Top tips to be a Linkedin all star

Top tips to be a Linkedin all star

I am still surprised by the number of people I meet you do not have a Linkedin profile. I meet these people often for the first time when doing a preliminary interview for a role, and it is one of the first things I tell them to do.

No matter what you personally think of Linkedin, it is a truth universally acknowledged that all recruiters and most employers use Linkedin as a recruiting tool, and if you are serious about your career you will need to have a Linkedin profile, and use it effectively.

  1. Make sure you have a professional looking profile photo. Don’t use glamour shots, photos where you can see someone has been cropped out, or a photo of yourself in a social situation. The photo should be simple, clear, and professional. It doesn’t have to be a mug shot, though! Did you know that if you have a professional photo you are 14 times more likely to be found on Linkedin?
  1. Personalise your url. To do this, click ‘edit profile’, then on the wheel next to your Linkedin public link below your profile picture. This will bring up a box that says:

Your public profile URL

Enhance your personal brand by creating a custom URL for your Linkedin public profile.

Edit the Linkedin URL automatically created to shorten it to your own name – this will ensure your name is one that comes up first in any search for someone with your name. If your name is already taken, add a ‘1’ to the end of it.

  1. ALWAYS add a personal message when connecting with people – for example ‘Dear Bronwyn, it was lovely to meet you at the xyz event. I’d like to add you to my professional network on Linkedin’.
  1. Your headline is what you DO, not where you WORK.
  1. Your summary should be written in the first person, not as if someone else is writing about you.
  1. Follow organisations that interest you (hot tip – other law firms publish content that may be educational).
  1. Join groups in your area of interests.
  1. Participate in group conversations.
  1. Follow thought leaders.
  1. Publish content – whether your own, or shared content from other Linkedin members, thought leaders, or published articles.

Most people spend approximately 17 minutes per month on Linkedin, with 13% of people using it on a daily basis.

Are you a Linkedin all star?

MAINTAIN MOMENTUM – CHRISTMAS IS ALMOST HERE

Is anyone else exhausted already?  Christmas is so close but there is so much to do – work to finish, demanding clients, presents to buy, food to think about, relatives to worry about, and Christmas functions to attend.

Christmas should not be a time of stress, but it often is. The perfect pictures of non-arguing families sitting down to enjoy Christmas lunch or dinner, is not the reality for many.  In fact, I found this Aldi advertisement to be so honest it was almost depressing!  But it is also quite funny, albeit a little bit confronting.

Christmas, like 30 June, is a deadline for many work matters.  Everything has to be done by what is an artificial date in some clients’ minds, or an actual commercial deadline.  The looming deadline, along with personal pressures, can place pressure on your personal resources and impact your ability to cope.

So if you are working right up to Christmas with deadlines, demanding clients and colleagues as well as a diary that looks set to explode if you try and squeeze one more thing into it, how do you best survive the silly season?  [And on that note it is called the ‘silly season’ for a reason!].

Focus

What are the ‘must do’s’ between now and Christmas from a work perspective?  Focus on those and get them in your diary, staying focused on the important things.

Limit your social events

You may be invited to numerous celebratory events or get the ‘we must catch up before Christmas’ email.  The latter can easily be turned into ‘let’s catch up before February’. Why we can go a whole year without social interaction with some people and then feel the need to see them before Christmas is beyond me.  Choose carefully which events you will attend and which you don’t need to attend.  There are also some you can stay at for a long time, and some you can stay for a limited time.

Look at your diary

On that note, look at your diary each day.  Becoming overwhelmed can happen when you least expect it, but if you look at the diary and groan at the beginning of the day with the number of things you have to do, it’s time to ditch something or practice taking lots of deep breaths.

Look after yourself

As hard as it might sound, limit your alcohol and food intake – aside from the fact that you need to wake up refreshed each morning, ready to start the day and keep going, no one wants to discover on 27 December that they have gained three kilos.  Try and get some exercise – it is not only good to help keep your weight down but is good for your mental health.

Keep going – the finish line is almost there and you can start 2016 in a good frame of mind.

What are your best tips for not only surviving but also thriving in the silly season?

WORLD KINDNESS DAY

Today is world kindness day.  This day is celebrated as it is the anniversary of the opening day of the first World Kindness Movement ® conference, held in Tokyo in 1998.

The official purpose of World Kindness Day is to “look beyond ourselves, beyond the boundaries of our country, beyond our culture, our race, our religion; and realise we are citizens of the world” (for more information visit the official website)world-kindness-day

Isn’t it a shame that we have to have a day dedicated to kindness, in a world where we are all rushing from one thing to another.  It is easy to forget the simple things that make for a happy workplace.  One of these things is the simple act of kindness to others.

Aesop once famously said:

No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted”. 

Think about those nine words.  It is such a simple statement – not just the number of words but also the truth of those words.

When we show kindness to others, we invariably receive a ‘thank you’ in return.  The impact on our mood in giving the gift of kindness, and receiving gratitude, is immeasurable, although scientists and psychologists are doing their best to measure it.  Recent studies have shown that kindness is contagious – and this Huffington post article explains a little about that.   Plus it has a bonus scene from my all-time favourite Christmas movie ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’.

So if kindness is contagious, imagine if all people in the office decided to practice a random act of kindness for a colleague every single day – what an amazing workplace that would be.

There are many ways you can practice kindness to your colleagues, and not all of them take time or effort.  The simple act of holding the lift as the doors are closing, for someone rushing to catch it, is an act of kindness.  As is opening the door for someone carrying a heap of heavy files.

I asked some of my colleagues to tell me their favourite way of showing kindness to others.  I can’t publish all of them as this blog post would be too long so here is a selection:

Sherri Hodson  – Chocolate (yum)

Carla Thomas – By remembering what they like and showing an interest in their interests.

Kara Plummer – Chocolate (double yum)

Ashton Bradley – Asking how people are, holding open doors, leaving communal areas tidy & smiling.

Shae Sivyer – Smiling, compassion & showing them you care.

Caitlin Chapman – By always greeting and saying goodbye to each colleague genuinely and instigating a conversation on how the person’s day is or how their night was.

Davina Wenzlick – A smile and a word of kindness.

Nelly Cham – Going the extra mile for a colleague

Paul Turk – Make them a cup of tea (all cups of tea taste better when made by someone else! – ed)

Shonnea Nicol – Always treat people the way you want to be treated.

Caitlin Grimmer – Giving compliments & congratulating on good things happening

Clare Hammond – always smiling and saying hello

Karen Waldock – Do unto others as you would like them to do  to you.

How are you going to show your colleagues kindness today?

How to Get Good Supervision

In a perfect world, your supervisor will be someone who gives clear instructions, as well as their expectations and timelines. In reality, supervisors are very busy people and often have something that needs to be done quickly, and don’t always articulate what they need from you. They are under pressure from clients and other practitioners. So here is a guide to make sure your supervisor gets the best out of you.Supervision 2

  • Ask for background information – knowing the bigger picture can put the task into context.
  • Be clear about the end product and effort required. There is no point in preparing a four page memo when your supervisor wanted a 5 dot point summary or a verbal report.
  • Clarify the priority and
  • Clarify your authority – are you able to call the client, for example?
  • Identify useful resources – is there a precedent available, or a similar file someone else has conducted? Reinventing the wheel is a waste of time.
  • Summarise your understanding of what you are being asked to do – repeat back your instructions to make sure you have not misunderstood. This will save a lot of time should the instructions not have been clear.
  • Touch base if necessary to make sure you are on the right track for complicated or lengthy tasks.
  • Set aside time – your supervisors are busy people. If it is not urgent, make a time that is convenient for them. And use their time efficiently.
  • But – seek assistance promptly if you are in trouble. Don’t leave it to the last minute, with a deadline approaching to tell someone you are struggling.
  • Ask for feedback after the event. How wonderful if your research was copied and pasted into a letter of advice. If it was changed, what could you have done differently?
  • Take constructive feedback on board – don’t avoid it or become defensive.
  • If you have multiple supervisors, discuss & clarify which urgent matter has to take priority prior to commencing any of them.

Remember – this is your career, and it is your responsibility to take control of it and make sure you develop and grow with the help of your supervisors. If you work with them in a way that makes their life easier, they will come to depend on you. And that is a good place to be.

15 THINGS TO DO IN ‘15

Don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions?  Fair enough. Here are 15 things you can just DO for your career in 2015.Goals 2015

Set goals

Setting realistic and achievable goals, and working towards them will bring you great satisfaction at the end of the year as your reflect on your achievements.  Goals, turned into action items, are achievable.

Know your worth

Find out what the going rate is for your level and area of expertise.   If you have exceeded your budget, ask questions, based on what you know about the market.

Learn the art of a difficult conversation

Avoiding difficult conversations just makes the problem worse.  There are some fantastic articles and blogs on the internet that provide guidance.

Prepare for your appraisal properly

Your performance appraisal, if annual, is about your performance over the last 12 months, not 12 days.  Keep a notebook and make notes of things that have gone well, things that did not go so well, things you want to learn, or courses you want to attend.  Keep a copy of compliments from senior lawyers and clients.  Keep a record of presentations done (including internal) and articles published, and other contributions to the firm.  If you are expecting constructive criticism, prepare for it, take it on board and act on it.

Find a mentor

If someone is acting as a mentor to you, keep the relationship going.  If you need a mentor, let a relationship develop into a mentoring one, or ask a trusted senior colleague if they would be prepared to mentor you.

Be a mentor

Even if you have just finished your graduate year, you have the capacity to be a mentor to someone more junior.  Make yourself available, answer questions and give advice.

Master presentations

If you hate public speaking, learn to love it, or at least not dislike it.  The worst thing you can do is avoid speaking opportunities.  Look for them and practice the craft and you will soon be owning the room.

Write articles

Look for opportunities to write about your area of expertise – even if it for internal use only.  Once you get into the habit, it will become easier.  A wise person at a writing conference once said “Plumbers don’t get plumber’s block.  They just do their job.  There is no such thing as writer’s block”

Business Development

Whatever your level or experience you can play a role in business development.  Think about ways to add value to clients – we have previously written about that here: http://empirecareers.com.au/adding-value-for-clients/

Exercise for mental health not to lose weight

The benefits of exercise for a healthy mind don’t need to be explained.  Forget about losing weight for the moment.  Get regular exercise, even in 10 minute bursts to get your heart rate up, and you will feel better for it.

Plan for breaks

Make plans for holidays – it will give you something to look forward to and allow you to have a break from the office.  Closing your eyes and taking yourself off on a little ‘mind break’ by imagining yourself somewhere peaceful while breathing slowly will give you more energy for the next task.

Ask questions for clarity

If you are unsure of what is required of you, always ask questions for clarity.  It will save a lot of time and frustration.

Volunteer in the firm

Get yourself known outside your own practice group by volunteering on committees.  Your promotion will depend on the opinion of people other than your supervising partner.

Cross marketing

Look for opportunities to introduce clients to other people and services in the firm.  If your client is a property developer, introduce her or him to someone in finance, or litigation, should they ever need those services.

Accept responsibility; give credit

Make sure you don’t become defensive or blame others when something goes wrong.  Accept responsibility if it is yours (and sometimes it might not be but you should accept responsibility anyway) and give credit when it is due.  For example, a timely advice may not have just depended on you – your secretary and the person who helped with the research deserve credit too.

There are probably many other things that didn’t make our list of 15 things to do in 2015 for your career.  What are you going to do?

Take Control of Your Career – Being good at your job is not enough

It is easy to think that if you:Take-Control-of-your-career

  • Work hard
  • Show commitment
  • Are a team player
  • Develop your skills
  • Attract new work
  • Meet or exceed your budget

that promotion will be yours eventually.

Doing great work and being a good person won’t get you that promotion.

One of our consultants attended a networking event recently which was full of recent law graduates.  The young people in the room were so full of optimism and enthusiasm it was infectious.   And they had achieved so much in such a short time – good academic results, great social lives, part time (or in some cases full time) work, volunteer work.  It was exhausting just listening to what they could pack into a day.

Talk came around to ‘getting to the top’ whatever that might be for different people.  One of the young women said that she thought as long as she did good work, ‘kept her head down and got on with it’, she would ultimately be recognised and promoted.

Unfortunately that is far from the truth.  Being good at your job and a ‘good employee’ will not get you a promotion or a pay rise.  The fact is that SOMEONE has to know what you want and when you want it.  And that person needs to champion your cause.

So find out what the promotion criteria are that you will need to meet.  Ask what the timeline is.  Talk about your career aspirations openly at the appropriate time.

Most importantly, ask for feedback on your performance, accept it maturely and be prepared to act on it.

It is your career so you need to take control.  Ask for what you want. Be prepared to get it.  Being good at your job is not enough.

Focus on the Positive

You’ve got to accentuate the positive

Eliminate the negative

Latch on to the affirmative

But don’t mess with mister inbetween

–          lyrics by Johnny Mercer

What we focus on grows. It’s an age old saying which means that the more you think about all the things that are going wrong, the bigger they become, and the more likely it is that they will happen again.

How many times do you reflect on your day, or your week, and recall the things that did not go quite right, or which went wrong.  Turn that around.  Start focusing on the good things that happen and watch how your whole attitude gradually changes.  Whatever you focus your attention on, grows.  SO focus on the positive aspects of your job – what you enjoy, the people you like, and the good work you do. Keep focussing on that and the negative things will fade away.  And after a while when something bad happens, it disappears because you are so used to focussing on the positive.

Our brains are fascinating – we can choose our thoughts just as much as we can choose our behaviour.  And how we behave is important in the workplace.