How to Boost Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is the most powerful, professional tool available – no exceptions. From finding jobs and building a sales network to staying connected with former colleagues and managers – it’s our virtual Rolodex (remember those? If not, google it!) and a great way to build your professional brand. Here are a few ways you can boost your profile (with some instructional links included) and ensure you are noticed on LinkedIn:

  • Customize your URL – More people are catching onto this, but it’s a great way to have an easy-to-remember link that you can put in your email signature, business cards, give over the phone, etc. Remove the crazy numbers and letters that follow your name and claim your link. If you have a common name, insert your middle initial or abbreviate your name (i.e. ktravia). Here is a quick link on how to customize yours.


  • Build out your network – Are you new to LinkedIn? Have you not used it in awhile? Do you normally leave connection requests pending? If you answered yes to these questions, chances are your connections are less than 500. Everyone can see how many connections you have when it’s less than 500 (you can see how many you have regardless of the number). Go to the site today and accept all those pending requests. Use the feature where LinkedIn will sort through your email contacts and send requests. You can have it search through your work email, gmail, yahoo, hotmail, even AOL! Are you still on AOL? Let’s try out a new email server if you are. 😉  Here are instructions for searching importing and inviting your contacts on LinkedIn. If you haven’t done this step process in over a year regardless of how many contacts you have, do it again to ensure you capture anyone new you have emailed with lately.


  • Ensure you have the meat and potatoes – What are the meat and potatoes of your LinkedIn profile? It’s actually 3 things so technically it’s the meat, potatoes and maybe green beans of your profile if I want to use a correct analogy: Profile Pic, Headline and Summary. Make sure you have all 3 and they are captivating. For your profile pic, make it a pic that is easy to see and only of you. You can get anonymous feedback on it from Just upload the pic, give feedback on other pics and then wait for yours. For your headline, don’t just say you are the Vice President, ABC Company. What do you do or specialize in? Lure people into your profile with an engaging headline: Digital Media Specialist and Creative Content Manager. Lastly, build out your summary. It doesn’t have to be long, but it should showcase who you are, what you are good at and what you have accomplished.


  • Refresh your profile – If you haven’t updated the content in your profile in awhile, check it out today. And next month. And the next. Put a reminder on your phone so you can go to the site on a monthly basis and add to it. Add skills, accomplishments, volunteer experience, certifications, programs, projects, media, etc. The options are endless on what you can add to your profile. But the more you keep it fresh, the better chance you have of your profile being noticed more. This will help you for building out your network, getting more connection requests, increasing sales leads (if you are in sales) or increasing your chances of getting noticed for a new job.

It’s okay to have a robust profile with updated content and be happy to stay in your current role. LinkedIn isn’t just a site for those looking for a new job. It’s a way to build out your professional brand, increase your visibility and gain new leads (again if you are in sales). So many of my clients tell me they are scared to make changes to their profile because they don’t want their managers to see you building it out. That mindset is a thing of the past. Refresh your professional brand today. If you need help or guidance updating your profile, drop me a note!


Goal & Objective Setting for 2017

The past 2 weeks, I’ve conducted 6 workshops at an innovative PR firm in Ardmore, PA. The topic of the workshops was Objective & Goal Setting as it relates to the performance review lifecycle. Each workshop set the tone for a strategic, organized calendar year for the participants as they think through their short-term and long-term goals, ensuring they are aligned to the company goals.

We began with an introduction exercise of setting New Years resolutions and how to compare (and improve) the process for setting professional goals. The content provided overviews on goals v. objectives, how to establish individual objectives, align objectives to the SMART goal setting model and lastly how to incorporate personal development into objectives.

The 1-hour workshop included my learning content, classroom exercises and team exercises. Each session offered something new and different to the training. But the most important part of the training were the team objectives that the participants came up with during the team exercise portion of the training. Each training session identified a new objective with a complete action plan that the PR firm can use now going forward in 2017 (or 2018 depending on priorities), which were created by their own employees coming up with thoughtful goals aligned to the company’s strategic vision. Our motto as we left the training:

Quick Revisions For a Modern Resume

Whether you are creating your resume for the first time or dusting off an old copy that hasn’t been updated in 5 or more years, times change and so do resumes. Here are some quick tips to help ensure your resume is 2016/2017 ready.

  • Contact Information: Your name, phone number and email are all still critical for your resume. Home phone lines are no longer necessary and can be cumbersome if a family member answers while a recruiter or hiring manager is trying to get in touch with you. My advice is to leave home lines off your resume. Secondly, if you don’t feel comfortable adding your full address to your resume, the truth is that you don’t have to include it. Your City/State will suffice. Better yet, why don’t you add a link to your LinkedIn page (make sure to customize the link!).


  • Skills: The skills section is a great way to highlight systems, software, computer language skills or fluency skills you may have. “Internet Explorer” and “Microsoft Office Word, PowerPoint and Excel” should not be on this list. You are required and expected to know how to use all of these. Save the space and highlight any vendor systems you have worked with or special skills you may have to set yourself apart from the competition.


  • References: If the employer needs a reference, they will ask you for one. Actual reference names, contact numbers, emails and, more importantly, “References Available Upon Request” are not needed. Save yourself the space and highlight a big accomplishment instead.


  • LinkedIn: Aside from including a hyperlink on your resume to your LinkedIn profile, make sure you have a robust LinkedIn profile to match your resume. It is the most powerful professional networking and recruiting tool available now. If you are not on LinkedIn and active on it, you may be missing some great opportunities. So when you are updating your resume, make sure you are doing the same to your LinkedIn profile.


If you need help updating or creating your resume and building out your LinkedIn profile, contact us at or (203) 564-9233 for assistance!

You Got the Internship. Now Get the Job!

Summer is finally here! If you are a college student, it was fun in the sun during May, but now it’s internship time. The internship and job market are competitive nowadays with students requiring internships earlier in their college careers to help build up their attraction to companies. But getting that coveted internship is half the battle. You haven’t won the battle until you get the offer to return again the following year – whether it’s a full-time job or an invitation to intern again. And everyone wants that offer – regardless of whether you accept it. As someone who has managed formal summer programs across some of Wall Street’s finest institutions, I have some suggestions to help you perform well this summer and get that offer!


Do a little spring cleaning: You’ve got some work to do before the internship. Take time to clean up your presence on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Check your pictures and comments to make sure its nothing your mother wouldn’t want to see. You are going to be meeting people this summer and establishing professional relationships, which may lead to “friend” requests. Make sure you are portraying the image you want to portray to your future employer and coworkers. If you need help, try Social Sweeper – an app that scans through your Facebook and Twitter accounts to help you identify those red flag comments and photos. Make sure you are also googling yourself and checking the images to ensure nothing surprising exists there as well.


Get on LinkedIn: LinkedIn is eliminating the need for business cards and hardcopy resumes. Get on it if you aren’t already on it. Add a picture, write some content, make connections and start building your professional social media presence. Everyone uses it now for networking, finding jobs, maintaining contacts, growing sales and finding new clients. Your college may have some great LinkedIn groups to join, which will help you build your network. Throughout your summer internship, make sure you connect with anyone you meet with on LinkedIn.


Make the effort with the team: You may be one intern joining a team of 2, 10 or 20. Your team will only have to get to know you while you’ll need to get to know 20 people. Ask for a team organizational chart or team roster and start taking notes about the people you meet to help you remember names. Make it a goal to get to know everyone’s name quickly and ask to set up time to get to know them. The more proactive you are in getting to know the team, the more eager they will be to work with you and get you involved in meetings, projects, etc. Be sure to get a good understanding of the team dynamics and company culture. For example, ask your manager about work hours as well as lunch practices.


Set up weekly meetings: Schedule weekly meetings with your manager for 1:1 time and feedback. You want to know at all times how you are performing during the summer. Make sure you are getting developmental feedback so you know what to work on during the summer. There should be no surprises at the end of the summer about the offer decision if you stick to these meetings and seek constant feedback.


Ask questions: All-star interns take the time to review the project, understand it, ask the right questions and work independently to complete it. It’s important that you understand what you are doing and how to do it. If you don’t, always ask questions rather than assume you know the answer or the right way to do it.


Go above and beyond: You’ll want to review with your manager the first week what your job entails and his/her expectations. Focus on achieving those goals, but also go above and beyond that. Seek stretch assignments. Does your team need an updated org chart if no one had one that first week? Does your team need updated procedures? Is there something they are doing that could be done better? Ask yourself all those questions and then go answer them. If you worked on a big project during the summer, ask to present on it at the end of the summer to your team members or senior management. It will show your passion for your work and allows you to exercise your presentation skills.


Be more than prompt: Let’s face it. You aren’t used to waking up at 5 or 6am right now. It will be an adjustment. Don’t be late for work, meetings, scheduled events, etc. Make it a habit to get to the office 20 – 30 minutes before your scheduled start time. That way you have a buffer for commuting issues, and you’ll have to a chance to catch up on the news or emails before everyone else gets into the office.


Document your achievements: Send your manager a daily or weekly email of what you did including a status of any ongoing assignments. Send one as an example to your manager and if they prefer it daily or weekly. It will keep you organized. It will inform your manager of how you are spending your time and progressing with your goals. Lastly, it will provide a good baseline for you and your manager for your formal performance reviews.


Network. Network. Network: Network with your team members. Network with other interns. If you are in a formal program, try to meet them for lunch or coffee breaks. Network with other managers. Find alums from your college at the company to network with (use LinkedIn if you need help). Build your network at the company and capitalize on your time to maximize your learning opportunities. Just be sure to keep performing in your job, and do not let networking negatively affect your performance.


Be a sponge: You are going to embark on a great learning experience. Not just in the actual work you’ll be doing, but by taking in the office environment, company culture, team dynamics and much more. Learn. Absorb. Take notes. Carry a notebook or iPad to write, remember and question. Taking notes and showing curiosity demonstrates your enthusiasm and your eagerness to learn.


These tips will help you regardless of whether you are working at a local marketing firm, a start-up in San Francisco or large financial institution in New York City. Enjoy the experience and learn all that you can!


Happy Summer!


An abbreviated version of this article was published in The Villanovan and at





Have you prepared for your summer intern yet?

It’s May. May means college students are returning home at the end of the school year. High school students are growing antsy with the warmer weather approaching. And many companies are planning informal and formal programs for their summer hires. As someone who ran summer programs across firms on Wall Street, this is an extremely busy time for companies with formal summer programs. They are planning orientation and training programs, finalizing placements, training managers, assigning and training mentors and planning a whole host of events throughout the summer for their summer hires.


Whether your company plans a formal or informal program, you should be preparing for your summer help. Defining projects, identifying tasks for them, designing a training or onboarding program and speaking to your team about their arrival. People have different names for their summer help: interns, summer analysts, summer help, summer hires, graduate inductees, fellows, college interns. Call them what you like. . . just don’t call them kids.


During my time preparing for a summer program, nothing made my skin crawl more than when someone called their intern a “kid”.


“When the kids arrive, we’ll make sure they all meet at. . . “

“Where should I meet my kid on his first day?”

“How should we manage these kids when they start to. . .”

“Can I give the kid a project on. . . “


That’s just a few of the phrases and questions I used to hear.


Yes, they look young. Most high school or college students do. Yes, they were born after you graduated from college or after Growing Pains stopped airing on ABC. But they are hungry to impress you, excited to absorb all they can about what “real life” is like as a working professional and eager to know if you anticipated their arrival as much as they anticipated starting.


Can you imagine the disappointment if they found out you referred to them as kids? How will your team members view them if they are referred to as “kids” before they even walk in the door? Treat them as if you would treat a new hire on your team. They may have a steeper learning curve to overcome as far as how to navigate working in the real world, but that’s the whole point of their summer experience. They are working for you to gain as much knowledge and information about what life would be like working as a full-time employee at your company.


So if you have summer help joining you in the next few weeks, here is my advice to you. Anticipate their arrival. Design an onboarding plan or training program for them. Prepare projects and assignments for them to work independently as well as contribute to the team’s responsibilities. Speak about their arrival to your team with information about your intern and their expected projects or deliverables. Introduce them around the first week and take them to lunch or coffee. Lastly, call them whatever you like: summer help, intern, summer analyst. Just remember, don’t call them a kid.

Twitter – Because Why Not?

If I had a nickel for every time someone told me they weren’t on Twitter, I would have. . .  A LOT of nickels. How are people not on Twitter nowadays? If you aren’t on Twitter, why not? It’s easier than Facebook and even Instagram. You don’t have to wait for pictures to load. You don’t have to scroll through newsfeeds of a video that a friend from high school liked of a dog that can say “I love you”. Twitter has the most recent news in the most condensed format. Who doesn’t love that? If you are a skimmer like me, Twitter is a match for you.


I would say that I’m relatively new to Twitter, less than a year on it, so I’m no “Twitter expert”. But I go to it now for a wealth of information: career development articles and quick tips, recent news and announcements, weather updates, celebrity gossip, recipes, everything! The beauty of it is that you can follow the companies, people and groups that interest you. The information is more dynamic, instant and educational than following the same organizations or people on Facebook. During Hurricane Sandy two years ago, my friend was able to get power updates instantly from our town on Twitter. And who doesn’t want to miss all the insightful things Amanda Bynes, Kim Kardashian or Justin Bieber have to share? Only teasing.


From a recruiting perspective, Twitter can help you in so many ways. You can follow career professionals (like Career University!) to get quick tips or links to articles for information on writing resumes, interviewing, career advancement, social media branding and more. In your job search, you can follow the companies you are interested in working for and, more importantly, follow their career handles to find out about new or hot jobs. You can also engage with recruiters, who will post about their searches on Twitter. Engaging with them shows you have a strong interest in the company or opportunity.


So if you aren’t on Twitter, did I provide you with a little nudge to create a profile? It will take less than 5 minutes – download the app, create a profile, link it to your Facebook account, have it search your contacts to start following some friends and start searching for individuals or institutions that interest you. Then start scrolling and start engaging! Most importantly, when you join or if you are already on, follow @career_univ!

 Happy Tweeting!


Dress for the Job You Want . . .

We have all heard the phrase “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” It has been repeated to new hires, college students, people interviewing and individuals being coached for a promotion. Strangely enough this phrase is still ignored and can ruin a job interview or send a manager running to HR for help on delivering a difficult message.

Being in HR for years and working with entry-level hires for the majority of it, I’ve had many awkward conversations with people about their dress attire. My favorite one so far is telling a woman wearing a Bermuda-short suit that it wasn’t appropriate to wear to a job on Wall Street. “When was the last time you saw a man walking around the office in a suit with shorts? So why would we think that it would be okay for a woman to wear shorts in the office?”

But I was not always an angel when it came to following the dress code rules. When I was a summer analyst at Merrill Lynch, I remember wearing these modest (yet painfully ugly) mules to the office one day. The dress code at Merrill Lynch specifically said no open-toe shoes, but I always saw women walking around the office in strappy sandals or peep-toe shoes. I decided one day to wear those mules to the office when I blindly thought they would look fashionable with my skirt and button-down.  Within 10 minutes of being in the office, the second year analyst on the team shouted down the hall to me “Look at you, breaking the dress code policy rules as an intern!” My face lit up like a Christmas tree and remained that shameful, scarlet shade the rest of the day.

I could rattle off 100 tips for dressing the part, but I’ll keep it to 5 simple tips:

  1. Stick with the right color – and keep it neutral. CareerBuilder does a study every year of the most powerful colors to wear. Always at the top of the list are black, navy blue, and gray. Always at the bottom of the list are yellow, orange and purple.
  1. Know your industry. If you work in a creative industry, don’t show up to work everyday in a business suit to dress for the part you want. Incorporate some creativity into your wardrobe. If you work in a more conservative industry such as financial services, don’t show up to work or a job interview with blue nail polish.
  1. Look at what your mentors and leaders in the office are wearing.No matter what type of work environment you are in (business attire, business casual or casual) always look at what your mentors are wearing or the senior people in the organization. They are setting the example for you. If I had looked to my mentors when I was a summer analyst, I would have never worn those open-toed shoes.
  1. Wear clothes that fit you well. This works for both genders. Make sure you wear pants and a jacket that fit YOU – not your dad or the image of you 5 pounds ago. If your suit is too big, you may look like Tom Hank’s character at the end of the movie Big.


For the women, watch your hemline. And your neckline. And the tightness of your clothes. You want to be remembered for what say and how you operate in the office. Not for being the “girl with the short skirts” or the “low-cut tops”. We’ve seen this too many times. When was the last time you saw Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer or Sallie Krawcheck wearing a short skirt or dress? Never.

  1. Keep it clean. For you, this means showering and having a professional appearance free of tattoos, body piercings, etc. For your clothes, this means wrinkle-free and stain-free. If you follow me on Twitter (@career_univ), I did a #tbt this past week from one of my favorite Super Bowl commercials. Like having food in your teeth, a stain on your shirt can be just as distracting. Coming from the person who always spills coffee or food on herself, I always have to be armed with a shout-wipe or tide-pen at all times.

Tweet_Tide Pen

Your clothes shouldn’t be a distraction from who you are professionally and the impression you want to others to have of you. Lastly, if you have clothes that don’t fit anymore or that you no longer need, pay it forward and look to donate them to someone that could use them. Dress for Success and Career Gear are two examples of organizations that accept donations.

Happy Dressing!

#dressforsuccess  #jobperformance #interviewing

5 Ways to Exercise Your Networking Muscles

You have your daily routine set. Wake up. Maybe exercise. Maybe think about it. Get dressed and start your day. Answer calls, respond to emails and tackle that “to do” list. But don’t forget to exercise your networking muscles as part of your daily routine.  In my posting from last week I discussed starting a career development routine. I stressed the importance of networking on my list of suggestions.

Not sure where to start? Here are 5 suggestions for exercising those networking muscles this week.

  1. Tap into social media. This is the easy one that you can do from the comfort of your own desk or home. Example: Log into Linkedin, check out some recommended connections to “friend” and send 2 – 3 messages to people from your network that you haven’t spoken to in awhile.
  1. Utilize your company. Larger organizations normally have a host of development events, professional networking groups and other opportunities that fosters networking with fellow colleagues. Check out what your company currently has to offer and find time in your schedule to take advantage of it.
  1. Network in person. Schedule a lunch break, coffee chat or catch-up with a colleague or friend close to your office. Dedicating 20 minutes once a week for these face-to-face interactions can provide you insight and potentially open doors to different opportunities.
  1. Connect with alumni networks. Colleges and even high schools have networking opportunities just waiting for you to take advantage of. If you already graduated from school, see if your school’s career service center has an employee dedicated to alumni networking and development. If you are a current student, visit the office and tell them about the industry or companies you are interested in. They will be able to provide you with names of people to contact. If you aren’t already a member of your school’s alumni network on Linkedin, Twitter or Facebook, join it now! Those groups have discussions, articles and loads of contacts ready for networking.
  1. Join a virtual networking event. Aside from #1, this is the second easiest way to network. You again join an event from the comfort of your own computer or desk. No dresscode attire to worry about. Does your hair look good? Who cares! You can join virtual career fairs, conferences, women’s events, diversity events, industry specific conferences, etc. The options are endless.

Try one or try them all. The importance is to try. Happy networking!

#careeradvice  #careeruniv #networking

Establish A Routine

Do you have a case of the Mondays this morning? Break out of the Monday morning blues by making some time in your schedule for your own career development. Creating your own career development routine is a great way to focus on yourself (which many of us have a tough time doing) and to prepare yourself for the future. Your future may mean a new role at your current company, a promotion, a new job at another company or a completely different career path. Whatever your future may be, start preparing for it now.

Screen shot 2014-10-12 at 10.59.09 PM

So here is my recommendation to you. Take 10 minutes a week, which we can all do, for this little routine.

  1.  Set your goals – expanded role, promotion, new job or permanent role. Once you focus on what you want, think through a plan on how to get there and start a list of all the important things you need to do to prepare for it. If it’s a promotion, start scheduling some time with mentors and your manager. If it’s a new job, start your list of updates needed: LinkedIn, Resume, Cover Letter, etc.
  1. Get out there – and by “there” I mean get on social media. There is a wealth of information to prepare you and a vast network to help you. The peanut butter and jelly for professional development? LinkedIn is your peanut butter and Twitter is your jelly. Use LinkedIn more than you already do. Actually do what everyone says you should do – add a profile pic and update your information. But don’t stop there. Scan the newsfeed on it. Its not just articles about editing resumes or how to interview well. You can find out articles on public speaking, building presentations, market data, weight loss, nutrition, work-life balance, everything under the sun. LinkedIn has INfluencers – well-accomplished and respected individuals that write articles for their followers. All these resources in just this one site provide such a wealth of professional development opportunities. Let’s not forget Twitter. Get on Twitter. Twitter is valuable in so many ways, but that’s for another post.
  1. Start a career tracker. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – even just a simple excel spreadsheet to record your milestones, achievements and accomplishments. Did you help your company save some money and come under budget? Record it – especially the dollar amount. Did you help generate revenue for your company in a new product or initiative? Record it – especially the dollar amount and percentage.  Did you work through a project and had a really challenging time with the team? Record it  – especially how you helped the team through the challenge. Spending a few minutes each week reflecting on your time at work and documenting your milestones will help you prepare for the future. If your company requires you to write a self-evaluation on your performance for the year, you already have a documented list of your accomplishments. If you want to start looking for a new role and need to update your resume, you already have the foundation for making those updates to your resume and preparing for interviews. And remember – the resume you want to prepare is one that highlights your achievement and accomplishments in addition to your job responsibilities.
  1. Reach out to your network. Your network could be former colleagues or managers, high school or college friends, family, etc. Embrace the power of your personal network to help you professionally. I know I’m not the first career genius to write an article about the importance of scheduling “coffee chats” or lunches. But if you already don’t have a solid routine of networking and keeping in touch with people – stop reading articles about the importance of networking (with the exception of this one. . .just finish it at least) and start sending out some emails and scheduling some catch-ups. I spoke to someone from college the other day. We hadn’t talked in 12 years, but we were on the phone for almost an hour.  It was one of my favorite conversations of the week. We picked up right where we left off and discovered that we have an ability to work together in the future. It’s amazing what can happen from a ten-minute conversation.

So today is a new day and a new week. Think through your new career development routine and set some reminders in your calendar on a weekly basis for that small block of time. It only takes 10 minutes.

#careeruniversity #careeruniv  #getthejob  #careerplanning


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