Category Archives: social media

Extreme Career Makeover

My company recently went through a “re-branding exercise” and have all kinds of new stuff.

Watching the various changes in the works got me thinking about how a “career makeover” would look.  Think about when you get a haircut and everyone thinks you look younger or when you get glasses and everyone suddenly thinks you look smarter.

If you did a wholesale refresh on your resume today, how would it look?  Would you use more contemporary fonts?  Change the focus of your objective?  Maybe you could add some different achievements like the webinar you co-hosted last week or the big project that your team just completed.

Maybe you would sign up for that course you have had your eye on.  You could do one night a week, couldn’t you?

You could take a look at your Linkedin profile.  Does it really reflect who you are today and more importantly, where you want to be tomorrow?  Is the picture fresh?  Please tell me you are not using the photo of you and your ex…..that would be bad, really bad.

You can go ahead and make a haircut and brow renovation appointments.  You can visit Warby Parker and pick out some new glasses but you don’t have to go great expense for a career makeover.  Just give it some time and some thought.  That’s all it takes.

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Filed under career change, Resume, social media

LinkedIn has a new look – this is not about that

Over the last few weeks, LinkedIn has rolled out their new “look”. I have read lots of good and bad things about but I am still experimenting with it so this is not about that. 

There is a feature that is often ignored but is quite brilliant for keeping in touch when you really don’t have anything to particular to share or ask.

When you go to the Notifications tab and scroll through the boxes, you will see the notes that let you say happy birthday or congratulations on a new job. I used to dismiss this as kitschy and not really of value.

Today, I was the recipient of a zillion birthday wishes and I can tell you it is not kitchy. I smiled with each and every incoming ping.

True, I don’t know everyone who took the time to message me but most of their names did ring a bell. As a sidebar, I also got two lunch dates out of it!

If you really do know the person, take a moment to personalize it, even if just a little. It will make it that much more meaningful.

This may not lead you to your next dream job but it will remind people of how thoughtful you are and that’s becoming a high value trait in many organizations. 

Best wishes for a great day whether it’s your birthday or not!

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Filed under Interview, Networking, social media

How Long is your Digital Shadow?

I have heard the term “digital revolution” about 10 times this week and I have to say it is wearing a little thin…..I know it’s a big deal but what does it really mean to the average job seeker?

It means that you have many more sources to find  out information on industries, people and jobs. We used to have job sites like Monster and now companies post jobs on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and a whole bunch of industry specific lists like AngelList, Freshgigs and TalentEgg.

You can find out about actual companies at sites like Glassdoor.  It started out as a place where employees could post salary information anonymously and then quickly morphed into a place where people talked about their interview and employment experiences.  This can be handy but like any user fed information source, it is buyer beware.  Generally speaking, only the very happy and the very angry/sad/bitter people share their thoughts and feelings.  Definitely take info from Glassdoor with a grain of salt.

Here is the real impact point of this digital business:  your resume.  When your resume is reviewed, chances are, the person reviewing it is looking you up on social media at the same time.

What happens when you search google for your name?  (Hint: use quotation marks to get it right i.e. “Laura Machan”).

Check google images and google news (different tabs on the search page).

You need to see and be aware of what others will see when they look you up.  Are there lots of people with same name?  Are there pictures of you doing weird things?  News clippings about some neighbourhood shenanigans?

If there are  less-than-professional items, there is not a lot you can do except contact the site owner and ask for material to be taken down.

You also want to able to explain what was happening at the time to provide some context and alleviate any concerns in an interview situation or maybe even in your cover letter.

The better thing way to solve this is to get out and do more positive activities.  Volunteer, speak at conferences, get involved in kids sports.  Gradually, those images will push the junk to page six or seven of google and most people lose interest after page three.

Take a few minutes this weekend to look yourself up.  You might be surprised by what you see.

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Filed under career change, Interview, Job Search, Resume, social media

How to Make the Most of an Internship

Many people have co-op terms or internships as part of their academic courses.  They are fantastic learning experiences but there are some extra things you can do to maximize their impact from a career perspective.

Make sure you add the your title and company to your LinkedIn profile. Add some bullet points about your tasks so that other people can get a feel for what you are doing.

Invite people you are working with to join your network.  You can also invite people from outside the company.  If you get to shadow someone at a meeting or a conference, pick up business cards and send out the invites. linkedin cracked button

Your LinkedIn invitations have more impact if you personalize them.  If you mention where you met the person and how much you liked their presentation/speech/questions, you will up the chances of them accepting your invite.

Ask if people in your work  group will provide a recommendation.  Basically, you are asking if they will say a couple of nice things about you that will be visible on your profile.

Start a list in your phone of training and learning opportunities so you can record them as you go.  By the end of your term, you won’t remember what happened at the beginning.  These are valuable bits to add to your resume when you are done.  You want to be able to reference not just what you did, but what you learned.  That’s the sort of thing future employers want to see.

When you finish an internship, make sure you note that on your LinkedIn profile.  You might also want to take a few minutes to write some thank you notes to your boss and your boss’s boss.  Mention how much you learned and how much you enjoyed being part of the team.

None of these items are going to make an internship better but they will help to make sure it is a solid starting point for  a satisfying career.

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Filed under Job Search, Networking, Resume, social media

LinkedIn Steps up its Offering for Job Seekers

Keeping your eye on the job market is tough.  It really only occurs to you on Sunday night when you are dreading work on Monday and let’s face it – that is not the best time.

The more we can automate the tedious searching and sifting though job postings, the better we will be.

LinkedIn already have developed at pretty good active job search site.  You can click on the Jobs tab in LinkedIn and search through hundreds of postings.  Shorten the path by the clicking on the advanced tab.  This allows you to filter by location, industry and a bunch of other factors.linkedin button

This week, LinkedIn introduced their new and improved iPhone app for job searching.  It uses the location service along with your keywords to give you a list of local postings to scroll through.  When you see something you like, you can apply with your profile in just a few taps.

You can set up alerts and favourites pretty easily too.

The folks at LinkedIn point out that this all happens privately.  Your LinkedIn network is not notified that you are doing this.  I should think that would be pretty obvious but I guess it’s worth knowing.

One caveat:  this means your LinkedIn profile has to be ready to serve as your application.  You cannot just have a company and a title.  There has to be some meat and potatoes in your jobs.  Your education has to be clear.  Awards, sports, hobbies, projects – all of that needs to be in your profile and spelling mistake free.

Tap, scroll and apply away!

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Filed under career change, Job Search, social media

So…..are we exclusive?

I was talking about LinkedIn with a group of people on Monday evening.  One of the big questions seemed to be about invitations. When someone invites you to connect, should you accept?

Some people only accept invites from people they know. Others, like people in my profession, accept all invitations.

The answer lies in why you got on LinkedIn in the first place. Is it a place to hang out with former colleagues?  A place to develop your consulting reputation?  Maybe you want to grow your community of influence, so that when you throw a highly pithy comment out there – you get lots of feedback.

Most of us keep our profiles current and polished so we can get noticed. We want prospective employers or clients to find us and look us over. The way we get “found” is by broadening our networks either by accepting invitations or joining groups.

Here’s a possible strategy:

  • Take a look at your invites once every week or so. You don’t have to do it right away. They will not evaporate.
  • If you don’t know the person, click on their name. Maybe that will jog your memory or you will realize that they know a lot of the same people you do.
  • Decide if you want to accept, ignore or procrastinate a little longer.

So, when you are deciding whether your network is going small and exclusive or open and diverse, think about how you want to be treated. When you reach out to someone, you want to be acknowledged, right?

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Facebook fame? No thanks.

Here’s a new word: microfame.  This is the term used when you make a sudden but bright splash in the digital world.  Like when you are featured as a Pampers Facebook video contest winner.  Or you publish a tweet that gets retweeted and retweeted.  Or it’s your birthday and you get messages from all of your 1500 Facebook friends and become a “trend”.

Pretty heady stuff.

But is this really the legacy you want?  When you google your name (and you should), is this they type of stuff you want people to see?

Imagine who will be searching for your presence on line.  Future employers?  Yes.  Potential  volunteer organizations?  Definitely.   Old friends?  Possibly.

Microfame is fun the same way a little Friday night red wine buzz is fun.  It’s nice while it lasts but it leaves you with a headache and a need for a nap.

Keep your eye on the long term stuff.  You might never be famous but you will have a pretty good shot at being satisfied and successful.

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Filed under career change, social media