via Rosemary Cardno.
How Much Does Klout Score Matter?
“While you may abhor the idea of a company like Klout judging or grading you on a daily basis, it’s already happening and companies are paying attention, so we shouldn’t just ignore this trend.”
That’s a quote from the book The Tao Of Twitter, by Mark Schaefer. It comes from a chapter about influence on Twitter, something that many businesses and individuals continue to strive for. Sure, there are no doubt plenty of influential people who could care less about their Klout scores, and certainly plenty that feel they are above this kind of judgement, as Schaefer says, but you have to admit, he has a point.
How much does Klout score matter? How much is it being paid attention to by others? We reached out to Schaefer for more thoughts on the subject. After all, he did also write a book about Klout score.
“I think the most succinct answer is that if you cut through the emotion of being publicly ranked, Klout’s PR missteps, and the silliness of being an influencer on a topic like lamps or teddy bears, then yes – they are on to something,” he tells us.
“A Klout score simply shows whether you are somebody who can move content over social media channels that creates reactions,” he adds. “And if you think of how many jobs depend on that ability these days, this can be a very useful number to consider. I hear of more and more companies using Klout scores as a topic in job interviews. Controversial, but it’s happening.”
Indeed, there have been quite a few articles to come out this year about this. Consider this one from Wired, which begins:
Last spring Sam Fiorella was recruited for a VP position at a large Toronto marketing agency. With 15 years of experience consulting for major brands like AOL, Ford, and Kraft, Fiorella felt confident in his qualifications. But midway through the interview, he was caught off guard when his interviewer asked him for his Klout score. Fiorella hesitated awkwardly before confessing that he had no idea what a Klout score was.
The interviewer pulled up the web page for Klout.com—a service that purports to measure users’ online influence on a scale from 1 to 100—and angled the monitor so that Fiorella could see the humbling result for himself: His score was 34. “He cut the interview short pretty soon after that,” Fiorella says. Later he learned that he’d been eliminated as a candidate specifically because his Klout score was too low. “They hired a guy whose score was 67.”
More recently, Forbes reported:
…Klout is on its way to becoming an integral part of the job search and recruiting process for many individuals and companies.
“We look at this as similar to an SAT,” says Klout spokeswoman Lynn Fox. “It is one of many factors that is considered when a person applies to a university. Likewise, the Klout Score can be used as one of many indicators of someone’s skill set.”
Here’s Klout CEO Joe Fernandez talking to TechCrunch about the trend in hiring managers taking Klout scores into account:
“On the other side of the aisle, companies like Nike, Disney and American Express are using these social scoring platforms like Klout and Appinions to connect to powerful word of mouth influencers,” Schaefer tells us. “When companies like that are involved, it kind of gets your attention. And of course Microsoft just invested in Klout as a partner. Yes, you need to pay attention to this.”
Klout also recently started taking Facebook Pages into account, which could actually serve to make the score a more significant factor, given the fact that Facebook has 1.01 billion monthly active users.
Maybe you’ve never heard of Klout, the San Francisco-based startup founded in 2009 that purports to measure how influential users are across social networks. But that doesn’t mean Klout hasn’t heard of you: If you have a Twitter account, you have a Klout score.
According to Wired, marketing consultant Sam Fiorella was recently passed over for a job when, during his interview, he confessed that he had no idea what a Klout score was. He subsequently learned that his Klout score was 34–not too bad–but the guy who got the job had a Klout score of 67.
Klout assigns people a score of between 1 and 100–with 1 being someone who’s never seen social media, and 100 being Justin Bieber. The average person has a score of 20; anything higher means that you’re at least moderately influential in your area of expertise. Everyone with an active Twitter account has a Klout score, though they can opt out of the system if they wish.
Your next job interview may not include a question about your Klout score, but I wouldn’t recommend ignoring it entirely. According to Matt Thomson, Klout’s VP of platform, having a higher Klout score may soon enable you to nab earlier plane boarding times, free access to airport lounges, hotel upgrades, and discounts from retail stores. Gilt Groupe recently offered discounts based on Klout score–from 20 percent for users with scores of 20 or lower, to 100 percent for users with scores of 81 or higher.
What Is Klout?
Klout attempts to measure your online clout–that is, your ability to influence people on the Internet. Using data aggregated from social networks, Klout determines how good you are at persuading other people to act.
“Klout defines influence as the ability to drive action,” says Lynn Fox, Klout’s head of communications. According to Fox, “we analyze a number of social media engagement variables to measure influence, including Twitter retweets and mentions, Facebook comments and likes, LinkedIn comments and likes, Foursquare tips and to-do’s, and Google+ comments and reshares.”
Klout’s website notes that a Klout score takes three major factors into account: True Reach (how many people you actually influence), Amplification (how much you influence those people), and Network (how influential your network is).
To increase your Klout score, you need to focus on these three things–increasing the number of people who respond to and share your content, ensuring that your tweets and status updates are easy for people to respond to and share, and strengthening your network by engaging with people who have high Klout scores.
How to Increase Your Klout Score
Though Klout does not share its reputation calculation algorithms with the public, figuring out how to increase your Klout score doesn’t require an advanced degree in Bieberology. Here are ten unofficial tips on how to become a social media maven and a VIP at venues responsive to that sort of status.
1. Go Public
Everyone who has a semi-active Twitter account automatically has a Klout score. If your Twitter account is private, though, your score will hover around 10–no matter how actively you post to it. That’s because Klout, as a third-party application, can aggregate only public data or private data that you explicitly grant it permission to access.
If you currently keep your Twitter account private, a surefire way to increase your Klout score is to log in to Klout, allow Klout to access your private data, and make your Twitter account public. Having a public account increases the chance people who are not in your network will share and respond to your content, thereby increasing your score.
2. Link Your Social Networks
You may not be a Twitter superstar–I’m certainly not. But even if Twitter isn’t your thing, you can cobble together a respectable Klout score. You can link up to 13 social networking accounts to Klout, including Blogger, Facebook, Flickr, Foursquare, Google+, Instagram, Last.fm, LinkedIn, WordPress, and YouTube. Klout plans to add at least seven more social networks, including Yelp and Posterous, to its roster.
Klout says that connecting networks can only help your score, and it recognizes how “nearly impossible [it is] for any person to be consistently effective across every network.” That said, you should link only to accounts that you keep up with, according to social media expert (and founder of new media agency Plastick Media) Tori Kyes. You should also make your linked accounts public.
3. Build Relationships
Your True Reach is a measure of people who not only follow you and friend you, but who actually engage with the content you produce. Having 3 million Twitter followers won’t mean much if they follow you but otherwise ignore you.
To increase your True Reach, you must build online relationships with people. The easiest way to do that is by talking to them–responding to their content, asking them questions, or commenting on their profiles. This will put you on their radar, and in the future they’ll be more likely to respond to your content.
Klout says that it never punishes users for interacting with people who have lower Klout scores, so you should try to talk to everyone when you have the chance.
4. Pay Special Attention to Influencers
Since Klout rewards you for engaging with people who have higher Klout scores, it’s worth your while to identify “Influencers”–people who have high Klout scores in your field of expertise–and try to engage with them without looking like a suck-up or a social climber.
“Don’t just retweet them; that means nothing,” says Rachel Hutman, an account executive at Clearpoint Agency. “Respond to what they are saying. Ask them additional questions. Be enlightening, funny to get their attention. The more followers someone has, if they then talk about you, your Klout score will undoubtedly go up.”
You can also engage with Influencers who are not in your field of expertise, but you’re more likely to receive a retweet or a comment if they have a reason to talk to you. As a tech writer I’m more likely to get a comment from another tech writer (say, about technology) than I am to get a comment from rapper 50 Cent. Though it would be awesome if I got a comment from 50 Cent, it makes more sense for me to solicit comments from other tech-focused people.
5. Ask Questions
The more questions you ask, the more answers you’ll get. People love to give their opinions–whether about the weather in Seattle, which Android phone to buy, or how insane traffic is during rush hour in New York City.
Tweeting something like, “What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to get a cab at rush hour in NYC?” will elicit more responses than, “Ugh. Trying to get a cab in NYC.” Likewise, asking people if the sun ever shines in Seattle during the summer will net more answers than just complaining about the weather.
One especially effective strategy is to ask people to share their own stories. People love to talk about themselves, especially on the Internet.
6. Know Your Audience
Once you get to know your audience, you’ll be able to share, comment on, and ask questions about topics that interest them; and in turn, they’ll be more likely to engage with you. If your audience is mostly teenagers, you probably shouldn’t tweet incessantly about politics and finance. If your audience is mostly Silicon Valley computer engineers, you probably shouldn’t bore them with makeup tips.
It’s also smart to find out where your audience is located. If you have a ton of followers from Japan, for example, you might want to send out tweets at times when they’ll be awake. If the vast majority of your followers are on the east coast, you can taper off the tweets at around 10 p.m. Pacific time.
7. Make Your Content Easy to Share
One of the quickest ways to raise your Klout score is to pile up Twitter retweets, Google+ reshares, and Facebook shares. The key is for people to see your content and think “I absolutely have to share that.”
Aside from making your content appealing, you’ll want to make it easy to share. You can do this in a few different ways: by using tagging to give others credit, by adding hashtags and keywords to make your content searchable, and by cleaning it up–avoiding swearing, keeping your entries simple, using proper English when possible, and so on. People want to be able to click and share; they don’t want to have to edit your tweets to make them searchable (or inoffensive).
8. Post at the Right Time
If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? And if a tweet goes out at 3 a.m., does it have any impact? The answer to both questions is maybe. But “maybe” isn’t good enough if you’re serious about increasing your Klout score.
If you constantly think intriguing thoughts and achieve fascinating insights in the middle of the night, consider using a third-party application such as HootSuite, Twuffer, or FutureTweets to defer the posting time of these updates to ensure that they hit the Web at peak traffic periods. You can also use services such as Timely, which analyzes your followers to determine when your tweets should go out, and publishes them accordingly.
9. Quality Over Quantity
According to Klout, “being active is different than being influential,” and your score depends far less on how much content you create than on how much engagement you generate. So while teenage girls may be superactive on Twitter and Facebook, they’re rarely very influential, even within their own network.
The best course is to maintain a steady flow of interesting, engaging content–not just content for content’s sake. If you update your Facebook page 3000 times a day, but people comment on it only 5 times a day, your Klout score will be lower than if you update your page 10 times a day with the same amount of comments.
10. Don’t Stress
Your Klout score isn’t everything, of course. Just because one person reportedly was passed over for a job because of his Klout score, that doesn’t mean that you should treat your Klout score as the ultimate objective measure of your social and professional worth.
For one thing, your Klout score doesn’t measure your offline influence and success, which helps explain why, until very recently, tech pundit Robert Scoble had a higher Klout score than President Barack Obama. (Justin Bieber has the highest Klout score, period, but he is arguably more influential than even the President.)
Though Klout’s ever-changing algorithm remains somewhat mysterious, you can (and should) feel free to game it to your advantage, just like any other arbitrary scoring system. But don’t let such considerations cloud your judgment–and don’t lose any sleep worrying over your Klout ranking.
6 Unofficial Ways to Increase Your Klout Score
Oh no… not another klout blog post!! YES! another one. Several months ago, I had my internship in Singapore and I didn’t really have much time to tweet, so I expected my klout score to decrease. It fell from 80+ to 72 within a month. (Little tweets and engagement in a month)
So I thought it would be fun to try out how I could get the score back up again, therefore I tried several methods from simply tweeting and sharing tweets to trying the other types of tweets. The results? Here are
6 UNOFFICIAL WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR KLOUT SCORE.
1. CREATE CONTENT WORTH SHARING
Easily said than done, what type of contents or tweets are worth sharing?
- Niche tweets: Tweets regarding your niche. If you’re a social media consultant, you could share tweets on social media such as tips, how-to’s etc. Share something that people can benefit from your tweets.
- Quotes from your niche: Quotes are great because people can easily relate to them. Two years ago, I shared tweets that get retweeted easily and one of them is quotes. The reason is because it is short and people can easily consume it compared to the links to a blog post.
- Photos: A picture is worth thousand words, in this case, pictures get retweeted easily. Like quotes, it is easy to consume and the funnier the photo, the more it gets shared.
- Share tips: Sharing tips is another great way to create contents that are content worthy. Be sure to keep that under 120 characters so people can retweet them with ease. One of my most retweeted tweets that has been retweet for more than a year is “retweet someone once, they will know you, retweet them a few times they will remember you”
2) START A DISCUSSION
Starting a discussion is tough, however when you have already built a community, you can start a discussion. One way you can increase your klout score is to have“feedbacks” from people or more “actions” taken upon your tweets. You can do so by posting tweets such as:
- Questions regarding your niche: Ask questions or ask opinions and people will be more than happy to share their opinions with you. You can ask questions like, “What do you think the future of social media will look like?” or if you’re in another niche, try asking them questions regarding to your niche.
- Wishes: Some twitter users say that you shouldn’t post tweets like “good morning” etc. I find that a bit ridiculous as it takes away the “human elements”. I don’t think there is any problem with posting such tweets. Usually every morning (In the US time), I’ll send out tweets like “Have a beautiful day/weekend” or “wishing you have a wonderful day ahead”. Tweets like these gets tons of feedback as people will thank you, and wish you have a wonderful day too.Join blog chats:
- Blog chats are a great way to connect with new people and start a discussion. I find blog chats really active and good to start new and meaningful conversations with others. There are weekly blogs chats that you can join and participate in.
3) CONNECT OTHER NETWORKS
Recently klout allows you to connect other networks such as Facebook, Youtube, Foursquare and other networks. I recently connected my foursquare despite only having less than 100 friends there and It helped me to increase my klout score (only a point). Klout mentioned that adding new networks will not decrease your klout score, so you should try to connect it too. I’ve friends that were able to increase their klout score by 3 points by adding only one addition network.Start a small community
4) BUILD A SMALL COMMUNITY
This is a great way to increase your klout score. The reason is because when you have a small community of your own, you’ll be able to get retweets and drive conversations easily compare to just sharing RSS tweets which brings no value when you don’t have a community to read them.
5) ENGAGE WITH INFLUENCERS
The last method is to engage with influencer users in your niche. Jump into their converastion, tweet them, respond to their tweet but make sure that its something that they can respond back too.
Robert Lavigne (@RLavigne42) tested this on twitter and he manage to increase his klout score from 13 to 44 in two weeks.
6) USE BUFFER
Last week at iStrategy, I discussed how using Buffer will increase your klout score, in summary, buffer helps you to optimize your tweet to send out during high traffic hour, therefore giving you more exposure and increasing “actions” such as responds, clicks, etc.
The results? My klout went up from 72 to 83 in less than a month. What about you? Have you tried other stuff that has helped you increase your score?
Oh… I’m not trying to teach you how to game klout. Share your thoughts below.
This blog post is an updated and republished a blog post i wrote at iStrategy blog
Does Your Klout Score Determine Your Value?
By Patricia Redsicker
Published August 16, 2012
Is it her magical vocals or her higher Klout score?
And if Seth Godin (Klout score: 0) chooses not to interact on Twitter, does that mean he’s less influential than Uncle Pete, whose Klout score is 35?
These are some of the tricky questions that are being asked since the emergence of new systems that attempt to measure people’s online influence through “social scoring.”
But the question is this: How exactly is “influence” measured? And how do those who make such personal yet inflammatory verdicts decide the scores?
Twitter would look very different if Seth Godin were on it.
You Have Become a Number
If you have a social media account, your value as an influencer is already being calculated based on how often you tweet, connect, share and comment.
The measure of your “personal power” is your Klout score. The higher your score, the more “powerful and influential” you are. A high Klout score (say 70 and up) will almost guarantee your chances of getting a better job, higher social status and maybe even better luck on the dating scene!
Influence determined by social scoring is the new way of online marketing.
Believe it or not, there are people who are taking this number very seriously. Some have even started to question the wisdom of going on long vacations after working so hard to build up their Klout scores.
In his book Return on Influence, Mark Schaefer explores these controversial new developments, discusses why they’re important for businesses and why you should be taking notes.
If you want to become more influential—or just want to figure out who the influencers are—here’s what you need to know about Mark’s latest book.
Mark Schaefer, author of Return on Influence.
Mark Schaefer wrote Return on Influence to help you understand how you measure up on the social web and what that score means to your career or your business.
“Why must I measure up?”, you ask. Because there appears to be a fascinating connection between unprecedented business opportunities and this new thing called personal influence.
For the first time ever, companies can now identify, quantify and even reward valuable word-of-mouth influencers who have the power to drive demand for their products.
While the idea of being rated by some obscure online system seems outrageous, the fact is you ARE being judged whether you like it or not! And so you need to educate yourself about this issue so you can make some important decisions of your own.
What to Expect
At 206 pages, Return on Influence (ROI) is a highly readable and provocative book. It introduces the notion of “personal power” on the social web, but it also cautions that influence is by definition elitist.
Through dozens of stories, interviews and case studies, Return on Influence will sway the way you think about your own power, how to leverage it, and of course, how you can increase it (if that’s what you want!).
Fair warning—If you’re lucky enough to have a high Klout score, you will LOVE this book! You’ll even pay closer attention to the care and nurturing of “your number.”
But if your score is low or mediocre (50 or less), then prepare to be thoroughly unnerved. In fact, you’ll probably be offended!
#1: The Citizen Influencer
When Virgin America opened their Toronto route last spring, they asked Klout to find a small group of influencers to receive a free flight in the hopes that they would effectively spread the word.
Calvin Lee, a graphic designer from L.A., was one of the lucky ones on that free flight simply because he was a prolific tweeter. Lee, who describes himself in his Twitter profile as a “social media ho,” is a human news service. When Lee tweets, people respond and his growing influence has won him celebrity-status perks.
Lee says, “I tweet at least 200 times a day… I look for interesting links from my friends and sift them through for good stuff… I think people feel that I’m a real person who is part of their lives.”
These days, you don’t have to be George Clooney or Lady Gaga to get an invitation to the exclusive world behind the velvet rope. Brands are turning to regular folks (like you!) to tell their stories. Instead of spending millions of dollars on television ads, they’re inviting thousands of people—citizen influencers—to talk about their products and influence their friends.
#2: Klout, Social Proof and Reciprocity
Social proof is the idea that if you have a high Klout score, thousands of followers or hundreds of retweets on your blog posts, then you’re worthy of people’s attention. But let’s talk this through, shall we?
There are those in the online world who appear to have power and influence, even without a shred of experience, intelligence or accomplishment.
Matt Ridings, founder of MSR Consulting, has a slightly lower Klout score than the mayor of his hometown of St. Louis. Both of them, however, have a lower Klout score than one @common_squirrel, a (spammy) Twitter account whose content consists only of posts such as “acorn,” “sniff” and “jump, jump, jump.”
Just about any online system can be gamed and Klout is no exception.
While he (Matt) engages on a one-to-one basis with his followers and tries to deliver useful content, the other account doesn’t engage, network or do anything for anyone—it simply doesn’t care.
So the question is, how did Klout assign this spammy account a higher measure of influence than an authentic person?
Mark concludes this section by reminding us that true and lasting influence is not the ever-changing badge of scores; rather, it’s about humanity, credibility, meaningful content and an engaged group of followers.
Reciprocity too is another thorny issue.
That’s because much influence on the social web is built on a promised return of favors; for instance, “You retweet this and I’ll retweet yours” or “I’ll like your page if you like mine.”
The trouble with reciprocity, as we know, is that it’s not always clear if you’re leveraging your relationships or just using people. Doing favors so that people owe you favors should never be the motivation behind developing relationships. But who knows what someone’s true intentions really are?
#3: Increasing Your Klout Score
Increasing your own Klout score boils down to three practical steps:
1. Build a relevant network that includes a content strategy and a network strategy.
Provide content that delivers some kind of personal or business benefit to a targeted audience that is interested in you and what you’re doing.
Have more people following you than you follow on Twitter. However, the size of your network isn’t as important as having those people react to your content.
Don’t just accumulate followers or only send links. Followers who never interact with you will not help your score. Neither will sending out links 100% of the time because it says that YOU can’t be influenced into acting.
2. Have a strategy to provide exceedingly useful, helpful, interesting and entertaining content.
You can either curate content or generate original content. However, creating original content from your own blog is a key element for success with Klout.
Create the kind of content that will survive longer and be passed along for several days—this really rocks your Klout amplification.
Finally you must be consistent. This is one of the most controversial policies of Klout, but if you stop participating in the social web for even a few days, your score begins to drop!
3. Systematically engage influencers who are most willing to distribute your content.
Klout has made it clear that engaging with people with higher scores will tend to increase your own score as well.
If you’re able to engage with influencers and they in turn respond to you, this is a validation of your potential power.
Try to connect with your offline friends and turn online connections into offline friends. In both cases, these people will be more willing to engage with you and share your content along.
When networking offline, make sure people know how to find your online platforms so that they can engage with you there as well.
Engaging with people with high Klout scores increases your own score.
Mark’s latest book has definitely earned itself a space on your shelf. It’s highly significant, extremely relevant and you’d be ill-advised not to read it. But the subject matter is not pretty—quite the opposite, frankly.
Consider the evidence:
- A system that cold-heartedly defines “the valuable” and “the irrelevant” members of our online society
- The same system proceeds to encourage you to hob-nob with the former and toss aside the latter
- This system can deem you influential and powerful, even without a shred of experience, intelligence or education
- That one can devote so much time, effort and even brain cells just to increase a silly number that has no bearing on the quality of real life is remarkable
- And when you consider that Klout is still in its infancy, you wonder how anyone can take such a flawed system so seriously
But to Klout-less rebels such as myself, Mark would argue that it has some value: Companies can now (cost-effectively) identify the people they should be interacting with, Klout helps to monitor and filter engagement and it opens up new marketing channels.
Mark presents a fair and balanced perspective on this hot button issue and he doesn’t sugar-coat the problems with Klout either. He is not saying that Klout is good or bad—just that “it is what it is” and that people are taking note of it.
In the end it’s your call, but Mark wants you to answer this question for yourself: What is true and lasting influence? After all, Seth Godin had clout even before Klout was Klout.
Social Media Examiner gives this brilliant and extraordinary book a full 5-star rating.
Over to You
What do you think? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.
Tags: book review, content strategy, engagement, influence, influencer, klout, klout score, mark schaefer, network strategy, networking, online connections, patricia redsicker, return on influence, social proof
1. Headshots Everywhere
I’ve been in the business of helping people build their brands for a decade and each year, I publish my personal branding trends for job seekers. Take a look at this year’s trends and decide which will help give you an edge and attract the attention of recruiters and hiring managers.
Do you have a professional headshot?
People want to connect a face with a name. We have come to expect a photo alongside a blog post, Facebook profile and online article. People are less likely to click on a photo-less LinkedIn profile; and they’re less inclined to believe Web-based content if the picture of the person who contributed it is missing. Yet many people are still reluctant to post their photo to the Web. Some fear age discrimination in hiring; others just aren’t happy with the photos they have. Since it’s becoming common for hiring managers and recruiters to use Google and social networks to find candidates, your first impression could be your LinkedIn profile or other online content.
What does this mean for you?
Ensure those who are researching you get to connect a face with a name and credentials. Because there are so many places where your photo will appear — from your Google profile to your You Tube channel or about.me page — get a series of professional headshots and upload them to your social network profiles and Flickr or Picassa account. You don’t want someone doing a Google image search and seeing one photo replicated 30 times.
2. Crowdsourcing for Professionals
What do others say about you?
You’re only as good as the collective opinions of those who know you. Consultants have always understood the value of client feedback. Now, with the ease of requesting and providing recommendations, you too must be mindful of the power of external reviews. Virtually every new social network or app includes the opportunity to request and display reviews. LinkedIn calls them recommendations, BranchOut and BeKnown call them endorsements. Honestly.com calls them reviews. Regardless of what you call them, they’re extremely important to those who are making decisions about you. A Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey determined that 90% of consumers trust peer reviews. Although no research to my knowledge has been done about this topic as it relates to people, I predict we will quickly become accustomed to using crowdsourcing to make decisions about each other.
What does this mean for you?
If you are looking for a job, what others say about you will be critical to getting hired. Get out there and get testimonials, recommendations and endorsements and make them visible through various social media and your own Web site. Hiring managers will be dubious of those without any external recommendations.
3. Personal QR Codes
Do you have a QR code?
QR codes are taking off in all kinds of ways that weren’t originally anticipated. For example, according to brandchannel.com, it’s now possible to place extremely large QR codes on the tops of buildings that will be photographed by the satellites that feed Google Maps. The QR code will cause a logo of that company to appear when someone looks at their building’s images on Google. Putting a giant QR code on the top of your house may not be the best way to land a job. But you do have the opportunity to use QR codes to point those who are evaluating you to your Web sites, blogs and other relevant career marketing content. I have seen QR codes on the top of resumes, on business cards and on networking name-badges. Vizibility.com allows you to customize what people see when they click on your QR code – and change it often, so you can direct hiring managers to the perfect presentation of your capabilities.
What does this mean for you?
You have a great opportunity to direct recruiters to the content you want them to see. If one of your brand attributes is ‘innovative,’ think about how you can use QR codes to tell others what you want them to know about you. If you’re a more seasoned professional and want to demonstrate that you’re innovative and on top of the latest trends, using QR codes on your resume and business card is like digital Botox. It will demonstrate that you are connected to what’s happening.
4. Job Postings R.I.P.
Are you relying on job postings in your search?
Job postings are inefficient. Many unqualified candidates apply — especially in a down economy. The volume of resumes received can be unmanageable. As social networks make it easier to identify qualified potential hires, job postings will become obsolete. More and more, when hiring managers and recruiters have an open position, they’ll scour the Internet and reach out to their social networks to find the perfect candidate. When SHRM conducted research in 2011, they learned that 56% of HR managers use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to source candidates (it was 34% in 2010). The number one reason they’re using social media in this way is to recruit passive candidates (84%). The Facebook app, BeKnown, finds and recommends jobs for you based on your skills and experience (from your profile) — before you even do a search.
What does this mean for you?
It’s becoming more likely that your next job will come to you — if your virtual brand is visible and compelling. Ensure your social network profiles are engaging and up-to-date. And make sure you use all the appropriate keywords in everything you post online so you’ll be found by those who seek your expertise.
5. Professional, DIY Video
Are you using video to stand out?
Professional, DIY video. Those used to be two different options for getting video produced – professional or DIY. Now, you can have both. For example, Distance Record from videoBIO (disclosure: videoBIO is a partner of my company, Reach Personal Branding) allows you to record your own video in your home and send the video file to them for editing. In addition, you can have a producer on your computer screen directing you through the video. In the past, there were two things standing in the way of using video to build your brand: 1. Self-produced video looked amateurish and didn’t always create the best impression; and 2. Studio shoots produce professional video but they come at a cost and are time-consuming. These new, hybrid services will certainly increase the use of video as a way of building your brand.
What does this mean for you?
Video is a differentiator. It helps you stand out in a job search. It allows you to deliver a complete communication. Produce a video bio. First, write your branded bio (combining your credentials, experience and successes with your personality and passions). Then, create a script. Practice, don’t rehearse. Then work with an organization to get a high quality video produced. Upload your final video to YouTube, and other video sharing sites, and use the app in LinkedIn to embed your video bio in your LinkedIn profile.
6. Permanent Unemployment
Do you appear unemployed?
In a July 2011 study, CareerBuilder learned that employers prefer hiring people that already have jobs over those who have been laid off. If you’re unemployed, this must seem depressing. But it need not be. What it means is that instead of being unemployed, you need to remain active — even if you’re no longer at the company you were working for. Taking on a volunteer activity, putting your own shingle out or getting involved in a project you are passionate about are valuable ways of remaining a compelling candidate. If it looks like your full-time job is looking for work, you’ll be less attractive to recruiters and hiring managers.
What does this mean for you?
Don’t consider yourself unemployed. Be prepared to consult or volunteer if you find your name on the layoff list. In the future, you’ll probably move from being employed by companies to self-employment and back. Get in this mindset now to ensure you remain an attractive passive candidate. And be visible where hiring managers will find you. Use the right keywords in everything you post on the Web. Contribute thought-leadership content to job function or industry portals. Keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date and compelling (this is the number one site hiring managers check according to a SHRM study).
7. Personal Qwikis
How do you present your qualifications?
Qwiki delivers interactive, multimedia presentations of information you’re researching. It’s a 3-D way of representing information – making it more impactful and easier to digest. Think of it as a multimedia, customizable Wikipedia. This is part of a trend away from text-based content — to richer, more effective communications. In last year’s personal branding trends, I stressed the importance of combining video and images with text content to tell your brand story. Soon, with a series of Qwiki-like tools, you’ll be able to create a multimedia personal brand presentation. Instead of resumes or portfolios, you’ll be able to use a personal Qwiki to present your qualifications in a more attractive way. And you can direct people to this multimedia presentation via your personal QR code (see trend number 3 above).
What does this mean for you?
Multimedia is becoming even more important to you as you build your brand. Ensure you take every opportunity to create and obtain video and images related to your brand. When Qwikis become personal, you’ll be able to put together a compelling, customized presentation about your brand — accomplishments, thought leadership, passions, etc. The more content you have to work with, the better your presentation will be. Multimedia is a must!
Credited with turning the concept of personal branding into a global industry,William Arruda is the founder of Reach Personal Branding and author of “Career Distinction” and the upcoming book, “Ditch. Dare. Do!” You can learn more about him at www.personalbranding.tv.
Over 50? Make Your Resume Work for You – Pongo Resume
Over 50? How to Make Your Resume Work for You
If you’re in your 50s or 60s, chances are you have a lot of experience to offer an employer. Unfortunately, that can sometimes work against you when it comes to job interviews and hiring decisions. It’s no surprise that some employers (knowingly or not) engage in “age profiling” and judge older workers based on generational rather than individual traits. We’ve all heard the stereotypes: “Older workers are less technologically savvy,” “Their work habits and attitudes conflict with today’s business culture,” “They’re overqualified and expect more money.”
That doesn’t mean the deck is automatically stacked against you, though. It just poses an extra challenge you’ll have to address in order to convince an employer to hire you, and meeting that challenge begins with your resume. Since the resume is what gets you the interview, it needs to dispel the employer’s misperceptions and sell them on your experience and background, making your age a non-issue.
Here are three things to help you promote your qualifications, not your age:
1. Take pride in your years of experience, but keep your resume focused on this decade.
Emphasize the most recent 10 to 15 years of your experience, minimizing (or even leaving out) your older roles. Highlight your biggest accomplishments during that time. Demonstrate your knowledge of new technologies if the job requires it. Describe how your actions helped your previous employers save money, increase sales or profits, or improve efficiency. Here are examples of how you could word an accomplishment statement on your resume:
- Completed rigorous training to earn Specialist certification in Adobe Photoshop.
- Consistently generated revenue at least 10% above annual quota targets for 10 straight years.
- Rooted out inefficiencies in supply chain that saved company $1.5 million over 5 years.
- Spearheaded project that led to construction of new manufacturing plant in Shanghai, China, and opened up a lucrative new market.
One exception: If there’s a position or accomplishment from further back in your work history that’s highly relevant to the job you’re seeking, include it on the resume. For example: If you’re applying for a job that requires editorial skills, and your last editing role was 20 years ago, put that older job on your resume (to show you meet the requirement), but be sure to also demonstrate your knowledge of newer technologies that most editors are using today.
2. Even if you’re an “old dog,” show them you like to learn new tricks.
Information technology has changed the way most of us do our jobs, and as new tools hit the market, employers are quick to implement them to increase productivity and company performance. As an older worker, you may be tempted to keep doing things the old way, but to remain competitive and viable, you need to ride the curve of technological change, or even stay ahead of it.
If the job posting requires some technological know-how that you possess, be sure to list your technical skills using the adjectives from the job posting that describe your level of knowledge. For example, the job may require someone with expert-level experience using a software application, which means you know how to manipulate every function. Another experience level would be proficient, which means you can get around the application well enough to perform its chief functions. Here’s an example of how you might list technical knowledge on your resume:
- Expert in Visio and InDesign
- Proficient in Dreamweaver and Excel
(TIP: If the job requires a high degree of technical skills, you can insert a Technical Skills section right after your Summary of Qualifications.)
If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of certain software, you can learn on your own time using online tutorials through a service like Lynda.com. You can also learn about work-related topics through webinars (web seminars you “attend” on your computer). Online tutorial or webinar training can be a big help in getting you up to speed on the latest trends and information in your field, and they provide valuable information for your resume. Make sure to include them under the Education section or in a separate Specialized Training section:
- Tax Accounting Strategies for Partnerships, ABC Management Group, May 2010
- Demystifying Web Analytics, ACME Industries Webinar, Mar. 2010
- Real-Time Supply Chain Management, AAA Webinars, Apr. 2010
3. Use social media and email to your advantage.
Social media is not just a younger person’s online playground. People of all ages are seeing its value. Having a presence on a social media site will at least show that you’re not just aware of the power of social media, you’re also a practitioner. If you don’t have a profile on LinkedIn by now, get one! The profile should contain information that supplements your resume, and ideally, recommendations of your work by former employers or colleagues. Some job seekers even add the URL of their LinkedIn profiles to their resumes, along with name and contact information.
You also need a no-nonsense email address as part of your contact information. Something like firstname_lastname is all you need. Avoid nicknames in your email address, or anything that might tip off your age, such as “grandpabill” or “janedoe1953.” If you’re looking for an email provider, consider Gmail, which can show the employer that you probably know your way around today’s technology.
ATTITUDE IS THE KEY
There are many factors that go into a hiring decision, and age shouldn’t be one of them. But we all know it can be. You can’t change your age, but you can change your attitude and adapt to contemporary ways of learning and working. And you can use your resume to show employers that you may have been born in the middle of the 20th century, but you have much to offer them in the 21st.
Personal Brand Identity and Career Management
In our current job market and economic climate, one of the most sought after yet difficult to attain aspects of our career is job security. With the average tenure at corporate positions, especially the more senior ones lasting an average of two and a half to three years, where can we get our security? The answer lies in our personal branding. It is through Personal Brand Equity that we can establish our value to employers past, present and future. However, where does our brand equity come from? Often times at networking events, I ask people what they do, and they respond by telling me their function, or possibly defining themselves by the tasks or processes they do at work. The problem is that this does nothing to indicate how well they do those tasks and processes, and it does nothing to differentiate them from everyone else who performs the same tasks and processes. When developing our personal brand identity, it is very important to understand that each of us has a unique shape that is a blend of skills, education, experiences and passions. It is through these that, in the process of doing tasks and processes for a company, we achieve accomplishments that contribute to the bottom line of an organization’s success. Over the next few weeks, I will be writing several blogs illustrating how to identify this blend of attributes and the accomplishments achieved throughout a career. Once you have this foundation of your personal brand, we will explore how to use this information to articulate your value proposition throughout your career management.
Job Interview Preparation – How To “Tell Me About Yourself”.
Almost every job interview begins with the interviewer asking the interviewees to tell about themselves. This seemingly innocent and obvious question sinks more interviews than any other part of the interview. Everyone knows this question is coming, however, very few candidates prepare for this. They assume that they know their background, and so they can just talk about it. However 90% of candidates talk themselves right out of a job just in telling about themselves. Because they have not prepared they:
- Bore the Interviewer
- Say irrelevant or even damaging things
- Do not demonstrate relevancy to the company or the position
- Do not demonstrate track record of success
Nailing this part of the interview makes the rest of the interview so much easier. If you strike out on this, recovering is almost impossible. Since you know they are going to ask the question, wouldn’t it make sense to prepare? I have heard recommendations to respond by asking the interviewer to first explain what the job entails. If I am interviewing, and a candidate asks this question, I will wonder why they did not read the job description, and assume they are unprepared. So how do you answer this question? Keep in mind, when interviewing, your primary objectives are to:
- Answer “What is in it for the interviewer”?
- Demonstrate how your values and culture align with the company values and culture.
- Articulate what you are known for, and how that is a benefit for the company.
- Articulate your value proposition.
Also you need to be concise and to the point. In preparing for the “Tell Me About Yourself” the following tips will help you nail the shot when the game is on the line.
- Read and understand the job description.
- Research the company.
- Total time should be between 1½ and 3 minutes.
- Give a BRIEF synopsis of your career. Shape your synopsis to the needs learned from the job description and prior research.
- Do not list every title and company you have worked for, but give a range.
- Do not give a laundry list of responsibilities tasks or processes you performed, but give a range.
- Based on the job description, as well as the required skills and experiences, give 2 or 3 SHORT accomplishment statements to demonstrate your success.
- Do not go into details.
- Do not take time to “set the stage”.
- Give a simple Quantified Result and action statement including key skill or experience.
- Should be 20 words or less.
- Summarize skills and experience inferred from the accomplishment statements focusing on skills and experiences required in the job description.
- Say why you want the job! Why are you interested in the company, and their products or services?
- Solicit their agreement that your background and experience enable you to meet the objectives of the position and the company.
I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on the interview “Tell Me About Yourself” and how you prepare.
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In its report, , professional services company KPMG found that more than 50 percent of polled senior executives said metrics that define HR success will be fundamentally altered within the next three years. The finding comes as HR has shown signs of difficulty in adapting to the challenges of flexible and global workforces. The report recommended finding ways to best approach these challenges by appropriately engaging with employees.
KPMG management consulting partner, Robert Bolton, said, “HR should be the critical value driving function in an organization, large or small. It can be more important than any other function, including sales and marketing. There are many qualitative and quantitative measures that will define HR’s success in the coming years.” He continued. “These include capacity, where there needs to be a clean and clear definition between chief executives and the front-line employees. Some executives of global companies would be horrified to find how their organizational culture has changed and grown over the years. “There will be a change in capability – the retention of people in critical roles. Compliance will change, as it now needs to be integrated with the organization’s overall business strategy.”
The report went on to state that HR would remain a boardroom “poor relation” until it embraced new technology and ceased its reliance on the reporting of historical data as opposed to future-looking analytics. About 75 percent of surveyed executives said their workforces are globalizing and gaining more flexibility through virtualization. But only 25 percent said their HR teams excelled at sourcing and retaining international talent. Another quarter believed that their HR teams were incapable of supporting their company’s globalization strategy.
“This survey shows that, at the very least, HR has a perception problem, though in some cases it may have actually failed to deliver real value. Given the high unemployment rates in many countries, you would be forgiven for thinking that retention is an easy task for HR, but with employee engagement levels an increasing concern more effort must be put into understanding staff needs before today’s employees become tomorrow’s alumni,” Bolton said.
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