Tuesday, March 8, 2016

"I'm not sure what to do with my LinkedIn profile..."

I was going to call this blog post, "I'm on LinkedIn, Now What?" but that's actually the name of an excellent book by my colleague Jason Alba. (You should definitely check it out too!)

I get a LOT of questions from jobseekers about LinkedIn. 

The most common one is: 
“I’m not sure what to do with my LinkedIn profile.”

So here's a short guide with some practical tips!

It starts with "Profile Completeness" -- you want to make sure you have a fully populated LinkedIn profile. Profiles that are considered "complete" by LinkedIn's standards receive 40 times more "opportunities" (contacts from prospective hiring managers and recruiters) than incomplete profiles, according to LinkedIn's own research.

Filling in your profile improves your chances of being found by people searching for you specifically, or someone with your qualifications, credentials, and background. And that's true even when using sites like Google and Bing. As LinkedIn's own materials say, "LinkedIn profiles typically appear among the top search results when people search by name."

LinkedIn has its own criteria for “profile completeness,” which has changed somewhat over time. 

As of April 2015, to be considered “complete” by LinkedIn’s standards, you need these items in your LinkedIn profile:
• Your industry and location
• An up-to-date current position (with a description)
• Two past positions
•  Your education
• At least three skills
• A profile photo
• At least 50 connections

To maximize your success in using LinkedIn in your job search, you should also complete these activities:
• Customize your LinkedIn profile URL (www.linkedin.com/in/yourname).
• Create an attention-getting LinkedIn Headline 
• Use the LinkedIn Summary section to tell your STORY! Who are you, what do you want to do, what sets you apart?
• If you’re including a link to your website or blog, customize the text link (rename it so it doesn’t just say “Personal Website” or “Company Website”).
• Include your contact information. LinkedIn allows you to add your phone number (designated as home, work, or mobile), Instant Messenger contact information (AIM, Skype, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, ICQ, GTalk, QQ, and WeChat), and multiple email addresses (in addition to your primary/sign-in email). You can also provide your Twitter handle.
• Add languages that you speak.
• Fill in key projects you’ve worked on (this is a separate section within the profile). Showcase your work!
• Add a list of courses you’ve taken. (This helps with keyword searches.)
• In the “Settings,” change the “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile” to “Your name and headline (recommended).”

Most important:
• Proofread your profile carefully. Check grammar and spelling!
• Update your profile regularly! Not only will your connections be notified when you update information on your profile (bringing your profile additional visibility), but you’ll also be confident that someone searching for you will have access to the most current information!

Okay, now that you've completed those steps, what's next?

1. Grow Your Connections. There are two schools of thought when it comes to LinkedIn connections. You can choose to connect selectively, accepting invitations only from those you know and trust, or you can use LinkedIn to grow the network of people you know. You can connect with people you meet through Groups and get introduced to people you don’t yet know offline.

POWER TIP: The power of networking lies in “friends of friends,” so the larger your network, the easier it will be to connect with someone you don’t know (yet). Remember the principal of “six degrees of separation.”

2. Give To Get. Authentic, genuine Recommendations can make or break a LinkedIn profile (just like references can for a job candidate). Instead of sending out those presumptuous LinkedIn “Can You Endorse Me?” emails, select a handful of people in your network and write Recommendations for them, without asking for one in return. You will be surprised at how many people will reciprocate.

POWER TIP: Make sure your Recommendations are specific and detailed. When reading the Recommendation, you should be able to tell exactly who it was written about. Quantify accomplishments (with percentages, numbers, and dollar amounts) as much as possible.

3. Get Involved. Join some LinkedIn Groups. Groups are the “water cooler” of the social site. You can find Groups for school and university alumni, your former and current employers, trade groups, industry associations, and more.

POWER TIP: One way to establish yourself as an expert on LinkedIn is to start your own Group. For example, you might consider starting an online job club centered around your industry or geographic proximity.

Finally, don't make these mistakes on LinkedIn:
  • Don’t Dismiss LinkedIn as Something Only for People Who Are Looking For a New Job. The best time to build your LinkedIn profile, connect with people, and participate on LinkedIn is now, before you need it. If you find yourself suddenly unemployed and decide that now is the time to start using LinkedIn, you’re going to be playing catch up. Instead, take time to “dig your well before you’re thirsty,” as author Harvey Mackay says.
  • Don’t “Set it and Forget It.” Your LinkedIn profile is an evolving snapshot of you. You should be updating it regularly with new connections, status updates, and activity (especially within LinkedIn Groups) 
  • Don’t Ignore It. Check in on LinkedIn regularly; at least every other day if you are in active job search mode; at least once a week for passive jobseekers. Plan on adding one new status update each time you log in.
  • Don’t Be A Wallflower. LinkedIn is most effective when you engage with it. Seek out opportunities to connect with thought leaders in your industry. Join 3-5 Groups and participate in conversations.
  • Don’t Be Selfish. You will get more out of LinkedIn if you focus on how you can help others, not how they can help you. The phrase “give to get” is very powerful on LinkedIn. You can earn the respect of your peers and people of influence if you “help enough other people get what they want,” in the words of Zig Ziglar.
  • Don’t Wait For Others To Find You. Use the LinkedIn People Search function to look for people you know and invite them to connect with you. You should aim to add 2-5 new connections each week if you are a passive job seeker, and 6-10 connections a week if you are actively searching for a new job.
  • Don’t Forget to Explore the People Your Connections Know. One of the most powerful functions of LinkedIn is the ability to connect you with people who are connections of the people you know. Follow LinkedIn’s guidelines on connecting with these folks, however (using InMail or requesting connections through your mutual friend), so that your account is not flagged for spam.
  • Don’t Indiscriminately Try to Connect With People. One of the strengths of LinkedIn is the connections you make, but it’s not a race to get to 500 connections. Have a reason for each of the people you connect with — either it’s someone you already know or are related to, or someone it would be beneficial to connect with. If you don’t know someone, get to know them a bit before sending a personalized connection request. (You can do so by seeing who you have in common — or who they are connected to, checking out their LinkedIn summary and work history, visiting their website or blog, and seeing what Groups they belong to). 

If you're just getting started on LinkedIn, check out my 8-part course, "Leveraging LinkedIn For Your Job Search." Each day, you'll get a new lesson that will help you develop and enhance your LinkedIn profile. It's just $15. Order it here: http://www.leveraginglinkedinforyourjobsearch.com

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Why Content Is So Important to Attracting Resume Clients

From cave paintings to John Deer and even Jell-O, content marketing has been around for literally thousands of years. Anytime someone wanted to get the information out about anything, they could turn to content for the answers. Cookbooks are a great example of content marketing before the Internet. It was a list of products to buy. When combined in a particular way, it was delicious.

You could say the same is true for content marketing even today.

These days, content marketing is extra important because it's how you will get people to visit your website. It's also how you'll teach people about the issues that are important to them as a jobseeker, and hopefully turn them into a client.

  • Digital Search Content. All content is fodder for search engine traffic. Search engines use the information on your blogs, websites, and social media to send your customers your way. They do this with the terms used in the content or in the "alt" descriptions.
  • Social Media Content. Everything you put on social media is content. It doesn't matter if it's a meme, an image, words, a video, or something else; it is considered content. When you realize all that content encompasses, you quickly realize that yes, it is very important. It's not just a blog post or text; it is everything.

Content marketing can take on many shapes and forms. Some of these include:

  • Blogs. These need to go out on a regular basis to help your visitors find your website. You can also write original guest blog posts sometimes to bring other audiences to you.
  • Newsletters. These can be sent via email on a regular basis to keep your subscribers engaged and active.
  • Magazines. Today, you can create an online magazine to help with marketing and informing your audience. Or seek out digital or print magazines that reach your target client.
  • Podcasts. This is another way to put out information without having to type it. Instead you can record your thoughts and upload them to be listened to later. There are only a few podcasts on career topics, which is very surprising to me. There should be more. The breakthrough one will be the person who creates a call-in Q&A-type show like Dave Ramsey has for personal finance.
  • Videos. YouTube is a great example of the power of video to get the word out about anything and teach others something that requires visuals.
  • White Papers. These are long research documents that often compare and contrast the solutions to a problem discussed in depth. They are great for educating a wide audience without overtly advertising your solution. There's not enough independent research about career issues. Maybe you can be the person to change that.
  • Ebooks. Using books to build your expertise is a great way to teach an audience about something that requires a lot of information. Today, publishing on Kindle is simple and free.
  • Online Presentations. You can post PowerPoint slides on SlideShare.net and other presentation sharing sites as another way to keep your audience informed. Repurpose content by creating a short online presentation with its key points.
  • Webinars. Growing in popularity due to their live nature and the way the audience can interact with the hosts, webinars are a very effective form of content. (Teleseminars are also still growing, due in large part because they don't require the user to understand technology. All they need is a phone.)
  • Infographics. Often used on social media, infographics are a great way to help your audience picture important data visually.
  • Games. If you can create an online game that teaches or markets some aspect of the job search to your audience, then you will have some really awesome content that gets results. (Let me know when you create this. I would love to promote it!)
  • Branded Tools. Whether it's a job search app, a WordPress plugin or something else, creating a tool that your audience can use daily (even if ití' an old-fashioned planner) provides the type of content that will remind them that you're there.

As you see, content encompasses almost everything you do to market your resume writing business, inform people about your career services, and interact with people. That's why content is king. Content is the most important asset you own when it comes to digital marketing.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Make Marketing Your Resume Services Into a Game

As I mentioned in several emails in January, I participated in Jon Acuff's "30 Days of Hustle" challenge with the goal of increasing the number of Bronze members for BeAResumeWriter.com.

The theme for Day 25 was "Game On" and Jon talked about how to take your hustle and turn it into a game. He said "Games help you get momentum and distract you from the boring or difficult." Sounds like marketing your resume services -- right? It can be difficult to get started (getting momentum) and we sometimes think of marketing our services as boring or difficult (it doesn't have to be either!).

Jon said there are five elements to "gamify a task." These include:

  • A limited time
  • A small challenge
  • A score
  • An opponent
  • A reward

I immediately saw a connection between gamifying tasks and the principles of the Get Clients Now® program, which I have been teaching for over a year now.

The full program is six weeks, but the "action period" is just 28 days (limited time). It involves setting a Program Goal for yourself -- a small challenge that you can accomplish within 28 days. You keep score using a Tracking Worksheet where you assess your progress towards your Program Goal AND how many of up to 10 tasks you completed each day. You have built-in opponents because you're participating in the program with between 3-11 other resume writing colleagues. Each week on the coaching calls, you get to report your progress and see how your results are measuring up against the other participants. And finally, there is the Reward! You set a Reward for yourself before you start the 28-day program.

Knowing that the program meets all the elements of a game makes it more fun! 

If you're interested in learning more about the program -- or enrolling in an upcoming session -- check out my upcoming sessions:

Friday, February 12, 2016

Strategies to Help You Close the Sale

Creating a sense of urgency — buy now!— is the single most important factor in turning resume prospects into resume clients. Ask any resume writer: It’s critical to get a client to commit on the first call. The longer they wait, the slimmer your chance of getting them to open their wallet.

When I ask self-employed resume writers which part of owning their own business is the most challenging, “selling” and “closing the sale” are often in the top five answers — if not THE top responses.

So if you have a hard time turning resume and coaching prospects into clients, I want to share some specific strategies that will get people off the fence and get them to take action…which means getting them to open their wallets and become clients.

In the Resume Writers’ Digest Annual Industry Survey, the results are pretty consistent year after year that the average résumé writer works on 3-4 resumes per week, at an average fee of around $500. So, imagine if you were able to serve one more client each week — that’s an extra $2,000 per month, or $24,000 a year.

Many of the strategies I’m going to share don’t cost anything — so you can get a tremendous bang for your buck. The strategies I’m sharing are ones you can use in your very first conversation with a prospect, or on your website, or in a follow-up email with a prospective client.

Speaking of the first conversation with a prospective client, it’s critical to get a client to commit on the first call. The longer they wait, the slimmer your chance of getting them to work with you.

Now before we jump in, let me offer one piece of advice:
Combine these triggers whenever possible. One trigger is powerful, but when used together, they are even more powerful and will boost your client conversion rate even higher!

(There are 25 strategies in the special report -- here are my favorite 5 -- they're numbered by the strategy as they appear in the special report):

#1. Offer Time-Sensitive Bonuses

How to use a low-cost, high-value bonus to clinch the sale.

Just offering a bonus is a great way to incentivize people to buy what you’re selling. But when you make the bonus time-sensitive, you increase the urgency. And that means increased sales!

Think about the infomercials you see on television. Many of them offer a “gift with purchase” — something extra when you make your purchase. Simply offering a special bonus — and it doesn’t have to be anything expensive — can increase your conversions. But when you combine that bonus with a deadline, you make this strategy even more powerful. That’s because a sense of urgency can help get people to commit.

This does not have to be a high-pressure sales tactic.

  •  “I’m offering a special bonus for new clients who decide to take action today. If you order the Deluxe Resume and Cover Letter package, I’ll also enroll you in our ‘30 Days to Your Next Job’ Challenge, which is a $49 value, for free.”
  • Order your Resume Rewrite package in the next 48 hours, and you’ll get a free 8-day “Leveraging LinkedIn In Your Job Search” training — a $49 value.
  • Buy the “Six Steps to a $6,000 Raise” and you’ll get a free 15-minute salary negotiation strategy session — but hurry, this special offer ends tomorrow!
You can also use this tactic for products and services you sell on your website. For example, “If you purchase a one-hour job interview coaching session, you’ll receive a free ebook, ‘55 Questions You Should Be Prepared to Answer in an Interview,’ — if you reserve your coaching session by May 31.”

Low-cost bonuses can include:
• Ebooks or digital special reports
• Workbooks or tip sheets
• Recordings and/or transcripts of teleseminars you’ve done
• 15-minute “strategy sessions” when the client makes a high dollar purchase. These can also be lead-ins to your coaching services or coaching packages, giving prospects a “try-before-you-buy” sample of what coaching can do for them.

Most of these are things that won’t take you a lot of time to create — but have a high perceived value for clients. Just offering a bonus can increase your sales — but putting a time limit on it makes it even more powerful.

#4. Give a Free Critique

Why getting clients to take a small action now can lead to a bigger sale later.

Yet another way to offer your personal time and attention as part of a bonus package is by offering a free critique. Free critiques used to be the number one way resume writers secured leads and converted those prospects into clients. For many resume writers, that’s still the case. Offering a free critique can not only help you assess the client’s existing resume, but it can also help you make the sale. If someone calls you and is asking about price, you can deflect that question by asking if they have an existing resume and offering the free critique.

Ask them some additional questions about their job search — for example, if there is a specific job that they’re targeting, or a specific job posting or opportunity they need the resume for, and what their timeline is. You can also ask when was the last time their resume was updated, and whether they wrote it themselves or not.

Tell the prospect that once they have sent you their existing resume  you’ll get them a customized resume review (critique) that will help identify how their resume meets current standards. This also works for LinkedIn Profile development services.

  • Order the interview preparation ebook book today and you’ll receive a free resume critique.
  • Order now and I’ll review your LinkedIn Profile for free.

If you are a Bronze member of BeAResumeWriter.com, you have access to a Resume Critique Form and LinkedIn Critique Form you can use for this “buy now” incentive.

This is a strategy that works well when paired with other strategies. For example, you can use the LinkedIn critique as a free bonus for your resume clients when paired with Strategy #1 (“Offer time-sensitive bonuses”). So if they purchase a resume package today, you’ll also provide a free assessment of their LinkedIn Profile. (“Oh, you don’t have a LinkedIn Profile? Well, you definitely need one! Let me send you my free ebook on “The Savvy Jobseeker’s Guide to Getting LinkedIn to a New Job.”)

This strategy is also a good way to get clients to take a little action now that can lead to a big sale later. An example of this is if you sell information products — like ebooks or fixed-term membership courses — on your website. Getting someone to enroll in one of those is a perfect example of starting a relationship with a small step. So having an inexpensive offering on your website — under $49, for example, if your resume packages average $500 — gets them to take a small step.

The same is true when you use the free critique — getting them to start the dialogue about what it would be like to actually work with you gets them thinking about that. When you review their existing resume, you’re sharing information about it, but you’re also positioning yourself as the one to provide the actual service.

#7. Justify the Price

Understand where emotion and logic fit into the client’s buying decision.

People make their buying decision based on emotion, and then justify their decision based on logic. With this in mind, you can help them come more quickly to their buying decision by helping them justify their purchase logically.

For example, you can point out that the average length of unemployment is 35 weeks, so shortening that by a few weeks can make a significant financial difference.

  • If you’re currently unemployed, then you can’t afford to NOT get this book. And consider this — the book is just $25, but you’ll get back to work faster using the practical, action-oriented strategies in the book.
  • Do you want to make $1,000…$5,000…or more…in your next job? How much money have you been leaving on the table when you’re negotiating your new job offer? This ebook can add thousands of dollars to your paycheck — and you’ll pay only $49 for this valuable information!
Case studies are a great way to combine logic and emotion. You start with a testimonial from a client who raves about how they got a $1,000, $5,000, or even $10,000 raise when they used the resume you wrote for them. You better believe I used the testimonial from the client I had a few years back who got a $10,000 increase in salary from his last job to his current one. For example: “Wouldn’t it be worth it to invest $600 in a resume and cover letter that can help you get 10 times the return on that in your salary at your next job?” 

(If you are putting this statement on your website, the Federal Trade Commission does require you to have a disclaimer somewhere on the page that indicates the “typical results” your clients achieve, if a significant salary increase isn’t a typical result.)

For more information on use of endorsements and testimonials, check out:

The key with this strategy is the balance between emotion and logic. You can’t have one without the other.

#10. Give Hope: “Order Now…Or Everything Will Stay the Same”

Get the person who is looking for a do-it-yourself solution to pay for a done-for-you solution.

Basically, the idea here is that you remind the prospect: “If you keep doing the same thing, you’ll keep getting the same result.” If the client doesn’t order now, everything will stay the same…which probably means whatever they are doing isn’t working…otherwise, you wouldn’t be talking to them in the first place.

In the book, “Launch: The Critical 90 Days from Idea Until Market,” author Scott Duffy makes the point that “the biggest mistake salespeople make is selling the wrong thing.” He says you’re not selling them a product or a service — you’re selling them hope.

The same is true for jobseekers. We’re not selling them a resume  We’re selling them job interviews. We’re selling them a better salary. We’re selling them a better life.

This strategy works particularly well for jobseekers who aren’t having success with a “do-it-yourself” approach to their resume  cover letter, and/or job search. The jobseeker desperately wants a solution – and the search for a solution has been disappointing. He’s frustrated, discouraged, and even a little depressed that he hasn’t been able to solve the problem himself. He may even be kicking himself for allowing the problem go on this long. 
This is particularly true for jobseekers who have been actively looking for months.

That’s where you come in — you offer hope. You offer hope that you can help the jobseeker get a job interview…and then an offer…at a great salary…in a job he will love. And you remind the prospect that if he doesn’t take action, then nothing will change.

  • “Are you struggling in your job search? Not getting interviews? Interviews not turning into job offers? I can help! Call me today and get on the fast track to success in your job search with my 28-day Job Search Success System.”
  • “Are you getting paid what you’re worth in your current job? Take our free assessment and find out if you’re underpaid — and the three things you can do today to increase your salary.”

#22. Employ Power Words

You’ve heard the commercial: “People do judge you by the words you use.” These words can help you seal a sale.

This strategy is especially powerful when you combine it with other strategies. That’s because this method is simply a matter of using the most popular power (“trigger”) words that boost sales. As resume writers, we are keenly aware that words have power, and that choosing your words carefully can have substantial impact on the reader.

So, instead of “ resume cost,” it’s “investment.” The power of a word like “investment” is that it triggers a specific feeling in the person reading it. The money they’re spending is not an “expense” or “cost,” it’s something that they will yield a return on.

Let me give you a list of some of the most powerful words you can use in your sales materials, on your website, or in phone consultations with prospective clients:

Some of these words work by capturing attention (“amazing”). Some work by appealing to the prospect (such as the word “you”). Some work by stating a benefit (“easy”). Still others evoke curiosity (“secrets”).

Here are examples of these words in action:
  • You
  • Secrets
  • Discover
  • Guaranteed
  • Quick
  • Easy
  • Fast
  • Announcing
  • Introducing
  • Amazing
  • Fantastic
  • Huge
  • Blowout
  • Surprising
  • Startling
  • Reveal
  • Proven
  • How to
  • New
  • Scientific

Talk about “you” — because people love to hear about themselves. “Secrets” are appealing, because wouldn’t you love to know a shortcut to a quick and successful job search? If you talk about “quick” or “fast,” people want results NOW! Words like “startling” or “surprising” use something unexpected to stop prospects in their tracks. (“Are you making this surprising mistake on your resume?”) And using a word like “proven” is reassuring, because no one wants to be the guinea pig.
  • Announcing our first-ever ebook that teaches you, step-by-step, how to make more in your current job.
  • Discover the secrets of the world’s greatest recruiters.
  • Now you too can use these proven strategies to find your next job faster!

If you like these five strategies, there are 20 more in the special report:
"Turning Browsers Into Buyers: How To Get Resume Clients To Buy Now"