February 6, 2015
by Ellen

Open Sesame? Say the Magic Keywords…

Keywords are the magic words that open the doors to your career.  As I explained in a prior post , if your resume lacks the right keywords, it’ll never make it past the “scanners” to a real person.

The same is true of your LinkedIn profile. When recruiters or employers use LinkedIn to find the ideal candidate (you), they search the site using keywords. As interview coach Margaret Buj notes in a recent post, “keywords are the relevant phrases or words on your profile that will make it easy to find you,” and you should include them in multiple places on your LinkedIn profile (job descriptions, summary, and headline).

So what are the magic words? How do you find them? Buj recommends two strategies:

1. Look at the job descriptions used by the employers you want to work for. After reading a few postings, you’ll be able to pick out the words they all seem to use. And don’t stop at job postings — go to the firm/company websites and find the profiles of people who have the job you want. What terms are used in their profiles and job descriptions? You can also find these people on LinkedIn and see how they describe themselves.

2. Be specific. Don’t just say “accountant” — what specialty? and what specific areas within that specialty? What other areas are you interested in? Are there specialized software programs you are familiar with? Do you speak another language? Dig deep!

LinkedIn profiles, like resumes, give recruiters and employers an idea of who you are as a professional. By effectively using keywords, you will provide a clearer picture of yourself. Think of it this way, do you want to sound like a stick figure in a suit holding a sign that says “accountant?” Or do you want your description to match the fantastic professional smiling in your profile pic?




January 30, 2015
by Ellen

Interview Curveballs

Now that the career fair is over, you need to start preparing for the interviews! There are a host of very useful articles, books, and websites that give you a list of the “most common interview questions” and help you prepare your answers. (We have quite a few of them in the center for you to peruse.) But while learning how to frame your “weaknesses” as strengths is a useful exercise, employers are beginning to omit such cliched questions because they no longer serve their intended purpose — to throw you off, make you think on your feet, and provide a glimpse of who you are underneath the resume. Instead, you may find a few curveballs coming your way.

Alison Griswold and Vivien Giang tracked down some top execs and asked them what their favorite interview questions are. Here are a few of my favorites, but for the full list check out their article on MSN Money.

1.  “On a scale of 1 to 10, how wierd are you?” — Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos

2.  “A hammer and a nail cost $1.10. The hammer costs $1 more than the nail. How much does the nail cost?” — Jeff Zwelling, CEO of Convertro.

3. “What would the closest person in your life say if I asked them, what is the one characteristic they totally dig about you and the one that drives them insane?” — Kat Cole, CEO of Cinnabon

4. “What would you do in the event of a zombie apocalypse?” — Ashley Morris,  CEO of Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop

January 23, 2015
by Ellen

So You Made a LinkedIn Profile…Now What?

If you haven’t already, by the end of your time in the LMAS program, you will have created a profile on LinkedIn. A lot goes in to making an effective profile, but that’s just the beginning. In order to make LinkedIn truly useful as a networking tool, there are a few things to keep in mind. In a recent article for Forbes online, William Arudda, author of the book Ditch. Dare. Do! 3D Personal Branding for Executives, offers some useful strategies for maximizing your LinkedIn success.

First, think about who you want in your network. Whose requests to connect should you accept — everyone? only people you know well? just people in your field? Arudda suggests “open networking” — casting your net as wide as possible — because “every connection is a good connection” and “your visibility is proportional to the number of connections you have.” The same concept applies to requesting connections – the more the better. Allow LinkedIn to use your email contacts, search for people you want to connect with, and do a “gap analysis” — what kind of people do you want to connect with but haven’t yet? Do some research and request some connections.

The next step is to “nurture” your network. This is what are you supposed to do on LinkedIn. As Arudda explains, “Your network will have little value if you aren’t interacting with members regularly.” Use your activity feed or the blogging platform to show your expertise by making comments and sharing professional opinions on topics that may interest your network. Join groups and participate meaningfully in the conversations. Find ways to make a name for yourself in the LinkedIn community. The more visible you become, the more your network will grow with meaningful connections.

Ultimately, the value you get from LinkedIn is proportionate to the attention you pay to growing your network and finding ways to engage other LinkedIn users. In other words, if you were to spend as much time on LinkedIn as you do on Facebook….

January 16, 2015
by Ellen

Welcome back — come see me!

Welcome and welcome back to our new and returning LMAS students!

Just a reminder that you are always welcome in the Leadership and Professional Development Center (BH 339). Feel free to use the space to study, meet with your group, or just sit and relax between classes. There’s even coffee and water for you to enjoy while you’re here!

I will be available Monday-Thursday, 9:00am- 3:00pm, for consultations on:

  • Writing
  • Presentations
  • Resumes
  • Coverletters
  • Interview prep
  • Study skills

If you have any workshop-related questions, I can help you with that, too. So make an appointment or just come by and say “hi” — I look forward to working with you this semester!

– Ellen Stuart

December 8, 2014
by Ellen

Working+Together = Success

Congrats to the new grads! Are you ready to start your careers? It’s going to be a big change, for sure, and a little scary, too. But don’t give in to the temptation to hide at your desk. No matter how shy or introverted you are, you will actually be happier and more successful if you work together with others. According to Robin Madell’s article “One Word That Can Change Your Work Life,” having a sense of “togetherness” increases productivity and job satisfaction — it can make you actually “like” your job. So when you start your new position, make an effort to get to know the members of your department. Ask questions, go to lunch with your new colleagues, and be a part of the group. You’ll start to feel like you are a valuable asset to your firm in no time!