Is your LinkedIn bio lost in translation?

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.

Recruiter Secrets to What Employers Want

George_Blomgren_med - picGuest Expert, George Blomgren,
MRA, The Management Association

What are employers looking for in candidates these days? That depends a lot on the company and the jobs for which they are hiring. Here are two common trends:

The first won’t come as a surprise. Companies are hiring because they are swamped. They are so desperately in need of additional staff they have  limited resources to train new staff. With this in mind, employers look for candidates who can hit the ground running — or as close to that as possible. This means they aren’t willing to deviate much from the requirements defined in the job description or posting. It also means they are looking for evidence that candidates can adapt to change and to new challenges. (Today 20 years in the same job at the same employer is no longer viewed as a good thing!)

The second trend may come as a surprise. Employers aren’t looking to hire superstars – that is, candidates who distinguished themselves as star performers in previous positions. They assume those candidates have peaked and now it’s all downhill. Rather, they are looking to hire candidates who have yet to peak. The candidate who is really ready to take that next step in their career and take things to the next level. For candidates with diverse backgrounds, who may have felt defensive explaining how their background fits together, this can be especially beneficial. If you can create a compelling case to an employer on why your diverse work experience makes you uniquely qualified for the position, you may get the job!

As a recruiter, I look for evidence of these things in your resume and your cover letter, and of course during interviews. But first and foremost, I look for it on your LinkedIn profile.

George Blomgren is the  Director of Recruiting Solutions for MRA – The Management Association. George has 20+ years of talent acquisition (aka recruiting),  and operations experience. Prior to joining MRA, George ran the advertising and marketing department for a fast-growing network of local employment websites.

Received referrals? Act fast!

George_Blomgren_med - picGuest Expert, George Blomgren,
MRA, The Management Association

When you are networking and receive additional names from your networking connections, treat those referrals like gold.

Here’s why: Let’s say I shared the names of a couple of trusted colleagues with you after meeting you for the first time. It’s important you follow up with those referrals quickly. Chances are good, I’ll reach out and let that person know you will be in touch.

If you wait to contact them, you lose the advantage and make yourself look bad. Plus, if you don’t follow up, and I reach out and find you haven’t acted, you dropped the ball. I invested some of my reputation in you by handing over a friend’s contact info, and now I regret it. Nothing good can come from that!

Should you reach out quickly and professionally the opposite happens: you look responsible and professional, plus everybody is impressed.

One more reason to act fast: A great salesman once told me that there’s always a temptation, after closing a big sale, to go home early and celebrate. He advised me to do the opposite. That’s the perfect time to keep making phone calls. You’re on top of the world and everyone can hear it in your voice. The same applies here. You just had a good networking meeting and landed a couple of fresh leads – strike while you’re feeling good!

George Blomgren is the  Director of Recruiting Solutions for MRA – The Management Association. George has 20+ years of talent acquisition (aka recruiting),  and operations experience. Prior to joining MRA, George ran the advertising and marketing department for a fast-growing network of local employment websites.

Recruiter LinkedIn Secret: Follow Companies Where…

George_Blomgren_med - picGuest Expert, George Blomgren,
MRA, The Management Association

The other day, a recruiter colleague shared a tip with me. He told me that when a candidate applies for a job with his company, if that candidate otherwise looks qualified, he looks to see if the candidate is following his company on LinkedIn. If not, he won’t consider that candidate.

Rather an extreme attitude, but it illustrates a best practice. Recruiters assume that the main reason you follow a company on LinkedIn is that you want to work there. Smart recruiters use their company’s followers on LinkedIn as the “low hanging fruit” for their hiring needs. Take a moment to follow the companies you want to work for!

Editor’s note: Great tip George! The same holds true if you want to get on a company’s radar for your business. And if you’re running a business and want to attract great employees, ensure your company has a company page on LinkedIn.

George Blomgren is the  Director of Recruiting Solutions for MRA – The Management Association. George has 20+ years of talent acquisition (aka recruiting),  MarComm, IT, and operations experience. 

How to Work with Executive Recruiters: Interviews

Guest Expert, Pamela Atwood,
Executive Recruiter

Part 2 of our executive recruiter series: How to prepare for recruiter-coordinated interviews.

  • Do your Homework.   Research the Company including all people you will be interviewing with.  Linked-In and Google are good resources here.
  • ALWAYS over prepare.
  • Communicate freely with the recruiter.  Phone them immediately after ALL interviews to share feedback.
  • Listen intently and learn from your recruiter’s coaching and feedback.
  • Plan for your interview just as you would a sales call. Interviewers notice when candidates are well prepared (and when they’re not!).
  • There are three parts to an interview: 1) Rapport Building (the opener); 2) Conversation (the middle).  You MUST prepare questions beforehand you can ask during the interview; 3) The Close.  Ask for the position if in fact you are truly interested.

Relationships are built on trust and communication over time. It’s important to keep recruiters up to date on your interviews to ensure they can negotiate the best deal for you.

Pamela Atwood, MBA, is President of Atwood Associates, an executive recruiting firm.  She brings more than 20 years’ experience in the healthcare arena, including recruiting, management, marketing, and business development. She is also serves as adjunct professor in Upper Iowan University’s Health Care Services and Human Resources degree programs. Pamela chairs the American Heart Association “Go Red for Women” Executive Leadership Team.

How to Work with Executive Recruiters – Part 1

Guest Expert, Pamela Atwood,
Executive Recruiter

Many employers hire Executive Recruiters to help them fill positions, which may not be posted. Developing relationships with recruiters can be advantageous, as they may contact you whenever a search emerges that matches your background. As with any good relationship, it takes time to build. Here are a few tips to help you effectively work with executive recruiters:

Send a letter and a copy of your resume to recruiters who specialize in your field. For example, firms that specialize in sales and sales leadership within the health care field.
Be responsive and helpful to recruiters that contact you. If the position isn’t a fit for you or the timing isn’t right to make a change, refer the recruiter to others you know and could recommend for the position. Recruiters remember which candidates were helpful.
Be honest. Never exaggerate your capabilities or attempt to mislead a recruiter in any manner. [Editor’s Note: Same goes for any employer!]
Have a professional resume ready.
• In addition to your resume, have professional references and letters of recommendation to share with your executive recruiter that paint a professional picture of your accomplishments, how you work best, and what type of culture is the best fit for you.
Share your salary history openly. Also know your desired salary and ideal salary range.

Relationships are built on trust and communication over time.  In today’s dynamic hiring culture, most executive positions  (approximately 70%) are found through networking and that includes working with recruiters.  So isn’t it worth your time to build relationships with Executive Recruiters in your field?

Pamela Atwood, MBA, is President of Atwood Associates, an executive recruiting firm.  She brings more than 20 years’ experience in the healthcare arena, including recruiting, management, marketing, and business development. She is also serves as adjunct professor in Upper Iowan University’s Health Care Services and Human Resources degree programs. Pamela chairs the American Heart Association “Go Red for Women” Executive Leadership Team.

Don’t be a Networking Turkey

It’s Thanksgiving week and soon New Year’s Eve with more parties in between – friends, family, and office parties. A great time to network. And a time to avoid being a Networking Turkey. Let’s talk about the “Don’ts,” what NOT to do during holiday gatherings that will help you maintain your rock star status and avoid becoming a Networking Turkey.

The List:

  • Don’t drink too much. I know it’s the holidays. When at a work-related function, keep drinks to a minimum. No need for the walk of shame later.
  • Don’t dress or act provocatively – especially at work parties. People have long memories and smartphones with cameras.
  • Don’t ask for a job during holiday gatherings. It’s not the right time or place.
  • Don’t tag pics of your friends drinking or doing other embarrassing things during holiday parties on Facebook, Twitter or other social networks.
  • Don’t let your friends post those types of pics of you either!

Digital dirt lives forever online. You’ll need to untag crazy photos and ask friends to remove them (which they may or may not do) or bury the dirt with other on-brand content (such as blog posts). Despite taking these types of actions, digital dirt can still get found and be bad for your career. Better to be proactive and not have it happen in the first place.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!