How To Stop RBF From Killing Your Communication

 

“Body language is fluff.”
I was told this recently. I didn’t say a word. My responding body language to that statement said it all, and the message was heard loud and clear by this person. They immediately started backtracking and justifying their statement.
The irony of that was not lost on me. Here they were telling me that body language is not important yet changed their tune to pseudo-apologetic mode in response to my body language.
You’re right, fluff.  Not important at all. Using my not so subtle sarcastic voice
My passion about body language came from a fascination and a necessity.
The necessity came from the fact that I have a Scarlett O’Hara Resting Bitch Face (RBF). This face is when you look mean, unintentionally, when your face is expressionless. During an interview coaching exercise, I accidentally slipped into this when working with a client. She stopped midsentence, laughed a bit and told me that I scared her because I looked really mean.  Oops.
The fascination came when I realized by just changing my body language I could elicit different responses from people.  I elicited a change in the conversation by employing the RBF in the above conversation.
This phenomenon happens more for women than men, although there are some men that naturally have RBF. Think Kanye West and Jeremy Renner.  Jeremy Renner is completely aware of this, as he discusses in this funny clip from the Graham Norton Show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i50-Rr6ZgHQ   He states that he is quite comfortable with his resting face because, as he says, he built a career on it.
That will not work out so well for the rest of us who aren’t playing Avengers. Research using face recognition software has stated that this look registers twice the amount of emotion as compared to a neutral face.
However, the emotion registers as contempt, which is one of the worst and most dangerous emotions for communication.  Contempt is a mix of disgust and anger, two things that can destroy any relationship.   As businesses are built on relationships, you don’t want RBF anywhere near the people with whom you interact.
What causes RBF? Many people’s mouths or eyes naturally turn down when at rest. In other words, we are born with it.
Not sure if you suffer from RBF? Do you find people ask you out of the blue:
“Are you okay?”
“Are you mad?”
“Did something happen?”
Or one of my personal favorites – “You should smile more!”
There are a few things you can do if you feel that you are slipping into RBF:
  1. Look up at the person. You might have to tilt your head a slight bit down to do so in but it will open your eyes.
  2. Slightly raise your eyebrows, this naturally opens your eyes a bit.
  3. Open your mouth, this will change the form of and can more easily lead into number four.
  4. Smile slightly. This breaks the downward lines associated with RBF.
As silly as it sounds, look in the mirror to see where you fall on the range of RBF. Then practice the above tips so they feel comfortable and natural. You will then, on command, transition from RBF to engaged face when needed.
Yes, I said as needed.  I have found RBF to come in quite handy when my son is being unruly or someone questions the importance of body language.

 

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I do what I love: help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career that renews their brilliance.

I am triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Social Brand Analyst and Career Coach specializing in Master Level Resume/LinkedIn writing, NLP and Body Language. My clients learn to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to all aspects of their career, including: 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 ★

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Don’t Let Facebook Ruin A Job Offer

Three people.
All exceptional candidates across talent, energy, ability to provide value. All considered for a position with a high-energy, creative firm. Three people who the executive team was excited about.
Not one got the job.
Three people did not receive a job offer because of their Facebook page.
I’m no Nero Wolfe or Colombo (and if you know who those two are without having to Google it, you’re my kind of person). Yet I – and many others – can do a simple search on Facebook.
One search can ruin all credibility you created.
Poof! Gone.
I am not targeting Millennials. Oh no. This faux pas is for us older generation, too. I’ve got one word for you: politics.
It is not that you post your opinion in this arena. Yay or nay about the current climate makes no difference, you do you.
It’s how you post.
If you are mean, nasty, snotty, inappropriate or just an overall horse’s arse then you are going to be a horse’s arse without a job offer. I would not want to hire anyone to be a part of my team who treats people in this way if they disagree with them.
It’s time to clean up all your social media. It matters. Last year it was reported that 70% of employers used social media to screen candidates (CareerBuilder).
Start with the obvious: delete any questionable, vulgar, or inappropriate photos or posts. Next is anything that would throw you in a different light than what you are presenting during your job search.
Not sure what those are? Think of it this way: before I went to college my dad gave me a piece of advice. When deciding what to do, “Just imagine I am standing right next to you.” Would you say that or behave that way if your parent was standing next to you?
If that doesn’t work for you, how about this: would you talk to your grandmother like that? Or how about, you get the job and that picture is going to be used for all your professional material. Business cards, website bio, team photo. Is that really the one you want the professional world to see?
Ideally, you want to clean social media house before you begin the job search. If you are already in the process please, please, please clean up your social media house tonight!
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I do what I love: help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career that renews their brilliance.
I am triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Social Brand Analyst and Career Coach. My clients learn to identify, strengthen and communicate their brand and most importantly – their value – across 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 ★

How to Make Everyone – Including You – Stop Hating Your Resume

 

Let’s have a shout out – who likes to read resumes?

Bueller?

Bueller?

<<<crickets>>>

That’s what I thought. Now imagine if you had to read resumes a lot of resumes – to find the right person for your organization. How much would you enjoy your day?

Why do resumes have such a bad rap? Let’s take a look at some resume language that is very common:

“Experienced XYZ looking to use my leadership and MNO skills to improve blah, blah, blah…

“Responsible for we have already lost interest in whatever this might be….”

Or how about bullet points that are a recap of the job description:

  • Organize and coordinate operations in ways that ensure maximum productivity
  • Supervise employees and provide feedback and counsel to improve efficiency and effectiveness
  • Maintain relationships with partners/vendors/suppliers
  • Gather, analyze and interpret external and internal data and write reports
  • Assess overall company performance against objectives

Ugh! It’s all a big snooze fest. Not only is it boring, it is painful to read. Why? Because, in essence, the person hasn’t told you anything and it doesn’t even sound like a person!

There are two critical elements that every resume needs to get – and hold – the attention of the reader. Your value and your voice.

Value

Please, please, please stop using your job description as your bullet points. That is telling the reader what you were hired to do, not what you did. Instead, use these as a starting point.

For example: organize and coordinate operations in ways that ensure maximum productivity.

There is no ROI in that statement. It is missing your value. Expand on that by answering who you worked with, how, what you did and how productivity was maximized. Give metrics if possible, if not, describe the before and after.

I want to meet the organization who’s operations are simple enough for one bullet point. Really? Operations covers quite a bit of ground so break it out – show your value across the whole stream. There will be more value and beneficiaries. These could be the company, clients, processes, team, or an individual.

That is a lot of ground to cover – start writing it out. The more the merrier. It gives you more to play with when you are ready to start ruthlessly editing.

Which leads right into the second critical component: your voice

Voice

Please, please, please stop trying to write in ‘resume language’. It sounds unnatural and fluffy full of filler words. Your resume should speak to the reader and it should sound like you. Most of us do not litter our conversations with hundred dollar words when a ten cent-er will do.

Start with the dime conversation. Write out what you do as though you were talking to a real person. Go into detail, be natural, and use words that feel right to you. Don’t even think about putting it in a resume yet, just talk/write like a real person.

Once you get a mound of information, now the fun begins! Time to slice and dice. Look for commonalities that you can group. Is there a shorter way of expressing those two sentences? Ask yourself, what is the real point of these sentences, what do I most want them to know? Start there, then fill in the how’s.

Don’t take anything you do for granted. You may think everyone does what you and the way you do. They don’t. How you approach, solve, or plow through processes or projects is what makes you different.

Differentials are golden. Polish that gold by using your voice. Enhance your voice by using a thesaurus. “Manage” and “responsible for” get old quick. The thesaurus is your friend!

Keep editing, trimming and making sure your words are in there. That is how your voice will come through.

Oh, let’s not forget the keywords. These are critical for a little thing called ATS. Applicant Tracking Software. That is the wonderful tool that most companies use to screen your resume. They are looking for those keywords to qualify or disqualify you for the position.

The best place to find keywords is the job description. Where do you think the ATS gets them?

Just to make it more fun, ATS is getting smarter. It used to be that it only counted the number of key words in the resume. Now some software has evolved to be able to understand concepts. For example, if it is a project manager job, one camp of ATS is looking – and counting – ‘project management’.  The second camp of ATS understands context. It knows that “Managed this project” means project management and it counts.

Incorporate the keywords – and your words – into value rich bullet points. The result will be a resume that the reader will understand and want to find out more.

 

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 I help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career that renews their brilliance.

I am triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Social Brand Analyst and Career Coach. My clients learn to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand 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 ★

In Exercise and Resumes, You Have to Work Harder To Get Results

how i look when i run

I’m just going to warn you now, there is a bit of TMI in this article. As a professional storyteller, I find a touch of personal or a unique story makes content – and the point I am trying to get across – more relatable.  I apologize if this is more than you wanted to know, but I promise there is a point and a purpose.

Twenty years ago it was perfectly acceptable in your resume to simply list job duties. It was certainly easier. Just copy a job description and plop it right there in the experience section. It was ‘good enough’ to give the reader an idea of the job.

Yeah, well, twenty years ago I didn’t have to work so damn hard to not look like a marshmallow with toothpicks sticking out.

Here’s the problem, I have a tiny frame that is out of proportion. I have the same length of legs as my sister, who was about three inches taller than me. Somehow the DNA scrunched up my middle section. Translation – any time I put any weight on it goes straight to my gut and I look like a marshmallow.

Twenty years ago I could easily get rid of the marshmallow by cutting out the carbs for about a week and adding a bit of running on the treadmill to my walks and I hate running.   All while still pretty much eating anything I wanted. So not healthy.

Not anymore. This isn’t an age thing, although I am closing in on 50. This is a pre-menopause thing. (and….there is the TMI). Interesting fact – during pre-menopause it is notoriously common for women to put on weight and it goes straight to their midsection. Seriously, Mother Nature, that is like a double whammy to me! Good night, haven’t I suffered enough with hot flashes? Apparently not.

Lucky for me, I live with a workout nut. Chief works out two hours a day, six days a week. I now go to the gym every morning at the ungodly hour of 5 am and spend about an hour on the treadmill. I am using HIT to incorporate running. The good news – my legs are amazingly strong and look as good as they did twenty years ago. The bad news, it wasn’t enough. I was less of a marshmallow but still a marshmallow. So with a redesign of my eating habits and cutting out added sugar, I am slowly whittling away the marshmallow and getting healthier.  But I really miss my full-on sweet tea!

It is taking too long and is a heck of a lot more work than it was twenty years ago, but I will get my results.

Now, how the heck does that relate to resumes? Your resume is out of shape. Those job descriptions plopped in there – they just don’t cut it anymore.

Here’s the problem, they tell the reader what you were hired to do, no one cares what you were hired to do. They care about what you did.

What value did or do you bring to an organization? Anyone can claim that they are great at a certain skill, but can you prove it? You have to prove it. People reading your resume are only going to believe about half of what you say, so you darn well better prove it.

Lucky for you, I’m going to give you a workout regime that can turn that marshmallow into a four pack (I don’t have enough midsection for a six-pack, so we are going for a four pack).

Step one – warm-up: Determine what is important to the reader. What are their challenges or goals?

 

Step two – hours on the resume treadmill: For each bullet, break it down to who you worked with, how you worked with them, what you did and how they benefited.  Now, you will have stories to tell.

 

Step threeweightlifting: Determine your differentials. What makes you good at what you do? Is it your education, approach, skill set – what makes you better than anyone else in doing what you do? What makes you valuable to an employer?

 

Step four – cool down: Intersect the answers from step one with the answers to step three and support with the answers in step two.  That is your sweet spot.

 

Step five – cut the carbs and sugars: Cut, cut, cut your answers. This is what my mentor calls ruthless editing. Anything that is expected, implied or unnecessary – get rid of it. For example “Successfully launched program that generated 25% increase in ….” Get rid of ‘successfully’. It is implied that it is successful by achieving the results.

 

Step six – add the healthy stuff to your diet: Analyze job postings and descriptions to find keywords. Incorporate those into your resume. Mix it up by using the exact words and using them in context with synonyms. ATS systems either read by content (words specifically) or context (meaning). This means that if a keyword is project management, you can use those specific words for content and use ‘oversaw project….” and the context will understand that it is the same as the keywords even if not exact because oversaw is a synonym of managed. (ATS systems are the computer software that companies use to screen resumes).

 

Step seven – power up the impact: Front load your bullets to put the most important piece of information first. If you saved 30% in costs by redesigning a process, which is most important for the reader or in demonstrating your differential? Is it the cost reduction or the process improvement? Whichever is most important put it first.

 

With the work of following these seven steps and your new resume will put your old one to shame and get the healthy results you are looking for 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 Principal of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

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

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

 

Don’t Let an Assumption Kill Your Job Search or Its Progress

fender bender

 

Chief is going to get a new truck because someone is going to hit his.

Let me clarify two things here. First, Chief is the boyfriend. He is a Chief in the Navy hence the moniker.  He has waned back and forth about getting a new truck. It is time for an upgrade, he’s done a lot of research but yet he hasn’t pulled the trigger just yet.  Second, I am not willing or hoping for this accident; I just noticed a pattern and realized someone hitting his truck will be the catalyst in pushing him into that decision.

Every morning we go to the gym at an ungodly hour. On our way back, we pass a school. Sometimes, if we are running a bit late, we pass by when parents are dropping off their kids early. The road in front of the school bends to the left, which takes us back home.  Immediately before the bend is an entrance on the right into the school. Most people leaving this entrance turn left, crossing in front of us.

I noticed almost every single person leaving the school assumes we are turning into the school and therefore whip out in front of us. We have had several near misses. Even using the turn signal indicating we are turning left, they still whip out there. I can understand the assumption as this is not a well-traveled road and most people would assume the only ones on this road are parents or teachers heading to the school.

This is a dangerous assumption and at some point, I am going to look down from the truck and see the hood of a Nissan stuck in my door.

My brother helped me learn how to spell assume with the little tidbit of “never assume, it makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’”. Yes, I know he didn’t make it up himself, but he was my big brother and one of my heroes so I’m giving it to him.

This tidbit got stuck in my head forever. It has helped me beyond remembering how to spell the word, it has been a sage piece of advice.

I normally find I assume in two situations. One, when I am being lazy.  I make a quick evaluation of facts, act quickly to save time and if I was wrong, telling the other person that ‘I just assumed’ is my half-hearted apology.   The second is when I am fearful. I assume I didn’t hear back because they didn’t like me.

Some things I think are in our general nature to assume. Face it, if you see a seven-foot tall man walking down the street – doesn’t the word ‘basketball’ immediately come into your mind?  People make assumptions about me all the time based on my size and height. That’s fine. It’s pretty harmless.

But when you make assumptions during your job search, it can be like looking down at a Nissan buried in your door.

Just because you had a great interview, do not assume you are a shoe-in for the job. Follow up with a thank you maintaining professionalism and interest.  They may be assuming you are no longer interested in the position because you have not expressed a continued interest after the interview.

Just because you have not heard back from the interviewers, do not assume you did not get the job.  There may be an internal snag in the process or the decision makers have to focus on another priority at the moment. You just do not know.  Reach back out respectfully and professionally to remind them of your interest and ask if you can provide any additional information for their consideration.

Just because you landed the job, do not assume that you know everything to know about it. Every job, even if it is a lateral move, is an opportunity for growth and learning. You are the new kid; take a look at this environment with fresh eyes. Take it all in to see where you can improve yourself or the system.

Just because you are not employed, due to termination, downsizing or your choice to leave, do not assume this is a negative for the next employer. Life happens. Companies downsize and people are let go. Sometimes we recognize it was a horrible place to work. As mentioned before, every job is an opportunity. Find the positives in that last one and speak from that perspective. Do not bad-mouth anyone or any company. It comes across as bitter.

Just because you are on either end of the age scale – too young or too old, do not assume you won’t or can’t get hired. Everyone has valuable qualities to bring to an organization. Youth brings fresh perspective, a willingness to learn, adaptability, more of a mindset that anything is possible. Age bring maturity, life experience, ability to stay calm during storms having been through them before and patience. 

Just because you have only done this one thing throughout your career, do not assume you cannot change careers. The skills you developed in that one thing are probably a good match to another field. Take a step back and analyze what it takes to do the new thing. What are the underlying skills needed to complete the tasks? Communication, relationship building, working with cross-functional teams, organization, some financial aspects? Now take a look back at your old thing and see how you used these skills. That is your common denominator and the value you bring to the new field, industry, company.

 

Give yourself a break. Before you act upon that assumption, take a moment to ask yourself where is it coming from. Is it a bit of slacking or a bit of fear? If either of these are the root cause, take a deep breath and either ask the question or take a more bold action.  This can save you a lot of headache, heartache and damage to your vehicle.

 

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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 ★

 

You Didn’t Come Off an Assembly Line, Your Resume Shouldn’t Look or Sound Like You Did

hamburger assembly

 

The two hardest parts of writing your resume (or any branding piece) is making it sound like you and describing what you do.

When wanting to convey what you do, the default in describing what you do is to rely on your job description.  After all, it describes your job, right? Eh. Maybe.  One problem with using a job description is that it only tells what you were hired to do, not what you did.

The other problem with using a job description is it does not reflect you.  There may be many, many other people that can use the same job description so there is no differential.

Think about McDonald’s.

McDonald’s is known as being a beast of systems.  There is a system in place for everything they do.  Visit a McDonald’s in Indiana and you will be greeted with the same environment and food as a McDonald’s in Tennessee.

In theory, yes.

But have you ever been to a good McDonald’s and a bad McDonald’s? There are two McDonald’s near me that exist within 10 miles of each other but could not be more worlds apart.

The closest McDonald’s is what I call Bad McDonald’s. It literally would take me less than two minutes to run up there and get a half cut sweet tea (a weakness of mine). Yet I will gladly drive 15 minutes further to go to the good McDonald’s.

Why?  The drink is the same from the same company – what makes good McDonald’s worth the extra drive?

The way they do the things they do.

Bad McDonald’s

Bad McDonald’s is dirty. I have seen in the last 12 months only one employee cleaning and that is the young man who is assigned to the outside of the restaurant.  He’s a worker. There is often trash on the floor throughout the inside and on the drink station.  The crew is on a continual rotation of new people whom I have yet to seen smile. I have never seen them trained, but often barked at for not moving fast enough. It is hard to move fast when you don’t know where you are supposed to go or how to operate the register.

It has a vibe of depression.  Orders are often returned for being wrong, young staff is yelled at, the inside is dirty and the management do not seem to care.  I once walked in and saw the manager eating a Pizza Hut pizza in the dining room. One of the newbies had a question so the manager walked behind the counter, looked at the register, shrugged her shoulders and said, “I donno” and went back out to the dining room – all while carrying a half-eaten slice of pizza in their hand!  I left.

Good McDonald’s

Good McDonald’s is spotless inside and out. There is always a worker floating in the dining area to great every person, pick up trash and check on patrons. When ordering you are greeted with an authentic friendly hello and how are you today. Orders are taken quickly. The entire crew works together, smoothly, never seeming to be unfazed no matter how busy it is. They are a well-oiled machine who seems to really enjoy working together and what they do.

Think about your job.  Other people may do the same job that you do, but which McDonald’s are you?

The differential is going to be how you describe what you do, using words that reflect who you are.

Think about the tasks at your position. How do you approach or complete them in a way that is different – dare I say better – than anyone else? What about how you work with other people? What makes life easier for others in working with you rather than someone else?

When you describe these things, use words that feel right to you.  If you are high energy and bring that to the workforce using your powers for good, use words like revamp, champion, launched – words that resonate with your energy level.

In a world of McDonald’s, find a way to differentiate yourself.  Demonstrating your value in your voice is going to be the determining factor for that employer to want to go the extra miles to make you a part of their winning crew.

 

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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 ★

 

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 ★

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