Using Linkedin to Advance Your Career

I'm a LinkedIn creep and I have no shame in it. It started when I was in college and I was gaining more exposure to professionals through college job fairs and other career programs. I loved connecting with people who were in positions that I wanted to be in one day- Director, VP and CEO. In most instances, I would have brief convos with the professionals, graze past a couple light topics but never diving in deep on a topic- basically just enough to spark my curiosity.

I had two main questions each time- how did they get the job and can I do the same thing? I wished I would've spoke with them longer and often wondered what their resume looked like. Then I discovered LinkedIn. It was liking having access to everyone's professional career story- what school they went to, their first job, which moves stalled them and which moves propelled them. I started recognizing how certain companies gave you a career stamp that was invaluable or how picking the right start-up was life changing.

I began seeing what steps I could possible take to reach my end goal. I effectively began using LinkedIn to map my career, making decisions on modeling others who I saw as successful. Modeling and mapping saved me time, gave me confidence and opened my mind to the possibilities where my career could go. 

LinkedIn is known as the business professional Facebook. It is a powerful tool you can leverage during your career climb. It is known for its effectiveness helping recruiters and candidates fill positions, helping professionals connect and gain skills but I think its most powerful use is for conducting career research aka creeping and using it as a tool to map your career.

If you want to learn how to leverage LinkedIn, within our soon-to-be released career course "The Career Takeoff", we detail how to reverse engineer your career path- specifically how you can find people to model your career path after to reach the position you desire. In "The Career Takeoff," I share a story of how taking a position outside of the typical accounting path lead to a $20,000 increase in salary. My decision to take the position was heavily influenced by LinkedIn research. 

Be on the lookout for The Career Takeoff! 

How The Talented 6 Can Help You Reach Your Career Goals

Have you ever found yourself in a really bad situation that you could’ve avoided if you had taken action at the appropriate time? If your answer to that question is yes, you can easily recall the thoughts that crept into your mind. Angst, regret, dread and fear all run through you making your stomach drop to the floor.

I’ve found myself in that situation multiple times, but there is one particular time that stands out above the rest. I’ll never forget that day - May 8th 2011, the day after my college graduation.

You want to talk about contrast? The day before I walked across the stage of Mount Union’s indoor rec facility, swaggin out each step as 3 basketball courts full of family and strangers looked on. I felt that rush, you know that high you only get when you accomplish a monumental task. Seconds later I proudly shook hands with the president and grasped the piece of paper that represented my ticket to the working world. It was the best day of my life. May 8th was one of the worst because it brought with it a sudden realization - I had no place to cash in that ticket. 

When I graduated from college I wasn’t ready for the real life. I wasn’t responsible. I did not have it all together. I hadn’t come anywhere close to preparing my mind for the shift required by adulthood.

All I wanted to do was continue to live the undergrad life, which for me consisted of performing a minimal amount of work, partying and drinking with my friends.  

But what you want to do and what you need to do are often different things, and what I needed at the time was to find a job. To obtain one I’d have to shift my mindset. If I wanted to be successful reality required me to transform from the kid who could barely make it to a 9 am class to a hardworking, dedicated 8-5 employee.

During my college years I didn’t put myself in a position to fulfill the latter part of that previous sentence, so on the first Monday following graduation while my friends and classmates who had their lives together went to work, I sat at home browsing the internet trying to find a job. I felt worthless, dumb, insecure and I hated myself for not taking the necessary steps to prepare for what was required of me.

You might be reading this post and thinking – “ok but what does this have to do with me?” I’m glad you asked. If you’re a college student, pause for a moment and take inventory of where you are in your journey. Maybe just last week you sat in a classroom thinking – what am I doing here? Perhaps you’re halfway through a major you just realized doesn’t align with your passions at all. Maybe you’re a few classes short of graduating and feel totally unprepared for the working world. Or if you’re a recent grad, much like I, you might have made it through college by the slimmest of margins.

If any of these scenarios feel familiar, you know the anxiety that accompanies the thoughts. In any of these positions, you may find yourself constantly comparing your accomplishments to the people around you only to learn – what you’ve done just doesn’t measure up.

Or perhaps you find yourself on the other side of the equation. You made the most of your time as a student and hit the ground running. Maybe your biggest concern as a young professional is figuring out how to level up.

Whatever the case may be, we have something for you. A means to add tools to your professional toolkit. The kind of tools that can help you finish college strong, find an internship or a job and level up once you do.

Wherever you are in your personal journey, there’s always a next step for you to take. To prove the point let’s perform a little exercise.

College Students

Write down the average salary for an entry level position in your field. Then write down what you want your salary to be. If you don’t know where to find this information just go to glassdoor.com.

As an example, let’s say the average starting salary is $35,000 and you want to start at $40,000. The gap between where you are and where you want to be is $5,000, a pretty substantial gap and I’ll explain why.

If you accepted a job at a salary of $35,000 and after 1 year on the job you get a 5% raise due to excellent performance. A 5% raise on a salary of $35,000 brings your pay to $36,750. However, if you negotiated and obtained a starting salary of $40,000 – a 5% raise on a salary of $40,000 increases your pay to $42,000. Now, you may view that as only a $250 difference and think – what’s the big deal?

The starting salary at your first job will play a factor in every raise you get over the course of your career. Employers raise salaries incrementally, and fair or not raises are largely based on your previous salary. The higher your initial salary, the higher your earnings with be over the course of your career. In time, having the ability to negotiate that $5,000 increase in your starting salary can compound into hundreds of thousands over the years of your career. If you’re not equipped to negotiate your starting salary, you’re paying a cost of $5,000 today and thousands of dollars down the road.  

When I graduated from college I expected to walk into a 45,000 entry level accounting job. Instead I ended up making less money than my mother who didn’t even have a college degree. Through favor, and skill development at the time of this post I’ve more than doubled my starting salary.

In our new e-book - The Career Takeoff we share exactly how we obtained internships and negotiated salary raises, tips you can use in your own situation right now.

Young Professionals

The same applies to you. Think about your salary or earnings for the last year. Now think about what you want your salary to be. For example, let’s say your salary was 40,000 and your next goal is to make 50,000. The gap between where you are and where you want to be is 10,000. You’re paying a cost of 10,000 every year you do not solve this problem.

In The Career Takeoff we also explain how we closed the gap to get to a desired salary range. All that and more is detailed for young professionals.

Here at the Talented 6, we live by the words – Learn Together, Grow Together, Build Together. When we graduated college we weren’t equipped with all the tools needed to reach the heights we aspired to. Over time we developed skills and competencies that allowed us to make up ground very quickly. We want to pass our knowledge on to you. To help you fast track your development. To help you peek around the corner of your career and know which way to turn.

We designed The Career Takeoff to assists you with learning specific tactics and tools that will in-turn unlock new opportunities for your career. This e-book will facilitate professional growth by taking you inside the mind of recruiters and employers. It will expand your skillset by adding decades of knowledge from people who have been where you are. Through engaging posts, word for word scripts and easy to duplicate examples this e-book gives you everything you need to reach the level you aspire to.

Now is the time to make a decision. You can continue to develop at your current rate, or you can fast track your growth. You can progress at the same rate as your peers or you can go past them.

If you want to put yourself in position to get the job or raise that you feel you deserve you’ll need help from people who have been where you have been and beyond. Don’t choose to guess when answers are readily available. Members of The Talented 6 have obtained over 30 combined years of working experience. We’ve risen from entry level positions to management. We’ve doubled and tripled our salaries. We’ve aced interviews and internships and we’re sharing everything we’ve learned with you in our soon to be released e-book The Career Takeoff.

 

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Available soon on Amazon! 

Entrepreneur vs 9 to 5

I can’t help but be overwhelmed by all of the entrepreneur hype over the last year: IG post everywhere, YouTube Sensations blowing up, and Facebook floods. Along with the positive energy around Entrepreneurship, I’ve also been feeling and seeing the hate for the 9 to 5 or Career life.

“Fuck a 9 to 5”, “You’re not a man unless you’re your own boss”, “Don’t let your job keep you from your dreams”, etc.

I’m always bothered when I see these types of post. One side hating on the opposite side, like it’s not possible to have an appreciation for both. In this case, pretending as entrepreneur or career life is either right or wrong. For me, my career in healthcare serves a big purpose, it’s the main method I financially support my family and lifestyle. I can appreciate going into work every day for 8 hours being productive and knowing that production will lead to a check that will allow me to enjoy life.  For the most part I enjoy the actual work as well, but I know its some people working a “9 to 5” and it’s absolutely their passion and gives them purpose, like a teacher, firefighter, doctor, nonprofit employee, etc. so where and how do the previous 9 to 5 hate statements apply to them? They don’t, these people have tapped into their passion and found happiness in their jobs so why hate.

Is the Entrepreneurship wave just a trend? Will everyone starting up a hustle be just a temporary thing, and eventually the fakers will be exposed? Or is it part of an evolving community and be one of the major staples of the millennial generation?

I can see that as strong possibility, us being known as the generation that multitasked their way to success. Entrepreneurship being the method we break chains that held our parents’ generation back, a method to overcome debt and other financial obstacles. Us reinventing ourselves by career standards every 5-10 years. Conversations between friends like, “Hey Ryan, I thought you were in healthcare 5 years ago? Well yea I was but I leveraged my salary into a couple businesses and I do this fulltime now”. I can really see this as being a strong possibility especially after thinking about what’s impacting the trend; Social Media influencers, Entrepreneur Personalities, Social Media as an advertising platform, the economy and resources. Influencers and stars will always come and go, but the advancement in technology and social media has empowered everyone to take full advantage of their network.

I do real estate has a side passion, I love homes/architecture, it gives me side income and allows me to serve my community. The venture has been very fruitful but I wonder sometimes well not wonder, I think about what an important role social media in particular Instagram has had in my success with real estate. When I first began the teachers and older folks told me to blast out an email to everyone you know introducing yourself as being in the industry. I did and didn’t receive much feedback. I did the same thing two months later and received a ton of comments and feedback but more importantly clients. “Ryan my girlfriend is about to buy a house and I thought about your IG post from the other day”.

Going from idea to business launch is easier than ever, going from 0 to 1 client is easier than ever and in most cases can be done at very low cost. For this reason I think the Entrepreneurship wave will continue to grow and impact culture in a positive manner. At the same time I hope we don’t forget 9 to 5’s sustain some of these businesses birthed from Entrepreneurship and more importantly each path should be appreciated because each can be a path to happiness.