Back to the Future (of Resumes)

Contributor: Michelle Dempsey

October 21st, 2015…

The futuristic date we all remember seeing punched into Marty McFly’s time-traveling vehicle of awesomeness is now upon us. For over 25 years we’ve watched Back to the Future II (along with I and III) without being able to shake the thought that the early 21st century may very well be filled with water-skimming hoverboards and sophisticated highways in the sky.

Well, here we are. We’ve made it. No hoverboards or roads in the sky, but rich with technological advances nonetheless. Suffice it to say, though, that while Marty McFly would have been highly impressed by the internet and the remote car starters of late, he would be at a huge disadvantage if he simply clicked “send” on his application email without knowing the REAL futuristic ways to land yourself the dream job.

Marty would have so much to learn about what it would take to get himself set up with a new career in the 21st century. His best first step in navigating this new world would be to collaborate with ReFresh Your Step, to ensure that his ride to success would be as smooth as hover boarding over water.

One of the first pieces of advice we’d give to Marty? Ditch the ancient “fax in your resume” technique – in fact, don’t even JUST email it in. Yes Marty, we know you’re really into this whole internet thing, so don’t worry – we have a few tricks up our sleeve for you that will let you use this “newfangled internet thing” for your job search in a whole new way!

  1. Social Media

Marty would obviously need to get with the times and create a social media presence. Then, he’d learn that interacting with the company of his dreams via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Pinterest or Google+ could help him secure a career without ever having to have actual interaction. Following a company’s social media account, liking their posts, re-tweeting their clever business ideas, sending a clever LinkedIn message are all surefire ways to get Marty noticed and start a conversation that could lead to an interview and even better, a job offer!

  1. Skype and FaceTime

Video conference calls may not have been Marty McFly’s specialty, but not to worry, we’ll brush him up on the basics of interviewing via Skype and FaceTime. Skype interviews are continuing to gain popularity, which is why ReFresh Your Step offers interview prep sessions which would help Marty not only look confident using said technology, but would also help him treat this techy interview as the REAL deal. Of course, it’s tempting to jump behind the screen dressed the part from the waist up, but we’d be inclined to remind Marty to cover up the Calvin Klein’s, as he’d do if he were walking into a live office interview.

  1. Smartphone-Ready Resumes

As new as the smartphone concept would be to Marty, we’re sure he’d be equally as shocked by the idea that his resume could be viewed on one. The truth is, most of our lives are handled from our smartphones. Employers are busy, and if your resume hits the inbox of an HR professional who has already left the office for the day – you (or Marty) would need to be sure that this piece of emailed gold would be compatible on their smartphone (or tablet!). ReFresh Your Step would be Marty’s partner in ensuring that his document’s layout and content would be prepared for optimal viewing in any new age technological device – so that his resume wouldn’t hit the trash bin just for not being smartphone (or 21st century) compatible.

Consider these three helpful tools the highways-in-the-sky for a ReFresh Your Step client. While we can’t propel your car off the ground, we can certainly help to propel your career to levels that you (or Marty McFly) would never have dreamed of! Great Scott!

It’s YOUR Career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

 

 

Quality Versus Quantity: Why it Matters for Your Job Search

I wish I had a dollar for every time a client mentions that he or she is “only applying to roles online” or “submitted 100 applications online over the last week” and is shocked no one reached out for an interview. Seriously; with all that money, I could have then justified buying the latest iGadget that will inevitably end up in my home anyway (sigh).

That “sigh” is lamenting both my household’s unexplainable need for Apple products as well as my clients’ equally unexplainable need for making their go-to job search strategy almost exclusively applying online. Let me clarify, though: this appears to be their go-to strategy before we start working together. When I delve further into the “why” behind their thinking, I am met with one of a few rationales:

  • I was told this is the way to go. I need to get as many applications in as I can!
  • I didn’t know of another way. I am just submitting as many applications as I can.
  • Isn’t this the best way? I want to apply for as many roles as possible and can do so in my jammies.

As much as these statements make me want to either bang my head against a wall or laugh (it depends on the day), I typically respond in kind and with the following point:

Your job search strategy should be about quality rather than quantity.

Any guesses about what I mean there? Bueller? Consider this:

Your resume is no longer a stand-alone document and it’s not all about your responsibilities; rather it must be a strategic marketing tool that focuses on your achievements and is aligned with your LinkedIn profile, use of the full LinkedIn platform, considers your interview prep, etc. Even if your resume and LinkedIn profile are both amazing and your LinkedIn use is top-notch, no one will bother to view either or invite you in for an interview if all you do is apply online willy-nilly (note: I need to use the term willy-nilly” more often).

Sidenote: Ever heard of an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)? This is the software that automatically scans your resume/application whenever you apply online. What happens next to your job application for that role is based on a keyword scoring system. Basically, even if your absolutely amazing resume submitted for the role indicates you are a great fit for the role but it is missing out on the keywords connected to said role, your whole application will be on a dead-end street and NOT in a recruiter’s inbox. Basically: APPLYING ONLINE IS (typically) A GINORMOUS WASTE OF TIME!

As such, here are my *Top 5 Strategies for a Quality Job Search:

1) Job Search Documents: Actually ensure that your resume and LinkedIn profiles are focused on your achievements, well-written, and supportive of one another (but not identical!).

2) Identify your Goal: Are you looking to move up in the same sector you are in? Are you looking to transition to a new sector? Regardless, what are the top 5 companies you wish to target and do you know anyone at any of them? Make lists!

3) Target for a Bull’s Eye: Regardless of whether or not jobs are available at a specific company, reach out to people at each target organization. When possible, leverage your connections and/or leverage yours to leverage theirs. Your goal is not first and foremost to get an interview but rather land an informational conversation. Doing so may very well lead to an interview but you have then bypassed the whole “online application to nowhere” route. Ask your connections to make connections for you, also offering to do the same. This goes a long way!

4) Messages: Consider your message when reaching out to people; remember, it’s not about a specific job at this point. Your message to individuals, whether it is a personal connection or not, is more focused on learning about the company and hearing his or her opinions on the organization, how that person landed a job there, and what advice he or she has for you. In short, show contacts that you value their opinion and they are more likely to go to bat for you and provide essential information about the company itself.

5) Apply Online…When Necessary: Look, I live in the digital age and spend just as much time on my iDevice as you do (see above); I get that you will likely need to apply online at some point but here are some extra considerations:

  • Identify the central keywords in the job description and tweak your resume for that specific role; remember to keep a main resume and save another version as the one you will use for a specific role. Minor modifications to your resume that reflect a specific job description will do wonders in getting you past the ATS (Note: you do NOT need to do this for your LinkedIn profile as that is not scanned automatically by software when you apply for a specific role. Rather, a person will look at the profile once you have gotten past the ATS and people are generally smarter than software programs. Generally.)
  • Apply online and let someone at the company know you did so because it is protocol but you wish to speak to someone about the role and overall organization. Request to know whom your contact suggests would be the ideal person to speak to regarding the role? Follow-up!

Bonus Tip! Track Yourself (a.k.a., Spreadsheets are Fun!): Look, I may be preaching to the choir here if you have Sheldon Cooper-ized your life (for my non Big Bang Theory readers, if you obsessively label everything and adore organization). Regardless, I suggest tracking your progress. Start with Point 2 and craft a spreadsheet that breaks down the companies you wish to target (aiming for 5-7 at first) and including any contacts you have. Note whom you reach out to, when, and the result. When needed, send gentle reminders to people for conversations or connecting emails and note that as well. Look at your progress and make alterations when needed.

Countless clients have reported being shocked at just how quickly this job search strategy overhaul has led to informational interviews, real interviews, and job offers. While applying online sounds like a good and the only route, placing some strategy and parameters around your search is a superb way to ensure a more efficient and effective to landing your next big role.

 

The Biggest Changes to Your Job Search

I was watching Back to the Future II the other day and noticed that “the future” on that infamous Delorean dashboard was 2015. 2015! Where are the hoverboards? Is anyone working on that? (actually, yes!) I find it hard to believe that we are in the year 2015 when 2005 feels like just yesterday.

In thinking of how quickly the last ten years have flown by, it dawned on me that this period has brought about some significant changes in handling a job search. As such, we present to you The Top Three Biggest Advancements in Job Searches, along with how to make some small changes to ensure these new developments work for you.

 

3) LinkedIn: It goes without saying that LinkedIn is one of the job search landscape’s biggest changes in recent years. While some regard it as the “professional Facebook” (not true!) and the profile as “just an online resume,” (also not true!) there is so much more to this significant career platform.

Scary Part: Not everyone loves LinkedIn and many more have just a very basic presence on there, believing they have fulfilled the LinkedIn requirement. Think again! People will look for you on LinkedIn and either not showing up or appearing like you don’t understand it can very easily work against you.

Make it Work for You: We suggest that you, regardless of level or sector, have a presence on LinkedIn and learn at least the basics of how it works, how hiring managers and recruiters use it, as well as a few “best practices” for effective LinkedIn profiles and messaging.

 

2) Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS): Not sure what an ATS is? Have you ever applied for a job on-line? If so (and that is the case for most at this point), your resume ­– and whole application – was automatically scanned by a computer program and scored based on how many key words in your application matched the key words for the job description. That score determines if your resume is sent to a hiring manger.

Scary Part: While you may be an excellent fit for a specific role, if your key words don’t match up, you are unlikely to move forward in the process (at least, if you only apply online).

Make it Work for You: Online job searches are great for researching what companies are hiring and you may have to apply online to at least be in their system. Take a second and tweak your resume to reflect their keywords before submitting it; small changes can have a big impact.

Additionally, and this is huge, go beyond applying online and connect with people directly at the organization to learn more about the role and company that can be helpful during an interview should you progress to that part of the process. The mini-goal? Start a conversation ­­– via email or LinkedIn – with an internal source; once you have an “in,” the ATS results won’t matter!

 

1) Social Media: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter are now just the basics; Instagram, Vine, and Tumblr are all the rage and who knows what social media platform will be knocking on your digital door tomorrow? Some clients find that knowledge of these platforms are helpful for their job search and others find it to be either a hindrance or not really a source for leads…or is it that they don’t know where to look?

Scary Part: Social media can work for most in terms of finding opportunities (see “Make it Work for You” below) but everyone, everyone needs to put their profile privacy settings on high (for each profile you have) and think twice about what you post. What seems like a good idea in the moment can work against you if you forget that not all of your connections care to see what you did last weekend or are interested in your political leanings.

Make it Work For You: If you are in a sector where knowledge of social media should be on your profile (i.e., advertising, digital marketing, etc.) or are applying to a social media company (a role at Facebook or Twitter, for example), make sure to include knowledge of social platforms on your resume as well as start using said platform more frequently. Companies can track these things and do like to see organic, true familiarity with the platforms themselves.

For everyone else, source leads by identifying some companies you wish to target for your job search and start following them on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter (at least). Interact with the companies and see with whom you can directly connect. Social media is a beautiful thing if you actually use it for digitally – and strategically – socializing!

 

Bonus! Smart Phones & Tablets: Ah, my iPhone; I don’t leave home without. Know the feeling? So do most hiring managers and recruiters; hiring work is often done on the fly these days, and that includes reviewing resumes for open roles. How does that impact you? See below:

Scary Part: Most “before” resumes that come my way need formatting work in addition to content overhauls. Poor formats are tough enough to read on a regular computer or laptop; add a smaller screen to the mix and your resume will likely head to the “trash” box in a matter of seconds.

Make it Work for You: If you know your resume format is a bit lacking, make some minor modifications to ensure it is visually appealing while still conservative. Some easy changes include updating the font to a sans serif (Calibri and Arial are easy on the eyes), selectively bolding a few key words or phrases that indicate your effectiveness or accomplishments, and using darker, muted colored bullet points (like dark blue or green) can jazz up even the most boring of resumes. Don’t forget to always send a PDF­­ ­­– Word documents can look different from device to device but PDFs are frozen!

 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am off to find a Kickstarter campaign for some of the other Back to the Future inventions that we NEED; who’s in to fund some self-tying shoes? They would look great on a hoverboard!

 

Please note that a version of this post was featured on the Job Hero blog.

 

Job Search Fails

Did you recently embark on a job search? Do you REALLY want a new role? Are you sure? If so, let’s go over some pointers that I like to believe are common sense but, judging by some face-slapping-in-shock experiences with clients (some just recently!), a refresher is needed:

Preface #1: I am not much older than you (let’s just say that we are in the same generation) so this is not coming from the perspective of an antiquated, doesn’t-get-your-generation Baby Boomer (though I believe we have a lot to learn from the older generation too!).

Preface #2: Yes, common sense is a real thing that will get you far. Similar to newspaper use, common sense seems to be on the decline. For the benefit of your career, please don’t fall victim to this sad trend.

Preface #3: These are all real stories; identifying points have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.

 

1) Texting During an Interview: Look, I love to text; it’s efficient, on my own time, and easier. I would prefer texting/Facebook Messaging/WhatsApping over an actual phone call any day. That said, please don’t text during an interview. Put. Your phone. Away! Bonus: Don’t just put it on vibrate; use the silencer mode.

2) Texting a Thank You Note: So, your interview is over, you feel great about your responses, and you are back to checking your phone. Text your mom/best friend/significant other about how you nailed the interview and are definitely getting the job. If at any point the following thought pops into your head, drop the phone and run away: “Hey, I am so good at texting and the interviewer loved me; I’ll just text my thank you!” Again, stop. Drop the phone. Run away from said phone until your common sense returns and then draft an email that you will send later that day once you had had a chance to review it. Bonus: An actual hand-written note, in addition to an email, is so rare these days that sending one is actually impressive.

3) Not Sending a Thank You At All: I still get shivers up my spine when I think of this one; a client once claimed he didn’t need to send a thank you because, “They really liked me and will hire me anyway.” Yes, they may have liked you and may still want to hire you regardless of whether or not you send a thank you but why gamble like that when it takes literally five minutes to send an email? Also, that “I’m infallible” perspective will likely end up hurting you more in the long run than you can possibly know.

4) Being Too Informal: If you haven’t picked up on it quite yet, I strongly believe in erring on the side of formality when it comes to one’s career search. Whether it’s your clothes in an interview or how you address an interviewer, your approach can make or break next steps. Please refer to the examples below.

 

  1. a) Dress For Success…Even If You Think You’re a Shoo-in: Earlier in my career, I worked for a prominent Wall Street bank and it was common practice for senior executives to request interviews for their college-aged children, relatives, close friends’ kids, etc. for different summer analyst roles. It was also standard practice to comply with said request (sorry, nepotism is real!). More often than not, the interviewee treated it as a real interview (since it was) and handled it with the utmost professionalism. One such student did not and showed up to a business-formal Wall Street bank dressed like her next stop was Burning Man. Furthermore, she made it  quite obvious during the interview that she believed she would just “get” the internship because her uncle was the Firm’s most senior C-suite execs. Let’s just say she didn’t “get” the role but your truly “got” to deliver the news to her uncle. Luckily, he understood!

 

  1. b) Address For Success (see what I did there?): Quite recently, I was working with a team on hiring an Executive Director role for a religiously affiliated non-profit organization. The candidate pool was narrowed down to three and final-round interviews started. One of the main hiring managers for this role was an ordained clergy member (a Rabbi) and while a fairly laid-back individual overall, she was surprised when a candidate referred to her by her first name during the interview. When it came time to determine who would get the job offer, she mentioned being put-off by the address gaffe and lack of respect for her role and she indicated wanting to go in a different direction. A new commandment: Thou shalt respectfully address your interviewers, especially if formal titles are involved!

 

If you are on this site and reading this post, I assume you truly want a great internship or job and I applaud you for that. A strong resume and LinkedIn profile will help you in that endeavor but so will using that innate common sense. It’s YOUR Career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew!

 

Could Your Smartphone Get You a Job?

Today’s technology has enabled smartphone users to stay connected with social media, the latest news, and newest apps almost anywhere. While it’s easy to check your friends’ status updates on Facebook and post up-to-the-minute accounts of your day on Twitter, perhaps there is now a more constructive use of down time with a smartphone – applying for jobs.

iApply on the Fly

A growing number of Fortune 500 companies have application sites customized for a smartphone screen, allowing job applicants to now peruse job openings and apply on the fly. From McDonald’s to Macy’s, an increasing number of companies are utilizing apps that allow professionals to apply for open positions on their iPhones, Droids, or other web-enabled devices. It is worth noting, though, that this movement may make things easier for potential employees, but adds a few extra steps to ensure the resume is noticed (by a system or actual human being).

It’s All About the Formatting, Baby

While most big companies will use apps that are formatted for a smartphone screen, it is still important to make your resume stand out both bigger and smaller displays. This can be easy if you know how to properly format your resume to gain maximum attention from a possible new employer. Pick a strong – but not overpowering – format that allows for “easy scanning” of your information, include a section of keyword or core competencies, and emphasize your accomplishments.

Better Format, Better Resume

Truthfully, a strong format is especially important here so let’s dig a little deeper: use certain key elements in your resume design to make your document engaging, but not “busy” or too overwhelming for a hiring manager. Our brains are always looking to break down information into smaller pieces that are easier to process – and technology is available to help do just that. Techniques like shading and bolding will help your resume seem easy to read while bringing out important pieces of information that will catch an employer’s eye.

Implementing these formatting techniques is something a good resume writer will know how to do and can utilize an individual’s experience to create an effective and attractive document. A customized resume will help draw an employer’s attention and help emphasize an employee’s best assets. After all, even on a small screen, a great resume could be the key to getting the job!

It’s YOUR Career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

LinkedIn Series – Expert Power

Career advancement is what we all strive for. Using LinkedIn can be a very helpful tool to show how you’re an expert in your field. Staying current is necessary for both currently employed professionals and individuals searching for employment. That brings us to a very important question:  Actually, have you ever even noticed it?

LinkedIn truly is like the professional Facebook (but so help me G-d if they introduce a chat function); there is now a newsfeed-esque component that you see right when you log in to LinkedIn and that is fed by what goes into your Activity feed and those of your Connections. Go to your profile and look at your Activity feed–we’ll wait.

See it? My guess is that the feed is mostly full of, “You are connected to so-and-so” and the occasional, “You are not following xyz company.” Yawn. That filters directly into the Newsfeed of all your connections and they are likely skipping right over it. Why not REALLY utilize this section and indicate your sector knowledge in the process? Post relevant articles!

You might find it a challenge, being that there are already not enough hours in the day, to post a bazillion articles. Good news: it’s quality over quantity. All you need is a minimum of five minutes per WEEK to utilize LinkedIn for posting relevant news articles and trends that are emerging in your sector. Why would you do this? Three letters: SME. To be a Subject Matter Expert, and to communicate that expertise via LinkedIn is a subtle–but strategic–opportunity to broadcast just how knowledgeable you are of your particular industry.

If you are currently employed it’s not a suggestion but a necessity to know current and future trends. It isn’t only important for you–the professional–but also for your company. Your expert power will speak volumes to your commitment with the company/sector and it will more likely than not give you a better understanding of how your sector is evolving.

If you are not employed, LinkedIn serves as a platform allowing you to connect with the professional world without having to step into an office. Right from home, while your search for a job continues, you can boost your LinkedIn presence by posting relevant articles to your LinkedIn profile. Others will be able to view them and get an understanding of your expert power within a given industry.

In doing so, you are still demonstrating your SME-ness via LinkedIn and that can work wonders for your job search. Hiring managers and recruiters will see this about you and that, alone, can increase the likelihood that they will reach out to connect. The main idea is to continue to grow professionally regardless if you’re employed or not.  Every time you post something on LinkedIn, you are upping the ante on just how savvy you are and the powers that be will respond in kind.

Now that you are up-to-speed on how post sector-specific newsworthy info to your LinkedIn profile, let’s move on to why you want Siskel & Ebert to give your profile two thumbs up!

Until next time, it’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

 

By Sarah van Windt – Communications & Business Development Intern

LinkedIn Series – Summary & URL

They say first impressions are everything. What you decide to write about in your LinkedIn Summary is going to be that all-important first impression to a potential employer.  Looking beyond your job title and that spiffy picture you have up, the summary should, in a nutshell, make a complete circle from what you have done so far to your future career path. Don’t feel the need to tell your whole professional life story; rather, let your character shine through. Remember this is a professional social media site, but it is still about you. Let people get to know what you’re about, and what makes you the unique professional that stands out.

Utilize a nice, easy writing style to ensure maximum comprehension by the reader. LinkedIn provides a maximum of 2,000 characters to complete your summary; use them wisely! If you are actively searching for a role don’t be afraid to indicate that. Additionally, you should provide an abbreviated list of your core competencies so people viewing your profile can truly understand what skills you bring to the table. Make your summary a powerful one so that it truly represents who you are, what you have to offer.

Another very important profile component people tend to overlook is having a unique URL. Searches on LinkedIn are done by real names, and because there are many people with the same name, your URL will never automatically be your actual name. Instead, you are assigned a URL that is a combination of your name and a whole series of numbers. Not very professional looking, but that’s okay because you can change that.

If you have a rare(ish) name you might be lucky enough to pick a URL using your name. If someone has taken your preferred URL name, you can try putting in your middle name or initial. Additionally, you can opt for extra branding–add a higher-level degree (MBA, PhD) or even a geographic location (NYC, ATL). The goal is ensure your new URL is more memorable and easier to share. Customizing your URL doesn’t only look better on your profile, but it also demonstrates your technology knowledge. Having a unique URL looks more professional and you can even add it to your business cards. Changing your URL is easy enough; directions for how to do so are below:

  • While logged in to LinkedIn, click on “Profile” and then “Edit Profile”
  • Click “Edit” next to your current URL positioned underneath your profile picture (some people may need to click “Contact Info” and then “Edit” depending on certain LinkedIn settings).
  • On the next screen, scroll down slightly and look on the right-hand side of the page. You will see a box that says “Your public profile URL” box.  Click the “Customize your public profile URL” link.
  • Type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box.
  • Click Set Custom URL.

Note: Your custom URL must contain between 5 – 30 letters or numbers (please do not use spaces, symbols, or special characters).

Now that your Summary is complete and you have a unique URL, let’s discuss the power of the SME! Not sure what that even means? Stay tuned!

Until next time, it’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

 

By Sarah van Windt – Communications & Business Development Intern

LinkedIn Series – Profile Basics & Your Resume

You have your basic LinkedIn profile set up and have included (please) a snazzy headshot, but how do you work in your resume? Should your profile and resume match? Although your resume is an important part of your LinkedIn profile, they’re not the same thing. In fact, the two are more like supportive siblings than identical twins: they should complement one another but not match (exception: your basic contact and job info should always be consistent between the two!).

While completing your LinkedIn profile, keep in mind that it should be a good self-representation of where you want to go with your career while indicating that you have the foundation for it (again, similar to your resume…but not identical). Your profile should be straight to the point, but unique at the same time. Remember that others will be viewing your profile. It is a good idea for someone else (who knows you and your work) to review it and provide constructive feedback to ensure you are on the right track. View your LinkedIn profile as your image. Build it accordingly to create a powerful reflection.

Once you have the work/education basics in place, it is time to flesh it out with details. Concentrate on your accomplishments for each role and provide context if that would suit your needs. Additionally, indicate your Core Competencies in the Summary section (though they will be referenced again in the Skills/Expertise section; more on that later!).  Remember to read our post on Resume Don’ts (parts I and II); though it’s true that the two should not be identical, many of our guidelines here still ring true for LinkedIn!

We have much to cover regarding LinkedIn profiles–today’s post barely scratches the surface on how to handle the basic profile. Next up:

  • Creating a strong summary and how to obtain a unique URL.

Other upcoming profile topics include:

  • The importance of outside validation and strategies for obtaining it.
  • Why projects matter and how to work them in to your profile.
  • An overview on increasing your “Subject Matter Expert” presence and why you want to do that at all.

After we cover the profile, we’ll move into the amazing features built into LinkedIn and discuss how to maximize your usage of each one. Until then, remember, it’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

 

By Sarah van Windt – Communications & Business Development Intern

LinkedIn Series – Resource For Success

If there is a heaven on earth for HR managers and recruiters, it is definitely LinkedIn. Over the last several years LinkedIn has quietly moprhed into a vibrant resource for job-seeking and networking professionals.

Why is LinkedIn such a powerful tool in today’s job world? For almost every professional at any level and within (arguably) most every sector, LinkedIn is largely considered the best online professional networking tool out there. It allows you to create a powerful profile in which, if filled out correctly, will display your strengths and experiences as well as best position you for your target audience. Additionally, the platform allows for extensive research into sectors, companies, and people on top of its key messaging system, job board options, and additional perks just for being a member of the site (and a non-paying one at that).

The question remains, though: are you maximizing LinkedIn for your professional development purposes? Moreover, is your profile truly effective? Have you learned effective messaging techniques to utilize in connecting with people? Do you even know what those Skills/Expertise Endorsements are used for and how important they are to recruiters? LinkedIn is more than just a profile platform and it is in your best interest to know how to best utilize it for your future needs.

Stayed tuned and check back to our LinkedIn Series for some key tips essential for your success story using LinkedIn. We will be discussing a range of related topics that will be vital to your ongoing career success; some of our topics will include how to strategically improve your profile, understanding the logic behind your Skills/Expertise (and the endorsements that come with those), the most effective techniques out there for connecting with people, and so much more!

Of course, don’t forget to connect with us on, what else, LinkedIn! Until then, it’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

 

By Sarah van Windt – Communications & Business Development Intern

The Power of Interns Part II

Having an internship is a must, and a very important part of any path you may follow after college. You gain real-world experience in your field of study­–I know I have–and perhaps even a potential job for the future. But you do have to land the internship first. What’s that differentiating factor that sets young professionals apart to get the internship they want? Our suggestion? Distinguish yourself from your competition. AJ Jacobs wrote a great piece on this topic.

Of course, being an intern is most likely not going to be the most glamorous job you’ll ever have. Depending on the field, most likely than not you’ll be doing the bits of work that makes your employer’s life easier. Even though you might not be handling big jobs, you will get exposure to the field of your interest. All of this experience that you’ll gain is perfect for building your resume. Of course, if you prove yourself, perhaps the employer will let you take on bigger–and more interesting–responsibilities.

Being an intern for a career advisor has already opened up my eyes to many things I didn’t expect. There are different fields that even though I might not be familiar with, I am given the opportunity to learn about them. It is a lot different to sit in a classroom reading text book after textbook as supposed to being out there in the workforce. I’m now able to utilize all the material that I’ve learned in the classroom, making that connection, and use it in real life. It is a very exciting time to take action and execute that knowledge in real life. The career-advising field is something that continuously grows with many advances especially through the openings of so many online jobs. Being an intern for a career advisor will open so many doors due to the fact that the experience gained from this kind of internship is welcomed in almost any business environment.

So what is it that one might expect from an internship? This is very personal, and might be different for every individual. The main gain from an internship is definitely experience. Internships will also provide insight of what is happening in the targeted industry. This is very helpful in terms of knowing what your next step might be or what path to follow. Lastly–and one of the most important gains–is expect to make contacts. Nowadays, you cannot go for your dream job without creating contacts and networking with people that will able to help you get it. People in a company are always looking for the right person for the job, which is why it is so important to make as many connections as possible. You never know, you might just be talking to your future employer.

How have internships benefitted you? Email us to let us know and, until then, it’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

 

By Sarah van Windt – Communications & Business Development Intern