Cool New Apps to Fuel Your Job Hunt

One of the places where past investments in social capital pay back major dividends is when you are in the market for a new job. Having an inside connection at any company can up your chances of finding out about new opportunities early, and making sure your credentials get in front of the right people. Luckily, there are an array of tools emerging to make the entire process more efficient, and yes, even enjoyable.

You are probably already familiar with the ways that LinkedIn can help uncover connections you didn’t even realize existed. Whether you find job postings right on the LinkedIn site or elsewhere, a quick search to see if you have someone on the inside at your dream company should be part of your application process.

To take your LinkedIn profile to the next level, check out Re.Vu - a cool way to create a visually appealing storyboard of your past experience. To see what I mean, check out my Re.Vu page. Their site pulls your history from the LinkedIn site and gives you lots of options to add more information to flesh out and portray your past in an engaging way. My favorite part? The time graph of employment history – my past has never seemed so exciting. Sharing your Re.Vu site is more efficient than carrying around paper resumes and easy for friends to pass along on your behalf. Continue reading

Simon Mainwaring Explains How Your Brand Can Jump Back from Negative Social Media

Never Eat Alone co-author Tahl Raz interviewed marketing consultant, author, and speaker Simon Mainwaring about his book, We First: How Brands and Consumers Use Social Media To Build a Better World, for the Social Capitalist. Here’s the audio recording and full transcript. MyGreenlight member and marketing consultant Colleen Newvine submitted this question during the interview:

“You’re building or architecting this community, but what happens when you’re hit with criticism or negativity, or some of the dark side that we hear about, or I’ve actually felt, in social media? How do you deal with negativity in social media? How have you dealt with it?”

Simon: I think it’s a great thing and I’ve had it, too. I get everything from being dismissed as some sort of crazy, commie-idealist, through to being put on the Republican watch list, through to I had a gentleman get very angry with me because I wrote a piece about whether video games increase teen violence. He was very angry with me, which to me rather proved the point. But, anyway, you always will encounter that. As soon as you open yourself up to public scrutiny, you’re going to have those who support you and those who don’t, and that’s fine.

What I do is I welcome it. I’ve been taken to task by people over various issues many times and rather than be reactionary and defensive, what you try and do is say, “Great. Someone is pointing out something that many people are already thinking,” or, “They’re highlighting a way that I need to improve my product or service if I’m really going to be authentic.” Continue reading

An Unlikely, and Enjoyable, Networking Guide

I am currently reading the book MWF Seeking BFF, by Rachel Bertsche. I originally picked it up because it was getting a great deal of buzz, and also because, as an aspiring blogger myself, I am intrigued by the 52 Something in a Year genre.

But as I began to read, it became clear that what I expected to be a fluffy retelling of 52 wine-soaked girl nights was actually chock full of the same kind of relationship research that we used to build myGreenlight.

Chicago-based Bertsche sets out to try every possible channel to make new adult friends. While her ultimate goal is to meet a new, geographically-appropriate BFF (“best friend forever”, for anyone unfamiliar with the lingo) to augment her college and childhood friends in New York, what she effectively does is build a broad and diverse network of friends, acquaintances, and possible future resources.

By the midpoint of the book, she has a social schedule to rival Keith Ferrazzi himself.

In the process, she meets many people who share her desire to connect with more friends, but who are unsure of how to make it happen.

For so much of our lives, we depend on fate to deliver friends to us. When you are in elementary school, the boy next door is your best friend because he’s most convenient. The girl who sits next to you in English class becomes your confidant because you are working on the same projects. Sororities and fraternities provide a steady pipeline of social comrades during our college years.

Once we get to “real” life we are so comfortable with taking the friends who happen across our paths, that taking explicit steps to meet the people we want to spend time with feels artificial and contrived. But through Bertsche’s experience, it is clear that relationships built from purposeful outreach are just as genuine, and significantly more abundant, than the ones that happen by accident.

One long, slow dinner, coffee date, and yoga class at a time, she builds true friendships with a significant number of her prospective girlfriends. And along the way she makes frequent reference to the research that backs up the key success factors in growing real relationships – self-disclosure, supportiveness, interaction, and positivity.

The key takeaway is that purposefully seeking out connection is an effective way to expand your social circle, and real relationships are worth investing some effort.

Have you ever had to start over with building your social circle? How did you do it?

Your Next Resource: Get and Give Outstanding LinkedIn Recs

I am on my way to give a keynote at LinkedIn today, so I thought it was a good moment to pass on some LinkedIn-oriented material as your next preview of the exclusive resources in the myGreenlight library.

“How to Give and Get Outstanding LinkedIn Recommendations “ will help you build relationships and enhance your professional credibility.

Download it here.

And while we’re on the topic, did you catch the terrific article in Fortune magazine about LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman’s forthcoming book, The Start-Up of You? In it, he proposes this action, which I’m going to call Reid’s Build-It-Before-You-Need-It Mission:

“Imagine you got laid off from your job today. Who are the 10 people you’d email for advice? Don’t wait—invest in those relationships now.”

Making that list will give you a great start on what we call a “Relationship Action Plan” in myGreenlight. Do it today – and then start reaching out!

Be One of a Kind

Standing out in a myriad of applicants or even as an employee is often hard to achieve. That’s why it’s important to make your LinkedIn profile and resume different from the rest. You want something that catches the eye, something that makes people remember you, something that projects your individual brand.

This recent LinkedIn press release lists some of the surprising words that are overused on the site. They aren’t what you would expect, so make sure you’re not one of many by reading through your profile after taking a look:

1.    Creative
2.    Organizational
3.    Effective
4.    Extensive experience
5.    Track record
6.    Motivated
7.    Innovative
8.    Problem solving
9.    Communication skills
10.    Dynamic

“Competition for opportunities can be fierce, so craft your LinkedIn Profile and resume to stand out from the professional pack,” said Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s Connection Director. “Use language that illustrates your unique professional accomplishments and experiences. Give concrete examples of results you’ve achieved whenever possible and reference attributes that are specific to you.”

If you’re a myGreenlight member, take some time to listen to this coaching call, with program director Sara Grace and special guest Michael Margolis, author and storytelling consultant to get the tips you need to reinvent your bio to compel new contacts to connect.

What are some of the most overused words in your office? Please share!

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

Don’t Be That Person – Avoid Etiquette Goof-Ups

The Internet has integrated all of our worlds – professional, social, personal. This is great because coworkers and even bosses seem more human. Of course this is also terrible, as every status update and comment reach every corner of our world. As in the classic Seinfeld conflict of “relationship George” vs “independent George” – all of your different facets are forced to co-exist in cyberspace, which can be a dangerous situation.

To avoid the repercussions that may result from this small world, PC World Business Center gives us Facebook Etiquette: Five Dos and Don’ts.  This article offers great tips on how to make your profile picture, tone, biography, and content suitable for all the different areas of your life, both professional and personal. One key takeaway is the importance of a “polite and measured tone” even on more relaxed sites like Facebook. Social media is too public to truly let your digital hair down.

You should also approach LinkedIn carefully. The Social Times published the top LinkedIn Etiquette Tips. LinkedIn is primarily a professional networking tool, and should be used as such. “Make sure your updates are helpful information about your company or profession. LinkedIn is not Twitter or Facebook. ‘Less is more’ applies to this particular platform. Keep the updates to a minimum.” Updates should be focused on valuable information such as sharing articles, video, or event announcements.

I personally use the embarrassment test. I think, “Would I be okay with my parents, grandparents, and boss reading this?” before I post something, and only post if the answer is a solid yes.

What are your rules in etiquette in social media, particularly when using it for professional networking? What is an absolute no-no in your opinion? Share your stories!

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

Should a Cover Letter Ever Have a Smiley Face?

Emoticons have become ubiquitous. Although they seem like a more recent trend, in actuality emoticons are over 30 years old, according to this piece by Mashable author Amy-Mae Elliot. The birthplace of emoticons was Pittsburgh, where a Carnegie Mellon scientist first used a plain text hyphen, bracket, and colon to signal an emotion.

Fast forward to the present: A barrage of emoticons are dancing, winking, and even sticking their tongue out all over the social web – love it or hate it.

Due to the fact that often times tone can’t be conveyed in a text, or an email, or even a Facebook wallpost, people have turned to emoticons. It seems like an obvious choice for friends – but what place should they have in business communications? Can someone who plasters yellow smiley faces throughout a Skype conversation be taken seriously? How many :) is too many? Are there off-limits zones – like cover letters, for example?

Have a great day! :p

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

Mini Mission Monday

One of the key things that we talk about here at myGreenlight is the idea of strategically linking people to your goals.  In addition to thinking about WHAT you need to do –  if you think about WHO can help, and HOW you can enlist them to do so, success is that much closer at hand.

Look at what you need to get done this week.  Pick one thing and then think about WHO could help make it happen.  How are you going to reach out to them in a generous way? Now, do it.

Relationship Roundup

Kibibi Springs is the myGreenlight Community Manager.

Happy post-holiday to you all!  If you’re like those of us in the Greenlight office, you’re really missing that extra day in your work week and scrambling to make the moments count towards the progress of your goals.  Hopefully these references from fellow community members will help kick start next week’s agenda.  Till then – rest up, Monday is right around the corner.

myGreenlight community member @Ronald Yau recommends the following goodies.

  • Getting Mentors, a great HBR article for lining up the 3 perfect mentors.
  • We are a socially networked nation. Half of all Americans are now using social networks according to this recent Pew Poll.  Great!  Makes it that much easier for each of to get connected.  Just don’t tell my parents who have yet to send me a friend request.

Decision Fatigue?  Please raise your hand if you can relate. @Jason Womack must have been reading my mind when he referred this Fast Company article  on how to maintain focus and willpower on the things we want to change and maintain in our lives. Dully noted Jason.  Thank you!

Self-Service Professional Coaching Launches at the New MyGreenlight

Kibibi Springs is the myGreenlight Community Manager.

Hello myGreenlight community,

I’m Kibibi Springs the newest community member to the myGreenlight staff and your Community Manager. I look forward to us getting to know each other. Welcome also to those of you who aren’t GL members (yet!) but who are coming here because you’re constantly looking to improve your professional relationships and build social capital.

Since this is my first post, I thought I’d share what’s prominent on my business goal list. Lately, I’ve been receiving generous energy from my network in the form of professional coaching.  It’s very humbling when someone wants to invest the best of their knowledge set in your professional development and it’s a fascinating journey that everyone should experience.

During the rebrand, we thought about how to give all of the myGreenlight Community the advantage of our coaches’ wisdom. The result, is the new Coaching Q & A center in the Tools and Resources area. It’s a self-service coaching archive with an on-demand multimedia library of past coaching.  Access to coaching on myGreenlight just got easier and customizable to your individual needs. Now you can take your relationship mastery progress into your own hands.

Whether your challenge is related to developing better relationships with coworkers; managing confusing agendas when meeting with business partners of the opposite sex; or finding the best ways to approach potential contacts using social media; the Coaching Q&A center has a suggested solution for you. You also have the choice to submit a question of your own and one of our coaches will reply with an answer and add it to the center for others to take advantage of in the future.

MyGreenlight members, check out the Coaching feature soon! Everyone else: Have you ever sought out the help of a professional coach – and did it help you move forward? Tell us about it.