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What Happens When You Tell Lies to Gain a Competitive Advantage?

We are living in uncertainty times and no one knows what the new normal is going to look like after this pandemic. No where is there more angst than in the job market. Many people have been laid-off or furloughed, and some of those who are still employed are nervous about their future. And with the unemployment rate at an all-time high, it is tempting to fudge credentials when applying for jobs. BUT, lying on your resume can hurt your professional reputation.

In a blog post titled Resume Fraud and the Law, the writer from Zelikman Law, states, “It is not uncommon to embellish one’s credentials in the course of an interview or through a resume in order to “get one’s foot in the door.” To a certain degree, most people are guilty of some form of self-aggrandizement when employment is within reach.” 

It has become a common practice over the years for some job seekers to do exactly that – deliberately lie on their resume – and it runs the gamut from entry level candidates to executives.

Some of these individuals have been caught fabricating their accomplishments and churning out information that is incorrect. Some have been rewarded with job opportunities by misrepresenting facts. A former Blue Jays manager also lied on his resume and had to resign. Here’s a list of more recent ones:

A former deputy assistant secretary in the US State Department had to resign from her job for allegedly lying on her resume. It appears she had built a career out of faking her accomplishments and inflating her educational achievements. She even created a fake Times Magazine cover. Why would she do that? To gain a competitive advantage!

A former admissions director at MIT was forced to resign after 28 years because it was discovered she lied on her resume when she applied for the job.  She claimed she had had three degrees when she only had one. Why did she do that? To gain a competitive advantage!

An article by Business Insider lists several successful executives who also lied on their resumes. It includes the former CEO of Yahoo, Herbalife, MGM Mirage, Bausch & Lamb, and others. Why did these CEOs do that? To gain a competitive advantage!

In some countries you can get jail time for lying on your resume.

One Australian woman pretended to be actress Kate Upton, and got a government job as Chief Information Officer (CIO). She is serving a 25-month sentence in jail for this act. Why did she do that? To gain a competitive advantage!

Back in 2002, the former CEO of a television station in New Zealand, Canadian John Davy, was sentenced to eight months in jail after pleading guilty to one charge of using a document — his resume — “to obtain a benefit or privilege”. He stated he had an MBA from Denver State University, but the degree was a counterfeit credential sold online. He said he had worked with the BC Securities Commission in Canada. That wasn’t true either. The Commission didn’t have any record of him working there. Why did he do that? To gain a competitive advantage!

HireRight’s 2019 Employment Screening Benchmark reported 87% of survey respondents believe that some percentage of candidates misrepresent themselves on applications and or resumes.

The Georgetown Professor Who Falsely Claimed She was Black

The biggest lie of them all is what Jessica Krug did. For years she pretended to be Black when she knew otherwise. She also created a new identity as Jess La Bombalera an AfroLatina activist from the Bronx. The twist here is that Jessica Krug aka Jess La Bombalera is an associate professor at Georgetown University.

In Krug’s own words on Medium, “To an escalating degree over my adult life, I have eschewed my lived experience as a white Jewish child in suburban Kansas City under various assumed identities within a Blackness that I had no right to claim: first North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness. I have not only claimed these identities as my own when I had absolutely no right to do so — when doing so is the very epitome of violence, of thievery and appropriation, of the myriad ways in which non-Black people continue to use and abuse Black identities and cultures — but I have formed intimate relationships with loving, compassionate people who have trusted and cared for me when I have deserved neither trust nor caring. People have fought together with me and have fought for me, and my continued appropriation of a Black Caribbean identity is not only, in the starkest terms, wrong — unethical, immoral, anti-Black, colonial — but it means that every step I’ve taken has gaslighted those whom I love.”

Krug, as mentioned above, is a Professor at George Washington University where she has taught African history and African diaspora courses since 2012. Her book, Fugitive Modernities, about slavery, was published in 2018 by Duke University Press, and was a finalist for the Frederick Douglass Book Prize and the Harriet Tubman Prize, named after two Black American icons.

Why do people lie on their resumes and embellish their credentials? To gain a competitive advantage! But what would drive someone to pass herself off as Black and assume an added identity, as an Afro Latina? She has said it’s because of mental health issues she has battled since childhood. I am not going to second-guess her; that’s for the medical experts to do. Did she receive grants, fellowships, scholarships? If so, then it would appear she benefited from spaces and resources that could possibly have gone to Black and Latino professionals. This could be considered cultural appropriation.

Lying on your resume is bad; seriously lying for years about your identity and misrepresenting your lived experience is worse. Whether you are looking for a job or a position in academia, do not embellish the truth. If you do, your integrity and reputation will be adversely affected. Your deception will be uncovered, and the consequences could be severe. You will either have to repay your employer or spend some time in jail. As for Ms. Krug, Georgetown University is investigating, and no one knows what the penalty, if any, will be.

As a job seeker, you may be quite desperate to find a job, but now is not the time to participate in such unethical job search practices. The responsibility is on you to carefully consider what you list on your resume. As the Zelikman blog post states “…when applying for a job, the best advice is the simplest: be honest.”

Sources:

NPR – White Professor invented her Black identity

Forbes – Jessica Krug admits she falsely claimed Black identity 

 

10 Ways to Support Your Career Coach & Resume Writer Colleagues During COVID19

www.thewrighcareer.com

As we brace for what will certainly become the ‘new normal’, the grim reality is that some businesses will thrive and some will not survive. Hopefully, those of us in the career space will be on the thriving end of things. Crisis tends to bring opportunities; we only need to look for them.

At the moment, many of us are engaged in activities aimed at supporting job seekers and our clients during this COVID19 crisis. There are free webinars and online courses on a wide array of career and job search topics, and based on comments I have heard and read, these actions are having a positive impact.

Amidst all of this, it occurred to me to ask the question, how are we doing as a career collective? What support do we have or need? What are some simple ways we could support each other (for free), during this time?

The ten tips on the attached image would be a great place to start. Are there others you could add?

Which career coach or professional resume writer could you reach out to today?

What if LinkedIn is the New Business Card?

LinkedIn touts itself as the world’s largest professional network with close to 530 million users in 200 countries. It is also referred to as a ‘resume-on-steroids’ because it’s available for viewing 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. As the platform continues to evolve, it is probably time to consider it as an online business card.

Over the past  year, I made a conscious decision to reduce my use of business cards, preferring instead to carry post cards. These are not the most convenient to carry around, but they have more space than a business card to add information about who I am and what I do. During a recent conference at which I spoke, I observed attendees interacting with speakers, and when they asked for a business card, they were told to “Connect with me on LinkedIn”. Suddenly it dawned on me that a LinkedIn profile could be considered a business card.

At the end of one session, I went over to Melody Adhami, CEO of Plastic Mobile, and mentioned that I thought I was the only speaker without business cards, although I had pot cards. She did not say she had abandoned the use of business cards, but said LinkedIn was more convenient for two reasons: 1) everything that anyone needed to know about her was on her profile, and 2) she uses LinkedIn as a recruiting tool. Anyone who engages with her on the platform will get her attention, and more often than not she will peruse their profile, and decide whether or not to connect.

Why am I suggesting that LinkedIn is the new business card? Unlike a real business card that is restricted by size and space, or a resume that is limited by number of pages, LinkedIn offers a good deal more. Users are allowed to include as much information as possible about their background, skills, and accomplishments. They can upload media (videos, images, presentations, etc.). It could probably be the most significant online business card that one will have to tell one’s story, build a professional network, and find opportunities. Assuming that’s the case, many users are doing themselves a disservice when they do not maximize its benefits.

 

Below are 10 easy tips to help you create an almost perfect LinkedIn business card:

  1. Use a professional head shot. Some people are shy and do not want to use a photograph in their profile, but if you are serious about your job search, or about connecting with people, a professional photograph is a must. LinkedIn’s Michael Shamshoian said, “…one’s LinkedIn Profile is 14 times more likely to be viewed if a photo is included.”
  2. Headline. The entire LinkedIn profile is important, but the headline and summary sections are considered ‘prime real estate’ spaces, and should be maximized. Think of your headline as an online 30-second elevator pitch that quickly describes who you are and what you do in 120 characters. For those who believe that job titles and degrees must be included in the headline, there are no rules to that effect.
  3.  Create your own LinkedIn URL. Did you notice when you first created your account LinkedIn assigned you a default URL with numbers and letters that don’t seem to make sense? They don’t, neither do they add any value to your brand. Create a simple URL with your name. If your name is already taken, use one from the options LinkedIn offers. Make sure it’s a name that will be found when people search for you.
  4. Write a captivating summary that will entice readers to want to connect with you. Use every last one of the 2000 characters allowed in this space to tell your story and describe your most noteworthy accomplishments. The Summary section is where most people spend their time.
  5. Weave keywords throughout your Profile. Research the keywords that will show up when people search for you on LinkedIn, then weave them throughout your profile. Hint: Most keywords can be found in the job posting.
  6. Complete your Profile 100%. Recruiters have said that the more incomplete a profile is the more likely they are to ignore the profile. Don’t be bypassed by recruiters and hiring managers because you have a skeleton of a profile.
  7. Personalize your Invitations. People are less likely to accept your invitation when you use the generic “I would like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”. Help them answer the question, “Why should I connect with you?” Were they in the news? Are you a member of the same Alumni?
  8. Build the relationship first. Asking for favours, or trying to sell to someone you just connected with, kills the relationship before it starts. Some people have even used their LinkedIn Invitation as a way to sell – long before establishing the relationship. Don’t fall into that trap. Begin building the relationship slowly. Comment on, or Like their posts, or share articles and resources that could be of interest to them.
  9. Join LinkedIn Groups. Joining and contributing to industry or interest groups is one way of showcasing your expertise and building your brand. As people see the value you are adding to these online conversations, they will be more likely to connect with you.
  10. Request Recommendations. Recommendations add credibility to your profile, so ask people who know you, and who can attest to your skills and attributes, to write one for you. This takes time and thought, so make it easy for them to comply by drafting one yourself, highlighting what you would like to focus on. Pay it forward, and write a recommendation for them.

Keep in mind that LinkedIn is not your personal web page. Save your profile as a PDF, and download your connections from time to time. You do not want to lose your contacts’ information, neither do you want to be left without a back up of your Profile.

STOP Scaring Recruiters With Your Bare Bones LinkedIn Profile

TheWrightCareer.comIt’s not yet Halloween, but your LinkedIn Profile could be scaring away recruiters and potential contacts in obvious and not-so-obvious ways. Recruiters and hiring managers source LinkedIn all the time for great candidates. When they stumble on an incomplete profile, a blank photo box, or missing dates, they don’t contact you for details; they move on to your competitors.

A lot of people believe that the fact they have a LinkedIn account with a name, degrees and a list of employers they are all set. Not so! Take the example of someone I was introduced to recently. Her name was followed by a list of degrees, names of former and current companies, and a long list of committee and board affiliations. That was it! As bare-boned as a skeleton! Yet, in speaking with her, I discovered she is a highly-accomplished professional who could easily attract the attention of recruiters, But her LinkedIn profile lacked substance and would scare the daylights out of a recruiter.

In an informal conversation with a few recruiters recently, I asked them what scared them the most about someone’s LinkedIn Profile. Here are some of their thoughts:

  1. Gaps and Omission of Dates. When recruiters review resumes, they zero in, with eagle eyes, for start and end dates at each employer. It’s no different when they view a LinkedIn Profile. Olivia Petrou, Research Consultant at TWC International Executive Search Limited, says the lack of dates, or gaps in dates, scares her most when looking at job candidates’ LinkedIn profiles. “It makes me curious as to whether that person is hiding something.”
  2. Photograph vs Blank Box. Many LinkedIn users omit, or refuse to include a professional photograph in their profiles. It is a given, in my opinion, that people would be more inclined to reach out or accept a LinkedIn invitation if they can associate a name with a profile. On a recent webinar with LinkedIn’s Michael Shamshoian, he said that “one’s LinkedIn profile is 14 times more likely to be viewed if a photo is included.” (By the way, there are some people who have included a photo but it is either a group or a photo of their spouse. Really now? “Who is who?”).
  3. Skimpy information. LinkedIn offers 120 character spaces for the Headline and 2,000 spaces for the Summary, yet so many people skimp on the information they include. While the entire profile is important, the headline and summary sections are considered ‘prime real estate’ spaces and should be maximized.
  4. Incomplete This relates to point 3 above. When we consider that LinkedIn is probably the most significant channel to tell one’s story and build a professional network, members do themselves a disservice when they have incomplete profiles. Geoff Webb, Global Sourcing Strategist at Aon PRO said, “I consistently hear from recruitment teams that the more incomplete a profile is the more likely they are to ignore the profile, so there is great value in making your profile as complete as possible.” 
  5. Spam or Fake Profiles. Who hasn’t received LinkedIn invitations that, at first read appear genuine, but once they are accepted, they are quickly followed up with unwanted business proposals or romantic pursuits? I have had my share and that’s scary! Webb continued: “I am more concerned with the increasing number of ‘spam’ or ‘fake’ profiles on LinkedIn, and although they are pretty easy to spot they waste a huge amount of effort”. Fake profiles and spam messages are time-wasters, and LinkedIn is not for that.
  1. Misreading the audience. Jeff Wedge, a Senior Talent Acquisition Consultant at Aon RPO, opined that although he reviews over 300 resumes and LinkedIn profiles per week, he is hard pressed to find one that attracts his attention to the point where he would pick up the phone to reach out. “Most candidates, ranging from CEO to entry-level, do not understand the audience they are trying to reach. That scares me. They need to have teasers or accomplishments that would convince me to pick up my phone”, he said.

LinkedIn considers itself the world’s largest professional network, and it offers free visibility. In fact, it is frequently referred to as someone’s resume-on-steroids (being visible 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year). Unlike a resume that has to be brief, a LinkedIn Profile has a number of categories to showcase your skills, experience, education, accomplishments, projects, causes hobbies and interests. Maximize its benefits. Use the categories and spaces to build a robust profile and draw recruiters and potential contacts to you rather than scaring them away.

 

And the Most Overused Resume Buzzword for 2013 Is…

 

Responsible2

Over the past several years, LinkedIn has been coming out with its top ten list of buzzwords found in members’ profiles and resumes. This year, ‘responsible’ heads the list, but it won’t be considered ‘news’ to some recruiters.  In a 2010 survey of Canadian HR professionals and recruiters, they unanimously agreed that employers hire based on results, not on what job candidates were “responsible for…”.

To arrive at the top ten buzzwords, LinkedIn analyzes the English-language profiles of millions of its worldwide members. Since 2010, some words have been eliminated or moved further down the list but ‘innovative’ has been a constant. It is interesting that creative, organizational and effective occupy the top three positions in 2011 and 2012.

LI_Buzzwords

What tends to get lost in these analyses is the fact that job descriptions and job postings are full of these buzzwords. The dichotomy then is, how original can a job seeker get? To ensure their resumes are selected by the applicant tracking system programmed with these same buzzwords, job seekers have little choice but to stack their resumes or profiles with them.

All is not lost. There is a way to circumvent this overuse of buzzwords. It is called networking, an activity that many job seekers detest. Networking does not rely on buzzwords. It is a planned approach to building professional relationships through social media and in-person contacts, and a chance to be seen by recruiters and decision makers. Job seekers have an opportunity to add value to conversations, showcase their expertise and gain visibility from the people who really matter.

So while you might be a responsible and strategic thinker, who is creative, effective and patient; an expert in organizational development, driven to deliver innovative ideas and be extremely analytical, you still have a long way to go to create a resume and LinkedIn profile that will totally be devoid of these buzzwords.

Are you ready to shun those buzzwords? You can start by sharing concrete examples of your accomplishments and how you have added value to your employer.

 

Related links:

LinkedIn Most Overused Words in 2013 [Infographic]

LinkedIn Most Overused Words in 2012

LinkedIn Most Overused Words in 2011

LinkedIn Most Overused Words in 2010

 

 

 

5 Reasons You Are Being Ignored on LinkedIn

AreJob search on LinkedIn you being bypassed on LinkedIn? Are your invitations being rejected? If you are a manager or emerging executive who is not attracting influential contacts, or who is not on the radar of recruiters and decision makers, you are probably being ignored on LinkedIn because of these blunders:

You have chosen to keep the ghost-looking blank box. Without a professional headshot, hiring managers, recruiters and potential contacts assume you are invisible or that you don’t exist. People are more inclined to accept your invitation if they can associate a name with a photograph, so add a bit of personality to your profile. When you do upload a photo, make sure it is a professional one. One client had a photo that included his cute little daughter. That was great for Facebook, but not for LinkedIn.

5 Reasons You Are Being Ignored on LinkedIn

You are using LinkedIn’s default invitation. I have lost count on how many invitations I have received that started with LinkedIn’s default or generic invitation, “Hi, I would like to add you to my professional network”. Spend time crafting a customized message. Give recipients a reason to connect with you. Remind them of how you met; that you are both members of the same alumni group; that you have been following their insightful discussions on an industry’s LinkedIn Group. Or, if those strategies don’t apply, say something that indicates you value them and are not just looking to add numbers to your network.

5 Reasons You Are Being Ignored on LinkedIn

You have not changed the default public profile URL. When you first signed up for a LinkedIn account, you were given a URL that has your name and some numbers and letters. Create a clean, personally-branded URL by following the instructions under Edit Profile. If someone with your name has already grabbed that URL, use a middle initial or something that will differentiate you from others with the same name.

5 Reasons You Are Being Ignored on LinkedIn

You have a scanty and incomplete profile. One of the first things many people do after they sign up for a LinkedIn account is to start sending invitations. Big mistake! Add content to your profile. Before asking people to join your network, let them know who you are, what you have done, what skills you have, what you are good at. Give them a good reason for wanting to connect with you.

5 Reasons You Are Being Ignored on LinkedIn

You are asking for favours too early in the relationship. This is like going on a blind date and asking your date to marry you. Never ask your new contact to help you find a job or for any other favours so early in the relationship. Relationship building comes first. Give them a chance to get to know you, or more importantly, find out how you may be able to help them.

5 Reasons You Are Being Ignored on LinkedIn

LinkedIn allows your profile to be available 24/7 for anyone to see at any time. If you are serious about your job search, here are some quick reminders:

  • Make sure your profile is 100% complete (or close)
  • Customize your invitations
  • Upload a professional head shot
  • Customize your personal URL.
  • Do not start asking for favours as soon as your new contact has accepted your invitation

Sometimes you might not be looking for new opportunities but because you have an attention-grabbing professional profile, you could be contacted by individuals looking for people with your expertise.

How does your LinkedIn or your other social media profiles measure up? Share your thoughts here.

Are You Among LinkedIn’s 1%?

LinkedIn_1_PercentLast week I received a personalized congratulatory email from LinkedIn’s Senior Vice President of User Experience that said “You have one of the top 1% most viewed LinkedIn Profiles for 2012”. LinkedIn now has 200 million users, so by the time I worked out the math (1 in 2,000,000), the message didn’t have as much meaning, unless I was going to assess and quantify how many connections or clients I received as a result of these views.

Anyway, for it was worth, I googled the sender’s name to make sure it was legitimate, then tweeted the news. What algorithm LinkedIn used to arrive at this percentage is anyone’s guess, but it has certainly garnered a lot of discussion among some of my career practitioner colleagues – from humour to an attitude of ‘What will they come with next?

While we ponder this, however, I am reminded of the many job seekers who are not aware of, or are still not taking advantage of LinkedIn as a job search and networking tool. One woman called me aside at church the other day and said, “Someone sent me an invitation to join LinkedIn. I don’t understand what it is, but I know you would, so I joined, and now am asking you to explain.”  I gave her a brief description of LinkedIn and told her it is often referred to as ‘having one’s resume on steroids’ so she is to make sure she completes her profile.

It might be presumptuous to say that LinkedIn is fast becoming somewhat of a ‘recruiter of choice’ for some employers, but many of them are using LinkedIn to conduct ‘stealth hiring’. This is where they quietly target, recruit, interview and hire employees without advertising job vacancies. They are able to view profiles, see who is connected to whom, what skills and expertise they have, and reach out to them even when these individuals are not looking for job opportunities. On the flip side, they can view profiles and if they are incomplete or do not have the right keywords to appeal to them, they can disqualify them right there.

So, whether or not you are among LinkedIn’s 1%, 5% or 10% most viewed profiles, here are six quick tips that could bring your profile up to speed and have you on the radar of potential employers:

  1. Complete your profile. This means writing an attention-getting summary and adding skills that will show up in searches and help to attract recruiters and hiring managers.
  2. Upload a professional head-shot. First impressions count, even for your profile, so replace that ‘egg head’ blank square with a professional photo if you want to impress a recruiter or hiring manager, or connect with someone.
  3. Customize your LinkedIn invitation. People are more apt to connect with you if you put a bit of effort into crafting a customized invitation. Let them feel special! Remind them where you met or how you are connected.
  4. Join industry and professional groups. LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups, so search for groups by industry, alumni, former companies and career or job search groups, and join them. Once you have joined, PARTICIPATE!
  5. Follow your target companies. During your research you would’ve identified companies with which you would like to work. Monitor their company pages to learn more about them, their products and services, as well as who has recently been hired.
  6. Ask and Answer Questions. LinkedIn is made up of a community of learners, so don’t be afraid to showcase your expertise by answering questions posed by other users or to pose questions of your own.

While this article primarily pertains to job seekers, entrepreneurs and solopreneurs should harness the power of LinkedIn to build relationships and visibility, and increase business opportunities.

Let us know how you are using LinkedIn and if you have been counted among their most viewed profile.

LinkedIn Endorsements: Fad, Foe or Friend?

If you are active on LinkedIn you may have started receiving endorsements from some of your connections. I have, and must say that when they started arriving in my Inbox I thought spam hackers had infiltrated the accounts of some of the people in my network and were sporadically sending out these messages. I became a bit more curious when I noticed endorsements were coming from some individuals with whom I had very little, if any, interactions. Don’t get me wrong; I appreciate all I have received so far, but because I wasn’t aware that such a feature exists, I was sceptical. It wasn’t until I saw several posts on a discussion board and visited the LinkedIn blog that I realized the emails were legitimate.

LinkedIn Endorsement is a feature that allows your contacts to click a button and recognize and validate skills and expertise that you have on your profile. They can also add skills and expertise that they know you have but ones you may not have listed. In fact, in a word or phrase, a LinkedIn endorsement could help to answer the age old question, “What are you good at?” The feature also allows you to pay-it-forward by endorsing the expertise of people in your network who you know quite well or by reciprocating the favour of those who have endorsed you. Having said that, is this LinkedIn Endorsement feature a fad, a foe or a friend?

Fad. From much of what I have read, some people have characterized it as a fad – a trend that will pass. One individual curtly said, “This too shall pass”, referring to Twitter‘s #FollowFriday and Facebook‘s ‘Likes’. A comment on Inquirer.net states, “As the feature stands, it’s really just eye-candy for Linkedin, perhaps catching the attention of an employer but quickly fading away under detailed scrutiny.” One colleague commented that, “This whole endorsements thing is kinda brainless…silly and devoid of meaning.” Digital marketer, Eric Whittlake, portends that the value of LinkedIn as a business network will decrease while traffic to the site and potential advertising will increase. And, blogger Garrett Heath, said, “The Endorsement feature cheapens some of these accomplishments and turns a candidate’s profile/resume effectively into a “Like” contest.”

Foe. Although this could be more perception than reality, somewhere down the road, recruiters and hiring managers could be tempted to look at the number of endorsements one has and eliminate some otherwise talented people from the competition because they do not have many endorsements. This is not too far-fetched as there were discussions in the blogosphere and on job boards several months ago about some employers using one’s Klout score (or number of Twitter followers, for that matter), to determine how much clout (influence) one has and which applicants should be short-listed for interviews. Endorsements could also impact the LinkedIn’s Recommendations feature since it is easier to click on a skills button than to write a recommendation. And, in some circles, endorsements could be viewed as a “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” strategy, which could be frowned on and diminish its effectiveness.

Friend. The upside to the act of endorsements is that it could be perceived as a 360° validation of your expertise. Not only are you saying you are ‘the best thing since sliced bread’ but people who are familiar with you and your work also agrees with you. These endorsements add value and credibility and back up your claim of having those skills and expertise. An endorsement could also be mutually beneficial as you can return the favour of the endorser and thereby capitalize on each other’s network. If done correctly, endorsements could enhance the value of the recommendations you already have.

It’s obvious that the feature has friends and foes. From my perspective, however, the jury is still out. First, the feature is only a month old (up to the time of this post); second, I am still not sure how to use it effectively. For example, when I thought I was accepting endorsements, I ended up clicking on the “Endorse All 4” button that popped up without clearly looking at who I was endorsing. There will be many more discussions about the value of endorsements, and when that happens we can all determine if a LinkedIn Endorsement is a fad, a foe or a friend. Leave your comments or your discoveries in the “Speak Your Mind” section below.

Additional reading:

The Pros and Cons of Endorsements

How LinkedIn Skills Endorsement Impact Your Job Search

Endorsement Feature Degrades LinkedIn as a Professional Network

 

Social Media: The New Job Search Frontier

Recently I did some presentations and a webinar on social media for my clients and a couple of community organizations, including the Kiwanis Club of Brampton.  These presentations offered simple strategies to build a LinkedIn Profile, how job seekers can use social media to market themselves to employers, and how professionals and entrepreneurs can benefit from having an online presence.

Many people are nervous at the mere mention of social media. They are afraid people might misuse their information; they want to guard their privacy, or they are just plain overwhelmed with so many of these tools from which to choose. One webinar participant wrote me to say, “I am scared of a free service that takes my data to make money and promises not to share my information.” She then asked if I thought she was paranoid. Privacy is a legitimate concern, of course, especially since we know, or have heard of many online horror stories, but one does not have to become paranoid.

At one point, I was hesitant to use Facebook, for example. Although I have had an account since 2008, I did not start actively using it until 2010, when I began to see additional benefits other than getting updates from my nieces and nephews. So, social media is scary, and it might look like a time-waster sometimes, but is that enough not to test the waters? From a job seeker’s perspective, is it worth missing out on potential job opportunities, or connecting with a couple of influential decision makers? Wouldn’t it be nice to address someone by name at one of your target companies instead of “Dear Sir/Madam”?

There are many advantages to using social media. During a LinkedIn conference in Toronto last week, the keynoter said, “If you have hired more than 10 people through LinkedIn, stand.” Over 600 HR professionals and recruiters stood up. In other sessions, presenters spoke about how companies can build their employer brands on LinkedIn by reaching out and engaging potential employees through Career Hub Pages and Groups. The overall message from my perspective as a career coach is that job seekers need a LinkedIn presence, for starters.

I also learned that Canada is the 5th largest country on LinkedIn, and that IBM is one of the most active companies on LinkedIn, with over 280,000 employees and 650,000 followers. Want to join IBM? There are lots of people with whom you could connect!

Here’s a summary of some major social media tools:

  • LinkedIn – known as the number one social media tool for business, it has over 150 million members. Not only can profiles be created, but resumes can be uploaded, and by following Company Pages, one is able to keep track of new hires, promotions and the overall health of specific companies.
  • Twitter – a free micro-blogging platform that sends short messages using 140 characters. Recruiters, employers and HR professionals are quite active on Twitter and quite often use it to announce  job vacancies.
  • Facebook – permits businesses to establish a presence and allows people to “Like” and follow those businesses.
  • Pinterest – a content sharing service that allows members to “pin” images, videos and other objects to pinboards. At first glance, one may wonder how effective this is as a job search tool, and the jury is still out on this. However, if you are the creative/artistic type, you can certainly market yourself or your business with it, so, join Pinterest and ‘get ‘Pinspired’!
  •  Google+ – another content sharing service, with an added feature called ‘Hangouts’. It’s a new video service where one can hold meetings, arrange study sessions, family meetings, or social gatherings with up to 10 people. Some companies have already started to conduct interviews with Hangouts.
  • About.me – serves like a parking garage for your online presence. It is a personal page that points people to everything you do around the web. It can be useful as a link in an email instead of uploading your resume and your other documents.

I believe the new job search or business frontier is through social media, and job seekers and entrepreneurs need to leverage its use. None of us can afford to be left out, especially as online interactions are becoming as meaningful as in real life. Does this mean social media is the ‘be all’ of your job search or business? No! What it does is help you build relationships, engage in conversations, and demonstrate your expertise. This will (over time), lead to opportunities, value and profitability.

Still scared? It’s time to jump on the social media bandwagon. Experiment and see which ones resonate with you, because these tools have become major players in how we conduct a job search, how and where we do business, what we purchase, and who we connect with.

Comment below and let me know your thoughts.

Modern Ways to Job Search

 

Social media is enabling job seekers to market themselves creatively to employers, and the image above highlights some of the tools they are using. Of course, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook take centre stage. With so many tools, one is left to wonder if the days of the paper resume are really numbered, or as it’s often touted, if “the resume is dead!”  As seen on the image, one-third of human resources managers predict that traditional resumes will be replaced with social/business networking sites.

With respect to networking, although the term generally conjures up images of forced smiles and awkward conversations, it is well-known that more than 80% of job opportunities are found in this manner. Therefore, the onus is on job seekers to learn effective networking skills to improve their chances of job search success.

A blog is a non-intrusive way to get employers interested in your brand without even applying for a job”, says one statement in the image.  This is a message I constantly sell to job seekers, including a group of communications, advertising and marketing professionals I spoke with recently. Use a bit of creativity, start your own blog or contribute to other blogs to stand out from the crowd and grab the attention of potential employers.

While job seekers should embrace these modern job search tools, they also need to be cautious. Using these tools to bash one’s boss or to post inappropriate comments or images online is a breach of social media etiquette.