A Career Expert’s Advice on Creating a “Newsfeed” of New Opportunities

A recent HBR article by career expert Lindsey Pollak offered some great advice on how to curate your own personal job feed. Lindsey is the author of a book we love at myGreenlight, Getting from College to Career, which just had a newly revised version this year.

In the article, the first tip is to get specific: “if you were searching for a pair of shoes online,” Lindsey writes, “it wouldn’t be a very good strategy to go to Google or another search engine and type in shoes.” In other words you have to make sure you’re looking in the right places. To do this, you have to first decide exactly what you’re looking for. With specific terms and phrases you can narrow down the results and not waste time sifting through jobs that aren’t a good match for your needs.

The second tip is to research your particular niche in the job market. “The term ‘hyper-local’ doesn’t just apply to news; it also applies to jobs,” she writes. It is important to research and utilize the websites that are specifically geared to the type of job in the industry you are interested in.

Finally, it is crucial to realize and benefit from the ubiquity of social media. Even though social media can be a frivolous outlet, many companies do see social media as essential in the recruiting process. The way to gain the most from sites like Facebook and Twitter is to separate your professional and personal activity, according to Lindsey. That way, when looking for job opening, you will not be distracted or run the risk of seeming unprofessional. For example, on Twitter, you can create a “job info” list on your account, and then bookmark that page – creating an easy-to-follow feed of job-relevant data. Get searching!

What’s your best source for news of new positions, and how do you avoid information overload in the job search? Please share!

Relationship Roundup

Everyone’s buzzing about South by Southwest  (SXSW) week, the uber cool music, film, tech, and media conference in Austin, Texas. Among the innovators, some of the following social media application developers are burning the midnight oil to introduce SXSW goers to the cool tools that are or will soon be helping us manage our manically connected worlds. None too soon in my book! This week in the Roundup, I present some options that are hot on the market and coming down the pipeline to streamline your socially connected life.

Get Ming.ly with it! – For managing the flow of your existing and growing connections, as well as remembering important details about them, Ming.ly offers several  functions to give your memory a break. The application works with your existing social media networks to keep track of whose coming in and out of your world. Check out the Ming.ly web demo to learn more here http://bit.ly/xpsR5r.

Spotlight on Highlight – I was told the industry is going nuts over Highlight, a fun and easy way to learn about the people around you. Imagine this…the person next to you also has Highlight and their profile shows up on your phone. You can see all the profile details they’ve chosen to share to strike up a conversation. Hmmm, we used to call that stalking but between two consensual adults I’m all for it. Learn more http://bit.ly/yocauc. Continue reading

Enter-Prize 2.0

How much easier would it be if you had free-flowing information within your company?

In this article Andrew McAfee, principle researcher at MIT’s Center for Digital Business, sheds some light on the way business is evolving around us every day and tries to answer this question. In order to take advantage of the easy accessibility of knowledge, years ago he started investigating the ways in which to make businesses have a free flow of information and communication. “I wanted to think about what these tools and the communities and processes and philosophies that came along with these tools meant for good old-fashioned companies trying to get their widgets out the door every day. So I used the phrase “Enterprise 2.0″ as the shorthand for what the Web 2.0 tools and that world meant for enterprises.”

When asked about his elevator pitch, McAfee uses this impactful quote: “So I’ve had to come up with a different way to get at this knowledge challenge in the company. One useful trigger is to use a quote that I first heard a while back that is attributed to Lew Platt, who was the old CEO of Hewlett-Packard. He looked around his organization, which is a big, very well-run, hugely respected company in America for decades. This is not a poorly run company. He looked around Hewlett-Packard and said, ‘If only HP knew what HP knows, we’d be three times more productive.’ Whenever I say that to a room full of executives, you can see the heads nod.”

Although Enterprise 2.0 can be accurately described as social, McAfee avoids it. The reason he cites is “because it has primarily negative connotations, especially for a really hard-headed, pragmatic manager in a business, decision-maker in a business, who just wants to get more stuff done. When that person hears ‘social,’ he thinks of happy hours after work and the corporate softball league. I thought the word ‘social’ would be not just neutral, but actually a bad way to do that.”

Being able to find a way to communicate information that the individuals know to better serve and unify the company can be highly effective and have long term impact.

How do you circulate knowledge in your company? Are you using Yammer, Chatter, or some other Enterprise 2.0 tool?

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

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!

A Quick, Free Tool to Get Your Network in Shape

Welcome to my readers from Tip of the Week! Thanks for stopping by. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite downloads from myGreenlight’s library of hundreds of tools, videos, and coaching calls.

Starting with….our Networking Diagnostic. This tool, adapted from the work of Brian Uzzi and Shannon Dunlap in Harvard Business Review, helps you analyze your top 25 contacts to determine whether you’re making typical networking mistakes. Are you nurturing your superconnectors? Is your network dense enough? Too dense?

To get the free worksheet, just click here to download it.

Here’s what a few myGreenlight members said about using it:

“You can use the diagnostic repeatedly against different sets of goals, or as circumstances change.”

“It absolutely helped me to structure my network, to think about the right prioritization, and to set new goals.”

“It made me think and create a detailed list of focal points to organize my future networking.”

Let us know what insights the worksheet turns up for you in the comments!

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.

Mini Mission Monday

As they say, “time flies when you are having fun.”  They should probably also say, “accomplishments rack up faster than you can update your profiles.”  Although that doesn’t sound nearly as poetic.

Your Mission:

Go to LinkedIn and update your profile with your latest accomplishments.  Make sure it represents you in the best, most current light.  Consider keywords and what you want your personal brand to stand for.

If the Timing’s Right…

Being effective is something that we all strive towards – but sometimes it’s the little things that can separate the good from the great.

One such small thing is deciding when to send an email. In a very interesting tip in the article, Timing is Everything: Five Tips to Better Networking in 2012, tip one is “send an email during working hours. You may think your email will get noticed if it’s sent off hours, but it will probably just get put aside. If someone is checking their business emails off-hours, they are checking on business-related items. Emails asking for help are often put aside and forgotten about.”

I tried getting a couple different opinions based on job functions. My friend, Andrew Bavelock who works as an Administrative Aide at New York University believes that “the afternoon is usually the time when I’m most responsive to emails, since that’s when I’ve finished most of my other time-sensitive work for the day.”

From our sales team at myGreenlight, Business Development Executive, Brian Frankel says “I check my emails first thing in the morning. I avoid checking emails in the middle of tasks as it is a time waster. I learned from Jason Womack to turn off the outlook notification message for incoming emails and that helped a lot.

However, not all people are of that opinion, some people think it is easier to focus on emails during our free time. When I asked our Community Manager, Kibibi Springs, she said,” I would say that getting someone’s attention at the start of their day is probably the best overall way to ensure that it’s recognized and replied to in a timely manner. So I would send an email in the evening so it’s on their radar when they check email in the morning.  I also have found that the end of the work day and the hours after a typical work day ends is great to catch people live.  I think a lot of people use the end of the day to catch up on emails and if you send something between 4-7pm you might get a direct response because that part of the day meetings are typically over, the phone has stopped ringing and they are more likely to be able to focus.”

As you may have noticed- there doesn’t seem to be a perfect time of the day to send an email. In my opinion, if it’s something that is very important to you- you should try to research “a day in the life” of the person you are emailing and go from there. It seems to be different depending on the industry and job function, so take all of that into account and see what works.

When are you most responsive to emails? Share your experiences!

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

Take Control of Your Inbox – What Deserves your Attention?

This morning I woke up and checked my email, as I generally do. And in my personal email inbox I found exactly 4 new notes. And they were all from actual people.

Sounds like science fiction, doesn’t it? Like going to the mail box at the curb and finding only handwritten letters. The stuff of fairy tales.

But this was real. The side effect of a New Year-inspired effort to rid my inbox of all of the various unread subscriptions that have been cluttering the scenery for far too long. Fifteen (15!) versions of Living Social, daily sale flyers from every store I have ever visited, LinkedIn updates from groups I visited once – all gone.

It was cleansing, to say the least.

It was hard to cut the cord on some of them. Several of the newsletters contained some excellent content. Some of the reminders are truly valid and useful. I do enjoy a good sale, or half-price rock climbing expedition (not that I’ve ever been on one – but the idea is attractive.)

The problem is that in the midst of the cluttered heap of spam and bacn (better than spam, not as good as personal email), it was impossible to focus on anything at all.

Things feel strangely empty in my mailbox – like the living room now that the holiday decorations are put away. But the space makes it so much easier to focus on actually reading the things that made the cut.

I am vowing to be more judicious about what I sign up for going forward, although it is challenging to control my desire to know everything all the time. But as with most things, it’s better to focus on a few things that matter instead of being distracted by endless options clouding the scene.

How do you manage information overload and decide what gets your attention?

Stress-Free Networking Apps

Sometimes the idea of meeting new people can seem daunting, and it’s hard to figure out where to start. To help jumpstart this process, here are four apps that solve some common network/networking problems:

“I can’t find the resources/help I need to grow my business.”

Entrepreneur Finder helps businesses develop by building bridges between business and people’s interests. “After creating a profile, users will have free access to contact other members and to take advantage of the user search and matching features. Members also gain free access to the site’s public groups, private business and university groups, a Q&A section, current news, and other helpful resources.”

“Networking events are great but not targeted enough.”

Through Tapped In, the database matches attendees with other attendees who have similar interests before the event. That way, “you will never have to rely on serendipity to make that one solid connection. You will never have to walk up to a stranger and have a cold conversation. They already know you!”

“I need to expand my network but don’t like formal group events.”

Grub With Us has a more casual way of going about networking. As they put it, “you already paid, so just show up, eat and socialize!”

Lastly, we have a site inspired by Keith, LunchMeet- an app to Never Eat Alone. It works through your LinkedIn account so all you have to do is “let the app know when you will be available to meet and where, search for other professionals in your area who are also available within the same timeslot, and invite them to a lunchmeet!”

These four apps allow for stress-free networking. Have you ever used any of them? What have your experiences been like? Yay or Nay?

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.