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The Now, The New & The Next in Careers

Social Media & Online Reputation Articles

Stay ahead of the curve with insights from our CTL Associates.

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  • 23 Jun 2021 1:45 PM | Anonymous

    Video Transcription:

    So today we're going to be talking about how you can use social media better and how you can get more engagement. And as I was saying, you don't necessarily base your success on how many comments you get, or how many likes you get. However, they are good measures for if your content is engaging, building some community, and they are a way that people can engage. If you're not getting an engagement, you're not getting any visibility. And you're probably not getting any sales off of that. Although there are times in your posting schedule where you might want to post something that doesn't necessarily get engagement, but to use a different goal. Today, we're going to talk about how you can get more engagement on your posts on social media platforms. First thing I see people doing that doesn't get engagement is that they post a post that requires me to go somewhere else to read it.

    And I actually don't allow these in our Facebook group because of this. If you post a link, most of the time, you will get zero engagement on that link. Now in LinkedIn, people have blamed this on the algorithm and that's possible, but I'm guessing the algorithm doesn't like links. Not just because it kicks you off the platform, but because humans scroll past them, because I'm assuming that I have to read that link to respond. And either I know I don't have time to read that link to respond so I just keep scrolling or I go to that link and then I am gone, right? I'm not going to come back and respond to your post after I've read that. People are moving too fast. So what we need to do is give people enough information in the post that they can respond to. They shouldn't have to go and read the link to get some great value out of whatever it is you're posting.

    And then you can include the link, but don't include the click-through graphic that pops up, the preview that pops up because then they're going to click and they're going to be gone right there. They're not going to engage on your posts. And so when you are doing some kind of a click through link, you might still do that in your content strategy, because you're going to click through to your blog. You're going to click through to a call to action page. Those are great ways to use those click-through links because then what you want is the click-through. You don't necessarily want engagement, but in most of your posts on most social platforms, you will want engagement first to build that community and build your visibility. So don't do those link previews. Give enough in the content that I can get the gist of the article and I can respond. Be clear about how I can respond and engage.

    And then you can still include that link. As long as it doesn't have that click-through, you can include the link in the comments or in the post. I don't really think it matters even on LinkedIn as long as that preview doesn't show up. That's what has people scrolling by and not engaging is the reality or the thought, the perception that I have to read that article before I can engage on this post. And it's just not going to work. People don't have time, or they're going to shoot over to forums or wherever, and they're going to get caught up in reading. And they're not going to remember to go back to your posts and respond. So that's the first mistake that people make is they're not thinking about how humans are showing up to that platform and how they want to engage. The second thing that people are not paying attention to is the algorithm.

    And I'm not a fan of, you know, playing to the algorithm, trying to trick it, overwhelming yourself with all the things about the algorithm. But there are some pretty simple things that we know that you can avoid to get better results. And most of them actually are around getting better engagement because when your post gets engagement or people stop to pause to read it, the algorithm likes that. It's not like trying to trick anyone, right? It's trying to get the content that people will stay and read in front of the most people because it wants people to stay on whatever platform this is, video, Twitter doesn't matter if your content engages people and they respond and they stay on that pro on that post, then the algorithm is going to like it. One thing we know about the LinkedIn algorithm is that for some reason, it doesn't like shared content.

    Now this is kind of hilarious because if you've made a comment on someone else's post in the last week, you might've seen this thing pop-up right underneath your comment. So if I go and comment on Tamika's posts, it might pop-up this thing that says, share this post, don't do that. Don't give into LinkedIn's rogue suggestions because when I share to make this content, so I actually hit the share button, my post has a very little likely of getting seen, and I don't really know why it doesn't make any sense in the LinkedIn algorithm, but it may be similar to that same thing we were just talking about with the link because people think they need to go and read Tamika's post to be able to respond. And so they click on her post and now they're gone from mine.

    And so my post doesn't get any traction. Her post might get a little bit of traction from my share, but not as much as if I did it differently because if I get more traction, she gets more traction, right? So I can still share Tamika's content, but I want to go and capture the link to that post, start my own new post, and then link to her content in my post without letting that preview pop-up, you know, without having that visual as the shared post. It's just a link. And maybe I'll just share this with you here because I'm realizing that this might be challenging to visualize unless we actually go there. So I'm on my homepage right now for the Career Thought Leaders, but I'm going to just go to my homepage. And all I'm talking about is here, Allie Baldwin's post, right? If I hit share, what pops up is her post, and this is not going to do very well in LinkedIn.

    I'm not going to get much visibility on this post because of something who knows. So what I can do instead, discard this post, come here and copy the link to the post. Now I write my own post here, right? So I write my own thing. I write my own thing, response to what she's saying, being cordial, being collegial. I can add to what she says or even disagree as long as I agree with something, she said. Have some kind of collegial. And then I could say, in addition, I would add this and it can be somewhat contradictory to what she said. I don't have to say, I don't agree with her and blah, blah, blah, right? I can just do that. And then I can put the link to her post here. And all I want to do is click out of that preview.

    I don't want that preview to show up. I'll put in my hashtags under that 3 hashtags on LinkedIn. Let's just say personal branding, just have one that shows up here and then I'm going to make sure again, that that preview is gone before I hit post. So when I do that, the link will still show up, but it won't look like a shared post and I'll get much more visibility. I could put that link in the comments as well. That used to be kind of a big deal, you know, put the link in the comments instead of in the post. I really think it had more to do with the preview showing up than the link actually being in the post. And you could try that and see what you think and let me know. I'd love to hear what you think, but that's the difference.

    So instead of hitting the share button, I'm going to copy the link and, and share it that way. That is a simple thing to do that the algorithm likes better. That will help me get more visibility for my post as well as for, for her post. Hey Jackie, good to see you. Thanks for sharing that. Yeah, I know. And you think you're being helpful. You're sharing someone else's post and I love it when you share my content. So please share my content, but for your benefit, as well as mine, I would encourage you to use the link instead of that share.

    Now, if you have a really good visual post, like maybe someone's done a, a quick poll on LinkedIn, and you want to share the results of their poll, you can try sharing that visual, but just realize that people are going to click right through to that powerful visual, which will mean your post won't get as much visibility because you're putting people to their posts and as soon as LinkedIn sees that, everyone's clicking off of you into that, that's when they kind of hide your post because it's kind of like your website bounce rate, right? Google doesn't like it when people go to your site and they immediately leave. That's what's going on with these posts. People are seeing your posts, but they're immediately bouncing to something else.

    And that's what is getting your post pushed down. So I would try it with the link and see how it goes and see what you think. So that is our second point. The first one was that they're not thinking about the human. The second one is you're not thinking about the computer and the algorithm. I don't try to gain the algorithm or think about it too much, but there are some simple things that I can do differently that won't make the algorithm mad and sharing posts differently is one of those easy ones.

    I'll just throw it in here that LinkedIn recently raised the character limit for a post to 3,000 characters instead of 1,300. I haven't seen if there is the post on the company pages, which used to be 700 characters. They might still be. And they're rolling this out in LinkedIn style. So some people got the extra characters and some people didn't. If you try some of those 3,000 character posts, I'd love to see what you think and how it goes. I've seen some people using them. Usually there are a lot of short paragraphs. I still find it to be a really long scroll, but I'd love to hear what you think if you start using it and if you have any success. So the third reason that posts don't work and don't get engagement is because people don't think about why would someone engage, especially on this platform.

    So on LinkedIn, people are going to engage to build their own personal brand. It's going to be hard to get people to engage with a post that makes them vulnerable, or, you know, ask them what they're struggling with because people are on LinkedIn to build their personal brand. They want to look good. So if you want people to engage in your posts, give them a way to engage. That makes them look good. What tips would they add? What's worked for them? You know, what have they done as a great leader? Ask questions that give people an opportunity to build their own brand, their own visibility in a positive way. And you'll get much more engagement. That doesn't mean that you can't ask a question that gets to a more vulnerable place. You'll just expect that post to get less engagement and maybe some DMs, which is great now on Instagram. And those types of platforms, especially on Instagram, people are going to respond more to something that's inspirational.

    You know, most of the comments I see on content, there is more around inspiration and not something where people are giving an in-depth response and do a little bit of research. What are other people in your world, in your space or other people you follow on those platforms? What are they doing to get engagement? And you don't want to copy it, but you can say, oh, here, here's the types of questions they're asking, or the way that they're kind of doing this. And this is how they're getting people to comment on their posts. Number one thing for getting engagement is giving engagement. And this is true on any platform. I know a lot of people on LinkedIn will say that they spend 10 minutes commenting on other people's posts before they post. And then another 10 minutes commenting after. So I like to say it's a 6:1 ratio, at least where you're commenting on other people's and then you're posting because that's what makes people go back to your profiles, see your content and want to engage is kind of that give to get. You can't be overt about it, or, you know, say, come and see my posts.

    And then people will not be happy with you on Instagram. You can get away with it a little bit more, you know, the hashtag follow me. And some of those things work on Instagram, is not going to work as much on LinkedIn. On Twitter, people seem to engage more with direct kind of questions depending on your audience. And again, things that people can reply to without being too vulnerable although I see people being more vulnerable on Twitter than maybe any other place, which is interesting. You really want to think about why would that person engage on your posts? How will it make them look when they engage? And in what ways could you help them look good? But in the way that you ask the question that you're asking in your post and the thread that you've heard throughout here is that you have to ask a question and you have to be clear.

    One of the things I struggle with is that I'll ask like 2 or 3 questions, or my question will be kind of convoluted. And the clearer their question is, the easier it is for people to answer it. Of course, the easier it is for people to engage. And if that answer is going to help them build their personal brands, even better for getting them to engage, especially on LinkedIn. So those were my 3 tips. Think about the humans, the time that they have that they want to engage right there in real time. They want you to have the information there that they can engage with. Two, think about the algorithm and don't do things that we don't need to do, like pointing people away from your post, by a share or a pop-up of the article. And then 3, really think about getting people engaged in a way that fits with your platform.

    And that makes them look good, especially if you're doing things on LinkedIn. Those are my three tips for today. I love it. If you have anything else that you would share and building your engagement, building your conversations. Obviously, you respond to every comment because it's really about building your community. And if you do that on your posts and you do it consistently, then you're, you'll be more likely to turn those relationships that you're building into leads for your business, referral partners, whatever it is that you might want for your business. So if you have other topics you'd like us to talk about on these Tuesdays, we'd love to hear them and be able to share them with you. If you have people that you'd like to come on and share something you think might be helpful to your colleagues or your colleagues in their work with clients, I'd love to hear that too. So we'll see you next Tuesday. Thank you everyone.

  • 30 Dec 2015 8:36 AM | Anonymous

    By Brenda Bernstein
    The Essay Expert

    Your professional image is largely determined by what’s on your LinkedIn profile. Don’t think for a minute that any — and I mean any — employer who considers hiring you won’t Google you and vet your LinkedIn profile.

    What would you like them to find there?

    Here’s what potential employers and clients will see in most profiles:

    1. Spelling, grammar and punctuation errors in the main profile. Don’t let this happen. Find a good editor to review your profile!

    2. Recommendations containing spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. Have someone check these and if there are errors, ask your recommender to replace the recommendation. Most people are very cooperative — I’ve made these requests myself!

    3. No picture, a blurry picture, a picture with 2 people in it, or a picture with a busy background. I understand some people have privacy considerations that raise concerns about posting a picture on LinkedIn. If you do choose to post a photo, however, make it a head shot with a plain, light background. We’re shooting for the professional look here!

    4. Websites like “My Company” and “Blog.” These titles don’t provide much information. Thankfully, it’s easy to personalize your URLs – just choose “Other” and write in your specific website description.

    5. Public profile URLs with lots of numbers, letters and slashes at the end. You can customize your URL to end with your name. Is that name taken? Try last name followed by first name, or use an initial or two, or insert dashes — you can figure this one out.

    Here’s what potential employers and clients will NOT see in many cases:

    1. Consistency. From one job description to the next, there are often discrepancies in format and structure. Consistency is extremely important in any resume-like document! If you have a heading that says “Major Accomplishments,” use it in all positions where you had major accomplishments. If you are writing in the third person (which I recommend for your profile), write everything in the third person. If you use periods at the end of your bullets, do it everywhere. Capisce?

    2. Recommendations. If you own a business or are looking for work, it is especially important to use this opportunity to have people sell you!

    3. Descriptions of your job duties and accomplishments — why would you leave these out? It’s okay on your 10th job in the list to leave out the bullets, but make sure you provide a description of what you did at your jobs. Start your phrases with verbs (past tense verbs for past positions, present tense verbs for present positions). Let us know not just what you did but what you accomplished. The more concrete and quantifiable the better. You can also attach a resume for this purpose if you download the application Box.net.

    4. School activities and sometimes degrees. If you got a degree or participated in activities while in school, list them! If you are a student, add the special section for Education.

    5. Applications. I recommend checking out the partner applications available through LinkedIn. You can attach documents, recommend books, and do many other things with these useful tools. Find out what’s available — and use it!

    If you avoid these errors and omissions in your LinkedIn profile, you will stand out in a positive way to the people reading it. Why would you take a chance by doing anything else?

  • 18 Dec 2015 2:30 PM | Anonymous

    By Rabbi R. Karpov, Ph.D., CPRW, JCTC

    Safer Linking is even more important now that ~2,000 people are signing on daily.

    Many approach us for our mutual benefit; but some have other agendas. (The New Yorker cartoon caption, “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog*,” is what comes to mind.)

    LinkedIn recently rolled out the “Block or Report” feature – for reasons. The “or Report” part is designed to remove Bad Actors. Some are NOT who they say they are – if they in fact areanybody but scam-bots carefully engineered to “hook” us (this IS a multi-billion dollar business, we were told at the SBA meeting with FBI and the rest).

    Since LinkedIn is business-based, it makes sense they would show up here, since the “419” scam involves an exchange of money – or access to it. NBCNews.com’s article, “Nigerian 419 Email Scammers Shift to Malware,” tells us how rapidly this problem is exploding.

    Here are a few basic steps to optimize your, and your practice’s, safety.

    Before Linking, Perform Due Diligence

    First, check out the photo. (we learned this “Google Images” algorithm methodology from Robin Schlinger, several years ago).

    1. When you hover your cursor over the lower right-hand corner, it should be able to come up – allowing you to save it. Do so.

    2. Next, run that photo through “Google Images,” which you bring up on Google by typing that phase into the window, which then prompts you to upload. Now you can find some things out.

    3. Ways they could immediately come up Wrong: (a.) Stock Photo. (That wholesome-looking woman, it turns out, wasn’t really an Apple Computer VP ... nor was that her profile.) (b) Or worse: Real Photo, but hijacked: Either from someone living, such a military-man (to pluck that heart-string); or Miss World Philippines contestant #15 (thank you, Liz Ryan, for pointing that one out; or someone deceased (hey, that’s the late President of Zaire!)

    Check out the rest of the general “picture”.

    1. Run the email address under ‘contact information’ through Google. Did it come up as known email address associated ONLY with scammer?

    2. Run the name through Google. What turned up?

    3. Run the name AND the email address through Google. Sometimes that is what turns up information that will make you glad you took this extra 5 minutes

    An example of Wrong is Inappropriate romantic/promise-to-pay-back-the-money-soon email – there are actual sites like “Pig Busters | Scammer Awareness”.

    BOTTOM LINE: If they’re Wrong, go directly to ‘Block or Report’; and ... guess what . . . REPORT THEM. (Methodology below; reasons why it’s better for YOU, for one thing, below THAT.)

    HOW TO REPORT THEM to LinkedIn

    1. Go to the creep’s LinkedIn site (much as looking at this photo and the rest may gall you).

    2. In the top square with the Name, etc., is what looks like blue bar that says “Send a message.” The blue bar is actually two components, a rectangle and a square on the right with the downward-pointing isosceles triangle. Hover over the triangle.

    3. The pop-up menu appears. Hover over that, and select “Block or Report,” which opens to LinkedIn’s specifically telling you, “Choose this option if you think this person’s behavior is bad for the LinkedIn community.”

    4. Report them for “misrepresentation,” if that’s what it is: Why the photo is wrong, what else about this is fraudulent, and so forth. Explain briefly but specifically – LinkedIn WANTS to know, so they can Clean House.

    In case you’re already gotten more than for what you’d bargained... ,

    1. If you’ve received Inappropriate Message, report THAT. (Someone who has to say they’re sorry for invading your privacy and then asks stalker-ish questions... that’s a Not-Pology. (I mean, they are sorry ... a sorry piece of work, that’s all.)

    2. NOW go back and unlink.

    3. Having done all of the above . . . it’s best to Block them while LinkedIn is removing them, so as to NOT optimize their chances of approaching your associates meanwhile!

    4. Your friends with whom they’ve also linked, will in general be grateful for a heads-up about this non-person.

    And next time, next approach from those whose business is primarily monkey-business...

    1. Don’t let it get that far.

    2. That’s it. Same as #1.

    Why It Is So Important That We REPORT THEM

    Since a “Link” is half a “vouch,”’ remaining linked or letting our friends do so if we know better, DOES damage our brand, by damaging our credibility.

    What should go without saying is that NOT passively letting your associates get hurt (even via time-wasting), should be common courtesy.

    Even passive involvement is Bad Karma. These scam-bots WILL approach others, until stopped.

    LinkedIn is very alert right now to NOT let itself become too-convenient grounds for stalking or Scam or any of that, and has rolled-out the ‘Block or Report’ feature. I credit them for that.

    I also credit colleagues including Liz Ryan, Karleen Harp, Nina Ebert, Camille Carboneau-Roberts, obviously Robin Schlinger, and others, without whose input this article would not have been created.

    Link safely!

    *Peter Steiner, cartoon caption, ‘The New Yorker,’ magazine, July 5, 1993.

  • 18 Dec 2015 2:28 PM | Anonymous

    By Jan Melnik

    Job seekers at virtually all levels today are finally embracing the value of a fully developed LinkedIn profile — both for active job search and for passive networking. As compared with several years ago, most people are over the stigma that a presence will label them as job-seeking or, worse (from their perspective only), out of work. People recognize the value this tool brings to networking and remember that it is just that, a tool to support effective ways of reaching out and maintaining connections (and, yes, job search).

    If we accept, then, as a given that a LinkedIn presence is essential, what’s the next step? In coaching sessions, I’m frequently met with (virtual) blank stares. Without further prodding, many of my clients seem content to remain passive: ”Okay, my LI is ‘up’ with well-developed, branded content consistent with my messaging, I’ve reached out to colleagues, clients, vendors, former managers, etc., and built a respectable group of connections, and I’ve even uploaded a recent professionally done headshot.” And that’s it (they think). While it is true that in ever-increasing numbers executive recruiters are trolling LI looking for talent and may/do reach out, those engaged in otherwise active job search are leaving a huge stone unturned by not using the valuable features LI provides.

    When I point out the tabs-at-the-top of LinkedIn, I’m consistently surprised by the number of execs expressing surprise: they’ve not spent any time or even thought to ‘hit any of those buttons.’ The three I’ll spend the most time coaching on in a one-on-one LI training session: Groups, Jobs, and Companies. The biggest takeaway I impart is how to find and use the connections-in-common with each category of interest.

    In this article, I’ll focus on Groups. For instance, if I’m working with a CMO whose industry background has been aerospace and defense, I’ll encourage her to use the search feature in Groups to identify possible organizations to ‘join.’ I stress the need to be discriminating. While LI (today, anyway) allows up to 50 ‘memberships,’ it’s impossible to monitor, actively contribute to, and demonstrate thought leadership on that many forums. Pick a handful of engaged groups that can bring value while allowing you to potentially help others. Examine a few key criteria: How may members in the group? How active is it (LI will tell you this)? How many people in your network already belong? Are these 1st or 2nd degree connections?

    For this example, the group “Aviation & Aerospace Professionals” appears the most robust with more than 38,000 members, “very active” discussions (813 in a recent month), and it might be a good place to spend some time. Then go to the thread for that group and read. Anything catching your interest? Do topics seem lively, well-developed, eliciting involvement? Lurk for a while, then dip your toe in by sharing an opinion or thought on a thread. Of course, a savvy job seeker *isn’t* going to announce that fact. Rather, as thought leadership is demonstrated through intelligent, thought-provoking posts, people will notice… and when they visit that person’s profile, it will open the door to a contact if there is interest/opportunity.

    For this same aerospace CMO client, we find among the 1300+ possible associations/groups of interest another much smaller forum: Aerospace Marketing & Business Development. While there are only about 1400 members, the conversations in this portal are niche-specific. Probably another good place to check out. Use the connections you have within those groups to begin a separate dialogue by sending a message (or an invitation to connect if you haven’t already done so). Of course, it’s essential to personalize your message and not simply accept LI’s ubiquitous: “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

    This is just the start in connecting the dots between Groups and the other two important areas on LinkedIn for networking, Jobs and Companies. Be sure to leverage your LI power!

  • 18 Dec 2015 2:21 PM | Anonymous

    By Brenda Bernstein
    The Essay Expert

    Have you always wondered how some people got really cool graphics into their LinkedIn Profiles? Is it magic? No, it’s easy!

    All you need is your character map.

    “What’s my character map?” you may ask.

    If you are a mac user, I refer you to this forum.

    If you are a PC user like I am, just go to your start menu and start typing “character map” into the search box. Or, if you don’t have a search box because of an odd technical situation (not that I know from experience about this..  ehhemm…) you can click on All Programs, then the Accessories Folder, then System Tools, then Character Map. If you want to see images for these steps you can visit 386solutions.

    Here’s what you’ll see once you enter the character map:

    Simply choose the symbol you want to insert into your profile and double click on it. The symbol will appear in the “Characters to copy” box.

    Using this feature, you can insert foreign language alphabets, bullets of many varieties, and any other symbols that strike your fancy. You will then be able to create profiles that look like these (click to see full profiles):



    Another trick is to insert a line across the page for emphasis. Lines take up 40 characters but I think they’re worth it. The easiest way to create a line in your profile is to copy one from someone else’s profile. Feel free to copy and paste mine!

    If you want to experiment with different geometric shapes, or even letters in different languages, try copying and pasting your favorites from Wikipedia's List of Unicode Characters or (for foreign languages) use Google Translate. Or, I recently found CopyPasteCharacter.com, where you can easily find, click and paste characters into your profile.

    Using a combination of graphic highlights, you can make your profile “pop” in a way that everyone else’s does not. In my opinion, it’s worth putting a bit of effort into any strategy that will keep people interested in reading past the first glance. Graphics can do that!

  • 17 Dec 2015 10:52 AM | Anonymous

    By Brenda Bernstein
    The Essay Expert

    The LinkedIn profile activity update is often overlooked and underutilized.

    Context… and the Danger of Hootsuite

    The activity update feature gives you a chance to report on your personal or business-related “current events.” You may recognize the activity update from other social media sites.

    Facebook users change their status regularly and can be rather creative with the things they report. You might see anything from “I was rudely introduced to the hungry Pothole from hell in Boston which ate my tire” to “Delayed in Atlanta. Renewing vow never to take connecting flights” to “…is saving lives one shopping mall at a time.” You probably would not want any of these activity updates to show up on your LinkedIn profile.

    Then there’s Twitter. How can you sell your wares, report important news, or, better yet, say something pithy, in 140 characters or less? Yesterday I saw this one:

    “This dream today embattled with its back against the wall, to save the dream 4 one, it must be saved 4 all” Langston Hughes (2nd time/ #fb).

    Wow, was that really Twitter-compliant? Guess Langston was ahead of his time.

    So what about LinkedIn activity updates? What to do with these? Well, we know off the bat that you are on LinkedIn for professional networking purposes. We also know that a Twitter-proof activity update like “Discover the Best Anti Aging Vitamins That Will Change Your Life… http://tinyurl.com/xlr52pz” might not cut it on LinkedIn’s information-sharing and networking-focused site. Or would it?

    To all you Hootsuite users out there, you have the option of sending out the same status message to all your social media groups.  Be careful if you’re including LinkedIn in your Hootsuite targets!

    Report on your Business-related Activities

    LinkedIn suggests the following starts to your updates: “working on…”, “traveling to…”, “looking for advice on…”, “looking for a job…” or “reading…” I personally have taken a bit of a direct selling posture in my updates, at least sometimes. When I first started offering LinkedIn profile reviews, for instance, I kept track of the countdown in terms of how many LinkedIn reviews I had remaining at a bargain price. The reviews flew off the shelf! I also use LinkedIn updates to announce upcoming events and webinars that people might want to attend.

    I think the most effective activity updates report on current trainings, travels, ideas, etc. that show your readers that you are serious about your profession. If you have a blog, it’s a good idea to post a link to your latest article.

    If you were looking for an SEO optimization specialist, and you were browsing LinkedIn profiles, wouldn’t you like to see that your prospective SEO optimizer is at a conference that week in the field, or that she is leading a webinar or writing a blog on the subject? You probably wouldn’t care about this person’s flat tire or shopping plans, or even about the person’s visits to see the grandchildren. It is imperative as you update your status that you consider what your audience would want to read about you.

    Update Frequently

    Keep your activity updates current and your readers will know that you are serious about your business – plus, your connections will be reminded of your status if your settings and theirs permit it.

    Your Profile Settings

    You can’t do anything about your contacts’ settings… but you can make sure that you have "Who can see your activity feed" (under Profile Settings) set to Everyone, and then go update it! Isn’t it worth composing a few lines every few days to benefit from this visibility?

    Frankly, if you are on LinkedIn, sharing your activity is part of your business. Do it often and do it well, and start getting the attention you want out of your LinkedIn profile.

  • 17 Dec 2015 10:48 AM | Anonymous

    By Brenda Bernstein
    The Essay Expert

    On July 24, 2011, LinkedIn announced their “Apply with LinkedIn” system.  According to LinkedIn’s Blog, Apply with LinkedIn will allow you to “submit your profile for any job application on the web with one simple click.” Most notable about this program is that companies will be able to install a button on their websites, allowing applicants to apply using a LinkedIn profile!

    You now have another incentive to write a KILLER LinkedIn profile.

    LinkedIn claims that over one thousand companies are jumping on the bandwagon, including big names like Netflix, TripIt and Photobucket.

    The following are LinkedIn’s 3 advertised selling points for job seekers:

    1.  You can modify your profile for each position.

    If you want to cater your profile to each job position, this is your chance.  Of course, you could get in trouble if the company were to go back and check your profile to find that it looks completely different from the profile you submitted…  so don’t modify toomuch!

    2. LinkedIn will show you the names of people who can introduce you to someone in the company.

    We all know that the way to get a job is through networking, and LinkedIn apparently will help you get started.  I wonder how effective these leads really are, however, since if everyone who applies for the position is given contact information of people at the company, these contacts might be inundated with communications from hundreds of job seekers. This feature could lose its power pretty quickly.

    3. LinkedIn will track all your applications for you!

    Tracking services and historical information on your job search?  Now that is a huge advantage, especially for the organizationally challenged!  All you have to do is go to the “Saved Jobs” tab under the Jobs category, and you’ll be able to view a record of all the jobs you’ve applied to.  Imagine twenty or thirty years from now looking back nostalgically on those first Apply with LinkedIn attempts.

    Your STELLAR LinkedIn Profile!

    The most important takeaway of this roll-out as I see it is that if you are planning to apply to one of the thousands of companies who soon will be using the Apply with LinkedIn button, you will really need to make sure your LinkedIn profile is 100% complete – and that it sparkles!

  • 17 Dec 2015 10:45 AM | Anonymous

    By Brenda Bernstein
    The Essay Expert

    If you are a job seeker, how should you complete the “current position” item in your profile?

    LinkedIn presents job seekers with a dilemma: The site requires an “up-to-date current position (with a description)” for a 100% complete profile (see Profile Completeness list on LinkedIn); and according to LinkedIn, 100% complete profiles are 40 times more likely to be viewed. But if you are a job seeker, you might not have a current position other than “job seeker.” Should you create a “filler” job description to be 100% complete? Or should you hope that 95%-or-so complete is enough?

    Adding to this dilemma is that recruiters, according to experts in the careers industry, do not like to see made-up job descriptions in the current position spot. They prefer for job seekers to call a spade a spade, i.e., leave the current position description blank if they are not employed.

    Resume and LinkedIn profile writers come down on multiple sides of this issue. There are upsides and downsides to all of these options; in the end, let the numbers (how many people find you, view your profile and contact you) guide your choice.

    Option #1

    One camp says to put something in the current position field indicating you are a job seeker. You might give yourself a job title such as “Target position: VP Operations,” or “Seeking next opportunity as Graphic Designer.” You can then write a description of what you offer that adds to what you wrote in your Summary. In the company name field, you might enter “–“or “Seeking next opportunity.”

    Option #2

    Some people recommend putting volunteer work as your current position, or your “job” as Manager of a LinkedIn group. I would not recommend either solution unless your volunteer or group manager work is close to full-time. There is a section you can add on LinkedIn called Volunteer Activities and Causes. That is the most appropriate spot in which to put your volunteer activities.

    Option #3

    A third camp says to leave the current job description blank if you don’t have a job, and to complete as many parts of the profile as possible. If your profile is 95% complete, you should still do well in searches.

    The Essay Expert’s Recommendation

    You might want to try both Option #1 and Option #3. I wouldn’t recommend Option #2.

    The great thing about LinkedIn profiles is that you can always change them and do different things to see what works best for you. Try this:

    1. Write a current position that says, for example, “Target Position: General Manager, Automotive” or “Seeking Opportunities as Financial Analyst” or “Program Manager – Candidate” and track how many people view your profile and how often you are appearing in search results (this information can be found on your home page in the right-hand column).

    2. If you are getting sufficient activity in your profile, great. Don’t change anything! If not, the first thing to consider is whether you have enough connections to appear toward the top of searches. I recommend having 500+ connections in order to reliably raise your ranking in search results and increase page views.

    3. If you have 500+ connections and your profile is still not getting enough attention, either change what you have in the “current position” section or make it blank for a month. Track your profile views and appearances in search results.

    4. Repeat Steps #2 and #3 until you get the results you want.

    There are more options than these of course. What strategies have been working for you?

  • 15 Dec 2015 2:27 PM | Anonymous

    By Susan Britton Whitcomb, PCC, CCMC, CPCC, CJSS, MRW, NCRW, CCM
    The Academies

    What’s the #1 job trend (according to surveys by Indeed.com and CareerBuilder.com)? How about the “Word of the Year” according to the American Dialect Society? And one of Microsoft’s most searched phrases on its search engine Bing? If you guessed Twitter, you’re right.

    You may be thinking, though, “What’s the point? How can this site—crammed with apparently insignificant, inconsequential information—possibly be key to my job search?”

    Keep an open mind! Yes, Twitter has a bit of a learning curve (not uncommon for all good things). The good news is that you can find value from Day #1, whether just dabbling as a NOOB (shorthand for newbie in Twitter-speak) or becoming a power user. These 25 tips will get you off on the right foot.

    1. Lurk First! Before jumping in, wait a bit and study what’s happening on Twitter. You can do this even before setting up a Twitter account by viewing Twitter user’s streams (for example, visit my Twitter stream at www.twitter.com/susanwhitcomb or my co-authors in The Twitter job Search Guide (JIST 2010), www.twitter.com/chandlee and www.twitter.com/CEOCoach). Another cool site for lurking is www.monitter.com where you can search keywords of interest to you.

    2. Think Strategically When Setting Up Your Twitter Account. Some people waver between using their own personal name (such as JaneDoe) or a profession (such as CEOintheKnow) for their Twitter handle. There are advantages to both; however, using your real identity can add to your name recognition. If you have a common name that is already taken on Twitter and want to use your name, add a designation that matches your profession, such as JaneDoeCPA or JaneDoeSalesExec.

    3. Write an Employer-Focused “160me” for Your Twitter Profile. Twitter allows a maximum of 160 characters to describe who you are. Give readers a taste of the return-on-investment they’ll receive from hiring you. For example: “Go-to resource for publicity for non-profits. Earned organizations cover stories in regional mags; PR delivered 10s of thousands of dollars in contributions.”

    4. Remember the Photo. Leaving out a photo in your Twitter profile is an invitation for people to immediately dismiss you. Choose a photo that looks as good as you would when going to an interview—your absolute best. There is a greater sense of connection between followers and followees when each of you can see what the other really looks like. Don’t like your picture? Use an avatar, but stay on brand. These sites are great starting points for avatars: www.BigHugeLabs.com and www.SouthParkStudios.com.

    5. Point Potential Employers to More Info About You. In your Twitter profile, include a link to a site where employers can get more information about you, such as your profile at www.LinkedIn.com or your online resume at www.VisualCV.com.

    6. Don’t Rush to Follow When First Starting Out. When you follow people on Twitter, it’s likely they will follow you back. If your history of tweets (known as a tweet stream) isn’t interesting or, worse yet, is non-existent, you’ll lose the opportunity to gain new followers. Instead, compose some interesting tweets first.

    7. Tweet On-Brand. You’ll want to tweet primarily about things that relate to your profession. Read industry news feeds, blogs, and other resources for relevant, fresh content.

    8. Use Google Alerts for Your Tweet Content. Go to www.google.com/alerts to set up alerts for industry trends, news on your target companies, and more sent directly to your email. You’ll look impressive as one of the first to tweet about it.

    9. Use TweetDeck or Other Third-Party Application (API).Twitter can appear overwhelming and confusing if you’re not using an API such as www.TweetDeck.com,www.Seismic.com, or www.HootSuite.com. The sites can organize tweets into columns of your choosing, such as those that reference your name, those that contain a relevant hashtag or keyword (such as #TaxPreparer), or a list of followers you are particularly interested in.

    10. Follow People Who You’d Like To Know You. Follow companies on your list of target companies, employees in those companies, recruiters, potential networking contacts, industry leaders, and others who might help connect you to the people with the influence to hire.

    11. Use Lists. Check out www.Listorious.com for lists of people of interest in your target companies or profession. Likewise, check out the lists that other Twitter users have created.

    12. Explore Twitter’s Advanced Search Feature. Twitter has an advanced search function that isn’t readily apparent from its home page. You can find it here: www.search.twitter.com/advanced. Use it to search for opportunities (e.g., #jobs #portland #finance) or people.

    13. Search Beyond Twitter with Twitter Search Services. Use sites like www.TweepSearch.com or www.Twazzup.com to find people (e.g., recruiters, finance).

    14. Remember the 75-25 Rule When Tweeting. If you’re in job-search mode, approximately 75% of your tweets should be professional, while 25% can be more of a personal nature (e.g., “Looking forward to my 25-mile ride through the Blossom Trail this weekend.”). Use discretion with your personal tweets!

    15. Tweet, Tweet, Tweet, But Don’t Get Sucked In. Be careful that your time on Twitter is focused and productive. Consider starting with 15 minutes a day: spend five minutes in the morning, noon, and afternoon. During that time, consider tweeting about an interesting industry trend, retweeting someone’s tweet that would be interesting to your followers, and sending an “at” (@) message to someone based on an interesting comment in their tweet stream.

    16. Recommend and Retweet—The Highest Form of Flattery.No longer is imitation the highest form of flatter; in the Twitterverse, it’s retweets. Retweet (RT) interesting tweets from people on your target company list and networking contacts. Imagine how impressed a prospective boss would be when he/she sees you retweeting information that will promote his/her company. In addition, make #FF (Follow Friday) recommendations of your target company contacts and networking contacts.

    17. Shift Twitter Exchanges into Phone and Face-to-Face Conversations. Eventually, you will want to shift the conversation from Twitter to a telephone conversation or live meeting. Watch for opportunities to do just that, and act immediately when they present themselves.

    18. Time Your Thank You’s. As you engage people on Twitter, people will retweet you, recommend you, and compliment you. Consider thanking these people at off-times (late night, wee hours of the morning) so they don’t clog your tweet stream.

    19. Schedule Your Tweets. If you know you’ll be unable to tweet at important times of the time, use an API to schedule your tweets in advance. www.SocialOomph.comis a free service that will allow you to do that. www.HootSuite.com is another.

    20. Go Mobile. Set up mobile alerts to stay in touch with your “tweeps” (Twitter friends) while on the road. Tweetie is a favorite for iPhone users.

    21. Sign up for TweetMyJobs Alerts. Every jobseeker, whether using Twitter user or no, should visit www.TweetMyJobs.com. Here, you can sign up for mobile-phone alerts of jobs relevant to your profession and geographic area. It’s simple and free to jobseekers, and much less expensive for employers than some of the traditional job sites such as Monster and CareerBuilder, or even LinkedIn.

    22. Use Hashtags. Hashtags, represented by the # sign in front of a word (e.g., #accounting, #finance, #programming, #healthcare), are used on Twitter to help users find all the tweets with that hashtag. Use them religiously! Find hashtags at www.hashtags.org or watch your favorite tweeps to see what hashtags they are using.

    23. Let Your Followers Know You’re Looking (But Not Too Frequently). A savvy jobseeker featured in The Twitter Job Search Guide (JIST, 2010) posted this hashtag-heavy tweet to gain the attention of employers and recruiters: “Looking to leverage my awesome #transportation #trucking #logistics & #supplychain tweeps to find #employment in #Charlotte NC. Suggestions?” Consider tweeting this type of information every week during your search.

    24. Get Great Career Advice on Twitter. Follow savvy career coaches and job search strategists for great career tips (such as this list: http://twitter.com/SusanWhitcomb/career-jobsearch-wisdom) or search for hashtags such as #resumes #careercoach #twitterjobsearch #jobsearch.

    25. GIVE Generously Before You Go Asking for Help. Twitter is a networking tool, which means the traditional rules of networking apply. Look for ways to be of service to othersbefore asking them for help. If you start off on Twitter with a tweet that says: “Got fired today. Anybody know of job openings?” you’ll not likely get much help!

    Finally, two words of advice: Start now. In the wisdom of master networker Harvey Mackay (@harveymackay), “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty.” It takes a few weeks to really get the swing of things on Twitter. When you do, you’ll discover that Twitter truly is the ultimate barrier buster!

  • 15 Dec 2015 1:45 PM | Anonymous

    By Elisabeth Sanders-Park
    Worknet Solutions

    Everyone has an online identity. Are you managing yours? An ExecutNet survey of 100 executive recruiters showed that 77% use search engines to learn more about candidates and check the background of job seekers, and 35% have eliminated a candidate from consideration based on the information uncovered. These numbers are rising, and the trend is becoming common practice. Employers used to check references at the end of the hiring process to tip the scales between top candidates or confirm their final decision. No more.

    Today, applicants are ‘Googled’ early in the process to determine if they are worth an initial phone call. What employers learn online won’t get a person hired, but it can get them screened-out. Job seekers at all levels must not only maximize appropriate online opportunities, but actively reduce or remove digital dirt that could get them screened-out before they have a chance to market themselves. There is a lot of information available on maximizing online opportunities in the job search – how to craft a LinkedIn Profile, position yourself as an industry leader through blogging, tweet your way to a job (I recommend, ‘The Twitter Job Search Guide’ by Whitcomb, Bryant, and Dib), etc., but little light is shed on how to deal with negative online information in the job search.

    The first step is for the job seeker to ‘Google’ the version(s) of their name employers are likely to search and see what comes up. As they surf, they should view the results from the likely perspective of the employers they want to work for. Remember, there are essentially 6 reasons you get the job… or not.

    Could what employers see online lead them to believe the job seeker does not represent the company image (Presentation), embody the company personality (Attitude), promote the company mission and goals (Motivation), attract the right people (Network), possess the necessary skills (Ability), or work in the company’s best interest (Dependability, more in my recent book, ‘The 6 Reasons You’ll Get the Job’]?… if so, it must be dealt with. Digital dirt falls into two categories – your own, and that of others with the same name as you.

    John Smith or John Smith

    If there is more than one person on earth who uses the same name as the job seeker, employers are likely to get information about multiple parties, whether they know it or not. Here are some quick tips. The job seeker can:

    • Conduct the job search using a unique version of their name – their full name, nickname, middle initial, just middle and last name, an initial, etc. In this case, they must use that name in all their correspondence, marketing tools, and online expression, plus update all their online profiles and alert their references and past employers about the specific name they are using.
    • Create a ‘Search Me’ button to drive employers to select information. This is simple and free, and I recommend that all job seekers do it. They can visit www.vizibility.com , search their name, review all the results, then choose, click, and prioritize the five they want to employers to see.

      The system then lets them create a button or link that drives directly to the hand-selected results. This button/link may prompt ‘Search Me’, ‘Google Me’, ‘Get the Right Job Smith’, or something else, and can be used on an electronic resume, email signature, LinkedIn profile, and more. Because this offers only five results, employers are likely to search further (most will search 2-3 pages of results), but at least they know they have reliable information about the candidate.

    Burying Digital Dirt

    If when employers search a job seekers name they will encounter negative information likely to result in screen-out, the person may attempt to bury the old, negative details with a barrage of fresh, positive expressions, including LinkedIn and Facebook status updates, blog entries, comments on others’ websites or blogs, Tweets, Amazon book reviews, and more. Each new online expression must be targeted to the employers the job seeker wants to work for.

    I recently coached a man who has done a great job burying a negative (and untrue) story about him which ran in his local paper and online. He has established himself as an expert in his field (management, staff development, entrepreneurship) by tweeting tips and links to helpful articles, reviewing a dozen business books on Amazon.com, finding and sharing events and information on LinkedIn, writing and posting articles, commenting on relevant blogs, and even crafting and posting helpful, relevant whitepapers. The result? When you search his name, you get a barrage of positive, helpful, expertise and must scan multiple pages of results to get to this negative stuff.

    Like this man, many job seekers can bury their digital dirt, but they must continue to spread a fresh layer of new online information throughout their search. I also recommend that they create a ‘Search Me’ button via www.vizibility.com as mentioned above.

    These are simple solutions to a new job search dynamic that can be complex, but these tips will make the difference for many people. If you need targeted solutions for your clientele, contact me and I am happy to coach you through it. Also, in light of the fact that there are issues a job seeker should bury until they have established their value but which the employer will or should know about, timing is everything. Bury the digital dirt, but for tips on timing, see Debra Angel MacDougall’s article.

    As always, thank you for letting me be part of your very important work. It is an honor.

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