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The Importance of Digital Impressions & LinkedIn Networking

Episode #1020: Tune into a conversation with Theresa Merrill, an executive career coach and LinkedIn strategist, for perspectives on the current hiring industry, importance of LinkedIn, digital first impressions, and salary negotiation best practices.

About Theresa Merrill

Theresa Merrill is an executive career development coach and LinkedIn job search strategist. She helps C-level executives, executive coaches, and job seekers create more effective LinkedIn personal branding. Theresa has been in the coaching field for nine years helping individuals reach their career goals through effective negotiation and interviewing skills.

She has a passion for watching her clients succeed in their career goals and salary advancement. Theresa started her career as a LinkedIn job search strategist after leaving the workforce to raise her sons. She was experienced in the nuances of job hunting as she relocated multiple times in her 20s and 30s for her husband’s career. She paired this knowledge with her background in sales and marketing, which gave her a great edge in the job search industry.

Theresa holds to the belief that when searching for a job, you are “marketing a product and the product is you.” With this in mind, Theresa helps individuals craft their LinkedIn profiles to improve visibility in the candidate pool and increase the likelihood of landing a new position. Today, Theresa continues her practice of coaching clients in interviewing skills, LinkedIn networking, and LinkedIn profile creation.

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Key highlights

The importance of familiarizing yourself with executive career coaching

Timestamp 00:38

With executive coaches occasionally having a client who needs a new career opportunity, or a client who needs to hire new talent, Severin introduces the episode with reasons why executive coaches should be familiar with hiring in general as well as the role executive career coaches play. By understanding the services that executive career coaches offer, executive coaches are better able to explain the hiring process and available resources to their own clients.

How Theresa entered the career executive coaching industry Timestamp 02:23

Theresa re-entered the workforce after taking care of her sons and undergoing several relocations due to her husband’s career. In each of these relocations she experienced what it was like to search for a new job. She then invested her previous experiences in marketing, sales, and job seeking to start her practice as a career executive coach.

When Theresa entered the career coaching industry, LinkedIn was relatively new, so she chose to adapt her experience in sales, and her knowledge of the hiring industry, to the LinkedIn platform. Today, she continues her practice of helping clients create more effective LinkedIn profiles that increase their visibility to potential employers, develop their interview skills, and support their career advancement goals.

The role of a career executive coach and LinkedIn strategist

Timestamp 05:38

Theresa explains that a career executive coach is a coach that “supports you in every aspect of your career.” She states that this includes coaching those who are looking to advance their current job performance, change careers, or find new employment. In her practice, Theresa helps clients develop strategies, craft concise resumes, create better LinkedIn profiles, and answer interview questions with tact.

Because LinkedIn is an increasingly popular method of hiring and networking, Theresa focuses specifically on how to create effective LinkedIn profiles. In her practice, she helps clients incorporate keywords and skills which align with their future career goals into their LinkedIn profiles. She applies her understanding of how LinkedIn is used by executive search representatives and her experience in marketing to help her clients market their skills in modern and effective ways.

The elevator pitch of LinkedIn

Timestamp 17:34

Theresa shares that she views the “About” section of LinkedIn profiles as a candidate’s elevator pitch. In her experience with LinkedIn, she has learned that employers only view the first three or so sentences visible to them and do not click the “see more” option. Because of this, Theresa tells her clients to create a concise and short introduction to who they are, who they serve, and how they help people. This helps potential employers gain a high impact first impression of them without depending on them to select the “see more” option.

She states that the “About” section of a LinkedIn profile is meant to set you apart from other job candidates and create your own branding. Theresa also states that individuals need to be relevant in their posts that are published on LinkedIn. Being a relevant avenue for research and topics relating to your field further helps you stand out from the crowd.

Conciseness in interviews is key

Timestamp 27:30

When asked about the most difficult part of job searching for executives or C-level employees, Theresa shares that executives need to have a strategy as they enter their job search. Secondly, she states that interviews are specifically challenging for executives. When being interviewed, Theresa states that it is important to remain concise, focused, and bring forth the information you feel is necessary for the interviewer to know.

Since the start of Covid-19, all of Theresa’s clients have had only virtual interviews. She reflects with Severin on the important aspects of in-person interviews. Theresa asks Severin if he takes job candidates to a meal for further character analysis, and they both agree that viewing the job candidate out of the office is vital to getting an accurate representation of their personality and character.

Salary negotiations

Timestamp 37:13

The most difficult question that Theresa’s clients face is often, “what are your salary expectations?” When faced with this question, she encourages her clients to seek more information from the interviewer first. For example, what “the company has budgeted for this job.”

In salary negotiations, she believes that clients shouldn’t anchor a salary position too soon. Theresa recommends first researching the position to find more information on the demand for the position and available salary information. Severin comments on this and states that having research already prepared makes the candidate seem reasonable and have a high level of confidence.

Theresa also shares that while employers don’t want “to price themselves out of a job,” they can effectively negotiate a higher salary and wages by giving responses that are calculated, not immediate, and based on information given by the interviewer.

The role of a coach

Timestamp 49:46

As a coach, when clients are given guidance or advice that they do not execute, Theresa states that she takes that failure as her own. Theresa has a passion for helping her clients succeed in all aspects of their career. “When they fail, I feel like I fail”, states Theresa. Although Theresa wants to help her clients while they are in their interviews, as a coach, she refrains and lets clients put into action what they have practiced.

Theresa works closely with her clients but maintains that she cannot learn or act on their behalf, and they must act on her guidance on their own. Whilst allowing clients to act on their own learnings, Theresa helps her clients develop themselves. Currently, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many individuals have been forced to find new jobs. Theresa seeks to help clients in this area by encouraging them to learn new skills online and adapt to new technological advancements.


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