Thursday, October 28, 2010

14 ways to make LinkedIn work for your career

By Louisa Veidelis

Whether you’re happy in your job or are itching for new opportunities, signing up to LinkedIn and exploring its features can open up many opportunities for your career down the track.

LinkedIn was launched as a professional networking site 2003 and has become an essential networking tool, with 875,000 users in Australia, more than 50 million worldwide and many employers using the site to recruit staff.

So it’s time to stop ignoring all those invitations, and get linked in now.

1. Starting out: promote yourself
Admit it – do you Google yourself? Well, prospective employers will be sure to check out your online baggage too. Interestingly, an effectively built LinkedIn profile will appear above your Facebook page in search results, which gives a better first professional impression.

Once you sign up, change your profile to public in the ‘edit profile’ options. You can also customise your URL to make it more user friendly, featuring your first and last name. You can now include that URL on your resume and on your personal business cards.

2. Reconnect with old contacts
Finally, here’s a way to reconnect with old colleagues and people you meet at networking events. Better that industry contacts see your amazing work history rather than those embarrassing Facebook pics of you on a pub crawl.

Any less than 30 connections can look a little lonely but don’t go crazy adding every Tom, Dick and Harry – limit your connections to those people you truly want to stay in touch with.

And if any undesirables request you as a contact, you can simply archive their request to avoid awkwardness.

You also have the opportunity to view the connections of your connections (or, ‘second-degree connections’). If you would get in touch with one of them you can simply ask your contact for an introduction.

3. Connect your websites
LinkedIn provides a central hub to connect all the various websites displaying your ideas and skills – including Twitter, blogs, your portfolio and company websites.

4. Include a photo
While the jury’s still out on adding a photo to a traditional resume, including your headshot in your LinkedIn profile is a good way to add your personality to your profile. Make sure it’s a professional-looking shot – it’s not the place to show off your latest designer bikini.

5. Get headhunted – use keywords
LinkedIn recently revealed that over 1000 companies in Australia use LinkedIn Talent Advantage to hire. Companies advertise jobs on the site and search users to find people with the exact skills they need. Promoting your skills effectively could the difference between being noticed and missing out.

People can search the database using keywords. Search results are displayed by keyword relevance, with the most important words being those included in a user’s headline and summary. Keyword density is also a factor, so try to repeat your main keywords a few times throughout your profile.

6. Create a strong headline
LinkedIn will make your current job title your headline by default, but you can change this to something more impressive or eye-catching. For example, if you are a freelance proofreader, you could make your headline ‘Independent Editorial and Proofreading Professional’.

Tips 7 - 14 and Original Article

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Job Search Grind

In March, 2008, the national unemployment rate was 4.8%. By January of 2010, it had risen to a high of 10.6% and in September of 2010 still hovered at 9/2%. In Nevada, the state I live in, unemployment is above 14%. Because of such high unemployment, most of us know someone that is currently looking for a job.
A recent study entitled “The Job Search Grind” published in The Academy of Management Journal sheds some light on the experience of people involved in the job search process. This well designed study followed 233 unemployment insurance recipients that were actively seeking work every day for three weeks.
One of the most interesting findings for me was that 44% of the job seekers in this study spent less than 10 hours a week on their job searches. Only 20% spent at least 25 hours a week searching for a job. There are a number of explanations for individuals spending little time searching for a job, including discouragement, perceived progress, and simply using the time to pursue other interests. The study had four additional findings that I found interesting:
1.      When individuals reported lower job search progress on any given day, it affected their mood (more negative, less positive) and lowered their confidence about their chances of finding a job.
2.      The ability to manage negative thoughts matters. Lower mood on any given day was related to more effort the following day only for those that could disengage from negative thoughts. For individuals that could not disengage from negative thoughts, lower mood on any day resulted in less search effort the following day.
3.      Individuals with financial hardship experience the job search process differently. The study found that financial hardship strengthened the negative effects of low search progress and weakened the positive effects of high search progress.
4.      The more (less) progress people made on any given day, the less (more) time they invested in job search the next day.
Being unemployed and looking for a job is not only hard work, it’s can also be a roller coaster ride of emotions. People that have high financial hardship and have a hard time managing their emotions will experience the job search process the hardest.
Setting realistic goals for daily time spent in the search process, and sticking to those daily goals regardless of the perceived progress on any given day should help. Making job search a daily routine won’t alleviate the roller coaster of emotions, but it should help with the management of those emotions, especially for those that have a harder time with negative thoughts.
Learn to treat perceived daily progress, either good or bad, as noise in the process and not a signal.
Bret L. Simmons, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Management in the College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), where he teaches courses in organizational behavior, leadership, and personal branding to both undergraduate and MBA students. Bret blogs about leadership, followership, and social media at his website Positive Organizational Behavior. You can also find Bret on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.

Original Article

Monday, October 25, 2010

Stop Applying For Jobs And Get Tactical And Creative

I recently stumbled across a post in one of the LinkedIn forums I frequent where a young lady was asking for help. She said: I have a BS in Accounting and an MBA in Finance, and I’ve applied for over 1,500 jobs and nobody will hire me.

Would you like to know what I told her? Stop applying for jobs. Period.

You might be saying that’s harsh, but it really isn’t. Everyone else is doing the same thing she’s doing (and probably you too if you’re on the market), and very few people are getting their desired results. There were tons of other constructive feedback but I felt none of them really dug into the heart of the matter. In today’s job market you have to be tactical and creative. If you’re not finding ways to stand out from the crowd, you’ll be just another resume.
Mentioning that she has her degrees tells me absolutely nothing about what she has accomplished other than she was determined and smart enough to make it through school. People tend to throw around degrees and acronyms like they really hold a lot of weight in the recruiting world. Newsflash, they really don’t (unless of course you’re a doctor).

You have to be sure to let people know what you’ve done, what your expertise is, what makes you that expert, and how you’ve impacted your previous employers. On paper, anyone can look the part. But if I interview you and I can’t determine what you’ve actually contributed or done for your past employers, I consider it a wasted conversation. I’m not being facetious, I’m coming from the perspective of a Recruiter.

So like I said to the young lady with the dilemma, you have to stop applying for jobs. It fascinates me that people don’t stop to think that there are hundreds of other people just like them applying for the same jobs. What makes you so special? That is the million dollar question and trust me, if you want to stand out, you better be prepared to answer it. In the mean time, there are things you can do to make sure you increase your odds of finding a job or creating an opportunity. It’s not enough to apply, you have to work at finding a job.

Tired of not getting interviews? Well take your skills and strike out as a consultant or start your own business. I wouldn’t try to do something that takes you out of your skill set. Consulting work or starting a business that falls back on your skills is a great way to make some money and position yourself as an expert.

But remember, there are a host of other things that come along with running a business such as invoicing, billing, bookkeeping, marketing, sales, etc. If you are going to be a one woman shop, be prepared to take on the many hats that come along with striking out on your own. Be realistic about whether or not you can handle those things. Otherwise, try marketing yourself as a consultant to recruitment firms who specialize in placing consultants.

Remain true to you. When a recruiter scans your resume or profile and they see you moved out of your skill set, a red flag goes up. You may have had honorable intentions or may be filling the time to bring in a check until that ideal job comes. But remember, you are one of hundreds applying. Your resume has 30 seconds to wow a recruiter. Don’t sabotage your chances.

Now I don’t say this to discourage you. I know in these tough economic times, everyone needs to bring in a paycheck. But be careful about what you choose. You want to stay as organic to your strengths as possible. Unless you are looking to change course completely, try to remain in the industry or at least a similar type of position so it won’t look like you’re just passing the time until you find the right job. It spooks hiring managers to see that you will settle for a check instead of holding out for what you are meant to do.

Boost your networking. Don’t just be connected to people, communicate with them. Get involved in networking activities and make yourself known. Make sure you are building a database of ‘must know‘ people and not just connecting with anyone for the sake of connecting.

If you’re hanging out with customer service reps and you should be hanging around finance professionals, it’s time to make a change. True anyone can be a great networking source, but you have to be laser focused when you’re looking for a job. You have heard me say time and time again to get out and build networks and relationships. You can’t just turn to people when you need work. Cultivate those relationships so that when you are in need, people are more receptive and empathetic to you.
Get out and get known online and offline. Do something to showcase your expertise (podcasts, blogs, guest articles, etc). Recruiters are looking at those things more than you know, especially for certain positions. Social media is very powerful and it levels the brand positioning playing field. Building your professional brand is key. Show them what you’ve got and don’t be shy about it. You want recruiters coming to you, not to chase after jobs and recruiters.
Create a job opportunity. Research companies you want to work with and identify sore points that they are dealing with where you know you could be the solution. Speak to the hiring manager, department manager, etc (not HR) and ask to meet with them to network. During the conversation mention their problem and ask for clarification on what ails them. Then offer some (generic) solutions by giving them the what and the why (but not the how…that’s how you come into play) of what they most likely need.
If they seem interested in hearing more, ask for an interview. Then be prepared to blow them away with your knowledge and record of accomplishment.

I have a feeling many of you are going to job boards and applying for everything you are interested in. I’ll let you in on a recruiter secret that’s probably going to get me kicked out of the inner circle. Those are sometimes ads to pipeline candidates. Some (not all, but some) companies have no intention of filling the jobs, only building a database. So if you choose to apply, find out who you need to get in front of that matters and go through them first to let them know you’re interested. Then apply online per protocol.
You must approach online job ads as if there is a potential that it is solely for pipelining. Make sure you back that application up with some roll up your sleeves, investigative work to connect with the true hiring manager. Express your interest in the position, let them know you’ve applied per protocol and make sure it gets to the right people. You just never know in this day of technology and applicant tracking so it’s up to YOU to do the due diligence if you really want the job.

Get More Advice and Read the Complete Original Forbes Article

A LinkedIn Profile That Works! Tips From A Recruiter

By Harry Urschel

image As I’ve said many times before, LinkedIn is a game changer when it comes to an effective job search in today’s online world. There has never been a resource that made it as easy to find the critical information you need when you’re looking for a new job… Companies, Contacts, Interview Prep information, Comparative Job Histories, and venues to discuss topics and challenges related to any job, field, or industry. It’s incredible… and that’s no overstatement.

As much as LinkedIn can be used proactively to gain the information needed, it sure is nice to be “found” once in awhile and pursued for potential opportunities as well. The key to being found, is having a profile that works!

What gets attention, what gets read, what improves your chances of getting a call or an email?

As a recruiter, I look at hundreds of LinkedIn profiles. It’s one of the most powerful and effective tools I have in finding qualified candidates for positions I’m trying to fill. What makes me move on and what gets me to reach out? Here are some key points…

Keywords – Keywords – Keywords!!! The only way anyone is found is by someone entering some keywords in the search box for what they are looking for. Generally, it’s not practical to “browse” 80 MILLION profiles in the hopes of stumbling across the right person. They will enter some words to find people with that specific background. Here’s the tough part… there is no dictionary of terms used to find certain skills. Anyone running a search has to figure it out for themselves.

So… take the time to think about “what are all the possible search terms someone might use to find someone like me?” Then make sure all those words are somewhere in your profile. If someone is looking for a “Payroll Manager”, and your were a “Payroll Supervisor”, they may not find you if you don’t have the word “Manager” in your profile. Incorporate the different terms in your job descriptions if you can. Otherwise, it’s perfectly fine to simply have a list of additional keywords somewhere at the bottom of your profile. Be honest about your background, but make sure you turn up in the appropriate searches!

Short Substantive Sound-bites! Like a resume, a LinkedIn profile will typically only get scanned for a few seconds before the reader decides whether you are worth pursuing further or not. In that quick scan, short phrases will get read and long sentences and paragraphs will not. A paragraph may make a powerful argument why you’re a dynamite prospect, but if it never gets read, it has no impact at all.

Figure out what things in your background are the most important, most marketable, and most in demand in your field, and make those experiences pop out in your profile. Take long descriptions and figure out what are the most important points to get across from each sentence. Make those points in a few words in separate bullet points. Each bullet does not have to be a complete sentence, and will have more impact in a few well chosen words.

* 4 consecutive years of 15% or greater sales growth

will more likely get read, and has more impact than…

* Sales production increased by 15% or more in year-over-year growth in each of the last four fiscal years due to increased efforts and new strategies.

The first example has more impact and gets more results, however, the second example is the norm because it seems more complete. In your LinkedIn profile as in your resume, it’s better to be effective than it is to have complete explanations!

“Call me!” Unless you are directly connected as a first level connection in LinkedIn, your contact information is not visible to the reader. If you are hoping to be contacted, make it easy for them to contact you! Put your phone number and email address in the Summary section at the top of your profile. Don’t make them have to send an introduction through another user, or use up one of their “In Mails”, or have to scroll to the bottom of your profile, or try to look you up in some other way. The easier it is, the more likely they will connect.

When I’m hunting for a good candidate for a position I’m working on, and find someone that seems like they might be qualified, but can’t tell for sure from their profile… I will likely call if their contact information is easy to find. If it’s not in their profile and I can’t easily find it otherwise, I will generally simply move on to another candidate… there are plenty to look at. If your profile is on the bubble in their mind, you’d rather get a chance to make your case rather than just have them move on… make it easy to for them to connect!

Make yourself real! Pictures have an interesting effect on LinkedIn. While I would not recommend that anyone put a picture on their resume, having a picture on LinkedIn often sways me to make a call rather than move on. When someone’s profile looks like they might have relevant experience for the position I’m working on, but it’s not crystal clear… I will often connect with them to find out more if they have a professional looking picture displayed. It personalizes it, and makes them more of a real person than a faceless listing.

The picture must be a professional headshot. A vacation picture, or a picture of your boat, or pet, or kids tells me that they don’t understand that LinkedIn is a Professional networking site, not equivalent to Facebook or MySpace. The profile pictures are tiny, a full body shot or even a half body shot will not allow anyone to see your face well enough to make it personal. Get up-close, wear professional clothing (at least on the neck), and smile!

“They LIKE me!” Get recommended! When looking at a profile, I usually look to see if anyone had recommended them. Since LinkedIn allows you to choose which recommendations are visible on your profile and which aren’t, I always assume they are positive so I almost never take the time to read what the recommendations actually say. However, the fact that someone was willing to write something positive about them creates a good impression.

The easiest way to get recommendations… is to give them. Write recommendations on LinkedIn for previous managers, co-workers, customers, or vendors. Usually, at least half the time, they will return the favor. Three or four are good, it’s not necessary or even particular helpful to have 10 or more.

LinkedIn is a great place to have more information than your resume. It’s not necessary to limit yourself to two pages as you should in your resume. However, although you can have more overall length, each line should be shorter. Include all the appropriate keywords you can, include your contact information, include a professional picture, and get recommendations. You will greatly improve your chances of getting found.

Original Post

Friday, October 22, 2010

Do you really know me? 20 Tips to learn about your audience.

Social media provides the opportunity to connect with millions of people that we would normally not have access to. We have people following us from every walk of life, numerous countries and the list goes on.

What do we really know about our audiences? Have you taken the time to know them, understand them or connect with them.

We talk about social media being a relationship, a conversation. However, I think very few take the time required to build a meaningful conversation, let alone a real relationship! How can we build a relationship with someone we haven’t taken the time to know anything more than what their Twitter handle is?

I encourage my clients to take the time to truly understand and know their audience. Take them time to follow a group of them. Listen to them and better connect with them.

The more we know about our audience the better we can inspire and connect with them!
20 Tips to Get to Know Your Audience

1. Listen to them. This one sounds simple because it is! However, many don’t take advantage of this simple and first critical phase of social media. Listening should be the first step when engaging in social media. It should also be something you do on a regular basis. Listen with an intent to understand. Listen to the meaning of what you audience is saying. How are they engaging with others? How are they engaging with you? What is the tone? What questions are they asking?

2. Join conversation. The best way to learn how your audience will respond to you is well of course seeing how they respond to you. Don’t sit on the sidelines for months while you learn about social media tools. Engage. Join conversation. You don’t always have to be the initiator of a conversation. Comment on other blogs, respond to other tweets and comments.

3. Ask questions. I love asking questions. Often times I’ll ask simple questions on Twitter. I am always amazed at how many answers I receive. I love asking both serious and fun questions.

4. Create a poll. Creating a poll easy. Use Poll Daddy to create a simple poll. You will be provided with a link that you can share on any social or web platform. Poll Daddy also has a widget for WordPress websites as well as Facebook. Again, I love creating both serious and simply fun polls.

5. Implement an email program. If you do not currently have an email program you are missing out! Subscribe to an email program such as aWeber, iContact, Constant Contact, MailChimp or Infusionsoft. We use Infusionsoft as it has more advanced features than some of the others. If you want something simple start with one of the others. If you want something that includes an integrated shopping cart, affiliate program, and advanced nurturing then I vote for Infusionsoft.

6. Create call to actions on a regular basis. Action is the social currency of social media. Create meaningful ways for your audience to take action. This needs to be more than just clicking on a link you place in a tweet to someone else’s website! Give your audience a reason to engage with you. Create something that they want and need. Then place this content or the action they need to take on social platform or website. Encourage them to move from an email program to your website or from your website to one of your social platforms. A call to action could be an invitation to buy something, answer a poll, answer a question, share something about themselves. Anything that will get them to take action.

7. Integrate a fun call to action with an email communication and an online platform. Integration of marketing across mediums is key to return on investment (ROI). Don’t be afraid to have fun with your audience. I frequently ask questions at the very bottom of my email newsletters and updates. I like to do this to measure how many people are actually reading my email to the bottom of the email. I will frequently ask questions that are funny and off the wall. They usually will align with our brand but in a fun way. It always amazes me how many people will respond. One example is I recently asked subscribers in a p.s.s. what their favorite nut was. Many of our subscribers answered the question on our Facebook page as well as a Tweet response.

8. Follow them. This sounds simple but it’s more than just a simple follow. What I am suggesting is really following them. For example if you find an interesting follower on Twitter or on your Facebook fan page then check them out online. Follow their tweets. Follow where they are sending people via links, announcements, blog posts. Where do they comment? What social platforms do they hang out on? How are they engaging on each platform differently? What can you learn from their online behaviors that will help you better provide them with useful information to draw them closer into your tribe?

9. Check out their following. Check out who is following your audience. This is basically who are your followers followers? Is it the same or different audience who follows you? Are there new people, new demographics maybe you should also check out and possibly target? How is their following responding to them? What can you learn from their engagement with other audiences?

10. Check out their Twitter lists. This is a great way to learn what interests the user has as well as how people view them. I love seeing the Twitter lists people put me on. My favorite of course is any list with the word geek on it because at heart I am a tech geek. I have to laugh at many of the lists people put me on. It has helped me connect with people I would have never met had they not put me on a list. Do the same for your audience. You can often tap into new audiences from taking time to build and view other people’s lists. When joining a new market niche other people’s lists can save you weeks of time.

11. Run a Tweet Reach report. This is a simple measurement tool that will tell you how far your most recent tweets travel. You can see total reach of your last 50 tweets. It also details the reach of your tweets via the people who retweeted your tweets. For each Twitter user who retweeted you it provides the reach of that user with your tweet. It’s a great way to see what influential followers and supporters you have. Note, it only shows the last 50.

12. Run a Klout report. Klout is a great measurement tool to measure your influence. It looks at your following, who you follow, the ratio of followers to the number you are following. It provides you pointers to influential people you could be following but aren’t. It will show you tweeters who influence you and also who you influence. It measures the amplification of your message and the depth to which your brand and content is being shared online. It recently even incorporated Facebook into the measurement. Remember social media is not just about numbers. The key is to have a loyal following who is engaged with you. You want a tribe that loves your content, loves you and at the end of the day takes action! Action = social currency!

13. Read their blogs. This one is also simple. Read other people’s blogs. Not rocket science. Read them with a goal to learn and understand. Not just scan them to cross this item off a list.

14. Read the comments they leave on other blogs. This is another great way to see how they engage with others. What comments are they leaving for others? Are they leaving as thoughtful comments on your blog? If not, why? Why are they engaging on other blogs? What is different than yours?

15. Encourage them to share and comment on your blog. Invite people to comment. I include an invitation at the end of every blog post for people to comment. Don’t be afraid of comments and opinions that differ from yours. When people start to listen to what you have to say you will hear differing opinions. Opinions are good. You should welcome them. You can also include WordPress plug-ins that encourage engagement via comments. I include a recent comments plug-in on the side bar of all of our blogs and websites.

16. Set you favorite social friends comments to be automatically approved. This is a great way to encourage commenting and engagement. There are a few people who comment on our blog regularly. I set their comments to be automatically approved. That way they don’t have to wait for any approval. They simply are live the minute they hit submit.

17. Engage them on your Facebook page. Ask questions. Share content. Encourage them to share their urls, Facebook Fan pages, information about what they do and how they can help your audience. Include polls, trivia and simple questions to get them to engage! Be inspiring, real and have fun! Chances are if you only speak in business speak you will get little to no engagement.

18. Start a group on Facebook. Facebook just launched a new group feature. Start a group around your business or one of your favorite topics. Invite people you would like to know better in combination with people you already do.

19. Start a group on LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn groups. Start a group around your business or favorite topic. Similar to Facebook encourage others to engage. Ask questions. Ask people to introduce themselves. Make it a place for sharing of self and business.

20. Start a question and answer session on LinkedIn. This is last on this list but one of my favorites! Asking questions on LinkedIn is a great way to get to know your following in a deep way. You can learn what they are thinking about a certain topic you are struggling with. It’s a great tool to meet new people with common interests as well. I have met many great social friends from LinkedIn Q&A sessions. If you haven’t checked it out, do it!

About the Author @PamMktgNut Half marketing, half geek, social media addict, CEO and Founder of FruitZoom, Inc., entrepreneur, speaker, trainer, coach. Lover of strategy, ROI, Brand, God, Family, Friends, Beach & Life! 15+ years of experience helping small startups to Fortune 100 companies, budgets teeny tiny to big in both B2B and B2C markets build brand awareness, grow new markets, develop communities and master ROI across all mediums! Industries of expertise include high technology, non-profit & fundraising, green eco-friendly, enterprise data storage, professional services and storage management, real estate and home building, natural lighting, database analytics & modeling, online marketing, as well as web 2.0 ecommerce for online retailers.

Original Article

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

5 Questions About Personal Branding

By Kimberly Palmer

Dan Schawbel is a master of personal branding: He runs a popular website on the topic and just released a new edition of Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future. He says almost everyone can use his branding techniques to improve their careers and boost their earning power. I recently spoke with Schawbel about his ideas and advice. Excerpts:

How did you first start to realize the importance of personal branding?
I realized the true power of personal branding when I became my own case study. It took me eight months, meeting fifteen people, and getting rejected twice to get my first job out of college at a Fortune 200 tech company. Then, after several months working full-time, I established, as well as Personal Branding Magazine. I also published articles in the media, started an online TV series called Personal Branding TV, and launched the Personal Brand Awards.
Fast Company wrote about my six-month personal branding journey, and my company hired me internally to be the first social media specialist back in 2007. This title is fairly common in both large enterprises and small firms now. Instead of going through a rigorous interview process, I was being recruited for a job I got to co-create based on my hobby outside of work. My personal brand communicated my expertise and passion to my employer indirectly through a single press article. From that moment on, I was convinced that other people could replicate what I had done for myself and I wrote a book proposal for Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future.

What exactly is personal branding?
Personal branding is the process by which you identify what makes you special, and then communicate that to the world. Your brand is a celebration of who you are, what unique promise of value you can deliver to your employer or clients, and your personality. Everyone in the world has a personal brand, from Oprah to a random doctor in New York City.
Personal branding forces us to take a hard look at ourselves and decide how we want to be positioned in the marketplace and what we want to be known for. You can’t be everything to everyone, which means that you need to have a focused approach so you target a specific audience that would be interested in your services. As a brand, you should have a platform by which you connect with your audience, such as a blog, or a TV program. This way, you can let your audience know you exist and what purpose you serve in their lives.

What’s the single most important thing people wanting to establish their brand need to do?
You need to brand yourself for the career you want, not the job you have. Your entire branding strategy needs to be focused on your long-term aspirations. This way, you will only attract the opportunities that you’re interested in, and filter the rest out. By commanding your online presence, using keywords, a tag line, written content, and a professional picture of yourself, you can tell the world how you want to be judged and what you’re looking for. I’ve never bought into the “law of attraction,” but the internet has allowed us to use our online presence as a magnet to pull the right people in and repel the wrong people.
Are there common mistakes people make?
People make a lot of mistakes when it comes to personal branding, namely because they want overnight results. Too many rely on Twitter as a branding platform, yet it is increasingly becoming ineffective, since 71 percent of Twitter posts are ignored. One tweet isn’t going to make you famous, or get you a job either. I see a lot of people who over-promote because they don’t understand the most important principle of relationships: providing value before asking for anything in return. I also see a lot of people who spam blog comments, and who are careless about their online profiles. You wouldn’t believe the amount of people who don’t even fill out their entire LinkedIn profile.

Does everyone need to think about personal branding, or only those in certain types of professions?
Everyone in the world needs to think about personal branding, from the gardener to the senator. There are certain professions that need to be more concerned about branding, such as real estate agents, politicians, doctors, lawyers, and others in the service industry, where they are selling themselves before any product. Everyone already has a brand, but few people take the time to unlock their unique abilities, and even fewer put their face online for the world to judge.
Everyone is capable of doing great things, but you need to put in the effort in order to be a successful long-term brand that people remember and care about. An unexpected profession where personal branding is important: plumbers. If a plumber comes over and is friendly to you or stays for an extra fifteen minutes without charging you, you will tell your friends about them and they will build their brand and business.

Kimberly Palmer is author of the new book Generation Earn: The Young Professional’s Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back (Ten Speed Press).

Original Article

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Career Planning: What Can You Learn from Coca-Cola and Melinda Gates?

At the heart of your responsible career planning is your desire to bring your values to work.  How can you use your skills to advance a cause you believe in?  While watching Melinda Gates' TED Talk on what can international development learn from Coca-Cola, I realized that her insights are not only applicable to international development organizations, but also to anyone's responsible career planning strategy.  Indeed, on the job market, you are the product.  As a job seeker, you need to learn how you can best leverage your values and skills so that you can be as visible and desirable as possible to employers whose missions align with your values.  In short, how can you become as desirable as a Coke product on your job market of interest?

In her TED Talk, Ms. Gates reflects upon what nonprofits and government can learn from Coca-Cola in terms of accelerating the pace of international development.  Coca-Cola has been incredibly effective at penetrating very remote markets.  Coca-Cola has been very creative in leveraging channels that enabled their products to reach consumers in areas with very little infrastructure.  People in these areas are living in dire poverty and yet they are buying Coke products.  How did Coca-Cola achieve this, especially given that Coca-Cola produces soda, one of the most unhealthy products available on the market?  Of course, as many major companies, Coca-Cola is not a model company when it comes to Human Rights or Clean Water Access.  As a responsible professional, spending a little bit of time understanding how Coca-Cola achieved such success might help you refine your career planning strategy and build your responsible career path.  To build a responsible career that successfully blends financial return with social impact and environmental responsibility, compare and contrast your approach to the following three ingredients that have contributed to Coca-Cola's distribution success:

A solid analysis with new data immediately used to refine the product offering - Coca-Cola has developed an extensive system that enables them to track consumer behaviors dynamically.  If there is a decrease in sales in an area, they are able to quickly identify the factors playing a role in that decrease and build strategies and tactics to address that decrease.  Similarly, your career planning strategy starts by being able to reflect upon and clearly articulate who you are, what is important to you, and what skills do you want to bring to market.  Every new project at work, volunteer activity, book or course will enable you to further refine your understanding of which skills and values you want to bring to work.  By continuously reflecting and refining your elevator pitch and LinkedIn profile, you will be able to not only develop a more targeted career planning strategy to compete for opportunities, you will also attract contacts and opportunities that best align with your values and skills.

A strategy that taps into local entrepreneurial talent - Coca-Cola has developed an extensive array of micro-distribution centers.  These centers are generally formed of individuals on the ground that find creative ways to distribute the product in remote areas using local transportation channels that best adapt with the local geography and infrastructure.  Coca-Cola provides them with funding to make this happen and in return, Coca-Cola gets increased visibility in a largely untapped market.  As a responsible professional, what have you done to identify untapped opportunities to create social, environmental and economic value in your current job?  Have you been connecting with like-minded professionals in and beyond your current organization to share ideas and resources?  These small steps to creatively develop your network and your entrepreneurial brand will help you become more visible and desirable as a responsible professional.

A marketing campaign that is inspirational and uplifting - Coca-Cola has a brilliant slogan: 'Open Happiness', which is appealing and uplifting to everyone, no matter where they are or how poor they are.  What is your brand and your marketing campaign as a responsible professional?  Simply put, your brand can be defined as 'what people say about you after you leave the room'.  You might consider creating a short anonymous survey with questions that previous and present colleagues, as well as current and past supervisors can complete online to gain more insights into your current brand.  What can you do so that you are sure that your brand revolves around terms such as 'problem solver', 'open to new challenges', 'positive energy', 'constructive approach', or 'can do attitude'?  The more you can emerge as a positive individual that does his/her best to help others find solutions to their current projects or challenges, the more you will attract your next opportunity.

In sum, Coca-Cola has succeeded based on a strong culture of continuous data-driven self-improvement process, combined with innovative distribution channels and an inspirational brand.  What can you do today so that your career planning strategy will combine a strong self-knowledge and awareness of your preferences, a wide and supportive network, as well as a positive attitude to establish yourself as a valuable contributor to get business done better?

Original Article

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why I’m using Twitter to find a job

One thing I’ve consistently believed during my search for a new job is that it’s important to stand out from the crowd writes job-seeking blogger James Alexander.

For instance, it was recently reported on this blog about someone who actually made a nice little exhibition stand and used themselves as an exhibit to attract an employer into taking him on.
I think it’s also important to vary the ways in which one looks for a job now.

Whilst the job centre remains the biggest advertiser of new positions, there is a trend now for jobs to not only to be advertised online, but also via social media services such as Twitter.

Many people view Twitter as a banal exercise where people spend their lives telling the world what they had for breakfast and what they are watching on television, but companies are increasingly using it to advertise new roles.

For instance, one recruitment company I recently visited, Hart Recruitment have a twitter feed on which they advertise new roles that come in as they come in.

It would be nice if we lived in a pure meritocracy, but the fact is that we don’t.

I’ve noticed over time that there is truth to the maxim ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know.’
Social media has allowed me to network with people I might not necessarily have met in normal everyday life and I’m hoping via this network of contacts I might get recommended for a position that I may not have found out about otherwise.

Linkedin also looks to be a very useful site to advertise your skills to employers and other interested people and I’m hoping that by listing my details on there I may be contacted with regards to a new role.
Social media can of course be dangerous to a potential career and it makes sense to note that when using it in a professional capacity one has to be professional in their usage of it.

I’ve seen disaster stories online where people have lost jobs by slagging off their employer on Facebook only for said employer to read what they have said and I also know someone personally who has had to apologise on their Twitter feed for criticising the company they worked for.
Social media is a projection of yourself onto the virtual world and it’s important to potential candidates that they are seen in the best light possible.

I’m still in the early days of using social networking sites properly in order to enhance my job search, but the early signs are good – I have received more phone calls from recruiters in the past week than I have had in the month previously.

Already one or two have turned into fairly hot leads for a new role and I’m hoping my days of blogging about being unemployed may yet be numbered.

Read more:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The tricks to recruiting top talent


When Jonathan Lister left his position as country manager at Google Canada to establish LinkedIn's first Canadian office, it wasn't because LinkedIn came up with some sort of killer offer.

What excited Mr. Lister was the chance to play a transformative role in LinkedIn's growth as it attempts to dramatically change the recruitment industry.

“We are going through this period of great revolution that's been driven by the Internet and by digital media. The chance to be a part of that, that's what it's all about,” Mr. Lister said from his uptown Toronto office, which will house 10 employees by the end of this year, double that next year.

The chance to make these kind of game-changing difference is what matters most to rising stars when they consider new opportunities, executive recruiters say. It matters more than money – although money is important – and more than big titles.

So when it comes to the art of the pitch, it has to be customized – and subtle.

Mr. Lister was at Google – a place cited by “best employer” lists as the to-die-for workplace – and not at all looking for another opportunity when he got an inquiry from LinkedIn, the world's predominant online professional networking site: Did he know anyone who might be interested in expanding LinkedIn's presence in Canada?

Mr. Lister provided a few names, but Arvind Rajan, vice-president of international operations for LinkedIn, gently persisted. “The more I learned about what LinkedIn was trying to do in Canada, the more excited I got,” said Mr. Lister, who assumed his new role in June.

Small- to mid-sized businesses with dynamic and intelligent ownership hold enormous appeal to some senior executives in large companies, said Tom Long, a Toronto-based executive recruiter with Russell Reynolds Associates. These candidates feel stifled by the bureaucracy or by the realization that they will never be chief executive officer no matter how talented they are, how smart they are, or how much time they put in at the expense of family.

“Typically, these [small and mid-sized enterprises] are higher-growth environments where you are going to see not just incremental change at the top and bottom lines, but you are going to see very significant change,” Mr. Long said.

And typically, part of the pitch is an equity stake, on the assumption that the star recruit will play a pivotal role in building the business, Mr. Long said. “They want the opportunity to really ride up on the increase in the value.”

However, one offer doesn't fit all, and with high performers in particular, the sizing-up process is very much a two-way street, added Katie Dolgin, founder of Toronto-based digital recruitment agency Dolgin Search Group Inc. The initial approach should be discreet and exploratory, because the sought-after “A-player” candidates are employed elsewhere, doing well and not cruising the job boards, she said.

Both Mr. Long and Ms. Dolgin said it is crucial to ascertain what motivates these candidates before making any pitches.

Ms. Dolgin specializes in recruiting rising stars. For them, she said, key drivers are challenging work, the opportunity to make a difference, professional development, flexibility and autonomy. Commissioned last year by online classified site Kijiji to recruit an Internet marketing manager, she found 27-year-old Bruno Roldan, a highly regarded up-and-comer at a marketing agency.

“I was doing well, but I didn't feel I was really making a difference to the bottom line of the business I was working with,” Mr. Roldan said in an interview. “This, to me, was the No. 1 thing.”

Mr. Roldan said he has far more scope in his new job, as well as more professional development opportunities – since joining Kijiji in January, he has been to Amsterdam for a course and to London for an Internet marketing conference. And then there's the fun factor – free lunches and foosball matches every Friday.

“We have a fully stocked kitchen. I always joke that had they told me that, I would have taken this offer without hesitation,” he said. “I didn't need to know about anything else.”

For younger employees especially, workplace culture matters, said Ms. Dolgin. “It's their home away from home.”

Stock options are an attractive part of the package as well, Mr. Roldan said.

Employment lawyer Stewart Saxe, a Toronto-based partner with Baker & McKenzie, said small and mid-sized business owners in particular should consider offering a piece of the action to prospective recruits – especially if they cannot compete with the salaries paid by large corporations.

“It may well appeal to exactly the person you want – a young, dynamic go-getter who is prepared to put some of their skin in the game in order to get a good return.” Mr. Saxe said.

Top desires of a job seeker

Money: “Most of us who deal with this have a rule of thumb that you have to give at least a 10-per-cent increase to move anybody,” says Toronto employment lawyer Stewart Saxe of Baker & McKenzie.

An equity stake: “The real upside is in the equity participation if you are at a senior enough level,” said executive recruiter Tom Long of Russell Reynolds Associates. “What they are looking for is the opportunity to participate … and have a home run.”

Work-life balance: “Three weeks of vacation is now pretty standard. In addition, some shops close between Christmas and New Years, and a lot of firms are also giving five personal days as floaters,” said Katie Dolgin of Toronto-based Dolgin Search Group. “Flexibility, being able to work from home occasionally if they have a sick child, is important.”

A safety net: This is particularly important for executives who leave big jobs for smaller, younger enterprises, recruiters say. Many candidates will insist on severance clauses to protect themselves if things go south.

Original Article

Will I get a job through LinkedIn? Five tips on finding a job through social networking.

by Suzy Griffin Community Manager on October 4, 2010
If you are currently unemployed, a freelancer, self-employed or just interested in ways to boost your income, the chances are you are always on the look out for new job opportunities.  So are you wasting your time on social networking sites or can you really increase your chances of landing a great job on sites like LinkedIn?
Michael Hickerson quotes findings from the Nielson report in his article, ‘Time Spent On Social Networking Sites Is Rising’, Americans spend nearly a quarter of the time they’re on the Internet from their PC on social-networking sites and blogs.  That’s a significant gain over the average time spent on sites from the study last year…  If you’re keen to make some money out of all this time spent on social networking sites here’s a few things you should keep in mind.

1. Connect – In’s article ‘How to Use LinkedIn to Get a Job’  by Gregory Go, we’re told,  You can use LinkedIn as a resume, a virtual rolodex of networking contacts or as a way to meet others in your industry.  Storing contacts and introducing yourself to others by inviting them to connect is a good way of bulking up your online rolodex, but if you’re keen to grow your earnings immediately this is quite a passive approach.

2.  The inside track – Guy Kawasaki advises a more aggressive approach to using LinkedIn in his post ‘Ten Ways To Use LinkedIn To Find A Job’, Job listings rarely spell out entirely or exactly what a hiring manager is seeking.  Find a connection at the company who can get the inside scoop on what really matters for the job. This approach could work really well if you can find a genuine connection to someone in the company, but contacting somebody in a company that you are not really connected to for this kind of information may be ineffective.

3. Recommendations – LinkedIn offers this service.  Alison Doyle advises it in her post ‘LinkedIn And Your Job Search’, Recommendations from people you have worked with carry a lot of weight. Quotes endorsing your ability can give you a degree of credibility, but such endorsements may be met with a level of scepticism.

4. Detail – It’s really important that you include plenty of detail about exactly what your area of expertise is.  This includes all your qualifications, experience, etc.  Why not show off how much you can do as opposed to how little?

5. Friends – Thanks to the world of online social networking we’ve got ready-made circles of friends online just waiting to be used to our advantage!  As we all know, people prefer to do business with people they know - you can use Weedle to connect with people who need your skill through your trusted network of contacts which is already established through sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

Original Article

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Building Your Personal Brand With Social Media

The Internet has become an incredible resource for developing your career, networking, job searching and more.  No longer are we only given the opportunity to show employers who we are through a one-page resume.  In 2010, we can create our own website, blog, Facebook profile, LinkedIn profile and more.
We have the power to define our own brand promise and create new ways for business connections and hiring managers to find us every day.
This week, I had the opportunity to interview Dan Schawbel, author of the No. 1 international bestseller, Me 2.0, about personal branding as the second edition of his book prepares to hit stores.  I was particularly interested in learning what Dan thinks about personal branding via social media as it applies to men vs. women in the business world.  Keep reading to learn his insightful answer to that question and more.

Susan Gunelius: How is the new version of Me 2.0 different from your first, highly popular edition?
Dan Schawbel: Since the first edition of Me 2.0 came out in mid-2009, technology has changed rapidly, new research has become available, and there have been more case studies available. This edition has more advice and examples for older generations, who read this book out of curiosity and necessity because they are unhappy with their jobs, can’t get a job or are looking for support in dealing with new technology.
There’s also a new chapter on how to use social networks in your job search step-by-step, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I see this chapter becoming extremely important to the millions of job seekers right now who are using traditional methods that are no longer relevant, including classified ads and job boards. There are also new recommended tools and resources, and more advice on Twitter and other networks that weren’t as popular in 2009.

How has online branding changed in the few short years since the first edition of Me 2.0 was released?
We’ve entered what I call “the age of resistance.” There is so much content online now, and so many advertisements, that it’s become harder to get noticed and to get your message out there. For instance, there are 2 billion tweets on Twitter each month (from Twitter’s CTO), and there are 500 million people on Facebook.
Personal branding is how you identify what makes you special, and then communicate that to the world. The advice in Me 2.0 has become more important because the internet is the global talent pool, and if you want to be in that pool, you need an online presence, and if you have an online presence, you need to manage it. There’s simply no way around it right now!
People need to be able to find you online if you want to attract new opportunities and have a successful career. Me 2.0 will walk you through the personal branding process: discover, create, communicate, and maintain. In the second edition, each step has more advice and tactics that you can use to become known for something, and achieve success.
How does branding influence entrepreneurship in 2010?
Aside from establishing your company’s identity, you need to create your own online presence as an entrepreneur. I recommend that entrepreneurs brand themselves as expert sources in something that relates to their company idea. For instance, if you own a bakery whose customers are students at a nearby college, then you’re the “bakery expert for students” and you can talk about what baked goods students purchase the most, and your favorite recipes. When entrepreneurs become experts, they are able to get media attention, and use those opportunities to promote their companies.
How can an individual monetize a personal brand?
Great question, especially since most people waste so much time on social networks these days. There are numerous ways to make money if you’re building your personal brand, including blog advertising, consulting, speaking, royalties on book sales, eBook sales, social network advertising, and endorsements, to name a few. You should be creative with your business model, and figure out a long-term monetization plan, because some of these strategies will only work when you have a significant follower base.

What are the biggest personal branding mistakes that you see being made, particularly in the online space?
One mistake that’s commonly made is creating an online presence but failing to monitor and manage it. By having your last blog post dated 2009, you’re showing employers that you’re not committed. When you establish your online profiles, there’s an expectation that you’re going to be delivered fresh content on a regular basis. It’s your promise to your audience. Another problem I see is when people over-promote themselves online, putting links within blog comments, or just using their Twitter profile as a promotional tool. This doesn’t work and actually makes you look bad.

How would you explain the importance of personal branding for career development to businesswomen vs. businessmen?  What steps can businesswomen take to develop their brands and boost their careers in the male-dominated business world?
The same career and branding advice I give to men, I give to women. Everyone in the world needs their own website (, existence on only the top three social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter), and enough time to dedicate to ensure each property is updated and relevant. The Internet puts everyone on the same playing field, and it’s up to you to decide how you want to be judged in and out of the workplace.
Figure out what your personal mission is, your long-term and short-term career goals, and what you truly want to be known for. Then base your personal brand around that, and use it to network with other people in your field. The possibilities are endless and the results are real.

About Dan Schawbel
Dan Schawbel is the author of the upcoming Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future. He is known as a “personal branding guru” by The New York Times, and the Founder of Millennial Branding, LLC. Dan operates the syndicated and award winning Personal Branding Blog, and publishes Personal Branding Magazine. Recently, he was named to the 
Inc. Magazine 30 Under 30 list.