Monday, August 30, 2010

Becoming a social media maven not that difficult

Katy Piotrowski, M.Ed.


Eating lunch outside in Old Town recently, a man I didn't know approached my table. "You're the social media queen!" he said. I looked behind me, convinced he was talking to someone else. Social Media Queen isn't a label I'd attach to myself.


My confused look prompted him to explain. Turns out he's the business partner of a woman I know, and he and I had connected through her on LinkedIn (an online business networking site). Then I remembered that recently, I have been more consistent in posting updates on my LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Suddenly, a wave of joy swept over me. If this little bit of extra effort was building my reputation as an active social media maven, hooray!

People in my life would tell you that when it comes to jumping on technology advancement bandwagons, I'm usually hiding under them. But as much as I resisted the idea of social media, eventually I admitted that it offers some pretty cool pluses: direct connections to supporters and an effective, efficient way to differentiate myself.

So rather than fight it further, I've made social media part of my routine. Each Monday, I pick a theme, usually some universal topic such as passion, fear or courage. Then I study my calendar for the week, looking for ways to tie that theme into 140-character statements (the maximum length on Twitter) related to my activities.

For instance, this past week's theme was fishing (in honor of summer), and one day's post was, "True story: One job hunter sent a resume and intro letter to 20 co's that she liked, but who weren't advertising jobs. She landed a job offer!"

Once I've composed my five statements for the week (I reuse the same posts on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter), I schedule their delivery using a tool like Hootsuite.com. The entire process takes less than 30 minutes, yet voila! My messages are posted Monday through Friday, and people confuse me with being a social media guru.

Turns out it isn't painful and doesn't take much effort. So I still have plenty of time to enjoy lunch outside in Old Town.


Katy Piotrowski, M.Ed., is the author of "The Career Coward's Guides", and provides career and job search support with Career Solutions Group in Fort Collins. She can be reached at 224-4042, or send email to katy@careersolutionsgroup.net.


Original Article

Saturday, August 28, 2010

O Magazine - The New Rules Of Networking

By Barbara Safani and Louise Fletcher
O, The Oprah Magazine  |  




1. Join LinkedIn, which will allow you to connect with current and former associates—and their networks, too. "At this point, if you're not on LinkedIn, people wonder why," says Safani. (Bonus: Recruiters often use it as a database.)

2. Request information, not a job. "When you ask for a job, there is a yes or no answer," says Safani, "and it can feel like you're begging." Instead, explain exactly what you want and inquire about others who might be good for you to talk to. "Or pick their brain about the industry; that can be flattering."

3. Be on-message all the time. Prepare a succinct, compelling pitch about what you're looking for and why you're qualified. Then keep this message consistent in your résumé, your online profiles, and your conversations. Never say, "I'll take anything." If you do, people won't know how to help you.

4. Be helpful to others. "Networking isn't just something you do when you're looking for a job," says Fletcher. "If you help people out whenever you can, those favors will come back to you when you need them." 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tips for Cold Calling for a Job


With our economy headed into a double-dip recession, with all economic indicators heading downward, this is going to be a challenging period for job hunters.  Yet, we all know that some people are getting jobs.  Are they better than you?  No, they're just better at finding the jobs.

When you have exhausted your personal contacts, worked Facebook and LinkedIn to death and attended every networking event you could find and still don't have any viable job leads, it's time to start cold calling and meeting new people to invigorate your job search.
One of the most challenging skills to master is the ability to effectively cold call.  Cold calling, by my definition, are calls made to people you have never met before where you are looking to establish a business relationship.  It is truly the most difficult process in business.

Cold calling can be made either by sending a letter, e-mail, or phone call.  I personally like calling a new contact.  People today get way too many e-mails which can be daunting for most of us.  I would never e-mail a person if you have never met them.  It's not productive to send information to a potential contact via the e-mail and disrupt their personal space.  In fact, if they do not know who you are they'll probably delete your e-mail without opening it or it will end up in their Spam folder.
Cold calling should be based on a marketing plan you have comprised.  It is essential to have some sort of a game plan before you pick up the phone and start calling a prospect.  This is what separates you from a whiney job seeker who doesn't get return calls from someone who gets return phone calls.
Once you identify who you are contacting do research to see if they have been honored for anything recently or have written any articles lately.  This will give you some insight into how they think and may give you an advantage in your early communication with them.  Compliment them on their achievements: make it about them, not you.
Know that these people you are calling on are extremely busy.  They probably have piles of paper on their desk, fifty e-mails to be answered, and an almost full voice mail.  This is the kind of environment we work in today and will continue for the foreseeable future.  So remember whoever you are contacting cold is probably overworked, tired and bombarded by a number of other people who are trying to reach them.
When you are making a cold call by phone you may only reach a voice mail.  If you do reach a voice mail then leave a short message of who you are, why you're calling and your telephone number.  You may get a return phone call depending on the business ethics of who you are calling.  Many successful executives will return calls out of courtesy but a number of business people will not.  In most cases, you will have to call back a few times.  Don't call back at the same time each time you call.  Be creative and tenacious, but not annoying.
Companies are hiring people, just not at the pace people are losing jobs.  Firms are always looking for new talent.  The key is to be in the inner circle of hiring.  I recognize that personal referrals into a company are easier and sometimes better when looking for a job, but it also limits your chance of getting a job. Personal referrals are quickly exhausted and then what do you do besides applying online as everyone else does?
You have nothing to lose by cold calling.  Just make sure that you target the right people to call.  Do your homework by knowing something about the person you are calling. Compliment them on an article they published or a promotion, something they feel good about and feel compelled to respond to you to thank you for acknowledging.
Be enthusiastic, confident and informed. This confidence and enthusiasm will be infectious.  Whether you leave a voice mail or speak directly to the person you are attempting to reach by phone, make sure to make your proposition clear.  The mission of a cold call is not to sell your goods on the spot, but to open the door with this person for dialog.
Great sales people make great cold calls.  Take a cue from them.  Meet with one of your friends who have made a career in selling and ask them what they do.  This is not a time to sit back and wait for a phone call.  Get out there and keep talking, until you get the job you want.


Original Article

Monday, August 23, 2010

10 Tips For Aspiring Community Managers

As the world of dominant brands becomes more fragmented, established companies and startups are hiring community managers to cultivate an engaged community in a digital world where customers’ experiences with the product is amplified through social media, whether good or bad. And it’s not just the experience that users value; the relationships and connections they are able to make with companies and fellow consumers are just as important.
As a result, engaging users online and off has become evermore important for both companies big and small. That’s because social media has revolutionized the idea of word-of-mouth marketing, providing not only an opportunity for companies to expand their brands but also creating the risk of a customer service nightmare.
Community managers, who come in all shapes and sizes depending on the company and its mission, are often the online face of their companies, and more increasingly, offline as well. They’re the social strategist, community builder, storyteller, marketer, product manager, designer and evangelist rolled all into one. But most importantly, they’re responsible in projects and initiatives that strengthen the community of consumers, users and customers of the company.
Though there’s no silver bullet to being a successful community manager, for those aspiring to become one, we’ve gathered some tips from community builders on what it takes to land a job and be effective at cultivating community.

1. Be an Expert and Evangelist of Your Product or Company

Effective community managers are not only experts of the company or product they represent, but also are passionate about it. Chrysanthe Tenentes, Head of Community at Foursquare (Foursquare
), said good community managers are ones that are genuine advocates and evangelists for their products and their users.
“The best community managers are superusers of their products and can understand the passion of the user base, whether someone is complaining or offering feedback,” Tenentes said.
This means doing your homework on the company and product. It’s important to research the relevant aspects of the company with a “fine tooth comb mentality,” said Seamus Condron, Community Manager at ReadWriteWeb. This will not only prepare you as you go into an interview for a community spot at a company. Aspiring community managers should do a thorough “social media audit” of the company they’re interviewing with, said Daniel Honigman, Social Media Manager at Sears/KMart Home Electronics. This also means knowing the competitive landscape.

2. Love The Product and Company, But Be the Users’ Advocate

Understanding the product will help you become better at engaging and understanding the customers and users as well. Mario Sundar, Senior Social Media Manager at LinkedIn (LinkedIn
), said you should love the product or company you represent, but you should also have an understanding of users’ pain points. He said a community manager should be empathetic, that will help them be better at responding to complaints (and, at times, rants).
This is particularly true of customer service teams, and companies like Zappos, he said, have set the bar high in building customer support by empathizing with consumers. “A community manager’s role is no different,” he said.

3. Work on Your Communication Skills

One of the characteristics a community manager should have is that of an engager. A good community manager can engage people in an effective dialogue, said Andres Glusman, Vice President of Strategy & Community at Meetup.com. They understand that their role is to help people and enable their community to connect with each other, he said. To do this, they have to be effective communicators and articulate themselves well.
To prepare yourself for a career as a community manager, having a background in either marketing or journalism helps, Tenentes said. Having a communications background and experience in writing will help you be an effective communicator.

Tips 4 - 10

Ten Common Job Interview Questions and Answers

Whether you’re an entry-level candidate looking for your first job or an experienced professional looking to switch gears, the job interview process can be one of the most intimidating and frustrating steps in securing that perfect position. Oddly enough, many interviewers stick to a standard list of questions, regardless of the position being applied for. This standardization can be used to your advantage, as it allows you to prepare and even rehearse your answers to typical interview questions.
Here are ten of the most common job interview questions, and some tips for handling them.
Job Interview Questions and Answers #1: Tell me about yourself.
A lot of less-inspiring interviewers start off with this cookie-cutter icebreaker. It’s a pretty easy one to field: tell them about yourself. Just make sure to think before you speak. Don’t ramble; don’t say anything incriminating; don’t be offensive.
“I love to drink tequila and watch porn,” is probably not appropriate information, no matter how true it is.
If possible, try to tie in some elements that explain why you, an an individual, are a great fit for the company or the position. Interviewing to work with an all-terrain vehicle manufacturer? It might be worth mentioning that you’re an outdoors and motorsports enthusiast.
Job Interview Questions and Answers #2: Tell me about your last job.
This is another question that often comes at the beginning of interviews; it can be a bit tricky to answer. Your goal here is to explain why this new position is better suited to you than your last job without whining or bashing your former company. Potential employers are extremely wary of anybody who has an overabundance of negative stuff to say about their last job.
As an example, let’s say you used to work at an insurance company’s call center, and you’re trying to move into a quality-control role. “Those dumb bastards didn’t have a clue,” is probably not something you want to say about the insurance company.
Instead, try something like, “I enjoyed the customer service element of my previous position, but there simply wasn’t enough problem-solving to keep me engaged. That’s why I decided to look for a position with a little more responsibility that draws upon my technical skill set.”
Job Interview Questions and Answers #3: Tell me about a difficult situation you’ve had with a customer/client and how you handled it.
This can be a very tricky question for entry-level candidates who don’t have a whole lot of formal work experience. If you don’t have a good answer, admit it, and instead try drawing on an experience you had with a friend or family member. Basically, the interviewer is looking for proof of your people skills, so just tell a story about a time when you were able to make an unhappy person happy.

Questions 4 - 10

Friday, August 20, 2010

Your LinkedIn Profile Is Done. Now What?

As Jason and I spend time coaching clients and prospects on LinkedIn, the first thing we do is educate them on the steps involved in creating a complete profile.
We often refer to this (and all social media infrastructure setup) as “the plumbing” because it’s a necessary step before you can effectively use any social media tool.
So once your LinkedIn profile is complete, what are some of the things you should do next?
Here are  7 LinkedIn Quick Tips to get you headed in the right direction…

LinkedIn Quick Tips
  1. MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Ideally, you will spend some time on LinkedIn every week. A good way to remind yourself to do that is by setting up a recurring, weekly calendar appointment for a minimum of 15-30 minutes dedicated to LinkedIn. In fact, cut and paste these LinkedIn Quick Tips right into your calendar entry to remind you what you need to do each week!
  2. CONNECT TO PEOPLE: Start connecting to people that you know, trust and respect. There are a few ways to do this and you can see them all by clicking “Contacts” at the top of the page and then  “Add Connections”. And when you send an invitation to someone, be sure to personalize it!
  3. RECOMMENDATIONS: Provide recommendations to those “rock stars” you’ve worked with over the years. Be authentic in your recommendations and write them in a way that lets people know why the person is great to work with. For examples of recommendations, take a look at some that Jason and I have written and received on our LinkedIn profiles. (Note: You must be logged into your LinkedIn account to view these.) Mic’s LinkedIn Profile; Jason’s LinkedIn Profile 
  4. SEE WHAT YOUR NETWORK IS UP TO: If you click on “Home” at the top of the page when logged into your LinkedIn account, you will see a list of updates from people in your network and groups that you belong to. See what they are saying…see who they are connecting to….see what updates they are making to their profile. You never know what opportunities might come up. If you aren’t paying attention to what people are doing, you’ll miss those opportunities!
  5. JOIN, AND PARTICIPATE IN, GROUPS: If you click on “Groups” at the top of the page when logged into LinkedIn, and then click on “Groups Directory”, you will see that there are tons of groups that you can join and participate in. Do searches for groups in your industry or groups that interest you (I am a part of several Jayhawk/KU groups..shocking, I know!) This is another great way for you to connect with like-minded people and share your opinions and expertise.
  6. TAKE A LOOK AT WHO’S HIRING: Many people don’t realize that there are jobs posted on LinkedIn. Click on “Jobs” at the top of the page when logged into LinkedIn and take a peek at who’s hiring. That might give you some insight into companies that are growing…or you might know someone that you can refer to a company. Again, if you don’t make a habit of looking, you miss out on those opportunities.
  7. FOLLOW COMPANIES THAT ARE CLIENTS OR THAT INTEREST YOU: Using the search box in the upper right hand corner of LinkedIn, search for companies that are your clients, that you are interested in, that you used to work for, etc. Once you’ve found them, you can choose “Follow Company” on their LinkedIn Company Profile Page. For an example, and to follow Blue Gurus, click here:
Those are just a few helpful tips to get you in the habit of proactively using LinkedIn each week.
Have you put these tips into practice? What have you learned? Do you have other tips that have been helpful to you or your business?

Original Blue Gurus Posting

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Take the Back to School LinkedIn Challenge

By: Claudine Meilink



Today I challenged 20 of my LinkedIn contacts – all students – to take the Back to School Linked In Challenge. Why? Because they had initially created a LinkedIn profile to expand their network and, while their initial intentions were good, they had made the grave error of forgetting about that half-finished LinkedIn profile and allowed it to become a poor representation of who they are.
In the virtual world of the internet, it is almost better to have no presence rather than a negative presence. A half-finished or poorly done LinkedIn profile equals a negative presence. As more and more recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates to fill positions, you will want to ensure you are representing yourself positively online.
Is your LinkedIn profile at least 85% complete? If not, take my Back to School LinkedIn Challenge now so you are ready for fall recruitment when employers arrive on campus in September.

Phase I (Week 1)

  1. Upload a photo if you haven’t already. Your photo should be a headshot and not include half of someone else’s head chopped off, bar signs in the back ground, or a straw in your mouth.
  2. Complete the “Education” section with your major/minor, GPA, student organizations, extracurricular activities, academic accolades, and other school-related accomplishments. This is your chance to present information that wouldn’t typically fit on your resume. Don’t forget study abroad experiences, independent studies,
  3. Update your “Experience” to include all relevant work experiences such as internships, as well as past positions that demonstrated your transferable skills, volunteer experiences, and internships for academic credit. This is your opportunity to present your resume on steroids. Take it.
  4. Link to your twitter page, your website, or your blog but only if it is a professional representation of yourself. If you use twitter to communicate with your friends about how hungover you are on Sunday morning or swear like a sailor, skip the link to twitter. However, if you use twitter to network like a pro and find resources in your field of study, show your stuff!
  5. Last, but not least, write a meaningful summary that adequately describes your skills and abilities, your strengths and accomplishments, and future goals. Your summary should give an employer an idea of why they would want to hire you. This is your time to shine!
Congratulations! You’ve passed the first step of the Back-to-School Linked In Challenge. Feel free to connect with me on Linked In if you would like to officially enter my contest. Prizes will be awarded. Don’t forget to personalize your invitation by telling me why you would like to connect.
Phase II will be posted next Friday, August 6th, 2010.

Author

Claudine is a Career Services Consultant for the Center for Career Opportunities (CCO) at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.  Among other things, Claudine provides career and major counseling to students and alumni, assists employers with achieving their recruitment goals at Purdue, and dabbles in the use of social media to engage students. You can connect with Claudine on twitter or LinkedIn.
Related posts:
  1. The Back to School LinkedIn Challenge (Phase II)
  2. The Back to School LinkedIn Challenge Phase III
  3. Weekend Challenge: Beef Up Your LinkedIn Profile

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

5 Ways to be Found With Your Linkedin Profile

Your LinkedIn Profile is your presence on LinkedIn. You can’t do anything in LinkedIn until your Profile is up. It’s like your resume and your own personal Web page in addition to the web sites you may have.
People do searches in LinkedIn when they’re looking for products and services, for top talent to fill positions, for jobs, and for answers to questions they have. You’ll look for these same things when you search LinkedIn. And search engines search your Profile when it’s completed.
When someone looks at your Profile, they’ll decide whether to connect with you, hire you as an employee or for your services based on what they see there. Make it a good first impression, and make it compelling so that they contact you.
Here are some tips for creating your Profile so that you’re found on LinkedIn, and your Profile shows them that you’re the best person to connect with.
1. Before you go to LinkedIn to create your Profile, think about your Big Picture Vision of your career and life. Write down the answers to these key questions: 1) What is your expertise and what are you known for? 2) What do you want people to ask you for now? What do you want to be known as the Expert in? 3) When people think of Tiger Woods, they immediately think of “golf”. What do you want them to think of when they think of you?
2. Have your resume handy as you write your LinkedIn Profile. You want to be complete, especially about your responsibilities and results you’ve achieved. Be sure your resume is results-oriented, and update it to include your current position and work.
A big mistake people make with their LinkedIn Profile is making it exactly like their resume – backwards-oriented. That is, only showing what you’ve done in the past. With your LinkedIn Profile, be sure it also reflects what you’re doing now and what you want to do. For example, if you’re a start-up business looking for funding or investors, be sure everything that a potential investor looks for in a company is in your Profile. It’s the same if you’re looking for a new position. There are people in LinkedIn who can help you with anything you want to do.
3. Think of keywords that people might search on to find you. For example, if you’re looking for a job, some relevant key words might be: 1) Your current job title and the title of the position you’re looking for. For example, if you’re now a Director and you’re looking for a Vice President position. 2) Your functional responsibilities. This describes what you do and is more descriptive than your job title. When I sold an accurate database of executives that companies used for their marketing, the database could be searched by “Job Function” as well as title. For example, the job title was Vice President, and Job Functions were Financial, Sales, Marketing and Human Resources. 3) Or if you want to find more clients, some keywords you’d use to find the person you’re looking for would be their current job title or industry, or the services they’d be searching for such as “sales training”.
4. Be sure the photo you put up on LinkedIn is a good one, and shows you as the executive and professional that you are. If you don’t have a photo that’s a good representation of you as you are now, it’s worth to get a new one. Remember, your Profile is the first impression people will get of who you are. When you’re networking online, the face-to-face visual clues are not there, so your photo is even more important.
5. Add your personality to your LinkedIn Profile. When someone sees your LinkedIn Profile, make it stand out so you stand out from the crowd. Make your Profile a representation of you – not simply an electronic resume. Rather than simply listing your job responsibilities and short descriptions, describe in story form how you solved challenges and approached the corporate or client situation. Create a picture in the reader’s mind that shows who you are, how you approach situations, how you stand out from others who do similar things, and that you’re accessible and personable.

Original BizBuzz Weekly Article

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tips for Polishing Your Resume

Just as April is a perfect time for some spring cleaning, the last few weeks of August — when things are slower and most of us start looking ahead to the busy fall — is a great time to dust off the cobwebs from your resume. Hiring experts say that even those not involved in an active job hunt should have an updated and polished resume — because sometimes when you’re not looking, that’s just when someone gets interested in you, right?
And for those on a job hunt, it’s important to continually update your resume. Use the hard-won knowledge you’re gaining about what works and doesn’t in a job search to ensure that you are using your resume to its best advantage — and that all parts of it are working for you rather than against you. Also, you want your resume to scream relevance — and the best way to do this is to highlight what you’ve been doing lately, such as freelance or consulting work.
Here are some tips for polishing your resume whether you’re actively job hunting or not:
*Keep it updated. Often, once someone lands a  job, they let their resume languish. And then when they need it again, they’re furiously seeking to include information about their most recent job and activities. It’s better to continually update your resume with details about your most professional experience, freelance work, awards, honors and references or recommendations. (And to make this information fit, make sure to cut long-ago or less relevant positions and honors.) That way, when you make a contact who wants to see your resume (who may be key to getting your next job) you can show how organized you are by immediately sending it to them. And don’t forget to keep an updated copy of your resume on LinkedIn or other professional networking sites you’re on — a good number of people have outdated resumes on these sites, and that means they aren’t taking full advantage of the opportunity right before them.
*Edit with care. A tendency among mid-career professionals, especially, is to pack a ton of information on their resume — after all, they’ve worked hard to gain this experience and want to show it off. Yet too-packed descriptions and paragraphs often have the opposite effect and can frustrate a recruiter — they want to know what you think are your most important qualities and qualifications. Prioritize. Then ruthlessly edit each section of your resume, especially the job descriptions, and take care in word choice. Less is usually more. Also, give your resume some room to breathe. Don’t include so much in any one each section so that it’s literally hard to read on the page. White space is also your friend — provide a little room between sections.
*Simple and elegant is usually best. A resume is your professional calling card — it isn’t an advertising flier or press release. So while it may not look exciting or sound exciting, you’re better off keeping it plain vanilla in terms of look and language.  It’s best to ease up on the bold key and to lightly use italics, dashes or underlining to make your point. Also, these can turn into gobbledygook in this world of scanners and email attachments — make sure you send your resume as an attachment to yourself and print it out before sending to others so that you can see what it will really look like once printed out (which it will be).  Also, when printing your resume at a copy shop (and you should always show up to interviews with your resume on a paper of decent stock) don’t use odd-sized or boldly colored paper; you will be making a statement by doing that and it’s usually not one you want to make. And don’t include your picture on your resume unless requested to do so. And remember, it’s best to leave off items that really aren’t any of a potential employer’s business — such as personal data like marital status or how many kids you have, and statements such as “in excellent health.” Keep it focused on your professional achievements — and polish away!
*Some good news and congratulations today — Max Frumes, a recent graduate of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism (and a participant in its Washington program), has landed a full-time job with The Deal (www.thedeal.com) in New York as a private-equity reporter, and as he says, “it was partly serendipity.” (As it so often is in job hunting, by the way!) He wasn’t looking for a full-time position because he had an internship lined up with Bloomberg in New York for the fall. Because there was a lag between his graduation in June from Medill and the fall start date for the internship, he was freelancing in D.C. As he was looking for more freelance opportunities to tide him over, he contacted a MarketWatch reporter he had gotten to know through his work at Medill. Though MarketWatch didn’t have a freelance budget, he sent Max’s name to someone with his previous organization — The Deal — about temporary work, and a month later, they called him for interviews for a full-time job. So again, networking is the absolute key to getting a good job — even when you aren’t necessarily looking for one!
Congratulations and best of luck to Max! And please pass along your story — or spread the word to others who have landed well and ask them to get in touch — as they are so instructive about how people really get jobs in this competitive market.
*And now, for some fresh communications and journalism leads — remember, I include these mostly to give an indication of who is really hiring in the D.C. area and for what types of jobs (your best bet is still to try to find someone within an organization you’re targeting to get your resume to decision makers):
*Intelsat in D.C. has an opening for a director of corporate communications:
Director, Corporate Communications
Intelsat – Washington, DC
years of Satellite Communications experience as the Director, Corporate Communications within the Corporate and Marketing Communications team of Intelsat. The…
From washingtonpost.com
*The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in D.C. has several openings on its marketing and communications team, including for a director of strategic philanthropy:
Director of Strategic Philanthropy
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation- Washington, DC Office – Washington, DC
of Marketing and Communications, development support… fundraising plans. • Support preparation of communication/marketing materials related to Keystone and…
From idealist.org
*This might be a good opportunity for a transitioning journalist, especially one with a background and interest in conservation issues — the National Parks Conservation Association in D.C. is looking for a program manager with a geographic focus on Virginia:
VA Program Manager
National Parks Conservation Association – Washington, DC
motivated, strategic, results-oriented, collaborative leader with excellent communication skills. BA/BS degree with three to five years of equivalent experience…
From idealist.org
*The Center for Public Integrity in D.C. has an opening for a senior Web developer:
The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative journalism publisher, is seeking a Senior Web Developer to work at its headquarters in Washington DC.
The Web Developer will help lead development and redevelopment of websites on the Django and Drupal platforms. Maintenance of existing websites on other platforms, such as Expression Engine, will also be required. This position reports to the Web editor and the Chief Digital Officer.
Main Responsibilities:
• Lead development of the next generation of Web platforms, social networking tools and publishing tools to showcase the Center’s award-winning reporting.
• Coordinate with editors and Web producers to ensure that needed functionality meets usability and workflow requirements.
• Implement bug fixes and assist with routine maintenance of existing websites.
• Research emerging technologies to help identify potential revenue opportunities and/or enhancements to website user experience.
• Participate in all aspects of website development/redevelopment: analysis, planning, testing, development, maintenance.
Required Qualifications:
• Minimum 2 years experience developing in Django and Drupal.
• Strong Python knowledge.
• XML, CSS and Web Standards experience and knowledge
• Demonstrated ability to produce quality code and to lead other developers to produce quality code.
Preferred Skills:
• Experience in the news media industry.
• Experience working in other programming languages/frameworks.
• Experience in traditional software development.
• Prior leadership experience in Web development enterprise.
Skills:
• Must be able to produce high-quality code under clear deadlines.
• Must be able to manage multiple projects and consistently meet project deadlines
• Must be able to lead a team of other developers to produce quality code.
• Excellent written and spoken communication skills
• Excellent interpersonal skills
• Innovative, self-motivated approach to work
The Center offers a compensation and benefits package, including medical, dental, and vision insurance. All applications should be emailed to Web Editor Andrew Green at webdeveloper@publicintegrity.org.
*Also, the Center for Public Integrity has several fall Web internships (paid!) still available through the end of 2010:
The Center for Public Integrity’s Web department is looking to hire two or three web-savvy interns beginning as soon as possible and working through the end of the year. Interns will be expected to work 10 – 15 hours per week at a rate of $10 per hour.
Basic responsibilities will include:
·         Loading content to the Center’s website;
·         Basic web-based advertising (Google Ads);
·         Assistance with photo research and editing;
·         Maintaining archives of multimedia content;
·         Assistance with compiling analytics;
·         Other duties as assigned.
Additional responsibilities may include:
·         Assisting with multimedia projects;
·         Assisting with project management of major investigations.
The Center is looking to hire interns with basic content management system and HTML skills. Additional multimedia, social media and graphic design skills are a plus.
Interested applicants should send a resume and brief cover letter to Andrew Green at agreen@publicintegrity.org.
Note: This is a web-based position, and while it may offer opportunities to assist with web-based multimedia projects, it is a not a reporting and writing position.
*The Daily Record in Baltimore has an opening for a Web content producer:
The Daily Record, Maryland’s trusted source for business and legal news, is looking for someone skilled with databases and online media tools and a desire to put them to work in new and creative ways. This job is less reporting and writing and more data-driven, content-focused and technology-centric. We’re looking for someone familiar with the rhythms of a newsroom who can:
  • Create and import various forms of data from various sources and format for use online and in print products. Aggregate information that can be combined into one search function and “mashed” together for use by sophisticated business and legal news audiences.
  • Compile, format and help analyze data for computer-assisted reporting online and in print.
  • Perform all duties essential to our website operation, including but not limited to: operating our content management system; packaging stories online in creative and compelling ways; and utilizing hyperlinks, search engine optimization strategies, tags and any other tools that will generate traffic.
  • Build e-mail newsletters, breaking news e-blasts, text alerts and other products for distribution to our growing digital audience.
Please e-mail a resume and cover letter to rob.terry@thedailyrecord.com.
*The Detroit Free Press has an opening in its D.C. bureau for an auto writer:

The Detroit Free Press is seeking an auto writer who will be based in the newspaper’s Washington bureau. The reporter will cover regulatory and congressional issues related to the auto industry, including recall and safety matters, fuel economy debates, lobbying, and trade and labor policy developments.
The writer also will work closely with our Detroit-based autos team, helping to cover major news developments in the domestic and global auto industry. The writer also would occasionally collaborate on watchdog projects and breaking news with our political reporter based in Washington. We need an enterprising reporter who produces stories that range from watchdog to explanatory to analytical. Candidates must have clips showing experience with digging into public records and a track record for developing deep sourcing in the industry, agencies and congressional offices.
The Free Press is the nation’s ninth-largest Sunday newspaper. Its award-winning autos and business staff has been recognized by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers as producing one of the top business reports in the country.
Applicants should send a resume, cover letter and writing samples to Senior Managing Editor Jeff Taylor at jtaylor@freepress.com. Candidates should cite examples of how they have broken news and provided exclusive content in digital platforms.
*SNL Financial has an opening in its Arlington office for an energy reporter:
SNL Financial LC, a premier news and data company, is looking for a top-notch energy reporter to be based in its Arlington, Va., office. The position involves phone and face-to-face interviews, as well as some travel to attend conferences and other industry events. Energy industry reporting experience is a plus, specifically in the coal and power markets. SNL offers unique salary potential – competitive base salary and performance based bonuses – and a great working environment in our Arlington, VA office. Please submit a cover letter of interest, resume and writing samples to opportunities@snl.com. SNL Financial is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
*The Huffington Post is looking for a copy editor to be based in its D.C. office:
The Huffington Post is hiring a copy editor to be based at our downtown Washington, D.C. office.
Candidates should have strong editing skills and a working knowledge of national politics.
The position will involve editing a large volume of fast-moving content from HuffPost’s growing reporting team, and working closely with the DC bureau chief and the politics editor on reporting coverage. At least two years of editing experience required.
Send resume and references to dcjobs@huffingtonpost.com.


*And last but not least today, Groupon is looking for freelance writers:
Every day, Groupon emails over 8 million subscribers with a new thing to do, eat, or see in their city. Every business we feature gets a thoroughly researched and profoundly absurd descriptive write-up, and we are looking for a few freelance writers to add to our figurative stable of word wizards. Our freelancers are guaranteed a steady stream of work, and the creative style of our writing has won us recognition from such arbiters of taste as the NY Times. The succesful candidate will demonstrate an effortless knack for our unusual voice in his or her sample, and will also be able to point to hard evidence of the ability to self-direct and work under deadline.

For instructions and to apply, click http://hire.jobvite.com/j/?cj=oWemVfwb&s=Gorkana


Original DC Works Posting

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ten Tips for Optimizing Linkedin

With over 25 million members, LinkedIn has grown to become a very powerful business and career management tool. Many are using it, but few have really optimized its value. Here are ten tips for creating a strong online presence.

1. Take the time to create a robust profile. Write a summary section that clearly outlines your personal brand and value add and gets readers jazzed up about what you do. Build out the specialties section and make it keyword rich and industry relevant. Many profiles on LinkedIn are just a shell with a name and an abbreviated chronology. You would never submit a resume to a potential employer that only listed employment, so why would you use this tactic on-line when your information is available for millions of people to see?

2. Use the endorsements feature to request and offer endorsements. People are more likely to contact you if you can prove that others have been satisfied with your work, product, or services. Adding endorsements can expedite the decision making process.

3. Keep your profile up to date. People who use LinkedIn for a job search campaign often abandon the tool after they find new employment. By keeping your information up to date, you are more likely to keep your network strong and be able to reciprocate to others.

4. Educate your connections. If people join LinkedIn and don?t invite others, they won?t get as much out of the tool and will remain several degrees apart from the people they want to meet.

5. LinkedIn doesn?t replace traditional networking, it facilitates it. Always supplement your on-line efforts with face-to-face networking.

6. Use the questions and answers feature to start conversations, create community, and position yourself as a subject matter expert. By answering questions, you are simultaneously endorsing your candidacy and expertise.

7. Don?t add a connection that you would not feel comfortable introducing to someone already in your network. Having 500 connections doesn?t have much value if you can?t share the love.

8. Don?t use the invitation to connect templates. They lack authenticity and are inferior when compared to a personalized message from you.

9. Create a public profile. This is an easy way to start building an on-line presence for yourself, since LinkedIn ranks high in the search engines. Add a vanity URL for greater differentiation.

10. Take advantage of resources that can help you optimize your Linked In profile including: http://www.linkedintelligence.com/ http://blog.linkedin.com/ http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2007/01/linkedin_profil.html
http://www.happyabout.info/linkedinhelp.php
http://www.happyabout.info/onlinenetworking.php

You can keep your LinkedIn presence healthy and strong by reviewing and updating the content frequently, sending and accepting new invitations, offering and requesting endorsements, and posing and answering questions. Try to spend at least 30 minutes per week managing your LinkedIn presence. Your persistence will pay off.

Barbara Safani - About the Author:

Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, (http://www.careersolvers.com ) has over 12 years of experience in career management, recruiting, and executive coaching. Ms. Safani partners with both Fortune 100 companies and individuals to deliver targeted programs focusing on resume development, job search strategies, networking, interviewing, salary negotiation skills, and online identity management.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

LinkedIn Marketing - The Secret Behind Social Networking Success

LinkedIn is a professional, business and career oriented social networking site. It allows you to meet professional experts in a variety of industries across the globe.
There’s currently over 35 millions professionals on LinkedIn and these numbers are growing as we speak.
The LinkedIn community enables you to connect with like minded people which in returns allow you to grow your business contacts and network.
As a registered member, you get to create your own personal profile with information about you, your company, your products and services. You can also mention your professional accomplishments.
Once you’ve done this, you can begin to maintain a list of contacts which are known as connections and actively invite others to join your network and that whether they are existing LinkedIn users or not.
Now that you’re a little more familiar with the LinkedIn community, let’s go ahead and detail the numerous ways you can use LinkedIn to increase your business growth and get ahead of your competitors.
#1. Growing & Managing Your Contact List
Jeffrey Combs once said: “Your Networth Is Proportional To Your Network” and this statement is so true. In business, your contacts are everything. You don’t know need to know everyone, but make sure you know the people that know everyone!
That being said, the LinkedIn community is a great place to begin connecting with real professionals in order to begin growing your list of business contacts which could be done pretty easily.
Just like any social networking site, you should approach like minded people to initiate the first contact (make sure that you’re not spamming people with your ads) and regularly keep in touch with them so in the long run, they’ll know, like and trust you.
In addition to this, you can import almost any digital address book and web email contacts (Hotmail, Aol, Yahoo, etc. . . ) from your LinkedIn account hence growing your list of contacts.
#2. LinkedIn Answers
This tool is by far the most important tools jednýmz on LinkedIn. “LinkedIn Answers” allowing anyone to ask questions on any topic and any one may answer these questions.
The cool thing about this is that you can interact with lots of people that are not in your network. . . Hence, a great way to increase your connections.
So Here’s How It Works: When someone asks a question, everyone can give out answers or suggestions to that specific question.
A few days after the question has been posted and that you’ve received some answers, you’ll be asked to choose the right answers or the answers that helped you most.
And out of all these good answers, you’ll have to pick the “best” answer. Then the person that has been chosen for the “best” answer will be provided with an expertise point that will show up on his/her profile.
Answering questions is a great way to establish your expertise in a certain field. By answering more and more questions or inquiries from other LinkedIn users, you’ll be able to gain more expertise points which will allow you to become the expert people are looking for to do business with.
Remember that in business, people join you or buy your products or services because you’re an expert or a leader they know, like and trust.
With this little tool, you’ll be able to drive a great deal of traffic to your site. . . Increasing sales and sign-ups!
You can easily become THAT expert in a really short period of time (anyone can become an expert in anything with just a simple research. . . Please do not share this secret with anyone!), hence attracting potential leads and prospects to your marketing funnels.
Asking questions is also a good way to interact with other experts. Your questions will be read and answered by so many people and you can make use of their expertise to do joint ventures or share business ideas.
#3. LinkedIn Services
The “LinkedIn Services” tool is a complete directory of service providers that have been recommended by other users in your network.
Let’s say that you’re looking for a highly qualified graphic & web designer in your town or city and you really want to make sure they’re real experts. You can use the “LinkedIn Services” to see which graphic & web designers have been recommended by others.
This tool will help you save time researching for professionals you want to hire to get a certain job done.
That being said, I strongly suggest that you get your clients to recommend you as a professional so when people are searching for services or products you offer, then they’ll find you.
That alone is priceless since you’ll get tons of prospective clients at your fingertip without spending a penny on advertising.
#4. Search LinkedIn
The search tool simply allows you to find professionals that you know and even the ones you don’t know.
Then you can either try to get an introduction from someone in your network that knows that person or simply upgrade your LinkedIn account in order to be able to contact him/her directly.
#5. LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn groups allow you to join any group that you want. You’ll then be able to meet great people and keep in touch with prospective business partners and clients.
Make sure that you’re a contributing member of each group you join. Post great content regularly, keep in touch with the other group members, etc. . . This will literally help you brand your name, your products, services and even business opportunities because people will begin to relate to you.
#6. LinkedIn Jobs
LinkedIn is also a great place to post jobs or recruit employees to your company. Thousands of companies are hiring and recruiting on LinkedIn so if you’re a business owner looking for prospective employees, there you go!
If you’re looking for employment, there are so many great companies on LinkedIn offering great career opportunities.
#7. Search Engine Optimization Made Easy
SEO marketing is one the toughest things out there in cyberspace and takes a lot of effort and learning to become an expert.
Since LinkedIn is highly ranked in all top search engines, your LinkedIn page will easily show up in the top 10 in search engine results for certain keywords. That’s literally free organic traffic your page without all the SEO marketing hassle.
Give it a try: simply type my name “Souleymane Maiga” on Google. com and on the 1st page, you’ll see my LinkedIn profile.
#8. Conclusion
In conclusion, I would like to say that LinkedIn is a great social networking site. If used properly, it could increase your visibility and brand name.
It also adds more credibility to your image and brand (“LinkedIn Answers” easily allow you to become a known expert in your field of expertise).
Keep in mind that LinkedIn should not be used a mass marketing outlet like Facebook or MySpace or even Twitter (you should only target what you’re looking forward to accomplish).

Original Article

10 Hiring Manager Deal Breakers - Why Candidates Don't Get The Job

By Kaitlin Madden, CareerBuilder.com writer

Everyone has encountered a deal breaker. That one unappealing characteristic -- no matter how attractive something initially seems -- that completely overrides any positive aspects. For example, you found a great apartment but it's a mile from the subway or your hot blind date acts like a cast member from "The Jersey Shore." Like anyone else, hiring managers have deal breakers too -- things that a job candidate does or says that immediately get their application sent to the "no" pile.
Here are some automatic applicant disqualifiers, straight from the recruiters' mouths:
"I provide personal PR consulting as part of my practice, and job interviews have come up recently. In talking with other managers, the worst interview blunder that I keep hearing about is young grads using social media speak during conversations, as if LOL is a real word. Most hiring managers are social-media savvy, but they want to know that their future employee can carry on professional conversations with all levels of the organizations -- using real words." -- Jules Zunich, owner, Z Group PR
 "The first thing that comes to mind when I think about deal breakers is the candidate's online personal brand. I Google candidates and if I find online content that is concerning, it's an immediate deal breaker. Examples of this include: pictures of the candidate drunk or acting in a promiscuous way or albums of pictures that represent a 'party animal' image; blogs or videos that are not in good taste; blogs, articles or any written content with below par writing and grammar skills; lack of professionalism or good conduct in group discussions (i.e. LinkedIn groups); complaints about prior companies and managers; and just a general usage of improper language on any social-media venue." -- Jessica Simko, human resource manager and owner, WorkandLifeSolutions.com
"A few of my common no-no's:
1. Bringing up salary in the initial interview (for an otherwise great interview, I'll excuse this if it happens during the Q&A at the end).
2. Speaking about scheduling limitations or prospective reasons to leave the position right off the bat.
3. Acting impolitely or speaking down to any person in our office (receptionists or secretaries included).
4. Telling me that dealing with people is your biggest challenge/weakness or least favorite thing. Very few jobs let you work without other people.
5. Consistently answering questions other than those I asked.
In general, it's often the little things that distinguish a good candidate from a bad candidate, so keeping all of those little things in mind is very important!" -- Josh, commenter on TheHiringSite.com
"Deal breakers I have seen include: having a really immature [cell phone] ring-back (I called one girl for an interview and her ring-back was some hip-hop song). Also, once a candidate didn't know what company they were applying for. Although the job posting didn't note the company name, the root domain of my e-mail should give away our Web address, and we were looking for someone that was tech-savvy for the job. Another time I told a candidate to dress fashionably for the interview because we were a fashion company, but she was a total mess when she came into the interview with loose clothing and really messy hair." -- Danny Wong, hiring manager, Blank Label Clothing
"Lying on a résumé. I had a marketing director e-mail me her old résumé (which I only had a paper copy of) and an updated résumé. The dates of employment on the updated résumé did not match the dates on the previous résumé and the first job listed on the previous résumé did not appear on the new one. When I asked for an explanation, she told me that she could not remember the dates of employment at her previous job and that she had removed her previous job from the new résumé because she wanted everything to fit on two pages. When I told her that I could not proceed with her candidacy because of the inaccuracies, she actually got angry at me. The second was a lawyer who, on a new résumé, changed the dates of his previous employments and removed one job completely. The funny thing was that he knew I had the previous résumé. The rule is simple: Liars need not apply!" -- Bruce Hurwitz, president and CEO, Hurwitz Strategic Staffing
"Arrogance. When a candidate is overly confident, I find them to have a sense of entitlement, which is the last thing any employer wants to deal with. Remember to be gracious to anyone you meet during the job search process. Being humble will get you farther than being conceited." -- Elliott Martimbeau, recruiting manager at Sapphire Technologies
"One candidate I met recently came into my client's office and complained about the sign on the building. She said that it was too high up and was blocked by the trees surrounding it so she was unable to find the company. If you are this negative going into an interview when you're supposed to be at your best, think about how negative you'll be when you face challenges as an employee. Another candidate interviewing for a coordinator role asked for directions when I scheduled the interview. These days with Google Maps being so prevalent, candidates should be able to find their own directions, even if they don't have a GPS. Worse yet, she got lost on the way to the interview, and rather than asking someone in the neighborhood to help her, she called me. It took me five minutes to explain where the building was. Clearly this was not a person who was able to think on her own -- a deal breaker for a coordinator role." -- Abby Kohut, former hiring manager and author of "101 Job Search Secrets"
"Internally here when interviewing, we try and be somewhat forgiving as we understand everyone is only human. However, when the competition is high, there are things that can immediately remove people from consideration -- particularly if it's something that reflects on skills or attributes relevant to the job.
One of the big ones for us is spelling on a résumé, simply because it speaks to a person's attention to detail. If they can't check their own résumé over to ensure there are no mistakes, how could we expect them to do it once they get hired by one of our clients? So unless someone is a true superstar or has skills and experience that are in high demand, spelling mistakes are a deal breaker for us. The lesson here then is to make sure you triple-check your résumé before applying.
In addition, we've heard from a number of our clients about their personal deal breakers as well. While many are the same, we've definitely heard some unique ones. One hiring manager eliminated a short-listed candidate because her bra strap was showing. Another because a woman's skirt was too short. You never know the type of person you're going to be interviewing with and what type of quirky biases they may have. While some hiring managers' personal deal breakers might not exactly be fair to candidates, the bottom line is that they can and do eliminate candidates based on these personal judgments. Our best advice would be to err on the conservative or more professional side if you're ever in doubt." -- Greg Masiewich, manager, IQ Partners Inc.
There you have it, hiring deal breakers straight from the source. It appears that all of the disqualifiers mentioned above were caused by one thing: lack of professionalism. Remember, no detail is too small to be overlooked by a recruiter, so make sure you exude a professional demeanor during your job search. Whether it's in the way you dress, your manner of speaking, your online profile or even your cell-phone ring-back -- recruiters take everything into account.
Kaitlin Madden is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow @CBForJobSeekers on Twitter. 


Original Article

Monday, August 9, 2010

In job search, salary information often requires digging a little deeper

By Vickie Elmer
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, August 8, 2010
The job looks enticing and the commute would be half your current one. But the pay? Who knows? The ad doesn't mention it and the company offers nothing on its Web site to clue you in.
This Story
If you're looking for a new position, you also may want to start your due diligence -- your search for the salary skinny -- right away. Salary information from a previous search, even as recent as a year ago, may no longer be relevant.
"Salary data is volatile and it changes constantly," said Deborah Keary, human resources director for the for the Society of Human Resource Management, an Alexandria-based professional association. In other words, your dream job may not pay as much as you dreamed.
In the past two years, millions of people's salaries were reduced or frozen, or their positions were turned into contract jobs without benefits. Vacation days and pay raises dropped from sight last year in many sectors, though salaries are climbing back now.
Top-performing staffers around the Washington metro area can expect raises of 3.9 percent, on average, this year, which is higher than the national average reported in a recent salary survey by WorldatWork, a human resources association based in Scottsdale, Ariz. The highest-rated staffers -- one fourth of all workers -- will collect more, but the bottom quarter may get meager raises or none at all this year, WorldatWork officials said.
The average pay increase nationwide this year is 2.5 percent -- below the gains of 3.5 percent or more that had been logged in recent years.
"You can't expect a lot of money unless you're a really good performer," Keary said.


If you win a promotion, that could bump up your pay 7 to 15 percent, according to Paul Rowson, managing director at WorldatWork's D.C. office. "Top performers tend to be considered for promotions faster than average performers," he said. Either way, you're likely to earn more if you know the market's pay rates and your own worth in today's job market.
Here's are four strategies for learning more about pay and benefits:
-- If you already work for the organization, simply go to the human resources department and ask. This may work for some outside candidates, too, especially if they are finalists for the job. "Transparency is an up-and-coming thought," Keary said.
-- Check recent job postings specific to the city and industry where you want to work and to your level of experience. Exclude contract jobs (unless that is what you're seeking), because their base pay is much higher. Recruiters also can be great sources, Rowson said.
-- Use Web sites to learn a ballpark estimate of market salaries, Keary suggests.

 -- Talk to people who already hold the job you want. "Don't be a researcher. Be a networker," Rowson said. Connect with them on LinkedIn or through professional associations. Ask for career advice and insights -- including salary ranges.
This Story
Keary agreed that people are a great source -- if handled gingerly. "People are interested in the subject" of salaries, she said, though many would rather discuss them in third-person generalities. Ask about a fair salary for someone with 10 years of experience in that field. "Make it clear that you're not prying into their personal business," she said.
You also may want to find out how the organization treats its staff. "You'll hear the horror stories first," she said, including tales of those who went years without a raise. Dig deeper and ask a variety of people about compensation history and practices.
Most jobs have established pay ranges, and government jobs have pay grades that can be found online. Ranges may be broad, especially for management jobs. It's tricky to determine where you would fall within a stated pay range. Among the factors are years of experience, technical prowess and standout abilities. "You've got to be conservative. You can't overestimate your worth" or you may get kicked out of the running, Rowson said.
Many experts suggest you hold off on discussing pay and benefits until late in the hiring process, after a job has been offered or you're at least a finalist.
Candidates may want to have three figures in mind -- or stashed as a note on their mobile phones -- as they begin to discuss pay, said Mary E. Hayward, director of career services for the SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vt.
The first number is the market salary for the job you want. The second is your highest expectation of what you could earn. And the third is the lowest pay you would accept.

Employers will be more likely to negotiate a higher salary or better benefits if you have demonstrated your qualifications and any extras you bring to the position, Hayward said. She recommends developing a list of bargaining points ahead of time. "What this gets down to is you're marketing a product," she said. "And the product is you." Try to be collaborative in salary discussions. "Don't accept the first offer," Hayward said, since it's probably a low-ball offer.

Original Article

5 best practice tips: use social media to engage, not enrage followers


Everyone should understand a few “best practice” guidelines so that they can maximize their brand awareness and establish a positive online presence.With all the social media sites that are available now, and as a growing number of people discover and use them, the result may be the tendency to share too much information, too frequently, or annoy followers with excessive self-promotion.

What is effective communication via social media, and specifically, what is the right level to engage others without driving them away? How frequently should one send out updates, post new messages, or update their status / profile? For many, these answers may depend on what the goals are – growing a network for business building, sharing information / industry updates / late-breaking news, or building a wide network to help with a job search.

No matter what the intent for using a social media site, sharing something of value or "free" will serve one well and begin building a positive brand for an individual. Blasting out numerous updates too often, or trying to "sell" someone, may label you as a self-promoter who shares “anything and everything”, and even run the risk of being viewed as a “spammer”. 

You want to "engage", not "enrage" followers.There are many social media sites that could be reviewed, but LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook remain the most widely used, so I will focus on them. Given their huge following, and with users numbering in the millions, I coined the phrase social media "power trio" to refer to these popular sites in a previous article, 3 sites to help in your job search: the social media 'power trio'.
  1. Use the social media “power trio” – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook wisely
Here are ways to help, not hurt your personal brand, with these sites.

LinkedIn
  • Profile updates - keep this current, update it every time you update your resume. Also update when you add new files, SlideShare presentations, book recommendations, or a new website.
  • Twitter - add your Twitter ID so connections can find & "follow" you on Twitter.
  • Link or News - share items that have value; something your connections might want to share with others. Some examples of content that will add value / pique the interest others: recommendations to great articles, blogs from industry leaders, useful links, tools, tips, late-breaking news, and upcoming events, something funny, thought-provoking, or unusual.
Best practice tip -
Do NOT post status updates describing a laundry list of all your daily / weekly meetings. Focus on sharing content that has value for others, and don't post too many updates. A good rule of thumb is post status (Link or News) updates at least every week or two, and avoid excessive daily updates, remember - it's "quality", not "quantity" that matters.

Twitter
  • What’s happening? - Twitter's status update window is probably best used for sharing and gathering valuable content - links, tools, tips, news, views, recommendations, quotes, interesting or humorous posts from others. This is really a great site to wisely use the 140 characters to recommend the work of others or share your own content with a brief headline and link to a blog, website, or recent article. (Think 80/20 rule - promote others 80% of the time; only 20% personal or The thirds rule - 1/3 = industry related; 1/3 = about your field/company; 1/3 = about YOU).
  • #hash tags - add the # tag to categorize important posts, breaking news, etc. so that they are captured and can be retrieved by you and others later.
  • Lists - adding the Twitter ID of others to lists you create is a great way to validate that their tweets are valuable and worth sharing. The number of times a person's ID appears in a similar list throughout
    the 'twitterverse' is a strong indicator of how well their posts mirror their brand. List examples: social-media-marketing, job-career-experts, personal-branding.
    • If your Twitter ID is not appearing in the lists that support your brand objective, it may be time to take a closer look at your tweets and the signals they are giving off. Maybe a change of content or tone to deliver the right message is in order.
Best practice tip -

Think BEFORE you send - ask yourself "so what?" "Thinking "so what" at the end of a message is a good test to pre-qualify whether the message may have value (for someone other than you). Are you tweeting something that your followers will want to share with their connections? 

A message that shares information about a great new social media tool, career networking event, or late-breaking news probably passes this test. What one had for breakfast or sharing boring, mundane, daily details, adds little value, and does NOT pass the test.

Facebook
  • Profile / Info - keep Work and Education, Contact Information current with career experience, accomplishments, current websites, or blogs.
  • Groups - join groups in your industry, field of expertise, and those that match your likes and interests
  • Profile / Info/ Likes and Interests / Pages - "Like" pages that support your business or career goals, hobbies, music interests, civic clubs / organizations, etc.
  • Create your own page to promote a new business, website, or blog, and share something of value - information, links, industry news, articles, "free" downloads with friends and followers.
  • Networked Blogs - follow blogs of industry leaders, friends, similar business interests; submit you own blog for others to follow 
  • SlideShare - share your latest PowerPoint presentations
  • My LinkedIn Profile - be sure to add your LinkedIn URL so that others can find & view your profile information on LinkedIn.
  • Photos - share business-related, interesting, fun, or unusual photos here.
    • A word of CAUTION: To maintain your personal brand, and ensure your online presence is not compromised, DO NOT post risque, controversial, or wild-party weekend / vacation pictures here. REMOVE any pictures that may damage your brand. This is especially true for job seekers and
      those in career transition. Most employers these days are very aware of social media sites, and will check all of them to verify that a person is a good candidate for a position at their firm. Any
      non-professional photos that present one in a bad light can be a 'deal-breaker' and cost one a job opportunity.
2. Send out high value messages to build your brand

"Do your messages add value? Would others want to share them?

Facebook asks, "What's on your mind?"; Twitter asks, "What’s happening?"; LinkedIn has a "Share an idea, article, question or update" window. The problem is too many people take this literally and often post messages describing their day-to-day mundane activities. Most people don't really want or need to know about one's daily routine.

Think "what are you focused on?" What value message can you post that others may want to read and share with others?" - From Examiner article, Best practices tip: post high value messages to build your brand 

"Share really useful links, news related to your field, things that are really funny or inspirational, or inside information about your business or blog. The key is to make sure almost every message is something that people will want to share with their friends. 

Here’s something that many people who use social media don’t understand: if you send out too many messages, people might stop following you or might even block you, because you’re flooding their inbox." The secret is to try to make every message you send, or at least a high percentage of them, high-impact messages. Limit yourself to high-impact messages to reduce the time you spend communicating."

- From 'Focus on sending out high impact messages' article by Leo Babauta, May 14th, 2009

Protect your brand - send out messages that add value. Learn to be selective - “less” is “more” 

  1. Resist the need to "follow" or "friend" everyone who sends you an invite.
Everyone using social media sites will surely get Facebook "friend" requests, LinkedIn "connection" requests, and will most likely get new "followers" on Twitter.Learn to be selective - "quality” is better than “quantity” when it comes to
connecting. If you get a request from someone you don't know, share nothing in common with them, and they were NOT suggested to you by a friend - why would you connect with them? In the case of Twitter, you do not need to "auto-follow" someone back.
Best practice tip -
Decide if there is any risk involved BEFORE you accept a "friend" request or "connect" with them. View their profile in advance and see if you have any common interests, business or otherwise, that might be mutually beneficial to both of you. On Twitter, check out the websites of any new "followers", and also view a sample of their tweets. If you like what
you see - follow them back, otherwise NOT following them poses no real threat; you can always "block" someone from following you later. Connecting with someone you are not familiar with could lead to receiving "spam" or "buy my stuff" type messages. 

  1. Avoid any "negative" or "controversial" messages at all costs
Social media sites can prove very beneficial for optimizing online presence, personal branding, building relationships, and growing a wide network to promote a business or help with a job search. 

Reminder: anything negative you share on the Internet is "permanent" and never goes away. Be very cautious of the content and tone of messages you send out; you cannot assume the person you sent the message to will not share it with others.A really negative comment can come back to "bite you" and permanently hurt your brand. Likewise,
avoid any highly controversial subject matter, "sensitive" political issues, personal attacks, or inflammatory remarks in your messages or comments. 

Take the "high" road, keep it "professional", or you may lose friends / followers. Remember: people did not connect with you, only to have you message them with your political commentary, or inappropriate remarks. 

5. Learn, Listen, Engage, Share, Build, Grow
I originally shared the six points listed here in my online marketing article, 6 social media marketing tips for e-Commerce. The concepts seem applicable for any online marketing plan, and are worth repeating as "best practice" recommendations for effective brand building with social media.
  • Learn - about social media, how to leverage it for information gathering, branding, and marketing.
  • Listen - to what others are saying about your company / product / industry.
  • Engage - your connections and customers frequently, recommend them, follow their conversations, offer your help and services, and be a “problem solver” for them.
  • Share - something of value to your social community – discounts, giveaways, downloads, memberships, e-books, or other “free” offerings.
    * You have to give in order to get.
    * Build your brand as someone who shares valuable content.
    * Look for opportunities to share articles, sites, links, and breaking news.
    * Support industry leaders by recommending their work, and sharing links to their websites.
Best practice tip: don't just connect with someone in order to sell them something.
  • Build - relationships and maintain them with frequent follow ups, updates, and phone calls. 
* Leverage social media as a catalyst to build “online” connections to get “offline” meetings.
  • Grow - a strong, dynamic social media presence to expand your business network, and cast a wide net to reach more potential followers / customers.
Click here to view the Examiner article.