LinkedIn’s New Open Candidate Feature: Etiquette for Updating Your Profile

LinkedIn’s New Open Candidate Feature: Etiquette for Updating Your Profile

LinkedIn recently released a new function that allows job seekers to indicate that they are looking for work to recruiters. This function is private – meaning you won’t be advertising to your current employer or any followers that you are looking for a new position. Enabling the feature is fairly simple and this tutorial spells out each step. The ‘Open Candidate’ option is available in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia for now, but will surely be global very soon.

The only thing you have to do is make sure your profile is up-to-date and makes a positive statement about you.

Updating Your LinkedIn Profile

All of your skills are on display through this social media profile, right? Are each of those skills marketable – what employers want to see in a prospective employee? Before making your account open, do a little research into what companies you’d be interested in are looking for, especially if you are trying to change career paths. Take the time to review your profile for any typos, old or irrelevant information, or incorrect dates. The accuracy of your profile actually does make a difference and you also will want it to be as complete as possible – utilizing the percentage indicator on your homepage.
Many of LinkedIn’s features are free but there are membership only options. The new ‘Open Candidate’ feature is free and it was developed to keep your job search confidential – away from the eyes of your current employer. Your profile, for the most part, is public and you should want it to be open. Employers can search for candidates based on the skills or experience they have and having your profile open will put you in those search results. With the new feature, you will actually be able to signal to recruiters that you are looking for a new position. Knowing that, there are some other pieces about LinkedIn that you should keep in mind.

LinkedIn Dos and Don’ts

While LinkedIn can be an incredibly useful resource, it is not like other social media sites. Understand the etiquette surrounding the media – it is a business connectivity website. Including anything you would post on any other social media site would be against your best interest. When thinking about what you should include on your profile, and how to communicate with others, consider the following tips.

DO:

  • Keep your profile up-to-date with new skills and positions, discarding out of date information.
  • Endorse your followers’ skills – they will endorse you back.
  • Build your network by following people that work at a company or industry you are interested in. Cultural etiquette encourages a message to reach out to this person before adding them to your network. The additions will give you an idea of what skills you should strive to gain and add to your repertoire.
  • Comment in the forums and make connections.
  • Use LinkedIn to find and apply for new positions.

DON’T:

  • Post inappropriate pictures for your profile picture or otherwise – if you wouldn’t wear that outfit to an interview or at work, don’t post that picture.
  • Update or blog about your everyday life.
  • Follow people that are outside your network that look like fake profiles. There are fake profiles on LinkedIn – scammers trying to lure you to job opportunities that seem too good to be true or connect you with important people.
  • Send spam-looking messages to contacts.
  • Self promote in the forums or respond negatively to anyone.
  • Use only LinkedIn to find and apply for new positions. Not every employer will post a job through this social media website.

Social media can be tricky. Facebook and Twitter allow for nearly constant updates and pictures about your life, how you’re feeling, and advertisements. Pinterest is an eclectic collective of DIY, art, and life tips. LinkedIn is it’s own kind of social media and the best rule of thumb for this site: If you wouldn’t say it in an interview, it doesn’t belong on LinkedIn. Business, business, and only business should be on display for your profile – nothing personal.

When in doubt, leave it out. You should feel like your LinkedIn profile represents you on a different level than your resume. With everything you are able to do through LinkedIn – forum conversations, messages, and blogging – it is a new experience that can bring elements to your job search you haven’t used before. There is no guarantee that your profile will be any more unique than Sally’s or Joe’s, but the professional presentation of your knowledge and skills is much more important here than photos of your lunch.

Photo attributed to ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor
clock showing 10 o'clock

10 Things to Do on LinkedIn Right Now, All in Less than 1 Hour

Do these 10 things on LinkedIn Right Now, All in Less than 1 Hour

You’re thinking, “I definitely have an hour to spend, but I don’t know how to use LinkedIn properly.” The interface is complicated, and it’s always changing, which makes keeping up even harder. I will tell you, however, that most executive job seekers don’t know how to use LinkedIn well. Learning the best way to work with LinkedIn’s various tools and capabilities definitely will move your executive job search forward.

Learning how to use LinkedIn well can advance your job search to success.To complicate things, if you don’t keep up with all of the different functions that LinkedIn offers, you might find yourself behind your competition to connect with the right people to find the right executive role.

If you’re stressed about how use LinkedIn for your job search presence, follow these 10 simple daily strategies to target your talents and expertise to your executive ideal job search goal.

  1. Connect with someone you don’t know personally on LinkedIn, and customize your connection request so they understand exactly why you’ve reached out to them.
  2. Write a LinkedIn recommendation for someone else.
  3. Call up a LinkedIn connection with whom you have not spoken in at least 6 months.
  4. Look on LinkedIn’s job board for interesting positions open right now.
  5. Review several colleagues’ profiles to see what they have been up to.
  6. Join a LinkedIn group and post one question—or comment on someone else’s question.
  7. Take those business cards you collected from your last networking event and connect with each of them on LinkedIn.
  8. Write a long-form blog post and publish it on LinkedIn.
  9. Look at a LinkedIn company page to see when their next industry event or webinar will be held, then make time to participate.
  10. Read an article in a publication related to your industry or job function. Then update your LinkedIn status with a link to it and a question or insight about it to your connections.

Can you do all of these in less than 60 minutes? Time yourself—you’ll be surprised at how fast you can complete these 10 tips. Know how to use LinkedIn well with these 10 tips, and you’ll master your executive job search.

Updated January 2017

5 Software Tools to Jump Start Your Job Search

5 Software Tools for Job Search

“Jumping in” can be the hardest part of your Job Search. Motivation can be difficult to harness when you don’t know where to begin. This article will spotlight some great software products that you can use either free of charge or close to it. Having the proper tools available can make all the difference in your job search from the beginning to the successful ending.

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  1. CRM

Customer Relationship Management (CRM), if this is something new to you, refers to systems that companies use to manage and/or analyze customer data with the goal of improving relationships, studying customer retention and initiating sales growth.

CRM systems are built to organize information about customers including websites, telephone, live chat, direct mail, marketing materials and social media. They can also provide detailed information on customers’ personal information, purchase history, buying preferences and their concerns.

There are several open source options, such as SugarCRM. Open source CRM systems allow you to add data links to social media. This aids companies looking to improve social CRM practices.

Using any of the above mentioned CRM methods varies depending on a company’s business needs, goals and resources. This software can prove to be very beneficial in organizing your networking, sales and contacts. An organized job search is bound to be a successful one.

  1. Office Software

We are all familiar with Microsoft Office, and have probably used it in the past or maybe are even using it currently. It is a great program with applications for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, email and so on. However, it can be an expensive program. We all need to be aware that these types of office applications are also available in free and open source formats.

Open source office software has come a long way in the past several years making it a great choice for your work productivity software. You won’t even lose most features or support. These free software options have countless tools and also provide all the features you need and expect.

Most of these alternatives to Microsoft Office have the basic applications to help you be productive in the office, such as: word processing, spreadsheets and presentations. Several of the alternatives provide even more options, including drawing, database tools and storage.

Below are some great options you may want to consider: Apache OpenOffice, LibreOffice, NeoOffice, Google Docs, and KOffice.

  1. WordPress

WordPress is free web software that you can use to create an awesome website, blog, or even an app. The software has been created by hundreds of volunteers. When you are familiar with the countless ways the software works and want to move onto more than the basics, there are innumerable plugins, customizations and themes available to transform your site into anything you can imagine. Over 60 million people use WordPress; numbers don’t lie!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  1. Slideshare

If you haven’t heard of SlideShare, you are one of the few! SlideShare is one of the top 100 most-visited websites in the world. SlideShare provides you with the ability to learn not only faster, but smarter as well.

Rather than scrolling through endless pages of text, you can look through a SlideShare deck and obtain the same information in half the time. You have the ability to learn about any topic you can imagine. You can also share information and insight through many different types of media. SlideShare has endless possibilities that will be sure to send you into any job search well prepared.

  1. LinkedIn

I am confident that you are familiar with LinkedIn, especially if you are in the process of job searching, but just to be sure you are up to speed, LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service. LinkedIn offers many different services including: Groups, Job listings, Online recruiting, Skills, a Publishing Platform, Influencers, Advertising and for-pay Research.

LinkedIn is also free of charge. This service can be instrumental in job networking as it works like a gigantic web with many connections that you wouldn’t likely find otherwise. Job recruiters, and personnel HR often use LinkedIn as a source for finding potential candidates, more so than ever before. LinkedIn also allows users to research companies that they may be interested in working for. As a potential employee you are able to apply for various jobs right through your LinkedIn profile, using it as a resume. In addition, all of your job applications will be saved for you to use in the future.

Closing Remarks about Software Tools for Job Search

Each of these services could prove to be a valuable asset in preparing for and carrying out your job search. The best part is with most of the options being free of charge they will not add any overhead in a time that may already be proving to be stressful. There are so many tools at our fingertips. We need to be sure to get out there, do our research and put all the best options to good use.

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor

Smart Services to Pay for in your Job Search

Smart Services to Pay for in your Job Search

Smart Services to Pay for in your Job Search

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When it is time to find a new job, no matter the circumstances, it can feel like a daunting task.  Even when you are tied into career networking and know the direction in which you would like to go, you can often feel very overwhelmed. Let’s talk about some often overlooked tools that you may not be utilizing.  These tools can prove to be instrumental in directing your job search and making it nearly painless.

  1. Job Boards

There are almost too many online job boards to count. So how do you know which job boards will not prove to be a waste of time? The truth is, this will take some work on your part.  You will want to stick with the familiar, large, more established sites that have been around and successful for a significant amount of time. Also you may want to start with those that are local if you are hoping to stay in the same geographical location. You may find that there is a minimal cost for access to some of these boards; however, many of them are free to use.

Hint:  Always use the advanced search options when searching for jobs on these sites.  By doing so you will significantly narrow down extra information and jobs that do not relate to your needs. This will help your search to be much more efficient.

  1. LinkedIn

If you aren’t already a member of LinkedIn it may be time to become one.  This network can be a valuable asset in your job search.  Rather than spending countless hours doing research or pounding the pavement looking for the perfect career opportunity, let others help you! By using career networking sites such as LinkedIn, you are sending out information about your job needs to a variety of people in many different types of work environments.  It is just like having a team of job recruiters on your payroll.  Don’t forget to give as much as, or even more, than you get—the more you help others, the more likely you are to receive the help you need as well.

  1. Background Checking Services

Have you ever wondered what a former employer would say about you?  You may not even be aware of this, but there are companies that will provide discreet calls to your last boss or supervisor to determine if they will give you a good reference.  One such company is Allison and Taylor, but there are also others.  These companies will help you to feel secure in knowing what potential employers will be told about you. They can also help you with background check reports and other personal areas that may come up as you search for that perfect job.  These services are not free, of course.  However, if you are serious about landing that position that you are qualified to have and just need to be given the chance, this route may be a helpful option for you.

  1. Resume Distribution Services

Resume distribution services are another excellent option that you may be failing to take advantage of.   These distribution companies can help make the most challenging job searches easy and efficient. They help you to reduce the time you would spend on a traditional job search.  These companies are able to maximize your exposure to extraordinary opportunities across the globe by distributing your resume to recruiters and companies that are actively filling positions in your area of expertise. Do a little homework (or ask Amy L. Adler at Five Strengths), find a reputable company and get your information out there!

  1. Resume Writing Services

The final service that is definitely worth mentioning is a resume writing service.  If you aren’t familiar with exactly how these work, let me give you the details.  You submit your relevant information such as: education, previous employers and work experience, additional skills, locations and fields that you are interested in, etc. You will probably also want to submit some form of a resume that you have used in the past.  Once they have all of the information that they need, they compile it into a simply amazing resume! Obviously this saves you both time and frustration!  Let’s face it, writing an attention getting, professional looking resume that will stand out above the rest is not an easy thing to do.  We are not all equipped with the skills or the time necessary to create an exceptional resume. Call Amy L. Adler at Five Strengths Career Transition Experts to talk about your current career goals and resume writing requirements.

And Remember….

No two job searches are the same.  You must personalize your journey.  Make choices that you have completely thought through and feel good about.  Be patient, it may take time.  There are countless “tools” available to help you, let that be a comfort.  Having many options and strategies to choose from is a great thing. Move forward with confidence!

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor

Job Seekers Succeed for One Simple Reason

Job Seekers Succeed for One Simple Reason…

Job Seekers Succeed for One Simple Reason…

Networking is the best way to learn about new positions.

Even though job search networking may sound intimidating, it is one of the most successful ways to find a new job. It is more common than you realize to be offered a job or to find a contact simply due to a friend or acquaintance knowing your background and skills. If you are serious about finding the best position for your next career, move as quickly as possible, you must reach out and network.Job Seekers Succeed for One Simple Reason image 1

What are the Benefits of Networking?

To be successful as you network, you must find the hidden, unadvertised job market and use every resource available to you.

Networking, when done correctly, will lead to plentiful contacts and friendships that can help you in every aspect of your career, including job hunting and your future career endeavors. It can prove to be more important than any other facet of your search.

Before Networking – Review Your Goals

What do you want others to know about you? What do you need to learn from them?

  • What kind of job are you looking for?
  • Do you want to look for jobs in one city/state?
  • Are you focused on a certain industry?
  • Do you want to find a job at a particular company?
  • Have you attained the skills and experience required for this type of position?

Effective Networking Strategies

When starting out, remember, it’s never about blatantly asking for a job. It’s about talking things over one-on-one with someone you know (or someone who has been referred to you) about common interests and how you might be able to help them and their company.Job Seekers Succeed for One Simple Reason image 2

Before diving into a lengthy narrative about yourself, be sure to ask common questions to get warmed up. Ask about family, friends, interests—topics that you wouldn’t mind discussing yourself. Once the conversation is flowing, you can shift gears the real reason for the call.

 “I’m calling because I’m planning to make a job change soon. I am looking for a new opportunity that will both challenge and expand my skillset. Do you happen to know anyone who works within my target field who may be able to lead me in the right direction?”

Using this simple script as a guide may give you the confidence you need to open up and freely discuss options and career paths that may be available to you in the future.

Career Networking Tips

  1. Create an inventory of your educational background, accomplishments and work history. You never know when a casual interaction may lead to a contact.
  2. Your career network should include, but not be limited to family, friends, members of neighborhood associations, past or present co-workers, supervisors, and colleagues from other business connections. If you are part of an alumni club from your college or university, you may also find leads there.
  3. Use sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and other online communities can help you get in touch with other networkers. Maybe those with college affiliations or that are in a certain geographic area. Also, keep in touch with your network often. This can be as simple as sending a quick note or email to say hello and to ask how they are doing. You want to make an impression and be remembered.
  4. Attend networking events. If you belong to any professional associations, attend a meeting or social function. Many of the attendees will have the same goals you do and will be glad to exchange information.
  5. Add notes to business cards or organize electronically, so you’ll remember the details of who you have just met. Also, follow through with referrals, and always thank contacts in writing or email.

Career Networking Works!

As you can see, career networking isn’t as hard as it seems and it really does work! Knowing how to ask for, and receive, the valuable information you need is the key to finding the right job or career position. It is important to have a solid network in place throughout your career and to use your network whenever possible, when job searching or exploring career options.

Don’t forget to look for opportunities to help others along the way. Through searching for your own needs to be met you may come across a position that would be a great fit for someone else in your network. Share the love and pass it on! Others will remember your thoughtfulness.

A Resume: Not Just for Job Search

A Resume: Not Just for Job Search

A Resume: Not Just for Job Search

Resumes display your accomplishments, are your marketing tools, and are the foundation of your brand. While keeping yours up-to-date can be painstaking or time-consuming, doing so is important. You never know when you will need your resume. Not only do you need it if, worst-case scenario, you are in the market for a new job or career path, but resume writing can help you reflect on your professional development and even prepare for your next annual review.A Resume: Not Just for Job Search

Why should you update your resume?

Simply put, life is fluid and your resume should show every change you find important. If you only update the document when you’re looking for a job, you could sell yourself short. Taking the time to write down all of your accomplishments will give you an edge when you actually need your resume. Think of it more like a list of completed tasks than a dictation of your skills:

  • Presentations, Conferences, Interviews

You may be asked to or want to present at a conference, publish any of your work, or sit for an interview. Providing the media or conference organizer with your resume will back up your information. Then, you can add that experience to your resume!

  • Nominations

Colleagues can nominate you for awards, but your resume usually needs to be presented to the awards committee for validation. An up-to-date resume will reveal all of your achievements in a way you are confident and comfortable with. Waiting until asked will result in a rush to fix that years old resume and scrambling to come up with something that won’t represent yourself well.

  • Freelance work

While you might not be looking for a new job or career, you may decide to pick up side jobs. Freelancing is a good way to earn some spending money and add on to your skill set. However, most contracted work requires a current resume.

  • Recruiters

If you keep your social media (LinkedIn) up to date as well, a recruiter might reach out to you. Your skills and experience draw attention. Recruiters look for the best fit candidates despite job standing. Of course, you can turn down any offers or ignore recruiters, but keep that resume recent on the off chance you might be interested.

  • Promotion at your current workplace

Promotion opportunities don’t become available often. If your resume is current, you can apply for that promotion quickly, without having to take the time to change it.

Put yourself in the employer’s shoes

When creating your resume, think about what an employer wants to see. What are they looking for and what experiences will set you apart from other potential candidates? Resumes are a snapshot of you as a person and most employers spend about ten seconds perusing a resume unless they find something worth further inspection. Electronic documents are used much more often than paper, so keep that in mind. If your resume looks like everyone else’s, it will be treated in kind. Employers also appreciate consistency. When taking the time to recent your resume, be consistent — meaning don’t just update LinkedIn if your resume is posted on several other social media profiles. And take the time to tailor it to a job you are interested in. If you want to highlight your skills for one job but experience for another, create different copies of your resume to that effect.

Think about your resume like a long-term career management tool. When you sit down to update it, you have the opportunity to examine your personal values, communication-style, and experiences to display them in a manner that will set yourself apart from your competition. It is a great way to highlight all of your experiences and reflect on where you’ve been to how far you’ve come in your career. Using a resume to reflect on all of your positions and skills gives you an opportunity to be confident in your abilities and know exactly of what you are capable. Even if you aren’t currently looking for a job, you should keep it as up-to-date as possible. Don’t wait until you need a resume, keep one on hand for worst-case scenarios or if you are pursuing a step up in your career field.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor
Image by phasinphoto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Third-Degree LinkedIn Connections Matter for Your Executive Job Search

Third-Degree LinkedIn Connections Matter for Your Executive Job Search

How many first-degree connections do you have on LinkedIn? 40? 100? 500? 10,000? That number is indicative of the number of people you have influenced to join your inner circle. But it’s not indicative of the power of your influence overall on LinkedIn. The most powerful number on LinkedIn is your total third-degree LinkedIn connections.

What Are Third-Degree LinkedIn Connections

Before we talk about the value of these third-degree connections, let’s define what we mean. Imagine you’re standing in a circle that contains only you. Everyone with whom you’re connected directly is your first-degree connections. Now imagine one of those first-degree connections standing in his or her own circle; everyone to whom that person is connected (unless they are also your first-degree connections as well) is your second-degree connections.

Example: You are connected to Mary. Mary is connected to Joe, Tom, Jack, and Jane. Joe, Tom, Jack, and Jane are your second-degree connections (assuming they’re not also first-degree connections of yours to start).

Now imagine that Joe is standing in his own circle. He has first-degree connections, too. These individuals are your third-degree connections (unless they’re more closely connected to you in some other way).

Example: Tom, Jack, and Jane (your second-degree connections) also have pools of first-degree connections. This entire set of connections-of-your-connections’-connections comprises your third-degree connections.

What Happens to Your LinkedIn Connections When You Connect with Someone New

Your Third Degree LinkedIn Connections Count

Your Third Degree LinkedIn Connections Count

As the graphic illustrates, your inner circle is only as large as it is; of course, you can expand it via a number of techniques, and you definitely should do so as you progress through your executive job search. When you do add a first-degree connection, your second-degree circle expands, but your third-degree circle grows exponentially. Furthermore, when one of your second-degree connections adds a new member to his or her inner circle, your third-degree pool also grows. Consider that LinkedIn has 450 million global members in 2018, up from 364 million in just 5 years, with 106 million visiting the platform each month. Thus, the number of connections in your broadest circle is growing exponentially, even while you sleep, even when you are not active on the platform.

Why Third-Degree LinkedIn Connections Matter for Your Job Search

Third-degree connections matter on LinkedIn because no relationship activity valuable to you specifically happens outside of your network. In practical terms, this means that you can’t know about someone’s participation on the platform if you do not share some type of relationship (connections being only one flavor, but certainly the most powerful and reciprocal).

From a search standpoint, all search results on the platform are dictated by relationship status. When a hiring executive  who is looking for someone like you conducts a search, for practical purposes, his or her results will include only those who are first-, second-, or third-degree connected. For you, this means that this hiring executive will not be able to find you unless you are part of that person’s extended network. You simply will not appear in the search results for that individual. You won’t be on that person’s radar, and if you’re not in the differential, you won’t be in the diagnosis–if you’re not in the pool of candidates, there is no way you can be chosen even for initial evaluation of candidacy.

How to Build Essential Third-Degree Connections

In many ways, the number of third-degree connections you have is largely out of your control. However, if the majority of LinkedIn users abide by roughly the same principles, every new connection that you make or someone else makes deepens and strengthens all levels of connections. To actively increase the number of third-degree connections you have, start by connecting with individuals whose brand is to be a hub on LinkedIn. These individuals are called LinkedIn Open Networkers, or LIONs. Search these LIONs out by region, industry, job function, or company, and connect with them; most do not reject connection requests.

Connect with me on LinkedIn now.

 

Updated July 2018.