Monday, May 25, 2009

Effectively using LinkedIn

I talk about using LinkedIn to help in your networking and job search activities. Here is the text of an article/interview published by CIO Magazine with Jason Alba. Jason is an expert on LinkedIn and how to take advantage of the features. Read and study to enhance your use of LinkedIn.

In the midst of the recession, many job seekers have spent more time on LinkedIn to connect with colleagues, customers and partners in an effort to land a new gig. Unfortunately, many people commit common errors in their LinkedIn profiles that cost them new opportunities, says Jason Alba, CEO of JibberJobber, a company that provides web-based tools for managing your job search.

Alba, who recently released a DVD called LinkedIn for Job Seekers, shared with the five most common mistakes he sees on LinkedIn profiles. Here's how to spot trouble in your profile and fix it.

1. Don't Get in Picture Trouble

Many people choose not to use a picture on their LinkedIn profiles. While some of you have your reasons, it's a mistake for the typical user, Alba says. Some common concerns: Perhaps you don't want to disclose your ethnicity, or you don't consider yourself photogenic.

"Some situations are justified in not using a profile picture, but in the end I encourage people to include one because it shows you're comfortable with yourself," Alba says. "It also makes your profile a lot more personable."

Alba recommends a professional headshot for LinkedIn, rather than the picture of you in front of a mountain or lake that you utilize on Facebook. In addition, if you're a job seeker, odds are that you will meet your prospective employer in a face-to-face interview, so that picture of you twenty years ago that you like to leave up there — that needs to be replaced.

"Sometimes people are floored when they see the person if they left a really old picture up there," Alba says.

2. Write a Descriptive Professional Headline

When you edit your LinkedIn profile, you have what Alba calls a "professional headline" right beneath the name. The common mistake here (as shown in the picture below) is to simply put your name and title. He believes you should use something catchier. Instead of saying, "project manager for X company," say something more specific: "I manage complex projects involving IT and marketing."

When people search for you, they will see this professional tagline, and it might decide whether or not they feel compelled to click on your name and see your profile, Alba says.

"Think of yourself as a marketer, and this is where your big ad appears to the world," Alba says.

3. Properly Label Websites Displaying Your Work or Blog

LinkedIn offers you the ability to list the websites where your work might be displayed. This is a great option if you keep a personal website with a resume or a blog. But when you go to edit the website descriptions, Alba recommends dispensing with LinkedIn's default descriptions of "my website" or "my company." Those descriptions aren't a compelling read for employers, he says.

Instead, when you edit your "websites" section, LinkedIn provides a drop down menu (see picture below). Click "other," and you can upload the link and describe it as you see fit. Instead of "my blog," you might write, "my blog on complex project management."

4. Consider a Vanity URL

Maybe you haven't changed the default URL that LinkedIn provides for your profile. Especially if you have a common name, this will make your name after the LinkedIn address appear with a bunch of ugly code and numbers. If you have to give your LinkedIn profile address over the phone, or you wish to print it on your business card, it should be as concise and self-explanatory as possible, Alba says.

"It literally takes 30 seconds, and it makes your profile look more on purpose," Alba says.

(When you edit your LinkedIn profile, go to the "public profile" section to create your LinkedIn URL of choice).

5. Finish with a Strong, SEO-Friendly Summary

The "summary" section of your LinkedIn profile could be the biggest missed opportunity for the majority of job seekers, Alba says. While this section has a 2,000 character limit, Alba suggests packing as much about you and your abilities into it as possible.

In reality, the ability for people to find you will depend on LinkedIn's search engine linking your name to certain search keywords. So (staying with our repeated example), a project manager might want the term "project management" to appear a few times throughout the summary.

"Most summaries are a couple sentences or a couple paragraphs, and they're missing out," Alba says. "The more you put in the summary, the better your SEO is."

Remember that you're in a crowded field of applicants. Alba recommends that you put in short "problem, action and results" stories that show how you contended with challenges that helped your business succeed.

© 2008 CXO Media Inc.

Today we celebrate Memorial Day and honor those who have served and died in the defense of our Country

Take time out of your day today to remember and honor those that have sacrificed. Because of their sacrifice you can enjoy this day and the freedom that you have.

Remember those that serve and sacrifice today to keep us and others free around the World.

We have much to be thankful for every day, so take advantage of these few days that have been set aside to thank a veteran or someone serving today.

If you are privileged enough to live near a National Cemetary take a drive to honor those that are buried there; it is an awesome site.

Have a great Holiday!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Twittering can be beneficial to your branding

After posting my last comments on Twitter, I received email stating that it made more sense to spend time on LinkedIn and FaceBook versus the 140 characters you can post with a Twitter comment. I saw other comments expressing the same sentiment on LinkedIn and elsewhere.

At that time I could see the point that was being made but then I started receiving Tweets from Brian Tracy and all of a sudden I could see the value of Twitter.

Twitter isn't the means of communicating a message, it's the means of communicating about a message. Did you post something new on your blog? Then let everyone know by sending out a Tweet with a link to your blog post. Is there something new on your web page? Then Tweet away.

Make connections on Twitter by following others and encouraging them to follow you. The more followers you have the more people that will be notified about your updates.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Who's Got Your Back" - the latest book from Keith Ferrazzi

Keith Ferrazzi is at it again with his follow up to "never eat alone"; "Who's got your back". This is the guru of networking with a lot of great information to share. The book just released and I am waiting for my copy to arrive. If you are into networking you need to be reading Keith's books; you can click on the book and place your order here.

Twitter: Is it for you and if so, how do you start

Picking and choosing among today's social networks is getting to be a full-time job. How do you know what is right for you? Sometimes you just need to jump in because there isn't a great amount of information available to help you make an intelligent decision.

In follow up to my last post on Twitter: Dos and Don'ts; I found this article to share again from Follow the link and let me know what you think. Twitter: How to Get Started Guide for Business People. I liked the article it gave me some insight that I didn't have previously regarding Twitter.

Personally, I think it is all about self-branding and if that is what you are after - establishing a presence in all of these venues will help with the process. One thing that I recommend is that you link each of your venues to each other so you can maintain some consistency and create your materials one time only. Multiple sites also allows you the ability to separate your interests while still enabling your audience to gain the full impact of who you are. Of course you need to watch out for the compromising information that could come back to bite you.

Happy Networking!

Networking etiquette as you Twitter

Are you all about twittering and tweeting? Do you even understand the terminologies? I'm continually receiving an education as I see various things pass by my inbox. I'm attaching a link to an article that I just read in CIO Magazine regarding the Dos and Don'ts of Twittering.

It never hurts to follow a little protocol.

Happy networking!

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