Job Search and the Internet – Using Social Media to Network

My last post promised that today I would deal with your online presence.

Those who have worked in particularly conservative parts of the public sector may find even the thought of having an online presence uncomfortable.  But in reality, you probably already have one.

If you put your name and your previous employer into Google or Yahoo, you might be surprised by what emerges.

I put Wendy Mason,Wisewolf (the name of my company) into Google five minutes ago and came up with 4,240 references in 0.17seconds.  But then I do work with social media (Blogs etc) so I’d have a problem if it wasn’t like that.  Your own presence should depend upon what you have done and what you aspire to! But it is much better to manage it yourself than just to let it happen.

First of all, I’m assuming you know the basics of using the internet.  In job search it is great for looking up potential employers and for research before job interviews. You can also sign up with various recruitment agencies on line and upoad your CV.  But I’m most interested in how you are going to use social media (LinkedIn, FacebookTwitter and the rest).  These are not just for the young, they are efficient and effective ways to stay in touch with a whole lot of people and to find new opportunities.

I going to stick to writing about LikedIn, Facebook and Twitter because they are the sites I believe most useful for Job Search for the UK candidates who make up most of my audience.  They are also the social media sties with which I have the greatest familiarity.

LinkedIn – this is the most significant professional networking site.  It has existed since 2002 and has over a 100 million users worldwide. It is a directory of individuals and companies and is used mainly for finding and keeping in contact with business contacts, former colleagues etc, job searching, hiring and company research.

You can join for free then you complete your profile. In doing so you can put in as much or as little information as you wish and you can decide how much of that information is public. For job search it helps if you complete your profile as fully as possible and make it  public.  But, of ocurse, with all social media, you should have regard to the dangers of identity theft and think very carefully before publishing a personal phone number, your birthday etc.

If you wish you can upgrade your account which brings extra facilities like the ability to send more messages.

What to include in your LinkedIn Profile when you are unemployed can be an issue. But you can make clear that you are “open to opportunities.”  This is important because LinkedIn is routinely searched by recruitment companies who are looking for good candidates to invite to apply for particular vacancies.

Once a member, you can join various groups – there are a number related to the public sector but please look beyond them. You can join and then take part in discussions, ask questions and provide answers – it all raises your profile and your credibility.

Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service.  You write messages in 140 characters just like writing a text message on your phone. In fact many people send posts to Twitter from their phones.  You can write about anything and people and companies use it in a variety of ways, including to job search.

You join for free.  Users post updates on Twitter that are displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them – followers.

I love Twitter (you can follow me as @WWiswolf).  When you are working at home alone on your job search it can provide that moment of light conversation and information that you found during breaks at the tea-point.

But Twitter is now also a serious tool in job-search because employers and recruiters post job openings.  Many job seekers now use Twitter to help their job search.

Somewhere on Twitter you will find like minds but you can also find lots of advice on Twitter about job search itself. Try following Alison Doyle

Facebook can be used for job search but it needs to be used with care. Facebook is most commonly used for staying in touch with family and close friends. You need to set your privacy options very carefully if you don’t want everything you post on Facebook to be seen by a prospective employer. Chance remarks on Facebook have already cost people job offers and have caused employees to be fired.  You can find some good advice on using Facebook for Job Search again from Alison Doyle at this link

Using social media in your job search needs to be part of you overall networking strategy.  Remember that it is likely that everything you post on the net could found by potential employers if you don’t make it private, so keep the messages and your profile consistent.  But I don’t think any serious job seeker today should ignore the help that social media can provide.

If you have any questions or need any help, please get in touch – I do provide a telephone coaching service in social media if it might be useful to you.  In any case I will be very interested to hear about your experiences on line!

Next week, I’m going to start working with you on your CV

Related articles

  • Job Searching on Social Networks (jobcontax.wordpress.com)
  • Job Seekers: Don’t Make These 3 Mistakes on LinkedIn(millerlittlejohnmedia.com)
  • Bashful Britons Shy Of Using LinkedIn And Facebook To Look For Work (blazingminds.co.uk)
  • Why you need to network! (leavingthepublicsector.blogspot.com)

 Wendy Mason is used to working with people moving out of the Public Sector! She is a performance, programme, contract management and change specialist. She works as a consultant, business coach and blogger.  Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her at wendymason@leavingthepublicsector.net or ring ++44(0)7867681439

You can find her business blog at www.wisewolftallking.com

Danger – Spontaneity Ahead! Why You Need a Communications Strategy for Social Media.

We live in a complex but highly networked world!

Never before have so many people had the ability to communicate cheaply with each other, and the rest of the world, at length!

  • You can broadcast and you can have conversations through networking sites like Facebook, Twitter etc and through messaging services!
  • You  can publish and broadcast if you choose through blogs, and through sites like YouTube.
  • You can produce your own radio programmes and even become a DJ through music sites like Blip.fm sitting at home and on the move!
  • Increasingly LinkedIn is a key tool in professional networking and recruitment.

A little while ago this digital world belonged to techies and school kids.  Now it can belong to all of us.

Increasingly, it will play a role in both career and business survival.  A little while ago all you needed to know was how to surf the net to find and download information. Now you need to know how to put it back up there so that you can control and develop your personal brand.

Messages flow fast!  Once you have sent them, they continue to exist on the web for a very long time.  So to be purely spontaneous is to take a risk. If you are in business or hoping to develop your career, you need a strategy for your communications.

Before you start here are a few tips.

1. Integrate online and offline.

Your communication’s strategy needs to cover both your offline and online activities!

If you meet up with contacts you have made on the web, will they know who you are? No, I’m not talking about having a photo that bears some relationship to how you look today.  (Although, it makes sense to choose a flattering photo that does you justice, have a care if you want to avoid embarrassment)

What I’m talking about is authenticity and integrity.  Don’t express views on line that you don’t really hold, or that you wouldn’t be prepared to express in public, to your boss, your work mates, your neighbours and, of course, your customers! You’d be surprised what people remember and what people find on the web!

2. Start with a plan!

Before you jump in, make sure you have a plan!  Think about who you are trying to influence.  Who has an interest in you, your business or your career and what you do?

List them and then decide how important they are and how much influence they have over your future!  What heading will you put them under?  For example;

  • government
  • your sector
  • customers and potential customers
  • shareholders
  • potential business partners
  • board/top management
  • suppliers  and potential new suppliers,
  • managers,
  • staff,
  • trade unions
  • wider sector interests,
  • personal contacts
  • family,
  • your community
  • interest groups

You can take it as far as you wish!

Who has the priority?  You can score them out of five under each heading!

Those with the highest score are the people to concentrate on.

For social media you are usually looking at communities – what communities are you going to engage in?

Now how will you engage and what will that  engagement  look like?

What is the message and where are you going to communicate it – blogs, social network sites, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc.?

How much time have you got and how many resources do you have available? Do you have resources available to take professional advice?

3. Engage in Conversations.

Remember although organisations use social media to broadcast, that isn’t how they are best used.

When you use social media, it’s important to engage in conversations and get to know people just like in the offline world.

Don’t just get in there and start pitching – it will just put people off!  And on social media sites people get put off pretty quickly. You’d be surprised how quickly they can switch you off!

Don’t be anxious to promote yourself or your business at first!  You have to give, to get.  Add value and expertise and win respect in your conversations.  You need to win the right to pitch!

The courtesies are just as important as they are in the off line world!  Say please and thank you and acknowledge when someone has bothered to spend time with you or done you a favour!

If you are polite and engage in real conversations, relationships will begin to form.  You will see opportunities open up to talk about you and what you want to offer!

4. Monitor your “Brand”

Use tools like Google Alerts, and Yahoo Alerts to monitor what’s being said about you, your organisation, others in your sector and the market you are targeting.

Knowing what is being said about you and/or your brand can make you aware of your impact. Knowing what’s being said about your sector, your competitors and your market can also make you more competitive.

I use Google Alerts as well to find out about the latest developments in my professional discipline.

But simply putting your name and the name of your organisation into a search engine regularly will tell you a lot about your web presence!

5. Focus and Ignore the Noise

There are so many conversations taking place and so much interesting content that it is easy to be distracted.

I have to work very hard each morning to switch off from Twitter to concentrate on my in-tray! This is where your plan comes in!  Remind yourself what you are trying to say and the communities you want to address.

Stick to the plan!

But review it at regular intervals as you get to understand more about social media.  You can streamline your plan to better target individuals and the communities that you need to be a part of, as you gain experience and knowledge.

Streamlining saves time – as I’ve hinted above, social media is so enjoyable that  it can be the greatest time waster in the world!

Above all remember: “If content is king, then conversation is queen.” – John Munsell, CEO of Bizzuka.

I would love to hear about your own experience of social media and if you need any help please get in touch!

A shorter version of this post was posted here in June 2009.  I’ve revised and expanded it based on my own experience of social media.

  • Why Use LinkedIn? (brighthub.com)
  • 5 tips to build your personal brand with social media (xpressartuk.wordpress.com)
Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439


The World Needs You! There has never been a better time to be a Transformational Leader

Transformational and ethical leadership, together with emotional intelligence, are the key factors in emerging leadership culture.

The father of Transformational Leadership was Bernard Bass.

When Bass died in 2007 he was a distinguished professor emeritus in the School of Management at Binghamton University. He was also the founding director of the Centre for Leadership Studies at Binghamton and founding editor of The Leadership Quarterly journal.

As well as being an academic, Bass was exposed frequently to the realities of corporate life. He worked as a consultant and in executive development for many Fortune 500 firms. He lectured and conducted workshops pro bono in a wide variety of not-for-profit organizations. These included religious organizations, hospitals, government agencies and universities.

Bass believed Transformational Leadership occurred when a leader transformed or changed his followers in three important ways.

The Transformational Leader;

  • Increased awareness of the importance of tasks and the need to perform them well
  • Made people aware of their need for personal growth, development and accomplishment
  • Motivated them to work for the good of the organisation, rather than personal gain.

These changes lead to trust, motivation to perform and a commitment to achieve the leader’s goals.

His work was taken forward by Noel M Tichy and Mary Anne Devanna.

They found that Transformational Leaders;

  • Identify themselves as agents of change
  • Are courageous
  • Believe in people
  • Are value driven
  • Are lifelong learners
  • Can deal with complexity
  • Are visionaries

With the advent of social media (Twitter, Facebook etc), corporate behaviour is now more transparent than ever!

Injustice anywhere in the world is becoming more and more visible! People are no longer prepared to accept exploitation, dishonesty and oppression in their national leaders. Nor are they prepared to accept them in their corporate leaders. In corporate life, the behaviour of the banks in particular has changed public opinion and probably forever!  It has unleashed a re-shaping of expectations and standards.

There are now real incentives for doing the right thing and real penalties for doing the wrong one.

This, together with the emergence and recognition of the Transformational Leader, means more and more organisations have woken up to reality.  They are beginning to come to terms with social responsibility and the need for ethics!

As never before, there are huge advantages from behaving

  • ethically,
  • with humanity
  • with compassion
  • with consideration for employees
  • with consideration for the world outside the organisation

There has never been a better time to be a Transformational Leader! The world has never needed them more!

Wendy Mason is a performance, programme, contract management and change specialist. She works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439

 

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Thank you for your interest

THE DELICATE ART OF GIVING BAD NEWS

This is post is going to be concerned with, what John Nettles’ character described in a recent edition of Midsomer Murders as, ‘the delicate art of delivering bad news’   We covered giving feedback in a recent post and this is closely related, so you may wish to read that as well.

On most occasions when you give feedback your hearer is expecting a message of some kind – good or bad.  Where as bad news often comes as a shock! Even if is it expected in principle – the reality and the details may be hard to bear!  There is, and should be,  a lot more  to it than just saying or writing the words!  If you want to ensure there is the best possible out come then you will need to prepare and to follow-up, as well as delivering the message well!   The advice given here is based on that usually given to medical students in the UK as part of their training.  But it applies equally well if you are giving seriously bad news at work,  for example,  about redundancy!

Preparing

Preparing to give bad news is almost as important as actually giving it. For instance, where are you going to  have the meeting?  Where you’ll sit or stand in relation to the hearer and even what you will wear is important if the news is seriously bad.  If you are going to write, then you need to think about the medium – this is not the time for a very brief email!

When choosing a place, you should make sure it’s quiet with little or no chance of interruption. Make sure it’s some place you can make the person feel as comfortable as possible.  If possible, sit close to the person at eye-level with no barrier between you.  Studies have shown that many people feel isolated and alone if you sit behind a desk or some other barrier. They may also perceive you as cold and uncaring if you sit too far away.  Knowing how you should comfort really must come from what you know about the person!  For instance,  if you’ve found they don’t like people sitting too close this may make them feel uncomfortable rather than at ease.

One thing that is important is for you to be very clear about the facts, the explanation behind a decision, for example, before you begin.  You also need to know the options open to the person.  In case of redundancy, what support can the person expect from HR?  In this example, identify an HR contact that you can pass onto the individual?   The worst thing you can do when giving bad new is to give the individual the impression that you didn’t even care enough to find out the facts.  Know your material and don’t work from notes,  if you can, on this occasion!  Notes can provide a barrier and you will not be able to fully judge their reactions so well!

Work out what your own feelings are about the situation and how to deal with them before the meeting.  You want the person to know you are sorry but it isn’t fair to overwhelm them with your own grief!

Giving the news

Watching the person’s reaction and listening are very important while actually while giving bad news. Just from body language or the extent of eye contact, you can tell if they understand and accept what you’re saying and what emotions they are experiencing.   Be prepared for anger or despair with serious news.    It is really important to remember to speak clearly and slowly.  Don’t jump straight into the news – go through the usual courtesies at the beginning of the meeting.  In a letter warn them that you have bad news and say that you are sorry about it!

Throughout the meeting, ask them if they have any questions and if they understand what you’re telling them.    Your own feelings should be dealt with before the meeting and should not weigh on them!

Following-up

After you’ve given the bad news, don’t end the meeting abruptly. Ask again for questions or if they need any information repeated. Offer additional sources of information like pamphlets or the names of support groups if they are available. Make sure to pass on the name and  contact details for HR.

Most of us feel somewhat lost after receiving very bad news.  One way to deal with this is to schedule  another meeting shortly afterwards or to ring them to discuss how they are going to manage the time ahead.  At the very least you will want to make sure  they processed what you told them. Then you may want to allow them some time alone!. Just don’t rush them out of your office or wherever the meeting is taking place.  Take time to be kind – compassion costs us nothing!

SOME BASIC GUIDELINES FOR GIVING FEEDBACK

In all kinds of situations we may need to give feedback to someone about something they have said or done.  This may be an employee, a work colleague, a business partner.    But it may  equally well be a close friend or relative.  In my view the same principles hold good and they certainly work for maintaining a positive approach in change teams

McGill and Beatty (in “Action learning: A practitioner’s guide”, London: Kogan Page, 1994, p. 159-163) provide useful suggestions about giving effective feedback:

1. Clarity — be clear about what you want to say. Think before you speak!

2. Emphasize the positive —  this doesn’t mean you are endorsing the present behaviour!

3. Be specific — avoid general comments and clarify pronouns such as “it,” “that,” etc – be as clear and simple as you can!

4. Focus on behaviour or the words spoken or written rather than the person.

5. Refer to behaviour/approaches that can be changed.

6. Be descriptive rather than evaluative. Try to stay in the neutral ground emotionally!

7. Own the feedback — Use ‘I’ statements. This is your view!

8. Generalizations – be wary of word like “all,” “never,” “always,” etc., be more specific — often these words are arbitrary limits on behaviour.

9. Be very careful with advice!  People rarely struggle with an issue because of the lack of some specific piece of information; often, the best help is helping the person to come to a better understanding of their issue, how it developed, and how they can identify actions to address the issue more effectively.

I would add one further piece of advise – always put yourself in the other person’s shoes!  Think how you would feel receiving the same information!  No room here for humiliation!

WHY YOU NEED A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY!

If you had any doubts about the value and potential of  using social media, check out 30 Interesting, Useless and Pointless Facts on Jeff Bulla’s blog at the following link!  Don’t be put off by the title!

You begin to understand why you can’t afford not to know to about Social Media whether you are in the public, private or community sectors!

Here is just one example and three facts!

Generation Y awareness of the Ford Fiesta before Ford started their social media program was 0%. It was 37% as of a month ago and stands at 58% at 3 December 2009.

25% of Ford’s marketing spend is on digital/social media!

Ford is the only US Auto company not to take a government grand!

Now you begin to see the possibilities now that using LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook may bring?  We have some tips for developing a Social Media Strategy at this link

Social Media for Leaders White Paper Available from Mountain State University

Article form the Mountain State University Website – 17th November 2009

“Social Media for Leaders White Paper Available Today

We are pleased to present our new white paper, Social Media for Leaders. It is available for free download here or as a permanent feature on the sidebar on the top left of this blog. Here at Mountain State University, we believe that involvement with social media is a powerful way for leaders to extend their influence and impact. We hope this tool will help you as you navigate various social networks and learn to use social media effectively. Please feel free to share it with others. You might also enjoy our other white paper, Twitter for Beginners….”

More of this article at this link

FIVE TIPS FOR YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY FOR HARD TIMES

We are all going through change all the time.  But at the moment many of us are going through changes we would not have chosen as a result of the poor state of the Economy.

All change requires some form of communications/media management.  It’s vital that you have a strategy in place especially if you’re hoping that social media will play a role in your career advancement or your business survival business.

Here are 5 tip for your social media strategy

1. Integrate Online and Offline
Your communication’s strategy needs to cover both your off line and and online activities (see our recent post about managing your brand)  – you want to maximise both forms of interactions.  You are going to make every effort, campaign, and initiative count.

2. Start with a plan
Before you jump in, make sure you have a plan – think about who you are trying to influence.  Who has an interest in you or your business and what you want to provide.  List them and then decide – how important they are  – how much influence they have over your future – you can score them out of five under each heading!  Those with the highest score are the people to concentrate on. For social media you are usually looking at communities – what communities are you going to engage in?  Now what will  engagement will look like? What is the message and where are you going to communicate it – blogs, social network sites, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook etc.?  How much time have you got and how many resources do you have available?  Now we are going to concentrate on social media

3. Engage in Conversations
When you use social media, it’s important to engage in conversations and get to know people just like in the off-line world.  Don’t just get in there and start pitching – it will just put people off!  Don’t be anxious to promote yourself or business at first,!  Add value and expertise and win respect in your conversations.  When you have done that opportunities will open up to talk about you and your business.  You need to win the right to pitch!

4. Monitor your Brand
Use tools like Google Alerts, Scoutlab, and Radian6 to monitor what’s being said about you, your company, your competitors and the market you are targeting. Knowing what’s being said about you and/or your brand can make you aware of your brand evangelists as well as your brand assassins. Knowing what’s being said about your competitors and the market can also make you more competitive. Simply putting your name and the name of your company into a search engine regularly will tell you a lot about your web presence!

5. Focus and Ignore the Noise
There are so many conversations taking place and so much interesting content that it easy to be distracted.  This is where your plan comes in – remind yourself what you are trying to say and the communities you want to address.  Stick to the plan – but review it at regular intervals as you get to understand more about social media.  You can streamline your plan to better target individuals and the communities that you need to be a part of. It also saves time – social media is so enjoyable to use it can be the greatest time waster in the world!

Above all remember –  “If content is king, then conversationion is queen.” – John Munsell, CEO of Bizzuka

YOUR PERSONAL BRAND – A CHECK LIST – 8 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

The world sees your personal brand in all you do.  Everything, from the comments you make on Twitter to the way you dress, strengthens or weakens the way the world see you – your personal  brand!   Here are eight questions to ask yourself!

1. Do people believe you know what you are talking about?  Does your resume reflect the real depth of your experience – is it up to date?  Do the words you use reflect the latest thinking on your subject at this point in time?  Do you write articles and blop posts on your specialist interest?

2. Do you have an introductory piece – an ‘elevator speech?  Can you deliver a succinct description of what you do, how you do it differently, plus the benefit it delivers, within the time that it takes an elevator to travel one floor?

3. Are you a convincing communicator? Do people believe what you say?  Why not do a market survey – choose three people you trust and ask them what they think!  If not, then read a book or take a class.

4. Do you dress for the job?  Do you know what the dress code is for your sector?  Do you follow it?  But what about off duty – if you met you boss in the supermarket , what impression would they get?  Think about what is appropriate to the situation  – balance your individual style with clothing that will appeal to those you are trying to impress.

5. Do you know the etiquette for your organization and your sector?  What kind of business cards do people carry?  Be the one who follows up and says thank you after sector and professional events.

6. Do you know the people you need to impress?  Take time out to build your address book.  Collect business cards – make sure yours reflects your image properly!  Ask contacts for further introductions.  Use LinkedIn to find new people.

7.Do you nurture your network?  Do you work at nurturing your relationship with your contacts.  Do you show an active interest in them and genuinely care care about them?  Ask how they are and what they are doing and mean it.  Remember things they tell you – note them down if you need to!

8. What do you do with your spare time?  If you give something back ot the community with voluntary work or help your local sports club – the news does get around!

Your personal brand is precious – it’s the you that the world sees and judges you by.  Nurture your brand and you will nurture your life and your career.