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Posts Tagged ‘Linkedin’

Sometime around the 19th of September I received an email from Linkedin. You know the kind.

“Click here to receive a free upgrade!”

“One month free service at no cost!”

“Want to know who’s been looking at your profile?”

Truth is – I DID want to know who had been looking at my profile. And I KNOW how these things work. They require your credit card information up front, your service receives an upgrade, you check out who has been looking at your profile and then forget to cancel the free upgrade.

I didn’t forget to cancel, but I waited until the last day. After all, they said I had a free month, right? So I wasn’t going to cancel after 3 weeks and 3 days. I was taking advantage of the full month long service.

Linkedin errorProblem is, we went out of town just before the 19th of October. And when it came time for me to cancel my service I had to do so from my handheld device. Now I don’t think that should matter, but when I clicked the link that said ‘click here to downgrade your settings’ this is the page I landed on. With no way of moving forward I had to give up on cancelling my upgraded service and accept the fact that I was going to be charged the monthly fee.

When I returned home I took time to sit down and write Linkedin. I kept my email professional, but prepared for the response:

“We’re sorry. It’s not our fault you waited until the very last minute to cancel,” (I imagine a snickering 20-something year-old punching away at his keyboard, snickering through the reply. “Ya big idiot!” he laughs to himself.)

“While it’s not our policy to issue refunds, we are happy to give you an additional month of free service.” (A slightly kinder, also 20-something year-old female might be behind this response. She is nice around the edges, but all business on the inside.)

“Sorry. You agreed to the terms and conditions when you applied for the upgrade.” (I’m not sure who would be behind this response – but it is the one I was most certain I would hear.)

It’s safe to say, not only was I surprised to get a response, but even more surprised to get a very nice response!

Linkedin Reimbursement Reply

Just a few days later the refund showed up in my checking account.

reimbursementI still can’t get over how quick and pain-free the process was. I can’t believe some big shot at Linkedin actually took time to reply, let alone look up my account information and issue a refund within 48 hours.

Will I consider upgrading in the future? Absolutely.

Will I be likely to refer Linkedin to my friends and colleagues? You know it!

Now that I think about it… I think I just did.

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Let’s be honest. I left a great job with an amazing non-profit organization in an effort to support my husband as he pursues his love of working in the medical field. For the 8+ years we’ve been married, I have always been the breadwinner. Until now. Jobs always came easy. We moved around the western United States and at a very young age I found myself in a managerial position. I spent a decade working for local television stations in both Utah and Wyoming, and then changed careers.

That change in my professional life was the best thing that could have ever happened in my personal life. My new job allowed me the flexibility I needed to support a husband who had recently sustained an injury while serving for the United States Army. It gave me the opportunity to have nights, holidays and weekends at home with my family. It gave me personal satisfaction in serving others and knowing that at the end of the day, I truly had made a difference in the lives of those I served.

Today I find myself in a foreign place of high unemployment rates and lots of employers searching social media sites to find the best candidate for their organization. That’s why it’s imperative that I am on my ‘A’ game when it comes to what I put online.

An article published by Michele Cuthbert of Baker Creative(1) points out how employers are using social media to track down potential employees. As Cuthbert points out, the obvious place for professionals to network is Linkedin. But job searchers are also strategic in how they use Twitter.

Francesca Krihely was offered a position at 10gen, the company behind open source NoSQL database system MongoDB, after connecting with key decision makers from the company via Twitter.


“I had heard about and been following 10gen for quite some time on Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter, so naturally I started following two executives — the two most public-facing people in the company,” says Krihely. “I also followed the company’s LinkedIn group and saw how the popularity and legitimacy of MongoDB had grown. After months of lurking on the sidelines, I started re-tweeting Meghan and @mongodb’s tweets in hopes of getting their attention.”

Her tactic worked, and after five months of searching, Krihely landed a position as a community manager for the company, Cuthbert writes.

But it’s not just what you share on Linkedin or who you follow on Twitter that will lead you to your next position. It’s also what you write in your blog that could catch the attention of a future employer. Dan Fonseca(2) believes that your blog can be more powerful than your resume. That makes sense – if you think about it. While going through the job search process employers take time to scan resumes. Here you list your past experience and name all the things you achieved. But do you practice what you preach? What kind of a person are you when you’re not on the clock? Does your personal belief system mirror the mission and values of the place you would like to work? A quick look through your personal writings can give a future employer a very quick look into who you really are.

So where to start with the blog? Fonseca narrows it down into three concise points:

1 – Values, Character and Personality That’s three points in one, really, but what he’s getting at is that which I’ve just mentioned. If you don’t stand for the same things the company believes in, you might not be the right fit. My personal experience has taught me that no matter how much the pay, no matter how great the benefits, at the end of the day if you don’t leave your job feeling personal satisfaction then you will never achieve true happiness. So save yourself the heartache of coming home grumpy everyday and skip the application process if the job isn’t the right fit for you. Keep writing about your passion, but know when to separate the personal from professional.

2 – Communication Skills and Thinking Process The idea here is simple. But I’d like to refer to a personal experience from a few years ago.

A former employer (who shall remain unnamed) was looking to hire a part time tour guide. As a tour guide, the employee would show guests around the facility and talk about the organization. The employee would then write a report and document the things that were mentioned by guests during the tour. While we went through the hiring process we were very impressed with *Derek’s resume. He had prepared a beautiful cover letter and really impressed us during his first round interview. The second interview was held and Derek was offered the job. Within days we noticed several incompetencies with Derek. He struggled to use the computer. He didn’t know how to use email. His writing was, well, to put it nicely, horrible. While Derek continued to amaze and impress those he encountered with his people skills, his ability to sit and write plundered. The 90-day probation policy was utilized and Derek was relieved of his duties.

The one thing I will never forget of this experience comes from my co-worker, Derek’s direct supervisor. He said, “My biggest mistake in hiring him was not issuing a writing exercise.” We later learned that Derek’s mom had helped him prepare his cover letter. Maybe Derek is wise to not keep a blog, because we would have caught this problem right away. Then again, we were at fault for not giving him a writing test. My point is this – you are what you write. Derek didn’t keep a blog and now we know why. But if you are an excellent communicator and love to write – more importantly – if you want to achieve a job that requires strong writing skills – then surely you are keeping a blog that allows you to share your love of writing.

3 – Ideas and Creativity A resume is restrictive in that there are only so many things you can write about before you run out of space. A blog allows you expand on the ideas you have and strategies for accomplishing greatness. Cuthbert shares a perfect example of this idea by referring to a gentleman who put a video on YouTube:

James Purdy, a recent hire at UIEvolution — a mobile, tablet, TV and automotive applications development company in Kirkland, Wash. — decided to look for a new job when his new interests waned from the direction of his day job.


“On some occasions I would even come home for lunch to work on my iOS project. I didn’t feel the same intensity with my work projects, which made the work week less personally rewarding,” Purdy says in his blog, MyiPhoneAdventure.com. “I suppose one might say I was suffering from the-grass-is-always-greener-on-the-other-side-of-the-fence syndrome, but it looked so green in the neighboring field, and I couldn’t look away.”


Purdy utilized both traditional and social media job search techniques when doing his search, and he came across the listing for his current UIEvolution position on Craigslist. To demonstrate that he possessed the skills needed for the job, Purdy made a YouTube video showing his most recent project, a nearly completed iPad app.

About a week later, Purdy heard from several companies and had several interviews, ultimately resulting in a job offer.

For now, I enjoy my time at home with my little ones as my husband attends school by day and works at night. I find joy in keeping this blog, where I can stay up-to-date on social media trends. And when I tired of writing and changing diapers, there’s always a new park to play in or a trail to discover. Happy writing!

*name has been changed

1. How Gen Y Scores Jobs With Social Search, Mashable Business, Michele Cuthbert. http://mashable.com/2012/06/24/gen-y-social-media-search/?goback=%2Egde_80941_member_177467192

2. 3 Effective Ways to Make Your Blog More Powerful Than Your Resume, Reviewz ‘N’ Tips, Daniel Sharkov. http://www.reviewzntips.com/2011/05/benefits-of-blogging.html

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So it turns out I have a new hobby. A new way to kill time. Yet another way to connect with colleagues, friends and co-workers. I PUSH the little plus sign when I visit their Linkedin profile. That’s right… I ENDORSE my contacts. And truthfully, it IS that easy.

Different from Linkedin’s ‘Recommendation‘ feature, an Endorsement allows those who know you best to ‘Endorse’ your areas of expertise.

ImageFor example: I have experience using Raiser’s Edge, so a former supervisor has endorsed me… she has clicked the plus sign and by doing so acknowledges that this is an area I am competent in. (She was also kind enough to endorse me in quite a few other areas, including Microsoft Office, Outlook, Non-profits, Fundraising, Community Outreach, Social Networking, Media Relations, Public Relations and Public Speaking – to name a few. And she would know – SHE was my boss!)

Endorsements are a new idea, but I really like them. For someone looking for a new job, the endorsements feature allows employers to browse the individual’s skills and see which areas have been endorsed by others. For this reason I take my endorsing very seriously. While I know that my cousin is a teacher, I won’t endorse him as a teacher because I haven’t worked with him in this role. But I’ve seen his stand up comedy acts at family parties, so I might endorse him as a stand-up comedian. I know that my friend from church works in sales, but I’ve only worked with her on volunteer matters that are church-related. So I wouldn’t feel comfortable endorsing her work in sales, but I’d be more than happy to endorse her as a volunteer. A former co-worker has changed careers, so I would feel comfortable endorsing those skills that she shared when we worked together, but I can’t speak for what she does now as the work we do no longer shares a common interest. You get the idea.

ImageTo start endorsing simply log in to Linkedin and visit a colleague’s profile. Across the top of the page you’ll get a pop up box asking if your colleague has the following skills or expertise. Note that this is just a sampling of skills, not necessarily all of the skills your colleague has listed. What I love about this is the flexibility you have in endorsing. In my friend Steve’s case, if I don’t feel comfortable endorsing him in ‘Sales Management’ I can simply click the ‘x’ and close that skill, then go ahead and click the ‘Endorse’ button, and endorse the other four skills all with one click of the mouse. If I want to add to the list I can click in the box where it says ‘Type another area of expertise…’ and add another skill that I want to endorse. This is a great feature because Steve may have overlooked a skill that I really feel should be added to his profile.

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If you prefer to endorse skills one at a time you can just scroll down your friend’s page and look for the list of skills. Simply arrow over to the right side of the page and click the + sign for each skill you’d like to endorse.

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If you do chose to endorse a friend by clicking multiple skills at a time, once you complete your endorsement your screen will update to a grouping of four different colleagues. This is where you can really start to have fun. It’s a lot like playing a card game. You go through and click ‘Endorse’ on the ones you feel comfortable endorsing, and once you do the card will update to a new contact. Better yet, click ‘Endorse all 4’ and then get four new faces all at once. Go ahead. Give it a try. I DARE you to tell me it’s not addicting!

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As popularity of the Endorse feature grows your colleagues will soon catch on. The hope is that not only will they benefit from being endorsed by you, but that you’ll soon benefit from all of those who return the favor.

So go ahead and visit your Linkedin account and start endorsing. Leave a comment and let me know how it goes.

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