A Recruiter’s Perspective: Staying Ahead in 2013 with LinkedIn

February 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

This is a guest post from local recruiter Stuart TenHoor, who provides some valuable insight on how he uses LinkedIn to evaluate potential candidates with some tips on how you can harness LinkedIn for your Job Search!

Are you using online resources to maximum benefit for your job search?

Are you using online resources to maximum benefit for your job search? Learn more here.

Today’s everyday technological advances are head spinning, and that applies in the job finding and career building arena as well. Who would have looked for a job without a resume in past years? Today, the question is who would look for a job without being on LinkedIn? As a legal search consultant (recruiter/headhunter others might call me), when I look for talent to help my law firm or corporate clients, I do it in multiple ways. One way I always use is to check a candidate’s resume against LinkedIn. Essentially LinkedIn is making advances toward replacing the resume as the most important job finding and career building tool.

LinkedIn does three things for you. First, it establishes a certain aura of “being with it.” Some employers would see you as being behind the times or not taking yourself seriously if you lack a well written and informative summary of your career on line. Further, most entries have a photo with them. Ten years ago I frowned on candidates with photos on their resumes; today, the savvy entries all include a photo. If you don’t have one, probably someone you know has a digital camera or smart phone that can produce quality photos. You don’t have to look like a movie star to produce a confident looking photo.

Second, you control entirely what goes in your LinkedIn profile so, as in writing a resume, put your best foot forward. The rules for a LinkedIn entry are much looser. Not everything should go it your entry–just the highlights. So spend some time thinking about how you want to present yourself on LinkedIn; in other words, those things that show you headed in a clear direction. I will uniformly ask a candidate to rewrite her resume if it tries to be “all things to all people.” When I work with a Supreme Court law clerk looking for a position, their resume is invariably one page with a lot of white space. So do your best to project how your abilities will meet an employer’s need, as succinctly as possible. The more your confidence oozes out of your resume/LinkedIn entry, the greater your chance of landing an interview for a job you want.

Finally use LinkedIn in searching for information about employers that interest you. Find out who the President and key officers or the person interviewing you is by first using the employer’s website. Your next step is to then look up the individuals on LinkedIn and see their career paths. You might find out that a prospective interviewer went to your high school or college, or they are active in a civic association of which you are also a member. Remember employers want to hire people that “fit in” and learning about potential commonality that you share with a prospective employer’s key people can help you win big bonus points.

LinkedIn is an excellent tool which should be in the “toolbox” of every job seeker and career builder. I am sure there are many uses I have not even begun to tap into even with my years of experience with it! There are many low-cost seminars and how to use it for your career advancement purposes. Explore all tools to help you find that next good job but be sure that LinkedIn is one of them!

Stuart TenHoor is President of TenHoor Legal Search Services, Inc. and has over two decades of experience matching candidates with the right employers. You can learn more about him at stuarttenhoor.com.

Want help with updating your LinkedIn profile? Contact us at410-782-3002 xt 501 to schedule an appointment!

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Need a Holiday Time Out?

December 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

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Ready for a break from the holidays? Join us on 12/12/12 for an informal evening of delicious nibbles and great company to refocus, re-center, and re-energize yourself!

The holiday music and commercials started the day after Halloween.  Christmas trees and Halloween costumes and candy were side by side in stores.  The holidays seem to arrive earlier and earlier each year.  Everywhere you turn there are commercials exhorting us to buy and cook our way into the hearts and minds of those around us!  Can the holidays live up to they hype?

 

  • Would you like to not just SURVIVE the holidays but THRIVE?
  • Want to figure out ways to protect your time and energy for things that are truly important?
  • Need help setting boundaries with difficult people?

Join the coaches of the Pinnacle Empowerment Center on Wednesday, December 12 at 6:00 p.m. and spend some time with other like-minded ladies for a time out from the holiday madness!  Come eat, drink, and mingle with us as we discuss and share ways to keep from getting overwhelmed and reconnect with the purpose of the season.  Here’s a taste of what we came up with just informally discussing how to survive the holidays:

  • Not everything has to be perfect!
  • Take a few minutes every day to bring joy to someone.
  • View the holiday festivities as “optional” rather than “required”. You can’t be everywhere.
  • Make sure you make time to get together with people who inspire you – surround yourself positive energy.
  • Don’t take it personally – realize that others around you are stressed and reacting to the holiday drama themselves, its not you. Don’t get drawn into it.
  • Don’t discuss politics, education or money. If these come up, excuse yourself and indulge in another piece of pie!
  • Keep it simple – don’t let the holiday momentum overtake you or allow others to push you into things or events you don’t want to do.
  • Refocus the holiday away from the material and on sharing the traditions with those you love. Even starting a new tradition can bring joy.
  • Let others help . Delegate or hire out tasks you don’t enjoy or don’t have time to do.

Take a holiday time out for yourself and join us for a wonderful evening to help you re-focus, re-center, and re-energize yourself for the holidays!  Complimentary coaching sessions are available so bring a friend! For more information visit our website or contact us at 410-799-1097 or info (at) empowerctr.org!

Posted by:  Heather C.

Finding My Tribe

September 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

Don’t we look like a fun bunch? Come hang out with us at Mama Lucia’s on October 23rd to support the Pinnacle Empowerment Center! Photo by: Kristin Mentz.

Going into Pinnacle hardy ever seems like work. From the outset, I’ve left meetings at the Empowerment Center energized and ready to tackle the latest project. It has been one of the most exciting nonprofits I have ever encountered. The main reason is because the women I’ve had the privilege of working with and getting to know.

I’ve met a Women’s Commission Hall of Famer who shares my love of camping, a retired government employee with the soul of a poet, a teacher who spent the last several years working in the Middle East and takes gorgeous photos, and a woman with years of nonprofit experience that freely embraced the new and unknown of social entrepreneurship. Not to mention the social entrepreneur, the former PTA president with serious crabbing skills, and my partner in frugality hints and tips who in her past walked away from a high powered career in banking to remake herself.

Every day, I have been inspired. It is impossible to tell all their stories. But what I found at Pinnacle was a tribe. My own band of Sweet Potato Queens, Ya-Yas, or Red Hatters. A tribe of women that each and every day wake up inspired, energized, and eager to take a step to improve her community and leave it better than she found it. Our morning meetings often segue into interesting conversations about business, families, and society that usually leave me thinking about more than just the details of the upcoming conference or the coming training calendar.

From the beginning, one of the things that we said over and over during the start-up of Pinnacle Empowerment Center was that we wanted to be a place where women could come and be supported, inspired, energized, and informed. In short, empowered.

I think the best way to do that is to find your tribe. Now we want to reach out to you and ask you to help us make this tribe bigger and better! All you have to do is come have lunch or dinner at Mama Lucia’s of Columbia on Tuesday, October 23rd. When you present the flyer below, 10% of your check will be donated to Pinnacle Empowerment Center. If you can come between 5 to 7 pm, our tribe wants to meet you so you too can join the fun!

Come hang out with us and help us expand our tribe and keep the energy going. Help us make Pinnacle Empowerment Center a place where women can come and be supported, inspired, energized, and informed. Help us build a community to support women and together, we can all achieve our goals.

Mamma Lucia – Fundraiser Flyer

Download the flyer and bring the coupon with you to Mama Lucia’s on Tuesday, October 23rd to help support Pinnacle Empowerment Center and our work helping women in our community achieve life and career success!

Posted by:  Heather C.

Reading Roundup

September 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

We’ll miss you summer. Welcome autumn and finding our new school and business year groove!

Labor Day is past and all of us here at Pinnacle are trying to find our back in school routines!  We’ve been mulling over different things and here’s some of the interesting things we’ve run across on the web this week!

Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich has a bombastic style.  I keep coming back to his site because he’s not afraid to call a duck, a duck.  His posts are challenging and dead on.  I really liked this one about networking with some great how-to’s on Natural Networking.    You can further find him on Yahoo! with this great article “Worst. Career Advice. Ever.”  

If  you’ve ever thought about working from home, wondering which leads are legit is usually the next question.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of scams out there.  On the flip side, this article from Monster has some great tips on evaluating work at home opportunities.

And because I have become a HUGE fan of Margaret Heffernan, I found this article called  “Marker Movement” Could Change How You Manage rather interesting.  My favorite line from the article:  “So here’s my question: If people are so creative in their own time with their own money, why is it so hard to build and sustain such levels of creativity at work?”  Are you more creative on your own time than on the company’s?

And finally, I stumbled on Nerd Fitness via the Time Management Ninja.  Steve posted this great article on “10 Ways to Gamify Your Life” which I loved.  The article points out that as kids we manage to make games out of all kinds of random events and encourages us to try it as adults.  Gamifying things like exercise or trips to the grocery store can help us meet our goals by making these tasks more fun. What are you going to gamify this week?

Posted by:  Heather C.

What’s Your Hook?

June 8, 2012 § 1 Comment

He’s just waiting for the right hook!

I am transitioning from PEC Executive Director to Volunteer so I sat down with Cindy and Maria this week and asked a few questions about differentiating myself in what feels like a really crowded freelance marketplace. They asked me some hard questions, but ones I needed to be able to answer.

The first question they had was, “Well, what do you want to do?” I was able to answer that question. Thanks to a site called Freelance Switch, I had already worked out my hourly rate and based on that was able to set a goal amount of freelance work to bring in. Then, Maria asked, “What’s your hook? What can you fix for potential clients?”

The very first thing they told me, “Don’t worry about what other people are doing out there.” Basically, keep my focus on myself and what value I bring to clients. Make sure I can articulate that and that its evident on my Linked IN profile and my blog.

Cindy recommends commenting in LinkedIn Groups. Not comments selling something or promoting my own blog, but comments that add substance to the conversation or ask a question to get some feedback from other experts in the group. I also learned that you can see who has viewed your LinkedIn Profile depending on the privacy settings of their account. Cindy recommends checking it at least weekly as it only shows the most recent views on the Basic Account (to see more you have to upgrade). From there, she said I can choose to connect with them.

Both Cindy and Maria recommended using my blog as a way to showcase my talents and introduce resources. As a freelancer, I was concerned about how much to put on the blog. In this day and age, blogs are another research source for people working on projects. Some people will look at your information and be able to use it and others will look at it for an idea and decide that the learning curve is more than they want to tackle and might be inclined to hire me to do it. Lisa told me long ago about freelancing, “Not everyone is a potential client.” I should share the knowledge. The application of that knowledge is where the client will hire me.

To get more readers on my blog, I need to engage in some electronic networking! Cindy and Maria asked me “What are the top blogs?” Once I find those, they recommended commenting on them with information that adds to the conversation (not blatant self-promotion). Cindy said like she recommends for her clients, find the CEO’s and top people I want to work with and follow their blogs and Twitter accounts. Retweeting their posts is a great way to share information with others.

My final question was how do I tell people in my network I am seeking gigs without looking like I am working them over? I am uncomfortable with the idea of sending out a mass email. Cindy reminded me that networking isn’t all about me. It’s about getting to know people and helping them. Cindy suggested that I send out a note to select people in my network and say something to the effect, “Thank you for your support! Let’s work together and see if we can increase our leads. Can you forward this to two people or send me two leads and I will do the same for you.” as a mechanism for starting the conversation. (Unfortunately, this part of the conversation then degenerated into this.)

Maria and Cindy both said, don’t forget the power of Thank You. When you do get a lead or assistance from someone in your network, take time to say “thank you”.  Now please excuse me.  I have some thank yous to do!

You can have a great conversation with Cindy & Maria at the free monthly Job Clubs and Empowerment Circles at Pinnacle Empowerment Center.  

No Boys Allowed: Women-only Networking

May 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

It is a rare but always wonderful day when I get to spend time in the office face to face with Lisa, Cindy, & Maria. Yesterday we were all together and as always, I walked out there having learned something new and feeling inspired. Cindy showed me how to add Volunteer Experience to my LinkedIn profile (it’s under “Add Sections” which is right under the grey summary block).

Maria and Cindy at the Howard County Money Matters Fair in March 2012 at the Howard County Library.

I had a chance to ask the ladies if they had run across anything interesting on the web lately and Cindy pointed me to Tory Johnson’s Women for Hire Site. Tory linked to a Forbes article by Stacy Gordon entitled “Why We Need Women-Only Networks”. Cindy agreed that women-only networking events were beneficial because women do network differently from men and it is a place where women do feel more comfortable. She noted that while you do want to stay career-focused, more personal comments about childcare or work/life balance are receiving differently in a women-only environment.

I asked Cindy that given the fact that the workplace is made up of a variety of people does women-only networking do us a disservice? Cindy agreed there are some drawbacks. All women events are great, especially when you’re just getting started and it is a great learning experience. But you do need to participate in networking events with men to further your career.

She cautioned that if you do the same women-only events over and over, you can get stuck. Over time, these groups can get cliquey and people don’t actually circulate which defeats the purpose of participating. Going to a networking event is not meeting a friend for lunch and you have to expand your horizons if you want to advance your career or build your business.

Cindy recommended targeting networking events based on your goals once you are more comfortable networking. She said you don’t have to hit every networking event and come home with 100 business cards. Find one or two events that meet your needs and focus on making a few real and solid connections at the event. Everyone can spot the serial networker/business card collector a mile away!

I took full advantage of having Cindy and Maria at the same table and hit them up for tips on how to get started networking.

Cindy & Maria’s Tips:

  • Go with a more extroverted person who can help you mingle.
  • Identify the safe groups where you would feel comfortable to get yourself started.
  • Go with a purpose in mind.
  • Its not all about what they can do for you, learn as much as you can about others as well.
  • Prepare your elevator speech in advance.
  • You don’t need to take a 100 cards, just 5 good ones – Quality over Quantity. Take a few minutes to jot down some notes on the back of business cards of how you met them.
  • Follow up – do send a personalized message on Linked In. “Enjoyed chatting with you about…” or a short email. Don’t just use the generic Linked In message!
  • Come with other events and information that you can share that would be of interest to people you meet.
  • Remember – It is ultimately about building a relationship with people.

In the meantime, got any recommendations for great networking events in the area? Have an opinion on all-women events versus the more traditional events?

Posted by: Heather Comstock

“The Monkey Dances for Money” and Other Sage Advice

May 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

There are so many great writers out there on the internet and we enjoy the other perspectives, not to mention great tips and tricks for managing career, finances, and time (not unlike the topic tracks at the Women’s Empowerment Conference – shameless plug!). Enjoy!

 Spring Cleaning Your Career

An employer hires you to solve his problems,” Sheffield says. “The single best indicator that you’re right for the job is an example of where you’ve solved other people’s problems.” We’ll continue to say it – You have to be able to communicate your value!

 Portfolio of Work

And speaking of communicating your value, creating a portfolio is a great way to do that. Even if you never carry it around with you, compile it and reference it when updating your resume and LinkedIn profile.  Its a great tool to help you keep track of your accomplishments.

 The Wrong Place and The Right Place To Win In Your Life

What REALLY matters? If you know, then you can evaluate opportunities to support what you value and your goals. Ultimately, you’ll be happier and more successful.

 How to Make Money Online

If you’ve ever been tempted to make money online, check out this post at Seth Godin’s blog with some fantastic advice on how to get started and what not to do!

 Trading Time for Money

The monkey dances for money” J. D. Roth is told by his Spanish tutor. His article tackles the psychology of how he chooses to spend his time and his money. Great perspective on how time, money, and finance are linked!

 What have you been reading? Are you following any great blogs? Share your favorite inspirational sites with us.

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