In March 2011, I received a lovely message [here] from Reid Hoffman, CEO of Linkedin, @quixotic, for being among the first 100, 000 out of 100 million members (I’m in the first 0.03% of members). Though – I think he could have created a stronger message, upped the game against Facebook and created long lasting buzz by giving the first 100, 000 members some stock options….
I received a lovely letter on March 25th from Reid Hoffman, Co-founder and Chairman of Linkedin. He wrote to personally thank the first 100, 000 linkedin members as Linkedin secured its 100th million user last week. I was member 39, 974 – in the top 0.03% (so better than top 1%) of early adopters for Linkedin. Okay – so my ego is stroked. Honestly though – its not just ego – but I feel strangely validated for having promoted Linkedin to scores and scores of colleagues over the years.
Here is a copy of that letter:
I want to personally thank you because you were one of LinkedIn’s first 100,000 members (member number 39974 in fact!*). In any technology adoption lifecycle, there are the innovators, those who help lead the way. That was you.
We hit a big milestone at LinkedIn this week when our 100 millionth member joined the site.
When we founded LinkedIn, our vision was to help the world’s professionals be more successful and productive. Today, with your help, LinkedIn is changing the lives of millions of members by helping them connect with others, find jobs, get insights, start a business, and much more.
We are grateful for your support and look forward to helping you accomplish much more in the years to come. I hope that you are having a great year.
Co-founder and Chairman
*Your member number is the number embedded in your LinkedIn profile URL (after “id=”).
I started using Linkedin over seven years ago mostly because as a mobile IBM worker, I had no desk and so keeping a rolodex wasn’t digital enough for me. I was also using Friendster, encouraged by a friend in Hong Kong, well before Facebook took over my personal social life and I tried Plaxo for a bit before I gave up.
I really only grasped the huge value of Linkedin, however, when I took my first maternity leave in 2005 only to return 12 months later and instantly be able to find my marketing network because each person had updated their own profile. Heaven.
In 2009, when the market took a dive and I was laid off in my twelfth month of my second maternity leave (after hiring a nanny), I turned to linkedin to better position me and my business. I used Linkedin strategically – optimizing not only my profile but how I used the tool in order to make connections, update my network and secure information.
In the year of exponential social media growth (still in 2009), I had a lot of friends in career transition. Many of whom were not on Linkedin or if they were, not using the tool well. So I started to trade drinks for lessons with friends. I got pretty good so I made my community give back to volunteer at employment centers around the city to teach disadvantaged people how to use social media to find a job. I taught close to 700 people how to use Linkedin. During that time – I started to win business through Linkedin – some quite sizable deals – not to mention provide social media education & consulting across the gamut of networks. I often asserted that too many companies forgot Linkedin as a potential B2B strategy.
(Its at this point that I fear readers think a personal usage of Linkedin formed the only foundation for my social media expertise… no actually my eight years in emerging tech at IBM and years in marketing – contribute far more)
This is all a long way of saying how grateful I am for this relationship with Linkedin. And it certainly was nice to see correspondence from Linkedin outside of their proprietary messaging system.
I am often asked how to set up linkedin’s privacy settings in order to maximize profiles for being job found and candidate considered. To make this easier for the individuals who attend my ‘Using Social Media for Job Search” presentations, I have made a handout of my personal settings as a reference guide for job searchers. Simply follow my settings to set up your account in Linkedin. [note: this is available in slideshare under my linkedin profile]
1. In Profile Settings: Make your profile public
For job searching – you will need to open up your public profile so that prospective employers and recruiters can find you.
Make your profile photo visible and display the full profile information. On the next page, you will see which items you can check off for public publishing. I recommend checking off EVERYTHING while you are job searching. Once you have a job – you can scale it back.
2. Network updates: Maximize your view on what your network is doing
In your home page settings area of your account settings – you can manage your “NETWORK UPDATES”. This area is where you control what updates you receive on all your connections. If you are job searching – then choose a high number of updates that you would like to see on your home page (see below little pull down menu with the no. 25). Then choose to see all the updates.
Networking in 2009 is about interacting and engaging. Good interactions have good graces; engage about other people’s new news. You see someone get a new job – congratulate them. Increase your network size by following what others are doing.
3. Privacy Settings: Manage what others see about your activities.
This section holds some of the most important settings. You want to control what changes or activities other people can see.
3.1 Profile Views: Who views your profile?
Beyond recruitment searches, the viewings are also driven by your status and news updates, your participation in any questions & answers as well as key terms that are picked up in key word searches (in your profile, in the summary, in the specialties listing).
When you click on “see more” – you can see five profiles of who viewed your profile. How much you see below depends on the privacy settings for the individual.
4. My Network: Using your network
The last setting is under “my network”. At an initial pass, some recruiters or opportunities filter out those who are not looking for a job or contract positions. Leave yourself open.
Good luck in your job search.
I trust that you’ve found this file helpful in setting up your Linkedin account. Please feel free to drop me a line on how you are doing.
– Laurie Dillon-Schalk @ldillonschalk
This handout was prepared by Laurie Dillon-Schalk to share with newcomers to Canada and people in transition for employment resource agencies funded by Employment Ontario.
I’m in a stare down with an executive of one of Canada’s largest recruitment and placement firms.
“Why would I be on Linkedin?”
I know what he is really saying. He has an army of staff using all the social networks, doing all the modern recruitment so he doesn’t need to. He is retiring probably in 2 – 4 years. He is at the top of his game. So why would he? Fortunately – I had an answer for him.
“So.. you strike me as someone who would probably leave a legacy after retirement.. so when you move on and head up some kind of non-profit, worthy cause – wouldn’t it be nice to be able to connect with all your contacts? I guess more importantly, social networking is changing the entire business model, the industry, potentially profit margins for your business. Can you really understand what is happening until you have some kind of involvement in social media?”.
So he was very receptive to my answers – I think I made him think twice. I’m not convince I changed his actions though.
I had a similar conversation with another president – this one of an consulting firm. He saw value but he wasn’t convinced that many CEOs are on linkedin or have time for active management – well.. you got me there. I notice it too – executive level absence on social networks or is it just a reflection of generational divide on social networking?
Earlier though when I was talking about relationship management – he asked “why? why would I want more connections?”.
He wasn’t being sarcastic – just realistic. What does he have to gain in having more connections?
What I tried to impress is that on Linkedin (obviously different for other SNS) its not just about connections. How do people choose their advisor today? What is in their purchase criteria? Well.. I can bet it has something to do with referrals, testimonials, track records, and client lists – all of which are on linkedin [and if you choose a public profile in your settings – you become instantly at the top of Google’s pages – less so for very common names of course]
I challenged his team, who are on linkedin in various capacity, that I bet they are looked up on linkedin prior to engagement.
Now lets talk about connections. An expanded connection list is a fantastic way to keep in touch with past clients (as the saying goes.. cheaper to get business from a past client than new client acquisition) and to know if a key influencer/decision maker has moved on to a new role. Importantly, they can find you. Who keeps a rolodex anymore? (I do wish I could add contact informaiton into linkedin).
I sympathize the president though. He gets more calls for help than for value because of Linkedin. But then, as one of his partners pointed out, he likely does not have his profile set up to set expectations.
Its not what you know but who you know. Provocative. Not entirely true – I’d say its both but ‘who you know’ is on steroids with the advent of social networking hitting the recruiting industry.
The recruiting industry is undergoing profound changes in 2009. Hiring managers and recruiters are more satisfied with the quality of candidates from employee referrals and social networks (sns) over job boards. And social network sites are making finding passive job seekers easier, background checks a snap all the while making the route to placement faster and cheaper.
The better ROI on referrals and social networking use is shaking up the industry. Major placement firms will need to adjust and develop social media strategies pdq as from what I’ve seen online, in-house hiring managers are exploring how to better leveraging employee referrals and sns. An easy statement to say in a great recession.
I delivered a course yesterday requested by Tcet – an employment resource centre in Toronto. As a sign of the times and the need, 85 people registered, 65-70 people turned out for what was anticipated to be a 20 person course.
The audience varied from newcomer to Canada, to boomers, from all industry backgrounds, many of who had been laid off and looking for over three months.
I was advising those with no linkedin, nor facebook to focus on those two medium first. Not to worry about twitter until the first two are done. From Dan Schawbel’s excellent blog on personal branding — of the hr professionals using social media – 76% use linkedin, 67% use search engines, 44% use facebook and 21% use twitter.
I suggested that while the room was full of people trying to understand sns for job search, that the next room was likely recruiters doing the same thing. Its a wild west world in recruiting.
I look forward to posting my presentation on slideshare.