Finish What You Start

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A hot debate in the career field these days is whether LinkedIn profiles will eventually replace traditional resumes. While that might not happen in the very near future, it's clear that a complete, well written profile is an essential tool for job searchers, and that LinkedIn is increasingly being seen as a valuable under-the-radar recruiting tool. Why, then, do we meet so many people at the Library who open LinkedIn accounts and never complete them or capitalize on their potential?

The most obvious reason is time. Our experience is that it takes a minimum of six to eight hours to get your profile to a point where you wouldn't be nervous if a potential employer had a peek. The other consideration is learning yet another social media platform and understanding all the components. That's why the Library's books on LinkedIn are so popular, along with a multitude of online tutorials, blogs and websites such as Mashable. These sites can help explain features and changes, and offer tips on making your profile stand out and be found,

One of my favourite blogs is Viveka von Rosen's (formerly of Edmonton), who was recently named one of Forbes Top 10 Most Influential Women, and is the author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour A Day. She also has a website full of advice, including a recent article featuring her Best 23 LinkedIn Tips. One tip that stands out is her reminder to include all your expertise, publications and certifications in your profile. Many people forget to reflect and look back on all their key training, often because they decide it isn't relevant to include in their resume. But that is the beauty of LinkedIn: it can be a master resume that fully represents all the time and energy you have invested into your life and career.

Overwhelmed? Remember that Calgary Public Library has a variety of programs on LinkedIn, ranging from our popular two hour introduction on social networking and job search, and our more intensive five hour course. Help is always at hand - so finish what you start in 2013.

No More Mediocrity

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How To Ace a "Crazy Good" Interview

The world of interviewing is getting more complicated. In addition to Skype and panel interviews, job searchers now have the added complexity of deep generational gaps and stiff competition during the interview process. How does one stand out in a slew of interviewees, without appearing desperate?

Crazy Good Interviewing, a new, very readable book in the Library's career collection, features some unconventional ideas along with a sound approach towards applying a variety of techniques and skills to help ensure success. Despite the title, the author is not suggesting that wild behavior is in order. Instead, he uses anecdotes and case studies to guide the reader on how to break away from the ordinary and hum drum, and to make a meaningful impression and create "crazy" good connections.

Some highlights include:

1. The Power of Threes, an effective technique for answering an interviewer's open ended questions such as "What relevant experiences have prepared you for the job?"

2. An interviewing model called ACT Out for assessing strengths, communicating verbally and non verbally, and thanking and staying connected to the interviewer

3. Tyes of interviews, including phone, group, and Skype based, along with excellent tips such as remembering to alternate your gaze between the webcam and your computer monitor

The author, John B. Molidor, is the CEO/President for Michigan State University Flint Area Medical Education, and understands how communication styles and interviewing skills can complement each other. Recommended.

Mistletoe and Mingling

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As this is the season to mix and mingle, we are featuring our popular interview from last year with local management consultant Lisa Dare about networking strategies during the holidays. Here is some of what she had to say:

Lisa, we have heard that contrary to popular belief, Christmas holidays are actually a promising time to secure a new position. Do you agree?

That’s a great question and yes, it is a myth that holidays or quieter times of business aren't a good time to be looking for work. Consider that most job seekers mistakenly assume that activity slows down in companies and therefore decrease their search efforts. By virtue of that thinking, this creates less competition and easier entry into speaking with potential employers. At the moment, the job market is pretty hot as I spoke with several HR recruiters from the oil & gas industry last week who have not seen any decrease in their workload. Also, while people may not secure a position right away at this time, it’s still a good idea to have informational interviews and gather market information on various industries as people generally tend to be in a much more receptive frame of mind around the holidays.

Is it quantity over quality during big parties? Should the goal be to connect with as many people as possible?

I would always choose quality over quantity. There is a tendency towards thinking that the higher the number the better the odds. However, from a strategic point of view, it is important to consider the best use of time and resources. Are you better off handing out your business card to 50 people whom you may not remember, or speaking with 5 or 6 people with whom you made a strong connection and then continuing to build those relationships? People will also find that by investing time in cultivating those relationships, the numbers will come—that’s the power of networking combined with strong relationship building skills.

What about party etiquette when someone is networking? For example, is it wise to stay clear of the rum and eggnog?

It’s important to remember that in these types of events you are always “on.” Be aware of what type of image and impression you are conveying to the public. It is not to say that you shouldn’t be yourself but depending on the context of your situation, it might be wise not to over imbibe as you want to be able to put your best self forward and not an altered version of yourself. There are many an office party story that has resulted in unfortunate outcomes for both staff and managers alike—you want to steer clear of becoming one of those characters.

Do you have any other networking advice over the holiday season?

While it is important to continue your efforts over the holidays, don’t forget to take time out for yourself. Ensure that you have sufficient time to attend to yourself and those around you as well as continuing with your job search. Look for different opportunities and events that are connected to what you are looking for. In addition, volunteer opportunities, community events, spousal parties and events within your network may also hold possibilities so be open to all opportunities. Most importantly—stay positive. This is the season to reflect on what we are grateful for and look forward to greater possibilities.

Lisa Dare is a management consultant, leadership & executive coach, and facilitator. She is also the incoming president of the Calgary Association of Professional Coaches and a volunteer with the Central Library’s Strategic Networking program that runs every Thursday evening at the Central Library. She can be reached at ld_assoc@telus.net