Top 3 Ways You Can Instantly Improve Your LinkedIn Profile – And Why It’s Important to do So

improve-your-linkedin-profileIt’s no secret that social media has taken the world by storm in the last decade or so; the way we socialize with one another will never be the same. Our private lives are now public, and it is possible for strangers to become friends with a simple mouse click. Social media and the way we engage with the World Wide Web has also changed the way we handle ourselves as business people. One of the most significant changes was the introduction of LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is so influential for a number of reasons. Firstly, it provides professionals with an online platform to reach out to other like-minded individuals in their field. Secondly, it is quickly becoming an important hub for those looking for career opportunities. Thirdly, it represents a huge source of potential clients for many individuals.

All of these aspects of LinkedIn are only a few of the reasons why it is so wonderful and so important. However, in order to be able to take full advantage of the countless possibilities LinkedIn offers, one must have a top-notch profile, or risk getting completely ignored. So, what can you do to instantly improve your profile? Here are a few starting points:

  1. Use a professional head shot

If you do not have a photograph on your profile, you risk not getting seen at all! When do you not have a photograph (a professional one that is in line with your brand – not one of you and your dog please!), people are more likely to either: skip viewing your profile entirely, or read your whole profile in detail, trying to figure you out. When you have a professional head shot that is in line with your brand, people who view your profile are much more willing to trust the content of your page.

  1. Use a catchy “title”

It’s wonderful that you are a Consultant, or VP of Sales, but what kind of consultant? What do you sell? We all know that people move quickly on the web, so try using a catchy title that will grab people’s attention, such as “I can help transform your life – and your wardrobe!” in reference to someone who might be a wardrobe consultant. Try to make it fun, expressive and different.

  1. Triple-check your bio and content – and update it regularly

We know you’ve been busy, which is great! That also means that you could probably update your profile as well. The more accurate and current it is, the better. It is extremely important that you triple check all spelling and grammar, as the last thing you want is your bio littered with typos! In addition, you don’t necessarily need your 2-year serving career from your twenty’s on there – keep it relevant.

Although sometimes daunting, LinkedIn can provide a wealth of potential connections, clients,employees and careers. All you have to do to make the most out of your profile, at least as a starting point, is follow the three rules stated above. There are, of course, many more details to take into account for your LinkedIn profile – if you would like to find out more about how you can have the best LinkedIn profile out there, check out our Lunch and Learn on Virtual Communications.

How to Nail Your Next Skype Call

There is no question that technology has integrated itself so seamlessly in the world of business that almost no business transaction can be completed without its use. The need to keep up with the world of technology has never been so pronounced, especially when it comes to your career.

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A relatively recent technology that has proven extremely valuable in the world of business is Skype. If you are unfamiliar with it, it is a software application that allows two people who have access to a computer to contact each other via the Internet; the webcam is also frequently used for video calling. Skype has allowed people from around the world to video-call each other for free.

More and more, Skype is becoming a convenient way of conducting meetings and interviews when a face-to-face situation is not possible. An interview over the phone is one thing, but the ability to see the other person is invaluable (we all know how important body language can be, especially in an interview setting). Skype interviews and meetings can sometimes be unnerving, so here we offer you some tips for the preparation of your next Skype call, so you can be as prepared as possible and nail it!

It’s all in the preparation

  • Although you may be in the comfort of your own home or office, that does not mean that you do not have to adequately prepare because you may have access to notes or documents that might help you through the call. It’s good to have some notes jotted down, but do not rely on them to get you through.
  • Because the individual on the other end of the call can see your home/office, it is integral that you clean before the interview! What will a potential employer think when he sees the messy room behind you?
  • Be sure to always use the washroom before your call. This may seem silly, but it won’t when you’re in the middle of explaining why you are the best candidate for the job and you have to excuse yourself to visit the restroom. This can be easy to forget, as you are already in a familiar setting.
  • Be sure to have anything you foresee yourself needing during the call at your nearest disposal. For example, it is always a good idea to have a glass of water nearby.
  • Be sure to do a test call just before your scheduled call to ensure that the framing of your computer is right, and that the lighting in the room is perfect.

Because of the comfort often associated with a Skype call (you are often in your safe space), it can be easy to forget some basic principles of a traditional job interview, such as adequate preparation, and even your self-presentation. It is important to remember, however, that the stakes are always high, and that the way you prepare for and present during a Skype call has profound and lasting effects on your executive presence!

The (Often Dreaded) Conference Call: Survival Tips and Tricks

Conference calls are often an inevitable part of any major company’s management system, and they are, more often than not, a dreaded exercise for those involved. We live in an age where we expect instant gratification and in which we’ve developed short attention spans; we anticipate our questions being answered immediately, we expect those to whom we’re talking to listen effectively and react accordingly, and we hope (and often expect) that our problems will be solved promptly. This is due, in large part, to the age of technology. Technology, such as email, text messages and Internet on-the-go, has led to this sense of entitlement, this desire for instantaneity. During a conference call, the likelihood of instant gratification is slim, and your full attention is required to get the most out of the call. It is imperative that you take this into account and adjust your behaviour accordingly in order to protect your EP (executive presence).

conference call        The reason why instant gratification is unlikely during a conference call is simply due to the amount of people on the phone at the same time; there are many opinions on the line, many voices to be heard, and many questions to be asked and answered. Our egos can often get in the way and we may abandon what we know to be good, professional behaviour in order to get our thoughts heard. We may also think that our EP is protected because our colleagues can’t see our face, but that is not the case.

Of course, every conference call has a different purpose, however there are some simple tips and tricks that can help you make it through your conference call, all while protecting, and perhaps even enhancing, your EP.

Conference call tips and tricks:

  1. Keep excellent track of conference call dates and times, as missing a call due to disorganization definitely doesn’t enhance your EP. It is also often a good idea to call in a few minutes early to ensure you will be on time.
  2. Eliminate background noise! There is enough going on over the phone already without the need for those on the call to hear your Starbucks barista grinding coffee beans for ten minutes.
  3. Remember, you can’t read body language over the phone. That’s why it’s so important that you ask for clarification if you’re not sure what a colleague meant. We can often tell, by a person’s body language, if what they are saying is positive, negative, or neutral (or something else for that matter), but this gift is not available to us over the phone.
  4. It is important to always state your name before speaking. Because all attendees are not in the same room together, it is important for the effectiveness of the call that all members know who is speaking.
  5. Wait your turn to speak. Interrupting someone mid-sentence can be perceived as a huge EP blunder.
  6. If, however, you feel it necessary to interject because you have something integral to add, it is important, to protect your EP as well as your colleagues confidence and ego, to bring the conversation back to what they were saying before you broke into the conversation.

It can often be harder to protect and enhance your EP over the phone, mostly due to the lack of visual cues that are so integral to thorough and complete communication. That is why it is imperative that you take the necessary steps to adopting proper conference call etiquette – these manners and communication skills will serve you well over the course of your career, and can often translate into the physical workspace.

 

Your Selfie, Your Professional Self

How much information do you share about yourself online? On your personal Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media accounts, how large of a window do you let into your life?

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Posting personal photos and updates on social media is nothing new or unusual. If you do it, you are among millions of other users worldwide who share some elements of their private lives on a public platform. When this becomes an issue, however, is if the presentation of yourself on social media – whether through group photos, self-taken images or “selfies,” or written posts – is vastly different from the image you try to cultivate in the workplace.

“But this is my personal profile,” many have argued. “I have a separate profile for my work-related tweets and Facebook posts.” This may be the case, but lines become blurred between personal and professional on social media. A boss, client, or potential employer could have access to both – and it may not work to your advantage.

  • Be Careful What You Selfie For
    In some cases, the selfie and its subjects have acquired a connotation of being self-centred, overly indulgent, and simply unnecessary. Aside from this annoyance that some people feel when viewing the selfies of others, such images can harm the photographer if they reveal him or her participating in inappropriate behaviour.

    Although selfies have become normalized and encouraged – there is now even a professional camera designed for taking selfies – be wary of your own selfie-image and how often you post them. Before posting a selfie to social media, ask yourself if it aligns with the image you present in the office. One useful tip is to think of an actual person in your professional circle – whether an employer, client, or otherwise – and ask yourself whether you would mind if that individual saw the selfie you were about to post.

  • Don’t Compromise Your Reputation
    Reputation is an indispensible component of Executive Presence. However, even if you have worked for years to build up a flawless reputation in the boardroom, inappropriate online posts or images on personal accounts can shatter that reputation in an instant. Although you can heal a bruised reputation, it takes much more time and effort than maintaining a good reputation in the first place.

    Not only can questionable images hinder your reputation, but also hateful or negative written posts can do damage as well. Even something that seems like a harmless complaint can have a massive effect, especially if it is related to your company or line of work.

  • First Impressions Are Not Always in Person
    First impressions do not always occur face-to-face. In fact, an increasing number of employers admit to reviewing job candidates’ social media accounts before hiring. According to a 2014 Jobvite poll, some employers not only factor in appropriate images and posts, but also details such as spelling and grammar.

    If you are concerned about your online first impression, take steps to improve its quality – or limit its accessibility. If others tag you in images you would not like to be widely available, remove the tag and ask friends not to tag you in the future. Increase the privacy settings on your Facebook account and consider making your Twitter private as well.

Remember that if your social media accounts are widely accessible, there is no difference between your professional and personal image – anyone can see both. For more on social media and professionalism, see our previous posts “Dining Etiquette in the Age of Food Selfies” and “Spring Cleaning for Your LinkedIn Profile.”

 

“Spring Cleaning” for Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn ProfileBelieve it or not, spring is just around the corner. When the warm weather finally comes, it’s time to let the fresh air in and complete a thorough spring-cleaning! But why leave this task just to the home and garden? In addition to the traditional spring-cleaning, take time this spring to clean up your virtual spaces as well. Start with your LinkedIn profile: for many, the most prominent professional social media platform.

Your Personal LinkedIn Page
On your personal LinkedIn page, do not forget to add new accomplishments, promotions, trainings, and skills as you acquire them. Like updating your resume, it can be easy to forget about adding every detail if you do not need to send it to an employer in the near future. But if you do not keep your resume – or LinkedIn profile – up-to-date, it can be overwhelming to try to catch up on everything you’ve accomplished over the last few months or even years.

Your Summary:

  • Do you have a summary that sets the tone and direction for your profile? If not, create one. Having a memorable LinkedIn summary can augment your profile especially when you are searching for jobs, so that new contacts know exactly what your interests and qualifications are right away. It also comes in handy when reaching out to clients, as they will be able to understand your role in your company and industry as soon as they view your profile.
  • Write a concise paragraph that is easy to read and understand quickly: use short sentences and keep your details free of jargon.
  • If you already have written a summary, read it again to ensure that it still reflects your current position and interests. Are you transitioning between industries? Looking to embark on a new career path? Have you developed a new specialty or skill? Revise your summary to reflect any new changes such as these.

Your Job Tasks:

  • Under the titles of your current and previous jobs, you have the option to add a list of job tasks and requirements. It is a good idea to write a few details for each job, as it will give a more accurate and precise view of your work experience.
  • Like your summary, re-read any tasks that you have already listed, and make sure they are still the most relevant and important tasks that you want to highlight. Tasks may change frequently, so be sure to revisit this section often.
  • When writing job tasks, avoid writing descriptions that are too text-heavy. People viewing your profile likely will read only a few words, and then move on to another section of your profile or another page entirely. Try using bullet points to make each job task distinct, concise, and memorable.

Your Profile Picture

  • Is your profile picture your most professional headshot? Was it taken within the last ten years? Has your imaged changed drastically since your headshot was taken? Consider these questions, and determine whether you want to update your profile picture. Having a recent and good-quality headshot has many benefits for your professional image; your LinkedIn profile is just one space where you want your photograph to represent your most professional self.

Your Headline

  • On most occasions, users will spend only a couple of minutes or even just a few seconds looking at your profile. Your headline – the key takeaway – should help you to stand out from the crowd. Forbes contributor and personal branding expert William Arruda recommends avoiding the “me-too” headline: using your current job title, thereby making yourself interchangeable with others who hold your position. Instead, Arruda suggests writing a headline that better describes what you do and sparks a viewer’s curiosity to know more about you.

Additional Details

  • Don’t forget to fill in other categories such as Volunteer Experience & Causes, Education, and Courses! Whether or not all your volunteer work or previous qualifications are relevant to your career, a variety of experiences and skills contribute to a well-rounded professional. Viewers of your LinkedIn profile will take note of these.
  • You cannot add to information provided by other users, such as Recommendations and Skills & Endorsements. Instead, develop these categories on the LinkedIn profiles of your colleagues and contacts! Some of them likely will return the favour.

For more from sources around the Web, check out The Globe and Mail’s “Get the most out of LinkedIn with these 10 tips” or the Huffington Post’s “8 Secrets to Building a Stunning LinkedIn Profile.” How do you maintain your best LinkedIn profile?

 

Protect Your Company with Social Media Etiquette Training

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Image by Rosaura Ochoa via Flickr

Many organizations monitor social media usage, in fact some corporations ban employees from indulging in social media at work completely.

According to a new report from Gartner, “corporations are starting to embrace technologies used to monitor employee Internet use, with 60 percent expected to watch workers’ social media use for security breaches by 2015.”

Employees should be careful about “inappropriate” work-related posts on Facebook and other social media sites, said Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy at the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

“There’s no doubt that the growth of social networking has created a paradigm shift for organizational security monitoring,” he said in an email. “Employees should be aware that their activities may be monitored by their employers, although the precise legal parameters for doing so will need to be developed.”

If you need your employees to use social media at work for brand management and marketing purposes it is important for them to be aware of proper social media etiquette so that your reputation is protected at all times.

Employees on the other hand, need to be aware of social media etiquette so that they can not only maintain their organization’s professional image but also their own.

Here are some do’s and don’ts of social media etiquette as shared on the Huffington Post:

What You Should (and Shouldn’t) Post

  • Do not post negative, controversial, rude or potentially insulting commentary in online spaces.
  • Do not speak ill of others, or publicly deride competitors — good sportsmanship reigns.
  • Keep discussions about office politics off all social networks — even those that you consider private.
  • Do not use social networks to air dirty laundry.
  • Respond respectfully to commentary aimed at you — or do not respond at all.
  • Promote others more than you promote yourself to avoid self-aggrandizing.
  • Be supportive of others and treat them with the same level of professionalism that you’d ask for yourself.

Social media etiquette is more important now than ever, on a corporate level all the way down to an individual level. Social Media Etiquette training is a part of Corporate Class Inc.’s Techno-Communication Skills training course. Contact Diane Craig to learn more about it today!