If you clicked on a link to read this, you are probably eagerly waiting for my magic tips on getting the interview that you deserve and want. My guess is that you have been putting in application after application, but no one is responding to you. You are beginning to think that the energy that you have put into your job search is a waste of time, and you may be on the verge of giving up.
Before I give you my tips on becoming more marketable to recruiters, I want you to take note of the most important tip of them all: Do not give up. Although the job search journey can be rough, long, and down-right depressing, you cannot give up on yourself and the process.
The most important thing that you need to do before you start your job search is to invest more time and energy into your LinkedIn profile (and if you don't have one, you need to get one asap). LinkedIn is the largest social media network for professionals, and according to Jobvite, 94% of recruiters are active on LinkedIn, but only 36% of candidates are. Even more, most people that are on LinkedIn do not take out time to optimize their LinkedIn profile to the fullest.
After you read this post, incorporate my 4 tips into your LinkedIn profile, and I promise you will have recruiters running to your inbox.
1) Create a headline to reflect who you are, and what you are looking for.
Your LinkedIn headline should clearly tell people, who you are (your name), what credentials you have (i.e. MBA, MS, etc.), and what you are looking for (or what you are currently doing if you want to stay in the same field). For example, "HR & Management Professional" is better than "HR Professional at XYZ Company." While it is great to advertise who you are working for, this information can go in the "Experience" section of your profile. Also, by having information on what you are doing or the type of career that you are seeking, recruiters can find your profile at a quick glance when they are searching for candidates with specific keywords.
When I first updated my LinkedIn profile after graduating from college, my LinkedIn headline read, “Brittani Hunter, Assistant General Manager at American Campus Communities." After I went to a few personal branding seminars and did my own research online, I found that this was not the most effective headline, especially since I knew I wanted to be introduced to more opportunities outside of my 9-5. I then changed my headline to, “Brittani Hunter, HR & Management Professional/Freelance Blogger." Since then, I have received more requests from like-minded professionals in HR, management, and journalism simply because of my headline. Whenever you want to find more LinkedIn connections (followers), you can use any search query and anyone that has that associated name in their profile will appear. For example, if you go to LinkedIn, and search for “Human Resources" a list of anyone that has “Human Resources" in their headline will appear. Check out a copy of my LinkedIn headline below:
2) Do not treat LinkedIn as just your online resume.
While LinkedIn contains your job history and contact information just like a regular resume, it is so much more. LinkedIn can allow you to easily network with others, and connect with recruiters. It is important to be active on LinkedIn by joining groups, sharing articles with your connections, and by engaging in discussions and posts. By doing so, you will be able to drive more traffic to yourself, and you will be more marketable. The benefits of networking with people in the discussions or groups will be valuable; you will be able to meet recruiters, get first-hand knowledge of upcoming jobs, and connect with people that work in your desired field.
The first time you engage in LinkedIn discussions, it may feel a little weird – or at least it felt a little weird to me because I was engaging in conversations with people that I had never met or seen in my life. Nonetheless, I got over it and started adding my input in certain posts on LinkedIn that were interesting to me. One cool feature with LinkedIn is that when you begin to join in on LinkedIn discussions, you will be notified when someone comments on the discussion. Normally when this happens to me, I will receive an email and a notification from the LinkedIn mobile app. In my experience in engaging in LinkedIn discussions, it has helped me obtain more connections, and even several requests to interview for new opportunities. A few months ago, a recruiter from a management company really liked my comments and my input on the discussion of recruiting using social media. A few days after the discussion began, I received a message from the recruiter in my LinkedIn inbox about an new job opportunity. Although I wasn't actively looking for a job and didn't interview, this alone proves that you never know who you may meet or can impact by being active in LinkedIn discussions.
3) Toot your own horn.
On LinkedIn, you are able to list your skills and include portfolio information if you have one. Often times, we shy away from telling the world all the amazing things that we are good at. Just like Marianne Williamson said in her legendary poem Our Deepest Fear, "Your playing small does not serve the world."
"We are all meant to shine." Use LinkedIn to shine and talk about how great you are. Whether you want to discuss how well-versed you are at Photoshop, creating websites, or at Microsoft Excel, you should take advantage in tooting your own horn. Also, be sure to include links to your portfolio or website if you have one (and if you don't, invest time into creating one).
When I first started blogging, I didn't have enough courage to tell the world about it. I had even created my own site using Wix and started a weekly blog, but I didn't promote it on LinkedIn at all. I eventually got over my insecurities, and I began to promote my blog posts on LinkedIn, and I even listed the skills that I gained from blogging and creating my site using Wix. A few months ago when I decided that I wanted to increase my network and write for other people, I used LinkedIn as my digital resume/portfolio and it has helped me land several contributor and editor roles, including this one on xoNecole :). The new positions that I have received has given me access to more platforms to display my writing skills and passion, and is has helped me connect with more people.
4) Let others toot your horn, too.
The recommendation section of LinkedIn is something that I love. On LinkedIn, other people can post recommendations to your page and this will also show recruiters how awesome you are. I recommend that you get at least 3-4 recommendations. You can get one from a professor, client, past employer, current employer, or from a co-worker. I know you are probably wondering how in the world will you be able to get the recommendations and it's simple - you ask for them. When I first read about the benefit of having LinkedIn recommendations, I reached out to literally everyone (there was no shame in my game!).
This is the script that I used and sent to everyone, and I recommend that you use it too:
I hope you are doing well. I'd like to ask a huge favor — Would you write a quick LinkedIn Recommendation for me? I would love it if you'd mention my hard work ethic, my team work skills, and my organizational skills. If you have any questions or if you would like for me to write a recommendation for you, please let me know.
Do you think you could write that out in the next week or so? If so, I'll really appreciate it.
Thanks in advance for your help,
Here are 4 things that you should take from the script that I used:
1) Make it quick, and to the point.
My message to each person was only 90 characters. No one wants to read a whole novel, so make sure you get to the point and make your request clear.
2) Tell them exactly what you want.
If you look back at my script, you will see that I requested them to talk about my "hard work ethic, my team work skills, and my organizational skills." You should know, it is nothing wrong with telling them how you want the recommendation written. Be strategic in your recommendation requests. If you want your old boss to talk about how well you did managing a budget, tell them to put it in the recommendation (it doesn't hurt to ask).
3) Offer to write your recommendation for them.
Some of the reasons why people refrain from writing recommendations is that they are either a) extremely busy or b) have horrible writing skills. In either case, you can save the day by just writing it for them. By the way, no one can brag about YOU your better than yourself!
4) Give them a deadline.
You never want to ask someone for something without telling them when you need it. If you don't give people a deadline, more than likely, they will put it on the end of their to do list and you may never get it.
Now that you have my magic tips, get on LinkedIn and optimize your profile!
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Deanna Robinson, a health and wellness advocate and professional based in the Washington D.C. area has been helping Black and brown women reach their fitness goals for more than a decade. And with her brand of self-love and faith, she's redefining just what "fitness" means when it comes to women of all shapes and sizes.
There's definitely a need for women like Robinson, especially since recent research shows that between 47% and 55% of Black consumers' needs "are not being met" in the wellness space, and the U.S. fitness industry hit $32 billion last year and that it's important for Black women to see themselves prominently in the space.
As a health and wellness programming expert, licensed nutritionist, mom, wife, and former all-women's gym owner, Robinson has built up a body of experience that has culminated into doing something she loves via the FabBody Retreat, an experience for women ages 30-60 to be enriched via group activities, good food, and connection in the backdrop of tropical peace and tranquility.
This year's retreat was held in Grenada, with special guest and TV host icon Free Marie (BET's 106 & Park). Next year's event will be held in St. Maarten with plenty of opportunities to enjoy beach vibes, authentic and healthy dishes, and all the pleasures of being among other fabulous Black women seeking holistic wellness in paradise.
"My God-given purpose is to help serve, connect, and heal Black and Brown women," she said, taking her experiences serving corporate and individual clients via projects like the NFL's "Fuel Up To Play 60" initiative and the Nike Training Club live experience, to do just that.
xoNecole caught up with her to talk about why she chose the fitness industry, her success in launching and running the FabBody Factory, and how she's pivoted to use her skills to build impact on a larger scale in health and wellness.
xoNecole: What sparked your interest in a career in health and wellness?
Deanna Robinson: I have always been involved in sports, always been active in cheerleading, dance, [and] gymnastics. In my college career, I was a competitive cheerleader at the University of Maryland, College Park, and I've just always been passionate about physical activity, health, and fitness. I double-majored in kinesiology and public and community health, and it's always been a passion for me about others being well.
Out of college, I wanted to be a personal trainer, and I interviewed at a big-chain gym. I was really excited about getting this job, but when I had the interview, they informed me of what the split was—what the client paid, what I'd get as a personal trainer, and what the gym got. And I just thought it was a ridiculous split. I've always been into entrepreneurship as well, and doing things on my own terms, so I actually opened up my own gym in the community I grew up in called the FabBody Factory, an all-female gym in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
I was able to hire several trainers, offer group classes and personal training, and one of the things I was always a big proponent of is making sure that they got a better cut than they would get at larger chains.
xoN: Talk a bit more about that in terms of starting a gym, especially one that caters to women. What was the process and motivation?
DR: I have worked out in big-box gyms before and just never felt comfortable. It was always really uncomfortable working out in a huge gym where men would be gawking at you or try to get your number when you're trying to focus on yourself in that moment. So I always wanted the FabBody Factory would be a safe haven where we didn't have to worry about our titties flopping when we're doing jumping jacks, it was just for us by us, and we could just [be] comfortable making ourselves a priority.
I was almost talked out of doing something like that because people would say, "You're cutting off half of your potential clientele," but I never had an issue. Women flocked to the gym, and I'd sometimes have to split classes. I might have to do part one of a class at one time and a second another time. It was majorly successful. Ladies loved it. And on top of this being all-women, it was all Black and brown women.
Culturally, we get each other, so it was a big social thing for us, too. We were able to fellowship with each other and get fit at the same time.
xoN: Your brand includes the concept of a 'Fab Body.' What does that mean for you---and just wellness---in general, for Black and brown women?
DR: FabBody in itself is not a look at all. It's more of a mindset and a willingness to invest in your mental, spiritual, and physical self. In promoting the FabBody Retreat, I actually had someone DM me and ask me, "Do you have to have a 'Fab Body' to come on the retreat?" and my response to her was that you do have a 'Fab Body.' Everyone has a Fab Body. It's more of a state of being—a sound, healthy mind, body, and spirit. It's not about aesthetics at all but about overall improvement.
xoN: You decided to pivot from owning a gym, which you ran successfully for more than a decade, to your current role in health and wellness programming and launching the FabBody Retreat. How did this come about?
DR: My gym closed last year, and the reason was because of where I saw myself going and where I wanted to be in the next 10 years. A lot of my time at the gym was selling and getting people to register for classes, and it wasn't as lucrative and fulfilling for me as it had been in the beginning.
Now I'm doing more consulting work with larger companies. One of my passions is programming, and that is where I see my future going. I'm moving more toward passive income, coming from my being able to use the knowledge I have from years in this industry and putting together programming that can reach the masses versus individuals.
xoN: What can people expect from the FabBody Retreat next year, and how does this venture continue your love for advocating for health and wellness among Black and brown women?
DR: One of the things that really sets this event apart from so many other retreats is that I have married everything that is important to me: wellness, my faith, and my community. God is a huge part of all of the events we do, and all are interwoven with faith-filled, intentional activities, and I think that's what makes it different. On Sunday, we do a service on the beach, and we always have a guest speaker—someone you can relate to where you don't feel like you're being preached to. It's an awesome experience, unlike any retreat I've seen.
It's definitely rooted in faith, but at the same time, there's a balance. We'll get on a boat and have a cocktail with an umbrella in it, and then we'll go back to wellness. There's a healthy balance.
Find out more about Deanna Robinson via Instagram @deannarobinsonfit and more on the FabBody Retreat via the website.
Featured image courtesy