Leveraging LinkedIn – Top Tips

LinkedIn has always been a great tool but during “The Great Resignation”, it’s even more powerful.

It’s a first step to researching new opportunities.  You can look at actual job postings.  You can also look up companies that are doing cool things to see if they might have a role for you.

It has a myriad of other uses too.

You can look up old friends, former colleagues and classmates.  It’s fun to see what people are doing now and it is easy to send a note suggesting time to reconnect.  Hearing from an old friend is a great antidote to the loneliness of working at home. I recently had the chance to reconnect with a volunteer colleague, She had a “book time with me” icon on her profile. In just a few clicks, we had a video call set up. It was so nice to hear about her job and her family.

People are posting lots and lots of content on LinkedIn.  It’s not a substitute for actual news but it is a way to see what’s going on in the industry you are in or the one you want to be in. You can check out the posts by companies, associations and thought leaders.

It’s an easy way to beef up your presence.  You can share stuff that you like  or post your own content.  It can be original – as in an article you wrote yourself or something you found outside LinkedIn that you think other people in your network will find interesting.

Posting content is better than just “liking” an article.  Hitting the like button is pretty lame. It signals that you thought something was good but not good enough to take time out of your super-busy day to make a comment.

LinkedIn is also a great medium for recognizing people.  You can use the @ sign and the person’s name in your comment for a shout-out or to draw their attention to something.  Other people see that you did that and bang!  You have a community conversation going on.

These are all simple ways to increase your profile and your engagement – really important things to do in this job market.

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Spring Clean Your Resume

Even though there is lots of uncertainly in the world , we know for sure that the warm breezes of spring will arrive over the next few weeks and if you are like me, you will spend some time working on projects around the house.  Maybe switching your clothes around.  Moving the golf shirts and flower printed yoga pants to the front and shoving all the black yoga pants into a box in the garage .  Maybe cleaning up the back yard.  Dust off the bike. Those are the kinds of things we like to do in spring.

It is not just your home that should be sorted and updated.  Your resume should be refreshed too.

It may not be as important as your changing the batteries in your smoke detector, but in terms of your career, it should be right near the top of the list.

Here are the things to consider:


How have you been working and what do you want in the future? Do you want to stay remote or does a hybrid arrangement suit you better?

Has your title changed?

Has the scope of your role  changed?

Did you take any courses or workshops over the winter?

How about any special projects?

Any new volunteer committees or fund raising initiatives?

Once your resume is refreshed make sure it is stored in a place that’s easily retrievable, like Dropbox.   Once that’s done, you might want to apply the same logic to your LinkedIn profile.  Make sure it is a really good reflection of where you are and what you are doing.

And you might want to take a few minutes to find all those emails that say “thank you” and “you’re a star”.  Email them to your personal account and maybe print a few.  You just never know when you are going to need a little pick-me-up or evidence of your great work.

So put on your favourite spring shirt and get to it!

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Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

There is a lot of activity on the jobs front these days.  People are re-evaluating their priorities, their location, the industry and their leaders.  Some are looking for a dramatic change. Some are taking retirement earlier or later than planned.

These last two years have caused great upheaval and great opportunities.  Many roles can be done remotely with complete effectiveness.  I have clients who were resolutely against working from home and now they are bringing people back two days a week with flexibility depending on meetings and projects.  That’s a big change.

There are more than 425,000 jobs posted on LinkedIn right now.  That’s only in Canada.  There are 828,000 remote jobs posted in the US. 

Photo by Tarik Nachat on Pexels.com

And then some jobs are not posted because they have not hit the mainstream yet.

I watched a video about a Flight Pet Nanny.  She gets hired to pick up a dog, cat or bunny, get them to the airport and fly with the pet to its ultimate destination.  Word of mouth has made her busier than ever. 

Staying on the pet theme, my nephew drives horses around.  He drove a truck, trailer and horse across the country. 

And the craft gig economy is really going strong.  Etsy had more than 90 million buyers last year.  It is can be glued, sewed or carved, you can find it on Esty.

The spike in home renovations means there is a high demand for Ikea furniture builders.  Speaking as someone who put together an Ikea bed last summer, I can appreciate the need for a pro. Maybe they could figure out where the extra pieces go.

The point is there is a ton of opportunity out there.  This is no time to be miserable at your job.  If you are not happy, carve out some time (and not just on Sunday night at 10 pm when you are particularly miserable) and start exploring.  Talk to friends, talk to your boss, get a coach.  Make a plan and take action.

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Interview Prep – Top Five Tips

I interview lots and lots of people and frankly, have seen lots of weird things happen at interviews.  The things that seem so obvious to me apparently are not to the average person.  So, in an effort to help people make a better impression at interviews, here are my top five tips.

Research. Research. Research.  Read the job description and the website.  See if there is anyone you know who works there and could share some inside info.  One of the trendy interview openers is “Why are you interested in this position”.  Be ready for this.


Dress to impress.  Don’t fool around with this one.  Pay attention to the industry and the people in it.  Remember you can always take off a tie and slip it into your pocket. You cannot discreetly pull a jacket out of your briefcase.

Find the location the night before. Now that things are moving from virtual to in person, this need consideration and maybe even a drive by.  There is nothing worse than the stress of being late because you can’t find parking or you end up on the 28th floor of another tower.  It’s sweaty and embarrassing.

Be on time.  This is key.  “On time” means you arrive at the appointed hour.  Not a half an hour before.  Not half an hour later.  If you are hyper and want to appear eager, than five to ten minutes is plenty.  More than that and you like you either don’t have enough to do or you have a very loose relationship with time.  If you need to kill time, hang around outside, or in your car, not the reception area.

Practice your handshake.  I know this sounds silly but it is important to get honest feedback on this because it is a really big part of the first impression you make.  Ask the people you practice with to describe your handshake. Is it strong and confident?  Too short or too long?  Are your palms sweaty?  It is better to know this stuff and deal with it than to have your presentation marred by a damp, limp greeting.  You are better than that.

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Stepping Away

There will be no Zoom room hangouts today and no Team chats tomorrow. I am stepping away from my computer for a couple of days. I plan to catch up on some long neglected home and personal tasks like reading a stack of magazines, getting a haircut and organizing my closet.

See you next week!

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Another Zoom Call? Smile Anyway

My son is very laid back.  For the most part, it’s a good thing.  He does not freeze up before tests or freak out when an assignment is due.  He just goes about his business and gets it done.

The down side to this is that he really only has one expression.  It’s neither happy nor sad, it is just kind of flat (except before 10 am, then he looks just plain dopey)

He has been invited to job interviews and this has proven to be quite a liability.  His face and body language don’t give off the air of an enthusiastic, new graduate who wants to learn the ropes.  To a hiring manager, he probably looks more like a bouncer at a club.

I have been talking to him about putting out a little more energy when he is talking to people but I’m pretty sure it’s falling on deaf ears.

People in the workplace, whether they are peers or managers, need energetic feedback, especially on video.  You don’t have to bounce off the walls but you need to be able to nod and look into the camera with at least a bit of spark in your eyes.  That’s the only way people know that you are listening and paying attention.

Try it now.  Stare at your screen with a flat “whatever” look.  Now, pretend someone has just come in to take a photo.  Sit up a bit straighter.  Clear your throat.  Crack your face muscles into a smile and turn on the lights behind your eyes.

I’m not saying you need a 10 megawatt smile to tell your boss that you are going to lunch but if you want the team to go with your strategy, then you need to get a little projection happening behind those  eyeballs.

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Dating, Dreaming & the Olympics

I have been watching the Olympics like a fiend and have come to a conclusion:  I want to date a bobsleigh brakeman.

I know it might seem silly and I don’t want to sound like a romance novelist but I think the combination of focus, determination and strength is a pretty great and those skin tight suits don’t hurt either.

But the hard truth is that I can’t.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I can’t date a bobsledder any more than I can be a CFO. Just because I admire them and think that what they do is neat, does not mean we would find any common ground.

I am not athletic or even fit for that matter. I am a desk rat rather than a gym rat. I don’t go out much in winter. And nothing I do is measured in hundredths of a second. Nothing.

Applying for jobs is the same thing. Just because you think the role is interesting or cool does not mean that you would be suitable date material.

When you read the requirements, pay attention to what they are really describing and asking for. Does it really reflect what you do, or more importantly, have done?

Will the receiver of your resume instantly be able to see why you are interested and why this makes sense for you and for the hiring manager?

We can all date bobsledders in our dreams but we should save the heartache and focus for more realistic career pursuits. Me included.

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Race Car Driver, Drone Pilot, Chocolatier

There has been so much press about the ‘Great Resignation”, it’s pretty hard not to daydream about what else you could be doing.  Maybe you’d like something completely different or maybe you just want something that is a better match with your values.

But what do you do about it?

It’s all well and good to explore a new career path if you already know what you want to do. I have read lots of articles about people who had a side gig before the pandemic and decided to turn it into their full-time gig – pie baking, candle making, dog walking, balloon animal sculptor. 

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

If you don’t have something specific in mind, it is pretty hard to make a plan that will drive the shift you are looking for and if you are working now, you know that time is at a premium.  Noodling on the net for hours without a plan will get you nowhere and be depressing to boot.

There are more than 407,000 jobs posted on LinkedIn.  That’s just in Canada alone. That does not count US jobs with remote work schedules.

LinkedIn Jobs has a pretty good search function so why not use it?  Write down 10 words that you want to explore. Set the timer for 10 minutes.  (this is important) . Pop the words into the search bar and see what comes up.  You can easily filter for location and onsite/remote.  Now, take a look at what you’ve got.

Is there anything worth exploring further?  Be ruthless about your decision-making.  You don’t have time to wander down the garden path with visions of driving a clown car.

If there is a gem in the list, take a screenshot and save it in your Career Development folder.  Go through all of your words and then evaluate what you have saved.  Anything still making the list?

Block time on your calendar to dig deeper into each one.  In the end, maybe you decide that what you have is pretty good or maybe you start a side gig.  The only way to know is to take the time to check,

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What to Do About a Jumpy Career

I had two clients this week who decided they did not want to interview candidates because they looked “too jumpy”.  I pressed for more details. Their perception was that the candidates might not stick around for long.

Meanwhile, the candidates were asking me about the company and whether it was stable.  They wanted to know if it had a good history, if it was Canadian or if it has headquarters elsewhere and what the future looked like.

Does that sound like they were looking to jump ship after six months?  Of course not.

It is ironic  that hiring managers hang so much on whether a candidate demonstrates long tenure at each position. Meanwhile, they cannot offer any guarantee that in two years the company or even the role will be the same.

Mergers and acquisitions, retirements, pandemics and technology advance all affect the way companies conduct business and the humans they need to be successful.  Employees need to do their best to stay relevant and keep up, but at the end of the day, leaders may choose to swap out those employees for others with different skills when required by the business.

Just because someone gets restructured does not mean that they do not work hard or offer great skills.  It means they were not the right person at that moment in the organization.

A well-structured interview will bring out the skills, experience and attitudes offered by a candidate. A constructive reference check will verify those characteristics based on past performance.  An independent assessment can be used to predict how the person will react in a new environment.

Those are three solid ways to validate that what you see in an interview is what you will get when the person is in the seat.

Sure, it’s an investment in time and possibly money but it does allow a hiring manager to de-risk a hiring decision.  It also allows them to tap into all the good talent not just the small slice of the candidate community that offers a particular career pattern.

As Forest Gump said, “life is a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get…. so try them all.”

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Lift Your Day – Make a Grinbox

It’s winter and it’s a pandemic – that’s a terrible double whammy. Many of us would be suffering from “winter fatigue” at this point in a normal January and when you layer a lockdown on top of it, it just gets worse.  We are weary of taking a deep breath and bracing ourselves before we step out into the cold.  We are sick of wearing the same winter coat day after day. The only upside, as my Mom pointed out, is that we have not lost our gloves and mittens because you can’t even think of heading outdoors without making sure we have them on our damn hands.

Photo by Kat Smith on Pexels.com

These are the days when it is hard to get motivated to do anything but lie on the couch wrapped in blankets. How, then, do we keep up on a job search?  That takes a lot of energy. Energy that could be totally used up walking the dog or going to a drive through.

The Grinbox.

Make a new folder in your inbox called  Grins.  Sort through your mail for messages that made you feel great when you got them.  If your inbox is too gargantuan for this, filter with workds like “great job” or “thanks” or “congratulations”.  Put all these messages in your Grinbox.

I bet there are more than you think. I’ll also bet when you read through them, you will break your face grinning at least once.

Keep putting those positive messages in there and you will develop quite a collection. Double click on that folder any day that feels crappy, cold, sad, whatever.

If you need a message to get started, let me know. I’d be happy to get you started.

PS You can share the positivity by sending a couple of grin-worthy message to friends, colleagues, and your boss. That will really make you feel good!

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