By Gauri Chandna
Almost everyone, these days, will first google you or check your linkedin profile before they respond to you or reach out to you. If mediocrity is what you want to project, sure let it go. But if you really want to grab their attention, you need to put in time and effort into building and consistently maintaining your profile. Now that does not mean, it should be blown up or magnified in anyway. Rather, it should be as close to your professional personality as possible. The more authentic it is, the more real it will be. Here’s a few common ideas that you should pay a little more attention to.
1. Your profile picture: This will be the first thing people will look at as they land on your profile. A nice professionally done picture is always a good idea. Look into the camera because in the digital world, it will interpreted as – you are comfortable with looking people in the eye with confidence. People will tend to believe you more if you have profile picture up there. On any media, Linkedin or Facebook, if you do not have a picture, it may get interpreted as – you’re hiding something. Now that is an instant mistrust, so why lose an opportunity to build upon the trust that you deserve.
2. Headline: This shows up everywhere you comment and like as well. So people don’t even have to visit your profile to read this much about you. Most readers on Linkedin make a professional judgement about your experience and skill level right here. If that is interesting enough, they will click to find out more about you. Make this head line not only about what you are currently doing, but also include (if relevant) the direction of your progression. If this does not catch attention, you are sure to get lost in the digital crowd.
3. Summary: You have 2000 characters to describe who you are in the professional world. Use them well to summarize the best version of you. This will generally be the most read section of your profile so be sure to accurately represent yourself here. Talk about your successes, your passions and something that is unique about you. Make yourself seem approachable and congenial if that is how you are in real life. Hobbies are a good add to this section as they can be a good conversation starter for any professional networking as well. If you write it in first person, it makes you more reachable, but if you write it in third person, you come across as distant. There is nothing wrong with either, but it is good to be able to make a conscious choice.
4. What and who you follow: That too speaks a ton about who you are. Yes, whether you like it or not, you are judged based on your interests. So be mindful of that and follow professional groups that align with your professional goals. Companies that are in the same space and Influencers who represent the same core values as yours, are good ones to follow. Besides learning about them, it can also be quite stimulating for your brain and may even motivate you towards newer fresher goals.
5. Stay current: Consider it to be your ‘Digital Soul’. I like to call it your Linkedin Profile your digital soul in the professional world. Reflect on your daily/weekly professional activity and consider showcasing it on Linkedin. Maintain the positive qualities, just like your soul of sharing, liking, and producing authentic and honest content about yourself. Once you start believing in this, it almost becomes a second nature to keep your profile current and up-to date.
6. Stay Connected: The number of connections you have on Linekdin speaks of how connected you are in real life. This is an asset, so build it. Having 500+ connection is an absolute plus. And this a prominent piece of information people will look at when looking at your profile. Remember, wherever you go, the aura of your assets (read: connections) goes with you. Mutual connections too can be great conversation starters.
7. Get endorsed: Don’t be shy in asking your connections to endorse you. Sometimes, it can be a give and take. The more you give, the more you get. Endorsements and recommendations translate to how people value you. Your new connections will look at that before accepting your invite. What people say about you will have a large impact on what people think about you.
8. Stay focused: Every click you make, will add to your profile. Your Likes, your updates, your shares, your articles, your pictures and your posts, all will cumulatively describe who you are as a professional. So use all of the above to stay aligned towards your goal. You will be amazed at how it will impact how people greet you in the real world as well.
Your Linkedin profile is your digital soul and your progression in work life will eventually become a reflection of that very identity. That is the power of impressions you will make with your brilliantly gleaming bits and bytes on Linkedin. So develop awareness, reflect on what defines you, and project it magnificently to reap the results of an accurate profile. Most importantly, enjoy the journey, since you can’t escape it in today’s world anyway!
How much of a job search expert do you think you are? Would you be able to tell the difference between a myth and the correct rules to follow while job hunting? Unfortunately, there are plenty of strategies, rumors, and misconceptions out there about how to find a job. Let’s expose some of the most common myths of the job hunt and help you to get through your job search successfully!
Myth #1: Job ads represent all of the available jobs
Although looking at job ads is a good way to start your process, it is important to not rely solely on them. There are open jobs that are not necessarily advertised on the common job board. In fact, the majority of the available jobs are not advertised, and are actually marketed on what is known as a “hidden or closed market”. Typically, the higher the salary of a job, the less likely that it will be publicly advertised. Try reaching out to people within your professional network to gain access and get recommended for the jobs that are not advertised.
Myth #2: Lowering your job salary demands makes you a more attractive candidate
When it comes to the topic of money when discussing a potential job, you want to allow the employer to be the one to initiate the topic of conversation. Despite what you may think, lowering your demands will not raise your chances of getting an offer. Instead, it translates into you looking desperate for a job, potentially lowering your chances of getting the job offer. Even if you were to get the job due to a lower salary, it does not leave you feeling accomplished in your career path. You could feel unhappy since you lowered your potential.
There are many components considered when looking at a job candidate. These considerations go further than just what is seen on the resume. Although the skills listed on your resume are important, the way you interview and how your personality translates are also large factors in the hiring process. Employers also consider how different candidates will fit into the company culture and if they will work well with their team. Don’t psych yourself out over your resume; stay confident and prove how you are the best person for the job.
Myth #4: When unemployed, you should accept your first offer
Even though you are unemployed and may be desperate to find a job, accepting the first offer is not necessarily the best career move. It is important to weigh your options in order to find a job that is the best fit for you. One option to consider while looking for the right job, is temporary or contract work. Sometimes you may have to accept an offer that is not exactly what you are looking for, but one that will be a stepping stone towards the direction you you want your career to take.
Myth #5: You think that you do not need to prepare for an interview
Do not take an interview opportunity for granted. You always want to do your homework and demonstrate your knowledge for both the company and the position you are interviewing for. To start, look at the company’s website, but don’t just stop there. Another great source of information are the company’s annual reports. In addition to demonstrating your knowledge of the company, be able to explain your experiences and how they clearly translate into this new role.
Myth #6: A cover letter is unimportant
A cover letter does more than introduce your resume, it is the place to explain why you are qualified for the job. You want to be writing a custom cover letter for each individual job you are applying for. This is a place where you can also put skills that may not be stated in your resume. However, be sure your cover letter is not repetitive to your resume.
Transitioning from a college student to a young professional can be intimidating. We’ve come up with a list of tips to help make this transition smoother!
Develop your Network:
It’s no secret that millennials are known for their use of different social media networks. Now is the time to make use of all these social media connections and reach out to the people in your network who can introduce you to companies and other connections within your industry of interest. Not only can the people in your network serve as a leg up from your competition, but these connections can also be excellent sources of advice and information. You never know who will turn out to be a wealth of knowledge or who could become a career mentor. Another resource you should be using to develop your professional network is your college career counselor. This is one resource that many recent grads forget to take advantage of. Career counselors can help you decide which career path or paths to explore and can also be a social network within themselves: meaning they are connected to hundreds if not thousands of alums all over the country; alums who are working in various industries in numerous positions, who would be happy to help a fellow alumni get a foot in the door.
Prepare an Elevator Pitch:
Now is the time to sell yourself! Be prepared, when meeting someone, to market your personal skills and strengths in a way that will grab someone’s attention. Start out by defining who you are and what your goal is. Then move into highlighting your personal strong points. You can even highlight the positive traits of the millennial generation. Most millennials are highly motivated, tech fluent, and capable of being adaptive. Deliver it with confidence and ease. You want to grab the professional’s attention and leave a memorable impact.
Follow Interview Courtesies:
Be careful not to skip out on your homework before arriving to your interview. Take time and prepare. Make sure you are familiar with the common interview questions, and practice how you will answer them. The more you practice your responses, the better your answers will flow during the actual interview. Also, familiarize yourself with the company you are interviewing at. You want to be asking the right questions during the interview. There is more to consider than just a salary, for instance company culture, the size of the company, the team or lack thereof that you will be working with, etc. It’s important to keep those other aspects in mind, as it will help you find a company that is the best fit for you.
First impressions take seconds to form and are long lasting, so make sure you start your interviews off on the right foot! Dress appropriately for your interview. Even before you have a chance to sell your skills and give your elevator pitch, you are selling yourself on your appearance. Maintain good body language throughout the entirety of the conversation.
Most importantly, send a personal thank you note to the people you met with, restating your enthusiasm for the job.
Mistakes to Avoid:
Try to avoid relying solely on the internet. Have an approach that is well rounded, so as to use multiple different outlets and methods of contact. A Monster college survey showed that 78% of post college job-seekers stated that they also utilized networking throughout their job search process. Keep in mind that there are thousands of candidates who are applying to the same job boards, so it’s important to utilize your network and those connections who will help your resume stand out. Do not just sit back and expect everything to fall into place. Stay proactive. You should also do your best to avoid any gaps in your resume. This does not mean you always have to be employed, but do your best to continue to learn and remain involved in activities. A common interview question that is asked is, “ what have you done since graduation?”, stay busy while you search for your first job post graduation. This could mean, taking online courses or volunteering. Staying active on your resume portrays a strong work ethic and a desire to learn.
Finding a job at the beginning of your career can be frustrating, but it is important to stay optimistic and not not give up!
What is self-branding?
Brands dominate our lives whether it comes to clothing, food, cars or any other consumer product. Just like the many brand names that stand out, you too can use branding in our own professional lives to help yourself stand out. This type of branding in known as “self-branding”. Branding yourself is a way to portray your personality and career reputation to other professionals. Self-branding comes from your contributions and performance; something that your future employers can expect from you. It shapes your identity, which ultimately can attract the attention of new or potential employers.
Why is self-branding important?
Self-branding can be one aspect of your job search that allows you to stand out amongst the rest of the competing applicants. If done correctly, it could be the reason you generate interest from employers, ultimately helping you to continue further on in the hiring process. When you have a standout personal brand, you not only develop interest from employers, but you gain the attention of recruiters as well. Many recruiters use social media for scouting future candidates, so it’s important to portray a consistent professional brand that is constant throughout all your social media platforms. A great first impression via your social media (i.e. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram etc.) could be the reason you land that initial interview over an applicant with little or no web presence or over someone who has an inconsistent or unprofessional social media brand.
How to make your own personal brand:
Now that you know what a personal brand is, and how it contributes significantly to the job search process, you may be wondering how to go about branding yourself in the right way. Utilizing social media is a major way to get your personal brand out there. It is important not to rely on one social media platform, but rather, build a presence on multiple outlets, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. You want to build your profile fully and consistently throughout all of your social media platforms. Your profile is the place to show off your accomplishments and prove your hard work. Updating your profiles regularly with relevant content and recent accomplishments, shows your commitment to your brand. You never know when you will have the opportunity to impress someone in your industry. Social media is also a place to market your skills. Once again, you are able to portray more dimension to your brand, thus allowing your personality to shine. Now that you have a consistent brand across all your social media profiles, it’s just as important to build your professional network within these social platforms so that your brand reaches a large number of potential employers and/or recruiters. Make sure to connect with other professionals in your industry and with similar interests or skills and to be an active participant in groups with like-minded professionals.