02 May 2011
Every time I speak with candidates, I always ask them about their LinkedIn activity. If you are an active job seeker, selling yourself via social networking is a critical element of your job search campaign. You must be proactive and you must be visible. There’s a lot of competition out there, and effectively separating yourself from your peers is what will ultimately make the difference in the success of your search. You are essentially a product that needs to be sold. Ask yourself: “What makes me better than other, similar products that are being considered?”
Being an avid user of LinkedIn myself, I’ve learned a lot… and continue to learn. And I have a reason to believe in its power, considering I’ve landed my last three jobs due to connections I’ve made (and relationships I’ve built) on LinkedIn. The following is a list of what I feel are some of the most important aspects of LinkedIn – a “cheat sheet” for job seekers if you will. This is based on what I’ve taught myself, as well as tips I’ve learned from LinkedIn/social networking gurus, Neil Schaffer and Lewis Howes (who have both written excellent books on the subject – and are both people you should be linked to).
- Make sure that your profile is 100% complete (and make sure to add specific keywords and skills into your summary). This greatly increases your visibility. Similar to Google analytics, you will show up higher on the list in search results.
- Make a point to get grow your direct network to100 people or more. Connect with LinkedIn’s most “linked” users. You can find them here: http://www.toplinked.com/toplinked.aspx. Most have contact information either at the top or bottom of their profiles.
- Use a photo of yourself… smiling. Users are more likely to connect with you… as it’s more welcoming :)
- Update your status regularly. It shows that you are active!
- Don’t be afraid to reach out to people who you don’t know (we are living in a “pay-it-forward” society, and this is what social networking is all about).
Once you’ve done this, here are some Intermediate Tips:
- Join relevant LinkedIn groups. Think about starting your own group (I started one called Texas Interactive, which now has close to 700 members). Get active in your niche! Also, the more groups you’re in, the better. And… if you don’t have an individual’s email address, but share a group with him/her, you can connect that way.
- Become an “open networker.” Join groups such as LION (LinkedIn Open Networker) and TopLinked. Get into the habit of accepting everyone’s request to expand your 1st degree network… which will ultimately expand your 2nd and 3rd degree network. And don’t stay in a “box” – expand to new individuals who don’t yet know what you have to offer!
- Participate in group conversations. Represent yourself as someone who is knowledgeable in the subject matter by providing valuable content. If you have a question about something, utilize LinkedIn Answers (http://www.linkedin.com/answers/). Whatever your query, there are plenty of industry professionals out there who are happy to assist you (going back to the pay-it-forward statement).
- Write recommendations for others. The more recommendations you have, the better. If you give a lot of value, you will receive a lot (according to the ‘rule of reciprocity’).
- Utilize LinkedIn’s “Advanced” search option. This gives you the ability to narrow down your search; locating members based on things like keywords, geographic location, company/school, industry, etc. Advanced search also supports “Boolean strings,” which allow you to narrow (or broaden) your search in a very specific—effective—manner. Learning how to use Boolean operators and formulate strings is not as complicated as it might sound, and there are many sites/tutorials that can assist you with this. I personally like http://www.internettutorials.net/boolean.asp.
- Use LinkedIn as a cross-referencing tool. For instance… if you apply to a job online (and know the name of the company), you can often times locate the hiring manager on LinkedIn — or at least locate someone who can get you to the right person. This can be an effective tactic for getting past gatekeepers.
06 December 2010
As we gear up for a great 2011, we are adding key people to our team. I would like to introduce three team members that joined us most recently:
Robert Walker joined as a Business Development Manager. He is located in Dallas and has extensive creative staffing experience both in DFW and nationally. Broad experience across multiple industries including healthcare, finance, pharma and retail. - Robert.Walker@paladinstaff.com
Pam Maret is our new Regional Manager for Paladin NYC. Pam was a top producer for a competitor before relocating from Charlotte to New York. Prior to entering the staffing industry, Pam was a Manager and sales executive in corporate advertising. - Pamela.Maret@paladinstaff.com
Don Schneider has joined as an Executive Recruiter. He will focus on senior level direct-hire roles in Marketing, Creative and Communications fields. He has over 15 years of experience in marketing managing account, creative and production teams on both the client and agency side. - Don.Schneider@paladinstaff.com
We are excited to provide Robert’s, Pam’s and Don’s expertise to you, the Paladin community. We believe that they will be invaluable partners to clients and candidates.
Please join us in welcoming all three to our team. And look forward to more new talent to join Paladin as we grow in 2011.
31 August 2010
We have the pleasure of welcoming our newest addition to the Paladin Team and the new voice of Paladin - Cindy-Lee Pijoos. Cindy is taking over my role as Recruitment Coordinator. She will be the point person for our working Associates and initial inquiries from Candidates and Clients.
Cindy’s story about finding Paladin is a classic case study for how social networking can help you find a job. Recruiters, mentors, bloggers, and even Forbes continuously buzz about personal branding and networking through online communities to find a job. After reviewing Paladin’s postings online, she contacted me through a direct message on Twitter. Her social media savvy gained her an interview, and her experience and professionalism won her the role.
Cindy graduated with an integrated marketing communications degree in PR. She comes to us originally from Cape Town, South Africa and has lived in various cities before settling in Chicago. She thoroughly enjoys volunteering, cooking, and networking - so be sure to introduce yourself at the next event.
As we welcome Cindy as the new face and voice of Paladin, I am personally taking the next step in my career. I have recently accepted a position in social media, which will be a new challenge I am very excited to take on. My passion for interactive, online marketing has spooled through my experience at Paladin. I am happy to have had a chance to hone my social media experience in my Paladin role and look forward to staying a part of the extended Paladin family!
14 January 2010
You know that the time will come when the “employer market” will change back to a “candidate market”. My friends, that day is fast approaching! For those of us who went through this cycle in the 90s (yes, I was there), it was a great time for qualified talent to make a change but not so good for companies who had invested thousands of dollars and years into cultivating the talent. Firms were often in bidding wars over candidates and many times there would be 2-3 offers up for consideration. Sign on bonuses, relocation packages and stock options were commonplace, not the rare exception.
There are some basic steps you can take as an employer to solidify your relationship with your employee so you don’t find yourself looking for help when you didn’t see it coming.
- Make sure your employee knows where they stand in your business. Tell them how you feel about them. Show them they matter in their pay, benefits and involvement in the decisions of the business.
- Be flexible with things like time off, work hours and virtual work when possible. Today’s workplace has changed dramatically and employees are juggling much more in their schedules and the employers who offer the most flexibility will grab more of the top talent.
- Don’t try to play the bidding game with an employee who is already looking on the outside. If they matter to you, counter quickly and decisively if necessary but be willing to let them go their own way. If their decision to leave is all about more money, the desire to get more will continue to be there.
- Promote your best people and give them a clear career path that is set in your firm. People who have been patiently waiting through the Recession for those long ago promises will not be so patient moving forward.
As a candidate looking to make a change there are also key factors for you to keep in consideration.
- Have your resume always up-to-date and references available. Some jobs will appear out of the blue and you don’t want to keep a potential employer waiting.
- Keep your social networks open and always looking for new potential matches. Remember, other people will have the same idea as you.
- Don’t just “kick the tires” to see what is out there. While as a candidate you might have the upper hand, you can burn bridges and get a bad reputation with recruiters and clients that will spread like wildfire.
The bottom line is that things are improving and the market will be much more competitive for the top talent and keeping the people you already have in place.
Now is a good time to do some “soul searching” and make sure you haven’t capitalized too munch on the current market and irreparably strained the staff relationships that your business needs to continue to be successful.