How to Get Your Industry Right on LinkedIn

Gray uncetaintyI recently worked with a head of human resources for a Fortune 50 company who was conducting a passive job search.

In preparing her LinkedIn profile, I noticed that she had listed “telecommunications” as her industry, even though human resources was her practice area.

I suggested that she change her industry to “human resources,” which, by the way, isn’t an industry, but a practice area — and she immediately had interested recruiters calling.

A real challenge

This seemingly insignificant decision is a real conundrum every LinkedIn user faces.

Do I bucket myself in an industry or a practice area?

You could argue that the “industries” section on LinkedIn is truly your industry, and your professional headline, job titles, and skills / endorsements content serves as your discipline.

But then, why is HR an industry? Why is “executive management” or “business development” or “accounting” listed as an industry?

I’m seeing lots of gray.

My suggestion to date has been to consider your options, weight one against the other, make an educated guess, try it out, and be open to futzing with your settings.

If someone is looking for, say, a head of HR, odds are high that they will key in “HR director,” “head of HR,” or “human resources vice president” or some-such as a key search term.

Where it gets dicey

If my client was open to performing HR outside of telecom, she needs to be industry agnostic.

What if my client was an in-house employment attorney? Or someone who wanted to go in-house?

Is her industry the actual industry of interest? Or is it “law practice” or “legal services.”

My own profile

I listed “writing and editing” as my own industry for several years on my own profile (again, industry is a misnomer) and my profile performed well.

In 2010, I noticed that several colleagues used “professional training and coaching,” so I edited my industry and to my surprise traffic picked up exponentially!

My recommendation

If you’re uncertain, know you’re not alone.

LinkedIn’s current drop-down list is incomplete, limiting, and neglected — although, happily, LinkedIn regularly updates the “industries” list.

(RANT: There really should be a drop down menu for “industry” and a drop down menu for “practice area,” n’est ce pas?)

Until LinkedIn updates this flaw, my recommendation is to go with your practice area — or more broadly — to choose the bucket that you think best fits, then mark your calendar and experiment with the other bucket(s) that might work.

See which performs best over a period of several weeks.

This exercise doesn’t replace a well-conceived and written LinkedIn profile. Without that, your bucket may not matter at all.

But it does seem like a critical component of a well-ordered LinkedIn profile, so take the time to figure it out.

Until next time!

Jared

 

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

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

 

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

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

Writing for LinkedIn? Get to the Point!

How to write LinkedIn profileLast week, I read the opening line to an executive’s LinkedIn profile.

She showed up among the list of people I may know.

I didn’t know her, but it appears she’s at the top of her game, so sure, I’d like to.

Unfortunately, she’s not writing concisely: a quest each of us is always on, presumably.

Her LinkedIn profile began: “In my current position as the head of XYZ at ABC company….”

Hmm.

Why current?  Isn’t that assumed?

Let’s strike and flip a few words, shall we?

In my current position as the head of XYZ at ABC company….”

Here’s her alternative:

“As head of ABC’s XYZ practice, I….”

Instead of slogging through twelve words, she nails it with seven. Bonus points for driving straight to the point.

A beautiful thing.

Of course, some will argue that the sentence structure is all too passive, but I believe there’s a time and place to back into an idea. This is one of them. We know who she is right away.

I say this as loudly to myself as to anyone. As a writer, I’m on a constant quest for economy of words.

This is one way to find that efficient balance.

Try it.

Until next time!

Jared Redick

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

4 Things SEO Taught Me About Résumé Writing

Of the things I swore I’d never do in 2005, writing résumés for technology professionals topped my list.  

Yet, while 85% of my business is outside the San Francisco Bay Area, living here has tricked me into writing technology résumés after all; such that writing for tech now accounts for roughly 40% of my overall work.

It’s all due to my acquiescing under a friend’s referral pressure. Which led to another. And another.

But something happened as I carved out an unexpected specialty.

Technology started teaching me.

From my own Google AdWords optimization, to learning about how a Web site is ranked by keyword algorithms, to the use of natural keywords, I’ve learned a few tricks. And they’re surprisingly helpful when it comes to résumé design.

Here are four: Continue reading

5 Differences Between Legal and Business Résumés

This guest post is by Shauna C. Bryce, Esq, author of How to Get a Legal Job: A Guide for New Attorneys and Law School Students. 

There are some things you should know about lawyers.

For the most part, we’re suspicious (both by nature and by training), detail-oriented, and risk-averse. That means law firms and legal departments tend to be conservative work environments. That’s the audience of your legal résumé.

Knowing your audience is important because résumés are essentially marketing documents designed to get an employer to call you in for an interview, so targeting your résumé toward a specific type of employer and a specific types of job increases the chance your résumé will be successful in its goal.

What makes an employer want to call you?

Well, the employer has a specific need that he’s looking to fill. That need has a technical, “hard skill” component (for example, ability to speak fluent French), but also a “soft skill” component (for example, ability to work well in a team).

Further, the employer is also looking to see that you understand his industry, business model, and corporate culture.

Certainly you know that your résumé needs to demonstrate both your hard and soft skills. But whether you’re aware of it or not, your résumé is also demonstrating to the employer your understanding (or lack thereof) of his industry, business model, and corporate culture.

So, how do the differences between legal résumés and business résumés reflect the differences between lawyers and business people?  Continue reading