Book Review: Job Searching with Social Media (for dummies)

I’m back. The truth is that I couldn’t keep up with my blogging over the summer. I was too too busy. Okay – I said it. 

I would still be putting it off except for the fact that I made a deal with Joshua Waldman, founder of Career Enlightenment, that I would write a posting on his newly published book Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies (I have always hated the name of these books – couldn’t they just leave off the “for Dummies” part?)  

I admit it – the book is pretty good. How do I measure this? Well, subjectively of course. But I also consider if I’ve learned anything new within the first ten pages. Yes, I did. I also consider whether the majority of my clients could benefit from the book. Yes, they can.

Here are some things to consider:

  • More than 80% of recruiters use LinkedIn.
  • Fifty percent of hiring managers determine whether a particular candidate’s personality might be a good fit for their company just by taking a look at the person’s social media presence.
  • Simply Hired lists not only job openings, but lists who you know on Facebook and LinkedIn from the companies you are interested in.

    Thomas L. Friedman

In the Sunday New York Times on August 13, Thomas L. Friedman wrote a column entitled  A Theory of Everything (Sort of). In it he said

…globalization and the information technology revolution have gone to a whole new level. Thanks to cloud computing, robotics, 3G wireless connectivity, Skype, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, the iPad, and cheap Internet-enabled smartphones, the world has gone from connected to hyper-connected.

This is the single most important trend in the world today.

If you don’t believe this, you are in trouble. Big trouble. Unless, of course, you are independently wealthy and don’t give a dam about what’s going on in the world. Of course, Thomas Friedman’s column has a knack for sounding simple yet touching on very sophisticated concepts.

But let’s get back to simple.

If you are unemployed or miserable in your current job, my humble advice is that you need to pay very close attention to social media and start learning how it impacts you as fast as you can.  Jump in. Discover the value of these tools. It’s important.

If you’re feeling a little cocky because you  ‘know how’ to use LinkedIn and are on Facebook, think again. There are ways you could (and should) be utilizing these tools that are changing as we speak. And they can be the difference between landing a job and not landing a job.

Have you used LinkedIn to search for job postings, to follow companies of interest, to research a company you are interviewing with, to request an introduction to someone who works for your target organizations, to learn how many people your target companies have hired in the past three months?

Did you know that Twitter gives you access to people you would never have access to without it?

So back to the book – Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies.

Joshua Waldman

More than likely, you will already know many of the tips in this book. I’m guessing that it’s just as likely that there are more tips that you don’t know yet.

Here is another interesting thing I learned from this book:

  • Plaxo, which has over 20 million users, is not really a social media network, but a venue for managing contact information.

Two very useful chapters, among others, are Uncovering the Hidden Job Market with Twitter and Using Facebook as a Job Hunter.

Note: Parts of the Personal Branding 101 chapter has information that you’ve probably seen a thousand times before (defining your life’s values, what are you most proud of, your 75th birthday toast, identifying your passions and interests) but it never hurts to review those things. Skip over them if you are bored.

Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies costs around $13.00 on amazon.com.

Is it worth this small investment?     Absolutely.

 

 

Terry Del Percio – visit my website at www.workstrategies.com
978.282.8900


MYOB: Mind Your Own Boundaries

I grew up learning this lesson:

If someone is in need, don’t ask if you can help – just do it.

Try this approach in your job search or your career transition. Give back more than you get.

Not that you will keep score, but it’s an attitude that might just make you a happier person. Giving back tends to bring its rewards quietly and when you least expect it. Months later doors might be opened that you never knew existed.

People tend to mirror the way they are treated. If you show an interest in sharing information and helping others to achieve their goals, it is likely that those people will want to support your goals in return.

Do we know this already? Of course we do.

But for some crazy reason, we all need reminders about simple things.

The key to all of this is to be an active participant. Look for opportunities to help others and connect people with each other. Look for the chance to cooperate with colleagues or coworkers. Look for the chance to help colleagues that are seeking employment or mentor a young person. Seek out these opportunities.

The truth of the matter is that if you support others, you will seldom experience a shortage of having that favor returned.

One caution: Understand and honor your own boundaries.

What the heck are boundaries anyway? It’s a tricky concept to define. The online dictionary definition from About.com is

The emotional and physical space that we place between others and ourselves. Setting proper boundaries is important to our mental health. When appropriate boundaries are not set, we run the risk of becoming either too detached from or too dependent upon others.

We must always consider both our own boundaries and the boundaries of others in order to establish positive relationships. This is not an easy task, since each person’s definition of an appropriate boundary may differ.

When researching information for this post, I came across a wild story about boundaries. You may already be familiar with it. It was a surprise to me.

Have you heard of Penelope Trunk?

She runs a social networking site for managing careers called The Brazen Careerist, and writes a terrific blog with half a million visitors a month. Yes – half a million…(I highly recommend her blog)

In late 2009, Penelope updated her Twitter feed about having a miscarriage during a business meeting. It read like this:

I’m in a board meeting. Having a miscarriage. Thank goodness, because there’s a fucked-up three-week hoop-jump to have an abortion in Wisconsin.

As you can imagine, this tweet caused an uproar. You may have read the article in the the Guardian. It is a fascinating read if you have a few minutes.

In the article, Penelope states that she was shocked that her statement created such an uproar.

Really? Shocked? I was surprised to hear that. Penelope is in no uncertain terms a very sophisticated and intelligent business woman. Why would she be shocked?

It seems to me this is an issue about boundaries. There is no true right or wrong, and I am not making any judgments. But we all need to be accountable for our public statements and consider how others will react to them. Penelope didn’t seem concerned. Would you be?

Some boundary basics:

  1. It is crucial to always respect boundaries – both your own and others’. Honoring boundaries is a major component of trust. And without that, you have nothing.
  2. If you feel fatigued when you are interacting with someone, it’s time to reassess whether boundaries need to be clarified. (It’s very easy to convince yourself to ignore this – don’t do it)
  3. If someone becomes so dependent upon you that it begins to feel uncomfortable, it means that they are overstepping your boundaries. Likewise, be careful not to overstep the boundaries of others. Pay attention to cues that your behavior or your language may be making another uncomfortable. It doesn’t matter why.

An example: A colleague, Jason (not his real name) asked me to introduce him to one of my LinkedIn contacts (Joe).  Jason was trying to expand and build his consulting practice. I offered to connect him with two other business contacts, but I told him it wasn’t a good time for me to approach Joe because he had just done me another favor and I knew this was a chaotic time in his company.

Unfortunately, Jason wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. He wrote me at least 3 emails within 1 week, rationalizing why I should introduce him to Joe ASAP.  Jason showed complete disregard for my reasoning.

Needless to say, I was taken aback by Jason’s lack of respect for my clearly stated boundaries. Jason overstepped them. Another surprise was when Jason contacted me again a few months later and repeated the same request.

Can you guess how likely I am to help out Jason next time around?

Has someone you tried to help overstepped his/her boundaries? Have you overstepped yours?

You Never Know Who’s Listening

This is a guest blog and has been published with permission. The piece is written in the voice of Ed Muzio, Author of Make Work Great: Supercharge Your Team, Reinvent the Culture, and Gain Influence – One Person at a Time

Recently my desk phone rang, and the caller ID showed the name of a large, well known organization.  I answered with my name, as usual.  But judging from the reply I received, I might as well have been a prank caller at three in the morning.

“Who is this?!”  The caller’s voice was incredulous, and more than a little annoyed with me.  When I replied again with my name and company, I heard only an annoyed sigh, a click, and silence.

 In the moment, I found the whole interaction more amusing than anything else.  It was only on further reflection that I realized the potential peril in which the caller had placed herself:  As it turns out, I have some relatively influential contacts in that organization, and thanks to Caller ID, her direct number.

I have no intention of taking any action, but the whole situation reminded me something I’d seen on Facebook recently:  a status update from a friend that said, simply, “you never know who’s listening.”

I think one of the reasons that sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are so enjoyable is that they give us insight into what our friends and colleagues are thinking and doing.  Whether someone is recounting a vacation, a conference, or even just a mundane grocery run, status updates provide a little bit of insight into someone’s life that we wouldn’t otherwise have.  Perhaps this makes us feel more connected.  Whatever the reason, we obviously like the feeling, because so many of us keep returning to the sites.

But there is a down side to giving such a wide audience visibility into your thoughts and actions:  the potential impact to your reputation.

Reputation is not a new idea.  We’ve known for decades, for example, that if you become known around your office as someone who doesn’t follow through on commitments, your chances of career advancement decline considerably.

As children, we all were taught various forms of the maxim that actions speak louder than words; as adults, we have all seen what can happen when that maxim isn’t followed at work:  diminished trust, diminished output, and diminished morale.  Nobody wants to work with someone who acts unpredictably, erratically, or inappropriately.

The problem with social networking sites, from the standpoint of reputation, is that they give people visibility into parts of your life that they wouldn’t otherwise have:  they connect otherwise detached social networks.  Think about it:  would you want your boss eavesdropping on a conversation with your significant other about your workday?

And yet, many people seem to think nothing of posting a status message that is intended for only one of their networks, in full view of all the others.  Who really remembers everyone on their “friends” list anyway?  Worse yet, the information provided by such status updates is usually vague and open to broad interpretation.  The fact that it is text-only just compounds the problem.  (If you’re unsure what I mean by this, take a few moments to watch “Why Email Starts Fights” [ www.groupharmonics.com/helpdesk/email.htm] and you will.)  So, the chances for misunderstanding and misinterpretation multiply, even for an innocent posting.

In other words, be careful what you say.  As in the case of my aggravated caller, you never know who’s listening.

When it comes to social networking, I don’t think anyone has a perfect solution to this problem.  Some people closely control who gets to be on their lists, or simply decline to post updates.  These are certainly valid approaches; exercising discretion in terms of list membership and status content is surely wise.  And yet, too much restriction here will defeat much of the benefit of social networking.

At the other extreme are those who simply don’t give any of this a second thought, and post whatever occurs to them.  There is merit here too, I suppose, but personally I would be worried about the long term implications of this strategy.  And my worry is not without supporting data; there have been at least a few well-publicized instances of social networking faux pas that came back to haunt their owners, in tangible and even economically measurable ways.

My suggestion is this:  your brain is better with clusters than with individual list items.  So, don’t try to remember everyone who is on your friends list.  Instead, come up with around five categories of people who appear there, and then personify those categories with individuals you know.

Before you post a status update, think about those five individuals, and mentally check whether you would be ok with each of them reading it.  If it’s OK for that sample population, it’s probably fairly safe for your wider audience. 

Personally, my five are my mother, my nephew, my client, my close friend, and my spiritual advisor.  And I will admit that on more than one occasion, this seemingly innocent list of people has stopped a status update in its tracks.  “On second thought,” I muse, “I’ll just keep that one to myself.”

© 2010 Ed Muzio, author of Make Work Great: Supercharge Your Team, Reinvent the Culture, and Gain Influence — One Person at a Time

Author Bio: Edward G. Muzio, CEO of Group Harmonics, is the author of the award winning books Make Work Great: Supercharge Your Team, Reinvent the Culture, and Gain Influence One Person at a Time and Four Secrets to Liking Your Work: You May Not Need to Quit to Get the Job You Want. An expert in workplace improvement and its relationship to individual enjoyment, Muzio has been featured on Fox Business Network, CBS, and other national media, and he has been cited in many publications including the New York Post, the Austin American Statesman, and Spirit magazine. He lives in Albuquerque, NM.

For more information visit www.makeworkgreat.com and follow the author on Facebook.

Twitter for Boomer Skeptics

Eight weeks ago it was very cold in Boston and I didn’t know what the heck Twitter was.

If a client asked me whether Twitter was important for his/her career my answer was ‘no, just use LinkedIn’. What value would there be in using a tool where kids tweet about having scones for breakfast?

I’ve done a 180 degree turn since then.  There was so much buzz about Twitter that I realized I needed to get with the program. Besides, I was extremely curious. Every day I heard references to the tremendous growth of social media among boomers and I wanted to be involved – I had to be involved.

Fast forward to today. I tell everyone to get on it right now, get familiar with it and use it to help build your online reputation.

Did I just say that? Three months ago I actually thought  Twitter was absurd. Now I can’t get enough of it. It’s all about information, relationships and engagement. Let me repeat. It’s all about information, relationships and engagement. Starting to get the picture?

If you aren’t participating in new media, you are at a (huge) disadvantage in your career. If you don’t know the lingo – you run the risk of being viewed as a dinosaur. (and it might be true)

You might find Twitter a bit overwhelming at first – I did. Let the process take you for a ride, relax and have fun.

Here are five simple steps to get started.

1. Jump in and begin. Trust me on this. Don’t analyze it beforehand. Just get on it.

2. Read Joel Comm’s book entitled “Twitter Power”. Before I read it, I would log in and stare at the screen like a deer in headlights. “Twitter Power” gets to the point and gives it context. It gave me a jump start.

3. Talk about it with other people. Sharing info and asking questions speeds up the learning process.

4. Remember the big picture. Twitter is one tool in creating an online reputation. A website and a blog go hand in hand with social media, but that will come later, just think about how you want to be perceived.

5. Be generous in sharing information and be kind with your words. It’s still easier to attract bees with honey rather than vinegar.

I’m still learning and having a great time. Write to me and tell me what you think.

Follow me at http://twitter.com/WorkIntegrity

ShoutEm

I found this great  information about Twitter today:

  1. Ask questions to your readers. What do they think about the topics you are covering, covered or plan to cover? Thoughts? Opinions?Since microblogging networks put a limit on how many characters you can write people have to get to the point. Keeping it simple means all the feedback you get is meaningful.
  2. Answer questions. Ok, so answering all your e-mail is going to lead to e-mail bancruptcy pretty quickly. By having a Twitter account or maybe even your own dedicated network you can crowdsource your community questions. You may not know the answer, but I’m one of your followers does. Or one of his followers. Microblogging lets information circulate quickly, giving people the i nformation they need – when they need it.
  3. Share the passion and linkup. What makes a real community are shared interests and passions. Your readers may love reading your articles, but why stop there. Link up other articles on the topic you cover. Give your readers a chance to explore videos, PDFs. By doing so, you strengthen your relationship with them. There on the inside, and you’re one of the guys sharing the good stuff.
  4. Follow the trends and create hashtags. Trend such as #FollowFriday have become rituals in their own right. By participating in them you can gain exposure since a lot of users monitor certain hashtags. Also, you can create your own meme. Love movies? Start #ThrillerThursday and encourage people to recommend interesting thrillers.
  5. Monitor the Twittersphere. With the help of Twitter search, you can monitor Twitter for terms relating to your topic. Say you write about stocks. Monitoring the term “stocks” lets you engage people who are interested in your topic. They have a question? Well – go on – help them!Your Community + Microblogging
  6. Be accessible yet private. With a blog, you become a public figure. Yes, your blog gives you a celebrity-like status to your readers. You the blogger. With time, people want to know more about you, but forums and e-mail make it hard. Microblogging on the other hand gives your community a backchannel into your life. So we discovered that Jason Calacanis loves his dogs and Kevin Rose drinks a lot of tea. The same applies to your own followers. They do want to know those little interesting quirks that sum you up as a person. Through Twitter you can share the little moments you want to share, while still keeping your privacy.
  7. Host contests and offer goodies. Namecheap runs “Fun Facts” Twitter contests. Every hour on the hour Namecheap asks a question and if you answer it correctly you get a $10 credit to your Namecheap account. Two of the players who answer the most questions in the period of two weeks get a Dell Inspiron Netbooks. Basically, they are teaching their community to pay attention. Their tweets don’t go unnoticed. Hosting a contest in terms of getting a response from the community is not hard since there’s basically no entry barrier.
  8. Feature your fans and retweet. Retweeting is also part of the Twitter culture. Basically, if you find something interesting on Twitter, you quote or “retweet” the message, crediting the user who posted it. With your own community you can do the same thing. When a prominent blogger features one’ tweet its like saying “This guy /gal is cool, and this tweet is even cooler”. Social proof you need to use.
  9. Offer them the world. By letting people engage you through Twitter or your own microblogging network you’re introducing them to a whole new level of social networking. By teaching things like how to retweet, use various tools and so on you’re impowering the community. People like to learn stuff and they respect people who show them things. I know I still respect the guy who taught me what RSS feeds were, and yes – I follow him on Twitter.
  10. Let them speak. Giving your community a chance to speak is at the essence of each and every of the things we went through in this article. In that spirit, what would you do to build your blog community with Twitter and microblogging?
  11. ShoutEm, Mar 2009

You should read the whole article.