Military Army Veteran Networks Her Way to a Corporate Job Through Career Education and Building Relationships

Tell us about yourself and your career.

My name is Janel Kim Mariani, and I’m a West Point grad and Army veteran with experience across a wide variety of functions and industries. For most of my career in industry, I was with Fortune 100 companies.

Why were you looking for a job?

I was looking for a job because I had lost my last one and needed to pay some bills.

How did you discover PAGCG?

I discovered the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Great Group through another phenomenal organization, the Greater Philadelphia Veterans Network (GPVN). Alex Archawski of GPNV partnered with Lynne Williams of PAGCG for a 6-week Veterans Career Success Group program to help veterans in career transition with career education.

How did PAGCG help you in your job search?

Let me count the ways PAGCG provided an organizational and philosophical structure for how to manage the job search. It offered professional development, keynotes in the recruiting and career transition industry, career transition support, and experts in ATS, LinkedIn, and more.

How did you find your job? How long did it take?

I networked my way into my role. I spent several weeks speaking with people and following different leads into the final conversation. The journey took about seven months.

What kept you motivated during the job search, especially during the downtimes?

Since PAGCG had several virtual sessions a day, I found myself with a like-minded group of people who were interested in learning about the ins and outs of LinkedIn. As people landed, we celebrated their success together.

What were the lessons that you learned during your job search?

A great lesson I learned is to target the company first, and then network your way in.

Do you have any networking tips or tricks that you can share?

Continue to modify your objectives and your elevator pitches until they roll off your tongue naturally.

What will you do in your new role?

My role is to find companies that are interested in hiring high performing military veterans.

What is one takeaway or nugget of wisdom that you would like to share?

I enjoyed the project management approach to a targeted job search presented by Paul Cecala.

John Maxwell Live2Lead Event for Leaders to Sharpen the Saw

Sharpen the saw and Educate Yourself!

As a business leader, you may have heard you need to sharpen the saw, including educating yourself. RSVP for a John Maxwell event on Oct 9th.

The Live2Lead half-day leadership development experience is live on Oct 9th 9 am – 2 pm or available virtually for 5 days after, when convenient for you. Join in on presentations from John Maxwell, Steve Harvey, Alan Mullaly, Kat Cole, and Craig Groeschel. 

To learn from these world-class leaders, register on this link for only $79. 

The event will be promoted on LinkedIn in a couple of different ways:

Don’t miss this opportunity!

AUTHOR BIO

Lynne Williams is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group, a 501(c)3 nonprofit with over 6700 members and alumni providing career education and networking. Lynne also writes for vista.today, montco.today, and delco.today.

Optimized LinkedIn Profile and Accountability in Career Group Results in a Remote Job Landing

Tell us about yourself and your career.
My name is Brian Rickman and I have 25 years of experience as a Software Engineer working with computer programming. I was working remotely for a company based in Boston before I lost my job.

Why were you looking for a job?
About a quarter of the workforce was laid off included me at the end of March. We were laid off due to the initial outbreak from the Coronavirus.

How did you discover PAGCG?
A friend of mine in the city knew that I was looking for a job. He saw an ad for a Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group (PAGCG) meeting about updating your LinkedIn profile on the Philadelphia Free Library’s website Jobs & Job Seeker events and encouraged me to attend. I joined that meeting and liked the people. It felt like the right place to be. I am also a volunteer for the group, even though I am employed. It’s a way of giving back.

How did PAGCG help you in your job search?
The biggest thing the group gave me was the confidence and motivation to work on my job search. Many things were secondary, such as updating my LinkedIn profile and resume, but the social aspect was most important. In the meetings, we would go around the room and talk about what we had done the previous week related to our job search. It gave me and others a sense of accountability.

How did you find your job? How long did it take?
A recruiter reached out to me through LinkedIn after they saw my newly updated profile. I landed an interview and, eventually, the job itself. Luckily, I was only out of work for a month between losing my job and landing the new one.

What kept you motivated during the job search, especially during the downtimes?
The connection I felt with the other job seekers in the group helped me. It also helped to put a plan in place and treat my job search as a job – I would wake up in the morning, update my profile, spruce up my resume, and keep moving. I always made sure that I had something to report to the group at the next meeting.

What were the lessons that you learned during your job search?
You really must make an effort to get up and work for it. It’s not going to happen by itself, and the job won’t land on your lap. During better times, I had recruiters reach out to me every week, but that’s not happening right now. You have to get out there and make that effort.

Do you have any networking tips or tricks that you can share?
Reach out to anyone who could help you, even friends and neighbors. I was so surprised when I reached out to neighbors, and they would say, “Oh yeah, I can connect you to someone here. I can help you!”
On LinkedIn, especially, almost anyone will connect with you if you give them a reason. If you reach out and say you want to connect, they may ignore your request if they don’t already know you; however, if you reach out and say, “Hey, I’m interested in your company,” you are more likely to get a response.

What will you do in your new role?
My new job title is Camera Engineer. This role is a software engineer role with the primary focus on writing programs in C++ that run inside internet-connected security cameras.

What is one takeaway or nugget of wisdom that you would like to share?
I found a quote in an online class that was quite relevant: “Lady Luck favors those who try!” You will have better luck if you go out and make an effort. If you sit around doing nothing, then nothing will happen.

"The Karens" and Other Name Topics on LinkedIn

Don’t shoot the messenger, especially if your name is Karen, Becky, Caroline, Patty, Gail, or Ann. Knowledge is power. Here’s research to learn more about the onslaught of nicknames and monikers, which are now memes. 

As an Ed.D. (Doctor of Education) Candidate, I have taken courses over the past six months. The synthesized content for this article is from one of my assignments. 

I figured if I did not know all of this information, maybe the readers of this blog did not know either, other than hearing bits and pieces on the news. 

Although there are stories that explain #BBQBecky, #CornerstoneCaroline, #PermitPatty, and #GolfCartGail, today is the day we shed light on the archetype known as #Karen or #TheKarens.

The headlines, hashtags, and memes on Reddit should be a cause for a pause of reflection, hoping that we are the solution, rather than the reason for the problem.

If you enjoy listening to podcasts, listen to the July 15, 2020 episode on “What’s in a Karen?” on NPR’s Code Switch.

The beginnings of “Karen” is not precisely known, but it may have originated in 2005 with Dane Cook’s Comedy Act aired after the 2004 release of Mean Girls.

CAREN, with a C, is now the root of the CAREN Act, which stands for Caution Against Racially Exploited Non-Emergencies and was enacted on July 8, 2020, in San Francisco. It makes racially-biased calls illegal. There is legislation happening in other cities where there are fines imposed for false reports. 

Karen now stands for a white woman with white privilege who feels they are entitled to make 911 calls towards marginalized community members.

These are the people typically making racist false reports – white middle-class women calling the police on black people. 

The Urban Dictionary gave Karen a definition back in 2018 as a stereotypical name associated with “rude, obnoxious and insufferable middle aged white women.” Now there is the Coughing Karen and also the Coronvirus Karen, who refuses to wear a mask.

Now meet Miss Ann, which is an African American expression, referring to a European American Woman or, sometimes, a black woman, who is condescending and arrogant. 

Although there are more profound implications of using the code name Miss Ann, what do we teach young children? Many of my friends’ children called me Miss Lynne as a show of respect. There is still an African American adult male who calls me Miss Lynne, but he tells me that is how he was raised to respect others and that it’s a habit.

Have you listened to Sir Mix-A-Lot’s hit song from 1992 called Baby Got Back? Meet Becky and meet her again in 2016 with Beyonce’s Lemonade album with You Better Call Becky with the Good Hair. 

Would you name your child Karen or any of these other names now?

So what does all of this have to do with LinkedIn? Since the topic is NAMES, here are some considerations about names on LinkedIn:

Apologies to my family members, friends, colleagues, clients, and readers with these names mentioned. Now you hopefully know more than you did before you began reading this and understand where all this started. 

So, enough of Karen, “Bye, Felicia.” Or should we end with “Can I Speak to the Manager?”

AUTHOR BIO

Lynne Williams is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group, a 501(c)3 nonprofit with over 6300 members and alumni providing career education and networking. Lynne also writes for vista.today, montco.today, and delco.today.

Three Unconventional Ways to Supercharge Your Professional Networking

Are you looking for additional ways to network with people, but are hampered due to the pandemic? Instead of merely sending cold “connect with me” requests through LinkedIn in, why not try out one of these other approaches?

Start a Podcast

If you have a computer, are curious by nature, and are willing to step out of your comfort zone, consider creating a podcast. It not only can help you connect with other professionals, but you create a product that becomes your business card that has a life of its own.

Pick an interest that you are passionate about and then reach out to people in your network and ask if they would be willing to be interviewed on your podcast. Over time, as you build up episodes, you can then take risks and invite people onto your podcast with whom you always wanted to speak. 

Not only are you able to have thoughtful conversations with people, but by recording the session, you’re able to share what you learn with others. Your ability to network will skyrocket as you’re not only reaching out to new people to speak with, but over time, you’ll be building an online repository of content that will make your website a destination place for other like-minded professionals. 

So how do you get started using a podcast? It’s not as complicated as you might think. The most challenging aspect is the planning, organizing, and doing the work. From a technical standpoint, there are many free tools available. The basics of what you need are:

● Recording equipment. To record, you’ll need a laptop and a microphone. (Yes, you can use your phone in a pinch, but for best sound quality, you might wish to pick up a USB microphone with a shock mount and pop filter.)

● You’ll need software such as Pamela (for Windows) or ecamm (for Mac) to record your interviews.

●     Free software such as Audacity is available for editing your raw audio file. And if you need to learn how to use the software, free YouTube videos are available to help. 

● And finally, you’ll need a place to host your final podcast files. Anchor offers a free service (but be sure to read their terms of service to make certain you’re comfortable with it, as they might run ads within your podcast or create a derivative of your work). Services like Buzzsprout and Podbean also offer limited free services and paid options for more functionality and server space. 

Want to learn more about how to start a podcast? Be sure to read Joanna Penn’s How to Podcast article for more tips and recommendations on services and equipment. 

Write a Book

Like creating a podcast, writing a book is another unconventional way to broaden your professional network while also allowing you to become a thought leader or influencer in your area of expertise. 

First, take an idea and then come up with five people you’d like to interview in your book. Reach out to those individuals, share your vision with them, and ask if they would be willing to be included in your book.

Need an example to help you get started?

Monika Kanokova wrote her book My Creative (Side) Business: The insightful guide to turning your side projects into a full-time creative business by reaching out and interviewing 12 female entrepreneurs and asking each of them a set of questions. Her interviews allowed her to connect with like-minded women from around the world, amplify their stories, and then offer the book to up-and-coming freelancers who looked for a place to start.

The options available to you are endless. You could choose to make a short ebook or a print version, offer the book in digital formats that will work on a variety of ebook readers, or even distribute the book for sale on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble. 

If you need help in creating an ebook, be sure to read my step-by-step How to Publish an eBook in 8 (Somewhat) Easy Steps. The technical aspect of creating a book is not the primary challenge. With today’s technology, anyone can easily create a book from their own computer, free software, and then distribute online.

The more significant challenge is coming up with an exciting topic, defining your project’s scope, and then executing. Remember, a book doesn’t need to be written in a day or a week. You can set your schedule as you see fit.

An excellent place to start is to brainstorm, select your idea, and then run with it. Writing 1,000 words a day for four days a week will net you 48,000 words in three months. That’s plenty to work with for a first non-fiction book.

After the draft is finished, you can use tools like Grammarly or ProWritingAid to edit the book (or share with friends to get their feedback), and if you’re not up for the challenge to format the text yourself, there are many freelancers out there to do the work for you at a minimal cost.

Once you have the book, share it with your professional networking groups. The point isn’t to become rich from the book, but to use your work as your business card. You can connect with other professionals during the research phase of your project and then share the books with those individuals to pass the book along to their networks (be sure to list your contact information in your book so that readers can reach out to you). 

Over time, with one ebook, you can distribute the file for free to tens of thousands of people. The possibilities indeed are endless if you are willing to step outside the parameters of traditional networking.

Volunteer and Teach 

What skills do you have? Choose one and then offer to reach out to a professional group and offer your services to the group. The Great Careers Group & BENG is one such organization that offers a plethora of events throughout each month.

Instead of looking for people to come to help you network or find a job, flip the dynamic, and ask yourself: “What do I have to offer others? How can I help?”

Professional networking is a two-way street in that we’re looking to make connections with people and give.

Think about how you can help people, write your idea down, and then reach out and volunteer to help. Do you have tech skills? Professional networking tips? Unconventional job searching techniques? If you stop to think about your skills, see what you’re passionate about, and then give back. The more you give back, the more your network will grow as you will become the person that people want to gravitate toward instead of showing up to people with your hand out.

If you want to take teaching to another level, why not record yourself on a platform such as Teachable, and then offer the recording to people? If signing up for a paid service is not an option, use your laptop to record your screen, and then upload the video to YouTube.

Take the YouTube link and share the video out on Twitter, LinkedIn, and any professional networks where you are a member.

Summing It Up

Yes, we are in the middle of a pandemic, and it’s more challenging than ever to meet up with people to network professionally. Stop sending the cold invites to people on LinkedIn. Successful networking takes effort, and the ideas suggested here are creative ones to challenge you in ways you might feel uncomfortable. That’s the point. Each of us has an opportunity to step up and use the skills/tools at our disposal to create something great and share that with others. Have fun, and if you have a question about one of the ideas in this article, reach out and contact me. 

Author Bio

Ron Vitale is an accomplished director of digital project management and has successfully overseen the launch of more than a dozen websites seeking employment opportunities.

His colleagues have come to know him as a diplomatic problem-solver with a proven ability to envision people’s web needs and then launch viable new web-based systems on time and under budget.

Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile to Boost Your Business

Entrepreneur? Small business owner? Growing business? Startup? Side-gigger? Side hustler? Franchise owner? Solopreneur? Thinking about starting a business?

Have you optimized your LinkedIn profile to boost your business? Does your headline only say CEO of Blah Blah Blah Business? Or does it also state what your business is about utilizing all of the character spaces available with keywords? Do you come up in a Boolean search?

What does logic tell you when you go to Google? Do you type in CEO of Blah Blah Blah Business to find something you are seeking? What if you don’t know any business names, which is why you are searching on Google in the first place?  

Maybe, just maybe, you search for something on Google by keywords. Wouldn’t you think that you might do the same on LinkedIn? 

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you might want to participate in some of the upcoming workshops listed at the end of this article. The tips presented might help you boost your business, and it may not cost you one dime!

Do you know the other locations in a LinkedIn profile where you can leverage keywords?

Have you customized your LinkedIn URL?

Have you created a custom banner on LinkedIn?

Are you building your brand on LinkedIn? 

Have you created your own hashtag for LinkedIn as well as other social media?

Are you building relationships on LinkedIn? Do you have over 500 connections? Do you even know why you need over 500 connections?

Are you publishing high-quality content?

Are you tagging others when you post?

Is Your LinkedIn profile part of your email signature?

Are you targeting connections? 

Are you participating in relevant groups?

Are you growing your email marketing list with your LinkedIn connections?

Are you using sponsored updates?

Do you have a LinkedIn company page? Are you populating it by educating, empowering, entertaining, enriching, engaging, or inspiring? Getting likes, shares, or comments? Gaining followers? Analyzing the metrics? Engaging your employees with your content? Do you know how to drive traffic to your company page?

If you don’t have a company page, here are the steps to create one.:

  • Click on the Work icon with the nine square at the top right of the menu bar
  • Click on Create a Company Page
  • Choose Small Business
  • Enter details
  • Click verification
  • Click Create Page
  • Upload your logo image of 300 x 300 px
  • Upload your cover image of 1192 x 220 px minimum with 1128 x 191 px recommended
  • Populate with details about your business, including your website.
  • Further details are here.

AUTHOR BIO

Lynne Williams is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group, a 501(c)3 nonprofit with over 6300 members and alumni providing career education and networking. Lynne also writes for vista.today, montco.today, and delco.today.

Finding the Right Job for Your Personality

Your Personality. Your Values. The Right Job for You.

A recent LinkedIn survey reported the most frustrating manager qualities. The number one complaint employees reported was that manager expectations were unclear and frequently changing.  Micromanagement, manager unavailability, managers not fostering employee growth, and professional development ranked second, third, and fourth, respectively.

If you are currently in career transition, there is a lot you can do before “committing” (agreeing to take the job) to avoid being saddled with a frustrating manager. Ensure that your personality and values match with the organization, the hiring manager you will be reporting to, and the team you will be working with.

Taking a personality assessment and developing a company culture and role profile (CCRP) will help you make better decisions.

Understand Your Personality Strength and Struggles

Take a personality assessment to understand your personality strengths and struggles. A personality assessment is simply a subjective, self-report questionnaire. There are several reliable and credible assessments available to help you ascertain your typical personality strengths and struggles, such as Personality ID, Myers Briggs Type Indicator, DISC, The Big Five Personality Test, and many others. Personality assessments classify individuals into eight primary behavior patterns: adaptive vs. directing, reserved vs. interacting, objective vs. supportive, and unconventional vs. conscientious.

If your personality is highly unconventional, you tend to rely on instinct and like to operate without written rules. You are naturally flexible, versatile, and work well with broad concepts. Your personality type functions best in natural environments that encourage quick and candid responses.

Seek a company culture, a boss, and a role that best matches your personality.

Develop a Company Culture & Role Profile (CCRP) 

Developing a CCRP requires some basic knowledge, good detective work, and an investment in your time. Use a Microsoft Excel Workbook to capture data and information. Each worksheet can represent a separate company of interest. Perform research in the following areas and note the information in your Excel workbook.

Company Culture. 

Very simply, an organization’s culture is characterized by the way they do things. Culture shapes organizational social norms and attitudes. Culture is defined by how people interact, solve problems, and accomplish goals & objectives.

Groysberg, Lee, Price, and Cheng (2018) identified eight primary organizational culture styles classified by employee interactions (tendency toward high independence or high interdependence) and employee’s responses to change (tendency toward stability/predictability or adaptability/flexibility).

Caring: relationships & mutual trust

Purpose: idealism & altruism

Learning: exploration & creativity

Enjoyment: fun & excitement

Results: achievement & winning

Authority: boldness & decisiveness

Safety: planning, caution, & preparedness

Order: rules & structure

Recall our highly “unconventional” personality from the previous section? Which primary cultures might not be a good fit?  If you guessed safety and order culture, you are correct.

Internet Search 

You can find a lot about company culture by reviewing company annual reports, company web pages, LinkedIn company pages, Indeed, or Glassdoor employee comments.  Identify the company’s vision, mission, and values. Do you see evidence of what it might be like to work for the company? Check for the organizational climate indicators. Can you see evidence of the following or not?

Communication: communication seems to be open and free-flowing

Reward System: recognition of people for a job well done

Organization Clarity: things are well-organized with a clear definition of goals & objectives

Teamwork: the amount of understanding, cooperation, and support demonstrated

Suppose you value professional development, integrity, and social responsibility. Do you see evidence of tuition reimbursement for education or industry certifications, doing the right thing, or participating in a corporate social responsibility program?

Network, Network, Network 

Have informational conversations with staff at the company. Use LinkedIn to set up informational interviews to determine what it’s like to work for the company or the hiring manager. Reach out to people who work at the company or worked there previously. Connect and have a conversation. Ask: “Tell me what it’s like to work at Company ABC.” Review the hiring manager’s LinkedIn profile, skills, endorsements, and recommendations.

Examine Job Descriptions

A good job description and all job descriptions are not all created equally, is a communication tool that tells potential candidates what skills and qualifications the company and hiring manager are looking for in a candidate. Deconstruct the job description. If the job description emphasizes teamwork and learning, it is likely that the culture focuses on collaboration and learning or has identified it as a gap the candidate could fill.  It is your job to find out. LinkedIn Premium does some analysis for you.  See the following LinkedIn Sections:  How you match? and Competitive Intelligence About Other Applicants.

Interview Preparation

Schedule a mock interview with Leslie Segarnick, The Interview Doctor. Dr. Les is an expert in job search and interview techniques providing coaching no charge to folks in job transition. You will need to supply him with your resume and the job description in advance. He can help you “Flip the Script” (see below.). Read his Top Ten Interview Questions & Tips article, which includes his BIO.

Interview Time: Flipping the Script

Flip the script. A few strategic questions asked during the interview can give you useful information. Ask the recruiter: “What is it like working for Company ADC?”, “What can you tell me about (the hiring manager)?” Ask the hiring manager: “Tell me about yourself.” “Tell me about your leadership style.”, “Do you prefer weekly one-on-ones?”

While there are no guarantees, you will have significantly increased the probability of a more successful match, by taking this systematic approach. The higher the degree of match (company, boss, and job), the happier and more successful you will be in the new role!

References 

Groysberg, B., Lee, J., Price, J., & Cheng, J. (2018, Jan-Feb). The leader’s guide to corporate culture. Harvard Business Review (HBR).

LinkedIn. (2018, October 22). The “most frustrating” things a boss can do is…

AUTHOR BIO

Dr. Laura Dowling, MBA-TM, CHFP, CRCR, CSBI has 20 years of corporate leadership experience in the healthcare industry, developing and executing strategies to improve operational and financial performance. She has hired, trained, managed, and professionally developed hundreds of employees.  She has a reputation for building and leading high-performing teams that exceed expectations.

Dr. Laura has 13 years’ experience as a professor developing curriculum, designing courses, and providing instruction in business administration, healthcare administration, leadership, and strategic management at Gwynedd Mercy University. She is an instructor at Gwynedd Mercy University and doctoral dissertation committee member at the University of Phoenix. Reach Dr. Laura at  https://www.linkedin.com/in/laura-dowling-dm/