Not Able To Attend A Conference

Every year there are countless conferences I want to attend and every year I have to pass up on almost all of them. It is disappointing but I find ways to follow along. If you find yourself in a similar situation to me, what might you do to still gain insight about the conference?

 

LinkedIn – Check LinkedIn events and see who is attending and begin to network with them. Some individuals you may know and others maybe not. But connecting in advance could lead to sharing of information and feedback on the conference and topics and maybe even the sharing of notes about valuable take aways.

Twitter – Find out the particular hashtag of the conference and follow along with what is being shared and follow along. See what is being shared and even participate in the conversation from your home or office. Good tools to follow a particular hashtag include:

Ustream – Some conferences, like the 140conf will use Ustream to play live video of the sessions so that everyone may see what is happening. You are able to listen to the sessions, just miss out on the in-person networking.

Facebook – Some conferences will create a Facebook Page for people to join and get upcoming information about a conference or seminar. What is also valuable about these Pages is that the conference hosts may also upload pieces of the conference after the fact in video form or transcripts or with reviews.

YouTube – Many conferences or conference attendees will take video and upload the content to YouTube to share with the masses. This is an excellent way to get information but also hear others opinions on topics that were discussed.

Blogs – Use Google and do a search for blogs from the conference name and see what others wrote about their experience. These posts may appear after the conference but they will be helpful in accumulating additional knowledge about events.

 
While all of these are good tools to use, it is helpful to follow a variety of channels to maximize the impact and knowledge of what is being discussed. Conversations even continue online after events or into the evenings. Knowing that we are all busy and following along all day is not realistic; pick and choose what makes sense for you. And chances are, you will network and meet new people along the way even though you are not there in person.

Advertisements

Why Numbers Alone Don’t Matter

Everyone is caught up in numbers and metrics. Some metrics are dead on and others wecan do without. Two such metrics people tend to get caught up in revolve around thenumber of friends/followers and the number of tweets.

Why are these numbers not as relevant as you may think them to be?

 

Don't Cross the Streams!

 

Number of Facebook Friends or Twitter Followers

Having a large following is a nice topic to throw around in a conversation, but does itreally help you? Many celebrities, pseudo-celebrities, industry experts, authors, and manyothers have a pretty strong follower count which helps from a message push or listeningperspective. Now, look at how many people they follow and see if you are valued in theirnetwork.

Probably not.

It is great for them to push out their information and hope you will share with yournetwork as well. Good for them. Not so great for you.

This is in no means a recommendation to follow everyone who follows you. But withall the “social media experts” talking about engagement, do they really engage or justengage when spoken to? Think about the last time someone with a high friend/followercount interacted with you off of one of your messages without you mentioning orreferencing that person.

 

Number of Tweets

The number of times you tweet should not mean a thing? Why you are probably asking.

Well, as Twitter is an unbelievable tool for conversations, learning, listening, sharing andnetworking, it also is a great tool for connecting with apparently every other social mediatool created.

You may connect Twitter with LinkedIn, Facebook, Foursquare (and other location-basedservices), Tumblr, MySpace, blogs, etc. etc. etc.

The more networks you are connected to, the more potential of redundant message beingposted, of locations being shared, of somewhat meaningless data.

Should I be able to read all of your tweets on LinkedIn or Facebook? You could argue oneither side of this and make effective cases. What I am saying is that it is some of thesemessages are redundant, auto generated and used to somewhat spam all of your socialnetworking channels.

When I view my Twitter stream, I don’t care to see all of the Foursquare check-in’s. Iknow I am not alone here but I also realize plenty of others share the opposite feeling.

But in strictly looking at Foursquare and Twitter, it is conceivable that half of your tweetsare Foursquare check-ins. That alone artificially inflates your tweets to show how active aTwitter user you are.

Other people/accounts use messageing services that auto tweet for them and possiblyrepost the same message multiple times per day (full disclosure: yes, I sometimes do thisfor my blog posts… but not every day and for everything I read).

 

In closing, numbers really don’t mean everything if value isn’t there. Isnt’ that why ROIis always an interesting discussion point!

Improve Your Recruiting Practice

Recruiters tend to be creatures of habit, we stick with what works. While being productive and filling open positions is the ultimate goal, we shouldn’t get rooted in our ways and afraid to adapt to new techniques and methodologies.

I continue to be surprised while talking with recruiters about what they haven’t tried. I understand that not all social networking tools are not for everyone and there are far too many for any one person to have an impactful presence on all of them.

I still believe that recruiters, or people in general, must expand into areas that are uncomfortable to grow. Trying a new tool isn’t a bad thing. But don’t just try it and move on. Truly spend time with the tool and give it a fair try. Otherwise you are cheating yourself out of a potential new and valuable sourcing tool.

Make 2011 the year you try at least 1 new tool. Give it time as anything new takes time to evaluate. If you are unsure as to how to use the particular tool or if you are looking for tricks to make it easier to use, ask someone. Most recruiters enjoy being viewed as a subject matter expert and will be happy to provide insight and helpful hints.

Spend time doing research on what sites might be best for you to use. If you are in the Federal or State/Local government space then GovLoop will be a great option for you. If you are seeking entry level or recent college graduates then you may want to consider KODA. If you recruit on a wide variety of positions, then give Facebook a fair try.

Also, please don’t say that you are going to try LinkedIn (http://www.LinkedIn.com). I mean, isn’t that cheating? You should be there already.

These are just a few ideas but give something a try starting in January. If you really want to challenge yourself, try one new tool every 3 months to see if you are able to continually expand your sourcing toolbox.

Have fun!

Photo credit: Significantblog

“Like” The HR Farmer on Facebook

Some of you may already be aware that The HR Farmer is on Facebook but I’m not sure that all of you have chosen to “like” us.  I know, with so many other pages to like – such as Farmville or Mafia Wars or Coffee or millions of others I cannot name – I’m sure you just haven’t had time to look us up.

Well, we hope you take the opportunity to “like” us and keep up current with what we have happening and what is coming up in the near future (maybe a book give-away will happen soon).

Plus, we always look forward to your comments!  We hope to see you on the HR farmer page soon and thanks for considering to “like” us!

Facebook vs Foursquare

This is bad news.  As reported in Tech Crunch earlier this week, Facebook is moving in a direction I am for one not ecstatic about.  Not bad news for businesses but bad news for both Foursquare (the company) and all of the Facebook user community.

A bit of an overreaction?  Maybe.

Foursquare users already integrate this app with Twitter so all day you get to know where people are & what they are doing… even if this adds zero value to 99.9999999% of the world’s population.  I’ve already done a mild rant on this so I will digress.

But, with Facebook now looking to move into the location based messaging market, the whole world is in for something big and annoying.  Just like your Twitter feed, your Facebook wall will now be one massive list of where people are and what they are doing, ALL THE TIME.

My hope is that Facebook figures out that most of this is irrelevant and that there should be an extra tab on the main page for “News Feed”.  Maybe they will add a third list option.  Currently you are able to choose between “Top News” and “Most Recent” which are both helpful.  Imagine adding a third option of “Find Friends” or “Where Are They Now” or some other name will allow you to look for your friends, if you choose to look!

I am dreading the day that I log into Facebook and see everyone posting where they are at a particular moment.

I understand this is the wave of retail, restaurants and other businesses but don’t force-feed me this information if I don’t want to see it.

photo credit to Mitchell McKenna

Twitter and Facebook Friends

facebooktwitter

I began using Twitter and Facebook for two different activities; Twitter for more professional use and Facebook for more personal use.  That seemed to be a very logical course of action.

 

 Over time, after lots of thought and many, many conversations I have changed my strategy.  I am using both in a more professional manner and interjecting the personal side along the way.

 

 My wife is one of “those people” who don’t completely understand social media and isn’t happy when I post personal information about our family.  So while I do have Twitter and Facebook on my Blackberry, I rarely use them when I am with my family.

 

 And while I strongly disagree with her on the use of social media, she caused me to take pause about the personal sharing aspect.  Are my “friends” interested in big family updates or in minor happenings?  Maybe.  Do my “friends” really need to know that I am watching Manchester United with my sons?  Do my “friends” need to know what I am doing, even in general terms?  I didn’t think so and this began my transformation.

 

Since everything has been/is/will be about your image, or personal brand, I began to take a stronghold on “me on-line”.  I chose to continue with a more serious me.  My friends/followers will get to know me and my personality through my communication and hopefully, as is my personal goal, to speak with many of them in real life to develop stronger relationships.

 

Plus, social networking is not a numbers game.  I don’t care if I have more followers than you or if you have more followers than me.  I care about how we interact, about learning and about sharing good information (hopefully).

 

I am inviting my Twitter friends into Facebook and connect in what I hope becomes the beginning of stronger relationships.  Take these relationships and watch how your connections grow.  It is truly amazing that value (which an over used word in my opinion) will add both credibility as well as meaningful connections into your world.  It is how you grow your friends and followers that is ultimately most important.

 

So, please join me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and let’s pass it forward!

How I Landed My Dream Job

clouds-2Have you heard those stories about people who follow their passion and they end up finding their dream job?  I have heard these stories as well, and I never truly believed it would happen to me (although I always kept hope and kept chasing that passion).

Well, it did happen to me!  And I want to share my story with you in hopes that it will help you to chase your passion.  The best part… the job I have didn’t exist within most companies as short as 6-months ago!

I have been a recruiter for over 10 years, both on the agency and the corporate sides.  I love networking and connecting with people, so this profession is a great place for me.  I also like to keep updated on the latest trends and stay on top of great ways to connect with people effectively.  I never needed to change any of my search strategies or methodologies, just added new techniques to the list: mainly surrounding social media.

I was an early adopter of social media within my team and I used it to connect with new people, globally, in order to exchange ideas on a variety of topics but I really focused mainly on HR and recruiting.  I found this to be a way to expand my network and learn from a much broader population.

So, what do I do on social media?  Pretty much the same as most of you out there.  I am active on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn as well as reading blogs and posting blog entries.  I am on other sites; however, I do not spend as much time or focus on them right now.

One blog post that really energized me was from Jessica Lee, that she posted just over one year ago.  Jessica referenced an online article she read about a recruiter in Silicon Valley who was interviewed at a job fair.  The purpose of the article was to allow the readers to learn more about her job search as well as how the job market was changing.  Jessica Google’d this particular recruiter and found it extremely difficult to locate this person within the returned results.  What I took away from this post was Jessica’s resounding recommendation that all recruiters need to be in social media in order to be found… especially in recruiting!

That day I went out and began to sign up for a few new social networking sites, which I was not already on, in order to:

  1. connect with others more efficiently
  2. to become more active in the conversation
  3. to be found

I put forward a more conscious effort to discuss with others to learn more about what they do.  I took time to connect outside of social media (either on the phone or in person if the ability was there) to further develop these relationships.  And through these relationships I directly impacted open positions I was working on and did make a hire through Twitter.  I continue to leverage all social media resources today to supplement my recruitment activity.

Over time, my company investigated social media for our messaging, our ongoing branding, recruitment activity, and as a new channel for us to grow as a company.  As this direction was being considered and decided upon, I was approached to help lead our global recruitment social media strategy, implementation, and execution.  This truly was a dream job opportunity for me and it is something so new that I am finding myself directly impacting my company’s message into the market.  Yes, I did say dream job even though this position did not exist just a few months ago.

I read about companies creating this type of position and thought to myself that this role would be a phenomenal opportunity for me to expand my experience and knowledge.  Also, it would be a lot of fun and a lot of hard work.

Yes, as a recruiter I have always worked to positively impact my company and convey our brand and message in my daily recruitment activities.  But now to be able to do this on a much broader scale is completely energizing and humbling – that I was selected to help lead this effort.  For a relatively short time, I was thinking that one day I would like to move into this type of an opportunity and determining how might I position myself best for this type of career progression.  The results of my personal decision to expand into a relatively untapped medium was that I was rewarded for thinking outside of my teams current strategy and I am now able to directly impact my company in the social media space.

The best part, I am still with my same company and expanding my experience and responsibilities!

My recommendation, to all of you, is to follow your passion.  Identify what it is that motivates you and will allow you to do your job better and more effectively.  Also, determine how it may impact your day-to-day activity in a positive way so that it is not distracting from your objectives.  You may even want to approach this passion with your manager to discuss how you might involve it into your productivity.  In hind sight, I wish I approached my managers directly but it did end up for the best.

Don’t wait for something to happen, make it happen.  Your dream job is waiting for you as well!

How To Leverage Your Network When Looking For A New Career

So you’re looking for a new position.  What is your game plan?  Where do you start?  Do you know?

Time to go and post my resume.  Wait!  You’re going to what?leverage

Take a second and think for a moment.  Have you thought about your network on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other site?  No.  Well this should be your starting point.

To be more specific, LinkedIn is probably your best place to go first.  Regardless of your perceived safety in your current position, you should update your online profile/resume 3-4 times a year.  Why, to let people know what you are doing.  Why is this important?  Networking.  You never know when you will connect with someone that you maybe able to help… or that might help you.

Facebook is a great next step.  Here you can network with friends and family; those people that tend to have a personal interest in helping you in your search.  You may need to follow up with them and make sure they are thinking of you but a good place to build from.

Twitter is great to connect with your followers and let them know your skills and what you are looking for. (but you network really well so your followers already know what you do!)

Sure, along the way you might check out the job boards and see what is out there because that is only human.  Did you know that the majority of jobs are not posted externally?  This is why networking and referrals become so vital in your search.

Work with your social network to let them know more about you, professionally speaking, so that you are in their mind at any given moment.  Also, get to know your network better.  You never know when you both might be able to assist each other.

Social Networking Hesitation?

This most likely does not pertain to you specifically if you are reading this post or found it through Twitter or another networking site.

 

After a great conversation with Mary Wilson (www.learn-solutions.com) where we spent a few minutes covering networking sites/tools and why they are so powerful today, I wanted to put this out there for those of you that also encounter the naysayer to social networking.  I am somewhat shocked at the feeling out there of people having any hesitation for social networking sites.  I have been hearing a negative connotation surrounding them with a few common threads:

  • I don’t want to tell everyone what I am doing every minute of the day
  • I don’t care what you ate for lunch
  • I don’t understand why someone would want to tell people things about their life
  • Isn’t it scary that someone out there knows what you are doing

The one thought that is escaping the individuals who I spoke with is that YOU control what information you put out there and who you follow and with some sites you can block those you don’t want following you.  If you don’t want everyone to know details of your day, life, work, etc. then don’t publish it.  If you are seeking advice on a particular topic then these sites are fantastic for networking and knowledge sharing.

 

Being closed minded to expanding your network, short term or long term, could be detrimental to your career.  Think about this scenario for a moment.  Let’s say you and your colleague are being considered for a promotion.  Your manager asks for each of you to complete a project by the end of the day and you both know this will be influential as to his decision.  Research is required and you jump on Google and start to search and now have to sort through numerous pages and links to find what you need.  Your colleague jumps on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. and asks questions on each site… the responses come flooding in with feedback, guidance and even links for what was asked.

 

Does this happen all of the time?  Is it realistic?  I really did this to prove that these sites are not all about “Enjoying a sandwich at Panera” or anything along these lines.  These sites are business and professional but, again, it is on how you choose to utilize them.

 

My recommendation to those who question this new medium, get out there and give it an honest try but give it a good try… don’t fool yourself with a weak effort.  Try it and if you still have a poor opinion then just cancel your account.  I have a feeling you will find true value, and who knows… you may even make some strong connections along the way!

 

Follower Appreciation Day, Random Acts of Awesomeness

Talent Revolution and Amanda Hyte (on Twitter at @sexythinker) have a fantastic idea and initiative going: Follower Appreciation Day, Random Acts of Awesomeness (FADRAA): http://www.talentrevolution.net/profiles/blogs/fad-well-be-collecting-stories.  In my opinion, one of the best ideas to hit Twitter along with JobAngels.

 

This is a fantastic way to get to know your followers better and provide positive blog comments OR video shout outs OR complimentary tweet OR introduce to other Twitters OR free giveaways.  Five fantastic options to do and so easy to complete.  Then, you simply ask them to do the same to five members in their network, a pay-it-forward initative.

 

Creative, sexy thinking is awesome to see and kudos to Talent Revolution for driving this new groundbreaking Twitter/Facebook drive.