Driving Success with LinkedIn as a Small or Mid-Sized Company | Talent Connect Vegas 2013 [video]

Recently, I had the honor of moderating a panel discussion at LinkedIn’s Talent Connect Vegas 2013 Conference on the topic of “Driving Success with LinkedIn as a Small or Mid-Sized Company”.

The esteemed panelists I had the pleasure of working with included:

Angie McDonald – Vice President of Human Resources, Realogy Holdings Group

M.T. Ray – Senior Director of Global Recruiting, ExactTarget

Arnaud Kermouche – Manager of Talent Acquisition, Uni-Select, Inc.

The following video is from our session (some subscribers may need to click here to view) and I’ve also summarized some key points from the session below the video and the time increments for each question/response.

Whether you’re using LinkedIn for recruiting, employer branding or employee engagement via a free account or using paid LinkedIn Talent Solutions, I promise you’ll find the experiences, tips and suggestions shared by these successful Talent Acquisition leaders helpful!

00:00 – 07:00 Introductions

07:01 – 13:40 Describe the evolution of LinkedIn’s role in your Talent Strategy and how it’s grown over time.

ExactTarget – Today, 95% of ET employees are on LinkedIn and over 50% of openings are filled by employee referrals.

Uni-Select – LinkedIn is now a cornerstone in the employer brand strategy and is used to increase visibility.

Realogy – Started small and had to demonstrate ROI to be able to invest more in LinkedIn. Now use LinkedIn to find candidates and fill jobs domestically and internationally.

13:41 – 22:04 How did you get your leadership to buy-in and invest in LinkedIn?

Uni-Select – Worked with LinkedIn to understand candidates, to listen to them and improve communications.

Realogy – Filled key positions in the UK and Hong Kong that would have previously been filled by outside agencies.

ExactTarget – Showed significant dollar savings in agency fees and was able to invest more in an internal sourcing team.

22:05 – 29:43 How has using LinkedIn impacted your talent acquisition efforts?

Uni-Select – Able to attract and hire for C-level and VP positions directly.

ExactTarget – Have basically stopped using agencies domestically and have had success with some international hires.

Realogy – Use LinkedIn as a strategic tool to make business proposals and present data to inform hiring managers.

29:44 – 33:22 How much of a component is LinkedIn in your Talent Acquisition strategy?

ExactTarget – At least 50%. Able to target passive talent, get employee referrals and use it for employer branding.

Realogy – LinkedIn is part of a diverse talent acquisition strategy.

Uni-Select – LinkedIn is third highest source of applicants.

33:23 – 37:13 What does the future hold for your Talent Acquisition efforts?

Realogy – Understand how to utilize mobile and also how to work more closely with hiring managers.

ExactTarget – Social recruiting in general – not just LinkedIn, but also Twitter, Instagram and other social sites.

Uni-Select – A recruiting video and communicating more effectively with employees so they can be Ambassadors for the company on LinkedIn.

37:14 – 41:30 How are you engaging your employees to recruit the talent you need?

Uni-Select – Uses lunch and learn sessions.

ExactTarget – Partnering with hiring managers and teaching them how to use LinkedIn to share jobs.

Realogy – Provides tips on how employees can improve their Profile and how franchisors can improve their Pages to get more followers and attract people to the company.

42:00 – 53:00 Audience Q&A

More great tips and info from the panelists and audience members on getting the most out of LinkedIn, getting started with a LinkedIn strategy, proving ROI and dealing with push-back from Marketing or other departments who aren’t supportive of developing an employer brand.

53:01 – 53:16 Thanks and goodbye!

Thanks to LinkedIn for once again providing a great learning and connecting experience at their annual conference!

It’s never too early to register for Talent Connect 2014 in San Francisco October 20 – 22, 2014!

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Unbridled Talent LLC is a consulting and advisory firm providing services to clients in the areas of leadership development, executive communication skills and talent strategy. Jennifer McClure offers keynotes, workshops and training that inspire and teach business leaders to be more effective in their careers and as leaders of their organization’s most valuable resource – people. Contact us to schedule an event or to discuss our strategic consulting and advisory services.

10 Action Steps to Get the Most Out of LinkedIn [Beyond the Basics]

LinkedIn Business Suit logo

LinkedIn is a great tool for growing your professional network, communicating your personal brand and connecting to opportunities to help you grow your career and your business. But are you going beyond the basics in how you utilize LinkedIn?

Beyond creating a Profile, connecting with your co-workers and joining a few Groups, here are 10 solid steps you should take to get the most out of the opportunities that being a part of the LinkedIn network presents:

1. Post relevant and helpful information in the “Share an Update” box on a regular basis.

Want to build your personal brand and professional reputation? Then become known as a resource or “go to” person in your field or industry. Read a great article? Share it with a comment. Aware of an interesting networking or professional development event? Share it and let your network know you’re going. I share a ton of links and resources with my network via TwitterFacebook, and Linked In and in my experience the engagement is often higher and of better quality (i.e. informative threaded discussions, new connections made, etc.) when shared via my status update on LinkedIn.

Action Step: Share a LinkedIn Status Update with your network at least 3 times per week. Add this activity to your calendar or To Do list to ensure it gets done.

2. Ensure that your Profile Photo represents you well as a business professional in your industry.

LinkedIn is a professional social network and as such, you should represent yourself there as you would if you showed up to a professional association meeting or industry networking event. In other words, look the part and convey your professionalism with a high quality head shot – not a cut out of you from your best friend’s wedding. Your Profile Photo is likely the first thing viewed on your LinkedIn Profile – and first impressions count. I once had a client refuse to interview a qualified executive candidate based upon how casually he represented himself in his LinkedIn Profile pic. Don’t let something similar happen to you.

Action Step: Do not pass Go until you get yourself a good headshot and upload it to your LinkedIn Profile. Check out these Profile Photo tips from my friend Jason Seiden, who experimented with which Profile Photo worked best for him in regards to connections and business opportunities.

3. Review, update and make changes to your LinkedIn Profile at least every 6 months.

You probably spend most of your time on LinkedIn looking at other people’s Profiles, but how long has it been since you looked at your own? Does your Summary accurately reflect who you are, what value you bring and who the clients (internal or external) are that you serve? Is the information correct and up-to-date regarding your current job? Does your headline (easily customizable) capture attention and make people want to know more about you? Your LinkedIn Profile is your online marketing brochure. If you gave it to a client, contact or team member, would they want to do business with you? If not, get to work!

Action Step: Schedule time on your calendar or To Do list at least once every 6 months to review and refresh your LinkedIn Profile. Doing so will ensure your Profile shows up higher in search results and will also help people (the right people) to connect with you.

4. Add Rich Media to visually enhance your Profile and showcase your work.

Earlier this year, LinkedIn rolled out the option to add visual content to your Profile by including videos, photos, web pages and presentation links – which is awesome. Why should you care? Because 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text and 46.1% of people say a website’s design (i.e. your Profile) is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of a company. (Stats via Hubspot) In other words, images make your Profile look better – and more professional.

Action Step: Add at least 3 rich media files or links to your LinkedIn Profile within the next 30 days. Examples: Slideshare presentations, employer branding videos, product brochures, etc. (Make sure you have permission from the appropriate people to include any company-related links, if necessary.)

5. Participate in Discussions/post relevant items in LinkedIn Groups related to your profession.

LinkedIn Groups are a great opportunity to get connected to like-minded people, information and resources to help you grow as a professional. Unfortunately, they’re often a missed opportunity because members miss the point of relationship building and a forum for actual discussion. In other words – lay off the self-promotion people! The most effective way to gain credibility and get recognized as an expert isn’t to share your blog posts and automatically share unrelated links in every group you’re a member of. Be helpful. Ask good questions to generate meaningful discussions. Answer other’s questions. People will naturally click on the link to view your Profile (and likely connect) if you’re contributing good stuff.

Action Step: Choose 1 – 3 Groups that you’re a member of to actively participate in by reviewing the Discussion content each week to determine if you can add anything to the conversation. At least once per month, ask a question in those 1 – 3 Groups, with the purpose of obtaining an answer you didn’t already know or for generating good discussion.

Want to learn more about how to maximize your use of LinkedIn before the end of 2013? Join Laurie Ruettimann and I for a 1-hour webinar – Developing a Strategic and Effective Presence on LinkedIn – Tuesday, December 3rd at 1:00pm ET. Can’t make it that day? No worries. All registrants receive the slide deck, webinar recording and a resource sheet to maximize what they learn. More info and to register go HERE 1.0 General HRCI credits!

6. Follow up in-person meetings or interactions with a personalized Request To Connect.

LinkedIn was originally created to connect with people that you know, like and trust. And it still works best when used that way. But the changing definition of “friend” means that the opportunity to expand your professional network is better than ever before. Want to connect with a colleague, blogger, thought-leader or expert that you respect or admire? Make a great first impression by personalizing a LinkedIn invitation and providing context for why you’d like to connect: “It was great to meet you at the networking event yesterday…” or “I attended your session at ABC Conference this week and your talk really inspired me…” or “I’m a regular reader of your blog and I appreciate…” etc. Be personable. That’s good networking.

Action Step: Make it a goal to invite at least 5 new people to connect on LinkedIn each week. It’s not about increasing the quantity in your network, it’s about increasing the quality. Be thoughtful and make those 5 connection requests count!

7. Research your industry, your competitors and your team using LinkedIn Advanced Search.

Recruiters do it. Salespeople do it. And they’re not the only ones that can benefit from searching Profiles, Groups and Company Pages on LinkedIn. Regardless of your profession or industry, it can benefit you to know more about the people that you work with, the people that you might want to work for or the competitors in your industry. Follow these simple tips to find resources, vendors, partners and possible connections to help you in your job – or to connect to your next opportunity.

Action Step: Do a search for Profiles of people with your target job title (i.e. your dream job or the next-level position for you). What types of education, skills and experience do they have? What associations or groups are they a member of? Who do they know? Use this information to better position yourself for career advancement.

8. Remove Connections who spam or use LinkedIn InMails as their email list.

As we’ve expanded our LinkedIn networks over time (see #6), some people have unfortunately taken the opportunity to behave badly. You know what this looks like: “Hey, my LinkedIn network is a free way to share my (boring) newsletter with the world – no need to opt-in!” or “Check out my latest property for sale!”. Networking and connecting is at its best when it’s personal and mutually beneficial – even in the new world of online connections. And sometimes it’s not me, it’s you. So you have to go.

Action Step: The next time you get an InMail from someone whom you’ve never met who constantly sends information that isn’t relevant to you, don’t get mad. Cut them loose.

9. Prune your Endorsements to ensure that they represent you well.

Introduced in September 2012, LinkedIn Endorsements have become the McDonald’s hamburgers of LinkedIn – over 2 billion served. And by now, you’ve probably gotten several Endorsements from well-meaning connections who can’t resist the whack-a-mole nature of that big blue box at the top of their Profiles. Which is great – unless you don’t actually have some of those Skills that you’ve been endorsed for, or your friends have added a few for fun that don’t do you any favors. Remember, your LinkedIn Profile is your online marketing brochure (see #3) and every part of it is valuable real estate. Make it count!

Action Step: Review the Skills that you’ve been endorsed for on your Profile and remove those that aren’t relevant or meaningful. You can have up to 50 Skills on your Profile, but remember – quality over quantity – and you have control over what is included.

10. Keep in touch with your network – other than when you need something from them.

When was the last time you reached out to someone in your LinkedIn network? When you needed a job? That’s too late. Excellent networkers and relationship builders understand the importance of keeping in touch and reaching out to maintain their networks. As humans, we want to help people who’ve helped us. Go first.

Action Step: Reach out via InMail, email or phone to at least 1 person in your LinkedIn network each week – just to say hello, ask how they’re doing, share a resource or invite them to an event. Use the Relationship section on each of your 1st degree connection’s Profiles to add Notes, Reminders and automatically keep track of recent communications!

Question: What did I miss? Share your awesome tips to get the most out of LinkedIn in the Comments section by clicking here!

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Unbridled Talent LLC is a consulting and advisory firm providing services to clients in the areas of leadership development, executive communication skills and talent strategy. Jennifer McClure offers keynotes, workshops and training that inspire and teach business leaders to be more effective in their careers and as leaders of their organization’s most valuable resource – people. Contact us to schedule an event or to discuss our strategic consulting and advisory services.

The HOW and WHY of LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook For Business [Webinar Series]

I get to do many cool things in my job at Unbridled Talent, but one of the best things about my job is the opportunity to travel around and meet professionals who are interested in learning more about how to grow their professional careers or how to implement best practices to improve their company’s performance.

In addition to working with business leaders to define and implement people strategies required to achieve business objectives, I’ve had the opportunity to speak at over 150 conference events, corporate workshops, association meetings and webinars – often about how to utilize social media for career development, why social media matters for business and how to utilize social media tools and resources in Human Resources and Recruiting.

LinkedIn Twitter Facebook

I love my job.

But even though LinkedIn recently reached it’s 10th anniversary, Facebook has turned 9 and Twitter has crossed the 7 year mark, many people are still confused about or unaware of how to best utilize social media tools as business and professional resources. It’s not uncommon for me to talk with someone after an event where the person relates something similar to, “I was skeptical that using social media was something that I (or my organization) needed to do and I didn’t understand it, but now, I believe that it is – and I can!” Best. Feedback. Ever.

And it’s ok.

That’s one of the reasons why Laurie Ruettimann* and I are teaming up to offer a series of upcoming webinars to help business professionals, human resources pros and talent acquisition geeks understand the HOW and WHY of LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook – and we’d love for you to join us!

We realize that many of you may not be inclined to attend a conference to learn more about how to use LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook and you also may not have the time or budget resources to do so. So we’re coming to you – in your offices, your cubicles or out on your back deck – via a series of 90 minute webinars to share what we’ve learned about using social media to cultivate awareness, develop your brand/your employer brand and effective ways to nurture both consumer and employment leads in the marketplace.

So here’s the scoop (click on the links for full session descriptions and for registration):

After doing webinars for other companies for years, many of whom charged quite a bit of money, we’d like to offer these webinars at an affordable price ($37 each or $99 for all three) and we’ll also provide everyone who registers with a free toolkit after each webinar that includes a copy of the slide deck, a recording of the webinar and a resource sheet with links to learn more from leading social media resources.

Not available during the specific dates or times? No worries. The webinars will be recorded for access at any time and you’ll still receive the toolkit!

Why are we doing this now? Because we want to help you and we want to share what we’ve learned from years of working as entrepreneurs, recruiters and human resources professionals along with our experience working in a variety of industries – both within corporate America and as external consultants working with some of the best leaders and companies in the world.

Have a question about the webinars or what’s in it for you? Let me know in the comments or you can find both Laurie and I on the interwebs via

LinkedIn – Laurie Ruettimann / LinkedIn – Jennifer McClure

Twitter – Laurie Ruettimann / Twitter – Jennifer McClure

Facebook – Laurie Ruettimann / Facebook – Jennifer McClure

Or just go old school and send me an email!

If you know someone who could benefit from one, two or all three of these webinars, please share this information with your colleagues or clients!

*True story. Laurie is my favorite Cynical Girl, Pixie of the Apocalypse, cat lover and thinker/agitator in the world of work. We “met online” years ago when I found her Punk Rock HR blog, so when we actually met for the first time in person at the 2009 SHRM Annual Conference, we were already BFF’s. Ultimately, Laurie has been one of the most helpful people to me in developing my business and my speaking career and is firmly ensconced in the Unbridled Talent President’s Club. See? Using social media to build real relationships and to grow your business can definitely work!

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Unbridled Talent LLC is a consulting and advisory firm providing services to clients in the areas of recruiting & human resources strategy, employment branding and leadership/career development. We offer keynotes, workshops and training that inspire and teach business leaders to be more effective in their careers and as leaders of their organization’s most valuable resource – people. Contact us to schedule an event or to discuss our strategic consulting and advisory services.

What’s New(ish) With LinkedIn

Last week, I was fortunate to be invited to speak at a Cincinnati Social Media Group event on the campus of Northern Kentucky University at their gorgeous new College of Informatics facility – Griffin Hall.

I was pretty stoked to be presenting in such a visually stunning and engaging environment – and in front of a 15 feet by 25 feet presentation screen made up of  digital micro tiles! It was also great to see so many in the Cincinnati Social Media community that I follow and learn from each day. Thanks to several of the participants for taking some cool photos. These will definitely go in the scrapbook!

photo by Kevin Dugan

Photo By Mike Boehmer

For my presentation, Cincinnati Social Media Founder, Kevin Dugan (someone I learn a great deal from in regards to social media and marketing communications – and also quite the Instagram pro) asked me to share what’s “new” on LinkedIn and some new ways of utilizing basic aspects of the site with a generally social media savvy audience – as well as NKU students who were invited to the event.

It was fun to try to create a presentation for a mixed audience – many of whom are LinkedIn experts in their own right – and I’ve embedded a copy of my attempt below. Email subscribers can click this link to view on SlideShare.

A couple of things that get lost in translation when uploading PDF files to Slideshare – any animation used or videos embedded don’t show up. So here’s a link to the video on Slide 35 about LinkedIn’s mobile application – CardMunch – which CEO Jeff Weiner says will help LinkedIn to “replace the traditional  Rolodex” in the future: Digitize Business With LinkedIn’s CardMunch App

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Anything new in the presentation that you plan to look in to or implement – or anything you’d new(ish) you’d like to add in the Comments? I’d love to learn from you!

LinkedIn Is King In Social Recruiting, But Facebook & Twitter Also Important

The folks at Bullhorn Reach recently took the time to summarize the social media actual activity of recruiters and job seekers in the Bullhorn Reach user network in 2011 (over 35,000 recruiters) across the “big 3″ social recruiting platforms – LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter. The results, while not surprising, are certainly interesting.

A few interesting findings included in the report include:

  • Recruiters are connected to all three social networks, but are using LinkedIn and Twitter much more than Facebook to recruit talent.
  • LinkedIn is driving the most views and applications per job posted on the three networks.
  • Twitter followers are much more likely to apply for a job than connections on LinkedIn or friends on Facebook.
  • 21% of recruiters are connected to all 3 of the “big 3″ social networks, but 48% use LinkedIn exclusively.
  • Agency and corporate recruiters exhibit slightly different connecting and social recruiting strategies across the networks.
View more documents from Bullhorn Reach
I’d recommend taking a few minutes to review the entire report, but for those of you with a short attention span (like me), Bullhorn summarized some of the results in a handy Infographic as well.

LinkedIn Recruiting Trends 2011 – United States [Slideshare]

Recently, I came across this presentation on slideshare.net summarizing LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2011 survey for the United States and I thought I’d share it with you.

Some interesting stats from this report include:

  • Over 6 in 10 companies in the US plan to hire more professionals in 2011 than in 2010.
  • Although 63% of US respondents expect hiring to increase in 2011, only 45% expect their hiring budget to increase.
  • Finding better ways to source passive candidates is the top recruiting trend in the US, while using social and professionals networks is a close second.
  • 59% of companies in the US report social professional networks are a minor source in their recruiting efforts, while 29% indicate it is a major source.
  • 35% of companies are worried that their competitors will learn to use social networks and social media more effectively than they will.
  • LinkedIn is the most popular social network for recruiting, used by 96% of respondents.
Check out the presentation uploaded by SBG Media Group below.

Report Summary:

  • Hiring is expected to increase in the US, but budgets are not keeping pace.
  • Social professional networking is seen as one of the most important, long- lasting recruiting trends in the US and most companies are already using it to some degree.
  • Sourcing passive candidates is a key trend.
  • The use of talent community-building and employment branding tools is expected to increase.
  • Employee referral programs are anticipated to grow.

LinkedIn Profile Overused Buzzwords – Also Found On Job Postings Near You

After analyzing data from the more than 85 million member profiles on their site, LinkedIn has released a listing of the Top 10 most overused words and phrases found in LinkedIn Profiles (in the US) and they are:

  1. Extensive Experience
  2. Innovative
  3. Motivated
  4. Results-oriented
  5. Dynamic
  6. Proven Track Record
  7. Team Player
  8. Fast-paced
  9. Problem-solver
  10. Entrepreneurial

If you’re a job seeker, it’s a great time of year to update your resume and online profiles, remove any overused words or phrases and get creative and original in marketing yourself and your experience.

If you’re a recruiter or employer, it’s time to stop playing Buzzword Bingo with your Job Descriptions, Job Postings and Career Site as well.

Check out this helpful white paper – Improving the Candidate Experience: Can You Put Yourself in Their Shoes? – from the folks at NAS Recruitment Communications to get some great ideas.

Or, take the less cerebral approach -> Improve Your Job Postings: Write For People Who Fart.

Let’s just make the process better.

LinkedIn and Web 2.0 Still Need Networking 1.0

Online_business_networking_3It’s LinkedIn week here in my world, and I’ll be speaking to three different groups this week about using LinkedIn. The first presentation will be to a group of job seekers who are participating in a 10-week Job Search series sponsored by a community group, the second at a local Chamber of Commerce to business owners and professionals, and the third to a group of senior executives in career transition working with an outplacement firm.

As a LinkedIn fan and avid user since early 2006, it’s not hard for me to talk with all types of individuals about the benefits of using LinkedIn and share some tips and strategies to maximize its potential for job search, personal branding, employment branding or business development. (By becoming a regular reader, RSS or email subscriber to this blog, I’ll share that information with you as well!)

However, I’m always careful to point out that using LinkedIn – or any social networking or online tool – does not replace the need to get out and meet people, build real relationships and help others. I like the way Jason Alba, author of I’m on LinkedIn – - Now What??? lays it out in chapter 2 of his very informative book:

While LinkedIn is a networking tool, it is not a networking silver bullet. Timeless networking principals such as “givers gain”, etiquette, long-term relationship nurturing, and investing time and effort in others are critical. LinkedIn is not a replacement for your networking efforts (online or offline); rather, it is an excellent tool to facilitate some facets of your networking strategy.

That’s right – using LinkedIn is only ONE part of any job search, business development or networking strategy – so don’t forget that! It’s definitely important in today’s world to understand how to effectively utilize LinkedIn and other social networking tools, but some of the old-fashioned 1.0 tools – the telephone, a drop in visit, face-to-face meetings, handwritten Thank You notes, are still the best ways to make a meaningful impression and to build rich relationships.