Monday, July 23, 2012

Linkedin builds credit, Facebook shares love

According to Forbes magazine, Facebook users on average spend a little over 6 hours per month on the site while Linkedin users spend 20 minutes on the site every month.

Obviously, Facebook would win in a popularity contest.

Yet, Linkedin is where one builds one's professional / career / business CREDIT.

I've answered over 800 questions on Linkedin, becoming the #1 career advisor (I mostly answer questions on Career). This has led to a $10,000 seminar leadership contract at a Montreal university.

So certainly, participating on Linkedin Answers has paid off for me.

It can pay off for you, too.

Tip: Use the Dragon NaturallySpeaking software (only $150) which will transcribe everything you say into words on the screen. The accuracy is amazing: 99%.

This way, you can just speak and answer questions on Linkedin Answers, and build your credibility that way.

The bonus is that if your answers are good, people will start inviting you to join their network. I've some 3,000 connections, 99% of which came from people inviting me. I rarely invite anybody (although I should!).

So for career or business matters, Linkedin is the place to be.

Facebook is where people share, well, lots of love and good feelings and inspiration and all of that stuff is good. In fact, it's great.

But to advance in one's career (or build one's business -- especially if you serve B2B clients), Linkedin is a must.

GOOD NEWS! I recently decided to create a directory of Linkedin letters that you can just copy and paste, so you will save LOTS of time. All subscribers of this blog will receive that directory of 500 letters for free (regular value: $97).

Stay tuned for more details!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

What if you're downsized?

In your opinion, out of 10 people who are fired, let go or downsized, how many of them were SURPRISED?

Most people would agree that all 10 people would be surprised.

Why is that?

Well, it is our human nature to overestimate our value and, in this case, to overestimate the strategic or financial contribution we make to the employer organization.

Linkedin then serves as a kind of insurance, enabling us to find a new job relatively quickly -- if we are downsized or let go.

However, Linkedin itself is just a tool.

The two KEY ingredients of effective and proactive career management are:

-  How big is the contribution you are able to make to an employer organization?
-  How big is your network? (Yes, size matters)

If you read the fabulous little book by Ram Charan, What the CEO wants you to know, you will understand why and how companies hire.

By understanding the basics of business, as explained by Charan, you can position yourself in a way that makes you indispensable or even critical to a business organization.

So that takes care of question #1, in that you must translate your human capital (education, experience, skills, talent, etc.) into terms that a BUSINESS organization can understand and appreciate.

In other words, the first question is all about your Unique Value Proposition (UVP).

Here's a "magic" sentence that will help you get started as you think about and draft your UVP.

Fill in the blanks: "I help .......... to do .................. so that ..............."

Example: "I help consumer goods companies to create effective and robust marketing plans so that they can maximize revenues and profitability."

A VP marketing or director of marketing, might have written the above Unique Value Proposition and included it in his Linkedin profile.

That way, all potential employers, headhunters and his own Linkedin connections, will have a clear idea about what he is all about, career-wise.

As for the second question (How big is your network?), it is fairly technical and relatively easy since you can build more and more connections by participating on Linkedin Answers or joining Linkedin Groups.

Unfortunately, I've observed that most people on Linkedin do not have a clear UVP.

I read their profiles and I don't have a good sense of what they are doing for employers or clients.

Remember that employers will "show you the money" (i.e. make a job offer) only if they first see your Unique Value Proposition.

Everybody can write a good resume or a good cover letter.

The winners in the job market, as well as those who get promoted up the corporate ladder, are the rare folks who know their Unique Value Proposition and communicate it clearly and consistently to all their career allies (on or off Linkedin).

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Your Linkedin profile is KEY to your success!

The current issue of Forbes magazine has a feature story on Linkedin, and reveals the strategic thinking that led Linkedin CEO Jeff Weiner to successfully develop the company in the last four years.

Surprisingly, the article seems to bash Facebook while glorifying Linkedin, and I was a bit surprised by the blatant lack of objectivity in comparing the two companies.

However, facts are facts, and the author did back up his argument by mentioning, for instance, that Linkedin's share value has risen by 61% this past year, and its gross profits have increased by 70 % (its net profits by 100%).

The article also points out that Facebook cannot make money if its users are not online and reading stuff, while Linkedin DOES make money even if Linkedin users are NOT on the Linkedin site.

This is because Linkedin has developed sophisticated algorithms to mine the data and information about users, so that corporate talent scouts can efficiently find the candidate they are looking for.

Apparently, corporate employers are willing to pay up to $8,000 a year to have access to the search capabilities of Linkedin.

All of this bodes well for corporate talent scouts and headhunters, especially since one can expect the Linkedin population to keep growing far into the future.

But what about you, the Linkedin user?

When I first started blogging about Linkedin in June 2005, my focus was -- and still is! -- about empowering Linkedin users.

That is, the hard-working professionals and managers who constitute the majority of the Linkedin population.

I certainly don't mind that headhunters and corporations are benefitting from Linkedin, and I don't mind that Linkedin shareholders are poised to benefit financially from the information provided by Linkedin users.

My focus is really to help Linkedin users like YOU to benefit professionally and financially from Linkedin.

You benefit professionally by learning about how to market yourself on Linkedin

You benefit financially by learning how to market your freelance services or your products/services (if you're an entrepreneur) on Linkedin.

I've given workshops to career advisors in universities and continuing education centres, and I must say that Linkedin has not yet caught on in academic circles or in colleges and universities.

Yet, Linkedin is a very, very, very powerful tool for managing one's career.

Here are, in my opinion, the 8 steps you need to learn before you can master the Linkedin game:

Unique Value Proposition (UVP) *****
Profile **
Engagement *
Communication ***
Cocreation **
Contracting ****

The number of stars (or asterisks) gives you an indication of how difficult the task is:

No * : Easy
* : Difficult
** : Fairly difficult
*** : Very difficult
**** : Really difficult!
***** : So difficult that you could use professional help!

You see, what most people don't realize is that what you do on Linkedin, REVEALS to potential clients and employers WHAT IS IN YOUR MIND.

And since Linkedin caters mostly to professionals (not workers in the retail sector or blue-collar jobs), then you might or might not get a job BECAUSE of what you write (or don't write) on Linkedin.

Linkedin, then, is a marketing tool.

And like most marketing tool (brochure, website, blog, TV spots, radio commercials, etc.), you need a good copywriter.

The copywriter is the skilled professional who captures your human capital and "translates" it into words that will grab the attention of potential clients, employers, collaborators, etc.

These words will also establish your credibility in the Linkedin world.

Take your Linkedin profile, for instance.

If it's well written, it will project the very best image of you (even while you're sleeping!).

If it's not written well, it will ruin your reputation online and severely jeopardize your chances for career advancement.

Friends, I'm not trying to alarm you, I'm simply saying that your profile must be PROFESSIONAL.

Indeed, if you can't even manage a few paragraphs to protect YOUR career interests, how can you possibly manage a real corporate job to protect the interests of the employer?

That's what employers are thinking when they read your profile.

Your profile gives people an indication of how serious you are about your career.

In the next few posts, I'll discuss the other 7 steps.

But for now, please feel free to email me your current Linkedin profile and I'll do a free makeover for you.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Free workshop slides on Linkedin

I'm developing a strategic workshop on Linkedin for a Montreal university, please drop me a line at with "Linkedin workshop slides" if you'd like to receive the slides.

In a few years, Linkedin will become a cyber economy where users can trade, buy, and sell anything that is digital (and even small physical goods that can be shipped by FedEx or regular mail).

In other words, what is missing is a sort of Craigslist INTEGRATED into the Linkedin system. This is why you should start, right now, to plan and develop digital products that you can sell or trade on Linkedin.

You can also start offering services online, like I do here:

People pay you online, and then you deliver the services by email, phone, Skype, etc. To stimulate your imagination about what the future of Linkedin will be like, I recommend James Canton's book, The Extreme Future. Right now, most people use Linkedin for networking and building connections.

That is the basic idea or functionality, but that is NOT where the real money is. The real money or the true wealth, comes from understanding that...

Wealth = Value X Leverage (I learned this originally from wealth consultant/author Roger Hamilton, who created the Wealth Dynamics framework -- find him on Youtube).

In short, if you know what your Unique Value Proposition, then you can LEVERAGE Linkedin to make money. Lots of money.