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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Guest Post re: Employment and Social Media

With many thanks to Chaim, I am happy to feature another guest post dealing with employment issues and social media, particularly Linked In and Facebook. This article was published recently in the Jewish Press. Guests posts are always welcome and it is is great to be able to archive articles of Orthonomic interest in one location. Hopefully I will find time to refine my layout to make locating such posts easier.

Are You 'Linked In?'

Have you ever Googled your own name? That may not be a question you hear often, but when you take the time to do so, you may be surprised by what you find. Believe it or not, most employers Google the names of prospective employment candidates to see what they can find, and you do not want them to find your Purim pictures on Facebook.

Even when there are no pictures or blog posts that you are trying to hide, employers want to see that potential candidates have a web presence. A Google search that produces no relevant results is almost as bad as a search that produces negative information. It is for that reason that it is absolutely critical that every person create an account on www.linkedin.com/.

What is Linkedin? To put it simply, Linkedin is Facebook without all the schmutz. Instead of focusing on pictures of your latest party or relating the tale of the cutest thing ever that your daughter just did, Linkedin is a site devoted to professional networking.

My wife and I had been house shopping in West Hempstead for more than a year without any luck. A status update on Linkedin led to a rare house rental opportunity near the shul, and we moved less than 3 months later.

That was a rather rare occurrence, however. Primarily, Linkedin is a way to connect with other professionals to create business opportunities. Linkedin users connect with people that they know who are in turn connected with their own groups of associates. "Your network consists of your connections, your connections' connections, and the people they know, linking you to a vast number of qualified professionals and experts: http://press.linkedin.com/about."

The first step after creating your free Linkedin account is designing your profile. Effective Linkedin profiles include all of the professional basics including a summary of qualifications, work history, a professional picture and updates on your current work related projects.

People often wonder if it is wise to share so much personal information on the Internet. While I understand those concerns, the truth is there is very little we can do to hide anymore. If someone wants it, they can have a satellite image of and a map to your house with just a few keystrokes. (If you don't believe me try conducting a search for your name on www.intelius.com/.)

In any event, Linkedin does have a number of privacy settings that can be used by those who are truly worried.

For employers, Linkedin presents the most effective opportunity to collect all of the relevant and up-to-date information about a prospective employee, and the best part is that the job seeker has the ability to control exactly what the employer finds!

Are you going for a job interview? How much information do you know about the person that is interviewing you? A Linkedin search can reveal pertinent information about the interviewer that can be incorporated into your interview answers.

You may be wondering how Linkedin can help you if you already have a job. Linkedin has become a favorite tool for human resources professionals who are looking to "steal" qualified talent from other employers. Even if you are not interested in changing jobs, your Linkedin profile is a great way for prospective clients to find you.

So, when you Google yourself, what do you find? It took a concerted effort on my part, given the fame of the late great Rabbi Chaim Shapiro of Go My Son fame (no relation), but 95 percent of the time when you Google my name, my Linkedin profile comes up first. Even though my daughter does do an incredible amount of cute things, my profile is what I prefer people find when they are looking for me.

Chaim Shapiro: M.Ed. is the assistant director of Career Services at Touro College and a social media consultant. He holds a Master's Degree in College Administration from Loyola University Chicago. He is the founder of the largest Orthodox online networking group, the Frum Network on Linkedin. He welcomes comments, suggestions and feedback at chaimshapiro@aol.com.

26 comments:

Lion of Zion said...

call me old-fasioned, but i can't believe that good credentials, experience and references can be bested by a web presence. (although i understand why it's not good to have a negative web presence that potential employers will see.)

on the other hand, i think for touro students a one-credit class in personal financial management and responsibility would serve much better than a linkedin account.

Anonymous said...

I have never seen a useful linked in profile. When I need to google someone for work purposes, linked in often comes up. I no longer click on it because there is nothing useful there.

Chaya said...

I removed my linkedin account. I hope my name no longer comes up. Luckily I have a common name and Google searches bring up complete irrelevancies - I do not want or need a "web presence" - my professional presence is quite sufficient in my career. There is absolutely no benefit to being "linked in".

Chaim said...

Thank you all for your comments.

Chaya, if you are not interested in any new opportunities, either full time or as a side venture, then a web presence on Linkedin will likely not help you.

However, IF you are looking for extra income and new opportunities, Linkedin is an invaluable aid to getting your information out there. For most of the folks I know, the standard 9-5 does not provide enough income, and many people take side and freelance work.

Chaim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chaim said...

Con’t-The other point I'd like to make is that even if you personally do not stand to benefit from Linkedin, you never know how YOUR connections may help someone else. You never know when your old friend from high school can be the key to unlocking Parnassah for someone else. That is the idea behind the Frum Network, the largest Orthodox networking on the web.

Lion-I don’t think great credentials can be bested by a web presence either: HOWEVER: if a competitive environment and when judging between qualified candidates, the existence of a web presence can make all the difference in the world. The economic realities of the last few years have changed the rules of the game. Employers are not lining up to hire qualified people, those people need to aggressively pursue employment AND promote themselves.

Please keep the comments coming!!

Chaim

tesyaa said...

Could being part of the Frum Network hurt you with potential (non-frum) employers? Can it make them less interested because of perceptions that you will be unavailable on Fridays and a million holidays?

Chaim said...

Good question Tesyaa.

I advise folks who are worried about that to remove the Frum Network logo from their public profile (Under “Edit Profile” a member can change the visibility status for any or all of their groups). That way only people IN the Frum Network would know that they are members of the Frum Network

tesyaa said...

Chaim, I personally would never be a part of the Frum Network with or without closed settings. I don't want to be in a position to feel like I have to recommend someone I don't know just because they're frum. Whether someone is a good hire or not has almost nothing to do with their religious affiliation.

Miami Al said...

Linked In is EXTREMELY useful in some industries. We get a handful of connections every month, and at least 1-3 new clients/month from linked in.

We also get one new account from our website, despite it not being setup with SEO in mind (it was cobbled together to have a site up quickly), but it is well organized.

Perhaps everyone here has plenty of money and deal flow, but for the rest of us, Linked In is a valuable tool.

Chaim said...

Tessya,

There is never any obligation to recommend ANYONE at all. Personally I only recommend folks that I know very well and about whom I am certain that they will do a great job. Members of the Frum Network can send direct messages to other members (depending on the preferences set by those members) so there would be no imperative for intra-group introductions.

Anonymous said...

LinkedIn (LI) can be useful based on industry, geography, and other factors.

I echo Chaim's point that LI is for helping others make informational interview contacts.

I have used LI to prep for both internal and external corporate finance interviews. In once case, I used it in advance to network with a group I was interested in switching to. I setup informationals, and then knew 4 of my 6 interviewers when I applied a year later for an opening.

LI can also be useful to keep in touch with people you trust, but wouldn't have time to keep in touch with. i.e. classmates from undergrad and or grad school, coworkers who move on to other companies, etc...

Be'er

tnspr569 said...

LinkedIn can help you find out what connections your contacts have - very helpful when job hunting. Also useful networking tool - makes staying in touch easier.

Not hard to set up and maintain, and can be quite beneficial. Also easier than attaching a resume to an email (no spam filter or file compatibility concerns).

Bob Miller said...

LinkedIn participation is cheap (as in free) and easy and can produce income. I see no downside, except for those who may be 150% busy already and want to become invisible to potential new clients or employers.

My field, thermal spray coatings, is rather far-flung. People move around all the time, and this is one good way to keep track. Example: a former colleague (now literally in Oshkosh!) just started his own equipment calibration company, which I found out automatically through LinkedIn.

JCS said...

Six months ago, my unemployed MBA financial analsyt brother-in-law, called me to ask me if I knew anyone at Moody's. He had been lucky to "score" an interview and was now trying to make himself as informed as he could be about the company and its culture so that he could present well. I didn't know anyone who worked there but I decided to put LinkedIn to use. In my 4 years of membership, I have amassed over 200 LinkedIn conatacts and, being the I am not an open networker, I know each one of them personally. I performed a LinIn search for Moody's and found that I had a few 2nd degree connections at the firm. Translation: a few of my contacts had contacts there. Within an hour of my brother-in-law calling me, he was able to speak directly to 2 members of the firm.

Did he get the job...no. But, we learned how powerful of a tool LinkedIn can be.

efrex said...

I don't know if LinkedIn is universally useful, but it is definitely important to have a decent web presence, and LinkedIn profiles tend to be the highest "hits" on Google name searches. "Classmates.com" profiles are also quite highly ranked, in my experience.

(incidentally, Google name searches are also fun for finding "Googlegangers:" although I don't have any, The Lovely Wife(tm) has a number of fascinating ones)

Chaya said...

Chaim, I am not interested in Linked In - I am not interested in having my name "out there" - I am not interested in side ventures. I am too busy and it presents absolutely no upside and the downside is lack of privacy.

Dave said...

Professional networks are extremely useful, and LinkedIn can be a powerful tool.

Two things to remember.

First, network with people when you don't need things.

Second, remember that for any free social network, you are not the customer. You are the product.

Yes, that includes Blogger.

Thinking said...

I am the Director of Recruiting at a firm in Manhattan. LinkedIn is our number one resource for finding candidates. A good profile is miles beyond whatever a resume could do for you.

Some firms have stopped asking for resumes and just ask for your LinkedIn profile.

If you are looking for a job or a way to grow your business LinkedIn is your best possible option. If not, than it's not for you.

Zach Kessin said...

I googled myself and pretty much everything that came up was from '03 and '04. I need to start working on that. Put out more stuff on modern programming.

What should one put on a linkedin profile to make it look good? I have one but haven't done much with it yet.

Chaim said...

Zach,

Your Linkedin profile should have a professional picture, a unique headline, a summary that describes your professional aptitudes and information about your accomplishments.

I am not here to troll for clients, but I do work with folks on their Linkedin profiles. Email me at chaimshapiro@aol.com if interested.

Zach Kessin said...

Thanks Chaim, I added a few things.

I think I need to start a professional blog. I want to have my name out there in connection to Javascript, so I should start working on that

Chaim said...

Zach,

A lot of that can be done ON Linkedin

Anonymous said...

"I am not here to troll for clients, but..."

If it can be done on LinkedIn, why not on Orthonomics, too?

Chaim said...

Anon...It can be done...but that wasn't the reason for my post.

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