Thursday, August 7, 2014

Using Linkedin to advance your career

Many of us have used Linkedin on various occasion (and I use it daily for one or another reason). For me, LinkedIn is a good, professional networking site (but now, it seems it is competing with facebook and confused whether to make it a time pass site like facebook or to let it remain professional as we can see it is allowing posting images, no credential check of the user and so on). Every professional can benefit from using LinkedIn.

I have written article earlier about it. You may read my following article more about dos and donts of LinkedIn by clicking following link

in this article, I am sharing few point from article of Alan Collins, founder and HR leader Alan Collins. I feel they are really useful. 

Linked in has reach connection of 300 million members. Every time I visit my linkedin profile, I get excited, every new member I add, I feel I am valued. Whenever I search for useful resources whether talent, whether an article or discussion, I find it on linkedin. It’s also huge for our profession too because 950,000+ human resources professionals currently belong to the LinkedIn network.

Alan Collins states that after speaking to his network in Human Resources, he realised that very few people optimally use LinkedIn. (Then they are definitely doing a mistake). It is a time for you to get enhage with LinkedIn and maximize your career potential. Following in the article, I am writing suggestion for Alan Collins (to which I agree and I have already mentioned in my earlier article mentioned above). 

1.  Use LinkedIn to land in your next job.

There was a time when people used to just go through the resume and traditional background screening. A good recruiter and HR definitely google about you and LinkedIn will come handy to them. The recommendation in LinkedIn, the post you share, the article you write, association with group you have, all help you to get a job. I do not surprise tomorrow if somebody from LinkedIn approach me for a job (in fact few people did that too recently). 

2.  Get the inside scoop on the job you’re interviewing for.

What I understood from Alan Collin's article and I agree also that suppose you are interviewing for a specific position and do not know what key responsibilities and deliverables you have, in that case you may contact earlier people who were handling the job. It provides you more clarity and you move more closer towards shortlisting for the job.

3.  Get the skinny on the company you’re interviewing with.

It is equally important to find more about the company. Googling, visiting ROC website, Glassdoor is one option and also using LinkedIn. More and more organisation now have a job specific group, company page on LinkedIn and they use it as an employer branding tool. It helps you to get insight of the organisation.

4.  Get up to speed fast in your new job.

One of the toughest challenges any person in most of the career faces is getting up to speed quickly in a new job.  It doesn’t matter what kind of job it is.  When you start a new job, ordinarily your roots aren’t that deep in that new role.  And if you’re joining a new company, it’s even tougher.  You face the hurdles of learning the new culture, building new relationships and trying establish chemistry with people when you’re the unknown guy or gal from outside. It hurts your career badly. It is not about your performance, it is more about your boss's expectations, company's culture and your adjustment to that. I will write a separate article on that later on. 
With Linkedin, if you are new in the organisation (specially large where you have little time to know and communicate with all), you may connect to other people, establish rapport with them and understand how to adjust with the organisation. 

5.  Scope out the person who beat you out a job.

If you’ve been passed over, you can walk around pissed at the world.  Or you can learn from it.  If you’ve ever wondered what the resume or profile looks like of the person who beat you out for a job….well, now you can.

6.  Position yourself as a subject matter expert.

If you want to make your mark in specialized areas like for HR- compensation, labor relations, OD, staffing or benefits, LinkedIn makes this a lot easier. You should write regular article, project and publish them too. Here are the steps you can take to do this:
  • Get recommended as an expert resource by asking those who value your insights to write a testimonial that promotes you (and them!).
  • Start regularly posting questions in the Answers area.
  • Regularly answer relevant questions with specific information based on your expertise and work your way up to becoming an expert by giving top-rated answers.
You’ll find that by using the Questions and Answers feature of LinkedIn, you can start conversations, create community, and position yourself as a subject matter expert in a relatively short time.

7.  Keep your resume up to date – easily.

Today, everyone in HR needs an up to date resume, on their hard drive, ready to send out at a moment’s notice.  In the good old days, when I wrote my first resume, I did what everyone else did then.  I typed it out, went to Kinkos and had them make 200 copies on their nice, expensive, high-grade, shiny, off-white paper.  Shiny so it would look slick and stand out.  Then when I found a mistake, I had to type it up, edit it, print it out again, go back to Kinkos and repeat the process. After all that, I might have given out 12 copies – half of them to my family.
Now, if I meet someone, I don’t say “here’s my shiny new resume.” Instead, I say “here’s my contact info” and provide them a link to my LinkedIn profile or if they’re not on LinkedIn, I can use LinkedIn to auto-email them a copy of my profile.  Easy.

8.  Differentiate your experience from everyone else’s.

Alan says: An HR headhunter told me recently that he is increasingly seeing HR resumes in Word format that contain testimonials about the candidate at the end of the document.
In a tight job market,  job candidates are now using endorsements to elevate themselves from the rest of the pack.  Nice idea!  For example, imagine if you had 3 or 4 different testimonials at the end of your resume that read like this…
“Rarely in my career have I worked with a more positive, insightful, and supportive HR leader than Jill Doe.  She has a deep insight into the business, a passion for getting results and an approach to working with people that brings out their best.  Would be thrilled if the opportunity presented itself to work with her again.” —  John Smith (Vice President – Human Resources at ABC, a division of XYZ) who worked with Jill at XYZ Corporation.
Since Linked-in testimonials are impossible to manipulate, all a user can do with an average testimonial is not add it to their profile — they cannot change it.  That lends an air of authenticity to Linked-in testimonials, which is great.  If you are a Linked-in user, get some testimonials and add them to your resume.  Ideally, you should have testimonials for each job you have held.  Linked-in testimonials will legitimize your claims of functional expertise, and they will help a hiring manager understand exactly where and how and when you have created value in the past.

9.  Help in your job search.

If you’ve lost your job or seeking out a new opportunity, besides everything else I’ve talked about so far, you can use LinkedIn to…
  • Attract recruiters looking for people in your HR specialty. Think about what search terms or keywords recruiters or hiring managers enter in the LinkedIn search box to look for people like you.  Example:  “Compensation Specialist,” “Human Resources Generalist,” “Recruiting Manager” or “Director – Organization Development,” Make sure those terms are in your profile.
  • Find open HR jobs you’re interested in. Search for jobs on LinkedIn by looking at the second tab of results called “The Web.” There are over 5 million jobs listed.  Tons of opportunities are listed in HR.
  • More quickly gain entry into organizations you want to work for. Type in the names of the 10 organizations you most would like to work for and see which of your contacts know people there or know people who know people there. Then contact them and ask for referrals.
  • Relocate to your dream location. Search for people in the region you would like to live in.  Under “interested In” select hiring managers.  Contact people in your second degree.  Instead of asking for a job, offer them something of value and ask to meet.
  • Get referrals from old classmates. See what your former classmates are up to. Some may be in a position to hire you and may give preference to someone from the same alma mater.

10.  On your next business trip, connect with your network.

This is one of my personal favorites.  Here’s the situation:  You have a business trip planned and you have some blocks of free time while you’re there.  You want to make good use of it by meeting some new people, preferably folks that might be relevant to your business or your career, or meeting up with some people that you’ve perhaps only met online.  Maybe a former colleague or classmate lives there and you didn’t even realize it.
Having all your contacts all in one place, makes it easy just to e-mail them beforehand, and set it all up.

11.  Get some help in doing your job better.

The “what are you working on” feature can be a powerful way of getting help, support and guidance on work-related projects.  If you’re struggling trying to determine “how to best retain superstar engineers” or looking for “best practices in getting buy-in to benefits open enrollment changes,” make it known to your network.
There might be contacts in your network or outside of it, who could offer assistance, trade war stories or make recommendations for service providers.

12.  Get recognized for what you’ve done or can do.

I’ve seen a lot of HR people that have sparse profiles.  Don’t be lazy.  You want a meaty profile that lays out on a silver platter what you’ve done and what you’re capable of doing.
But the point is to put enough information out there about your background, job history, and areas of interest so that people know what to contact you about.
Write a summary section that clearly outlines your personal brand or HR specialty that gets people jazzed up about what you do.
Many profiles on LinkedIn are just a shell with a name and a short chronology.  You would never submit a resume to a potential employer that only listed employment and dates, so why in the heck would you use this tactic on-line when your information is available for millions of people to see?
Take the time to create a robust profile.  It will get you noticed.

14.  Build a network without making it a full-time day job.

Those who have used LinkedIn successfully, will tell you need at least 50 connections.  They’ll also tell you that this doesn’t mean you should connect to every single Tom, Dick and HR person who sends you an invitation.  LinkedIn is most effective when you connect with:
  • Your top HR contacts
  • Important HR or business folks in your industry
  • Co-workers
  • Individuals you’ve worked with in the past
  • People who know you well.
These are the people who can help you do your job, find new career opportunities and pass on ideas that can improve your career, impact and success on the job.  LinkedIn doesn’t replace traditional networking, it facilitates it. Always supplement your on-line efforts with face-to-face networking.

15.  Stay in touch with 5 people…or 5000.

I’ve saved the best for last.  This is my #1 favorite way to use LinkedIn – and I’ve included a video at the end to emphasize this point.
But first, a confession.  Over the years, I’ve been horrible at staying in touch with people.  It’s not because of no interest – it’s because of no time.  But now, I no longer have any excuse.  And, neither do you. Now, when you have significant change in your life or career — for instance a new assignment, a job change to a new location, an award you’ve just received, or a new baby, or you’ve just divorced and you want to get back in circulation (hey, just kidding!) – you can use LinkedIn to notify your contacts by way of making a profile update.
All it takes is about 1-2 minutes to do this and all your contacts are instantly updated. And if you want to reach out, you can do this too with a follow-up email message to your contacts saying “I would love to catch up with you to give you the scoop on what’s happening – call or text me when you get a chance at (xxx) xxx-xxxx!”
It’s that keeping-up process that sparks conversations, keeps your relationships fresh and will enhance your career and your life. Now, to drive home how absolutely CRITICAL this last point is, check out the video below called “Christian The Lion.”  It’s from YouTube.  It’s only 2 minutes long and well worth your time to view.  Watch it now.  However, Be Sure To Watch It All The Way To The End — With The Volume Turned ON!   Again, I believe this video captures the biggest benefit you’ll ever get from being on LinkedIn.
So, there you have it, 15 amazing, sneaky little ways you can use LinkedIn to advance your HR career and enhance your life. You should try to spend at least 30 minutes per week managing your LinkedIn presence. If you do that, I believe you’ll find that it will pay off well for you in the future.

About the author:  Alan Collins is Founder of Success in HR and the author of two HR best sellers, UNWRITTEN HR RULES and BEST KEPT HR SECRETS.  He was formerly Vice President – Human Resources at PepsiCo where he led HR initiatives for their Quaker Oats, Gatorade and Tropicana businesses.   His most recent book, WINNING BIG IN HR is now is available on Amazon.

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August 07, 2014

Credit: Alan Collins:

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