By William Fenton
Names tell stories: LinkedIn locates divides by gender, nationality, and profession.
If I had my sights on the corner office, I’d do well to re-brand myself as “Bill.” According to LinkedIn, that is. After scouring its repository of 100 million professionals, LinkedIn has released some fascinating data about first names and career paths, not to mention some delightful infographics.
Thanks to its global reach, LinkedIn has data on professionals from across the planet. Senior Research Scientist Monica Rogati started by combing the database for names over-indexed (over-represented) among CEOs. The results revealed a gender divide.
The top five CEO names for men were either short or shortened versions of popular first names: Peter, Bob, Jack, Bruce, and Fred. The top five names for women executives, meanwhile, tended to use full names: Deborah, Sally, Debra, Cynthia, and Carolyn. Of the contrast, Rogati cites Onomastics specialist Dr. Frank Nuessel, who posits that males use shortened names to “denote a sense of friendliness and openness,” whereas females employ full names to “project a more professional image.”
While monosyllabic names are over-represented amongst American executives, globally it’s another story. The Brazilians have Roberto, Spaniards Xavier, Germans Wolfgang, and the Italians—I’m not making this up—Guido. And that’s before season 4.
I opened my inbox to find yet another email with a generic yet familiar subject line. Its content was predictable:
“Reaching the final stage of interviews is an accomplishment, and as we mentioned, competition is extremely high for a very limited number of positions. While we were very impressed with your qualifications, regretfully, you will not be continuing on in the process.”
As far as form letter job rejection emails go, it was surprisingly thorough, containing three whole paragraphs. A separate rejection email I had received a couple of weeks prior was only a couple of sentences long. I can’t recall the copy of the email exactly, but in my mind it read, “You didn’t get the job. Sucks.”
I had made up my mind in September of my senior year that I would try to find a job after I graduated in the hopes of gaining some real world experience before eventually going to graduate school.
Naturally, I understood the economy wasn’t begging for another wide-eyed communications major to be unleashed upon it, but I had a fleeting sense of optimism that I’d be a compelling candidate for something at least. I felt like I had done most things right throughout college: I maintained a high GPA, got solid internship experience, and somehow I had managed to never get arrested.
At first my optimism seemed warranted. I got a response from the first large company I applied to and subsequently was in contact with them until January. Following five interviews, I assumed that I was a shoe-in for the position. After all, I had answered and re-answered questions regarding just about everything except my dental history. But alas, one fateful Friday my phone rang and I was given a classic, “We really like you and think you’re going to be successful, but we just don’t think this was the right fit.” Not the right fit after five interviews? That’s one complicated puzzle.
I decided to change up my strategy and, in addition to applying to jobs, I attended the glorified meat market known as a career fair on my campus. While I was there I met a woman who thought I was a good candidate for the media organization she represented and I was encouraged to apply for a paid internship there. I kept in touch with her as I applied, and was eventually contacted by the organization and told that several shows were interested in me and that they would call me individually for interviews in the coming weeks. I sat by my phone, and, as phones have a tendency to do whenever one sits by them, it never rang.
From there I continued my search and somehow was selected as a finalist to drive the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile around the country. It started as mostly a joke when I first applied on my colleges career services website, and within a month it became a realistic possibility as I was flown out to Wisconsin to interview with 29 other candidates, of which 12 would be selected. The interview was fun, and everyone at the company was nice, but alas three weeks later I learned that I did not cut the mustard. I was Oscar Mayer humbled.
Now, eight months, dozens of applications, and six final interviews with various companies that resulted in generic rejection phone calls/emails later, I’ve begun relating to excerpts from the Upton Sinclair novel The Jungle, of all things.
“They were beaten; they had lost the game, they were swept aside. It was not less tragic because it was so sordid, because that it had to do with wages and grocery bills and rents.”
Today’s hiring managers use LinkedIn to source and research candidates. Devote time to establishing a quality, branded LinkedIn profile that will attract recruiters and job opportunities. Job searchers, who don’t take time to write a strategic, keyword rich LinkedIn profile, may be overlooked by recruiters.
LinkedIn is the largest professional network online, hitting a milestonein May 2011, with over 100 million members in over 200 countries and territories. About one million new members join LinkedIn every week. Originally created as a place to build an online resume, today it is primarily used for professional networking.
Users create profiles promoting their work history or online resumes. LinkedIn profiles include career history, education, connections and professional recommendations. Additionally you can join groups for networking purposes.
How to Find a Job Using LinkedIn
Build Your Personal Brand: Use your LinkedIn profile to manage your professional brand or career footprint. This self-packaging is all about differentiation you in the job marketplace. You want to leave an indelible impression on your contacts and the community that is uniquely distinguishable.
Profile Perfect: Your LinkedIn profile must match your resume and needs to be complete and flawless. No spelling or typographical errors. This is your resume online and it will be critiqued by recruiters, hiring managers and HR staff.
Professional Photo: Get an updated, professional headshot made and communicate to your prospective employer who you are through your energy, warmth and approachability. If you don’t have a professional portrait, post a flattering, professional picture of yourself.
Headline: Your headline will automatically display as the last job you held unless you change it. Consider making your headline your professional brand, or the job you are targeting. Brand yourself for the job you want – for your future.
by Douglas R. Conant
One morning in the 1980s, I went to the office as usual and was told that my job was being eliminated. I packed up my personal effects and left the building by lunchtime.
I was, of course, in shock. For 10 years, my whole world had consisted of my work with this company and my young, growing family. Now half of that world had disappeared. I was angry and bitter and I felt remarkably alone.
Fortunately, the company set me up with an outplacement counselor who gave me very good advice about building a network — advice that I follow to this day. I not only found a new great job that helped me get my career on track, but I built relationships with hundreds of friends and advisors who have stood me in good stead for decades.
Here’s my step-by-step guide to building your own successful network.
Step #1: Identify your network cluster. First, figure out where you want to focus your efforts. Do you want to work for a large corporation, a medium-sized company, or a startup? Are you interested in marketing, sales, manufacturing, IT or any other specific function? What are your geography limitations? Then, create a list of contacts within those parameters — not just executives within a chosen company, but also executive search specialists, consultants, and anyone else who can help within your areas of interest and expertise.
Step #2: Ask for ideas and advice. Contact each person on your list and say, “I was recommended to you by [so-and-so]. I’m hoping to get your ideas and advice for my job search, and would appreciate 15 minutes of your time.” During your interview, give them your brief elevator pitch outlining your background and skills, and then ask for their ideas and advice. Remember, this meeting is not about asking for a job. It’s about being very sensitive to your interviewee’s time, and listening carefully to what they have to say. As the meeting wraps up, ask for names of a couple of people they recommend you talk to. With each interview, you will gain two more leads. Within a few months, you will develop a large number of leads in your areas of interest.
Step #3: Follow up immediately with personal, handwritten thank-you notes to everyone you encountered during the meeting — not just your interviewee, but also to the executive assistant and even the person at the front desk — and mail it the day after your interview. Doing so signals that you are a quality person, that you care, and that you are on top of your game. This is an opportunity for you to establish a distinctive job search — make the most of it.
Douglas R. Conant is President and CEO of the Campbell Soup Company headquartered in Camden, New Jersey. He is the co-author, with Mette Norgaard, of Touchpoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments (Jossey-Bass, May 2011).