by Anne Pryor

Did you see the new CBS show called The Job on Friday night?  Five people were interviewed on live TV for the Assistant General Manager job at The Palm, a restaurant that prides itself on hiring the best people and creating a family atmosphere.  I’ve dined at the New York restaurant and it was wonderful, friendly, and fun – the place to be and to be seen.

The first thing that I noticed during the candidate’s introductions to the panel, which included the Chairman / Owner, VP and GM, was that only one candidate shared how he could add value to the company.  The rest focused on what they wanted from the experience.  Friends, it’s not about you – it’s about what you can do for the employer.

Here are the basics to making meaningful connections during the interview:

  • First Impressions are Lasting Impressions – make sure your physical appearance is pristine.  Polish your brand statement and your shoes, make sure your hands and finger nails are clean, press your clothes, act confident (even if you’re not), use a firm handshake and smile. TIP: Have a friend or coach check out your dress prior to the interview.  If you have to drive a distance or fly to the interview, don’t wear your interview clothes to the meeting – hand-carry them with you and make sure the clothes are well-pressed. If you are in need of a new wardrobe for interviewing there are charities in your city that can help.  In the Twin Cities contact Ready For Success.
  • SMILE – Even when you’re nervous, especially when you’re nervous, smile.  This emits trust, approachability, and it breaks the ice. Be conscious and aware of your expressions.  This takes some work, and I suggest you work on it. When I video tape my clients in a mock interview situation it’s the first thing that they often notice – they have not smiled during the entire interview.  TIP: Do a mock interview with a coach or friend to get prepared.
  • Come Prepared – ask meaningful and relevant questions about the company, products, process and strategy. In group interviews, make sure that you have prepared appropriate and relevant questions for each interviewer’s role. The ops person will want to know that you understand and care about ops; the general manager will want to know that you understand strategy, numbers  and the big picture; and the chef will want to know that you know how many ounces are in 2 pounds of lobster. TIP: Check the LinkedIn profiles of your interviewers.
  • Know the Company / Product – research the company, understand the values, mission, vision – it’s usually on their website.  Go so far as visit the company, restaurant, establishment and talk to the employees.  In the interview, tell a positive story about your visit with the employee.    TIP: Set up a Google Alert prior to the interview so that you can have the most up to the minute information about the company, product or industry.
  • Make Eye Contact – practice this – it’s important to show trust, interest, engagement and confidence.  I was once on a panel interview with my boss and colleague meeting with a candidate for a sales job.  My colleague was the youngest in the room and the interviewee never looked at him. After the interview, my colleague said that he would not even consider hiring this candidate because he felt ‘dissed’  because the candidate never once looked at him during the one hour interview.  I recall it well and felt uncomfortable during the session. TIP: There’s a good book that I recommend called The Power of Eye Contact.

Most of all – be yourself.  Your bright and beautiful self.  And, make sure that you have the basics covered to make that meaningful first and lasting impression.  Good luck, my friends.  We’re here to help.

Oh, congratulations and good luck to Alex, the new Assistant General Manager of The Palm.

by Risё Kasmirski

If I could sum up the collective exasperated sigh of everyone working on creating their LinkedIn profile these days, it would be…. “Why do I have to do this Again???”

Things have changed in the past few years. Have you noticed? Today we effortlessly create and build business and social relationships around the world with a few clicks of the keyboard, or mobile device, and an intention to make a connection.

Many of us have hundreds, even thousands, of connections through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media avenues. Yet, exactly how meaningful are these connections? How are we contributing to this network we’re creating?

How are we showing up authentically to build relationships that bring us the results we desire and allow us to assist others in getting what they desire?

At Meaningful Connections, we are changing the way in which individuals and organizations build and maintain valuable relationships for career and business success. Our 3 step approach is simple, yet profound – and a very new way of doing business.

1. Clarity and Focus – Clarity requires taking a deep dive inward to get very clear on who we are as our most authentic selves, what we desire, with whom and how we want to connect. Without clarity, it’s nearly impossible to create compelling and consistent messages for the outer world that builds our reputation and helps us make important connections.

2. Personal Branding – Everyone has a personal brand that is unique to themselves, whether they are aware of their brand or not. Personal branding contains elements of self-awareness as well as how we are perceived by others. It is the key to showing up authentically in all of our interactions and for building and managing our reputation. Strong and consistent personal brands attract others for career and business opportunities.

3. Online Visibility Strategy – Meaningful connections happen when we are clear on who we are and what we desire, and bring our personal brand out in the world through all of the many avenues in which we now connect.

In this highly interactive world, how and where we show up online are important ingredients for career and business success. A solid social connection strategy keeps us on top of the latest ways to reach our intended audience and invites meaningful connections that cultivate results.

How self-aware are you? Do you know what you desire, and how you want to interact with the world?

Are you aware of your personal brand? Do you know how to convey a consistent brand message to enhance your reputation? Do you have a social media strategy that attracts the kinds of meaningful connections that you desire?

Meaningful Connections strategists Rise Kasmirski, Kathleen Crandall and Anne Pryor can help you with any or all parts of this newly integrated approach.

6 Strategies To Getting That Great Job in 2013 Using LinkedIn

By Anne Pryor, Meaningful Connections, Online Brand Strategist, Career Coach

Over 94% of recruiters and HR professionals report that they use LinkedIn as their tool for finding talent. Anne Pryor, Meaningful Connections, Online Brand Strategist, Career Coach and LinkedIn Trainer, has provided her proven tips to ensure the job seekers look good and be found™ online for the great job in 2013.

1) Look Good | Be Found™

  • Set the Settings before you begin. Start by rolling over your name at the top right and click on Settings. Be sure to turn on/off your Activity broadcast so that all of your changes don’t blast to your network. Also, reserve your URL. Click on Edit Your Public Profile and reserve you public profile URL. Add this new website to your resume, cover letters, business cards, email signature. I will look like this: Check the others settings to make sure that you don’t let people see that you’re peeking at them if you’re not ready. (Note, as soon as you apply for that job the HR people, recruiter or hiring manager is looking at your profile – I guarantee it.)
  • Get your profile to 100% – it’s important to complete all of the sections of your LinkedIn profile. This ensures that your profile will come up higher in searches. This includes posting a great, professional photo, smiling and looking at the camera. Be sure that you feel good about your photo. It’s the first thing that people see and they’ll remember you.
  • Know your industry key words – create a list of key words that your companies you’re targeting use in their website and job descriptions. Add these key words in the Specialties and Interests section in your profile. (Use to create a word cloud of the key words)
  • Get Recommendations – Give Recommendations and then get the Recommendations. The first 6 words are the most important – these show up on your home page and everyone in your network’s home page. This is where you need to leverage your brand, skills, and projects with quantitative numbers, if possible. New – Add Skills and Endorse your connection’s skills. People appreciate it and they will reach back and thank you. I give 10 legitimate Endorsements each morning.

2) Make Meaningful Connections

  • Invite the right Connections – connect with influencers and relevant contacts that you can help and that can help you. Please you know, like, trust and can add value to each other. Always personalize the invitations. Get to at least 150 connections. This will increase the results that you can see.

3) Create a Meaningful Marketing Communications Strategy – Be Resourceful, Add Value

  • Use the new RICH MEDIA (old applications) – leverage the Media in the Gallery (under each Job) showcase your portfolio. Upload your PowerPoint presentation to your Profile page by using Slideshare (it’s free). Upload your writing samples, white papers, videos or recommendations that former bosses have given you, using files. Get these by clicking on Edit Profile then click on the box like icon between the pencil and the up / down arrow. Note, all uploads need to be saved in a URL format. (I like to use to save pictures and for papers.)
  • Start using the Status Bar, ‘post an update’, sharing relevant tips that your connections would be interested in. My three strategies are:1) 1) Humble self-promotion, 2) Promotion of others, 3) Information or education content
  • This information can be connected with your Twitter account, so keep the character count to 120 – 140 characters or about 15 words and always add a website for more information and pull a photo, which makes your post more interesting. Keep your post at 120 characters so people can retweet. Note, it’s important to post when your influential connections are on LinkedIn. Timing is critical, watch to see when they are active and post during that time.
  • I have found that there are three times when my network is on LinkedIn: 1) Coffee Time – 7:00 AM, 2) Corporate Time – 9-5 (around 12), 3) Couch Time – after kids are in bed (9:00 PM)
  • (TIP: I post in the evenings if I choose to talk to executives. I post Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings if I want to talk to dislocated workers. I post and make changes on Sundays if I don’t care if people see my updates.
  • Join Groups – the action in happening in Groups. Type in the Group categories that you’re interested in, like HR or Retail Marketing. Join the Groups; watch the Discussions, then like, follow, comment or start a Discussion. This is where you gain expertise, credibility, insights and awareness. Always add value and be resourceful – stay in brand.

4) Target Your Markets | People and Companies

  • Start using Advanced Search and use Boolean techniques (AND, OR, NOT) – when searching for potential hiring managers, recruiters or HR people. Type in titles, company and other key words to find employees to connect with or have advice sharing meetings. The Advanced area is located next to the Search box on top right.
  • Leverage the Companies tab to find prospects – I encourage my clients to have a list of 20-40 target companies that you want to work for. Follow Companies that you’re targeting. Just click on Company at the top of the page and type in the industry that you want to target. You’ll find a vast amount of relevant data about the company, who you know, revenues, growth, departures, new hires and news and skills.
  • (TIP: see skills that are trending up and target those companies. If you have Unemployment Insurance, ask your Dislocated Workers Counselor to fund those classes to gain those skills.)
  • Search the Jobs tab. LinkedIn Jobs are powered by SimplyHired and many HR people are posting jobs in the Groups and in the Jobs sections. You’ll see who posted the job, job descriptions and other similar jobs. You can see who you know at that company that can help refer you to that position.
  • (TIP: Use to find the key words prior to applying for the job and add them to your resume and LinkedIn profile.)

5) Measure Your Results

  • After creating your profile, adding connections and starting your marketing / communications plan you should see that Who’s Viewed Your Profile should be around 10-20 people per day and your profile should be coming up in searches 25-50 times. Watch who’s looked at your profile. Look back at them and start a conversation.
  • It’s important to be online and it’s even more important to connect face to face. So take your meaningful online connections into the local coffee shop, networking events and community functions and meet and greet that person face to face.

6) Keep Making Meaningful Connections | Even After You Land

  • Never stop networking. Department of Labor statistics show that people will have 14 jobs by the time they’re 34 yrs. And they will be changing careers every 5 years.

Here’s my secret to generating 4 business leads per day and connecting meaningfully – all in 10 minutes on LinkedIn:

  • connect with 2 new people from People You May Know
  • give 10 people legitimate Endorsements
  • thank the people that Endorsed you today, you can send a personal note by scrolling over their photo
  • reach out to people on your Home Page and congratulate them on their new position
  • on Home Page Like, Comment or Send Message to 5 people’s posts
  • give a recommendation to one person
  • introduce 2 people to a relevant connection
  • keep in touch, meaningfully,


  • LinkedIn Groups: Boolean Search, LinkedIn Strategies, Meaningful Connections
  • Classes: MN Workforce Centers Dislocated Workers, HIRED, – Meaningful Connections workshops, see calendar at
  • YouTube Videos: How to Use LinkedIn

Other Job Search Websites for Online Branding and Online Resumes:

  •, BranchOut (free application on Facebook for job search)
  •, online resume, free
  • , Google+

Job Search Sites I like:

 Mobile Applications I like for Job Search:

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • LinkUp (company website jobs)
  • Docstoc Inc. Get a Job
  • CanWeNetwork
  • CamCard
  • CardMunch
  • MeetMe
  • Eventbrite
  • Lanyrd
  • Get A Job
  • QRReader
  • Evernote
  • Bump
  • MyJobs
  • RobertHalf App

Books I Recommend:

  • Brad & Debra Schepp, How to Find a Job on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google +
  • Von Rosen, Viveka, LinkedIn Marketing
  • Carter, Brian, LinkedIn for Business
  • Butow, Eric, How to Succeed in Business Using LinkedIn
  • Elad, Joel, LinkedIn for Dummies
  • Chris Muccio, 42 Rules for 24 Hour LinkedIn Success
  • Jan Vermeiren, How to Really Use LinkedIn

by Risë Kasmirski

This is just wrong. It’s the day AFTER New Year’s Day and here it is…. 4:45pm and I am still in my pajamas. I have been list making and psyching up for a productive and prosperous year – yet I catch myself reading a book, taking a cat nap, scrounging for old Christmas cookies. I am self-employed and I must rely 100% on myself for motivation. So far in this new year, I seem to be doing a dismal job… Or am I right on track?

Does your job search feel like this? The need to be productive comes pounding at the door. The party is over – the holidays are done – time to get serious….and yet we are not quite ready?

What if, just for today, we did whatever we felt compelled to do? What if we held a steadfast vision of ourselves gainfully re- employed while allowing ourselves the space to just be…to lighten our load and trust things will come together in due time?

This past year I coached a smart and successful marketing executive from California. Hers was a remarkably difficult and lengthy search for a high level position in a tremendously competitive industry. She attacked her search with gusto doing all that was required of her to market herself. She got clear on what she wanted, created a fabulous resume and online visibility strategy, crafted a marketing plan, cultivated her network, updated her interviewing and negotiating skills, and had many interviews.

And yet, a new job eluded her.

We had a tearful meeting in early December where she talked of “giving up the search.” She was at the end of the line – with no more energy for networking or pursuing her job search. She was preparing to put her house on the market, uproot her kids from their school, and give up on the idea of ever landing a position.

No sooner had we met, but a call came in as a result of a long ago informational interview she had with a company who expressed that something might be available in “six months to a year.” So, two days before Christmas she completed negotiations on her dream job. In her words “a 30% salary increase from her last position, a dream job title within her industry, 100% medical and dental for her and her family, 100% 401k match, vested from day one……and oh yes, a 20 minute commute to work along the pacific ocean.”

We just never know when our new opportunity is going to arrive. We need to rest assured that all of our efforts will pay off, and that sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is relax in our pajamas and wait to be inspired tomorrow….and then back to work!

Wishing you joy and prosperity in the new year!

Not long ago, I sold my home of 20+ years. When I bought it in the late 80’s, selling and buying a home was much simpler. An ad was listed in the newspaper, a For Sale sign was staked in the yard, and an earnest real estate agent helped me find this gem after visiting a handful of available homes. No internet, no digital photos, no virtual tours and panoramic video.  No redecorating or “repositioning” of the home and certainly no “staging” the house for potential buyers.

Imagine my surprise when I decided to put this home up for sale after two decades. My new realtor swept into my home with a to-do list a mile long to prepare my home for sale. I was told that with the advent of internet marketing, my home would be photographed, videotaped and posted on the web for all to see. It needed to appeal to buyers and thus needed to be decluttered, in move-in condition, and presented in the best possible light – no exceptions.

Gone went my favorite wallpaper, personal photos were banished, rugs were pulled up to showcase newly polished wood floors. It took me nine months to get my house market ready and let go of what I thought was fabulous décor. Ultimately my home sold in five days at my asking price. The lesson learned – trust the experts. This is a new day.

The process of buying and/or purchasing a home is not unlike our approach to career change.  We get comfortable with the routine and expectations and it is easier, sometimes, to just stay put.  Like the purchase and sale of a home, a career shift involves some disruption from our routine.  How we approach a job search or transition has changed today from when we last made a move. It is uncomfortable to approach change and disrupt all the things that we have come to take for granted.

However, how will we ever know what “can be” if we don’t move beyond our comfort zone a bit?

How is your career doing? Are you ready to advance or seek a new challenge….ready to make a change and stretch yourself? If your career were a home, how would you prepare it for market? Are you clear and focused in what you want? Do you know what is unique about you that would appeal to the market? Do you know how to market yourself?  Do you know how and where to be found online to get the best results?

How do you know when you are ready for a change? Have you experienced any of the following?

  • You long to feel energized and engaged in your work.
  • Others give you feedback that you could be happier in a different line of work.
  • You feel that you’ve hit a career dead end and it is time for advancement.
  • You want to unearth your strengths and attributes to really understand where you best fit.
  • You want to feel that your best skills and talents are recognized and/or acknowledged.
  • You know you are capable of so much more – but are unsure of what that is.
  • You are ready for radical change.

Look to these signs as an indication that now is the time to begin the work of gaining career clarity and focus, identifying your uniqueness, and presenting your best self through online visibility.

What should be on your to-do list to prepare for your next career move? Your list might include:

  • Uncovering current interests, values, strengths and skills.
  • Identifying passions and desired outcomes.
  • Knowing the labor market demands for your areas of interest.
  • Identifying your unique personal brand.
  • Communicating your personal brand effectively, efficiently, and consistently.
  • Developing a strong and consistent online presence.
  • Cultivating and maintaining a thriving online network.

Like a great real estate agent who knows how to navigate the housing market, Meaningful Connections is a trusted guide along your career path.  Think of us as your team of strategists for career change and advancement,  personal branding,  and online visibility. We can help you prepare for change and get what you desire by putting you in the best light.

We would love to help guide your career success.