Category Archives: LinkedIn

LinkedIn and the AggieNetwork

The value of LinkedIn has increased yet again.  Now that LinkedIn has partnered with colleges and universities to launch the “Alumni” piece, school connections and networking are skyrocketing.  As a Former Student (that is what we call ourselves) of Texas A&M University and a current Career Coach at this dear institution, I could not be happier to see this partnership blossom.  Texas A&M University knows the value of current and former student networking.  Our Association of Former Students does an amazing job keeping our Aggie family strong.  Anywhere you travel in the world, the Aggie Ring is easily noticed.  So why not take it virtual.  These types of partnerships between colleges and universities and LinkedIn are growing everyday.

Of course Texas A&M has a website for alumni which also provides opportunities to connect with fellow current and former students, but the partnership with LinkedIn has taken it to a whole new level.  You can now connect your LinkedIn URL and profile to your AggieNetwork account.  In addition, I can go to LinkedIn and find Aggies through this resource using their Alumni section.  My online Rolodex just got even stronger.  We still share business cards, but gone is the day of worrying about maintaining an up to date physical Rolodex.

There is a saying here at A&M that Aggies love to hire Aggies, and I’m sure other schools feel the same about their own schools.   When you become a student at A&M, you join a network that is thousands and thousands strong.  Tapping into the AggieNetwork for any current job seeker is imperative.  It is widely known that networking is the best way to find a job.  The AggieNetwork builds and strengthens relationships between current and former students.   This Network has proven time and time again that employed Aggies love to help current students achieve their career goals.  Let this Network work for you and return the favor once employed by paying it forward to our future students.

Before you stop reading my blog today, please do the following:

1.  Log into the AggieNetwork (or your collegiate alumni organization) and connect with your LinkedIn account if this feature is available.

2.  Log into your LinkedIn account, click on Network, and click on Find Alumni.

3.  Reach out alumni based on your interests and goals, connect for guidance and networking, and build your professional presence.



These Are a Few of My Favorite Blogs

You are going to spend the rest of the day humming this beloved song from the Sound of Music in your head like me aren’t you?  Today I want to say thank you to just of few of my favorite bloggers for their insites and inspiration they have instilled in my personal and professional life.

Diane Gottsman: Modern Manners and Etiquette Expert.   Diane is also the owner of the Protocol School of Texas and author of Pearls of Polish.  The devil is found in the details of life.  Diane’s excellent advice stomps the devil out of poor manners and elevates professional etiquette to help today’s career manager truly excel.   Diane’s guidance helps readers learn how to positively stand out in business by simply demonstrating respecful manners.  Please follow Diane via Twitter @dianegottsman

The Savvy Intern by YouTern  Anyone seeking an internship or seeking to hire an intern must subscribe to the Savvy Intern sponsored by YouTern.  I found this blog of resources by following a Twitter chat recommended to me by a colleague.  #InternPro can be found each Monday night.  In addition to the chat, please add this blog to your daily reads to receive targeted advice concerning the internship job search.  Please follow YouTern via Twitter @YouTern

Keppie Careers by Miriam Salpeter  Social media heavily factors into an effective job search.  In addition to reading Miriam’s blog, please search for her on the US News career blog.  Creating a professional and branded online presence has become a key strategy for a successful job search. In addition to her overall stellar career coaching accomplishments, Miriam provides the best social networking guidance for job seekers and career managers.   While visiting her website, please take a close look at the career books she has authored and co-authored.  You can also follow Miriam via Twitter @keppie_careers

Bottom Line Ethics by Dr. Michael Shaub.  Dr. Shaub is a professor here in the Mays Business School at Texas A&M.  This authentic blog catches the eyes and hearts of each reader covering numerous topics that center around the same subject: Ethics!  I invite you to read Dr. Shaub’s insights into the varying subjects and news events.  I am amazed at the numerous POSTIVE comments he receives for each blog entry.  His former students can easily be labeled as his fans.  I promise you will subscribe and look forward to the journey of each blog post.  Bottom Line Ethics will entertain you and teach you life-long lessons that you will never forget.  You can find Dr. Shaub on Twitter @mikeshaub

Personal Branding by Dan Schwabel  If you struggle with answering the question “Tell Me About Yourself” then you cannot afford not to check out Dan’s blog and resources.  His book, Me 2.0, outlines a four step process towards creating an effective and results-driven brand for individuals.  You can find Dan featured in numerous networks and blogs.  Dan is a GenY expert; however, his message crosses generations.  Please follow Dan on Twitter @DanSchawbel

I could go on and on listing other blogs and resources, but I thought I would limit my list today.   This list of five excellent resources will provide information and guidance with etiquette, internships, social networking, ethical behavior, and branding.  Best wishes!




Your Job Search Resolutions for 2013

I’m sure anyone reading the title of today’s blog is thinking, “Cindy, my job search resolution is to get a job plain and simple.”  Maybe you’ve got me there, but I’m talking about something a little different.

We all know that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.  Ask yourself if you have fallen into “insanity” when it comes to your job search.  Are you are continually applying for jobs online and receiving no response or reaching out to create a professional network with no success?  Will people connect with you on LinkedIn but never respond to your messages?

Before restarting your job search for 2013, follow these suggestions and stop the insanity.

Online Applications:  Too often job seekers, and yes some recruiters, use this resource as the only step in seeking employment or job candidates.  Please do not only apply online.  The probability you will be noticed and receive a call for an interview is slim.  Yes, please create a profile online and submit a resume for a position online, but also be sure to tap into key people within the organization and department.  LinkedIn Groups, company pages on LinkedIn and Facebook, as well as professional associations provide options for real networking that will help you introduce your resume that is sitting in the company’s online applicant tracking system.

Creating an Effective Professional Network:  Younger job seekers probably do not have a close professional network of hiring managers.  What they probably have instead is an indirect network of people in these positions that come from family members, bosses and professors.  Let the “six degrees of separation” concept work for you.  Who do you know who might know someone who knows people in the areas of your interest?

No One Will Return Your Messages:  Before you say that reaching out to people through LinkedIn or other similar resources doesn’t work ask yourself a very basic question.  Could the email or message you are sending need some editing?   Are you asking the right question? Are you saying the wrong things in your message?  Do you have any errors in your message?  Did you research to make sure this is the best way to connect with a person?  I always tell my students and clients to look at a person’s LinkedIn profile before expecting a response.  If your target contact doesn’t have a photo on their page, updated information or a connection list of more than 75-100 then you can about bet this person does not use LinkedIn very often.  LinkedIn won’t be a good resource for you to use in connecting with this person.  Think insanity here:  don’t do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result.  If someone does not use LinkedIn, then they probably won’t respond to your LinkedIn messages right?  On the other hand, maybe this person uses LinkedIn and not email.  Just like the Boy and Girl Scouts, BE PREPARED for anything.

As 2012 closes, ask yourself if you have been doing the same things with your job search with no success.  Just like any resolution, did you start out start and fizzle quickly?  Could something be missing from what you are doing?  Could you be doing something wrong?  Look at the basics and create a new plan to start 2013 and have a successful job search.



Next Step After Connecting on LinkedIn

Congratulations, you have started properly requesting LinkedIn connections.  Targeted contacts are accepting your connection request.  A major step in your outreach strategy is working.   YAY!  So, what is the next step?  Hmm.  If you have ever asked yourself this question, you are not alone.  Here are a few quick ideas on how to initiate more than a simple connection with a professional on LinkedIn followed by an important list of things to avoid.

How to communicate after the connection is accepted:

1.  Say Hello.  Imagine that.  Just simply send a quick message saying hello with thank you for the connection.

2. If you mentioned in your request to connect your interest in the person’s background and profession, you should send a message asking for a followup phone call.

3.  Join and contribute to one of this person’s professional groups that you have in common.  Group members on LinkedIn continually share articles and ideas with one another.  This is a great way for you to establish yourself as a professional and thought leader.

4.  If you have experienced or witnessed this person’s professional skills mentioned on LinkedIn, use this opportunity to take advantage of the new “endorse” feature. 

A few things you should avoid:

1. Do NOT ask for a job or immediately ask for more contacts.   That is a fast way to get yourself unconnected to this contact.

2. Do NOT forget to reach out to the contact after the connection.  When someone accepts your connection, your name is fresh in their brain.  Don’t wait too long before connecting.

3. Do not write a recommendation or endorse this person if you do not know this person.  Build a professional relationship first.  If you start endorsing or recommendation people you do not know, your professionalism will be compromised and you won’t be taken seriously.

LinkedIn is what I refer to as my Online Rolodex.  It’s a perfect way to research and initially connect with new professionals.  Building a relationship with those professionals takes more time.   Stay mindful of this step.

Connect first and then engage!


Requesting LinkedIn Connections Rule #2

In my previous blog, I talked about personalizing the text for LinkedIn requests as opposed to using the generic text.  Rule #2 is to make sure your reason for connecting is professional development focused.  Wanting a job with the person’s company is not a good enough reason to connect.  That is short term thinking, and your approach will come across as selfish and one-sided.  Instead of making this mistake, change your focus.

If you find someone on LinkedIn you would like to get to know step back and ask yourself why?  If this person works for a company on your list of target employers, you are going to be more successful if you make sure you have not just a short term but also a long term reason for the connection.  More than likely, this target contact has had professional experiences you do not, connections to professional organizations that can help you strength your knowledge, and insight as to how you can succeed in your chosen profession and the target company.

Before connecting with anyone on LinkedIn, ask yourself if you have thought of long term mutual benefits for you and the person you are asking to connect.  Ask yourself not just what’s in it for you but what’s in it for the other person as well.  If you think long term, you will have a better chance of defining that answer.  Your connection requests will be more professional thus more productive.

Requesting LinkedIn Connections Rule #1

While LinkedIn has built in text for requesting connections, that is the worst text you can use. Why you ask?  It’s general. It’s impersonal.  It’s lazy.

Imagine you are at a party and someone walks up and asks for your phone number without saying hello first.  No introduction, no name, no reason.  Just “may I have your phone number”?  You would not respond in a positive way. My guess is that you would just walk away.  That is exactly what professionals do on LinkedIn when receiving these blanket requests.

Anytime you request a connection with someone on LinkedIn, always personalize the request message.  Include how you found this person, why you want to connect.  Give the person a good reason to respond to you.

The foundation of networking is building relationships.  Start strong by personalizing your “hello”message.

5 Job Search Tips for International Students

The first question I am asked of International Students who join our program at A&M is how an international student can be have a successful job search in the United States.   We talk networking, yet those new to our country worry their only network is in their home country.   International students struggle with approaching companies of interest only to be told the company does not sponsor H1B Visas.  I could go on for paragraphs talking about the struggles.  Let’s cover my top five tips for any international student seeking employment in the US.

1.  First and foremost, the main goal upon graduation is to be employed in your area of interest.  PERIOD!  If you want to go into consulting, then your main goal is to find employment in consulting.  Right?  This means, you have to look for employment opportunities in the United States, your home country or anywhere in the world.  This is the same advice I give domestic students.  Never lose sight of the main objective which is to be employed upon graduation in your field of interest.

2.  Secondly, you must build a network.  And believe it or not, you do have a network in the United States. LinkedIn proves it.  You may not have direct contacts just yet, but everyone has indirect networks readily available through Alumni databases, LinkedIn Groups and a general Google people search.  Look for alumni from your undergraduate program who are currently in the US and working for companies of interest to you.  Join LinkedIn groups directed to your profession.  Look for individuals or groups of individuals who have gone through the process before you and start building rapport.  Please visit some of my previous posts on how to initiate converations through Social Media outlets or those I have shared through Twitter.

3.  Decrease the amount of time you spend “Applying Online.”  Creating a job search strategy that includes next steps after the application to creatively connect with Alumni or hiring managers.  Never forget that a successful job search makes “applying online” a step in the process not the entire process.

4.  Check with your campus career center and see if they subscribe to GoingGlobal.  This service is one my favorites for International Students. It provides Visa and job search trends around the world as well as a list of companies by state and city that applied for and received H1Bs in the previous year.

5.  Purchase a copy of Dan Beaudry’s amazing book “Power Ties:  The International Student’s Guide to Finding a Job in the United States.”  While this is my fifth tip, it might be the most important of all.  I have almost worn out my copy with my continuous reference back to some of his tried-and-true suggestions.  I keep my copy within reaching distance, and you should as well.

It is no secret that International Students seeking employment in the United States have challenges to overcome, but it is important to remember that your ultimate goal is to be employed in a position and with a company that brings you fulfillment and joy.  Remind yourself of that everyday and best wishes for a successful job search and future career.