Tag Archives: social media

LinkedIn – Where do I start?

It can be daunting for many of us to start putting our professional life out there for all to see. Where do I start?  Below are my thoughts….

Step 1: Setting up your profile – The Basics

  • Start by taking some time and updating your resume before touching your LinkedIn profile.  This gives you a good template to work from based on your recent experience, skills, education and interests.
  • Turn off ‘Activity Broadcasts’ for the initial time period when you are setting up and editing your profile information.  This just means that as you add connections (or they add you) they are not getting blasted with alerts with every little change to your profile.  Once you are satisfied with your profile and its complete (or mostly) you should turn it back on.  At this stage changes to your profile will be new, real time relevant and worth sharing such as promotions, education, projects etc.  Go to ‘Account and Settings’ (place your mouse pointer over your profile pic in the top right hand corner of the screen) select ‘Privacy and Settings’ then under Profile> Privacy Controls select ‘Turn on/off your activity broadcasts’
  • Spend a little bit of time understanding the different sections available to you on the basic page such as Home – Profile – Network – Jobs – Interests
  • Use your resume as a guide to start filling out all the relevant information under your Profile page.
  • You MUST include a profile pic. Not up for discussion! (and not a drunken one from a recent wedding!)
  • Be aware before you go searching for (not necessarily to connect to!) past boyfriends and girlfriends or old colleagues that these people will often get an update that you have viewed their profile! This is not like facebook!
  • Once you have your resume fully entered you should now take some time to start expanding on the information associated with each section.  We are limited in the information and experience we can include in our resumes as we target them for specific jobs and\or make choices as to what is more important to include to keep size  down.  Your LinkedIn profile is where you can start to expand on your story, include more detail on experience and projects you have worked on and also delve into detail on specific skill sets.
  • Take some time to fill out a full set of Skills and Expertise – these are what people will endorse!
  • Share your profile with some trusted colleagues and friends for feedback and input.  I have found this invaluable.
  • Use the Network features to start linking with your colleagues past and present. LinkedIn has nice tools to use your contact lists, find alumni or just add individually contacts you may have.  Personally I usually only link with people I know.  That could be from business dealings, past work colleagues, friends, etc.  I don’t necessarily agree with linking just because people are in the same industry or have the same job title.  That is what groups under Interests is for!
  • Under Interests take some time to follow a few companies of interest and see if there are groups that have similar interests that you may have and where you could learn from or contribute to.
  • If you have a smartphone or tablet download the LinkedIn app.  Its an easy way to use, interact and update your profile
  • That is it… the basics!

Step 2: Time to get uncomfortable !

  • Now that you have a profile set up you need to enhance it and build on the basics.  If you have taken the easy way so far and only connected to immediate colleagues now is the time to get uncomfortable (or at least from my introvert state!).  Start thinking about past bosses, colleagues, companies, etc and search for and reach out to connect.  Since a couple of sessions I gave on LinkedIn a number of colleagues have come back to sing its praises as they have restored contact with old colleagues that they just lost track of over time. Contacts that will help endorse skills, build their network and provide valuable recommendations.
  • Think about those around you that you work with who are on LinkedIn, their skill sets and start endorsing them.  Please only endorse people you know, can stand over the endorsement and are skills you have personally witnessed and understand.  Specifically with technical skills people can end up endorsing you for skills that you have listed but don’t really know you posses!  Be genuine and don’t accept endorsements on skills that people suggest for you if you are uncomfortable with it!  Once you start endorsing a few people many will start reciprocating and help build out your profile.
  • One of the hardest things to ask for is a recommendation.  However a genuine recommendation from someone who can easily expand on the information if they are contacted is invaluable.  Think about a few people that you trust to give you a good recommendation.  (Please note a glowing recommendation on your skills from a golf friend or drinking buddy that you have never worked with on a professional basis is pointless – don’t do it!)
  • Take a look back at your Projects section.  Are their past projects worth noting that you have not included? Put together a narrative and get them up there.  This is all about your story, showing your adaptability, broad exposure and skill set and distinguishing yourself from the crowd.
  • Did you find some groups under Interests that you joined in Step 1? Can you contribute or learn from them? Look at participating in some of the conversations either to share your expertise or simply ask questions.  Its amazing the contacts, learnings and ideas that you can garner from these groups from just a little bit of time spent with them.
  • Think about sharing in LinkedIn using status updates and sharing any interesting articles you read on the web relating to your skills, interests and expertise.  Share a training you are taking or a conference you are attending (be selective and share useful relevant information… this is not twitter! Start sharing junk and people will hide you and your updates!)  Spend a little time on your newsfeed on the home screen to review articles.  Like, comment and share where appropriate.
  • Obviously if job hunting use the Jobs page to search for new jobs! That after all for many is the reason to be in here!

Depending on your current state 1) happy in a job, 2) in a job but looking or 3) seeking employment will determine the amount of time you spend (have to spend) on Step 2.  Obviously when job hunting there are many more methods to finding a job so while LinkedIn should not be your only focus neither should it be ignored.  It is an environment generally that needs very little work to keep up-to-date after the initial profile work. Some regular house keeping and updates can keep your profile fresh and current and may just lead to your next career move.

Twitter’s missing piece?

Twitter’s missing piece? It is missing the whole check-in piece similar to what Foursquare offers. I hear foursquare haters shout ‘No! I don’t care where you are!’ but please hear me out.  I don’t just mean for places but for events like concerts, conferences, topics, news pieces, emergencies, TV shows, movies and of course places and companies like Starbucks! Anywhere or anything you can start a conversation on.

Why? Well Twitter is where the conversation happens now. Having to filter topics or search based on hash tags is cumbersome and awkward. There are different hash tags for the same event, idea, debate or show. Often where I am or what I am watching is not the same as those I follow on Twitter . That is fine but it should be easier to connect with those people who are. I should be able to check in to any thing or place. e.g. a TV show Madmen. Twitter would then auto build a search\view and include all other tweets from others checked in here. I could make it geography specific if I choose.  There is no point in having a list with people from another geography that may be an episode or 2 ahead or behind in the conversation. Any tweet I compose when in this list\view is auto tagged by Twitter as a ‘Mad Men’ tweet and could be easily filtered for those who follow me but who are not interested in Mad Men.

If I return to my standard Twitter stream and tweet all is normal and my tweets are not tagged but as soon as I return to the Mad Men check-in the filters and tags are auto built into each tweet I compose. When I check out that list\view and all those auto built views and pieces disappear from my Twitter app or web page. I can check-in again in the future to re-create.  Mad Men may not be the best example but replace that with Presidential Debate, X-Factor, TED Conference, New Zealand Earthquake, etc…etc…

I think it would offer better options for companies or shows to ‘own’ their check-in areas and provide info and offers while not being able to necessarily filter comments or feedback unless profanity was used. This could also be revenue generating for Twitter. So e.g. your local book store wants an advertised tweet to display with the latest offering upon each check and it pays a simple very small fee as with promoted tweets per check-in.

I could talk and talk about specifics about how each piece should work but think it really would be a great facility and help to easily connect people across this great medium. There is very little new above. The problem is some of it is in Foursquare, some in Twitter and some in other apps that try to link your TV viewing with conversations. It’s disjointed and awkward. If Twitter offered it in one place it would a great addition to what it already offers us. I think Twitter should purchase Foursquare and incorporate it nicely into your current offering. It goes back to that comment on social media ideas and solutions – ‘Is it an app or a feature’ and I think Foursquare should be a feature of Twitter.  What do you think?

The internet filter bubble – be warned, be aware and be open

This is, in my view, one of the most important issues facing us and the web today.  It is quite simply the fact that info is filtered specifically for your viewing.  It is customised specifically to you based on a significant number of parameters.  You may think Google or others are presenting results based on your search words alone but they are not.  They are using your location, likes, history and many other pieces of data to present the information they think you want to see.  Unique lists for each individual, each of us inside our own little filtered internet bubble.  As Forbes said in their piece ‘Breaking out of your internet filter bubble’ it is not, or probably not, a conspiracy.  It is just companies trying to maximise return on revenue by keeping users happy.

So why is this a problem(read the Forbes piece!)? Well Eli Pariser says it better than I ever could so take the time to watch the video. It is only 9 minutes and explains this area very clearly and concisely with no conspiracy theory talk or beating up on the companies.  It is level-headed, informative overview of the topic.

However, aside from the Google, Yahoo, Facebook and others feeding us what it thinks we want to see we are also guilty of ‘filtering’ content ourselves.  It might be your subscriptions on Facebook, or the people you follow on Twitter.  Do you push to find people who are not like you? People and orgs you don’t necessarily agree with or even like?  If you politically are left leaning do you follow right leaning people\orgs or vice versa? Do you follow people\orgs across countries and continents and across religions and race? Do you follow non-profit and multinational for-profit companies?

Or like many of us do you surround yourself with like-minded people that have similar interests and a similar outlook on life? This type of place is a very comfy area in which to live and exist online with our believes and view of the world constantly re-inforced by those we interact with.  However it really is somewhat delusional.  It is not the real world that exists out there.  It is a bubble we have created for ourselves and one we can’t blame the big companies for.  Unfortunately for many of us it is a very easy place to end up without even realising it.

Advice?  The issue of advice for who to follow on Twitter, subscribe to on Facebook or blog to follow is an argument I seem to have over and over again.  Many advise us to follow and engage like-minded people, with similar interests, hobbies and pastimes.  I don’t necessarily disagree with that but it should not be the end of the advice.  I would also say to follow people outside your interests, believes, hobbies and pastimes.  Move around, pick a museum, a newspaper, a musician, a techie, a trekky, an arrogant politician, a radio station, a newspaper, a human rights leader, a footballer, a multinational CEO, your local pizzeria and a government party.  You might be surprised who\what you start to like and engage with and who can educate you.  Diversify your stream of information.  I don’t mean overload it with people you hate.  Be reasonable but step outside your known circle of people and interests.

The internet and what it offers us is endless as long as we don’t constrain it by staying in our comfort zone.  Get out there, explore it and burst your bubble.