LinkedIn is Rightfully Tackling an Archaic Stigma

With the demand for labor at historically high levels and workers continuing to quit their jobs at historic rates to take advantage of that demand, there has never been a better time for employers to break free of archaic rules of hiring.

For a reason that has never made sense to us, employers have traditionally scoffed at job candidates with breaks in their employment. In fact, two of our senior female leaders, Patti Weber (CEO) and Grace Lynch (Senior Manager, Business Operations), have taken breaks during their impressive careers to raise children.

We applaud LinkedIn’s news this week that it is rolling out a new feature called “Career Breaks” to all LinkedIn users allowing professionals to provide more context around breaks in employment.

Learn more about the LinkedIn Career Breaks feature here.


Get to Know LinkedIn’s New Podcast Network

Podcasts here. Podcasts there. Podcasts podcasts everywhere!

Podcast popularity is at an all-time high, with Edison Research reporting last year that some eighty million Americans are now weekly podcast listeners, while 116 million tune in to podcasts monthly.

This week, LinkedIn announced that it is piloting the “LinkedIn Podcast Network” where the networking site will host a range of shows created by both internal staff and external experts. The content will target professionals and will focus on areas including understanding tech, managing mental health, and explaining the hiring process.

Explore the LinkedIn Podcast Network here.


Know How Your Resume Differs From Your LinkedIn Profile

Your resume and LinkedIn profile are two foundational tools that support your personal brand.  While each plays a role in communicating your professional background and expertise, they serve slightly different purposes.  And because of this fact, your resume and LinkedIn profile should be different.

So just how should they be different?

We leveraged the expertise from the team at Vault to answer this question.

  • Customization. Many experts recommend that you customize your resume for each job to meet the relevant needs of a specific position and the hiring manager.  Your LinkedIn profile, on the other hand, does the broad job of presenting your professional persona.  While it may require some tweaking, you typically don’t tailor it to the same degree as your resume to fit the requirements of a role.
  • Length & Level of Detail. You don’t have the luxury of space with your resume.  The document is designed to be scanned so that recruiters and hiring managers can quickly understand your career narrative and qualifications.  Your LinkedIn profile offers the luxury of space to communicate a full and colorful story.  Use it to your advantage and be certain to include information about involvement with professional associations, nonprofit organizations, etc.
  • Supplementary Proof. Your resume is typically a 1-2 page stand alone document.  LinkedIn offers features for you to add attachments, hyperlinks, videos, skill endorsements, recommendations and more.  We recommend that you take full advantage of these features to shape your colorful story on LinkedIn.
  • Privacy. Since LinkedIn is a public platform, you need to be careful about listing confidential business metrics or sensitive personal information.  Since your resume is a private document to be selectively shared, there is more opportunity to include specific facts and figures that build a strong case for you to be hired.
  • Tone of Voice. While professionalism is a must on both your resume and LinkedIn, your tone can differ.  Your resume should prioritize formal wording over colloquial phrasings, and you should avoid using first-person pronouns.  Since LinkedIn exists as a networking site and social platform, a degree of informality is allowed to the extent that you should feel at liberty to showcase your personality (within the boundaries of professionalism, of course). 
  • Imagery. For the vast majority of job seekers, your resume should never include your photo.  On LinkedIn, a professional profile picture is essential to sharing the story of you.  

Click here to learn more


Personal Branding & Job Seeking Tips for Older Professionals

Last week the folks at outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas issued a press release to promote the benefits of companies hiring workers over the age of 55.  Having recently conducted a national survey where 81% of respondents cited difficulty in filling roles, the outplacement firm is wisely touting the advantages of hiring experience.

That said, employers continue to deal with the misguided bias in perceiving that the over 55 age group can’t use technology well or work remotely.  As a consulting firm built squarely on the foundation of highly experienced professionals, the Croixstone team appreciates the following tips that Challenger, Gray & Christmas shared to combat this issue. 

  • Update your resume. Be sure your resume is up to date and emphasizes the accomplishments you achieved in your most recent positions. Do not go into great detail about things you did more than 10 or 15 years ago. Let your expertise shine, but trim the resume to keep it to two or three pages. Consider leaving off your earliest positions if they are no longer relevant. 
  • Don’t apologize for your age. Never be untruthful about how old you are and don’t apologize for it. Be confident and have a positive attitude about all you have to offer. Your age reflects years of valuable experience that can translate into impactful contributions to a company.
  • Stay current. Make sure technology has not passed you by. Do you know what software is being used in your field? Are you comfortable using video platforms for interviews or meetings? If not, learn. Take courses. Seek out tutoring. Practice. Gain new credentials and list them on your resume. Read job descriptions to find out what employers are seeking. Get a new personal, professional email address (e.g.,xxxjones@gmail.com versus ChessAce1@aol.com).
  • Embrace LinkedIn. Once you update your resume, be sure to put the same information on your LinkedIn profile. Learn how to use LinkedIn to network and to learn about job opportunities. Add a professional headshot.
  • Check your attitude. Even if you have to stifle it, do not come across as annoyed by being interviewed by someone half your age. Do not be condescending. 
  • Be active on social media. Your social media presence will be checked by recruiters and potential employers. Being active on social media shows you are current. This is a way to market your brand. You may be “older,” but if your online presence shows you as active, vibrant, and healthy (cycling on Facebook, running a 5K on Instagram), it helps counteract any preconceived negative notions of how “older” is defined.
  • Network. Reach out to your relationships you have spent a career building. Let them help spread the word that you are ready, willing, and able to find a new role.
  • Be open and be positive. Explore positions that may offer less money and a lower title than in your past. Think about safer roles during the pandemic, such as jobs you can do online from your home. It may take time to find the position for you, but with over 10 million open positions in June, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, there are plenty available.

Click here to learn more.


Seeking Your Next Role? Avoid These 6 Common Mistakes!

We get it.

It is easy to roll your eyes when seeing yet another list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to landing your next role – whether it be in consulting or a traditional employment role.  That being said, the reason these lists continue to prosper is because job seekers, regardless of the tenure in their careers, continue to make critical mistakes during the hunting process.

Here are the most common mistakes and issues that the leaders in Croixstone’s consulting and search practices see on a frequent basis. 

  • The Skeleton LinkedIn Profile:  The calendar reads 2021.  Every modern hiring professional is using LinkedIn today to learn more about you.  The perfect resume isn’t anywhere close to perfect if your LinkedIn profile is incomplete.  If your LinkedIn profile is simply a shell, take action today to build it out.
  • The Resume/LinkedIn Mismatch:  See above.  Every hiring professional is using LinkedIn and is comparing your resume to your LinkedIn profile.  It is a huge problem when your dates, company names, roles, etc. don’t match.
  • The Missing Role:  So you accepted a role for what appeared to be a dream opportunity only to leave after one year to save your sanity.  Don’t kid yourself that it is ok to leave it off your resume.  Keep your information, and integrity, real and be prepared like a pro to explain it away.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Email Addresses:  In the early days of email, many households used one email address.  While you may still love that legacy email address that combines you and your significant other in a clever way, never use it for business purposes.  The same goes for other “cutesy” type of email addresses.  Just don’t.
  • Legacy Email Addresses:  Don’t shoot the messenger, but it is time to ditch the AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo, and other early internet email addresses.  Keeping current with technology is important in any professional role today, and using one of the legacies can send the wrong message.
  • The Full VoiceMail Box:  It may sound like common sense, but never let a recruiter or hiring professional reach out to you during your search only to find that your voicemail box is full and is unable to accept messages.

Finally, here are some general job search strategies for highly experienced professionals from the folks at The Balance Careers.


We’re Serving Up Consulting BUZZ!

Our leaders at Croixstone spend time each week speaking at length with clients, prospects and consultants across the greater Charlotte region and beyond. We’re often asked the following questions by those in our professional networks.

What’s the buzz out there?
What is top of mind for companies in 2021?
What are you hearing from consultants?

Here’s a bulleted list, in no particular order, of the things we are hearing and seeing from clients, prospects and consultants.

  • Hiring is difficult.  The economy is rebounding, hiring is up, and it is increasingly difficult to fill roles with top-tier talent.  The latest Workforce Report from LinkedIn provides insights into the hiring boom.
  • SPACs are hot, hot, hot.  Special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) IPOs were more active in Q1 2021 than through all of 2020.
  • ERP implementation activity is robust.  Many of our clients are planning ERP implementations to go live in 2022.  The global ERP software market size stood at USD 38.15 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 71.63 billion by 2026, exhibiting a CAGR of 8.55.
  • COVID-19 trauma is an ongoing issue.  Employers are dealing with employee pandemic stress that is inevitably spilling over into at-work life.

Improve Your LinkedIn InMail Game

Tips to Optimize LinkedIn InMail

Fast Company magazine recently published an informative article with tips on how to drive outcomes with InMail (LinkedIn’s messaging platform).  The article shared insights based on an analysis LinkedIn completed of tens of millions of InMails sent by recruiters globally between April 2020 and February 2021.  Interestingly, the study revealed which InMails were likely to get a fast response.

Here’s a recap of the key findings:

  • Shorter is better.  Those that delivered their InMail messages between 201-400 characters got a 16% higher than average response rate and 41% better than InMails with more than 1,400 characters.
  • Monday is the best day.  Monday gets a 2% higher response rate while Saturday accounts for 13% fewer responses.
  • Personalization matters.   Personalized InMails perform 20% better.

Learn more here.


Be a One Percenter on LinkedIn.

The Croixstone team was fascinated by a recent article published by Entrepreneur Magazine.  The article suggests that because LinkedIn is a “content deficient” social media platform, it has more people consuming the content than creating it.  In fact, only one percent of LinkedIn’s 260 million monthly users share posts.

This fact creates a nice opportunity for professionals seeking to create greater visibility for their personal brands.  In contrast to other social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, content posted on LinkedIn can still get visibility in the feed several days after being posted.

We recommend you read this article to learn how consistently posting relevant content on LinkedIn can grow your personal brand.

Read here.


4 Actions to Prepare Your LinkedIn Profile for 2021

The end of the year is the ideal time to perform an audit of your LinkedIn profile.  Take the following steps this week to ensure you are showing your very best on the world’s largest professional networking platform.  

1.  Upgrade Your Profile Picture
Your headshot matters more than you might know.  It is essential for senior level professionals to have a current, professional head shot for your LinkedIn profile.  That great pic from the family wedding 10 years ago doesn’t meet the professional standard for showing your best.

2.  Review and Update Your “About” Section
Review this section to make certain the information is up-to-date and accurately reflects the message(s) you wish to convey in 2021.

3.  Optimize Your LinkedIn Headline
Review your headline to ensure it aligns with the verbiage in your “About” section and that it communicates your expertise while differentiating you from others.

4.  Update Your Profile with 2-3 New Recommendations
Be sure to keep your recommendations up-to-date.  Think about your accomplishments in 2020, and ask for 2-3 new recommendations to keep your LinkedIn profile fresh and competitive.