.(Updated October 2017)
Recommendations for your past work are one of the most powerful inclusions to have on your LinkedIn profile. But it’s not enough to do great work and wait for the recommendations and endorsements to flow in. Typically, you are going to need to ask for them. But just making a general request using the LinkedIn recommendation boilerplate copy is not enough. What you ask, and how you ask it, will determine how likely you are to get a reply—and a useful recommendation for your profile.
5 steps to follow when asking for LinkedIn recommendations
Step 1: Decide on one project or role to target
Although it may be tempting to send out dozens of requests, covering every position listed on your LinkedIn profile, resist that temptation! You’ll get better recommendations if you keep focused. Start with the role or project that you are most proud of, and that exemplifies the kind of work you’d like to do more of. Now, break down that role into the core competencies you demonstrated, and your key accomplishments. With this list in hand, you’re ready for the next step.
One of the small complications of being a portfolio careerist is figuring out how to present your overlapping permanent positions and short-term projects on your resume, and then talking them through in an interview situation.
Chances are if you are applying for a position at an established, large organization, your recruiter is likely to start asking questions to the effect of “Are you going to use your time on the clock for us and our resources to pursue outside unrelated projects?” Which is why you need to head off that line of questioning at the pass by incorporating your portfolio career as part of the pitch for why you’re the right hire for the position.
Having been through this conversation a number of times over the course of my career, I’ve found the key factors for navigating this topic successfully are:
- being transparent about your overlapping projects
- reinforcing what you learned from the projects
- clarifying what overlapping projects, if any, you have at the moment
- ensuring you gain understanding from the recruiter and the hiring manager on the organization’s policies about concurrent projects
Continue reading “How to Use a Portfolio Career as an Asset When Applying for Jobs”
One of the more difficult tasks as a solopreneur—or anyone who works in a corporate setting for that matter—is identifying the appropriate “voice” for your written communications and online interactions.
You may be tempted to try to keep your work life and private life separate when it comes to voice, but inevitably, especially thanks to social media’s proliferation, those outside of work comments and photos and activities become part of your professional brand—whether you like it or not.
On the one hand, you don’t want to try to maintain an artificially inflated version of yourself that won’t hold up under pressure but you also want to craft a polished, professional public persona that will help you meet your career goals.
So how do you balance it out?
I’ve definitely struggled with this balancing act throughout my portfolio career. The answer for me was to be transparent and consistent across my disparate activities.
For example, I was a regular arts and entertainment writer, covering all sorts of special events and concerts for a fairly hip and irreverent online publication, while working in communications for a large publicly traded corporation.
Rather than keeping my dual life a secret, I made sure to incorporate the cultural events journalist into my corporate persona. And I was always aware that anything I wrote in my off work time could possibly be read by my colleagues or even my boss. So I made sure not to step over any cultural lines, or make any comments that could be construed as not being supportive of my workplace.
How did that play out in real life? It meant I didn’t write copy that slammed big business, or that made fun of my industry, or that would be offensive to my company’s clients. That didn’t mean selling out or writing blandly either. It just meant keeping my copy positive and resisting the urge to snark. Which at the end of the day probably improved my writing—and my personal brand.