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What to put on your LinkedIn Profile when you are in transition

April 22nd, 2014

This question comes up all the time when I do presentations on LinkedIn.  There are a few different options, depending on the message you want to give (“I need your help…!” OR “I have expertise in this, and oh yeah, I might be open to looking at other opportunities” and everything in-between).

Recently I was talking to Nick Jenkins, a senior operations manager based out of Austin, Texas.  Nick has deep experience with the telecom industry but, as we were talking, he was explaining his passion to move to a few other industries (still within technology), including mobile stuff, cloud computing, etc.  Nick likes being in the leading edge tech space, which is what he navigated over the last 15 years in telecom.

As we were talking I had a thought: Your LinkedIn profile tells me you are actively looking, but nothing in your profile tells me you are not married to the telecom industry.  In fact, everything there indicates you kind of want to stay there.  What if you let me know you are open to non-telecom stuff?

I shared this idea with Nick and here’s what he changed to clarify his position (being available for new opportunities, and what he is open to).  I think this is the best way to communicate this stuff.

First, the Professional Headline.  Nick’s main message here is “I’m a professional!  Here are my passions and what I bring to the table!” Instead of focusing on “I’m looking for new work,” which is NOT his brand, he focuses on what he wants you to think of when you think about him.

nick_jenkins_linkedin_available1

 

Next, the Current Title.  He makes it very clear that he is actively looking.

nick_jenkins_linkedin_available2

 

Now, when I got on the phone with him, this was all that he had done.  I listened to what he was looking for, and open to, and then I compared that with his profile… and therein was the problem: Without having a conversation with him to know he was looking for a career even outside of telecom (or inside of telecom, but not limited to telecom), you probably wouldn’t know that he was open to it.  I suggested that he use the job experience are and tell people more about what he is looking for.  His summary is the typical “here are my strengths,”… but nowhere did he say “I’m open to non-telecom opportunities.”

(Next,) So instead of leaving the job description part of “Experienced Leader and Communicator” blank, he filled it in.  You can click over to his account to read it.

The takeaway for me was that I assumed, based on his profile, something that was wrong.  After talking with him I understood more, and I encouraged him to share that on his Profile (to remove bad assumptions).

I challenge you to state what you do or want to do, and then read through your profile and see if they are aligned.

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Don’t ask people to connect on LinkedIn until…

April 21st, 2014

If I can, I like to connect people.  It makes me feel good, and some of my contacts simply must connect with one another – they are that cool or complementary!

I recently made a connection between two people, and I suggested to one of them to NOT invite the person to connect until they actually had a conversation, and started a relationship.

Why?

Too often I see people who will take an introduction, ask the person to connect on LinkedIn, and then… nothing.

Folks, connecting on LinkedIn IS NOT NETWORKING!

Focus on the relationship!

Can you help that person?  Can they help you?  Is there a reason to have a relationship?  Can you nurture the relationship?  Can you get and give value through the years because of a relationship?

Have a conversation.  Then, in a month, or next quarter, have another conversation (or send an email).  And do that regularly.  Over time. Take the relationship from nowhere to somewhere.

The problem with starting out with a LinkedIn invitation is that too often, many times, I see this:

  1. Invitation is extended.
  2. Invitation is accepted.
  3. Relationship doesn’t go anywhere.

The LinkedIn connection is not a relationship, and it is not networking.  It gets in the way.

So, first work on establishing the relationship, and the LinkedIn invitation/connection is something for later. Don’t let it take the place of the relationship.

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Favorite Friday: Your LinkedIn Network is Useless if…

April 18th, 2014

Another Favorite Friday from my LinkedIn blog.  This one is about the utility of your LinkedIn contacts.  Too often I’ve heard people say “LinkedIn doesn’t work for me.”

That’s like saying “the hammer in my shed doesn’t work for me.”  They don’t tell you that they bought it, put it in the shed, and never used it.

You have to do something with it.  The main line in this post is:

Your [My] LinkedIn network is USELESS if I… DON’T DO ANYTHING WITH IT!

Whether it is LinkedIn, JibberJobber, your business card… the question is: what are YOU doing with it?

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Favorite Friday: LinkedIn Professional Headline: Yours probably sucks

April 11th, 2014

This is from July 2010, on my LinkedIn blog.  It is a really short post about that uber-important branding statement next to your picture on your LinkedIn Profile.

The post took a life of it’s own when people started asking for feedback on their headlines.  Fortunately, Peter Osborne jumped in to respond to people… I finally had to close the comments before it became a full-time job!

Here’s the post - click here to read the excellent comments:

So many times I see LinkedIn Professional Headlines that … well, suck.

Yours probably sucks (unless you got my LinkedIn book or my LinkedIn DVD, as I talk about this quite a bit in those).

Here’s a quick test:

(a) Does your LinkedIn Professional Headline have your TITLE?

(b) Does your LinkedIn Professional Headline have the name of your company?

If it has either of these you have a great chance of having a sucky professional headline.

Why do I say this?

  1. The title doesn’t tell me a whole lot. If it’s a big title in a small company I’m not impressed. If it’s a regular title in a company or industry I’m not familiar with, I might not really know WHAT YOU DO.
  2. Beyond that, though, your title doesn’t tell me WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?). I don’t care that you are a CEO, or analyst, or any of that other stuff. If I SHOULD care, I can find that in the rest of your LinkedIn Profile, right?
  3. Use your Professional headline as a change to educate me on why I should care about you. Title/company doesn’t do it.
  4. With regard to the company, most companies I see out there have cute names… that mean nothing to me. They are not branded enough to tell me anything. Thus, putting the name of a no-name company in your headline does not help me understand your value proposition… IT ONLY TAKES UP SPACE.

How’s your LinkedIn Professional Headline?

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Awesome, Awesome LinkedIn Profile Formatting (Håkan Thyr, Austin, TX)

March 31st, 2014

I came across Håkan’s LinkedIn Profile and I LOVE something he is doing with the formatting.  What he is doing gets around something that bugs a lot of people…. they want real bullet-point formatting!

Alas, for the last many years, and even today, LinkedIn doesn’t allow hardly any formatting in the long description areas.  But check out what Hakan has done:

LinkedIn_profile_HåkanThyr

In #1… how did he get that bullet?  In #2, how did he make the lines below the bullet indent, the way that bullets are supposed to?

Very, very simple.  I blogged about it on my LinkedIn blog here. Scroll down on my profile and you’ll see a bunch of bullet icons you can copy, and then paste to your own Profile.

Okay, so we got that, right?  How do you make the line below indent to the correct place?

You simple put enough spaces in. Really.  You “hard code” spaces in.  With your space bar.

If I mouse over and select the space from the left of the page to where the line starts, I can see there are individual spaces there.  There are 5 spaces before a bullet point and 8 spaces before each line under a bullet.

LinkedIn_profile_HåkanThyr2

It’s that simple… but the results really stand out, and are easier to read.

Cool, huh?

This entire profile also works because Håkan uses the underscore (_______) to make visual line separators throughout his profile, which makes it easier to read.

He’s put a lot of effort into his profile, from content to formatting, and it clearly shows.  Great job Håkan!  Click on the image below to see his entire profile:

LinkedIn_profile_HåkanThyr3

 

 

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Blogging vs. Social Status: You will lose “you” forever

February 12th, 2014

Yesterday someone asked me how to find all of the status updates from one person over a period of time.  I did a quick search and found there was really no hope (link 1, link 2).

Let me put this into perspective a little.  I remember when Twitter was becoming very popular, and people were calling it “micro-blogging.”  The idea is that you don’t have to write a long blog post, you could just write approximately one sentence and you would be good!  Writing concisely even meant that you got right to the point, and you became a better communicator, some (like me) would argue.

The bigger problem I saw, though, was how hard it was to refer back to a past tweet (or post).  If you asked me a question, and I had already blogged about it, I shoot you the link to my blog post.  Finding a past tweet was really quite difficult.  They were actually simply gone, after a period of time.

History.  Unreferenceable.

As a blogger and business owner (who deals with customer service), it was clear that there was value in being able to reference a past post.  And going to the trouble to post something, and then have it lost, would be horrible.

This is exactly what is happening on LinkedIn.  Finding something on Facebook isn’t that much easier.  Yesterday my wife asked me to look through the history to see a really cool quote that a friend put up… last Fall.  We looked… and looked, and … gave up.  It was too hard.  The quote was there, I’m sure, but finding it was a pain.

As you communicate your brand, knowledge, passion, epiphanies, etc., I encourage you to consider how you’ll reference those things in the future.  How will others find what you have said?

Having a blog gives you more control over what you get on the social networks.  I can go back to my very first blog post, or find all the posts about depression, or JibberJobber How-To’s, etc. pretty easily.  I can even use Google to help me go through blog posts.

My blog posts are not fleeting, like my tweets and status updates are.  Maybe that’s a good thing (that those are fleeting)… but you should consider THE TOOL, and the purpose of the tool, before you invest time.

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LinkedIn for Job Seekers Videos: Fourth Edition!

February 11th, 2014

Well, I finally did it – I finished the recordings for the fourth edition of LinkedIn for Job Seekers.  This edition will be streaming only, which will cut the cost down on producing DVDs as well as make it easier for me to do updates.

You can check it out here.

The most apparent change in this series is the layout change.  The third edition is, I think, almost two years old, and there have been a lot of changes to LinkedIn’s layout.  The most notable would be the header/menu, which has significantly been pared down (some of the favorite things are missing :( ), and the huge, massive overhaul to the LinkedIn Profile.

Functionally, the biggest change would be the absence of LinkedIn Answers, which for many years had been my #1 favorite feature.  Most of the functionality that you found in Answers can be done in Groups, but not as easily, and perhaps not as effectively.  We go into that.

There were other functional changes… most of which had to do with stuff either disappearing completely or moving from a free to a premium feature.  I have a free account and focus on helping you get more value from the free account.

In this video series, which is appropriate for job seekers as well as business owners (who probably feel like job seekers every morning!), I want you to learn out to OPTIMIZE.

Optimize your chance to be found when someone is searching for you – this has to do with your Profile, and somewhat what Groups you (a) are in and (b) participate in.

Optimize how you share your brand – what message are you sharing, where, how often, etc.

Optimize your Profile, and the messaging you give there.  I was finally inspired to update my Profile (which is a fluid, changing project) and made some really important enhancements.

Optimize your results – we’re on LinkedIn for a reason, right?  Make sure you understand that reason and work towards that reason, instead of just being there because everyone else is.  I’m not about herd mentality… I want you to purposefully seek, and get, value.

The cost of this training is $50.  You have access to it as long as you wish. I ask that you do not share access with others, and you don’t show it in “public settings,” like at a university.  However, if you want to show a video or two at a job club, feel free to do that.

Finally, did you know we’ve been working hard on enhancing JibberJobber and making it more value-add to you?  Not only have we added new functionality, and cleaned up some stuff, we dropped the price of the optional premium level by 40%… to $60. If you are interested in the awesome premium features (including the oh-so-useful Email2Log feature), you can get both the 12 month upgrade and the LinkedIn video series for only $99.

Let me know if you have any questions, and if you want me to add any other trainings into the LinkedIn series.

Whew!  Glad to finally get this updated!

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“You’ve been lied to, suckers. Social media won’t help you find a job.” Laurie Ruettimann, and my response

February 4th, 2014

I love Laurie Reuttimann’s blog, The Cynical Girl. She tells it like it is, no holds barred. I’ve quoted or referenced her over the years. After seeing the title of a recent post I was really interested in seeing what she had to say. In this post I want to share my thoughts/responses with my users and job seekers. Her post is excellent, you can read the whole thing here.  Most of the quotes below are not from her, but HR people.

“You are being lied to by the internet. There is nothing here for you, especially a job.”

I agree with the “you are being lied to,” but I think the bigger issue is that people are looking for the silver bullet, and this new-fangled Internet thingy seems shiny and bullet-y.  So yeah!!  Actually… no :(  The internet is a tool, websites are a tool, and none of this replaces the need to find and nurture real relationships (aka, networking).  Maybe you’ll get a job, or the next few jobs, just by being online, but I’m all about long-term career management, and using the same diluted, saturated tool that everyone else is using, and using it the same way they are using it, is not a good long-term strategy, imo.

“One HR professional told me, ‘If you have time to be on Facebook, you are not fully engaged at your job. I don’t want you.’ “

I can’t agree with this, partially because of the comment below about Facebook.  I don’t spend much time on Facebook anymore, except as a quick way to see what’s going on with my friends and family.  I’ve spent a fair amount of time unfriending a lot of people, even quote-unquote-friends.  This comment from the HR professional makes him/her sound like an old-fashioned, out-of-touch, stodgy person who has no friends or family worth staying in touch with.  But I know some people love to get updates and are fulfilled by staying in touch through Facebook.  Some people rely on Facebook messaging as much, or more, as they rely on their email.  I’m not talking about frilly stuff, I’m talking about scheduling piano and dance lessons, kid get-togethers, etc. Who’s the stodgy HR pro to tell anyone they can’t communicate on Facebook?  This generalized statement sounds a bit too much to me.

“Don’t have a personal brand. ‘If you have a personal brand, you aren’t dedicated to the company brand.’ ” 

This statement sounds like it comes from an HR pro that hears the phrase “personal branding” with a lot of bias, and hype.  First of all, I teach that everyone has a brand (including the stodgy HR person from the last comment).  EVERYONE has a brand. Your brand is either intentional or unintentional, but you have a brand.  I agree that if you work for a company, whether you are an employee or a contractor, that you need to make it clear that you are dedicated to the company brand, to some degree.  However, to aborb the company’s brand and have it be yours can suck pretty bad when some HR person calls you into a dimly lit room to lay you off… and you now you are stuck having neglected your own personal career management because you were “dedicated to the company brand.”  When the company is not dedicated to YOU, how can you be dedicated to it to the point of neglecting your career?  Ask the 15,000-ish Dell employees you just got laid off how they feel about that.

“Don’t believe in the false promise of a social network. ‘I like to hire people I know. After that, people who are recommended to me. I want to know you or know someone who knows you. That’s how I hold people accountable for hires.’ ”

I agree with this statement, however, the HR person hires other HR people.  You need to read more into this statement and generalize it so that you understand that you must develop a relationship, not with the HR person, but with the hiring manager!  So how do you get to know the hiring manager?  Meet them!  Do an “informational interview” (but never call it that), or go to the network meetings they go to, or volunteer where they volunteer, etc.  And how do you get recommended to the hiring manager?  You meet people they work with, and you have a brand (that is, you make it easy for people to understand who you are, and perceive you the right way!).  You can accomplish some of this, even much of this, through social networks.  Yes, I do believe that.  But don’t use your social strategy to get out of real, face-to-face, human interactions. Use it as a tool to do what it’s good for and to facilitate finding those meetings that you go to.

“Don’t use Facebook to connect. ‘I’m there to watch my kids.’ ”

I agree with this.  Like I said, I have loved unfriending people on Facebook because my posts and family’s posts are really part of a life that I don’t need broadcast to professional acquaintances.  Here’s an example… would you go to the hiring manager’s house to talk to them?  Would you go to their church to talk to them?  Would you go to the same vacation place to talk to them? I’m sure some people would, but my point is there are some places that are appropriate for prospecting and business meetings, and other places (especially those that are a lot more personal), are inappropriate. Respect those boundaries (which will be different for different people).

“Don’t depend on LinkedIn to connect. ‘I go in there about once a month to clean it out.’ ”

I love this statement because it backs up what I’ve been following for years – look at what Compete.com says about LinkedIn, and how often people go there.  Not that often!  I’m not here to rain on anyone’s parade… like someone who wrote a book on LinkedIn, or does training on LinkedIn… because I still think LinkedIn is a great tool.  But “depending on LinkedIn to connect” (or “to” anything else) is like depending on a hammer to build a house.  Perhaps you can, if you have enough time and are stubborn enough, but it is a lot easier to build a house with all the right tools instead of just one tool that is optimized for a few tasks.  Use LinkedIn as a tool, and figure out what other tools you should use!  And, the HR pro who goes into LinkedIn about once a month shows what a horrible networker he/she is.  I’m guessing that once this person is in transition, he or she will be beefing up their LinkedIn profile, presence, groups and network.

“Skip Twitter. ‘I am the world’s biggest Kai Ryssdal fan. Can I listen to NPR on Twitter?’ ”

I have fallen out of love with Twitter over the years.  When it got more mainstream it seemed to have gotten more sleazy.  It’s just not a place I spend time.  The issue, though, is this: is your target audience spending time there?  Are people who might refer you to their boss spending time there?  Can you “brand” yourself there, to help those people understand what your expertise and interests are?   Just because HR people don’t hang out on Twitter doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.  I’m not saying that you should, I’m saying to determine who is there and see if it is the right place for you to spend time and effort.

“This (social media) is the future….. But the future is not here.” 

I LOVE this quote from Laurie.  I don’t agree with it because it has been around for years (Facebook is ten years old, have ya heard?).  If you were trying to network into HR for your next job, perhaps I would agree with the statement (although there are HR people who like and spend time on social networks for professional reason).  But most of you are not trying to network into HR, you are trying to avoid HR as you get in front of a hiring manager, or someone who will recommend you to a hiring manager.  Ignore social tools at your own risk.  I bet your competition is not.

“Most people still find jobs through career websites, employee referrals and job boards.” 

This statement is too generalized for me.  I know it is true for some levels (minimum wage vs. $100+k salary), and for some industries (fast food vs. hard sciences) and some professions (entry level front desk admin vs product manager), but I am not sure I believe that “most people” find a job though any particular thing.  I remember a few years ago, after I got on the high horse of social media, I met with a guy who got a great job at a great company.  ”How did you land this killer job?” I asked, knowing it was through networking, branding and LinkedIn.  ”I applied to an opening on Monster.com,” he said.  Touché. Monster still works.

“So if you’re spending more than an hour/day on the internet with your job search, you are doing it wrong.”

 I can’t agree with this, either.  Some people only have an hour a day, others spend ten hours a day on their job search.  Some days you’ll spend hours just doing legitimate research. Some days you’ll spend an hour just applying to an opening through the horrid (usually broken) application system, because you talked to the manager and things are going well but they still said “oh, please apply online so you are in the system.”  And, “the internet” has a lot more useful tools than just Twitter… you might spend an hour on JibberJobber, or reviewing a dozen job postings to prepare for an interview you have coming up, etc.

“Get up. Get out. Get off the internet. Get yourself back to work!”

I totally agree.  In contrast to my thought in the last comment, I see too many people who hide behind the internet (email, social, soduko) and try to not do real job search stuff.  You need to know when it’s time to step away from the computer and do other things.  Again, use all the right tools for all the right reasons, don’t just keeping hammering when you need a saw or screwdriver.

One thought that keeps coming back to me, with all of these comments, is the advice that you hear at job clubs and from career counselors/coaches: GET AROUND HR!  Take their advice for what it is worth, but you also need to understand who is doing the hiring.  If HR has a small part in the hiring process, find out who has a big part.  And, I’ve worked with HR people before.  None of them were involved in hiring… they were involved in benefits, legal, etc.  But if they say “I’m an HR pro” and they are not involved in hiring, you might not give their advice as much credibility as someone who actually does hiring.

 

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Critical Job Search & Social Media Thoughts from a Recruiter (Steve Levy)

January 30th, 2014

Since before I started JibberJobber there was this blogger/recruiter out there named Steve Levy.  I became friends with Steve online, then we roomed together at a conference, and we’ve had phone calls thoughout the years.

I recently asked him for some input on a project I’m working on and he replied back with a link to a blog post that really answered all my questions. It had been a while since I had read Steve’s stuff and I found myself looking through a bunch of his blog posts.  I LOVED this one since it really summed up a lot of high-value tips for job seekers with regard to social media:

Random Social Media Thoughts for #Jobseekers

He really sums it up. If you are new to this stuff, read it and use most of it as your roadmap.  If this is “old hat,” read it and compare what he says with what you are doing.

I don’t want to spoil anything but his last line is absolutely critical to understand:

Job search – like recruiting – is a contact sport. For all the press given social media, in recruiting we like to say that the two most important social media tools are the telephone and the handshake.

Awesome stuff.

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Using “The Other Social Network” To Land A Job (and Become Famous In Your Circles) #Instagram

December 18th, 2013
This is a story about personal branding, social networking, unsocial networking, and doing many “right things.”  Inspiring?  Yep. Replicatable?  Perhaps…

I saw this article and thought “this is going to kind of be boring, and a one-hit-wonder kind of a story).  Then I read it and was really quite intrigued.

When people think of social networking, especially in the career space, I think they think of LinkedIn (people are getting tired of their lame policies and changing free features to premium, not to mention their walled-garden approach to the rest of the world), Facebook (many are still confused about the whole personal/professional thing), and Twitter (was useful a few years ago, then the pop media and pop stars came and it’s become a polluted place of yuck, with very little interaction (compared to the good ol’ days)).

No one thinks of using Instagram to get a job, do they?  I wouldn’t have, until I read this: No Resume, No Cover Letter — Instagram Scored the Job

The problem with thinking Instagram is going to get YOU your next job is that this story is about a certain person (Clark Walker) in a certain industry (profession: barber) in a certain place (NYC, of course!).  Will this work for an attorney or accountant, or for someone in Podunk, USA?  It is not that likely, methinks.

But it sure worked for Clark, and apparently this one-time med school student is living his dream, which is awesome.

clark-walker-instagram_mashable

I wrote a post about LinkedIn’s competition, where I basically said it isn’t ONE competitor that is going to take LinkedIn down.  It won’t be Facebook, Twitter, or the other biggies (instagram, snapchat, pinterest, quora, etc.).  It will be that people are bored and not getting their needs and wants met by the one-size-fits-nobody approach of professional networking.  Recruiters have already figured this out and instead of trying to harvest conversations and activity in LinkedIn, they are finding out where their target audience is hanging out and going to them there.

Here’s my post about LinkedIn’s competition: Death By A Thousand Papercuts (aka, LinkedIn Competition): Github. Here’s a more indepth take on TechCrunch: The Biggest Threat To LinkedIn: The Power Of Many, Not One

Kudos to Clark for living the dream, and using tools to help make that happen.

What does this mean FOR YOU?

 

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