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How to improve your LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn has become an incredible means of networking, career development and business-related communication, giving users the opportunity to connect with recruiters, employees, clients, co-workers and everything in between. It is important to continuously enhance your profile, especially if you are job searching. LinkedIn has a multitude of profile features and settings that allow you to market yourself and maximize your impact. Keep reading for some tips on how to professionalize your LinkedIn profile!

  1. Use a professional headshot

Your photo is the first thing that anyone sees when looking at your profile. Uploading a recent, professional headshot to your profile is the best route to take. It will give your profile a professional look at first glance. If you do not have a professional headshot, don’t worry…you can improvise! Times are tough right now and getting a professional headshot is probably not at the top of your to-do list.

If you do not have a professional headshot…

You should:

  • Find a recent photo of yourself in which you are dressed professionally with a neutral background
  • Take a new photo; put on business clothes and pose against a blank wall in your home with optimal lighting

You should not:

  • Use a dimly lit photo
  • Use a photo with other people in it
  • Use a photo in which you are wearing non-professional attire

2. Make your headline effective

Your headline is the second thing that anyone sees when they click on your profile. Think of it like the hook of a novel; it determines whether or not a recruiter will keep reading and exploring your profile. If you are looking for a job, your headline should include key words related to the types of roles and industries in which you are targeting. A common mistake that users make is simply listing in their headline that they are ‘looking for roles’ or ‘seeking new opportunities’. There are many users looking for roles on LinkedIn, so this is not the best strategy to stand out to a recruiter. Instead, you want to show recruiters what value you would add to the company, if hired. If you are already employed, list your current role and company in your headline in order to facilitate future networking.

3. Update all your information

It is essential that your profile accurately represents who you are and what you’ve accomplished in your career. Anyone visiting your profile, especially recruiters, will be looking for basic information such as your education, work experience, skills, interests, certifications and contact information. These are usually the first few things that LinkedIn has you fill out when creating a profile. However, it is important that you consistently update your information, especially your work experience and skills. Be as descriptive and thorough in the information sections as you would for your resume. You want to be sure that if a recruiter doesn’t have your resume in front of them that this information can give them an accurate summary. Keep in mind that you can upload your actual resume as well under ‘job tab’ > ‘application settings’, but that should only be done as a bonus to facilitate job applications, not instead of updating the information sections.

4. Add a summary section

Under the ‘About’ tab on your profile settings, users have the opportunity to add a brief excerpt. This section is where you can elaborate on what is listed in your headline. Use this as an opportunity to let anyone viewing your profile know a brief update of your current professional life. Don’t use the summary to reiterate everything you have already listed in your information section. Here are some ideas for what to include in your summary:

  • Your current role: don’t just restate your title or whatever is listed in your headline. Explain what you do and why!
  • Your passions: elaborate on why you chose this industry and what about it excites you.
  • Industry keywords: demonstrate your skills and value to the industry.
  • Career aspirations: what are your goals for the future? If you are currently employed, this could be goals that you want to accomplish in your current role. If you are not employed, explain the types of roles you would like to pursue.
  • Call to action: what do you want your audience to take away from your summary? For example, you can end the summary by inviting them to connect with you or message you for more information.

5. Upload featured work

LinkedIn gives you the option to showcase your best work so that anyone visiting your profile can immediately view it. Doing this will add a personal touch to your profile and endorse any skills you have listed. You can feature a post, article, link or any form of media that you think would be beneficial to your job search. Treat this the same way you would a portfolio for a job application. Depending on your industry, this could be a great way to capture the attention of recruiters and stand out from other candidates.

6. Build relevant connections

The quality of your connections is more important than the quantity. Having a ton of connections does not mean much if most are not relevant to your industry. Always remember to be mindful and intentional when making connections. Having relevant connections will help with networking as well as optimizing your home page. Instead of needing to filter through your homepage to find posts that relate to your industry, you will likely find that the majority of the content you are seeing interests you. This strategy will improve your job search and stay up to date on industry news.

7. Share content related to your industry

Now that you’ve ensured your connections and homepage are relevant to your industry, it is important to share the content that interests you. Doing this will give anyone visiting your profile an insight to your thought process and point of view on industry related content. Engage with your connections. Get a conversation going by commenting on or sharing their posts. Consistently posting also helps your profile gain exposure through the algorithm which could possibly lead you to new connections and even job opportunities!

8. Adjust your settings accordingly

LinkedIn has many setting options that can assist you in your job search. If you want to signal to recruiters that you are looking for an opportunity, follow these steps:

  • Go to ‘Settings & Privacy
  • Click ‘Data Privacy
  • Click ‘job seeking preferences
  • Click ‘signal your interest to recruiters at companies you have created job alerts for’ and change it to ‘yes

Instead of listing it in your headline, this is a more effective and appropriate way to let recruiters from certain companies know that you are open to new opportunities. There are also many other settings under ‘job seeking preferences’ and ‘job tab’ > ‘application settings’ that could be relevant to your job search, so it is a good idea to take a look at those and turn on relevant settings to optimize your experience.

We hope some of these tips help improve your LinkedIn profile!

The Right Team. Right Now.

Photo by inlytics | LinkedIn Analytics Tool on Unsplash

Other Sources: LinkedIn Talent Blog, Flywheel, Self Made Millennial – Youtube, thingscareerrelated.com

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Client FAQs

Are you considering engaging a recruiting agency but unsure how to go about the process during this pandemic? You’re not alone! This blog post will answer some of the most commonly asked questions and ease your mind. Kevin Vesci, one of our Managing Principals, addresses some frequently asked questions from our clients here:

Q: Are candidates open to interviewing and potentially starting remotely? 

A: Absolutely, we have found that the market has never been hotter. The pandemic has allowed candidates to really evaluate their current situations and realize that it is a great time to seek a better opportunity. The fact that candidates are working from home and interviews can be done virtually has really streamlined the interview process.

Q: How has the market changed for candidates? 

A: The common denominator is culture – the companies that recognize that the work environment has shifted and that have embraced the work from home model are the ones that attract the top talent. If you are unwilling to change how you are doing things you are going to miss out on top talent.

Q: I need to hire, but how can I do that during this time? 

A: We get this a lot! We consult our clients on making sure they have an infrastructure setup for on-boarding. This includes ensuring all technology is in place, a solid remote new hire orientation, weekly Zoom meetings, pairing them with current employees to learn the culture, and being a mentor, to name a few.

Stay tuned for future blog posts containing more FAQs from clients and candidates.

For more information and any additional questions:

The Right Team. Right Now.

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Tips for a successful virtual interview

Virtual interviews may seem uncomfortable and awkward, but if you follow these steps, they can become second nature! Keep reading for some key tips on making a memorable first impression and acing your interview!

  1. Dress to impress

Remember to dress the part! Even though you are interviewing from home, you should dress the same as you would for an in-person interview and, if unsure, check with your recruiter or the company with whom you are interviewing to be sure you are dressing the part. You can never go wrong with business professional dress; appearing presentable and composed goes a long way!

2. Set up your space

Be sure to keep your background space tidy and minimal. Having an organized background space looks more professional and will reduce distractions. For example, if you are set up to virtually interview in your kitchen, a frequently trafficked area of most homes, make sure it’s quiet, the countertops are clean, and, if others are home with you, that there isn’t frequent traffic and noise in the room. You want the interviewer to focus on you, not background distractions.

3. Pay attention to small details

In addition to setting up your space, make sure that the placement of your webcam and the lighting is optimal. These are two important details that can change the entire vibe of the interview. Adjust your webcam to ensure that you are the center focus of the screen (you should never look down at the camera) and check ahead of time to see if the lighting in the room is appropriate (lighting is optimal when it’s in front of you, not behind).

4. Check your technology

Make sure your Wi-Fi connection is strong ahead of time in order to avoid any technological issues when the time comes for your interview. Test out the technology by calling a friend or family member via video beforehand to ensure everything works properly, including your microphone!

Also, take this time to note the placement of your camera and the lighting to determine if any changes should be made. Ask the person you called if everything looks good on their end since they are seeing exactly what the interviewer will see.

5. Have your materials ready

Like you would for an in-person interview, have a copy of your resume in front of you and a few notes and questions about the company. Use these materials for reference throughout the course of your interview, but never read directly off them. Your eye contact should always be on the interviewer, but having materials nearby as a point of reference is certainly allowed!

6. Reduce the risk of distractions

Let’s face it, whether you live with family, friends, roommates or even alone, distractions happen! Your job is to reduce the risk of distractions ahead of time. Make sure everyone in your home knows the exact day and time of your interview. Politely ask that they not make too much noise and respect your space during this time.

Even if you live alone, there could still be many distractions such as white noise from a washer, dryer, dishwasher, or any other household appliance. Remember to turn these off or make sure you are in a space where the interviewer can’t hear them. Also, make sure that your cell phone is silenced and your television is shut off. Just because you are at home does not mean the interviewer should be exposed to these aspects of your home as well.

7. Be on time

If it was an in-person interview you would likely show up well 10 minutes before your scheduled interview time. The same goes for a virtual interview! Just because it’s virtual doesn’t mean that you should log on at the last second. Try your best to log on a couple minutes early to show that you are reliable and punctual. This is a huge reflection on the type of employee you would be, if hired.

8. Use professional body language

Body language is important in all interviews, but it can be a bit more difficult to demonstrate non-verbal cues when you are interviewing through a screen. Here are some important things to remember:

  • Since you can’t actually shake hands, greet your interviewer with confident smile and wave. This will start the interview out on a positive note.
  • Sit up straight! Having good posture will communicate to the interviewer that you are confident and engaged.
  • Make “eye contact” by looking directly into the webcam when you are speaking! This sounds obvious, but it can be easy to forget. If you are looking directly at the interviewer through the screen it actually will appear to them that you are not making eye contact.

9. Don’t interrupt the interviewer

This one may seem like a no-brainer. In an in-person interview, it is very easy to determine when the interviewer is done speaking because there isn’t a technological barrier. However, it can be a bit more difficult to pick up on these cues through a computer screen due to things like computer lags, poor Wi-Fi connection, etc. Before responding to their questions, take a quick pause to ensure that they are done speaking. This will avoid any awkward miscommunications and show that you respect what they have to say. It will also give you a moment to collect your thoughts before answering their questions.

10. Follow up

Much like you would do if the interview was in-person, it is still appropriate to send a follow up e-mail thanking the interviewers, individually, for the opportunity to interview. This will communicate to them your gratitude and continued interest in the company. These thank you e-mails should be sent within 24 hours of your interview.

The Right Team. Right Now.

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Important things to consider before deciding to change jobs

If you are thinking a job change, there are many things to consider before starting the process. Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself before deciding to move forward:

Is it the right time to change jobs?

Right now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, certain industries are hiring more than others. This is the time to do some research and consider if it will be feasible to find other opportunities in your industry. It is also the time to evaluate all aspects of your life and decide if the timing is appropriate and whether or not it will be sustainable for your lifestyle.

What is the reason I want to change jobs?

In other words, what are the main complications or concerns (if any) at your current job that are causing you to contemplate leaving? For example, maybe you feel there is limited room for growth in your current role, or that your workplace is a toxic environment. Or, maybe it is not specific to this job and you have a financial, personal or a mental health-related reason. Whatever the reason may be, it is important to identify this in an effort to guide your decision-making during this process.

Can my problems or concerns (if any) be resolved at my current job?

In some cases, it can be easier try to address any issues you have at your current job versus finding a new job. If you believe there is a possibility of resolving the problem with your company, bring it to an HR representative in a respectful and professional manner. Determining if it can be fixed at your current job will give you the clarity you need, regardless. For example, if you discover the problem can be resolved but you still feel that you want to leave, then you will feel even more confident in your decision to start the job search process and ultimately make a move.

Is my problem likely to be fixed at a new job?

There will always be a level of uncertainty when starting a new job & change can be difficult! You don’t always know if things will be different or if you will face the same challenges. This is the time to discern if your problems or concerns are specific to your current job. No job or company is perfect, and there will always be challenges no matter what, it is just a matter of what types of challenges you are willing to work through. Be sure to conduct some in-depth research on the company before deciding if it would be a good fit for you.

Do I have a clear goal or idea of what I want to be doing with my career?

If you are unsure of where you want your career to go next, you’re not alone! It can be pretty difficult to start a job search when you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. Take your time and carefully determine your career goals before making any decisions. Reflect on your experience at your job by making a “pro and con list”. This will frame your decision-making and provide you with a clear picture of your ideal role and work environment. While doing this, be sure to remain productive and efficient in your current job!

Am I utilizing all job search tools at my disposal?

There are several search tools at your disposal, but sometimes it can still be difficult to find the right fit for you. If you are looking for a position in accounting or finance, reach out to one of our Xplora team members and let us help you customize your search and proactively identify the right companies for you, based on your search criteria. Check out our website and our first blog post for more information on our services:

Website homepage: https://www.xplorasearch.com/

Blog: https://www.xplorasearch.com/2020/09/09/what-differentiates-us/

We know that there are many factors involved in considering a job change and that there is no cookie-cutter way to handle it, but we hope that some of these questions will help you think critically about making such a big decision. Happy job hunting!

The Right Team. Right Now.

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Tips for balancing WFH, teaching & parenting

While working from home has been the new normal for quite a few months now, it is likely that your home is not only your workspace anymore, but your children’s workspace as well. We have all had to face the hard truth that things can get a little chaotic when your home is functioning as a place of work. Now, with the added bonus of online school, let’s face it, things can get tricky. Keep reading for some tips on how to maintain balance and set boundaries while working from home with children virtually learning!

  1. Establish a morning routine 

Now that the kids are back in school, your mornings have probably been a bit different than they were over the summer. Establishing a morning routine is a helpful way to mitigate the stress that comes along with those hectic weekday mornings. Structure can be the key to ensuring that your mornings are smooth and productive. Just remember to ensure that everyone is on board and knows what to expect. Take some time to sit down with your family to discuss a schedule that works best for everyone and agree on an action plan!

  1. Be optimistic

It’s easy to focus on the negative aspects of these changes, but don’t overlook the positives. These will be different for everyone, but here are a few ideas:

  • Do something that you might not have had the time to do back when school wasn’t virtual such as sitting together as a family and having breakfast.
  • Set some time aside in your new morning routine that you look forward to such as taking a break to enjoy your morning cup of coffee.

While a change in routine can be unsettling, realize that you now have the opportunity to make improvements and take advantage of the new normal. There is always a silver lining!

  1. Establish separate workspaces

Designating separate rooms or spaces for each family member to complete their work during the day is a great way to establish boundaries, boost productivity, structure the day. It is important for everyone to have a clear divide between workspaces and relaxation spaces. Doing everything from home can easily blur the lines between one’s work-life and home-life, so assigning workspaces is the first step to avoiding this. This will also help reduce any conflict or distractions among your family.

  1. Set time aside to help your kids

The structure and supervision your children used to get at school is now limited to a computer screen. Depending on their learning style, this can be a difficult transition! Some days, your kids may need your help during the day. Have a conversation with your children to let them know the times you can help them out. Doing this will both set boundaries and eliminate uncertainty. Don’t forget to discuss this with your company as well to make sure everyone is aware of your situation. Balancing being an employee, a teacher and most importantly, a parent at the same time may seem difficult at first, but soon it will become second nature!

Here is some advice from Erin Elsdon, our HR Manager who is balancing working from home with children virtually learning:

Like so many other parents, I have transitioned to working remotely while preparing to support my family through a crisis. Trying to balance working from home, being a parent, and a temporary educator is no joke! What I have found that works best for me comes down to a combination of measures. Good planning, structure, creativity and flexibility help me create an environment in which we can all fulfill our obligations – while maintaining family harmony. As always, communication is key! I was upfront with my boss & my colleagues about the adjustments I needed to make about my work schedule. I connect regularly with my kids’ teachers and expect my children to do so as well if they are struggling with an assignment. While I don’t know how long this new arrangement will last, what I do know is that we are all trying to do our best and as hard as it can be at times, I am grateful to have this time with my kids. Of course, I’m not alone in the new normal of balancing ever-present kids with work, some days are great & others are not. At the end of the day, celebrate the days accomplishments and get prepared for the next day at home with your tiny colleagues!

– Erin Elsdon, HR Manager

The Right Team. Right Now.

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Xplora Search Group LinkedIn and Facebook Background

What Differentiates Us?

Xplora Search Group offers industry leading recruitment for positions in accounting, finance, internal audit, IT audit, and tax. We recruit for entry level positions to C-level executives and anything in between. We deliver talent and leadership across numerous industries including consumer products, insurance, manufacturing & distribution, pharmaceutical and life sciences, professional services, retail, specialty chemicals, technology, and telecommunications.

We work with companies such as Five Below, Vanguard, DuPont, Spark Therapeutics and more. Here at Xplora, we are committed to understanding your needs as our client and leveraging our vast network to match you with the right company or employee. 

You might be wondering, what differentiates Xplora from other recruiting companies? We asked some employees and clients the same question…

We have a deep knowledge of the market and a strong relationship with the business community we work in.

– Jeff Olshin, Managing Principal

I believe the people at Xplora and the unique backgrounds from which we have all come not only differentiates us from other recruiting firms, but also allows us to bring a unique expertise to various aspects of the recruiting process. Each recruiter at Xplora has had a different career path thus far, which grants us the unique ability to relate to candidates who also come from a myriad of different places in their careers.

– Brianna Stefany, Recruiter

Internally – the people, flexibility, and innovation, endless resources and networks that are growing daily. For candidates/clients – our detailed process for vetting roles and candidates to fulfill needs.

– Sarah Clark, Director of Staffing

I think the biggest thing that differentiates us is our relationships…we understand the importance of building a trustworthy relationship and we go the extra step with our candidates and clients. Getting a true understanding of the needs of our candidates and clients allows for seamless transitions. The strength of our relationships also shows in our referrals. We are a trusted partner and our network of relationships is constantly growing!

– Corey Milewski, Recruiter

Service is not only professional but also warm and friendly. I feel like they are a true partner rather than a client service organization. This differentiates Xplora from others I have worked with. They work diligently to understand the needs of the respective positions and follow up periodically to ensure things are going well…

– Xplora Client

We take time to get to know our candidates professionally and personally because we realize it takes more than just a resume to match the right person with the right opportunity. By working directly with our clients’ hiring managers, we are able to provide our clients with adequate information. All of our recruiters have worked for years in Greater Philadelphia and have developed deep ties within the region. Whether you are interested in joining a Fortune 1000 or a smaller middle-market company, Xplora can make the introduction.

The Right Team. Right Now.

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