Meaningful Connections Career Strategy
At a family party, I visited with my Gen X cousin who works for a major software company in Seattle. She said that she loves her job as a marketing strategist. Then she mentioned that she has had three bosses in 24 months. That is a red flag and she knows it. She also shared that her boss does not seem to be on board with the new bosses’ agenda. I asked how she is preparing for the next opportunity, just in case things do not work out. She said she had not given it any thought.
I shared five successful tips that have proven successful for my clients:
1) Help the Boss Succeed – set up a coffee meeting with your boss and ask him / her how you can support their success. Be prepared by researching them on LinkedIn and google. Create a list of your key accomplishments that you have top of mind, so that you can be clear about your accomplishments as they relate to the discussed strategies. (See the key accomplishments prep sample template document, you don’t share this document with the boss – it’s a tool for you – unless it’s for your review.).
CLIENT SUCCESS: My Controller client wanted to move into a CFO or VP Finance role. He met with his boss and asked how he could support her success. She was seeking M&A strategy advice for a large retail acquisition. My client had created and implemented M&A strategy for multi-unit retail locations and because the boss was new, she did not know he had those skills. Within three months, my client was promoted to a VP Finance role on the executive team leading the M&A strategy.
2) Meet Up with New Colleagues (regularly) – set up coffee / lunch / walking meetings with colleagues in your department and connect with them on LinkedIn. Get to know them on a personal basis and find some work and personal things in common. Visit their LinkedIn profile and send them a personalized message before the meeting. Like, comment or share something that they posted. You will make more meaningful and lasting connections this way. Put a reminder on your calendar to do this a least once a week.
CLIENT SUCCESS (mine): I was always interested in corporate wellness. I was working on Channel Marketing programs and I reached out to my colleague in our San Francisco office, Christy Consler, who I had heard was doing initial strategy work around employee wellness. Christy was wicked smart, kind, and collaborative. She suggested that I talk to her boss and learn more. He agreed and Christy and I co-developed the first wellness program, with our amazing team. The solution and technology was sold to Steve Case, founder of AOL, who started Revolution Health. (I was then out of a job, but because of my network and leveraging LinkedIn, I was found for another job in 2 months.)
3) Get Known Outside Your Department – introduce yourself to colleagues in other departments that you may be interested in working. Take them to lunch and see they are working on that is interesting and new. Be curious about them and then invite them to LinkedIn and keep in touch – and keep you in mind.
CLIENT SUCCESS – A sales client asked the VP HR if she would be willing to do an informational interview and they had a nice visit. Shortly after that, a new Sales Leadership role as posted in another division the VP HR immediately thought of my client – he got the job. (See informational interview questions)
Informational Interview Questions for Exploring a Career Change
- What are your specific responsibilities?
- How is your time divided? How much is spent with people?
- How would you describe the work environment?
- What do you find most satisfying in your job?
- What’s the one thing you wish you could change about your job?
- Where would you like to go from here?
- What kind of person makes a good paralegal?
- What are the skills required and experience required?
- Are these skills transferable to other types of roles?
- How do you acquire these?
- Who typically hires?
- If this is the job I want to pursue, how do you recommend I best market myself – what would be to my advantage or disadvantage?
- What should be emphasized in my resume?
- What steps should I start taking to make this transition most effectively?
- Is there anyone else you recommend I talk to about this?
- What can I do to assist you?
4) Take on Bonus Projects – let your boss know that you would like to learn new skills and ask them if they would be on the lookout for projects that you could take part in. Ask your boss to support you for the role so you can showcase your skills and learn new skills. (This makes the boss look good, too.) Add these projects to the new Projects area on LinkedIn and include your teammates. They’ll get a message that you gave them a ‘shout out’ and they can add this to their profile, too. My brother, Joe, called these “extra credit” projects and he taught his son, Andrew to this all through high school. It worked great for him as he got many great recommendations from his teachers. (Example of project below. Gen Y loves this!)
CLIENT SUCCESS: A marketing analyst took on a bonus project that allowed her the opportunity to travel with the team to Australia to present data for the bonus project. She connected with all of the people she met on the project, including those in Australia and was offered a job in the Australia office.
5) Volunteer: Participate in projects that the companies support. Take on a leadership role with the charity project; get known in both the company and in the non-profit community. There are over 80,000 volunteer jobs on LinkedIn – visit: https://www.linkedin.com/vsearch/j?orig=JSHP&keywords=volunteer&distance=50&locationType=I&countryCode=us&trk=two_box_geo_fill
CLIENT SUCCESS: One client volunteered for the United Way employee fundraising event and two years later, they invited him to be an Executive on Loan. He now is a non-profile Executive Director and loves his transition.
THE REST OF THE STORY – Oh, back to my cousin – she took my advice. She met with her boss, who agreed to give her an opportunity to take on a bonus project. She will present to a sales team in London next week. She has already looked up her colleagues in London on LinkedIn and has connected with them. She has three early coffee meetings with them and she will be interviewing them on how she can support their success.
Maybe at the next family meeting she will share with me that she is moving to London. Stay tuned.
Please share your ideas and successes to get ready for the next opportunity.
To an abundant year, my friends,
Read other posts at: www.linkedin.com/in/annepryor
Join our LinkedIn Group: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/2261566
Personal Brand and LinkedIn Camp: February 18-20, 2016
I consider LinkedIn to be a Flashing Digital Billboard that I change every Sunday at 3:30. I call this changing my oil.
A resume is an historical document highlighting past jobs, achievements, education, and community involvement.
As a futurist and strategist, career coach and LinkedIn specialist, I teach my clients how to leverage LI to get what they want going forward, not to get what they have always had.
Having written over 7,000 successful LinkedIn profiles for job search and business development clients, here are my tips for making a LinkedIn profile Look Great and Be Found for success, differently from a resume:
1) Know Your Goals – the first and most important tip is to understand the purpose of your LinkedIn profile and the goals for being on this tool. My clients must complete my workbook with many questions that help them discern their goals. Here are seven important questions:
2) Look Great – In Europe, the Vita / resume includes a photo, in the USA a resume does not include a photo. On LinkedIn, a photograph is important as this is a social media tool and people want to know that the profile owner is real, authentic, and genuine. Be sure to get a professional head shot for your LinkedIn profile. (I do not even click on profiles without photos).
ANNE’S EXPERT TIP: Do not use a selfie for the LinkedIn profile.
3) Know Your Branding – Take time to unearth and understand your brand and communicate that in the Professional Headline area on LinkedIn, under your name. This area allows for 120 characters – start with the title that you desire, your brand statement and the industries that you desire. This area is high in search engine optimization.
Headline Example: Technical Project Manager that Every Engineer Loves to Work With in Electric or Industrial Manufacturing. This headline got my client found for a great job within four weeks.
ANNE’S EXPERT TIP: I change my headline based on what I desire, adding and removing keywords, titles, and industries that I am targeting. My branding remains consistent but the keywords may change based on the jobs or industries that I am targeting – i.e. LinkedIn Trainer, Sales Coach | Attorneys Look Great, Be Found, Get Know and Make Meaningful Business Connections. By adding the word ‘Attorneys’ I got two new law firm clients, as the found me on LinkedIn.
4) Be Aspirational – In your Summary area, which has a 2000 character limit, make sure that there are at least 50 keywords. If you are seeking a job and are unemployed start the first two lines (50 characters) with the job title that you are seeking and your contact information. This way recruiters can easily reach out to you. In the Summary let people know what you desire, what your goals are and what you have accomplished. Here are few samples of successful Summary samples that I share, from the Forbes article by William Arruda.
ANNE’S EXPERT TIP: if you are employed, DO NOT say that you are desperately seeking new opportunities.
5) Summarize Achievements in the Experience Section – Do not just copy and paste your resume into the Experience area. I coach my clients to create their accomplishments and rank them based on what they want to do in the future.
Next, study job descriptions that you are targeting and make certain to plant those keywords or requirements from those job descriptions in the Experience Description area.
I coach clients to use my ‘frosting and cupcake’ formatting. That means to create a headline for key accomplishment that quickly tells the story with keywords. This is important because when you apply for a job through LinkedIn or download your LinkedIn profile into an online resume format then the formatting is very easy to read and the keywords stand out. Example:
CREATED STRATEGY TO LAUNCH NEW REVENUE STREAMS
- Created $25 million dollar business – launched the in-store experience, procedures, tools and measurements for the initial launch of in-store gaming software trade-in.
- Developed the sales plan, trainings and tools that supported entry into selling eReaders in-store and online which is now a $60 million business.
ANNE’S EXPERT TIP: Never use the words ‘Responsible for’ in the Experience section. Recruiters want to know what you have achieved and not what the responsibilities were. Always put past job accomplishments in past tense.
6) Highlight Successes – There are many new areas on LinkedIn where you can display your experience. Begin adding the Volunteer, Honors and Awards, Publications, Organizations, Certifications, Courses and other sections to the profile.
ANNE’S EXPERT TIP: Each Sunday when I change my oil, I add a new keyword to the Interest area on LinkedIn. This area is high in search engine optimization and I use it as my ‘secret sauce’ to help get picked up in searches. I have hundreds of client success stories about clients who added a new keyword and were quickly found for a great job.
7) Show Your Stuff – In the new media-rich formatting area in the LinkedIn Summary, Experience and Education sections, you can add links, videos, PPT, PDFs or photos. If you do not have any of these, then create some visuals.
Visit www.linkedin.com/in/annepryor to view many media-rich format suggestions. With one client, we created a PPT slide showing how he has been successful in creating business analytics. This visual got him noticed by a potential employer.
ANNE’S EXPERT TIP: You can also create visual resumes to put in this area using tools such as www.branded.me, www.resume.linkedinlabs.com, or by creating a resume on your Pinterest and adding that account (see www.pinterest.com/annepryor).
8) Flaunt Your Skills – The Skills and Endorsements area is important on LinkedIn. Add up to 50 skills and make certain that the top 10 skills get the most endorsements and that they are in the top 10 slots. Get at least 12 Endorsements. Give to receive! You can move these around now by clicking ‘Manage skills’ and then clicking on the skill and dragging it to a new position.
ANNE’S EXPERT TIP: Every Sunday I remove skills that I no longer want to show and add a new skill that I have found on other expert’s profiles or that are in job descriptions. If I do not have that skill, I visit www.lynda.com (LinkedIn owns this company) and take a tutorial about that skill and I add that word to my Interest area.
9) Recommend Others First – Give recommendations to former bosses, co-workers, staff, and vendors. Give three recommendations per week and watch how many you receive back. Recommendations are important as recruiters, HR and hiring managers want to understand your character.
ANNE’S EXPERT TIP: Always highlight their brand attributes and accomplishments in the first 6 words of a recommendation. This is all people can see on a LinkedIn profile and it is all they notice.
10) Invite Top Influencers – Once you have your profile Looking Great, invite your top peeps to your network. Get your targeted list of industries (I call them HUBS) then the top 66 people that refer business to you and that you refer business to.
ANNE’S EXPERT TIP: Always add a personal message when inviting people to LinkedIn. My five step process: 1) say where you knew them from 2) give them a complement or a connection point, 3) invite them to connect, 4) ask what you can be on the lookout for them, 5) sign off with your brand statement, name, phone, and twitter handle (LinkedIn does not allow you to add a URL on the Invitation message prior to connecting).
To you success, my friends,
Anne Pryor is a Universal Connector, Recognized as a Top 10 LinkedIn Trainer in the World, Certified Online Brand Specialist, Future Mapper and Co-founder of Meaningful Connections, a national leader in personal branding, online visibility using LinkedIn, and career and new world of work strategies. See her other blog posts at www.linkedin.com/in/annepryor, www.MeaningfulConnections.com or contact her at email@example.com, @annepryor
How to get a great job + life leveraging Match.com and LinkedIn
A client called me seeking my coaching help for a new life. She had been divorced for over a year, her job was only okay, and the cold weather and lack of sunshine was bumming her out. She was ready for a new life. Have you ever felt that way?
Below is the real life case study of how my client found a dream life, new love, and great job in Hawaii.
4 STEPS TO A NEW LIFE:
GET READY :: READINESS ASSESSMENT – after answering a series of questions, she realized that she really wanted to create a new life. Can you answer these questions?
- Are you self-aware?
- What are people coming to you for?
- Who are you?
- Where do you want to go?
- What three things do you desire to be known for? (Kathleen Crandall’s question)
- What happens because of you? (Kathleen Crandall’s question)
- Who do you want to find?
- Who do you want to find you?
- How do you want to be found?
LOOK GREAT :: BUILD YOUR MARKETING TOOLS
- Build a great resume – I restructured my client’s resume, as she wanted to move into a palliative care, hospice position, from nursing.
- Build online profiles – I created her www.LinkedIn.com profile, she got a beautiful new headshot, researched, and connected with HR and Palliative Care and Hospice Directors in Hawaii.
- Leverge www.Match.com – I created a targeted profile, researched ‘partner’ options in Oahu and Maui, and started conversations with six kind and compassionate people in her respective areas.
- Build ‘lifestyle online profiles’ – a created a www.About.me website, this is a personal portal where we showed photos of her with her dog providing Emotional Therapy support at nursing homes, gardening images, and my client running – all photos representing her hobbies, and showing her love of the outdoors.
MAKE THE MOVE :: DO YOUR RESEARCH, VISIT THE LOCATION
- My client booked the trip to Hawaii, at a targeted time, and began preparing and researching options.
- We visited www.LinkedIn.com and www.meetup.com and looked up Hawaii Palliative Care Groups, Hospice Groups, Hospice Associations and she joined some of these groups.
- She researched the Group owners and connected with them on LinkedIn and on Match.com. (She got referrals from people that she knew who were connected to them. She did thorough research on the people before meeting them)
- She researched LinkedIn Companies and found 13 Hospice companies in Oahu and three in Maui and she researched their company pages and found the hiring managers and HR representatives.
- She researched jobs on Linkedin, www.indeed.com and www.hospicejobs.com and she set up Google alerts. She noticed keywords in the job descriptions and each week updated her LinkedIn profile and resume, prior to applying for jobs.
- She began conversations with six people through LinkedIn and Match.com and let them know that she would be visiting Hawaii. She set up coffee meetings with them. She even asked them if they might know ‘hiring managers’, which they did.
- Prior to leaving for Hawaii, she set up four interviews, three on Oahu, and one on Maui. She also found out that the Hospice Association was meeting on the Thursday, when she would be there, so she planned to attend with one of the people she had met through Match.com. One of the www.Match.com friends even invited to on an afternoon whale-watching event in Maui.
A TRIP OF A LIFETIME :: BE PREPARED
- During the trip, her new friends met her for coffee and decided to drive her to the hospice companies for her interviews. The new friend even sat in on the interviews. (I would not have recommended this but it turned out to be a real blessing).
After the last interview, she was offered the job. The hiring manager said that many people from the Mainland that want to come to Hawaii do not stay because they do not have a support system. Bringing a friend, from the Island, to the interview showed that she had a support system and it made her a better candidate.
When my client returned home, she began preparing for her move to Hawaii. She even got her dog ready by getting him certified as a Service Therapy Dog so that he could fly on the airplane with her.
My client and her dog are loving the good life in Hawaii.
Everything is possible! What are you waiting for, my friends?
Anne Pryor is know as a Universal Connector (she creates strategies to and faciliates connections for anyone to connect with anything or anyone that they desire in the Universe), LinkedIn Trainer, Certified Online Brand Specialist, Future Mapper, Career Coach, and Co-founder of Meaningful Connections, a national leader in personal branding, online visibility using LinkedIn, and career and new world of work strategies. Meaningful Connections is a collaborative partner of the Collaborative Leadership Center at Sugar Lake Lodge, Grand Rapids, MN. See her other blog posts at: www.MeaningfulConnections.com.
I know that companies are hiring for Q1 – they have new budgets and projects. It is a slower time in the office and employees have more time to network. In addition, holiday parties are frequent and you can meet new people.
I would like to share 7 proven tips to getting your online presence ready, putting your best smile forward and getting that fabulous job for 2015:
1. BE MINDFUL – I have networked with over 78,333 people and I can quickly assess their intent. I have an assessment I call TUGS: I have found that people are usually in one of 4 areas: Takers, Users, Givers or Sharers. You know what I mean, don’t you? You have encountered each type, I’m sure.
Make sure that you are clear about your intention while you are networking. I make sure to set goals, such as who I want to meet, what advice I desire, and how I can help others. When I was in the employee engagement practice at Carlson, my team and I did work on the importance of emotional targets or “how do you want people to feel after they meet you?”
There are 4 emotional targets – after you meet someone, you want people to feel that you’re warm, authentic (genuine), empathetic and positive. My business partnerRisë Kasmirski helps people in job search become more mindful. She asks them ‘who are you?’ and ‘where do you want to go?’
TIP: Do a self-assessment, which type of a TUGS are you? Consider how you want people to think of you and feel about you after you meet with them, both in person and online.
2. BE CLEAR – before you begin to network, while in job search, be clear on what you desire: the job title that you want, why a company would hire you, and what your values are. My business partner and personal brand strategist, Kathleen Crandall,has 2 questions she asks our clients: 1) ‘what happens because of you?’ and 2)‘what 3 things do you aspire to be known for?’ These are foundational questions that you should be able to answer before you network especially with employees in the company that you are targeting, with recruiters or people that could refer you to hiring managers.
3. BE TRUSTWORTHY – say what you mean, mean what you say, and do what you say you are going to do. This means to be sure to follow up in a timely manner – and with thank you notes. I have a strategy when someone invites me to connect on LinkedIn where I ask myself:
- can they help me once?
- will they help me twice?
- will they help my network?
When I invite someone to LinkedIn I ask myself:
- can I help them once?
- will I help them twice?
- can I help their network?
When connecting on LinkedIn, I coach my clients to always write a personalized LinkedIn invitation. If I receive an invitation without a personal message I always review their profile to see who we have in common, then I click Reply Don’t Acceptand I write them a message; “Hi X, Thanks for the invitation to connect. I see that we are both connected to X. What did you have in mind that I can support you with today?” I wait 3 weeks and if they don’t respond then I click Ignore. I assume that they won’t be as likely to help my connections if they don’t reply back to me.
TIP: Be someone people want to help twice – this is a small town (where ever you live). Always personalize your LinkedIn invitations.
4. BE FOUND – look good, update your LinkedIn and other online profiles. Make sure that you have a great photo, targeted headline, current job title and company information, a summary that tells a story about who you are and what you can do for others, in addition to what you desire. Use many key words, check job descriptions that you’re applying for and company websites.
I add a new key word to my LinkedIn profile every Sunday at 3:30 pm. My clients know that I call this process ‘changing my oil’. I get ‘under the hood’ of my LinkedIn profile check the Settings, add new keywords or publications, projects, interests and maybe a keyword to the Summary (Premium account holders see a new feature which shows you keywords that LinkedIn suggests you add). This keeps my profile fresh and coming up in searches. See the blog from William Arruda for additional summary tips.
TIP: Look good, research your keywords, and get a professional headshot. I recommend social media certificated photographer Jennifer Kelly,Jennnifer@kelicomm.com. (Below is example of a great headshot by Jennifer of John Goodrich, one of my ‘board of advisors’ and an amazing CEO and connector.)
5. BE CONNECTED – to the right kinds of people; you’re judged by the company you keep. When we build my clients’ connection strategy, I have my them think about their HUBS.
These are groups, associations, organizations, and meet-up groups – places that are common connection points where many of their influencers ‘hang out’. These include college or company employee alumni groups, industry associations, specialty groups, hobby clubs, or community volunteer organizations. I ask my clients to join, get known and volunteer in at least 5 hubs. These are the easiest places to begin networking because there is already a common connection point.
In addition, I ask my clients think about their TOP 11 people that have helped them in the past. Think about people that have helped you get that past job, introduced you to your spouse, helped you with your first house financing, etc. This could be former bosses, friends, colleagues, alumni, pastors, hair dressers, don’t forget accountants, lawyers, realtors as they are wonderful resources and connectors.
Then they make a list of the TOP 11 people that they have helped most. These are the people that we begin connecting with. This is a list of 22 people who have an average of 150 connections each – that’s 3,300 connections that can help.Statistics show that it’s the 2nd degree connection that will help you get that next job.
TIP: Ask 5 of your top people if they would be on your ‘board of advisors’. I have 5 and they are my ‘go to’ people to run by ideas, get advice and share new ideas. They are the people that refer 80% of all my business and I’m grateful to them. Join my Meaningful Connections group on LinkedIn and other appropriate groups where your HUBS and advisors are in.
6. BE CREDIBLE – what is the area of expertise that you want to be believed for? It’s important to stay top of mind, on LinkedIn, for your expertise. LinkedIn statistics show that your profile is 12X more likely to be clicked on if your photo shows up on the Home Page, Publishers area or in the Like, Comment or Share areas.
This is a part of the strategy that I teach my clients – how to create their meaningful marketing communications plan. We start by asking that question “what 3 things that they want to be known for or what 3 things would they blog about?”
Next we begin curating content, collecting and organizing information from Google Alerts, Newsle, blogs, experts, trade publications, Google+, Twitter, etc. Then we develop or create their point of view and begin to share it in the appropriate media. With the new Publishers pencil on LinkedIn this is much easier to do, however, only 1% of my clients do it, it is hard, I’ll be the first to admit. It took me 2 years to even post on LinkedIn.
TIP: Begin thinking about what 3 things that you desire to be known and believed for. Try the Publishers tool on LinkedIn (it’s the pencil in the Share an Update box next to your photo on the Home page).
7. BE KIND, HELPFUL and GRATEFUL – are you? As a ENFJ on the MBTI profile, I’m a giver profile. As a career coach, online brand strategist, LinkedIn trainer and consummate connector, I need a process to be available to help people. So I have created a variety of options to connect and network with people easily. Here are some of my meaningful connections practical ideas that I’ve started to ensure that I’m easy to connect with:
- ‘Meaningful Connections Meet + Greet’ sessions – every M-F between 7:44-8:33 am central I am easy to reach via phone at 952.484.6854 to make a meaningful connection (no need schedule an appointment). This is usually a quick 10 minute touch base call to see how my ‘new friend’ and I can support each other.
- Meaningful Connections LinkedIn Parties each Friday where I invite 5-7 clients and people who want to network to the local library, my office or the coffee shop where there is free internet. Everyone brings their computers and opens their LinkedIn network where I teach them how to do a Meaningful Connections Gold Mine Dive into our connections. We then make Introductions on the spot. Click here to read my blog for step by step details. Many of my clients have hosted their own LinkedIn Parties. Try it.
- Introductions – I make 2 meaningful introductions from my LinkedIn network for each client that I meet with. The goal is to get 2 coffee meetings and then get 2 more, then 2 more. LinkedIn says that for every 300 views of a profile job seekers get a job offer. I translate these to 150 coffee meetings (since the face to face meetings speed up the process).
- Group networking meetings, I attend 2x per month (I check out the MSP Business Journal and Star Tribune Business Sections for a listing of events and pick 2), I make it a habit to approach someone first with a genuine smile, a warm introduction (my first and last name, nametag on top right near my smile) a firm handshake and a sincere open ended question such as – “what brings you here today?” or “where are you coming from?” or “who do you hope to meet today?” or “what do you desire today?” – that one really throws them, as most people don’t know what they desire.
- I start my day giving away HUGS, it’s my coffee time (see the blog) – every M-F between 7:00-7:15 am I’m on my LinkedIn. I have a set process where I provide 10 Endorsements, thank Endorsers, invite 4 new people to my network, Like, Comment, Share, reach back to people who have viewed my profile and post on the Home page and in Groups, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.
- Each morning, I read the MSP Business Journal app, my Google Alerts and the Star Tribune and send an article to someone that I think would benefit. In addition, I will make meaningful connections to people that I think would profit by knowing each other.
TIP: Be the first to approach someone at an upcoming networking event. If you’re in a group or at a table have an open heart, a warm smile and an outreached hand. Invite that lone person to your table. You know how it feels.
I thank you for sharing your smile and for making meaningful connections. What can I be on the look-out for you today?
Be well, my new friends,
Anne Pryor is a Universal Connector, LinkedIn Trainer, Certified Online Brand Specialist, Future Mapper and Co-founder of Meaningful Connections, a national leader in personal branding, online visibility using LinkedIn, and career and new world of work strategies. Meaningful Connections is a collaborative partner of theCollaborative Leadership Center at Sugar Lake Lodge, Grand Rapids, MN. See her other blog posts at: www.MeaningfulConnections.com