Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Career Solvers Blog Has Moved!

The Career Solvers Blog has moved! Visit us here for more posts on career management strategy. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

More on LinkedIn

Lately I've been receiving a lot of LinkedIn invitations from people I do not know with the generic "I'd like to add you to my network" message and nothing else. This just isn't doing it for me. Maybe I should know you, but without a compelling message, it's hard to make that decision. And please don't take the easy way out and assume I will click on the link to your profile. Explain in the body of your email why I should connect to someone I don't know and what the possible professional synergies are. That will capture my attention and make you much more credible in my eyes.

LinkedIn users should stop mining data and start creating authentic relationships on-line that can eventually lead to valuable professional partnerships. That's the way to optimize its value.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

LinkedIn 101 - Ten Tips to Help You Ace the Power of LinkedIn

I just finished reading Liz Ryan's book Happy About Online Networking which offers some great tips for leveraging the power of online business and social networking tools to build relationships and an online professional identity. Liz makes some great points about how to build credibility on several sites and I particularly liked her comments about building authentic relationships on LinkedIn. She reminds us that users should not just use the LinkedIn database to find people, but they should also share enough information about themselves to indicate how they might help others. Liz and I are on the same page when it comes to making the most of LinkedIn. Here are some of the tips I recommend for optimizing the benefits of LinkedIn.
  1. Take the time to create a robust profile. Write a summary section that clearly outlines your personal brand and value add and gets readers jazzed up about what you do. Build out the specialties section and make it keyword rich and industry relevant. Many profiles on LinkedIn are just a shell with a name and an abbreviated chronology. You would never submit a resume to a potential employer that only listed the names of the companies you worked for with no supporting information, so why would you use this tactic online where your information is available for millions of people to see?
  2. Use the endorsements feature to request and offer endorsements. People are more likly to contact you if you can showcase that others have been satisfied with your work. Adding endorsements can expedite the decision making/hiring process.
  3. Keep your profile up to date. People who use LinkedIn for a job search campaign often abandon the tool after they find new employment. By keeping your information up to date, you are more likely to keep your network strong and be able to reciprocate to others.
  4. Educate your connections. If people join LinkedIn and don't invite others, they won't get as much out of the tool and will remain several degrees apart from the people they want to meet. When you introduce friends and colleagues to the tool, take the time to explain to them how to maximize its utility.
  5. Remember that LinkedIn doesn't replace traditional networking, it facilitates it. Always supplement your online efforts with face-to-face networking.
  6. Use the questions and answers feature to start conversations, create community, and position yourself as a subject matter expert. By answering questions, you are simultaneously endorsing your candidacy and expertise.
  7. Don't add a connection that you would not feel comfortable introducing to someone already in your network. Having 500 connections doesn't have much value if you can't "share the love".
  8. Avoid the "invitation to connect" templates. They lack authenticity and are inferior when compared to a personalized message.
  9. Create a public profile. This is an easy way to start building an online presence for yourself, since LinkedIn ranks high in the search engines.
  10. Take advantage of available resources about LinkedIn including I'm on LinkedIn...Now What???, Linked Intelligence and LinkedIn Blog.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Negotiation Tip #7

Always get the offer in writing. Because of the large number of mergers, acquisitions, and downsizings, it’s important to get terms of employment in writing. Find out if the company routinely provides new hires with employment contracts. If this is not offered, use a confirmation letter to spell out the terms you have agreed to accept. During the negotiation process, use a follow up memo after each discussion. This gives you more control over the final agreement.

These seven tips remind candidates that the negotiation process reinforces individual empowerment and group cooperation. By viewing the negotiation as a step towards consensus building and understanding the psychology behind the exchange, candidates can improve their bargaining power significantly and begin new employment relationships on a positive note.

That's it for this series. Good luck in your future negotiations!

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Negotiation Tip #6

Generally it is reasonable to request up to one week to make your decision regarding a position. As a matter of fact you should never accept a position on the spot. You want the employer to view you as a prudent decision maker and you want them to understand that you don’t rush into big decisions. Express your excitement regarding the offer, but allow yourself some time to think about the level of responsibility within the position and the associated compensation. Another reason for not accepting the offer on the spot is to make sure you have time to review the offer and determine what points you may want to negotiate.

I will post my last tip in this series tomorrow. Stay tuned!

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Negotiation Tip #5

Negotiation starts the moment you submit your resume and continues during the interview process. Don’t sell yourself at one level and then expect an offer for a higher level. During the interview process you start building the relationship with the employer and showcasing your value as a candidate. Once you’ve built maximum value throughout the interview process, you will have the leverage to negotiate the best compensation package possible. I have two more tips to share. Check back tomorrow for the next tip.

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Negotiation Tips #3 and 4

Surveys suggest that 85-90% of hiring managers do not make their best offer first. The employer begins the negotiation process knowing how much money is budgeted for the position and how much flexibility there is around that figure. They also know how long they’ve been looking and how competitive the job market is for someone with your abilities. These factors influence what they offer initially. They want to have some wiggle room…they know the candidate may chose to negotiate their compensation. By starting low they have built in flexibility during the negotiation process.

Counteroffers are generally 10-15% above the original offer. Again, employers know they may need to negotiate, so it’s reasonable to assume that there’s flexibility built in to the initial offer. Employers expect you to negotiate. In addition to the financial rewards associated with salary negotiation, you will gain the respect of the hiring manager and increase your credibility within the organization.

I have a few more tips to share. Check back tomorrow!

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