Social Media

9 ways to make your linkedin profile stand out

LinkedIn is more than an online CV so let’s start treating it differently. It’s a way to build and share your personal brand. That’s where the real value will be for you. As always, the first step in building a brand is to determine what you want from it. Do you want to find new customers, find new partners and suppliers, find a new job, find a new candidate? What you choose will dictate a lot of what wording you will choose. After that, it’s time to work on your profile.

9 elements that will make your LinkedIn Profile stand out

It’s not an online CV so don’t just copy/paste it.

I still see plenty of profiles that show the company name, the title held and the time spent there. That could work if you had an important title or worked for a company like Google, Apple or somewhere prominent in your field. Recruiters look for skills and experiences and titles, Business Development folk look for titles and companies, Candidates want to know more about the company and the job. Spend a little time:

  • Thinking about your and your company’s elevator pitch is
  • Writing out what the company does
  • What you did there
  • Anything else worth noting (awards, patents, research, etc.)

Market yourself.

If LinkedIn is part of your online brand, then market yourself. Use key words that reflect what you are looking for. For example:

  • Recruiters might look for words, like “started” or “implemented” or “lead”
  • A potential client will look to be reassured and look for words like “cared for” or “dedicated” or “educated.”

Your tag line.

Brands have tag lines, so do you. LinkedIn allows you to to add yours. It’s that line that goes below your name and appears in search results. It can be your title if your title is strong enough or it can be something more punchy. Again, it should be in line with your objective:

  • “Entrepreneurial Market Analyst”
  • “Analytical Marketers”
  • “Electrical Engineer and team player”
  • “Consultant with a 90% customer appreciation”

The Summary as an elevator pitch.

One of the sections to fill is the Summary. Use it as an elevator pitch. Tell us who you are and why we should do business with you. Keep in mind that your writing for the screen (computer, tablets and mobiles) so keep your paragraphs short and easy to read. Don’t be afraid of bullet points. When writing this:

  • Keep in mind “Who am I and What can I do for you.”
  • Be creative. For example, if you’re a recruiter, list some of the top spots you’re looking to fill. If you’re in sales add a customer review (even if there’s a dedicated section for that)
  • The Summary should be the first thing people see some make it interesting, inviting and reader friendly.

[If you still would like more help with your Profile, reach out and I’ll help you for a fee.]

Skills.

LinkedIn allows you to add Skills. It’s searchable so think Search Engine Optimization — use words people would search for. A recruiter comfortable with searching LinkedIn will not only type “Marketing Directors in Montreal”, they’ll add skills and keywords that fit their corporate culture like “self-starter,” “team player,” “communications,” “started,” “developed,” “entrepreneurial,” etc.

Additional information.

The section allows you to tell us more about yourself. Add a website or Twitter handle.

  • If you add a website, please remove the default “My Website” label and tell us what the site is.
  • Add Twitter if you’re actually active there. Why would you send people off to a barren land when they’re already thinking of you?
  • Add other relevant sites like where you’ve been published or volunteer activities.
  • Edit your permalink in your profile to make it easier to remember or reflect your personal brand. This link can only be changed once, so use it wisely.
  • Try to paint a nice picture of yourself by telling us a little more

Your Value Proposition.

In Marketing there’s something called the Brand/Product’s Value Proposition. In other words, what makes it valuable to customers. It can be what’s the same as the competitions, what’s different and what’s better. Throughout your Profile, try to think of your Value Proposition. What do you offer that’s the same as others, different than others and better than others? It’s not an easy thing to answer and it might drive some people away…and that’s OK, you only want your target to contact you.

Recommendations.

Get clients, colleagues, bosses, etc. to write you some Recommendations. People are busy so offer some guidelines or just write it out for them and suggest they use that or alter it if need be. Ask them to focus on one or two of your core skills. Remember, you get what you put in, so write Recommendations for others as well, it only takes 5 minutes.

Build your network.

Another Marketing concept is Pull vs. Push. With Pull, you pull in your customers to your location, be it a website or a store. Push, well, you push them there. Working on your Profile is Pull. You write it out so that the relevant people can find you:

They search > They find you > They visit your profile > They connect with you or message you. You’ve pulled them in.

The last step is to build an audience. LinkedIn works with degrees of separation, so the more connections you have the closer in degrees you get to others. The closer you are to others, the more chances there are they find you. So the more contacts you have the more you see results.

There you have it, 9 elements to consider. I think the number one reason people fail at LinkedIn is:

  1. They don’t have an objective so they don’t see the point of filling out all the fields.
  2. They don’t find the time.

Find your objective, focus and build the rest.

[If you find you’re still having trouble with your Profile, reach out and I’ll help you in exchange of a fee.]

(Photo credit: *** Fanch The System!!! ***)

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Store fronts

Take any retail store. You can generally divide it into three parts:

  • The store front whose goal is to attract customers from off the streets. There are large windows, displays, neon lights, specials, window vinyls, etc.
  • The store, made up of the products and staff who really make up the customer’s experience. The products are what the customers are there to buy and the staff makes up the shopping experience. If the product isn’t up to par or the staff is unpleasant, the sale doesn’t happen.
  • The back store whose role is to supply the store with products. It’s also the computer system that tracks the sales and the customers. In some way it creates the experience as well. When the back store breaks down, the customer experience suffers (No more product? Frustration and no sale. Broken computer system? Frustration and no sale).
There’s actually a fourth element. The advertising whose goal is to find the customer, wherever she is and brings her to the store front.

The store front

I think too many people focus on the store front. Bigger vinyls, interactive systems, bigger discounts. That goes for all areas, not only retail. Marketers are guilty of this, so are business owners, job seekers and especially social media efforts.

Take that last example — social media efforts. Too many businesses focus on their company’s Facebook Page or their LinkedIn Company Page. That’s the store front, it’s what is supposed to attract the customer. Is it any surprise then that study after study reveals that customers “Like” Pages that offer deals, rebates and specials?

The other problem is in the digital world, customer attention is a very scarce resource. You’re not just competing with the businesses on your block, you’re competing with all the other businesses in the world and all the customer’s Friends and Connections — they’re all as easily accessible as your Page.

The gold then lies with the store and back store. Your employees, your products, your distribution. That’s what makes the customer’s experience. Your employees, whether in person or online, are the ones that sell your company. The great thing about the digital world is that your employee’s voice is amplified. It doesn’t stay in the confines of the store’s four walls. They’re your evangelists.

And great products are really what people want and the distribution is what gets them in their hands. And great experiences sell loyalty; discounts and neon lights don’t.

Marketers and job seekers

As mentioned earlier, the same goes for marketers and business-owners, it’s not only about the image, it’s about the experience. And for job seekers? It’s not only your CV (it’s actually very little about your CV), it’s about your process, your knowledge and the experience you deliver to the employer.

It’s not that store fronts (digital or not), it’s that they’re only a third of the experience and, arguably, the least important.

(Photo credit: Kevin Poh)

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Watch out for the resistance

Can you hear it? The resistance is near. I’m not talking about Seth Godin’s resistance — the one that stops you from doing great work. I’m talking about the resistance that fights back. I’m talking about the small group, hiding in a basement somewhere, planning their next move that will take down the empire. We are not visible and we may not appear organized.

When was the last time you rode the bus or subway? Did you notice how many people were on their phones and iPads? How many people were listening to songs and Podcasts? This digital revolution we’re in has you thinking about SEO, Google AdWords, Facebook, Twitter, Brand Monitoring; maybe even Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr and all the new toys that the web has to offer that you can use to market your great new product. What they’re really doing though is giving the resistance the tools to organize and live better lives.

Blogs are encouraging us to do great work, to hack your life, to be rich, to learn how to be an entrepreneur, to fight the flinch and anything else you really want to know. Books are more shareable; you I can read them on your phone, book, tablet. You can even produce your own. We have more than a 1,000 songs in our pockets and hundreds of Podcasts. Facebook allows me to see the great vacations my friends are taking, the awesome jobs they now have and that’s what they’re doing each day; not find a way to buy your product or hear about your witty update.

You might have heard it before, but what has changed, is not really the communication platform, but how the information is shared. We’re now more educated than ever…on whatever topic interests us.

While you’re in the corner, still figuring out how to shout louder — What’s our Google+ strategy?? Let me give you this piece of advice, don’t bother talking at me, I’ll find you when I need you.

Take a look around on the subway or bus, we’re no longer paying attention to you. We’re listening, reading, interacting with what interests us. We’re growing and learning. We’re fighting back.

Can you hear it now?

(Photo credit: Bao Nguyen)

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Fabrice Calando

Would you like to speak at Social Media Breakfast Montreal (SMBMtl)? Now’s your chance!

The Social Media Breakfast was started in August 2007 by Bryan Person in Boston. Since then the event spread to over 40 cities including here in Montreal.

The event is a huge success.

It started in December 2009 and I remember attending what I recall was the second SMBMtl at Bside bar (a bar at 8 am!) to listen and converse with Mitch Joel. Since then then there have been more than a few world-class speakers, including:

The event has also grown-up and moved from the bar floor to La Bistrote where Chef/Owner Dana Elsliger serves some of the greatest breakfasts you’ll ever eat.

I was lucky enough to both speak and attend the event. It’s been a great opportunity professionally as well as personally. It was there that I met and solidified relationships with Mark, Adele, Sebastien, Karima-Catherine, Ray Hiltz and many more.

Your turn

I’m now thrilled to be able to help Jeff Taylor keep the SMBMtl rolling. Along with Luis and Andrew from KAI Design we’re helping promote, organize and find speakers/sponsors for the event.

And that’s where you fit in.

If you’re interested in presenting or sponsoring the event, drop me a word!

See you soon!

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Missing out

No matter how many members Facebook has (close to 1 billion), it’s not uncommon to meet someone who doesn’t have the time or doesn’t see the the value of being active on various social networks. To be blunt, if you resist social media, you’re missing out on great opportunities. To hide behind (legit) concerns of privacy and lack of time is one thing. But the reality is, you’re missing out on:

The difference

Of course all this was possible before social media. People found jobs, met new people, donated to charities, funded businesses, published books, grew their business, shared ideas… What’s the difference?

Social media starts whereas other media stops. And that’s really where the difference lies. Social media points you towards more; more acquaintances, more knowledge, more questions, more serendipity… just more. Whereas traditional media aims to stop you…the question is answered then and their, they tell you what’s important, they ask the questions.

As Seth Godin points out, Britannica is stopping print production in favour of digital. Compared that to Wikipedia. The difference is at it’s core. The encyclopedia aims to answer all the question — the definite answer. Wikipedia aims to start the answer and links towards more.

The same goes for Kiva, Kickstarter, Facebook, Pressbook, YouTube, LinkedIn, WordPress…

Don’t criticize more and miss the opportunity.

(Photo credit: Marcus Hansson)

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Social media won't save your recruitment

In the marketing world the saying goes something like “social media won’t save a bad product.” Quite simply, if your product or service is horrible, no amount of tweeting, facebooking, blogging, podcasting will ever save it…it’s doomed. Well guess what? And this is going to be a shocker. The same goes for recruitment.

Stunned? I thought so… If your company is a tough company to work at, no amount of social media strategy and tactic will help paint a prettier picture. Social media won’t save you. Only you can.

Social media can still help with your recruitment, but it’s not going to hide what your company really is like. So you really have two choices before you refine your social strategy: Accept who you are as a company or change the company.

Because you’re in HR, you have an impact on both. Let me explain.

Accept who you are.

Lots of companies push their employees hard and give very little in return – whether it’s office work or manual work. Some people respond to that. Often it pays off to give it 110% at these companies and where most employees quit or give up, some respond well to the challenge. In other words, for every company, there are employees that will love working there. So accept who you are. Not too long ago, at TMP Worldwide, we worked on employer branding for a mining company. It’s hard and unforgiving work and that’s exactly what where we started when we developed the brand.

So when you’re working your social presences, don’t be afraid of who you really are. Some people don’t need snack bars, lazy-boys and lounges so don’t pretend working for you is all rosy.

Change your company.

Your second option is to change the company. Change isn’t an easy thing, but HR can definitely drive it by on boarding upper-management, communicating a clear vision of where you want to go, demonstrating what the advantages of a new corporate culture will do for productivity, moral and absenteeism and conduct regular follow-up meetings. Because change doesn’t happen overnight you may want to work on that before you jump on to social media.

As Gary Vaynerchuk puts it, our connected world makes it that our “bullshit radars” are stronger than ever, so lying about who your company is, will get you nowhere.  Social media doesn’t do a good job at hiding stuff so before you use it help your recruitment, make sure you know what your company’s personality is. What’s your take?

(Photo credit: Jeremy Atkinson)

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Write a LinkedIn recommendation in 5 minutes

Giving you LinkedIn recommendation examples and tips is great if you’re looking to get inspired. But it’s quite another when you want a formula to write all your recommendations. The expression goes “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime” and the goal of this post is to give you a simple outline to write a brief and honest recommendation on Linkedin.

Why an outline?

Outlines go a long way. I remember a while back SocialMediaExaminer.com wrote a post which outlined how they wrote their blog posts. I’ve used that outline to a certain degree ever since. Hopefully this post will do the same for you.

Planning your recommendation

This is how I try to write a recommendation. This outline has allowed me to write a recommendation in 5 to 10 minutes.

  1. How do you know this person (1 sentence)? Start your recommendation by stating, in one sentence, how you know this person. Is it a colleague, someone you’ve worked with in the past, an acquaintance, a friend? “I had the pleasure of working with…”; “ We’ve been working together for the past 6 years as…”; “I’ve known […] for over 10 years now…”; “In college we were part of the same group in the Intro to Marketing Research class…”
  2. Who is this person (1 sentence)? Some people wear multiple hats so let us know who you’re recommending them as. “[…] is our business development person at…”; “[…] is the founder of”
  3. What is the main reason you’re recommending this person (1 sentence)? No need to go into a full dissertation. Just tell us what is the number one or two reasons you think this person is great. “She is a dedicated worker”; “He is a great educator”; “He is one of the most patient people I know”; “She is passionate about her field”
  4. Elaborate a little more on that (those) reason (1-3 sentences). Tell us a little more about what is great about this person that will tie in to why you are recommending them. “I don’t get to work with him as much as I would like”; “Her dedication to educating her colleagues is motivating and contagious”.
  5. Finally, end off with a punch – a call to action (1 sentence). What would you encourage the readers of this recommendation to do? “I would urge you to get to know her”; “If you want to learn more about […], get in touch with him”. Just try not to be too salesy.

What you’re left with his a short (4-6 sentences) recommendation that his honest and easy to read. I’m not sure how much people read recommendations, but I know they have an impact. So be honest, be brief and be punchy.

What’s your take?

(Photo credit: Lali Masriera)

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Using Facebook as a recruitment tool

With 600+ million members Facebook should logically be a great place to find candidates, but many companies are still struggling with it. Two things usually hold us back. One, potential candidates are there to waste time and “hang out” with friends — they’re usually not there to look for work. Two, many recruiters see the platform as a personal one and don’t want to mix it in with work. Here are a few ideas I have on how you can leverage Facebook to find new colleagues.

First I think it’s important to realize that the world has changed. It’s something that gets thrown around a lot, but the reality is that personal and professional lives are merging, we’ve talked about this before and I think it’s going to be one of LInkedIn’s biggest challenges. No matter how long you’ve been a recruiter, increasingly that separation is diminishing; that’s a reality. Without being a market of one, most of my Facebook Friends are colleagues, ex-colleagues and bosses and because of that I’ve had some great career opportunities. That simple reality just shows how recruitment is different now that it was even just a couple years ago.

Four ways to use Facebook for recruitment

The way I see it there are four basic ways to leverage Facebook to attract new employees: Ads, corporate Facebook Pages, career Facebook Pages and personal Facebook Profiles.

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads are probably the easiest way to use Facebook as a recruitment tool. Using them to attract people to your page or career site is easy. You could even go all out and use Premium Ads to supplement a recruitment event or campaign. Creative uses of ads can go a long way. Remember the story of Alec Brownstein who creatively used Google AdWords to find a dream job? Try thinking out of the box to find candidates.

Facebook Pages

Facebook Pages are where companies go to leverage Facebook. If your company already has one or more strong Facebook pages, use them to find new candidates. Use the wall, pictures and video to promote your employer brand and corporate culture; use events to promote recruitment events or open-houses you might be holding; use apps to display all your job openings like Starbucks did. People already like your brand and products so turn those ambassadors into employees.

Similarly, if you have the resources look into building a Page dedicated careers at your company. If you go down that route, it’ll be important to have the staff to contribute. The goal of the page will really to showcase your company and get others excited about working there. Get current employees involved, answer questions, add pictures and videos.

Personal Profiles

Personal Profiles are arguably the best way to find new employees. Through your profile you can get in touch friends, family and ex-colleagues that can put you in touch with the right people. One of the biggest challenges is that it’s difficult to search members’ experience, but applications like BranchOut, that allow you to find candidates just as you would in LinkedIn, are changing that…

Try leveraging your employees’ networks by encouraging them to share openings, company events and pictures as well as Facebook check-ins. According to a 2009 Nielsen study, 90% of internet users trust a recommendation from people they know, whereas 71% trust corporate websites and even less than that trust “traditional” advertising. So the more your employees are sharing company stuff on Facebook, the more your employer brand will grow and gain trust. That’s the new reality…

Facebook is a great place to find new candidates. Because users are there to keep up with friends and acquaintances, it might actually be one of the best places to recruit.

How do you use Facebook to find new employees?

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LinkedIn recommendation examples

I’ll admit it, I’ve never been one to write a ton of LinkedIn recommendations. I know I should…I meet and work with a lot of great women and men. Besides, we all know LinkedIn is sexy. The main reason is that I always want to write the “perfect” recommendations. So I take the time, think it through, write out drafts and the end result is that I never quite send out all the recommendations I want to. I’ve finally decided to keep it short an honest. Here’s some advice on writing LinkedIn recommendations.

(If you just want a LinkedIn recommendation outline that will help you write some up in 5 minutes, you’ll find that here).

  • First of all, I think it’s important to recommend colleagues and business partners you really are able to recommend. It shows you’ve appreciated working with them, but it also shows others that you were willing to take the time to recommend this person. It says, all these people have taken the time to recommend this person so write recommendations for people you can truly vouch for.
  • Second, keep it short and sweet. It’s not a recommendation to get in to a doctoral program at Harvard, it’s a quick endorsement of someone’s work — we all know people scan when they’re online and if they want more info they’ll contact you. Once you find someone you enjoyed working with, come up with a couple things you really enjoyed and focus on that.
  • Third, although LinkedIn gives you a recommendation sample, keep it honest. If you use short sentences, use short sentences; if you don’t like using terms like “detail-oriented supervisor” and would rather say “cool boss”, say that. Generic recommendations won’t impress anyone and it won’t motivate you to write them.
  • Finally, just do it. If all you have to say is one sentence, if it’s honest and true, then just do it. LinkedIn allows you to go back and edit it after it’s been posted. Just go to Profile on the top navigation, select Recommendations and go to the Sent Recommendations section. That way if something new comes up, or if you think of a better way of saying something you can just go back and do that.

Showing colleagues and partners you enjoy working with them is important and it also shows others that you’ve willingly taken the time to write something nice and that goes a long way. So keep it short and sweet, keep it authentic and go for it!

[Update] A few LinkedIn recommendation examples

This is a recommendation I wrote for a current colleague of mine:

“Although I’ve only been working with Sébastien for a short period of time, it’s been a great experience. Sébastien is dedicated to teaching and educating his coworkers and clients. He’s always open to learning new things and improving service levels.
I’m thrilled to be able to work with him and I hope I will get to do so for a long time…”

Notice how it’s short and it emphasizes what I feel are two of his  biggest qualities — great teacher and open to learning new things.

This is a recommendation I wrote for someone I worked with before:

“En travaillant avec Thoma j’ai eu l’opportunité d’apprendre à connaitre quelqu’un de curieux et honnête. Il cherche toujours à trouver de nouvelles façons de faire et d’apprendre tout ce qu’il y a de nouveau dans le monde des médias sociaux. C’est un bon enseignant, toujours prêt à aider et un collègue vraiment cool. J’espère encore pouvoir travailler avec lui un jour !”

Again, the recommendation is short and honest — I wrote it in French because I think that’s more helpful for him.

This is a recommendation I wrote for someone who organized a conference I spoke at:

“I had the pleasure of meeting Jeff while preparing a talk at the Social Media Breakfast in Montreal. Jeff is the founder of the local chapter and his dedication to this and his other ventures is awesome. I don’t get to work with Jeff as much as I would like to. He’s a smart fellow always looking for ways to help out others and a great person to work with. I would encourage you to get to know him…”

Here to I briefly described how I knew him and what I feel his strengths are — smart and helpful.

How often do you write recommendations? Do you have any tips to share?

(Photo credit: Alessandro Reginato)

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Letting your employees use social tools

I’m always surprised when I speak with employees that are are prevented from accessing different social media tools. It’s particularly amusing when the employer asks to implement social media initiatives and none of the employees in charge can participate or even test out new applications. I wonder what it looks like to the end-users.

Why do companies block social networks?

We always hear the same reasons for blocking access to sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube:

  • Employees are just going to wast their time. I would answer that with a question: Do your employees work only 9 to 5 and take all their brakes? I’m ready to bet they don’t — we’re all putting in more hours at work. We work on the evenings and weekends and check our emails wherever and whenever. If they’re giving you more of their time, you can give them Facebook and Twitter…
  • They’ll say something stupid. If you don’t trust your employees why did you hire them in the first place? They’re your most important asset. It’s important to hire people that are a great fit with your company. It’s important to give employees guidelines on using social networks and if you feel it’s not clear whether some information should be shared or not, just say it: “Feel free to share this news with your friends!” or “This is confidential information, we’ll let you know when you can share it. Thanks for your understanding!”
  • There’s no value in having employees use social media. Maybe you have a social media team or maybe you don’t see any value at all in social media. If it’s the latter, I would definitely recommend reading Gary Vaynerchuk‘s The Thank You Economy. On the other hand, if you just don’t see what the point of having your employees on social media, it’s time to realize that the new normal of work includes social media.

Missing opportunities

Ultimately, by blocking the access to social networks you’re missing out on great new opportunities. Not doing so demonstrates that you’re open and aware of the changing times, it shows you trust your employees and trust is everything. Besides younger employees won’t accept to work at a company that blocks access to these tools or they’ll access them via their mobile phones.

By actually encouraging employees to use these tools you get to get to have access to each employee’s network. By facilitating the use of social tools, your employees can share corporate information such as contests, job postings, news and updates and even encouraging check-ins with Foursquare, Facebook or Gowalla all your company’s greatness spreads through your employees’ networks. Take Facebook for example, on average people have 130 friends. If you have 500 employees and let’s say roughly 450 have Facebook accounts, that’s access to 65,000 people that see every check-in, read about every news and see job posting. Add to that Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr and personal blogs…that’s a lot of employer branding as well as business development and recruitment potential.

Gary Vaynerchuk says in The Thank You Economy(Affiliate link), “you need to make people who aren’t your customers wish they were.” People will always trust their friends more than corporate speak and what better way to spread news and find new employees than be encouraging your current employees to spread the news.

What’s your take on using social media at work?

(Photo credit: Ian Munroe)

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