LinkedIn: The World’s Most Popular Dating Site!

The Financial District on LaSalle Street in downtown Chicago.

Now we know LinkedIn really isn’t a dating site, right? Wrong! When you look at it for what it really is, you begin to realize that is exactly what it is. LinkedIn Is the single, most successful matchmaking site in the world! Literally, the only difference between the two types of sites is what you are looking for. It is easy to come to this conclusion when you break it into a side-by-side comparison of the components of dating sites and LinkedIn, as well as our behavior on these sites.

Let’s break them down, shall we? First, we have the picture. That picture has to say as much about you as your profile does. It needs to show how much of an interesting person you are, without using any words at all. This is the same for both sites. The only difference is that on LinkedIn, you are trying to look the part of the position you are going after, rather than the person you are trying to have a relationship with.

Then, we have the headline. For daters, that’s the one-liner that describes in a nutshell who you are and what you’re looking fore. This is essentially true as well for LinkedIn job seekers. This is where you tell the recruiting world, who you are and the role you are looking for. In both senses of the word, this needs to be eye-catching, or you’re likely to get passed over for someone more captivating.

Next you have the profile. Whereas you would list your stats and perfect match on a dating site, you would list your skills, achievements, experience, and target job/industry on LinkedIn. You’re putting yourself out there the same way, just with different results in mind. Instead of highlighting your rock climbing skills, for example, you emphasize your drive to climb to higher levels of success. With just a turn of a phrase, you go from personal to professional marketing!

The most important part of either profile is the bio, or on LinkedIn, the summary. This is the one and only place where you can truly capture the essence of yourself and portray yourself in the best light, filling in the blanks that the other two sections leave. This is where you get to truly shine. A well-written bio/summary can make you or break you in either world and should be considered heavily when writing. This is the main sales pitch and your one chance to make the best first impression possible.

The only difference in the dating sites is that there is no forum for people from your past to recommend you. But in the grand scheme of things, they are extremely similar, and typically if you have a hard time selling yourself for a date, the same can probably be true of marketing yourself for a job. The key to both is knowing yourself well enough to showcase your best attributes and enable you to show the world how incredibly amazing you are. So a word to the wise, Take the time, discover yourself, then put yourself out there and take over the world!

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Putting Your Best Foot Forward: How the Right Impression Can Build Your Professional Clout!

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Making the right impression has profound impact on career and advancement. It’s what gets you through the door and can open up a world of opportunities throughout your career path and in life in general. If we look at our lives in general, we notice that the more people like us, the more they are willing to do things for us. This becomes important when working with other professionals in teams, requesting referrals for business, or professional recommendations for our own advancement endeavors.

This is not to say that these impressions do the work alone, however, they create a framework for a symbiotic relationship that has great benefits. I emphasize symbiotic because it is a mutually beneficial situation that boosts both parties involved. If you are able to portray a favorable professional demeanor and are able to properly showcase your professional assets, it makes for an easier recommendation. In turn, that same connection, in referring you for other business, has now built trust with his/her contact, and potentially created a new customer or business partner for both of you, should you perform well.

In the workplace setting, this is increasingly important, particularly in management. As managers, our highest priority, when it comes to human collateral, is to keep them motivated and engaged in their responsibilities, with the goal of higher productivity. People, who like their managers, tend to produce at a higher rate for them than would another whom does not have such a favorable relationship with the same.   People, in general, take care of those who take care of them.

Working in teams can be difficult, due highly to the varied personalities within.   We all have things we say and do without conscious thought that can do damage to our impression and create a negative stigma that can become an obstacle in working with others. Creating a positive working relationship early on can help to set the tone for future collaborations and keep the cooperative work effort positive. Again, this alone does not do the job, but helps by providing a precedent that can be referred to and reflected upon to keep you aligned with best working practices.

My personal roadmap to managing professional impressions includes the following guidelines:

  1. Be Positive: Having a positive attitude in all endeavors, goes a long way in keeping you motivated and being received well by others.
  2. Manage Expectations: Never try to oversell your abilities simply for the sake of advancing yourself. It will only come to haunt you when called upon to produce.
  3. Balance Confidence with Humility: Having the right balance can keep you from giving the impression of cockiness. It is good to have confidence in your abilities, but not to the point that you blindly think you are always right, or that your way is always the best method. We all have room for improvement and can learn from everyone we interface with.
  4. Respect Boundaries: In other words, treat people how they expect to be treated, within reason. Having a mutual respect for one another fosters trust and further strengthens relationships, which can be called upon in the future.
  5. Proactively Take Accountability: It’s always difficult to admit when you are wrong. With the right approach, you can turn a dreaded experience into one that is positive for all involved. Identifying mistakes and implementing solutions in tandem shows great responsibility and problem solving aptitude.
  6. Give Credit Where Credit is Due: I was once told that accomplishments are the result of the people put in place for the task, while failures are the result of lacking management and leadership. Give praise to the team, and they will continue to perform to high standards.
  7. Be Grateful: Not every opportunity is the golden opportunity we hope for. Some are merely stepping stones in the direction of, while others may be completely off track. Regardless of their nature, be grateful of all opportunities afforded to you, and be gracious when declining. Keep in mind that someone offering an opportunity, does so with the best intentions and with high regard for your abilities.

 Question: What are your personal guidelines for creating and maintaining the best impression?

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What’s your writing routine?

What’s your writing routine?

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Do you have a routine for writing? A way of doing it which has become habit and which you know will get the best out of you? I was thinking about this having read a recent article on the subject.

Many famous writers seem to have these habits. I think the reason is that, to write a novel you need to get your backside on the chair and your fingers on the keyboard – regularly and for long periods of time, just to get the work done. I know only too well that novels don’t write themselves.

Murakami_Haruki_(2009)Here’s what the brilliant Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami had to say on the subject in an interview:

“When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at four a.m. and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for ten kilometers or swim for fifteen hundred meters (or do…

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It’s Not You, It’s Me! Overqualified Candidates Rejected Right Out The Gate

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Isn’t it terribly frustrating being turned down for being “too good”? Our entire lives, we have come to learn that excelling at something was a great thing. We have always been taught to strive to be the best. If this is the lesson that life has taught us, why is it coming to haunt us in the end? This comes to me as I witness some in the struggle to secure stable work.

There are several reasons that employers turn down candidates for being overqualified. Some are afraid of the hefty price tag that comes with the additional experience and expertise candidates have to offer. They feel that even if the candidate accepts the offer, that it will be easy to lure them away with a higher salary. To some extent, they are right; but this all depends on what the candidate’s motives are for accepting the position.

Other employers may feel that the candidate will not find job satisfaction within the role that is offered. With such diversity of skill, it is hard to imagine that one would be satisfied using only a subset of acquired talent. Employers may fear that the candidate will feel stagnant, and again, be easy to lure away with a more challenging role.

One of the greatest fears of employers is that candidates who are overqualified are merely seeking to fill a gap in employment until something more aligned with their optimal choice becomes available. This is a highly justified fear, because of the investment a company must make to find, train, and implement a new employee. To fill this role with someone who is temp-minded will only cause further losses in the way of finding another replacement.

So how do we, as job seekers, market ourselves for roles that are seen as beneath our capabilities, while putting employers’ minds at ease? This question probably has manyanswers, and none are completely right or wrong, but heavily rely on the mindsets of employers looking to fill these positions.

What I have found most successful for my own pursuits has been to emphasize the opportunity to establish roots and grow with a company, letting them know that it is the prospect of contributing to their continued success, while learning their unique approach that is most attractive. I research the company’s body of work to try and find something that I can personally identify and embed that in my marketing approach for the position.

As for my resume, I use more detail about the skills and experience directly related to the position, and gently touch upon other advanced skills, so as not to necessarily imply that I am looking for more than the position offers. If this gets me to the interview, I emphasize a desire for growth, emphasizing that it comes only with having a strong foundation that the position offers.

So my question to you, job seekers, recruiters, and employers alike is, what do you find the most effective method is to market yourself for positions of this nature? Please feel free to respond, discuss, and debate. As I said before, there are many different answers to this situation, and maybe our combined insights can offer direction to those in the hunt!

What Does Your Cover Letter and Resume Really Say About You?

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If you have you ever been in the job market, which accounts for the vast majority of us, where you decide you’re going to put yourself out there, you get all your tools for the hunt ready, resume in hand, and find that there are no bites; and the bites you do get seem to undercut you with low-ball offers that are so beneath your actual worth and you find yourself wondering, what it is about you that eluded an heir of low self-worth? You feel like you put your best foot forward and find yourself right back where you started. If I were you, I’d take a closer look at that Cover Letter and Resume!

Think of the job market as an impression based system. Everything you communicate about yourself and the means in which you convey that message speaks volumes to who you are. Simple wording choices can mean the difference between a $40,000 offer and a $60,000 offer. The game is all about how you sell yourself.

Take a look at the advertising industry. Everything you see and hear attributes to the marketability of the products they sell, from imagery, to copy placement, down to the actual words use to personify the products. Presentation is key, and the sooner we start to become the Mad Men of personal marketing, the better we position ourselves for better opportunities and sustained success.   Once you land that dream job, don’t stop there; the sale’s pitch is far from over.

 

We, more often than not, think that once we get that coveted position, we can take a breather, but every day is a fight to keep pace and advance ahead of others in the job race. It is a continuous battle of proving ourselves, marketing our skills and ideas, and beating out the competition for advancement. Whether it’s securing key accounts, or a major project, must always be ready to state your case, and your cover letter and resume are your opening arguments.

A few key thing to keep in mind when generating your cover letter and resume documents:

Grammar check – This goes beyond the standard spell check. Many people do not realize that you can choose different levels of grammar checking in Microsoft Word with available settings for casual, standard, formal, technical and custom writing styles. You can also enable the grammar to be checked as you type. Remember, before you are ever seen, your documents represent your communicative prowess and simple spelling, grammar and usage mistakes can be the nail in the coffin for your chances of being seen.

Own the responsibilities! Be the role! – The words you choose to describe past titles and experiences can be to serious detriment, if not chosen wisely. More recent trends show that recruiters and hiring managers look for people who live the role they play and take ownership over their reign of duties. People who take ownership take a personal stake in outcomes and gauge this as a true measure of accomplishment and contribution. They often see people who “do” the tasks do not always extend the lifecycle of the tasks with thorough follow through or take opportunities to improve the process. People who “do” are simply doers!

Showcase your talents – These days, it is not enough to simply state that you improved on a system, or streamlined a process. It is much better to give a teaser on how you improved on the system or what resources you used to streamline the process. It gives the recruiter or hiring manager the sense that you know what your doing and it showcases specific talents that may be desirable to those with hiring power.

Tailor your documents – Many feel like the best way to land that dream job is to send out, as many resumes as possible, hoping the increased volume will garner better results, which can lead to cookie-cutter documents. When you look at this from a hiring manager’s perspective, more is not better. In fact many in HR and in hiring power prefer to get fewer quality resumes than an abundance of submissions that are generally hit or miss. Most of these never make it past the screening process because they are either not applicable for the position or just way too generic. If you take a moment to feature the skills and experience applicable to the job on the resume, and market these properly on the cover letter, your submission will break through the screening process with greater ease.

Have two resumes, one with everything that becomes your master document.   This becomes your resource to refer back to when editing your presentation resume. Your presentation resume should showcase the best possible representation of yourself as applicable for the role you are pursuing. Your cover letter should be custom for every submission. It is a communication between you and the hiring manager for a specific role. Use your cover letter to guide them to those featured skills and experience in your resume.

Account for missing time – If you have a gap in employment, do not sit idle as you are looking for that next winning role. This may be a great time to volunteer. It looks great on your resume and if you do it right, it can add valuable experience, especially if you volunteer using the skills that are essential to the role you are seeking. Remember, unexplained gaps can be deadly. Fill the time with something that can benefit yourself and your community.

Remember in this job market, personalization is everything. The more they feel that you are excited about working form them, the higher your chances are that they will position you for consideration. Make sure your resume makes the right impression for you!

Is Where You Are Where You Want To Be? Taking the right steps to meet your advancement goals

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Ask yourself this; have I achieved all that I want to achieve? Great, then your next move is an easy one: retirement. For the rest of us, that leaves so much more to accomplish in our professional lives. Some of us have a great sense of direction when it comes to our own personal advancement. This does, however, come easy to all of us. Many of us have this daunting sense of helplessness when it comes to planning our careers and our lives. I speak from personal experience when I say that our personal view of success seems so out of reach that it feels impossible to reach.

The problem is that all too often we think of success in terms of one huge leap as opposed to a series of small, attainable steps, that we can more readily take with the right plan. We also think about success as the end result of our efforts resulting in money and assets rather than the journey towards happiness. Success is not the end result; it is the here and now. Success is the overcoming of the challenges we face every day. When you look at things from that perspective, then you realize that success is not only for those who secure masses of wealth. Success is for everyone and looks different for each of us.

So you may ask; how do I achieve my own personal success? The answer is different for everyone but the most important step is realizing what success looks like for you. The rest of the planning grows from there. Picture yourself where you want to be, and the path will reveal itself, roadblocks and all. Yes, I mention roadblocks, because contrary to a lot of noise out there, success is not easy, and it does not happen overnight.

Mapping your success

As I said before, success is a journey comprised of a series of steps. The path look different to everyone, but the steps generally remain the same. Here is what I have found useful in my career path; and though I am not quite where I want to be, I am well on my way, and my personal success is well within reach.

Identifying your success
It is hard to know which way to go if you have no destination in sight. Envision where it is you want to be professionally. I say professionally, because wealth and success are somewhat exclusive of each other. If your goal is wealth, you will tend to do things that will make you money, but will not bring you a sense of intrinsic happiness. If you consider your own happiness, then success looks a little different, highlighting a sense of accomplishment, comfort and taking your own achievements to the next level.

Activate Your Success GPS
I like to use the term Success GPS, because like a GPS, you need to be able to actively redirect yourself when you stray off path. Roadmaps are good, but you tend to find yourself going backwards, just to move forward. You also do not know you’re lost until you are too far down the road. Plan your career moves ahead of time, with contingency plans, in case your steps take you in the wrong direction. There is a wealth of information and resources available in planning your career. Take advantage of everything. Career planners, mentors, internships, and education all work towards your goals.

Auditing Your Efforts
It is important to know that the efforts that you make are positioning yourself better in line with your career goals. Determining what skills your desired career requires early will help you to better answer these questions. The goal here is to stay focused on advancing yourself along your path, knowing that your choices are taking you in the right direction. The question you must ask yourself before every decision should be, does this have benefits towards my career goal?

If you deem college to be your best career path, make sure it will offer you a focused, streamlined approach to preparedness for your goals. Others may be better off with an institution that focuses on niche careers. Independent courses are also another good alternative for those looking to quickly add skills to approach the next step in their advancement.

Apply Your Skills
New skills are integral in advancing your career, but the efforts are futile if you do not implement them in your career. It is not enough just to acquire new skills. Find opportunities to showcase these new skills. If opportunities arise in your current situation, volunteer these skills. It is only when you show what you can do, that people will entrust you with greater responsibilities and a greater stake in the establishment. If the opportunity doesn’t present itself where you are, take the time to showcase it somewhere else, whether it is a volunteer situation or a personal project. It need only be a positive, verifiable representation of these skills being put to use.

Document your progress
Implementing new skills is great, but when you are looking to advance, you need a track record of proven success in using those skills and how the contributed to the benefit of the establishment. You should be able to present, at a moments notice, these accomplishments, either for a promotion or for positioning yourself for a career move. Keep an up-to-date portfolio and have it readily available. Keep a link on a personal business card to your portfolio for self-marketing efforts.

Put Yourself Out There
Taking all of these steps positions you to move up, but you will move nowhere if you do not put it out there that you are available, interested, and qualified for the position that you want. Let’s face it; success does not come to you. You have to find it, hunt it down, and make the kill, and believe me when I say that it will not stand idle. Be ready to make the chase. It will all be worth it when you have the spoils of your hunt.

Play it again, Sam!
Don’t rest on your laurels just yet. Success is always short lived. We as humans are never quite satisfied with what we have or where we are. There is always a next big thing. Get ready to gear up and do it all over again, remembering that success is all about the journey towards new accomplishments.

I hope you find this helpful, and again this is based on my own experience and that which I have personally witnessed. Please feel free to comment and/or share your own stories on striving for personal success!

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Administrative Classifications

As an active administrative professional, I have observed that people of this career tract, typically fall into one of three groups of primary contributions.  There are those who are the ideas people or the thinkers.  These professionals are consistently tasked with providing new ideas and implementing new practices for higher efficiency within their departments or special projects on behalf of the firm.  Their creative visions are constantly called upon, and their contributions carry great support and acceptance by varying levels of management.

Another group is classified as the executors or the doers.  These are the people most called upon because they can take greatly detailed instruction and complete tasks without missing a step.  Executors are typically the backbone of completing any task at varying degrees of difficulty.  They take great ownership and revel in the challenge of producing a high quality product.

The last group consists of the hybrids, or the all-around admins. These professionals are typically caught somewhere between the two groups and possess some qualities of both.  A member if this category thrives when there are tasks that are assigned, but the details of how it should be executed are minimal to nil, possessing enough creativity to come up with a plan of execution and the veracity to see it to completion.

In my career, I have been at each category at one time or another, but recently find myself hovering at the hybrid classification.  My questions to you are the following:

  1. What category do you find yourself currently?
  2. What category do you find most desirable for your career?
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