Your LinkedIn Summary

Why it’s Replacing Your Résumé!

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By Jerry Lambert

Hello, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club.  I hope you enjoyed last week’s post Back to School.  It still cracks me up that my neighborhood Big Lots has the “Back to School” supplies out already!  I think they put them out the day after school let out.  Wishful thinking for lots of parents, I’m sure!

Students using tablet computers in classThis week I am going to discuss the Summary part of your LinkedIn Profile and why it’s so important.  Somebody recently pointed out to me that my Summary was really lacking and needed to be revamped.  Looking at it, I agreed, but where to begin?

When I wrote my article on LinkedIn, I completely overlooked the Summary.  However, as experienced LinkedIn Members know, a powerhouse Summary is essential to showing the world what he or she is all about.

In the article I wrote about Networking, I mentioned a story I came across in Forbes magazine: Three Steps To Writing The Perfect LinkedIn Summary.  In this piece, the author (William Arruda) shows you how to write a Summary that will blow people away, and hopefully get you noticed by the right people. Arruda points out that a well-written LinkedIn Summary is becoming more important than your résumé.

The three steps he mentions are Setting the Scene, Gathering Your Raw Data, and Putting All Together.

Setting the Scene: This is the part where you figure out who you are trying to reach, what you want them to learn about you, and how you want them to feel.

Gathering Your Raw Data: In this section, you list all of your accomplishments, values, and areas where you really shine.  This is where you brag on yourself.  If you don’t do it, who will?

Putting It All Together: This part shows you how to grab the reader, show them what you’re all about, then tell them what they should do next (HIRE YOU!).  It also shows you how you can include pictures and video to make your Summary really pop!

IS09AK4FKThere is also an article by Maggie Graham on WorkForce50.com.  It’s called: Three Tips to Slam Dunk Keyword Optimization on LinkedIn.  What’s with all the threes?  I guess if you go up to four you lose the reader’s attention.  Don’t want to do that!

If you read my article on Age Discrimination, you will remember I mentioned that evil Résumé Database Scanner.  The one that makes it a personal mission to toss your résumé into the junk heap before any human eyes can see it?  Keyword Optimization is what that evil sucker uses to either pass you through the gateway or toss you in the junk heap.

Her article shows you how to use the right keywords in LinkedIn.  That way your profile will turn up in LinkedIn searches by a prospective employer.  The article also includes a YouTube video by the author at the bottom of the page.  Nice.

Both of these articles have invaluable information that will make your LinkedIn Summary stand head and shoulders above the competition.  I have been dragging my feet when it came to updating my Summary.  I wanted to have something a little bit more impressive than Uber and Lyft Driver to WOW people.

Sunset at coastal resort, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, CaribbeanThankfully, my procrastination has paid off.  Funny how that works sometimes!  The payoff is in the form of a job!  Alleluia and Praise the Lord!  I have been hired by Global Discovery Vacations.  My wife and I have been members of this Travel Club for 18 years and I have accepted a position with the company in Sales.  If you live in the Detroit area and are interested in maximizing your vacations, please call the Livonia Office of Global Discovery Vacations (734-462-6301) and ask for Jerry Lambert.  Or, check out their Facebook page for more information.

This leads me to the end of this article, and this blog.  I started writing this blog last October. My intention was to share the trials and tribulations of trying to find a job on the other side of 55.  I have had a lot of fun writing the articles and there has been a positive response from readers of the blog.  Now, however, I have decided to stop writing additional articles.  I have covered all of the topics I felt would be of interest to a job seeker in The Brown Parachute Club.  With my new position, I just don’t think I’ll have the time to continue writing it.

To all of you who have been following this blog, Thank You!  It has been a pleasure to share what I have learned on this journey.  I will leave this blog up and running as I intended it to be: a reference library for people our age.  For all of those who have been laid off and need to find work, along with finding a renewed purpose in life.  I hope these articles have been, and will continue to be, helpful.

While listening to some music the other day, I heard a song lyric that has become my new personal mantra.  Today is Yesterday’s Tomorrow.  Or, as that great philosopher Ferris Bueller once put it, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”  Sage words.  I wish you all the best and good luck in your job search.  Don’t give up!!

 

College vs Vocational Education

Does College Really Rule?

By Jerry Lambert

Hello, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club.  This week I wanted to share an article I wrote for a blogging service.  The article wasn’t picked up, so it’s their loss.  The article talks about the College versus Vocational forms of higher learning.  While the focus of this article is more for our children and grandchildren, it’s something you may want to share with them.  Especially if they are feeling like a square peg being crammed into a round hole.

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Photo Credit: MikeRowe.com

Mike Rowe, from the famous show, “Dirty Jobs” was recently on Fox News.  He was talking with Tucker Carlson about a letter he had written to President Obama.  A letter that he has now also forwarded to President Trump.

In this letter, he stated that the lack of Vocational Education in high schools has created a huge skills gap. The gap is between College-Educated students and the students who SHOULD be in Vocational / Technical Education.  There are over 5.6 Million Jobs that need to be filled, 75% of which do not require a 4 year degree.

Vocational / Technical Education is a field of study that prepares a student directly for the career he or she wants.  Think about cooking school, beautician school, truck driving school, heating and cooling school, etc.  Not to mention all of the plumbing, electrician, and carpenter apprenticeships.  You get the idea.  These training programs prepare the student for their new career immediately, and generally cost thousands of dollars less than heading to college.  Vocational Education has been removed from many high schools, resulting in this huge skills gap.

Boy dressed as repair manDo many of these jobs require a 4 year degree?  No.  Do you have to rack up over $100,000 in student loans in order to get these jobs?  No.  Are these glamorous jobs the average college kid would dream of having?  No.  However, are these jobs that need to be done in order for America to remain a vital, growing nation?  Absolutely, Yes!

Have many students have been sold a bill of goods when it comes to getting a college education?  It would certainly appear so.  It doesn’t take an Einstein to realize the soaring cost of a college education is not keeping pace with reality.  Drive by any college campus and you’ll see at least one new building under construction.  While many times, the dormitory conditions for students are outdated, cramped, and deplorable.

New Football Stadiums and Basketball Arenas that cost millions of dollars are being built to attract the nations’ top prospects.  This brings in thousands of dollars in TV revenue.  However, outside of a boost in school spirit, these facilities do very little for the average student.

is09an5qdThe amount of money pouring into our Universities borders on the insane.  An article that appeared in The Huffington Post reported that since they started keeping track in 1978, the costs for Tuition and Fees have risen 1,120%.  Ironically, the costs for Medical Expenses have risen only about half as much during the same time period, 601%!  Forget about Obamacare or Trumpcare, how about Collegecare?

What does the average student get for all those thousands of dollars spent on his or her education?  A piece of parchment? With no hope of paying off the mountain of debt piled up in pursuit of that elusive degree?

Over the years, manual labor or skilled trades’ jobs have been looked down upon by the college-elite and business professionals.  Plumbers, Electricians, Carpenters, Carpet Cleaners, Janitorial Staff, and other jobs are looked down upon by most business professionals.  “Hey, we’re doing the real work!”  That is the attitude pervasive in business today.

Industrial worker in plantAll of this belittling of good, honest work has caused many of today’s youth to shy away from these decent paying jobs.  Plumbers, Electricians, Carpenters, and Construction workers can earn a very good living!  These jobs might not be very sexy, but they need to be done, just the same.  Many of these jobs don’t have a corporate ladder to climb, but they can provide a comfortable living, for someone who is willing to do the work.

Mike Rowe’s show on The Discovery Channel is called “Dirty Jobs”.  It is an extreme example of some jobs that are on the far edge of the ick scale.  These jobs need to be filled, but employers are having a hard time hiring people to do them.

Somewhere along the line, hard work has only become acceptable only if it is taking place in an office building, a hospital, or a court house.  Rowe has a great quote about President Obama’s “Shovel Ready” jobs.  “I pointed out that President Obama’s promise of 3 million shovel ready jobs sounded great, but I worried that filling those jobs would be challenging – especially in a country where fewer and fewer people aspired to pick up a shovel.”  Rowe’s recent five minute testimony to Congress (before he was cut off) can be read by following this link.

DictionaryWhat this all comes down to is that High School Counselors and Parents need to realize that not every kid with decent grades is cut out for college.  Somewhere along the line, college has become the only “acceptable path”.  When offered “Higher Education” versus “Alternative Education”, which system do you think most parents want their precious little snowflakes enrolled in?

Clearly, not everyone is cut out for college.  Just like not everyone is cut out to be an electrician.  So let’s stop trying to cram square pegs into round holes and get back to giving each student an honest evaluation of his or her abilities.  Otherwise, we’ll continue to have ridiculously expensive Universities.  That, along with a national infrastructure that will continually need repair, because there is nobody to do the work!

As Rowe closed the segment with Carlson, he signed off with, “If you want to make America great again, you’ll need to make work cool again!”  Sounds like a t-shirt slogan to me!  I’m sure he can find a bunch of out-of-work college students to crank them out for him.

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends.  Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner.  Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

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Networking

Why it’s Become the New Classified Section

By Jerry Lambert

Hi, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club.  I hope you enjoyed last week’s article about Setting Priorities.  I know it helped reinforce what I should be doing every day!

Overhead view of business people talkingAnyway, today I thought I would tackle the topic of Networking.  No, I’m not talking about those rooms full of servers that you see in your typical tech commercial.  I am talking about Networking between Humans!

Bing appropriately defines Networking this way: “Interact with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career”.  That pretty much nails it.  However, if you are a disciple of Dale Carnegie, he would take a slightly different approach, but more on that later.

Back in days of old, when you were fired from a job, you grabbed the Classified Section of the Sunday newspaper.  Then you circled some promising ads and hit the bricks first thing Monday morning.  It wasn’t uncommon to have a number of interviews and maybe even have a job offer by the end of the week.  Those days are over.  Yesterday’s newspapers have been replaced by job hunting websites like Monster, Career Builder, and (my personal favorite) Indeed.

However, as I mentioned in my article about Age Discrimination, many times your résumé isn’t being seen by human eyes.  Instead it is perused by a heartless database scanner that will throw your résumé into the garbage can before anyone has a chance to see it.

How do you get your résumé past these robotic gatekeepers?  There are some forms of trickery you can use.  As far as your résumé goes, leave off the dates of service for each position.  Also, use a single space after your sentences, since that’s what all the cool kids are doing nowadays.  Then, set up a new Gmail account for your job hunt, since that’s your safest bet not to be labeled a fuddy-duddy.

is09ao1ykIf you manage to get past all of those roadblocks and actually get an interview, you have a whole new set of “upgrades” to consider.  Younger, hipper glasses for one.  Also, you may want to update your wardrobe, but hey, you don’t have a job!  For us guys, there’s always hair coloring, which should cause any red-blooded American male to shudder.  And so on.

But what if you don’t want to do an online and personal makeover just to get a shot at a job?  What do you do then?  That is where the Magic of Networking comes into play.  In today’s job market, it’s much more about “who you know”.  Like when your uncle got you that job when you were fresh out of high school with one of the Big Three (Ford, Chrysler, or GM).  Ah, you were going to work there until the day you retired.  Those were the days!

As I have already mentioned in my previous article, LinkedIn is the lynch pin in your Networking portfolio.  However, there are also other ways to get the word out that you’re looking for work.  Facebook is an option.  However, for many people, this amounts to taking out a front page ad in your local paper telling all of your friends and family that you got fired and need a new job.  A little too personal and embarrassing for some people.

Businessmen shaking handsAnother option is attending Job Fairs and other Networking functions.  As a veteran of some Job Fairs, these can be a little intimidating.  All of those folks in their business suits, carrying their leather portfolios, can make you feel like small potatoes.  Especially when you realize you have most of them beat in the age department by at least 20 years!

An excellent presentation by Wilf Flager shows the “Mature Worker” the ins and outs of Networking for people our age.  It is a great resource and I highly recommend that you check it out and download it for future reference.

There is also another excellent article in Forbes about writing a Perfect LinkedIn Summary.  I was recently informed that this should be the main focus of my LinkedIn Profile.  I never gave this a lot of thought, but as I bounced around LinkedIn and read some other member profiles, I realized that mine is lacking.  I am in the process of using that Forbes article to help spruce it up and make it stand out to anyone who reads it.

A lot of the focus in Networking seems to be “Me, Me, Me”.  While I understand you want to put your best foot forward with your fellow networkers, I have always thought this approach is the opposite of that classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.  He said that people love to talk about themselves, so let them!

A StopwatchHowever, since the goal in attending a Networking Event is to put yourself out there, you need to work on your Elevator Pitch.  The theory behind this quick presentation is simple.  If you found yourself in an elevator with The Grand Poobah of the company of your dreams, what would you say to this person to make a good impression?  You are supposed to be able to hit all of your talking points in 30 seconds or less.  This way, as you work your way around the room at the Networking Event, you can leave quick impressions with the people you speak with.  As well as your Networking Card.

What’s that you say?  You don’t have a Networking Card to pass out?  You only have business cards from your last job.  You know, the one you were fired from?  Have no fear, Vistaprint is here!  They have a wide variety of Networking Cards, starting at only $7.99!

This Tuesday evening, I will be attending my first Networking Event.  I joined a great group called Network After Work, that sets up Networking Events all over the country.  To be honest, I have avoided these events in the past mainly because I felt that they would be full of nothing but Millennials.  However, since I knew I would be writing this article, I have signed up to attend this event.  Hopefully, it will lead to some good connections outside of LinkedIn.  I encourage you to check out Networking Events in your area.  You might meet someone, who knows someone, who is looking for somebody with your skills.  You never know!

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends.  Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner.  Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

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GCF Learn Free

One of the Most Indispensable Websites You’ll Ever Use!

By Jerry Lambert

Hello, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club.  I hope you found my last article about the difference between an Hourly Employee vs Independent Contractor informative.  This week, I want to tell you about another website I discovered many years ago, GCF Learn Free.

A businessman holding a hammerAt the time I made this discovery, I had just been sentenced to serve out the remaining years of my old job on the Tech Support Desk.  I was looking for online tutorials for Microsoft Office since many of the training materials provided by the company were incomprehensible to me.

I stumbled across this website looking for a Microsoft Excel tutorial and I was amazed to find not only that but a large catalog of online courses for everything from Using an ATM to advanced courses in Microsoft Access, the database application in Microsoft Office.

I would eventually describe this website to friends and colleagues as, “The one place to go to if you had just been left behind on Earth!”  Or, for you fans of Douglas Adams, a REALHitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”.  I’m sure E.T. would have gotten a lot of use out of it when he came to visit Elliot.

Close up of woman circling adsHowever, for the purpose of this article, I’ll only go over the job hunting and career-related aspects of the website.  I’ll leave it to you to explore the rest of what GCF Learn Free has to offer.  Trust me, you can get lost in there for days, in a good way.

The Work and Career section of the website is broken down into four categories.  Career Planning, Job Search, Workplace Skills and Money.  Many of these lessons can be used before and AFTER, you get the job.  Just in case you fudged a little on your résumé and said you know a lot more about QuickBooks than might necessarily be true.  There’s a QuickBooks Resources section for that.  And much, much more.

Career Planning

This section is broken down into two categories.  Career Planning and Salary and Job Search and Networking.  Since most visitors to TBPC fall into the “Unemployed” classification, I’m sure you’ll get more use out of the second category.  However, both offer useful lessons that will get you up to speed on the latest and greatest job hunting tools.

Career Planning and Salary is broken down into five different courses, plus a quiz at the end of each lesson.  This section can be very useful if you are looking to reboot your career and try something new.

Discover Your Career Needs:  This section helps get you pointed on  a new career path with a list of Self-Assessment tools.  It also helps you figure out how much money you need to get paid, and how to gain additional job skills that will help get you there.

Explore Careers:  Now that you’ve determined your career interest, this section will help you find a position that aligns with that interest.  It uses a man named Sameer as a case study on how to find a new career.

Salary Basics:  This section explains how to determine if a position you have applied for will actually help you meet your financial needs, or if you should keep looking.

Gain Job Skills:  This part illustrates how you’re going to get the skills needed to land the job you really want.  It covers going back to school for a two or four-year degree, but that might not be an option if you’re struggling just to put food on the table.  However, there are many eLearning options (like GCF Learn Free) that will help you to gain the necessary skills to land that job!  Best of all, like GCF Learn Free, many of these sites are FREE!

Make a Career Plan:  Now that you have figured out what you want to do, how much money you need to make, and gained the skills necessary to do the job, all you need is a plan.  That’s what this section is about.  It helps you to create a blueprint of the tasks you will have to achieve in order to reach your Career Goals.

Job Search and Networking.  You have built the necessary skills for your new job and developed a plan to get that job.  Now it’s time to put that plan into action.  The age of combing the want ads in your local paper are over.  It’s a digital world and it’s time to get with the program.

Job Search Savvy:  This section helps you get your “job hunting race horse” into the starting gate for the (hopefully short) race to the finish line.  It helps put you in the right frame of mind for getting that new job.

Find a Job Online:  Finding the right job is what this section is all about.  It walks you through searching for and applying for a job online.  However, keep in mind what I said in my article about Age Discrimination.  Many times online applications will get kicked out by a database scanner long before ever being seen by human eyes.  That’s why the next topic is so important.

Networking Basics:  In this day and age, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.  Well, it’s what you know, too.  You can’t apply for a job as a Neurosurgeon just because you stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.  However, nowadays, getting connected with your peers is crucial.  Check out my article on LinkedIn for more info about that.

Job Hunt with Social Media:  This area walks you through the basics of how to navigate all of the various Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and others.  It shows you how to use these sites to let your friends and followers know you are looking for work.  Oddly, it doesn’t really mention LinkedIn, which I would think would be stop number one for someone wanting to put themselves out there.

Personal Branding 101:  This is the process of getting people to identify you with a certain job or industry.  I have to admit that I don’t know a great deal about personal branding, even though apparently I have been doing lots of it.  Updating my LinkedIn Profile (oops, spoke too soon), getting networking cards printed up, attending networking events, and starting a blog like this one, can really increase your visibility.

Well, that’s it for the Career Planning and Salary / Job Search and Networking parts of the Career Planning section.  Wait!  You say.  What about Job Search, Workplace Skills, and Money?  I know I have only shown you the tip of the iceberg with the Career Planning section.  I’ll leave it up to you to check out the rest on your own.  I told you it was a goldmine!  So, as you begin your new career search in earnest, just remember what the Hitchhiker’s Guide has printed on the front cover in large, friendly letters. “DON’T PANIC”.  You have GCF Learn Free (and me) to show you the way!

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends.  Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner.  Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

Disclaimer: Advertisements that appear on this website are posted by WordPress and not by the author of this website.

Hourly Employee vs Independent Contractor

Which One Should You Choose?

By Jerry Lambert

Hello, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club.  This week I thought I would go into greater detail about the job classifications that are out there.  If you have been unemployed for a while, you may want to look into becoming an Independent Contractor as a way of bringing in some extra income.  Either on your own, or working WITH, but not FOR a company like Uber or Lyft.  I’ll illustrate the differences between being an Hourly Employee and an Independent Contractor.  Many of the Side Hustle and Work From Home jobs I have featured on this blog are Independent Contractor positions.

Saw cutting a hole around a piggy bank

First a little background.  As you already know, back in 2008 the country went through a major financial crisis.  Many banks, insurance companies, and brokerage houses either went out of business or were bailed out by the U. S. Taxpayer.  Losing millions of their client’s dollars in the process.  Names like Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, and AIG were all over the news.  To learn more about this event, watch the film, The Big Short.  That movie scared the crap out of me!

In response to this financial crisis, many companies took advantage of an opportunity they had been waiting for.  “How do we decrease the size of our workforce, without appearing weak to our stockholders, or the business community at large?”  The Crash of 2008 was a gift to many companies who had been wanting to cut back their staff for years.  However, if they resorted to layoffs, it would make the company look financially unstable.

Mature man using a computer at home

I heard about this scheme from an article in the Huffington Post by James Altucher.  In his article, 10 Reasons You Have to Quit Your Job in 2014, he explained how this plot was hatched.  But more importantly, he explains why the old business model no longer works and why you should consider striking out on your own.  He was talking about becoming an Independent Contractor or starting up your own business.

There are definitely Pros and Cons for each classification.

Pay: If you were an Hourly Employee at your previous job, more than likely you were paid every two weeks.  Because of sick days and vacation days, many times you were paid for NOT working.  As an Independent Contractor, you are paid for the job or project you have agreed to perform for a company or individual.  Period.  Your pay is based on the quote you gave for the job.  Think about a plumber giving you an estimate to fix the leaky faucet in your tub.

Hours: A full-time Hourly Employee can expect to work a minimum of 40 hours per week.  If part-time, then those hours vary, but are usually 30 hours or less.  An Independent Contractor (IC) puts in as many hours as needed to finish the job.  Since his pay is not hourly, it behooves him to do the job right and finish as quickly as possible.  Then he can move onto the next job.

Benefits: Hourly Employees can expect to receive a host of benefits from their employer.  These range from health care to dental care and vision care, etc.  An IC must take care of these expenses on his or her own.  With the soaring cost of health care, this is a major consideration.  However, there may be group plans that ICs can join that will hopefully bring down this cost.

Retirement:  As an Hourly Employee, you may have a fully-funded, partially-funded, or employee-funded retirement plan provided by the company.  In addition to that, you pay into FICA (Social Security and Medicare), which is also a source of retirement funds.  As an IC, you are on your own for your retirement funding and you still have to pay into FICA.

Flexibility:  This is one area where an IC has it made over an Hourly Employee.  As an IC, you set your own hours and work when you want.  In the plumber example I gave earlier, if the plumber is an IC and not an employee for a plumbing company, he determines his own work hours.  As an Hourly Employee, your hours are set by the employer and you’d better be to work on time!

Tax Considerations:  As an Hourly Employee, all of your taxes and deductions are withheld by your company and forwarded onto the recipients for you.  When you’re an IC, you are on your own for taking care of your taxes and any other deductions.  On the bright side, when you get paid, you get a check for 100% of the job quote.  Not like the net income check that an Hourly Employee gets.  If you are working with a company like Uber or Lyft, they will provide you with a Form 1099 instead of a Form W-2.  That form will detail the income you earned with them for the previous tax year.

Freedom:  This is when being an IC really beats being an Hourly Employee.  The only problem is that your time off is unpaid.  However, when you need a day off, take it!  When you want to go on vacation, go!  When the weather is crappy, stay home!  The Hourly Employee doesn’t have that luxury.  Need a day off? Clear it with the boss.  Want to go on vacation?  Sure, if someone is there to cover for you.  Feel like crap and just can’t make it into the office?  No problem, if you have any sick days left.  You get the idea.

Security:  The Hourly Employee has the satisfaction of knowing that every two weeks, like clockwork, he is going to be paid for his hours worked (or not worked if sick or on vacation).  The IC gets paid only for the work that was done.  No work, no pay!  After many years as an Hourly Employee, this is the toughest thing to get used to as an IC.

I guess for me, what it all comes down to is the old formula: Time vs Money.  If you don’t have a job at all, you have plenty of Time, but no Money.  If you are an Hourly Employee, you are giving up a substantial amount of Time for Money.  However, as an IC, if done correctly, you can have the perfect balance of Time AND Money!  That is the elusive Golden Ticket that all ICs are looking for.

I hope this article has helped to clear up any misconceptions about the difference between these two types of work classifications.  In preparing this blog, articles from Salary.com and BankRate were very helpful in explaining these differences.

DISCLAIMER:  As usual, before making any financial decisions based on the information I have detailed above, be sure to check with your tax professional and / or retirement planning specialist for more information.

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends.  Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner.  Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

Disclaimer: Advertisements that appear on this website are posted by WordPress and not by the author of this website.

LinkedIn

Why It’s The Most Important Tool In The Box!

By Jerry Lambert

Hi there, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club!  This week we’re going to talk about one of the most important tools in your “Job Hunting Toolbox”, LinkedIn.  As you probably know by now, LinkedIn is Facebook for business professionals.  It allows you to build a network of contacts from many diverse backgrounds.  In theory, this network will someday help you find a job.  In theory.

Colleagues having discussionAccording to a LinkedIn company timeline, it was the brainchild of Reid Hoffman, launched from his living room in May 2003.  That’s ancient history in “Tech Time”.  He was a veteran board member of Google, eBay, and PayPal.  So this was not a “blogger in his mother’s basement” discovery.  He put together a team from an early social networking company called (go figure) SocialNet and PayPal and boom, a social networking giant was born!

You have probably heard from every job placement professional how important it is to “Network” and “Put yourself out there!”  But how do you do that exactly ?  Hopefully, this article will show you how.

It all starts with your Profile.  This is your “Online Résumé” that you present to the digital world.  It’s very important for you to fill out your profile as completely as possible.  Entering as much personal information as you are comfortable with, along with your previous work experience.  I’m not talking about posting your Social Security number or your current relationship status, however, you do want your profile to attract attention.  LinkedIn provides many ways for you to do this.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, I should go into a little more detail about what you will actually be doing on LinkedIn.  If you are familiar with Facebook, LinkedIn should be relatively familiar to you.  If you aren’t on Facebook, grab a hold of your son, daughter, or anyone you know under forty and get your account set up right away!  As I mentioned before, LinkedIn is Facebook for Business.  The theory is that you will be able to create a network of contacts you can reach out to when needed.  Like when you’re laid off from your job!

Woman shouting through megaphone

This is directed at people who are still working.  This is my first DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DID!  When I set up my LinkedIn account, I foolishly used my work email account as my logon.  DO NOT DO THIS!!!!  When you are laid off from your job, and you have forgotten your LinkedIn password, where will they send the email to reset your password?  You got it!  The email account from the job you were just fired from and no longer have access to!  Make sure to use your home email, or better yet, a job hunting email account.  I was eventually able to change the logon id on my account (without losing all my contacts), but it was a colossal pain in the butt!

I will spend the rest of this article going over each of the different sections of the LinkedIn website.

Home:  Obviously, this is the Home Page.  This is similar to your Facebook Home Page, where you will see articles that are shared or posted by your LinkedIn Contacts.  The left side has a section called Me.  This is a shortcut to your LinkedIn Profile Page.  I will cover that later.  The right side has a list of trending topics as well as a recommended company for you to check out.

My Network:  This is the nuts and bolts of LinkedIn.  This is the page where all of your LinkedIn Contacts (or Connections) are displayed.  On the left side of the page, you will see the number of Connections that you currently have.  Click on the number to see a list of those contacts.  The center section of the page is a list of LinkedIn Members you can Invite to become one of your LinkedIn Connections.

Jobs:  The Jobs Page is pretty neat.  Based on your Job Experience you listed in your Profile, LinkedIn suggests jobs that may be a match for you.  It’s like having your own personalized Headhunter!

Messaging:  This is where you can stay in touch with your LinkedIn Connections and send them Messages.  However, you can only send Message to YOUR Connections.  I didn’t try this, but I’m pretty sure you have to be a Connection of Bill Gates in order to send him a Message!  The left side of the page is a list of your recent Messages and the center section is where you compose a Message to your Connections.

Notifications:  This is where you receive notices that your Connections have upcoming work anniversaries, birthdays, and more importantly, when someone has viewed your Profile.  That is the primary goal of LinkedIn, getting noticed and getting people to view your Profile!  Stay caught up with all of your Notifications so you don’t miss out on anything!

Me:  It’s all about you, baby!  Sorry, I couldn’t resist.  Anyway, this page IS all about you, and it’s the information your Connections, as well as prospective Employers, will read about you!  It is broken down into many different sections.

Your Articles & Activity:  This section keeps track of any articles you have written for LinkedIn or shared from another source.

Experience:  This is the meat and potatoes of your Profile.  You will list all of your work experience here.  You should be able to cut and paste the relevant info from your résumé here.

Volunteer Experience:  List any volunteer work that you do in this section.

Featured Skills & Endorsements:  This is where contacts and former co-workers can endorse you for specific skills.  Some of these can be pretty basic, but some are pretty detailed.

Recommendations:  This is where former co-workers can write up a nice reference for any future employers to review.  Don’t forget to write up one of these for fellow co-workers who become laid off as well.  Good karma.

Accomplishments:  This is for any special project you were involved in, as well as any publications or blogs that you write for.

Following:  There are various individuals, companies, and groups that you can follow from this section of the Profile.

IS09AJ27FThat’s it for my overview.  Remember, LinkedIn is all about getting noticed.  Start by “Liking” an article shared by one of your contacts.  Then “Share” one yourself.  Keep in mind this is a business site and videos of puppies and babies may be adorable, but they should be kept on Facebook.  LinkedIn is all about business!

Needless to say, this blog is instantly shared on LinkedIn and Facebook the moment it is published!  After all, what’s the point of writing these articles, if nobody is going to see them!!  I hope this article has inspired you to really dig into LinkedIn and make it your “Go To” tool in your “Job Hunting Toolbox”!

One thing I forgot to mention is that you have to be a LinkedIn Member to view someone’s Profile.  So don’t wait, sign up now! It’s free!  To see an example of what a LinkedIn Profile looks like, please click on this link to my Profile.  I’ve lost weight since that picture was taken, so please don’t judge!

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