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Pivoting Your Career for Reinventing Yourself

Is it time for a career change? Are you considering transforming yourself to a new job?

What do you do when you can’t, or don’t want to, do what you used to do? Pivot, of course, to make an intentional shift in a new direction. How, you ask?

First, determine why you need to make a change. Need a raise? Promotion? Disengaged? Furloughed? Downsized? Re-org’d? Fired? Dread your job? Hate your boss? Lack of energy or enthusiasm to do the work? Need to care for family members?

Next, determine where you are at. Do a SWOT analysis of yourself. What are your strengths? Weaknesses? Opportunities? Threats? Conduct a professional and personal audit on yourself and analyze your transferable skills and what you like and hate to do. 

What are your passions? What sets your hair on fire every morning that gets you out of bed, excited to start the day?

What if you really genuinely don’t know what your next plan is? Maybe you need to do an assessment? Perhaps you need a career coach. Perhaps you need a life coach. 

Maybe you know what you want to do but have some gaps of knowledge or some missing skills. You can explore what is necessary to pursue another career at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Maybe you want to explore entrepreneurship.

If you need coursework or certification, explore how you can get that completed through an online course, or at a local university, or other workshops or seminars. 

If you have time to decide about your career pivot, consider all the criteria that affect various parts of your life. Write them down. 

If you have found yourself in a place of change because of unprecedented times, you still need to write things down and make some S.M.A.R.T. goals for yourself.

Engaging in career management of your career documents is much better when you are proactive rather than reactive. Do you need to update your resume? LinkedIn profile? Elevator pitch? Job and networking tracking sheet? Cover letter? Accomplishment stories? Positioning statement? Departure statement? Value proposition, and so on? If not, start getting your ducks in a row. 

It’s time to start building your brand and marketing yourself in your future forward position. 

AUTHOR BIO

Lynne Williams is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group, a 501(c)3 nonprofit with almost 6300 members and alumni providing career education and networking. Lynne also writes for vista.today, montco.today, and delco.today. Connect with Lynne on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/lynnewilliams 

Tips for Avoiding the Pitfalls of the Applicant Tracking System

Nearly 75% of resumes are never seen by human eyes when submitted through applicant tracking systems for online job applications. Why? Formatting and more. 

The Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is an automated resume screener and there are over 200 ATS systems available today. Resumes go through a parser and are read by a bot before a human. The bot assigns a mathematical score to your resume against the job description as it reads entire phrases and not just keywords. The terminology for the technology that reads phrases in your resume with the words before and after the keywords is called contextualization.

Your score is then validated and is moved on to be viewed by human eyes — or it goes into the black hole because it did not match at a high enough percentage. This is extremely frustrating for those who are qualified for positions but can’t get past the bots. 

You must have a base resume and then customize the keywords to match each and every job application. If you don’t know how to do this, there are workshops available this week that will teach you how. 

Here are some other tips for the ATS “deconstructed resume”, which is different than your “pretty” resume that you snail mail, email, or hand to someone.

Tip #1: Customize your “future-forward” resume with key titles and keywords for the position you are applying to

Tip #2: Remove all images, graphics, logos, or pictures, as they may not be readable by the ATS

Tip #3: Use a font no less than 11 point and Arial is recommended for the ATS resume

Tip #4: Don’t hide keywords in white text and try to cheat the system, as they come out black on the other end

Tip #5: Remove irrelevant positions from your resume

Tip #6: Beware of special characters – no arrows or checkmarks; solid black bullets seem to work for most ATS systems

Tip #7: Avoid any kind of shading, tables, lines that cross the entire page, fancy borders, and section breaks on the ATS resume

Tip #8: Check for spelling errors—the ATS may miss keywords if they are misspelled

Tip #9: Place your contact information at the top and not in the header and make sure you have included your customized LinkedIn URL.

Tip #10: Add the dates of your employment after your employer, city, state at the far right of the page

Tip #11: Send your resume from a Word document, unless requested otherwise. PDFs can be readable or non-readable images. Uploading a resume is preferred to copying and pasting your resume into text boxes.

Tip #12: Do not upload your resume multiple times. This may hurt, rather than help and raise red flags. 

Tip #13: Mirror the language in the job description on your ATS resume to showcase your expertise; use the niche terminology

Tip #14: Only type typical resume sections and use the sections of LinkedIn as your guideline

Tip #15: Quantify your accomplishments and achievements in bullet points in your work experience rather than stating your responsibilities

Tip # 16: Use jargon and buzzwords from your industry so the applicant tracking system tools that index and crawl submissions pick up these key phrases and terms 

Tip #17: Use keyword and text analyzers with your job description so you have a helping hand with technology for data-driven decision making 

Tip #18: Develop two resumes: pretty formatted and deconstructed for ATS  

Tip #19: Include your social media handles on your resume to show you are current and relevant with your technology skills

AUTHOR BIO

Lynne Williams is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group, a 501(c)3 nonprofit with almost 6300 members and alumni providing career education and networking. Lynne also writes for vista.today, montco.today, and delco.today. Connect with Lynne on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/lynnewilliams 

Try a Value Proposition Letter as a Job Search Strategy

Value proposition letters are only 100-150 words that succinctly explains what your unique qualities, skills, and accomplishments are.

It states how you will add value. Using persuasion, value proposition letters explain how you can solve a problem or fix a pain point better than anyone else thanks to your expertise and unique offerings.

If you are a job seeker, you can use it to focus on the actions you will take if hired. It can be used for most positions where you can offer some technical expertise or specialty knowledge. 

This letter sets you apart from the competition and can also highlight your transferable skills. The Value Proposition Letter is certainly not meant for an entry-level position because you need to be able to highlight your quantifiable achievements. However, it might be a key tool for a high-level executive.

Entrepreneurs can also use the same concept and send out letters to prospective clients. 

There is a particular format to follow, and you can find the instructions by clicking on http://bit.ly/ValuePropLetter.

AUTHOR BIO

Lynne Williams is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group, a 501(c)3 nonprofit with almost 6300 members and alumni providing career education and networking. Lynne also writes for vista.today, montco.today, and delco.today. Connect with Lynne on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/lynnewilliams 

 

QR Codes for LinkedIn, Presentations, Articles, Business Cards & More

You can drive people to your LinkedIn profile with your QR code. QR codes are also helpful for people to access a presentation, an article, and more. Add them to your business cards too.

If you have never tried QRCode-Monkey, you will find it very easy to use and you can even customize it with your logo. 

Technology upgrades on current mobile devices now save you from downloading a scanning app on your phone. A camera on an iPhone will read the QR code and bring the file up so you can tap and open it up. 

To get your unique LinkedIn QR code on your phone, follow these steps using the LinkedIn app:

  • Click on the four gray boxes in the search bar
  • Click on “My Code” 
  • Save or the code only or code with photo

Remember our taglines – Your Career Our Mission and Members Helping Members 

Yes, we have two taglines now that we have officially merged with the Business Executive Networking Group (BENG). We are now in eight states with 36 chapters and about 6300 members. Read the press release on our website.

AUTHOR BIO

Lynne Williams is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group, a 501(c)3 nonprofit with almost 6300 members and alumni providing career education and networking. Lynne also writes for vista.today, montco.today, and delco.today. Connect with Lynne on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/lynnewilliams 

How to Optimize LinkedIn for Job Seekers

HOW TO OPTIMIZE LINKEDIN FOR JOB SEEKERS

How to Optimize LinkedIn for Job Seekers. Furloughed? Downsized? Re-orged? Laid off? No job? Dusting off your career documents just in case? It’s never too late to manage your career.

It’s also never too late to reinvent yourself in a new career and explore your options. 

Why not start or update your LinkedIn profile too?

Here are some things you need to know to optimize.

  • An essential fact to note is that you need to have a “- present”  job listed on LinkedIn profile, so the algorithm helps, rather than hurts, you. Read here and here.
  • Make sure you turn on the Open to Job Opportunities feature.
  • Follow the numerous tips here and here or from any blog on vista.today

If you need to accelerate your job search on a tight budget, or manage your career, explore our workshops and resources that include over 250 links for remote work

Remember our tagline – Your Career Our Mission.

Originally published in Vista.Today

LinkedIn for the Win for Educators & Students

High school students over 16, college students, and educators in both K-12 and higher education need to be on LinkedIn. Teachers should act as models with their LinkedIn profiles, as their students begin to prepare for their future careers, military, or continuing education. 

On April 16th, West Center University hosted a one hour LinkedIn workshop on Zoom that was open to students and the community through the Dr. Edwin Cottrell Entrepreneurial Leadership Center. 

Since there are so many students and educators in the region who did not participate in this training, I thought it would be helpful to share the deck. The information in this deck will also be beneficial to any of our region’s now 22 million job seekers who have applied for unemployment in the past four weeks.

There are lots of links in the appendix for students as well as helpful links for internships. Speaking of internships, or volunteer opportunities to gain some experience, we love volunteers and have lots of tasks that can be accomplished remotely. Sign up on our Google form to volunteer with our 501(c)3 charitable all-volunteer nonprofit. 

Since the workshop was only an hour, and there is so much more to learn about LinkedIn, there are many links throughout the deck. The links are available for further self-guided learning. 

Everyone is welcome at the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group, so join us to learn with us as we share career education topics while networking. There are virtual meetings daily, both with and without speakers. 

We just celebrated our 10th anniversary on Tuesday, April 7th, and have more than doubled our membership in less than five years to almost 4500 members. Remember our tagline – Your Career Our Mission.

 

Originally published in vista.today 

Should your resume and LinkedIn be matchy matchy?

With all of the uncertainty going on in the world, it is more important than ever to manage your career and keep your resume and other career documents up to date. 

Since we are on the topic of resumes, many people ask if their LinkedIn should match their resume or not. The correct answer to this question could be NO, MAYBE, YES, or YES BUT. It’s really a matter of your own personal philosophy. 

Be mindful that if you ask 10 people how to write a resume and LinkedIn profile, you will get 15 different answers. 

We are all entitled to our own opinions, so below is mine, as one of the YES BUTs. I think everything that is on a resume should go on LinkedIn, but LinkedIn should be embellished even more. 

No matter what, you should have well written content that has white space in between the bullet points so it is skimmable and scannable. So let’s compare some of the basic sections of each document.

 

Item

Resume

LinkedIn

Headline (key titles and keywords)

120 characters; don’t waste a line for the words “Summary Profile”

120 characters on a desktop but more on mobile

Value Proposition

Written in 1st person implied “I”

copy in About Section

Core Competencies (keywords)

Alpha order

copy in About section

Career Highlights (Accomplishments)

Bullet pointed list

copy in About section

Sentence that shows you are likeable and relatable, and have some hobbies or  interests

No

write in About section

Professional (or Work) Experience

Yes

Yes

Education

Yes

Yes

Honors & Awards

Yes

Yes

Community Service

Yes

Yes

 

You can see that when you compare some of the standard resume sections to those in the LinkedIn profile, you can utilize all the verbiage you have prepared. However, in LinkedIn, here are a few more things you can do.

Although the “To DO” list goes on for LinkedIn, this is a good solid start. 

Originally published in vista.today