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Posts Tagged ‘networking’

Professional Diversification Online: Using LinkedIn to Promote Yourself

July 22, 2011 4 comments

linkedin eric chaump profile summary

If you don’t know what LinkedIn is, then you better listen up.  LinkedIn is an all business-related social networking site.  It allows professionals to connect with other professionals and share information.  The unique thing about LinkedIn is that it’s like an online resume, a very versatile online resume.  You fill out your profile, which includes information like your work history, education, honors and awards.  Sounds like a resume, doesn’t it?  What’s unique about LinkedIn is that you can recommend people you’ve worked with and they can recommend you.  Now here’s the most important part of LinkedIn that relates to Professional Diversification: your skills.  LinkedIn recently added a skills section to your profile that allows you to choose what you’re good at and share it with the world.  You get to pick your skill level and how many years you’ve been doing that particular thing.

Now that we all know what LinkedIn is, I’m going to give you a few tips to get your profile up and running:

1. Grab Your Vanity URL.

The first thing you want to do is, obviously, sign up for an account.  Go to http://www.linkedin.com/ and click the “Join Today” link.  The first and most important thing you want to do is grab your vanity URL.  What the heck is a vanity URL, you ask?  A vanity URL is what makes your profile unique to you.  Most social networking sites allow you to pick your own and I advise you choose your own full name, like I’ve done below.  Why is this the most important part of your profile?  Because when people search for your name in Google, they can find you!  DUH!

linkedin eric chaump vanity url

 

2. Fill In Your Resume Information.

The next step is to fill in the bulk of your information.  It’s all that boring resume information, like where have you worked, how long did you work there and where did you go school and when.  Obviously, this is the most essential part of your profile, just as it is your resume.  The nice thing is you can copy it straight from your resume, so you better dust that thing off.

3. Fill In Your Skills.

Now we get to some of the fun stuff.  If you read my post on Interests, Skills and Inexperiences, and actually took my advice, you should have a nice list of skills that you can put in this section.  If you don’t have a list like that, please take a look at that post to help you get started.

4. Fill In Your Profile Summary.

This is something you really don’t get to do on a resume.  It’s where you get to talk about yourself!  Everyone’s favorite thing to do.  Some people are really good at talking about themselves, but me on the other hand, can’t stand it.  I have such a hard time talking about myself, which is one thing I have to get over if I want to be successful.  There are a number of great resources online that teach you how to write great summaries.  If you can’t find any, you could use mine as a template.  Your summary should include who you are and what you want to accomplish, a little something about your education and where you excelled, and where you’re at in your professional career and where you’d like to go.

5. Interests = Potential Careers.

In addition to your hobby interests that you’ve identified from above, I encourage you to list your potential careers as interests on your profile.  If employers are looking for people who want to be stock brokers, they can see that you’re interested in the stock market and investing.  There’s really no other place to put it on your profile, because it’s not necessarily something you studied in school and its not something you’ve done as a profession.

6. Join A Couple Groups.

Groups allow you to get together with other people who are interested in the same things.  You can learn a lot from the people in these groups, so I encourage you to join a few that might interest you.

7. Ask A Question.

LinkedIn has an interesting feature that allows you to ask any questions you might have.  Let’s say you want to know everyone’s opinion on Bank of America’s stock price.  You could ask a question on LinkedIn Answers and have highly qualified people answer your question in minutes.  Make sure you give credit to the person who provides the best answer though.  It’s common courtesy on LinkedIn.

8. Answer A Question.

Once you’ve put your own question out there, it’s time to show people what you’re made of.  Find a topic that you believe to be an expert on and answer someone’s question.  If your answer is the best, you’ll be credited with badges that show you are an expert in certain fields.

9. Ask For A Few Recommendations.

Now that you have your profile all up and running, the last thing to do is to ask for a couple recommendations.  Some people are against asking for recommendations.  They think recommendations should not be asked for.  I disagree with this thought though, because I find people won’t recommend you if you don’t ask for it.  So don’t be afraid.  Find some coworkers, classmates, or bosses that you think would be willing to write nice things about you and send them a request for a recommendation.

10. Go Mobile.

linkedin mobile iphone droid app

If you didn’t know, we’re living in what’s called the “Instant Generation.”  We now live in a world where waiting for information is unacceptable.  That’s why I encourage the use of mobile apps, and LinkedIn has a great one.  When you’re on the go, it gives you the opportunity to respond to messages and check out what your connections are up to.

If you follow these 10 steps, you’ll have a fully functioning LinkedIn profile where people can find you, connect with you, and could help you get a job.  If you have any additional thoughts you’d like to add, feel free to comment below.

Go Back to School? You’re Joking Right? 10 Reasons Why Continuing Education is Good for Your Career

March 15, 2011 6 comments

study books desk stress man encyclopedia library school graduate undergraduate MBA PhDWhether you’re currently an undergraduate student or you graduated years ago, I’m sure we can all agree that education is important. When I was nearing completion of my undergraduate degree and everyone around me was celebrating the last few weeks of their educational lives, I was applying for the MBA program. I knew that if I let myself even think for a minute about being done with school, I would never want to go back. I’ve spoken with a number of people who encountered this very dilemma. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve heard say, “I wanted to take a year off and enjoy not having to worry about homework, tests, studying, and actually going to class at night.” I’m sure you can imagine what I’m going to say next. One year, five years, ten years later, those people still never went back to school like they said they would. So for those of you who are nearing completion of your undergraduate degree, take my first piece of advice, DO NOT WAIT!

For those of you who did wait and never went back, take my second piece of advice, GO BACK! To give you some encouragement, here are 10 reasons why you should go back to school:

    1. Fancy Letters

    You can’t tell me it’s not cool to be able to put MBA, MD, JD, or Ph.D. after your name.

    2. Resume Booster

    If you’re looking for a job, having additional education on your resume makes you look more desirable (on paper) and shows ambition and diligence.

    3. Instant Salary Increase

    Sometimes employers pay their employees more simply because they have more education. Companies will pay employees based on experience tiers (i.e. Production Manager III) and will often take related education into account.

    4. You Will Actually Learn Something

    That’s why we go to school isn’t it? To learn. You will actually learn things that will make you more valuable in the workplace.

    5. It Truly Makes You Smarter

    All those lectures, reading assignments, projects, papers, and exams help you think about things in a different light. This intensifies the learning process and makes you smarter in more ways than one by encouraging your brain to think.

    6. Internal Professional Opportunities

    Having a Master’s or Doctorate level degree can open up opportunities within your company that you couldn’t qualify for without. I’ve seen a number of job descriptions that require a Master’s degree and if you don’t have that, they won’t even consider your application.

    7. External Professional Opportunities

    This goes along with #5, but applies to job opportunities outside the company you work for. Maybe you’ve hit a ceiling with your current company and it’s time to start looking elsewhere for opportunities.

    8. Unemployment Gap Filler

    If you’ve been laid off and just can’t seem to get hired, going back to school can fill the gap until you find someone to hire you. Employer’s do not like to see long periods of unemployment on a resume, but if you throw in an MBA during that time, they are more likely to hire you (and pay you more).

    9. Networking

    Universities are an amazing place to meet students, professors, and local business people who share similar interests. Often times, Universities will host networking events where local recruiters come to campus looking for people like you. Take advantage of these opportunities.

    10. Because Your Boss Said So

    Sometimes your employer will ask you to go back to school. Maybe they have big plans for you as an executive level manager, but want you to gain additional knowledge outside of the work environment first. It’s also not uncommon for companies to pay for your education with tuition reimbursement. If you have an opportunity like this, you better jump on it.

As you can tell, I am a strong believer in continuing education. I enjoyed my undergraduate studies, but I’m finding that I’m enjoying my MBA even more. Continuing education isn’t always right for everyone, though. I’ve referenced some related articles below that will help you decide if continuing education is even right for you.

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Related Articles:

10 Reasons Adults Should Go Back to School

8 Questions to Consider Before Going Back to School