Since there are no bookstores left in my community, I’ve returned to one of my favorite childhood pastimes, the library. The library still fills me up and even more than a bookstore, it provides more opportunity than ever to try out books and magazines that when purchasing them, I would not.
If you’re not a big reader (or listener, a nod to Audible) or are, add both of these books to your list. They are both worth reading, and while they have different perspectives, they both dive in and discuss how to be a more authentic person and leader by bringing all of yourself together and finding the tools to be lead more effectively than ever.
As I was reading The Purpose Path, it occurred to me that so much of what he talks about relates to what we speak with people about every day. Often when people call us and are exploring and pursuing job/career transition, new business opportunities, changing positions within the organization, they are not sure how to compile and present themselves to the world via LinkedIn. What Pearce is talking about is SO much more significant than LinkedIn. I understand that. LinkedIn is one way to share who you are, and it needs to be authentic and real, not a glossy version of someone you might not even recognize.
Pearce talks about vocational courage ― boldly building a life of significance and not just importance. He goes on to say,
“vocational courage is about connecting deeply with who you are and why you’re here so that you can thrive in a society that constantly challenges the dignity and worth of our humanness.”
Pearce is a professor, pastor, and executive consultant and he explains beautifully how his vocation plays out in multiple ways. He says,
“I have a single vocation that motivates and encapsulates the work I am called to do on this earth. It is one vocation that plays out in a variety of ways on a variety of platforms ― each supporting and intertwining with the others in interesting and powerful ways.”
Stop. Think about how Pearce describes his vocation. Your vocation is your calling, your life’s work, and not just your job or work activities. It’s not another word for career.
We work with executive coaches, trainers, speakers, authors, thought leaders and consultants who have multiple businesses, practices, and gigs happening simultaneously and they often aren’t sure how to communicate those various elements effectively.
If you’re not careful, it may appear you have so much going on you can’t possibly do them all well. That is not what you want to communicate. However, I think if you present yourself from your “why” or your “vocation” and zoom out, you can express more eloquently and effectively how you serve others, why others work with you. People can then decide if you’re the person that makes sense for them to connect with and know.
Pearce talks a great deal about authenticity and letting people get to know you. People want to get to know the person, not the “profile image,” they want something real and tangible.
If I were to meet Nicholas Pearce, I have a good idea of how that initial meeting might go. I have a strong sense that the person who shows up in the book, on a podcast, in church or classroom would be the same person who would show up in a conference room or on social media. Even his photo conveys authenticity and joy.
After finishing the book, I immediately searched and found a podcast with Pearce. The next time you’re walking your dog, driving, are thinking about who you are and how you should convey that to the world or are simply relaxing and need to be lifted up, listen to the Second City Works podcast with Nicholas Pearce.
Now, think about the five questions Pearce mentions at the beginning of the book:
What is success?
Who am I?
Why am I here?
Am I running the right race?
Am I running the race well?
These are important and powerful questions that help you calibrate or recalibrate you and your vocation. Then take on crafting your next website, LinkedIn profile, and vocation.
Coming out of college and finding a job can be hard, especially when in the last few years you have been filled with dreams and aspirations about working in the industry of your dreams, or at a company you have admired for years. But, no one tells you how hard landing that job may be. The truth is, your first job probably won’t be your dream job, and it may not be your second or third either.
This is kind of the way things went for me. I had an idea about where I wanted to be right when I graduated. I had big goals, dreams, aspirations, yet no doors were opening for me. Now, after working at Intero Advisory for a full year, I couldn’t be more grateful that those doors didn’t open for me. Here’s why.
I’ll start by telling you a little about my workplace environment. I am the sole, in-house marketer, and my colleagues work with clients nationwide, doing anything ranging from profile development, business development, coaching, and recruiting on LinkedIn. Working at a company where only five of my colleagues and I are here full time, I end up wearing a lot of hats.
While my title is the Content Marketing Leader, my day-to-day responsibilities range from editing and producing the weekly podcast, creating new content for our membership site, and even copy editing CEOs LinkedIn profile drafts. In the past year, I have managed to learn LinkedIn inside and out, learn our outreach process and take on a client of my own (one of the main services we offer at Intero), and master LinkedIn Marketing Solution’s different advertising products, targeting new leads that have turned into clients. I have started an Instagram and created the content to represent our brand, written numerous profiles for amazing leaders, and I even wrote a marketing plan for 2019…that I have mostly completed already.
If I were to have landed my dream job, or have gone to work for a large company right after college, I can GUARANTEE I wouldn’t know how to use Garageband, WordPress, Canva, Drip, and LinkedIn (to name a few) as proficiently as I do. I wouldn’t be able to walk right into my boss’s office (the Principal of our company) on a regular basis, asking for advice or her thoughts on a project or profile I was working on. And, I certainly wouldn’t have grown as rapidly as I have in the past year, both professionally and personally.
Working at a small company has allowed me to assist on so many different projects, learn a wide variety of different tools, and take on significant responsibilities, teaching me how to time-manage, communicate with my team and clients, and strategize efficiently so that I can continue to find ways to grow our marketing efforts. So, don’t eliminate small businesses from your job search. Don’t be disappointed or heartbroken if your first job, or second job, or even your third job isn’t your dream job or at your dream company. You have time, and your experience at your first job could take you one step closer and teach you the skills that you need to get there. Plus, you never know, you just may end up liking your first job so much you end up staying!
If you haven’t already, read my colleague Liza’s latest post on how working at Intero has been impactful to her!
Want to see some of the work I have done on in:side? You can for an exclusive price with our Summer Special! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and an exclusive promotional code!
When I was college searching, my mom would always say to me, “do you want to be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond?” I thought about that question and ultimately chose Washington College, a small liberal arts school tucked away on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. There, I could be a big fish and let my big personality shine; it was a good four years.
When it was time for my job search, I reflected on that question again. And still, I chose small. At Intero, there are less than 15 employees, and while some might say there is strength in numbers, I like to think that we are small but mighty.
Why does a small company work, and what does it offer whether you’re an experienced or young professional? Here are some considerations:
High level of trust and independence.
I’m not motivated by intimidation nor do I thrive in a cut-throat environment; I don’t require a “boss” hovering over my shoulder, constant check-ins and a line-up of meetings with no purpose or direction.
At Intero, we operate with a mutual level of trust and independence. We know the expectation, and there is trust that we’ll get our work done on time and produce quality content. In return, we also trust Colleen to continue to develop the business and provide us with all of the tools and resources we need to be successful.
The independence and trust are also why we’re also able to weave those pesky doctors appointments into our schedule or leave half an hour early to skip the Chesapeake Bay Bridge traffic on a hot summer Friday.
All in, all the time.
Mutual respect means we get our work done and continuously prove ourselves through happy clients who refer us to others. We work as a team to help each other, we do not compete or criticize.
When you work at a small company, the amount of formal meetings drastically decreases, considering 75% of us work in the same room.
We check-in with each other about the status of clients, new LinkedIn changes, new processes, and anything else that arises. We walk downstairs to ask Colleen for help when there’s a question or issue that requires an additional opinion.
We have a team lunch for under $100!
As a small group, we’re not alone. We have a voice. If we’re unsure of something or have a great idea that should be implemented to improve our process, we get to voice that opinion, have it heard, considered and often implemented.
We are able to share client wins and milestones congratulate each other on a job well done, celebrate anniversaries and birthdays together. Every person is important and feels valued.
Lots of hats.
In a small business, everyone wears many hats, and Intero is no exception.
Sarah Bentley edits the podcast, runs our social channels (check us out on Instagram), writes profiles and blog posts like nobody’s business, sources, build in:side and keeps it up-to-date.
We’re continually building our toolshed and encouraged to do new things that push us out of our proverbial comfort zones. We’re learning and preparing for the next steps in our careers, strengthening our skill sets and marketability. We’re becoming creative, critical thinkers, strategists, and building a network and personal brand.
There are pros and cons to any job, any environment, and culture. I’m sure that there are things that I’d like about working for a large corporation, but for now, I couldn’t imagine my first job to be anywhere other than Intero.
Our team is incredibly hard-working, dedicated to our clients and each other and we are prepared to put in the work for the reward. We’re lucky to work in an environment where passion, drive, and inspiration is written into the DNA, and for someone who encourages us to be the best version of ourselves. The 8-4 workday and casual Fridays don’t hurt either!
Beyond a team.
In full disclosure, Intero Advisory is owned by Colleen McKenna, my mother. While I never intended to work for her, I see the value of a family business. Many of our clients are family businesses too, and I’ve heard from them about the benefits. I see that now and know that we’re creating that too. With more than 5.5 million family-owned businesses in the U.S., there are a lot of positives. While you may not be a family member, you may reap the benefits.
Whether you’re an emerging or experienced professional, there is value in working for a small business. If your passion, drive, and commitment meet their passion, drive, and commitment it’s sure to be a good fit.
We are releasing this special quick tip so that you are in-the-know about all of the updates in Sales Navigator. I know, it seems like LinkedIn has been putting a major focus on updating Sales Navigator lately! Their newest update is the ability to exclude geographic locations in a search. Our team is really excited about this update because it will allow you to filter out surrounding areas or cities that you do not want to be featured in your search results! Here’s how you do it:
First, start an advanced search in Sales Navigator and enter your criteria or go to one that you have already saved. Once you have your results, use the toolbar to the left of your screen to narrow your results further.
Specifically for the new geography update, you will want to click on the geography section. Once you have a line to type, enter the location that you wish to exclude. You will add it just like you would if you were adding a location you wanted to include.
To exclude this location, you will hover over the blue oval until you see the circle with a line through it. Click on that symbol to exclude the location.
Once you have clicked, the location should move to its own separate section, and the blue oval will now be red.
If you want more guidance on how to use Sales Navigator from start to finish, our learning platform, in:side, has an entire module dedicated to making sure you are using Sales Navigator strategically and successfully! Contact us for information on our Summer Special!
As we are a small company, we all have a part in the process for the majority of our client engagements. Due to the nature of our process and our small team, client projects often are touched by many of our team. It’s imperative for us to have a detailed process and reporting methods in place to make sure none of our clients fall through the cracks and that they are seamlessly passed along our team for the next step in their engagement.
It is also necessary for us, internally, to have reporting methods in place as Colleen is not involved in the day-to-day operations of our clients. And she shouldn’t be. Her focus is on new business and managing her own client projects. Yet, many of our clients think she is the go-to person since they had the initial call with her. So, as much as we try to remove her from the day-to-day operations, she still needs to know things are being taken care of and the status of certain projects.
And now that I have more responsibility overseeing our team and more client projects, I too, see and recognize how important reporting up is. It’s not a form of micromanaging. It’s so that we don’t have to ask the same dreaded and annoying question: “Where are we with ___?” multiple times a day. We just need to be kept in the loop.
Reporting up is a simple concept and necessary to implement. It’s the practice of providing updates, being CC’ed on emails, and acknowledging tasks and their completion. Since Colleen or I am usually the ones asking for something to be done or an action to be taken, it’s still in our brain taking up space. It’s on our radar, spinning around in our brains UNTIL we’ve been CC’ed on the email, the task has been acknowledged, etc. It’s about silencing the noise. Once the noise is silenced, we can use that brain power for other more important things.
Here are a few tips for implementing a “reporting up” system if you do not already have one in place:
Being BCC’ed on the initial email. Ask your team to blind carbon copy you on the initial email. This makes you aware that the email was sent, and that action was taken without then being copied on every email thereafter.
Make morning or afternoon check-ins. A quick 5-minute update on project statuses helps you start or end the day by silencing some of the noise that you would otherwise think about during the day while you are trying to get your own work done, or in the evening when you are spending time with your family or friends.
Implement a project management system. We use Airtable to track client projects, all statues, and dates of sourcing. While updating Airtable daily or weekly may be tedious, it keeps everyone in the loop. Colleen can easily go in and see the status and sourcing dates and is now up to speed in a matter of 30 seconds.
The more you create clear expectations, encourage and expect your team to report up, the better they will become at it. It has to become part of the process for everyone’s sake. If your team helps to silence the noise, then you won’t be constantly asking those annoying questions. It’s a help me, help you situation.
What methods do you have in place for reporting up? We’d love to hear!
Do you have Sales Navigator? Do you prospect and send connection requests through the platform? If so, you may have noticed that previously, all connection request acceptances have been reflected in your LinkedIn messaging center, but not anymore.
With your Sales Navigator subscription comes the ability to send InMails. When you send InMails using your Sales Navigator account, the send messages, as well as responses, will appear in your Sales Navigator inbox, rather than your messaging center. If you don’t send InMails, or you are unfamiliar with this feature, you might want to take a moment to locate your Sales Navigator inbox, because this is now where all connection requests acceptances and responses will appear.
To access your Sales Navigator inbox, look for the message icon at the top right of your Sales Navigator toolbar. You’ll notice when you scroll over the message bubbles, a dropdown list appears. You can either access your Sales Navigator Inbox or your LinkedIn Inbox. When you click on your Sales Navigator Inbox, you may see messages that you sent months or even years ago that you never saw before.
It was always convenient that all connection requests sent through Sales Navigator could be managed in your LinkedIn messaging center with all other messages. Though this may complicate your sales practices now that you have to manage two inboxes, it may also provide an opportunity to be more organized and to keep your LinkedIn messages separate from your prospecting messages.
If you prefer to have all messages be reflected in the same inbox, then you can locate the profile in LinkedIn versus Sales Navigator and send a connection request using LinkedIn. Keep in mind, however, that if a lead is a 3rd level connection you will not be able to send the connection request in LinkedIn. Only in Sales Navigator are you able to send connection requests to 3rd level connections.
We’re not sure why LinkedIn made this change, or why it was made without any heads up. If you’ve noticed some messages are not in your LinkedIn messaging center, head over to your Sales Navigator inbox and check there. Chances are you could have other conversations occurring over there without your knowledge! You may also notice when you send a connection request in Sales Navigator, it may give you this message:
We imagine that LinkedIn did this to create separation from LinkedIn and Sales Navigator, making it easier for you to decipher where that lead originated from. You could view this change as an opportunity to become more organized and keep your LinkedIn separate from your Sales Navigator as opposed to LinkedIn making your life more complicated. Be open-minded because, as we continuously reiterate, LinkedIn is ever changing and it’s important to stay on top of their changes, no matter how big or small!
As I think about where I was a year ago, freshly graduated and exploring my options, I can’t help but remember how stressful that last few months of college are. You are supposed to be enjoying the last couple of months, hanging out with friends that you may never live in walking distance to again, writing your last paper, taking your last test, enjoying every walk through your tiny college town, and having lots of celebrations.
While it is important and fun to celebrate and indulge as you head into your next chapter, it can be overwhelming, sad, and nerve-wracking when you don’t know what that next chapter holds. One year ago I was taking phone interview after phone interview, and most didn’t lead to what I wanted. I didn’t hear back from companies that I applied to and continually had to answer the dreaded “where are you working next year?” question.
The last few months of college are scary, fun, exciting, anxious, and chaotic all wrapped up into one. Here are a couple of tips I wish someone had shared with me last year:
Remember that everyone is in the same boat. Whether you are graduating with a job or not, you deal with the hiring process.
Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, what their salary is, where they are moving too, how they got their job, etc. Your time will come. Take a deep breath, and continue on with your job search. Remember that you don’t have to have it all figured out.
Use LinkedIn. My colleague Charlotte gave great tips in last week’s blog for recent college graduates and how to update your profile. I thought I would give a couple more about how to engage on LinkedIn:
Build your network. Your connections and network are crucial when searching for a job. Start connecting with classmates, friends, your friends’ parents, professors, high school classmates and teachers, and alumni. Make sure that you keep the connection request personal, especially when it is going to someone that you do not know or haven’t seen in a couple of years. Make a point to write how they know you, let alumni know that you just graduated. You never know who they might be connected to and who can make an introduction. Here’s how to find alumni on LinkedIn.
Begin engaging. If you connected with alumni and they work in a field or for a company that you are interested, follow up. Once someone connects you can begin messaging them. Let your connections know that you are interested in their field by asking a question. If they are local, see if you can grab a cup of coffee or have a phone call. Everyone has been in your shoes and most alumni have serious school spirit! Hopefully, they are more than happy to help you out.
Take a look inside their network. As you begin to build your network you gain access to your connection’s connections. Head to their profile and click “See Connections.” Your best friend from high school’s mom might just be connected to your dream boss. Take a look and ask for an introduction.
Last weekend, my friends and I were sitting outside enjoying lunch when we saw a group of three newly graduated students from the local college walk past us. We said congratulations and asked if and what they had lined up in the “job world.” They all looked at each other and laughed a bit, saying that they had no idea. Most freshly graduated students don’t know what they’re interested in and don’t want to jump into anything too soon.
To any college graduate, or any person in the middle of a career or job adjustment, listen up. We live in a competitive job market and don’t you want the best job you can possibly get? Then it’s time to update your profile!
First, let’s update your profile and background photo. These days everyone had access to a smartphone which has an amazing camera on it. Have one of your friends or family members take a nice photo of you outside on a sunny day, or in a nicely lit room in your house. Your profile picture if the first thing that anyone sees when looking at your profile so make sure it’s an accurate representation of what you look like in person.
Make your background photo depict an interest of yours; nature, your favorite quote, a city skyline of where you live or your hometown, etc. Background photos can be a topic of conversation so make it interesting!
Update your summary and make it reflect where you are right now. If you’re looking for a new job or a new college graduate, include your passions or a unique story that brought you to where you are now. Your current day-to-day job does not need to be in this section, that’s what the experience section is for! Don’t be afraid to tell a story that separates you from everyone else. My colleagues and I look at hundreds of LinkedIn profiles every day and we remember the people with unique summaries.
Lastly, fill out the experience section with any previous jobs. It’s very important to link the companies with their company pages if they have one! This will make the company logo appear on your profile which makes you look more professional. For recent grads, it’s important that you provide all past jobs in high school and college so that your potential future boss knows what you’re all about.
Don’t hesitate to check out any of our past blogs regarding these topics and subscribe! If you feel that you can’t or don’t want to update your profile, reach out to us and we can help!
In 2016, LinkedIn launched a platform called ProFinder. The goal is to match companies with skilled and vetted freelancers. Companies submit a request for a proposal, freelancers are matched to projects based upon the experience listed on their profile, and are then able to respond and submit a proposal.
Currently ProFinder is available nationwide, however, there are limited services to choose from. Services include software development, IT, design, writing and editing, marketing, business consulting, legal, accounting, financial, coaching, real estate, insurance, photography, and home improvement.
According to data from LinkedIn, small business owners are the majority of those buying services through ProFinder. CEO’s, Presidents, Founders, Vice Presidents, and Directors are making 40-50% of the purchases.
It would be really interesting to see metrics on a few things:
How long the sales cycle is
How many conversations are had before a company hires a Pro
How many projects a Pro needs to respond to in order to turn one into business
Are they lowering their hourly or per project rates in order to be chosen over their competition
How much of their total business has come by way of ProFinder
From what I’ve seen, heard, and read, it seems the idea is great, but the execution is lacking. LinkedIn has created platforms for creating and engaging with your professional network, for business development and recruiting, so it makes sense to create another platform to help companies find and connect with skilled freelancers. However, LinkedIn has not spent as much time or money on the ProFinder platform as they have their other platforms so there are definitely some limitations.
A few pros:
As it’s an extension of LinkedIn, ProFinder uses your LinkedIn profile when signing up to be a Pro. While that is convenient, it then means your LinkedIn profile then has to be tailored to fit your LinkedIn.com goals as well as your ProFinder goals. That can be tricky to navigate. In order to be considered as a Pro, you also need to have a profile photo, background photo, summary section, LinkedIn Pulse Articles, and recommendations.
It’s another verified place to potentially find projects as a Freelancer. The companies posting projects on LinkedIn know what they are doing. On the flipside, as a Freelancer, you are relying on companies to know this platform exists, and to know what they are doing.
While it is another verified place to find projects as a Freelancer, that doesn’t mean you’ll be hired or you’ll have enough information to determine whether it’s a good fit. With many of LinkedIn platforms, you have to choose from LinkedIn’s prepopulated choices. Meaning when a company is filling out their project details, they can only provide so much information. That can lead to a freelancer not knowing the scope of work so they either pass up the job or they respond and are no longer qualified once they have more details.
With there being many freelancers per area, ProFinder does two things so that no one Pro has more of an advantage and a company doesn’t receive an overwhelming number of responses per project. ProFinder attempts to evenly distribute projects among Pros which is great while also limiting the number of responses for each project. LinkedIn will notify you of certain projects based on the requirements and your experience. You are able to see all of the projects posted so you are not limited to those that ProFinder sends you. Only five freelancers can respond and submit their proposal. While five isn’t THAT many, you are still competing with four others all while not knowing what the others have listed as their hourly or per project rate. Because we all know price is one of the main factors when choosing a freelancer to complete a temporary project.
You have to convert to a paid subscription in order to respond and submit proposals. ProFinder allows you to respond to 10 projects before requiring a paid subscription. We all know it’s a numbers game. You have to respond to more projects than you want knowing that only a few may turn into business.
Again, I think the idea is really great. If LinkedIn put more time and money into it, it could be even more of a beneficial platform for companies and freelancers. Are you on ProFinder? I’d love to hear what your thoughts are and how often you’re using it!
Spending all day on LinkedIn, I am usually on my laptop, so I am remiss to say that I was not as familiar with the LinkedIn app until I recently started to explore it a little. I was pleased and surprised to find there are so many added features that are not available on the desktop that can increase your productivity! I wanted to share features in the messaging center that I found especially helpful and engaging, in hopes that it may help you decide which option to spend the majority of your time on when you are carving out your daily time for LinkedIn!
To go to your messaging center on your mobile device, click on the two overlapping chat message bubbles to the right of the search bar at the top of your screen.
Once you are in the messaging center, you can start a new conversation by clicking on the large blue “+” in the lower right of your messaging center. You can also continue a message with a connection by clicking on their message section.
Once you have the message opened on your LinkedIn App, you will want to type your message and then move to the toolbar at the bottom of your screen, which contains the seven icons that could change the way you use your messaging center on LinkedIn!
Send an image from your camera roll– the image icon allows you to find images in your camera roll and send them to connections. For example, if you were at a conference and wanted to share some images that you took with your marketing specialist to post on your LinkedIn company page, all you have to do is click the image icon and select the photos you wish to send!
Take a photo– see something that reminds you of a connection? The camera icon opens your camera right up and allows you to take an image and send it right away. It’s as easy as a few taps on your screen!
Send a GIF– while I don’t recommend using this feature for connections you do not have a longstanding relationship with, it can be a great way to share some personality or move away from the typical typed response. GIFs often are humorous, so they are a great way to engage with someone on LinkedIn. Just don’t rely on them for your entire conversation!
Send an attachment– Want to quickly drop in your resume? Finished a document, but you need to send it to a connection. By clicking on the paper clip icon, you can easily attach a document when sending a message to a connection! If the person is not expecting an attachment, be sure to share some insight into what is attached so they do not skip over it in their messaging center.
Send your meeting location– Meeting someone for coffee or lunch? You can conveniently drop the location into your message! All you have to do is search the location that you wish to send, click on the correct address, and send it to your connection! You can also use this feature if you want to share your current location with a connection.
Find times that work best for both you and your connection to talk, right in the messaging center– The calendar icon allows you to find times and dates that work best for you and your connection to schedule a call or meet up! All you have to do is allow LinkedIn to have access to your calendar, make sure your connection has done the same, and choose a time slot that works best for the both of you! Super simple, saves time, and you don’t even have to leave your app!
Messaging using voice recording– if you are unable to type or text in the LinkedIn messaging app, but you need to send a message, or if you would just like to personalize your message a little more, the voice recording feature in the messaging center is a great alternative. We recommend using this feature in addition to some text, but if you are in a bind and want to quickly reply, you can use this feature to accomplish that! Voice recording is exclusive to the LinkedIn App, meaning you will not find the feature on desktop.
***Note: these features are listed in order of how the icons appear in your messaging center, moving left to right.
Wow! Who knew there were so many added features in the LinkedIn App vs. on a desktop? Using these features will not only make you even more productive on LinkedIn, but they can also create engaging, unique conversations with your LinkedIn connections. So, next time you reach out or connect with someone on LinkedIn, think of the ways you can stand out and make yourself more noticed!