Nine Ways To Use LinkedIn To Advance Your Career

Susan Adams

Since I first started writing about how to use LinkedIn as a job search tool, the professional social networking site has grown in reach and strength. According to spokeswoman Krista Canfield, LinkedIn now has more than 100 million users, with a new member joining every second. Its job postings have bulged to more than 62,000. When the company went public May 19, its shares surged above $100 before sliding below $70, but just today, a story in The New York Times reports that its lead underwriter, Morgan Stanley raised its price target to $88, saying LinkedIn could become a “standard utility for HR recruiters.”

I’m now convinced that an active LinkedIn profile is essential for almost anyone who wants to cultivate a career. Even if you are satisfied in your job, LinkedIn can bring you unexpected opportunities. Canfield herself says she was sending a LinkedIn message to an old public relations client, asking for advice about travel to London and Paris, when the contact responded with the tip that LinkedIn was hiring. Canfield wound up getting the job. That’s the way traditional networking operates, but since it’s digital and nearly instantaneous, LinkedIn can be startlingly efficient.

I’ve written two how-to stories on using LinkedIn, one about the basics of signing up, the other on advanced tips. Click here for the how-to slide show, and here for the slide show on advanced tips.

I had another conversation with Canfield this week, and with a career coach source, Robert Hellmann, whose book, Your Social Media Job Search, has a new edition coming out in August. Consider this story an all-levels tip list aimed at those who are still timid about taking the LinkedIn plunge, and others who might want to use more advanced tools and check out new features. I’ll start with basics and wind up with new features.

1. Include more than your current job
If you are setting up your profile quickly and only want to include the bare bones, be sure to list as many of your past positions as possible. If you’ve been in your job only a few months, and that’s all you include, you will look like you are just starting your career. Canfield says that recruiters routinely search according to years of experience.

2. Add a photo
Canfield says LinkedIn has found that profiles with photos are seven times more likely to be viewed. Also, if you’re reaching out to old contacts, they may be more likely to remember your face than your name. If you’ve married and changed your name, a photo can clear up the confusion.
3. Connect to at least 50 people
LinkedIn has settled on 50 as the “magic number” that will increase your networking chances. Career coach Hellmann recommends 70 connections.

4. Connect with people you know.
Career coach Hellmann advises a do-unto-others rule when deciding whether to connect with other LinkedIn users. “If they’re total strangers, they’re not going to help you and you’re not going to help them,” he observes. Would you be willing to correspond with this person, and/or send an email on the contact’s behalf? Then you should connect. One caveat: Some people use LinkedIn to promote products, in which case they want a sprawling network, including strangers. But if you’re using LinkedIn as a job search tool, make sure you know your contacts well enough to want to network with them.

5. Personalize your communications
This is a pet peeve of mine. When you send a request to connect with someone, always take a moment to alter the default message, even if just to say something like, “Hey Jack, Let’s connect.” Think of how you feel when you receive a form letter. I feel alienated, and less inclined to respond.

Tips 6 – 9 and complete Formes Article

Who Owns Your LinkedIn Profile? It Might Not Be You

By Dave Johnson

There’s a new threat to personal privacy online. In the name of corporate compliance, tools are emerging that let companies monitor and manage social networking posts, including user account profiles. Including LinkedIn.

Last week, Distributed Marketing published a report that might worry anyone who uses LinkedIn as a way to network and job search within their industry. Specifically, they reported on a press release from compliance vendor Actiance, which announced social media monitoring software. Specifically, Actiance had this to say:

“Actiance today announced new capabilities within its Socialite solution to proactively allow organizations to approve content and changes made to employee LinkedIn profiles.”

The press release goes on to say that this capability is targeted at companies with compliance responsibilities, such as those in the financial industry, “which requires all static content to be pre-approved prior to publishing.”

What is disruptive about this announcement, of course, is that user account profiles — and LinkedIn in particular — feel different than simply tweeting or posting news to Facebook. LinkedIn is associated with individuals, not companies, and tends to follow people from job to job. It’s that very continuity that gives LinkedIn its power to help people manage their careers and stand apart from any particular company or role within a company. More importantly, perhaps, your profile is personal — like a biography — and giving a company the ability to intercept changes feels like a Draconian invasion of privacy.

Distributed Marketing collected a wide range of comments from industry experts, and their feedback is interesting and insightful. Here are a few to ponder — read the entire post for more.

Bill Tyson, CEO, Strategic Marketing Plus, LLC:
Similar to information security, it is now highly probable that clients, investors and insurers will one day insist that you not only adopt stricter policing and enforcement procedures but you prove it. This tool helps a compliance officer do that – and I am all for that type of loss control and mitigation of business risks.

From a practical standpoint, most compliance departments (except in rare cases like military and defense) would not approve of this level of intrusion into an employee’s private life activities (i.e. job searching). I would also imagine they would not want to ever be seen as hindering someone’s ability to get a job or to advance their career.

Donna Ballman, author, blogger, and employment attorney:
There’s some issue about who owns your social media once you leave your employment. If you were hired to be the company blogger, to create a Twitter account and tweet for the company, to develop the corporate media presence, the work you did while you were employed and those social media accounts you got for the company likely belong to the employer. An exception is probably LinkedIn. They don’t allow profiles for companies – only individuals. Your LinkedIn profile is probably yours, even if the company told you to create it while on the job. Just don’t run afoul of your nonsolicitation or noncompete agreement.

Read the complete bnet article for more information

How Your Friends Can Help You Find Your Dream Job (A True Story)

Today’s post is written by CareerSparx adviser Hasalyn Harris.

After seven years as a producer/anchor in broadcast news, I decided it was time to say good-bye to news-hair and hello to a new career. My job search began in an ideal scenario — I was still employed (though my contract was winding down) and had just wrapped up my MFA (Master’s in Fine Arts).

Plus, I had a lot of unique experience to offer the right agency. I was convinced it was only a matter of time before I landed the new job of my dreams. Did I say time? I meant … days. Somewhere along the line, I got the idea that getting a job was easy if you already had a job — wrong!

The truth of the matter is: Finding a job (even if you have another job already) is a tough. It’s a full-time gig in its own right. It takes elbow grease (or finger grease from typing cover letters) and persistence.
Flashback a year: Glib Hasalyn (me) submits her Microsoft Word template resume (which, admittedly, could have used an extra set of eyes or two in the editing department) to every opportunity that shows an inkling of promise.

Months passed … with nary a call. Not even an email. Automated responses were my one glimmer of hope, although they clearly said “DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE.” Was I wrong in thinking I was hirable? Was I going to live out a life sentence in broadcast news?

After the initial shock that I might not be as amazing a hire as I thought I was when I started the job seeking process (or maybe just not amazing on paper … yet), I realized two things:

  1. In my seven years of comfortable employment, the way people are hired completely changed. I was using a spear in my search, when what I needed was a net.
  2. I wasn’t going to get anywhere if I couldn’t talk to a real person. I’m not saying there is no chance of getting hired if your resume is in among hundreds, but it sure helps to be the piece of pretty paper that is handed directly to the hiring manager.

So I got to work changing my approach.

PHASE I : I actually took time to make my Linkedin account unique and interesting (you DO have a LinkedIn account, don’t you?). I removed the stuffy language and used my words to show my personality.

I also poured over samples of good, creative resumes online — and modified mine accordingly. Once it was revised (and revised again … and again) I got it online — alongside my entire body of work. I figured prospective employers could stop looking if they wanted to, but I needed to put everything I had in a visible space.

After creating the foundation, I moved to PHASE II: Employing my friends with the task of helping me find my dream job. Using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn I threw out a wide net (in the form of a status update/tweet):

“Dear Friends in PR — I am looking to make a career change. If you have any insight/ deas on how to make this happen, message me.”
“Dear Hiring Managers: If you are looking for a dynamic, creative person to join your team, check out my resume. You won’t regret it. “

Maybe that sounds like airing dirty laundry to you, like job seeking is something to be ashamed of, but to me, there is nothing wrong with admitting you need help. And I didn’t just post it once, I posted several times a week – often with a link to my online resume/portfolio. And you know what? It worked.

Here’s the thing: Friends/Tweeps/people in general WANT to help YOU get a job. It makes them feel good. I know this to be true, otherwise, folks I hadn’t talked to in 15 years wouldn’t have handed off my resume to their hiring managers or hooked me up with informational interviews with their bosses. Every discussion/connection/interaction prepared me for the next opportunity.

When traffic from prospective employers slowed down, I did the unthinkable, I reached out again — this time emailing friends (in some cases for the second time) and sending messages on Facebook and LinkedIn to people who worked for companies I was interested in. If they didn’t get back to me, so what? I tried. I felt proactive. And when they did — it was so encouraging to talk to a real person who had insight about a company I liked.

I should tell you – I applied for literally hundreds of jobs, and the only interviews I landed were from internal references.

See how the story ends and more advice @CareerSparx

Six Tips To Keep You From Feeling Like A Wallflower At Your Next Networking Event

I’ll confess up-front; I’m an introvert. I spend a lot of time on my own – and I find it tiring to be around lots of other people.

Being an introvert actually works out pretty well for me. I’m a writer, so a big part of my day involves sitting at my computer, working alone. When I do work with other people as a writing coach, it’s usually one-on-one (I can cope with one other person!)

Of course, I can’t spend the whole of my life alone or with just close friends and family. In both my professional and personal life, I get out there and meet people from time to time. And I’ve learned a few tricks along the way. If you’re an introvert – if you feel shy and awkward in a room full of strangers – then here’s how to make it easier for yourself:

#1: Get to Know People Beforehand

One of the many things I love about the internet is that it makes it incredibly easy for me, an introvert, to strike up a connection with total strangers. When I’ve been to networking events, I’ve found it incredibly helpful to have some established friends there already.

How do you find people who’ll be at the event? Try:

  • Forums or similar on the event’s website
  • Twitter – search for the name of the event
  • Blog posts – is anyone you know going?
  • Facebook – the event itself may have a page
  • LinkedIn – will any of your contacts (or their contacts) be attending?

Obviously, this one’s easier if you operate in a pretty geeky world (I hang out with a lot of bloggers and writers…) but more and more people are getting online, in all sorts of professions.

If you’re going to a very large event, like a multi-day conference, you may want to make specific plans to meet up. You could even arrive a bit early so you can get a meal with a friend or a small group of friends before the event itself starts.

#2: Go Prepared

If you’re attending a new event, you might have all sorts of worries about how to get there, what it will be like, who’ll be there, and so on.

I’m always less anxious when I feel well-prepared, and I expect the same will apply to you. That means:
Find out the dress code in advance. There might not be one – ask friends/colleagues who’ve attended before. Err on the side of over-dressing … though if you’re in a suit and everyone else is wearing jeans, you may feel a bit awkward.

Take a pen and small notebook. As a writer, I carry these with me anyway – but they’re useful to have on hand in all sorts of situations.

Take business cards. You might have stock ones from work, but if you create your own cards, try to make them interesting. I use to create cards with several different designs – that way, my new contacts can pick whichever one they like best. It’s a great talking point and much more interesting than thrusting a boring black-and-white card at someone.

Carry breath mints, a comb, makeup, deodorant etc. Be prepared to make last-minute touch-ups to your appearance before you go into the event. You’ll know better than me what you’re likely to need!
Take a map (or know the exact address). Allow a bit of extra time to get there, too, if you’re going somewhere new for the first time.

#3: Start a Conversation Straight Away

Have you ever been standing around awkwardly, trying to get up the courage to go and speak to someone? The longer you wait, the harder it is! When I was a student, I made a point of speaking in the first ten minutes of any class – that way, I found I was much more confident about contributing as the class went on.

The same applies to networking. As soon as you arrive, find someone to chat to. It’s often easy to strike up a conversation in the registration queue, for instance. Questions like “Have you been to this before?” can be a great way to get someone else chatting.

#4: Look for Someone Else Who Seems Shy

How to Use LinkedIn Today to Find Popular Content

By Stephanie Sammons

These days we can get our daily news through a multitude of resources from across the web.
But LinkedIn Today is the new player in town for the professional community. Plus, it’s a great resource for putting your daily news in the context of your professional social network.
As LinkedIn describes it, LinkedIn Today allows you to discover what the world’s professionals are reading, sharing AND tweeting. Bottom line, it’s a professional social news source that you can utilize to grow your social influence.

The Top News From Your Industry Curated by the People

The power of LinkedIn Today is that the top articles are showcased based on how often they’ve been shared by the professionals within a variety of industries. There’s no editor. These articles are curated by LinkedIn members!
Not only will LinkedIn Today show you the top headlines that LinkedIn members are interested in by industry or news source, you can also see what some of those members have to say about the articles when they include comments. (I would highly recommend including your own comments on EVERYTHING you share.)

who shared this headline

You can see who shared each headline.

For each headline that appears, you can see how many times the article has been shared, and you can even filter the most recent shares by company, industry or location. It’s important to note that currently LinkedIn will only show you the most recent shares and this is updated frequently.

How does LinkedIn determine which articles get visibility on LinkedIn Today?

What makes LinkedIn Today so powerful is that the news articles displayed are those that have been shared, liked or commented on the most by LinkedIn members. Articles are sorted by industry and news source, based on the industry assigned to profiles of those who have shared them.
Most importantly, LinkedIn will give a higher preference to more recent articles if they’re being shared quickly by a broad base of members. LinkedIn Today will also show you top industry articles from StumbleUpon and even articles that your direct LinkedIn connections have shared.

discover more

LinkedIn Today pulls in popular articles by industry from StumbleUpon.
linkedin example

LinkedIn Today shows articles shared by your connections!

3 Steps for Using LinkedIn Today to Build Influence

There are many ways to build social relationships with your LinkedIn connections. One of the best ways to grow your social influence is to consistently curate and share timely, relevant content with your connections so you stay visible and valuable.
Remember, with all of the content now available online, people are overloaded with information but they’re thirsting for knowledge. Position yourself as someone who is “in the know” within the context of your industry to become an influencer.

#1: Customize LinkedIn Today – See #1 and the rest of the Social Media Examiner Article

About the Author, Stephanie Sammons

Stephanie Sammons is the voice behind Smart Social Pro, a resource for professional practitioners to help them understand how to leverage the power of social media and blogging in their practices.

Job Search – LinkedIn is Facebook for business people

By Randy Wooden

As a job hunter, you need to explore multiple avenues when looking for employment. These include traditional methods, such as networking, online job boards, staffing firms, newspapers, etc.

During the past 10 to 15 years, employers have largely shifted recruiting dollars to Web-based venues. Although websites come and go in terms of popularity, if I had to suggest one for job seekers, it would be LinkedIn.

I like to tell people LinkedIn is Facebook for business people. Although no site is perfect, LinkedIn offers numerous benefits.

Unlike traditional job boards that only display openings, LinkedIn allows you to network with people relevant to your goals and to view openings. It allows you to post what amounts to your résumé without necessarily admitting to the world you’re looking for a job. So it’s somewhat safe if you’re employed and concerned your boss will see you on there.

Just be smart about it. Don’t put “seeking new opportunity” on your profile. Employers and recruiters will find you by searching keywords and location and then contact you privately. If you’re looking, don’t allow people to see the groups you’ve joined. Membership in numerous job-seeking LinkedIn groups gives your game away.

Speaking of groups, consider joining ones that match with these four main areas: your desired industry, job function, location and alma mater. Once you’ve joined these groups, become active in their discussions. Be seen as a resource to others. This helps you establish familiarity and credibility without coming across as a desperate job hunter as so many others seem to do.

LinkedIn wants you to treat the site as if it’s your personal Rolodex. Don’t do that. Instead, look to connect and engage with people who, like you, are what’s called “open networkers.” In other words, they don’t limit their connections to only those professionals whom they know well.

More Advice and Complete Article