New Year’s Resolution: Get a Coach?

New Year’s Resolution: Get a Coach?

Last week I was contacted by a late-thirties executive who was seeking a career coach. He said he had worked previously with a coach in another state, the result of which was a move to Atlanta with a step up to a Vice President position and considerably more income. I asked him why he called me and he said he was ready to take the next step in his career. He said he had been very happy with the help he received from his last coach and wanted a local Atlanta coach to work with him in making his next step upward. I smiled … outside and inside. A common expression some coaches like to use is “Even Tiger Woods has a coach.” They say this in an attempt to wake people up to the fact that every level of performer can benefit from being professionally coached. Because many people are resistant to change, I believe that this comment tends to fall on deaf ears. Engaging a coach is an action that openly invites change. If you are like the VP who called me and are open to change, then professional coaching may be right for you. Most career seekers I speak with each week are not like my VP caller. They have gaping holes in their thinking when it comes to career planning and career changes. They want some free advice and then, upon receiving it, go along their merry way. But, if you are the exception and are interested in learning more about the benefits of coaching, then professional coaching may be right for you. Coaches seek to determine if a prospective client is “coachable.” Even if you are open to change, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are willing to do the work. It also doesn’t...
LinkedIn as a Career Networking Tool

LinkedIn as a Career Networking Tool

Are you “on LinkedIn”, but not feeling like you are getting maximum benefit? In this fourth and final post in my series on leveraging LinkedIn for your career, we will examine one of LinkedIn’s most valuable uses — a networking tool. Connect-ability In an earlier post, we discussed LinkedIn visibility, credibility, and connect-ability. I coined the term “connect-ability” to emphasize the importance of connecting, communicating, and engaging with existing and new contacts on LinkedIn. “Connect-ability is the key factor you need to understand and leverage to maximize your proactive networking.” If you are directly connected to someone, then reaching out to them is simple. Send them an InMail or, if they have their contact info shown, you can email or call them. But what about the millions of other people you might want to engage? Engaging your pick of these millions is the true power of the system.  Here are four examples of helping clients or friends connect to new second level contacts which are, aside from direct connections, the easiest way for them to expand their connect-ability. Expanding Your Connect-ability:  Four Examples 1. A client does a search and discovers that I have a first level connection on LinkedIn that they want to engage, such as in an employer of interest to them. If I know the person well, I reach out to them (a) via a LinkedIn InMail message, (b) via an email outside the LinkedIn site, or (c) via a phone call.  If I don’t know the person or don’t know them well, I ask the client if they want me to take a shot at making the introduction and proceed accordingly. 2. A friend identifies...
Becoming a LinkedIn “Groupie”

Becoming a LinkedIn “Groupie”

Most professionals and executives know that LinkedIn can be a powerful career tool.  But, like a hammer, it does you no good if you don’t pick it up and use it. Leading up to a talk I will be giving on LinkedIn as a Career Advancement Tool later this month at Kennesaw State University, I am in the middle of posting several articles in a row which are intended to help you get more out of LinkedIn. In my last two posts, we looked at how to improve your LinkedIn visibility, credibility, and connect-ability followed by five tips for developing your LinkedIn strategy.  In this post, let’s dig deeper and examine how you can leverage the power of LinkedIn Groups. But Richard, you ask, why would I want to join a LinkedIn group?  Feel free to contribute more.  Here are some reasons you would want to join Groups. Reasons to Join LinkedIn Groups You want to be more visible to recruiters and others in your industry or profession You want to post questions or comments and get reactions or ideas from others You want to be able to find others who share your interests in a certain industry, profession, etc. As of this writing, you can join up to 50 LinkedIn groups.  Are you in (or interested in) the healthcare industry?  Then you might want to join one of the medical device, medical billing, healthcare executive, hospital, doctor, practice management, electronic medical records, pharmaceutical, or biotech groups on LinkedIn.  Are you in (or interested in) finance as a professional specialty?  Then you might want to join one of the finance...
LinkedIn: Five Tips for Developing Your Strategy

LinkedIn: Five Tips for Developing Your Strategy

In my last post we examined the concepts of LinkedIn visibility, credibility, and connect-ability. Much of the discussion centered around developing an effective profile that is more searchable (visibility) and that presents you as an authentic professional.  Included were a few ideas for improving in these areas. But, where do you go beyond this? My recommendation would be to develop your unique, personalized strategy for increasing your LinkedIn results. In this post, I want to share five tips for going beyond the ordinary and achieving more of what you want. LinkedIn Strategies:  Five Tips to Boost Your Career Networking Results 1. Decide what you want. This is obvious, but many people join in order to check off the “I have joined LinkedIn” box… and then hope something good will happen. Deciding what you want will provide you guidance in all your activities. As a career professional, one of the most frequent things my clients want are improved odds of getting better jobs and career growth. What about you? What do you want from LinkedIn? 2. Decide to whom you want to be connected. If you create a great profile and stop there, then you will only have the control of accepting or rejecting connection invitations from random people. You stand to get far more if you reach out and take action to build the network of connections you desire. Let’s assume the default I suggested in Tip #1, that you want to improve your career options. Then, your strategy needs to be to grow your contacts in your desired industry, in your desired profession, etc. 3. Decide how you will go about growing...
LinkedIn: Improve Your Visibility, Credibility, and Connect-Ability

LinkedIn: Improve Your Visibility, Credibility, and Connect-Ability

Are you on LinkedIn? This question has become more common in that past year, with total subscribers topping 200 million in early 2013 and the stock price doubling in the subsequent six months. As I note in Chapter 13 of Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!), LinkedIn is “the premier social networking site designed for business matters and is used by most Internet-savvy business people, regardless of generation.” It is your number one web location for presenting your personal brand! Creating your profile on LinkedIn is a first baby step. Many people create their profile, invite a few obvious friends, and then sit back and wait for invitations to come rolling in. This is the equivalent of designing a great billboard, locating it on a dirt road, and telling a handful of friends to drive by and take a look. If nothing ever happens, guess who is to blame? (Answer: You) To keep it simple (and this stuff is not as simple as it may look), you must focus on your visibility, credibility, and connect-ability. Let’s examine how each of these factors will benefit you and some elementary actions you can take to improve your results. Visibility Your VISIBILITY is high if you are easily “findable” on LinkedIn. If a recruiter is searching for someone like you to fill a wonderful job at a company you would love to join, how readily can they find you? They could use a public search engine such as www.google.com. More and more, however, they are looking for job candidates on LinkedIn and your visibility is determined by search results powered by the LinkedIn...
Death Battle: Resumes vs. LinkedIn Profiles

Death Battle: Resumes vs. LinkedIn Profiles

I am writing this post because I want to help you be more successful in advancing your career, whether in active or passive job search mode. I want you to avoid the wasted time and frustrations arising from ineffective activities that produce minimal results. At the top of my ineffective activities list are applying for jobs online and endlessly revising resumes. Ineffective Job Search Activities, Resumes, and LinkIn One of the many common job search pitfalls I have observed is becoming ”resume centric.” By this I mean that many job seekers focus on revising/tweaking/etc their resumes under the false belief that creating a better resume will improve their odds of getting their next job.  Their belief is a mythic bull which I seek to fatally gore in Chapter 6 of Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!): “Having coached hundreds of job seekers and discussed the subject with many hundreds more, re-writing resumes based upon untrained advice appears to be an epidemic.” Three recent posts of mine have touched on resumes in some way. Keeping Your Job Search Confidential discussed how to use your resume discretely. Job Seeker Employment Date Codes sensitized you to the importance of employment and unemployment dates. Don’t Give Me Your Resume was my strident plea to stop wallpapering our planet (literally and electronically) with resumes. The LinkedIn Profile vs. the Resume If you have invested too much time and placed too much emphasis on your resume, it’s not too late to confess your sins and turn your life around My first suggestion is to start applying more of your efforts toward a tool that probably deserves more time and...