Set Up a Custom Vanity URL on LinkedIn

You’re So Vain – I’ll Bet You Think this LinkedIn Profile is About You. Don’t You?
by Kim Isaacs

Well, your LinkedIn profile is about you, so your profile should should have a custom URL that includes your name.

You can set up an easy-to-remember, professional-looking LinkedIn URL that you can use on resumes, email signatures, business cards, and other branding materials. When you set your custom URL, your profile page will have a URL like mine (linkedin.com/in/kimisaacs) vs. the one LinkedIn assigns, which includes a series of unwanted numbers and letters like this: http://linkedin.com/pub/your-name/1a/123a/123b.

It’s easy to set up your LinkedIn “Vanity” URL. Here’s how:

1. Sign in to LinkedIn. Hover over “Profile” on the top menu and click “Edit Profile”:Edit LinkedIn Profile URL

2. Scroll to your current URL below your photo and click “Edit” to create your LinkedIn vanity URL:Create Your LinkedIn Vanity URL

3. On the right-hand side of the next screen, you will see “Your public profile URL.”  Click “Customize your public profile URL”:

Customize your LinkedIn public profile URL

4. In the box that pops up, type in your name and click “Set Custom URL”:Customize your LinkedIn public profile URL

The ideal name is your first name followed by your last name, with no spaces or dashes. If the name you pick is available, you’re done! If your name is already taken, see if one of these ideas will work:

  • Add your middle initial or middle name (e.g., maryesmith or maryelizabethsmith).
  • Reverse your first and last name (e.g., jonesmary).
  • Add a degree or professional designation (e.g., BillJonesMBA or MarySmithCPA).
  • Use a name associated with your brand (e.g., SalesProBill or MarySmithSEO).
  • Use your first initial and your last name, or add your middle initial as well (e.g., MSmith or MGSmith).
  • Add your location (e.g., BillSmithNYC).

Any other ideas for naming a profile if the desired one isn’t available?

Boost Your Interview IQ by Carole Martin

Boost Your Interview IQ, by Carole MartinThe second edition of Carole Martin’s excellent book, Boost Your Interview IQ, is out and it’s a must read for all job seekers. Carole is one of the most dynamic interview coaches and presenters I have ever met — if you don’t have the pleasure of working directly with her, this book is the next best thing.

Go through the exercises and you will be more confident in handling tough interview questions. Check it out:

 

 

A Bad Resume is an Emergency if You Want a Job

Without proper training, would you install your own security system, change the brakes on your family vehicle, or suture a loved one’s serious injury? Of course not. You know that you don’t have the training or qualifications to complete these life-or-death tasks effectively.

When security and safety are at stake, we seek professional help. Other times, we are tempted to cut corners. Many of us have become avid do-it-yourselfers, and this is certainly true for resume writing. Why spend money to hire a pro when you can download a template or write your own? Well, there are plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t. Here are just a few examples of frequently seen errors on homegrown resumes:

  • You look cookie-cutter. It may seem like an easy way to update your resume, but resumes developed from templates are a dime a dozen. They get lost in the shuffle. On the other hand, a resume professional can create a design that helps you stand out from the crowd.
  • Your age is showing. Whether the issue is that you could be seen as too old or too young, it’s not good if prospective employers are judging you based on your age. A talented resume expert knows how to showcase your talents and downplay any age-related issues.
  • Bad choice for resume length. In the resume world, size matters. If your resume reads like an epic novel or there is barely enough information to make a hiring decision, your resume’s length could be holding you back. A resume writer will carefully consider your career history and goals and determine the best length for your resume.
  • Red flags. I don’t know anyone who has a perfect work history. Maybe you’ve had a string of short-term jobs, making you look like a “job hopper.” On the other hand, perhaps you have been at the same job for many years and it looks like your career has stagnated. You could appear overqualified or under-qualified. Instead of grappling with challenging issues, trust a resume writer to minimize the potential red flags for you.

I see many self-developed resumes before clients start the resume development process. The difference between the old and the new resume is night and day. And if you’re not a ResumePower client, you could be competing with one of our clients. Is your resume ready to compete in this tough job market?

The bottom line? Resume writing is easily delegated to a DIY task, but it’s not recommended if you want to find a job. You could be passed over for the perfect position or forced to accept a lower salary than you deserve.

To your success,
Art Hickman, ResumePower.com

Top Ten Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Write Your Own Resume

Top Ten Reasons Why You Shouldn't Write Your Own ResumeTop Ten Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Write Your Own Resume
by Kim Isaacs

I’m sometimes asked if people should write their own resumes. After all, who knows more about the job seekers’ accomplishments than job seekers themselves? So I’ve compiled this list of the top ten reasons why you shouldn’t write your own resume:

10. Last time you wrote your resume, it was confused with your six-year-old’s homework assignment.

9. Your self-composed resume left you amongst the long-term unemployed.

8. You struggle with how to word your Objective section and settle on the old standby, “Seeking a challenging position with a growth-oriented company.”

7. The latest version of your resume leads with your 1972 babysitting gig.

6. You’re using an IBM Selectric to format your resume’s layout.

5. You think keywords have something to do with the Dewey Decimal System.

4. Your son’s resume is more impressive than yours, and he has never held a job.

3. Your design skills leave something to be desired so you decide to use a resume template.

2. You were always the first to be eliminated in spelling bees, but there’s always spellcheck, write?

And the #1 reason why you shouldn’t write your own resume…

1. You don’t know this, but employers pass your resume around their offices as the joke of the day.

Best wishes,

Kim Isaacs

Your Resume in a Cloud

resumeincloudI’m getting more and more requests from clients who lost their resumes because their computers crashed. Of course, it’s no problem to re-send the files, but I wonder about job seekers who aren’t able to access their files and have to rebuild their documents from scratch. To prevent this extra work, I recommend regular system backups as well as off-site storage in case something happens to the local backup.

Now there’s no excuse — Amazon is making off-site storage easy by offering Amazon Cloud Drive and 5 GB of storage for free. You can upload your resume and other important files and access from any computer. Give it try and let me know how it works for you!

The longer the resume, the more qualified you are? Ask Abe for an honest answer!

Click to see Abe's 2-page resumeLately I’ve been seeing more and more of what I call “resume books” — and I’m not referring to actual books on how to write a resume. I’m talking about resumes that are so long that they are venturing into book territory. I just reviewed a 7-pager, and this was not an academic CV. The job seeker wanted to put all of his experiences out there so that employers can see how much he has accomplished. Should these manifestos come with a Kindle version?

Since it’s President’s Day, I’m turning to Abe Lincoln to shed light on this issue. A few years ago, I developed a President’s Day feature for Monster that included Abe’s resume in Monster’s format, but I wanted to see how long his resume would be in Word format. Click here to view the PDF. Yes, two pages — with room to spare — did the trick. You would vote for him after reading this, right?

Proofread Your Resume

resmagnifierMany hiring managers have stated that typos on a resume can easily disqualify a candidate. That doesn’t stop mistakes from slipping in, and some of them are definitely blooper-worthy. However, it’s not so funny when mistakes on the resume jeopardize a job seeker’s chance for interviews.

Today I received an inquiry from a potential client. He said that he’s not getting any response to his resume and he’s been out of work for 5 months.

When I tried to call him, I dialed a wrong number — turns out the phone number on the resume was incorrect. Of course, I took the time to email him, but what are the chances that a hiring manager would do the same? It’s very likely that the manager would skip to the next resume.

Please take the time to proofread your resume, and get a second pair of eyes to review — it’s usually hard to spot our own mistakes.

At a Career Crossroads? Going with a Pro Can Make All the Difference

crossroads There have been several turning points in my life –- crossroads, if you will -– when I found myself floundering. Finding out my daughter had autism about a month after her third birthday was one. Facing the fact that my weight gain in the ensuing years had crossed over into plus-size Lane Bryant territory was another. My answer, in both cases, was to get busy and find the best professionals possible to get me on the right path.

Thankfully, I quickly found some amazing specialists for my daughter, who at age ten is now an honor roll fourth grader; gifted writer/artist; and just an all-around happy, sunny, great kid (please forgive a bit of mom-bias). I don’t even want to consider where we would be now if we hadn’t brought this team of professionals on board.

It took me a little longer to realize my own issues of increasing weight and declining fitness also required professional help, but at the beginning of the year I had my “ah-ha” moment after a cholesterol screening returned a staggering number. So I joined a fitness/weight loss program run by some exceptional certified personal trainers and registered dietitians, who have dispelled me of my bad habits and the many misconceptions I had about eating, nutrition, and exercise (not to mention opening up can after can of “whup-ass” on me in daily workouts). Thanks to them, I’ve dropped three sizes and 43 pounds in 15 weeks while gaining muscle, energy, and endurance. Although not at my ultimate goal yet, I know I will get there now with their help, and I took great satisfaction in cutting up my Lane Bryant credit card over the weekend when I realized I was swimming in even their smallest size.

Next to family and health, career probably ranks among the top priorities for most people. If you find yourself floundering and unhappy in your work or fearing/facing a job loss, it’s not a good feeling. But being at a career crossroads presents you with an opportunity for change. With the right professionals aiding you, that change can be immensely positive. Your career is your livelihood, and the resume is its currency. An extraordinary resume can do amazing things. It can open doors that will save you many months of unemployment, get you a promotion, enable you to change industries/careers, win you a higher salary, overcome challenging circumstances such as a long absence from the workplace, and return you to work that is both personally and professionally rewarding. When you partner with a certified resume writer, you can realize transformative results in your career. The pros know how to write a resume for you that is compelling, keyword-rich, packed with accomplishments, and interview-generating.

My one regret in working with the professional trainers/nutritionists I hired is that I waited so long to do it. I kept thinking that I should be able to shed the pounds myself, and I had a bookshelf crammed with diet how-to tomes to prove it. (Heck, I’d even read some of them.) In my case, though, it wasn’t until I sought the help of professionals that I really began to see results. Maybe you’re like me in thinking that you should be able to conquer your own career crossroads single-handedly as well. But think about it for a minute. When you need a tooth filled, a good haircut, or an auto repair, don’t you turn to professionals? Doesn’t your career deserve the same professional attention as your cavities, your ‘coif, and your car? If you’re ready to see what a difference a professionally written resume can make in your career, start interviewing professional resume writing firms now. Just as you would when hiring any professional, do your due diligence. Ask questions, study resume samples, find out about the writer’s credentials and years of experience, inquire about any satisfaction guarantees the firm may offer, compare prices/value, and read client testimonials. When you see your new resume, my bet is that you’ll wonder what took you so long to hire a pro!

Happy job searching, everyone!

Karen Hofferber

Senior Resume Writer, ResumePower.com

Is Your Resume a Lion or a Lamb?

lionandlambIf you’re in an active job search, you know that it’s a jungle out there. Your resume needs to be fierce to capture the reader’s attention and land the best interviews. But is your resume a lion or a lamb? Here are guidelines to gauge your resume’s “fierce-factor”:

Lion Resume: Includes a Resume Title

Lamb Resume: No Resume Title

A “lion” resume roars from the outset with a bold, clear resume title that immediately communicates your career goal (e.g., “Award-Winning Website Designer,” “Licensed Educator Transitioning into Corporate Training,” or “Fortune 500-Experienced Executive Assistant”). Whether you are remaining in your industry or changing careers, the title sets the tone for your document and removes the guesswork for employers. Hiring managers are inundated with resumes and rarely have time to try to figure out what you want to do. If your resume lacks a title (think “Silence of the Lambs”), you’re missing the opportunity to grab the reader’s interest.

Lion Resume: Highly Targeted

Lamb Resume: Unfocused

Some job seekers try to be all things to all people when looking for a new job. But if you cram in too many unrelated job targets in one resume, or you try to detail every single thing you’ve ever done in your career, the end result is an unwieldy document that lacks focus. Instead of meandering aimlessly like sheep in a pasture, your resume should provide the razor-sharp focus of a lion stalking its prey. (They don’t call it a “job hunt” for nothing!) Even though it will take a bit of extra time, you’re much better off creating multiple resume versions if you have more than one job target.

Lion Resume: Strong Qualifications Summary

Lamb Resume: Weak Resume Objective

If your resume contains a cliche-ridden objective like “seeking a rewarding opportunity with advancement potential,” get rid of it. You’re wasting valuable space focusing on what you want as opposed to what you can do for employers. Instead of a weak objective, harness the power of a strong qualifications summary. Written as either a brief paragraph or a few hard-hitting bulleted statements, a qualifications summary profiles your most marketable skills/qualifications and highlights your stand-out achievements. When done well, a qualifications summary entices hiring managers to keep reading your resume and it can help you land in the “must-interview” group.

Lion Resume: Has “Meat”

Lamb Resume: Has “Fluff”

Fluff may be cute, cuddly, and irresistible on a lamb, but it’s a detractor on a resume. What, exactly, is resume “fluff”? It can be several things – none of which are good.At its worst, “fluff” is a kinder, gentler euphemism for exaggerations or lies on a resume. Misrepresenting your skills, qualifications, or accomplishments might initially get you an interview or even a job offer, but when your lies catch up with you down the road this can be grounds for termination.

More commonly, resume fluff refers to one (or more) of the following:

  • An overuse of flowery adjectives or descriptors without concrete examples to back them up. If you describe yourself as an “excellent communicator,” “dedicated team-player,” or “outstanding problem-solver,” for example, you need to offer specific examples of how you leveraged these traits and skills to deliver results for your employers through the use of accomplishment statements. Otherwise, these phrases are just meaningless “fluff-fillers” that lack the requisite heft to be taken seriously.
  • Content that is not relevant to your job target.
  • Too much focus on your everyday responsibilities and job duties (what you did) and not enough emphasis on your accomplishments by showing examples of the results, benefits, or outcomes of your efforts (how well you did it).
  • Information that is not quantified by numbers, dollar amounts, percentages, before/after comparisons, or some other measurable outcome. The better able you are to provide evidence of how you improved processes, revenues, productivity, customer satisfaction, profit margins, and the like, the more seriously your claims – and your candidacy – will be taken by employers.

When reviewing the content of your resume, ask yourself, “Where’s the beef?” Your resume should be packed with meaty examples of ways that you met or exceeded the expectations of your employers.Unleash your inner resume-writer beast and your new “lion” resume will reign king of the job-search jungle. Best wishes for a successful job hunt!

Karen Hofferber

Senior Resume Writer, ResumePower.com

Guys: How Old Do You Look When Job Searching?

manhorse A Job Search Style Makeover for Men

By Kim Isaacs

We’ve all heard about the importance of first impressions, and this is especially true during a job search when competition is fierce. Your appearance, resume and even the way you search for a job could be preventing you from getting the interviews and job offers you deserve. If you’re concerned your job search is at a standstill because you appear to be too old, it’s time for a job search style makeover.

Refresh Your Resume

Retro might be cool in fashion or design realms, but it’s not a good look for your resume. “Nothing communicates ‘out-of-touch’ more clearly than a resume that looks old-fashioned,” explains Louise Fletcher, president of Blue Sky Resumes, a career expert with 15 years of HR experience. “Age discrimination isn’t actually about age,” says Fletcher. “It’s about all the things that are erroneously assumed to go along with being older, such as being out of touch, less technologically aware and less energetic than a younger person.” Fletcher says the resume is a chance for you to show you’re not any of those things.

Here are some tips:

  • Trim early experiences, such as jobs older than 10 to 15 years.
  • Include links to social networking profiles, such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. Set up such profiles to be highly professional, not personal.
  • Add information about hobbies if they are sports-related.
  • Consider removing graduation dates.
  • Review resume samples written by professional resume writers to see the latest style trends.

The resume shouldn’t chronicle everything you’ve ever done. “Show that you are an invigorated job candidate who’s not even close to peaking in your career,” says Cliff Flamer, a professional resume writer and executive director of BrightSide Resumes. Flamer suggests illustrating that you’ve been keeping your skills refreshed, such as through certification courses, ongoing study, volunteer work and membership in professional organizations.The key is relevancy. Focus on the qualifications that are most important to the job you’re pursuing while underplaying older or irrelevant experiences.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

If you’re mailing resumes through the US Postal Service and waiting for the phone to ring, you could be in for a long job search. “Older men need to understand that job searching doesn’t work the way it used to,” says Fletcher. Hiring managers are likely to source for candidates online using job boards like Monster.com, search engines and social networking sites.“The best advice I can give any job seeker is to build a strong and professional online presence,” says Fletcher. ”Be on social networking sites, connect with as many people as you can, and — if you have a talent for writing — consider starting a blog and/or writing articles about your expertise.” Also, your resume should be ready to go in email format, and you need to be well-versed on how to send documents and communicate via email.

Not only will using modern job search methods help you get noticed, but employers will see you are in tune with the latest technologies and tools.

Update Your Look

Now that your foot is in the door for a job interview, it’s time for a style check. What message is your image conveying? Joseph Rosenfeld, a San Jose-based image consultant and owner of JosephRosenfeld.com, says there’s nothing wrong with showing signs of aging, but older men can create a style that is contemporary. “If a man hasn’t been shopping for awhile, his clothes will look dated, and then he looks dated,” says Rosenfeld, who has been providing style advice to men for more than eight years. He advises men to select a suit that looks sophisticated, fits well, flatters the body shape and is age-appropriate. Also, pay attention to your hair. If the style is unkempt or has not been updated in awhile, go to a hair stylist, advises Rosenfeld. And what about gray hair? It comes down to personal preference. “If the job seeker wanted to revive a more youthful look, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend coloring hair,” says Rosenfeld.

The ultimate confidence-booster is a focus on physical fitness. “When you walk in an interview and your endorphins are running high because you’re staying active, you exude a youthfulness and an energy that people want to access,” explains Rosenfeld. Staying fit can also influence your mental acuity, increasing the odds of a successful interview.

Remember that your experience and skills are of value to employers. The key is to get invited to interviews to give yourself the chance to shine. Your updated look and career marketing materials can help you do just that. …………………………………………………………………………

This article was written by Kim Isaacs, director of ResumePower.com and author of The Career Change Resume book. Visit the ResumePower.com site to learn more about resume services to jump-start your career.

Copyright 2013, Monster Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. You may not copy, reproduce or distribute this article without the prior written permission of Monster Worldwide. This article first appeared on Monster, the leading online global network for careers. To see other career-related articles visit http://content.monster.com.