Posts tagged ‘networking’

LinkedIn – Are You FeelIn’ It?

Confession: I don’t use LinkedIn well or often. Frankly, when I got on it just felt too “stuffy”, and I still get that sense.

While Twitter and Facebook feel lively and energetic (the interface, the way the tool works, the way people interact), LinkedIn feels like one of those sterile networking events where people are trying to make contacts but there’s no actual engagement or conversation

LinkedIn smurfs

(If only Linkedin were as interesting as this "LinkedIn smurfs" photo by 99zeros

I like the “Introductions” concept.  If you’re looking to make contact with a particular person and you discover that he/she is only separated by a degree or two, it makes sense to try to connect .  Of course, in that case, I’d simply find out who to contact using Linkedin – and then Google to find the person’s email.  I could then shoot them an email, mentioning our mutual connection – without going through Linkedin’s own (unlovable) messaging system…

Other than that, I haven’t found much on Linkedin that you couldn’t do in a more personal and engaging way on another site (mainly Twitter or Facebook).

But, because I don’t like something, doesn’t necessarily make it irrelevant.  (I wish! Physical Sciences seem to have stuck around, regardless.  Go figure.)

Many find LinkedIn extremely useful.  I have a friend who swears by the site. It’s been invaluable for him in terms of  making connections.  And while I relish the ability to be casual and “myself” online, I recognize some don’t believe business and personal should mix as much as most social sites encourage/accept.  Especially if you find Facebook to be too personal (“Who cares what interpretive dance performance my acquaintance is going to…?” ), LinkedIn can be an especially appealing social networking tool.

So, in the interest of fairness, let’s look at what LinkedIn can actually do.

It gives you the ability to (among other things):

  • see who your contacts and friends are connected to in a business sense (e.g. who do they know well and have worked with).
  • research people/companies (“What’s that person like to work with? Should/could I work with them? Looks like some people I know have worked with her – I’ll ask them.”)
  • request and receive public recommendations (that never hurts)
  • mention what you are up to (using the “status”/”what are you working on?” update.)
  • ask for advice from the Linkedin populace as a whole, or from your friends.
  • request a contact make an introduction to someone in their connections with whom you’d like to establish contact.

Recently Linkedin has been making strides to make the platform more appetizing, adding SlideShare and blog post integration (and other applications) as well as “Groups

And my problem with the site “not being fun”, is in a sense, missing the point.  It’s likely not supposed to be.

As Bernard Lunn writes on RedWriteWeb:

“We want to spend as little time as possible so that we can get the job done, get off our computers, and have a life. LinkedIn is the most efficient place to hunt for customers and employees. It is the first real change in productivity for those who work on the front lines of business.”

LinkedIn also has an “Events” feature – and you certainly can see (and be apprised of) the events your friends are attending – but there’s more.  It trumps the usual events features by offering:

“…recommendations based on the contents of your profile” in your newsfeed. (Marshall Kirkpatrick on Mashable.)

And in How to Get the Most Out of LinkedIn by Brian Wallace remarks that:

“The old adage that “it isn’t what you know, it’s who you know” still holds value. LinkedIn takes this thought one step further, making it “who you will know soon to be of utmost importance.” Using LinkedIn, I’ve trained small businesses to spread their wings and get connected with companies that they might otherwise have thought were beyond reach, and to the persons they were looking for in those companies.”

Indeed, it is often more efficient (and more exact) to search for contacts at a company using Linkedin then to use the “About the Team” page (assuming they even have one) on their website.

Further, LinkedIn lets you know where your connections are now – even if you’ve lost touch or are out-of-the-loop: once you upload your address book, it checks to see who’s on board and you could reconnect with people for whom you have outdated emails:

“I had old emails for people who had changed jobs; LinkedIn automatically showed me where they work now (I assume based on email forwarding).” (Bernard Lunn on RedWriteWeb)

So, clearly, some people are getting value out of LinkedIn.  Are you?

Stay tuned: in the next post, I’ll be looking at Linkedin for NonProfits. Update: Well, no, I won’t.  It’s just off the priority list right now – but I did find a great “A Visual Guide To LinkedIn For Job Hunters” and since I feel that networking is a bit like Job Hunting, it’s appropriate. Or maybe it isn’t and I just love the tips and visuals in it. Your call.

May 7, 2009 at 1:06 pm 5 comments

Job Searching 2.0: Looking for Work “New School”

I’ll be speaking at UBC tomorrow about “uncovering the hidden job market online”.  And since I wanted to put my thoughts together in a coherent manner and writing always helps me to do that, I figured I’d put together a post.

So, here are some tips I intend to suggest to the students:

Use Blogs

  • Is there a “perfect company” for you? One you would love to work at? Subscribe to company blogs or to the twitter feed of the company (e.g. Zappos) and possibly the (business blogs) of bloggers at that company.  Social Media-friendly companies will often post about or tweet about Job postings (see “Twitter” section below).
  • Subscribe to Job Search blogs – or ones that have job listings. Dan Schawbel writes “In the past few years, the larger blogs have started to integrate job banks into their own websites, using software/hosting from companies such as Job-a-matic.”

facebook large Joining the company’s Facebook Group might also be helpful. They might send out group emails about job openings and, as I wrote in my “Recruitment/HR 2.0” post (read: it’s good), some companies even have Facebook Career groups specifically for that purpose.  “Ernst and Young Careers has a Facebook group which allows the company to dialogue with people they may eventually hire. Such conversation is critical in the Web 2.0 world and employers can actively participate by answering queries posted on social networks.”

Obviously Linkedin (which is devoted to making business connections) can be very helpful for job seekers:

  • Linkedin allows you to build an online resume which includes links to your company, blogs etc.
  • From there you can connect to people you know (e.g. friends, present collegues and employers and old collegues and employers).
  • You can ask your contacts to make an introduction to someone in their connections with whom you’d like to connect.
  • You can ask for advice from the Linkedin populace as a whole, or from your friends. (Just remember: If it’s public it’s trackable, so questions like “John at Company X seems like a total douche.  Is he?” might not work so well.)
  • Plus, when you upload your email contact list, you may find there are more people you know that you can  link up with than you originally thought.

(For more tips, see the “Resource” list at the bottom of this post).

Better Job Search Sites

  • Sign up for Jiibe. (Full Disclosure: I’m working on some promotion for Jiibe though Capulet Communications, but I would write this even if I wasn’t). I’m all about their theory of finding a job based on your ideal work culture (Mashable called them “eHarmony for Jobs.)  I’ve worked at my share of companies and it’s astounding how much of an impact the people you work with, the work climate and the company policies can have on how much you enjoy what you do.
  • Want to see what’s “out there” in a big way?  Check out job listings on a site like Simply Hired which aggregates the jobs posted on other sites.
  • Search job-specific sites.

meetup1 with People

You can use the internet to find ways of getting together with people in the “real-world” (hey, what’s that? 😉 – and offers plenty of opportunities to do just that (yes, I am aware of the irony of looking online to find people to meet in person, but how many were doing so hot before – especially in Vancouver?).

There are many types of Meetup Groups and at any function you have the opportunity to make friends, learn, meet people who can help or advise you and more.

For instance, Meetups can exist to:

Showcase Yourself 2.0

  • Use your existing blog – or create a new one – as your portfolio (or add a page that is simply devoted to your portfolio).  Keep in mind that having a personal blog where you are upfront about who you are is a double-edge sword.  It could have the disadvantage of alienating those who might not agree with your thoughts or degree of openness.  On the other hand, if you don’t have any extreme beliefs (e.g. “The KKK rocks!”)  there’s the chance that a blog will help can come across as a more 3 Dimensional to prospective employers.  Plus,  there are often aspects of your personality that don’t come across very clearly in one-page resume (humor, for instance isn’t always easy to convey.)
  • Use Slideshare (or Sprout ) to put together a smokin’ online portfolio/resume that can be viral.

  • Be aware of what you put online.  Make sure you consider your preferred workplaces’ attitudes and how someone at that company might respond to what you post.  And make sure not to post anything that you would embarrassed about a prospective employer coming across in a search.  Think twice before you upload your crazy-drunk party pics on Facebook or Flickr (or get that drunk at a party with cameras around), make a harsh Twitter remark, or mention of how much you wish your previous boss would get that “die slow” in a comment on someone’s blog post.  Remember that Googling your name could bring up many things.

Tweet Your Way to a Cool Job with twitter_logo_s

Twitter is a great resource for information and job openings are no exception.

  • As JmakTech advises Use the search at to find specific tweets about companies and recruiters hiring. Search for specific titles you are interested in like ‘community manager‘ or more generic terms like ‘now hiring‘. Also, check out TwitHire which is a free service that has begun aggregating all job related tweets.”
  • Occasionally, (and when you have built up a good database of followers/connections) mention (tweet) that you are looking for work (be specific about what you want – even writing a Twitpitch for yourself (elevator pitch of <140 characters).  If you can add a link to your portfolio, so much the better. (You might also adding your resume/portfolio/linkedin profile as a “posted item” on your Facebook.)
  • Make sure your profile and picture looks like you’re professional – or at the very least, not nuts (I question the motivations of Twitterers with shirtless pics…).  For the “Web” section, use your blog, website or Linkedin profile – which ever you think would present you best/most-interesting.  If you have any mad design/photography skills you could upload your own background design.  Or bereft of any such talent (as I am) you can look to a “Pimp my Twitter Background” type site, or even get one customized, to make your profile stand out and mesh with your brand.
  • Create real relationships.   Schawbel notes: “Most people get jobs on Twitter by already having hundreds or thousands of followers. For example, I’ve heard of at least ten people getting a job by tweeting “just got laid off, looking for a job in finance” and then receiving a few direct messages with people who want to help them. Of course, these individuals had built trust, credibility and relationships with their followers over time, so they were more inclined to come to their rescue. You can do the same, just start right now!
  • Follow the companies you want to work at (or Twitters who work at that company).  But don’t harass or pester – just be friendly, lay low and see if they tweet about a job opening.  They just might.


Networking Ideas and Tactics

  • Don’t focus on making everything transactional.   It’s not about going home from a gathering with a job offer, or even a lead. And it’s both unfortunate and a missed opportunity to look at meeting people that way, even at a networking gathering.  In fact, I’ve been to a few networking meetings where the other person asks what I do and then appears to run through the following questions in their head: “Will you prove immediately useful in getting me [insert need here: – investors – clients – a guy willing to film my every waking minute]?” If not his next words are: “Well, I’m going to get another drink.  It was nice meeting you“.
  • What people tend to forget is how much you can derive from someone that has nothing to do with them being able to hire you or directly give you want you need.  For instance, you might meet someone who knows their friend is looking for a new hire at their company. And while meeting someone who is in the “job you want” (i.e. you want a Graphic Design position at a large firm and that’s what the guy you meet has) might seem like a dead-end – it doesn’t have to be.  You could ask the person how they found their job, or if they had any advice for you.  Who knows, he might even tell you that he’ll soon be leaving his present job. Any of these conversations can be beneficial, but only if you make an effort beyond the obvious.
  • And don’t be tacky or opportunistic.  If someone mentions (in a random conversation) that they have a friend at Company X don’t zero in and pressure them until they give you their friends email. Or consider this conversation my friend (“Susan”) and I had while at dinner with a friend (“Marcus”) and a friend of his (“Jenny”).  (This was 15 years ago and I still remember it vividly, which gives you some idea of how bizarre it was. Don’t be this girl.)  Jenny spent the whole evening speaking directly to Marcus, barely acknowledging our presence the entire dinner.  As the evening drew to a close,  Marcus asked Susan about how her latest project was going with a well-known director.  At which point, Jenny finally looked at Susan and exclaimed: “Oh, you’re working with [well-know director]!  We should totally go shopping!”  Wow. Subtely FAIL.

Do Some Research – Online

  • You can use the web to research a particular company/position – but it goes way beyond that. Guy Kawasaki remarks: “Companies will typically check your references before hiring you, but have you ever thought of checking your prospective manager’s references ? Most interviewees don’t have the audacity to ask a potential boss for references, but with LinkedIn you have a way to scope her out.  You can also check up on the company itself by finding the person who used to have the job that you’re interviewing for. Do this by searching for job title and company, but be sure to uncheck ‘Current titles only’. By contacting people who used to hold the position, you can get the inside scoop on the job, manager and growth potential.”
  • Ask for advice.  When I was switching careers and considering going into technology, I looked up local technology bloggers and wrote them a polite email explaining who I was, my interests etc., asking them to let me know if they had any suggestions for companies that they thought would be a good fit.  Many responded with suggestions and some even passed my email on to their contacts or met up with me for a coffee to talk about possibilities.  I established relationships with some of these bloggers and kept in touch with several.  It was also easier when I ran into them in person (at tech/social media meetups etc.) to introduce myself, since I didn’t feel like a complete stranger.

As you can see, job searching isn’t limited your local paper, your favorite company’s website or  Just try using some social media tools to network and learn and you might soon have your dream job.  And perhaps a few new friends.

Required Reading:

Want more? Go through the links here

Finally, If You Need Some Job-Related Humor


Not Always Right

What Not to Say to A Recruiter


Job Searching 2.0: Looking for Work New School” by Monica Hamburg

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January 13, 2009 at 11:59 am 10 comments

Monica Hamburg – Who Am I?

Good question (I wonder this all the time).
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