Wednesday, February 13, 2013

LinkedIn accounts: Does it pay to pay?

I often get this question in the LinkedIn workshops that I I need to have a premium account?  And my answer is always the same: yes/no/idon'tknow because there is no one size fits all account type on LI.  However, let's spend a little time breaking down what the basic options are:

Recruiter accounts: monthly charge ranges from $39.95 to $499.95 per month. 
Job Seeker accounts: monthly charge ranges from $15.95 to $49.95 per month
Sales Professional accounts: monthly charge ranges from $15.95 to $99.95 per month
Premium/Business accounts: monthly charge ranges from $19.95 to $99.95 per month

Now each of these has little nuances that make them different.  For example, the job seeker premium accounts supposedly take you to the top of the pile in search results.  Sounds nifty but it isn't going to make a bit of difference if the recruiter isn't interested in you.  High ranking does not always equate with high interest.  In addition, the job seeker account does not give you access to see full profiles of anyone in your network.  Seems like a big thing to leave out...The sales professional account offers you access to Lead Builder.  Sounds cool, right?  Hmmm...not sure that it's anything other than a riff on searches that you could already do on your own.  But, the reality is that all of these will have different features and benefits that will interest some and turn off others. 

My bottom line advice is to compare all of them and if you are a job seeker who thinks that the recruiter account gives you the most bang for your buck, then buy that one.  Who cares if you aren't a recruiter-it's simply LI's account title, not your job title...And ultimately, first strengthen your presence on LI before you shell out any cash.  You may find that you can do everything you need without having a premium account anyway!  Good luck and happy hunting!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Portfolio careers...are they worth it?

A lot of people are tossing the title Consultant around these days.  For some, it means that they consult with companies on things that they posess subject matter expertise in.  For others, it means that they do contracting work on a short term basis but prefer the term Consultant versus Contractor.  And for others it means unemployed and consulting the TV guide on back episodes of NCIS.

However, for me, Consulting means that I do a little of this and a little of that.  For those of us in the career planning business, we refer to these as portfolio careers.

A portfolio career is simply a work life that encompasses a couple of different roles/functions often in a non-traditional way.  For some it may mean that they do part time admin work while also doing as needed dog walking.  For others it may mean that they pick up the odd contract here and there doing consulting in the energy industry while also launching their website selling wax figurines of their dog.  And for some still, it may mean that they work to make a living doing a couple of different professional endeavors like job search coaching and recruiting (hello-me!).  Regardless of what is in your portfolio, this is becoming more and more appealing to professionals who are realizing that they no longer have to have one traditional job in order to still maintain a happy and healthy career.

So, sounds awesome-where do I sign up for days in my PJ's at home where opportunities rain down from the sky?  Hmm...I'd like to know that too.  Before embarking on a portfolio career, I recommend asking yourself a couple of things:

1) Am I in a position financially where I can afford to take some risk.  That is-can I afford to be without a paycheck while I launch these endeavors?

2) Speaking of I enjoy uncertainty?  Will I be comfortable with the idea that I have to sing for my supper or do I prefer the stability of what might be a predictable job...with a predictable paycheck/work life?

3) Do I have skills that would be in demand?  Are my skills up to date?  Do employers/consumers need me?  Do my skills fill a place in the market that can't be filled by a machine?  If not, do I know what I want to do to improve my skills?

4) Can I sell myself?  Is my network solid with referrals ready?  Do I have appropriate marketing materials like the right kind of resume, bio, social media presence, etc?  If not, do I know where to go to get these materials?

5) And to me most I have a plan to do address all of this?  What's my goal?  How will I overcome obstacles?  Do I need a backup plan?

I have found that if you can answer these questions first, you are pretty far down the road to creating a portfolio career.  I have been outside of traditional "Corporate America" for several years now and while I'm guessing that I may feel the call to go back someday, I am certainly enjoying where I am now helping companies and individuals make healthy matches.  Until then, happy hunting!