How to get the cheat codes for the career you want! Continue reading
Roth Staffing Companies announces the launch of its new rothstaffing.com website. Roth Staffing Companies is the parent company of six specialized business lines including Ultimate Staffing Services (the 11th largest office/admin staffing company in the U.S.), Ledgent Finance & Accounting, Adams & Martin Group, Ledgent Technology, About Talent, and Ultimate Locum Tenens. The new and improved Roth site will serve as a home base, giving visitors an overall introduction to the entire organization, providing internal candidates insight into the award-winning Roth culture, and easy link access to each line of business.
The site creates a more engaging user experience, featuring an interactive, modern design, and original resources – complementing the sites for its sister lines, four of which were launched last year.
Additional resources on the site include Roth’s cutting edge blogs, containing innovative content to educate hiring managers and job seekers alike – all written by Roth Staffing’s in-house award-winning research team to provide visitors with the latest information, data and best practices in workforce solutions. The blog features White Papers, articles and infographics on workforce topics, as well as news on the latest happenings across the Roth organization.
The site was designed and created by Roth’s Award-Winning Marketing Department, their fifth new website launch in 12 months.
About Roth Staffing Companies
Roth Staffing Companies is one of the largest privately-held staffing companies in the country, operating from more than 100 locations in 20 states and the District of Columbia via six specialized business lines: Ultimate Staffing Services, the 11th largest office/clerical staffing company in the country, Ledgent Finance & Accounting, Adams & Martin Group (legal staffing), Ledgent Technology & Engineering, and affiliates Ultimate Locum Tenens and About Talent (a workforce solutions company)
Roth Companies remains the only firm in the industry ever ranked #1 on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing, privately-owned companies, was recently ranked #1 by Fortune as the Best Workplace for Professional Services, and is the only firm to receive all of the industry’s most prestigious honors in a single year, accomplishing this feat for four years. The organization is consistently ranked among the 50 largest staffing companies in the country.
Visit www.rothstaffing.com for more information or call (714) 939-8600.
Your top employees are top targets. The candidate market is in a unique space: unemployment is low, turnover is at an all-time high, and loyalty isn’t necessarily a priority for all employees. As the demand for talent grows and the available candidate pool dwindles, recruiters have their eyes set on your best employees. And often, the temptation to take on a new adventure is too great.
While it’s easier to blame turnover on poachers, most employees quit because internal forces push them out, rather than external forces drawing them in. In so many words, it’s not them, it’s you.
Even your most loyal employees are open to new opportunities, and the slightest nudge can tip the scale. Only 15% of employees are truly satisfied in their jobs and aren’t looking for other opportunities (LinkedIn). That means 85% of your employees could be at risk of leaving your organization.
Mercer states 34% of employees say they plan to leave their current role in the next 12 months. Gallup states a much higher percentage: 51% of workers are looking to leave their current jobs. LinkedIn research shows that 25% of employees are actively looking for new work, with two-thirds of them currently employed. In fact, 3.22 million Americans (2.2% of the workforce) quit their jobs in January 2017, the highest quit rate since February 2001 (Department of Labor).
While statistics on tenure and turnover may vary, one truth remains constant: employees are looking.
Currently, 75% of jobseekers are employed but open to new opportunities— these are known as “passive candidates.” Almost 60% of workers look at other jobs at least monthly (Indeed). Platforms like LinkedIn and Glassdoor email new opportunities to passive candidates on a daily or weekly basis.
Just because they are open to new opportunities doesn’t mean they don’t like their current jobs: 80% of passive jobseekers are satisfied in their current job (LinkedIn). Among people who “love their jobs,” 50% would be willing to leave for a new opportunity (Adobe) and Glassdoor reports that 84% of candidates would consider leaving their current company if another company with an excellent reputation offered them a job.
More than half of U.S. employers (57%) said hiring activity has increased over the past 12 months, while turnover has picked up by 37% in 2016 (Willis Towers Watson).
With demand high and available talent low, recruiters are becoming more aggressive. They aren’t shy about going for your top talent, and their tactics are effective. In 2015, 75% of workers with new jobs hadn’t actively applied for the position, they were referred or “poached” (FRBSF Economic Research).
The reasons they leave go beyond simple temptation. It’s not just a Millennial problem.
Millennials have developed a reputation as job hoppers. And it’s not an incorrect assessment; 44% of Millennials say, if given the choice, they expect to leave their current employers in the next two years (Deloitte). But it’s not just Millennials: 37% of Gen X and 25% of Boomers are planning to leave their company in the next two years (Lightspeed).
Cost & Effect
When turnover is high, talent becomes a primary concern. According to the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), the top three challenges faced by HR organizations today are turnover, employee engagement, and succession planning.
The impact of these challenges all come at a high cost to your budget, to your team, and to your morale. Finding a new employee slows processes, requires recruiting efforts, and impacts culture.
The cost of replacing an employee can range from 30%-400% of an employee’s salary (ERE Media).
When you lose an employee, their surrounding team feels the impact, too–not just in their productivity, but in their team dynamic as well. Friendships can be a powerful tool in engagement and retention. Employees with a best friend at work tend to be more focused, more passionate, more loyal to their organizations, and they change jobs less frequently (SHRM). Employees agree: 46% of professionals worldwide believe that work friends are important to their overall happiness (LinkedIn) and 50% of employees with a best friend at work report a strong connection with the company (Gallup).
Friendship does have an effect on tenure: 37% of employees say “working with a great team” is their primary reason for staying (Gusto), while 55% of employees have put off job hunting because they didn’t want to leave their coworkers (ICIMS).
A revolving door of teammates does not allow for this kind of synergy. Meanwhile, a solid tenured workforce can:
Help guide strategic planning Acquire cross-training Mentor and train others Nurture culture Tenure’s impact on culture will be your biggest asset, and turnover’s impact on culture will be your biggest detriment. Longevity helps solidify and support culture, setting and maintaining the standard. A consistent culture is effective in its practices and expectations.
Why They Go & Why They Stay
There is no one factor that influences employee tenure. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics currently defines the average employee tenure at 4.2 years. Typically, the top reasons job seekers will leave for another job are:
More compensation (61%) Location (42%) Better work-life balance (40%) Health benefits (36%) Growth opportunities (35%) Company culture (21%) Leadership (15%) (Jobvite)
All of these factors address employees’ human needs—the need to grow, the need to be valued, the need to live a full life.
Growth and opportunity are a particular driving force. Forty-one percent of employees said they would need to leave their current employer in order to advance their careers (Towers Watson). More than 60% don’t feel their career goals are aligned with the plans their employers have for them (Forbes), and another 47% of Americans would leave for their ideal job even if it meant less pay (Adobe).
Interaction between work and life can seriously influence tenure. Bamboo HR reports that 14% will leave if they don’t have a healthy work-life balance, while 46% of HR leaders say employee burnout is responsible for up to half of their annual workforce turnover (Kronos).
Sometimes it’s just a matter of timing. Job searching fluctuates in accordance with life events. Around birthdays, job searching increases by 12%, 16% around class reunions, and up to 9% around work anniversaries (HBR). Any life events that inspire reflection can lead your employees to wonder, “What’s next?”
There is an eternal human search for “something better.” The good news is, your organization can proactively address every single one of these factors.
Rob Beanett, author of Passion Saving: the Path to Plentiful Free-Time and Soul- Satisfying Work defines the Employee Life Cycle, defines the cycle at seven years and SHRM’s 2016 Human Capital Benchmarking Report defines average employee tenure at eight years, but it’s shortening. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics currently defines the average employee tenure at 4.2 years. The cycle includes:
Starting a new job or position initially begins as stressful, but the new challenge drives them forward. New hire initiatives are crucial in balancing stress and engagement.
Within six months, the employee is still being challenged but enjoys the experience.
After another 6-12 months, the employee is confident in his ability to handle the job. They still enjoy the work, but there is not as much of a challenge and they are not learning as much.
It can take 3-7 years before an employee can feel like they can do their job in their sleep. Now the employee must actively begin looking for a new challenge.
Left unchallenged, the employee becomes unhappy with the company. They won’t care enough about the work to do it well. But if they find a new challenge, the cycle can begin again.
In the life cycle of an employee, it’s up to you to intervene and empower.
Lead the Way
How you involve your company’s leadership will make all the difference. They will set the tone and build a tenured team. In fact, 51% of employees who don’t feel they have the support of leadership plan to leave their job in the next year, compared to 25% of those who do have leadership support (American Psychological Association). In addition, 14% of HR leaders say lack of executive support is an obstacle to improving retention in 2017 (Kronos).
Through dedicated practices and daily efforts, your company’s leadership creates the employee experience—and plays a huge role in engagement. According to employees, the most memorable recognition comes from their manager (28%), a high-level leader or CEO (24%), and their manager’s manager (12%), followed by customers and peers.
We know that people don’t quit their jobs, they quit their boss. The main factor in workplace discontent is an employee’s manager—not wages, benefits, or hours (Gallup).
Half of U.S. adults have left their job to get away from their manager (Gallup), which is understandable considering the way the manager influences the factors mentioned earlier. Managers account for at least 70% of variance in employee engagement scores (Gallup). But don’t be so quick to point the finger of blame. Your company’s leaders need great managers, too. Leaders need the same support from the individuals they report to. Just 35% of U.S. managers are engaged, while 51% are not engaged at all (Gallup). Meanwhile, 42% of managers are currently looking for jobs with other organizations (Modern Survey).
Managers actively influence nearly every factor of tenure and engagement. They require support, growth, and recognition to fill their own cup first—then they can nurture other employees.
Building Loyalty, Achieving Retention
If you want to retain your top employees, you must implement a dedicated, proactive strategy.
If your top employee won the lottery, who would do their job tomorrow? There should be no position on your team or in your organization that only one employee knows how to do. Cross-training employees can not only keep them challenged, it provides opportunities for growth and can come in handy when looking for a replacement.
Financial temptation can be your biggest enemy: 35% of employees will start looking for a job if they don’t receive a raise in the next 12 months (Glassdoor). Fix this by offering truly competitive pay. Give raises and adjustments proactively and always connect it with some other form of recognition. Never let a paycheck speak for itself. To ensure your pay is competitive, see our Salary Guide.
Don’t forget benefits. Your employees need them. It’s as simple as that.
Frequent Forbes contributor and seasoned Fortune 500 HR SVP Liz Ryan discusses a unique process at one of her former organizations. As her employees were receiving an avalanche of recruiter calls, turnover was becoming a top concern. Instead of punishing employees, the leadership team created a “poaching form.”
The form asked for the name of the recruiter, the hiring company, the name and description of the project or position, salary offered, and other details. Then, the company paid their employees $50 for each completed form. It worked like a charm. They were able to inspire an open dialogue about what employees were looking for and know what their competition was up to. Once recruiters figured out what was going on, the poaching slowed considerably.
A program like this can demonstrate trust, give you a chance to address concerns and efficiently enact retention strategies based directly on employee feedback.
Create Structured Career Paths
Everyone needs something to work towards. Work with employees on an individual basis to define a career path within your organization. Frequently check in on this path and adjust according to their needs and goals, ensuring they are challenged appropriately.
This is also how you will select your next group of leaders who will affect the tenure and performance of other employees. Promote according to performance and strengths, while rewarding tenure.
Surveillance falls under the transparency umbrella. And it can be a tricky game. If you are or want to monitor employee internet or phone use, only use it to help, not punish.
For instance, if you notice an employee is spending considerably more time on LinkedIn, use that information to have a discussion about what the organization can do in service to that employee, rather than telling the employee to stop doing that.
Do not try to limit their behavior. The harder you press down the lid, the harder it will pop up.
When 82% of employees don’t think they’re recognized for their work as often as they deserve (BambooHR), they will look for it elsewhere. Your top performers give you plenty to recognize. Create a structured program that allows for an abundance of both formal and informal recognition.
To address issues of location and work-life balance, allow for flexible work options. This is an effective demonstration of trust and appreciation while proactively meeting employee needs. Additionally, workers who were offered telecommuting options were more productive and had lower turnover (HBR). Make sure employees have the appropriate tools and training available to do their work well.
Surveying allows you to keep an eye on engagement and give employees a chance to speak candidly. Take results seriously and make adjustments accordingly.
Promote the right people into management roles, and make sure your leaders have the tools available to keep employees engaged.
Whether you recognize it or not, your organization has a culture. It’s simply the personality of your organization. You do not need ping pong tables to have an effective culture. You simply need to build your organization around your values, and in turn, implement programs that strengthen those values.
Keep a pulse on your culture and continuously nurture it. Every program, every technology, every process should somehow revert back to one of the values of the company. Always keep your culture at the forefront of every company communication.
No matter how great your organization is, some people will quit. It’s just part of life! Master the flow of talent and support your employees in their next step. Write recommendations and use your connections to help them build their careers. Soon, your organization will build a reputation as a launch pad, and you’ll get flooded with talent. Plus, you’d be surprised how many of those former employees will come back as boomerang employees—40% say they’d consider returning to their former company (Workplacetrends).
There’s nothing about the tenure crisis that you can’t manage. With dedicated programs, you can build effective longevity and reap all the benefits. The most important factor is to focus on helping your employees build their livelihood. When your employees are your main focus, they will find a career worth staying for within your organization.
Tips from Within
Creating Structured Career Paths
Jess Bushey serves as Market Vice President for Roth Staffing Companies, parent company of Ultimate Staffing. She oversees some of Roth’s most successful and tenured teams. Here’s what she has to say about creating structured career paths:
“I find that having a structured career path has empowered our coworkers, benefitting the overall organization. As a new employee is on-boarded, we lay an outline of several career opportunities relative to where they are starting, establishing what each stepping-stone requires. We then check in during quarterly performance reviews, outlining and benchmarking goals and outcomes that are needed to reach those next steps.
The key component to this is clear and consistent communication and allowing coworkers to explore different options than they originally thought they might aspire to.
Having a clear career path for promotion encourages coworkers to take ownership, keeping them engaged in their current role and within our organization. It has also allowed us to retain our top talent and have stronger succession planning for organic growth. It preserves and enlivens our company culture to have leaders who started in entry-level positions and grew into leadership positions, where they have authentic stories to tell our newest coworkers.”
How to let recruiters know you are available on LinkedIn – without your boss knowing. LinkedIn can be a powerful tool in your job search. But what happens when you like your job and your open to new opportunities? Watch our video to learn how to privately signal to recruiters on LinkedIn that you are looking for a new job – without anyone at your organization knowing.
Get a roadmap to the life you want
So, what exactly is an informational interview? It’s kind of like a job interview, where your pursuit is not a job, but advice. It’s an educational conversation between two people. Typically, someone will pursue an informational interview with someone who has a career that they’d like, works at a company they’d like to work at, or in an industry they are interested in.
Informational interviews are like cheat codes for your career. They’re an inside look at what it takes and what it’s really like to work like that person. How they got to this point, what life looks like in that role, where they are going next – all act as a roadmap to get what you want in your career.
Nothing can match experience. And people are more than happy to share it. While you may think that an executive wouldn’t want to spend an hour talking with just anybody, you’d be surprised. People love to talk about themselves. And it’s actually a new trend in entrepreneurship. Watch enough YouTube videos and soon enough an ad from Tai Lopez or the Laptop Entrepreneurs will pop up offering you a free class in how to be like them. They worked hard to get where they are and they are eager to share what they have learned.
Informational interviews can give you more than just a roadmap. They are a vital source of connections. They’re not just a resource for you, you are a resource for them! In 2015, 75% of workers with new jobs hadn’t actively applied for the position, they were “poached” or referred (FRBSF Economic Research). When you set up an informational interview, you learn about them and they learn about you. They can act as a referral or they can connect you with opportunity within their own company.
But you have to ask them in the right way. Here are a few tips to secure an informational interview and make the most of it:
Think of anyone you admire and reach out to them. Start by looking to your initial network – maybe it’s someone in your professional network or a friend of a friend. You can also reach out to total strangers. Social media has eliminated traditional social boundaries and has increased accessibility. Networks like Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to search by name and organization, making a once random process streamlined. LinkedIn can be your ultimate tool, giving you access to their entire career timeline. Search for potential contacts based on everything from their alma mater, to company they work for, or positions they hold.
Don’t be afraid to dig…
Once you’ve picked someone, do your research – just don’t stop at LinkedIn. When researching someone for an informational interview, follow the Google rabbit hole to find everything you can. A knowledge of the articles they’ve written, organizations they’ve volunteered for, or events they’ve spoken at can help you really stand out when asking to set up an interview.
How you reach out to a contact will depend on how you know them. If you share a mutual connection, that connection will get you in contact with them. If they are strangers, LinkedIn might be your best approach. However, with the right Google technique, you can likely access their email. If it’s not listed on the company website, you can try common iterations of emails. For example, if someone is named Mickey Mouse, these can include:
Infiltrating a space like email, especially unexpectedly, requires a respectful approach. The research you did earlier can help this feel like less of an ambush. Here is an example of an email approach:
My name is Super Ambassador, and I have been working in cartoons for 5 years now. I have been following your career on LinkedIn, and I am in awe. Your career seems to be the perfect combination of science and art. Your work in Alice in Wonderland contrasts so beautifully with your work in Steamboat Willie, while your article on your new Star Wars campus in Anaheim had such an in-depth analysis of qualitative data that could truly change Southern California tourism. Inspiring.
I’d love to learn more about your career journey and position within the Disney organization. With so much happening, I imagine you are busy. A 15-minute phone call, or even a quick cup of coffee, would be so appreciated.
Starting with a compliment and following it up with evidence to support that you know who they are, is flattering and demonstrates your intent and investment. Doing your research can go really far. Throw in commonalities, like companies you’ve worked for, schools you went to, or events you attended – anything that can strengthen the connection. We like people who are like us.
Be gracious and humble, and most importantly, patient. Their schedule may be packed, so be patient in scheduling and accommodate their schedule. Not everyone will be able to meet you in person, or they may schedule a call for 5 AM. Take every opportunity.
When you do schedule an appointment with your contact, research and have your questions ready. Remember, this isn’t a job interview, it’s not so much about selling yourself. It’s about learning from them.
Physically write down your questions so you can keep the conversation on track and more effectively utilize their time. Here are a few examples of questions you might ask:
How did you get into the field?
What do you think made you so successful? (ie characteristics, connections, education, etc)
What do you see happening in this field over the next few years?
How would you describe the culture at your organization?
What advice would you have for someone starting out in this field?
What are some next steps I should take if I want to enter the field?
Is there anyone else you recommend I talk to on this topic?
Are there any questions I should have asked you, but didn’t?
Then write down their answers so you can reference them in the future. Also, be prepared to answer questions about what it is you’re looking for. This is your chance to talk about your own career goals.
The dreaded elevator pitch
While this conversation is about them and not you, they will want to know who you are and what you want. This is where your elevator pitch comes in.
If you are unfamiliar with the elevator pitch, it’s a succinct and concise introduction, intended to capture your audience in the time it takes to ride in an elevator. In so many words, you have less than 30 seconds to introduce yourself and establish your value, making your audience want to continue the conversation.
This is where you sell yourself. These can feel dreadful, but they shouldn’t! You have a lot to offer, but you must be prepared. When they ask, “So what do you do?” Be ready.
Your pitch will capture their attention and make them say, “Interesting. Tell me more.”
To craft your pitch, start with a paper and pen. List 5-10 of the accomplishments or traits you’re most proud of, emphasizing what you can do for your audience. They should answer these questions: Who are you? What do you do? How much or how many (quantitative points support your statements)? What are you looking for?
Then continue to shave them down into a more concise conversation. It should be very natural, yet professional. It should feel like an average conversation:
I’m Super Ambassador, and I am the world’s greatest temporary employee. Most people don’t brag about that, but in the past year, I’ve rescued 7 businesses when talent got short. My most recent assignment, I came in as an administrative assistant where I coordinated a 3-day gathering of the organization’s top leaders from across 10 states, on top of my basic duties. Now I’m hoping to expand my work into a permanent role in the HR space, helping to build culture and maintain compliance.
In the pitch above, the speaker drew their audience in with a hook, provided quantitative support for their top accomplishments, and concluded with what they are looking for next. It’s quick, succinct, and natural.
Continuously update and practice your pitch so you are always ready, in and out of informational interviews.
Once you deliver your pitch, it will be up to your contact to respond. Hopefully, they will offer to aid in your next step.
After your meeting has ended, always always always send a thank you card. Send a real, handwritten card thanking them for their time. When they feel appreciated, they are more likely to help out even more in the future.
If they connected you with others in their network, promptly follow-up with your next informational interviews. Don’t allow too much time to pass.
Be Fearless & Act Accordingly
Do not feel daunted, reach out to who you really want to learn from. Some may be harder to get in contact with than others, but do not underestimate who will be willing to spend a moment with you.
This includes being persistent in contact and scheduling. If they say they are too busy, check in with them monthly and regularly. If they decline, politely thank them and move on to the next person on your list.
Once you have that advice, put it in action! Take their tips to heart and immediately act them out.
Two very different and very successful people know the value asking: business magnate and billionaire, Warren Buffet, and Canadian DJ & Journalist, Nardwuar. Nardwuar has interviewed everyone from Kurt Cobain to major political figures. In his TED Talk, he insists the reason he got those interviews was because he asked for them. That’s it. Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum, Warren Buffet said, “You can really learn a lot just by asking—that sounds like a Yogi Berra quote or something—but it is literally true.”
Informational interviews hold advice and insight you cannot get anywhere else. If you want to interview the most famous and influential, or become a billionaire, the solution lies within the ask. You can get the roadmap to the career – and life – you want.
How you present yourself as an employer on social media not only affects the perception of your employees and potential candidates, but can impact the relationship you have with customers. In the new age of accountability and transparency, your audience is constantly looking for better ways to make informed decisions. What they find online creates a multidimensional profile of who you are as an organization. Learn more in our latest Vidfographic!
How you present yourself as an employer on social media not only affects the perception of your employees and potential candidates, but can impact the relationship you have with customers. In the new age of accountability and transparency, your audience is constantly looking for better ways to make informed decisions. What they find online creates a multidimensional profile of who you are as an organization.
On LinkedIn, social media meets professional networking. It’s like a giant networking event combined with a resume megaphone. If you’re a regular user of Facebook, we have lots of tips on how to use that platform for your job search, but LinkedIn is viewed by employers as the “go-to” destination for finding the most professional candidates. We recommend using a multi-channel approach to give you the most options in your job search. Currently, 93% of companies use LinkedIn for recruiting (Jobcast) and amongst those who found their job through a social network, 40% cite assistance from LinkedIn.
If you use Facebook in your job search process, you must balance a pseudo-professional and a casual social presence. LinkedIn allows you to present yourself solely as a formal, professional entity. Everyone on the site has the same intentions: to present and build themselves professionally. That makes the rules much easier to follow, and much easier to be noticed by the right people.
Currently, LinkedIn has 128 million users in the United States alone (DMR), and recruiting, sourcing, and HR professionals account for 5% of all U.S. LinkedIn Profiles – that’s 1 in 20! With so many eyes on you, you must be prepared to wow them. Remember, this is a candidate’s market, the odds are in your favor as recruiters are on the hunt for the best talent. Even if you are a passive candidate (still working, but open to new job opportunities), your profile and activity should be ready to flaunt.
Not having a LinkedIn profile, not being active on the platform, or not using it properly can be equally detrimental. Employers now expect you to be tech savvy and connected to the online community.
You only get one chance to make a first impression, don’t let yours be unprofessional. Check out our tips to make the most out of LinkedIn.
Prepare: Are you ready?
LinkedIn serves as an internet-based version of your resume, with a little extra personality. You must prepare your profile to be eye-catching and effective. This may very well be your first impression on a recruiter or organization.
Disclaimer: These are only recommendations. There are no requirements on your social media behavior. The tips listed are only intended to be helpful, and we have a lot of inside information speaking from an organization comprised of hundreds of recruiters.
Privacy: Go Public
On LinkedIn, there is almost no reason to not make your whole profile completely public. On other sites like Facebook or Twitter, it makes sense to reserve most information for your friends. However, on LinkedIn, almost exclusively, strangers will be looking you up. Reserving information for an exclusive audience can lead them to move on to the next candidate.
(1) To change your privacy settings, log in and click on your profile.
(2) Then click on “Edit your public profile”
Here, you can select what you want to make public. It’s best to click every box, but if you had to choose only a few, we recommend at the very least including your:
- Current Positions
- Past Positions
(3) While you’re in this section, edit your public profile URL.
When you signed up, LinkedIn gave you a random URL to share. Edit this to something a little easier on the eyes, also known as a vanity URL. Just as you would with a professional email, make sure it is appropriate and reflects your name. For example, if your name is Bob Smith, try something like linkedin.com/BobSmith1234 or linkedin.com/BobSmithLosAngeles, not linkedin.com/badboy97 or linkedin.com/pro4ubsmith.
Once you have your vanity URL, you can include it on your paper resumes. Recruiters can check out your profile and have a more dimensional view or see features that wouldn’t fit on paper.
Your Intro is the section at the top of your profile. The information here is what others will see when you post or what recruiters will see when they search for candidates and land on a result page.
This section includes your photo, name, title, current position, and location. You can customize nearly every aspect of this – just click on the little pencil in the corner.
Make sure this is an accurate representation of you. Never make up a title or refer to yourself as a “Guru” or “Ninja.” These phrases don’t mean anything to recruiters, and sound like made-up positions. They aren’t searchable and don’t speak to what you have done.
Your picture can make all the difference. While it may feel superfluous to feature a picture on a professional site, a photo can be the difference between landing the job and not. LinkedIn profiles with photos get 21 times more profile views and 36 times more messages (DMR).
Embrace the human element of LinkedIn and use a professional photo. Don’t just copy and paste your current Facebook pic. Having the right picture is crucial.
A professionally taken photo will always be best. It’s a worthy investment, but if you need to get out there right now, here are a few tips to help you get the perfect, job-winning LinkedIn profile picture:
- ALWAYS wear professional clothes in your photo. The term “professional clothes” can vary from industry to industry, so pick what is appropriate.
- You can take a photo of yourself, but be wary of the angles you employ. For a selfie, take it straight on, preferably from the chest up. It’s usually best to grab a friend and have them take the picture, that way your arms aren’t awkwardly positioned in the frame. Additionally, a photo that is too close can make viewers uncomfortable.
Whatever you do… NO CAR SELFIES. NEVER. NO MATTER WHAT. ABSOLUTEY NOT. The lighting may be in your favor, but it’s so incredibly unprofessional, looks lazy, and can even suggest narcissism. Don’t do it, you’re worth so much more.
- Do NOT take a photo from a past event and crop other people out of the frame. This photo is part of your digital resume, and resumes are strictly solo. Employers can totally see your friend’s shoulder.
- Just because you did get professional photos taken, doesn’t always mean they are appropriate. Do NOT use photos from your wedding, graduation, or any other non-professional event. However, if you have a professional photo session coming up, bring a shirt and blazer with you and get a couple specialty business shots.
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY… Say cheese!
- Your picture is supposed to look like you! What’s the first thing you do when you meet someone? You smile. It’s a natural human emotional cue to indicate that you are safe, nice, and welcoming. No matter how artsy you are, no staring pensively into the distance, no duck face, and no maniacal laughter either. Humans rely heavily on eye contact for social relationships, so look in to the camera and no sunglasses, ever. A nice warm, regular smile is all you need.
If you have a resume, you know how to do this section. Fill it out just as you would a resume. Make it easy to read, quick to reference, and accurately reflective of your past positions.
To add experience, click the little plus sign and add all relevant experience.
To optimize this section, consider these tips:
- Link each position to its respective company page
- Start descriptions with a brief and prompt overview of your position
- Utilize bullet points to further describe the position and achievements
- Employ action words (managed, created, grew, reduced, etc.)
- Include supporting documents and links to other media
- Use the appropriate tense (past-tense for past jobs, present-tense for current jobs)
- Always double, triple, and quadruple check spelling and grammar
The key here will be prompt, effective language that speaks to your skills, responsibilities, and accomplishments. If you need help with your resume, reach out to your [Ultimate] representative for general resume tips and apply them to your LinkedIn profile.
Your education section will be affected by how long you’ve been out of school.
To add to this section, click the plus sign. Include all levels of education. If you have a college degree, you do not have to include high school. Be sure to include activities, societies, and major projects (if they have a professional application). Include accomplishments like awards won, research conducted, or honors received – but unless you’re working in education, employers likely aren’t too invested in day-to-day activities from long ago.
You don’t have to go nearly as in depth as you do in your Experience section, especially if you’ve been out of school for a while. If you are a recent graduate with little experience, make sure to go more in depth.
This section can give your profile dimension and shine light on some of your passions. Include your past and present repeat volunteer experience. One Saturday serving at a soup kitchen is great, but it may come off as you trying to fill up space. However, if you coordinated a big event, like a charity walk, include that and the responsibilities and actions that were required.
Skills & Endorsements
Recruiters can search by skills, so make sure you flaunt yours! LinkedIn users with skills listed received 13 times more profile views than those who don’t. And those with at least five skills listed on their profile receive up to 17 times more profile views (DMR).
Only add current skills, don’t include ones that you “kinda know.” A good rule of thumb: If you were in an interview and the interviewer asked you to demonstrate a skill on the spot, you could perform it with flying colors.
Your connections can then endorse these skills. A good way to increase your endorsements is to endorse others.
Your connections can write recommendations for you that will show up on your LinkedIn profile. Recommendations are extremely powerful when searching for a job.
You can ask the connections you’ve worked closely with to recommend you. Click on “Ask to be recommended” to reach out to your connections.
It’s best to reach out to your connections and ask prior to submitting this request.
Follow each step accordingly and customize your message at the bottom. Check out our tips here on asking for a reference.
LinkedIn is the place to brag about yourself. In your Accomplishments section, list relevant recognitions and associations. Don’t shy away from “softer” accomplishments that could highlight your cultural fit with an organization.
In this section, you can add:
- Honors & Awards
- Languages Spoken (only add a language if you are fluent)
- Test Scores
This section highlights the Influencers, companies, groups, and schools you follow. Definitely expand this area, but try to avoid potentially controversial figures or causes – anyone can see who you follow.
Join groups that pertain to your interests or experience and follow any and all organizations you may be interested in working for in the future. When their posts pop up in your feed, like and comment, making sure the organization sees you and you stay in front of them – follow the same rules for posting, sharing, and commenting below.
Be sure to add in plenty of publications so informative articles will show up on your feed – you never know what kind of information you’ll be able to exhibit in an interview! Employers want to make sure they hire those who have a pulse on the industry and the current work space.
Now that your profile is ready to mingle, your activity will continue to build your persona as a professional and an employee. It’s not enough just to have a profile. When they click on your profile, recruiters can see your recent activity. No recent activity, or the wrong type of activity, can leave the wrong impression.
When adding connections, begin with people you know. But don’t be afraid to branch out to others in the industry or even recruiters at organizations you’re interested in working with. When reaching out to somewhat random profiles for a connection, always go beyond the template and include a custom message.
Professionally and promptly, tell them why you are interested in connecting with them and include aspects of their profile that caught your eye. Quickly get to the point and don’t be afraid to compliment them. A good message can mean the difference between a connection and a bad first impression.
Here are a few examples of typical messages you might send:
A Casual Acquaintance
I’m glad we had the chance to meet through [connection]. I’d love to learn more about your work in [industry], particularly [topic]. Is LinkedIn your preferred method of contact?
Someone you met at a Networking Event
It was great speaking to you at the [event] last month. I enjoyed hearing your ideas about [topic/industry], and I am very intrigued to see what will happen next. I’d definitely like to stay in touch and keep up on the latest in your career.
I have been following [organization] and I came across your profile and couldn’t resist reaching out. I have been working in [industry] for ___ years, and currently seeking new opportunities. I’d love to talk about whether my background might be a fit for the organization – and also keep up on the latest within [organization] from your perspective.
Recruiters get a lot of messages, so don’t feel discouraged if you don’t get a response. Once you’ve connected, comment and like their posts and continue to message without being overwhelming.
You can freely message anyone you’re connected to. However, if you want to message someone you’re not connected to, you will have to purchase InMail capabilities. If you are wary of dropping the cash, check out these tips from our Social Media Manager, Valerie Killeen.
Tips from Within: InMail
Valerie Killeen is our Social Media Manager. She oversees and sets the guidelines for all of our social media channels. Check out what she has to say about InMail:
“No InMail, no problem!
For professionals without a premium LinkedIn subscription, communicating on LinkedIn can be a bit frustrating. If you’d like to send a message to someone that you’re not connected to, you can join their LinkedIn group (members of a common group can send 15 free messages to fellow group members, per month).
- LinkedIn group memberships are identified at the footer of each profile.
- Once you’ve been approved to join the group you can search for their name within the group and select the envelope icon near their name to compose an InMail message.
- The best part? If your InMail receives a response, you can communicate back and forth as many times as you’d like without deducting from your 14 remaining InMail messages.
Posting & Sharing
Posting on LinkedIn increases your visibility and the reach of your profile, but only if you do it right.
Anything you ever like, comment, or post, can be seen by every single one of your connections. And if someone in your network likes or comments on that, then it is visible by every single person in their network. It does not take long for a single like to find its way around the world.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when posting on LinkedIn:
Generally speaking, these are the best reasons to post on LinkedIn:
- Professional accomplishments
- New ideas or inspiration that relate to work life
- New development in your career or in the market
- Industry announcements or trends
- Job postings
- Professional events that you are attending or promoting
Experts recommend posting a few times a week, but no more than once per day. If it doesn’t fall into any of these categories, it may be better suited on a different platform.
Post articles. It’s a quick and simple way to engage with your connections, as long as you remember your R’s: Recent, Relevant, and Reliable.
You can also create your own articles. Share your expertise with the world, just remember to keep it Recent, Relevant, and Reliable. Don’t underestimate the power of your perspective.
Make sure outside articles and sources you post are coming from a reputable, professional source. For maximum engagement, include a quick sentence on why you find the article interesting, or one of your personal insights.
Pro-tip: People love to interact and share ideas, so pose a question at the end of your post. Ask a question that can lead to more than a yes or no answer; it has to get the conversation going. For example, you can say, I find it interesting that this expert discusses x and y as the driving factors, what have you found in your experience? Now the conversation is flowing and you’re learning from your connections.
When posting, make sure you monitor your post appropriately. Don’t check it every 5 minutes, but be sure to correspond with those who comment in a timely manner. If someone is acknowledging your post, acknowledge them – engagement goes both ways.
A quick “Like,” a “Thank you,” or “Totally Agree” can go a long way. Reciprocity is key.
Beware the 7 B’s:
- Better Half: Unless you’re connecting your significant other with one of your online connections, or highlighting a professional accomplishment — there’s really no need to post about them or your relationship. No anniversaries, no wedding photos.
- Booze: it’s no secret that your crazy weekend stories have no place in the office, and there’s no place for them on LinkedIn.
- Barack: Politics are a sensitive subject for a lot of people, and can lead to heated arguments quickly. Quite simply, it’s just unprofessional to discuss in a professional space.
- Bucks: Discussing your salary publicly on LinkedIn is a big no-no. This may scare away potential employers.
- Beliefs: For many, religion, or lack thereof, is a very personal topic, and it should remain personal. Avoid religious posts, even if they are positive.
- Battleground: Do not start arguments on LinkedIn, as that would be incredibly unprofessional. Also, avoid complaining about any current or past jobs.
- Blades + Blasters: Weapons have no place in the workspace. Weapon-related posts can make people feel uncomfortable, so it’s best to avoid these.
The rule should be: if I wouldn’t share it in an interview, I probably shouldn’t post it publicly.
NO. SELFIES. EVER. NEVER EVER EVER – unless they depict something else business related going on in the background. Otherwise, you wouldn’t stop a coworker as they walk down the hall to show them a selfie you took in your car, so don’t post it on LinkedIn.
Posts that include a photo will get more attention, but the photo must be appropriate. If you won an award or attended an exciting professional event, by all means post. However, you must make sure you still uphold professionalism, outfits included. That means no photos of you in a bathing suit poolside at a conference, or in any other outfit you wouldn’t wear to the office.
You may be saying, “but the posts that violate all these rules are the ones who get the most Likes and Comments,” and that’s true. It’s not necessarily a good thing that the post received so much attention. Don’t try to go viral for the sake of going viral. You shouldn’t be posting for Likes, you should post to educate and share ideas with your connections. Meaningful connections will always beat Likes.
Liking & Commenting
A friendly reminder: all of your connections can see everything you like and comment on. We repeat this twice since some people don’t seem to realize that… Off-putting comments or liking inappropriate posts can ruin your professional image for a lot of connections and recruiters.
You have a lot of insight. Courteously share your ideas and learn from your connections.
Tips from Within: Don’t be that guy
Our social media specialist Victoria Hayes spends most of her day on LinkedIn. Check out her list of the 10 most annoying people on LinkedIn. Her advice? “Don’t be that guy.”
- The Facebook Police – These are the ones who berate others for inappropriate posts, or simply comment “Facebook” (insinuating the post should only be on Facebook and not LinkedIn). No one likes a party-pooper – if a post is truly inappropriate, report it.
- The Complete Stranger – These users try to add connections with absolutely no connection or introduction.
- The Selfie Queen – Let’s face it – you’re not fooling anyone by captioning your (usually somewhat provocative) selfie with an inspiring quote or recap of a recent career success. You wouldn’t pull that out in an interview!
- The Social Spammer – We don’t need to see your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook posts ALSO on Linkedin. Post appropriately on each channel
- The Creep – They comment inappropriately on selfies. Or, they post inappropriately on articles or accomplishments. Again, if you wouldn’t say it in the workplace, don’t say it on LinkedIn.
- The Narcissist – The person who likes their own posts. Of course you like it – you wrote it!
- The Troll – We’ve seen this guy on just about every social media platform. They disagree with every post and aren’t shy about saying so – and usually not in a respectful manner. It’s okay to introduce differing ideas, it’s not okay to start an argument. If an exchange of ideas gets heated, know when to tap out.
- The “Guru” – “HR guru” and “recruitment ninja” are not real job titles. Just be yourself!
- The Philosopher -These users are always liking/sharing quotes. There’s nothing wrong with a few every once in a while, but you should be focused on sharing your ideas.
- The Over-Sharer – They share their professional stories, but weave in way too many intimate details.
Once your profile has been established and your activity has built it up, you are ready to hunt for a job.
Head to the top menu bar and click Jobs.
Here, you can search for jobs of any kind, anywhere.
Every job posting will have its own requirements and its own process for application.
In the jobs section, you can also indicate to recruiters that you are open to new opportunities – without anyone at your organization seeing. LinkedIn’s new Open Candidates feature privately signals to other organizations what you have to offer and what you are interested in.
Go to the Jobs tab and click on Update Preferences.
Then you can fill out their guided form. Your “Note to recruiters” should read like a message/InMail meets Resume Summary, speaking to your skills and letting them know you are interested. Add any and all job titles you are interested in and qualified for. You can also include locations, including general, “Greater” areas, like the “Greater Los Angeles Area.” You can even specify the type of work you’re looking for, including Full-time, Part-time, Internship, Remote, Freelance, and Contract.
Then, recruiters will have the opportunity to reach out to you. However, this does not mean that you should sit back and relax. Continue to reach out and apply for jobs.
Should I go Premium?
Looking for work is an area where a Premium membership might be most beneficial. A premium membership allows you to:
- Reach out directly to any recruiter or job poster with 3 InMail credits
- See who’s viewed your profile in the last 90 days and how they found you
- Move to the top of recruiters’ applicant lists
- See how you compare to other candidates
- Gain access to online video courses
- See salary details when browsing jobs without sharing your personal data
The first month is free, but monthly payments range from $25+.
It will be most important that you continue to have an active involvement on LinkedIn, even when you are not looking for a job. While 70% of Facebook users engage daily, only 13% of LinkedIn users do the same (Pew Research). Make sure you’re not only active when you need something. Recommend others and endorse their skills, assure you have a symbiotic relationship with your connections.
Comment, like, and post even when you are happily employed. Engage with your employer and boast your current work and other workplace events. Share company content and don’t be shy about your accomplishments. LinkedIn is not just for job searching, it’s primarily an online network for professionals to share expertise, get inspired, and a place to build your professional credibility.
Roth is passionate about helping you in your job search. You have the smarts, experience, and the passion to catch the eye of top employers – use Roth Staffing and LinkedIn to make sure you get there.