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5 Tips for Using LinkedIn to Further Your Career

Tailoring your LinkedIn profile and keeping it updated may seem like a daunting task, but maintaining an informative profile is an invaluable way to get noticed by potential recruiters, employers or collaborators. To help tackle this task, I’ve compiled some of the best tips for managing your profile so that you can utilize your LinkedIn in order to get noticed by potential connections and make a great first impression:

Connect with Recruiters
One of the best resources LinkedIn can offer is the option to connect with recruiters in your industry. When looking for a new job, proactively reach out to recruiters either by finding their contact info on their LinkedIn profile, or by sending them a connection request with a personalized message. Explain in your initial contact with a recruiter that you are looking for new roles and that you would love to connect to discuss potential opportunities.

Respond to Recruiters – Even if you are not looking for new opportunities
Even if you are currently happy in your current position, you should never ignore a recruiters request to discuss potential opportunities, or worse yet, give them a rude response. While you may have no intention of changing jobs currently, you never know what the future holds and you could find yourself looking for a job and wishing you had kept in touch with that recruiter who reached out to you. The best policy is always to answer politely and honestly – let them know that you would love to work with them in the future should your current job situation ever change. It’s a great way to start a relationship and have a head start should something change with your current job situation.

When reaching out to a connection on LinkedIn: Don’t neglect their contact policy
Whether you are sending a message to a recruiter, a potential employer, or someone you admire in your industry who you’d love to form a working relationship with, make sure you always check that person’s contact policy on their profile. While some people may accept messages on LinkedIn, a lot of people include email addresses to directly connect with them or may have specific instructions on how to best reach them. It’s best to check someone’s personal preferences on contacting them so you can show that you have paid attention to the details of their profile.

Editing your profile: Know how much information to include
It’s imperative to not post too much or too little to your LinkedIn. It’s great to include a concise personal summary to quickly recap your career so that anyone looking at your profile can quickly get a sense of your background. However, be sure to not be too superfluous- avoid writing an autobiography about yourself. It’s a fact that people lose interest quickly and you can lose your audience’s attention if you’re too lengthy. As far as your work experience goes, after including your company and title, it’s best to include a brief description of the responsibilities associated with your role – maybe one or two bullet points or an example of some clients you worked with. Think concise but informative; a snapshot of your career that won’t bore your potential connections.

If you want people to connect with you: Make your contact information readily available
If you are open to being contacted by recruiters, potential employers, or potential collaborators in order to further your career – it’s imperative that you include your contact information in your LinkedIn profile. Don’t leave it up to people having to search high and low for your contact information because that’s one way for a potential connection to become disinterested and give up on contacting you. Depending on your profession, if you have projects that showcase your work – it’s also helpful to include a link of any portfolio or personal website you may have in order to allow people to see the caliber of your work and encourage them to reach out to you.

While it may seem like an intimidating task to perfect and manage your LinkedIn profile, remembering these easy steps can help to keep your profile in tip top shape and help attract potential connections in your industry!

You Are Your Own Brand

my pickThis week’s post will touch on the importance of being your own brand ambassador at all times. This means maintaining a standard of professionalism, and being thoughtful about how you would like to be perceived. Although your work is a critical part of hiring decisions, personality, communication and presentation can be make-or-break factors.

What to wear

Deciding what to wear for an interview can be telling of whether or not you understand the company culture of where you are interviewing. You need to gauge for yourself what kind of company this is: is it a suited up environment? Is it a relaxed environment? However, no matter the dress code, you need to present yourself in a way that is representative of your unique style and aligns with the brand you are interviewing for. You should be polished, since it is above all else a professional encounter.

What to say

The best types of interviews are ones that flow easily like a conversation, and are focused on your skillset and strengths as a candidate for this role, and why you want to work for that company. This is a sign that the interview is going well. HOWEVER, do not let it get too casual! It will be tempting to start going off on complete tangents, or making jokes or comments that may not be interview appropriate. Stay away from these kinds of comments, if you feel at ease with your interviewer that’s great, but don’t get too comfortable! And remember, keep it professional, which means no bad-mouthing your previous employers. It doesn’t matter how negative your experience might have been, highlight the positive aspects of your experience there, and give a reason for leaving which has more to do with personal and career growth, NOT a reason which has to do with why you dislike your current employer.

The follow up

I cannot stress enough the importance of following up. It is something that is so quick and easy to do, but if you don’t do it, it can hurt the hiring manager’s impression of you, even if the interview went really well. It is always a good policy to include at least one concrete thing that you talked about during your interview in your thank you note. This shows that the conversation you had was memorable and meaningful to you. For more tips on the follow up, check out my colleague Rachel’s post “The Ultimate Thank You – Why Following Up Is Important.” My advice: send out the follow up thank you email as soon as possible, you want to show the hiring manager that you really want this, and it keeps you top of mind.

So remember, dress the part, talk the talk, and always always ALWAYS follow up!

How To Approach Being Given a Test Project

Thea8273As part of the interview process, clients will often include a test project to better evaluate a prospective candidate’s conceptual/strategic, executional and presentation/communication skills. It can be the defining factor in securing the position, and often times, justifying the salary one requests. How you handles this delicate time in the interview process is critical in either “making” or “breaking” the prospects for landing the job. Below is a brief checklist on “how-to” and “HOW NOT-TO” approach this segment of the interview process:


– Graciously accept the project and show your enthusiasm and excitement for tackling the creative objective at hand. Clients want to see that you are excited about their brand and feel the passion you have for your craft.

– Think strategically about what you are doing. Nothing irritates a client more than someone who does not demonstrate a higher-level of thinking when it comes to how their brand operates. This includes taking into account the competitive landscape and existing branding and marketing principles that already exist.


– The best way to show an employer that you do not want their job is to “pushback” in any regard to the deliverables of the project. Examples include: wanting to be paid, wanting an NDA signed so your work is not used and telling the client that the scope of the project is too large. While you might be 100% correct about all of these points, if you want the job, the project as it exists is mandatory. If you are not doing it, you have to realize that your peers and competitors for the role are. At worst, your competition will advance forward and you will be disqualified for the role. At best, it will definitely set you back in the employer’s mind, and give them a glimpse of both your disinterest in the opportunity or leave a “diva-like” impression. Not a good look.

In summary, if you want the job, my best advice after years of doing this is, put your best foot forward. Show your prospective employer that you are a strategic, teamplayer – at Every. Single. Stage. Of the interview process.

It’s All Relative – A Few Dating Truths That Apply to Job Searching

Very similar to dating, looking for a new job can be scary, taxing and sometimes pretty weird. It’s a two way street, involving more than one person’s personality, skills and presentation combined to potentially secure a long term relationship. In this blog I’ll discuss a few dating truths and tips that also apply to the job hunt – how to use them to your advantage and when to proceed with caution.

Look your best…
Just like you want to impress your date by showering, shaving and putting on some perfume, it’s important to look the part for the role you’re interviewing for. I’m not saying go to your meeting in a ball gown and stage makeup, but take extra time to wear a skirt and heels, or dig up that suit in the back of your closet. You want to look polished, well presented, and like someone that is pleasant to be around (this applies to general hygiene of course, but also in the way you dress yourself). Granted, all company cultures are different and if you’re aware of a super casual clothing environment, or your recruiter tells you ahead of time not to dress too formally, you should cloth yourself accordingly. Still, it’s never a bad idea to go the extra step and throw on those booties – looking cute never hurt anyone from landing the role!

When you listen to your date talk about their lifestyle, and the things they like to do, you wonder if you could see yourself joining them. This completely applies to job searching; you should go into every interview to not only hear, but really listen to what your interviewer is saying about the company, and ask yourself if you can see your personality and skills thriving there. It’s extremely important to listen just as much as you talk on a date, and this truth applies directly to interviewing.

In this digital age, it’s practically expected that you’ll look up your date beforehand. You want to see what they look like, what they do in their free time, and if you have any mutual friends. This truth applies to job searching quite possibly more than any of the others – doing research on a company beforehand is vital for a successful interview. You should thoroughly look up their clients, their company structure, and any recent business wins or press releases they’ve been involved in. Although sometimes frowned upon in the dating world, this truth in the job hunt is an absolute must! You should also mention this research during your meeting if it’s relevant to what you’re discussing, and feel free to flatter the company’s success or anything else you admire about them.

Be Honest
This truth is one that applies to dating in every aspect, as well as when you’re in an actual relationship. Being honest with your date about what you’re looking for in a relationship is super important, and being honest with your partner about your needs is essential for long lasting success. Similarly, being upfront with your potential employer about your experience, as well as what you’re looking for in your next role is a must. You should be clear about your goals, what you’d like to accomplish in your future and what kind of position you see yourself thriving in. It doesn’t help anyone when dating to lead the other person on to believe you want something you actually don’t (say you’re looking for a committed relationship, and they just want a casual fling), and this applies just the same when looking for a new job. There’s no point in lying about your capabilities if you’re not experienced in a certain realm, or saying you enjoy the type of work you actually hate. Eventually the truth will come out, and you’ll be much more embarrassed once you’ve been hired than if you were just honest in the first place. Be truthful about what you’re looking for from a job and company, as well as what kind of employee you are, and you’ll be sure to find the right match.

Sometimes No Means Maybe
Any smooth guy is familiar with this one – sometimes “no” really just means maybe. She won’t go out with you at first, but that doesn’t mean the chase is over: with a little finesse sprinkled with persistence, you know you can change her mind. This tactic completely applies to job searching, and should always be encouraged. Just because there are no open positions at your level, or the team is at capacity, does not mean things can’t or won’t change somewhere down the line. It’s always a good idea to follow up, and continue following up, until you get your foot in the door. Teams are always changing, budgets are shifting and recruitment needs change frequently. If you feel passionately about a role or even just a company in general, make it known that you remain interested (even if it becomes 6 months or a year later) and remain as tenacious as you can in your resolve.

Overall, it’s about finding that match that feels right, and more often than not it takes trial and error. Think about how many first dates you’ve had that never went anywhere – it’s still great experience (and sometimes a great story) and the same applies to interviews. Now go on and nab that dream job!