Do Employers Read Online Portfolios?

February 6, 2014

bar_biz[1]Web or online portfolios have been around for years and are now back in the news. Passe or vogue?

In a recent story by The Wall Street Journal, employers stated they don’t have time to read online portfolios. Per the story, “One big problem: Few employers are actually looking at them. Polls suggest employers might be interested in the sites—83% of respondents to a recent Association of American Colleges and Universities survey said an e-portfolio would be “very” or “fairly” useful in ensuring that job applicants have requisite knowledge and skills. But basic human-resources software don’t allow such links in the first round of application submissions, and many hiring managers are simply unwilling to carve out time to dig into the digital showcases, they say.”

Online portfolios work on interviews: While employers may not have time to look at a portfolio in an initial resume scan (employers receive 200 to 300 resumes per day 7 days a week according to one recruiter), candidates may be able to showcase their skills with an online portfolio during an interview. Candidates can back up interview question  responses with examples from their online portfolios. Additionally, time for portfolio highlights also depends on where the candidate is at in the interview process – such as a second or third interview. Type of job, company culture, and the interviewer’s personality will also play a role. Web portfolios can demonstrate proof of performance. And employers say that “past performance demonstrates future productivity.”

Old school: Mass Communications / Journalism grads like me had to build a portfolio of clips and send them to employers with our resume in some cases or bring them to  interviews as leave behind proof of our ability to write news stories. And that was in the late ’80’s.

New tools: Now, LinkedIn allows you to post proof – you can add links to videos, SlideShare presentations, blog posts, white papers and more.

Boost your personal brand: This all helps boost your personal brand. According to one poll, 86% of people use a search engine like Google before ever meeting you, the web portfolio gives people information you WANT them to see. As LinkedIn typically lands on page one, start there.

Readers rock! Hat tip to Thomasina for sharing the WJS story with me via Facebook. What’s your take on web / online portfolios?

Comments welcome: Have you got an opinion or story to share? Feel free to leave comments.

Testimonials: Boasting or Beneficial?

December 7, 2013

In one of my groups on LinkedIn a member asked, “How important is it to post testimonials on the website? It seems to be necessary to some but few feel it’s too much of self-gratification.”

I feel testimonials are mission critical to a business website and immediately address the “Why should I hire you?” question potential customers are asking. I thought I’d share my response:

Think about it like this, do you ask friends for a great restaurant suggestion? When several friends recommend the same place for the same reasons (great food, fabulous service, fun atmosphere, etc.) do you make the decision to go to that restaurant? And when you do and have a wonderful experience, do you share that information with others? I’m guessing you do.

That’s what testimonials can do for a business, provide social proof. Depending on which study you review, purchasing decisions based on mentions and recommendations range between 72% to 90%. People have always used Word of Mouth and recommendations to determine a purchasing decision long before the advent of the web. Now, the reach has expanded.

Amazon reviews, LinkedIn recommendations, “likes,” are all testimonials of sorts.

Having them on a business website are critical – as long as the following occurs: 1) they’re true and authentic, 2) they have quantifiable results, and 3) they provide names or other clearly identifying information.

When I see only vague generalities, like “great work,” accompanied by no name or simply initials, then I doubt the veracity of the testimonial and the quality of the work.

It’s not bragging if it’s true and therefore self-gratification does not play a role. When you have experienced great results and wonderful service, it’s natural to want to spread the good word. Let your clients spread the good word about you!

© Wendy Terwelp | All rights reserved. | http://knocks.com (Full disclosure: You’ll see testimonials / social proof throughout my website.)

Best Of Holiday Networking Blog Posts

November 12, 2013

RYN_logo_slide

Each year someone asks, “Are people hiring over the holidays?” Or makes a statement, “No one is hiring over the holidays, why bother?”

Each year, I write a blog post on the topic with real people sharing stories of how they were hired and what they did to land the gig. Here are some of the best. Click on the links, get ideas, and take action. Enjoy!

Holiday Networking and Your Brand 

Holiday Networking: Pass the Nuts and Your Resume Please

Good News: Hired Over the Holidays!

Yes Virginia, Companies are Hiring Over the Holidays

Have you got a holiday networking story to share? Please do! And get your chance to win my book, “Rock Your Network®,” with loads of tips, tricks, and strategies to keep your networking momentum going over the holidays and beyond. Includes a social media bio template – simply fill in the blanks and enter your new bio into LinkedIn and other social media. Deadline: Dec. 31, 2013.

Job Action Day: 5 Quick Tips to Rebuild Your Network

October 29, 2013

This year’s Job Action Day is about helping our military transition from a Military Career to a New Career.

With broad military experience that typically requires travel for extended periods while on active duty, it can be difficult to maintain a network that will be there for you when you’re ready to transition to a civilian career. Here are some tips to reconnect and rebuild your network:

1) Create a networking plan. Breaking networking down into manageable time chunks helps eliminate overwhelm. Networking does not have to be a two-hour lunch or a boring event. Choose those activities that are right for you and your career goals.
2) Design a sound bite. Be clear about your career goal, what you bring to the table, and where you might want to work. The better focused you are, the better people can help you. And they do want to help!
3) Research and reach out via social media. With social media, location is not a barrier. If you’re stationed in a different location than where you’re planning to live upon your military retirement, social media is a good way to start rebuilding those local connections. The top three tools I recommend are: LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. You can follow thought leaders, companies, and businesses on Twitter. With LinkedIn, explore groups serving the military, college alumni, and other groups serving your target audience (type of company you wish to work for, type of career you wish to pursue). Use Facebook to connect and reconnect with family and friends.
4) Make a call. Oftentimes we are so into social we forget to pick up the phone. Voice to voice is a great way to rebuild connections. It’s more personal. Skype enables video with the call, which is almost like being there.
5) Meet in person. Already moved to your desired location? Attend local events. Explore organizations serving the military. (Not sure who serves military in your area? A quick Google search will reveal several organizations. Choose those that best fit your situation.) Volunteer for an organization you believe in. Volunteering leads to connections to local leaders and others passionate about the same things you value. Set up meetings with those in your network. Sound uncomfortable? Keep in mind, you served our country. People will want to help you. They just need to know how best to do so. Keep meetings short and on track.

After you’ve taken action on some of the above activities, follow up with those you’ve talked to and let them know how their information has helped. Stay connected. That way your network will be there for you the next time you need it. Thank you for your service to our country.

Copyright 2013: Wendy Terwelp – all rights reserved.

Wendy Terwelp is president of Opportunity Knocks and author of the Rock Your Network® series. Dubbed a “LinkedIn Guru,” by the Washington Post, Terwelp provides consulting services, speaking engagements, and workshops on social media, networking, branding and career development for conferences, associations, and companies nationwide. Her private coaching clients regularly win raises, promotions, and jobs. Named one of the Top 15 Career Masterminds, Top 100 Twitter Accounts Job Seekers Must Follow, and Top 51 Job Search Blog posts, Terwelp is quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, The Business Journal, More Magazine, radio, TV and other media.

Is your LinkedIn bio lost in translation?

August 30, 2013

Lost in Translation

How many times have you read someone’s LinkedIn bio and wondered, “What in the world are they talking about?” It’s full of jargon, terms, and acronyms foreign to anyone outside the bio subject’s industry.

“The Curse of Knowledge” is what Chip and Dan Heath call this “symptom” in their book, “Made to Stick.” To an industry insider, these terms are common, used daily, and understood by all involved. So much so, that to anyone outside the industry, it’s confusing and just plain gibberish.

In the above picture, you see typical everyday terms used by human resource professionals (HR), eCommerce, Accounting, Marketing Communications (MarComm), and Chief Executives (any Chief-level role is considered a “C-Suite” professional). Were you lost in translation looking at the picture? While Google can help define the terms, people wanting to hire you won’t take the time to Google it. Instead, they’ll move on to the next bio whose writer makes things easy to understand.

How can you avoid the “Curse of Knowledge?” Have a family member or non-industry friend read your bio BEFORE you put it on LinkedIn or other social networks or your book jacket or use it as a speech introduction. (Can you imagine a person introducing you who is not familiar with the jargon?) If your mom has no idea what you’re talking about, you’ve got “The Curse of Knowledge” and need to reword the bio.

If you must use some jargon, spell it out first, then use the acronym afterword. Like this, Full-Time Employee (FTE). This is actually a cool benefit, because you’re using good keywords (think search terms) twice. That way, depending on who’s conducting the LinkedIn search, you’ll have a greater chance of getting the call.

Don’t want to try  this at home? Check out my LinkedIn bio-writing service. I’ll do the work for you.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,372 other followers