Tag Archives: LinkedIn

A College Kids Take + A LinkedIn Conference = Job-Search Gold

Sometimes things that don’t really go together can end up being put together to provide the absolute best lessons. So for today here is a simple formula for you to remember for your job-search:

Lesson #1 – College Kids Know Job-Search (Kinda’)

A while back I received the following comment in response to a question I posted online about what people had learned in college. I was expecting to hear the same old, same old from folks like myself whose college days had long passed but instead snagged this piece of gold from a current MTSU student (GO BIG BLUE!).

“The lesson I have learned over the past two years has little to do with linear regression, case studies or promotion. The lesson learned was if we want something bad enough and are willing to put in the work we CAN do things that in the past we thought we couldn’t.”


While what he says is so true about college its also very true of job-search as well. Anyone can learn how to put together a resume or how to answer an interview question but it’s those folks who want it badly enough to go a step further in their search that have the most success.

Lesson #2 – Curiosity Didn’t Kill The Cat

I was lucky enough to go to LinkedIn’s Talent Connect event last week in Las Vegas and one thing that came out of it for me was to be “constantly curious” in everything you do.

In many cases it’s not the people who do what the majority are doing in job-search that have success, it’s those that choose to follow Robert Frost and take the road not taken that get there the quickest.

The Net Result of Lesson #1 and Lesson #2?

So what’s the best advice that can be given when you combine the wisdom of a college kid and a nugget of information from a LinkedIn conference?


Until next time, good hunting and good luck!


These Words Will Get You Laughed At More Than Hired

I am a big believer that you really do have to sell yourself (and sell yourself well) to get hired in any economy, especially this one. On the other hand though some people have taken things to the point where they look just plain silly.

I can almost guarantee you that if you use one of these words/phrases listed below to describe YOURSELF (ie NOT someone else describing you) on your resume, LinkedIn profile, Twitter profile, or really anywhere else you are probably getting laughed at and not hired.

  • top  gun
  • ninja
  • superstar
  • guru
  • rock star
  • expert
  • top notch
  • top shelf
  • Jedi
  • ‘Yoda like’

You have been warned.

Until next time, good hunting and good luck!

Taylor Swift, Whitney Houston, KRS-One and YOUR Job-Search

I am an absolute music lover – from Zeppelin to Alison Kraus to Snoop to Adele to Leo Kotke (look him up), I listen to a (almost) little bit of everything. With two big happenings in the world of music this weekend (the Grammy’s and the untimely passing of Whitney Houston) I thought it would be worthwhile to see what job-search lessons could be learned from the world of musical entertainment.

Taylor Swift. Living in Nashville I hear my fair share about Taylor Swift and although I don’t know much about her music (other than I don’t listen to it)  the one thing I do know is that if you have any interaction with her you will probably end up in one of her song’s.

To start things off today I am going to channel my inner T. Swift (if there is such a thing) and share a recent interaction I had on LinkedIn with someone who is looking for a new job because of the lessons that can be learned there. Here is how it went down:

  • Received and accepted an invitation to connect on LinkedIn
  • Received a message on LinkedIn from the person mentioned above  saying, “Any opportunities in Nashville area?” (yes, that was the entire message)
  • I replied back with an honest answer, “I don’t recruit in the Nashville area but I know that there are a lot of opps here.”
  • He replied back, “Send me who I should contact.”
  • Still trying to be civil I sent the following message “I am not really sure what you are looking for. “Any opportunities in Nashville area?” doesn’t really tell me much. Let me know how I can help and I will see what I can do to do so.”
  • Finally, he decided to lay his cards on the table and he replied with, “Sales mgmt positions and positions higher than I am currently. My passion is the (leaving industry out) world. Would love to start a program for a (leaving out) in this area. Very few people have my track record.”

You would be surprised how often exchanges like this take place – if you want people to help you in your search there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • A phone call is best. Emails and messages on LinkedIn are too easy to overlook and delete.
  • If you are going to ask someone for help be a bit more specific than, “any opportunities in the Nashville area” and be a bit more respectful than demanding “send me who should I contact”.

Whitney Houston. By all accounts Whitney Houston was an extremely talented women who started off very strong and ended her life on a rollercoaster of ups and down. In looking at her life there are some definite job-search and career lessons that can be learned:

  • Have an impact on the world around you. In looking at the tweets that started to roll out after her death you could see the impact that her music had on people who grew up in the 80’s. What impact is your work having on those that around you?
  • Nurture and manage your career. Your career is a living breathing organism and if you don’t manage it, work on it, and keep it in shape it will lose its luster. See the latter part of Mrs. Houston’s career as evidence.
  • Stretch yourself. She could have just continued to bang out hit records but Mrs. Houston chose to spread her wings a bit and try acting. How have you spread your wings? What new skills have you picked up to add to your toolbox? If your answer is ‘none’ you better start working on that quick.
  • Be conscious of your brand (and yourself). It’s unfortunate that with as talented as she was I will always remember her more for saying “hell to the no” and acting crazy than her countless hits and beautiful voice. If you are not managing your brand and how you are viewed by it can lead to disastrous results.

KRS-One. Although he is not as relevant anymore as he was in the 90’s, KRS-One is still on of my favorites in hip-hop. He is a very talented rapper and producer who was also very conscious that he had a platform to make a social difference.

One of his song’s, Step into a World (Raptures Delight), contains a couple of lines that I think should be the basis for everything you do in an interview:

I’m not sayin I’m number one, uhh I’m sorry, I lied
I’m number one, two, three, four and five.

If you are not trying and able to convince whomever is interviewing you that you are not only the best candidate for that particular role, but also numbers two, three, four, and five then you are leaving too much wiggle room for the next person to steal away the opportunity from you.

Three different stars, three different genre’s of music, many, many lessons learned. Think next year I will start handing out trophies.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!

Do You Have the RIGHT LinkedIn Connections For Your Search?

There has been a lot of discussion over the last few years in and around the who, how, when, and why you should connect with on LinkedIn. Whether you have 300 connections or 30,000 it’s always a good idea to take stock of who you  ‘know’ and grow and enhance your network strategically.

The way shown below is a bit more time-consuming than using the network statistics tool that LinkedIn has BUT it is far more accurate. As an example, in my network statistics area, LinkedIn shows that my connections in Nashville make up on 4% of my network when in reality Nashvillians makes up more than 50%.

To really get an accurate sense of where you stand do the following:

1. Determine what ‘type’ of people should be in your network.

I am big into connecting with anyone, anytime, any place  but think there are a few types of people who you need to have in place to make your network ‘work’ –

  • people in your function / industry (and / or the one you are targeting)
  • people in your geographic area (and / or the area you are targeting)
  • people you have worked with / went to school with

and if you are in job-search mode –

  • people at companies you are trying to target as places you would like to work
  • recruiters who work in your geographic / functional area

In my case here is what I specifically strive for:

  • I recruit IT professionals for a living so having a strong IT network is important
  • I live in Nashville, TN and having a strong local network is high on my list
  • My job can be classified into a few different areas – staffing, recruiting, and HR so having  connections in those areas is important
  • Right now I am working on positions in Seattle, Salt Lake City, and San Dimas, California (Orange County area) so it is to my advantage to know people in those geographical areas

2. Go to http://www.linkedin.com/search and you will find the following screen (you can also hit the Advanced button next to the search bar):

3. Now go to Relationship, select 1st Connections, and hit Search.

4. Analyze your network (just make sure that you are looking at your first level connections only). 

You can look at your network in any number of ways and get a good feel for who you are connected with.

5. Check to see where you are at in comparison to your ideal.

Again going back to my ideal lets check in and see how I am doing.

  • IT professionals (1341 connections who identify themselves in that space)
  • Nashvillians (3091 connections who live in Middle Tennessee)
  • Staffing, recruiting, and HR (1128 connections in those functions)
  • Seattle (77), Salt Lake City (32), and Orange County, California area (69)

Is my network perfect? absolutely not. Am I working on it? You better believe it.

It’s important to remember that a strong network on LinkedIn is an ever changing animal that takes time, patience, and persistance to get it just right but it can pay off with huge results!

Hope your network is in better shape than mine! 

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!

Avoid Looking Like A Hack On LinkedIn (+ A Recipe For Success)

Over the last few years LinkedIn has really become a ‘go-to’ resource for networking for many, many people. During that time some have mastered its use while others are doing good just to login.

From a recruiters perspective it’s an absolute goldmine and there are a few sure-fire ways to make sure you look like a good candidate and not a ‘hack’.

Never tell someone that LinkedIn is a job-board or that your afraid your boss will see that you are on ‘there’. This is rule numero uno. If you tell people that you do not have a profile on LinkedIn because you don’t like job-boards or that your boss could possibly find out there you will never grasp the concept of online networking and should probably spend the next five minutes reading another article.

Learn how to use LinkedIn without having to ask someone. If you have to ask five different people how to input a job into LinkedIn you are probably starting off on the wrong foot. Go to Google and Youtube and type in ‘using linkedin’ and then ‘using linkedin for job-search’ and run the search. You will be amazed how much information is out there.

Make sure your profile is 100% complete. That’s a picture (of you, not you and your family), a summary, three jobs, education, and three recommendations (and yes, the people who recommend you have to be on LinkedIn as well).

Create a vanity URL. LinkedIn gives you the option of customizing your public profile URL to www.linkedin.com/in/ANYTHINGYOUWANT – all you have to do is view your profile and you will see the edit button to customize it on the top third of the screen next to ‘Public Profile’.

Get to 500+ connections. No matter what type of job you are in you look like you have more credibility and are more likeable if you get to the point where you are connected to a bunch of people.

Install AND USE some of the applications that LinkedIn offers. From WordPress to Slideshare there is an app for just about you could want to do. Make your profile more interesting and worth looking at with a few of them.

Join AND PARTICIPATE IN Groups. There are 450,000+ groups on LinkedIn that you can join (LinkedIn allows you to join 50 and then an additional 50 subgroups) AND PARTICIPATE IN. It’s great that you are a part of a group but until you join in and start discussions you are nothing better than a wall flower.

Answer questions. People ask questions all of the time about every imaginable topic and you should try your best to answer them (and look good in answering them). Recruiters do look at answers to see who experts are in the areas in which they are recruiting.

DON’T Advertise That You Are Unemployed. Surveys show that many employers favor ‘passive’ employees and even many more prefer engaging a recruiter to find those candidates happily employed. If the first thing someone sees advertised on your profile is that you are between gigs (ie in the headline, in a network update, etc) you could put yourself at a disadvantage.

Now that we have gotten past looking like a ‘hack’ on LinkedIn here are a few thoughts for some ingredients for success.

Use Keywords. The easiest way to get found on LinkedIn is to use a good mix of keywords are ‘in vogue’ in your functional area and industry. The best way to find those keywords? Check out our earlier post to learn.

Three new connections, three old connections, one discussion, one answer. If you are really wanting to use LinkedIn in an effective way a simple formula to follow is to add three new TARGETED connections, message three current connections, start or comment on one discussion and answer one question EVERY DAY. You can do that in no more than thirty minutes per day and ensure that you are maximizing your LinkedIn profile.

Add your LinkedIn vanity URL to your email signature. Self-explanatory – allow people to find you on LinkedIn and view your professional experience.

Say something interesting. Again, self-explanatory. The more INTERESTING things you say in your status updates the more people are going to want to see what you are all about.

In closing, Rome was not built-in a day and neither is a great LinkedIn network. If you spend a few minutes everyday within a short period you can go from LinkedIn ‘Joe’ to LinkedIn ‘Pro’.

If we have not connected on LinkedIn as of yet I would enjoy the opportunity to do so. You can find my profile at www.linkedin.com/in/mattleblanc.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!

Using LinkedIn Like a Pro (Going Past 50 Groups & 100 Search Results)

You could really have a whole volume of books on the power of LinkedIn to assist in the search for a new opportunity (maybe that’s why there so many in publication right now) , however, with all that comes with LinkedIn there are also some limitations.

Two examples that can hinder how you use LinkedIn are the fact that you are limited in the number of groups you are allowed to join and the number of search results you can see if you have a free account.

Today we are going to take a look at how to get past that and really use LinkedIn to your advantage.

PLEASE NOTE – everything discussed below assumes that you have at least a moderate understanding of all things LinkedIn. If you do not please look at the following resources first.

How to Get Started With LinkedIn
How to Use LinkedIn
Starting a Conversation With Groups
100+ Smart Ways to Use LinkedIn
LinkedIn Groups Add Marketing Power

GOING PAST 50 GROUPS. Groups are (in my opinion) one of the most (if not THE most) important piece of what LinkedIn has to offer both the job-seeker and recruiter. They allow you to start / follow / respond to discussions, view job opportunities, and message members of the group for free within LinkedIn.

Two big limitations within groups are that you can only join 50 which can be a real bummer and the fact that in some groups it is hard to get people fully engaged in dialogue with you if they are very diverse geographically or in function/industry.

The best (and only way) to get around both issues is to join sub-groups (a sub-group of a main group). Now, not every group will have subgroups but many do.

LinkedIn describes subgroups like “breakout sessions at a conference” – they are a space within a group where members can collaborate based on a function, project, topic, location (really anything you wish) within personalized audiences.

In addition to the 50 groups mentioned earlier you can also join 50 subgroups for a total of 100 groups combined. That is a lot of networking potential!

Here are some resources on subgroups that give additional ideas on how to use them:

Good Idea: LinkedIn Subgroups & How to Use Them
Using LinkedIn Subgroups for Business
Linkedin Sub-Groups – Just Like a Group, Just Special

GOING PAST 100 RESULTS IN A SEARCH. If you are using the free version of LinkedIn (which you should be using) one of the biggest limitations is the fact that you can only view 100 results in any search you do no matter how many come back.

The easiest way to get around that is to use on of my favorite recruiting tools – the site: (aka x-ray) search command within Google combined with some basic Boolean search (for a full list of Boolean and Google commands check check this out).

To x-ray LinkedIn with Google you would type site:linkedin keyword(s) into the Google search box. The search below used the search string site:linkedin.com (“recruiting manager” OR “recruiting director) “greater nashville area” -dir -jobs to come up with 951 results that are all viewable (again, you would be stopped at result number 100 within LinkedIn). 

If you are really into understanding how stuff works here is a breakdown of the commands:

  • site:linkedin.com told Google that the results had to come from within LinkedIn
  • “recruiting manager” (the word recruiting followed by the word manager) OR “recruiting director” (the word recruiting followed by the word director) search within LinkedIn for profiles that had either because of the word OR
  • “greater Nashville area” limited those results to those that were in the Nashville, TN area (greater Nashville area is LinkedIn’s way of defining the Nashville metro area)
  • -dir -jobs limit the results to actual profiles only by telling Google to leave out any directory pages (-dir) and jobs pages

If you are not utilizing LinkedIn heavily into your job-search strategy you are missing the boat (and probably the Pacific Ocean as well) in terms of the here and now. It seems like whatever the limitation associated with have a free account there are ways around it if you have a little know-how and do a little digging.

In closing I wanted to share a couple of videos with you on LinkedIn that we found pretty useful.


Until next time – good hunting and good luck!

Are Soap Operas Killing Your Career & How Tim McGraw Can Save It

This morning I was doing some thinking where all great men think, the bathroom, and it hit me – The Young and the Restless, General Hospital, and all of the other soaps out there are killing your job-search and the only hero that can save the day is Tim McGraw.

I know, I know, it seems ridiculous but think about it – in the soaps you have (insert any character here) that dies, comes back three shows later; disappears, comes back three shows later; loses a body part, has it back three shows later. Many people treat their job-search the same way – no matter how much they abuse it, ignore it, or abandon it things will be fine a few days later.

Now here is where Tim McGraw comes in (I’m not a huge fan of his music but ironically enough this is the second post we have had with one of his songs in it). A few years back he had a song called “Live Like You Were Dying” which explored what a person did when they found out they had a short time left to live.

If you went to the job-search ‘doctor’ and he said your search has one week to come to a conclusion (and will not show up three episodes later) or your career is done for how would you spend your time? On a job board? With a recruiter? networking? Cold calling? At a career fair?

I bet you would spend your time doing what all the experts say works best wouldn’t you? If you aren’t already why aren’t you doing that as part of your search?

Also – if you haven’t already make sure to check out RGttU on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook!

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!