Should your LinkedIn profile say you’re a consultant?

27 03 2011

There are a lot of people out there looking for opportunities. Many experienced professionals take consulting assignments in order to pay the bills or keep them active in the industry. This is great and many consultants end up receiving job offers from the companies they work for upon completion of their assignments. Others do well and gain valuable experience that builds their resumes and contributes to landing future positions.

What I often notice as I browse LinkedIn profiles is many people in this situation post their current roles and place “Consultant” in the job title. Unless you are a true consultant who wishes to jump from company to company working on special projects do not put Consultant as your job title on LinkedIn. I suggest using the title that would be assigned to the role that you are filling. I’m in no way suggesting that you be at all misleading. I feel that you should include the fact that you are in a temporary role in the details for your position.

My reason for not using the word “Consultant” in your title is that it’s directly going against your reason for updating your profile, assuming you are looking for future full-time employment, is that when staffing professionals search for you on LinkedIn they will often assume that you are seeking future consulting roles.

As with most web-based searches there are weighted elements that are used for quantifying results. In the case of LinkedIn job title is the most heavily weighted. To prove this try doing a LinkedIn search for someone with your exact job title and I’ll bet that you’ll come up in your search. Further evidence can be seen when you conduct a search and your result yields profiles of people who have only included job titles in their profiles. Surely, with over 8,000,000 LinkedIn profiles, your key words would come up in thousands of completely filled out profiles, yet people with job titles matching your search always come up.

If you want to get hired you must think like the people looking to hire. How will they search for you? What words will they choose to find people doing what you want to be doing? Once you’ve thought about it take a second look at the job titles in your profile.

I’d love to hear your opinions regarding this and other post on this blog.





LinkedIn Groups are going through some changes

24 03 2011

If you are a member of the worlds most recognized professional social media site you have most likely noticed some changes lately. I’ve been using LinkedIn now for about two years and within the last 6 months upgraded to a premium account. Over the last two months or so I’ve been noticing a lot of changes, mostly in the group sections. I’ve noticed things like Public Groups, new fancy icons for new discussions within my groups list, and even a new tab in my groups for jobs and job discussions.

First, I’ll talk about the Public Groups. There have been countless blogs out there discussing if they should make their LinkedIn groups public or keep them private. It doesn’t really mater to me because LinkedIn has taken a lot of the power from group owners. I used to enjoy being the group owner and it provided special perks for me to build my network and touch base with targeted members of LinkedIn.

For example, If you were the owner of a private group you could actually see the email address for each person who requested membership in your group. This gave you the opportunity to contact them regardless of your connection status on LinkedIn, truly making it pay off to own a group. This feature has now been removed, what a bummer.

Also, the Jobs and Jobs discussions issue is shaking things up. As a recruiter I post targeted jobs in groups that I’m a member of. It used to be great because if someone was seeking opportunities they could easily click on the jobs tab and browse recently posted opportunities from fellow group members. Now there is an extra step. While the extra click is quite easy I fear that many infrequent users will not notice the additional job opportunities and essentially make the site less effective for professionals to use as a tool in their career search.

I can why LinkedIn is making the changes. They see opportunity to make more money from the great community that they have developed. They want to close loop holes and put more information out on the web, via public groups, to pull more professionals into the system, Well, that may work but only time will tell.

I just hope that if they are going to make these changes that they will increase the benefits for preferred members. I don’t see LinkedIn slowing down anytime in the near future but I’m interested to see if something better will be out there 5 years from now.

What are you comments? Have you noticed other changes lately? Is there something else out there already that compares? I’d love to hear from you.





Are you speed dating or job hunting?

13 01 2011

Speed dating rarely results in long term relationships. How many of us have heard a married couple answer, “Oh, we met at a speed dating night down at the bar”, when asked how they met? Not many of us, I would imagine. With internet sites becoming extremely successful for matching ideal couples and the old tried and true method of old school dating the success rates are much greater. The reason is that the later methods take time establishing the needs of both parties involved and allow each party to get the sense of overall compatibility.

I like to think of the job search as the dating process. While some things are purely chance success if generally a result or an initial compatibility along with communication, effort, and compromise from both parties. If you think of your career search like you do dating, or did for those of us that are already married, you’ll find it much easier to stay focused in your search, gain more from interviews you attend, and ultimately have better results.

RESUME: Asking someone out on the first date

You approach needs to be suitable to match what the other person is looking for… you have to be dressed properly and be able to project yourself as a person worth spending time with. All this must be projected in a quick and to the point way, usually on the first attempt.

PHONE SCREEN:The first Date
This is a meeting that doesn’t take too much work on the part of either party. Both parties have said yes, I”m open to the possibility of investing time in this person. This is where both people typically try to only talk about the positives but sometimes, previous dating experiences, why past relationships didn’t work and so on. Both parties typically end with something like, That was fun we should talk again, regardless of actual intent to follow through.

IN PERSON INTERVIEW: Dating for the long term
This is the moment that we’ve all waited for. A meaning full sacrifice by both parties to go out of their way to spend meaningful time together. You really find out if it’s worth going on or should you break up and and look for a more suitable partner that better matches your needs and who’s current situation and future plans are similar to yours.

OFFER STAGE: Engagement
This is the stage where you decide that you are in it for the long run. You are dedicated to moving forward because you have seen everyone else who’s out there and you are confident enough you’ve found the right person. You then go to the jewelery store to pick out a ring. This decision is based on a lot of factors. Tradition is often taken into consideration (industry standard pay) along with Budget, Payment Options (benefits), and a few other things. You also have to take into consideration how desperately you want this person to say yes. If this person says no, will it crush you or do you think you can find another person who’s a better fit given enough time. If you don’t think you can replace the person you always buy a little bit nicer ring than you can really afford to help seal the deal.

There is always a budget for salary (the ring). This budget can sway sometimes in either direction for many reasons. The Dating (Interviewing Process) is you chance to ask important questions. Make sure you, as a hiring manger or potential employee, get the answers you are looking for throughout the process as well as share with your potential partner. If the answers aren’t going in the right direction take a step back and if they are “deal breakers” walk away in a professional manor.


FIRST DAY OF WORK: Wedding Day.

While you may think that the marriage is the acceptance of the offer, like engagements, we all know runaway brides. The first day of work if the first time you are officially married and you can update your LinkedIn or Facebook status with the great news of your new job. Like marriage each and every day after is based on communication, effort, reward, compromise, loyalty, along with all of the typical requirements to make a solid long lasting relationship.





LinkedIn Groups, Are you using them to your advantage?

27 10 2010

Some people may ask me if my blog is about recruiting of LinkedIn because of my numerous mentions of the great professional social networking giant. This is because LinkedIn is an essential tool for giving you the edge in the job search. Today I’d like to discuss LinkedIn groups and what you may or may not know about them.

LinkedIn Groups are all joined by networkers voluntarily. This means that everyone in any given group is there because they choose to be and are interested in the subject mater of that group. This means that each and every member is in some way connected to the subject mater in some way, thus having a vested interest in preserving the group and its’ goals.

As we all know the value of LinkedIn is based on being connected to people, and more importantly, the right people. The groups feature on LinkedIn is the most effective way to connect with the people that matter to you. The importance of groups is that when you join a group you are given the option to accept messages from other group members even if they are not connected to you in any other way. LinkedIn sets the default option to accept messages. This is great because most people will not deselect this option. Meaning you can search members of the group and send them messages directly without them approving an invite, introduction, or using a valuable InMail.

There are two ways to join a group. You can be invited because someone in the group thinks that your expertise would be an asset to the group. You can also submit a request to join. Some groups allow you open membership where a group owner is not required to accept invitations. Many groups will require the group owner to review your profile and manually approve your membership.

Now that we know how you get in groups and some of the value in being in a group there are some other things you should know about LinkedIn groups. The single most important thing is that you NEED TO BE A MEMBER OF 50 GROUPS at all times. By having membership in 50 groups you get the most out of your LinkedIn account. You always have to remember that the more people that you are connected to, the more potential you have to be noticed by others as well as notice opportunities posted by members of your network, which includes group members.

I would like to mention one last point. Use care in choosing your groups. LinkedIn lets you view the membership numbers of each group prior to joining. You always want to be in the largest group, granting you connections with the most people. Also, use different search terms when searching for a group. For example if you are a scientist working on an Oncology projects within the Biotech or Pharmaceutical industry and you are seeking new opportunities try, Biotechnology Jobs, Biotechnology Careers, Biotech Jobs, Biotech Careers, Pharmaceutical, Biotech, Medical Device, Careers, Jobs, and so on. For a majority of these examples you may even see one of my groups “Oncology Jobs In Biotech and Pharmaceuticals”.

Best of luck and enjoy your groups!





LinkedIn Premium Accounts: Are they worth it?

19 10 2010

I’ve been utilizing LinkedIn’s vast networking capabilities to connecting with potential candidates and clients for some time now. I consider myself an avid and successful user of LinkedIn. Within my first year I grew my network to well over 3,000 first level connections, admittedly the majority of my early connections were open networkers and of little direct significance to my clients. However, open networkers are all worthwhile as they allow you to see a greater number or profiles in your searches.

While LinkedIn has great advantages there are still many challenges to overcome be an efficient tool. LinkedIn can be overwhelming by offering so much information, most of which may not be relevant to your end goal. Although LinkedIn is great at minimizing SPAM there is still a fair amount of SPAM messages that make it through. It also takes a fair amount of time to understand the limitations of your account and LinkedIn could do a better job of pointing these limitations out when you first open an account. Did you know you only have an initial 3,000 invitations and there is a magic number of rejected invitations that will result in you only being able to invite members to join your network if you have the email address associated with their LinkedIn account.

Well, now that I’ve pointed out several weaknesses of LinkedIn I must let you know that I feel it’s the single best networking tool out there, even before signing up for a premium membership. I’ve been able to gain several contracts and find several senior level candidates which I’ve placed as a direct result of the free membership on LinkedIn.

After my most recent senior candidate placement I asked my employer to consider a Premium LinkedIn Account. I’ve had it for less than a month and I must say that I feel that it’s worth every penny. For $99.00 a month I receive 25 InMails, numerous introductions, and several added features that weren’t even mentioned in their marketing advertising.

First off, the InMails are AWESOME! InMails virtually open LinkedIn wide open and allow you to contact all of your second and third level connections. For me this is essential because I’ve exceeded my LinkedIn open invitations. Prior to exceeding my invitations I was able to be sneaky and use a connection request to include a message directed at the recipient and it was going to make it the intended recipient. Once you’ve exceeded your open invitations it is worth price for the InMails alone.

The second feature that is invaluable is the increased number of introductions allowed. These introductions let you use your connections to help you meet others. In many ways these introductions are more productive than InMails. With an introduction you are able to touch base with two members of your network and put yourself out there more, which it the idea with social networking. I must caution you though, make sure you know who you are asking to push an introduction though. As a new user I once asked a direct competitor to introduce me to one of their clients. They were able to see the purpose of my connection. Fortunately, I did not reveal any secrets but my introduction was swiftly rejected. In this case an InMail would have been more appropriate and potentially effective.

There are several tools that are very helpful in growing a successful network and getting your profile seen. The search functions are vastly improved. You are given many search cosignatories which allow you to better target the people you are looking at. These categories let you select values like seniority, company size, years of experience, and type of connections that they are interested in. These addition search categories are of greater value because LinkedIn premium accounts allow you to see more of your results as well, so you don’t run into the, “Upgrade Your Account” page as quickly.

The other tool that I love to play with is the advanced profile activity results. These features let you see your profile statistics for the last 90 days. You can see how many times your profile came up in searches and how many people actually visited your site week by week. You can also see the top key words that resulted in your profile showing up searches by other members. With these tools you can play around with your profile and your group activity to see what activities or profile changes result in gained exposure. You can easily increase traffic to your profile and ultimately your company/personal web pages.

Lastly, the premium account allows me to accept open messages from all LinkedIn members. If someone wants to send me a message right now, they can. They don’t have to send an invitation and hope I accept. They don’t have to pray that their connections will forward an introduction. This results in anyone that is interested in conduction business discussions is able to do so, without me giving out any of my personal contact information.

Because I can profit directly from LinkedIn in my profession it’s a definite advantage. I would suggest it to anyone who uses LinkedIn on a regular basis. Please feel free to comment or ask any question that you may have about LinkedIn. If there is interest I’ll also continue to blog about some proven LinkedIn tips that I have used to grow my network to over 6,100 first level connections and continue to grow by an average of 6 new invites each day from other members.

LinkedIn Premium accounts have my vote. Go get yours!