Contract Project Management Role Lead to a Full-time Job

Tell us about yourself and your career.
My name is John Whiteley and I was in a director-level position in project management for over ten years. I was later transferred to another company performing a couple of different roles for an additional seven years. After that company lost the contract, around February 2018, I realized it was becoming more difficult to find a job, so I worked various contractor positions in project management before landing my current role.

Why were you looking for a job?
The company lost a contract I was working on with billing systems, and I was laid off. I found other contract positions throughout 2018 and 2019 but sought to find more steady employment in my expertise area.

How did you discover PAGCG?
I hadn’t been laid off before, so I started with CareerLink’s office in Media. I would hear different names and groups while there, and because of this, I discovered Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group (PAGCG) and Lynne Williams. I went to a couple of career fairs and got to talk with Lynne and decided that I should attend some of the many meetings that PAGCG was having. To help me improve my job search methods, it would be better for me to join PAGCG as a member, which I did.

How did PAGCG help you in your job search?
PAGCG helped me find a job in several ways. First, I attended all of Lynne’s LinkedIn classes and gained a great deal of value from all three workshops. Afterward, I attended many chapter meetings where I could talk with others in professional careers in the same boat. For example, to use Les Segarnick’s interview prep group, there was no teacher, no seminar, just accountability questions such as “What are you doing this week?” and “Where have you applied?” With more than 700 events in the area, I found that many of them were a big help, and I recommend them to anyone looking for employment.

How did you find your job? How long did it take?
My current company had many people from my former company, which helped me. In the summer of 2019, I reached out to someone I knew in West Chester, a program manager at this company. He got me an interview, but unfortunately, it didn’t work out during that time, and I continued my search. Fast forward to January 2020, and I reached out to my friend again, who mentioned that a position was available. By February, I landed a contractor position, which helped me get my foot in the door with this company because of someone through my network.

What kept you motivated during the job search, especially during the downtimes?
There was a lot of rejection and general “Why me?” feelings, but in the face of that, I took classes in September 2019 with three certifications in mind. I received two out of the three, ITIL 4 Foundation and Scrum Master, and still plan on pursuing my Project Manager Professional (PMP) certification. Giving myself a goal and a routine where I could focus on my family, faith, and health helped build my confidence and give me a sense of self-worth. I would volunteer at my church to give back, and constructive, positive things in my life kept me going.

What were the lessons that you learned during your job search?
You should never assume and always be persistent. There are many variables, so just because someone told you “No,” today doesn’t mean that if you reach out later on, it is still a “No.” Don’t be afraid to reach out to people and try to get your foot in the door. Ultimately, you must believe in yourself and your abilities because a lot of this responsibility is on your shoulders.

Do you have any networking tips or tricks that you can share?
You get out of it what you put into it. If you don’t network and you’re sort of in the corner not attempting to meet new people, you won’t get as much of value out of the event as opposed to initiating conversations with a few people and learning something from them. I would pay it forward for others who needed help because if I can help others out, they can help me. It’s all about bringing each other up. Networking helped me understand the value of reaching out to others every once in a while, to see how they were doing.

What will you do in your new role?
I will be a Project Manager who focuses on training employees. I organize classes and update the training database with information on who has been trained and even teach some training classes myself.

What is one takeaway or nugget of wisdom that you would like to share?
It can be a very frustrating and sometimes lonely journey being unemployed, especially when you’re older. It would help if you reach out to as many people as possible, remain positive, and communicate your value succinctly. Keep a positive attitude so you can focus on constructive activities. There is a lot of rejection, but you will land something sooner or later, and I do firmly believe that. It may take a while, but you can’t ever give up.

Wowed by a Speaker Who Says to "Get Weird"

Have you ever been WOWed by a speaker? I was just WOWed! Running hundreds of events a year, I hear a plethora of speakers and, some are standouts.

At the beginning of 2020, I was on a national summit with some fantastic speakers and authors. Of course, I reached out to connect with all of them on LinkedIn. Some turned into phone calls, and we got to know each other better.

One reached back out to me several months later, and I booked him to speak. He left me wanting more. So, I started by ordering one of his 13 published books (The Story Arc) on Amazon, and it should arrive soon. 

Speaking of Amazon, did you know you could order on smile.amazon.com and choose the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group as your charity of choice? Amazon makes donations to us quarterly through your purchases.

Our speaker is in the process of writing more books. I will also have to listen to his Your Ultimate Life podcast.

Not only is Kellan Flukiger a gifted speaker, author, transformational leadership mentor, and performance and breakthrough coach, but he is a musician and producer who is a father of ten.

Zooming in from Edmonton, Alberta, he started his elevator pitch as “I help people do things that they don’t think they can do.”

Kellan shared some wisdom with the attendees who were mainly job seekers, but did it in such a way that was motivational, inspirational, and was delivered with energy and enthusiasm. It was unique coming from a man with a story.

Every morning Kellan has a 40-minute ritual that includes 10 minutes each of SPEM:

  • Spiritual – engage in prayer or meditation
  • Physical – stretch and get your body moving
  • Emotional – send a text or message to someone
  • Mental – read a chapter

Here is some food for thought he shared:

  • What do you do?
  • Who needs that?
  • Say the words they need to hear.
  • What do THEY say their needs are, and how do you describe it?
  • Why would they pick you?
  • What is it that you don’t do? Won’t do? Haven’t thought of?
  • Are you trying to do what has been done before, or are you thinking differently?
  • We all have feelings of inadequacy, so get rid of the head trash. 
  • When you care for yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually, you present to others more powerfully.
  • What is the way people feel when they are around you?
  • Set daily goals. You control your activities, so achieve and celebrate.
  • Get help. Don’t do it alone. 
  • Think of yourself as a service business and think of something no other coach would do. 
  • Don’t just offer it, live it! Don’t look for a client. Look for 1) people to love, 2) problems to solve, and 3) opportunities to serve
  • Have fun!

>>> If it was not for LinkedIn, I never would have met this speaker. 

Are you reaching out and connecting with people every day or at least every week?

Are you personalizing your introductions when you connect? 

Are you making referrals and introductions to others?

Are you keeping your searches under 300 a month, so you don’t get a commercial use limit warning?

Are you doing Boolean searches for people on LinkedIn or on Google for LinkedIn?  

Are you staying in touch with your network by wishing them congrats on their new job, a happy anniversary, or a branded happy birthday?

Are you sending someone an article of interest or a nice note?

Are you liking, commenting, sharing, posting, and writing on LinkedIn?

Are you participating in polls on LinkedIn and seeing the results of polls?

If you want to be in the first violin seat or the NFL or MLB, you must practice. If you want to grow your LinkedIn network, you have to practice. 

Here’s the last bit of advice from Kellan > Get weird! Get creative! Stand out differently with light, love, energy, and power. 

I would love to hear how you are getting weird!

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.

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…

LinkedIn Tips for Jobseekers

There seems to be a lot of downsizing and reorganizing going on in companies in the region, which has led to the growth of our organization with a lot of new jobseekers, even though we have a mix of employed and self-employed who come to learn and network. Some of our members have outplacement services available to them and others do not. 

For many folks, they are like “deer in headlights” and don’t know what to do, as the job search process has changed so much since they last looked for a position. Resume trends have certainly changed and LinkedIn has evolved since it was launched in 2003. 

If you ask 10 resume and LinkedIn profile writers for their recommendations, you may get 15 different answers and, as a jobseeker, you only care that the advice works. 

Here are some of the suggestions I would like to share if you are in career transition or thinking about making a change.

  1. Before you make edits to your profile, review the sharing edits setting.
  2. Optimize your headline with key titles and keywords (same technique as link in #5 below)
  3. Make sure your have a photo that is friendly and charismatic and you can even see what others think about it by using Photofeeler.
  4. Customize your LinkedIn URL.
  5. Embellish your job titles up to 100 characters.
  6. Make sure you have the right keywords in the Skills and Endorsements section (same technique as link in #5 above and you can also use Google Trends).
  7. If you don’t have over 500 connections, then start connecting. Read more.
  8. Include a bullet pointed list of keywords in the About section and put them in alphabetical order so the reader can logically process the list and see if you have the “must have” requirements for the position. 
  9. Get active on the platform and write articles and also include them in your publications section.
  10. Use Feedly to generate links of articles with relevant content in your areas of interest so you can write some commentary with the article link and share it on your Home page as well as in groups. Make sure you also like, share, and comment on other people’s posts.
  11. It is essential that you have a current position listed (20xx – present) and not one with an end date so the algorithm with help, versus hurt, you. This might be a great reason for you to volunteer for an organization of your interest, as you will both benefit. List your volunteer role as your current job. Read this one article and another. 
  12. Take advantage of the online interview coaching feature that is currently being rolled out.
  13. Explore the Resume Builder LinkedIn is rolling out to premium members. If you have a premium account, here is the link.
  14. Build a custom word cloud banner for free using WordArt or create a banner in Canva or Over or DesignWizard. You can also use WordArt and Jobscan.co to aid your text analyzation of job descriptions. This will help you with keyword searches so you can wordsmith these into your resume and Linkedin profile. 
  15. Your public profile visibility should be open.
  16. Use Boolean searches in LinkedIn or for LinkedIn in Google to find connections in companies. 
  17. Write a variety of introduction requests for different situations.
  18. Check who has viewed your profile and reach out to the people who have looked at your profile.

Originally published in vista.today and updated

How to Embellish Your Job Titles on LinkedIn

Yada yada yada! You are a solopreneur and are into titles and want to call yourself President or CEO.  President or CEO of what? Perhaps you are a VP Sales … but a VP Sales of what? 

Don’t you want to be the first chair of the first violins, otherwise known as the concertmaster? Don’t you want to be that leader? 

Why not embellish your job titles on LinkedIn so you can play the first violinist role on your LinkedIn profile to command the best seat in your own online orchestra to create your own branded song? You have 100 characters to embellish your job title, so why not take advantage of using keywords after your real title? 

Here are three examples of attorneys who have very different skill sets and areas of expertise. I would certainly want to hire the right person to vigorously defend my specific interests as a client. Wouldn’t you?

Attorney | Consultant | Commercial Transactions | Healthcare | Compliance Agreements | Negotiations

Attorney | Family Law | Divorce | Child Custody | Child Support | Separation | Property Settlement 

Attorney | Personal Injury | Car Accident | Medical Malpractice | Wrongful Death | Slip and Fall 

LinkedIn is a database and people can do Boolean searches using AND, OR, or NOT in order to find people. So why not embellish your titles to potentially be found?

Don’t believe me? Listen to a story of the LinkedIn journey of a independent sales representative for promotional products. The day after he optimized his LinkedIn profile with keywords, he got a call for a job … and he wasn’t even looking for a job! In fact, you will learn many additional LinkedIn tips and tricks when you watch Getting Concrete Results from Social Media video starting at 1:27 on this website.

Just know that some HR professionals are purists and don’t believe you should embellish your title on LinkedIn. A recent poll from HR organizations like CCHRA, GVHRA, PSPS, and others resulted in 80% of HR professionals felt it was acceptable to embellish the titles. So now all you Client Happiness Representatives can now better explain what it is that you do! 

This article was originally published in Vista.Today