25 Sources To Help You Get Your LinkedIn Game On

I’m an avid and daily user of LinkedIn and I’m always seeking to learn more about how to use it effectively for building relationships, networking, job search, recruiting, personal branding and business development. I also enjoy sharing what I’ve learned with others and regularly speak to groups, associations and corporate clients about how to use LinkedIn. At those events, I typically provide attendees a LinkedIn Resource sheet to take home. I’m in the process of updating my Resources sheet for 2009, and I thought I’d share the links that were provided over the past year with you. So here you go:

Why You Should Use LinkedIn:

Creating Your LinkedIn Profile:

Building/Re-Enforcing Your Personal & On-Line Brand Using LinkedIn:

Ways to Use LinkedIn:

Using LinkedIn For Job Search:

How Do Recruiters Use LinkedIn?

General Resources:

I hope you find some of these resources to be helpful, and once I’ve update my list for 2009, I’ll share those links with you too. Feel free to add any resources you would suggest that I include in the Comments section below. The list can only be better with your help!

6 Ways to Leverage LinkedIn

The top six social media tips to know before you leave the office.

Last week, LinkedIn launched its new “follow” feature, which enables users to track a company from its profile page or the profile pages of its employees. This new functionality is a reminder that the professional social networking site is more than just a resource for job hunters. Now, LinkedIn’s 65 million members worldwide can monitor a company’s news, new hires, and special events, and marketers should take notice.

The network’s business focus makes it a prime platform for demonstrating thought leadership, networking with potential leads, drawing attention to products or services, and engaging internal audiences. Furthermore, recent updates and rollouts have made it necessary to monitor the conversations about corporate brands taking place on the site.

This week’s Six @ Six outlines six best practices every company should be implementing on this increasingly important social network platform. How is your company using LinkedIn to enhance its brand reputation and generate business leads? Let me know on Twitter @valerieelston.

1. Claim the Company Profile:

For some, this advice may seem exceedingly basic. Yet, a surprising number of businesses are not in control of their company’s profile on LinkedIn. Taking charge of the content available on LinkedIn is critical because the site ranks highly in search results and receives about 70 million visits a month. Additionally, it’s important that someone be assigned to manage the profile because any employee can edit the page. This will ensure content is correct and current. LinkedIn indicates the last person to have edited the profile so you will know if someone other than the profile manager has made changes. Be sure to brand your page with your company’s logo, add links to other online resources such as your company’s website, and choose to have your profile automatically populated with news items. These features will add depth to your profile and increase the content available for search engines to crawl and index.

2. Optimize the Profile:

Because the amount of information one can add to a company profile is governed by LinkedIn’s pre-defined fields, it’s important to make the most of the space available. Take time to rewrite your company description from an SEO perspective. What are the keywords that drive people to your company’s website? These words should be liberally utilized in your company’s LinkedIn profile. Your employees can also take steps to optimize their profiles, which will enhance their credibility as brand ambassadors while also strengthening the company’s SEO. For example, when entering website information on your profile, you can add a description by selecting “other” from the drop down menu. This enables you to add keywords that will help search engines direct searchers to your links.

3. Empower Internal Brand Ambassadors:

The power of employee brand ambassadors cannot be underestimated. Employees are your brand’s first line of defense on LinkedIn and encouraging them to participate helps disseminate positive information about your company. Many of your employees may already be taking part in group discussions or using the Answers feature. Of course, these communications should be subject to internal checks before posting and all employees should be provided with best practices and instructions so they can most effectively leverage their personal profiles.

4. Take Advantage of Groups:

Whether you want to create and manage a group or simply take part in an ongoing discussion, LinkedIn groups offer an easy way to network with industry peers around the world. Recommend that your employees join groups for your industry’s professional associations, local networks, or those devoted to interests in their field. Groups offer two key benefits. First, they provide opportunities for thought leadership where employees can post to discussions based on their own expertise. And second, they enable employees to share positive information about your brand from news articles, company blog posts, and other online sources.

5. Integrate Your Networks:

LinkedIn can potentially be a top driver of Web traffic when properly integrated. As your company likely does with Twitter and Facebook, prominently display a LinkedIn icon throughout your website. With the addition of the new “follow” feature, users can start following your company through your profile page, so encouraging them to click through to the site will increase the number of people who decide to join your network. Make sure you highlight LinkedIn on each social networking site your company engages as well – be it Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

6. Consider Direct Ads:

As was mentioned in Six @ Six a few weeks ago, LinkedIn’s Direct Ad capabilities enable advertisers to target audiences by criteria such as company size, job function, industry, position, and geography. The value of targeting your ads based on these criteria is immense and companies should also consider purchasing direct ads to enhance and protect brand reputation. LinkedIn ads can be connected to your company’s profile, therefore increasing your legitimacy and creating an additional opportunity for users to find out more about your company, products, services, and employees.

How to Social Network Your Way into a Job

Networking is a crucial component of any job search. And today’s social-networking technology makes it easier than ever to network your way into the job of your dreams.

Many companies are employing social media as a means to market their products. And just as they are relying on blogs, wikis, forums, and social networking to pitch their news, they are starting look at how job seekers pitch themselves via these channels. (To learn more about how companies are taking advantage of social media, download “12 Essential Tips for Success in Social Media” for free here.)

Use these tips to ping, tweet, poke, and post your way into your dream job or a new career.

1. Get LinkedIn to various networks.

A good rule of thumb for job searching is to make yourself visible and available. Traditionally, that means posting your resume on sites like Yahoo! HotJobs and making sure your friends and family know you’re looking. But today, it’s more than that. You need to become visible across the web.

Establish your web presence in various avenues, so employers can find you. Create profiles on multiple social networking sites and even consider starting a blog about your trade.

According to Paul Gillin, a social media marketing consultant and the author of “Secrets of Social Media Marketing,” LinkedIn and Twitter are the two outlets you want to be sure to use as a job seeker.

LinkedIn is the place to start, according to Gillin. “The reason for that is that LinkedIn is very targeted and very focused” he says. “It’s got all the tools and it’s got this unique, degrees-of-separation concept where you can find people by being introduced by a common link.” Finding common connections through the LinkedIn tools is a great place to start networking for a new career.

Secondly, Gillin gives high praise to Twitter as a job seeker’s tool. “I recommend Twitter because it may be the fastest way to get in touch with someone you want to reach,” Gillin says. “Anyone on Twitter can get a message to anyone else who is on Twitter.”

Gillin notes that finding an email address for a contact within a company can be a challenge. But locating someone on Twitter and sending him or her a quick note is relatively simple. And emails to potential employers tend to be formal and somewhat wordy–these long-form emails are often ignored. But, Gillin says, “because Twitter is so brief, people tend to respond quickly on Twitter.”

2. Clean up your social-networking presence.

Having a social-networking presence can be a great way to land your dream job. But it can also be a liability. Make sure your online appearance projects the image you want to share with potential employers.

HR professionals and recruiters have gotten very good at finding ways around privacy limitations when investigating job candidates. Even if you think you have a private profile, use caution.

“If you’re going to share photos of yourself face down in a puddle of beer, you should choose to do that under a pseudonym,” recommends Gillin. “Think of how you want to appear to the outside world.”

Your online personality is as important as your resume. Just as you would proofread a cover letter or resume before sending it, edit your Facebook profile, tweets, and blog posts with the same detail.

“Spell checker is not sufficient for that task,” Gillin says. “Before you publish anything online, have someone who knows the language read your website.”

And monitor your behavior online as well–that is, “avoid loose-cannon behavior,” Gillin says. Posting overtly nasty or vindictive comments, incorrect facts, or anything that doesn’t appear polished can hurt your chances.

3. Have a distinct message about yourself.

Searching for a job is a marketing task–you are marketing yourself to a specific audience. And as with any good marketing plan, you need to develop the message that you want to get across. Define the message, and then figure out how to get that message heard. Find information that backs up the claims you make about yourself.

“It could be your words, pictures of the work that you do, or evidence of your achievements,” Gillin says. “Then you promote those. You use the various social-media tools to push that out.”

It’s important to show employers what you’ve done. Post it on your Facebook page, tweet about it, etc.

4. Be honest.

“12 Essential Tips for Success in Social Media,” a marketing brief focused on how to effectively engage through social marketing, urges social networking participants to be honest.

“One characteristic of social media is that people are more aggressive about reading between the lines to interpret other people’s intentions. And they’re remarkably savvy about it. … If someone suspects you’re in some way misrepresenting yourself, they’ll use any of the tools available to investigate your past postings across the blogosphere to sniff out what you’re really up to. It happens all the time, and it severely undercuts the credibility of anyone exposed as a shill. Whether you’re launching your own social media site or just participating in discussions around the Web, be conspicuously honest and straightforward about who you are and whom you represent.”

Creating a Facebook profile about your accomplishments is a great tool, but only if you have actually achieved the success you post about. Present yourself to the Web professionally, thoughtfully, and honestly.

5. Participate in the conversation.

Your personal web presence is incredibly important, but don’t forget that your potential employer likely has its own presence as well.

According to “12 Essential Tips,” the key to building influence in your community is getting involved: “You need to participate in the conversation. If you’ve already identified the people influencing market dialog, comment on their blogs. Write posts that track back to their blog if they allow that. Write posts that engage or challenge them on a topic that matters. Go forth and get in the conversation; don’t wait for it to come to you. To be successful, you need to continually engage and develop relationships through dialog with the influencers.”

Find blogs and forums within your industry and become a participant. It’s possible that your future boss operates or participates alongside you. Your thoughtful comments within popular industry spaces online will bolster your credibility and improve your chances of landing your dream job.

Original hotjobs Article

Twitter Yourself a Job

By JONNELLE MARTE

Looking for a new job, Alexa Scordato didn’t email or call her contacts about possible openings. Instead, she messaged them via the social-networking Web site Twitter.com.

Her brief message: “Hey there! Looking for a Social Media job up in Boston. Are you guys doing any entry level hires?”

Within a week, she had an interview. Within two weeks, she had a job.

The site, which lets users publish supershort updates of what they’re doing, is a virtual meeting ground where a range of communities — from moms to media professionals — come to converse informally.

It’s been criticized as a site for sharing mundane details about everyday activities. But people like 22-year-old Ms. Scordato, who used Twitter to privately message some people she’d met at a conference, show the site can be more than that.

“I would guess that if I had just sent them a long email with my résumé, I might not have gotten a response as fast as I did,” says Ms. Scordato, who was hired by Mzinga, a Boston-area company that helps businesses use social technology.
The Basics

Users, known as Twitterers, post short updates that appear in their online profiles. They can choose to follow each other’s updates, called tweets, and respond either publicly through posts or privately via direct message. All entries must be 140 characters or less.

Twitter doesn’t release user numbers, but most public estimates put the user base at around four million to five million, with about 30% or more being very new or limited users.

To get started, build a profile that shows your interests and start Twittering. Because you have no more than 140 characters to describe yourself in your bio, use key words that reveal your goals. Make more information accessible by linking to your Web site, blog or profile on a professional networking site like LinkedIn.

Amy Ziari, a 24-year-old looking for a public-relations job in San Francisco, links to her blog on her Twitter profile and lists her Twitter alias on her résumé to show recruiters she is “not a faceless résumé — there’s somebody behind it.”

You’ll find major companies and recruiters on the site, and should follow the big names in your industry.

Most users get emails alerting them about new followers, and may choose to follow you as well if your biography and tweets get their attention.

Initiate conversations with other users by responding to their tweets. You can share updates you find useful by reposting them on your profile.
Stay Focused

Never twitter about anything you wouldn’t want your boss or mother to see, and tell your friends to keep their tweets to you appropriate.

Be careful about publicizing your job hunt on Twitter if you don’t want your boss reading about it. But if you’re unemployed, sending an occasional tweet that explains the kind of job you’re looking for could yield responses from recruiters. You can also seek jobs being promoted on the site by searching for phrases like “job opening.”

Twittering about your personal life is fine, to an extent — it’s something most Twitterers do. But keep it to a minimum.

“I would rather see someone who posts good-quality information than what they had for lunch,” said Lindsay Olson, who uses Twitter to recruit for Paradigm Staffing, a staffing agency that focuses on public relations and marketing.

Email: jonnelle.marte@wsj.com

Jobvite Recruiting Tool Taps Social Networks

Recruiting-technology firm Jobvite Wednesday unveiled Jobvite Share, a free tool that uses the power of social networking to distribute and target job openings to increase referrals and track in real-time the value of job placement ads.

Using Jobvite Share, a company executive or human resources manager looking to fill a position enters a job URL and Jobvite creates a custom, trackable listing for the position, regardless of where it is distributed on the Internet. The job listing — dubbed the Jobvite — can automatically be sent to specific contacts within Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, email or elsewhere on the Web, and tracked using real-time metrics.

“As we continue to see signs of an economic recovery, companies — still strapped for resources — can now recruit the best, closest fit, talent on the open social web for free using Jobvite Share,“ said Dan Finnigan, president and CEO of Jobvite.

Prospective employers can share short Jobvite links through emails or via one or several social networking sites, blogs and job boards. The software uses an algorithm determine those potential candidates that best-meet the job qualifications. Recipients can pass along these messages to their connections, further expanding the prospective pool of candidates, according to Jobvite.

Since Jobvite Share includes up to five trackable links, the employer can determine which sites are most effective for marketing and distributing job leads. These metrics monitor views, clicks, forwards, and clicks to apply, and track individual channels such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and e-mail. They also follow referrals as they spread across users’ individual networks.

Social networking sites continue to play a big role in uniting employers and prospective hires. TwitJobSearch.com, a job search engine for Twitter, posted 586,836 new jobs in the last 30 days and 694 new jobs between about 10 and 11 EDT today, according to the site.

Original Article

Tips for improving your LinkedIn SEO

by Matthew Gain.

LinkedIn Logo

This is the third in a series of posts I have published on improving the SEO around your personal brand. In this post I wanted to share some tips on improving the SEO of your LinkedIn Profile.

Before I start, I want to be clear that even if you follow these tips it is unlikely you will be screaming to the top of the Google search results. Having a blog that you update regularly is by far and away a more effective medium for improving your personal search rankings. However, if you are not that way inclined, or are already blogging, these things will not do you any harm and are worth trying out – even if it is just so you will have a completed LinkeIn profile.

Tips for improving the SEO of your LinkedIn Profile:

  1. Complete your LinkedIn profile. Before doing anything else, make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete and up to date. There is absolutely no point in improving your search engine rank if the end destination does not represent you accurately. I wouldn’t go too overboard trying to game the system, but search engines do scan the information in your profile, so make sure you are including the keywords you want associated with your name.
  2. Customise your URL. You can customise the URL associated with your profile to include your name, rather than the random sequence of numbers LinkedIn generates for you. URLs are incredibly important component of SEO, so this is a no brainer. (learn how to do this by watching the video below tip 7).
  3. Pay special attention to your job title and location. Your location and job title are the only personalised pieces of information provided on a generic search for your name on LinkedIn. There is not often a lot of flexibility in job roles, but perhaps think about how you can present your title in the most effective way to include desired keywords.

    Search result showing job title

    Search result showing job title

  4. Include your entire job history. People may be looking for you by searching for previous companies you have worked for. If these are not included in your profile then you may not be found. This is particularly important for people with more common names.

    Matthew Gain Howorth

    The result when you search Matthew Gain Howorth (an old employer)

  5. Specialities. Make sure you fill out all the sections. A particularly good section for including keywords is the Specialities section. Google does index this section, so make good use of it.
  6. Join related groups. There is an enormous value in joining LinkedIn groups beyond SEO. From an SEO perspective they help by associating the name of the group with your search profile. Search for Groups that are aligned with your professional interests. The Group names will typically include relevant keywords for you.
  7. Customise your links. Rather than the generic, blog, company website or Twitter links that LinkedIn generates you can customise your personal URLs to generate more potential Google Juice. This is a little bit involved, so check out this handy video created by Mike Volpe of HubSpot.
  8. Answer questions. I have heard it suggested that you can improve your search rankings by responding to questions on LinkedIn, thus creating link backs to your profile. I would imagine Google is clever enough to ignore this, but perhaps I am wrong? Irrespective, answering questions does raise your profile generally and is a good idea, so I have included.

As I stated above by following these you are unlikely to dramatically shift your search engine rankings, but they won’t hurt. Well worth an hour or so of your time in my opinion.

Original Article