Great article describing positives of networking — it’s not all “work”
In case you missed it, LinkedIn has a new feature called “Endorsements.” It allows users to endorse skills or expertise of any members in their network — including skills they haven’t listed. This allows potential networking partners to quickly identify your strengths.
So, how should you take advantage of this new feature? Before you send a mass email asking your entire network for endorsements, remember that networking — first and foremost — is about connecting people with value. Whether it’s through your expertise, or someone’s skill, your goal should always be to bring value to your network.
Consider these three tips for using endorsements on LinkedIn:
1. Endorse others first and endorse fairly.
Begin by endorsing your network first, before asking for endorsements from others. By doing this, you’ll equip others to see where their strengths lie. But this also means you have to be brutally honest.
Don’t just click on all the skills someone has listed. Really think about it and only highlight those areas of expertise you’d be willing to put your reputation on the line for. As a bonus, the people you endorse will be notified about your actions though LinkedIn, which means they may return the favor.
2. Keep it easy for your ‘inner circle.’
Everyone has a professional inner circle of about 10 to 20 people we can call at any time to ask for a small favor or advice. These are the people we should be approaching first, but it should be personal and easy.
Send your inner circle a personal e-mail, or give them a call and ask if they’ve heard about the new endorsements feature on LinkedIn. Then let them know that you’ve already endorsed them (step No. 1) and you’d appreciate it if they could pick one or two skills of yours to endorse. Not everything — just one or two. That’s how you can keep it personal and easy.
3. No mass e-mails.
The last thing you want to do is send an e-mail blast to everyone on your list. A mass email asking for a favor is likely to feel like spam and be ignored.
If you’re going to send an e-mail to multiple recipients, try segmenting your network into different lists according to how you met them or what industry they’re in. You can then write a personal e-mail to a specific group, telling them that their in your (fill in the blank) group of people and feel they best understand your expertise in (fill in the blank) and would appreciate an endorsement — if they feel you deserve it. This kind of approach demonstrates you’ve taken the time to consider them specifically.
Have you started using LinkedIn’s Endorsements yet? Let us know what you think so far in the comments below.
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7 Tips For Building a ‘Power Network’ on LinkedIn
Among the social networks, LinkedIn can be one of the most useful when it comes to cultivating critical, lucrative business opportunities, since it has a high concentration of business decision makers. The trick is going beyond connecting with cousins and college buddies to strategically building a “power network” of individuals who should be potential clients.
But building a power network on LinkedIn doesn’t happen overnight. Here are seven tips for making the kinds of connections that can benefit your business the most:
1. Optimize your profile: One of the easiest ways is to update your profile picture. LinkedIn views this kind of update as “freshness” and it can help your ranking when others are searching for someone like you.
2. Tell people who you are, who you help and how you help them in your headline: A headline that communicates these points is often what grabs a person’s attention when searching the site. I should be able to read your headline and know exactly what you offer and why I should get in touch with you. Be clear and compelling.
3. Fill out all current and past work experiences: You never know who’s looking for you, possibly a co-worker from an old job, or maybe a classmate that’s suddenly feeling nostalgic and wants to see who they can find online. By listing all of your places of employment — including your educational institutions — you can create a larger net for capturing searches. Plus, these connections could be second- or third-tier connections to people you’ve been trying to meet.
4. Join targeted groups: This can be one of the most effective ways to connect with like-minded professionals who are serious about using LinkedIn to form deeper business connections. Participating in these groups also enables you to share your knowledge and to learn from other members.
5. Create a targeted group: Not only can leading a group give you a certain level of credibility, it allows you to connect with people who are influential within your specific industry.
6. Send personal invites: These, in my opinion, always trump generic requests to connect. The invite is your first communication on LinkedIn, so make a good first impression by writing a personal request and asking how you can help the person, or whom you can introduce them to.
7. Get endorsements and recommendations: This can help enhance your profile, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do this. Don’t send a mass or generic e-mail to clients or colleagues asking if they can endorse your skills or write a recommendation. First, identify people who have a great story to share about you and your skills. Contact those people directly, via phone or e-mail, and let them know you’re personally reaching out to them because of (insert how you’ve helped them here) and would appreciate it if they’d be willing to write a quick recommendation for you, based on that story.
The same goes for endorsements, which are much easier to give since it’s just a click of a button. It also helps if you mention you’ll be endorsing their strongest skills as well.
In what ways do you grow your network on LinkedIn? Let us know in the comments below.
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When it comes to job hunting, most of us know the saying: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” In this age of social media, we’re more connected than ever before. More job seekers are using social media to find and research new opportunities – while employers are using it to suss out candidates.
But many people are still making basic mistakes. We’ve all heard of the dangers that an inappropriate Facebook photo, or ill-judged Tweet can do to our careers. Miss Seattle 2012 (a.k.a. Jean-Sun Hannah Ahn) recently learned this lesson the hard way. She almost lost her title after Twitter rants such as “Take me back to az! Ugh can’t stand cold rainy Seattle and the annoying people.”
But other smaller mistakes could be harmful. Not updating a LinkedIn profile, or not separating private and professional social networks can damage your career prospects. And few people use the full power of their social networks.
A survey by Kelly Services Inc. found that only 24 per cent of American job seekers were more likely to use social media than traditional methods, such as newspapers, job boards and recruitment firms. And many people aren’t aware that well-known companies such as Starbucks, Citibank and UPS use Twitter and Facebook to recruit. TweetMyJobs found an impressive 45 percent of companies planned to invest more in social recruiting in 2012.
Here are seven ways to find your next career move, and stand out from the crowd for the right reasons.
Join LinkedIn – and make sure your profile is up to date
There might be dozens of social media sites, but LinkedIn is the most career-focused one. Your profile has room for all the information on your resume, while the summary section is the perfect place to let potential employers know you’re looking for new opportunities. A useful feature is it tells you whether someone is a “first, second or third degree” connection, meaning you can ask one of your existing contacts for an introduction.
There are several ways to make your profile stand out. Ask former employers or colleagues to write a recommendation or endorse your skills. You can even add a video to introduce yourself. Join relevant LinkedIn groups, post news, and contribute to discussions. There are more than 1 million groups, so find the most popular ones for your chosen field.
Set up an alternative Twitter and Facebook
If you’re serious in your job search, it’s best to separate your personal and professional profiles. Set up Facebook and Twitter profiles aimed at future employers, and make sure the settings on your personal accounts are private. Include your main skills and selling points in your Twitter bio, and include a link to your resume. Make sure your avatar looks professional. Try to establish yourself as an “expert” in your field, by tweeting about the latest industry news and trends.
Use social jobseeking tools
As well as following companies you’re interested in, investigate the growing number of social recruitment tools. Services such as TweetMyJobs allow you to enter your preferences and receive regular alerts with job adverts by mobile, email or Twitter. Use tools such as LinkedIn’s Job Change Notifier to keep up to date when your connections get promoted or move company.
Engage with potential employers
How you make contact will depend on the platform. LinkedIn allows for more private conversation, so this is a good way to introduce yourself directly. But on Twitter it’s best to start with following companies and employers you’re interested in. Try to communicate your knowledge and skills before jumping in and asking about a job. While social media can be a great way of making yourself known, don’t be shy about suggesting a face-to-face meeting over coffee.
Remember, most jobs aren’t advertised. Even if a company isn’t advertising for any vacancies, you might find they have a need for someone with your particular skillset.
Research the company you’re applying for
It’s becoming more common for interviewers to ask candidates what they think of their social media feeds. Even if they don’t, it’s a good way to know the latest news about the company. It will also give you an insight into their culture, and how formal the workplace is.
Monitor your online reputation
It should go without saying that you’ve cleaned up your Facebook profile, deleted any embarrassing photos and controversial tweets. But it’s vital to be vigilant about your reputation online. If you’re concerned about this, there are a number of tools such as Google’s Social Mention that can monitor your name across social networks. And make sure you “untag” yourself in any unflattering pictures posted by friends.
Don’t forget smaller networks
Having set up professional LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts, you might think you’ve covered all bases. But depending on your industry and skills, it’s worth considering other platforms. Blogs can be a great way of interacting with people in your field, and demonstrating your enthusiasm and expertise.
There are also a number of niche social networks that can be useful tools. These range from the recently launched SumZero, which allows investors to share tips, to UnTappd, a community for beer enthusiasts and the brewing industry.
Looking for a position is always tough, especially in a crowded market. But with a little effort, social media can help you make the most of your connections and find new opportunities.