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

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

Who vs. That: The Grammar Battle Rages

Who versus that battle wages onWhen I first heard Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know,” I had to get a car jack to unclench my jaw.

But it sparked a memory and reminded me that I haven’t always had my “whos” and “thats” screwed on straight.

It was New York. More than a decade ago. 

A board member of the organization where I was interim executive director—who made her living in PR—saw an RFP I wrote and loved every bit.

Except my use of who vs. that. 

What?

I know. I groaned, too.

Turns out, I grew up in a world that didn’t care about — much less observe — the distinction between people and objects, and I was part of an eroding grammar norm.

That applies to objects. Things.

Who applies to people.

Think this is trivial? Beyond the scope of this blog?

You’d be surprised how many executives who work with me fill out their questionnaires and ignore the rule.

So Gotye should have sung, “Somebody who I used to know.” (Like Lady Gaga’s song “You and I,” should have been “You and Me.” Too bad it doesn’t rhyme, extolled here.

It stings. But once you adapt, you can’t go back. Plus, you’ll be swimming with the cool crowd. Or the dope crowd. Or whatever. Oops, whomever.

Until next time!

Jared Redick

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

Are You an Air Quote Abuser?

Put down that pencil!

Put down that pencil!

Put down that offending pencil because today is Unnecessary Quotation Mark Eradication Day!

I’m here to single-handedly torpedo the use of unnecessary quotation marks.

Why, you ask?

It’s Friday, Jared, give us a break.

Trouble is, I know many executives—and even many fabulous folks who make their living writing—who “use” “quotation” “marks” “around” “everything” “they” “think” “we” “won’t” “entirely” “understand.”

The quotation mark, of course, is used to set apart spoken or quoted language.

Like this:

“Stop using quotation marks when they’re not necessary!” shouted Jared.

But somewhere along the way, quotation marks started appearing as air quotes in people’s fingers to symbolize nuanced communication.

Like this:

  • She’s a “dancer.”
  • The “gatekeeper” of information.
  • People don’t follow “bad leaders.”

So finger flapping naturally needed to shuffle over into our writing, right?

Wrong!

Using quotation marks to offset, emphasize, or enhance what is otherwise understood by a reasonably smart cookie (and who else would be reading our masterful work) is weak writing.

I’m not immune.

When I realized my own superfluous quotation mark abuse in 2000 (thank you Patricia T. O’Conner for your excellent work), I had a hard time breaking the habit.

I’d arrange cute little quotation marks here and there, then ask myself, “Are these necessary?”

Ten times out of ten, they weren’t necessary.

Air quotes assume our readers won’t get what we’re saying. (I was tempted to wrap quotes around the word get in that previous sentence, but you got it, right?)

Resisting finger flapping in writing challenges us to toss the crutches, and instead, write better sentences.

Wondering whether you’re an air quote abuser?

Have a peek at The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks (there’s a blog for everything and we love it) for improperly used, user-submitted quotation marks.

Now pick that pencil back up and get it real sharp. It’s never too late to be a better writer.

Semi-related post: Don’t Fall TOO In Love With Keywords

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

Missed the Memo? Don’t Put Negative Stuff in Writing

Recently, a friend — let’s call her Sue — wrote a pretty funny Facebook rant. Don't Share Negative News

Witty marketing is her gig, after all, and she’s smart-as-a-whip, so we all enjoy reading her creative take on life.

Unfortunately, the post involved blasting a sponsor, and she then proceeded to copy and paste the would-be sponsor’s rejection letter on her Facebook wall.

Yes, on her wall.

I inboxed her right away and suggested that she remove it ASAP.

While perhaps humorous behind closed doors — yes, there’s probably a time and a place to blow off steam — social media has become a bull pen of possible career-blunting blunders. For some, “trying not to step in it” has become a full-time affair.

If you’re prone to what my mother used to call, “popping off at the mouth,” consider the possible implications of my friend’s post: Continue reading

Don’t Fall TOO In Love With Keywords

Are keywords making you a liar

Are resume keywords making you a liar?

About two years ago, an executive client looked over my desk, pointed to a job description, and asked, “Jared, what do you think of these keywords?”

I said, “Do you have those skills?” (We’d been at this a while.)

“No,” he said.

“Well, then we can’t include them,” I replied.

It seems we’ve all fallen so concerned (perhaps rightly) with building our websites, blogs, and career copy around keywords and phrases, that we might have lost our collective sensibilities!

Why would an otherwise smart professional ask such an apparently silly question?

Truth is, my client hadn’t lost his mind. When you’re in the thick of writing a really great résumé or LinkedIn summary—or any other chunk of career copy—it’s hard to strike a balance between pushing the envelope and totally losing sight of the big picture, while making sure to clear today’s technology hurdles.

Trouble is, if you’re stretching the truth—or straight up lying—you’re not representing yourself authentically. Plus, the blowback can more than chafe. Who can forget this unfortunate-ness?

The lesson? Next time you’re writing your résumé, optimize the heck out of it. Include the right keywords and phrases. Just don’t forget to take a step back every now and then to be sure you’re including keywords and phrases that are truly yours.

Until next time!

Jared Redick
Visit: The Resume Studio.com
Follow: @TheResumeStudio
Connect: LinkedIn.com/in/jaredredick
Call: 415-397-6640

What’s a Recruiter Looking For? (If I Had a Nickel)


Look familiar?

For us to stop asking that question, that’s what!

If you want to keep spinning in job search circles, keep asking that question.

If you want to send a recruiter leaping into the nearest river (and who doesn’t every now and then), keep asking that question.

What’s a recruiter looking for?

Only s/he knows because only s/he has access to the pile of work on his or her plate.

Somewhere along the way job seeking turned into recruiter mongering. People loathe recruiters until they need a job. Then they want to pal around, not unlike the theater geek turned movie star. (“Hey, didn’t we hang out in high school?”)

The truth is, recruiting is match-making and recruiters are doing a job. If they do their job right, they’ll keep match-making. If they do it wrong, they’ll soon be looking for their own next adventure.

So what’s a recruiter looking for?

(Again with that question!)

Here’s the big answer:  Continue reading