The Executive Update


Every week, NETSHARE hosts Ask the Coach, a phone-in coaching session with leading career management experts. In a recent Ask the Coach with Christine Dennison,
The Job Search Coach the questions were focused on LinkedIn, personal branding and resumes.


Do I really need a paid account?

Chris noted that the basic free account will allow you to create a profile,
build your network and perform database searches. Where one comes upon
limitations is in trying to communicate with people to whom you are not
connected. Paid accounts offer InMails –the number varies with the level of
account you purchase. InMails allow you to communicate with those outside your network – say at a target company where you don’t have direct connections. With a paid account you are also able to request more introductions via your extended network – i.e. 2nd and 3rd degree connections. Lastly, the level of your account affects the number of search returns you see when you query the database.

Where it doesn’t add much value, in Chris’s view, is in “being found”. Based on her experience that is not as dependent on your level of account as it is on using the right keywords to influence the search results.

What’s a big no-no in building your LinkedIn network?

Chris’s “pet peeve” is people sending out “lame default” invitations – i.e. the canned invitations that go out when you just click the button without customizing your invitation. LinkedIn keeps changing the invitation process and it now requires some care to take the extra click to personalize that note.

What happens when I “Ignore” an invitation?

Hitting the ignore button will make the invitation quietly go away. The sender is not notified. Chris cautions that you make sure you are not using the “I Don’t Know” button. Doing so will cause the sender to get a “black mark” on their account and can result in their losing access to LinkedIn.

What is personal branding?

Chris sees personal branding as just another way to describe having a clear message that sets you apart from the crowd and then making sure that it comes across in all your written materials and networking interactions. It’s about what you do and how you get it done. It’s not about being “results oriented” or “dynamic” or any of the other overused words on resumes and LinkedIn. For a list of more of these ubiquitous phrases visit

What’s the right length for an executive resume?

This is a age old question that goes through cycles. We have all heard “Never more than one page”. Then the next person says “At the executive level you need 4 or 5 pages to do justice to your career”.

In her practice, Chris sees two pages as a comfortable norm. She believes that good use of the first half of the first page is more important than the actual number of pages you use. “I describe this section as the part that opens the reader’s brain in the direction you want them to go.” It should pull
together your expertise, style and accomplishments (with appropriate metrics) – serving as a quick overview that makes them want to read the details. This is followed by your professional experience in chronological order. For early career experience, try to summarize it in a one inch paragraph on the second page.

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