Making The Most Of LinkedIn

The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.

Jimmy Johnson

Some parts of the job search are the same as they’ve always been – like your resume and cover letter. But technological advances have led to some marked changes in how we make ourselves stand out as job candidates.

One of these big changes is the digital portfolio. Rather than bringing a paper folder to an interview, applicants can make an impression on hiring managers as soon as they apply. By attaching a link to an email, they can share a summary of their work digitally – allowing hiring managers to make quicker decisions on who to invite back for an interview.

But equally important, these days, is having a strong LinkedIn profile. As the world’s largest professional networking site, LinkedIn has secured its status as the place to be for job searchers, recruiters, and hiring managers alike. According to Hootsuite, 30 million companies have profiles on LinkedIn. And despite a stagnant number of new users on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn continues to grow year over year – with two professionals signing up for LinkedIn every second.

So, why is it so popular?

Essentially, a LinkedIn profile is like an interactive resume. It’s not limited to one or two physical sheets of paper, so you can add more detail. (My LinkedIn profile includes some of my less-relevant jobs – like when I was a waitress in college, though that definitely doesn’t make the cut on my official resume.) When you list a company as your employer, it becomes a live, codified link that is clickable for anyone seeking more information. And like a digital portfolio, you can upload samples of your work or important projects and display them on your profile as well.

If you’re looking for a job, LinkedIn is a good place to start. Three million jobs are posted on LinkedIn every month. Some of them, you can apply directly through LinkedIn with the click of a button. And not only will LinkedIn recommend jobs you may be interested in, but you can also utilize your network to help make connections within your desired companies.

Even if you’re not a job seeker, it’s a good way to stay in touch with industry trends and others in your network. You can join any number of specialty groups based on your profession or interests, which may even lead to new opportunities. Additionally, LinkedIn hosts its own blog publishing platform, allowing any user to blog about any topic they wish. You never know how far that post could reach!

At Brieffin, we want to help you take your professional image to the next level.

Whether you’re looking for website development, personal branding, resume design and writing, or even spicing up your LinkedIn profile, we’re here. For you.

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Brand vs. Identity: What’s the Difference?

Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.

Jeff Bezos

Just as there are so many marketing “buzzwords” floating around when it comes to content – like campaigns, social media, and SEO – there are more when it comes to the essence of your business.

Brand and identity are two words that often seem to be used interchangeably. However, we’ll discuss some key differences between the two that indicate the different purposes they serve.

Brand

Brand is sometimes a “catch-all” term that is used in many different ways. When you think of your favorite logos, you might identify those as brands. But brands are actually much more intangible. A brand is the emotional relationship between a business and its consumers.

In a saturated marketplace, consumers are looking for a reason to connect with one company/product over another – and that’s where the company’s challenge is to set itself apart. One way this frequently happens through a strongly-developed story that resonates with its consumers, thus establishing a unique position in the market.

All of this together creates the essence of a “brand.” Take a look at our highlighted quote above by Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos. A brand is not what you say about yourself – a brand is what your customers say about you.

Now, let’s look at how this compares to identity.

Identity

Identity is also a word that is sometimes used in a variety of ways. But just like brand, it has a specific way it should be applied when discussing a marketing strategy.

Remember what we said about brands – they’re intangible. And here we have the first key difference between brand and identity. Identity is tangible. Identity is something you can see, touch, or hear. Whereas a brand is something you feel.

Since your brand is what others say about you, your identity is everything you do to influence those perceptions. In reality, much of this comes down to design. From colors, fonts, logo, graphics, video, product packaging, web design and more, these are all aspects of identity.

When you take all these distinct elements and create a unifying, coherent image across all fronts, that’s identity. And the identity is used to tell your story – to create that emotional resonance with your consumers.

Brand + Identity

As you can see, brand and identity are two separate but equally important components of any company’s image. Together, they make up a consistent voice that compels consumers to feel connected – through both the tangible and intangible aspects.

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What Are Brieffin Workshops?

Teaching is the greatest act of optimism.

Colleen Wilcox

When you think of the word “workshop,” many different images might come to your mind. Maybe, you take it very literally – you imagine your dad’s workshop in the garage. Or maybe, your mind takes you to a boring work meeting that you’re forced to attend with your co-workers, while your more important tasks pile up. Or maybe you think of something else entirely.

So when we at Brieffin say that we offer workshops for social media/digital marketing – as well as personal branding – you might not know exactly what we mean by that.

Here’s how one dictionary defines it:

A workshop is a period of discussion or practical work on a particular subject in which a group of people share their knowledge or experience.

The way we see it: workshops are an opportunity for an interactive, hands-on learning experience in which all participants are fully engaged in pursuit of a common goal. Workshops can be useful in almost every area of life, and social media and personal branding are no different.

At Brieffin, we’re passionate about sharing our knowledge and experience with others because we remember the challenges we faced when we were just getting started.

Since 2012, we have years of experience in the design, creation, and distribution of online content, organic and sponsored, for brands and personal brands. And now, we’re able to offer workshops in these same areas in the hopes of inspiring and empowering others.

Social Media

Purpose and awareness are two words that perfectly match the mission of an effective online communication plan: Creating thoughtful messages for audiences, with the purpose of building knowledge and perception of the brand, thus raising awareness.

We’ll work together to develop a customized strategy for you and your brand. By taking factors such as purpose, target audience, frequency and timeline, and KPIs into consideration, we can recommend a content plan and the best social media platforms to meet all your needs. And later, we’ll provide you with all the necessary tools to track the success of your strategies.

Since the birth of social media, it’s never stopped changing, and it probably never will. But rather than allowing this fact to discourage us, we embrace it. We have to continue learning, evolving, and tackling the challenges that come our way. And we’re excited to have you on this journey with us.

Personal Branding

Personal branding is a buzzword that seems to have only popped up in the past few years, though the act of personal branding is long-established – whether we had a word for it, or not. Either way, it’s one of our other specialties.

Personal branding is all about turning the essence of you – your skills, your experiences, your passions – into a distinct professional image. We already think you’re pretty great, and we want the world to see that, too!

A personal brand includes obvious topics like your resume, but it may extend even further than that. A robust personal-brand presence includes consistency across multiple digital touchpoints, which could include a website/portfolio, blog, a logo, social media, your LinkedIn profile, and even search engine optimization.

Get in contact with us!

With our workshops, we come to the meeting prepared with an agenda, materials, topics of discussion, our knowledge and experience, and an open mind and heart to listen to our clients.

We know the importance of face-to-face contact – whether that’s in person, or over video conference. If you’re interested in scheduling a call with us, send us an email to connect@brieffin.com and we’ll be in touch.

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Resume Writing Best Practices

Feel the fear and do it anyway.

Susan Jeffers

Ask anyone what the most important asset to the job search is, and most would say one answer: the resume. This short document summarizes the applicant’s skills, experience, background, qualifications, and education to a hiring manager. It also includes important contact information which is used to contact the applicant.

In the sea of job applications received for any given position, your resume is an opportunity to set yourself apart from the others.

You may have heard the oft-quoted statistic that hiring managers only spend six seconds looking at each resume. However, newer studies suggest that only 17% of hiring managers spend less than 30 seconds, while 68% spend less than 2 minutes reviewing each resume. Nevertheless, your time to make an impact is limited, so it’s important to ensure your resume establishes yourself as a strong candidate in a timely manner.

When it comes to writing your resume, standard advice has changed over the years. No longer are the templated, rigid resumes suggested for every position in every industry. As multimedia portfolios and LinkedIn profiles have entered the mix, it’s easier for a prospective employer to get a holistic look at any given job applicant through more mediums than just the resume.

However, resumes continue to be a crucial aspect of any job application, and here are several tips to keep in mind when writing yours.

Keep it short and sweet

In general, resumes are suggested to be no more than one page long. Remember – most hiring managers are spending less than 2 minutes reading your resume. If it’s too long, they might not even make it to the second page. Being able to condense all your information into one page also shows that you’re able to make decisions about hierarchy of information importance.

There may be some exceptions – if you are applying to a very high-level job and have many years of relevant experience, two pages may be more acceptable. But in general, one page is considered to be best practice across most industries.

Decide what’s really important

This goes hand-in-hand with the previous point, but on the flip side as well. Don’t include everything that’s ever happened to you, even if it keeps your resume under one page. For example, I used to be a waitress at the American pancake restaurant IHOP. While I value the experience gained and lessons learned, it’s not very relevant to the positions I’m interested in at this point in my life. However, if I ever find myself interested in the food service industry again, it might be something I would include. Be discerning about your experience and the desired position.

Show the numbers

Any time you can discuss results you achieved in your previous positions, it speaks to your previous success and suggests what you can contribute to your new company. Any time you can include numbers, statistics, or facts, it quantifies those achievements. Instead of generic statements, include specifics such as these: “Closed support queue tickets within target timeframe 100% of the time,” or “Implemented new travel management tracking software, saving $15,000 in overhead costs during initial 6 months.”

Fit the industry

When you’re applying for a creative role, such as an art director or copywriter, it’s generally acceptable to let your resume show a bit of personality. Using strategic pops of color or infographics would not seem out of place; in fact, it might be an advantage for the hiring manager to see how your creativity fits in with the company. However, if you’re applying for a more corporate job, it’s probably a better idea to use a very structured, buttoned-up format for your resume. You don’t want to stand out in a bad way!

Proofread

Just like we mentioned in a previous article about cover letters, it’s of the utmost importance to proofread. There’s nothing worse than sending off your resume – which you’ve worked so hard on, and are so proud of – to your dream job… and then finding a typo or grammatical error afterward.

There’s really no way to undo it, and all you can do is hope that the hiring manager doesn’t notice it. But the unfortunate reality is that many are looking for any reason to disqualify an applicant from the application pool, and spelling errors are an easy way to narrow it down. After finishing your resume, come back to it the next day with a fresh set of eyes. Have a friend or family member read it, too.

Include contact information

You should always include your first and last name on your resume – of course – because how else will they know it’s yours? You should also include your phone number with area code (and country code if applicable), full mailing address, and email address.

Many employers will make initial contact via email, so you want to make sure you have a “professional” email listed. If your everyday email is something like dance_gurl12345@gmail.com, you might think about using a different email address. Better yet, use an email provider like Gmail to create a brand new, professional email address. Ideally, it should be some variation of your name with minimal numbers.

Format appropriately

You want your resume to be visually appealing and organized in a sensible way. It should flow well from top to bottom. However, that’s not the only formatting you should think about. When including your resume file to attach to an online job application or email, you’ll want to make sure you’ve saved in an appropriate, efficient manner as well.

Saving your resume as a .PDF is a great way to make sure you don’t lost the integrity of the document when your file is being viewed on different computers or operating systems. Additionally, make sure you give the file a professional name, because the hiring manager will see it. John_Smith_Resume.pdf is a good example.

Resumes can be a complicated topic, but these tips should help to put you on the right track! Remember, at Brieffin we specialize in professional resume and portfolio design, so reach out to us if you need a hand getting started.

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