important to have keywords in your profile as it is to use them correctly.  Use them fluidly in your sentences throughout your summary, experience, title section etc.  If you have difficulty incorporating a lot of keywords, never fear – use a “Strengths” or similarly titled section at the end of your summary to list out those keywords.

Your value: Your title does not convey your value, nor does your job duties.  Those are things that you were hired to do.  Potential employers do not care what you were hired to do, they care what you did or do.  Be active. Tell them who you work with, how you work with them, what you do and how someone benefits from this.  It transitions a mere job duty into a demonstration of value.  It also allows you to tell your story without feeling or sounding like you are bragging.

Create Interest

Now that you are showing up on someone’s radar – are you worth the look?  This is where you need to create interest.  Here is the second area I believe a lot of people struggle with their LinkedIn profile.  What seems to help the most is to understand the difference between your resume and your LinkedIn profile.

Different conversations: Your resume is an arm’s length conversation.  You do not know who is going to read it, it is written in a different style of writing, it uses the assumed “I” and it just sounds weird to read out loud.

Your LinkedIn is a one-on-one conversation with the person(s) you want to read your profile. Do not write your profile for everyone, you do not care if all 460+ million members read it.  We will touch back on this in just a moment, back to the conversation.  Think about your summary as though you were sitting at a coffee house with someone from that group and they asked you to tell them about yourself.  How you answer that in a business, casual environment is basically your summary.

Put you in there: This is where people want to see more of YOU.  They can read or ask for your resume, they want to see you in your LinkedIn.  The beauty of the summary is twofold: it is limited to 2,000 characters so you have to be strategic and not given the chance to write a novel. Second, you get to say anything you want!  Bring in unique things about you that you want them to know about you – as long as it is important to them.

Who is reading: This leads us back to knowing who you want to read your profile. Answering this question is critical to determine the answer to the second most important question: what is important to them?  The answers to these two questions will drive your content.

What’s important: In your desired next position what are the metrics for outstanding performance, what is going on in the industry, what are some challenges of the industry/company, what do they need the most etc.  Being armed with this information, you can position yourself as the solution in an engaging manner that incorporates you into your LinkedIn making them want to reach out to you.  You have the skills/abilities/knowledge/experience they need and you are a real person – bingo!

Keep momentum: LinkedIn is not a one and done.  Once you have your profile, or even while working on it, you must be active to raise the chances of being found.  Activity raises you higher in the results.  Don’t fret over this, you do not have to spend hours on LinkedIn every day to make a difference.  Just a few minutes throughout the day will do it.  Connect to invitations, send invitations to connect, share content, join groups and contribute.  Do this a few minutes at a time throughout the day and, with the right content, you will start creeping up that results page.

It is work: Is there some research involved in writing a searchable and readable LinkedIn profile? Yes!  Is there a lot of rewriting? Heck Yes! The first round you might get the hang of what is important to the position they want.  The second round you start bringing in how you are a solution.  The third round you start bringing in their personality. The fourth round you realize it is way too darn long! The fifth round you ruthlessly edit to make sure it covers all the important points, sounds like you, offers those keywords and meets the space limit.

Being found and understood is worth all that work.   Just remember these key points:

  • Complete your profile: names, dates, titles etc.
  • Use keywords: in all areas of your LinkedIn: summary, experience, title etc.
  • Know your audience: Know who you are talking to and what is important to them
  • Have a conversation: talk to your audience as though they were sitting across the table from you
  • Speak their language: demonstrate how you solve their problems
  • Be active: respond, share, reach out and connect – this builds your network and raises you up on the results pages

 

Here is another article that you might find helpful in vamping up your profile: 5 Ways Your LinkedIn Profile is Killing Your Personal Brand and How to Fix Them

Of course I would be remiss if I did not mention that if all this seems too overwhelming or time consuming for you, well, that is what I am here for!

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career, 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 ★

 

 

“For Your Career or to Find a Job You HAVE to …. “ Nope, No I Don’t

dont have to cant make me

Have you ever met a person that when they are told that they can’t do something, they dig in their heels to want to do it even more?

No?

Well, hello, my name is Lisa – nice to meet you.  Now you have.

You can thank my dad.  He taught me at a very, very young age there is nothing I cannot do and don’t let anyone tell me otherwise. That thought grew into a stubborn determination and, admittedly, times of “I’ll prove you wrong”.

It also morphed into a natural aversion to anything following the phrase “you HAVE to…”

The aversion turns to complete shut down when the have to is used as some sort of threat or fear tactic. I don’t do threats. I don’t work with people who try to scare me into hiring them.

Recently I was contacted by a marketing professional who was willing to help me with my marketing. (I chose the words in that previous sentence carefully with the right amount of sarcasm – willing, help, professional)

He did a preliminary scan of my online presence and during our conversation mentioned that he could not find me on Facebook.  This was followed, in a commanding, condescending tone, with “you have to be on Facebook or you just aren’t relevant.”

Nope.

No.

You see, here is the thing – I am on Facebook (and I am relevant, thank you very much). My company is also on Facebook. Those are two distinct profiles. My personal Facebook is just that – personal. It is not open for the world to view and I only connect with people I know and like. It is my Facebook page, I get to do that.

I have nothing against business owners who open their Facebook to the world or connect with all their clients, prospects and anyone else. More power to them.  If that works for them – awesome, because my online presence separation works for me.  I connect with my professional sphere through LinkedIn.

I do not make blanket recommendations for every client. Not every single client of mine needs to get off Facebook and conversely, not every single client of mine needs to be on LinkedIn.

I love LinkedIn yet I am realistic – it is not a platform that is best for everyone. An example would be some in the financial industry. Their company may have very restrictive parameters for their LinkedIn profile, if they are allowed to have one. It defeats the whole purpose of conveying yourself in an authentic manner when you have compliance dictating what you can say or giving you a script.

While you are in your job search or expansion, personally, I would be wary of anyone telling you that you have to do something or you just won’t succeed.

Let me take it a step further: if you are looking to move forward in your career or looking for the next right job, please allow me to offer a piece of advice.  Research, read and talk to as many people as you desire or can stand about the process; then dismiss everything that doesn’t work for you.

If you research resume writing you will find more articles and information than one person can possibly digest.  It can be overwhelming. It can also be confusing because often, the advice you find contradicts itself.  There are no hard fast rules to resume writing, so see if you can determine common themes of the advice given.  Then apply those for your situation.

If you come across anyone telling you that you have to do something that does not feel right to you, don’t do it. Do not let them threaten you and make you think or feel that you won’t get a job without their advice or help. Also, do not let them scare you into something that makes you uncomfortable. It is wrong, bad business practice and, personally, I think bullying.

My personal favorite way to handle that is when told I have to do something I reply with “No I don’t.”  If they insist on pushing it further and up the ante on the bullying, I respond with something to the effect of I’m a grown up, I don’t have to do anything and they aren’t my dad, they can’t make me.

Hey, if they are going to be childish in trying to threaten or bully me, then they deserve that. It normally does the trick on ending the conversation and any potential future conversations all in one shot.

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I think we all have a career search horror story about being bullied. Mine was when I was in my early 20s I went to a placement firm and was told by the ‘gentleman’ I met with that I would never find a job without his help and my young son would starve. (He literally said that! Not cool to say to a single mother!) The cost of his services: over $5,000 (this was over 20 years ago) and the positions I was looking for were non-executive administrative.  Needless to say, I did not sign up!  But phooey on him, I got a job a couple weeks later at a higher level, great pay at an amazing company.

What was the dumbest/bully-ish/fear factor experience you had in your job search?

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A little about me: I do what I love: help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career, 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

 

Personal Branding – What?? The What, Why, How & the Most Important Question of All!

why - personal branding

Do you hear the phrase ‘personal brand’ quite a bit?  You should, it is a critical component and driver for having the career you want.  But, do you know what it means and how to use it? Before we get to that one important question – let’s review the the what, why and how of personal branding.

What

But what exactly is personal branding? It is the packaging of you.  Think of it this way, we are all in sales whether we work for someone else, are looking for a job or own our own business.  We are all in the business of selling the best version of ourselves to reach that next desired level in our career.  The best version of you is your product.  Your product is a unique combination of you and your value.  The packaging of your product is your personal brand.  Your personal brand is how you want others to see you, get you and remember you.

 

Why

The way all great companies market awesome products – through a marketing strategy and campaign.  That is where your LinkedIn profile, resume and any other virtual or real touch that you have with the outside world come into play.  You want to showcase your brand on paper, digital and in person – networking, speaking, interviewing, client meetings, etc.

 

Great brands bring great results.  For commercial based product marketing think Nike or Coca-Cola.  For personal brand marketing think Mark Cuban and Richard Branson, they have perfected their marketing strategy to create a brand that is bigger than their company.  I had a client tell me that her biggest dream would be to work for Richard Branson.  She did not name a company, she named him.

 

More Why

Your personal brand can elevate your three big C’s: confidence, connections and career.

 

When your personal brand is the authentic alignment of you and your value and you market it, people will want to connect with you.  Opportunities will present themselves because people will be drawn to you for who you are and what you do.  Your network is going to expand.  Your likelihood of finding that job increases.

 

SHRM surveyed employment and/or recruitment HR professionals to find out how they use social media for talent acquisition.  According to this September 2017 article, 84 percent of hiring managers use social media to hire — 96 percent use LinkedIn, and 53 percent use Twitter.

 

How

We’ve covered the blueprint of your personal brand, the combination of you and your value.  I call this the “V Formula” – your value (+) in your voice equals (=) visibility.  Think about who you work with, how you work with them, what do you do and how does someone receive benefit to start identifying value.

 

That One Question

Here we are, the one question you need to start with; the funny thing is this one question is the one that most people often forget to ask themselves or even think about when they think about their personal brand.

 

Why do you do what you do?

 

No really, why do you do what you do?  It is not enough to say “I love it”.  I love food and to cook but it doesn’t mean I am any good at it.  Dig into the why and no phony, what you think someone wants to hear why.

 

No blanket “I get to help people” why’s either.  We want reasons here, real concrete, sink your teeth into them, make you feel good reasons.  Start with the “I love it” and “I help people” but then go further, like this:

 

I love what I do and there are a few reasons why:

 

  • I help people who feel stuck break free and get what they want
  • I help people regain their confidence
  • I help people rediscover themselves
  • I help people see and accept their awesome
  • I help people cut through their internal BS
  • I meet amazing people who do extraordinary things
  • I work with people who have a fire in their belly, a passion for what they do, a desire to expand
  • Every day I get to talk with someone who loves what they do
  • I learn something new every day from the internal workings of an international racing team, the early stages in developing new cancer drugs, the complexity of merging two powerhouse organizations, the intricacies of medical devises, the compassion of patient care or the dedication of keeping the warehouse together during the lean years. Every day!
  • I get to use both sides of my brain: the analytical after an interview by analyzing my notes, researching positions, industries, companies, keywords, trends and preparing reports and tools for my clients. I get to use the creative when I am writing and designing the layout.  Then I go back into analytical to analyze everything all over again.

and on and on….

 

When you are ready to take ownership of your personal brand and let it work for you, read this article from the bottom up.  When you know your why all the other pieces will fall more easily in place.  So, start with the why, input the value, use your voice, market your product and measure against what is possible.

 

Set yourself free and see where it takes you – it will be an amazing journey!  Of course, if you need any help launching – you can find me on LinkedIn….

 

 

 

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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

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

 

 

 

 

Your LinkedIn Profile –How You See Yourself For Others To See & Find You

doggies

One of the best things about being five foot tall and having a son who is over six feet tall is the endless array of short jokes.

Lisa K McDonald - shopping with my son
So my kid is a little taller than me….

It just never ends. I took my son shopping earlier this week and without fail, there were short jokes involved.  Reaching for something slightly over my head, I heard, “you want a ladder Mom or should I just get that for you?” Ha. Ha.

 

 

I suggested looking for something in another isle and was treated to: “It’s not over there. I know you can’t see anything from down there, but I can see over the isles, it’s not there.” Ha.

 

He takes these opportunities as often as he can, where he got this sense of sarcasm I have no idea. (clears throat and gives innocent baffled look) The thing that he thinks is really funny is a lot of people after meeting me and getting over the initial short shock do not think of me as small.

I don’t sound small. I don’t see myself as small.

Most of my conversations are over the phone and electronic communication. I have a near perfect track record of hearing the same statement when meeting someone after they have read my LinkedIn profile or talked to me on the phone: “You are a lot shorter than I thought.”

Apparently I sound, both in verbal and written communication, as tall as my son. Take that kid!

I am very passionate about what I do. I love it. I love working with clients and helping them rediscover their value and be able to communicate it in a way that it opens doors for them to go in the direction they want with confidence, poise and excitement.

This passion comes through when I speak to individuals and through my LinkedIn profile.

When you write your profile, write from you – not what you think others want to hear. Who are you, what do you want them to know? Keep this in the context of your audience. What is important to them?

When you compose your LinkedIn profile this way, your authenticity will align with their needs and the magic will happen. I have heard LinkedIn called a virtual handshake. I like that.

There is nothing worse than a limp handshake – one in which there is a splattering of key words with no person behind it; or a dominate handshake – one which is chalk full of a resume and void of a personality. The best handshake is a confident grasp that is welcoming and breaks the ice.

You are good at what you do. You know where you can go. You understand your value and how it benefits others. This is you as you know yourself. This is the you that you want others to see. This is the you that you should write in your LinkedIn.

 

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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