How often do you get to attend a talk by an actual employee of LinkedIn? I was lucky enough to do so this week and he left me with a profound thought, a very practical tip and momentum for a concern I’ve had for weeks.
His name is Perry Monaco and although he had a long career in recruiting, he wasn’t the pinstriped-suit business type I expected from LinkedIn. His twitter handle is @ElvisRun as he loves Elvis and runs marathons. Perry’s speaking session started quirky and unTED-like. It made me uncomfortable. Then I realized that he was telling a story, his story, and what he was here to do for us. His connection with the group came slower than traditional talks, but it was a stronger connection because he took the time to tell us who he was, professionally but with personality. It was brilliant. His most powerful tip that he left me with, goes beyond what I often call LinkedIN, a digital handshake. Perry tells us it should tell “your career story”. Where you’ve been, what you do now, and where you are going. Moving beyond resume, to relationship – after all isn’t that why people look you up on LinkedIn?
Working for LinkedIn gives Perry insight into the search algorithm that no one else, even I a LinkedIn evangelist/obsessionist can ever hope to know. His practical tip? Get your designations like your degree or certification ( CFRE for fundraisers ) out and off your title line. It actually pushes you down in the search algorithm. I asked at the session where it could go instead, education and your summary section was the answer. That’s a HUGE tip as it has classic real-estate on business cards and I’ve counselled people before to put it there, heck you earned the designation why not celebrate it! Always something to learn.
I leave you with a thought and question. Perry shared that he’s never had as many questions as he’s had around LinkedIn’s newest feature, Endorsements. Either have I. Of course it’s because they are a “push” and the have LinkedIn sending you emails when you get one. It’s confused and concerned many users. At first, I was concerned as it felt much like Facebook “Likes” and everyone knows how much I dislike Facebook. Then ego set in, at the time of this post I have over 525 endorsements - I am humbled and grateful for every single one of them. But as my buddy Al says, vanity is the devil’s favourite sin. In a great conversation with a peer of mine this week he told me that he too is flattered but several people endorsing him aren’t qualified to do so. I have more endorsements than every one of my business mentors combined, am I more skilled than them? That’s not just laughable but concerning it might look that way to the untrained eye. Criticizing LinkedIn brings me pain, it’s brought me personal success, powerful business relationships but this is a worry that has to be voiced. Here is the BEST read on my personal concerns around this feature, it’s a must read for any LinkedIn power-user. And in the other corner a thought on why they rock.
In 2013, social business is how work will work, not just for small business but all business. This week I had a solid business referral come through twitter. And so I’ll continue to explore it, I hope you’ll join me. I leave you with a great video to remind any sceptic why business professionals need better digital social-skills – enjoy.