Is Your LinkedIn Profile Giving Away Trade Secrets?

LinkedIn is Not your Résumé

Don’t Unwittingly Give Away Trade Secrets

Last week, a behemoth tech company we all know and love required one of my clients to upload his LinkedIn profile instead of submitting a résumé for an open position.

The persistent problem with this method of recruiting is that LinkedIn is a public document. Thus, it shouldn’t be a mere copy and paste job of your résumé.

To get to the point, imagine that a Chief Technology Officer off-shored 30% of his staff. No matter your opinion of off-shoring, that’s a résumé metric because it’s a cost-saver. However, to list it publicly is to open the CTO up to public speculation, potential criticism, and who knows what else.

Another example is a sales executive’s numbers. They are listed (such that they are not proprietary) on the résumé because the assumption is that it’s going to a discrete audience for a specific purpose. But that same sales executive’s clients have access to her LinkedIn profile, and talking about her powerful negotiation skills and how much she sold over margin last year isn’t going to sit well with new and current accounts.

Finally, we don’t list confidential information on a résumé, but we might list details that, when compared with other pieces of published information, might be blended to make competitive assumptions.

LinkedIn copy must be scrubbed and carefully written for public consumption.

I’m surprised that so many respected institutions are missing this big picture privacy issue.

LinkedIn is not your résumé. Not, not, not.

LinkedIn is a professional platform to do business and communicate your professional (public) brand. Your résumé is the place to self-market to a discrete audience.

Until next time!

Jared

Jared Redick helps people re-imagine the marketable intersection between their background, interests, audience expectations, and career goals. His strategic “purpose, content, design” approach to résumé writing and design helps people transform rusty résumés into barrier breaking documents.

Learn more: http://midcareerminute.com/about/

Shifting Careers? Speak to Your Sweet Spot

chocolate truffleOn Saturday, a client and I were wrestling with her LinkedIn profile’s summary.

Sitting across my desk, she grabbed a sheet of paper and a pen.

With seventeen years of really interesting leadership experience in both startup and Fortune 10 companies, she was trying to quickly illustrate what she considers to be her sweet spot.

Turns out, she loves the startup life. To clarify, she loves startup life at roughly second round funding when she has the traction to innovate and really drill some smart roots from which a company can thrive while the team is still nimble enough to be led.

It took her being in a Fortune 10 company and a lot of self-reflection to reach this conclusion, by the way, which is always an authentic part of the journey as an engaged leader.

Ten seconds into her drawing, I could hardly keep my mouth shut, because she’d just sparked a major career development strategy.

You see, we’re in the process of building her boat — as I’ve called it since another client coined the term several years ago — so she’s ready to sail when the right opportunity comes along.

She’s tending to her career brand. She’s cultivating her reputation in the long term so she’s clearly known for what she loves, and by extension, what she does well.

I tried not to interrupt, but finally did: “So let’s tie your drawing back to something we talked about 30 minutes ago. Cultivating your reputation. Why not purposefully write articles and open yourself to speaking engagements that focus on that sweet spot. You’re at point X right now — a large company, steering a massive ship — so it’s not obvious that you prefer being in a startup. So why not use that authority to become a resource — an example — to startups with Series B funding who really need the intellectual and experience firepower you offer.”

I continued: “Title your articles and presentations strategically, so you not only speak to the audience at hand, but so the titles have a life beyond the moment. Then when you list them on your LinkedIn profile, in your executive bio, in your resume, you have this clear specialization — and in time, you open the door wider as a passive candidate. And odds are higher that you’ll be sought for just the right fit.”

Sure, you might be one of the folks we all admire who already knows this strategy. Forbes contributors do. HBR contributors do. They write to their brands, which brings to them even more enjoyable opportunity.

But for others of us, it’s the little tips like this that flip on a switch and we’re on our way. I have a feeling good things are on the horizon for her in a career that’s already pretty stellar.

Do you have a sweet spot that isn’t being fully utilized or realized? It can feel like a Titanic effort to redirect. But the tiniest rudder — the smallest strategic adjustment — will change one’s direction over time. And sooner than you know it, you’ll be in your ideal role looking in the rearview mirror, smiling back at what was once today.

Turn the wheel today. I’m serious. Make a decision and take a step forward, because if you’re like so many of our species, you’ll be the first to under-prioritize yourself.

Until next time!

Jared

Visit: The Resume Studio.com | About Jared
Follow: @TheResumeStudio
Like Us: http://www.facebook.com/theresumestudio
Connect: LinkedIn.com/in/jaredredick
Call: 415-397-6640

How NOT to Thank a New LinkedIn Connection

How to customize your LinkedIn URLA new LinkedIn connection invitation came along a while back. I checked out the profile and felt like it was a legitimate person, not spam.

Although there was no profile picture, the copy was reasonably well thought out. Plus, we shared an industry connection, so I accepted the invitation.

Two days later, my new connection did a lovely thing: she wrote a thank you note.

Except in the body of the eleven word thank you note — which included “Dear Jared,” “Thank you,” and the connection’s name — this otherwise seemingly thoughtful person said quite simply: “Best of luck.”

Best of luck? Really? On what? My business? The reach of my latest tweet or blog post? That I don’t choke on the lunch I’m about to eat?

Work with me here!

If you’re reading this, you might agree that “best of luck” is not the way to thank someone you don’t know for connecting on LinkedIn.

It is, however, a good way to get disconnected as quickly as you’ve connected.

It reminded me of the thank you I received from an industry contact I met in person.

Upon meeting, we had a nice time chatting and decided to connect. But what came next surprised me.

The new connection sent me a “How can I help you?” inbox note. Which is presumably sent to potential new clients.

Clearly, this person was not connecting to me so they could write my resume. I write a mean resume.

And knowing this person, I truly think it was an oversight (probably one of those “OH MY GOD, DID I SEND THAT?” moments), because this person is otherwise conscientious and thoughtful. But it was clear that this person simply copied and pasted canned copy without thinking.

Do you have a standard for approving people you don’t know on LinkedIn?

Do you have a canned response that you send to everyone?

I’m all for optimizing time with pre-prepared copy. It standardizes what you say to the world. It makes it easier to be consistent and thoughtful.

In fact, I have a template where I thank the person for connecting, and if I notice that they haven’t yet secured their customized public URL on LinkedIn, I point them to a blog post about how to do just that.

Related post: How to Customize Your LinkedIn URL.

The tone of my pre-written response is friendly and the content positions my expertise. But I’ve also intentionally written it in a way that forces me to customize the first line.

And I can assure you that “best of luck” is nowhere to be found.

Until next time!

Jared Redick
Visit: The Resume Studio.com | About Jared
Follow: @TheResumeStudio
Like Us: http://www.facebook.com/TheResumeStudio
Connect: LinkedIn.com/in/jaredredick
Call: 415-397-6640

Getting Comfortable With ‘No’

YesNoSometimes a client comes back and says, “They don’t want me!”

To him or her, I say, “Because who you are doesn’t match what they need.”

And that shouldn’t be taken personally.

Imagine if every résumé was so clearly written that you could tell whether you wanted to meet that person within moments.

Forget curbside-appeal and keyword optimization.

A well-designed, keyword-optimized résumé is a matter of course in today’s hiring world.

Résumé writing colleagues and I—not to mention recruiters and executive coaches who refer to us—can attest to that.

No. I’m talking about the details that distinguish you from others.

Niche yourself.

If you have 10-14 years of experience, odds are high that you have specializations that are not only unique to you, but attractive to someone else.

Niching carries the risk that you’ll repel opportunities who aren’t a good fit, of course.

But what’s wrong with that? Repel away!

If it’s not a good fit, why try squeezing a round peg into a square hole?

For many, that’s a perspective shift because we grow up trying to please everybody.

Trying to be who they want us to be. Getting more people to say yes.

People pleasing is fine for a while.

It’s the fulfillment of, say, obligations that don’t fit skill sets, or duties you didn’t know about before you said yes, that can get in the way of delivering on your word.

That can be missing delivery altogether because you should have said no, or delivering on time but with bruises to show for it.

Here’s what you can do.

The more experienced we become, the narrower the opportunities.

We are no longer freshly out of college, blank canvases ready to be groomed.

We have serious marketable skills, and companies are ready to pay for those skills; not for the skills we have yet to learn.

The silver lining—in fact the beauty of that fact—is that it’s this very expertise that helps us command a professional salary.

So….

  • Commit to being comfortable with no. It doesn’t indicate your worth as a human being, it merely means you’re not a fit (or you didn’t take the effort to clearly outline the fit in your résumé or interview).
  • Work hard to find the right fit. It’s easy to give lip service to this idea, and noodling around on job boards might make you feel like you’re doing something. But it’s hard to actually do the work. Mount an all out research and discovery mission using a blend of LinkedIn, Google Alerts, public company records, Hoovers, Google Finance, and Glassdoor.com. Use JibberJobber.com to track your job search progress.
  • Spend 85-90% of your job search effort outside of job boards. The best jobs might not be obvious. In fact, most aren’t. The more seniority you achieve, the less likely that your next position will be obvious.
  • Plan to actively job search one month for every $10K per year that you make. This is a commonly cited concept in the career development world, but not everyone knows it. The higher up you go, the longer it takes to find the right fit.
  • Build your boat. It takes time to craft the right documents, career copy, and personal brand. We’re often the very ones we overlook, however, so committing to the effort of representing and presenting yourself requires willpower and dedication.
  • Be sure your LinkedIn profile is up to snuff. It’s the absolute best to be passively found for the right position. It happens all the time. It’s why roughly fifty percent of LinkedIn’s revenue in 2012 was from Talent Recruit; the expensive deep dive service they sell to recruiters for big bucks. You won’t know if you’re missing out unless you’re out there. Here’s a webinar I presented to CFA Society members (shared with permission) that you may find helpful. All you have to do is register.

Until next time!

Jared Redick
Visit: The Resume Studio.com | About Jared
Follow: @TheResumeStudio
Like Us: http://www.facebook.com/TheResumeStudio
Connect: LinkedIn.com/in/jaredredick
Call: 415-397-6640

Hard-to-Pronounce Name? Give Recruiters a Clue!

Difficult NamesI can’t tell you the times I’ve dialed someone who has a name I can’t readily pronounce, hoping upon hope that they’ll say it before I’m forced to stammer through it, and they simply say:

“Hello?”

“Aaargh!” I want to shout. “I was hoping you’d answer with your name so I could repeat it effortlessly!”

Instead, I usually come up with something like: “Hi Bee-nolo-block-dee, it’s Jared Redick calling.”

And then you correct me, I extend my good-natured apologies, and we hopefully pick up traction on the call while I jot a phonetic spelling.

If your name is likely unfamiliar to your intended audience — let’s say recruiters — here are some ways to pave the way to a great conversation.

Make a habit of answering, “Hello this is [Your Name Here].”

I answer the phone this way if I don’t recognize the caller, and my name is Jared.

(Although at Starbucks, between the scrawl at the counter and the shouting of my name by the Barista, I’ve gotten, “Janod?” “Fareed?” “Jerald?” And even, “Jamell?”)

Provide a Phonetic Spelling

Another great idea is to place an asterisk behind your name and a corresponding asterisk in the footer of your resume, where you include a phonetic spelling.

Leave Your Name on Your Outgoing Message

If you’re actively in a job search, you anticipate one, or you hope recruiters will find you on LinkedIn and call you, make sure your name is on your outgoing message.

Here’s my suggestion: “You’ve reached [Your Name Here] at 415-555-1212. Please leave a message and I will call you back.” Two beat wait, then the beep.

If you simply leave your number on the message, your caller won’t be guaranteed to have reached the correct person, and a lot of recruiters and hiring managers are dubious about leaving any details when they may have reached someone else. Say, your spouse? Your assistant? Who may not know you’re conducting a job search? The list goes on as to why they’re careful about confidentiality.

Don’t make them leave a benign message because they’re not sure it’s you; or worse, hang up without trying.

The Takeaway

I’ll admit that I’ve come to the point where I hate even checking voicemail on my cell phone. I’d rather be texted. But communication is still a part of business.

Recruiters and other folks who may represent career opportunity are people who walk into their offices every morning just like you. Don’t give give them a reason to avoid calling just because they were embarrassed to try pronouncing your name.

Until next time!

Jared Redick
Visit: The Resume Studio.com | About Jared
Follow: @TheResumeStudio
Like Us: http://www.facebook.com/TheResumeStudio
Connect: LinkedIn.com/in/jaredredick
Call: 415-397-6640

MS Word’s Embarrassing Little Secret (And How to Scrub It)

Hiding confidential comments in Microsoft Word files

Do you use Microsoft Word’s comments feature when co-authoring documents?

How about tracking changes when noodling around differences of opinion, or jousting over document edits?

If those are formal documents—say, like, an executive résumé—you have a certain gravitas you want to imbue to your intended audience, right?

Well, if you’re writing everyday, ordinary, even colorful comments using the comments feature, you could be leaving traces of those notes behind—even after supposedly deleting them!

Don’t Stick Your Head in the Sand

Before falling apoplectic like I did upon first learning this news, consider this: a majority of Word users don’t know about this application flaw (my view), so odds are good that your snarkiness is safe (however illusory).

However, you probably still want to take heed and start scrubbing your documents n’est-ce pas? It’s all part of keeping a pulse on our (last shreds of) privacy.

Here’s what to do:

1. Emotionally, let it go. Realize that all previously sent files are beyond your control at this point.

2. Technically, learn how to fix it going forward. From this moment forward, scrub the backside of every document before publishing or transmitting.

Here’s how I do it using Microsoft 2010 (saving documents as Word 97-2003 files), although I’ve advised colleagues on this and found that these steps don’t work for every version.

Step 1: In the individual Word document, click “File.”

Step 2: Click “Info.”

Step 3: Click “Check for Issues.”

Step 1

Step 4: Click “Inspect document.”

Step 5: Choose the content you want to review / inspect.

Step 6: Click “Inspect.”

Step 7: Remove any bits you don’t want kept in the document. Be careful, though, since you may want to keep some of it. I almost always click “remove all” for the findings presented under “Document Properties and Personal Information.”

If that didn’t work, here’s how Microsoft Office suggests doing it:

Show or Hide Comments or Tracked changes

Check for Hidden Text Comments and Revisions

Until next time!

Jared Redick
Visit: The Resume Studio.com | About Jared
Follow: @TheResumeStudio
Like Us: http://www.facebook.com/TheResumeStudio
Connect: LinkedIn.com/in/jaredredick
Call: 415-397-6640

Should I Post My Resume Online?

Who's Looking Over Your Digital Shoulder?

Who’s Looking Over Your Digital Shoulder?

Despite my stance not to do it, a senior technology client several weeks ago posted his new résumé online. 
 
He got two job offers within a week.  
 
Now how can I advise against posting your résumé online when you get results like that?
 
As with so much in life, and certainly job searching and career management, we deal in the murkey world of “it depends.”
 
Here are a few examples of questions that career practitioners answer every day:
 
Is LinkedIn a résumé? (I say no, other say yes)
Is the résumé dying? (I say it shouldn’t, others say it’s already gone)
 
Should I post my résumé online? (I say no!)
 
Millions of people do it, and to be fair job boards have any number of privacy settings and levels of résumé visibility.  
 
But I have fundamental problems with posting a résumé online, both for young professionals whose résumés will be archived into forever-ville (think background checks twenty years from now), as well as for professionals in the primes of their lives. 
 
Why?
 
Online activity and privacy is in a constant state of flux. There are hosts of unknowns. And when there are unknowns,  I am skeptical. 
 
From the what-you-don’t-know-can-hurt-you files come my top three reasons to think twice before posting your résumé online. 
 
1. Intention revealed. Transparency in business has its essential merits, but if you’re employed and conducting a stealth job search, it’s your worst enemy. Giving away the fact that you’re looking for greener pastures places your current position in an awkward place if it’s ever found out.   
 
 
2. Privacy compromised. Not only do you run the risk of prematurely revealing your intentions, but your good credit is potentially compromised since credit scores are partially constructed by our work histories. Giving full work histories gives identity thieves one more piece of your history. 
 
This is a reason that I recommend setting your public information in LinkedIn’s settings to “most recent job only.”
 
 
3. Competitive details exposed. Search firms and other institutions make their living conducting what some call “corporate espionage,” which is to say cobbling together pieces of data from unrelated sources to assemble information about one thing. In the case of search, it’s about assembling information on a potential candidate you want to approach about a search you’re working on, so that’s a good thing. 
 
But competitive information is also gathered from people’s résumés because, while we all know that listing proprietary information on a résumé is a no-no, we sometimes list information that could be cobbled with other information competitors could use to make competitive assumptions. 
 
Perhaps this was acceptable in the good ol’ days because the risks were low, given that résumés were distributed to a relatively narrow group of people (hiring entities) with a discrete purpose (hiring). 
 
Today, a few key strokes can send search terms racing across your résumé, giving a competitive business researcher more information not only about you, but about the companies for which you’ve worked. 
 
What’s the takeaway? 
 
I believe information on LinkedIn should be carefully conceived and written, which is why the profiles I write for clients are vastly different from their finished résumés. 
 
Have an accurate and truthful résumé so it’s ready when you begin job searching, or when a recruiter calls to learn more about you. 
 
But it’s really all about control when it comes to you online life, so be sure data is sanitized and curated for online consumption. 
 
Once your information is online, it’s out there. 
 
And since it’s digital, it can be archived into perpetuity. I don’t know any executives today who would like the résumé they wrote as twenty-two-years-old surfacing today. Nor do I know executives who want to unwittingly give away trade secrets via their online résumé.
 
 

Until next time!

Jared Redick
Visit: The Resume Studio.com | About Jared
Follow: @TheResumeStudio
Like Us: http://www.facebook.com/TheResumeStudio
Connect: LinkedIn.com/in/jaredredick
Call: 415-397-6640

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