Why you want to attract recruiters via LinkedIn

I often hear from LinkedIn citizens that they’re pestered by recruiters about jobs, how they find it a huge annoyance, unprofessional, spammish, and they won’t reply. But what if recruiters were not contacting you?

Having a recruiter contact you is an affirmation that a) your skills are in demand and b) you can be found. Without both, the professional-you may be approaching the end of it’s shelf life.

Unlike our parents era, no one is looking out for you and your career. This is now your responsibility. You could be tapped on the shoulder tomorrow, or while you’re reading this, that your services are no longer required.

linkedin-icon-100x100aLinkedIn has democratized human capital. Virtually every one in every vertical should be on LinkedIn, whether you’re a professional commercial painter, electrical supplies salesperson, or work in technology, you’re doing yourself a disservice for not being on LinkedIn.

By not being on LinkedIn and/or not sufficiently describing your skills:

  1. You’re losing track of solid connections that could help you find your next job (and vise versa)
  2. You’re losing track of key connections that would provide references during the hiring process (and vise versa)
  3. You’re unable to share your industry, technical or business knowledge to your inner circle, and learn the same from your network. A great way to keep you, and them, up-to-date
  4. You’re keeping your salary depressed.

 

Related must reads:
Why a Passive Candidate Should Take a Recruiter’s Call. https://diigo.com/0x8we
How to be found on LinkedIn: searchvelocity.ca/2012/11/09/top-11-linkedin-seo-tips/

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5 Ways to Pass the Employment Probation Period

newjobYou were hired because you are smart and the employer has a high level of confidence in you. You were the best candidate! They want you to succeed.

Here are 5 tips to help you through the employment probation period.

1. Work longer than required.

A good work practice is to work an extra 15-30min at the end of the day. This will look positively on you. Consider this, invariably staff who commute a distance will be unexpectedly late due to weather, traffic, public transit delays, etc. The “banked” minutes/day balances out against the days were the trip in takes unexpectedly longer, days where you need to leave a little early, or have a little longer lunch. It’s a good practice to know in the back of your mind that you have “time banked”.  Related, arrive ready to work. Its a bad practice to arrive at your start time then get your coffee, engage in small talk, then turn on your computer & get setup to start working.

2. Double and triple check your work

Mistakes made in the first 90 days have a greater impact on you and your fledgling tenure than when you’re a “long term” employee.

3. Admit mistakes

We all make mistakes. Admit any mistakes you make. Mistakes are proof that you are trying.

​4. Learn

Be inquisitive. You’re new. Ask lots of questions. Take notes. Learn. Doing the opposite implies you’re not interested or don’t understand. Seek training. If the company doesn’t provide it or peers have insufficient time, seek out webinars, vendors or training videos on Youtube. For company products, ask which are the top 1, 5, or 10 products you should focus on learning. Read manuals.

5. Manage your on-boarding

Build a 30-60-90 day on-boarding plan. Minimally, have daily or weekly plans.

Top 11 LinkedIn SEO tips

How are people finding you on LinkedIn if they don’t know your name?  What keywords and/or titles are they using?

I have a LinkedIn premium account and can therefore see how people find me. 22% (up from 15% a few months ago) of the people who found my LinkedIn profile found me by my name, firstname and/or lastname.  The next largest hit was 4% (combined) for vendor names mentioned in my profile. However, finding me by those company names has zero value to me – I’ve since removed the vendor names and that 4% disappeared.

How do I want to be found on LinkedIn?  This started my research into LinkedIn SEO tips as LinkedIn provides virtually no help here except for one faq.

Your Unique Lense

LinkedIn’s Search results are based on your Profile content and activity.  However, one early and (now) seemingly obviously discovery is everyone searches LinkedIn through their own unique “lense”.  Your lense is the people in your network, your 1st, 2nd, 3rd level connections, group connections and your Industry.  Below is my part of my lense into the LinkedIn population – the 1st level connections.   Image underneath each dot is another cloud of connections (your 2nd level) then each of your 2nd level connections has a cloud of connections under them.  Those 3 layers of cloud connections is part of your unique lense. Because of each person’s unique network, virtually no two persons search results will be identical.

Consider that the value of LinkedIn is ensuring your search results are most relevant to you, delivering search results of people in your network.  If I’m searching for title “CEO” in location “Toronto”, I want my results to start with people in my network, people I have a good chance of knowing, or know someone in common, so I may rapidly connect with that CEO.  That’s the other power of LinkedIn, facilitating rapid connections.

Your unique lense also includes your Industry.  You set your Industry with your profile settings.  My Industry is Information Technology & Services.  Therefore, when I search “CEO” in location “Toronto”, I would expect the results to be of CEO in my industry, vs. CEO’s in the Fishery industry.

Your Profile

Before you embark of SEO Optimizing your LinkedIn profile you need to ask yourself a) how do you want to be found and b) by whom – what keywords / titles would they use?  There are two ways to search LinkedIn profiles, from within LinkedIn itself, and externally via a search engine as your #LI profile is indexed by search engines.

During my research I came upon the following results, from reputable sources.

11 LinkedIn SEO tips

  1. Customized Profile URL with your name.  Keywords in URL are search engine optimized.
  2. Change the standard names for the (up to) 3 website URLs (i.e. from “my company”) to customized names (e.g. Stomphorst.ca) for SEO passing authority. You may want to rename the site within LI to attract your target audience, vs. the actual url name.   BTW, don’t list your employer’s website.
  3. Repeat your professional specialty and keywords many times in your LI profile, however keep in mind LI says “More keywords aren’t always better”.   E.g. If you are a BI Specialist:
    1. Professional Headline: BI Specialist
    2. Summary: I’m a BI Specialist in the….
    3. Current & Past Titles (if/when applicable): BI Specialist
    4. Description within job: I was a BI Specialist ….
    5. Specialties: BI Specialist
    6. Skills & Expertise: BI, business intelligence, business intelligence tools. Insert all the keywords you want to be found from.
  4. Remove non-relevant keywords to eliminate false positives. E.g. I was receiving significant hits (relatively speaking) due to single mentions of “Rypple” and “Intelex” in my profile.  This adds zero value to my profile.  30-60 days after I removed mentions of “Rypple” and “Intelex” from my profile, those search words don’t appear in my “Top Search Keyword” (include screen capture)
  5. Set your profile to Display all information
  6. Set your Industry accordingly
  7. Participate in Group discussions – increases the number of internal links to your profile from within LI, thus strengthening your visibility in search engines.
  8. Answer questions on LI answers – increases the number of internal links to your profile from within LI, thus strengthening your visibility in search engines.
  9. Link to your LI profile on other social sites (i.e. link backs)
  10. Request Recommendations. Have at least 10. Elevates your profile within LI.
  11. Endorsements: LinkedIn isn’t weighing endorsements at this feature’s release in Sept 2012, “but will soon.”  “…the more endorsements for your skills and talents that you get, the more often you’ll appear in search results” according to Dave Kerpen.

Gaming the System

I classify the following suggestions as “gaming the system.”  They likely produce a positive impact, but I can’t corroborate their effectiveness. I don’t use them.

  1. Recognizing that LI users search through their “lense”,  LI will elevate results for connections within their network (i.e. 1st, 2nd, 3rd level connections, groups). Therefore, to be in as many networks as possible and therefore found by as many people as possible, you need to be connected to as many people as possible.  Accept any and all connection requests (I’m breathing in a paper bag as I type this).
  2. Similar to above, this too seems seedy, join as many Groups as possible (50 max).  Join the groups with the largest memberships (where’d that paper bag go?).
  3. Add applications like WordPress to promote your blog and Slideshare.net to promote your slidedecks.
  4. List any media attention in the Honor & Awards section. Obviously include any other honors or awards.
  5. Use the Projects section to promote your whitepapers

Will Facebook’s job board turn LinkedIn into the next Myspace?

I don’t care what anyone says, Facebook is squarely seated in the B2C and friends & family corner. LinkedIn is in the opposing corner, B2B and business. Will they fight?

Facebook has the pocket book and therefore the potential to replace #LI in the long term.

#LI has a good standard product. It could be much better.

A plethora of companies have created apps and are making a living on the Facebook platform. Other than some nifty bolt-ons (Amazon, box.net, events), there are virtually no independent software vendor created LinkedIn apps. I would make it easier for other apps to access #LI data. Why doesn’t #LI allow me to use its users database as the directory for my applications? Why doesn’t LinkedIn Events allow me to a) broadcast a message to All Attendees or b) allow individual attendees message other attendees? #LI is a business communications tool, but as I noted in a previous blog, they’ve buried the functionality to message fellow group members. A step backwards.

In 2009, there were 29 Job apps on Facebook. A quick search today shows up to a few hundred such apps.

A Facebook job board could be the disruptive app that turns #LI into the next Myspace. I love LinkedIn. Time for them to step up their game.

Is your business card a mystery novel?

This is an actual stack of biz cards that I collected.

It represents unrealized opportunities.

I recently unburied myself from all the business cards I’ve collected over the past few years. While filtering through the cards, two ~equally sized piles emerged. The first evolved into two categories of connections:

  1. People whom I’ve stayed connected with, and,
  2. People I see a potential future relationship

The latter is what I call “loose connections”. These are people I intend to stay connected with.

The second consisted of connections that did not evolve, I could not identify joint opportunities for us, nor did they. Any potential relationship has seemingly ended. Didn’t get to 2nd base.

But what does this mean? It’s not necessarily a bad thing, just reality of the networking world shaking hands around us.

While taking a second pass over the “did not evolve” stack, it became clear that many simply did not state the value of its owner, just name and coordinates, a mystery novel left for me to unravel.

How do you succinctly communicate your value prop on a biz card? How do you ensure that after the customary exchange of personal identifying rectangular coloured paper has long since past, that someone will actually remember you, what you do and what value you can provide?

Isn’t that what’s it all about?

What are my business card preferences? Beyond the mandatory name, company name & website, and email address, my preferences are:

  • Your twitter handle
  • Clean and easy to read.
  • A logo or style that resembles or embodies what value you provide.
  • LinkedIn URLs on the card if your profile is not easily identifiable (most people find me on LinkedIn by searching “stomphorst”), otherwise it’s clutter.
  • White space on your card so I can scribble notes on it. I need to write the date, location, and why & where we met. Dark cards or glossy cards that prohibit that.
  • Unique card stock size format.
  • I don’t need your street address or fax number.

One friend has a QR code on the back of their biz card, which takes you to a landing page that they can a) change the message as/when needed and b) track how many people arrived. The jury is still out on its effectiveness.

Through Silicon Halton I expect to gather about twice the amount of business cards over the next 2-3 years. How will you help me remember you? My job is connecting talent to employers, people to people, and business to business. I can help you if I clearly know who you are. Don’t write me a mystery novel.

Professional Coach or Just Wing It?

I can’t foresee the value of a Professional/Business Coach

Many senior resources are likely mentoring and/or coaching more junior staff.  It’s personally rewarding and fun.  But do they have a coach?  If you had asked me 2006 if I needed a professional coach, I would have certainly answered that I don’t foresee the value.  Over time I’ve come to learn that having a coach is invaluable.   Professional development is a life long road and I didn’t foresee the value a professional coach adds, but I’m glad I’ve accelerated my professional development.

I will teach you my padawan

Once, a long long time ago, during a time when you were virtually guaranteed a job for life, your coach or mentor was likely someone within the company, at a more senior level, who occasionally shared his or her wisdom with you.  We didn’t know it then, but that was coaching.  You would “work” with this coach over many years. You continually gained professionally by his or her mentorship.

Fast-forward to today’s business climate, with the tenure of the average job lasting seemingly not much longer than the shelf life of bread, your long term mentor from work is gone. You are now on your own.

While working for a software division of one of Canada’s largest general contractors, the management team I was part of was given the privilege of utilizing the parent company’s corporate coach.  This is the coach for a $2B company mentoring the management team of a 50 person ERP software development company.

Within a short time, I discovered that the perspectives the coach provided allowed us to address problems in a significantly more effective and efficient form.  He challenged our boundaries with questions that we hadn’t thought of, he would propose approaches to action that we wouldn’t have considered, and importantly, provided deep insight in the area of people-management.

Importantly, the coach was not bound by any typical employment constraints.  He was not our boss.  He wouldn’t and didn’t report anything we said in confidence outside of our four walls.  In that safe atmosphere, one opens up a little more, and as such, gains more in return.

As my loaf-of-bread’s expiry date passed, I found myself without a coach.  A couple years afterwards I had the good fortune to not only to engage with another coach, but a coach whom I’d worked with in a previous life, affording me continuity of a pre-existing excellent relationship.

Do you need a coach? 

Consider these points:

Professionally Growth Every professional or solopreneur should have a coach, as should company leader.  If you’ve ever participated in a peer-to-peer group, you are discovering some of the value of a coach, in that setting, a P2P Coach.  Now imagine if the P2P group was solely focused on you, on your needs?  You will grow faster professionally with a coach or mentor, than without one.

Unbiased / Trust What value would you place on open and frank professional and/or personal development conversations which won’t impact your yearly Performance Review?  Your discussions with a coach remain private and away from the ears of your employer.  This will allow for a deeper level of engagement.

Value Start by asking those close to you whom you trust and admire if they have coach and what value they derive from it.  Ask them where they connected with their coach. Some people I know use a coach from their industry, a senior person in their industry.  This helps them additionally learn more about their industry.

Time Commitment The time needed is determined between you and your professional coach.  One hour per week, one hour every two-weeks or two-hours per month, are some of the schedules I’ve heard.

Accountable My coaching is something I look forward to.  Sometimes my professional homework is behind and it forces me to catch up, to be held accountable to one’s commitments.   I maintain an electronic journal (document) which I share on-line with my coach (you don’t have to do this), listing my action items for the next couple weeks.  This also allows me to track my journey over time.

I recommend trying a coach for six months.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.