Tuesday, August 13, 2019

You Can Do It: Writing your LinkedIn Profile

Last week I posted about writing your own resume.  Yes, you can do it!  Here's how.  You can also write your own LinkedIn profile.  A good LinkedIn profile is becoming as important as your resume.  There are a lot of similarities, and if you can write your resume, you can definitely write your own LinkedIn profile.  Here are my notes on how to have an effective LinkedIn profile.

Make it look a lot like your resume:  You just spent all that time working on your resume, now incorporate that into your profile.

Photo:  Put up a recent photo that looks professional and engaging.  No, not the photo cropped from your wedding with someone else's cropped torso in the periphery.  Also, not one of you in your car.  (A Cranky Recruiter aside:  I see so many LinkedIn profile photos from the vantage point of a car's dashboard.  Makes me wonder, was someone so mad, they ran out to their car and snapped a selfie so they could start looking for a new job?)  Take a photo of yourself when you are looking good, have good lighting and can say cheese for the camera.

Contact Info:  When setting up your profile, make sure you put complete contact information on your profile.  This can be kept private, but if you want someone to find you here, it is good if they can contact you.  The email you use is the one InMail messages will be routed to, so use one that you can use for LinkedIn messaging.  Your work email might not be best, but if you only look at your work email inbox, putting a secondary, unread email address could backfire too.  I experience this all the time--especially when I have found the ideal candidate on LinkedIn, but have no way to contact them.  Maddening!!!

Background photo:  Find a picture you can put up that reflects something about you.  My profile has a vineyard scene behind me.  I think that makes sense.  The default background is fine, but very uninspired.  Doing a random scan of my connections, approximately 90% of profiles use the default, so that is quite functional.  If you have a social media presence, I think you can find something to put up for your background picture.  You would be in the 10% club of unique background photo profiles.

About:  Write a summary of your experience and what types of positions you are looking for.  Of course, you are probably gainfully employed, so write the summary with that in mind.  Make it sing the praises of your work accomplishments, without it sounding like you are looking for a new job.  Adding a skills section is smart, as is adding information about your educational background, if applicable.

Experience:  This will be pulled straight from your resume.  Put company, title, employment length, and work location.  Then add relevant information within each job.  This can be a paragraph per role, or a paragraph per key responsibilities, depending on length of employment in each role.  Keep it relevant.  If you've been working for 20 years in the field you want to continue in, you don't need to list old, irrelevant jobs outside of your industry.

Education:  List school, degree, any additional accolades (Summa Cum Laude, president of student government, study abroad courses, etc.), and if relevant, date of graduation.

Licenses and Certifications:  Are you an MS?  Put it on there please.  Just got your WSET Level II?  Put it on there.  Are you a certified Cicerone?  Put it on there.  CPA:  PLEASE!  Put down relevant licenses and certifications that add to your marketability.

Skills and Endorsements:  List relevant skills.  Now for endorsements, I think this is a bit of crowdsourcing, but once you put your profile together people can endorse you on the profile.  So put down skills, and hopefully the endorsements will follow.

Recommendations:  If you can, ask former colleagues and managers to recommend you on LinkedIn.  The request process is pretty easy, and if they do not want to do it, they can easily ignore the request.  If you are asking for recommendations, be good and give recommendations for others when asked.

Groups:  Link to some groups of interest to you.

Following:  Get some follows on there for organizations, celebrities, or companies that interest you.

Accomplishments:  If you hold a board seat, have published an article or research paper, have secondary language skills or are hold a patent, put it down.  There are several things you can list, so use this area to enhance your profile.

Interests:  Are you part of a trade group?  Do you like to follow Mr. Wonderful?  Show your interests here.  Yes, just like on your resume make sure they are relevant and give a positive impression of you.  But some personality is good to show here too.

Connections:  Once you've put your profile together, link up to your friends, family and colleagues.  The more connections you have on LinkedIn, the more likely you will make more.  The funny thing people like to say is that they are very promiscuous on LinkedIn.  They connect with anyone and everyone.  Doing this,  you'll be more easily findable by recruiters, like me!  Isn't that one of the big reasons you are on LinkedIn.

And keep it current!  Go into your profile from time to time to make sure it is up to date and relevant.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

You Can Do It: Writing Your Own Resume

Recently I've been talking to several people who are just starting to put out feelers for a new job.  Some people haven't updated their resume in a couple of years, others for decades.  Now, a good resume writer can be a great way to get your resume up-to-date, but the DIYer in me says you can do it yourself.  Here are some pointers on drafting up your new resume:

Make it easy on the eyes:  First, I think using a free resume template is smart.  Canva.com has some great, free templates you can use.  Some people have also found good templates on Etsy.

Make your resume get noticed: Using a template with some color-blocking or splashes of color is my advice.  Nothing brightens my day like a smart, well-written resume with some good subject headers and some color, any color.  Please!

How do I reach you?  Yes, put your contact information at the top of your resume.  Name, phone number, email and your city and state of residence is what I want.  I recommend not putting down your home address.  Let's keep some personal information private, for your safety.  

Quickly, who are you?  For most people with some industry experience, put a professional summary section at the top of your resume.  It doesn't need to be long, but putting your career highlights in there is smart.  I like seeing numbers.  Percentages of revenue increases, number of new customers brought in, total increases in revenues you were responsible for.  Now, not every job has a lot of numbers, so use information that is important to your role.  Quality improvements in winemaking, new efficiencies in your administrative management, reduction in staff turnover, new software implementations, etc., are all good things to put in there.

Education or Work Experience:  I think if you've been working in progressively more advanced roles for about the last 10 years, start with work experience.  List Title, Company, Dates of Employment, and City or State you worked in.  Now, there are a lot of companies out there, even lots of wineries in wine country.  Don't expect someone to know the company you are working at.  Put a short blurb underneath this info that summarizes what the company is.  I like it in italics underneath.  Something like this shameless plug works:   WineTalent is an executive recruitment company that focuses on individualized searches in the wine industry.   

Give me bullet points!  Within your work experience, call out the main functions of your job.  This can include similar items as I mentioned in the Professional Summary, but keep it unique to each section, not copied from another area on your resume.  List major responsibilities.  For sales positions, I like to see key customer relationships, key accounts, and related information.  For hospitality positions I'd list information such as how the tasting experience is conducted, how you grew your wine club or how many staff you managed.  For winemaking positions list your involvement in the vineyard, your responsibilities in the cellar and in winemaking decisions and your involvement in customer/trade engagement.

Logos?  I like it when people use company logos on their resume in the experience section.  A nice, easily identifiable logo goes a long way, so use it to your advantage in your resume.  But make it look right.  One company logo in a list of several different companies doesn't work.  Too many logos and it starts to get busy.  But think about using them if it looks right.  

Can you list your education now?  If you are a fairly recent graduate, highlight your education above your experience.  Or if you are a newly minted MBA, scream that at the top of your resume.  But if your work experience has eclipsed your education, list education information afterwards.  You need to make the judgment call here, but those are my words of advice.

Do you have hobbies outside of work?  I may be old fashioned, but I like seeing some interesting facts at the bottom of the resume.  It lets me see you a bit more multifaceted.  Be smart, think about what you are putting down.  

Keep it to one page!  I know, I know, you are so much more than one page!   But I can have a 22 year old recent graduate and current Barista with a three page resume and an industry veteran with 30 years of work experience who has a one page resume.  You really can be concise and wow me with your experience and do it all on one page.  Please!  But if it doesn't feel right, make it two pages.  Stick to two pages or less.  

Avoid Errors:  Have someone check your spelling, grammar and details.  I have had to throw out too many resumes of candidates that can't spell, have terrible grammar or odd dates of employment.  Don't end up in my circular file.  Check your work, have someone else check it over, and maybe another person too, just for good measure.    

Check for formatting issues:  Not only do resumes end up getting tossed for errors, formatting issues can cause you headaches too.  Some headers don't show up on programs, meaning your name and contact info is invisible, and in turn, you are invisible.  Send your file to some friends and make sure it looks okay on their computers.  And read this article about how to format your resume best for applicant tracking systems.  

Now get to work and write your resume!  I know this is a good DIY project for you.