Social Media

Manage Your Social Media

This blog, in a slightly different format, was originally posted on LocalWork.com.

CC image courtesy Sean MacEntee via Flickr.com

CC image courtesy Sean MacEntee via Flickr.com

According to a 2013 CareerBuilder.com survey, 39% of employers screen a job applicant’s social media sites. Of those, another 43% found something on Facebook, Twitter, etc., to cause them to not hire a candidate. Both of these figures are increases from the year before, and it is expected that the numbers are even higher today.

We can debate whether it is right, ethical, or legal for employers to consider our social media posts, but the fact is, they are.

Job seekers must manage their social media.

First, stop digging a hole. If you have made disparaging comments about your job, boss, or colleagues, if you brag about playing hooky, or if you post about your binge drinking, drug use, or sexual conquests – stop! It turns out, our mothers, and Thumper, are right. If you have ever posted anything like these, delete them, now.

Second, set your privacy settings where they make sense. My LinkedIn and Twitter accounts are open (I want to be found), while my Facebook is restricted to Friends/Family. However, I am fully aware that all it takes is for one Facebook friend to “share” a post to their feed and all of a sudden, it is out there.

Third, assess the damage. Search for your name, including variants (James and Jim) on Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Then, set up a Google Alert for your own name.

Fourth, if there is anything potentially damaging to your online reputation, then bury it. Open new social media accounts; sign on to the message boards of your professional affiliations; start a blog. Post comments and content that support the brand reputation you want, and that set you up as a subject-matter expert for your position and career. Your goal is to have enough positive things about you online that the negatives are buried to the second or third page, or lower, on a search engine. The negative stuff might still be found, but hopefully there will be enough positives to minimize its impact.

Fifth, especially if you have a somewhat common name, create a card with your social media links that you can hand to potential employers, so that you are not mistaken for the similarly-named person who spends more time at Spring Break than in school. This assumes, of course, that you cleaned up your social media sites!

I would love to know your thoughts. Leave a comment below, or connect with me on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Success doesn’t come to you. You go get it.

LinkedIn 101 for Job Seekers

LinkedIn is NOT merely a job search tool. LinkedIn is a tool, I believe, that can help every professional in every profession do their job better.

If you are a job seeker, however, you really have to be on LinkedIn. It is too powerful a tool to ignore.

Every Career Advisor, Employment Specialist, and Job Coach has his their own LinkedIn presentation. Here is mine, where I discuss:

  • What LinkedIn is, and is not
  • Why you want to use LinkedIn
  • How to create an All-Star profile
  • The best way to add connections, and what to avoid
  • Methods to showcase your expertise
  • How to leverage your LinkedIn network to advance your career

Please let me know what you think! Is there anything more about LinkedIn that you would like me to answer? Leave a comment below, or connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn (if you do, tell me why you want to connect).

Success doesn’t come to you. You go get it.

Book Review: “Follow Me! Creating a Personal Brand with Twitter”

The challenge of writing a book on social media is that at least some of the book becomes obsolete by the time it is published. And so is the case with Sarah-Jayne Gratton’s (@grattongirl) Follow Me!

My purpose for reading the book was to find tips on how to maximize my Twitter experience without spending all my time on Twitter. Follow Me! was written for those who extensively use Twitter for their professional marketing experiences.

The practical section of the book, Part Two, includes chapters on:

– Defining your brand,

– Creating a great profile

– Building your Twitter followers without falling prey to spam, bots, and multi-level marketers.

The chapters I found most helpful described:

– The four-types of Tweets (Share, Inform, Thank, Engage, or SITE)

– Creating a “Twittertorial” Calendar (how to curate and pre-schedule tweets for maximum impact)

– Thinking of Twitter as your own personal broadcast show (what to schedule, when to schedule, and repeating the schedule).

The second-half of the book is where it starts to show its age. Chapters are devoted to:

– Twitter Branding Showcase Stories, nine Twitter feeds that (as of 2012) author Gratton found particularly descriptive;

– Twitter Toolkit, descriptions of particularly helpful Twitter tools. Some, however, no longer exist (bye-bye, TweetDeck).

If your interest in Twitter is non, or low, or only for interacting with friends and family, then this book probably will not appeal to you.

For those who care about their personal or professional brand, Twitter is a key component of the social media strategy, and Follow Me! has a lot of good advice.

Gratton, Sarah-Jayne. Follow Me! Creating a Personal Brand with Twitter. Indianapolis: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012. Print.

Follow Me! Creating a Personal Brand with Twitter

Follow Me! Creating a Personal Brand with Twitter

Have you read this book? I would love to know your thoughts. Leave a comment below, or connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Success doesn’t come to you. You go get it.

3 ways to search for jobs using LinkedIn

You have a solid LinkedIn.com profile. You are making Connections, and showcasing your knowledge by participating in Group discussions and posting powerful Status updates. When do you start finding employment opportunities?

Here are three primary ways to job-search using LinkedIn:

1. Use the LinkedIn Jobs Search function.

Many companies post job opportunities on LinkedIn. Click the “Jobs” link, and use LinkedIn as another job board. Search by Title, and filter based on Location, Industry, and even Company Size. Save your searches. Some postings allow you to Apply directly through LinkedIn, using your professional profile; in other cases, you may be directed to the company’s website.

screenshot of LinkedIn.com Jobs page

Click on “Jobs” and set your search parameters

TIP: Often, LinkedIn will show who posted the opening. If the posting is for a job you want, or for a company you are targeting, or if the person posts a lot of jobs you are interested in, try connecting with this person directly.

2. Join job posting Groups

Depending on your industry, you may find Groups that allow employers to post their job openings. Join the right groups and find new opportunities.

3. Use your Network

Make a list of the companies you want to join, and Follow them on LinkedIn. Keep up to date with any new information they share.

a screenshot of a LinkedIn.com Company page

Go to Interests / Companies and follow the ones you are interested in

See how you are connected to the company. Talk to ALL of your First Degree connections about the company, and ask if they will introduce you to the Hiring Decision Maker, or at least forward your resume.

Turn your Second Degree connections into First Degree connections. Ask to be introduced:

Go to the person’s profile. Read it carefully.

Click the down arrow next to the “Connect” button, and select “Get Introduced.” This shows of your shared connections. Choose one.

Write a note to YOUR connection and ask to be introduced (have your note forwarded) to your target. As always, give them a reason – what value or benefit can you add?

Be prepared to wait. Your connection, or your target, may not be as LinkedIn-savvy as you so it could take a while before either even sees your request.

Or, be bold and send your own Connection invitation directly to your target.

Or, be even bolder and take your request offline. Pick up the phone and call, and/or send an email directly.

Keep in mind that your Second Degree connections currently do not know you. Your first move is to meet them, get to know them, ask them about themselves and their role in the company, how they got their positions, what their needs are, and so on. Only then ask to be introduced to the Hiring Decision Maker.

Success doesn’t come to you. You go get it.

Agree? Disagree? I am interested in your thoughts! Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter and let me know, or leave a comment below.

Four ways to use LinkedIn groups

You have a LinkedIn profile, you are adding connections, and are making professional status updates. Next, you will want to join and participate in Group discussions.

There are groups for nearly every conceivable professional (and some not so professional) interest – school alumni, work current or former associates, professional affiliations, regional professional networking groups, and so on. If you cannot find a group to join based on your professional interest (unlikely), then start one of your own.

There are multiple career management advantages of joining groups:

  1. Join groups to learn new methods and techniques to do your job better. If you are trying to figure out an answer to an issue for your client or company, check group discussions to see if our issue has been discussed. If not, then post a question and see who responds.

  2. Join groups to show your subject-matter expertise. Answer someone else’s question. Chances are, someone will agree, and someone will challenge. Go with it. Engage in a polite and professional discussion about the merits of your answer. Others are watching, and you are building your brand.

  3. Join groups to follow the discussions of someone you respect, or of someone for whom you might want to work. What is important to them? How do they talk about it? What do they reference?

  4. Join groups to gain access to group members. DO NOT SEND SPAM!! However, if you have been trying to get a phone number or email address for someone at a particular company, find out what groups they belong to. Join those groups. Now, you are allowed via LinkedIn to send them a message. But before you do, see what they are talking about in the group (point 2), and if you have time, begin to set yourself up as a subject matter expert (point 2), to increase your chances that they will respond when you do reach out.

Success doesn’t come to you. You go get it.

 

Thoughts? Comments? Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter, or leave a comment below.

A LinkedIn invitation request: nailed it!

I don’t know if this LinkedIn user read my post about how to make connections, but she did everything right:

Hi Kevin,

It was great to meet you at the NETPA meeting on Friday. Thank you for your valuable insight and advice. I’d love to know more about your incredible work to empower people through CASS’ programs. Let’s stay in touch!

My Best,

Here is what I love about this invitation request:

  • She personalized it. She did not use the awful generic request.
  • She reminded me how we met. We actually met at a networking event. She told me she is currently in transition, she told me what she is looking for which – while we did not discuss – when she is successful, she will be in a position to aid me and some of my clients. She gave me her business card which detailed three related tasks that converge to her ideal position, two lines of expertise, and contact information on the front and back (excellent touch!). I followed up with her via email with a couple of leads I thought might help her, and she responded by reaching out to connect via LinkedIn. Still, she did not assume that I would remember her.
  • Maybe my leads won’t pan out, or maybe she will decide to not follow through. But, she was gracious.
  • She stroked my ego a bit. Because really, everybody likes to hear good things about themselves, and we are all mote likely to respond well when we do.
  • She did not try to sell me anything, or ask me to do anything other than connect, and stay in touch.

Because this invitation request was so well executed, I readily accepted. And, even though the opportunity she seeks is outside what any of my clients are looking for, I am going to keep my eyes open and if/when I see something that might be a good match for her, I will happily share it.

I think my invitation requests are pretty good. She nailed it, and this is going to be my model.

Success doesn’t come to you. You go get it.

Connect with me on LinkedIn, or Twitter.

LinkedIn: use Status Updates for self-promotion

You have a solid LinkedIn profile, and you are making connections. But remember, the purpose of LinkedIn is to help manage your career. Having a well-crafted and informative profile, and having a lot of influential connections, are only parts of the equation. The other necessary component is to promote yourself as a subject-matter expert.

LinkedIn makes it easy by allowing Status Updates.

Status Updates are important because when you log into LinkedIn, the Home page shows updates from your connections. You want to be on that page so that your connections log in, they see something about you. Otherwise, you risk “out of sight, out of mind.”

This is what my home page looks like on a typical day

This is what my home page looks like on a typical day

LinkedIn does some of the work for you by posting an update when you have a new connection, or when you revise your profile to who a promotion or a new job, or have a work anniversary or birthday. But these are rather passive. You want to show your connections that you are engaged in your profession and have something substantive to say.

LinkedIn is not Facebook, so do not post about your meal (unless, possibly, you are a chef or a food critic) or about how angry you are over the finale of “Lost” (I mean, seriously, what was up with that?).

So wait, the island was what, exactly?

So wait, the island was what, exactly?

And LinkedIn is not Twitter, so you do not need to make multiple posts per day.

You should set a goal of one solid update per day, or several times per week and at different times during the work day. Appropriate topics might be:

The workshop you are attending, or want to attend

That you just finished a major project, or landed a new account (CAUTION: Be aware of your company’s rules, if any, on confidentiality and social media use)

An interesting article that you think your professional peers might enjoy or could benefit from

Your own professional blog update

Note that LinkedIn, and LinkedIn users, frown on overt sales pitches. But posting a Status Update (if your company’s rules on social media use allows) about your company’s sponsorship of an event might be very appropriate.

Self-promotion – talking about our achievements – is much easier for some than for others. But doing so is essential for effective job search, and long-term career management. And over time, it gets easier.

How do you use the Update Status section on LinkedIn? Please share in the comments below.

Success doesn’t come to you. You go get it.

I would love to know your thoughts. Leave a comment below, or connect with me on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.