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Welcome to Financial Fridays #6! Over the past several weeks I’ve shared posts that will help you paint a picture of your financial life today and set you up for a prosperous 2018. I touched on topics ranging from income and expenses to net worth, debt, and just generally getting your financial life in order.
These are some of the steps Kristin and I have taken to help set ourselves up to be able to afford our dream wedding, dream house, and plan for early retirement. Of course, a healthy dose of privilege helps and I’d be remiss to not mention how fortunate we’ve been in that regard.
If you’re looking to make 2018 a better year financially than 2017, tune in next week, and read the older posts!
Why Fridays? Each post will have a set of actionable items that could be achieved easily over the course of a weekend!
Did you miss last week’s post? If so, give it a read.
Financial Fridays 6: Update Your Professional Online Presence
This Financial Fridays episode is a little bit of a different approach. Mastering your money is easy. Setting up systems to save, tracking your net worth, setting a budget (or not) – these all are relatively simple tasks.
This week, though, we are going to take a look at the other side of the equation – earning money. I’m not talking about side hustles. For starters, I don’t believe that side hustles are for everyone. Additionally, there’s a lot to be said for traditional employment if that’s your thing.
There are pros and cons to both. In the FIRE world it seems everyone and their brother is blogging about side hustles. If you’re just a normal dude (or gal) like me, though, chances are that a side hustle hasn’t really intrigued you much.
So instead, I like to focus my brain-power on my career. To help advance that career, it’s important to keep your online presence updated. LinkedIn, a portfolio web page, and your resume are all critical components of that presence.
I love LinkedIn. It’s actually indirectly how I got my first job out of school. A recruiter from the company I’d be hired at reached out to one of my friends from college who had a great LinkedIn profile. He interviewed for the job and got an offer, and then referred me.
As you go through your career, though, it’s easy to let your LinkedIn profile fall by the wayside. After all, if you aren’t looking for work, why bother keeping it updated?
I’m a firm believer that the best opportunities come to those who aren’t looking for them. They come to those who are PREPARED for them. My previous job was an amazing opportunity on many fronts – I wasn’t looking for it, but I was ready for a change.
Updating your profile with your relevant skills and work experience can go a long way to getting you noticed by recruiters. It takes a little bit of time but can reap big rewards.
One caveat: your LinkedIn profile is not your resume. Keep it lighter on details. Each stage of the recruitment and hiring process should offer up more detail than the last. As your first impression, you should keep it concise and really highlight the big stuff.
Action: Register for a LinkedIn account if you don’t have one yet. If you do, update your information. Make sure you fill in relevant skills as well as professional/job accomplishments.
Do You Need a Portfolio Site?
Some professionals and freelancers – and side hustlers – operate in the creative space. UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) designers in particular come to mind.
Folks who do creative work – things that can be shown off or listened to – should definitely have a portfolio site. It’s one thing to show a potential employer or client your LinkedIn to review some of your accomplishments and skills. It’s an entirely different thing to show them real examples of your work.
I’ve never interviewed a UI or UX designer who didn’t have a portfolio web site. Even if you’re just starting out, or if it’s a side gig for now, starting a portfolio site is a great idea.
For writers – or aspiring writers – a blog can be a great pseudo-portfolio as well. My 125+ posts here act as a bit of a portfolio. Admittedly when I started my writing was a bit difficult to read, and formatting wasn’t my strong suit.
Over time, however, it’s evolved to (hopefully) be easier to read. Blogs are an excellent way to showcase your style and voice.
Action: If you’re in the creative field, start or update your portfolio web site. If you’re not sure where to start, check out my ‘How to start a blog’ guide. With the right theme, WordPress is a great platform to use to show off your portfolio.
The Dreaded Resume
And finally, the R word. Unless you’re retired with a 0% chance of returning to the workforce, having an updated resume is important.
Do you know what sucks? Getting laid off.
You know what sucks more? Realizing you haven’t updated your resume in a year or more.
Or, when you have a verbal offer, but as a matter of formality they make you fill out a proper HR application – and then realizing that you haven’t updated your resume for 6 years (true story).
I’m (now) a firm believer that everyone who’s working should update their resume at least twice a year. Even if you aren’t planning on ever leaving, updating your resume can pay big dividends:
- It’ll save you time if you ever DO leave for any reason
- You’ll be better equipped to showcase your work to your boss during reviews
- Reflecting on previous work and the successes and failures of it will help your future work be even better
Recency Bias is a real thing. When it comes to review time, most people – your boss included – will remember what you’ve done in the past 2-3 months. If you’ve had a stellar few months, that can be great.
But if the past few months have been particularly challenging, despite being a rockstar earlier in the year, Recency Bias can lead to an unjust bad review. Being armed with examples that may otherwise be overlooked of your rockstarness can help make your reviews better.
Having an updated resume can help no matter your circumstances. It’s tedious, but LinkedIn lets you export your profile into Resume format. If you do this, add more details.
LinkedIn should provide a bit of detail about your professional experience. Your resume should expand upon that. An interview is where you can dive into greater detail and talk about your accomplishments and how they’ve shaped you.
Action: Update your resume. Export from LinkedIn and add details and formatting if that’s your desired approach.
Your Professional Online Presence is Your First Impression
If you’re still in corporate(ish) America, your online presence is people’s first impression of you. You could be the smartest, hardest worker in your field, but if you aren’t prepared to show that off a bit, nobody may know.
I really enjoy the company I’m consulting with right now – even if my commute is less than ideal on most days. One of my mottos, however, is Always Be Considering. You never know when an awesome new opportunity may present itself.
Better to be prepared than not.
When was the last time you updated your resume or LinkedIn profile? Do you think having a strong online presence is important?