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Networking 101 for the Network-Disabled: 9 Places to Find Networking Events for Beginners

Last week I shared that I was painfully friend-disabled in grade school and explained how I expanded my horizons and developed greater self-awareness and self-confidence.  These were lessons I carried with me to college, where I continued to be involved in various kinds of on and off-campus communities.

However, upon graduating I moved to the Jersey shore for a guy and my social circle was essentially his social circle.  I was working as a temp full-time, which created challenges in deepening my relationships with co-workers, and then also worked part-time several nights a week and weekends at a radio station. Time to expand my horizons into new communities was limited and I fell out of the habit. When the relationship started to deteriorate I tried living more independently. I moved into an apartment with a few strangers who were in very different stages of life than me when I was 21 years old. The woman who sublet to me, Denise, was 35-years old, one of my roommates, Frank, was 38-years old, and another, Jimmy, was 47 years old.  I imagine most readers would relate more to my roommates than me. Imagine living with the millennial at work. Now imagine that millennial was in an high-drama relationship.  The more my roommates tried to impart wisdom, the more I resisted. In the end, making new friends like the ones I had, failed. After a year in New Jersey, I made zero long-term friends. When the 6-month temp assignment ended I decided it was time to move back home, change careers, and end the relationship.

When I got back home I landed a job where they provided excellent sales and management training, but required you to work long days and cut people out of your life who were “neggin you out,” or being negative about the prospects of success in that job, which was commission-only. It was cultish. I reconnected with my old friend groups and fell out of the habit, and even awareness, of expanding my horizons and integrating with new groups…until years later when I was a junior IT recruiter and was advised to start networking.

It was like I forgot how to do this. I started by asking my co-workers where to network. They pointed me to some professional tech groups. One focused on individuals in tech and the other was a corporate membership base.   At the first meeting, I was asked to stand and give a 30-second commercial.  I spent the first half-hour terrified, trying to think of the perfect thing to say only to stumble and shake through it. People were friendly and forgiving though. I realized after a few events that people who go to these events WANT to meet other people, for the most part, and will either approach you or be approachable.

It’s okay to not jump in headfirst, instead dip your toes in the water and gradually expand your comfort zone. You’ll be less likely to procrastinate or put off networking if you do this.

There are several different events that you can participate in, including industry events, role-based events, geographically-based events, mission-oriented events, special interest events, culture-specific events, gender-specific events, and general events.

Source 1: Brainstorm

Have you ever used a brainstorming map? There are multiple tools available that will help you do this (we included one used to identify networking communities with our Dream Job Breakthrough System.)

Remember the song: Who are the people in your neighborhood? The people that you meet each day? With a piece of paper or the computer in front of you (using one of the many brainstorming tools available as an option) record the various communities of which you are a member.

Some of these people could include, your family, a group of friends, people you know through school, jobs, activities/hobbies, friends of other friends, your neighborhood, your town, civic groups, your kids’ or parents’ connections, etc. Highlight groups that have their own events, then highlight in a different color communities that don’t have organized gatherings, but that you would attend events if there were events.

Then make another list of interests, hobbies, causes, and topics close to your heart, whether you actively engage in them currently or not. Highlight the items in this list as you did before. You may need to do some research to determine if they do, indeed, have events. Future steps will help you with that.

Level-up tip:

Keep networking options open to include activities and topics that you enjoy. Statistics show most leads come from networking with contacts who are not necessarily in the same industry or profession, but rather who are people you connect with on a personal level. The key is knowing how to leverage the opportunity to share your professional goals and values. This is a naturally evolving subject once rapport is established. Future blogs will go into more detail.

 Source 2: Ask your co-workers, former co-workers, and friends in your industry/profession where they network

If you attend an event with someone, don’t stay attached to them, instead, work in partnership. Tell each other who you are there to meet and work as a partnership to find each other referrals. In fact, asking questions is not just easier than talking about yourself when you’re new to networking, but it’s a superior way to add value to your network.

Level-up tip:

Ask everyone you meet who they are there to meet, and proactively try to make connections for those you meet as well. After you spend a short amount of time learning from each other what you’re up to professionally, telling them you will send people their way if you find someone is a great, polite way to punctuate a networking conversation – I have found that to be the most awkward networking moment.

Source 3: Google it

This seems so obvious, but clients and students have been unclear with what keywords to use to find events. There are different types of events you can choose to attend, but it’s good to start with the one that feels less intimidating.

This is where the brainstorming map and the lists of events can be of assistance. The first criteria is location, meaning where you want to generate opportunities. If you plan on relocating, you’ll want to compile a list of events and discover when the best ones overlap in a time span so that you can plan your travel.  Traveling close to home is preferred for most people, but if your mission is to expand your horizons and you live in a small town, you may need to expand your geographic search to your county or several surrounding counties. Then add keywords related to your current or desired industry, profession/role, hobbies, causes, interests, topics, etc.

Level-up tip:

Boolean searches can help you search by multiple zip codes, but you may just find it easier to look for sites that aggregate events. EventUpon is such a site. EventUpon aggregates from other event posting sites, such as MeetUp and EventBrite, and from organizations, which I’ll talk about next.

 Source 4: EventUpon

If you have a free day and are looking to fill up your calendar space with an event, EventUpon is a great tool. You can also integrate with various calendar and scheduling apps you may already use.  If you have a favorite event venue, you may also be able to set up an alert for their events. I have found a few bugs with the geographic filters on Safari, which don’t appear right now to let you set a certain mile radius around a zip code, though it looks as though this feature was intended.

Level-up tip:

Like a job board, you can set up agents that will alert you to ongoing networking opportunities fitting your criteria.

Source 5: MeetUp

MeetUp has become a very popular site for many professional organizations with various chapters and subgroups that meet in-person, though it does support virtual events, such as webinars, as well. It’s also great for people with eclectic interests and hobbies. You might think you have alternative tastes until you search for groups related to them and find other people are organizing around the same topic.

Again, this is not just for professional interests. I am in groups related to mindset, books, animals, adventure, sports, side hustles, health, etc.  You usually have to join a group to see their event calendar, and many groups ask you to fill out some bio information, however, this is based on group admin preferences. Joining a group doesn’t necessarily obligate you to attend a meeting, but I have found some group admins are strict about their members attending or engaging and they may drop you if you fail to attend an event or if you RSVP to events with attendee limits and do not show up, for obvious reasons.

Some events are free, but the groups are not free to run and neither are events, so some will have paid events or promote donating to subsidize costs.

Level-up tip:

If you search for something and find that there is no actively running group right now, but it may tell you how many other people in your area have searched for the same thing. If you feel strongly about the subject, you might decide to set up a group yourself. LinkedIn’s group feature is a good option for this, however, there is a fee to running a LinkedIn group, which is currently $15/month. If you can afford this, try organizing your own group. You would have to think about where to meet, what kind of people you want to attract and the content that would attract those people, and the format of your meetings. You’ll also have to think about how to manage and maintain quality engagement in your community and how to deal with people who violate the safety and respect of your community.

Source 6: LinkedIn

Unlike Facebook, which has an event feature (and is another way to look for events), finding events on LinkedIn is trickier. You have to first search for organizations and event organizers, follow them, and stay on top of your home feed and notifications. You can crowdsource information there by using your status update to ask your network for advice on worthwhile events to attend.

Groups are one of the most powerful LinkedIn features, but not all groups enjoy high engagement and value. Look at profiles of people who have achieved what you aspire to achieve and see what groups they are in. Do this by scrolling all the way to the bottom where it shows interests and click “See All.” Links to groups will be found in a tab at the top of the window.

Level-up tip:

Help them help you by letting them know what you hope to get out of these events – the kinds of opportunities you want to generate, the kinds of people you want to meet, and the kinds of things you want to learn. It’s more haphazard, but doing this will also help you stay top of your connections and may generate additional engagement, leading to greater rapport and synergy.

Source 7: FaceBook Groups and Events

If you are on Facebook, you may only think about personal connections. You may even want to keep your personal and professional circles separate. That’s a personal choice you are free to make, however, it does limit your potential to generate opportunities. Assuming you want to cross-pollenate your spheres of influence, maximize opportunities, and find events that will be more comfortable, maybe even fun, you will search three places: Groups, Pages, and Events.

Groups may be closed, private, or open. Closed means an admin has to approve you. Private means it won’t show up in a search – you have to be invited. Open means anyone can join by clicking a button. Due to the nature of social media exchanges these days, most groups I engage in are closed or private. Here you can also look for professional, geographic, or special interest topics.

You can search for events, which I recommend if you happen to have a particular open spot on your calendar and you want to see what is happening at that particular time.

It’s difficult to hear people at certain kinds of events, particularly listening-room type music or movies. Go, but don’t expect to get much networking done. Find events where there are more interactive activities, such as art shows and community fairs.

Level-up tip:

See which of your friend have either said they were going to an event or are interested in going. Touch base and let them know that you’re hoping to meet new people and generate opportunities, but would like a buddy to network with.

Source 8: EventBrite

Many organizations use EventBrite for the ease of ticketing, payment integration, and social media sharing.  It automates confirmations and has other features, but it also has good searching capabilities, as it has a full list of events by categories which you can search through. Try searching through all categories that align with your interests, not just the professional ones.

You can also search for events that are free versus paid, in case you have a low budget for networking.

Level-up tip:

Still search for paid events, even if you have a low or no budget. You can contact the organizer and offer to volunteer in lieu of the attendance fee. You may not be able to get all the content of that event as a volunteer, but you have an elevated position of visibility to the attendees and the organizers. It gives you the chance to demonstrate how you add value, rather than just telling people how you add value, which can generate better opportunity

Source 9: Business Journals

Business Journals have directories and lists of companies, organizations, etc that hold and promote events. There are a lot of great ways to get value from a subscription to your closest city’s business journal.  However, you don’t have to have a paid subscription, you can just sign up for a daily or weekly digest and get notifications about events.  Some of these events can be pricey, so you may want to find out who in your network works for a company that is investing in a table, and then see if the company has an open seat, or tell them that you’d like to go in case someone can’t go at the last minute. These events will put you right in the middle of people who are game-changers or movers and shakers in business. Unless you go and talk to no one, it would be hard to not gain value from attending.

 Level-up tip:

When Business Journals announce award winners, grants, or fundraiser winners, use LinkedIn to send the person a congratulatory message and invitation to connect. Let them know that you’d like to learn how you can help them get the most traction from the publicity and invite them to a brief call or coffee. If someone is being honored at an event, contact them ahead of time and ask them if they’d like to meet before or after. You may also check out the corporate sponsors and speakers to do the same.

Once you get the hang of navigating networking events, you may also want to look into industry conferences at your local Chambers of Commerce, Rotary Clubs, Toastmasters International chapters, or Business Networking International chapters (for business owners or sales representatives), and more.

Next week we’ll talk about how to best prepare for a networking event so that you can show up as your best self and leverage it optimally.

The Chi-lites “Have you seen her”

Donate BTC: 16HVaDadQCvXM1wchMBWrTTgbWJ6HjUjdr ETH: 0xee47136d1178D26a198D5f80425bD946aCEA99e4

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

According to Science, Your Next Job Just Got 2 Degrees Closer

Thanks, Facebook!

Social Network in a course by Hans Poldoja of Flickr

Social Network in a course by Hans Poldoja of Flickr

In 1961, Stanley Milgram, a psychologist determined that we are connected to anyone on earth by just six degrees by conducting several experiments to examine the average path length for the (non-virtual) social networks of people in the United States. The project was coined the “small-world experiment.” In the experiment, Milgram sent letters to 300 randomly selected people in Nebraska and Kansas to one target person, a stockbroker in Boston. The letters could not be directly sent to the target, but had to be sent through someone they knew on a first-name basis who might know the stockbroker. Only 30% of the letters reached their target, but the research discovered that there were about six people connecting each participant to the target. Think of the concept as meeting a stranger and discovering you have a friend in common. As of today, the world has gotten smaller by nearly 2.5 degrees. A smaller world means your dream boss is that much more accessible, and your next job is that much closer, IF you use your network to find your next job.

Later social experiments revealed that you are much more likely to land a job through random acquaintances than through your close friends. You and your close friends all know the same people and share the same information. However, it is through random acquaintances that you can connect with people very far from your social circles. This is the principle in which LinkedIn was founded. It is why the introduction request feature was invented and what makes LinkedIn such an effective job search tool.

 

The degrees of separation have become smaller

Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist who has dedicated his career to improving America’s scientific literacy, stated that because of social networks like Facebook, separation is down to less than five degrees. In 2011 Facebook found that 92% of their users were just connected through five steps and the number has been decreasing.  According to the newest research released by Facebook in 2016, the degrees of separation are just 3.57. (This number only applies to active Facebook users which total about 1.59 billion people.)

We are all closely linked and four (or less) handshakes could connect us to anyone on the planet. Hence why networking is the number one activity to dedicate yourself to when you want to accomplish something, especially job searching. We have constantly repeated T. Harv Eker’s famous quote: “Your net worth is your network.” We believe Eker’s words are worth repeating, because while he is talking about opportunity in general, networking has proven time and time again not just to be the best way to land a job, but to land the job you want.

 

Your next job is closer than you think

A connection at the employers you want to work for may be only a few degrees of separation away through a social network such as Facebook. In fact, it is possible to use Facebook and Twitter to quickly land your next job. Think about it: If you can potentially meet anyone on the planet through fewer than 3.6 degrees of separation, it is possible to make the connections that will help you land faster. These facts are kind of mind-blowing– the world’s population has increased by hundreds of millions, but the world has gotten almost 50% smaller thanks to technology!

 

Nurture your networks

Your connections consist of family, friends, acquaintances, friends of friends, and even strangers where you may have a common interest. They are your network and by tapping into those existing relationships and nurturing them, your network will grow– much like a garden. If you are building your network online, create a relationship with the people you wish to network with by engaging them. The ultimate goal is to move your conversation offline in order to establish a meaningful relationship. Through these relationships, the introductions that will lead you to a desirable job are made.

Take opportunities to build your network by networking in person at job events, industry groups, and even industry events. Go further faster by focusing on the QUALITY of your networks, as opposed to the quantity. Quality networks are built with the people with whom you share an interest. Interests consist of a hobby, a political view, a mission, or a value. We do not want to imply that if you simply shake enough hands (without a common interest), you will land a job. You could shake that many hands and eliminate that many opportunities with the wrong impression. Networking is really about adding value to others and enriching your own life. The benefits or detriments you derive from networking are a byproduct of your approach. Like a garden you nurture, you reap or harvest what you sow.

 

In the early 20th century various scientists proved that the world is small and that we are all connected by just a few degrees. In the 21st century, the world has gotten even smaller thanks to the massive explosion of communication technology. Instead of being connected by six degrees, we are connected by 3.6. Many people tend shy away from networking, but the employers you want to work for are just a few handshakes away. A mere 3.6 degrees are all that separate you from the job you have always wanted. By taking advantage of a rapidly shrinking world, you can expand your network, connect with anyone, and land your dream job.

 

10 Surprising Websites and 2 Secret Places Where You Can Research Employers

"Websites You May Like" by Enokson from Flickr

“Websites You May Like” by Enokson from Flickr

 

If you want to take your job search beyond LinkedIn and Google, there are ten websites and two secret places can that help you up your game and stand out among the competition. These sites are some of the best ways to learn about a person or business. You can use these websites in tandem to verify a person’s identity and discover their industry interests. In turn, these interests could help you establish a connection with someone in your industry or they could help you further evaluate an employer. Imagine going into an interview or a meeting and being able to talk about industry-related topics. Or, using the information to bring up a problem that an employer or person may commonly face and how you resolved a similar problem in the past. Showing up to a meeting, crafting a cover letter, or just making a connection while armed with extra research can demonstrate your commitment, diligence and value to others.

In short, you’re taking a proactive approach to your job search versus a reactive approach. In a proactive job search you pick the companies that interest you, research them and reach out to decision makers to establish a relationship. In a reactive job search you look for job openings, send your cover letter and résumé to hiring managers and hope it stands out enough to elicit a response. Instead of spending your time validating what’s on your résumé, what if you could acquire enough research to get an inside look at a company’s 2015 goals?

I’m talking going beyond press releases to take a deeper look inside of a company. Imagine if you were in a meeting with a company’s CEO and he or she were outlining goals for the year, the challenges the company faces, and the steps that need to be taken to solve those problems. If a company is losing customers, you would know and could create a plan to attract new customers. You would know more about a company’s customers, products and their systems. You could contribute ideas, help develop special products, and land new clients. You could move right into talking about a 90-day plan, and suddenly you’re being sold on the opportunity to work for a company. Can you feel your future paycheck rising? You should! These incredible meetings aren’t limited to interviews. You could take a deeper level of preparation to any meeting. Both parties will get more out of the meeting as you know their needs thanks to your research, and they have a better understanding of the value you can bring them.

You can use these ten websites to dig deeper and learn more about a person or a company. In addition to the websites, there are a few secret areas you can visit to find elusive information. I’m not including LinkedIn on the list. LinkedIn is a powerful resource and a great way to search for and connect with professionals in your industry. If you need help with searching for contacts using the network, JibberJobber has excellent instructional videos.  You can use the information from the websites I’m going to outline BEFORE you search for contacts and extend invitations to connect with others on LinkedIn. (I assure you the connections you make will be more meaningful as a result.)

 

1. Google:

Google isn’t a surprising choice on this list, but it is important. There are surprising ways in which you can use Google when it comes to advanced searches and more. I’ll discuss those search methods in a moment. Google is the first place you’ll start when researching someone or a potential employer. There is a wealth of publicly available information to be found at your fingertips. Search by entering the person’s name and a few keywords related to their job or location, for example “Karen Huller Career Coach”. You may run into the problem of searching for a person with an incredibly common name. If you’re researching a company, it may also be difficult to find thanks to a common name. In this case, Google’s advanced search can help. It allows you to define searches with exact words or phrases, exclude words and narrow your results by language, country, website domain, and more. This is useful if you have a professional’s name and the name of their company. You can also further narrow down results by including geography, such as a town or a state. To keep current tabs on a person, set up Google Alerts to notify you when new search results for a person are added.  You can customize Alerts by update frequency and sources (blogs, news, discussion, and books) and have the results delivered to your email address.

You can take your search a step further by accessing a secret location on Google. Do an image search, if you find a matching image of a person, follow the source page. It can reveal such things as what a person does with their friends, awards they have received, events they have attended, activities they engage in, and much more!

2. Google+:

Once you have found a person or business on Google, you can use Google+ to further confirm their identity. Use the service to search for people, companies, their profiles, and any posts they have created. The About section allows you to glean information such as a person’s occupation, their place of employment, the places they have previously lived, Google+ communities they are a part of, and links to any other social networks or services. If the Posts section is active on their account, it can be a great insight into what a person may be writing about or sharing. If your subject is an industry leader, he or she will definitely talk about their industry and even how they make contributions to it. An active business will have their latest posts, contact information and links to other social media accounts.


3. YouTube:

A person’s YouTube profile can be accessed directly through Google+ or on YouTube. If they are an active professional in their industry they might have uploaded a few videos with useful content for their followers. These videos can explain who they are, how their followers can better themselves within their industry, or a video may advertise a service. If a person doesn’t have any content uploaded on YouTube, you may find videos from other people in their playlist section. These videos can allow you learn more about the interests of the person you’re researching. Businesses are a bit trickier. If they haven’t linked their YouTube accounts to Google+, their latest videos (if they have any) won’t appear. You’ll have to search separately for them on YouTube.


4. Data.com:

Data.com is an online directory of business professionals and their companies fed by data from Salesforce.com. It is mainly used for b2b (business-to-business) transactions, and is maintained by a large subscriber community. It allows you to look up and exchange business information with millions of professionals. It is the same information you would find on their business card. You can search for and verify their newest information such as job titles, current employer and an email address. You can also search for businesses and gather a list of their current employees. Because this is user-updated information, you will want to verify the information by calling a company switchboard and trying to reach someone who can verify it, or even just to try to see if you can reach that person. Also, everyone has a concern about privacy. It is better to address privacy concerns before adding someone’s contact information. We recommend that you DO NOT add anyone’s contact information without their consent. It’s best to make the nominal investment or only add people for whom you can consent to get credits you can use in exchange for others’ information.
5. Zoominfo.com:

Like Data.com, Zoominfo.com is a directory containing millions of professionals. Zoominfo is different from Data.com because it uses publicly available information aggregated from web articles mentioning the person or business and other sources. It is easy to verify a person based on their work history. The database also allows you to search and discover profiles for businesses. These profiles include contact information, a company overview, number of employees, their competitors and revenue. Unlike searching on Google, this information is updated once every 90 days or sooner. You also don’t have to wade through pages to identify your contact or a business. It is all readily available in one easy-to-navigate spot.

 

6. Slideshare:

Slideshare is a service that allows users to read and share professional presentations online. It boasts over 60 million global users and is the largest community for sharing professional content. Slideshare allows you to search for and follow individuals, regardless of if they’ve uploaded content. Their profiles can include their current location, employer, education, a professional description, their social media accounts, their websites, and other people they follow. Slideshare is a good resource for verifying a person’s identity, but it only works if he or she has taken the time to fill out a profile. Even if a person’s profile doesn’t include a detailed profile, there is another potential way to gather this information. The presentations they share might contain information missing from their profile.  You can also find businesses and the slides they’ve shared. These slides can contain high-ranking members of a company, such as the vice president of a division. Furthermore, these slides contain presentations that cover industry trends and their approaches to solving problems.


7. The Business Journals:

When it comes to researching people and employers online, The Business Journals are a veritable gold mine. I sang the praises of the Philadelphia Business Journal in my article “There’s GOLD in These Pages”, and for good reason. It is a fantastic source for leads that correlate to your income potential, it allows you to target organizations through the Book of Lists, read about the growth of local companies and even find people on the move. The local business directory is great for obtaining quick information on local employers. The search feature even allows users to find people and business throughout the journal. Some of The Business Journals’ best features are behind a pay wall, but if you’re serious about locating research and information, a subscription provides access to valuable tools.


8. Vimeo:

Vimeo is a video-sharing service that predates YouTube. The platform has over 14 million members and the bulk of users are creative professionals. In other words, Vimeo is a great way to find career coaches, mentors and subject matter experts in addition to music, animation and film artists. The community is small compared to YouTube, but it is passionate. Vimeo can be used to find a professional and discover their creative works, in order to learn more about them. You can also search for businesses on Vimeo. The results aren’t as comprehensive as YouTube, but some businesses provide fascinating glimpses into their operations. For instance, Amazon Recruiting has a video highlighting their relocation packages for new employees. A similar search of Amazon’s brand on YouTube yields mostly uploads of commercials and ads for consumer products. If you can find a business on Vimeo, the uploaded videos could provide a new perspective on the company.


9. Pinterest:

Pinterest is a media-sharing website with a heavy focus on sharing pictures. But, many users also use it to share content from websites. Like other social outlets, it allows users to follow one another. You can search for a person on the service and view what they have been sharing. This provides a glimpse at the industries they follow and their hobbies. More importantly, Pinterest allows you to get a glimpse of what information is relevant to a person and the subjects they like to see and share. If a person has fully customized their account, check out their boards. Depending how they use their pins and boards, you may learn what their wildest dreams and deepest desires are. A person’s dreams and desires can help you engage a person and gain some insight into their thought processes. You can also search Pinterest to find news and facts about a business, but not very many of them have actual Pinterest accounts. However, if a business does have an account, they are surely using it to promote their employment brand.

 

10. Facebook:

I can’t talk about searching for people on social media without mentioning Facebook. It is the largest social media platform in the world and has more than one billion active users each month. It is mainly thought of as a personal social media network, but it also functions as a directory. You can search for people or businesses by name, but like Google, if a person has a common name a search can yield dozens of results. To find the person you’re looking for you’ll generally need to know what city they live in, and/or their place of employment. Try searching for a name on Google. Sometimes their Facebook page will appear in the results. This can greatly aide your search if you’re having a difficult time finding someone. Facebook is a great way to get a general feel for a person and their interests, depending on what they share publicly. You’ll find some accounts are heavily restricted to friends and family, while other accounts are public. Lots of businesses big and small have Facebook pages that provide general information about a company or brand. The information you find on Facebook is fairly generic, but it can be used to be more engaging when you do approach someone.

 

I’ve gone into depth about the ten websites and a few secret websites you can use to take your job search further. However, you can be proactive about your job search instead of reactive. Our Webinar, Insider Edge to Social Media: 3 Success Secrets to Getting Hired, demonstrates NOT just how you can be found by employers of choice, but HOW you can use social media in many of the same ways to be PROACTIVE about your job search. A proactive job search allows you to land at a company you already know will be a great employer and can offer you the environment and culture you need to thrive, and the opportunity to expand your professional horizons. The searching methods contained in Insider Edge are integral to executing a proactive job search.

That said, even if you are being reactive, because your networking and social media activities have generated great leads, you can use the sites I mentioned to optimize every meeting and interview.

 

Getting Legal and Marketing to Play Along in Social Media

Photo courtesy of Mark Kens on flickr open source. "Social Media Cloud by Techndu"(http://bit.ly/1BQicff).

Photo courtesy of Mark Kens on flickr open source. “Social Media Cloud by Techndu”(http://bit.ly/1BQicff).

Getting a company’s legal department and their marketing department to work together can seem like an exercise in futility. The acrimony between the two departments can be can be a drag on the overall business.  The marketing department wants to move ahead with its latest campaign, while legal is concerned with avoiding risk and mitigating possible lawsuits. Throw the legal risks of using social media into the mix, and acrimony between these two departments may increase exponentially.

The benefits businesses receive when using social media are essential in this day and age, but what are the negative impacts of not using social media? What happens when a company’s overly cautious legal department triumphs over their marketing department in terms of social media usage? There are very real risks and challenges involved with social media, and sometimes marketing and legal departments can’t come to a consensus regarding its use. Rather than create a comprehensive social media policy that covers a company’s legal bases (while building relationships with customers), a business may deem social media too risky.

Avoiding social media may satisfy risk-adverse businesses, but there are serious implications to ignoring the medium. Stunted growth, perceptions of poor customer service, and an indifference to new technology are ways that a limited social media presence can kill a business. Furthermore, a company’s employment brand may become damaged. Employees, who feel stifled by a restraint on their own social media activities, may leave the company. It becomes difficult for a business to hire and retain talented workers, especially if those workers take pride in mentioning their place of employment on social media. Allowing employees to engage on social media can make it easier for them to make a positive contribution to company’s brand, and can help discourage turnover.

First, let’s discuss legal and marketing departments, and why they may object to company’s social media presence.

A legal perspective against social media usage:

Legal departments are crucial in supporting businesses. They provide legal advice that includes litigation, intellectual property protection, regulatory compliance, business conduct and other corporate affairs. In short, legal departments ensure a company’s actions do not run afoul of the law, and that their legal bases are covered.

From a company’s legal perspective, social media usage can be a real nightmare for a variety of reasons.

Security concerns: Hackers can either take over social media accounts of a business, or their known employees. If passwords are shared, this could open up the door to a company’s customer and employee database being compromised by hackers. The entire debacle surrounding Sony is an excellent example.

Copyright infringement is another real problem if a business chooses to use content created by others. If a company uses a person’s likeness or positive review on a social media account, it may violate a customer’s right of privacy. For example, if a customer wrote a glowing review about a company’s service and the company used that testimonial without permission it could pave the way for litigation.

Terms and conditions: All social media platforms have their own terms and conditions when it comes to advertising. A failure to follow those requirements may result in an account being removed (talk about embarrassing!), and possible legal liability.

Employee liability: Employees who post on a company’s official social media accounts or those who represent a company on their own social media accounts can be a legal risk. If any employee makes a comment that offends customers, defames the competition, is false advertising, is deemed hate speech, or accidentally leaks sensitive information, the business can be held liable.

Trade Secrets: Any employee could accidently post trade secrets or other proprietary information on a social media account. If that information is re-shared and goes viral, it could present a major problem for the company.

Avoiding risk may take the form of not allowing employees to use social media outlets, even for personal use. For example, an employee may not be allowed to post on LinkedIn or Facebook. Maintaining such a strict policy may ensure employees never place their employer in a bad light, but such a move can inhibit workers from building a relationship with clients. Also, many company cultures that embrace social media enjoy the added value that a dynamic workforce offers. People who are “out in the world” can father much more intelligence and develop a greater perspective for their employer. Employees who are happy with their jobs can become major advocates for a company. Their pride and sense of purpose at work will manifest as genuine enthusiasm. In terms of official company accounts, if a business never engages with their customers on social media (especially when there’s a problem), their silence can be interpreted as aloofness or outright disdain.

I know a programmer for a company who is also an avid social media user. Being an employee of this company, he’s not allowed to mention he works for the company (or mention the company at all) on his social media accounts. I wouldn’t have known at all he worked for them if he hadn’t of casually mentioned it while we were at an Oktoberfest event. In talking to him privately, it turns out he loves working there. He values the company’s commitment to maintaining a racially diverse workforce, loves his work there as a programmer, and is being groomed for a promotion. Recently, this company has been getting a lot of bad press. We almost never hear about workers being satisfied with their jobs at this company. How different would our perceptions of this company be if employees were encouraged to share their experiences on social media? We may even give the company business or apply for a job there.

A marketing perspective in favor of social media:

Marketing departments are essential to generating sales leads, maintaining brand awareness, building customer relationships, and keeping an eye on long-term consumer trends. Without leads generated by marketing, a business wouldn’t have customers to sell to. It is crucial that marketing gets the word out about the products or services their company offers. Social media is just one of many tools marketers have at their disposal, and using it is essential to remaining engaged with customers.

Turning negative comments into a positive experience: Opening up on social media can potentially open the floodgates to a surge of negative comments. If a customer is unhappy with a product or service they won’t hesitate to voice their displeasure to family, friends and followers in their networks. Worse, having a presence on social media can invite hostile users to negatively comment, regardless of if they are a customer or not. No one wants to be on the receiving end of such criticism, warranted or not. A skill use of the medium can turn a potentially brand-damaging scenario, into a way to highlight a company’s excellent customer service.

Overcoming a major time sink: Marketing departments are already busy, especially if the business is small. Fielding comments, concerns and using the medium to blast out company information takes valuable time from other forms of communication. A company’s marketing staff knows the value of social media, and will often work usage into their daily schedule.

The target audience is shifting from traditional media to social media: A client-base using traditional media may be larger than the one using newer forms of media. That said, the audience is already using social media on a daily basis, and usage of the medium continues to grow each year. The interactive nature of the medium means its impact is far greater than traditional media’s.

There’s always something to say: A smart marketing plan consists of posting products and services on their social media accounts. The latest information is what customers’ value. Additionally, marketing campaigns can be creative and give their followers a sneak peek behind the scenes of their business. Other fun ways marketers can interact can is to conduct polls, have Q&A sessions, and ask clients for their direct thoughts on products and services.

Is it worth the ROI: Every business wants a Return on Investment. Even if using social media is free, it still requires time and effort from employees. If an increase in sales isn’t immediately apparent it may be tempting to ditch, or heavily limit social media usage. Social media usage goes far beyond the bottom line. The cost of not going to where an audience is can do far more damage to a brand, than spending the resources to conduct a comprehensive social media campaign.

The benefits that social media brings to a marketing campaign can’t be stated enough. A business that closes itself to social media will be left in the dust by the competition. Many customers take to social media in order to get a problem resolved or to further connect with a brand. Being absent on social media means a missed opportunity to resolve a bad experience for a customer, and a missed potential to turn them into brand advocates. Additionally, current (and future) customers on social media want to hear about service and product updates, and expect the majority of businesses to have an active social media presence. On the flipside, social media is an excellent way for marketers to gain valuable customer insights through feedback, monitor their competition, advertise company culture to potential employees, and generate customer leads for sales.

Inspiring collaboration between legal and marketing departments:

  1. Shift the top-down power structure to a more distributed system: Ultimately, management makes the final decision regarding the differences between legal and marketing departments. Allowing each department to organize themselves in a bottom-up structure means tensions between the groups can be processed locally.
  1. Allow this distributed system to splinter into smaller groups: Within particular departments not every individual will agree on the best actions to take regarding an issue. Very small groups in both legal and marketing may be able to collaborate and develop solutions for every aspect of a business plan.
  1. Allow self-organization within the groups: Again, the bottom-up approach can work well to diffuse tensions within a group, no matter how small.
  1. Allow internal organizations to share their problems with other groups: If each group can’t come to a consensus on how to deal with a problem, they can share their issues with other group. Imagine both departments and their differing goals, collaborating instead of fighting.
  1. Allow the structure of how issues are resolved to change: If the structure within a company isn’t working, the structure itself can be changed. Having such flexibility can avoid the trap of the same arguments that lead to fighting among the legal and marketing departments.

Five ways both groups can meet in the middle:

  1. Develop clear policies about how employees should conduct themselves on social media: Whether employers like it or not, their employees are going to use social media. Sometimes they may not have nice things to say about an employer, Discouraging social media usage isn’t good for a business, and in some cases it may even be illegal. Instead, formulate a comprehensive policy that covers what employees can and can’t talk about while mentioning their employer on social media. Make sure trade secrets, offensive comments, defamation, and other socially unacceptable actions are a “no-go” zone for online posting. A good rule of thumb to remember is to keep it courteous and professional. The consequences for a lack of professionalism by an employee can range from probation to termination.

A third party firm can be beneficial to companies developing these policies. An outside firm can come in and mediate while creating standard content that each employee can use. It is a great way to move the company forward, if there are growth initiatives and human capital initiatives. A company can make up for lost time and progress by hiring a firm (like Epic Careering) to write profiles for the front lines (sales, customer service, and recruiting), and for the executive team.

  1. A clear and concise understanding of who manages official social media accounts: It is imperative to create a social media team, regardless of the size of a business. If the team consists of more than one member, assign roles to determine who will perform each task, including who actually posts to accounts. It is important to maintain one official voice between each social media account. Official accounts and their followers belong to the business, not the employees running the social media account.
  1. A comprehensive guide to protecting clients’ privacy and sensitive data: In many cases businesses operating online must have an online privacy policy. It is just as important to have a data security plan in place. It can start with keeping data security and privacy at the forefront of a business plan, versus it being an afterthought. For example, employees managing social media networks (and databases) should avoid common passwords, default passwords, and using the same password for a variety of accounts. Malware protection software and anti-phising software should be installed on business computers, and home computers that may be used for official business. The FTC has an extremely comprehensive guide to data security for businesses.
  1. A comprehensive guidelines for dealing with negative feedback: It starts with being positive and proactive. Ways to deal with negative feedback that may damage a brand can consist of an employee dedicated to handling complaints. Issues can be resolved privately, but it is essential to let the public know an issue has been resolved. Businesses can take it a step further by reaching out to customers after the issue has been resolved. A few small, but meaningful gestures can turn a satisfied customer into an evangelist for a brand.
  1. An understanding that social media is less about ROI, and more about brand management: The Return on Investment for social media usage can be hard to measure. That doesn’t stop companies from trying by using a mix of analytics, customer engagement and conversions. Mashable.com has an excellent infographic on how businesses measure the ROI on social media. That said the benefits outweigh the costs of using the medium. In particular, social media is useful for building a brand, managing relationships with customers, developing products, customer interaction (including feedback and support), and building a community. It is a great way to demonstrate a company’s expertise and differentiate from the competition. The trust and loyalty gained from effective social media usage can’t be overstated.

A failure to fully embrace and utilize social media by businesses can mean a sudden death. A competitor fully tuned into social media can come in very quickly and dominate a market in some industries. Any company that wishes to remain vibrant and relevant in today’s highly connected world needs a consistently branded presence on social media. Getting the legal department and the marketing department to play along nicely doesn’t mean a business has to sacrifice their online presence to mitigate risk. A well-developed guide that covers employee behavior, online accounts, data protection, and ways to deal with negative feedback are great ways for a company deal with issues that may arise because of a strong online presence. Effectively leveraging social media as a powerful marketing platform can increase brand awareness that makes sales easier. The effort of inspiring collaboration between legal and marketing departments may mean an investment of time, some communication training, or mediation. That effort will make all of the other outward business efforts (sales, partner development, recruiting, and even selecting vendors) easier and more successful.

Ebony & Ivory-Stevie Wonder & Sir Paul McCartney

A good video with a good message from the early 80s.I remember having the 45RPM single of this.(Disclaimer:To YouTube,the record company,and to all viewers,I do not claim copyrights to this,I’m simply posting it because I love the video)

Drama is Alive and Well on Facebook

Results for Pinterest search for "negative people"

Results for Pinterest search for “negative people”

 

Sometimes, we have to “cut the fat.” Success teachers of every kind will advise you to eliminate negative people from your life, though they recognize that it’s not so easy to do.

 

“You cannot expect to live a positive life if you hang with negative people.”

― Joel Osteen

 

“Rich people associate with positive, successful people. Poor people associate with negative or unsuccessful people.”

― T. Harv Eker

 

“Toxic people will pollute everything around them. Don’t hesitate. Fumigate.”

― Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

 

Even Deepak Chopra can only offer strategies to deal with certain types of negative people and promotes avoidance of other types whenever possible.

 

Because social media has transformed our social lives into data that can be tracked, avoidance can get pretty tricky.

 

At a Facebook workshop I was teaching to a group of real estate investors, a question unrelated to business was asked: “If you un-friend someone, will they know?”

 

The answer: They aren’t notified, but there are many ways to find out. I described how they will see you comment on a mutual friend’s or family’s post and they might go to post on your profile or send you a private message and notice that there is an option to friend, as though you aren’t already friends.

 

Thanks to God’s uncanny timing, I saw this post by an unnamed friend yesterday:

 

“So, today, I found out that one of my friends in real life had ‘unfriended’ me some time ago on FB. This person is an ultra left wing liberal, an ardent Obama supporter, and we would often get into it when they would post memes and misinformation that were either pro Obama or anti-Republican… I was wondering why I was no longer seeing any posts from this individual, and noticed a comment from them on a mutual friends post. I wanted to congratulate them on something that had recently happened in their life, and was going to message them, when I realized it said I should send a friend request…What I find so amusing is that I have NEVER unfriended someone because I disagree with them politically…If you only keep friends who agree with you, if you can’t defend your position against someone who is well informed on the issues, your life is going to be pretty boring, and you will never expand your mind to new things. I still love this person, I was quite surprised by this behavior. I guess I just won’t love them on Facebook anymore! Just sayin!”

 

And a comment….on Facebook…regarding the evil of Facebook:

“I think FB is the worst thing they invented; people fight, argue, break up, all of this stupid site, and when peoples feelings get hurt, instead of trying to discuss the situation, then the texting begins, i cant take the drama, the BS, and all the crap that goes with it, so I hear ya, and I know how it feels; i get taken off as a FB friend for less then that, and I take people off too for whatever reasons, its all this stupid FB stuff, sometimes i take my page down for a time, cause i dont want to see all the negativity, and I actually feel better without seeing it, just saying too.”

 

Is this an added layer of social rejection? Is it better to remain blissfully ignorant about what people say about us behind our backs?

There were three or four workshop attendees who were hesitant to expose themselves to potential ridicule and undue drama. When you see an emotionally charged exchange like this, it’s hard to blame them.

 

I made the argument that fear is a powerful and justifiable emotion, but we have to carefully evaluate how much we let it make decisions for us. Because, really, what’s worse? Limiting our success and stifling our growth, or not being liked and accepted?

 

Here are a few authors who actually did it – they left Facebook for “good:”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/elizabethlopatto/2014/06/30/you-should-quit-facebook/

Why I quit Facebook and we are sharing much more than you think

 http://theradicallife.org/the-real-reason-to-quit-facebook-and-10-what-ifs

 

Only 44% of unemployed job seekers have LinkedIn profiles and other staggering data

I’m surprised at how frequently a job seeker will ask me if recruiters are really looking for candidates on LinkedIn. I’m also surprised how many job seekers still don’t have a presence on LinkedIn. Even if you are not a job seeker, unless you are financially free, chances are good you will be in the next 3 years! What are you waiting for?

Here is some lovely data to back up my assertion.

Results of my 2012 Discussion posed: How much time do you spend on LinkedIn each week, and is it regimented or as needed? If as needed, what is the need that precipitates it?

Though this discussion did not garner significant participation, I feel I made a promise to share the results and I like to keep my promises.

I posted this discussion on 7 different LinkedIn recruiting and human resources groups and received responses from 7 people from 3 different groups (ERE.net, Global Recruiting Alliance, and Purple Squirrel Quest).

  • 2 were Certified Internet Recruiters
  • 1 was a C-level executive
  • 2 owned their own recruiting companies
  • 1 was an outsourced HR professional working onsite
  • 1 was just a super-savvy recruiter

The consensus was that LinkedIn was something they used daily for at least an hour a day.

Some interesting differences:

  • A CIR often used the LinkedIn profile as the primary profile of their candidates, rather than a résumé.
  • The savvy recruiter was very focused on using LinkedIn to build a proactive pipeline.
  • The C-level executive checked LinkedIn status updates hourly.
  • A CIR and one of the business owners cite using LinkedIn’s community features to stay connected to their industry.
  • The other business owner used LinkedIn 8-10 hours per day during the week and several hours over the weekend!

Since these results are interesting, but not significant, I wanted to share some data from a report with much more meaningful data. This data is from the Jobvite 2012 Social Recruiting Report

http://bit.ly/SRR13

“Social recruiting not only increases the number of applicants in the hiring pipeline, but also the quality of candidates.”

  • 92% of respondents use or plan to use social media for recruiting, an increase of almost ten percent from the 83% using social recruiting in 2010. In 2011 it was 89%.
  • 73% have successfully hired a candidate through social networks, making social recruiting a highly effective source of quality new hires. – up from 58% in 2010! 89% of the time, this was through LinkedIn!
  • A large majority of recruiters (71%) consider themselves savvy in social recruiting, having a sizeable understanding of what to look for in social profiles.
  • 49% of recruiters who implemented social recruiting saw an increase in the quantity of candidates, and 43% noted a surge in the quality of candidates.

So where are they on social media?

  • 93% have adopted LinkedIn – up from 78% in 2010!
  • 66% on Facebook – up from 55%
  • 54% are on Twitter – up fro 45%

That’s still more on Twitter than aren’t on Twitter!

What I would like to know is, what percentage of their time on social media, LinkedIn in particular, is dedicated to what part of the recruiting cycle. If I had to guess, based on how I used to use LinkedIn and train recruiters to use it, it would be broken down as such:

  • 10% to blast out job openings (since this doesn’t take much time now)
  • 40% to source candidates
  • 20% to qualify already sourced candidates
  • 20% to compare candidates for interview opportunities
  • 10% to compare candidates for offers

Can anyone out there confirm or dispute this?

Since they also do a job seeker report and I have so many job seekers apparently unaware of the frequency with which LinkedIn is depended upon, I wondered how many job seekers are actually hip to the trend.

Firstly, here’s a staggering number – 75%

  • 75% of the workforce is looking for a job!
  • 48% of those are employed. Both of these numbers are up from last year. 69% of the workforce was job-hunting then and only 35% were employed.
  • 61% of those job seekers say job seeking is much harder than it was in 2011.
  • 41% of job seekers are unemployed (sounds like a good topic for a vlog!)

So, here it is:

  • 44% of unemployed job seekers have a LinkedIn profile.  Say WHAT?!
  • 85% are on Facebook (no surprise)
  • 51% are on Twitter (that is surprising!)

Even more surprising

  • 31% of employed job seekers have a LinkedIn profile!
  • 75% are on Facebook
  • 31% are on Twitter

Of them all, Facebook was the most likely site to take a candidate out of the running!

Volunteering and organizational memberships were very highly weighted in a job seeker’s favor.

So, there is a meal for thought.

If you don’t know where to start, we have webinars available for this exact reason.

To at least get you going on LinkedIn, go here: http://bit.ly/7daysLI

To make sure that once you are up and running you can be in the right type of action that will help you land sooner based on how recruiters are actually searching, go here: http://bit.ly/3jobsecrets

And by the way – we write LinkedIn profiles that attract unsolicited job offers! Not all of our clients are job seekers, but they sure get sought out, and some even make career advancements they thought were years away! www.charesume.com

😉