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.


Big Changes Coming to LinkedIn

Strengthening your networking skills and nurturing a diverse network is mission-critical for today’s business professional.  LinkedIn is making some big changes to help you accomplish both.

Here’s what you need to know about three big changes coming to LinkedIn.

New Look
LinkedIn is introducing a cleaner look that features more white space to make it easier to navigate the site and app.

Stories Launch
LinkedIn is doing a global roll-out of Stories that allows you to post both photos and videos that will vanish in a day.  LinkedIn members who have been testing Stories have used the tool to share photos/videos of their home office set-ups, chat about job opportunities, and more.  Think of Stories as a way to connect more personally and less formally (similar to water cooler moments).

Video Call Enhancements 
Now, with one click, you can start a video call over Zoom, Teams or BlueJeans by Verizon.

Learn more here.


In-Demand Skills

LinkedIn has used data from more than 660 million professionals in its network and more than 20 million job listings to identify the hard and soft skills that are most in-demand in 2020.

HARD SKILLS

1) Blockchain
2) Cloud & Distributed Computing
3) Analytical Reasoning
4) Artificial Intelligence
5) UX Design
6) Business Analysis
7) Affiliate Marketing
8) Sales
9) Scientific Computing
10) Video Production

SOFT SKILLS

1) Creativity
2) Persuasion
3) Collaboration
4) Adaptability
5) Emotional Intelligence

Learn more here.


The NOW Normal.

Life has changed dramatically for all of us in the Charlotte region over the past couple of weeks.  Given the vast uncertainties we’re facing with COVID-19 and the economy, the Croixstone team isn’t quite ready to call these times the “new” normal.  We prefer to think of our current state as the “now’ normal.  

Whether you are presently employed or seeking your next opportunity, COVID-19 is causing all of us to think, and act, differently. The following links are designed to help you navigate the “now” normal.

Learn about consulting.
Join Croixstone + the Charlotte Chapter of the National Black MBA Association for a virtual Zoom meeting/webinar on “The Business of Consulting.”  Joining us will be leaders from Deloitte, The Kaleidoscope Group + The Graybeard Partners.  Wednesday, April 8 from 6-7:3pm.
Grab your tickets here.

Learn how consulting revenues may be impacted by COVID-19.
Yes, the consulting industry is being impacted.  Source Global Research has surveyed hundreds of consulting firms from across the world to gain insights.
Click here.

Find a job.
Your best strategy during the COVID-19 pandemic might be to focus on short-term solutions.
View this Fast Company article to learn more.

Learn more about collaboration tools.
Inc. magazine has compiled a comprehensive list of tools including pricing.
Click here.

Learn how to stay productive + connected while at home.
LinkedIn is offering 16 free professional development courses on Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom and more.
Click here.

Learn Zoom basics.
Zoom experts host interactive, live training webinars daily.
Sign-up for free or watch a previously recorded training session.
Click here.

Take your Zoom skills to the next level.
Learn 13 Zoom video chat tips, tricks + hidden features.
Click here.

Learn how to run a virtual meeting.
An executive recruiter shares 8 cardinal rules for successful virtual meetings with Forbes.
Click here.

Access a library of COVID-19 resources.
Check out the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance’s “COVID-19 Resource Portal.”
Click here.

Learn how to lead during a crisis/downturn.
5 great tips from Chief Executive magazine.
Click here.

Find your right work-from-home playlist.
LinkedIn is now on Spotify with a variety of playlists curated for the varying times of your career journey.
Click here.


Workforce Insights

In the USA alone, more than 165 million workers have LinkedIn profiles, and more that 20,000 companies use LinkedIn to recruit. Using the social media site’s vast treasure trove of data, LinkedIn’s Economic Graph team of data scientists and economists recently looked at USA hiring patterns for 57 different C-suite jobs.

Some key C-suite findings?

  1. Chief Growth Officer is increasing in popularity faster than any other title.
  2. Many industries are expanding the C-suite to address their most chronic operating challenges.
  3. Everyone wants Chief People Officers. 

Read LinkedIn’s latest Workforce Report to learn about 57 routes into the C-suite.


5-Minute Tune-Up

2019 is rapidly coming to a close!  Now is the perfect time to complete a 5-minute tune-up on your LinkedIn profile to present your professional best in 2020.  

  • Background Photo:  Are you using a generic background photo?  If yes, switch this out to a photo that complements your personal brand.
  • Headshot:  Headshots taken by professionals make a big difference.  Spend the money to look your best. 
  • Contact Info:  Make sure your current email address and phone number are visible.  
  • Email Address:  Are you using an “old school” domain like AOL, Yahoo, or Carolina.rr?  If so, switch out to a modern address like Gmail.
  • About:  Is the “About” section of your profile completed and up-to-date?  If no, take the time to ensure this section is completed, current, and consistent in how you are promoting your personal brand.

Questions?  Reach out to the Croixstone team.