James Mayes

Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page

My favourite LinkedIn tips

In LinkedIn, Personal Development, Recruitment, Social Media on October 28, 2010 at 10:00 am

One of the topics I post on regularly is emerging new tools which have caught my eye.   I pondered this recently and thought it might be worth revisiting a well-established platform and updating my thoughts.  I’m talking LinkedIn – and rather than the search side, I’d like to offer some thoughts on profiles. There are so many I see, especially professional recruiters, where the profiles are badly done. This should be one of your biggest shop-windows, so spend a little time on it.

  1. Settings > Privacy Settings > Profile views.  This affects what people see after you stop by their profile.  I’m sure you’ve noticed in the past the little front page box telling you how many people have checked out your profile – and when you click for the detail, it’s mostly anonymous.  That’s the default setting. Change it. If I stop by someone’s profile, it’s because I’m interested in them, or their company. They should be flattered by this and more often than not, I’d like that interest to be reciprocal. By making this setting public, you increase your visibility.
  2. Profile > Edit Profile > Websites > Edit. In a standard profile, you can set three websites in that primary box at the top of your profile – and by default, each is described as “My Website”. Make it more personal. When you click Edit, you get to choose what type of site you’re listing. At the very least, choose something that’s appropriate to the site you’re linking to. Better still though, choose “Other”. This allows you to enter your own text description of the link – so you can really appeal to your target audience.
  3. Recommendations. Gather them as you go, not just when you’re looking to change jobs. It keeps your profile fresh, it’ll get your existing connections to notice you again whenever a new one goes up, and recommendations are ALWAYS easier to gather at the time – not two years later.  Go for a mix if you can – maybe some happy customers, a senior manager you impressed on that last project, a more junior team member you’ve supported. Remember you don’t have to use them all.  Hide some of them away and change the visibility according to your current project. If you’re job-hunting, comments from senior managers or happy customers might be best. On the other hand, if you’re recruiting for your own team and prospective candidates are checking you out, you might want them to see how you’ve supported your people in the past.
  4. If you’re representing a company in any external capacity (Hiring? Selling? Advising customers?) make use of a third-party application.  Again, think of LinkedIn as a shop window. People WILL check you out here, so use something like SlideShare or Box to host something appropriate.
  5. I’m gonna steal this last one from @Mr_LinkedIn – aka Mark Williams.  LinkedIn have recently changed the visibility of surnames to 3rd line connections and group associates, reducing the visibility to drive the take-up of commercial accounts.  Click Edit Profile, then click “Edit” right next to your name at the top. Edit your headline. If it used to say “ERP Recruiter”, change to “James Mayes – ERP Recruiter”. Otherwise, many people will only be seeing your name as James M – which kinda undermines point 1.

LinkedIn remains one of the first places where people will check you out in advance of any commercial/professional engagement.  Be your own best friend and maximise the opportunity.

Feel free to add more in the comments section – I’m always eager to learn. If you want to connect, you’ll find me on Twitter and LinkedIn – I’ll happily listen to your critique of  my own profile.

Update – and a nifty use for a great tool

In Conference, Recruitment, Social Media, Twitter on October 27, 2010 at 11:07 am

So it’s been a few weeks since my last post caused a little debate on the subject of education.  I’ve not been deliberately neglecting the blogosphere  – actually, I’ve discovered some great new stuff recently, which I now aggregate over on the Social Recruiting Feed. I’ve just been hit by that old blogger’s excuse of too much to do, not enough time, yada yada yada. It’s rubbish, annoying and trite, but it’s unfortunately true.

So why has this happened?

  1. Change of handset – used to use a Nokia N97, with a little flip-out keyboard. I could actually write blogposts, easily, from anywhere. It was awesome in that respect.  I’m now on a touch-screen Android phone, a decision driven on two fronts – open nature of the platform + great range of apps (particularly loving the DropBox app) – but no keyboard.  However, I recently discovered this little beauty from Logitech. I can use it wirelessly on the move with the phone, but also at home to drive my media PC for films etc. Loving it, so hopefully, problem solved.
  2. Business – we’ve taken on some great new customers recently (we’re especially pleased with Fujitsu and Yell, leading the way for corporate customers). This has a knock-on though – it’s shown us a few areas where we have work to do to improve process.  We’re growing at a steady pace, which means we can control and manage these issues as they arise, but it does mean secondary activity (like the blog) does take a hit sometimes. I think we’re winning!
  3. Conference season – they’re everywhere. Some good, some less so, but regardless of my personal views, they’re all relevant to our industry, so we make every effort to contribute – at whatever level we can.

So why this sudden return?  An inspired moment from the #ConnectingHR event last week. I’m a fan of the Wordle site – I’ve seen Andy Headworth make interesting use of it as part of the hiring process – and indeed I’ve used it to create a testimonial word cloud for TweetJobs, based on recent client feedback.

However, the most recent outing I saw for Wordle was at the hands of communications specialist Abi Signorelli. She took the Twitterstream from the morning session of #ConnectingHR and created a word cloud – giving a clear impression of the main topics tweeted over the preceding few hours.  It allowed some very swift conclusions to be drawn and really focussed the mind for several of us.  Abi then repeated the exercise towards the end of the afternoon session, demonstrating beautifully how the day’s focus had changed.  She’s posted it for all on her blog, along with some audioboo interviews from the day. For me, it was a highly effective intervention using a very accessible bit of technology.

That kind of thing really makes me smile.

Educating for failure?

In Personal Development, Recruitment on October 12, 2010 at 8:49 am

Reading Wendy Jacob’s great blog recently on managing candidate expectations – particularly those of students.  She came to the (in my opinion) very rational conclusion that no-one really manages student expectations effectively.  Read the full post here – I went to comment on this, but felt I had somewhat more to say.  I don’t want to go being controversial on someone else’s blog, so I figured I should come home for this next bit.

Here’s the thing.  I believe (and have for a long time) that the education system is designed to fail.  Not underfunded, or poorly executed.  It doesn’t fail by accident, it fails because it has to.  The UK tries to encourage around 50% of young people to continue in further and higher education and that’s not necessarily a bad thing per se. But there is a more basic societal need.  The need for shelf-stackers. Garbage collectors. Logistics drivers, warehouse workers, postmen and women.  If we as society push young people to continue in education until they are degree-qualified, then surely some will be disappointed as not even the UK’s service-oriented economy can support that volume of graduate job-seeker.

How about the knock-on effect?  Colleges and universities recognise they’ve peaked in terms of traditional graduate output – the market is flooded with candidates.  So new courses emerge.  Why? Because they’re encouraged to educate regardless of subject matter and potential outcome. Who picks up the bill?  The student, the student’s family, the tax payer. All in the oft-forlorn hope that this newly educated graduate will contribute increased economic returns.

I don’t have the answers – but maybe we should start asking more of the right questions. For starters: Do we need 50% of our young people to be saddled with debt, high expectation and a degree of debatable value? Where did this target come from and is it in any way reflective of what employers need?

Please enjoy the comments section. I’ll admit this post is deliberately provocative, because I don’t think this issue receives sufficient debate. We in the recruitment industry see such a wide spread of client needs that we should WANT to influence the discussion.


When does it happen for you? Retweets & replies.

In Social Media, Twitter, Twitter Tips on October 11, 2010 at 2:09 pm

I’ve been paying more and more attention over the last few months to timezones.  I have followers in a variety of locations and, like anyone using Twitter for professional reasons, I want to maximise the chances of talking to the right people.  Like any communication platform, it’s about being where they are, when they’re present.  In Twitter terms, gut feel tells me timing is of huge important.  There are some subjects I manage by lists, or by RSS search tools to ensure I don’t miss something but I’ve always felt timing is key – for me and for many others.

Some clever people at Sysomos have analysed 1.2b (yes, billion) tweets – and they’ve produced some data that goes down a treat.  I’ll share one representation here, which suggests timing is indeed key.  The rest of the report is here.  Enjoy.

Timing does matter

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