Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Sunday, August 23, 2015

LinkedIn/ find a mentor

Jul. 6 LinkedIn: I cut out this article "Look like a pro with a professional LinkedIn headshot" by Celine Tarrant in the Metro on Feb. 25, 2015.

Think of your LinkedIn photo as the headline of a news article – it’s the first thing people will see, and it might be the only thing that they remember later.

Like all first impressions in business, you want to put your best foot (or in this case, your best face!) forward. Your profile picture should convey professionalism, trustworthiness, competence and likeability. Here’s how you can make sure your LinkedIn is picture perfect.

1. Solo shot

You are the star of your LinkedIn profile, and you should be the only one in your profile picture. Group shots and family portraits are not acceptable as having multiple people in your picture is confusing for viewers. It also makes you look unprofessional, and gives viewers the impression that you don’t understand LinkedIn etiquette.

Choose a picture that includes everything from the shoulders up, with 50-60% of the picture being occupied by your face. Full body shots, extreme close-ups, and cropped group shots are a no-no. It goes without saying that a selfie is never okay.

2. Crop it

When it comes to pictures on various social networks, you can’t take a one-size-fits all approach. Make sure your image is optimized for LinkedIn specifically by cropping it to a square for best use across the website. Do a quick internet search to find a reference tool for the correct image types and sizes for all social networks (including LinkedIn), so you can optimize your images to look great at any size. ( is a great place to start!)

3. Quality is key

Your LinkedIn picture is the face of your online professional brand, so a high-quality image is essential. Ideally, you should invest in a professional headshot. Professional photography will show you in your best light, and most photographers will be able to coach you into better posture and a good facial expression. If professional pictures are not an option, recruit a friend with a good camera to help you out. Make sure to take lots of photos so you have options. A high resolution picture, even if it’s not professional, beats a low-res webcam picture any day!

4. Dress for success

It’s important to dress appropriately for the job or the industry you want. What would you wear to an interview at your desired company or to an industry event?

Keeping in mind that the picture will only show your upper body, pay special attention to your neckline, collar (and if applicable, hair and makeup). Accessorize carefully – for example, a statement necklace might look great in person, it might not translate well on camera. It’s also best to avoid busy patterns and overly sparkly jewelry. Choose a background that will let you stand out, preferably something that slightly contrasts your outfit. A neutral background (black, white or grey) is always a safe bet, but locations like an office, historical building, or outdoors work well too.

5. Choose a picture that looks like you

This seems obvious, but there are a shocking number of profiles with decade-old pictures, or individuals who got a little too heavy-handed with Photoshop. Make sure you pick a photo that actually looks like you, so recruiters or potential employers can recognize you when you are meeting for the first time. When it comes to Photoshop, some retouching is acceptable, but save the magazine-worthy makeover for your other social networks. Update your picture frequently (2-3 years is sufficient), or if you make a major change to your appearance.

6. Get a second opinion

When in doubt, ask a friend what they think of your picture. Ask what message it conveys about you, what they think of your facial expression, outfit, and if the quality is sufficient. If you want more objective feedback, try a tool like, that lets users rate your photo based on metrics like competence, likeability, influence, and trustworthiness.

Find a mentor: I cut out this article "Want a better job? Find a mentor" by Chelsea Emery in 24 News on Dec. 24, 2012. 

This reminds me of my mentor John Kerr.  He's a TV producer and he was the first one to believe in me and my The Vertex Fighter script.  There were lots of writer-in- residences who read my script and gave me feedback.

However, as for school and work, my mentor is my sister because of her helping me in math, college applications, and resumes.  Here's the whole article:

Denise Morrison says early-career guidance from the right mentor made her who she is today: the chief executive officer of Campbell Soup Co.

In the 1980s, Morrison was a director of sales planning for the U.S. arm of food company Nestle SA. Her work ethic and performance in the White Plains, New York, office caught the eye of President C. Alan MacDonald.

MacDonald would check in with Morrison, make himself available for questions and even ask her about customer feedback. Before long, he had recommended her for a promotion to business director.

"That was a defining moment," says Morrison, who is now so dedicated to mentoring that she spends as much as 20 percent of her time advising and supporting others.

Although few people have the company president as a personal advocate, Morrison's experience demonstrates how valuable mentors can be.

Mentors can help you navigate sticky office politics, teach new skills or even put your name forward when new positions arise.

In a modern twist, mentors are also relying on their protégées. Older employees often depend on younger staff for technology guidance. As employment security wanes, laid-off bosses may need to turn to former subordinates for job leads. So the relationship may be more symbiotic and less paternalistic than in the past.

Also new is the role of social media, which encourages workers of all seniority levels to advise each other, at all hours.

"The role of the mentor has continued to evolve," says Julie Nugent, senior director at Catalyst Inc, a nonprofit research and advisory group focused on advancing women in business.

One-on-one mentoring was named the second-most-effective career development program for employees below director level, after "traditional training," according to a 2012 survey of 320 human resources professionals by talent development consulting firm Insala.

But only one in five companies offer formal mentoring programs, according to a 2012 Society for Human Resources Management poll of about 550 human resources professionals.

That means you are probably on your own when it comes to getting the right mentor.


Forget the idea that one adviser can do all things.

Identify different mentors for different needs. Do you need help using your company's technology? How about someone to coach you through a challenging relationship with your boss? What about a mentor who can find opportunities for you at other companies?

To build what Morrison calls a "personal advisory board," check your university alumni groups for possible mentors. Ask someone you respect - inside or outside your company - to meet for coffee. Use social technology to post work-related questions and find the most knowledgeable people.

Next, identify a "sponsor." This is usually a more senior executive who can use his or her influence to advance you for promotions.

How do you get a sponsor? Some companies offer programs. Citi, for one, matched 62 women managing directors with advocates in 2009. Within 18 months, 22 percent had expanded roles, and 15 percent were promoted.

If your company does not help, reach out to senior executives yourself. Send them an email, or ask them to meet with you for 10 minutes.

Feeling awkward? Get over it.

"People need to be in charge of their development plan," says Morrison. "They need to seek out their sponsors and their mentors and be very strategic."

Morrison, like many in top positions, is no stranger to requests for guidance. She gets at least an email a day from people seeking a professional alliance.

"Networking is working," she says.


You are never too old or too important to be mentored, and a good mentoring relationship can pay off for both parties.
Liz Davidson, 42, took a chance on recent college graduate Danielle Perry in 2009, hiring her to help with marketing and press for her start-up company, Financial Finesse, a provider of financial education programs for the workplace.

At first, Davidson trained and guided Perry. These days, she relies on the 28-year-old to keep her abreast of the latest trends in marketing.

"She got promoted two or three times, and now I consider her an adviser to me as well as the rest of the team when it comes to marketing and positioning," says Davidson. "She really manages everything. She manages me."


Mentors and mentees alike must set objectives and determine how much time to commit.

For a new parent, goals could include discussions on how to balance work demands with family stresses. A mid-level executive might need help identifying her next step within the company.

Assistance can come not only from people but also from technology, as Dennis Agusi discovered.

In January, the internal communications officer of Royal Philips Electronics faced the nerve-wracking job of giving a talk before 100 communications professionals in the Netherlands. So he used a company application called ConnectUs to request public-speaking advice.

Some 25 volunteer mentors responded, and Agusi found one who agreed to coach him. The talk was so successful that he was ranked the top speaker out of the almost dozen who presented, he said.

The next time around, he may find himself paying it forward and being the mentor himself.


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