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It is never too late to pursue a new career. As an Executive Resume Writer, I can attest that returning to school after years in the workforce with the intent of using your new graduate or undergraduate degree to make a change is quite common! With the last semester looming and graduation on the horizon or in the rear view mirror, many have a dream role in mind but struggle with how to position themselves, and their new degree, on LinkedIn.

Is your 2019 New Year’s Resolution to find a new and challenging executive role? If so, you will need to make sure your search strategy is effective, your resume meets best practices, and your LinkedIn presence conveys the appropriate message to your intended community.

Often, resumes will try to cover too many job targets on one document. It confuses recruiters who will quickly lose their interest. If you don’t write to a specific target audience, your resume won’t connect recruiters to the job they are trying to fill. A modern resume is a well-branded resume. The first and most important step is to define your brand and key differentiators.

With 2019 right around the corner, it’s time to think about what the new year holds for your executive career. If it’s time to make a change, or at least prepare for one, it’s not about just brushing up your resume and having it ready for executive recruiters.

It’s also about polishing and optimizing your LinkedIn profile to make sure it attracts opportunities and supports your candidacy for right-fit leadership roles and serves as a tool to build and track your network—an important part of any executive job search strategy.

As a LinkedIn profile strategist, I see a lot of profiles in their un-optimized format and have compiled a list of what to avoid doing on LinkedIn, that in fact, most of my clients were doing before coming to me.

As you know LinkedIn is the world’s largest online professional network. Therefore, you want to be sure your profile is a compelling and accurate portrayal of your professional brand. Whether you are actively seeking new opportunities or not, it’s important to maintain your LinkedIn profile to keep it fresh and up-to-date.

A few minutes a week is all you need to maximize your visibility and capture the attention of recruiters, company leaders, and industry colleagues. You wouldn’t want to present an outdated resume to a recruiter or employer. The same applies to your LinkedIn profile—especially since it’s so visible. A few easy ways to get started:

You’ve probably noticed LinkedIn is in continuous flux, with tweaks to the interface and new features rolling out fairly regularly – often with little to no warning. To make thing even more complex, rollouts occur in waves so one user might have a new feature while the other is left waiting. For job seekers and for those who value protecting their professional brand, there are four new features I recommend becoming familiar with that by now should appear on the desktops of all users:

 

1. New Setting Protects Your Profile from Plagiarism

You wouldn’t embark on a cross-country road trip without the tools you need to reach your destination, would you? Maybe some maps, but definitely a good GPS system these days. While not infallible, GPS is nearly always helpful.

The same holds true for the tools you need to use in your high-level job search—loosely defined as VP and above. They must be as strong as possible, and you need to use them as wisely and effectively as possible. Like a GPS, though, they might not be perfect.

Which brings us to LinkedIn as a tool for your job search.

It is no secret that executives have hectic schedules and are often left with little or no time to allocate for social networking, both online or in person. But could a half-hearted approach to LinkedIn actually be harming your reputation, your brand, your organization and your future?

Here’s four reasons why it might be time to reprioritize and find time for LinkedIn:

 

1. A Half-Hearted LinkedIn Harms Your Reputationlinkedin profile

In an increasingly digital world, most of us have ended up owning and taking up rent-free digital real estate on platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter et al. And queries from users range from the basics (how do I set up my profile well) to the advanced (how do I maximize my ROI)! In this context, a compendium of suggestions I share from time to time with folks who reach out to me is as given below:

 

Do not spam: The sheer number of invites I get from strangers, followed by an immediate request for help, is rather huge. People have become rather unabashed. This is certainly NOT recommended. The key is to be subtle, not over-the-top.

Executives face unique challenges and obstacles when attempting to make a career transition to a new role or industry, but there are steps you can take to get your foot in the door. Preparing yourself to change executive jobs requires in-depth research, thoughtful insight into your skills, expertise and value/unique differentiators.

Once the foundation is set, you need to develop a strategic job search plan that combines rebranding yourself with proactive networking in your target market for information, as well as insight that may help you get your foot in the door ultimately leading to opportunities.

Today’s generation is fortunate enough to have the power to leverage social media sites such as LinkedIn. Just imagine having to look up someone you were about to meet for an important business meeting in the absence of any database…which was the scenario a decade ago!

The first and the most obvious task is to have a complete, updated LinkedIn profile. If you google your own name, do the results please you? If not, it is time to enhance your brand for SEO! Just ensure your positioning is consistent across all your social media profiles. LinkedIn Networking