Using LinkedIn to Advance Your Career

By Rachel Friederich, ICSEW Communications Chair

The professional social networking site LinkedIn has 133 million users in the U.S. alone and reaches more than 200 counties and territories around the world.

So it makes sense that it can be used for career development. Everything from job searching, networking with other professionals in your field and giving and receiving career advice can all be done on Linked In.

Career Coach Linda Tilson gave a primer on how to set up and use your LinkedIn account at the ICSEW career fair May 21.

Among the tips she offered to make your LinkedIn profile as effective as possible:

Keep an Updated Profile: Members with a profile picture are more likely to get views compared to those that don’t.

Be comprehensive about current skills and objectives: Use your headline to share your main objective if it makes sense and add all of your skills to your page.

Be more than a fly on the wall. Engage with others on LinkedIn, as you would any social network. Post articles you write. Use your connections to seek—and give—career advice. The more you act as a professional, the more you’ll be noticed and build recognition. Get involved in professional groups.

Research your future boss and executive team.  Before going on an interview, or applying to a job with an organization, see if the company or your potential boss has a LinkedIn. You can use it to find out about the company’s and/or your potential boss’ likes, dislikes, important company values, etc. You can leverage this information during the interview and show you’ve done your homework.


Cracking the Code to Effective Resumes

By Rachel Friederich, ICSEW Communications Chair

man standing in front of projector
Lonnie Spikes from the Department of Licencing talks about effective resume building at the ICSEW career fair.

When it comes to building an effective resume there’s no ‘one-size fits all’ template, according to Lonnie Spikes, Talent Acquisition Manager for the Department of Licensing.

Spikes gave a presentation on effective resume-building at the ICSEW’s career fair May 21.

Spikes gave some insights to how applicants are screened for Washington state government jobs. He said unlike Federal government jobs, which are often screened by computer programs, trained job recruiters are the first ones to take a look at a candidate’s application package.

He said to tailor your resume to the job description, based on the skills you have. He says people can sometimes forget putting skills on their resumes because they’re so used to it, it’s second-nature to them. (For example, word processing skills you learned in elementary school).

“Give yourself credit for your skills, even if they seem like putting on a shoe,” Spikes said.

He said combing through all your files– no matter how long they may have been sitting in a pile untouched—can provide useful information to a potential employer about your skills. Past award certificates, evaluations, reports, etc. can be a treasure trove of material to include in a resume.

Other bits of information Spikes shared:

  • Always bring a portfolio of work with you to formal interviews, informational interviews, job fairs, etc. You always want to be able to demonstrate your work.
  • Turn in your application as soon as possible. You are competing for jobs on a global market. You’re not just competing against your next door neighbor. The majority of companies’ job posting and application process is done online, so you’re competing with potential job candidates from all over the world.
  • Spikes said it’s not unheard of for recruiters at the state level to receive several hundred applications for a single position. However, recruiters are limited to advancing just 20 applications to the initial screening process. Make sure to tailor your resume to make sure yours is in that batch of 20.
  • If you see a job listing with a recruiter’s name, don’t be afraid to contact the recruiter. They can often help answer questions about a position.
  • Length: There’s no magic formula for the appropriate length of a resume. Just make sure it’s long enough to properly address your qualifications that are relevant to the position.

Minutes from the May 21 meeting can be viewed here.


Become an Interview STAR

woman standing in front of screen holding a remote control
When it comes to interviewing, Leadership Coach Amy Leneker tells her clients to use the mantra “Practice Makes Better,” as there’s no such thing as being perfect. Photo by Rachel Friederich

by Rachel Friederich, ICSEW Communications Chair

Behavioral based interviews. The mere phrase can strike fear into the hearts of even the most experienced job candidates. Yet, they’re one of the most common types of questions for government jobs.

The key to acing these type of interviews, according to leadership consultant and coach Amy Leneker is to practice responding to these type of questions long before you’re even called into the interview. Leneker, a former state employee and the CEO of Compass Consulting, held multiple workshops on using the STAR method for behavioral based interviews at the ICSEW’s first ever career fair May 21 at the Department of Labor and Industries.  More than 100 people attended. Minutes for the May 2019 ICSEW meeting viewed here.

The STAR Method

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Results.

Leneker says the response to each question should be given using each component of STAR.

Situation:  Describe the situation you encountered

Task: Describe the task you had to do.

Action: Tell the interviewer the action you took to accomplish the task.

Results: Wrap up the question describing the outcome of the situation.

Participants in each session were divided into groups of three and attendees role played the interviewer, job candidate, and observer. Each person practiced the STAR method and received feedback from their peers.

Leneker also suggested when answering questions to say the words Situation, Task, Action and Results in your responses because it often helps you organize your responses and keep them succinct. And if the company/interviewer values the STAR method in its work culture, they’ll be impressed you’re familiar with it, too, Leneker said.