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Man holding sign reading "unemployed."

How to Proceed after a Layoff: 5 Practical Strategies

How to Proceed after a Layoff: 5 Practical Strategies

Companies have ups and downs with the changes in the economy, and your employment status depends on the company’s stability. Being laid off is not the end of your career, as the layoff is not for cause—the job simply ceases to exist. Consider the following strategies to help you after a “separation,” an umbrella term for the various reasons you and your company part ways:

Take care of you.

Whatever the reason for the separation, it is never a pleasant experience. Allow time to heal; don’t waste your time being angry at your previous employer. Think about where you might have the ambition to work next, and prepare for your future rather than dwell on your past. You will find another job in your career field, provided it may take time. The best course of action, in the meantime, would be to work on yourself. This means you can allow yourself to grieve the loss of your former role while focusing on your future.

Reconnect with or build your network.

Man holding sign reading "unemployed."

Unemployment isn’t the end of your career. Start rebuilding with these 5 practical strategies for recovering after a layoff.

When you are ready to return to your career field, you will want that network to build on and rely on for opportunities. Branch out with contacts via LinkedIn or other business social media, and turn those online connections into phone calls and meetings to support your new job search.

Building your network:

  • Enhances skills you can bring to a business
  • Supports fresh ideas for your current or new organization
  • Develops an improved understanding of the business environment

—all helping you become a stronger leader and finer follower. It takes time to build a successful network, especially if you have not used this strategy before, yet it will be worth the effort.

One caveat: Don’t assume they understand your immediate needs or ask those contacts for a job. This is a binary, dead-end question that only can be answered “yes” or “no.” Instead of asking this closed question, use your networking opportunities to generate deeper, broader insights into your contact’s experience and expertise.

Volunteer in your career field or in your community.

Volunteer work adds skills to your personal knowledge bank and meat to your resume. It can also provide you with an activity to fill your time while you are in job limbo. Volunteering supports your current passions or demonstrates work you aren’t fit for. There are plenty of reasons to volunteer: to benefit others, to make a difference, to develop additional skills, to feel better about yourself, to explore other areas of interest, and numerous others. And, this volunteer experience can become a line item on your resume, which explains fruitfully what you have been doing since the time you separated from your company.

Learn a new skill.

Don’t just pass time — build on your abilities and enhance your skills. Maybe there is a computer program you’ve always longed to learn or a communication skill you recognize you need to improve on. Consider this time now available to build new skills and complete that course or certification you have been thinking about. Work on that new skill and add it to your knowledge bank.

Prepare your resume.

A resume is not just for earning your next job. It allows you to highlight your accomplishments and the skills you earned from those accomplishments. You can either use the time to reflect on your career and the skills you have and prepare a sparkling resume yourself or, as recommended, you can hire a professional resume writer to give your resume that extra polished feel.

Remember, a layoff reflects no fault of your own. The majority of layoffs involve mass groups of the company’s employees, not just one, not just you. Employers take the time to consider each individual they layoff, your being on the list is chalked up to crummy luck. Who is laid off has little to do with work ethic and competence and more to do with the budget or politics of the company’s situation. Dust yourself off and strive toward getting back out in your field.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor

Image by winnond at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

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 Donald. Joe, Tom, Jack, and Donald 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 Donald (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. Considering that LinkedIn has 364 million global members, with 2 reported to join every second (2013 metric), 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 or executive recruiter 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 or executive recruiter 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.

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

I Suspect Your LinkedIn Profile is Fake, or 5 Rules for Identifying a Fake LinkedIn Profile

I Suspect Your LinkedIn Profile is Fake, or 5 Rules for Identifying a Fake LinkedIn Profile

Fake LinkedIn Profile

Fake LinkedIn Profile

Savvy LinkedIn users know the value of the circles of connections–why my first-degree contact has first-degree contacts, who are now my second-degree contacts, the contacts of whom are my third-degree contacts. Some become LinkedIn Open Networkers, or LIONs; some keep their contacts more or less private. Wherever you are on the spectrum, you need to know that despite LinkedIn’s best efforts, some profiles are fake. Be wary of these false profiles, so you don’t get sucked in to their scams.

How to Recognize a Fake LinkedIn Profile

  1. Your name is in all lower-case letters. I’m not sure why improper capitalization correlates to a fake LinkedIn profile, but it does, anecdotally speaking.
  2. No photograph or headshot. Although not having a current photo is not necessarily a reason to decline to connect with a prospective contact, the fact that a profile has no personal or professional information leads me to believe that I’m reading a fake LinkedIn profile.
  3. The LinkedIn profile does have a photograph, but when a quick search of that photo on Google’s image search function yields some alarming search engine results. Typically, these images show that these images are being posted to multiple profiles, none with the same name. Sometimes they come from paid image sites. You need to judge whether the photo is credible.
  4. The text of the LinkedIn profile is thin. The person’s education is unlikely, given the person’s location and current profession. The work history is spotty, unusual, or unrelated to anything else in the profile. There is no description of the person’s employment, and there is no summary statement explaining the individual’s career path and what he or she offers the marketplace.
  5. The LinkedIn profile has fewer than 50 contacts.  Of course, every new entrant into LinkedIn has zero contacts–this is hardly the worry. A new profile with legitimate content and built out appropriately raises no red flags. But if the profile has few connections and some or all of the foregoing issues, there is high probability for this to be a fake LinkedIn profile.

A Real-World Example of a Fake LinkedIn Profile

Let’s take this to the streets and evaluate a connection request I received yesterday. The email included the generic request for connection. While this isn’t a huge red flag necessarily, it’s never a great idea to generically invite someone to connect. But a fake profile “owner” can’t invite someone authentically, with a real request, because there’s no actual network to invite someone to.

Typical connection request from a fake LinkedIn profile.

Typical connection request from a fake LinkedIn profile.

When I clicked through, I see the following LinkedIn profile:

Example of a Fake LinkedIn Profile.

Example of a Fake LinkedIn Profile.

Take a look at the elements of the profile relative to the enumerated description above:

  1. The person’s name is in all lower-case letters.
  2. There is a photo today, but there wasn’t yesterday, when I first viewed the profile.
  3. The photo is not of the profile “owner.” I saved the photo and searched for it on Google Images. As I suspected, the image is someone’s private photo (as posted on Flickr, of an individual celebrating Manila Day). Clearly, this is not a professional photo of the profile “owner,” as the individual named in the private photo is different.
  4. The content of the profile is thin, misspelled, and not descriptive. Typically, profile owners write their actual job titles, not a vague description, and savvy LinkedIn users fill out their complete profiles. Moreover, the place of employment is listed on the company’s web site as Iowa. The profile owner lists Houston, TX, as his place of employment.
  5. The profile has <50 connections.

Are These Faults Enough?

You might say that none of these faults in this particular LinkedIn profile definitively indicate that the LinkedIn profile is fake. You’re probably right–any one of these, independent of the others, is not cause for particular alarm or disconnection. However, taken together, the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. I’m 99 44/100% sure that this is a fake LinkedIn profile. It lacks authenticity and honesty, and doesn’t even attempt to represent a real human being.

How to Be Authentic in Your LinkedIn Profile

There are many resources on how to write a terrific LinkedIn profile. Rather than describe the many ways to engage in an effective LinkedIn strategy, I’m going to offer one piece of valuable insight: Be authentic.

To design and implement an effective LinkedIn profile, not only do you need to complete the fields within it appropriately, you need to demonstrate that who you are online is who you are in person.

The reason fake LinkedIn profiles raise eyebrows–if not all-out alarms–is that there is no substance behind the skimpy text. What is your substance, and how does your online presence match your true self in the eyes of your audience?

Want to report a fake LinkedIn profile? LinkedIn’s customer service can help.

Connect with me (Amy L. Adler) at http://linkedin.com/in/amyladler.

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

Learn about Career Paths with LinkedIn’s “Past Company”

Learn about Career Paths with LinkedIn’s “Past Company”

Have you ever wondered where you could go from your current job? Are you concerned that your career path is unclear, and you do not know what your next position might be? Use LinkedIn’s “Past Company” built-in search feature to learn where your company’s former employees landed to help you craft your own path.

Your Colleagues' Career Paths Can Inform Your Own

Your Colleagues’ Career Paths Can Inform Your Own

Start by logging into LinkedIn. Now click on the “Advanced” link, to the right of the search bar at the top of your screen. A number of search options beyond the simple search become visible. The one you need to look at is called “Past Company,” and there is an “+Add” icon that you can click to add your current company’s name. You can add your own title, a different title, or prospective title. You also can select the degree of connection (you might not specify this at this point). Now scroll down and click the blue “Search” button in the left sidebar.

The list that results from this type of search yields profiles of your connections — first through third, depending on your choices — who used to work at your company. Explore these profiles to see what types of roles they had, what they did after that, and what their most recent positions are. From a selected sample of these profiles, you might be getting a better picture of the career paths your former colleagues have taken.

To take this exercise a notch up, select for only first-degree connections. Now do the search again. This list can serve as a starting point for your networking and informational interview strategy. You definitely will have something in common with these individuals, which makes for a great conversation starter. You also have a goal in mind for your informational interview: “Could you please tell me how you chose to leave [former role at former company] for [next role at next company]? What led you to that choice? What skills did you need to acquire to make that jump? How do you feel about your decision now?”

Image courtesy of Freeimage.com / ColinBroug

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

5 Ways to Measure Your Job Search Networking Success

5 Ways to Measure Your Job Search Networking Success

Do you wonder whether you are really getting anywhere with your job search networking strategy? While you are in the midst of networking, the process can seem thankless. Did that connection you made a month ago turn into something? How do you know whether the presentation you attended was worth going to from a networking perspective? Although it is hard to pin job search success onto any one networking event, overall, you can measure your networking success with a few simple metrics.

Where is the bottleneck in your job search networking strategy?

Where is the bottleneck in your job search networking strategy?

1. New Connections on LinkedIn

When you collect business cards at a networking event, do you turn them into LinkedIn connections? If not, you are missing a huge opportunity to broaden your network. Measure the growth of your first-degree connections–those you have met in person and those you “meet” virtually–to see whether your networking efforts are bearing fruit.

2. Telephone Meetings

Often, first-degree connections on LinkedIn linger in purgatory, never becoming real-world connections with whom you have conversations. How many of these first-degree connections result in telephone conversations, during which you can ask your new contact a variety of questions about their experiences, positions, companies, and industries? If your number is small, you might need to open this bottleneck in the networking process.

3. Face-to-Face Meetings

How many of your telephone conversations turn into real-world meetings? Granted, the face-to-face meeting is likely to be a more rare event than the telephone meeting, but this makes in-person conversations that much more important. Stack the deck in your favor, and ASK for the meeting. Your connection might be too busy, but chances are that he or she will feel flattered, particularly if you are seeking expertise from a position of genuine curiosity about this person’s experience.

4. Introductions to Hiring Executives

Now recall the number of times you have been introduced by a connection, personally, to a hiring manager. More rare still, these opportunities to meet actual hiring executives are precious chances for you to demonstrate the value you could bring to a company or an industry. Prepare for these meetings wisely–they are not likely to be frequent, so make the most of the chance to make that special first impression.

5. Job Interviews

Interview offers can come in cold, from the submission of your resume to an indifferent web site or email, but they are more likely to develop as a result of your ongoing, powerful, and planned networking strategy. Therefore, this is the metric that matters most in your networking efforts. Bring your best game, and use this opportunity to show how you are the right fit for the company.

Conclusion: Identify the Bottleneck

Where in this process did your numbers drop off? Was it at step 1? Maybe you are not putting yourself out there sufficiently at the broadest level to create as many new connections as you can. Was it at step 4? Why do you think hiring managers–those with the power to extend critical interview offers–are not following through? Not getting a second interview? Then you must examine your interviewing strategy for step 5. Wherever the bottleneck seems to reside, you have to figure out why your experience has followed this pattern. Not sure why your job search networking strategy is not working? We can help.

Image courtesy of freeimages.com / cobrasoft

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

LinkedIn’s Gamification of Profile Views: More Harm than Good?

LinkedIn’s Gamification of Profile Views: More Harm than Good?

The gamification of LinkedIn?

The gamification of LinkedIn?

LinkedIn’s new “How You Rank Among Your Connection” function stacks your profile against those of all of your first-degree connections, according to the number of profile views yours is receiving compared to all of theirs. I described this new feature in detail in “Compete with Your LinkedIn Network for Profile Rank.” I was astonished by the overwhelming response to this post. Therefore, I am digging deeper now into the value of LinkedIn’s gamification of your profile. My initial impression of the new metric is that it can do more harm than good for legitimate job seekers.

See Compete with Your LinkedIn Network for Profile Rank for my initial thoughts on LinkedIn profile view rankings.

You Are a Job Seeker, Not a Gamer

First and foremost, you are a job seeker, not a gamer trying to “win” in any arena other than the employment marketplace. To reduce your very real job search to a game is uncivil at best. Correct use of LinkedIn is essential, but for you to be focusing on an artificial competition imposed on you by the platform detracts from your true purpose in using it–building essential connections that drive your career transition. The new metric of how you compete with your network for page rank engages you to focus on the unnatural competition between you and the very people who are likely to be your most precious asset in your job search.

The Profile Rank Metric Measures Your Position but Tells You Nothing

Second, just because LinkedIn can measure something does not mean that the measurement has inherent value. Let us assume that your network is composed of one of three types of connections. On the one hand, you have those who can help you in your career transition but who could gain nothing otherwise from being your connection, such as senior executive leadership if you are a newer entrant to the employment marketplace. (Or you might be that leader who enjoys connecting with more junior players because you value the process of unearthing exceptional talent.) Next, you have those who can only gain from including you in their network, such as recruiters and those seeking to hire someone like you. Last, you have people professionally similar to you in industry and job function.“The new metric of how you compete with your network for page rank engages you to focus on the unnatural competition between you and the very people who are likely to be your most precious asset in your job search.”

In slightly different terms, the first category is composed of people similar to you but to whom you pose no competition in the employment marketplace. The second category is composed of people who need your connection on some level (or vice-versa). The last category is composed entirely of connections with career histories, job functions, and experiences substantively similar to your own.

Unless your profile is actually composed 100% of people in the third category, the idea of ranking yourself against your every single one of your first-degree connections is baseless. There is truly no point in comparing your rank for profile views with, let us say, that of your grad school professor’s, that of your accountant’s, or that of your company’s CEO. The comparison measures two like things–the number of profile views you each receive–but relationship might be more apples-to-oranges than apples-to-apples than is immediately obvious.

Let us take a step back and look at this a different way: If we construct an artificial environment in which your first-degree connections are 100% like you, then the comparison metric makes sense. Theoretically, at one time or another, or even right now, you will be competing with this group for the scarce resources of informational interviews, knowledge of job opportunities, job interviews, and job offers. Of course, savvy job seekers connect with people across the three types, because all can influence and improve his or her success in the employment marketplace.

Your LinkedIn Profile Is Not Your Resume

Another critical problem with the gamification of your LinkedIn profile is that the comparison of profile views across your network encourages you to tweak your profile the way you might tweak your resume. Of course, there are very good reasons to consistently build a robust LinkedIn profile, and every participant on the platform should work hard to ensure that the profile represents the professional brand. However, tweaking for the sake of “beating” the competition has no value, given the fact that despite LinkedIn’s best efforts, your profile will never replace your resume.

There are going to be those who disagree with me; perhaps those in LinkedIn’s leadership will argue to the contrary, given the recent emphasis on applying for jobs posted on the platform (a revenue source for LinkedIn, clearly). However, smart job seekers know that not all job postings within an industry or job function are the same, so some tweaking is essential. LinkedIn has pitted savvy job seeking strategy against rank for page views.

LinkedIn, the Latest in Popularity Contests?

In conclusion, you need to decide for yourself how much you want to play the popularity game. Do you want more profile views, or do you want BETTER profile views? The best card you can play in this game is delivering top-flight content that accurately portrays your career history, accomplishments, and overall professional brand. I maintain that it is better to get 10 appropriate views by those

  • In your industry or job function
  • Connected to people who might be able to influence your career direction at some point
  • Needing your help to improve their career prospects
  • Positioned to influence the hiring people with your skills and expertise.

than 100 profile views from individuals unrelated to your area of expertise, whom you cannot help, or who cannot help you. If you focus on quality over mere popularity and cultivate meaningful connections, you inevitably will create real value out of your LinkedIn profile views. You will not be satisfied with the metric of LinkedIn profile view ranking as an end in and of itself.

 

Image courtesy of freeimages.com / steved_np3

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

Compete with Your LinkedIn Network for Profile Rank

Compete with Your LinkedIn Network for Profile Rank

LinkedIn's race to the top for profile views is on. Where do you rank among your network?

LinkedIn’s race to the top for profile views is on. Where do you rank among your network?

LinkedIn has rolled out a competition in the form of ranking profiles against your network that can help job seekers with their job searches. Use this new tools to bring your networking efforts online and to ensure that you are maximizing the LinkedIn platform’s opportunities–but do not get lost in the competition and lose sight of the true value of LinkedIn for your job search.

LinkedIn Games “Profile Views”

LinkedIn’s latest update challenges its users to “beat” their network for profile views in a new feature called “How You Rank.” This feature positions each user against those of his or her network, showing the individual’s relative popularity as measured by page views.

How this can help you: Of course, you should always be seeking to grow your network strategically with:

  • Colleagues
  • Recruiters
  • Potential connections in new industries
  • Hiring executives
  • Alumni
  • … and more.

Gamifying LinkedIn?

Just when you think that job search is not complex enough, that you are competing with a select group of elite executives for rare career opportunities, LinkedIn has found another way for you to compete. LinkedIn’s goal is to improve your engagement with the platform by having you regularly update and refine your profile. LinkedIn improves its value to you, and you improve your value to it, via your network. Your network will see that you have made changes and thus view your profile (driving your profile rank). You see improvement, and try to elevate your profile even more. The outcome, to your benefit as a job seeker, is that you polish your profile, improving your ability to be found, and LinkedIn improves its page views across the platform. Everyone wins.

Can Gaming LinkedIn Harm You as a Job Seeker?

On the face of it, no. Updating your profile regularly absolutely can help you in your job search. There are probably multiple aspects of your profile that you have ignored to date to which you can add content. For example, do you have a patent? Make sure that they are recorded on your profile. Did you earn a new certification? Add that as well. Did you use all 2000 characters for your summary? Max that section out today. Add every project on which you have worked in the projects section. The list goes on.

On the other hand, tweaking your profile every day has repercussions. To start, for each of the examples above, you need to decide whether your network needs to know about these immediately. It might make sense for you to update your profile with notifications turned off, so you do not inundate your network with small changes to your profile.

Do Not Get Lost in the LinkedIn Profile View Game

More important, however, is that you do not let your message get lost in the medium. Changing your profile every day, or multiple times per day, is too frequent for you to see the results of your changes. I recommend that you do update your profile in one big push to start but make additional changes and measure your stats only weekly. That should be enough time for the changes you make to have an impact on your overall profile views.

LinkedIn’s take on this feature is that it pushes all users to put their best social media presence out there, but I think there is more to it than that. The more engagement you demonstrate on LinkedIn, the more you will be actively engaging with others, which can only lead to better visibility and interaction for you as a job seeker. Also, always reach for quality connections and profile views over quantity. It does not matter whether you are getting 150 profile views each day if none of those individuals are in your target market, hiring leaders, your alumni, or anyone else who might be able to inform your job search strategy.

 

Image courtesy of freeimages.com / jabsandrew

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

How to Convert Your LinkedIn Profile to the Functional Format

How to Convert Your LinkedIn Profile to the Functional Format

Converting your functional resume into LinkedIn is possible, and if you’re one of the perhaps 1% of job seekers for whom the functional resume style makes sense, then this strategy is for you. You might have been frustrated by the fact that the LinkedIn interface does not lend itself to the functional format. Use these strategic tips to get around this “lack” in the LinkedIn platform.

First Things First

The first thing you need to do is determine whether you truly need a functional resume for your job search. In most cases, if you believe your resume is failing you, it’s because your existing reverse-chronological resume does not successfully reflect your brand or your accomplishments. This is not a problem that converting to a functional resume can solve. It’s a strategic question that an expert executive resume writer can solve for you using a more standard format 99% of the time.

If all else fails, try converting your LinkedIn profile to the functional format to stand out.

If all else fails, try converting your LinkedIn profile to the functional format to stand out.

However, if you believe that your career history and aspirations demand a functional resume format, read on to learn how to convert your functional resume to the LinkedIn platform.

Step 1: Save a Copy of Your Existing LinkedIn Profile

If this is your first attempt to change up your LinkedIn profile, you would be wise to save your existing content. In fact, it is always a good idea to save your LinkedIn profile to Word to text, because you might want to tweak it offline before uploading it. If this functional strategy turns out not to work for you because it is so nontraditional, you will want to have a copy of your prior profile to which you can easily return.

Step 2: Rewrite Your Summary with Functional Categories

Use your existing reverse-chronological resume with functional headings within each job
Put functional headings within each job description, so your audience knows your pitch at the highest level. This makes for a great keyword strategy as well.

Step 3: Rewrite Your Experience with Functional Categories

Although you cannot get out from under LinkedIn’s requirements that you include titles, companies, and dates for each position you’ve held, you can tweak the plan to accommodate a functional strategy. Divide up each position’s accomplishments according to the functions you want to highlight. Then, put each “function” into its own job, along with your job title, company, and years. You thus will have multiple entries for each role you’ve held, but each area would focus on a different functional area. Remember, you have 2000 characters, including spaces, for each new “position,” so maximize your audience’s experience by using as much of the space allotted for your accomplishments within each function.

Step 4: Measure and Test Your Success

After you load in your refreshed functional LinkedIn profile, keep track of your profile views. If you are getting more views and more contacts, then your profile revamp can be considered a success. If you are not getting any of the results you expected to get, you might wish to revert to a more traditional LinkedIn profile style.

 

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

Keyword Strategy for Your LinkedIn Profile

Keyword Strategy for Your LinkedIn Profile

Do you know how to choose the right keywords for your LinkedIn profile? Start with your goal in mind: For what do you want to be known? What executive job are you seeking? With a few smart tweaks to your LinkedIn profile, you will see the number of your profile views grow.

Start with Knowing What You Stand For

Your brand will dictate most of what goes into your profile. Certainly, your LinkedIn profile will contain your career history. But the way you craft it and the keywords you choose can help propel your profile to the top of the search results for the phrases on which you want to be found.

Let us examine an example of a senior vice president and chief operating officer. This SVO/COO is known for his turnaround strategy as well as for his financial leadership. In fact, he functions more like the CFO of the company than the COO. So his LinkedIn profile keywords are going to reflect his expertise. They might include:

√ Senior vice president
√ Chief operating officer
√ Turnaround management
√ Financial strategy

Of course, the details of what this person has done in his career are going to be much more extensive, but these are, broadly speaking, the categories of his expertise. So he would be wise to include these phrases in his headline, his summary, and in his experience sections.

Continue with What Hiring Executives in Target Companies Need to See

At the same time, he might be targeting a COO role. So he might collect several job descriptions of the COO role in his industry. These might require specific experience and expertise; his experience and branding should reflect exactly what the hiring executives in his target companies are seeking in their next hire. Although the LinkedIn profile is not a direct copy of the executive resume, elements of key experiences (less private corporate data that should never be publicized on LinkedIn) should be evident.

Wrap Up with a Quick Wordle.net View of Your Profile

If you are not sure whether your profile is promoting the right keywords, use Wordle.net to develop a visual map of your LinkedIn profile. In the example above, the Wordle word cloud of the profile should show words like “financial” and “strategy” more prominently than, say, marketing or sales, words that are not in our keyword list. If you find that your keyword strategy has failed, you will need to rewrite or edit your profile until you are confident that the keywords you have chosen for yourself are the ones that LinkedIn will understand to be your branding.

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

The Five People You Need to Know on LinkedIn for Your Executive Job Search

The Five People You Need to Know on LinkedIn for Your Executive Job Search

There are five people you need to know on LinkedIn to advance your executive job search. These are the people whose insights you will find helpful when you are in the process of exploring new roles, interviewing, and evaluating job offers–but they are not who you think.

1. A Peer in another Industry

Connect with these five people on LinkedIn for your executive job search.

Connect with these five people on LinkedIn for your executive job search.

So often, we connect on LinkedIn with our colleagues in our own company or in companies similar to ours. LinkedIn loves that we are part of a peer group, and the platform judges our relevance by the company we keep. However, as you search for a new role, you should consider exploring outside your company and your industry to learn what others at your level do and believe. At a minimum, you’ll uncover the parallels between your job and your peer’s job. More likely, you will discover the gaps between what you currently do in your job function and what a day in another industry might look like for exactly the job function. This sort of analysis will help you evaluate your own skill set and perhaps help you set your job search strategy if you do not necessarily want to stay in your current industry.

2. A Superior in another Industry

If you have ever wished you had a “fairy godmother” who could advise you on something sensitive yet specifically related to your career, this is your opportunity to find that mentor or trusted advisor. Perhaps an executive in another industry will not know exactly how your particular company or division works, but this person, a trusted expert in his or her own industry, is likely to have some insight into the way things generally work. As you will make it eminently clear in your request for ten minutes of this person’s valuable time that you are not trying to take advantage of their position to get yourself a job in their company. Then, with this ethical approach in mind, you can use this ten minutes of their time to ask the questions that are important to you about your career advancement strategy and get the advice from an impartial observer.

3. A Recruiter Specializing in Your Industry

Although your LinkedIn profile might not advertise that you are seeking a new executive role, perhaps to protect the position you currently have, you might want to connect with a specialized recruiter or two before you go into job search mode fully. First, do some research to identify which recruiters regularly place candidates in your industry and in your job function. Remember, the recruiters who place candidates in your company likely will not try to place you in another company, as this is a breach of ethics. Instead, with some discreet inquiries or even a quick Google search, find the right recruiting firm and the right recruiter within that firm. Then send a brief, polite invitation via LinkedIn to connect with these one or two individuals. Remember, however, that recruiters do not work with you–they work for the companies that pay them their fees for placing executives like yourself with unique and rare skill sets, so you might want to mention in your introductory note exactly what your unique selling proposition is.

4. An Peer in a Company that Interests You

Your first thought in connecting with someone in a company that you are targeting might be the hiring executive himself/herself. Rather than initiating a relationship with a company with an implied request for a position, start by connecting with people at your level. They might have some unique insights into the way the company works, and it is likely easier to make a friend with someone at your own level than with someone who sits at a level far above yours. Down the road, this person might be willing to advocate for you with his or her own manager or the manager of another department simply on the basis of the good relationship you have built over time.

5. The “Connector” in Any Industry

It might help you to get to know with and connect with on LinkedIn a few LinkedIn LIONs, or “connectors.” These are people who seem to know everyone and have connections across industries and companies. They tend to be outgoing and willing to make introductions. It might be wise to set up a few minutes to talk to someone with these qualities, once you have made that connection on LinkedIn, to ask whether this connector knows someone who can help you (you specify the criteria) and would be willing to make an introduction, on LinkedIn, via email, or in person.

Conclusion

Remember, LinkedIn is only the tool. Set up the relationships on LinkedIn long before you need them for your particular executive job search. When you are ready to start looking for a new job actively, these credible connections that you have already established will be extremely helpful and valuable to you.

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Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.