Dear (LinkedIn) Diary?

LinkedIn, LinkedIn Update, LinkedIn Status, Network Update, LinkedIn Diary

In a prior post, I wrote about LinkedIn content that is perhaps inappropriate for the medium.  In this post I address an interesting twist on that concept – and I’d like your opinion in the comments.

Most of us have shared content on LinkedIn, either an article from an outside source you believed would be beneficial to your network, or sharing an existing post you found on LinkedIn, or publishing a post on LinkedIn’s blogging platform, or maybe even a personal update (ex:  “I’m looking forward to attending the XYZ Event tonight” or “Happy to announce XYZ at this time”).  I’ve always believed that a little insight into you, the person, is a good thing as it helps transform your profile from two-dimensional to three-dimensional.

But, is there a point where your posts can be too personal on LinkedIn?  Is there a point where a personal post can do more harm than good?  Consider this situation . . . Meet Sharon (name and post details changed to protect identify), a professional currently looking for work.  Sharon recently shared these status updates on LinkedIn:

“Received a call from ABCD Company to discuss an open position. I made some resume changes to fit the job description. They seemed interested so I’m excited about the possibility.”

“I had my phone interview with ABCD Company and think it went well. We discussed my experience and willingness to learn new hardware and software. Their decision should be made in a few weeks.”

“As I await ABCD Company’s decision, I have other opportunities I’m actively pursuing and trying to schedule interviews with in Anytown, NY and  Fictitiousville, PA.”

“Today I scheduled a phone interview with a hiring manager at WXYZ Corp. for next Tuesday.”

“My phone interview with WXYZ Corp. went well yesterday.  The level of detail we discussed makes me hopeful.  While I await word from ABCD and WXYZ, I’ve just scheduled an interview with LMNOP Inc.  I’m excited about my interviewing activity and hoping an offer is coming soon.”

So what do you think about this level of personal detail being shared in status updates on LinkedIn?  Do you believe Sharon is successfully branding herself as being high-in-demand, which will help her job search?  Or, do you think that’s off-putting to potential employers that she’s sharing such personal and perhaps confidential information?  I could argue both sides, but I’d really love to hear opinions from recruiters, hiring managers and HR professionals.


Social Media Privacy Check Up – Part 2

In my last post, I discussed how to check your privacy settings on LinkedIn and promised that my next post would cover privacy settings for Facebook.  What prompted this privacy topic were questions that were asked during recent public presentations I made on social media, including:

  1. Should I create a 2nd LinkedIn profile if I’m considering a career in a different industry?
  2. Is there a way I can hide my LinkedIn profile, or parts of it, so that someone doesn’t think I’m over-qualified?
  3. Can I temporarily suspend my LinkedIn profile while I make certain changes?
  4. Should I create a 2nd Facebook profile – one for fun and one for a professional footprint?
  5. Should I create a Facebook business page for myself for professional purposes?

To start with Facebook, let me specifically address questions 4 and 5 above.  The answer to each is a definitive NO.  First of all, it’s against Facebook’s community standards to maintain a second personal account.  Secondly, a business page is meant to promote a business.  If you simply want people to see certain information and updates, but not all (especially the information and updates you consider “personal”) then you need to adjust your privacy settings accordingly, rather than creating a business page.  Here’s how and where you do that . . .

Social Media, Facebook, Privacy, Facebook Privacy, Settings

The fastest way to check your privacy settings is to use the padlock icon in the toolbar.  From there, you can change who can see your future posts, you can see and review things you’ve posted on Facebook (activity log) and you can see how others view your Facebook timeline by selecting a public view (those you’re not friends with) or what a specific friend sees on your timeline.  If you have your default setting for posts set to friends (that’s what mine is set for), then there will be a difference between a public view and a friend’s view.

Each of these settings in the first drop-down menu under the padlock icon should be reviewed in detail.  If you previously had your default setting for posts set to public, consider whether there is something you’ve posted in the past that can be viewed negatively.  In addition to your timeline posts, click on each of the tabs under your banner picture (About, Friends, Photos, More).  Are you satisfied with what can be seen publicly?  Are there things you need to make private (or friends only)?

At the bottom of the drop-down menu under the padlock icon are two links that you should also review:  More Settings and Privacy Basics.  These areas are where you can truly fine-tune your settings.  For example, you can change the visibility of past posts, you can turn on/off whether or not search engines outside of Facebook can link to your profile, and you can review the settings for when you’re tagged in posts.

If you’re looking for work, at minimum you should have your work history and contact information (including links to websites and other social media accounts) visible to the public.  In its 2015 annual survey, Jobvite found that 92% of all recruiters are using social media as part of their job.  While LinkedIn naturally leads the field at 87%, Facebook is second with 55%.  The lesson learned is over half of the recruiters will use Facebook – regardless of whether or not you want to use Facebook as part of your job search.  This same Jobvite article also shares the kinds of posts that recruiters view positively and negatively.  Don’t forget, if you comment on a post on Facebook, others can see that regardless of your own privacy settings!  Perhaps you have some Facebook clean-up to do?

Here’s how I manage my Facebook account…

  1. I’m pretty selective with who I connect with on Facebook.  I treat Facebook as I would my “backyard cookout.”  If I don’t know you well-enough to invite you to a backyard cookout I might have, chances are you’ll have to follow my public updates on Facebook (which I’ve allowed) to see my posts.
  2. I’ve set past and future posts to friends only by default.  If and when I have a post that I do want the public to see (a professional article, a blog post, an announcement about a public speaking engagement, a milestone event, etc.), I will intentionally change the visibility setting for that particular post from friends to public.
  3. I’ve created lists and will intentionally change the visibility setting for a particular post from friends to a specific list.  For example, since I live in Western NY, do my friends and family in Florida need to see my post about a lost dog I’ve found?  Creating and using lists allow you to be a “good citizen” of Facebook by reducing the timeline clutter of irrelevant posts.
  4. Remember that profile pictures and cover pictures are visible to the public by default, so choose them wisely!
  5. I also review every time I’m tagged and decide whether or not that’s something that I want to appear on my timeline.  Please note that if you choose not to have a post you’re tagged in appear on your timeline, it still appears on their timeline.

By knowing how the privacy settings work and how/where to change them, you can continue to use your ONE personal account for personal and professional purposes!

Social Media Privacy Check Up – Part 1

Are you happy with your social media privacy settings?  Do you even know what they’re currently set to, let alone where to change them?

The good news is, most social media platforms have improved, simplified and clarified their privacy settings in recent years.  The bad news is, based on questions I’ve fielded in recent presentations and seminars, many users have yet to master these settings.  Among the questions I’ve been asked. . .

  1. Should I create a 2nd LinkedIn profile if I’m considering a career in a different industry?
  2. Is there a way I can hide my LinkedIn profile, or parts of it, so that someone doesn’t think I’m over-qualified?
  3. Can I temporarily suspend my LinkedIn profile while I make certain changes?
  4. Should I create a 2nd Facebook profile – one for fun and one for a professional footprint?
  5. Should I create a Facebook business page for myself for professional purposes?

The short answer to each of the above is “No!”  If you take the time to learn and master your account privacy settings, there’s no need to create unnecessary duplication of profiles.  Not only would a duplicate profile violate user terms, in fact, profile duplication can do more harm than good.

LinkedIn, LinkedIn Settings, Privacy & Settings

Let’s start with LinkedIn.  To locate your LinkedIn privacy settings, you’ll want to click on the icon in the upper toolbar that contains your profile picture (if you haven’t uploaded a profile picture, click here!).  After clicking on that icon, select “Privacy & Settings” from the drop-down menu.  Privacy & Settings is split into three distinct areas: Account, Privacy, Communications.

LinkedIn, LinkedIn Settings, Privacy & Settings

While you should check each and every setting, in particular, here are the ones you’ll want to review:

Under Account/Basics:

  1.  Name, location and industry:  See how this information appears to other people on LinkedIn and make changes, if needed.

Under Privacy/Profile Privacy:

  1.  Edit your public profile:  Control how you appear when people search for you on Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc. as well as which profile contents are displayed (picture, headline, websites, posts, summary, current position and details, past positions and details, volunteer experiences and causes, projects, skills, education and details, recommendations, and groups).  You can also make changes to your profile summary, which is especially helpful if you want to describe a change in career focus.
  2. Sharing profile edits:  As you make changes to your profile, you can turn off the notifications to your network that would ordinarily accompany each change as it’s made.
  3. Profile viewing mode:  When you view someone’s profile, do you want them to see your name, location, industry and headline?  Or do you prefer generic characteristics?  Or do you prefer complete stealth mode?

You cannot temporarily suspend your LinkedIn account, so make sure you adjust your settings accordingly.  As a way to check how your settings impact the information that’s visible in your profile, you’ll want to go to Profile in your main toolbar and then select Edit Profile.  The blue button next to your profile picture will say “View profile as.”  Click that button and in the white toolbar that appears under the black toolbar, toggle between connections and public (those you’re not connected to).

LinkedIn, LinkedIn Profile, View Profile As

Don’t forget that the value of LinkedIn lies in being found and finding others.  The more active you are and the more information you include, the more valuable of a tool it becomes.

In my next post, I’ll address how your privacy settings in Facebook can help answer the questions that I’ve fielded in recent seminars I’ve given.


Considerate or Creepy?

FoursquareThat’s the question I posed to my Facebook friends earlier this year when I was wrapping up a consulting project.  I wanted to give the person who referred me to an opportunity, a small token of my appreciation.  At the time, Foursquare had not yet split its check-in activity into a separate app called Swarm.  Since I was connected to this individual on Foursquare (and she checked in on Foursquare frequently), I was familiar with the restaurant and entertainment venues she likes.

At first I was a little concerned that using this information could be construed as creepy.  But, she was posting to Foursquare and syncing her check-ins to Facebook (where we’re also connected).  Rather than guessing at where she might like a gift certificate to, I could give her a gift I knew she’d enjoy, by using her social media activity she’s chosen to share publicly.

But before I purchased my gift, I posted my question to my Facebook friends.  In an unscientific poll, it was a near unanimous opinion that using the shared social check-in information was considerate.

This is just one example of how social check-ins can be valuable.  Businesses can learn about customers who frequent their location.  Customers can often receive incentives for checking in (free items, discounts, Wi-Fi access).  It can also be used as a search engine tool to discover new businesses in an area or see what’s trending in your area.

Social check-ins can also be used in the job search process.  Job seekers may be able to learn information about the hiring manager (and visa-versa).  But, be careful with the information you choose to publicly share and the check-in knowledge you choose to use.  Not everyone will view the “considerate vs. creepy” question the same way!

What are your thoughts on social check-ins?  Do you participate?  Do you find value in them?


Are You Missing Facebook Content?

During a recent conference call for a consulting project I’m working on, someone asked why he wasn’t seeing Facebook updates in his News Feed for a business page he had liked.  He assumed (as most do) that by simply liking the page he’d automatically see their posts.  It’s a great question and one that has two answers!

The first answer has to do with Facebook’s complicated and relatively secretive algorithm.   The easiest way to see more content from a business page you’ve liked is to engage with their posts (like, comment and/or share).  The more you engage with their content, the more Facebook will show you their content in your News Feed.

The second method is also easy but not as obvious to many users.  In just three steps, you can ensure you’ll see posts from a Facebook page you’ve liked!

  1. If you go back through your Facebook News Feed, “hover” your mouse over the logo or name in the News Feed. It will bring up a box that will show the cover image, how many/which friends also like the site, and there will be 3 buttons (Liked, Following, Message).
  2. Hover your mouse over the Liked button within that box and it will drop down a menu (Get notifications, Add to Interest Lists, Unlike).
  3. Click on “Get notifications” and you’ll be sure to see all postings from that page regardless of Facebook’s complex algorithm that computes what it thinks you want to see!

I’ve included a screen shot that shows what this box and drop-down menu looks like. You can do this for any page you’ve liked on Facebook and if you ever change your mind about a page, simply un-click this preference setting (or even unlike the page entirely).

Facebook, Business Page, Facebook Business Page, Engagement, Facebook Engagement, How to See Facebook Content, Facebook Like

If you’re unable to locate a previous post for the page in your News Feed, you can go directly to the Facebook page for the company by conducting a search.  Once on their page, hovering over the “Liked” button (“Liked” button is immediately below the cover photo) will give you the same drop-down menu mentioned in Step 2 above.

Of course, Facebook changes their site features and settings frequently and their mobile apps work differently than the main site.  I hope this helps you with your Facebook experience.  If you’re wondering about filtering content in your News Feed for friends, I’ve written about that in this post.


We Take Care of Our Own

If you know me personally, or go back far enough into my blog archives, you’ll know that I’m proud of my New Jersey upbringing, which includes being a fan of Bruce Springsteen.  After all, that’s the law of Garden State citizenship, isn’t it?  😉

In his last album released in January 2012, Bruce’s first single was titled “We Take Care of Our Own.”  Sample lyrics include:

“I’ve been knockin’ on the door that holds the throne
I’ve been lookin’ for the map that leads me home
I’ve been stumblin’ on good hearts turned to stone
The road of good intentions has gone dry as bone
We take care of our own
We take care of our own
Wherever this flag’s flown
We take care of our own

From Chicago to New Orleans
From the muscle to the bone
From the shotgun shack to the Superdome
We yelled “help” but the cavalry stayed home
There ain’t no-one hearing the bugle blown
We take care of our own…”

While the meaning of song lyrics is often left to multiple interpretations, one could see where Bruce is possibly (probably?) singing about economic hard times.

Whether or not you’re a fan of his music, there’s a lot of truth to the sentiment of taking care of our own.  That’s true whether it comes to business networking or job searching.  Think about it.  If you have a friend or family member looking for work, aren’t most people more likely to want to help them first than a total stranger?  What if you belong to a networking group, a social group or even a group on LinkedIn?  Aren’t you more likely to share a lead with a fellow group member . . . someone you know, “one of your own?”

If you believe that premise, as I do, then the song serves as a great reminder in the power of networking.  Networking should not be limited to when you need something or are looking for work.  It’s something that should be done year-round regardless of employment status.  Active networking is more effective than passive networking, so make sure you remain visible.  And, for it to be the most effective, you must give to get.

Listen to the song here, and then get motivated to create a networking plan for the next month!  What does your networking plan include?


Twitter Fraud Advice for the Novice

As with most social media platforms, if you use it long enough, you’ll eventually come across all sorts of hackers, spammers and scammers.  On Twitter, I sometimes wonder if there’s more fraudulent users than legitimate ones – and that doesn’t even take into account inactive members.

The fraudulent Twitter accounts I laugh at the most are the ones that promise thousands of followers a day if I simply follow them, follow their system, purchase their material outlining the secret to Twitter success, etc.  Have you seen these members or even had some follow you?  Here’s a recent example of one to follow me:

Twitter Bogus Member

An account like the one above raises so many red flags for an experienced Twitter user.  First and foremost, if your system truly can deliver 1,000 followers per day, why does your account only have 104 followers?!?  Other red flags include a lopsided following-to-followers ratio, an abysmally low Klout Score, no bio (just a sales pitch – and a bad one at that), and a plea for followers.

For those who are new to Twitter, you’ll want to watch for some of these red flags mentioned above.  I also strongly suggest you value quality over quantity when it comes to building your Twitter presence.  I’ve spent nearly four years building my Twitter account.  Followers come and go, but if you place quality over quantity with how you use and manage Twitter, you’ll trend upwards organically.

What other advice would you give to the novice Twitter user?


The $209,200 Question

Ithaca College, IC, Ithaca, Communications, Park School of Communications

Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College (via

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a conference call with current students at Ithaca College, who are interning at the Office of Career Services.  Our chat centered around marketing, social media and the lessons I’ve learned in “the real world” since graduating from Ithaca College and leaving South Hill for Rochester, NY.  I enjoy giving back to my alma matter in this fashion, so when asked if I could spare 15-20 minutes on a Wednesday afternoon I didn’t hesitate to accept.

My favorite question that was asked by a student was, “What is the skill a graduating senior would need most in order to secure employment?”  Since I didn’t know the questions in advance, my mind raced with possible answers. . . .

Communications:  I majored in Communications, so this was an easy answer to give.  Virtually all jobs require good communication skills!  I dismissed that answer as something that should be a given.

Marketing:  These are marketing interns, so a broad-based marketing skill set would be valuable.  After all, marketing applies to all job seekers because they’re ultimately marketing themselves to prospective employers.  So, I dismissed that answer too, since it should also be a given.

Networking:  As a job seeker, it’s not just what you know.  It’s also not just who you know.  It’s who knows about you which is equally important.  What’s the best way to make sure recruiters, employers and hiring managers know about you?  Networking!  I had my answer!

Whether in-person or via social media, networking is truly an important skill set that graduating seniors should possess.  It’s also a skill that won’t be taught in most classrooms.  Some colleges do, however, teach networking to their students (along with personal branding).  I have first-hand experience that Ithaca College currently does this.

I was able to stress to these students that their networking efforts should begin immediately with fellow students, professors and other professionals.  Two other important points about networking, especially for students who are likely to be new to networking:

  1. Make sure you practice a “give to get” philosophy.  Seek out ways to help the person you’re networking with and/or what you can bring to your professional relationship.  Effective networking is a two-way street.
  2. Emphasize quality over quantity when it comes to your network.  It’s better to have a network that’s half the size but twice as effective.

If you were faced with that same question, what would be your advice to a graduating senior?

As to the title of this post?  That refers to the current 4-year total of tuition/room/board at Ithaca College.  🙂


Do You Have A Twin On LinkedIn?

Do you have a twin on LinkedIn, or have you ever found someone on LinkedIn with a duplicate profile?  It’s more common than you might think.  There are a few ways this can happen:

Accidentally . . . . It generally happens because someone creates a profile with one email address, then is invited to connect by someone who sends the connection request to a different email address.  LinkedIn has no idea that the two email addresses belong to the same individual, so it prompts that person to create a profile using that second email address.

Intentionally. . . . Someone creates a profile using an email address, but then they lose access to that email address (i.e., a work email at an employer they no longer work for).  Since they can’t access that account, they start over with a new profile but don’t take the time to delete the original profile.

Needless to say, a duplicate profile is confusing for people looking to connect with you.  And whether accidental or intentional, having a duplicate profile isn’t great for your personal branding, because it gives the impression that you’re not technologically savvy.

The best way to avoid a duplicate profile is to provide LinkedIn with all of your email addresses.  You then have the ability to select which one you display publicly on your profile.  Then no matter which email someone uses to send an invitation to connect, LinkedIn will know it’s you.  Here’s how you do that:

  1. Go to settings (hover your cursor above your name, above the search box in the upper right hand corner).
  2. Once on your settings page, scroll down and select “Account” in the bottom window.
  3. You’ll see a section for “Email & Password” with an option for “Add & change email addresses” which you’ll want to select.
  4. Follow the instructions per the screen capture below.

LinkedIn, LinkedIn Email Settings, Avoiding a Duplicate Profile

If you already have a duplicate profile, there’s no way to merge the two together.  Your best bet is to pick the one you want to keep.  Generally it’s the one with more connections and/or recommendations.  Looking at the profile you plan to delete, see if there are connections you have which you do not have on the profile you plan to keep.  You’ll want to send them a customized invitation to connect on the profile you plan to keep.

When you’re satisfied that you can delete one of your accounts, you’ll find that setting in the same general area under settings, then account (pertinent areas highlighted in pink):

LinkedIn, Account Settings, Where to Close Your LinkedIn Account, How to Close Your LinkedIn Account

Once it’s deleted it’s gone, so be sure you’re ready to delete!  If you’re in a situation where you can’t access the profile you want to delete (i.e., you no longer have the password and/or access to the email associated with the profile, etc.) you’ll want to contact LinkedIn customer support to explain the situation.  Long-time readers of my blog know that I haven’t always had great luck with LinkedIn customer support, so be patient.  🙂


Follow Up To: LinkedIn Policy Is Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Despite my previous post “LinkedIn Policy Is Guilty Until Proven Innocent” being only three weeks old, it’s already climbed to be the third most viewed post I’ve written to date.  I guess the perceived injustice of LinkedIn’s policy on discussion posts and spam touched a nerve with many.  It should, if you actively post discussions to groups.

Many people asked me where on LinkedIn’s website they could read about this policy.  I tried to find it before I wrote that post and couldn’t.  All I had at the time was private correspondence between me and LinkedIn Support, as well as what other have shared (also correspondence).

You can read about other users’ experience with this policy in a LinkedIn forum:

While the above link illustrates that users have been impacted by this policy, it’s still just a forum.  It’s not something “official” from LinkedIn.  Therefore, I’ve decided to share correspondence that I received from LinkedIn, because I feel it’s important to back up my criticism of their policy with something factual.

Correspondence One:

Here’s my polite request to LinkedIn support asking if they could provide me with a URL on their site that specifically talks about this policy:

LinkedIn, SPAM, LinkedIn Spam Policy, LinkedIn Group Discussion, LinkedIn Policy

Correspondence Two:

LinkedIn has a tendency to use canned responses.  I guess that’s understandable given the amount of messages they receive.  This didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know from their other correspondence.  It also didn’t give me a URL, which is all I wanted.  Here’s what they had to say:

LinkedIn, SPAM, LinkedIn Spam Policy, LinkedIn Group Discussion, LinkedIn Policy

Correspondence Three:

In a final attempt, I asked them once again for a link or URL they could point me towards which specifically details this new policy.  Sadly, they hide behind a generic user agreement and apparently do not address this specific policy on their site.

LinkedIn, SPAM, LinkedIn Spam Policy, LinkedIn Group Discussion, LinkedIn Policy

So at the end of the day, LinkedIn is a free site.  You’re not forced to participate.  They get to make the rules.  If you don’t like them, that’s your problem not theirs.

But, that doesn’t mean I have to be silent about an unfair policy that treats its users as guilty until proven innocent.  If you share these feelings, let LinkedIn know how you feel by contacting them directly through their site.  You can also help spread the word by sharing this post and the original post this links to.  And if you disagree, that’s fine too.  You’re still innocent until proven guilty in my eyes.  😉