LinkedIn

Hidden Secrets of LinkedIn – Tagging

Now that LinkedIn has been around a good while – over 10 years – most people I come across are on it. Some are very active, some aren’t.  There are few features of LinkedIn, though, that even the most active users don’t seem to be aware of.  Here’s one very useful one:

Tagging

Did you know you can tag your contacts?  Tagging your contacts makes it easy to filter them by different categories and easy to send a quick group message.

Many of your contacts are automatically tagged when you connect, based on the invitation you sent.  If you said they were a colleague in the invitation, they’ll be marked as such.

But you can add tags too.  You can create up to 200 unique tags.  Do you want to quickly be able to see just your contacts who are recruiters?  Or, people you know through a particular professional association? Create the tag, and then tag your contacts.

To see what tags you currently have, go to your list of connections. The left hand column will look something like this:

LinkedIn tags

Next to the word ‘Tags’ is the word ‘manage’.  Click ‘manage’ and you’ll be able to add any tags you like.

For example, I created an ‘HR’ tag, a ‘recruiters’ tag and a ‘consultants’ tag.  If I want to make a referral, I can quickly scroll through them to find the right one to refer to.

You have to mark each person with the tags you create.  This can be a time consuming process, but worth it. To do this, click on a contact.  Their details will show in the right hand column.  Now, click on ‘edit tags’, mark the tags you like, and save.  See below.

LinkedIn tagging

As you accept new invitations, you’ll want to tag people right away.  Trust me, it’s easier this way.

Once you’ve tagged your contacts, when you click on that tag in the left hand column, you’ll see only the people with those tags.  In the right hand column, you’ll see the words ‘Send message’.  To send a group message, just click this.  A new message window will pop up, pre-populated with their names.  Now compose and send.

That’s it!  It may look a little complicated here, but after you’ve done it a time or two, you’ll find it easy.

Managing your virtual brand

In a recent post, I asked if you’ve Googled yourself.  If you haven’t yet, you should.  See what is showing up about you online. Is it what you want people to see?  Is it even about you? Sometimes what you’ll find at the top of “your” search results are links to people with the same or similar name who have done things you don’t want to be known for.  I’ve addressed previously why this can be damaging, so I won’t replay that tape.

If this is happening to you, or you don’t know how you’re showing up online, what can you do?  One option is: do the legwork yourself.

1)  Google yourself, and look at the results beyond page 1; conduct several searches using various forms of your name if you have them, locations and other indicators which may pull different results to the top.

2)  Search for yourself on any social platform you’re a part of.

3)  Bury negative or out-of-date information by creating newer, positive content and generate links to it.  LinkedIn is a great way to do this, since LinkedIn results in general almost always show up on page 1 of a Google search of a name.  Update your profile, share your profile with contacts, invite new contacts to connect, share a LinkedIn update with a link to your blog or personal website, if you have one.  All of these will help “good” content move in on top of “bad” content.

4)  Address false or damaging content with providers if possible.  Occasionally, you will find that online content providers and platforms will remove data if you can show that it’s incorrect or damaging.  For example, someone created a fake profile in your name with your information all over it, but their content. How online providers handle this varies greatly, but it’s worth a shot if there is something truly harmful to your reputation out there.  Do be careful about who you contact, and what information you provide to “confirm” your identity.  If it’s a big name like LinkedIn, you’re fine.  If it’s a company you’ve never heard of, check out their reputation by Googling them along with the word ‘complaint’ and looking at sites like RipoffReport.com or Pissedconsumer.com.

Another option is: get help.  There are many companies who will clean up your online reputation for you, for some pretty nice fees. This will definitely save you time if not money. Again, do your research to make sure you will get what you pay for. Getting recommendations from friends is best if you can manage.

There is also a free online product that a friend recently told me about: Brandyourself.com.  I have not used it myself, but checked them out online, and think they’re worth a look. They have a free account option, and of course a paid account option if you want more support.  Even if, after checking them out, you decide to do it yourself, they’ve got some great articles on their blog that I think you’ll find useful.

What other tools or resources do you recommend for managing your brand?

Career Wellness Checkup #15

So you’re on social media.

How well are you managing your brand?

Whether you’re on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blogs or anything else, you need to realize that every word you write, every picture you share and every connection you make becomes part of your brand.

Here are few tips for actively managing your brand in a way that’s healthy for your career:

1)  Stay engaged. Update, comment, share, tweet or retweet regularly.  When you do, it reminds people that you’re there and often leads them back to your profile.

2) Keep your content aligned with your brand.  If you randomly share anything and everything, you will dilute your brand.  If you’re a tech person, share mostly on tech topics. If you’re a finance person, share mostly on finance. That doesn’t mean you should never color outside the lines but maintain the right balance. A little bit creates interest and dimension. Too much creates confusion.

3) Like, comment on or share content of others with relevant content.  People appreciate it when you share what they say and bring attention to their brand. If they like your content, they may reciprocate. 

4) Stay current.  You are always changing and growing.  Therefore, your profiles and what you share should change too. Read your profile on a regular basis and adjust as needed.

Career Wellness Checkup #14

So, you’ve Googled yourself.  Like what you see?  The good news is, your virtual brand is constantly evolving and you have a great deal of control and influence over what direction it goes.  The bad news is there are so many online channels for your message that it can be overwhelming.

Do you know which social networks you should be using? 

Even though I am a huuuuge proponent of LinkedIn, I am even more a proponent of being in the right “space” — the one that makes sense for you, given your profession, industry and goals. Each social network is a community and the members of the community make it what it is.  Take time to learn about those which are being used by people who do what you do.  If you don’t know…ask them!  Find out: Who is there? What do they do there? How do they engage? This will help you decide which is right for you.

Now, for most professional/administrative/managerial/executive workers (which is generally the population that read this blog), LinkedIn is absolutely the place to be. It’s a free, virtual space where you can post your “professional billboard”.  You get to write about you, what you you’ve done, what you’re good at and so on.  What you choose to include here shapes what people will know and believe about you.  Yes, it greatly mirrors a resume.  But you don’t have to send it out to dozens or hundreds of people.  It is there for the viewing at any time.  And, as you connect with people, share your status, comment on or start discussions, it drives people to see your profile, reinforcing your brand. One more word about LinkedIn: It is not just about job search.  In fact, it’s mostly not about job search.  It’s about engaging with other professionals in your network for mutual benefit, whatever that means for you at the moment.

Twitter is less well-understood by many, but can also be a great resource for professionals, both in influencing their virtual presence and in acquiring useful information and contacts.  No, it’s not all about celebrity watching, though if you want that, you can find it there.  You can also find thought leaders in every industry from everywhere around the globe. And you can share your thoughts with others who care about the same things you do.  What you share there (or “tweet”) and who you engage with becomes part of your brand.   If you know a lot about marketing analysis and you engage and share on Twitter about marketing analysis, guess what? Soon, people learn that you have this particular area of knowledge or expertise.  If you’re not on Twitter yet, you don’t even have to join to check it out. Try this: Go to https://twitter.com/search-home and search any topic of professional interest to you. (You can search by using the plain words or by using a hashtag – for ex: Java vs. #Java – you’ll get some different results either way).  You’ll probably be amazed at what you can find.

Let your Skills do the talking on LinkedIn

Last year, I wrote a post about creating a robust profile on LinkedIn.  It’s time to update that because of the  new(ish) LinkedIn feature called Skills.  It has been in beta testing for a long time, and technically still is, but I believe it’s here to stay.  LinkedIn has incorporated it into the initial profile building process.  For those of you who joined LinkedIn a year ago or more, you didn’t get pushed through this process automatically, but it is easy to remedy that now.

The Skills feature has great functionality which benefits recruiters, job seekers and passive candidates alike.  Recruiters in particular, who have access to special features as part of upgraded/focused account types, can and do “power search” in the Skills feature.   This will only work to your advantage if you have skills listed!

Here’s one quick way to identify relevant skills and add them to your profile:

  • Under the More menu, click on Skills
  • In the search box, enter a primary skill that you use in your work (or otherwise possess) and search…
  • On the resulting page, read the description of that skill in the center column and look at the people listed below to see whether this skill is a good “match” for your profile — consider your professional brand.
  • If so, click on the blue Add Skill button.  This skill will now show on your profile.
  • Check out the list of related skills in the column on the left.  Click any which may be a fit, and repeat the process above.  You will soon have a robust set of skills on your profile.

How to mine the Companies feature on LinkedIn

I promised this post a long time ago, and have not tackled it until now because there is simply too much good stuff there and it’s hard to whittle down!  However, to be readable, I really must make it short and sweet.  So, here are my top five tips on using the Companies information on LinkedIn:

1. Find your target companies and “follow” them

Why: Updates about the company will show up on your home page.  You can keep up-to-date with what is happening in their business, including posted jobs, and be attuned to changes that may be to your benefit, for example, if someone was promoted, perhaps their position will need to be backfilled. 

How: On the company page, click on the yellow Follow button.

2. Review the company statistics.

Why: You can get a general sense of tenure, what functions may have a significant presence on LinkedIn, where the company has employees and more.  

How: Click on the link that says “Check out insightful statistics about…”

3. Review the list of employees.

Why: You won’t be able to see all employees generally, but can review enough to see what titles they use, where people in various functions are located, get a sense for company specific lingo and more.

How: Click on the blue (hyperlinked) number next to the phrase Employees on LinkedIn.

4. Find a contact.

Why: Well, why are you looking?  Is it because you are seeking information or an introduction? In either of these cases, your best bet is going to be someone who is already in your extended network.

How: Click on the lists of folks at the company who are in your network or are fellow alumni. Consider how close of a connection they are, what function or geography they work in, what level they are and so on to determine who best to reach out to.

5. Prepare for interviews (or networking meetings.) 

Why: This one’s obvious. There is a bounty of information at your fingertips.  Shame on you if you go in unprepared.  Doing your research shows you have genuine interest (as well as good research skills).  

How: Review everything possible on the company page including the things mentioned above.  Review the profile, if available, of the people you will meet with as well as others in the department by searching for their name in the main Search box or in the employee list.

I have just scratched the surface with these five tips, but if you use these, it will provide leverage to expand and enhance your networking and job search activities.This is the kind of insight that people in the past would give their right arm for.  Don’t waste the knowledge you can gain through a few clicks.  Knowledge is power.   

 

Find your tribe: LinkedIn groups

After a nice little summer break, I’m back.  In my last post, I said I would next begin covering intermediate LinkedIn functions, so here goes!

Would you like to connect with other like-minded professionals?  No matter where they are located? 

Looking for contacts in a particular company?

Hate networking a room? 

Looking to expand your knowledge? 

Would you like to become better known in your “niche”?

There are many reasons to join LinkedIn groups.  To a great extent, they mirror the reasons to join any group: to share or gather information, to meet people with common interests, to be part of something larger than yourself, to help others.  The reasons go on and on.   But there are over 900,000 groups on LinkedIn!  How do you find the right ones?

Here are some quick tips that can help you find and use LinkedIn groups to achieve your goals:

Find relevant groups

  • Look at what groups your connections belong to
  • Go to the Groups Directory and use the search function to find groups within your industry or profession
  • Find the LinkedIn group for any professional associations you already belong to
  • Find the Alumni group for your alma mater

 

Assess and join

  • Determine whether a group is a fit for you by reading the group description, looking at highlighted members and, if it’s an open group, reading some of the discussion 
  • Look for both quality (in terms of the content) and quantity (in terms of the members and activity).  The bigger the group, the more access you will have to information and contacts; however, small niche groups with whom you will have a lot of interaction can be very valuable as well
  • You can join up to 50 groups, though you don’ t need nearly that many to get the value you seek.  Find 2-4 that you will be very active with and approximately 10 more which give you some variety, but are still relevant  

Engage in meaningful activity

  • Now that you’ve found the right groups, jump right in! One of the beauties of online groups is that people get down to business without much small talk, or long introductions 
  • Add value.  Share your expertise or raise relevant issues through the discussions and comments. This will drive more meaningful conversation
  • Post, share (or apply for) related jobs
  • If you are seeking a new position, find contacts within your target companies and even target location using the search function
  • Encourage others!  Everybody likes to be encouraged and it builds relationships
  • Once meaningful contact is established, consider taking a network contact “offline”.  If it makes sense, you may want to deepen the professional relationship by meeting for coffee, talking by phone, or connecting at a conference

Groups are a great shortcut for networking and building your professional brand.  Use the tips above to get started today!

Summer celebration a success

Thank you to those who subscribed to the blog during my summer celebration!  That was fun and I’ll definitely do it again in the future. Congrats to those who received a free profile review.  What a great investment of your time to focus on refining your online brand. 

In my next post, I’ll delve further into intermediate features of LinkedIn.  In the meantime, enjoy your summer!

Summer celebration – free profile review!

I love summer!  It’s a time to get outdoors, spend time with family and enjoy a little relaxation and renewal.  Speaking of renewal, it’s also a good time to refresh your LinkedIn profile.  

In celebration of summer, I am announcing a “giveaway”: a free LinkedIn profile review to the first 10 new subscribers after this post is published.  The subscription itself is free – all you have to do is click the button on the blog that says, “Yes, review my profile!” and you will begin receiving notifications via email of new posts.  I don’t post every day, so I promise not to clutter up your inbox. 

Once I confirm your subscription, I will reach out via email and ask you to provide me the URL to your public profile.  Then, after my review, I’ll follow up and share my feedback.  It’s that simple!

Thanks for reading and subscribing.  Enjoy your summer!

LinkedIn recommendations: recommended

To have or not to have?  That is the question (apologies to Shakespeare.)  

In my book, there is absolutely no doubt.  Have. 

There are people who argue against LinkedIn recommendations and their argument goes something like this: “Who would include bad recommendations?  Of course they are all going to be good.  Therefore, they cannot be trusted and are of no value.”

These cynics are partially correct.  It’s true that you won’t find a negative recommendation about someone on their own LinkedIn profile.  Why would they include such a thing?  And, are there many recruiters and hiring managers who don’t put much value on recommendations, or even read them?  Yes, there are. 

However, the points in favor of including recommendations on your profile outweigh the points against.  As I mentioned in my post Power of the profile, they can be beneficial if done right.  I’ll outline below some reasons to include recommendations, as well as provide a few pointers in making your recommendations work for you. 

Why you should include recommendations on your LinkedIn profile:

  • Without at least 3 recommendations, your profile will not reach 100% completeness.  This negatively affects where you show up in search results.  Say, for example, that a recruiter does a search for profiles which match certain criteria. Do you want to give yourself the best odds you can? Of course you do.  Consider this quote from the LinkedIn Help Center:                                                                                          

 “Users with Recommendations in their profiles are three times more likely to receive relevant offers and inquiries through searches on LinkedIn. Recommendations written about you are visible to members within your network and also to Fortune 500 companies that use the LinkedIn Recruiter corporate tool.”

  • Many recruiters actually do read those recommendations.  And, they look at who wrote them.  If you have a recommendation from a former manager talking about your amazing Java skills and you are branding yourself as a web-based software developer, do you think this will help or hurt the recruiter’s impression of you? 
  • A recommendation of you shows up on the profile of the person who made it.  This gives you additional exposure and the chance to be found by someone who may be looking for someone just like you. 

Here’s how to make the most of your recommendations:

  • Ask for recommendations from people with strong professional reputations who know your work first-hand.  Having a variety of current or former managers, clients, colleagues and employees is a good idea.  Also, recommendations on your most recent work experience is usually best, but it is advisable to have at least one from each job or company in the last several years.
  • Ask them to be specific about some of your skills or achievements.  Saying “he’s a great guy; really enjoyed working with him” is not nearly as helpful as “he was my go-to guy for creating impactful marketing plans under tight deadlines.”  You may even tell them you are trying to highlight your skills in a certain area, and ask them to write about those.
  • Obtain a minimum of 3 recommendations.  You don’t need to go overboard – 30 recommendations is not necessarily better than 10.  Think quality vs. quantity, but at least have 3.

It’s that simple!

To get some recommendations from your preferred connections, simply ask.  Also, consider proactively providing one for them.  You never know when it might help them, and perhaps they will return the favor.  Be professionally generous and it will come back to you.