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Strategies and planning

Looking for a new job? Your old employer’s practice is only to confirm the dates of employment? Beef up your LinkedIn profile and get recommendations

While asking me questions about their legal rights and options, clients often worry about looking for a new job. They wonder what their old employer will say to a prospective new employer. I explain that many employers have adopted a business practice of only confirming the dates of employment and the job title held by former employees.

There are other ways nowadays to provide a prospective new employer with specific data about your skill sets and recommendations. One good avenue is LinkedIn, a popular job networking website. LinkedIn has easy advice about how to beef up your profile and get recommendations from people in your network, including former colleagues. LinkedIn enables you to review the recommendation before it is posted. Asking for a recommendation is also a good networking tool because it reminds people you are on the market. Don’t forget to write a recommendation for someone you respect as this can generate good will. Don’t wait for a request for a recommendation from one of your contacts. Take the initiative and write a recommendation which may generate a recommendation for you from that person.

I find that some clients, even supposedly savvy Millenials, either don’t have a profile on LinkedIn or their profile is skimpy. It is important to market yourself to prospective employers. Companies¬†are attracted to employees who detail their expertise and experience. It is not bragging. Now is the time to “toot your own horn.” Remember to cite objectively measurable accomplishments like budget authority, revenue growth, cost savings, customer endorsements and company rewards.

Recruiters and search engines look for specific terms about certain kinds of skills and work history. For example, don’t just say you are a Data Analyst. Emphasize that you are a Data Analyst for IT and Compliance, and explain what that entails. Don’t just say you are an Executive Assistant. Say you are the Executive Assistant for the Vice President of Operations who manages over 100 people and a budget of $1M. It’s more compelling to advertise yourself as the Business Development Manager for Cloud Based Marketing than simply Business Manager. Check out the LinkedIn profiles of people you know and respect for ideas. Good luck!

Pamela A. Smith
Law Office of Pamela A. Smith
233 Needham Street, Suite 540
Newton, MA 02464


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