Spartan Insights: Featuring Senior Operations Executive, Geoffrey Koboldt

This week’s Featured Spartan was Geoffrey Koboldt, Senior Operations Executive (See his LI profile.) Geoffrey had agreed to answer questions about his industry, career background, and anything else he could help you learn to further your career. This discussion was open from 05/25/15 until 06/08/15.

Spartan Insights is a regularly scheduled LinkedIn discussion thread inside of the MSU ALUMNI LinkedIn group. Each discussion is meant to give you the opportunity to ask questions regarding one Spartan’s experience within a specific company, industry, or occupation. Answers will be given at the convenience and discretion of the featured Spartan and will be answered from the Spartan’s own personal experiences and opinions which are not meant to be representative of his/her company’s official position. Questions regarding a person’s applicant status at the featured Spartan’s place of business will not be answered in this forum. Interested in being a helpful Spartan? Contact me at isbelld@msu.edu.

Geoffrey Koboldt – Thanks Dave! I appreciate the opportunity to help fellow Spartans. Since I will be facilitating a LinkedIn workshop for the LA Spartans next month, let’s start the discussion off with how to get the most out of your LI profile and advance your career.

Before you start your resume or LI profile updates, I highly encourage everyone to take some time to conduct a self-analysis and really hone in on what your real value is to a company. I went through this myself for 3 weeks, turning 5 pages of questions into 26 pages of notes; dissecting every detail, prior to creating my resume.

HEADER:

Here’s where you show a little creativity with a concrete branding statement that represents you or you combine a few keywords that reflect your skills. If you look at my profile, you will see that I focus on “Senior Operations Executive” + “Operations Leadership” + Lean Six Sigma consistently throughout my entire profile, but most importantly in my header. I also use little stars as differentiators to stand out.

SUMMARY:

The biggest mistake I see people making is their summary fails to demonstrate what their unique value proposition is and why a company should hire them. Just like a resume, whereby hiring managers only spend about 6-10 seconds scanning, your LI summary needs to “reel” them in or you’ll lose that chance at getting an interview. The summary needs to be concise, but also show the personality of a person. Take a moment to review my summary, and see what you can learn from it.

EXPERIENCE:

In the experience section, mistakes include failing to quantify their results, using poor verb tenses and sounding like a “yes” person. I prefer using strong verbs such as: Improved, Navigated, Led, Drove, Deployed, Achieved, Boosted, etc. For example, here’s one of mine: Improved on-time performance from 40% in Q1. to 71% in Q4. (>82% improvement), while simultaneously reducing the production lead-time from 20.9 to 16.4 weeks (22% overall). Another example, if you were in sales, you might want to say “Drove a 60% increase in sales over prior year, from $1M to $1.6M.” Also, if you had won an award such as Presidents club, it would be best to say “earned” rather than “won” or “received” because you EARNED it. Avoid sounding like a “yes” person that just fills a role that anyone could have done. Identify what value you added to the organization!

This is a good start Spartans… let me know what questions you have. Sparty on!

Dave Isbell – Thanks for being here Geoffrey, already you’ve given some great insights in your first post! Since we are on the topic of LI, can you talk about some effective ways you’ve been able to use it as a relationship-building tool?

Geoffrey Koboldt – Networking is key in today’s employment market, but your communication has to “connect” with others. I leverage LI by personally messaging every one of my contacts 2x per year. I preface the message with my willingness to help them and furthermore, the expertise that I can offer. Then I go into the updates of what I’ve been working on. All of this adds a personal touch and helps build trust and credibility. LI is not a database of contacts that you reach out to when you need something. It’s like any relationship, which requires work. From these relationships that I’ve formed, I’ve been able to connect business owners with bright employees, connect B2B’s, hire a photographer or designer, help recruiters find top talent, etc. I encourage everyone to spend at least 10 minutes per day on LI networking, building relationships and hopefully landing your dream job! Sparty on!!

Alyssa – I would like to publicly thank Geoffrey for helping me beef up my resume recently. He reached out to me after I posted a discussion on the MSU Alumni of Los Angeles LI page, and already with the major changes he assisted me with I have had better results. Great insights from an accomplished individual!

Dave Isbell – Great answer Geoffrey!

Dave Isbell  – Alyssa, Thanks for chiming in! Would you mind sharing some of the key ideas that Geoffrey shared that resonated most with you?

Alyssa – The greatest insight he provided was that I was failing to quantify my experiences. My resume looks much stronger after implementing his suggestions!

Jeremy – Geoff, what pertinent advice would you give to someone moving to a new location post-graduation and beginning to build a network in unfamiliar territory?

Geoffrey Koboldt– Thank you Alyssa – Glad I could help you out.

Geoffrey Koboldt– Jeremy, I would first start by joining an alumni group, if available in the area. Alumni groups can provide valuable resources such as which neighborhoods are safer to live in, what companies are hiring, etc. Next, I would focus on utilizing LinkedIn to specifically target companies in the city you are moving to. Start adding people who work there and start getting to know them to see if it is a company worth pursuing. You’ll be amazed at the honesty of most people: good or bad. Over time, and assuming you have the experience, I encourage you to go directly to the hiring managers and strike up a conversation. Always go straight to the decision makers! A third thing is to attend as many networking mixer events as possible. Don’t be afraid to step outside your industry, because you never know who might be in the room that can open up a door. Confidence is key!! Go Green!

Geoffrey Koboldt – Be sure to check out a great networking app (still in development) that I feel will revolutionize the way we connect and once and for all get rid of business cards. http://www.airfive.com

Dave Isbell – Thank you Geoffrey for your insights and to each of you who joined in to the conversation. This discussion is now closed but new ones start every week in the MSU Alumni Association Linkedin group.

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