July 22, 2013
Over the weekend I went to a family BBQ with my fiancÚ and his daughters. Everyone asked about our upcoming wedding and wanted to know how everything was progressing. It was great talking about things other than LinkedIn… at least for a little while. You see, it always happens. Whether I am out with friends or family or even out and about with strangers, I find myself getting into conversations about LinkedIn, job search, executive branding and ultimately their future.
The family BBQ was no exception. After a short conversation about the pros and cons of Windows 8, my fiancÚ’s cousin confided in me, “Donna, I am stagnating at my job. I’ve been there for 21 years. I need to do something, I just don’t know what…”
He loves his job but he hasn’t seen a promotion in years. He’s finding himself bored and frustrated. He wants to move on but he’s paralyzed. He doesn’t know what to do or even where to start.
“What do I do? I am overwhelmed by the prospect of just getting started”
“John, I want you to do 3 things– 3 easy things that will get you moving in the right direction. Can you do 3 things?”
“Sure, I can do 3 things.”
Rather than keep it among family, here it is for everyone to use….
You are going to need to save money for upcoming job search related expenses. You will need to up date your resume. Sure you can do it yourself but you are not a resume writer and face it, you will clean out your garage before you sit down and actually revamp your resume. Same thing with your LinkedIn profile. Why bother doing it yourself when we will optimize your LinkedIn profile for you? And that’s not all! You will also need money for a business headshot and possibly a new outfit for future job interviews.
How much money will you need?
It depends on where you fall on the corporate ladder and where you live in this crazy world but I would save $1,000 – $5,000. Sure you can get a cheap resume and you can go to Walmart for a cheap headshot but you get what you pay for…. start saving now so you don’t have to go the cheap, ugly route.
In a notebook, start writing down the names of people you know. Start in the present and work your way back in time. Who are your current colleagues? Who are colleagues from your current position that left for greener pastures? Write down vendors, customers, friends, service providers… Think about the company you worked at before your current position. Who was your boss? Your colleagues back then? As you write down their names, can you think of anything specific about them? Do you remember their key business strengths? Do you remember a moment when they impressed you? Jot that memory down beside their name. Don’t worry about whether they liked you or whether they remember you. Just write down their names and any memorable detail. Keep moving back in time… in fact, go all the way back to when you were in school.
Are you wondering how many people should be in this list? It depends on your age and the length of your career. Would you say that you meet 25 people a year? Multiply 25 by the age you were when you started your career. That should give you a ballpark figure.
Now what? It’s time to reconnect. Look them up on LinkedIn or Google. Give them a call. You want to start re-establishing contact with them now rather than when you need them. There’s nothing worse than receiving a call from someone only to find out they are calling because they need something from you. You don’t want to go that route. Instead, call them up for one reason and one reason only… because you are curious about what’s going on in their world. Catch up! Reconnect! Don’t mention you hate your job and you need something new. Just call to reconnect and talk about them.
“Hey Rita! It’s John! Remember me? We worked together back at Widgets Inc. It’s been years but I was thinking about you just the other day and I just had to reach out to see how you are doing!”
“David, It’s John, your old employee from Widgets Inc! I am calling to see what the heck you’ve been up to! I recently reconnected with Rita and we were both wondering what happened to you after you left Widgets Inc?”
There’s plenty of time to talk to them about new opportunities later. Right now you want to simply get them talking about themselves AND REMEMBERING YOU! Everyone loves to say, “It’s all about who you know” but I believe it’s actually more like, “It’s all about WHO KNOWS YOU!”
Eventually you will use this list to create your LinkedIn network. But right now, I just want you to concentrate on getting the list and reconnecting in the real world.
It’s a Google World out there. The people who are successful are the people who are easily found. In order to be easily found, you need to determine how people are trying to find you… especially if they don’t know your name. What are your strengths? Core competencies? Abilities? What applications do you know? What methodologies do you use?
Remember that notebook you used to document your network? Get it out and start writing down your keywords.
Here’s an example for a salesperson: Account Manager
New Business Development
Sandler Sales process
Notice how we didn’t use words like problem solver or dynamic or professional? You want to find words that are very specific to you and what you do. Problem solver or dynamic could pertain to pretty much anyone!
Don’t worry if you struggle during this exercise. You are used to doing your job… not describing it. You may have to spend time reliving in your head your day to day activities, processes and procedures. This may sound very strange but the one thing I have found working with thousands of professionals from all over the world is that very few can describe what they do nor can they explain how what they do impacts the business as a whole.
You may have to ask for a copy of your job description. You may have to ask the people you interact with on a daily basis for their input as to how your work impacts them. Don’t be shy! Go ahead and ask, “How does my work help you?”
In addition to your job description, you can use LinkedIn’s Skills page to help you determine your keywords.
Now that you have a list of your keywords, start branching out. Jot down some key accomplishments related to those keywords. The more you write the more you will get closer to what you do and what you love to do.
Eventually, these keywords and accomplishments will help you with your resume and LinkedIn profile. But right now, I don’t want you to worry about that… just focus on your keywords and some key accomplishments.
Don’t expect to get all of this done in an afternoon or even weekend. It’s going to take time and A LOT OF HEAVY THINKING.
Once you save some money, document your network and identify your keywords… the next step is taking all this work and translating it into a POWERFUL LinkedIn profile and resume. Check out our LinkedIn Profile services and our products for help on your LinkedIn profile. Keep your eyes on this blog for my next article on this very subject!
If you have any comments or questions, SCROLL DOWN to the comments section. I’d love to hear from you!
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