How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile in 6 Steps

These days you see social media almost everywhere you look. There are new social media platforms being launched every day. We even have our own industry specific platform called commonsku. Despite its ubiquity, you need to use social media carefully in order to make the right impression to employers and colleagues.

When it comes to your career, LinkedIn is by far the most important social media platform. Because LinkedIn is a professional network, you need to toe the thin line between sharing too much and not sharing enough. However, it can be tricky to find that line and to stick to it. Below, you will find some tips and tricks on how to optimize your LinkedIn in order to look for the job you really want!

#1

Every day, recruiters and hiring managers are looking for you. They have opportunities available and need someone with just your skillset. If you’re open to new opportunities, the best thing you can do for your career is to make your skills stand out.

Use the headline section to sum up your current role and area of expertise. List the skills you use on a daily basis. Show your passion! Make note of your major contributions to your current company.

#2

Choose your profile image wisely! Employers, recruiters, and colleagues will see this picture of you often. It’s always helpful to be able to put a face to a name or voice. No, you can’t use your wedding photo and definitely not the photo of you in a bathing suit. Your outfit should be work appropriate. Many companies will look at your image and begin making judgements about you. Make sure that those judgements are positive ones.

#3

Focus on pertinent professional information. It’s great that you’re a cat lover. But stick to the professional parts of your background on LinkedIn. There’s also no need to include anything from your high school days when you worked the drive thru. The rule with a resume is that it should go back 10 years, and the same rule applies here.

#4

Recruiters and employers search for candidates using keywords. Leverage this fact by peppering keywords that describe your work expertise and career aspirations throughout your profile. The correct keywords play a huge role in getting your profile found by hiring managers and getting you considered for that next big opportunity.

#5

If you’re actively sharing your resume, make sure that your resume and LinkedIn profile are in sync.  There are hiring managers out there who will deny you an interview because your resume and LinkedIn don’t match.

#6

Make sure to set your profile so that it is visible to recruiters. This means you need to make sure your “Let recruiters know you’re open to opportunities” toggle is set to “Yes”. This makes sure that recruiters like us can find you when we search in our LinkedIn.  This will also ensure that you get the best possible visibility during your job search and that you see the wide range of positions that we are looking to hire for.

As always, with all social media, be sure not to overshare or share anything you would like to keep private.  Also, be sure to avoid sensitive topics when sharing or writing posts. Avoid politics, religion, and sexuality.  These could be red flags to employers when they look at your profile.  LinkedIn is supposed to be strictly professional, let’s keep it that way!

Follow PromoPlacement on LinkedIn to get great career insights, job opportunities, and promo industry news!

How to Leverage Your Career Growth

What if there was a surefire method not only to advance, but to maximize, your career?

You know how when you start a new job, you’re super excited? Your brain is a sponge, and you’re just trying to soak up everything about the company, position, and industry that you can. It’s called the honeymoon phase, and it lasts for six to twelve months. During this period, you’re highly engaged and gaining terrific experience.

After the honeymoon phase, you continue to gain experience and remain engaged. However, after two or three years in a role, the novelty and excitement that you once felt levels off. In other words, what was once interesting and challenging becomes routine. Once you hit this phase, it’s time to push for either a promotion or a new opportunity with a new company.

The graph below provides a visual of how you can maximize both your experience and your engagement by picking the best time to leave one opportunity for another. To get the most out of this method, timing is critical. Two to three years in a position is ideal. Four to five years is too long.

You might be thinking that two or three years is too often to change positions. Isn’t that the kind of “job hopping” that you’ve been warned against? You’re exactly right, this is “job hopping”. However, if your career trajectory continues to rise, and if you’re putting yourself in a position to maximize your experience and engagement, you won’t need to explain yourself to a hiring manager. They’ll understand that you have made yourself into a professional of great value. “Job hopping” or not, they will want you on their team.

So, where does your career fall on this graph? Is your career trajectory trending in the right direction?

10 Things to Know About Recruiters | Client Edition

Our mission at PromoPlacement is to connect supplier and distributor clients with great promotional products industry talent. Our team brings over 40 years of promotional products and recruiting experience to each search we undertake. Understanding your business, the function of various positions in your business, and the unique business challenges you face are help us to deliver g on our brand promise.

Below are 10 things to keep in mind when working with a recruiter:

#1

As a contingency recruiting firm, we work exclusively with promotional products firms to help you find the talent you need to succeed. We treat each client relationship as a true partnership with the goal of hiring the best possible candidate for your firm.

#2

We take confidentiality very seriously. The name of your business is not shared until you agree to interview a candidate. Confidentiality is critical to protecting both clients and candidates and ensuring the integrity of the search.

#2

Each candidate search is unique. We conduct a thorough search for candidates for each opportunity we’re presented with. PromoPlacement targets only the individuals who fit the candidate profile. This profile is developed with your assistance.

We won’t send you a big pile of resumes to review. Our work is done with a laser, not a shotgun. Our goal is to provide you with 2-4 competent candidates for your to choose from.

#3

Searches are extensive and time consuming. During a search, we utilize email, social media, phone, and thousands of industry contacts to develop the talent pool from which your new team member will emerge. We don’t run ads. The highly successful candidates we want don’t read ads. They become aware of a great opportunity with your firm because we contact them directly and present the opportunity to them.

#4

We work exclusively with promotional product suppliers and distributors and provide only experienced promotional products industry talent. Our exclusive focus on the promo industry allows us to keep our finger on the pulse of our talent market.

#5

Due to the nature and thoroughness of our search, it can take anywhere from 6-12 weeks to complete your search. Planning your staffing needs in advance is critical.

#6

We don’t recruit distributor sales reps. During our first year in business, we had strong success in this highly competitive and challenging field. We now focus solely on salaried positions and can assist you with any role from mailroom clerk to CEO.

#7

Our days are pretty jammed packed. We’re busy but will always make time for our clients. Even if this means working nights and weekends. Our clients are our number one priority and for you, we are always on the clock. We’re on the phone most of the day, so email is often the best way to get a quick response.

#8

If we present a candidate who doesn’t quite fit your needs, don’t hesitate to say so. You won’t hurt anyone’s feelings, and you’ll help us to find better candidates for you in the future. We do ask for clear feedback on where the candidate misses the mark.

#9

Prompt communication is critical when is comes to discussing job candidates. The faster we communicate, the faster we can fill your position. Slow communication can cost us candidates who accept other positions with companies who respond faster.

#10

PromoPlacement wants to earn your business. By working together in partnership, we can take recruiting off your plate and find you the best industry talent available.

Contact us today to get started with PromoPlacement!

10 Things to Know About Recruiters | Candidate Edition

Every recruiting firm works a little bit differently. Each company has varying areas of specialization, unique candidate databases, and different services that they provide for their clients. However, one thing that all recruiting firms have in common is their commitment to finding great opportunities for great people and great people for great opportunities. There are plenty of challenges along the way, but we, at PromoPlacement, have spent the last four years perfecting our process and getting terrific results.

Below are 10 things to remember when working with a recruiter:

#1

We’re a recruiting firm, not a placement or employment agency. Our business is client-driven, rather than candidate-driven. That being said, we pride ourselves on doing everything we possibly can to assist job seekers.

#2

Our days are pretty jammed packed. We’re busy but will make as much time as possible to connect with you and to get to know you. Even if this means working nights and weekends. Our candidates and clients are our number one priority. We’re on the phone most of the day, so email is often the best way to get a quick response.

#3

When we connect, be sure to highlight your strengths. It is achievements, successful projects, and accomplishments that help us sum up your background to the hiring managers that we work with.

#4

Don’t hesitate to share your career goals with us. What position do you aspire to hold one day? Do you have a plan about how to get there?

#5

Triple check your resume. Then, send it to a few close friends and have them review it as well. Hiring managers hate resume mistakes.

#6

If we present an opportunity that isn’t quite up your alley, don’t hesitate to say so. You won’t hurt anyone’s feelings, and you’ll help us to better target opportunities for you in the future.

#7

If you suddenly can’t make an interview, please let all parties know as soon as possible.

#8

If we’re unable to identify the right opportunity for you at the moment, be patient. There are several ways that we can create the right opportunity for you. It just takes time and patience. Be sure to stay in touch and keep us posted on your job search so that we can best assist you.

#9

If we’re able to help you find the right opportunity, the best way to say “thank you” is with referrals. Referrals can be rewarding for you as well. We actually offer a $500 referral bonus if we can place the candidate you refer.

#10

The way to build the best possible relationship with your recruiter is to be completely honest and transparent. The more candid you are about your career goals and your hopes for the future, the more likely it is that our relationship with bring you the career success you deserve.

What has your experience been with recruiters? How can we improve to better serve you?

PromoPlacement Launches Promotional Products Career Hub

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Chesterfield, MO (December 12, 2018) – PromoPlacement, the leading recruiting firm to the promotional products industry, announced the launch of their Career Hub. Through the Career Hub (promoplacement.com/career-hub/)promotional products industry professionals will have easy access to every career page published by both distributors and suppliers. “We’re thrilled to bring the Career Hub to thepromo industry,” said Kevin McHargue, CEO of PromoPlacement. “It’s the result of our analysis of 35,000 promotional products industry websites and will bring 1,250 career web pages to our visitors’ fingertips.” Additionally, Kevin McHargue added, “We’re really excited about the opportunity to bring this portal to promotional products industry job seekers. It’s a big part of our long-term plans to enhance the careers of talented industry professionals.” About PromoPlacement Founded in 2014, PromoPlacement is the leading recruiting firm to the promotional products industry. The company’s mission is to enhance the careers of promotional products professionals everywhere. PromoPlacement currently partners with dozens of distributors and suppliers throughout the country. For more information about PromoPlacement, visit our website at promoplacement.com.

How to Extend a Job Offer

The most crucial stage of the interview process is the extending of the job offer. The employer has invested hours interviewer and vetting their candidate. They’ve finally landed on the candidate that they want to join their team. They are putting all of their hopes in this one candidate and this one offer. To succeed with your job offer you must first nail down any remaining details and present the offer in the right way.

Pay

Some employers will touch on compensation prior to the offer stage, others won’t. It’s best practice to touch on this topic during the second interview and get an idea of what your candidate’s compensation range is. You need to make an offer that’s in your candidate’s compensation range. Otherwise, you’ll just waste your time and theirs.

In the officer letter needs to include the following:

  • Total compensation
  • How that compensation will be paid (salary or hourly)
  • Bonus structure (if applicable)
  • Commission structure (if applicable)
  • Payment schedule

Benefits

You likely haven’t touched on your benefits package much in previous interviews, so you’ll need to explain them in the offer letter.

Plan to include the follow:

  • Details on health insurance (dental and vision)
  • Enrollment period
  • 401k or retirement account (matching)

Details

The offer letter is a very important document because it lays out the working arrangement between company and employee. Be sure that what you have in the offer letter reflects your conversations during the interview process or you may end up with a surprised or unhappy candidate.

Cover yourself and your business by spelling out the following:

  • Start date
  • Working hours
  • Personal and sick day policy

Process

In many cases, how you extend a job offer matters more than what is actually in the job offer. Follow this process and you’ll be giving yourself the best possible chance of getting your offer accepted quickly.

  • Include all of the above elements into your offer letter
  • Write it as a selling document for the both the job opportunity and your company
  • Schedule a phone conversation with your candidate and let them know that you’ll be sending the job offer over shortly before
  • Send the offer letter to the candidate just a few minutes prior to your call
  • Read and review the offer letter over the phone with your candidate
  • Let them know how excited you are to have them on your team
  • Ask them for their acceptance
  • If you don’t get it, ask what questions they have and work them out over the phone

No matter what you choose to do, no matter how you decide to extend the offer, make sure that you are as detailed as possible and that you are selling the opportunity as hard as you can. Happy hiring!

Toxicity in the Workplace

Today, many employees are stuck in a toxic workplace. These bad vibes can cause people to dislike their jobs, kill productivity, and hamper the growth of many organizations. Having a toxic workplace or bad office culture can turn a profit generating business into a money pit. So, what is a toxic environment and how do we stop it? To understand, we first need to know how a toxic workplace is created so that we can effectively change it and make our organizations a great place to work.

Communication

If you are starting to see a decline in communication or you find it difficult to communicate with your team effectively you may have a problem. One of the most well-known signs for toxicity in the work environment is the lack of effective communication. This can have a tremendously negative impact on the production of the business. Communication and team work are vital to any business that wants to be successful. Without communication you will see a rapid decline in individual and team functions. Workers who are subject to a toxic work environment will often say they don’t feel heard or understood by their peers or leaders.

Work Habits

Toxicity in the workplace can take a great employee from thriving to barely surviving. An employee will thrive when they feel valued and appreciated. When they feel underpaid and underappreciated it puts them in fight or flight mode of survival. Or natural instincts kick in our defensive walls go up. You will see an increase in absences, poor attitude, and lack of individual production because they are working to get to the end of the day and not to achieve a shared goal.

Team Work

Broken relationships and friendships can wreak havoc in the work environment. Gossiping because the norm, cliques are formed, and people feel pitted against one another. Most workers relate these types of experiences to that of being in high school. It is important to work together and have trust in each of your peers. Team building exercises can help strengthen the bonds and trust between team members and build rapport around the office.  These exercises don’t have to be elaborate or have huge prizes. They are fun and provide a production break from your ordinary schedule.

Work/Life Balance

As an employee it is imperative to have a good balance of work and home life. Without it you will feel the negative effects it can have on your daily performance and your overall health. These negative effects can go both ways. If you are thriving at work and happy at home life can be so rewarding. If the scale is tipped slightly one way or another it can be very challenging to get back into harmony. These types of imbalances are likely to have a negative effect on not only but your coworkers, as well. Both employee and manager are responsible for creating a workable work/life balance within your company.

The Spread

Many people know that toxicity can be like a spore of dandelion fluff in the wind once it is blown apart it spreads quickly and all over. As a leader it is important to snuff out any turmoil or issues before the trouble threatens morale within the office. It’s critical to the success of your business that you remain vigilante to any changes in the attitude of your office.

All in all, toxicity in the workplace is something that can occur within any organization, however, with the right environment and the right management your organization can thrive within a strong, happy office. The bottom line is, if management can quickly identify and stop it in its tracks, you will have an organization full of happy employees, willing to work hard for you day in and day out. Best of luck!

How to Onboard a New Hire

You have made your decision, you extended the offer and now the candidate has accepted.  Now you are faced with the onboarding process. While you obviously must follow state and federal guidelines when it comes to processing the paperwork, onboarding is so much more than just the legality of papers.  Onboarding is an ongoing part of the business. What you need to decide is how long the process will take, 30-60-90 days? One year? You also have to have the right people in your ship to follow the process and give it their full attention.

First thing’s first

The onboarding process should begin when you post the position itself. This is when you start thinking of your process, who will oversee it and what it looks like. Will you have employee orientation? Will the person in charge of the onboarding and training process be available to give this their full attention? What tools will the new employee need to do their job efficiently and correctly? Have everything ready for this person and be completely ready for their arrival.

Use the buddy system

Be sure that there is one specific person for the new start to latch on to. When this happens, there will be less direct questions to the manager which will allow them to focus on their own work. This also helps them feel immediately accepted and at ease in a new place.

Small Businesses

If you happen to be a small business, don’t overdo your onboarding process. You will actually see flaws and issues far more quickly than a large business which is why the large onboarding structures will simply be too much. Keep it simple.

Ask how you are doing

Ask your new employees what they like and don’t like about your process and take it to heart. See what can be changed, what issues there are, and fix them. Ask them what they would like to see changed, what they think should be added to your process, and ask what you can do to improve. There is no one size fits all when it comes to this and you may need to change things many times before you find what works.

All in all, keep evolving, keep up with the times and changes within your industry and your business. There is no right or wrong way here as long as you are willing to see and understand the need for change.

References 101 | Part 2

Now a days, most employers ask for you to provide them with at least three references. Most of us ask the same question, “Do they actually call and check those?” The answer is almost always YES, yes they do.  Picking the right references and asking those people to be a reference can be a task in and of itself.  On the employer side of things, checking those references can be daunting and time consuming, but as we lay out below, neither has to be true.

How to Check References

Ask for feedback

Touch base with everyone who has spoken to the candidate. Ask them what they think, what their concerns are, and what they would like you to follow up on. The goal here is to then mold your questions around what you are hearing and get more out of the third-party reference, than you could from the candidate.

Make sure you are clear with the candidate on what types of people you want to hear from. If you want to know more about their leadership skills, make sure to ask them to provide you with a supervisor or manager to better answer the questions you have revolving that skill.

Be prepared

Assume the call with take an hour. It won’t, but if you are better prepared to take that amount of time you won’t feel rushed and neither will the reference. The goal here is to take your time, dig in deep with their references, and ask any and all questions you have. It’s ok to stray from your pre-written questions and ask other follow ups as the call goes on so take your time.

Describe the job

Describe to the reference what you are looking for and ask if the candidate was under the same circumstances when they worked together. Example: “We are seriously considering Ellen for our Regional Sales Manager opportunity. In this role she will have to travel often and meet a goal of $3 million in sales. Is this similar to what she was doing when she worked with you? How did she handle it? Did she overcome obstacles? Did she hit her goal?

Open ended questions ONLY

Ask very specific open ended questions; instead of “What can you tell me about (the candidate)?” ask something more along the lines of “I understand that your company is goal oriented and competitive can you tell me how (the candidate) handled that environment on a daily basis?” Another way to ask is “I understand (the candidate) helped implement a new training process. Can you tell me what (his/her) role specifically was in that project?”

These questions leave it open for the reference to formulate a deep and detailed answer about what specifically the candidate did, what their skills and abilities are, and how he or she could be an asset to your company. This also opens it up for them to give any negative feedback they may have.

Soft skills

After you have the facts on the skills, abilities, and contributions of the employee, be sure to ask about their soft skills. Soft skills cover the candidate’s personality, how they handle the day to day stress, how they speak to vendors, clients and customers, as well as how easy they are to get along with within the office. These traits are just as important as the skills and abilities to get the job done correctly.

References are an essential and vital part of hiring the best employees for your business. Make sure you are taking your time with them and get all the information you can.

References 101 | Part 1

Now a days, most employers ask for you to provide them with at least three references. Most of us ask the same question, “Do they actually call and check those?” The answer is almost always YES, yes they do.  Picking the right references and asking those people to be a reference can be a task in and of itself.  On the employer side of things, checking those references can be daunting and time consuming, but as we lay out below, neither has to be true.

How to Ask Someone to be Your Reference

Choose wisely 

Choose people who will give you an exceptional reference, people you had positive experiences with. This does not mean they have to be former employers. It could be a client or vendor, a co-worker, or a professor. If you have limited business contacts, use a personal reference, someone who can speak strongly to your character, demeanor, and abilities.

Be careful how you ask

Don’t just ask “Will you be a reference for me?” Instead ask something along the lines of “Do you feel comfortable providing me with a reference?” This gives the person the opportunity to decline if they feel they would not be able to give you an outstanding reference.

Give them all pertinent information

Make sure they know what kind of jobs you are applying for and what companies could be calling them. This gives them the opportunity to prepare what they say and match what the company would be looking for.

Put your request in writing

Be sure to send an email with all of the information in it when you ask for them to be your reference. This gives them something in black and white to reference and allows them to answer truthfully. Be sure to include your name in the subject line so that the email gets opened and read.

Be Professional

When sending your email to ask for the request, be sure you sound professional.  Check the email for spelling and grammatical errors, and if need be ask someone to edit for you. Remember you are asking for a professional reference, you need to be professional in the request.

Say Thank You

Be sure you say thank you in your email as well. You are asking them to take time out of their busy schedule to do you a favor and help you get a job. Be sure to thank them for everything!

EXAMPLE:

Dear Steve,

I hope everything is well on your end and that you’re enjoying a busy 3rd quarter.  I wanted to touch base with you to ask for help in my job search. I am in the process of looking for a new position as my current position is being eliminated.

I would like to ask your permission to use you as a reference who can speak to my skills, qualifications, and abilities. I would always advise you when your name and contact information is given out this way you know who to expect a phone call from. I would also include what type of position it is, and what they are looking for.

I really appreciate your time and efforts in this and look forward to hearing from you soon.  Also, if you know of any openings that I may be qualified for I would appreciate the help.

Thank you,

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