Tips to Use LinkedIn Effectively

September 29, 2015

How-to-Use-LinkedIn-EffectivelyLinkedIn can be an effective tool for job hunting, networking with like-minded professionals and opening doors that may have not opened otherwise. Of all the social media platforms, it ranks third in users, just behind Facebook and Twitter. With nearly 400 million users, it is important to utilize your profile to stand out and showcase your unique abilities and talents to potential employers. With some homework and preparation, you can build a strong LinkedIn presence:

  • Have a professional profile photo. Just by having a photo on your profile, you’re 11 times more likely to be viewed. But save the selfies for Instagram and opt to have a friend snap this photo. Dress professionally and look your best since this will be the first impression recruiters have of you, even before reading your dazzling profile info.
  • Do your research. Before you start filling out all those text boxes on your profile, take some time to research what other users have done in the same career field. Find out which titles and descriptions are used the most and utilize them. Recruiters use key words to wade through piles of profiles, so optimize your profile with those words to grab their attention.
  • Fill out your profile. All of it. While some consider LinkedIn just to be their online resume, it’s better to consider it a chance to take your resume to the next level. With LinkedIn, you aren’t limited to a single page of career history. Expand upon previous job duties, list your skills and strengths, boast your achievements, awards and volunteer work. Entice recruiters with a charming summary that paints a full picture of who you are as a person and a professional.
  • Post examples. Recently, LinkedIn has begun to offer users the opportunity to post pictures, videos and links to samples of their work. If you are a chef, post pictures that’ll make a foodie drool. If you’re a blogger, attach a link to your blog (and you might get even more readers). Post the PowerPoint presentation you spent weeks creating or the rousing speech that took a month to write. Potential employers will gravitate to those who have concrete examples of their craftsmanship.
  • Ask for recommendation from your connections. A recommendation can go a long way to potential employers. Ask previous co-workers and supervisors to write a short blurb praising your work ethic and achievements. If you don’t seem to have luck in asking someone to write a recommendation, try writing a few for others instead; oftentimes they will return the favor.
  • Join a group. Groups are a great opportunity to network outside of your personal social circle and connect with like-minded professionals across the world. If you are looking to break into a new field, this is a chance to ask experts what credentials and skills to pursue. When job hunting, group members may offer new connections or suggestions you wouldn’t have found on your own.

Heart of Florida United Way is dedicated to changing lives for the better by helping families and individuals gain access to resources they need to stay afloat and succeed financially. For more information about Heart of Florida United Way’s efforts to improve employment and financial stability in Central Florida, visit


Chef’s Gala Social Media Contest

April 15, 2015

2015 Chef’s Gala Social Media Contest Winner

Last month, we issued a social media challenge to our fans and followers. By posting a recap of their experience at the Chef’s Gala Media Preview with a photo and tagging Heart of Florida United Way, participants were entered into a drawing for a $75 Primo gift card.

We had dozens of entries, but the lucky winner is Lisa Wilk @WineChix. Lisa is a local food blogger at @TasteCookSip.


A special thank you to Primo at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes for hosting the event and to the chefs who previewed their creations:

Illy Crusted Beef Tenderloin, Roasted Bone Marrow Mousseline, Hog Island Oyster, Crispy Potato
blu on the avenue, Chef Anthony Krueger

Root Vegetable Gnocchi, Palmetto Creek Farms Pork Ragu, House Made Ricotta Cheese, Fried Garden Basil
K Restaurant, Chef Kevin Fonzo

Duck Confit, Foie Mouse, and Kumquat Sandwich
Primo by Melissa Kelly at Grande Lakes Orlando, Chef Mariano Vegel

Florida Rock Shrimp Escabeche, Creamed Parsnips, Chicharrones, Burnt Onion Jam

Urban Tide at Hyatt Regency Orlando, Chef Jared Gross

Ghanaian Chocolate and Passion Fruit Milk Tart
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Bakery, Pastry Chef Amanda Lauder

 For those who couldn’t attend the Media Preview but still want to taste all of the delicious dishes, Chef’s Gala is on May 16. For more information or to purchase your tickets, visit

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