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.


Take Charge of Your Career

By Rachel Friederich, ICSEW Communications Chair

Two women standing in front of a projector
Phyllis Gallegos (left) and Janelle Guthrie (right) co-present at the ICSEW career fair May 21 at the Department of Labor and Industries in Tumwater.

Understanding what your personal values are most important to you can go a long way in helping you shape your professional career.

That was the theme for Taking Charge of Your Career, a joint presentation by Janelle Guthrie and Phyllis Gallegos at the ICSEW career fair May 21. Both women work for the Employment Security Department. Guthrie is the ESD’s communications director and Gallegos is an agency talent acquisition manager.

The women talked about developing a “communications plan” for your career RACE.

Research: Take a personal assessment of where you are now and what you want out of a career.  This includes listing your likes and dislikes about your current job, and listing what personality traits make you unique as well as all the skills you’re good at.

Guthrie and Gallegos said it’s also important to rank your most important intrinsic values (internal motivators) and extrinsic values (what rewards you get out of your work). Workshop participants took part in an exercise to identify their values. Knowing what values give you a sense of satisfaction can help guide you to your ideal job, the presenters said.

Action planning: Set goals using the SMART approach. Goals should be Specific Measurable Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound (Example: Conduct three informational interviews with professionals working in public relations in the next six months)

Carry out your plan: Put your plan into action.  Once you’ve set your goals, break each one down into small tasks to work on.

Evaluate: Check periodically to see if you are meeting your goals and objectives. You may have to adjust your plan or set new goals or objectives.

View the PowerPoint Presentation: Career Planning Presentation ESD

View the Meeting Minutes



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.


May 2019 Meeting Keynote Topic: Overcoming Gender Bias Patterns in the Workplace

Woman standing in front of projector

by Rachel Friederich,  ICSEW Communications Chair

Just 5% of Fortune 500 companies are headed by women. Amazon Senior Product Marketing Manager, Karen Greigo shared that fact, along with her own experiences dealing with inaccurate perceptions hiring managers and corporate leaders can have about female employees at the ICSEW’s May 21 meeting and career fair.

In her presentation, Gender Bias Patterns and How They Affect Our Careers Greigo talked about  personal challenges she overcame as she climbed the corporate ladder and became one of the top marketing executives for one of the world’s largest companies.

One of the most common gender biases bosses can have in the workplace is the way employees are evaluated. “Men are often evaluated on past performance, while women are often evaluated based on potential,” Greigo said.

Greigo’s presentation included tips to overcome gender bias patterns, like documenting one’s accomplishments in quantifiable results and finding “sponsors,” someone within your company who can help you excel in your career goals.

Greigo also recommended a reading list where she got many of her tips and insights for overcoming gender bias patterns in the workplace:

  1. Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (Douglas Stone, Bruce Patterson, Sheila Heen)
  2. Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead (Sheryl Sanberg)
  3. A Woman’s Guide to Successful Negotiating: How to Convince Collaborate, and Create Your Way to Agreement (Lee Miller and Jessica Miller)
  4. Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-free Plan for Embracing and Achiving Your Goals (Rachel Hollis)

Minutes for the May 2019 ICSEW meeting viewed here.