7 Ways to Make the Most of LinkedIn in 2018

Managing your LinkedIn profile like a digital Rolodex could lead to countless missed professional opportunities.

 In spite of the many social platforms, LinkedIn remains the ideal social network for business professionals. According to the Society of Human Resource Management, more than 90% of recruiters rely on the platform to find candidates. And today, it’s used in nearly every industry.

 Each year the platform continues to improve its interface to remain an invaluable networking resource for professionals. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure you’re marketing yourself effectively on LinkedIn. Here are 7 ways to have an effective LinkedIn profile.

 Be active

LinkedIn is a powerful resource. But, to make the most of the social platform, you’ll need to be socially active. Being an active user means engaging with your contacts by liking, sharing, and commenting on their activity.

 However, it can be difficult to interact with your contacts throughout the day. One of the simplest ways to be active is to download the mobile app. The LinkedIn app provides an easy-to-use interface that makes networking a breeze.

 Another part of being active is to ensure your profile remains current. Continually update your profile with projects you’ve worked on or presentations you’ve given. You can share your work by writing articles or posting pictures and videos. The goal is to provide content that will benefit your connections and make them want to interact with you.

 Becoming a member in groups is another way to be effectively active. LinkedIn will allow you to join up to 100 groups. Once you join a group you become connected to the members within the group. This causes your profile to show up in more search results when someone is looking for your skillset.

 Write an effective tagline
Your tagline, also known as your headline, should be optimized and captivating. It will default to your current job title if you don’t change it. But this is what potential connections and hiring managers will use to find you. To ensure it’s optimized, include words that you want to be discovered for. 

 Rather than allowing it to default to your current job title, use the 120 characters to give the reader a snapshot of who you are. Provide a brief description that is both interesting and engaging. A captivating tagline will motivate them to click on your profile link to read further.

Use keywords

In addition to your tagline, use keywords throughout your profile. Include keywords you want to be targeted for within your headline, your position titles, summary, experience descriptions, projects, certifications, publications, and anywhere else they can be placed.

 Currently there are more than 11 million active job listings on LinkedIn. If you want to be considered for a new opportunity, you’ll need to include those words within your profile. Recruiters use keywords to search LinkedIn for the job description they’re trying to fill.

 Look through jobs you’re interested in, and make note of the specific skills and words used within the descriptions. Sprinkling those words throughout your summary and experience sections will help you connect with your desired opportunities.

 But don’t stuff your profile with keywords. Injecting too many keywords is going to be obvious, and demonstrates poor communication skills. It will be obvious to the reader that the profile was created only for LinkedIn’s search engine optimization.

Discover your niche

How are you going to stand out among the millions of people on LinkedIn? At first, this may be overwhelming. But the solution is to select your desired niche. Identify yourself as specifically as possible.

 You’ll be lost in the crowd if you simply market yourself as a manager. To attract the attention of a hiring manager, present yourself as an IT Security Manager with a CISM Certification. Distinction will make you standout and make you a more attractive candidate to the appropriate hiring managers.

 Make sure your profile is complete

Don’t be satisfied with an incomplete profile. Complete all sections, including education, certifications, and interests

 A complete profile will provide better position within search results. Be sure to include your information for all the applicable profile sections. As you complete your profile, contemplate your personal brand and the impact of the information you provide.

 Consider the details that will help you standout among the competition. Include any certifications you have, projects you’ve been a part of, or foreign languages you speak.

 Consider your images

There are two images within your profile you should pay special attention to: your profile image and your background image.

 Your profile image says a lot about the rest of your profile. It’s often someone’s first impression of you. Your photo should be professional and appropriate for your industry.

 The profile picture provides a personal connection for recruiters and hiring managers. An unprofessional or missing photo can seriously impact your job search. The image increases the likeliness of your profile being viewed by 40%.

 In addition to your profile picture, use a background photo for additional personal branding. Use a photo that you have the rights to and communicates what you stand for. The size of this photo is 1400 x 425 pixels and should be a .jpg, .gif or .png file.

Get recommendations and endorsements

Having the recommendation of your peers is one of best ways to improve your profile’s social standing. It may be uncomfortable to request a compliment from a colleague, but offering to reciprocate the favor can make it feel more natural.

 Don’t overlook the importance of endorsements. LinkedIn provides you complete control over your them. You can select the skills users can choose to endorse you for. You can also delete any undesired endorsements.

 Endorsements also provide a unique networking opportunity. Whenever LinkedIn notifies you of an endorsement say “Thank You” to your endorser. This is a great way to naturally start a conversation with someone.

 Final thoughts

Understanding the features of LinkedIn can impact the success of your job search. Knowing what areas to focus on will increases the opportunities of your profile being viewed by the right person.

 Implement these 7 suggestions within your LinkedIn profile to help you connect with the right person in order to obtain the job you’re searching for.

5 Ways to be Effective at a Networking Event

Networking events sometimes feel like speed dating. Talk to as many people as you can until you find a mutually beneficial connection. It can be less than comfortable.

These events are created with the best of intentions, but trying to create organic conversation in a manufactured setting can be difficult.

The thought of networking will cause you to reach for a stack of business cards or hide in the coat closet depending upon your personality. Rather then shuffling through your forced mental script of rehearsed questions, consider the following 5 ways to be effective at your next networking event.

Be memorable

We don’t mean wearing a flashy tie. Be the man or woman who is remembered by what you say.

We’re all used to the standard, “So, what do you do?” line of questioning. Simply being prepared for these standard questions can leave an impression.

Come up with an honest answer that is engaging and makes the other person want to know more.

Donald Miller, best selling author and CEO of StoryBrand, gives the following example of a conversation between two people at networking event.

Other person: “So, what do you do?”

You: “You know how hard it is to make a healthy dinner every weeknight with all the stuff your kids have going on? Well, our company delivers homemade frozen dinners that are actually affordable, so parents can relax and enjoy time with their families at night.”

As Miller explains, this method works because you’re telling a mini-story with this type of answer. This also positions you as the person who can solve a specific problem. If the other person can’t work with you at the present time, they’ll be able to file your name away in their mental Rolodex as the person with a specific solution.

Be genuine

Vanessa Van Edwards, a human behavioral expert, and author of Captivate, tries to provide a “me-too!” moment for the other person in every conversation. “It makes us feel accepted. It makes us feel heard. And most importantly, it makes us feel calm,” she explains.

Genuinely showing you care goes a long way. During most of these events, you’re surrounded by people searching for what they can get out of the other person. But entering a conversation with the desire to solve their needs often results in mutual benefit. Maybe you’ll get their business or maybe you’ll just get the blessing of being able to help someone.

Show the other person you care by asking questions you actually want to know the answer to. Rather than the standard, “What do you do?” or “What brought you here tonight?” try the following:

What are you most excited about with your job right now?

What are you most excited about with your industry right now?

What’s the biggest challenge you’re currently facing?

How did you end up in your line of work?

What are you looking forward to this week?

Know where to stand

It may sound trivial, but the location you choose to stand in a room can make all the difference. Rather than backing yourself up into a corner, choose strategic high-traffic locations within the room.

More specifically, stand where people are walking away from – against the flow. Find a place where there is a natural traffic flow such as a few feet from the bar or hors d'oeuvres table. This will allow you to make eye contact and be in position to naturally engage other attendees.

Check your body language

In a recent interview, Van Edwards explained that you want to maintain open body posture. This shows the other person you are open to conversation and non-threatening.

A simple way to demonstrate open body posture is to show your hands. Van Edwards says this is a primal survival mechanism showing that we are not carrying a weapon. Conversational stature often causes us to place our hands in our pockets or fold our arms. Subconsciously this communicates that we are closed off or even untrustworthy.

It can be hard to avoid folding your arms as this can be a natural tendency for many. However, if you need to, hold a glass or folder to keep yourself from placing your hands in your pockets.

Have a plan of action

You can usually decide early on in the conversation whether you will want to stay connected with the person you’ve been speaking with. If you do, you’ll want to have a practical way to follow up. But if you decide that you won’t want to stay connected, you need to have a natural exit strategy.

If you desire to stay in contact, provide them with your business card and tell them you’ll be following up with them. Depending upon the conversation, you may be able to offer to email them a helpful resource.

However, if you realize you won’t want to stay connected beyond the conversation, you need to have a way to remove yourself from the conversation. Simply asking to be excused in order to attend to needed business before the next session can be a honest, natural method. You can also watch for a natural break in the conversation and cordially thank them for their time and wish them the best of luck with the remainder of the year. While you want to show genuine interest in the other person, you need to value your own time as well.

Summary

Depending upon the length of the event or conference, you may have several conversations, but you’ll only have one or two memorable connections. Once the event is over focus on the conversation that you see providing the most direct benefit.

Today, it’s easy to make connections, but developing relationships can be difficult. Developing these relationships requires you analyze yourself and be proactive. While searching for connections, you need to be the person someone wants to network with. Keep these five tips in mind to make the most of the next networking event you attend.

Resources:

http://buildingastorybrand.com/episode-96/

http://buildingastorybrand.com/network-without-being-annoying/

Effective Ways to Close an Interview

You have made it to the final interview for your dream job and now the conversation is winding down. The interviewer asks you: “Do you have any questions for me?” Now is not the time to say “No”! This is your moment to interject your own personality, comments and leave a favorable impression.

So many candidates fail to take advantage of this opportunity. Some of the best-qualified candidates fall short of the interview finish line and therefore, lose the job. Even if your interview went very well, the way you end the interview can make or break your chances of landing the position.

To help you cross the interview finish line, here are some effective exit statements to close out your interview:

1) Express your enthusiasm and interest. “This is an exciting position and just the kind of challenge I’m looking for. I feel that I’m the right candidate for this opportunity.”

2) Summarize why you’re right for the job. Reiterate your strengths and how they tie into the critical skills the company is seeking. Include several reasons why you should have the job.

3) Ask about any hesitations: “From what you heard today, do you think there are any issues or reasons that would prevent us from moving to the next step?” Address any hesitation.

4) Thank the interviewer for their time. Let the person who interviewed you know how much you appreciate their time, interest and consideration. Also, mention that you appreciated meeting their staff along the way (if others were involved in your interview).

5) Ask the final question: “What is the timeline for filling this position and when can I expect to hear from you?”

Make sure the interviewer’s last impression of you is a good one. Closing out your interview with the right statements will significantly increase your chances of landing the job.

6 Tips to Coping with Stress at Work

May 9, 2018

By Christy Fox, Director of Marketing

Stress in the workplace is extremely common and known to be a big challenge affecting employee engagement in many companies. Not only does stress impact engagement at work, but also productivity and overall health of employees. While a certain level of stress is expected with any job, it is important for you to pick up strategies to reduce stress and create a better working environment for yourself. After all, 1/3 of the average person’s life is spent at work. Everyone handles stress differently, but these six tips will help you lower your stress levels and feel less anxious at work.

Keep a positive mindset.  Instead of looking at stress from your own filtered view where you may tend to magnify the negative aspects of situations, blame yourself for conflict, or immediately assume the worst, view stress objectively to help minimize these types of negativity. Practice positive self-talk, and be open to learning from stressful situations instead of letting them bring you down.

Focus on others. Volunteering, lending a helping hand, or even complimenting others is proven to increase happiness. Positive actions towards others at work such as showing gratitude for help, giving compliments on a job well done, or mentoring can minimize negative impacts on your mental health.

Set yourself up for small wins. Oftentimes professionals find themselves buried with countless projects and it feels like the workload is too much. When the stress of work overload gets to you, try to find a small task or challenge that you can solve quickly and easily. This small success can act as a positive jump start to your day and get your mind ready to take on bigger challenges.

Take small breaks. When you are facing a stressful day at work, stop and take a couple of deep breaths to reset yourself. Other helpful tactics include a quick walk around the building, meditation, or mid-day yoga to help refresh your brain and lower stress levels.

Create a schedule. Poor time management often leads to stress at work. Plan your time wisely and structure your day to ensure that you’re prioritizing the right tasks and staying on top of deadlines. It is also important to eliminate as many interruptions as possible. This will help you relax knowing that you are completing your work in a timely manner.

Exercise, eat healthily and get plenty of sleep. These basics contribute to your stress levels and have a huge impact on your overall health. It is crucial to get some type of exercise during the week or every day if possible. Stress has a tendency to make us turn to unhealthy foods that can elevate blood pressure, raise cholesterol levels and more. It is important to choose healthy foods including plenty of fruits and vegetables with the right nutrients to boost your immune system and make you feel better in general. Lastly, reducing stress depends, in large part, to how much sleep you get. Make sure to get an adequate amount of rest each night to perform at your best during your workday.

We all deal with some type of stress at work. Take the necessary steps to positively impact your mental health and create a better work environment for yourself. What actions do you take to reduce your workplace stress levels?

5 of the Biggest Resume Mistakes

The quickest way to eliminate yourself from a job process is by having mistakes on your resume. Beyond the obvious grammatical and spelling mistakes to avoid, there are 5 other BIG mistakes to be aware of and stay away from:

1) Not including keywords that match the job. Your resume must show that you are qualified for the job so include keywords on your resume to refer to the specific position. You have very little time to grab a hiring manager’s attention so don’t send a generic resume. You will be lost in the pile.

2) Focusing on the wrong thing. Candidates often explain their responsibilities but forget to include results. Set yourself apart from the pack by highlighting specific accomplishments. The more quantitative, the better. In fact, numbers and metrics speak louder than words.

3) Being too modest. Don’t forget to include any awards or recognition you’ve received such as “President’s Club Member” for being over quota by 25%. Also, include any community service awards you received. Hiring managers look favorably upon people who not only work hard at the office but make a difference in the community as well.

4) Leaving unanswered red flags. Candidates usually wait until the first interview before addressing any gaps that may be on their resume, but this can prove to be a mistake. Most candidates won’t make it to a first interview if the issues are not explained on their resume, cover letter or even LinkedIn profile. So if you moved around a lot in your career, it would be to your benefit to explain the reasons for your movement.

5) Writing too much. When writing your resume be as succinct and concise as possible. Keep your resume to 1 or 2 pages max. Bullet points and short paragraphs enhance readability. Limit your resume to the last 10 - 15 years of work experience. You don't need to include everything you ever did.

 

How to Grab the Attention of Hiring Managers and Recruiters

January 3, 2018

By Barb Miller, Marketing Manager

If you’re seeking a job, standing out and capturing the attention of hiring managers and recruiters can be a challenge. This means that you have to cut through all the noise out there, online and offline, in order to make yourself easy to find.

Here are a few suggestions:

Upload your resume to job boards. Hiring managers and recruiters often rely upon sites such as Career Builder, Monster, and Indeed to find candidates who aren’t in their internal applicant tracking system. These job boards are a gold mine for trying to find the perfect candidate for a role. Large career sites such as Career Builder will ask you upload your resume into their database at no charge. Resumes stored into their database are then available to hiring managers and recruiters who pay for access to search their bank of resumes.

Keep your resume up-to-date. Make sure you update your resume every few months and make it stand out. Tailor your resume to your desired job title you’re seeking and show how you’re different. For example, every time you have an achievement or are recognized by your company or industry, brag about it. This is not the time to be humble. You need to showcase the stuff that hiring managers and recruiters are looking for.

Develop online presence at beBee.com. beBee is a new personal branding platform. The network was created to allow people to showcase and share their personal brand and market themselves to employers, clients, customers, vendors and media in their respective industries. beBee allows users to network with each other through common personal and professional interests, uniting their personal and professional lives in one place.

Beef up LinkedIn profile. It’s no longer enough to just build a LinkedIn profile. You need to include the most relevant keywords used in your industry, highlight your skill sets, keep your accomplishments up-to-date, quantify achievements whenever possible, such as “increased productivity by 25%” or “doubled sales quota” and make sure your personal settings are allowing hiring managers and recruiters to view your profile. Double check by clicking on Settings, then click the Privacy header, you’ll see a Job Seeking section. Set it to the mode that allows hiring managers and recruiters to know that you’re open to opportunities.

Add Google+ to social media efforts. In addition to your LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter profiles, add Google’s social media channel, Google+. It’s definitely worth exploring. Google+ offers great chances for professionals to showcase their work through online portfolios. Check out the Google+ communities and you’ll discover a number of Google+ users are from various industries and job levels. Remember to keep your profile updated in Google+ including your current location so hiring managers and recruiters can easily find you.

Be seen in the right places. Never miss an opportunity to connect with key influencers and leaders in your field. Networking at industry events is the perfect environment to approach these people and have a discussion. Too often people shy away from the trade show exhibit hall at conferences. They fear that they will have to talk to salespeople, but these industry suppliers are some of the best people for you to get to know and learn more about the current business climate. Approximately 85% of jobs are filled through networking.

Volunteer in the community. To fill time between jobs or explore new opportunities and careers, many people are finding that a volunteer job especially in the nonprofit sector can sometimes lead to permanent, salaried employment. For example, each October, there’s the “Make a Difference Day,” one of the largest annual single-days of service nationwide. People from all walks of life, professions and industries come together with a single purpose…to improve the lives of others. On a day like this, you never know who you could meet or work alongside.

If you are in the job market, let us know what other ways you’re using to grab the attention of hiring managers and recruiters. Please post below.

Salary History: What you can & can’t ask based on recent changes in laws across the country

November 14, 2017

Throughout the recruiting process, there are countless questions aimed towards finding out whether job candidates will be a fit for the company. A common topic recruiters and employers bring up when vetting jobseekers is salary. While this may have been the norm in the past, asking about previous pay history is now banned in certain locations. The reasoning for this ban is to make efforts to close the pay gap between men and women, and to encourage basing pay upon skills and qualifications instead of previous salary, according to NYC Commission on Human RightsA recent Hunt Scanlon article covered how bans on compensation history questions could change the way recruiting firms do business, and how employers recruit talent. Here is what you need to know as a recruiter, employer, or jobseeker about salary history questions where the laws are in effect.

What you CAN’T do under the new laws:

  • You can’t ask a prospective candidate what they are currently earning at a job.
  • You can’t use the candidate’s previous pay to determine an offer if you stumble across it on accident.

What you CAN do:

  • If the candidate offers salary history without prompting and voluntarily, it can be considered.
  • You can ask about a candidate’s salary expectations, as opposed to what they made prior.

What happens if you break the rules:

Where you are restricted from asking about salary, based on a recent article by Business Insider:

  • California
    • The ban covers private and public employers from asking a candidate’s pay history, set to take effect in January 2018.
  • Delaware
    • All employers are banned, taking effect in December 2017.
  • Massachusetts
    • All employers are banned, taking effect in July 2018.
  • New Orleans
    • The ban is currently in effect just for city departments and employees of contractors working for the city.
  • New York City
    • Public and private employers are banned from asking pay history questions, effective now.
  • Oregon
    • The law banning all employers from salary questions goes into effect January 2019.
  • Philadelphia
    • The ban was set to take effect in May, 2017 for all employers, however, a temporary halt has been placed on it.
  • Pittsburgh
    • City agencies are banned from the inquiry, effective now.
  • Puerto Rico
    • All employers are restricted from inquiring about candidate’s pay history, going into effect March 2018

It is important for all parties involved in any recruiting process to be aware of these new and upcoming bans on salary history questions.

As a national executive search firm, Direct Recruiters, Inc. (DRI) stays current on these laws around the country. If you have any questions about this, please contact us for a conversation.

 

Working Remotely Has Advantages & Disadvantages…Is it Right for You?

June 7, 2017

Last year, it was estimated that almost 45% of US employees worked remotely, mostly from home.  By 2020, it is estimated that about 50% of the workforce will be working remotely. Cloud services, mobile platforms and video conferencing have made remote work possible and very acceptable to both employees and employers.

Many industries are making it known that they are friendly to telecommuting including IT, HR/Recruiting, Education, Accounting, Health, Law, Marketing, Nonprofit, News/Media, Sports, and Travel. In addition, the site FlexJobs.com was created to help those seeking telecommuting opportunities connect with companies and jobs that offer remote work, flexible schedules, part-time hours, and freelance assignments.

However, with everything, there are pros and cons. So before you make the change from working in an office to working at home or from another location, you might want to first consider these advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages

Work from anywhere and anytime. No longer are you limited by a geographic location or a clock. Thanks to telecommuting, employees are now able to work from pretty much anywhere at any time of day. The traditional 9-5 working day no longer applies.

No daily commute. Most people don’t enjoy their daily trek into an office. Working remotely allows you to avoid a lengthy commute by car, train, or bus which enables you to start your workday earlier and calmer.

Flexibility. You would be in charge of your own schedule and possibly more efficient. Working from home and the flexibility it offers may also suit your family life.  You would have the freedom to run errands, take the kids to school, attend school or sports functions, etc. as long as you get the job done and meet any pre-established deadlines.

Less costly.  Working from a remote location or from home, means you save money on transportation costs, eating lunch out, and purchasing a business wardrobe. Unless you do video conferencing, you can wear informal clothes and no longer need to budget for that work wardrobe.

Better health.  Remote workers say they have more time to incorporate physical exercise into their day.  In addition, they are not exposed to sick co-workers. On the flip side, if you’re the sick person, staying home allows you to take care of yourself while still being productive.

Fewer interruptions.  Working remotely allows you to focus on the job at hand without the distractions of socializing and office chatter.  You have the ability to get into the zone and buckle down to complete your assignment.

Disadvantages

Need for high self-discipline. It takes a lot of dedication and self-control to work at home and not succumb to distractions. It’s easy to lose motivation and focus which are pitfalls to your success. Therefore, it’s important to be intentional about how you’re using your time. You need to structure your environment in such a way that keeps you engaged.

Lack of workplace social life. You can easily interact with co-workers and clients via technology but it’s not the same as face-to-face meetings, lunching together or just everyday banter. Remote workers often feel isolated.  To counteract isolation, try going into the office now and then or schedule lunch dates with bosses and colleagues.

Overlooked for promotions. There’s a danger of being overlooked for promotions or career development opportunities when working remotely. Those visible employees in the office who are aggressively campaigning for the position will probably have the edge. You can try and counter with regular visits to the office and open lines of communication. You need to express your interest in the upward mobility you want.

Total dependency on technology.  As a remote worker, you have to rely on email, smart phones, laptop, etc. to stay in contact with the office and clients. You are totally dependent on the right technology to be in business. It’s also up to you to keep up with technology that evolves so rapidly.

Blurred lines. You would think that working remotely would allow you to enjoy more of a work/life balance but actually, it doesn’t.  When you don’t have a clear separation of workplace and home space, they can blend together. You might not be able to just switch off from work and find yourself constantly checking your smartphone and emails.

There’s no doubt that remote work is on the rise. It’s easier than ever to stay connected in our era of email and smartphones and many employees believe it increases their quality of life.

Please let us know if you work remotely and if there are any other advantages or disadvantages than listed. You may comment below.

Deposits and Withdraws

How to give as much as receive when interviewing passive candidates

By Matthew Cohen, Practice Leader of Energy & Sustainability and HVAC/R

May 3, 2017

When interviewing a candidate for a job, the goal is discovering as much information as possible in order to decide if the person we are interviewing is the right fit for the position.  However, when interviewing passive candidates, i.e. those candidates who are currently working and are possibly being recruited, we often forget that the candidate is looking for information to decide if the position and the organization is right for them.  I regularly debrief candidates after interviews who tell me they left the interviews without knowing the full scope of the position or important information on the company even when they asked specific questions directly.

When interviewing a passive candidate, it is vital that we provide or “deposit” as much information as we “withdraw” from the candidate to keep the candidate engaged and provide them information for them to make a decision that is best for them.  Below are areas hiring managers can deposit important information that will engage passive candidates:

  1. Company Benefits- With the ever-changing landscape in employer based healthcare, it is crucial that candidates understand the company’s benefits to know what it will cost them per month. In some cases, we see a 5-10K difference in out of pocket healthcare costs which can affect what salary a candidate will accept.  Healthcare providers in network, dental, and vison coverage are also important information.  If possible, I recommend the hiring manager shares this information before any final interview so that the candidate can ask any clarifying questions. Vacation, 401k and any other company benefits are also advantageous to share prior to an offer made to a candidate.
  2. Compensation Structures- While a base salary may be tough to share prior to an offer being made, other aspects of compensation are vital information so that the candidate can understand how they will be paid. Passive candidates should understand how compensation that may include commissions, quarterly, or year bonuses are calculated and paid out so they can ascertain what salary they will ultimately accept.
  3. Company Achievements- When interviewing candidates, we always look to understand their achievements and metrics that show they have a proven track record of success. It should be no different for the company they are interviewing with.  Company growth, awards, recent successes and upcoming projects or growth are valuable pieces of information to deposit when interviewing passive candidates.

We understand there needs to be a balance between what we withdraw and deposit when interviewing passive candidates.  Those hiring managers that pay attention to this balance we find have the most success landing the best talent.

Managing Your Online Personal Brand

April 5, 2017

By Sarah Pozek, Director of Life Sciences

As an executive recruiter with a passion for social media, I spend a lot of time curating my personal brand and evaluating that of the candidates and companies in my sphere. Whether it is for your current career, job searching, networking, or simply to be social, chances are you interact with one or more social platforms daily… and the impression you leave makes an impact. CareerBuilder’s annual social media recruitment survey in 2016 showed that 60% of employers use social media sites to research job candidates. From a recruiter’s standpoint, it is closer to 100%. Culture fit is top priority for many of my clients, so when I check out someone’s LinkedIn profile I am looking for any sign that they would be a good (or bad) addition to their team.

This is just one reason why it is essential to effectively manage your personal brand online. It is extremely important to not only monitor it for negativity, but to bring something positive and useful to the table. This will make you more memorable when looking for your next executive level role.

Here are 6 key practices to craft your personal brand:

Know who you are

While companies all have differentiating goals and values they want to showcase and promote online, i.e. athenahealth wants to “unbreak healthcare”, while Medrio brings a rockstar mentality to clinical trials, individuals need to identify how they want to be perceived. Recent data from Glassdoor shows that 79% of jobseekers use social media in their job search. What is your differentiator?  Prospective employers, clients, and the rest of your network want to know!

Consistency

Consistency in the timing of posts, tone, and look of your personal brand is important to gain traction among your followers, friends, and connections.  From colors, images, types of language you use, to the content you re-post, it is important to keep a steady perception of your personal brand. While different social media sites are used for different reasons, it can only benefit you to make sure there are similarities in what you are projecting across all of them.

Engagement

Continuously updating your online presence with new content, job changes, or addition of new accomplishments will help grow engagement with your audience, but interacting with followers and friends is also important to gain feedback and essentially build brand loyalty. Always be receptive to feedback, new ideas, and the opportunity to learn something new from your connections. Also, never hesitate to throw out a “like” or “congratulations!”

Get Visual

Instead of posting standalone text, use photos, videos, infographics, and other types of visuals to capture your network’s attention. A study from Hubspot shows that infographics are “liked” and shared on social media 3 times more than any other type of content, and Facebook posts with images see 2.3 times more engagement than posts without images.

Post Responsibly

As with a dinner party or networking event, the same conversation etiquette applies to social media – talk of religion, politics or money is frowned upon. It’s a safe bet to keep controversial opinions and posts off your social media sites. Stay away from negative posting, venting or engaging in argumentative conversations online to keep your online brand positive.

Monitor

In businesses, marketers are always working to build their brand, but also to get relative feedback from customers to analyze, then make improvements.  Similarly, your personal brand will benefit from the same concept.  Paying attention to what regularly is happening across your social media sites and being responsive will pay off in making your online presence strong and positive.

What strategies are you taking to cultivate your personal brand? We would love to hear from you!

Sarah Pozek
Director of Life Sciences
Direct Recruiters, Inc.
440-996-0597
spozek@directrecruiters.com