Posts Tagged ‘LinkedIn Profile’

How Your Profile Picture is Sabotaging Your Job Search

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Something a bit on the odd side this time around, as we investigate some fine-tuning you might need for your online profile (LinkedIn or otherwise) to enhance your passive job search:

Your head shot should add value to your profile. Fix these common mistakes to get it on the right track.

In today’s marketplace, it’s not enough to have a well-written resume and a list of great referrals; it’s essential for every job seeker to develop and actively monitor their online professional brand.

While a photo on your resume is still considered taboo, recruiters have come to expect a picture to accompany your online professional profiles. In fact, your LinkedIn profile is 40 percent more likely to get clicked on if it contains an image.

However, not just any image will do. Choose your picture strategically so that it enhances, rather than damages, your professional brand.

Below are nine profile picture pitfalls to avoid:

1. Blurry or Too Small

Ideally your photo should be 200 x 200 pixels or larger. Anything smaller and you’re guaranteed to end up with a fuzzy or teeny tiny image that just screams unprofessional. I recommend choosing a square head shot, as it’s sure to work with all your professional social media accounts.

2. Too Close or Too Far Away

Stick with a standard head shot for your profile pic. Prospective employers and those in your professional network have no desire to examine your dental work, and a shot from far away won’t help them identify you at an event or interview.

3. The Group Shot

Remember, this picture is supposed to represent your professional brand – no one else’s. Don’t make recruiters guess which person you are in the photo. Use an image that shows you and only you.

4. The Crop

Cropping yourself out of the group shot doesn’t work either. While it may be your favorite picture, no one wants to see half of your loved one’s face or your best friend’s hair on your shoulder. Stick to a solo shot that doesn’t require Photoshop.

5. Bad Lighting

Not only do these pictures look creepy, but they are certainly not providing employers with a positive, professional first impression.

6. Too Serious

Opt for photos where you’re looking at the camera and smiling. You don’t necessarily need a cheesy grin on your face, but you want to appear friendly and approachable. The “glamor shots” aren’t doing you any favors.

7. Goofy Expressions

Remember, this image is supposed to represent your professional brand. When you look at your profile photo, does it send the same message as your resume?

8. Pet or Baby Pic

Yes, your puppy is adorable and your family is beautiful. However, that’s not what your professional network or a prospective employer needs to know about you. Save these cute pics for your personal social-media channels such as Facebook or Instagram. Stick to a photo of yourself for your professional profiles.

9. No Photo

As mentioned earlier, recruiters today expect to find a head shot with your professional profile. The first thing recruiters and hiring managers notice is your photo… or lack of one. If you have no photo, their initial thought might be, “What is this person trying to hide?”

If you’re concerned that including your photo could cause people to discriminate against you, I urge you to carefully weigh the benefits and drawbacks of the profile photo before making a final decision. The right image can reinforce your brand and help viewers connect more easily with your profile.

Overall Best Practices

Use a recent head shot that meets the file type and size and pixel size recommended by each site. Consider your outfit, the background of the shot, and the lighting to ensure it reflects your current professional brand and career goals.

Having no photo is better than uploading one that doesn’t project the right image, so put some thought into the picture you choose to represent your professional brand.

Original from the Ladders.

Safe Transition: The Path to Your New Career

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

In the midst of an unstable, ever changing economy and job market, many professionals are looking to transition to new industries, fields, and disciplines to take advantage of where the growth is.

Of course, a career change can have a major impact on your overall well-being and happiness so it’s not just about the money or the opportunities. After all, we spend the majority of our waking hours at work; it’s crucial to find something that challenges and inspires you on a daily basis. If you’re doing something right now that you wouldn’t necessarily classify as your “dream job”, don’t worry. With a little bit of hard work and planning, you can position yourself to transition into a new career that makes you excited to get up and go to work.

Career-changers need to take a slightly different approach to their job search, as there are a unique set of challenges and obstacles that must be overcome. You need to understand how you can most successfully position yourself to reflect your new career goals. It’s important to determine whether or not your “old” skills apply to your new career target and if you’ll be able to convince people that you are the person for the job even when you’re competing against candidates that may have more relevant experience.

And, of course, you need to plan and determine the proper course of action well in advance to ensure the transition runs smoothly. Here are a few tips on how you can make a successful career transition:

1. Decide what you want.

“Know thyself” may sound like a cliché, but it’s crucial if you want to make sure you find a role where you’ll be happy. Avoid moving from one job or career to another before you narrow down how you want to spend your working hours. For example, ask yourself if autonomy is crucial, or if using your creativity is most important.

When you make a change, take the opportunity to focus on yourself and your needs. Don’t skip this step; take the time to identify and evaluate what you want to do next.

2. Find Your Measure of Success

Money. Fame. Power. These are the traditional measures of success in the world of work. While there’s nothing wrong with any of those metrics, they don’t capture the whole picture. Figure out your personal definition of success and then go after a career—and a lifestyle—that lets you get what you want.

3. Start with a Fresh Mind

If you are bitter about your current job or you’ve had some failures in the past when trying to transition to a new career, it’s time to start over fresh.

It’s easy to beat yourself up and use your failures as an excuse for not picking yourself up and moving on. But as long as you live in the past, you’re denying yourself the future that could be yours. If you can stop lingering over mistakes and could-have-beens, you’ll find a new reservoir of energy that can help make your career transition a faster—and happier—project.

4. Budget for Good and Bad Days

Debt is a dream killer. So before you begin a major transition, figure out if you can afford it. Start by calculating how much money you’ll need to survive time off for retraining and job hunting. If you can’t afford a career change right now, determine if you can reroute or expand your current income to save up 6-12 months of living expenses. Remember, a few hours spent doing the math right now will save you loads of time and stress later on.

5. Do Your Homework

Focus on identifying an industry that is strong or emerging in your targeted area and has similarities to your current industry experience.

If you’re unsure which industries are easiest to transition to, look for former colleagues who held a similar role to you and have moved on to other companies – what industries are they working in? What companies have accepted their previous experience? This is a good place to start.

Once you’ve identified what industry you want to target, begin immersing yourself in their terminology. Subscribe to industry-specific online newsletters and blogs, join professional groups online and attend networking events or trade shows where you’ll learn more about the industry and meet new people. Identify connections in your current network that work in your targeted industry, and take them out for a cup of coffee to pick their brain. This is a great way to gain valuable insight into the market and uncover unpublished opportunities.

Instead of assuming anything, make sure to use actual research and data to make your decisions and choices about your future. Use all of the resources available to learn about companies and positions, including online and social media tools. Use sites such as Glassdoor.com to find reviews of organizations written by people who work there, and comb through company websites and social media streams to get a sense of company culture.

6. Get Your Hands Dirty

Hands-on experience is a quick teacher. Although you might have a dream career you’ve always thought of pursuing, you will never actually know of it’s the right path for you until you are in the thick of it. Even if you’re crunched for time, there are still ways to test the waters of a new career before you take the leap: find someone you admire and ask to shadow them for a day, do a short-term volunteer stint, or schedule a half-hour informational interview.

7. Build a network

The single most effective way to uncover new opportunities within your chosen field is to start connecting with people who are already doing what you want to do. Be creative in your approach to contacting with people who may be influential within your targeted industry or who may be able to point you in the right direction. Do your homework before you reach out to people so that you can speak intelligently about the job and inspire confidence that you are worth investing their time in.

Network strategically. You must connect with people who can introduce you to decision makers. When you meet new contacts, make sure they understand why you’re a good fit for the type of job you want. Use social media tools such as LinkedIn and Twitter to find and target individuals who can be your allies and develop relationships with them. When you target your networking, you will find people willing to advocate for you, which makes all the difference for job seekers.

Also, learn to ask for help. It’s tough (maybe impossible) to head into new territory and to succeed without help. Set aside your pride in order to reach for something new. Career change is hard at first; but it gets easier.

8. Look Beyond the Traditional Job Search Documents

While your resume and cover letter will certainly play a role in your job search, don’t stop there. Because employers will be looking at your resume to find how your past experience matches their current needs, you need to find other avenues to convince hiring managers that you’re the right fit. Write an article. Start a blog. Build a dynamic LinkedIn profile. Social media and Web 2.0 sites give job seekers an incredible opportunity to cultivate a personal brand that didn’t exist just a few years ago. Those who take advantage of those opportunities will be rewarded while those who don’t will have a much more difficult time.

Making a career change can be both challenging and exciting. The largest obstacle you will face is the resistance of others who doubt your qualifications in your new field. The key is to stop looking for your dream job and start doing it.

Linkedin – Endorsements

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

LinkedIn has recently launched a new Skills Endorsement feature on their website, to compliment their existing Recommendation option. Both are meant to get external validation of an individual’s profile, work history, background, education, and more.

While Recommendations are more general and allow for more extensive explanations and interaction, the new Skills Endorsement feature instead focuses on targeting particular skills an individual has. So if you have a particular talent for tax compliance, for example, and a former colleague wants to emphasize or recommend your proficiency in that skill, rather than filling out a long Recommendation, he or she can simply “endorse” your skill.

Here are a few tips to make the best use of this new feature:

Identify Key Skills on Your Profile: It is important to highlight the key skills you possess in the “Skills & Expertise” section of your profile so people can endorse them. Each skill will be listed separately, with the professionals who have endorsed them pictured to the right (for the top 10). Skills are initially listed in random order but as people endorse them, they are ordered by the number of endorsers, from highest to lowest. Thus, in a graphic way, people who visit your profile will immediately know which skills you are best known for by seeing which skills have the most endorsements.

Skill Suggestions:
In addition to endorsing existing skills on your profile, this feature also allows for others to suggest relevant skills that they believe you possess that you haven’t mentioned (especially those all important “cross-functional skills” that we always take for granted). This helps to expand your profile and provides a collaborative work space for self-actualization.

Enhanced Visibility: The advantage of using the Skills Endorsement feature is that it raises your visibility on the LinkedIn network. Every time you add a skill to your profile, it gets added to your LinkedIn homepage timeline (which others on your network can see). There are also options to endorse skills, like them, or comment about them right on your homepage.

Endorse and Get Endorsed: When someone endorses your skills, it gets shown on their activity timeline and your own, thereby increasing the possibility of their contacts and others visiting your profile (which can be very important if you are passively looking for a job). And the same is true when you endorse someone else. So it’s equally useful for networking purposes to endorse other people as it is to be endorsed.

Acknowledgement of Endorsement:
It is important to thank those who have endorsed your skills. One way of doing so is to use the “Like” button on the LinkedIn timeline. You should also reciprocate and endorse their skills in return.

Using the Skills Endorsement feature helps raise the visibility and credibility of your profile on the LinkedIn network and the earlier you start, the more impact it will have.