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!!

 

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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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!

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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