How to improve your online presence

Recently, my cousin asked me a few questions regarding his online presence. He’s aware that nowadays having and keeping a resume is a thing of the past and what’s crucial now is to improve your online presence. My answer to him was two-fold; the first part regarding LinkedIn and the second, his personal blog.

5 ideas to improve your LinkedIn profile

My cousin followed some tips from my LinkedIn for professionals post and took some notes from this other one. However there were some ideas left out from those posts:

  1. Put your contact number in your profile.
  2. Write what you did in your last job. Be brief but specific. Don’t describe everything. Just put what you think was more valuable for the company.
  3. If you’re bilingual, create a profile in several languages in order to increase your chances.
  4. Polish your introduction so it says where you’re coming from, where you’re going in life and why should someone hire you. Don’t be afraid to propose your personal aspirations. Some of the best companies look for creative people with their own interests.
  5. LinkedIn has a “skills and expertise” section where you place keywords on the things you know how to do. Then, your contacts can validate that skill without having to write a long recommendation. Place a list of words there and then tell your friends which ones they should like 😉

 

5 ideas + 1 for your personal blog

  1. Find a cheap hosting provider and use wordpress. The installation is very easy. If you refuse to learn how to install a blog, you can buy a domain and point it to a free wordpress.com blog. I recommend wordpress because it requires less work and the templates are overall quite professional.
  2. Choose a minimalist theme. Search Free WordPress minimalist theme on google. Here are a few. The theme I use is this one and here’s another variant. Also, wordpress default theme is pretty good and I’d recommend you start with that one if you don’t want to go in too deep.
  3. The most important thing is that at first sight people know what it is you do. Place the same introduction you used on LinkedIn right below the headline. Mine is “Machines should work for you and not the other way around. So ever since I was a kid, I teach people how to improve their lives with technology.” –It can be improved, but I’m happy with it. Shorten that intro as much as you can, but don’t dismiss what you delete. We’ll be using that later.
  4. The purpose of a blog is to create authority out of nothing 😉 and for this, you need to project who you are: the guy who knows. Take what you deleted from the introduction and write a post.

    My cousin works in technical support, so I suggested him to write a series of posts regarding the winning aspects of a tech support department. I bet you have two or three posts in you about how to improve your workplace. Write them down! Those will be your first posts.

    The idea is that when people google something like “how to manage a tech support department”, your post will appear. When writing, think keywords; think on an article that anyone would look for. It’s very simple to structure that post: you write a two-line intro and make a list, just as I’m doing in this post.

    At the end of 2010 I spent a couple of hours every day for almost a month and the result is what’s on the blog right now. Beginnings are always difficult because you’re rusty. But afterwards, you end up pulling out posts like churros.

    Also, when starting you’ll feel cheap, as in “damn! what I’m saying sounds so obvious and it makes me seem like a used-car salesman”, but many times you’ll be helping people, or writing things that are interesting to others. Every time I do a post about “tools to organize your life” I feel like I’m not saying anything new, but it seems people do read them and surely no one notices how uncomfortable I felt when writing them.

  5. At the end of each post, write a short description of who you are. This is why there’s a wordpress plugin called: About author (there are dozens!). In this description (very short) you should write at the end “If you’d like to work me with me, you may contact me at:” and you can add your LinkedIn links or an email address. Don’t let them get away!
  6. WordPress allows you to schedule posts to publish them in the future. If for some reason you write two or three, don’t publish them in a row, space them out in time so it seems you write one per week.

This whole having a blog thing is crucial. Imagine if you’re looking for a job and the recruiter winds up with two candidates, one who knows her stuff and another who knows and has a blog about it. Which one do you think the recruiter will pick?

 

5 essential steps for promoting your business in social networks

Social networks have forever changed the way we market ourselves and make money. When 100% of your leads have accounts in more than one social network, you stop wondering if your company should use social networks and start thinking how to profit from using them.

So, whether you think that Twitter, Facebook, Orkut or LinkedIn are a waste time, you can’t escape the reality that part of your job will be to promote yourself within the current social networks.

 

1. Create a company profile

Your company should have a profile in the main social networks and this profile should have the same name in every network. I recommend you use namechk, a tool that allows you to validate if a username is available within 162 social networks.

When it comes to Facebook, a lot of people create a personal profile for the business. This is a big mistake for two reasons: it prevents people from “liking” your company and you miss out on the visitor’s statistics offered by Facebook. So, make sure you create a “page” and not a Facebook profile.

»

3 LinkedIn profiles that work while you sleep

A few weeks ago I wrote about the importance of having a good LinkedIn profile and how you could revamp yours.

Days later, I searched among my friends and found three profiles that stand out above the average. So much so, that they motivated me to write a follow-up article and share these summaries with you:

Iria Puyosa

I’m focused on research & consulting on social capital, social networks, TICs for development, community organizing and public opinion formation.

I work to build a network of knowledge-sharing in all venues I transit, such as universities, social movements and the social web places.

I apply the lenses of social capital and networks of information to all my professional projects, adapting and adjusting to the different needs I face.

Iria summarizes in three lines in which specific fields she might be useful in. She also earns extra points by placing the Spanish translation immediately after it.

Luis Nouel

What matters is not what you know because you’ve read or your degrees. What really matters are the experiences that have shaped your view.

I have participated in many interesting projects about marketing, communication and strategic management. I have been privileged to work at companies of different sectors as chemical, communication, retail sales, consulting and training.

Let me share with you what I’ve learned over the years. I’d love you to join me to keep learning.

Luis immediately reflects an attitude of walking along with you: learning a little bit more every day. That attitude of not only working, but  learning,  immediately shows how much an organization would gain by having Luis on board.

Freddy Andara

“Stuff & Thoughts” or shall I say “Goods & Services”. My business is obtaining the thing any business needs. Much more than a buyer. Procurement is no longer an Operational task; it has a life of its own, it’s a core activity within any enterprise, Resource Management is vital for a healthy business and any Project must know from the get go, What, Where and When do we really need those key elements to achieve the established goals.

As a Procurement Specialist my job is to help with the design of solid and sound yet dynamic Procurement Plan, endorsed by the highest International standards. Getting to know any specialized market and adapting to its mainstream.

Freddy is making a powerful statement. It’s impossible not to perceive his knowledge and passion for his field of work.

These three summaries comply with the empirical rules for a good LinkedIn profile that I previously established in the first post of this series.

  1. Does not mention college degrees.
  2. It is written in the first person.
  3. It can be read and said in less than a minute.

Because of that, these are also good examples of that 15-second marketing that I’ve been talking about.

Linkedin for professionals

Just as Facebook has become our default social lubricant, LinkedIn is the global standard to connect with other professionals. Almost all of my friends who have changed jobs in the past year, have been hired for their current job via LinkedIn.

Nevertheless, they all have an embarrassing LinkedIn profile. Yes, these very same persons who know how to use computers, who have invested hundreds of hours on Facebook, who have summarized everything they are within the 160 characters that the Twitter profile allows, who have understood the social network dynamics, are advertising themselves to the workplace with a vague attempt of transcribing their résumé.

It’s only natural. LinkedIn is a social network for work contacts.  So logically, the LinkedIn profiles have the structure and appearance of a résumé sheet. And thus, the first temptation is to empty out our résumé in LinkedIn.

But the reality is that your LinkedIn profile is your best chance to advertise yourself for free. It’s a banner that you can strategically place where all the headhunters pass by. Or as I prefer to look at it: a low-maintenance cage trap.

Over three years ago, Guy Kawasaki reviewed this issue. Kay Luo, Director of Corporate Communications at LinkedIn, helped him to restyle his profile.

The most important lesson that we can extract from restyling Guy’s profile, is how he restructured his summary:

Before:

Evangelism at Apple, new product development and introduction. Love ice hockey

After:

My personal mantra is “empower entrepreneurs.” When all is said and done, I’m a marketing guy. I established my professional reputation as a software evangelist at Apple back in the 80s. Now I lead a peripatetic (peripathetic?) existence: blogger…

This summary:

  1. Doesn’t mention college degrees.
  2. Is written in the first person.
  3. Can be read and said in less than a minute.

These three elements create a winning profile. Imagine we’ve just met, I have a problem and you think you have the solution. I ask you what you do and you suddenly change to the third person and throw in my face your college background. I couldn’t care less about your college background. The question is what you do, not the hoops you had to go through to get there. The answer to that question is the summary. If I want to read more about you, I will read the rest of your résumé. But if you present your degrees first-hand, I will probably conclude that you are a degree collector, and I will keep looking for someone who actually wants to work.

 

Résumé 2.0

Writing a résumé is an essential skill that every professional should have. But the world has changed since the last time the “rules” to write a résumé were established. Your LinkedIn profile needs to start with a sales phrase. A headline. The 15-second pitch that I mention here.

This summary needs to be written so that it can be read by a human being, like a story, if possible. Think of the militant informality of your Facebook profile, combine it with the seriousness level that you are comfortable with at your ideal job, and you will have an idea of how your LinkedIn profile should be.

After the summary, you go can to the facts, talk about your experience and education. And don’t forget the photo.

It doesn’t matter if it sounds ridiculous the first time, you can go on adjusting it little by little. I guarantee that at the end you will have a résumé worth reading and without a doubt, one that stands out from the bunch.

How’s your LinkedIn profile? What are you waiting for? Come on! Stop wasting time on Facebook and do something for your future. It’ll only take 30 minutes of your life!