LinkedIn Summary vs. LinkedIn Experience Sections

March 29th, 2016

I got this question from Derek, who saw my LinkedIn Optimization course on Pluralsight (which you can get access to for free… read below):

“I just completed the course on LinkedIn Profile Optimization and feel that I have a strong above the fold profile which the video was mainly focused on.

The video didn’t focus on the experience section and what to write based off what you did at the company. You touched on writing mini stories for the summary and experience sections, I am not sure writing only mini stories will give the best overall picture in the experience section. Do you have another video on pluralsight that helps enhance the content for the experience section?”

This is a great question. After doing group trainings and one-on-one consultations for years, I feel like my “best answer” is jelling pretty good. Of course, there are exceptions, but in 99% of the one-on-one consultations I do, and the Profile critiques I’ve done, the answer below will be appropriate.

It’s critical to think about the LinkedIn Profile as one single marketing document.  If you break up the sections of the Profile, and think about them as a critical reader (recruiter, hiring manager, prospective funder, partner, prospect, customer, etc.) might, you could probably guess that some parts are more important than others.  For example, your Professional Headline is not only at the top, but it’s a part of your “mini profile,” and seen in other places on LinkedIn (other than your Profile page). On the other hand, the best way to contact me, or the seeking sections, are largely ignored (by design, because they are so far down the Profile).

If we think about the Profile as a single marketing document, the question is, what is the single message of the document?  I am now counseling my consultation customers to have that single message communicated in a concise and clean way in the Professional Headline.  This is what I call your “main claim,” or your primary claim.  Then, your Summary has five to seven secondary claims, ALL OF THEM SUPPORTING THE MAIN CLAIM.  These can be communicated in various ways, my favorite of which is the mini-stories.

You can see all of this in action in my LinkedIn Profile Optimization course on Pluralsight for free.  How?  JibberJobber users get a free 30 day pass to Pluralsight, which means you can watch this, and dozens of my other courses (including the LinkedIn Proactive Strategies course), during your 30 day window.  Click here to see how you can have access within a 60 seconds – no credit card required.

Okay, so in the Pluralsight course, it’s clear how to position the secondary claims and make your Summary much better than the status quo.  Derek gets that, but wonders what to do in the Experience section, which some people call the job description – the parts in each of the jobs you list in your Profile. This really isn’t a job description, although some people treat it that way. I suggest you make this more about YOU and less about the job.

How do you do that?

I think the best way is to use the exact same strategy as what you used in the Summary section. That is, secondary claims (that all support the primary claim in the Professional Headline), with mini-stories that (a) present the claim, (b) give a “for example,” and (c) quantify the results.

Mini-stories are SO powerful. When you align them with your primary claim, you give further evidence and support that your primary claim is valid, and that you are focused and understand your value.

What I normally see is resume-like statements that are super concise, and super dry and boring. Worse, they look cliche. They look like what anyone else would write that has your same job history, and is making the same claims, and is looking for the same job you are looking for.

Okay, you think, maybe that’s not so bad.  To be honest with you, having resume-speak on your Profile is better than the weak, non-information that I see on too many Profiles. So kudos for having anything that helps me understand you more.

But what I’d rather see you have in your “experience” sections are mini-stories that each (a) make a claim, (b) give me a meaty for-example, and (c) tell me why it matters (ie, the quantification)… this is what we accomplish with mini-stories, and (d) support the primary claim. This last part is important so the reader doesn’t get sidetracked by irrelevant information.

That’s my recommendation… from the summary all the way down through the Experience section… claims, quantification, and alignment.

Do you have a different idea? Leave a comment and let us know!

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How To Marry Excel and Word for Mass Letters

March 28th, 2016

I did this many, many moons ago. It takes a little bit of work, but not too much. If you want to send mass letters that look customized (based on the name of the recipient), here’s how you do it: How to use Microsoft Excel and Word to send multiple emails.

This post was written in 2009 by Walt Feigenson, a friend in the Silicon Valley area. We met when I was in town a few years back, speaking at some job clubs, and the last time I saw him was at his house for dinner (on a different trip).  The stories he has of the history of software, which he was involved with, are awesome.

And this merge technique, which might feel a little dated, is really quite powerful.  YMMV, based on editions of Word/Excel… if yours doesn’t work the way he describes, figure it out and let me know in the comments what is different :) (that is a tactful way of saying: I’m not tech support for this tactic – good luck :))

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21 Surprising Ways To Waste Time In Your Job Search #FavoriteFriday

March 25th, 2016

Almost a year ago I wrote 21 Surprising Ways To Waste Time In Your Job Search.  As I look over the list, each point is as relevant today as it was then.

Don’t cheat your job search.  Don’t rationalize that you need to veg, chill, or recharge, when you are really just avoiding the hard work that needs to get done.

Check out the list (it’s a quick read), and then get on to the work that you really need to do today!

 

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How To Network Like a Veteran

March 23rd, 2016

Here’s a great post by Chad Storlie on Every Veteran Hired: 10 Steps to Networking Success: An Easy (and Effective) Strategy

You may not be military-trained, but that shouldn’t stop you from understanding and following the 10 steps. This is more than a cute article with some cute ideas… I strongly urge you to follow each of the steps, in order.

Except, of course, Step 5, which says to use a spreadsheet for your contacts. Obviously you would use JibberJobber.  You can start with a spreadsheet, but as you network more you’ll find the spreadsheet becomes a rats nest of information, and soon it becomes unusable.

Check it out!

 

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Fear the Phone!

March 21st, 2016

My friend Alison Doyle, author at the Job Search channel at About.com, shared this on Facebook over the weekend:

phone_call_dinasour

I love this.  I’m don’t always feel this way, but there are some calls that I dread. As I’ve thought about calls for job seekers, and now calls for JibberJobber sales, I’ve wondered if the reason we dread making calls is because of the fear of personal rejection. If they don’t want what we have to offer, we take it personally.

Whatever the reason is, let me suggest a great strategy for working through (rather than getting over) your fear of making phone calls. It is:

Pick up the phone, dial the number, and when they answer, have a conversation and ask your question (or, state why you are calling).

That’s it.  Just START.

Years ago I wrote about the “chicken list.” The idea is that you have a list of people you are scared to contact… and they never get scratched off of your list… this nags at you day after day, week after week.  I challenged you go just CALL the person on your list and get it over with, so you can scratch them off.

Need some motivation?  Check out these posts:

Get Out Your Chicken List And Make A Call

Chicken List Is Out – Now Put Away The Honey-Do List!

The Chicken List Smackdown Video: Just Place The Call

Job Search Chicken List: It’s Monday! Call someone!

I triple-dog dare you to pick up the phone TODAY

And here’s the benefit/bonus post:

Self-Control leads to Self-Confidence

Cross the person off the list… make the call… conquer this fear… and your self confidence will grow.  I’ve done it, and I continue to do it, and it works!

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job title, keywords or company
city, state or zip jobs by job search

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Cover Letters Are About Preference: Here’s Mine

March 15th, 2016

Since announcing my contract sales positions on LinkedIn, Facebook, and this blog, I’ve gotten a number of emails. Some of them ask for more information. Others include a resume.  Not many include what has historically been called a “cover letter.”  “Experts” have poo-pooed the cover letters for years, causing job seekers to wonder “should I include a cover letter?”

Here’s a recent post citing a hiring manager at Bain on cover letters, which he says are NOT OPTIONAL.

My experience is this: I honestly have no idea if you are doing the “spray and pray” method of job search, if you are really interested in doing sales, or if you are going to give this an honest effort.

The lesson learned, for me, is that cover letters are ESSENTIAL.  I want to know that I’m not just a number, and that you read up on the opportunity and that you know something about JibberJobber.  Bonus, of course, if you are a JibberJobber user.

If you send me an email with just a resume, I don’t have much to go on.  You are asking me to sift through all kinds of data and draw a conclusion that amounts to “this person would be great for this job!”   Don’t make me sift, and don’t make me draw conclusions… give me, in your cover letter, helpful information, such as:

  • that you think you are qualified for the job, because ________.  I was talking to a recruiter who said that 80% of the applications he got (which was over 10,000 a month) were NOT QUALIFIED.  Come on people… we are better than that.  Want to stand out, and be part of the 20% the recruiter wants to seriously look at?  Tell the recruiter or hiring manager that, and why, you are qualified.
  • That you are interested in this job, and think you could excel at it, and why. Are you self-motivated? A hard worker? Driven by a commission-based compensation model, which means you have unlimited earning potential?  Do you have lots of recruiter and HR contacts?  Have you done sales before, and you are ready to get a lot of “no” answers while you find the “yes” answers? Are you a relationship builder, and love to help people come to proper solutions?

Can you ask questions? Sure.  You can let me know that you have some questions, and you look forward to learning more.  We could do that on a phone interview, or you could email me your questions.  But realize that getting me on the phone is as valuable as getting a prospect on the phone… you want to start that relationship (and so do I).

Let’s get a little more personal, and have more of a human touch.  Please, please start sending this type of information as you apply.  For every recruiter that poo-poos the idea of a cover letter, realize that there is an inexperienced hiring manager looking at this stuff who really wants more than just your name and a resume, which somehow looks the same as the thirty other resumes they’ve just been given.

 

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Contract Sales Opportunity: Sell Job Postings to Employers for JibberJobber

March 14th, 2016

I recently announced I’m offering contract sales opportunities for salespeople with JibberJobber.  You can read my original announcement here.

In response to inquiries, I am putting together a document for people who ask for more information.  Let me know if you want this document… the questions I answer in this document include:

  • What is JibberJobber?
  • What is the opportunity?
  • Why might you want to do this?
  • What is the sales cycle?
  • How much can I make?
  • What is the sales price?
  • How can I get started – where do I go from here?
  • What is JibberJobber’s value proposition?
  • How is selling JJ Job postings different than selling monster, career, etc.?
  • But…I have never done sales… can I still do this?
  • Is there really a market for job postings?

Sound interesting?  Email me with a resume, your LinkedIn Profile, and seriously, try to sell yourself a little to me (aka, send me a cover letter, which could be the body of your email).

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What if networking is not working? Or, how to network…

March 9th, 2016

A few years back someone said “I am not sure I know how to network.”  This person wanted guidance on how to greet someone, how to make conversation, what to talk about, etc.

Networking is supposedly the way most of us will find a job.  But some of us don’t (well) do it because (a) we don’t know how, or (b) we are uncomfortable doing it, or a combination of those.

Here are some fun posts I wrote years ago that touch on networking:

Networking Doesn’t Work April 2008

Networking Doesn’t Work (part II) – agree? August 2010

Why Networking Sucks In The Job Search (aka, Why Networking Isn’t Working) December 2008

 

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Creative Problem Solving: The Boulder Analogy

February 1st, 2016

Many years ago, I heard a story about a builder who wanted to put a house in the perfect place, but there was one problem: a boulder.  This boulder was so big that the builder just couldn’t make it budge.  Pushing it, pulling it… nothing seemed to get it to move.

As the story unfolded it was clear that there was no good option, except maybe to build around the bolder.  Until one day, the builder figured out a terrific solution.  There was one direction he hadn’t previously thought about moving this boulder: down.  Instead of pushing or pulling, he simply dug a really deep hole, almost directly under the boulder, and the boulder eventually was coerced to drop down.  Problem solved.

Let’s ignore any problems you have with the engineering of this solution and just accept that it was a brilliant, indeed a creative, solution, to a seemingly impossible problem

Like the seemingly impossible problem of finding a job.  When you feel like you got kicked in the teeth by the rat race.  When you know what you need to do, but just don’t want to go through the motions because WHY?  Why do the stuff when you might not like the job, or the boss… or you might get laid off in a year or two and be back at square one?

That is an unmovable rock that I understand.  I lived it, exactly 10 years ago today.  Ten years and a couple of weeks ago, though, I figured out what it meant to stop pushing, and stop pulling, and just dig a hole the rock could drop into.  And that I have done, over the last ten years… dug, dropped the rock, and brushed dirt over the hole.

I imagine we all have boulders that are in our way.  They are debilitating, they are intimidating.  But they are not unconquerable.

My friends, push and pull if it’s the right thing to do to your boulders, but be open to different solutions.  Creativity is not just for artists.  You, as a problem solver, are entitled to coming up with creative solutions to your problems.  Just realize that sometimes creative sounds brilliant, sometimes it sounds nuts.  If it sounds nuts, you might need an extra dose of courage to follow-through with your idea.

 

 

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Nutrition for a Job Interview (StandOutCV Infograph)

January 26th, 2016

I remember an interview I went to where I was exhausted. I’m sure the interviewers picked up on that.  My body and brain were not ready to be “on stage.”  I did not get the job :(

In my time management and productivity course on Pluralsight (watch if free, following these instructions), I have a video titled “hacking your body and brain to be more productive.” I’ve been thinking about how our physical environment, body, nutrition, exercise, etc. affects our ability to focus, work, be productive, etc.  Shortly after the course went live, I found this post, titled “What to eat before a job interview.” Here’s the infographic.  How are you doing with your nutrition?

What should you eat before an interview

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