Archives for branding

Celebrify Your Client-Facing Superstars with LinkedIn

Last week, I took my first business trip since 2018 to teach one of my dearest friends’ team of family lawyers how to brand themselves on LinkedIn. Lately, I have been talking to more and more people who are realizing that LinkedIn isn’t just something you use when you’re searching for a job. The team collectively couldn’t believe how much they could actually do on the platform, but they were understandably disappointed by some of its limits, as well.

LinkedIn makes it very easy for you as an individual to leverage all of the platform’s free features to gain exposure, craft messaging that resonates deeply with the kinds of people with whom you prefer to do business, and convert extended online connections into direct real-life connections. However, for businesses, unless you invest in advertising and premier packages, your company page remains more of an extension to individual profiles rather than vice versa. That’s just fine for a company focused on relationship management, since it’s the people that form relationships that then extend the company brand.

In a world where customer service norms include maze-like automated phone menus that never seem to understand your request, the most obvious way to stand out is to promote your front-line customer-facing employees and service providers as your company’s celebrities.

I find that people, by nature, are dynamic. The way I used to describe branding in the first decade of my business might have made it sound as if we have to file down the dimensions of people to fit into a shape that their audience, be them investors, partners, shareholders, stakeholders, vendors, employees, or clients, would easily recognize. However, the opposite is really true – the more dimensions of yourself you demonstrate through your online profiles, the more a variety of people will relate to and resonate with you. These will be people who align with your values, pending your values are also embedded in your content. Not knowing exactly how to do this is the problem my clients solve when they engage me.

I have had clients come to me to brand their LinkedIn profiles when they are pursuing fellowships, wooing investors, applying for an exclusive membership, proposing to be a speaker, or being considered for an industry award. They have also come to me when they want to build or deepen a myriad of relationships.

My suggestion that they show vulnerability and authenticity usually triggers some fears, particularly for those who prefer to stay anonymous and safe. There would definitely be legitimate reasons for some companies with many angry customers (everyone has more now than ever) to keep anonymous the people who receive and fail to resolve customer issues. Still, if a competitor felt more certain they could better care for those customer complaints and presented their customer care members as real, accessible people who genuinely care, imagine how easy it would be to capture those customers. Then the work becomes about delivering the utmost service, converting those customers into raving fans of your company, and leveraging the word of mouth and testimonials of happy customers to gain more, which is significantly less expensive than advertising.

If you read this and think, well, what if we invest in the personal branding of our team members and only make them more attractive as prospective employees to our competitors, then you likely have insecurities about your ability to retain your employees. Additionally, those insecurities are manifesting in ways that make it even more likely your people will flee, and you should probably engage a leadership coaching firm (like us) to help you retain your employees in more conscious ways. Keep in mind, when you celebrify your client-facing support and service employees AND your company brand demonstrates its authenticity, attracting talent is that much easier.

Less obvious people in your workforce to brand on LinkedIn than the people who represent your business to prospective clients and partners are the people who liaise between departments and depend on gaining alignment between them to achieve large-scale corporate initiatives. Even vendors give better deals to people with whom they have better relationships. Really, anyone in your company who relies on relationship management to achieve results will benefit from branding themselves on LinkedIn.

In the workshop I did last week, I guided the team through a mediative journaling exercise to help them identify their unique qualities and strengths, since I didn’t have 90 minutes to spend with each of them to uncover them myself and craft branding points. Then I guided them in where and how they can create meaningful, specific content that expressed and demonstrated these qualities and strengths, along with the outcomes that they produce. I showed them why and how to curate their home feed so that it was easier to quickly hop on LinkedIn to get and give value. I showed them how to write a LinkedIn connection invitation message that gets accepted 54%+ of the time and how to follow that up so that their network grew organically with people who had a high probability of converting from an online acquaintance to a fast friend, to a long-term ally. I showed them how to measure their effectiveness and make adjustments if they were not receiving quality invitations from the increased views of their profile. There were also some tips on how they can still get incredible brand expansion by using features that LinkedIn doesn’t do as well as other platforms, like groups and hashtags.

The feedback that I received was that, while they may have avoided LinkedIn before, they were energized by the possibilities now. They walked away excited to utilize the platform to help the firm as it launches support programming for clients as a supplement to legal services, so that they can get their clients on the other side of their legal challenges and into a new, better life. You’d probably be surprised by what you can do on LinkedIn. Want to know more? Schedule a consultation.

The White Stripes – We’re Going To Be Friends (Official Music Video)

Watch the official music video for “We’re Going To Be Friends” by The White StripesListen to The White Stripes: https://TheWhiteStripes.lnk.to/listenYDSubscr…

Karen Huller, CEO of Epic Careering, is the co-founder of The Consciousness Conference (ConCon) and the C3: Corporate Consciousness Co-op community on LinkedIn. She is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a conscious career and leadership development firm specializing in executive branding, talent-values alignment, and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of Mrs. Huller’s 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

Mrs. Huller was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. As an instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, she has helped two of her students win the 2018 National Competition to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, to win the 2019 People’s Choice Award, and to land in the top 8 during the (virtual) 2020 National Competition.

She serves on the board for the Upper Merion Community Center, which she helped establish, and is an advisor to Florida International University for their Women in Leadership program. For her service as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. Mrs. Huller has also been the lead singer for Harpers Ferry, a rock cover band, for 20 years. She lives in King of Prussia, PA with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

Reinventing Human Resources from Native American Wisdom

If you want to know how to make your company retreat transformative, I recommend you get some advice from Jennifer J. Riley, who invited me to join her team this week to teach them how to authentically brand themselves on LinkedIn so that they attract “their” people and help their people find them – clients, employees, vendors, partners, etc.

Branding helps you find “your” people, meaning the kinds of people you enjoy working with and for. It helps you engage with people who need what you offer, know people who need what you offer AND appreciate the approach you take. Successful branding results in building connections that are most likely to achieve tremendous outcomes from working together.

Jennifer’s business is family law, and she is a curator of people. I am one of those people.

Jennifer does not just provide legal services. She has a very inspiring vision of reinventing family law to provide the support that people need to rebuild after legal matters, such as divorce, devastate their lives and their shared resources.

The theme of the company retreat I presented at was New Horizons. All of the retreat’s programming was intentionally designed to stabilize her staff after tremendous growth during one of the most challenging times on the planet to be alive, so that the team can lay a strong foundation from which to build these programs and services.

Jennifer was very fortunate to have grown up around Native American elders who would frequent her parent’s store. She is in the process of setting up a third office location and home in Tucson, AZ, where she hosted her retreat at the ridiculously gorgeous Hilton El Conquistador Resort.

To honor the traditions of the land, the hotel welcomed Larry Redhouse, a Native American flutist, to perform a sunset fire ceremony. At the time Larry started, the evening’s banquet was just beginning and the photographer sent us down to get a group photo. So we all happened to be on the lawn in front of him. As he began, we all fell silent in full reverence of this ethereal sound while the sun blazed the mountains that loom behind the resort with brilliant colors – pink, bronze, and gold.

I am not ashamed to admit that tears fell out of my eyes from the sheer beauty of it all. I felt transported. As he ended a song he turned to us and asked if we were all together in a group, to which we proudly replied that we were the JJR Law Firm party. Then he turned to face us and imparted some Native American wisdom to us along with the rest of his captive audience, all of it deepening our connection as the colors of the mountains grew richer and richer.

A few of his words made the tears drop faster. For one, he advised us to “let it go.” Let go of the pain and anger of wrongdoings against us. Don’t let the pain distract you from the treasure all around. He also shared the philosophy of Mother Earth. Larry pointed to the mountain, which seemed to be shining from within down upon us rather than just reflecting the sun, and told us that to Native Americans, the earth is not a resource; it is a life source. Native Americans appreciate every gift the earth provides, and as we witnessed later that evening when the Yellow Bird Indian Dancers came to share even more about the Apache culture via dance, song, and storytelling, they pay tribute with dance and song for all of the gifts it provides.

Imagine for a moment if this was our normal way of being, not only at home, but at work – paying tribute with song and dance to the pen that signs the accord, or the software that computes the data, or internet that connects us all. Sometimes I do wish I could dance and sing and make technology work better, especially lately. However, the elder dancer of Yellow Bird said that the rain dance they performed was a song of gratitude after the rain, not to will the rain. These traditions are not of asking, but of gratitude. They gladly give back to Mother Earth and take care of Her needs.

I think you know by now where I am going with this.

So, now imagine if companies recognized people as their life source. It would probably look a lot like the retreat, for starters. Jennifer wasn’t just concerned with upskilling her people so that they would produce more. She recognized what they have already produced, especially under extraordinary circumstances. She provided them with training on tools that will enable them to make an impact on the planet that they find meaningful, as well as to protect their data.

She made sure I took the time to help one of her attorneys, Patrick (PJ) McGinnis, craft a LinkedIn invitation to those interested in learning how to protect equine therapy locations from compliance issues, a passion of his.

Another member of her tribe, Cara McClintock-Walsh, secured world-renowned author Colum McCann as a keynote speaker to engage their intellectual and emotional intelligence by being led through his Narrative 4 process.

Jennifer nourished not only her team’s minds, but also their bodies and spirits. She had a nurse teach them how to better care for their physical, emotional, and mental health through the pandemic and beyond.

And yes, they learned team building from a Trader Joe’s team developer.

All the while, she made sure we ate the best food and experienced the beauty of the area by immersing us in it with a fascinating guided hike at Catalina State Park followed by standing yoga.

The resort was not just gorgeous, but highly tuned in to the needs of the group. Someone merely overheard Jason Warburton, Jennifer’s husband and Facilities Manager, say that he forgot his sunglasses and dropped off three free pairs to his table!

Now imagine what this looks like every day. Imagine if company leaders really understood that their workforce is – more than a transactional exchange of output (production) to input (salary), but an ecosystem that needs balance to sustain itself. Furthermore, companies are a part of larger ecosystems, and need to consider the interconnection of their actions and decisions on the world around them.

What if the job of Human Resources or Human Capital was not to get the most out of their investment, but to put back what they harvest? What if doing no harm to their life source was a priority and a minimum standard?

Imagine if companies saw people, not money, as their life source. And what if the individuals of these companies also recognized the earth as a life source? How differently might decisions be made?

If a company really embodied these Native American philosophies, what would we call Human Resources?

Maybe if companies prioritized offering their talent something in the hiring process instead of focusing on what they can garner from candidates, the Talent Acquisition Department would instead be called the Opportunity Center.

Since many people seem interested in disrupting HR, it now makes perfect sense to me to not look to build a better model from scratch, but to borrow from the models gifted to us from wise civilizations around the world – an integrated model. It also makes sense to me to do the same for all the other models that need disruption.

Once these values are imbued into your corporate culture, please, don’t let what happened to indigenous cultures and traditions happen at your company! Find ways to make sure that the elders of your company pass on their wisdom and that the newer members keep the traditions alive!

Make sure your company is not only offering a living wage, health benefits beyond “sick care”, and ample time and conditions for rejuvenation of mind, body, and spirit, but also make sure your people are celebrated and appreciated.

Larry Redhouse – If You Only Knew

The Larry Redhouse Trio :Playing “If You Only Knew”, an original by Larry RedhouseLarry Redhouse – keyboardsKirk Kuykendall – acoustic bassGil Rodriguez – dr…

Karen Huller, CEO of Epic Careering, is the co-founder of The Consciousness Conference (ConCon) and the C3: Corporate Consciousness Co-op community on LinkedIn. She is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a conscious career and leadership development firm specializing in executive branding, talent-values alignment, and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of Mrs. Huller’s 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

Mrs. Huller was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. As an instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, she has helped two of her students win the 2018 National Competition to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, to win the 2019 People’s Choice Award, and to land in the top 8 during the (virtual) 2020 National Competition.

She serves on the board for the Upper Merion Community Center, which she helped establish, and is an advisor to Florida International University for their Women in Leadership program. For her service as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. Mrs. Huller has also been the lead singer for Harpers Ferry, a rock cover band, for 20 years. She lives in King of Prussia, PA with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

LinkedIn Branding That Makes Work Better in So Many Ways

Let me clear something up about branding. It can have a negative connotation in an environment where images are manipulated to fool people. Branding is not “spin”. It is not just a catchy logo or tagline, though those are sometimes appropriate extensions of your brand.

When branding is authentic, it helps you surround yourself with people who get you. More doors of opportunity open up. When your LinkedIn network is filled with people who get you, whatever you want to accomplish is that much easier. When the people you interface with regularly are people with whom you feel a deeper connection, the work takes on a deeper meaning, too, and can even feel like fun a lot more often. These are byproducts of branding that I wish more people understood, especially now when so many people are considering a change, but feeling like they’ll only get more of the same. Branding is a game-changer for greater career fulfillment. It makes you bolder in your actions.

Essentially, your brand is everything that is conjured up and associated with you, your name, and your business, whether that’s a business you own or your profession. This includes images, memories, stories, words, and emotions. Yes, you want your brand to evoke emotions, and it will, whether you are intentional about it or not. Maya Angelou wisely said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

It can be very hard to be objective about what emotions are evoked in others by your brand. People, generally, will be evoked to very different degrees by very different stimuli. That is why effective branding requires you to understand and empathize with your audience. How do you acquire this level of understanding? Well, LinkedIn can really help you here, too. The empathy part, well, that can come from understanding, but ultimately depends on your emotional intelligence to fully stand in your audience’s experience.

Who is your audience? By audience I mean whomever you wish to attract. This could include customers/clients, investors, partners, experts, talent, employers, recruiters, media, etc. Narrowing down your audience is really the key to effective branding, and it’s what most people avoid due to fear of limiting opportunity. It’s really counter-intuitive, but effective branding isn’t about being as marketable to as many audiences as possible. I’m not just talking about using demographics to narrow down your audience. There are many more powerful audience qualities to consider, like what matters most to them? What entices them to act? What kind of people do they allow into their inner circle? What are they really up to in their career and life? What common interests could bond you?

Your brand, at its intentional best, is a bridge between what you offer the world and who will need, want, appreciate, and invest in it. Essentially, the action you seek from your audience is that they invest time, effort, money, relationship capital, or any combination thereof.

A branded LinkedIn profile starts with identifying your unique expression of your top qualities, skills, experiences, mindsets, approaches, and talents and the value that they tend to or can create for your target audience. This is where your understanding of your target audience becomes really important. Many people struggle to understand what to say. Let your audience’s needs drive this. If you still aren’t sure, it’s time to deepen your relationship with your audience, and LinkedIn is one of the best tools for this. You likely have members of your audience already in your network (if you’re not a beginner.) Invite them to talk for a couple of minutes, but not about you – about them. Get familiar with the words that they use to describe their experiences, emotions, and decisions. Ask them what issues they find meaningful, what outcomes they want most, and what makes them decide to take action or not.

Epic Careering has a proprietary process for developing branding points, which are the foundation upon which all of your content and copy is crafted. This process produces a powerful psychological effect on your ideal profile visitor.

  • It creates instant resonance, which serves as a strong relationship foundation and rapport accelerator.
  • It produces an incremental, sometimes subconscious build-up of excitement at the possible value you can offer.
  • It induces a sense of urgency to take action (inviting you to connect).
  • It inspires more of the right people to accept YOUR invitation

I have already written an article that goes over the areas of your profile that you need to optimize with branded content to produce these effects, and you can read it here.

As I alluded to earlier, another byproduct of branding is boldness. So many of us have been conditioned to yield attention, praise, accolades, and credit which results in us allowing opportunities to pass us by. Branding helps you embrace your strengths – to own them. In my experience, branding creates seismic shifts in what my clients see as possible. Their whole experience of careering changes from giving the power to employers to having choice and control in where they go from here. Their motivation to pursue opportunities then comes from a sense of duty to offer their massive value.

I’ve noticed that collectively, as we have emerged from solitary lives and integrated back into immersion, we have more of a tendency to be selective about with whom we spend time. In some ways, we have to be careful not to exclude diverse thinking from our networks by surrounding ourselves only with those with whom we agree and relate. Branding, at its best, is not meant to be used to this extreme. On the other hand, spending most of our time with people with whom we feel safe and can be ourselves doesn’t just enhance our experience of life, but creates a sense of safety, acceptance, and room for growth that will help us all step out of survival mode and move toward a life worth living.

Are you ready to be bold? Schedule your free consultation now!

Imagine Dragons – Natural

Listen to Mercury – Act 1: https://ImagineDragons.lnk.to/Mercury Listen to Origins, ft. Natural, Zero, Machine and Bad Liar: http://smarturl.it/OriginsID Sh…

Karen Huller, CEO of Epic Careering, is the co-founder of The Consciousness Conference (ConCon) and the C3: Corporate Consciousness Co-op community on LinkedIn. She is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a conscious career and leadership development firm specializing in executive branding, talent-values alignment, and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of Mrs. Huller’s 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

Mrs. Huller was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. As an instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, she has helped two of her students win the 2018 National Competition to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, to win the 2019 People’s Choice Award, and to land in the top 8 during the (virtual) 2020 National Competition.

She serves on the board for the Upper Merion Community Center, which she helped establish, and is an advisor to Florida International University for their Women in Leadership program. For her service as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. Mrs. Huller has also been the lead singer for Harpers Ferry, a rock cover band, for 20 years. She lives in King of Prussia, PA with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

Happy Holidays from Epic Careering

The holidays can be a very difficult time of year. If one more thing on your mind is your career, I just want you to know that Epic Careering is here to help you decide if a change is needed in 2022, what that change may be, and how you can feel better aligned in the new year and beyond, whether that’s where you are or somewhere new.

Epic Careering is your go-to for conscious career alignment.

Simply send an email to me at karen@epiccareering.com to get expert support with:

❋ Discovery

❋ Branding

❋ Coaching

Sending you warm wishes this holiday season!

*****************************************************

Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. As an instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, she has helped two of her students win the 2018 National Competition to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, to win the 2019 People’s Choice Award, and to land in the top 8 during the (virtual) 2020 National Competition.

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

A Recap of the Branding Masterclass for Conscious Leaders

Thank you so much to the folks who spent some time with me earlier this week in the Branding Masterclass for Conscious Leaders.

In just one hour, we covered the following:

  • What personal branding is and is not
  • How a powerful personal brand can make achieving professional goals easier and faster
  • Where to start and how to determine your outcome goals
  • How you can leverage your network to gain momentum even before your branding is complete
  • Where and how to promote your brand in ways that inspire others to act on your behalf
  • The often missing critical step of personal branding that limits results and wastes time
  • What branding points are, what they look like, and how they are used in my proprietary branding process as the foundation of all of your messaging and content

The replay is up in the C3 Community on LinkedIn. Please join us there if you aren’t already a member.

If there is someone you feel would benefit from this masterclass, please invite them to the C3 community to view the replay.

Please leave a comment if you watch the replay. I’d love your feedback.

Here are some ways you can follow up with me to take the next steps to use your brand to achieve your goals:

  • Schedule a call to see if the Conscious Leadership Certification and Conscious Leadership Trainer Certification available through the Corporate Conscious Ripple Blueprint is a fit for you: https://bit.ly/CLCCall
  • Schedule a call to learn more about Epic Careering one-on-one personalized career branding services: http://bit.ly/Freebrandcall
  • Schedule a call to explore how personal branding can help you align your team(s) with company culture, fortify teams, and enhance collaboration: http://bit.ly/EpicTalentBrand
  • Schedule a call to learn more about corporate/start-up branding to attract talent and target customers: http://bit.ly/EpicCoBrand

Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) where some of her students won the 2018 national YEA competition, were named Ernst & Young’s America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

Will HR AI Help or Hurt Your Career?

Considering that I have no time machine, time travel abilities or accurate predictive talents, I can’t be sure what future tech will offer hiring and careering. I am discouraged by the solutions being funded, sold, and used at the present moment.

Like, how are job boards still thriving in terms of revenue when most job seekers and recruiters admit not having great results with them? Well, some of them have reinvented themselves as multi-resource sites that offer valuable data. As the data increases, supposedly everyone can make more educated decisions.

Many technologies are now focused on scouring the web for passive talent with non-traditional professional footprints rather than producing better searches in databases full of applicants. Other recognize that you don’t fill jobs by recruiting people who don’t want to leave, and you don’t keep positions filled by recruiting job hoppers, so they score a candidate’s likelihood of entertaining a new opportunity. Some are becoming better at recognizing alternative skills, titles, qualities, and backgrounds.

There is still a large gap, however, that proliferates the challenges of employers to find, attract, recruit and retain not only good candidates, but good hires, which, according to Lou Adler, are distinct.

Credit: Lou Adler from LinkedIn post 11.26.18

Adler’s article points out a painfully obvious break in the system that has yet to be addressed by technology because it is a people problem, so far. The great hires don’t always make themselves obvious to unknown employers.

Enter Epic Careering… and other branding services.

We are the bridge between great talent and the companies that need them and vice versa.

In an ideal future, we will all adopt a common professional language and keyword dictionary so that technology will easily identify matches between employers and employees. Ideally, these technologies will also better understand human nature and human performance optimization. Until then, so much is left unarticulated, unpromoted, and unidentified. Great opportunities go undiscovered by talent while the talent that could fast-forward a company’s vision and mission drift toward lower hanging fruit, which may or may not be ripe, or even good.

AI is not solving this problem so far.

It falls on you.

If you are talent:

At a minimum, certainly, populate your skills list. You can add up to 50. Put them in order of our strengths and for what you’d like to be endorsed most. This will increase the chances that you will be found in a search and sent a cold invitation to connect by a recruiter.

At best, tell stories that demonstrate your unique value, which could be tied to an unconventional background, a worldly upbringing (or an underprivileged one), a different perspective, an innate talent, or a way with people. Give people content that not only qualifies you, but starts to garner a connection that transcends job descriptions/requirements. Position yourself as a candidate of choice. Be forthright about the culture and conditions under which you thrive, and then tell people what transpired because you were able to perform at your best.

Include your awards, even if they seemed shallow or token. Don’t hide your promotions by only listing your most recent title. Take credit for facilitating the accomplishments of those you managed, mentored, and supported.

Acquire skills in tasteful, professional self-promotion and stretch yourself to gain comfort with them. The best person for the job doesn’t always get the job. That’s a shame, but one you can prevent by doing this.

If you are an employer:

At a minimum, go beyond the checkboxes. Abandon acronyms in favor of the real success-determining factors. Ask yourself if your requirements are really just a way to whittle down a large list of candidates or if they really will determine someone’s chances at being successful. Warning: This will require thought – deep thought. I know you think you don’t have time for that. But if candidates who make great hires aren’t wearing an obvious label, you will have to consider if the labels you can see are showing you what’s really inside – what people are really made of.

Be honest about having biases. You can’t refute them if you don’t acknowledge them and if you don’t refute them you can’t stop them from influencing hiring decisions.

At best, nurture leadership that is not only ethical but conscious of the impact of their decisions on people and planet and how that will trickle down and circle back. As you implement technology and streamline operations, don’t lose the human touch. Make sure your leaders are accessible and emotionally intelligent. Give people transparency and trust. Relationships will always trump technology at connecting your company with talent in a meaningful way, aka engagement.

Daft Punk – Computerized Ft Jay Z

Leaked Daft Punk track with Jay-z.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business, will be an Associate Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department in 2019,  and is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

A Power Mantra for Next-level Professionals

So What by Paolo Mazzoleni on Flickr

So What by Paolo Mazzoleni on Flickr

Two weeks ago I was going through my brother’s senior yearbook. Underneath the seniors’ pictures were captions, including favorite phrases. My niece had some trouble properly pronouncing one of my brother’s choices: “Buuuudy.” This was a quote from one of the 80s most unlikely phenomenons, Pauley Shore. It occurred to me that if he knew nearly 30 years later these phrases would be immortalized and read by his kids, he might have chosen other words, but he was 17.

I took a look at my own senior year caption. It was definitely not what my 40-year-old self would have wanted to immortalize.

So, what would I immortalize now?

I might choose something timeless. There was a phrase that I learned when I had a door-to-door sales job, which became my mantra, “Some will; some won’t; so what? NEXT!”

I still find this completely valid. That door-to-door job I worked one summer was brutal in many ways – hours of walking alone in a suit, even when it was hot and humid, even in sketchy neighborhoods with high crime and incidences of drive-by shootings. It certainly made me more street smart and thick-skinned.

Even though being successful in that job depended upon people (business owners) liking and trusting me, I learned that I didn’t need EVERYONE to like and trust me. Some people just won’t, and the faster I moved on and let go, the faster I could get to the person who would say yes.

With that realization came a level of freedom I hadn’t yet known, and so many of my past pains around not being accepted started to dissolve. Thinking about it now, this was most likely the first taste of personal development that became a hunger, and at times an obsession. I needed that to get to the next level in my profession after that job, and this mantra helped me make better choices. I remind myself of it each time I want to get to the next level, which usually comes with increased visibility…and vulnerability.

I’ve been striving ever since that realization to master being my best self by my OWN standards, and to enjoy freedom in accepting myself, while reconciling how to be the cause of transformation at the scale that I feel is necessary to really make the impact on corporate careering, hiring and engagement that I am driven to make.

So, while it can be fun and freeing to throw caution to the wind when it comes to social media, the consequences of doing that may not align with what you want for the long-term – your BIGGER why.

I’m not advising you to be anyone different for anyone’s sake. Lisa Sasevich, offer communication coach, shared a lesson her father, a famous ventriloquist, taught her, “Don’t change your act, change your audience.”

I finally got around to watching The Greatest Showman last night. If you haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil it for you. I will tell you that while it was inspiring, it was also a warning to not let your desire for acceptance compromise what really matters in life.

My hypnotherapy hero, Marisa Peer, has worked with royalty and rock stars, and shares just how common it is for highly successful people to suffer from not feeling like enough. In fact, it’s what drives them to achieve. Barnum was no different in the movie’s portrayal. The drive to build something extravagant was fed by his need to be accepted. So, sometimes the need for approval can be purposeful and can fuel some big dreams. However, it was also almost the demise of all he held dear.

When being intentional about your brand (you have one whether your conscious of it or not,) remember to honor who you are and what is most important to you in the grand scheme of your life.

Besides, what kind of happiness do you think you can obtain by becoming someone else? How long can that last?

You can be successful and authentic.

What I want people to get about their brand is that it doesn’t mean just mean putting something out into the world to increase your visibility or engagement. A brand AT ITS BEST is an intentional outreach designed to resonate with and attract people who enrich your network and life experience.

If your boss enriches your life, say with a paycheck, and you want to keep that paycheck, then put things out into the world that your boss would appreciate. This implies that you would take time to understand what he or she appreciates and allows before you create and put it out there. However, if you’d rather have a different boss who lets you do you, make sure what you put out in the world reaches that kind of boss, resonates with him or her or them, and inspires them to take action.

Be willing to let go of people, like your current boss, who just don’t get you. And, be willing to give up the paycheck, too. And if you’re not, make an empowered choice to play by your boss’s rules until you gain the freedom to do you.

“Are you picking up what I’m putting down?”

That’s my favorite, more modern version of the mantra, which was the most valuable part of my door-to-door sales experience.

The freedom in this mantra comes from unapologetically and without attachment to the outcome declaring, “This is what I’m doing whether you’re with me or not. If you’re not, I’ll find somebody else who will. If you are, let’s get to work.”

If people aren’t picking up what you’re putting down, consider changing the audience, not the act.

They may not resonate with you at the moment. They may have their own set of blinders, or other priorities. It’s not personal. Move on.

P!nk – So What

P!nk’s official music video for ‘So What’. Click to listen to P!nk on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/PSpot?IQid=PSW As featured on Greatest Hits…So Far!!!.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a career management firm specializing in the income-optimizing power of social media and personal branding, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales.

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify new trends in hiring and personal marketing. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot.

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and recently instructed for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Cabrini College, where her students won the national competition and were named America’s Top Young Entrepreneurs.

Facing Age Discrimination? You Might Not Like This Advice

Old-0141 by Ronny Olsson on Flickr

If you’re finding it harder to land a job as you age, you may be wondering if age discrimination is rampant. You may worry about how are you ever going to compete with younger professionals.

The usual advice is to try to disguise your age by cutting off previous experience past X years and omitting graduation dates.

I disagree.

I personally think it’s a futile effort and one that won’t get you much further than you are.

I may advise you to cut off experience past X years for other reasons, like irrelevance or space considerations, but not out of fear your age will be discovered.

Here’s why –

#1 – Hiding your age actually draws attention to your age. With LinkedIn now being a primary platform for recruiting and job searching, it becomes harder to disguise your age. When a graduation date is missing or your summary touts 20+ years of experience that’s not on the résumé, that’s the moment I start wondering. But I’m not wondering if you’re old – I’m assuming you are. I’m wondering how sensitive YOU are about your age. What if you’re not the right fit? Will you think I’m discriminating against you? Sounds like a hassle. NEXT!

#2 – Let’s say hiring manager Jane (don’t blame the recruiters – they deliver what the hiring manager asks for) is convinced that age will become a performance issue and she’d rather not interview experienced candidates. This is why in the job description she asked for 8 years of experience vs. 15. Let’s say also she didn’t get a clue of your age from your résumé or social media so as to avoid wasting her time. She is unlikely to change her mind. In fact, she may even feel a bit like you were trying to swindle her. You are already off on the wrong foot. Maybe you like that challenge – we’ll address that in a bit.

#3 – Your age is an advantage. That is why the majority of leadership roles require more years of experience. The more you experience, the more you learn, the less trial and error you will use, AND the more time and money you will save. To put it simply, as long as you are still sharp, you will avoid making mistakes. This is valuable to any company, and if you’re trying to minimize your age, you’ll inhibit your ability to promote this tremendous value.

#4 – It’s in your best interest to avoid the employers whose culture allows age bias. An allowance such as this is most likely indicative of many other systemic issues. If you solve these problems, then the interview will look a lot more like you consulting to them, but you would have to be an NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) master to have built the kind of rapport necessary in the interview process to show them the error of their ways and gain their buy-in to change it. If you don’t solve these problems, don’t you think it’s best to just avoid them?

Some people feel very confident that if they could get past the first screen, which would otherwise exclude them because of their age, they could convince the interviewer to give them the offer. You do you, I say. If you’re really that awesome and convincing, go for it. And, if you find over time it’s not working, try it the other way – being transparent from the get-go.

If you don’t feel as confident, decide now if you want to spend your time trying to change people’s mind about age or if you want to target companies that already value what age brings the table. Pending you have a strong brand and campaign, you will land faster and experience less frustration if you are outright about your age because you will only be spending time with employers who don’t care about age.

However, if you feel it’s important to shift the paradigm, expect that it will take extra time to educate people and be prepared for frustration when some minds don’t change. Because you will be facing a less receptive, perhaps even hostile audience, you also need to put in 4x as much effort and time to generate double the interview activity, as your “closing rate” goes down.

I don’t have any actual numbers, because people don’t openly admit to discriminating based on age, but from my experience as a recruiter, hiring managers choose one candidate over another based on a myriad of other reasons. Rarely would I suspect that there was age discrimination. Sometimes I was given feedback that I was prohibited to relay to the candidate, and just had to tell them that the client chose someone else. Often the reasons were a mystery. I recall many times a candidate was chosen because of an internal relationship, or a common interest, or just really hit it off with someone. Age discrimination and bias happen, but not as frequently as you would think.

You are most likely finding it harder to leave a job because the more experienced you get, there are statistically fewer positions toward the top. Also, if you were using a way to look for a job that worked many years ago and wondering why it’s not working now, it’s not your age. What used to work years ago doesn’t work as well now and as you gain more experience, certain activities are just less effective. You have to be more strategic and less tactical.

And, even though if you look at an organization chart as a triangle, you can see that there are fewer positions at the top. That doesn’t mean you have fewer chances to land that job. Your chances of landing a job actually have little to do with the amount of opportunity available and much more to do with your ability to be competitive for those roles.

Brand yourself as someone wise but in touch, someone who can elevate standards of the workforce around them, and someone who will set the company up for success by helping them avoid costly mistakes.

Some companies have learned the hard way that hiring less expensive talent can lead to MASSIVE costs downstream. If they have learned, they are now seeking and willing to pay for experienced talent. If they haven’t learned, they’re dying, and you don’t want to go down with them.

With technology evolving at breakneck speed, you’ll have to demonstrate that you can keep up, that you are agile enough to pivot on a dime, literally, but also maybe physically.

This actually touches on a different kind of illegal discrimination – health. Sick workers cost companies money. Recruiters and hiring managers are not really supposed to be privy to any medical information throughout the interview process. However, if you show signs of illness or, let’s just say not wellness, then there could be bias against you.

As wrong as that is, fighting against this bias can become a full-time job, and one that has no guarantee of income. It can be a futile waste of energy that is probably better spent on your well-being and peace of mind.

By keeping yourself in as good a shape as possible, you’re not only projecting health, but you project that you value yourself. Why would anybody else value you, if you don’t?

There are some things that we are genetically predisposed to have and accidents happen that can leave us disabled, but there are things within our control that we can do.

We can get enough sleep. We can quit bad habits like smoking or eating junk food, and we can eat more vegetables and exercise regularly. (Hypnosis is highly effective for this! Book here!)

Now we also know that our brain has plasticity, meaning it can still develop and re-develop, so we can also keep our brains sharp with the right nutrients and activities. Dr. Daniel Amen has some great education on this. You may have also heard of the mobile game Lumosity, which is designed to help keep cognitively fit. Even just playing chess, dancing, and doing crosswords have been proven to do this.

Sensitivity to and anticipation of age discrimination is often a greater detriment than age itself. It keeps you in a victim mode versus an empowered mode. You will project less confidence in your interviews. You may even be a bit more defensive or over-compensate by being overly energized.

Yes, age discrimination does happen, but it’s most likely not the reason you are finding it more difficult to land AND you can overcome it in less time (weekly and overall) with effective branding and campaigning. There are 3 spots left in April if you want one-on-one help in this area. You can book a free consultation here. If you prefer the support of a group setting or you have a small budget for this type of assistance, a live 6-week group coaching session will start in late April. The first module is FREE and you can watch it here.

 

Don’t let anyone keep you from contributing to your brilliance. I will help you take control, shine your brightest, and continue realizing your potential.

Fleetwood Mac – Landslide

i do not own this song, no copyright infringement intended Lyrics: I took my love, I took it down Climbed a mountain and I turned around And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills ‘Til the landslide brought it down Oh, mirror in the sky What is love?

Refuse the Box: The Perils of Vanilla Branding

Checked Tick by Oliver Tacke of Flickr

 

Are you dynamic? What does that even mean?

Very few people who have had that word in their resume have been able to tell me what it really means. Most of them just thought it sounded good.

It is true for most people, however. I could definitely say it has been true of all my clients. To me dynamic means multi-dimensional, having a diverse set of interests and skills, and having a certain intrigue.

While some companies are investing millions of dollars and allocating work hours into creativity boosting exercises, other companies seem to stifle individuality and expression.

It certainly does take all kinds of people to make the world go around, and so you could conclude that the same could be true about businesses.

My friend who works at a very conservative financial services company shared a story that in a conference a report was distributed that misspelled “assess” very prominently and in several places. She would not dare laugh. I know she loves her job and her company, but I could not personally work somewhere where we all couldn’t get a good laugh out of that mistake.

Most of my clients agree with me. For my clients’ sake, I am willing to take a risk early on in the writing process. We have an initial 90-minute branding consultation in which I use my intuition and investigative skills to uncover what makes my clients so special, and by that I mean really unique. I craft four-to-six branding points and then provide them with a request letter that they sent to their trusted inner circle for feedback. This is risky for me because often these branding points represent the softer, qualitative aspects of my clients and I have found many people consider these to be “nice and true, but not necessarily relevant.”

I beg to differ.

The other risk is that these branding points tend to be quite wordy, and not really representative of the kind of concise, quantitative content that I would write for a résumé. Often these branding points portray multiple aspects. It is challenging and excessive to explain how these branding points are used for my internal writing process. Basically, they help me make sure that all of the content has a “so what” feel and that every piece of content I write for my clients presents a clear and consistent brand.

The feedback that my client receives from his or her inner circle usually has a fair amount of commentary on the complexity of the bullet points and skepticism on the relevance. The feedback that I dislike the most, however, is when someone takes a strength, like forthrightness, and advises that we either hide this strength because it is not appreciated by some companies. Or they advise we make it sound more vanilla, aka generic, such as to say “effective communicator.”

The intention is good – they want my client to be marketable and attractive to as many companies as possible, thinking that is the best way to succeed. However, then this forthright client finds himself in a company that values passive-aggressive communication, bureaucracy, and pardon my language, ass-kissing. Not only is he miserable, but he sees how the company’s culture is strangling its own progress and he can’t be as successful as he could be were his honest input valued.

I do not mind sorting through the feedback, good or bad, because I get to reinforce for my clients that they do not need to fit someone else’s idea of who they should be.

You do not need to check all the boxes, or fit inside a box in order to be successful.

Certainly we do not step into a job interview spilling our guts about our failures and weaknesses, but no one would believe us if we were perfect anyway. There is quite a sense of freedom in believing that you can be authentic and be valued.

At this point in the process, they have to take a leap of faith that they actually can be accepted and successful, that the job exists, and the offer will come.

This process also uncovers pure gold. The aspects of my clients that I may have missed, the things about them only someone who worked side-by-side with them would be able to notice, or even what their spouses admire about them.

With a renewed appreciation of who they are, a résumé that substantiates their skills and validates their value, and a new hope that they will be compelling and attractive to the right company and the right boss, they actually become excited to be in action. They feel ready to take on whatever challenges present themselves in the transition process. And of course, I will be there to make sure they know exactly what to do when challenges arise.

If the thought of having to check boxes or fit your dynamic self into a box saps any energy you could possibly muster up to conduct a job search, please know that there is another way and we would love to help you discover and execute it. Our six-week Epic Careering Fast Track Program is starting soon!

The more people we help realize a new idea of authentic careering, more people believe it is possible, and the more companies may realize that a “dynamic” culture is in demand.

 

Stop Treating LinkedIn Like An Online Résumé

Photo courtesy of www.flazingo.com/creativecommons.

Photo courtesy of www.flazingo.com/creativecommons.

Are you using your LinkedIn profile as an online résumé?  In other words, does your profile reflect a personal brand you’ve carefully crafted, or does it just mirror your résumé? You know as a professional you need to have a presence on LinkedIn. You created an account, made a few connections, and copied a few items from your résumé to create your profile. In fact, you used so much material from your résumé that it is impossible to distinguish it from your LinkedIn profile. Your LinkedIn profile deserves to be so much more. A résumé is a document that reflects your past experiences and is meant to be seen by future employers. In contrast, a LinkedIn profile is a vital part of your online presence and is meant to be seen by a much wider audience. It should compliment your résumé in an exciting and engaging way.

Your LinkedIn profile is different from your résumé

Let’s imagine a scenario for just a moment. You have been using your LinkedIn profile as little more than an online résumé tool, and a hiring manager comes across your profile. You have already sent them your résumé as part of a job application, and they decided to Google you. Imagine their disappointment as your LinkedIn profile is exactly the same as your résumé. Or, on the flipside, they’ve seen your LinkedIn profile and ask for your résumé. Again, both your résumé and your profile are indistinguishable. This redundancy isn’t helpful because that potential employer won’t learn anything new about you, and you’ve done very little to set yourself apart from other job candidates. A redundant LinkedIn profile is also a major missed opportunity to show employers, connections, and others members of your online audience how unique and interesting you are as a professional. It’s a chance to allow people into the back story of who you are. Help them visualize what it’s like to speak and work with you.

Your résumé is concise, is customized for your potential employer, and is designed to show an employer how you are uniquely qualified for their opportunity. You can’t include all of your past work experiences, recommendations from others, or general interests. In short, your résumé needs to be laser-focused on a specific role, and on a specific employer. However, your LinkedIn profile can include all of your work experience, recommendations and interests. A good profile allows you to weave an engaging professional narrative that showcases your personal brand far beyond your résumé.

Use your LinkedIn Profile to dazzle your audience

LinkedIn should compliment your résumé by being a creative vehicle that illustrates your professional life. Every aspect of your profile should enhance your personal brand. If you’re using the default headline, ditch it. I previously wrote about the importance of strong headlines in my article titled “Increase views: Ditch the default LinkedIn headline.” The experiences section is an opportunity to list vital keywords that will attract the attention of job recruiters. I covered the importance of carefully using keywords in another article, “Use Keywords With Care or Beware.” The summary is where you can exercise the most creative freedom. In contrast to your résumé, you are allowed to talk about yourself in the first-person. Use this section of your LinkedIn profile to breathe life into your experiences, skills and professional achievements.

You don’t want your profile summary to come off as trite and uninteresting. These types of summaries are often subjective and vague. Just think of a profile summary filled with boring buzzwords shaken up in a bag, poured out into a pile, and arranged in the semblance of a paragraph. Here’s an example of a profile summary filed with cliché words pulled right out of a résumé:

“A dynamic individual with great leadership skills who is highly organized. A proven track record of accomplishments and great teamwork. An effective communicator with a strong business sense and a can-do attitude…”

Most career consultants and recruiters viewing this LinkedIn profile would be tempted to close the page quickly as they stifled a yawn. I believe a person with such a profile is capable of so much more than a lifeless summary. Don’t fall into the trap of creating a boring paragraph of buzzwords. Tell your audience a captivating story. Here’s an example of a more engaging profile summary:

“From a young age the phrase, ‘Shoot for the stars,’ has always caught my attention. It spoke to the core belief that I should never do anything half-heartedly. If I’m going to do something, whether it is professionally or personally, I’m going to go above and beyond anyone else.

‘I have over a decade of experience managing large IT projects, and leading large teams to success. Under my leadership, members of my team knew exactly what was expected of them. The results of our projects were some of the best in the industry…”

This type of profile summary captures a reader’s attention and gently invites them to learn more about you. In short, it compliments your actual résumé and adds a new level of distinction to your online presence. Earlier, I mentioned a hiring manager coming across your LinkedIn profile. Now imagine their delight as they read a captivating profile that brings a new dimension to your résumé.

The point is to captivate your audience and polish your personal brand to until it shines. Again, your résumé is a brief account of your job qualifications, while your LinkedIn profile is a living part of your online presence. It is a compliment to an already great résumé. Your audience should be entranced by your profile, and should want to connect with you. A redundant LinkedIn profile that mirrors your résumé is a wasted opportunity. Unveil your brilliance by showing your online audience just how creative and interesting your professional life is!

Daryl Hall & John Oates – Missed Opportunity

1988 Music Video for Missed Opportunity