Mindy Thomas

CAREER CHAT

Career Chat – Mindy Thomas Interviews Brenda Bernstein

Career Chat – Mindy Thomas Interviews Brenda Bernstein 

Mindy Thomas:

Hi everybody. I’m Mindy Thomas and welcome to career chat. We are every Monday at 11:30 AM and Tuesday nights at 8:00 PM. Many of us are on social media. A lot of us are on it a lot, but I’m wondering if you are on the number one platform to help you land a job. And I’m talking about LinkedIn. And before I get to my next guest, let me give you some mindblowing statistics. There are 575 million people on LinkedIn of that number 260 million are using it on a monthly basis. My next guest is a nationally acclaimed author and speaker, and she has helped thousands of job hunters get their stuff together for resume writing and LinkedIn. She’s a master resume writer. She has written three books. And the one you might know of is how to write a killer LinkedIn profile. They are all on Amazon. She holds an English degree from Yale, a J D from New York university. I am so happy and proud to present my next guest. Brenda Bernstein, the CEO of the essay expert. Brenda, welcome to the show.

Brenda Bernstein:

Thank you, Mindy. I’m excited to be here.

Mindy Thomas:

I’m excited to have you on the show and I’m so glad you made time for us. I have a zillion questions, so let’s get right to it. I know, I know you do. So. What are the biggest mistakes people are making on LinkedIn today?

Brenda Bernstein:

Well, I would say the biggest mistake is not being on LinkedIn. If you’re in a profession where people are looking on LinkedIn to connect with you, whether that’s because they’re looking for an employee or perhaps they’re looking for some kind of services, whatever it is, you want to be there and then you want to optimize your profile. So, you know, the three main things that you need on LinkedIn are you need to be located. Locatable like I have my three ELLs. So the first hour is locatability people have to be able to find you so big mistake would be not doing all the things that help people find you on LinkedIn. That includes having a robust network, having keywords in the right places. Those are the main things. And then also staying active. That’s part of being found on LinkedIn. So that’s the first one.

Brenda Bernstein:

And then the second one is likability. So the next mistake would be presenting a profile that doesn’t really inspire people to read anymore. Like it’s, it’s drive, it’s offering it. Doesn’t really tell them who you are. You’re getting contacted for her jobs. That aren’t the right fit for you because you haven’t really explained what you really do. Um, so anything that has to do with, well, when someone actually lands on your LinkedIn profile, do they want to read more? And then the final one is I call it my third hour, but I’m cheating a little, cause the word is a likeness. So the Allen alive, this gives you your third hour and the mistake would be really like the thing you do when you have a gym membership and you never go to the gym, you’re gonna have your LinkedIn profile and use it and be active and be on there at least 20 minutes a day, interacting with people, networking, building your network, responding to posts, posting things yourself. You got to stay active or you’re not going to get the value.

Mindy Thomas:

Well, Brenda, a lot of experts like yourself. Talk about the 500 connections you must have. Why is that?

Brenda Bernstein:

Well, the 500 is like this magic number on LinkedIn. It shows up next year named basically how many connections you have as long as you’re at 500, it says 500 plus. And it doesn’t really say anything over that. So if you have 2000, Nections it still says 500 plus. So you want to have that 500 plus number having a robust network, which I mentioned earlier is important for a lot of reasons. One of them is very practical because it helps you to be able to find people and also be found on LinkedIn because part of the search algorithm, the search algorithms a little bit mysterious, but we do know that it has something to do with how many first degree connections you have, how closely you’re related to the people you might be searching for. So you need to have a lot of people in your network so that you have a lot of first degree connections, second degree connections, and you’ll be able to find them and they’ll be able to find you. And the other piece of that is let’s say someone’s looking for an employee. Are they going to choose someone who is going to be an evangelist for the company and has a big network? Or are they going to choose someone who has like 50 connections on LinkedIn? It just doesn’t look good for you. No matter what job you’re applying for. If you don’t have a big network,

Mindy Thomas:

Let’s talk about the number of recruiters that are on LinkedIn right now, the percentage of recruiters fill in the blank, the percentage of recruiters that are actually looking for that digital presence for the candidates. So they’re thinking about bringing in for an interview. What’s the percentage.

Brenda Bernstein:

I believe it’s interesting because it used to be up around 97% and it actually, the last I read, it came down a little bit, but still it’s going to be around 90%. That’s a big number and you can’t afford to take a risk. That’s the rupture that you want is going to be in that 10%. So you’ve gotta be on there. If you want recruiters to find you, I and recruiters have special tools that they can use to find you. For instance, you know, you have this skill section on LinkedIn and you’re like, who the heck cares about my list of skills and endorsements? Well, recruiters can actually search for you based on your skills. So you really need to be on there. If you’re, if you’re looking for a job that recruiters are advantaged with, you know, there’s some, there’s some industries where they don’t use recruiters.

Brenda Bernstein:

And if they don’t use recruiters, you may or may not benefit from being on LinkedIn in terms of the direct benefit of a job search. But even if you are in an industry like you’re a teacher or you’re a nurse or something like that, you can still benefit from being on LinkedIn because you’re still going to be able to use it for your networking. And who can you connect with and discover anything that there is to know about the industry. Maybe, you know, someone who knows someone who knows about a job. So I think it’s always valuable to be on LinkedIn, even if you’re not an industry that uses it. Primarily.

Mindy Thomas:

I agree with you. I wholeheartedly that. I want to piggyback on the skills section because you have the opportunity to plug in 50 skills. So if you’re an HR professional or you are an entry level college grad, that wants to be an HR. How many times do you have to mention HR as many as possible?

Brenda Bernstein:

Well, you’re going to want it in the skill section. You want to use all the possible terms that had to do with HR. So you’ll push human resources. You probably put HR and you’re going to choose the ones that come up in Lincoln’s list. I recommend that you don’t add your own skills because the skills that are there are the ones that are being searched for by recruiters. That’s why they’re there. So you’re going to want, you know, benefits and you’re going to whatever the whole range, uh, you know, this ability when it benefits all those things, family leave act, no anything that you’re an expert in. You’re going to want all of those terms in your skills section. And when you go to skills and you start typing something, LinkedIn brings up all these suggestions. So you could go through like, Hey, off of that, if you want, when you’re typing, Hey, and see if there’s anything in the A’s that you want to have on your, on your profile.

Brenda Bernstein:

Well, the skills section is a specific section that recruiters can search on and other people can endorse you for your skills. But then there are other places that you want to have the word at HR and human resources and benefits and all of those things. Diversity, you know, if you’re in HR is a big one. So you also want to have those terms as, as possible in your headline. And so this is the most important place is your headline. That’s your main line, that’s under your name in your profile and then the second important place. And this is something that a lot of people don’t realize you want to have those words also in your job titles, you have a hundred characters in your job title. So if you’re a human resources director, that’s great and you have human resources automatically as one of your keywords.

Brenda Bernstein:

So it’s convenient, but even then you can still write human resources director, and then you can use the pipe symbol. It’s an up and down symbol. It’s on top of your backlash, probably on your keyboard. So you can use that or you can use some other symbol that you like. And then after your actual job title, you can say, no SMLA diversity and inclusion. Like all of those, either ex uh, areas of expertise that you have. So you want to have those in your job titles, not just in your headline, not just in the skills section. You can also have them in your summary and in the body of your experience sections, but you’re going to get the most bang for your back in the headline and the job titles.

Mindy Thomas:

That’s the, those are super tips. I want to ask you about the, about section or what was used to be known as the summary, because when I’m reviewing LinkedIn profiles for my clients, I see that the about section is null and void and the skill sections, Nolen void. So in the about section, how do you attack that? As you know, say an our HR director or as a recent college grad who wants to get into HR? What are you going to say in the professional story to the world? Because it’s the internet, so everyone will read it. Yes.

Brenda Bernstein:

That’s section the first thing I’ve been first tell you what not to do. So what not to do is copy your three or five line or whatever you have summary from your resume and stick it into your LinkedIn profile. That is a very, very common thing that people do. So if you, if you do, if you’ve done that, you know, don’t feel bad, you have a lot of company. Um, but my recommendation is not to do it like that because you have 2,600 characters. Now they just expanded it 4,000. So now it’s 2,600 characters to use in the about section. You can really talk about what’s important to you. What are your values? So that’s the opportunity in the about section is to talk, not just about your accomplishments and your skills and all the things that you can do and, um, and your skill set, but knowing about who you are as a human being and what you offer, maybe it’s something about your philosophy.

Brenda Bernstein:

Maybe there’s a story, a particular, something you’re really proud of. You could even tell a story in that because you want to grab someone’s attention. It’s not, you don’t want it to be a bunch of blah, blah, blah. And someone reads it and they’re like, Oh, it’s another blogger blog. You want to surprise someone by telling them something they maybe weren’t expecting to hear that’s engaging to them. That’s how I approached the about section. Um, and I do wrote it in the first person almost all the time they recommend. Yeah. I recommend the first person, because then you get to tell your story. You can tell a little about your history, how you got to where you are now. That’s all great.

Mindy Thomas:

I agree. First person. I really, I mean like you are talking to your audience. Why not? Why don’t we just talk to our audience? Um, I’m really curious about your position on people that just lost their jobs as a result of COVID. And um, so number one, are they going to put an end date of March or April if they just lost their positions? If they were furloughed, um, and, or laid off. So we’ve got terminations, we’ve got layoffs. We got furloughs. Is it okay to still say, to present? And then on the resume, put the end date. What’s legit right now,

Brenda Bernstein:

My, my opinion, just one opinion, but my opinion is that if you’re furloughed, you can say that you’re still there. I wouldn’t put an end date if you’re furloughed, because there’s still a decent possibility that you’re going to be going back to that same job. If you were actually terminated and laid off, I would put an end date. People are going to understand. I think, um, if people see a March end date, they’re going to know what happened.

Mindy Thomas:

They’re all gonna think that it was a result of COVID not because I performed, uh, I didn’t perform well. So it’s kind of, you, you really have an advantage right now. If you did get terminated for performance on some level on some level, I know it’s gonna be

Brenda Bernstein:

Because people are going to assume it’s COVID. If you have an end date, then you can still create a current experience section. And there are different ways you can handle that. I have a section about that in my book, but you can still say, you know, you can still put your job title. You still, you’re still the thing that you, you know, you still are the person who does that role. So you can also write that you are a human resources director and how that is a title. And you can have the company, as you know, there are different ways to handle it. And you can say, you know, seeking opportunities as the company, or you can put your name as the company, so whatever you’re comfortable with, but do you have a current experience section? Just have it be basically that you’re in a job. It can be clear that you’re in a job search at this point. People just people know what’s going on.

Mindy Thomas:

So, Brenda, there’s also another advantage to entering a new position, uh, while you’re seeking, right? Because the recruiter, let let’s talk about that. Drill down on that for us,

Brenda Bernstein:

The advantages there, there are certain factors that the algorithm picks up and one of them is a current job. So having a current position in your LinkedIn profile actually helps you in the search. That’s a big one. Well, I think that’s probably the biggest one. And then the other one is you got to put in more keywords, you get more of your keyword density. We didn’t talk about this exactly before, but he word density helps you. That means the number of times that a keyword shows up. So, you know, if human human resources director shows up runs, it’s not going to be as valued, valuable to you as if it shows up twice or three times or five times. So not that you would be human resources director, and hopefully you become we’re about the chain, right? Human resources that could show up multiple, multiple times. So if you have a current experience section, you get to put in more keywords.

Mindy Thomas:

Excellent. These are all important tips. We’ve got to take a break right now. We’ll be right back to talk more about LinkedIn and with my subject matter expert, Brenda Bernstein from the essay expert, we’ll be right back, stay tuned. Today’s show is sponsored by [inaudible]

Brenda Bernstein:

Jacqueline, take charge of your life personally, financially and professionally, this a dr. jacqueline.com to book an appointment today. The session that we had with the cat,

Mindy Thomas:

It was really entertaining and enlightening. We were able to put together some very specific

Brenda Bernstein:

Steps that we, as individuals can take. And it was really fun to all come together and see sort of where we’re going as a team and how we can all get there together. We had a tremendous experience with the big cap partners. One of the challenges that we have as an organization is to make sure that we have the right people in the right chairs

Mindy Thomas:

To do that. Well, you have to have synergy. You can try to dream up ways to make sure that group does that.

Brenda Bernstein:

Or you can rely on experts. We would recommend our partners to anybody. Who’s looking to take their organization to the next level.

Mindy Thomas:

Hi, everybody. We are back at career chat with Brenda Bernstein, the essay expert. She is a subject matter expert in LinkedIn and resume writing a master resume writer and a master LinkedIn profile expert. Brenda, let’s get right back to it because I have a question about the hidden job market. People talk about networking. Um, I’ve had folks on my show that have talked about how to leverage the network, but how do you really find those positions inside a company?

Brenda Bernstein:

Well, first of all, how, how do you use LinkedIn to find those people? I think would be the first step. And there are so many people on LinkedIn, who’d be willing to speak with you. If you reached out, as long as you don’t reach out and say, Hey, you have any jobs for me, people really want to hear, but anyone who has a helping bone in their body, it’s going to help you if they can and have a conversation. So if you’re wanting to know, you know, how do I, how do I make it into this particular position? Here’s what I’ve been so far. And I’m really interested in doing this. Do you have any advice for me? People don’t usually have. Now, if they’re, let’s say they graduated from the same school that you did, they’re especially willing to help. I have done things for people who I went to Bronx, the Bronx high school of science for high school.

Brenda Bernstein:

And I was asked to help a student who is applying to Yale. And I went to Yale and I was asked to high pro with her application essays to get into college. Now this is part of what I do in my business. But when I was asked to do it for someone from the Bronx high school of science, I volunteered to do it for free and it was fun and satisfying for me. So, you know, it really is. There’s that connection. Even, even if you went to the same high school, and then if you went to the same college, you want to find all those people in your network and find out where they work out, what they do. And if there are any connections that look like they’d be valuable, reach out to them and see if you can have a conversation.

Mindy Thomas:

Yeah. Many industry leaders talk about when you send that email to be very specific. If there’s a job that you are interested in, give them the link, don’t make them work for this favor. Please give them the, that they need. And don’t be scared. Don’t be scared to reach out. Look, all I can say is no. And it’s much easier to say no behind, um, you know, a typewriter then in, in person. But as you said, Brenda, people are generous right now. They have empathy. We understand people are in tough spots right now. So it brings me to me the, the survival job. So if you’re an adjunct professor, um, right now and say that you lost that position, or you had another full time job and say that you took a job as a contact tracer, and you know what that is, that’s one of the new jobs that have opened up as a result of COVID. What you do is you contact everybody that has been well, everybody that the infected person has come into contact with. Do you put that up on LinkedIn right now? Or is that

Brenda Bernstein:

If you were to contact tracer, I would put it onto LinkedIn because that shows you really care about this pandemic and you care about your community and you want to make a contribution without a job stocking for Amazon or packing packing orders at whole foods for home delivery. Maybe that’s not something that you want to put on your resume, that if it’s something that shows that you care and, and that you are someone who contributes, I would definitely put it on.

Mindy Thomas:

Very good. Very good. The, the, I was wondering what your position was on that, because I know a bunch of folks that have landed these roles and from New York, all the way out to the West coast, these, these are real roles and they’re recruiting right now in every state for contact tracers. And I think there’s going to be growth and advancement in that industry. So what other industries have you heard of, or occupations that might be hot, hot, hot right now or up and coming?

Brenda Bernstein:

Let’s talk about just anything having to do with tech is hot, hot, hot right now. So if it’s at the intersection of healthcare and tech, insurance, and tech, finance, and tech, anything that is at all tech related, it’s growing up because everyone needs tech to do what they’ve always been doing in person. Now they better do it remotely. And so tons of jobs in tech now, that’s a very competitive right now, especially now that people are working remotely, it becomes more competitive because people are applying from all over the country. So it has a, it’s a double edged sword because you can apply to a position that maybe you couldn’t apply for before. But on the flip side, everyone is doing that. So you really need to make sure that your LinkedIn profile is optimized, that your resume is optimized. All of that is like tip top shape because otherwise not going to be competitive are the jobs.

Brenda Bernstein:

Of course, some areas of retail balling up groceries, kind of blowing up and telecommunications, trucking and shipping any kind of like logistics, because with all of the online orders, logistics companies and trucking companies have, are totally booming. Um, financial services, people are concerned about their finances when something like this happens, you know, whenever there’s a recession, people need help. They, they need to get advised on what to do, uh, with their, with their finances. And I know, I mean, some places, dominoes and pizza, like those places that deliver food, they’re also hiring a lot of people. I’m not sure how, you know, how much of the high level positions they’re hiring for, but they have to be some, I mean, there’s gotta be HR positions when you expand your work force by tens of thousands of people, you’re going to need more people in HR to handle that.

Brenda Bernstein:

And then you learning is a big one right now. There’s a lot of news about how you learning is so ineffective, especially for the younger kids, but to have someone who’s, you are a company that’s really figuring out how to deliver e-learning effectively and that’s a big area. So, and then healthcare, you know, in some of the areas, healthcare, John strength, because there were no more elective procedures, but there’s still the health tech, um, pharmacies haven’t stopped meeting to dispense the prescriptions. So, you know, there are definitely, there’s a lot going on in healthcare and biopharm. So there are a ton of industries that are hiring and that are expanding. Yes.

Mindy Thomas:

And there are people landing every day. Although you might be sitting out there saying, I don’t think so, you need to jump in the job market now, especially because unemployment is not going to last forever and the $600 a week stimulus. That’s not going to last forever right now. It looks like it’s ending July 31. Yeah. So we have a whole nother faction of people, millions of Americans that are employed, that are looking to overhaul, resume and LinkedIn to get ready. Now, the biggest question I have for you today is about the achievements. So after the resume is prepared and they have their selected contributions under each area of their job, do you then copy and paste them over to LinkedIn? And does that a red flag for the current employer and your current peers to see, Oh my gosh, Brenda’s got all her achievements in there. Is she looking, is this, um, a wise decision to plug in all the achievements, cause know, writers that put them all in? I don’t, I don’t. I pick and choose like, if it’s a little bit like 10 years ago or eight years ago, I might put some in, but in the current role, I’m not putting them in, but let’s ask you, what do you think

Brenda Bernstein:

It would be a case by case if you’re very, very concerned about your employer catching wind that you’re looking. And I mean, I think ideally an employer would see that you’re looking and realize that maybe they need to take better care of you or give you a promotion and then deal. Right. But I know that that’s not the case everywhere. So if you are really concerned about hunting your employer, find out, then you might not want to change anything in your LinkedIn profile. I think the main thing that employers might notice is a change in your about section. If you revamp your about section, that can be a red flag. Now, I also advise people, if you are revising me about section to make it a for your company and what your company offers, and you can talk about your role, but make sure that you’re not coming across very obviously as a job seeker.

Brenda Bernstein:

And you can do that. There’s a ways to write the about section so that it’s people might look and go, Oh, wow. She’s really decided to really proud this company and how great this company is. So wonderful do that. Uh, in terms of the achievements, I, I do generally put them on, but again, if you are really concerned about your current employer finding out something and don’t put them on, it’s a personal choice. I do definitely advise you if there’s anything confidential, don’t put it on your LinkedIn profile. You know, there might be some things that you can have on a resume that says that you cannot have public on your LinkedIn profile. Yeah. So you can talk about, you know, instead of giving specific thyroid imbalance, maybe you give a percentage or green server. You know, you may say, you know, hundreds of millions instead of the actual number. So you can be a little more general on LinkedIn. If you’re not comfortable sharing specific numbers, then I don’t encourage you to exactly copy and paste everything from your resume to your LinkedIn profile. I like doing it a little bit differently on LinkedIn so that people get a more well rounded picture. And maybe you write a paragraph on LinkedIn or you’ve had our bullets on your, um, on your resume. Then you can have a paragraph on LinkedIn followed by a couple of bullets.

Mindy Thomas:

Well, you, you certainly, um, uh, that makes sense. Um, and I’m so sorry we have to close cause I could go on and on with you, Brenda. It has just been a fabulous, uh, dialogue with you about all the expert tips that you have for us, for LinkedIn. How can people reach you if they’re interested in connecting with you on LinkedIn, as well as, um, buying your book,

Brenda Bernstein:

Your box? Yeah. You told me she had my book and it’s over. It’s over there.

Mindy Thomas:

Okay. You can find Brenda Bernstein on amazon.com, just put in her name. I will do that commercial for you. How to write a killer LinkedIn profile, how to write a stellar executive resume and how to write a winning resume. Brenda, thank you so much for being here today and to my audience. I’ll see you here next week. Be safe, be strong. If you have any questions for me, you can always reach me@thomascareerconsulting.com. Be safe and be strong. See you here next week. Okay.

 

Your Career is Your Business. Isn’t it Time For You to Manage it Like a CEO?

Please call Professional Career Counselor Mindy Thomas, MS, CPRW, CLC, CJC, CJDC directly at 610.937.5632 or send us a message. Our offices are located in suburban Philadelphia at 221 North Olive Street in Media, PA, close to Wilmington DE, NYC and Washington DC.