What Does Your Photo Say?

camera, paperweight, stone

What does this picture say?

What does your photo say? On LinkedIn or Facebook, what does your picture project to others? Do you have a professional or casual photo? What do you want your photo to say about you?

Your photo can kill the reader’s interest quicker than a large Texas jackrabbit being chased by a hunting dog. If you are pictured on a motorcycle on LinkedIn, is it a hobby, a sales pitch or what?

Posting a Photo

I hate to have my photo taken, almost as much as I hate to exercise. When I f joined LinkedIn, I resisted putting my photo online. Why would I want my picture online? The world appreciates youth, beauty, babies and animals. I am none of those. A colleague in outplacement where we taught people how to find jobs reprimanded me. “When you meet a new person, like a candidate or employer, the person may have researched you and won’t recognize you. You need to post a picture.” He’s right. Our photos may be viewed for many reasons. And it’s illegal (sometimes) and rude to ask someone’s age. Providing a picture shows professionalism and personality.

Facebook and Websites

If you have your own website, your picture makes an imprint on your viewer. Recently, I heard a speaker unequivocally say we should share information about our families on our websites. Getting our large family together is difficult. With almost ten grand-children (one more is expected in September), getting everyone to smile at the same time…impossible! I’m willing to post information about my family on my personal Facebook rather than my website. The guy on the motorcycle may love to ride but maybe it would be better on Facebook than LinkedIn. My conclusion about family photos: it depends on focus.

Facebook offers a page for businesses, as well as personal posts. I post my articles and other business items to insure business friends and contacts see my most recent motivation for moving forward.

Business to Business

At one point when I first posted on LinkedIn, I used a picture of my dog on my LinkedIn page, rather than my photo. Eeuuu! Terrible! LinkedIn is Business-to-Business social networking. What a blunder!

Let’s keep LinkedIn for business. Is your picture an out-of-focus selfie? What does that project for people looking at you? Are you proud of the picture? Is your work rather out of focus with lack of detail? Remember your picture represents you!

Sabotage

Family pictures on LinkedIn-Would you take your spouse or significant other to work with you? Would you need to call for permission to go out for a beer? Would you be on the phone with family issues?

Drinking pictures-If most of your Facebook pictures show you drinking, your viewers may conclude you might have a problem.

Confidence-Looking down, too serious, scruffy attire and appearance may indicate a lack of confidence.

You don’t need to be in a suit and tie to look cool and confident. I’m updating my website and need some new, more casual shots. Taking my own advice may not be easy!

New Ways to Manage Your Network Contacts

LinkedIn released a new method to capture your network contacts, which helps you dig deeper for research and analysis.  A few years ago, LinkedIn bought a company named Connected which gave them the capabilities to try something different to organize your contacts.

Looking at your network data in different ways helps your career

Looking at your network data in different ways helps your career.

Try It, You Might Like It

I suggest you try it, whether you love or hate your job, or are targeting a new position.  LinkedIn remains the number one tool for job seekers and recruiters to find jobs and candidates.  The more you know how to use the tool, the more likely you can improve your career, whether you need it now or later.

By looking at your contacts creatively, ideas may pop to aid your job search.  If you only have 100 contacts, the tool won’t be as valuable as someone with 500+.  You must load Linkedin with quality business associates, as the more contacts, the more ways you can use the tool, dubbed “LinkedIn Contacts.”  (Duh! I wonder how much discussion that took?!?).

Granted, my LinkedIn contacts number 2300+, but I’m a career coach and former technical recruiter.  Additionally, LinkedIn Contacts, loads your email contacts, now showing about 3000 contacts for me.  I suggest you work towards 300 quality contacts in LinkedIn.  Over 500 is not excessive.  Recruiters often connect with far more than my measly number.

Examples, using the tool

I sent 26 emails in the past 24 hours, either through LinkedIn or my own email  After careful scrutiny, I realized that more were social than work related, as 16 went to friends.  Hmmm!  The tool deftly demonstrates my priorities today!  Am I using my time wisely?

You may want to know how many contacts you have in Atlanta.  Or you might want to check to see when you last contacted your former manager.  Maybe she’s moved to a new company and you’d love to work for her again. You failed to see she’d changed jobs in your notifications.   The information remains the same, but seeing the contacts differently generates ideas for contacting people, which may not have occurred to you.

Companies Where You May Have Contacts

My contacts work at 1939 different companies (out of 3000 contacts).  Most companies, where multiple contacts work, are technical, such as Texas Instruments, Cisco and Intel, not a surprise with my background.  But, I was amazed that I only have six contacts at Triquint with the same number at Apple.  I would have imagined I had more in these two companies.   I am pleased to see I connect with an equal number at small, growing companies, which serves me well for referrals in my consulting business.

You can search by company, location, and other ways. The tool allows you to think creatively about how you may use this information.  Take time to read about the tool on Mashable and experiment with it.  Just don’t become addicted to the fun you have with it!

10 Easy Tips to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

Improve Your LinkedIn profile regularly

Grab your coffee and improve your LinkedIn profile

We all know that careers can be detoured with a simple caustic remark or new boss.  But don’t wait until that happens.  LinkedIn is one of the best ways to improve your business contacts.  Focus on improving your LinkedIn connections with the following helpful hints.

A gentle reminder before you begin: go to your LinkedIn settings to turn off the notifications while you are working on the improvements.  Be sure to notify everyone once you complete your improved profile.

Quick Tips

1.         Monitor who visits your profile.  Ask the individual(s) to connect.

2.         Customize your invitations. Wouldn’t you prefer to connect with a real person, who invited you to connect for a reason?

3.         Use the endorsements wisely.   Although you may have a few unknown people endorsing you, use www.LinkedIn.com/skills for additional understanding.

4.         Make sure your summary contains enough information to entice people to want to read more about you.  Remember: it’s a profile, not your entire resume.

5.         If you are in job search, add your email to the profile.   You may want to add a phone number, too, depending on your circumstances. This is your advertisement of YOU.  You want people to find and contact you.

6.         The power in LinkedIn is through adding meaningful connections.  Do you understand that?  You are building relationships, not just bragging rites for a huge number of contacts.  You don’t need to actually know everyone in your connections but invite people in your industry, especially ones you see in your professional meetings.   You may want to contact people for bench marking, for advice about their hiring practices, or to learn about their corporate culture.

7.         Friends in other companies in your industry are your “A-Team.”  They will be your “first responders” to help you find another job, when you decide you’ve had enough fun where you currently work.  People like to help each other.  If you stay in touch with these contacts over the years, they will undoubtedly to be willing to help, when contacted.  If they haven’t heard from you in a long time, you renew the relationship, filling the gap with what you’ve accomplished.  Otherwise, they may be reticent to promote your background, as their reputations are at stake.

8.         You need a professional looking picture, even if you work in flops and cutoffs.  You may resist this but the vast majority prefer hiring someone who looks sharp, not slovenly.

9.         If you are actively seeking a job but you could go three different ways, such as Project Manager, Program Manager or Product Line Manager, generate a generic profile, carefully crafting brief accomplishments in each area with a summary that shows versatility in your work.  When you apply, you need to be customize the resume for each one of the paths you could take.  Your LinkedIn profile should attract traffic.  The resume moves the process to the next step, the interview.

10.       Do not try for the perfect LinkedIn profile, as it needs to be updated periodically anyhow.

Bonus:

Funny story…last week I tried to get a new picture for my LinkedIn profile.  The photographer found it impossible to take any worthwhile photos.  I hate to get my picture taken and it showed.  Your photograph needs to show you looking very professional, not stiff as a board or in beach attire.  I’ll try again soon.  So don’t do as I do and procrastinate.  Do as I say.  We all need to improve our LinkedIn profiles regularly!

4 Tips for Avoiding Career Disaster

Your career is thriving in chaos, but may change with frightening speed without ongoing monitoring. Your career disaster may be the result of an explosion, a hurricane, new technology or a new boss.  Here are four important ways to avoid career disaster.

Career explosion

Avoid Career Disaster

Read, Read, Read

Set aside a minimum of one hour a week to read Internet articles about trends in the supply chain, especially in your area of expertise.  EBNonline is an excellent source, but do not neglect Huffington Post, New York Times (especially the globlal business section),  the Wall Street Journal and many other fabulous sources.  Read about what’s happening at Apple to see what’s happening in the tech world.  Buy a new business best seller and peruse it for ideas for your career.

Use Groups on LinkedIn

Not only maintain your spiffy LinkedIn profile, but comment on the groups on LinkedIn.  If you simply use the search term “java groups” on your home page of LinkedIn, you will see almost 3000 possible groups to join for connecting with others with similar interests.  Don’t be passive reader in your selected groups.  Respond to learn from others and create a digital footprint for building a broader reputation. Did you know that one of the first things a recruiter does when s/he finds or receives your resume is to look at your digital footprint?  If you don’t know how to complete your LinkedIn profile, find a profile you like and use it for a model.  Your profile needs at least three recommendations (not endorsements), or it’s not considered “complete.”  Make sure your summary is explicit and enticing.  And Google yourself to assure someone with the same name isn’t an ax murderer!

Mingle with Purpose

“I’ve been too busy working to have any real friends,” I often hear from job seekers.  My advice is to program into your life at least one or two professional meeting or civic groups and then grab and greet” as some call meetings for networking.  In other words, get to know people that know people.  Whether you choose a IEEE or other Toastmasters, mingle to create relationships.  No weak handshakes, either!

Attitude Reigns

 “I’ve interviewed a few times in the past six months since I’ve been laid off.  When I follow up, the recruiters don’t seem to know who I am!”  Hmmmm!  Sounds like this individual may need to improve his interview skills.  Seek help from a friendly recruiter or advice from a friend.  Maybe your attitude is showing and not in a good way.   Find someone who will be ruthless with feedback. I hear horrible stories from candidates about how they are treated in interviews.  If you are a hiring manager, remember, the world keeps getting smaller.  The individual you ignore, may be interviewing you one day.  Whoops!  Possible career disaster!

If you are a candidate, ask for help, but not a job, when you contact someone with whom you’ve created a business relationship.  People like helping each other.  Statistics say that as many as  80% of jobs come from someone you know or get to know.  If you’ve been treated unfairly, put on your “big person” boots and get over it.  Attitude is critical for avoiding career disaster.Change is inevitable.  The 35 year old or the 35 year career can both be affected negatively if you continue to say, “They’ll never get rid of me!”  Risk management is a huge topic these days.  Take it seriously.  You need to avoid career disaster with your own, personal risk management!