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Creating a Stand-Out LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn Profile

Creating a Stand-Out LinkedIn Profile

We’ve written at some length on crafting your perfect resume, but in this post, we wanted to focus on an increasingly important tool in your job search armory – your LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn is rapidly becoming a “must have” addition to the more traditional presentation route of the regular resume and cover letter. The site has streamlined the job search and recruitment process on both ends. If you do not have a LinkedIn profile yet, then this would be the time to create one and get it going for a boost in your job search and career. If you already have a profile, you need to optimize it, to get the best out of your account.

In other articles, TAG delves further in to some of the more personal platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and how you can utilize them to your professional advantage. But here we want to give you some tips on how to make your profile stand out from the crowd a bit more.

Starting from the top

If you want to edit any information on your LinkedIn profile, you can just hover the cursor on the field to find the edit button. Click on the button, edit the information and do not forget to save the changes. When you are assigning a name to your profile, keep it simple so that it’s easy for potential recruiters to find you. Don’t try and be too clever with what you think are attention-grabbing titles. Just be direct, crisp and professional in what you use.

What makes a good Headline?

For any employer or recruitment professional looking at your profile, it is so important that you get this part right. By default, LinkedIn will always fill in your headline with your current job title and employer. And unfortunately, the vast majority of candidates just leave it. Don’t. This is what they call “prime advertising real estate.” And in this case, what you are advertising is yourself. Remember there are days when those employers and recruitment professionals are skimming through so many possible candidates that they do not want to waste their time on headlines that seem boring, confusing, smack of desperation or try to be too clever for their own good. They want something that grabs their attention.

Here’s an example from TAG’s specialty field of Healthcare Recruiting.  Instead of the prosaic “Nursing Home Administrator, help those searching by expanding the Headline to focus on your unique qualifications:

“Nursing Home Administrator – Operational, Regulatory and Staff Management Expertise with Exceptional Resident and Family Satisfaction Record.”

Be specific

Always keep in mind who you’re trying to reach with the headline, and what you can do to stand out from your competition. The more specific you are, the better. If you are a nurse that specializes in a particular area, let those employers and recruitment consultants know right off the bat:

“Caring and experienced Registered Nurse with a history of helping pediatric cancer patients and their families feel at ease through treatment and recovery.”

Get the right profile picture

It might seem obvious but don’t stick to a profile picture from one of your other social accounts and go “oh that’ll do.” LinkedIn is a professional network so it is best you stick to a clear picture in a professional background. It is easier to remember faces than names, so it is a good way to leave a positive mark on a recruiters’ memory.

Use the multimedia functions

LinkedIn allows you to add videos, documents, and photographs to your account. Use them to your benefit wherever you can. Put up a presentation clip, particularly one you know you have done a good job on. Add pictures that are relevant to your work. If you have a short video clip that, put it up there. In short, be creative with these features as they can immeasurably boost your profile.

Add a work summary

The perfect work summary will attract more eyeballs and interest to your profile. Give a comprehensible and interesting outline of your expertise and experience. Mention certain examples to add weight to your words. Recommendations from fellow colleagues and bosses count a lot, so do get those.

Get Connected

Network and add more connections. The more you connect, the wider your professional network becomes. LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful tool but remember, your profile is a living, breathing thing! Don’t leave it alone.  Continue to refresh and improve it, and if you give it a bit of time, you will see it boost your career.

Talent Achievement Group is a Healthcare Recruiting firm based in Calabasas,CA.  For more information, visit us @ www.tagachieve.com For further reading on all things career-related, TAG recommends www.themuse.com

How To Prepare For Your Job Interview

job interview

Though the so-called “stress interview” is very much a thing of the past, the very thought of a job interview can reduce a perfectly fine candidate to a bundle of nerves. This is where good preparation can help in dramatically reducing the amount of stress you undergo during the build up. TAG has put together a few pointers that can help you during the run-up.

Scheduling your interview

When you set the time for your interview, make sure you get the basic information absolutely correct:

Time, date and location of interview.

The name(s) and title(s) of the interviewer(s).

Whether the job interview will be a panel interview.

Whether you are to bring examples of your work or other supporting documents.

Suitable attire

Understand how and by who you will be interviewing you

Knowing whether you will be interviewing in a one-on-one situation or whether it will be a panel-based interview situation can help you in your preparation. If you can, get the name(s) of your interviewer(s) and do some research on them. It is possible that this information won’t be available to you, but there is no harm in asking. It demonstrates that you know how to prepare for different situations and are versed in anticipating events.

Read and re-read your resume

It may seem obvious, but in general recruiters always want to hire people who are confident in themselves and their abilities, so make sure that your resume is a clear reflection of your achievements and goals. In a demanding industry, it is extremely important that your recruiter sees a candidate that is self-confident and aware during the job interview, with an in-depth understanding of the key responsibilities they will be charged with.

Read up on industry developments

Employers are impressed by candidates who are well-informed, well-read and up to date with key developments in their particular field. Most industry sectors are very dynamic and ever-evolving spaces. Being informed of recent advances or changes in your field can help break the ice in a job interview by giving you something to talk about.

Research the Company thoroughly before your job interview

Google Google Google! Apart from the obvious online destinations such as the Company website and LinkedIn, pull up various articles that pertain to the Company culture, values, reputation and innovation. Look in to other Social Media sites that can help familiarize you with the Company image. All this preparation can help you answer the obvious direct questions such as “Why do you want to work for our Company?”

Go over the job description again

Make sure you know and understand the job description inside out. If you know someone within the Company, see if you can get them to send you a copy of the internal job listing. Quite often there is more detail in the internal listing than appears externally.

Anticipate their questions

There are the obvious ones that will inevitably surface, starting with “Tell me about yourself.” During your review of the job description, you will have noticed the particular experience and skill sets that the Company is looking for. Pay attention to those and highlight your relevant experiences in your answer. In short, tailor it so it becomes exactly what the Company want to hear! You should also prep answers that highlight not just your strengths but also your weaknesses and how you have gone about correcting those. It’s impossible to accurately predict exactly what will come up in your interview, but having key touchstone answers that you can weave in to different situations will be of invaluable help to you in demonstrating self-confidence and assuredness.

Prepare your own interview questions

You should absolutely ensure that you have your own questions worked out beforehand. You can inquire about specifics of the job, your responsibilities within a team environment and what expectations the Company will have for you as to future role direction. Try and keep your questions more towards the aspirational end and don’t ask the more direct ones such as compensation and benefits. Let the company broach those areas first.

What to take with you

Aside from any specific documents you have been asked to bring with you, don’t assume that everyone present at your interview will have copies of your resume to hand. Print a few out just in case. This will also benefit you if you need to fill out additional application documents as you will have all relevant dates and information to hand.

If you find this informative, we are always here to give you first-hand advice, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Talent Achievement Group are a Healthcare Recruitment Firm.  For any inquiries contact our Managing General Partner Christopher MacIntyre on christopher@tagachieve.com or call  +1 (855) 824-5660.  For further reading on all things career-related, TAG recommends www.themuse.com

How to Create and Maintain Employer-Friendly Social Media Profiles

social media

It may well be that you frequently use Facebook and Twitter to let everyone know about your likes and interests. You may also rely on a basic LinkedIn profile. But have you ever seriously considered the benefits of using your everyday online activities to give a boost to your career and impress prospective employers?

The truth is very few people do it and use the power of their social media profiles as a calling card for prospective employers. But employers are increasingly discovering your online profile, and using it as a means to better understand you.  Below we offer a few tips as to how you can maximize your presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks to pull opportunity towards you.

Treat your social media profiles as an extension of your resume

Your Facebook and Twitter social media profiles offer a unique opportunity to go further than the mere professional accomplishments of your resume. They give an insight in to your world on a more personal level. However despite this obvious benefit, there is no reason why your social accounts cannot combine the best of both personal and professional worlds. Think about interspersing your day-to-day lifestyle posts with more professional milestones, and start leveraging the incredible reach of these platforms.

Talk about and post links to a particular conference that you are attending; focus on any important presentations you might have been part of; mention any recent awards you’ve been given. And don’t limit it to just professional work. Any outside activities that are close to your heart such as participation/organization of a charity event will reflect well on you. All of these help potential employers to get a better feel for you as a person while learning more about you.

Maximize your LinkedIn page

LinkedIn has become increasingly powerful as an online professional networking tool.  But often, users are very casual in the way they present their professional achievements on the site.  Don’t be lazy and just copy and paste your resume information on to the site. Use the unique formatting options that LinkedIn provides, such as clear-cut headlines and sub-headings.  You really want to optimize your values and achievements so they stand out for prospective employers.

Edit your resume content so that your headlines are attention grabbing.  Review the order of your job history and make sure previous employment is listed in a crisp format and doesn’t drag on.  And those personal and professional recommendations are important to include.

Use LinkedIn’s multimedia functions

LinkedIn allows you to add videos, documents, and photographs to your account. Use them to your benefit wherever you can. Put up a presentation clip, particularly one you know you have done a good job on. Add pictures that are relevant to your work.  If you have a short video clip that, put it up there. In short, be creative with these features as they can immeasurably boost your profile.

Build and expand your network

Don’t just limit your “friending” activities to friends, friends of friends, friends of friends of friends etc. Be proactive about searching out organizations you admire, connecting with senior level employees and HR representatives. Feel free to make informed, intelligent comments on any particular content they pose, with the emphasis on “informed: and intelligent!  You should never leave any comment that may be construed as negative.  Use the opportunity to introduce yourself on an informal basis wisely. It’s called “Social Media” not “Anti-Social Media” for a reason!

Perform a “content edit” across all your Social accounts

It might seem obvious but if you are planning to move in to the job market, it’s well worth it. That Pinterest photo that seemed a good idea at the time might not look quite so flattering in a professional context!  It’s easy to control your own output on Facebook, but if you allow your friends to post on your Timeline or tagged photos to appear, perhaps there are one or two that could judiciously be hidden from sight. This “content edit” is something you should get in to the habit of doing once a month. It takes no time and could make all the difference.

Presenting yourself through through the proper use of social media profiles is a powerful addition to your job-seeking arsenal. Remember, it is an extension of you and it should always reflect the persona you want to project to the outside world.

Crafting Your Resume Exactly How an Employer Demands

Resume

Crafting Your Resume Exactly How an Employer Demands

Fortunately, or unfortunately, prospective employers do judge candidates by their resume, and frequently make hiring decisions based solely on this document. Here at TAG, we present resumes accompanied by a personal questionnaire, so employers have an opportunity to get to know a great deal more about our candidates in addition to their career history.

That said, we have learned a few things over the years about required content, style and format that we thought would be worthwhile sharing.

Overview

The first thing to remember is that although your resume should be as succinct and informative as possible, it does not have to be crunched onto one page. The second thing to remember is that hiring programs HR Departments utilize are geared to pick up on specific words and phrases and automatically match them with open jobs. Do not put extra borders, colors, lines or drawings on your resume. We have seen all these things.

Objectives

Important – but keep it brief, and let them know the position(s) you are interested in.

Summary

You should neatly encapsulate your skills and experience. Bullet points are good, but not necessary. Again, keep it short and to the point.

Contact Information

You must put in your full address, personal email and cell phone. Your resume is automatically logged in to ever-increasingly sophisticated data mining programs. Failure to complete this section will render your resume worthless.

Accomplishments

Do not list your accomplishments separately. Employers need to see them in context. !

Work History

List your work history from your current job going back at least 10 years. State the name and city and state of your work place then the dates you worked there. If you worked at one company for a long time but at different jobs, please list that as one continuous job and your title at each position you held at the company. This will ensure you are not seen as a “job hopper”. The most important thing to list in your work experience is what you actually accomplished at your job. Everyone knows what your job entails. What you want to convey is:

• What were the circumstances when you were hired

• What did you do to effect change, what did you accomplish, and how – this is your opportunity !to present metrics and results, depending on your individual responsibilities

• What did you do to make/save the company money, and what you did to make the company better

References

Always include at least 3 – 5 references on your resume. Include their name, current title, email and best phone number. Also include how long you worked with them and your professional relationship with the person, as in what your interaction was with them when you worked together. Do not write “References Upon Request.” You should assume that references are always acted on.

Qualifications

Please list your education and degrees, licenses and affiliations together and make them short and sweet

In summary, do not over-complicate matters with anything other than the above. You will expand and embellish during your interview. But if you follow these simple guidelines, we are confident that we can advance you through the initial stages of the process.

Christopher MacIntyre is Managing General Partner at Talent Achievement Group, a Healthcare Recruiting Consultancy.  Contact Christopher @ christopher@tagachieve.com.  Follow us on Twitter @TAGachieve. 

What I’ve Learned About People through Recruiting

Healthcare Recruiting Excellence

What I’ve Learned About People through Recruiting

Trust Your Gut Instinct

My whole career has been based around bringing people together in one form or another. Many times, it is not an exact science, just a gut feeling. You are introduced to someone and your mental rolodex kicks in to gear, pairing one individual up with another while thinking, “oh that’s a good fit.” In recruiting, we make multiple decisions like this on a daily basis. There’s no point trying to push square pegs in to round holes.  It’s essential in our business that there is some form of real connection between a candidate and a client, and no amount of outstanding qualifications will make a difference if you feel that they are not well-matched personalities and see only friction ahead.

People Do Have Agendas

Even those that don’t think they do, actually do. They have very fixed ideas about the way they are, their shining qualities, which should be obvious to anyone, and are convinced of their own rectitude to an extent. This is entirely understandable!  But on occasions and after all your counsel, coaxing, suggestions and then border-line arm-twisting, some will continue to just pay lip-service and carry on doing their own thing. At this juncture, you should probably just admit defeat and walk away. Over time you come to recognize the tipping point when you are beaten, and there is nothing more you can offer.

Invest Your Time Wisely

Which neatly leads on to this very important point. At my recruiting firm, we see ourselves as much more than just a placement agency. We fulfill a valuable counseling and consulting role, for both candidates and clients. Financially, much of this goes entirely unrewarded.  For candidates, we will do everything from resume re-writes to interview prep. to career guidance. For clients, we can be strategic in terms of where they see growth opportunities for their organization and anticipating their future needs.  There is also a substantial emotional investment – we are, after all, involved in a “people” business – as well as a practical investment.  It follows that this uses up a vast amount of time, and should only be applied to those on the candidate and client side that you truly believe in.

Dig For The Hidden Gems

Fortunately in life, we do not live in a world populated by monochrome clones – well not yet, anyway. No two people are exactly the same. They may well have entirely similar business backgrounds and list similar achievements, but there will be subtle, and not so subtle, differences in the way they approach situations and what makes them tick. An air of outward self-confidence in one might be mirrored by a general reticence in another until you find that person’s “hot spot.” It is genuinely one of the more rewarding aspects of recruiting to review a resume or engage with a new client, get to know them and then find yourself syncing with their needs and desires.

We’re Not Here To Only Do People Favors

All relationships have to have a basis in mutual trust and respect. Everything good in life comes from real partnerships. If you feel that you are being treated as part of the furniture by an individual and that there is a general air of under-appreciation coming your way, again use those two legs you were given at birth and walk away.  Your self-worth is every bit as important as theirs.

Don’t Take It Too Personally

Unfortunately, despite all these amazing insights I have provided about trusting instincts etc., there will be times when your internal radar fails catastrophically and you will be let down. These times can blind-side you very effectively. A perfect candidate goes through the perfect job interview cycle and a grateful client invests multiple hours before reaching the decision that your candidate is an ideal fit. Everybody’s delighted. And then come start day – no sign of said candidate. No contact, phone’s off, messages aren’t returned.  Nothing. Or possibly a curt email saying “I’ve decided not to take up the position.”  And you’re left holding the baby, so to speak, with an irate client and your own conflicting emotions of “why didn’t I see that one coming?” Just don’t take it personally. As I noted above, everyone has agendas and some are better at concealing theirs than others. You can’t be right all of the time, you just have to be right most of the time.

Don’t Let It Eat You Alive

Finally – and this takes some practice, believe me – you must constantly be aware of achieving a proper work/life balance. I have a young family and a wife who is my rock.  Without them, I would not be able to do the job I do. I take immense pride in the relationships I have with my clients and candidates, but I separate that from the energy I get from my family and friends outside of my workplace. Time spent away refreshes and reinvigorates you, removing you from the draining effects of extreme tunnel vision. This in turn enables you to perform your job more effectively. 

And remember, there’s nothing wrong with celebrating your professional successes, so long as you celebrate yourself once in a while.