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Monday, December 26, 2011

Channukah Hints, Jewrican Factoids #6: Show your passion!

It seems that within the last two years or so, LinkedIn went from being this weird little site that no one quite knew what to do with, to a powerhouse networking device. I personally love the way LinkedIn demonstrates everyone's connection to everyone else. It gives the people, who really understand the art of networking, tremendous opportunity and ability. I would even suggest that LinkedIn has sped up my business development by years.  LinkedIn in the hizz-house, yo!
But unfortunately, it appears that many people think that LinkedIn is just another, slightly more serious, version of Facebook. Or, so they treat it.
I'm talking about people who have photos of themselves that are out-of-focus, or "interesting," or no photo at all. (It is LinkedIn people, not OkCupid or AshleyMadison. Your spouse won't freak out.) Or, when I run across people who have 300, or even 500+ connections...and they're unemployed, or under-employed, or their resume is full of gaps. You have 500 connections and you don't have a staff job? Who exactly are these 500 people you know? Where did you meet them? I'm going to argue that if you have 500 connections, and your career isn't en fuego, then you're adding people who have no emotional relevancy to you or your career search, which suggests to me that you haven't fully defined your career search, which means you're wasting your time at these "networking events." This makes my inner 1980s fly girl come out, "Are joo for serious, papi?"
I also get cranky about people--frequently the same misguided people-- who have 400 connections and no information in the summary section of their profile. Or maybe just one irrelevant sentence. The cherry on top being a description of themselves as "Entrepreneur" or "Media Professional" or "Talented Writer" or "Consultant." Translation: Unemployed. Or at least, that's how it looks to the rest of us and HR.
You might as well describe yourself as "Fun at Parties," or "Looks Great in a Bikini," or "Doesn't Get 'The Muppets.'" Is it just that you don't want a career? I don't mean to sound like your mom but come on: help me to help you! Because, as someone who excelled in network news for ten years, I truly have no idea what a "media professional" is. And I suspect that you don't either.
Your LinkedIn profile can be an amazing source of positive free advertising, and useful connections...but only if you allow it to be. Only if you let it reflect your passion for your career, and explain who you are, what you've done and what you look forward to doing. It's that simple: craft a LinkedIn profile that anyone can read and afterwards think, "Wow." Not, "....wait, I don' this a joke?"
So if, for example, there is a gap between your college graduation and your first job, yeah you need to address it. You needed to address it yesterday. If you link to a website that is not your own...? Don't make me angry; you wouldn't like me when I'm angry.
Or those people who have a summary, but write things like: "looking forward to new opportunities to shine." Um, okay. Is the Opportunities Fairy supposed to read that and figure out, on your behalf, what those opportunities might be and grant them?
Instead, how about you consider your past work experience and extrapolate from that what you might be good at? Then, go through your 400+ connections, and see who might be able to help you...? (I know, I know: why am I introducing logic into this scenario? What's that about?)
The long and short of all this is: your LinkedIn profile can be a tremendous asset...or it can explain exactly why you're career is stalled. Please choose door number one. Read it often and tweak it. Read the profiles of people whom you admire and see what makes their profiles great. Have your friends read your profile and be honest. Rinse and repeat.
Jewrican Factoid #6: Three Kings Day, January 6th, was always my favorite holiday, since by then, all of my friends would be slightly depressed because the holiday/present season was over. Not for me! Also we used to leave out hay for the Three Kings' horses and one time, I heard munching. Overwhelmed, I ran into the living surprise my pet rabbit, Newspaper, eating all the hay.

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