LinkedIn Basics

I have talked at length about the power of LinkedIn but a post this past Friday made me think I should revisit the topic.  My friend asking for LinkedIn help also made me want to write about it.

Here are the 10 must haves according to me:

1. A professional looking photo, this does not mean you need to go to a photographer.  Look through your pictures and pic something appropriate, or take a photo of yourself against a wall.
2. Headline, create a good headline that is keyword rich!
3. Job titles, make sure you have filled in your previous job titles.
4. Explain what you did in each position.  The easiest way to do this is to upload your resume.  These days, recruiters and hiring managers go to Linkedin to get your summaries.
5. Create a summary that will…sum up…what you’ve done up to a certain point.  It doesn’t have to be as short as an elevator pitch but it also shouldn’t be a page long.  A good two paragraph blurb will do.
6. Explore your keywords/specialties and make sure they actually highlight what you want them to.  Often times your specialty keywords just get pulled from your resume and will include various things you don’t really care too much about. Keywords are one of the main ways to find people in a certain field or industry.  Check out my post titled Why Keywords Rule LinkedIn.
7. Give recommendations, because that’s the easiest way to…
8. Get recommendations!  Previous interviewers have gone on my LinkedIn page and printed off the recommendations I have received to get ahead in the interview process.
9. Join groups.  This is the quickest way to make new connections and find out about new events.
10. Update your status once a week and post questions to your network!

What did you do today?

P.S. Read this great article from Yahoo Finance, Three Things All LinkedIn Users Should Do.

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Why Social Media is Only A Part of The Bigger Whole

I have to say that I am a big advocate of social media.  But I also have to say that you need to understand the basics of marketing in order for social media to work and in order for you to know how you should use it.  If your company is in a place where it’s finding that it is spending too much money on print, isn’t able to get the word out about new products and about the brand due to a constricting budget then you may want to look into social media.  Yes, the platforms may be free to use but the person who will be dedicated to doing the actual work will want to get paid, so keep it in mind.

Yes, everyone is doing it.  But…you need to know how YOU need to do it and do it right.  Your use of social media will depend on what you are currently lacking.

The previously mentioned problems can easily be taken care of by setting up a Facebook business page and company LinkedIn account.  Now that you’ve done that you can’t sit back.  You have now opened up the flood gates and must update these two platforms consistently.  If you don’t, then the people you have asked to join your groups will abandon you and your name will be tarnished much quicker than it would have via any other media…well, for the exception of a Newsweek article or something along those lines.

Basically, you need to know what you’ve signed up for and that is, finding time in your day to DAILY update your news feeds.  That may not be the case for LinkedIn but I would urge that that gets updated once a month.

So before you dive into social media think about the magic 7
(These are my own take aways so please make sure to figure out what works for your company. Hopefully these steps will guide you in the right direction)…

1. Evaluate your current strategies.
2. Find out where your gaps are. If you don’t know WHY you’re going to use social media, you also won’t know HOW to use it.
3. Strategize about the best ways to fill those gaps, via regular or social media.
4. Find someone who can dedicate time out of their day, and who understands the power of social media and how it fits into the marketing mix, to daily update and MONITOR your new platforms and others you may not actually be on. (There are many forums out there on which people may be talking about your product.  Use Google discussion and real-time search tabs to find that out.)
5. Evaluate your new strategies monthly and then quarterly for a bigger picture.
6. Don’t lose steam as your follower base may not grow quickly.  It’s all about perseverance, patience, content and finding the right audience to talk to.
7. Reevaluate what you’ve done and what needs to change.

How does social media fit into your marketing mix?

Happy Memorial Day weekend and…What did you do today?

Managing Your Meeting Schedule via Various Platforms

Earlier this month I wrote about managing your time.  Well, I came across a fantastic article that shares a great new tool to manage your meeting times.  As Leo Widrich writes, “There is nothing more painful than sending multiple emails back and forth to set up a meeting or skype call. Enter Tungle to take away all the work from you. You simply set up your personal calendar and send it out via your personal tungle.me page. This means others can easily find the free spots in your calendar and set themselves up.”

How awesome is that?  Signing up is free and the Tungle synchs to your existing calendar.  You can even sign in with facebook, Google or Twitter if you don’t want to create a new user profile.  Your Tungle calendar will synch with your work or personal calendar which may reside on Outlook, Google Calendar, iCal/Entourage, Lotus Notes, Lotus Live, Windows Live or Yahoo!.

I have  yet to try this but I can see how easy this would make everyone’s lives.  not everyone is on the same service, such as Outlook so Tungle would make it a hell of a lot easier to see other people’s schedules.

What did you do today?

P.S. Read more from Leo’s article titled 5 Productivity Tools for the Busy Social Media Manager.

Jibe.Com – Scouring your Network for a Company Connection

On my way to New York City this weekend I was reading Glamour magazine.  I came across an article that had some random tips listed along the right hand side.  The one I knew I had to share with you revolved around a site that aggregates all of the companies your friends work for into one place.   Yes, that means that whenever your friends list their company name on such sites as Facebook and LinkedIn you can see in one place all of the companies that you have a connection in.  This site is called jibe.com!

The “about jibe” section states the following: “When it comes to getting a job, what matters is who you know. JIBE connects you to people you already know at companies you want to work for and increases your chances of landing a great job.”  You can either sign in with Facebook or LinkedIn and get started.

Try it out and let me know how you like and use this new site!

What did you do today?

Bad Tag Lines-My Thoughts on AT&T’s New Slogan

I was driving to Providence for a meeting and saw a billboard that had the following slogan:

AT&T Covers 97% of All Americans.

Just Google that slogan and you’ll get a bunch of forum and blog posts with people wondering where this 97% comes from and what it actually means.

Without doing any research and going on my first instinctual understanding of the slogan I found myself thinking…”Ok, so 97% of Americans are COVERED by AT&T, but that does NOT mean that AT&T covers 97% of the country which is the bigger issue.”

Who cares how many people use AT&T, doesn’t it matter more how many parts of the country are covered?  On my drive home I lose signal at least two or three times just because the signal doesn’t get handed over from one tower to another fast enough.  So do I personally care that 97% of humans in the U.S. of A. are covered?  No.  All I care about is the fact that I’m seriously considering switching providers after over 8 years with AT&T. Why?  Because of the poor service.

What are your thoughts on this campaign?

What did you do today?

Broadcast Your Strengths

Whether you are employed or unemployed, you should always be broadcasting your strengths.  It can not only help you land a job but can also help you be seen as a resource at work and might even help you get more exposure.

So…I couldn’t not share this great advice from Alesia Benedict of GetInterviews.com with you.  This post was titled “Fire Up your Job Search by Broadcasting Strengths!”  Because you have to either subscribe to the Doostang e-mails or the Get Interviews service I’m just going to share the advice with you in the form of a giant quote.

“In order to ‘fire up’ your job search, you may need to re-assess the strengths you are emphasizing. Follow these simple strategies to shift to a position of strengths.

  • Brainstorm about what you love to do. This first list should be exhaustive, including strengths from work and personal areas of your life.
  • List specific skills developed throughout your work history.
  • What results did you achieve from strengths listed in the first 2 steps? Review positive comments, good performance evaluations, or actual awards to jog your memory.
  • Think of job requirements for positions in which you are currently interested, and combine the top 2 or 3 items from each of the areas above that you want to emphasize. Use this information to create an “elevator” speech for yourself – a brief, 30-second to 1-minute summary to describe your assets, not a laundry list, but a mini-story.  This becomes your “pitch” – a brief overview of strengths that set you apart from the crowd by outlining what you can do for the potential employer.
  • Write it down. It helps you own the statement. Not only does seeing the statement in writing help you feel more confident, but it also helps you begin to believe it more strongly yourself. However, if you notice what you have written down actually rings false or makes you question strengths you have identified, then something about what you have written ‘doesn’t fit.’ Stretching yourself to fit a particular job opening can be positive, but stretching the truth is never wise. If you can’t believe it yourself, the hiring manager will struggle, too. Compare your ‘pitch’ with what you created for the first 3 steps above.
  • Practice: Practicing the statement will make you feel more comfortable and help you prepare to use it whenever the opportunity arises.
  • Use your network to practice.
  • Networking Contact Follow-up: Remember to follow up after any type of networking contact, whether casual or formal. Incorporate your ‘pitch’ into the follow-up correspondence. You can send a ‘thank-you’, ‘nice-to-see-you’, or ‘I believe we have a mutual acquaintance’ note – all of which can include a comment about your strengths.

You can be sure the competition isn’t shy about broadcasting strengths and achievements, and their boldness could walk them right into your dream job!”

What did you do today?  Did you broadcast your strengths?

How Are You Managing Your Time?

As Joe Mathews, Don Debolt and Deb Percival write in their article titled, 10 Time-Management Tips That Work, “Before you can even begin to manage time, you must learn what time is. A dictionary defines time as ‘the point or period at which things occur.’ Put simply, time is when stuff happens.

There are two types of time: clock time and real time. In clock time, there are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year. All time passes equally. In real time, all time is relative. Time flies or drags depending on what you’re doing.”

The article goes into talking about how you use the time you’ve got.  Are you watching the clock constantly or are you just going through the day and getting done what you set out to do?  We all have days that are full of meetings and those that drag on, especially during the holiday season.

I manage my time with the help of NUMEROUS to-do lists.  I’ve got one for all of my projects, one for a particular list of projects, one for 30/60/90 days projects and another for things that just pop up.  Is that crazy? Maybe, but I know what I’m setting out to accomplish each day.  Thinking that you have something to achieve, regardless of how big or small, in the next two months might be overwhelming and sometimes makes you think you’ve got a ton of time to do it in.  When in reality, those  hour days all blur into one continuum and unless you have accomplishments along the way, you may never get around to your final task.

I think that by far my most favorite quote from the article is the following: “There are only three ways to spend time: thoughts, conversations and actions.”

How are you spending your time, and more importantly, what did you do today?

Knowing the Right Questions to Ask During An Interview

As promised, here are the questions that Alesia Benedict of GetInterviews.com advises interviewees to ask during an interview. You can never have too many tools in your toolbox and you can never be over prepared for an interview.

Here goes, the 6 questions NOT to ask in a job interview, according to Alesia:

1. Do debrief after the interview: Take a few minutes to review on your own what went well and what could be improved. If appropriate, include additional clarification about your skills in a follow-up thank-you note.

2. Do express interest in the company’s initiatives: Show off what you’ve researched about this company prior to the interview by linking your skills and work history to corporate projects.

3. Do speak positively about prior workplaces: It can be tempting to bring up negative attributes about employers or co-workers, but this is not the time to identify that as your reason for leaving. Focus on more positive reasons for leaving, which might include a need to reach your full potential or to seek out new opportunities for growth.

4. Do use every phone or email contact as if it were part of the interview: Essentially every contact is part of the screening process. Practice what you want to say so you are prepared for the unexpected call. For some people, it helps to stand while talking to convey a greater presence or sense of personal power.

5. (I like this one a lot!) Do prepare for the interview: Compile a number of job history anecdotes that exemplify your strengths and help you respond readily to interview questions.

6. Do end the interview on a positive note: Say something like, “Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you today. My talents and experience represent an asset to your organization and I would be a committed member of your team.”

Have a great weekend!  What did you do today?

Don’t Ask the Interviewer the Following Questions

To follow up on the interview questions topic I wanted to share with you some questions that Alesia Benedict of GetInterviews.com advises interviewees NOT to ask.

Here goes, the 7 questions NOT to ask in a job interview, according to Alesia:

1. Don’t ask about salary: This question shifts the focus to what you want for yourself as opposed to the value you will provide to the company.

2. (Interesting, I’ve never heard this take on the question) Don’t ask about the timeframe for hiring decisions: Every candidate wants to know the answer to this question but asking it can make you seem desperate or anxious for results. Most companies look for candidates able to separate personal from professional demands.

3. Don’t ask what the company does: Conducting research on corporate initiatives is easily accomplished online. Do your homework to impress hiring managers.

4. Don’t ask about typical promotion policies: Rushing ahead to promotions may make the interviewer question your judgment and understanding of appropriate business interactions.

5. Don’t ask about on-the-job training for basic skills: Emphasize the skills you bring, not the deficits about which you are concerned.

6. Don’t speak ill of former employers: Talking about how much you hated your former workplace or employer is a top interview “don’t!”

7. Don’t forget basic manners: Offer a handshake to “seal the deal” when you leave. Thank the interviewer for their time and express your pleasure in meeting him or her.

I hope these helped!  On Friday I’ll share Alesia’s advice on questions you should ask during an interview.

What did you do today?

Tough Interview Questions

I wanted to explore some other people’s advice and share it with you.  Today I am relying on Hcareers to help with the following, and often difficult, interview questions.

1) What are your strengths / weaknesses?

“The first question above is a bit of a tricky one and the interviewer is looking for an answer that relates to your work habits. Identifying your strengths can be even more difficult than identifying your weaknesses because they are tasks that you perform with such ease that you don’t recognize them as strengths.To identify your strengths, think about what others have complimented you on and refer back to previous performance appraisals that you have received. As for weaknesses, most people are very good at beating themselves up and so can identify plenty of weaknesses – think about your negative self-talk. The best advice that I’ve ever heard on answering the question about your weaknesses is to be honest about them but counter your statement of your weakness by turning it into a positive statement about you. ”

2) Why are you leaving your current position?

“The second question is meant to uncover whether or not you are a negative or difficult person to manage. If you are unhappy in your current role – resist the temptation to go on about your gripes regarding your current employer…You should answer that you are seeking a new challenge with a growing company that can benefit from your expertise. Elaborate on the challenge you are seeking as well as what you are bringing to the table in terms of your skills and experience.”

3) What are your salary expectations?

“The best way to answer this question is to say that your primary interest is in finding a challenging position that meets your career goals with the right company and then provide a salary range. If you are unsure of what the range could be for the type of role you are interviewing for, then check out various salary survey results before you go to the interview.”

Good luck!  What did you to today?