I’ve been ripping through Games of Thrones, trying to catch up to season eight. At this point, Arya Stark has manged to get back to Winterfell by concealing her identity at times. She learned how to do this by being trained by Jaqen H’ghar and the Waif.
When she’s asked who she is, she declares, “No One.”
For those of you who haven’t watched Game of Thrones or have no inclination to do so, let me get to the reason why I’m writing this post.
I received a belligerent Facebook message from a person who wrote, “Hi Bob…..do you even remember me or know who I am?”
To be honest, I don’t remember her. So what I did was look at her Facebook page to see if there were any photos of her. An image of a woman holding a baseball bat with a Bruins’ logo in the background is her photo.
There were pictures of many people young and old, but nothing clearly indicating her countenance.
Then I looked her up on LinkedIn, and guess what. Right, no photo on her profile.
Don’t remember her.
This account of mine might seem insignificant. And really I’m not rattled by it. However, it goes to show you that if you’re on social media and have no photo of yourself, you’re No One.
Here’s one thing to consider if you’re No One, you will not be trusted, liked, or remembered by LinkedIn members, including recruiters and other hiring authorities.
I recently changed my Facebook photo from a casual shot of me sitting alone to one of me with my ankle-biting dog sitting on a rock (below). It’s temporary, but I like it. I have my temporary photo set to go back to my original one in a week..
This is a cool feature that Facebook offers, automatically changing your photo back to the original one. It’s also cool that I can share a personal post like this, and…receive likes and comments on it.
There are other neat Facebook features which don’t apply to LinkedIn.
2. You can express your opinions with impunity.
I’m not one to express my political views, even though I’m gainfully employed, nor do I talk about religion. But I know I could on Facebook if I wanted.
Many of my Facebook friends are not shy about their political views, and that’s okay. If I don’t agree with their opinions, I scroll past them.
3. You can share photos of food and other stuff
Then there are wonderful photos of delicious food that one of my friends posts on a regular basis. They make me want to write to her and say, “When should I be over for dinner?”
Many people share photos of their kids–mixed feelings about the younger ones–playing lacrosse or football, attending proms, celebrating birthdays, and other sentimental situations
4. You can play games and other neat features
Occasionally I’ll participate in games or apps that tell you what famous character in history your personality resembles. Or what you will look like in fifty years. Pretty cool.
5. Groups on Facebook are livelier than LinkedIn groups
This is a sad testament to LinkedIn’s declining group participation. One Facebook group I like is Recruiters Online. Another is one that addresses issues in my home city. Be aware that Facebook members tend to speak their mind and don’t hold back on insulting others in the group.
6. You can get more personal with Message
I’ll reach more people through Messages on Facebook than I will on LinkedIn’s Messaging, which curiously copied Facebook’s form of one-on-one communication method.
This is do in fact because I have intimate relationships with more people on Facebook than LinkedIn. Better put, I know people will respond quickly to my messages. I am not assured that my LinkedIn connections will check their accounts as much as Facebook members do.
People who know me would wonder, “Is this the Bob I know? He hates Facebook. He’s crazy about LinkedIn.” This is true; I dig LinkedIn, more so than Facebook. But it’s not true that I hate Facebook.
When LinkedIn is favorable
What I tell my workshop attendees is that Facebook allows me to let my hair down for the aforementioned reasons. I love making comments about my family and sharing their pictures. The only people I have to worry about is my oldest daughter and my wife, who literally critique my every post.
Facebook is not my professional arena. In fact, I refuse to allow myself to be professional on Facebook. For example, the photo you see below is one I have on my LinkedIn profile. I wouldn’t dream of using the photo above for LinkedIn. My connections would send me nasty comments if I did.
Below are times when LinkedIn is preferable over Facebook.
1. If you want to brand yourself, LinkedIn is the place to do it
Let’s be real, you can’t brand yourself on Facebook as a job seeker or business person as well as you can on LinkedIn. LinkedIn gives you a built-in audience for your branding. Most people on this platform understand its intended purpose.
Your profile is the first opportunity to brand yourself, followed by developing a professional network, and engaging in an appropriate manner. To this point, your posts, shared articles, insightful advice is businesslike, not personal.
2. Content on LinkedIn is more professional, and we like it
Some people on LinkedIn don’t get it; I don’t think they ever will. LinkedIn is for professional networking and curating relevant information. Occasionally the LinkedIn police will tell you, “More suited for Facebook” or “Send it to Facebook” or what I like to say, “I thought I was on LinkedIn, not Facebook.”
3. If you like to blog, LinkedIn has a platform for it
To a point, LinkedIn has a blogging feature that allows you to share your posts. The reach is greater than most blog platforms as long as you market your posts. The downside is if you don’t tag a hundred LinkedIn members when you post it, or write to them individually, your articles won’t see the light of day.
4. LinkedIn’s real value is its immense professional network
Even though Facebook is at least twice as large as LinkedIn, its members are more concerned about sharing photos of the food they’re eating, showing off their new grandchildren, bragging about their vacation in France. You get the idea.
Those same people can use LinkedIn as a professional networking platform to generate leads for business and their job search. It’s all business, and LinkedIn’s members understand this…for the most part. The LinkedIn police are real.
5. Recruiters hang out on LinkedIn to cull talent
Again, due to Facebook’s immensity, there are probably more recruiters on its platform than LinkedIn. However, the recruiters on LinkedIn are more serious about finding talent. They expect to find qualified talent on LinkedIn.
Job seekers on LinkedIn understand the value this platform offers. They are focused on networking with other job seekers, recruiters, and employees in companies for which they’d like to work.
6. LinkedIn is doing its best to catch up with Facebook
Facebook has more bells and whistles than LinkedIn, and that’s okay. For example, I’m fine with not having Facebook live. I have dabbled with sharing videos on LinkedIn, but this feature is a little clunky.
LinkedIn is focusing on features that professionals require; those that don’t succeed are eliminated. Two features on the phone app which will probably be abandoned: one that allows you to find people who can be located in your area, another that allows you to dictate your messages. Both of these features aren’t taking hold.
If you’re not on Facebook, join it
I used to bash Facebook in my LinkedIn workshops and blog posts. That’s until I joined Facebook. What I realized is that Facebook is great for us middle-age people (sadly true, younger folks are shunning Facebook).
I hypothesize that people who get too personal on LinkedIn, aren’t on Facebook or haven’t embraced its purpose. If you are one of these people, I ask you to visualize this overstated analogy: being on LinkedIn is akin to attending a professional networking event; whereas being on Facebook is similar to going to a party.
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An article on Observe.com post entitled “The death of LinkedIn” caught my eye. This post spoke mostly about how business is being conducted on Facebook and no longer on LinkedIn. But I want to speak about job seekers on LinkedIn.
One claim the author makes in his article is that LinkedIn is now only populated with recruiters trolling for job seekers. Reading this article left me thinking that if LinkedIn is, in fact, where recruiters dwell, it needs to step up its game in order to make it the ultimate platform for job seekers.
1. Many recruiters I see posting on LinkedIn are posting on Facebook at a greater rate. I asked one recruiter why I haven’t seen him on LinkedIn as much, as LinkedIn is my preferred place to hang out, and he told me he sees more candidates on Facebook.
This is true. SilkRoad.com presented an alarming figure stating that more job seekers (64%) are on Facebook, while more recruiters (87%) are using LinkedIn to cull talent. Job seekers should smarten up and hang out where the recruiters are. That would be LinkedIn, by the way.
2. LinkedIn’s groups are not what they used to be. Ever since LinkedIn took away the ability to search for people in groups and communicate directly with all members, regardless of degree, participation has waned. Yes, there was spam and yes, group members complained; as a result we have now is less activity.
Groups are supposed to be platforms for conversations, as well as business transactions. But this is not happening as it was supposed to. The aforementioned article may be correct on this front when the author writes:
“Facebook groups are much more valuable nowadays for business than LinkedIn. There’s so much value and quality in conversations that it’s unbeatable.”
When LinkedIn placed Groups in the Work area—rather than making it prominent on the navigation bar—this sent a message of the unpopularity and, perhaps, death of Groups.
3. LinkedIn giveth and LinkedIn taketh. The feature that hooked me on LinkedIn was one that LinkedIn did away with around a decade ago. I’m speaking of Answers, which created a community that was asking questions and answering them. Granted not all answers were of the highest quality.
Many of the same people are turning to Quora, but the community that was created with Answers was affected by this move. Other features that have disappeared are Events, Reading List (people are still searches for a post I wrote on this feature), to name a couple.
4. You’re on your own with LinkedIn Pulse. No social media platform has the reach LinkedIn has for sharing one’s knowledge. Whether you’re in business or unemployed, you can share articles through Pulse.
LinkedIn hasn’t made efforts to dissuade its members from sharing information, but it has made reaching out to your connections more difficult.
LinkedIn once alerted your connections of every article you wrote, which gave you ultimate reach. This is no longer the case. LinkedIn made it clear that you’re responsible for marketing your own articles.
If what the aforementioned article says is true; only one percent of your connections will see your posts (based on a large network), you better do a great job of marketing your articles.
5. LinkedIn ain’t sexy; Facebook is. Facebook is emotionally charged; people might write stupid things. They post topics on politics, current events, and share photos of their vacation in Italy. There are no secrets on Facebook; people pour out their souls. But it’s all good to Facebook friends.
So why do I find myself spending approximately 50% more time on LinkedIn than I do Facebook? LinkedIn is a great source of gaining knowledge. I learn more about my industry than I do on Facebook. Nonetheless, the unspoken rule is don’t show too much personality in your LinkedIn updates.
6. LinkedIn makes job seekers pay for previous features. I haven’t paid a penny on Facebook and services have remained consistent; whereas LinkedIn requires its members to upgrade to premium accounts to recoup the features they used to have.
Case in point, with the advent of LinkedIn Lite, users must upgrade to Sales Navigator to retain Advanced Search features, tagging, and the full blown profile, among other features. This is an $80 a month investment.
I have suggested that all members pay a flat fee in order to be on the same page, and if they want high level sales or recruiter features, their companies can pay for said features. My suggestion that every LinkedIn user pay $9.99 a month is not popular; however, it would separate the true users from the ones who rarely use LinkedIn.
Good News: you can use Google to find a LinkedIn Trainer on LinkedIn. I wanted to find people in the Boston area, so I used this string:
site:linkedin.com (inurl:in OR inurl:pub) -intitle:directory -inurl:dir -inurl:jobs “greater boston area” “linkedin trainer”
LinkedIn isn’t dead
I stopped bashing Facebook in my LinkedIn workshops exactly one year and five months ago when I joined Facebook. Immediately I fell in love with it. But I also realized Facebook is a platform for a different purpose. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. So I interact differently on the two platforms.
LinkedIn has forced us to do with less, yet many LinkedIn faithful still spend more time using LinkedIn than Facebook. Some aren’t even on Facebook. I continue to use LinkedIn, because I believe it is the best way to network online.
Business to business networking, job seeking, developing relationships, disseminating and gathering information are LinkedIn’s purposes. As long as another product doesn’t come around that can promise these features, LinkedIn will stay alive.
Photo: Flickr, Coletivo Mambembe
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Below is a letter sent from a concerned parent to a College Career Advisor as his daughter enters her freshman year of college.
Dear College Career Advisors,
I’m writing to you because my daughter has arrived at the University, and I’m hoping she’ll get some guidance from you. She and I agreed that she’d introduce herself to you after she’s settled in. Expect her to be a bit lost in the world of a major university.
As a Workshop Specialist at an urban Career Center, I occasionally see college grads in my workshops. Many of them didn’t take advantage of their college’s career centers and are hearing about the career search for the first time. I don’t want this to be the case with my girl, so I’m reaching out to you now.
My first request is that you impress upon my girl how crucial it is for her to develop her “soft skills.” In a survey by Glassdoor.com, employers feel skills such as, collaboration, verbal and written communications, and analytical thinking, are lacking in college grads.
She’ll need to learn how to write a great résumé of course. On her résumé she’ll need some real-life experience, namely internships. I’m seeing this lack of experience on some of the recent grads’ résumés I critique. If you would emphasize the importance of obtaining internships, it would be much appreciated.
Her interviewing skills will need some polish. I conduct mock interviews for my customers and I’ll tell you, they benefit from them greatly. Would you put her through a mock interview or two? Better yet, have her attend college career fairs and speak with some of the representatives there. There’s nothing like sitting in the hot seat.
Many of my customers balk at the idea of informational meetings, despite my impressing upon them the importance of gathering information; building their network; and, who knows, perhaps striking it lucky as the company is thinking of hiring. I want my daughter to go on as many informational meetings as possible.
She needs to learn about LinkedIn. Even though I teach LinkedIn, she’s never taken an interest in it. Why would I expect her to? Most high school students don’t even know about this platform; they’re wrapped up in Facebook and Twitter. Please emphasize the value of LinkedIn as an online networking application. Show her how she can reach out to the alums from the University.
One last thing and perhaps most important. Please suggest my daughter attend any networking events at the University and other venues. I think I read of a student networking group at the University that meets bi-monthly. This would be a great step in getting her to meet potential long-term contacts. Impress upon her that she should start developing her network before she needs it.
Thank you in advance for your consideration Your attention to my daughter’s success is greatly appreciated.
A Concerned Dad
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In an article by NPR, “Don’t Believe Facebook; You Only Have 150 Friends,” it challenges the viability of having more than 150 friends on Facebook. The article cleverly relates a story about Bill Gore, the founder of Gor-Tex, who became so frustrated with being unable to name or recognize all of his employees, that he capped the number of people to 150 at each of his company’s locations.
Although I know little to nothing about Facebook, I see a comparison between this social networking application and the extremely popular professional networking application, LinkedIn. I firmly believe that the more contacts you have on LinkedIn, the more your network resembles your group of Facebook friends; they’re hard to keep track of.
British Anthropologist, Robin Dunbar, who is quoted in the NPR article, as well as in Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, for her theory on the number of people you can actually know. Like Bill Gore, she caps it at 150.
“The figure of 150 seems to represent the maximum number of individuals with whom we can have a genuinely social relationship, the kind of relationship that goes with knowing who they are and how they relate to us,” she is quoted in The Tipping Point.
There has been a debate brewing among LinkedIn users over quantity versus quality contacts. Some who argue for quantity ask are you fully utilizing LinkedIn’s effectiveness by accepting only the people with whom you have developed a relationship, people you trust?
Others argue that building trust and long-term relationships is what networking is about; it’s a slow evolving process. Only after you have contacted a person seven times, some believe, will your contacts become true connections. (Seven is also a mystical number.)
For those who strive for quantity, the argument is a valid one. The more people you catch in your net, the better the possibility of starting something new. Who knows if one of the people you meet will turn into someone valuable? Business people bank on making as many connections as possible, as the more often their face appears on your home page, the more you’ll think about the products or services they sell.
Quality contacts are those with whom you have a relationship. In relationship building, LinkedIn can be an excellent tool for reaching out to people (contacts) that you’d otherwise not know about; but as the proponents of knowing the people who are in your network say, you have to follow up and reach out to them in a personal way. Then they become connections.
As a job search trainer, I recommend quality over quantity. Throwing out invitations like chum line may yield you some success reeling in fish; but having a focused networking strategy is far more effective.
If you’re a business person, quantity might be your thing. But as a jobseeker, showing 500+ contacts might show desperation or lack of focus.
You jobseekers should heed Bill Gore’s story and ask yourself, if a successful business owner, who employs thousands of people, understands the importance of a focused group of employees, shouldn’t you take the same approach to your networking strategy? What are your thoughts on this?
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Despite what people may have told you, first impressions count. They count a lot. For example, my beautiful and charming daughter left her Facebook page open this morning. So naturally I spent a little time looking at the posts. An hour later I’m thinking Holy Cow, this stuff is heinous, bordering on obscene, and my daughter’s friends’ parents/legal guardians would be appalled if they saw it.
My point is that this filth I saw this morning will probably be on the Internet for a long time to come. And when my daughter’s friends decide to apply for their first paying job, employers best not see what they wrote, even five years ago. First impression count.
I joined OpenNetorkers.com to increase my connection numbers. I regret doing this because I get about 15 invites a day. Some of you might think it’s great to collect connections like they’re toy cars, but I like updates from people with whom I actually have something in common. That’s just me. What has made invites from this group reasonably enjoyable is the ability to Ignore 9 out of 10 invites with impunity. When I see a potential connection with no photo, I hit Ignore. First impressions count.
Speaking of photos. When did LinkedIn become a dating service? I’ve seen far too many photos of people who are posting shots from their GQ, In Style, and Glamour days. The rule of thumb is to dress the way you would for your next job. Do you want your photo to imply that your college co-ed days or six-pack abs are a reflection of your professional image? LinkedIn is a professional networking site, not a medium to find your next husband or wife. First impressions count.
In my workshops I see people dressed in various ways, especially during the summer. There are the work-casual types (high five to them), the brand name fanatics (Nike and sports teams are popular), and lastly the I-just-rolled-out-of-bed types. Here’s the thing: if I hear of a job opening, who do you think I’ll think of first? That’s right, the work-casual types. First impressions count.
It’s been told that an employer might make her decision not to hire you within the first 30 seconds of seeing you, based on your first impression. Do you introduce yourself with a smile? Do you shake her hand firmly but without breaking it? Are you dressed appropriately for the interview (shoes matter, too)? Do you wait to be seated? Is your small talk appropriate (you don’t talk about how oppressive the heat is and the bumper-to-bumper traffic and how finding daycare is impossible)? Make sure all of this applies. First impressions count.
Telephone etiquette is often underestimated in importance. I once called a customer to confirm a workshop for which she had signed up. She answered the phone with, “Good afternoon. This is Cherrie McDonald (don’t remember her name). How may I help you?” I was like, Wow, she won’t be out of work very long. A colleague of mine related a time when a customer answered the phone sounding like a chain-smoking truck driver and acted like she was annoyed to be called. Not until the colleague of mine said there was a possible job for her, did she brighten up…a little. First impressions count.
Just remember that people are judging you on your first impression. My daughter’s Facebook page opened my eyes to what her “friends” are writing and made me think that even a social networking site can leave a lasting impression on people. Later I spoke with her, and she responded with, “They’re only my Facebook friends; I wouldn’t write that stuff.” Guilty be association, I told her. Guilty by association. First impressions count.
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I was searching around LinkedIn for some questions to answer. It’s been awhile and I miss my old routine of answering tons of questions. I came across a great question from Matthew Levy on ageism, but instead of answering his question, I decided to write this blog article in response to a very important topic—ageism and how to break down the barrier of age discrimination.
Let me start by saying that Matthew’s article was very insightful, albeit lengthy even for a verbose writer as myself. He suggests three methods for the 40+ crowd to use in combating possible age discrimination. The first method he talks about is modifying your appearance to make you appear younger. Second, he urges you to dive into social media; and third, he advises a strategic approach to writing a résumé.
Modifying one’s appearance. Matthew writes that one day he advised a gentleman to shave his beard, which according to Matthew, took five years off the man’s appearance.
I also witnessed a man who had shaven his beard and took years off his appearance. For some men it’s hard letting go of a beard he’s had for a good part of his life; but once the job is secured, the beard can return.
Matthew also suggests modifying other aspects of your appearance: eyeglasses; hair color; make-up; clothing, e.g., suits, blouses, skirts, et cetera.
Embracing social media. Using media like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to network puts you in the company of Y-generation jobseekers.
I lead workshops at an urban career center, where I see many mature workers. These folks attend my LinkedIn workshop and are excited at the prospect of getting online, or if already there, enhancing their online footprint.
“If you stay in the dark by resisting change and new technologies, the Millennials (who are interviewing you, recruiting you and referring you) might typecast you as ‘behind the times’ and ‘set in your ways,’” Matthew writes.
How true and scary.
Don’t show too much work history on your résumé. Matthew advises that jobseekers keep their work history within 20 years due to relativity, which is sound advice. But I say keep it within 15 years, as 20 years already dates you at least 43 years-old. The bottom line is why kill your chances of getting to the interview? Once at the interview you can sell yourself, thus negating your age.
Other smart suggestions Matthew offers are to remove graduation dates from your education, applying more up-to-date fonts, eliminating an objective statement and “references available upon request,” and not limiting your résumé to one page. This may seem like simple advice, but appearance in every aspect counts when making a first impression.
Matthew gives older jobseekers some great commonsense advice, but I think encouraging them to join the social media party is the best advice of the three topics.
Incidentally, Matthew asks for other ideas to help older jobseekers in their job search. My piece of advice would be to enter an interview with a positive attitude. Think as though your 20 years younger than you are because what does age matter anyways?
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