Tag Archives: LinkedIn

LinkedIn Skill Endorsements: Flattery or faulty?

One of the best features of Linkedin has always been the ability to publicly recommend a colleague or connection. It’s like a resume reference who’s posting the reference check publicly for everyone to see (with your consent of course). Yes there may be some questionable reciprocal recommendations floating around, but for the most part, it takes time and effort to craft a worthy recommendation and since it’s public–your own reputation is potentially on the line if someone finds it to be false.

Almost a year ago (September 2012) LinkedIn rolled out a new feature ‘Skill Endorsements’, this is the “Lite” version of recommendations. If you don’t have time or feel fully comfortable personally recommending someone, you can endorse a few of their skills.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

You can always find two sides of a story: the positive is that skill endorsements are a great way to assess someone’s stated skills (if someone says they are an expert at something, but it’s not endorsed by their connections, you might question that expertise..). It validates anything someone states in his or her profile.

The bad part? Well a lowered barrier to entry means an overall reduction in quality endorsements. Recently I received six endorsements for ‘Creative Direction’ and while I was certainly flattered by the gesture, my creative director at work would probably die laughing if he noticed that (I wouldn’t blame him either).

And for that I don’t blame my connections who endorsed me for it–because I think probably it’s LinkedIn’s algorithm at fault. They probably received a blue box that said “Would you endorse Kelly Rusk for these skills?” And maybe the first 2 or 3 were relevant and they just hit accept for the whole lot.

I think the skill endorsement feature will stick around because LinkedIn is really pushing it at every opportunity. However, I think that tactic is also reducing its effectiveness (as per my example above).

What are skill endorsements REALLY good for?

The single most valuable application of this feature is not how others will perceive you as a result of your skill endorsements… It’s for your own benefit. Only your first degree connections can endorse your skills, so if you’ve focused on using LinkedIn to build a quality network, these are people who know you personally. And you understand the level of relationship you have with each of these people so you can use your own endorsements to paint a picture of how your first connections perceive you.

Are you being recognized for your strengths? Are you endorsed for skills you feel you excel at? Does it cover your experience and align with the wording in your profile? Are you receiving endorsements for people you’ve worked closely with?

If the answer to any of these questions is no–then it’s time to look inward and reflect on what you are doing and how you are putting yourself out there. Using the endorsements to improve yourself makes the feature one of the most valuable features of LinkedIn.

 And the icing on the cake?

Want to reconnect with someone in your network but not sure how to approach them out of the blue? Why not visit his or her profile and endorse a few skills you know to be relevant? It’s a passive engagement but he or she will receive an email about it and it might be a perfect primer for a long-overdue follow up email. Or perhaps someone you really want to strengthen your relationship with endorses your skills first? Why not send a nice thank you email and perhaps suggest a coffee outing? The skill endorsement can be a great professional door opener (or perhaps unlock-er?) to stay in touch.

How to get more skill endorsements from your connections

There are two methods to increasing your skill endorsements: ask and pay it forward. Personally I’m a little shy/timid about asking connections to endorse me–however I have been asked and do appreciate the reminder from those I’ve enjoyed working with but maybe didn’t immediately think to endorse. Be sure when asking to do so personally (not send out a blanket request to your connections) and only ask those who you are confident would be happy to endorse you.

Secondly you can pay it forward–I find this to be a really effective and interesting method. If you take the time to go through your connections and endorse some of your connections (and for your own reputation, please do so strategically and honestly!) LinkedIn will reward you by suggesting to your connections that they endorse you.

What do you think? Do you dig the skill endorsements? Do you question its validity? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

Should you change your Twitter avatar?

Have you thought about changing your Twitter avatar? Are you scared to? Do you think it’s important to always keep the same one?

@djwaldow brought this up today, which prompted an interesting discussion. One that I was particularly interested in, since I was forced to change my Twitter avatar while attending SXSW! (Ok, maybe forced is a strong word–the story is my Twitter avatar was blond, and I dyed my hair a dark brown a couple months ago, it seems whenever I meet Twitter friends they are shocked to learn I’m not blond! I caved under pressure and snapped a new photo)

So the issue is how often should you change you Twitter avatar? Aside from my little mishap, my opinion is barely ever… and with good reason. I think you Twitter avatar should match your Facebook profile pic, your LinkedIn pic, as well as MySpace, Ning and any other online profiles you maintain. Specifically if you are trying to develop your personal brand, it won’t do you any good if people don’t recognize you from one site to another! And it takes quite some time to go through all to update your avatar. On the other hand, if you’re already pretty Internet famous you probably don’t need to worry too much.

The good news is, according to dj’s poll, it looks like others agree:

How often should you change your avatar?
How often should you change your avatar?

What do you think? How often do you change your pic? And is a hair colour/cut a viable reason to change your avatar? (Seriously!! People were making fun of me!!)

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5 Tactics land a job using social media (plus tips to do it right)

Times are tough right now and only getting tougher. This means finding a job right now amidst mass layoffs and a tanking economy is definitely not easy. But I’m saying fret not, and use the power of social media to land a new gig.

Whether you’re looking for a job *in* social media or a traditional communications role that probably involves social media, you can definitely use it to your advantage in your job search. In fact, I’ve had great luck with job opportunities through social media and I’ve done the traditional job searching and it’s never worked to my advantage.

Here are some tactics you can start right now which can help you find job opportunities and also to put yourself out there and let the opportunities find you:

Get on Twitter

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image by via CrunchBase

This is the first thing I tell anyone who’s looking for a job. Actually I pretty much tell everyone to join Twitter for any reason really. I’m sure you already know networking is the best way to land a job and I consider Twitter to be the ultimate networking tool. If you aren’t sure what to post about (You don’t have to take “What are you doing?” so literally) start by posting articles, blog posts and web sites that you find interesting.  Build a profile that includes a real photo (doesn’t have to be a photo of you, but something personal yet professional will work best). Include a brief bio that includes what you are interested and what you like to tweet about. When you’ve got a few posts up, head over to Twitter Search and start searching topics that interest you and find interesting people tweeting about them and follow them. When you start to follow people, reply to their tweets (by starting yours with @[username]) to start a conversation. Once you get going it’s a lot of fun and you’ll meet lots of interesting people. Once you join, follow me and let me know you read my post and I’ll send some interesting tweeters your way. (Oh, and if you’re in Ottawa looking for a job you may want to follow @ottawatweetjobs – my other Twitter account.)

Join relevant social networks

Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...
Image by via CrunchBase

There are literally thousands of active social networks these days and chances are there’s a handful that touch upon your interests or that can help you in your job search. First of all, if you aren’t on LinkedIn, get on and start finding all your past colleagues and acquaintences. Complete your profile and consider asking for recommendations from former bosses and co-workers as recruiters do regularly use the sites to find candidates. I can recommend a handful of others depending on what you’re looking for, so feel free to contact me if you’re having problems finding ones to join.

Build an online portfolio

Showcase your work so it’s not only easy to send to potential employers, but it will come up in Google searches and also allow for others to pass along. If you’re worried about your technical abilities, worry not–just head over to Blogger.com and start a blog as a hosting place for your online portfolio. Put links to social networks you’re a part of (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, if it’s not too personal) and include a link to your resume. For an example, you can see an online portfolio I put together a while back on blogger…

Once you’ve built the portfolio (and tested all your links!) be sure you reference it in cover letters to potential employers and even include the link in your email signature. You never know when a potential opportunity may be hiding in a regular email communication.

Read and comment on blogs that interest you

If this is all new to you, you may want to start with iGoogle. It is a personalized Google homepage that displays RSS subscriptions as widgets (and you can get other handy widgets like the weather, your gmail account etc.) The City of Ottawa has a fabulous page that explains how you can set up your iGoogle page for RSS. Once you’re all set up, use Google Blog Search or Technorati to scope out blogs that interest you and click the RSS subscribe button (usually a little orange icon).

Start your own blog

If you’re really passionate about what you want to do, and can dedicate the time to maintain a blog, then consider starting your own. Blogging is a rewarding experience in its own, especially if you love to write. Check out my previous post “Social media and community management resources” for links and resources for blogging. Consider joining communities like MyBlogLog or the Bloggeries forum to help learn as you go and to promote your blog.

Tips to succeed in social media

Think you’re ready to go out and conquer social media to help find your dream job? That’s great, but it also involves a lot of ‘putting yourself out there’ and if you’re not careful it could backfire. So here’s a few quick tips to keep you on the path to success:

  • Consistency across social media – If you’re building a personal brand you want to make sure you get credit for all your effort. Build your own ‘brand’ by developing a user name, photo and brief bio to use across all social networks so that people will recognize you at each and it won’t seem like you’ve developed a multiple personality disorder.
  • Think before you post – Sometimes when we finally open our mouths, we can’t seem to shut them again! Remember that *anyone* could be reading what you’re writing so you may want to steer clear of controversial topics like religion or politics. Also you’ll want to ensure that you come across as a responsible professional so don’t drink and tweet!
  • Commit time to do it all – An abandoned profile or blog may give off a negative impression of you, so before you start, make sure you can commit the necessary time to keep it up.
  • Remember it’s about conversations – Be kind and polite to others, and always try to respond to comments posted on your profile page or tweets or however some one may be reaching out to you… Even if they don’t have a job offer for you.

That’s all I have for now! Have any tips that have helped you land a job? Have you tried something else I didn’t list here? Leave a comment!

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A few Web 2.0 updates…

So I’ve been without Internet for over a week now! I’m calling tonight to get it set up, but in the meantime I wanted to post a few quick updates from the Web 2.0 world…

  • Sixent – Is a new social networking platform launched by Ottawa-based Ramius Corp. I’ve been meaning to write a full review, but for now, I really like it and it’s gaining some great momentum… So check it out and don’t forget to add me as your contact! Oh yea, also when I was playing out with it I created a Web 2.What? group too, so join in and post a comment for suggestions of what I should do with it!
  • In other Ottawa Web 2.0 news, Overlay.tv officially launched last week out of Beta and has been creating a media storm. Check out the coverage on Tech Crunch featuring a vid with Ashton Kutcher… 
  • LinkedIn now has a discussion feature for its groups! Previously if you were a member of any LinkedIn group, you were probably wondering what the point of it was… Well now you can discuss with other group members. A definitely long-awaited feature.
  • Google announced the launch of Google Chrome. A new browser that promises to be faster and more efficient than any other. In fact they have a cute little comic explaining how that is. I haven’t had a chance to download it yet (having no Internet except for iPhone) so if you’ve tried it, drop a comment and let me know what I have to look forward to.

That’s all that comes to mind for now, but I’ll have some exciting news to announce very shortly…