17 LinkedIn Improvement Tips for 2017

With 2017 rapidly approaching, many professionals are starting to think about finding a new position or making a career change in the New Year. With 87 percent of recruiters using LinkedIn, a fully optimized and updated profile is a great place to begin!

Author’s Note: This article is a complementary piece to the highly praised 17 Resume Improvement Tips for 2017 published on November 22, 2016.

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How Leonardo da Vinci Can Help You Land Your Next Job

In 1482, Leonardo da Vinci sent a letter to the Duke of Milan. The letter detailed da Vinci’s skills – at least, the skills that da Vinci thought the Duke might appreciate. It was, for all practical purposes, a résumé. In fact, while da Vinci isn’t likely to have been the first to come up with the idea (although he did invent an awful lot of things!), his letter to the Duke is the first evidence we have of someone writing akin to résumé. And the funny thing is, it’s a pretty great example of how to write a résumé. So what can you learn from a 15th century résumé? Read on and find out…

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Where In The Country Has Vocamotive Been?

The past two months have been very busy for Vocamotive and our staff of dedicated career development, resume writing, and vocational rehabilitation professionals. In addition to writing resumes and providing employment assistance to individuals in 13 different states, our team has been traveling near and far to provide career guidance, attend training events, administer consultations, and exhibit at professional events around the country.

Let’s take a look at some of the stops Vocamotive has taken along the way:

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Ways to Get Your Foot in the Door

Some companies are harder to get into than others. Sometimes it seems like you need to already know someone to score your dream job at that perfect company. There are ways to get your foot in the door and make some contacts who could help you out and lead you to your next job. Here are some tips for getting your name known at any company.

Follow on Social Media

Social media is a great way to connect with companies and their people. Check Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn for company profiles. You can also look to see if you can find any employees or company recruiters to follow. LinkedIn is especially great for that, since it’s made to help people make and keep professional connections. Once you’ve found the company and some employees, interact with their posts. Like their Instagram pictures and retweet their tweets. Comment on LinkedIn posts with your own expertise or insight.

Arrange an Informational Interview

An informational interview is like a networking event, informational sessions and semi-interview all in one. They’re a great way to get in front of people at a company. If you can identify some key people in your ideal department, reach out and ask to meet. Make sure you’re targeting the right people, and not just emailing anyone you can find. Ask them to get coffee to discuss their career path or their interests. Find someone whose job is genuinely interesting to you, even if they can’t offer you a job. They could be a valuable contact or resource for your career down the line.

Send Your Resume

If you see a job opening that really interests you, go ahead and apply. If you don’t hear back in a couple weeks, email the hiring manager to ask about the status of your application. Even if you don’t see your dream job listed, try sending your resume to human resources or a hiring manager anyway. There could be a position opening soon that you’re perfect for, and you might have saved the company a lot of time and energy hunting for candidates.

Why You Should Have a Personal Website

Looking for a job in 2016 can be complicated. You need a resume, but you should showcase your skills online, as well. In addition to a LinkedIn profile, a personal website is a great way to showcase your skills and achievements to potential employers and help you stand out from the competition. Here are some of the best reasons to have a personal website.

A personal website helps you easily display your professional achievements with more space than on a resume. It’s basically an easily accessible online portfolio. You can link to design, writing, or other projects you’ve done so employers and interviews can see your work firsthand. You can also describe your soft skills, like good communication or teamwork, in greater detail. Unlike a resume, you can take as much space as you want to demonstrate your talents and strengths.

You also get a chance to showcase your personality on a personal website. Resumes are typically pretty bland—black fonts on one white piece of paper—and LinkedIn’s uniform layout doesn’t allow for much personalization. A personal website lets you show employers your own style. If you know coding or web design, it’s a chance to showcase those skills. If not, there are plenty of easy platforms to host your site with minimal design effort.

They also increase your online visibility. Since hiring managers and employers are likely to do an online search for your name, a personal website with your name (especially if it’s in the URL) popping up will impress employers and allow you to tell your story with your site. 

At the end of the day, a personal website will help you stand out from the crowd. They’re a simple and effective way to communicate who you are as a person and a professional, but very few people actually have them. You’ll look like you are really taking your career, and your next career move, very seriously.

Tips for Building a Network

Tips for Building a Network

When most people hear the word “networking,” images of boring mixers with name tags and off-brand sodas usually come to mind. Professional networks can be helpful and building them can be fun, if you do it right. Read on for some tips for how to build a better, more successful network.

Join Organizations

Many professions have local, national and international organizations that allow people in similar fields to meet and network. There are organizations for doctors, entrepreneurs, journalists, teachers, designers, engineers, professors, lawyers and just about any profession you can think of. There are also organizations for women, young professionals, African Americans and most demographics. The organizations you join don’t have to be strictly professional, either. Alumni groups, volunteer organizations and recreational activities are all great ways to meet people with similar interests. You never know who can help you in your job search!

Attend Events

Yes, building a network still involved networking events. The big thing to remember is that they don’t have to be boring. Events put on by professional organizations bring together like-minded people with similar careers, so you won’t be at a loss for a conversation topic. Alumni events are a great way to meet people who went to your high school or college and reminisce about great times. Recreational activities should be fun for you, regardless of whether they land you a job! In order to build a network, you have to get out there and actually meet and connect with other people.

Follow Up

Meeting people means nothing if you say goodbye at the end of a luncheon and never speak to them again. Make sure to carry business or calling cards with you and collect new acquaintances’ cards, as well. After a day or two, send your new contacts an email to let them know how great it was to meet them, and make a plan to catch up in the future.

What to Bring to an Interview

You’ve sent out your resume far and wide, and now you’re starting to hear back from potential employers about your applications. When you get interviews set up, you’ll start preparing your best answers to all the standard interview questions. There are certain things

Resume/Portfolio

Even if you already submitted your resume as part of the application process, you should always bring extra copies to an interview. Print at least five of them on resume paper and keep them in a nice, solid colored folder. If you have a portfolio of design work, writing samples or any other projects, bring that along. Even if you’re unemployed, it’s a good idea to bring business cards with your contact information, as well.

Questions

You should also come prepared with a list of questions for your interviewers, not just answers. Ask them specific questions about the company, position, team and culture. You’ll probably come up with questions as you go, but you should think of a few ahead of time just in case. Asking thoughtful questions will show employers that you are serious about the position, and can give you a chance to further explain why you’re a good fit for the role.

Company Information

Of course, you should have the company address, phone number and the name of the person you’re meeting with on hand (preferably written down) so you know exactly where to go and what to say. You should also do some research on the company before the interview. Bring along some notes to review while you’re waiting.

Emergency Supplies

Carry a notebook and pen with you in case you need to take notes in your interview. Many resume folders have space for your resume, a legal notepad and a pen. You should carry along some breath mints (not gum!) to freshen up just before your interview.

The Rehabilitation Counselor’s Role in Empowering Jobseekers

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According to 2015 data collected from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every five adults in the United States (approximately 53 million) has a disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act defines disability as a physical or mental impairment that significantly limits individuals’ ability to perform one or more major life activities, individuals having a history or record of such an impairment, or individuals being perceived as having an impairment. Disability can impact individuals’ ability to function independently through activities of daily living, finding and maintaining employment, and feeling included and supported in their communities.

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Rehabilitation counselors work with individuals with disabilities by assisting them with achieving their optimal independence, integration, and participation in the community and world of work to reach personal goals, career aspirations, and perceived quality of life. They encourage personal, social, and economic independence while acknowledging the unique experiences of individuals of various social and cultural backgrounds (Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification, 2009*). They abide by the Code of Professional Ethics for Rehabilitation Counselors while making decisions and delivering services to their clients. Rehabilitation counselors create specific and time-oriented rehabilitation plans that map out their clients’ goals and what the process will entail for them to achieve those goals. Rehabilitation counselors provide services in a variety of settings, including veteran hospitals, mental health facilities, schools, state and federal offices, correctional facilities, public rehabilitation agencies and Workers Compensation agencies.

Vocamotive is a vocational rehabilitation and career services firm that works with a wide variety of clients, including unemployed or underemployed jobseekers, worker’s compensation clients, military veterans, and transitional students. Rehabilitation counselors at Vocamotive collaborate with a team of career placement professionals, job developers, résumé and branding specialists and computer instructors to help clients develop job seeking and computer skills in order to find new employment. By working with professionals of various areas of expertise, rehabilitation counselors can address each of their client’s goals and help them enter or return to the workforce. At Vocamotive, we empower our clients to develop a new set of skills to take on new employment experiences.

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Rebecca Hanna is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) for Vocamotive, Inc. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Bradley University and Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling at Northern Illinois University. Her areas of career interests include vocational rehabilitation, transition and disability services, and career counseling and placement.

Message or follow Rebecca on LinkedIn at: www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccanhanna0704

Contact Rebecca via email at: rhanna@vocamotive.com

Learn more about Vocamotive at: www.vocamotive.com

Call Vocamotive at: (630) 789-2519

 

*Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. (2009). Code of professional ethics for rehabilitation counselors. Schaumburg, IL: Author.