Posts Tagged professional

13 Ways to Instantly Impress LinkedIn Connections

Remember when you first joined LinkedIn?

Perhaps you initially received an invitation to connect from a business associate… Or, perhaps you heard about the professional networking site and joined on your own… Either way, you most likely noticed a series of changes within the past 11 years of LinkedIn’s existence.

There have been numerous tips shared about how to complete your profile, add a photo, share status updates, participate in groups and of course expand your network. Now that you’ve successfully done all of that, you are probably ready to take the next step and really impress all of your connections with your professionalism, understanding of unwritten etiquette expectations, not to mention your ability to identify and share relevant information with other site members.

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So here is a list of the most up-to-date recommendations to do just that:

1)     Post riddles and jokes

2)      Post puzzles

3)      Post word jumbles and math quizzes

4)      Post lion pictures or cartoons

5)      Post same the thought, blog link or ad in several groups simultaneously

6)      Post mindless slogans such as: “hire for character, train for skill”

7)      Post IQ tests accompanied by “only 10% get this right”

8)      Post endlessly repeated cliché inspirational quotes

9)      Post eye charts

10)   Post content that would be superfluous even on Facebook

11)   Post irrelevant, off-topic content or comments in groups or discussions

12)   Post images or other content for the purpose of gathering sympathy “likes”

13)   Post any approving comments and/or sharing any of the above to further perpetuate such activity

Impressive, right? 

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Why You Shouldn’t Care About LinkedIn’s “Who’s Viewed Your Profile”

There could be any number of reasons why someone looks at your LinkedIn profile and why your profile shows up in a search.

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A few possibilities include: 

1) Nosy lookie-loos just curious about what you have going on.

2) You’ve changed something on your profile and it shows in their timeline, so they click to see the “news.”

3) A certain word or series of words exists on your profile when someone does a search.

4) People who are unsure about how to build their own profile are checking out what other people have done.

5) Recruiters sourcing for talent or contacts in certain industries or companies.

6) Job seekers looking for connections that may help them land their next gig.

7) Vendors searching for potential customers.

8) You posted a comment in a group discussion and people want to check to see if your comments are worthy of their attention and if you have any credibility to comment on the topic.

9) New LinkedIn members who you may have worked with previously just saw you in their list of people you may know.

10) Connections of other connections see that you just connected with someone else and click to see who you are.

There are plenty of other things that could be going on when someone clicks your profile or you turn up in a search. The main reason I don’t think the tally matters is that you should be concerned with people not just looking at you, but calling, emailing, InMailing or direct messaging you because they found something appealing about you or that they could benefit from.

I often encounter people experimenting with various tactics to increase that “who viewed my profile” number without taking into consideration that gaming the system is not entirely possible, nor does it make much sense to try given the constant algorithm updates. There are some very questionable practices that have unfortunately created a pattern of people doing whatever it takes to stay in view. The majority of time the action, content, sequence and arrangement is geared ONLY to attract views. For some people this is the only goal they care about and that is how they justify those techniques.

What concerns me is that other people tend to mimic these ideas and my not even understand how that looks to those viewing their profile or their activity in general. For example, there are certain people loading their profile or timeline status updates with specific content that looks suspicious to viewers who regularly search LI for particular types of talent. Sure they show up, but then what?

When I (and others like me) see these type of profiles, it is immediately obvious what is going on and I assure you just because it may fool some people, other people will think of you as the fool. If someone is noticed for doing some of those things that they think are impressive, but are in fact harmful, they may never even know. Obviously, not the kind of attention most of us want to attract!

There are plenty of legitimate methods to enhance your LinkedIn profile – to make it reflect the impressive qualities you have to offer. That should be the focus, so when someone does search or look, they like what they find.

Written by Kelly Blokdijk. As a talent optimization advisor Kelly’s professional background “Creating a Voice for Talent” includes 10+ years experience offering exceptional human resources, organization development and recruiting support to diverse organizations. 

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Purposely Pretentious Professionals

As a “what you see is what you get” kind of gal that communicates in a plain and direct “tell it like it is” or “call it like I see it” style, the opinions I’m about to share may not appeal to those with different sensibilities. For that reason, the following serves as a disclaimer should you continue reading: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Dr. Seuss

In what resembles an OCD pattern, my brain seems to have a ravenous appetite compelling me to consume an inordinate amount of business related and current events content on a constant basis. Others play sports, video games or engage is assorted hobbies to chill out, but that stuff doesn’t appeal to me at all. Being a non-athletic, non-competitive type and a gigantic geek, reading for enjoyment and to stay informed about the world around me is how I tend to spend any free moments. I seek out sources of new data and diverse views on assorted topics pertaining to my profession as well as plenty of other entirely unrelated topics.

Periodically, I encounter articles by various individuals that some refer to as thought-leaders. I have no issues with these folks per se, but strong individualistic tendencies prevent me from gushing all over them like a hysterical teeny-bopper at their favorite pop star’s concert. It’s rare to discover something that isn’t derivative of an existing perspective or a just a more clever arrangement of vocabulary to describe a familiar theme.

Lately, much of the published material I read is not particularly noteworthy, interesting or informative. There has been a dramatic shift away from quality to quantity, frequency and immediacy. Certain people or publications seem to have become obsessed with remaining omnipresent as if activity and visibility somehow equates to relevance and validity. Nope, this would a case for less is more if there if ever was one…

Actually, that is what deters me from writing more often. Just because I’m continuously observing, absorbing and reflecting doesn’t mean my thoughts need to transfer from my noggin to my keyboard. To me, writing means sharing my unique point of view and independent opinions with the full expectation and acceptance that others may reject the drumbeat I march to. With that in mind, please ponder a few poignant words from Kurt Cobain: “I’d rather be hated for what I am than loved for what I am not.”

The fact that most members of our society seem to have an insatiable craving for the ideas, ideology and intellect that others possess rather than thinking for themselves is rather disturbing. It is incredibly common for citizens to vote politicians into office based on talk show hosts’, actors’, athletes or musicians’ endorsements rather than learning what they need to know to make an informed decision on their own.

Another area I notice people blindly following their chosen expert’s advice in is the area of career guidance. For unknown reasons, people willingly display a complete lack of critical thinking ability or common sense when it comes to who or what they elect to pay attention to in this category. As I’ve written many times before, I find it alarming that an abundance of outdated, ineffective and inaccurate information is being peddled to those in major need of real help with their employment or unemployment situations.

If a dentist claimed to be a plastic surgeon and botched an operation, it would be called malpractice. In the career expert world there is no recourse for such blatant incompetence, and sadly the victims don’t realize the damage until it’s too late. There is no barrier to entry so anyone – bank teller, bikini waxer, chemical engineer, dog-walker – can wake up one day and decide to proclaim guru status on any career oriented subject matter they choose.

Essentially, all they need to do is fake it until they make it – meaning find enough naïve, gullible, lost and confused people to be their audience and voila! instant faux credibility. They proceed to impart their pretend wisdom on anyone willing to buy the shtick and spiel they spew. After all, according to their scripted, sleazy elevator pitch, they are, have or know THE solution.

One of the concepts I’ve seen floating around over the years is the phrase “networking with a purpose.” The first point about why this troubles me is that it seems to imply that simply living your life, meeting new people in everyday settings, social activities and any other interpersonal interactions is considered inadequate. Ironically, some people I know quite well with extremely rich personal and professional networks, never as much as utter the word networking and would scoff at the suggestion that they intentionally go somewhere or do something for the sake of networking with a purpose.

The next part of this networking methodology that I find objectionable is that it reeks of social climbing and all of the other distasteful status seeking behavior and self-serving motives that, aside from the reality TV crowd, others typically frown upon. I’ve attended events where people literally walk around scanning name tags on shoulders and lapels, presumably to identify those worthy of striking up a conversation with. They make no attempts to be subtle about it either. Apparently, they are so purposeful that they know it when they see it and don’t need to waste time chatting up the little people with the wrong name or occupation on their badge.

Based on several of pieces of advice I’ve seen and heard dispensed, the goal is to attend networking events with predetermined power targets in mind. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to only speak with important, influential and interesting people when out in public. Don’t be distracted by the insignificant people in your midst, as they clearly lack any ability to add value. To me, this practice represents an exaggerated interpretation of Zig Ziglar’s expression: “If you go out looking for friends, you’re going to find they are very scarce, If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”

Even more pathetic is the obnoxious habit that many of these purpose-driven networkers display – that being the premature and presumptuous “how may I help you?” offer. Unless Scotty just beamed me up to the Nordstrom shoe department, I will be annoyed, insulted and offended by such a preposterous question from a complete stranger. Either you are delusional enough to think such a query doesn’t seem phony, or you believe you are a super hero on a quest to assist everyone you meet, or you think I appear needy and helpless – none of which engender a favorable impression.

Unless you have Meryl Streep’s acting chops, please realize that you aren’t fooling anyone with your silly, inauthentic or disingenuous lines. I have and will readily express that sentiment too – trust me. Eyes pop and jaws drop right then and there when the level of insincerity and absurdity of this elitist attitude is called out. I understand these poor souls are merely following the direction their favorite thought-leader passed along, but some random business card passer-outer trying to impersonate Mother Teresa with a pretentious “pay-it-forward” and “give-back” mentality is beyond awkward for me and makes the would-be helper look socially inept.

Wouldn’t you rather risk being forgotten for being the dude or dudette making natural small talk about the weather or latest blockbuster movie than remembered for resembling the word of the day on urban dictionary? If so, please heed Ice Cube’s recommendation to: “Check yourself before you wreck yourself.”

Article by Kelly Blokdijk ~ As a Talent Optimization Coach & Consultant with TalentTalks, Kelly thrives on “Creating a Voice for Talent” by partnering with business professionals and job seekers to build competitive career marketing strategies, customized communication materials and compelling personal branding campaigns to create a lasting positive impression. TalentTalks consults with the business community on innovative, leading-edge human resource and organization development initiatives to enhance talent management, talent acquisition, corporate communications and employee engagement programs. TalentTalks routinely posts employment market and job search related content on Facebook and Twitter – fans and followers welcome!

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Why “Branding” Isn’t Just Another Trendy Buzz Word

It’s probably rare to encounter anyone who will admit to intentionally watching television commercials and taking notice of newspaper or magazine ads. A rather geeky trait I suppose, but I’ve always found the concept of advertising, marketing and branding quite intriguing. Having no comprehension of football and minimal interest in understanding the sport, my only reason to watch the Super Bowl is for the highly anticipated debut of all of the creative commercials. And, of course the half-time entertainment, which usually includes some form of product placement and cross-promotion as well. While most people find those things intrusive and annoying, I tend to become fixated on them and consider them worthy of attention. Perhaps it is due to consideration of how those techniques translate to personal and professional branding efforts that makes this an area of interest for me…

When mentioning branding in particular, I get a sense that most people’s eyes glaze over while they politely listen and try to decipher my affinity for something that is typically taken for granted. I’m not sure why I’m drawn to original and unique concepts for brand messages or imagery, but there are certain variations and styles that become engrained in my memory. Many times, I actually find myself analyzing what the marketers are trying to accomplish, who they are targeting and whether their campaign is effective. Of course, it is important for them to know their audience and stay abreast of changes in the environment. I’m always curious about how they are doing that… Another result of these ingenious branding efforts is the buzz they generate which turns into word of mouth advertising.

Our personal and professional brands are subject to the same type of exposure over time as many traditional consumer product brands. Essentially our conduct, knowledge, skills and abilities define our brand the same way quality, value, service or innovation is associated with tangible products. Of course, significant differences exist between individual or organizational branding efforts. Most notably the distinction is that as individuals we tend to do all of this without the aid of agencies or publicists – meaning we only get to rely on our reputation with peers, colleagues and others to help organically build a brand.

When thinking about the effectiveness of our brand, it is helpful to consider the quality and quantity of enduring relationships from each phase of our careers. As is the case between consumers and marketers, professional relationships are developed over time, usually out of mutual trust, respect and shared values and interests. Using a consumer related example to illustrate, let’s say a person moves away and no longer gets to shop at or eat at a favorite place – but every time they come back to town, that is the first place they visit. Sometimes, something or someone might be out of sight or out of mind for a while, but they are never completely forgotten. That is the sign of a meaningful brand.

Personally, this topic has come up several times recently, causing me to reflect about which relationships remain intact even after many years of not being in the same environment where they originated. Fortunately, I’ve been able to spend time in a diverse collection of settings in which I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with many talented individuals. The best part is that those are the ones that have transformed into long-term mutually beneficial relationships. The way to identify such relationships is that despite lack of recent exposure, either party would still feel comfortable supporting the other in their current or future endeavors. Just like revisiting a favorite spot when the opportunity presents itself, having a solid professional brand will be reflected with that same type of loyalty.

In addition to building an impressive professional brand in the first place, one must nurture relationships in order for them to create a lasting impact. Networking is one of the easiest ways to accomplish this. Of course, networking is another eye-glaze-inducing topic… Not always a favorite of mine either, but gradually I’ve come around to realize that it doesn’t have to be unpleasant. I also appreciate the need to practice what I preach – more often then not!

For me networking is not about going around meeting a bunch of strangers to find out how they might be able to help out. Rather, it is a way to establish and foster relationships with others out of genuine interest in getting to know them. I would compare this to how marketers conduct consumer research in order to target their audience, provide solutions and occupy their niche. Probably some of the worst misconceptions about networking are due to the “what’s-in-it-for-me” (WIIFM) types that perpetuate their self-serving agendas. My advice is to steer clear of them whenever possible and stick to finding authentic people to associate with. Most importantly, keep an open mind about how and when networking takes place. It can be a simple as striking up a conversation at the car wash or as elaborate as attendance at a formal cross-country business symposium.

There have been some unique developments in our culture which make it tough to predict how professional branding will continue to evolve. For certain, it will become more important for each of us as professionals to maintain focus on differentiation as independent solution providers. Emerging trends should be analyzed as they may have profound a impact on our ability to remain marketable. There are plenty of examples of business models which failed to stay in touch with consumer demands. Whether they simply became obsolete or were replaced by an enhanced version – when translating that concept from a product to a person, it sounds even more powerful.

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TalentTalks helps individuals and groups optimize their talent. Our career coaching consists of personalized support and professional branding techniques and strategies to help talented individuals stand out from the competition and maximize their return on investment. Contact us today for a private individualized consultation about how partnering with us can help you reach your career goals faster and with better results. http://www.talenttalks.com

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