Career Adventure

career development from both sides of the interview table

HowTo LinkedIn #2: Write a killer headline

If you missed it, you can check out HowTo LinkedIn #1: Creating your unique URL here.

Go check out the competition.  Search LinkedIn for keywords that might find someone like you.  Chances are, you see hundreds or thousands of search results within miles of you.  Your profile can easily be lost in a sea of people with similar backgrounds and career interests.  How do you get attention from a potential client, employer or influential contact?

One way to break through the clutter: a killer headline.

A headline is your chance to make a personal statement about who you are, what you believe, and what you have to offer.  It’s an opportunity to pique a reader’s interest or connect with an employer’s need.  While the profile speaks to qualifications for a job, a headline can speak to motivation.  Profile: professional, Headline: personality.  Use this space to sell yourself as the individual that you are.

Some things to keep in mind when writing a headline:

  • Keywords — Ultimately, the higher in a search you appear, the more likely you are to be scoped out by a potential connection.  Understand what keywords are most likely to be used in a search for someone like you.  You’ll want to pepper them through your profile, but having them in your headline will help your search positioning.
  • Catchy — If your headline can make a reader stop and wonder, you’re in good shape.  Try to craft something that will induce someone to click on your profile, even out of sheer curiosity.

Some examples:

Marketing maven with a passion for online communities.

IT specialist devoted to creating stable, scalable solutions for small business.

Office Manager and your next indispensable right hand.

Or, whatever makes sense for your situation.

Now, if you’re looking for a new opportunity like me, you may also want to consider putting that information in your headline.  Here’s my current headline as an example:

linkedin-headline2

So, go take a crack at making your own splash in LinkedIn search, and let me know how it goes.  What’s your headline?  Share it in the comments below.

Filed under: howto, networking, web tools, , , , , ,

Another reason to diversify

Your job efforts, that is.

New statistics show that online job searching is skyrocketing, especially on some of the less-known job sites.

The same article points out that women spend more time on searching online.  Their conclusion — women are being disproportionately affected by the economy.  I’ll throw out an alternative — women may be less likely to use their networks to find their next opportunity.

So, keep in mind that the competition online is getting tougher, and adjust the time you spend there accordingly.  Then, find a way to distinguish yourself from the crowd.

Filed under: job hunt, trends, , , , , , ,

HowTo LinkedIn #1: Creating your unique URL

What web site is at the top of an IT professional’s must-know list this year? Sites like Green Grid and Secunia are focused on optimizing and protecting the corporate network, but the New York Times’ top pick is a site that helps the IT professional optimize and protect their career brand — LinkedIn.

The value of networking is highlighted when the job market is unstable.  If you’re in transition or think there’s a chance you may end up there, a daily focus on networking is a good habit to create.

This post marks the first in a series on how to get the most out of LinkedIn as a professional networking tool.  Over the course of the series, you can expect to learn both basics and best practices for creating a professional presence online.

Creating your unique profile URL

By default, new LinkedIn users get a randomly-generated URL address for their public profiles.  A standard random URL might look like this:

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/99/56b/000

With a few clicks of the mouse (and a little typing) you can select your own custom URL, which would look more like this:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/kristidaeda

Easier to remember, easier to share, and therefore more likely to successfully direct someone to your profile.

Changing your URL is easy enough.  While logged in, in the left navigation area, click “Edit My Profile” under the Profile header.  In the first large profile block, you’ll see a line that says “Public Profile” followed by the current URL location.  By clicking “Edit” to the right of the URL, you can select an available, unique URL for your profile.

The slightly harder piece is thinking about how to use the custom URL to manage your online brand.  Google and other search engines index LinkedIn profiles, and they typically get good visibility.  So, deciding on your URL takes two simple steps:

  1. Create a URL that will attract traffic. Using your name as your URL is common, and effective, especially if your name is unique or if you believe someone may search for you by name.  Or, you can develop a keyword-based URL.  Think “ILtechnicalrecruiter” or “freelancecommunicator” or the like.  Web traffic is all about being keyword-rich, and the URL is no exception.
  2. Don’t change it. LinkedIn allows you to change your custom URL, but each time you make a change you’re losing people who may have bookmarked you, and traffic off of search engines.  Choose a simple, quality custom URL to begin with and keep it.

That’s it.  Simple start, right?  You’re already closer to a fully optimized LinkedIn presence.

Watch for upcoming posts as we work our way through creating a profile that represents you professionally, and just might make the connection that leads to your next opportunity.

Filed under: howto, networking, web tools, , ,

How much is too much?: Scheduling your job search

How many times have you heard, and repeated, “Job hunting is a full-time job?”

But the aphorism doesn’t give you any further direction.  Once you’ve established a routine, how much time do you need to spend applying for positions?  And is applying for positions a good use of your time?  Where are your energies the most productive?  The most valuable?

Here’s the strategy that I’ve adopted:

15% – Job Boards and Listings
These positions are the low-hanging fruit, the easiest to locate and apply to.  Starting the day focusing on these opportunities helps me get some early-morning successes (I’ve made two contacts this morning for actual openings that seem suited to my background and experience).  However, the chances of finding my dream position online are fairly low.  Spending too much time here will take away from more likely job sources, so focus on jobs for which you can be competitive (your experience matches their requirements) and that look attractive to you (the organization and location meet your needs.)  If you have extra time, you can always come back for a deeper dive.

30% – Networking, Networking, Networking
To some people, networking comes easy–those people are skipping this paragraph anyways.  For the rest of us, networking can be intimidating and harder to quantify.  Start simply by letting former colleagues, friends and family know that you’re job searching.  Take advantage of your new, flexible schedule and plan a few lunches and coffee dates with people who may be able to help you locate the position of your dreams.  And don’t forget the social networks, LinkedIn and Facebook being among the more popular.  If you’re an introvert, like me, take some tips on how to make your networking both authentic and productive.

20% – Manage Your Brand
The social networks aren’t just shortcuts to email; most feature a public profile that represents you to potential colleagues and employers.  What do your profiles say about you?  Like it or not, your online presence, or lack thereof, will impact your job search.  Review your online profiles to make sure that employers can’t see your embarrassing New Year’s Eve photos, and can see your professional accomplishments.

10% – Stay on the Cutting Edge
In a competitive job market, every advantage is valuable.  Take some time each day to monitor the state of your industry, the job market in your area, and major announcements from companies that you’d like to work for.  Keeping informed will serve you well in interviews and while networking, and just might lead you to identify a job opportunity that you wouldn’t have otherwise seen.

10% – Follow Up
Keep a good log of the contacts you’ve made and the positions you’ve applied to, and be sure to follow up appropriately.  Make sure that no action item goes unfinished.  Get that coffee meeting that’s been mentioned on the calendar.  Express again your interest in that position you’ve interviewed for.  Or, pass along information of interest that you gathered in the process above.  Keep your job hunt/candidacy top of mind.  Caveat:  Interviewers and HR staff are deluged in applicants right now.  Patience is a virtue.

10% – Think Outside the Box
How can you make yourself a more attractive, more distinctive candidate?  Consider spending some time in this realm.  Do freelance or volunteer work that complements your professional experience.  Become involved in a professional organization.  Or be like me and so many others: blog.  Identify some way to diversify your experience and bring you into contact with new people who can help with your job search, and make it happen.

5% – Reflect
It’s easy to get caught up in the momentum of a job search.  Be sure to set aside some time to refocus your energies and process what you learn as you go.  Advancing your career is a lifelong process.  If an interview goes well, make note of why.  If a contact does not go well, identify options for next time.  And every so often do a reality check: will your efforts today lead you to not only a new job, but the next successful, productive step in your ideal career?  If not, step back, retool, start over.

In future posts, I’ll dig deeper into each of the topics above.  If you’d like to be sure to see more, subscribe in your feed reader.

Filed under: job hunt, ,

About Career Adventure

Career Adventure is the blog of Kristi Daeda, a Human Resources and recruiting pro sharing thoughts on career development from both sides of the interview table.

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