"Jack-of-all-Trades" Needs A Little Career Luck From AOL

Welcome to the "AOL Career Luck Project." Inspired by you, our readers, this new weekly series offers practical advice by showcasing real-life examples of career makeovers. Learn to create your own career luck using the tips and techniques given to project participants. Every Thursday.

Meet Kevin, A Jack-of-all-Trades

Kevin spent the last 14 years working for the same employer managing their presence in the U.S. They recently decided to eliminate operations in America, which meant they no longer needed Kevin. As Kevin started to conduct his job search, he realized his job had evolved over the years. He found it hard to define himself and identify job opportunities he was a match for. Why? Like many people who stay with companies for an extended period of time, Kevin had become a "jack-of-all-trades." As you'll see, the problem is potential employers wrongly view him as a "master of none."

Watch this video to hear Career Management Specialist J.T. O'Donnell explain what Kevin will need to do to get an employer's attention:

AOL Career Luck Project with J.T. O'Donnell

Kevin needs to select a specific area of expertise to showcase to employers. When you can explain in detail how you solve an employer's problem and alleviate their headaches in a particular area, they will be more interested in hiring you.

Kevin will start by identifying what he enjoyed most about his work over the last 14+ years and tie that to how he saved or made his employer money. When you match what you like to do to how it impacts the bottom line of your employer, it shows you understand why you get paid. This is very attractive to hiring managers. They need to know you recognize the importance of providing enough value to justify the cost of employing you.

LinkedIn Profile Offers Great Opportunity to Stand Out

Kevin's next step is to revamp his LinkedIn profile. This is one of the most important tools a job seeker can use today. You must build a professional brand online as a way to stand out. Four out of five hiring managers review a candidate's profile online before contacting them. LinkedIn is currently the most popular recruiting tool used by businesses today. The better the profile, the better the chances employers find Kevin and reach out to him about employment opportunities.

Photo & Headline = The 1st Impression

Studies show recruiters are 7X more likely to click on a candidate's profile when they have a picture. Your profile picture is very important. Kevin's current picture isn't bad, but it could be better. He needs to level the camera so that it doesn't feel like he is "looking down" at the viewer. He also need to shoot from the shoulders up and bring the shot in closer. Kevin should keep an engaging smile on his face. The goal is to have a close-up that gives the impression you are happy, confident and pleasant to work with. Not sure if your photo is working for you? Try a site like Photofeeler.com, and test various pictures to find the one that gets the best scores.

Next to Kevin's photo is one of the most important elements of a profile: the headline. This is where Kevin can optimize his specialization. Right now, Kevin is wasting his headline by listing what his former job was. Why? Recruiters use keywords to search for potential candidates. These keywords are the skill sets the hiring manager needs for the position. When the keywords a recruiter is searching for are in the headline of a profile, the candidate rises to the top of the search list. Kevin is missing a valuable opportunity to put four or five key skill sets in his headline as a way to show up in more recruiter searches. A suggested headline would look like this:

Software Industry | Customer Service | Client Management | Business Operations Support

These keywords all relate to Kevin's focus on his expertise around managing relationships with existing clients. Although Kevin was involved in sales, his real passion lies in supporting existing customers and helping a company maintain and grow its business with established clients. If he wants to find jobs that leverage these skills, he must showcase them!

Summary: Keep It Short & Factual

Kevin's summary is too long and doesn't focus on the area he wishes to showcase. By definition, summaries should be short and factual. Kevin needs to simplify his message. Studies show recruiters tend to skim profiles instead of reading them word-for-word. This means you must get right to the point. Kevin needs to share his overall experience in as few words as possible - but still make a strong impression. The solution is to use numbers to quantify your experience. Numbers are proven to be the most memorable and easy-to-recall aspect of a profile. Kevin's summary should read something like this:

14+ years in software sales support for a global company.
Managed the relationships of 50+ U.S.-based customers for annual revenues exceeding $250,000/year.

This simple summary provides impact and immediately gives a sense of Kevin's expertise in client management.

Experience: Quantifiable Accomplishments

With 14+ years at the same company, it can be hard to map out your accomplishments, but that's exactly what Kevin must do. First, he'll need to break out the years to show a progression in his career. He obviously grew his position over time and must map it out as a way to prove to potential employers he developed professionally. If he doesn't, employers could assume Kevin spent the entire time "coasting" in his job and that he may not be the kind of employee they need.

In addition to breaking out the progression of his career over time, Kevin will also need to identify three to five quantifiable accomplishments for each role. Instead of telling employers what job tasks he had, Kevin will need to highlight the results he got the company through his efforts. Similar to his summary, Kevin will need to list the number of clients he managed, any major sales deals he closed, and even list the percentages of growth he can attribute to his efforts. If he doesn't, Kevin will be seen as not having anything significant to show for all his time at one company. It might look something like this:

  • Managed customer operations for 50+ clients in North America and South America.
  • Increased revenues with existing customers by 20% year-over-year.
  • Delivered client support for 5+ industry specialties including pharmaceutical, biotech, life sciences, government agencies, and research organizations.
  • Maintained and grew revenues for U.S.-based operations to $250K annually.

See how the numbers-driven bullet points above emphasize Kevin's accomplishments in his chosen area of expertise of client management? You immediately get a sense of where his strengths lie and recognize the value he brought to the organization.

Kevin's Next Step - Market His Client Management Expertise to Local Software Providers

Once Kevin gives his LinkedIn profile an overhaul, he'll be ready to proactively reach out to local software companies and start discussions around how he might be able to support them.

FACT: Many employers today are hiring, but not posting jobs. Why? They don't want to get hundreds of applications from people who aren't really interested in working for them. Over 80 percent of jobs gotten today are done so via referral. When you identify who you want to work for and reach out to them to let them know, you have a much better chance of getting an interview.

If Kevin focuses on his ability to save and make companies money with his client management expertise, and shares his passion for software, he will soon be able to find a new employer that will leverage his skills and offer him the opportunity to grow.

Want to be considered for a makeover in the AOL Career Luck Project? Send an email with your story, resume and LinkedIn profile to CareerLuck@teamaol.com Use the words "AOL Career Luck" in the subject line.

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