Keppie Careers http://www.keppiecareers.com Social media speaker, social media consultant, job search coach Fri, 18 Apr 2014 13:18:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 How to start a business on the side while working http://www.keppiecareers.com/start-business-side-working/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/start-business-side-working/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 10:30:07 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=11228 In case you hadn’t noticed, the freelance economy is taking off: more and more people are working for themselves as consultants, selling products or services and creating businesses on the side, even while working a full-time job. These entrepreneurs have what has...

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Social Networking Business Success Cover SmallIn case you hadn’t noticed, the freelance economy is taking off: more and more people are working for themselves as consultants, selling products or services and creating businesses on the side, even while working a full-time job. These entrepreneurs have what has been dubbed a “side hustle,” or an extra, income earning business they run while working a traditional 9 to 5 job. In our book, Social Networking for Business Success, Hannah Morgan and I term these solopreneurs “MOXIES,” an acronym for people “managing other (secondary), x-tra income engagments.” This term is intended to help remove the stigma some people associate with “hustling.” Moxie refers to someone who has “courage, nerve or vigor,” according to Dictionary.com. Anyone planning to run a business on the side will require all three.

True job security does not exist. Even government workers, long considered “safe,” have begun to experience the layoffs and uncertainty long common in other fields. Creating new income streams for yourself is prudent, forward thinking and goal-worthy. However, until you are able to be self-sufficient with your MOXIE gig, you don’t want to endanger your day job.

Here are some tips for anyone thinking of starting a business while currently employed:

Do not work on your side job while you are on-the-clock at your full-time job. 
This should go without saying, but depending what you’re trying to do, it can be difficult to accomplish all of the tasks for your business after hours. Use your lunch hour wisely and consider taking advantage of your vacation or leave time to manage important tasks for your side business. Depending on what type of business you are growing, you may find yourself in legal hot water if you planned your successful side gig on company time or property. Be careful not to use any company equipment or resources when you are growing your new business.

Be alert to non-compete rules you may need to consider. 
It’s not wise to grow your side business at work with the plan to steal clients from your existing company and quit, although clearly, people do this all of the time. Ideally, you’ll be able to make a clean break when you are ready and maintain a strong relationship with your current company. In many cases, the company will become your first client, especially if you’re an essential employee.

Don’t ignore the possibility that you can grow a passion or interest business on the side that has nothing to do with your current employer. MOXIEs in that situation often have an easier time maintaining both their 9-to-5 and traditional job.

Never share proprietary information from your current company to grow your own business. 
Can you say, “lawsuit?” You don’t want to launch your new business with the prospect of legal action against you. Be mindful of ethical rules as well as specific guidelines your current company expects you to adhere to so you won’t be in trouble later.

Look for opportunities to learn new things at work to help your future business. 
There’s nothing wrong with volunteering for projects or asking to take classes that may help you in your future endeavors. Be alert to ways that you can put yourself in situations that benefit you as an employee and may also help propel your own business later. It’s up to you to seek out these win-win opportunities. You’ll be glad you did when you’re able to solve a problem on your own or can rely on your past work experiences to handle an issue when you’re working for yourself.

Tap into social networks. 
In Social Networking for Business Success, we explain in-depth how employees can use social media to help them effectively grow their networks and business opportunities. Key things to remember: social media is free, you can use it at all hours of the day or night – including early in the morning and after work hours – and it allows you to easily tap into resources and information that can help you grow your business.

Use tools such as a personal blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ to demonstrate your expertise and meet new people. It’s not easy, and there is no magic wand, but you don’t need a million fans; all it takes is a few great contacts who are willing to take a chance on you to launch a new business endeavor.

Save your extra money. 
You may need that income if you unexpectedly need to leave your current job, so if possible, plan to create a fund that will help you more easily leave your day job if that becomes necessary.

Be aware that your successful side business won’t be a secret for long. 
While it’s possible to grow something without people finding out your plans, once you begin to succeed as a MOXIE, expect you’ll need to face your employer and come clean about your moonlighting. Be aware of company policies regarding earning income outside of office hours, and be prepared to answer questions about whether or not you are using company materials or property to grow your side business.

If having a business puts your full-time position in danger, be prepared to face the consequences. You may want to have a heart-to-heart with your boss before people start gossiping about your side gig around the office. Keep in mind, if your side business does not compete or seem to interfere with your day job, you may face no resistance at all. If you are building an empire similar to your current employer’s, and you can’t make a case for how your personal success helps the company, be prepared to be shown the door if your employer accidentally runs across your new website or reads an article about you online.

More advice:
Quitting your job? 10 things to do before you leave
Break out of your job search rut
3 reasons employers won’t hire overqualified candidates

Originally published on AOLJobs.com.

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11 places you haven’t been networking http://www.keppiecareers.com/more-places-to-network/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/more-places-to-network/#comments Thu, 10 Apr 2014 10:30:23 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=11226 Everyone knows that referrals are the best way to land interviews, but are you taking advantage of the plethora of networking opportunities you likely encounter every day? Anywhere you can meet someone you don’t know or might like to know better is...

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petsEveryone knows that referrals are the best way to land interviews, but are you taking advantage of the plethora of networking opportunities you likely encounter every day? Anywhere you can meet someone you don’t know or might like to know better is a chance to network; the more people you meet and convince to invest a little time and energy getting to know you, the more chances you will have to push the door open to a job opportunity.

When you network, keep one thing in mind: always talk to people you don’t think can help you. You read that right: you cannot judge a book by its cover, and you never know if the barista at your local coffee shop or bartender at the local watering hole may be able to hook you up with someone who works at your target company. Be open to the possibility that everyone you encounter is a potential link to your next opportunity and networking will be a lot more palatable.

Here are some places you may not have thought of as networking opportunities:

1. The unemployment office
Just because someone doesn’t have a job doesn’t mean he doesn’t know people who do! Just as you have many skills, suggestions and areas of expertise, so do people you may meet while waiting to file for your unemployment benefits or at a workshop about how to write a better resume. Be generous with your expertise, ideas and resources and other people are likely to return the favor.

2. Recreational events or classes
Whether or not you are employed, it’s always a good idea to attend events where you’ll have a chance to meet new people. If you join a pick-up basketball or bowling league, you may have a chance to get to know new networking contacts who could help you land an interview.

If you think your networking needs a jump start, take a class. It doesn’t need to be something related to work, and you may meet someone new while you learn something new.

3. Volunteering
In addition to being a nice thing to do, all types of volunteering can help you network. You never know when the person next to you serving up the main course at a soup kitchen may be a great contact. While volunteering for a charitable cause is terrific, also consider serving as a volunteer for your professional organization or association. These groups often need people to help out at conferences, and if you introduce a speaker at a national conference, it gives you a chance to meet him or her! Even working the registration table can be a great way to meet people.

4. Places with children and pets
Parents of children and “fur kids” have many opportunities to network. The dog park is a great place to meet people who share at least one of your interests, and if your children are involved in sports, ballet, art class or just enjoy playing outside, you have many chances to meet new people if you take your eyes off your phone long enough to make eye contact with someone. Keep in mind, if you’re the parent who does nothing but complain or starts arguments at little league events, you aren’t likely to win many friends.

5. At the gym
Typically, most of us don’t welcome the opportunity to seek professional contacts while red-faced and sweaty, but the gym can be a great place to network. If you’re really smart, tuck a few business cards in a pocket or in your gym bag and have them at the ready when you work out.

6. Online
You know you can meet new people on all of the social networks, and that LinkedIn is the go-to professional network, but you may be missing some big networking opportunities online. Have you thought about how Twitter can help you land a job? It’s become en vogue to tweet using a hashtag during televised sporting events and other high-interest programs. You can make a new networking contact tweeting praise for your favorite college team or during a televised red-carpet event. Don’t ignore the non-traditional networking opportunities and you could meet a new fan.

7. At the coffee shop
Don’t be one of those annoying people who won’t stop talking to someone while he or she is working, but if you frequent a coffee shop, you may be able to meet some new people, both staff and other customers. Be polite and recognize when someone doesn’t seem to want to talk to you (maybe he or she doesn’t realize the value of networking). Don’t forget to chat up the barista if you go in when it’s not busy.

8. Shopping
If you go to the mall or your favorite boutique, you may be able to strike up a conversation with someone – even in the dressing room. Most people love to be told that they look great in the outfit they are considering, so you have an easy opening.

9. At the hairdresser
Your hairdresser has the opportunity for extended conversations with all his or her clients who likely come from a variety of backgrounds. Don’t miss the opportunity to tap into this potential network.

10. Anywhere there is a line or a wait
As long as you’re not sick, any waiting room can be a great place to network. The post office or grocery store line may also provide good opportunities to have a brief conversation with someone new. If you’re strategic about what you say, it’s possible to begin a networking relationship with a stranger.

11. Wherever people gather
Yes, it’s true: some people have successfully networked at funerals and wakes. You don’t want to be disrespectful or attend such an event with the sole purpose of meeting a particular person, but if you happen to strike up a conversation while fondly remembering a mutual friend or acquaintance, there is nothing wrong with following up later.

When you keep in mind that your potential network is all around you, you’ll be able to break out of your job search rut and be open and available to new opportunities to meet people. Keep in mind: it’s easier to network when you’re dressed for success, so put on something halfway decent, even when you go to the grocery store. And, even with Smart phone technology, it’s always a great idea to have traditional business cards to hand out, even if you aren’t currently working for an organization. Be sure to carry networking cards that make it easy for someone to know how to contact and stay in touch with you.

More advice:

Originally posted on AOLJobs.com

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How to succeed when you work from home http://www.keppiecareers.com/succeed-work-home/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/succeed-work-home/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 10:30:46 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=11224 Flexible work is all the rage lately, with employers allowing, or even encouraging workers to telecommute, shift hours, split shifts or share jobs. How can you make sure to keep your career on track when you work from home? Benefits...

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MoneyFlexible work is all the rage lately, with employers allowing, or even encouraging workers to telecommute, shift hours, split shifts or share jobs. How can you make sure to keep your career on track when you work from home?

Benefits for employers and workers are widely documented. Employers benefit when employees work hours and times when they can get the most done. Employees who avoid challenging commutes and have the opportunity to easily handle situations at home without interfering with work are generally happier and more productive. It’s a win-win.

However, you don’t want to get complacent, even if you work most of the time from home or come into the office at odd hours. Keep in mind, even though more and more employers are embracing flexible work arrangements, it’s still up to you to manage your career. You don’t want to be “out of sight, out of mind” when it comes time for promotions or special opportunities you may welcome as part of your professional development. Keep the following tips in mind to maintain effective communication so you remain visible on a flexible schedule and can move forward with your professional goals.

Maintain Relationships
Even if you don’t see your colleagues or supervisor in the office or socialize around the water cooler, make a point to keep in touch and keep up with information you’d be privy to as a regular in the office. This will take extra effort on your part. Make a point to pick up the phone and speak to your colleagues, even if it isn’t necessary for work. If someone is celebrating a special event in the office, consider making a trip in to attend. You’ll help keep yourself top-of-mind when people see your face at events.

Work Regular Hours
Even though your work arrangements may be technically “flexible,” make sure you keep teammates posted so they know what hours you are available on a regular basis. They need to know when they can expect easy access to you, even when you are working from home. Keeping regular hours that your colleagues can count on will make it easier for them to schedule meetings you can attend remotely. If you’re working a chaotic schedule, don’t expect your teammates to make the effort to arrange meetings or events around you.

Demonstrate Flexibility
While you benefit from flexibility, ironically, your best tool to make sure the arrangement works and doesn’t derail your career is being flexible yourself. This can be challenging, as you’ll likely set up your outside of work life around your scheduled hours. However, there will be times when you may need to inconvenience yourself and work outside of those hours to accommodate an event or important call or meeting. If you don’t want to find yourself in a dead-end job, do it willingly, and expect your colleagues will be more likely to work harder to accommodate you another time.

Use Technology
With online tools and applications, you can almost make your colleagues feel like you are a part of their daily interactions, without leaving your remote office. If they are not already using video conferencing and teleconferences, make it your business to keep abreast of new tools that could help make it easier for you to maintain your flexible work arrangement while keeping plugged into what’s going on in the office.

More advice:
Gross workplace habits you avoid when you work from home
How can you make mistakes work for you?
What NOT to do if you want to make a good impression at work

Originally posted at AOLJobs.com.

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Gross habits your coworkers hate http://www.keppiecareers.com/gross-habits-coworkers-hate/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/gross-habits-coworkers-hate/#comments Thu, 03 Apr 2014 10:30:42 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=11220 We spend most of our waking hours on the job, so it’s natural that we’ll catch each other engaging in some unfortunate habits. The problem with bad habits is, sometimes, people don’t know how much they are grossing out their...

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file0001506268281We spend most of our waking hours on the job, so it’s natural that we’ll catch each other engaging in some unfortunate habits. The problem with bad habits is, sometimes, people don’t know how much they are grossing out their colleagues. If your co-workers seem to be in a permanent bad mood, it may be because of you!
Check this list and make sure it doesn’t describe anything you’re doing at work. Add your grossest pet peeves in the comments, and we’ll tweet out the best ones using the hashtag #GrossAtWork.

Picking. 
Nose picking, skin, zit picking – picking at yourself should be reserved for when you’re behind closed doors. In fact, you shouldn’t put your hands near your face at all during the day. Think of all those germs you’re transferring – yuck.

Uncovered coughs and sneezes. 
Especially during cold and flu season, but really, all year long, it’s pretty gross to watch someone sneeze all over the place. Or, worse, to sneeze or hack into his or her hand and then touch virtually everything you’re going to be touching later. Lysol, anyone? Keep some tissues or a handkerchief handy and sneeze into your arm or elbow if you absolutely must. It can’t hurt to make a big show of washing your hands if you have just deposited all of your germs into them, too.

Clipping nails. 
It’s mind boggling that people think clipping nails is an appropriate activity for in public. If you don’t want to provide the means for someone to cast a nasty spell on you (don’t they always require nail clippings?), do not pull out those handy clippers in your cubicle or anywhere in public; it doesn’t matter if you’re trimming your toes or snipping your hangnails. It should go without saying, but luffah-ing your feet or any part of your body is also a no-no at work. (Yes, this does happen.)

Plucking.
Like clipping, plucking just about anything at work is a big “ick.” Don’t pull out your compact and start tweezing your eyebrows or nose hair where anyone can see you.

Flossing. 
In general, flossing is a good idea, but not in public. Seriously: no one wants to see what comes out from between your teeth, and leaving the dirty floss on the bathroom sink at work is considered especially disgusting.

Doing laundry in the restroom.
Certain things are always best when done at home, and laundry is one of those things. Wearing clean clothes is a big “yes,” but rinsing out your undergarments or other attire in the office restroom is a “no.”

Not flushing the toilet. 
No one can quite figure out why people don’t think they need to flush the toilet, but it’s high on the list of gross habits at work. Perhaps you are saving water at home, but make a habit to flush the toilet in public or the person following you into the restroom is going to get an unpleasant surprise.

Putting on your contact lenses. 
Perhaps not the most egregious of all faux pas in public, popping in your contact can make some of your non-contact lens wearing friends a little squeamish. It’s best not to do it at your desk. At the very least, go to the restroom, where you can wash your hands first.

Poor table manners. 
Unless you want people to think you were raised in a barn, make a point to eat with your cutlery and not your hands if you want to get ahead at work. Pushing food onto your fork with your fingers doesn’t count as using your silverware, either. While you’re at it, don’t eat off of your knife, either. If no one will go to lunch with you, maybe you now know why.

Heating up smelly food. 
Before you put something in the microwave, stop and think: will this food make the entire office stink? If the answer is yes, consider bringing a cold sandwich instead and you won’t burn any bridges.

Leaving a mess.
Unless your housekeeper follows you around at work, make a point to clean up after yourself. Trash, dirty coffee mugs and remains of your meals and snacks shouldn’t greet your colleagues when they visit your office or cube or frequent the staff lounge after you. While you’re at it, declutter your stuff. No one wants to look at your messy papers and files, either.

Now it’s your turn to share pet peeves in the comments below.

More from Miriam Salpeter
How to make yourself essential at work
Signs you work at a disfunctional office
How to know if your boss is out to get you

Originally appeared on AOLJobs.com.

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April Fool’s Day Suggestions for Work and Job Search http://www.keppiecareers.com/april-fools-day-tips-work-job-search/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/april-fools-day-tips-work-job-search/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 13:06:37 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=11879 It’s April Fool’s Day, otherwise known as “don’t believe anything your friends post on Facebook” day! Are you a big prankster? Think twice before pulling a fast one on your boss and then posting it to every social media channel...

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Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 8.56.53 AMIt’s April Fool’s Day, otherwise known as “don’t believe anything your friends post on Facebook” day! Are you a big prankster? Think twice before pulling a fast one on your boss and then posting it to every social media channel you can access!

Are there pranks that are safe for work? It depends on where you work, and how much “fun” people like to have. Read my post about April Fool’s pranks that won’t get you fired over on AOLjobs.

Still think you need to figure out a great joke to pull on someone today? Listen to my regular spot on WIOD radio. Today, I talked about an app for wanna’ be pranksters without an idea and reminded listeners that using Twitter for job search is not a joke and shared reasons why. Click on through to listen, and Happy April!

 

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How to manage mistakes at work http://www.keppiecareers.com/manage-mistakes-work/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/manage-mistakes-work/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 10:30:31 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=11218 “We all make mistakes.” You no doubt heard that mantra many times growing up to assuage your feelings about messing something up. However, it isn’t a phrase often heard at work. Just because no one volunteers to soothe your ego after...

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file8841246481259“We all make mistakes.” You no doubt heard that mantra many times growing up to assuage your feelings about messing something up. However, it isn’t a phrase often heard at work. Just because no one volunteers to soothe your ego after a goof at work doesn’t mean those mistakes don’t happen. 
The key to managing a mistake at work is to handle it with some humility. We’re all bound to make a mistake at some point. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be fired. Here are some tips to keep in mind when it’s your turn.

Admit the error.
Everyone knows someone who is “never wrong.” Don’t be that person. When you realize you’ve made an error at work, the best approach is to bring it to your boss’s attention before he or she points it out to you. Unless there’s a reason you cannot admit the mistake in person (such as your boss is out of the country), your best bet is to speak face-to-face. If you email your superior in the office down the hall to let her know about the problem, you will look like a coward who made a mistake.

When you notice your own error and alert people who need to know, you help diffuse the situation, and end the potential wait for someone to call you on your blunder. On the other hand, if you wait to admit the mistake, you could cause a bad situation to get even worse.

Don’t make excuses. 
Excuses may fly on the playground, but they land flat at work and make a bad impression. “I was tired.” “I got the project late from Sue and didn’t have time to double check it.” “Bob didn’t tell me I needed to fix those numbers.” When you start to come up with a list of reasons you messed up, not only do you appear immature, you risk inadvertently blaming someone else for your error, and that’s not going to win you any friends.

“I made a mistake” is the best way to inform people of your error. Own the problem, avoid the blame game and apologize. Most people will admire you for being forthright and you’ll be on your way to making amends.

Make a plan to ensure you never make that mistake again. 
Depending on the nature of the error, you may want to share your plan with your colleagues and boss, but the most important thing is to be sure you don’t wind up in this situation next time.

Volunteer to help fix the mistake on your own time.
If there is any way that you can address the error, make sure you volunteer to handle it on your own time. If it means coming in early, staying late or making phone calls to affected parties to apologize or address the error, you should step up and take responsibility.

Move on. 
The phrase, “Everyone makes mistakes” echoes in your ears because it is true. Don’t dwell or obsess about the error. Even if it was a serious mistake, don’t start writing your resignationunless someone’s given you an indication that your mistake was so egregious that there’s no way to rectify it. Be positive and use the situation as a lesson that will help you avoid errors at work in the future.

More from Miriam Salpeter
How to make yourself essential at work
Is your boss out to get you?
Signs you’re in a dead-end job

Originally appeared on AOLJobs.com.

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I don’t want to recommend my friend for a job http://www.keppiecareers.com/dont-want-recommend-friend-job/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/dont-want-recommend-friend-job/#comments Tue, 25 Mar 2014 10:30:01 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=11216 When it comes to work, there’s nothing much more important than your credibility and reputation. It’s up to you to maintain and uphold them, or risk losing potential opportunities down the road. So, what should you do when a friend...

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file000269479938When it comes to work, there’s nothing much more important than your credibility and reputation. It’s up to you to maintain and uphold them, or risk losing potential opportunities down the road. So, what should you do when a friend asks you to recommend him for a position in your organization, but you’d rather stand on your head all day than refer him for the job?

It’s a sticky situation, especially if you care about the friend and realize that referrals and recommendations from current employees are the best way to land jobs. In many cases, having an existing employee pass along your resume or support your candidacy is a surefire ticket to having a resume reviewed, so your friend is smart to ask for your help.

What are your choices when a good friend asks for your assistance landing a job he isn’t well suited to do?

Agree to help your friend, but make a lukewarm referral. Keep in mind, even if your referral is unenthusiastic, you’re still risking your reputation if your friend can’t perform. Even just passing along the resume puts you in the position of helping a non-qualified person access your employer, and you could look bad if it does not work out. Choose this option at your own risk and keep in mind: a lukewarm referral may do more harm than good.

Explain to your friend why you don’t think the job is a good fit. You may be able to avoid having an in-depth conversation about your friend’s qualifications if you can find reasons she wouldn’t enjoy the job. Is it a toxic workplace? Will the commute be really long? Is the salary too low? Will the work environment be ill-suited to her? Be clear about the negatives about the organization as they relate to her working at the same company as you and discourage her from applying.

Come up with an excuse. Maybe you don’t like to mix business with friendship, or you had a bad experience in the past recommending a friend and when it didn’t work out, it hurt the friendship. You don’t necessarily need to provide details, say she isn’t likely to be a valuable employee or explain why you can’t make a referral, but if you have a good reason to defer, you may be able to avoid hurting the friend’s feelings with too much honesty.

Help re-direct your friend to a different company or industry. Explain some reasons why you think he is not getting hired. Suggest he work with a coach to help identify how he can be more competitive in the job search. Sometimes, it’s easier to hear tough news about your qualifications from someone who isn’t close to you. You could do him a huge favor by spending time talking about how to identify target companies and discussing how to apply for appropriate jobs.

Tell your friend honestly why you cannot refer her. This can be very difficult and uncomfortable, but it is possible that hearing some honest, constructive criticism from you may help your friend in the long run. It is just as likely that it could be the kiss of death for your friendship, so tread lightly and recognize that you do not have a responsibility to detail your friend’s foibles, nor to explain exactly why you’d never suggest her for the job.

More of my posts:
How to break out of your job search rut
How to snap out of a bad mood fast
Bad habits to avoid

Originally posted on AOLJobs.com.

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Tips to publish on LinkedIn http://www.keppiecareers.com/publish-on-linkedin/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/publish-on-linkedin/#comments Sat, 22 Mar 2014 13:51:08 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=11817 Need some incentive to try out LinkedIn’s new publishing platform? If you publish on LinkedIn, you may gain visibility with a new audience. I wrote about the reasons to try writing on LinkedIn’s platform already, but today, I’ll share my...

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candy jarNeed some incentive to try out LinkedIn’s new publishing platform?

If you publish on LinkedIn, you may gain visibility with a new audience. I wrote about the reasons to try writing on LinkedIn’s platform already, but today, I’ll share my experience, and I hope you’ll let me know how the platform works out for you, too.

I published my first post on March 4th. I did it on a whim, and I believe it went live around midnight ET. I immediately started seeing page views, likes and comments on the post — mostly from European contacts! Keeping in mind the 6- or 7-hour time difference, it made sense that a lot of those people were checking their LinkedIn feeds early in the morning. I would never have calculated that result, but it certainly got my post off to a good start.

Another important point — I added a fun, colorful image — the same one I’m using in this blog. This may have had something to do with its success. I found the image on MorgueFile.com.

My title (in keeping with Employee Appreciation Day that week): Do you deserve to be appreciated at work?

Screen Shot 2014-03-22 at 12.43.06 AM

Whether it was the topic that resonated with people, or the timing was exceptionally good, the post did get picked up in the careers news section, and I saw 75+ new subscribers to my newsletter in less than 24 hours! (I included a link to my list embedded in the post.)

You can see how many Tweets (64), Facebook Likes (140), G+ shares (19) and LinkedIn shares (1618) the post has had since publication. 14,116 views, 576 likes and 96 comments — not bad for a first try!

I wanted to see if lightning would strike twice, so I published again two days later. This post: How to improve your mood, did achieve 855 views, but it was not picked up on LinkedIn’s content network, Pulse, and the shares, comments and other stats are much less impressive than my first post. I published this post in the evening hours, which was a mistake, as many of my new LinkedIn “followers” were likely sleeping at that time! Was it the content, the timing, the photo, a combination? Probably a bit of each.

Considerations

It is really fun to watch the post’s stats update before your eyes. Not that I was obsessed or anything, but it seemed like every time I clicked back to my first post, it had another few hundred views and comments kept coming! I made a point to respond to most of the comments and to add my own “likes” and mentions in the comment stream. My profile views skyrocketed during the first day after the post was published, although I did not see a lot of new requests to connect, which was surprising. If I wanted to be strategic about increasing contacts, I could have asked each person who commented to connect.

Duplicate Content

A big topic of conversation is the issue of duplicating content online. If you already have a successful blog up and running, you may have heard Google does not like duplicate content. Some people even say Google will penalize you for duplicate content. This may be true, so consider it if you do plan to duplicate your content on LinkedIn. The platform does allow you to duplicate your content, so it’s up to you if you want to share it on LinkedIn. If nothing else, be sure to give the post on LinkedIn a different title from your original post.

I have noticed that some very prominent bloggers who know a lot about social media marketing ARE directly duplicating their content from their blogs to LinkedIn. Take this all under advisement, and keep an eye on Google’s recommendations.

I can tell you that my LinkedIn post ranks on Google for the topic, and the image I used even comes up in a visual search for the topic.

What’s Next?

I publish three times a week already — for U.S. News & World Report and AOLJobs, so I haven’t written for  LinkedIn’s network since that second post didn’t take off as much as I had hoped. I’ll probably spend some time researching other successful posts and consider headlines that are timely and topical before I do. The great thing is that you can easily see stats for every post on LinkedIn; it’s easy to see what resonates with the audience.

I’m sure I will publish on LinkedIn again, and I hope you do, too. Let me know how it goes!

Don’t miss my first post about LinkedIn’s publishing platform: Reasons to try writing on LinkedIn’s platform.

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Tips to write great LinkedIn posts http://www.keppiecareers.com/tips-write-great-linkedin-posts/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/tips-write-great-linkedin-posts/#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 18:33:25 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=11800 Have you seen the magic “pencil icon” in your LinkedIn status update? Are you even watching for it? If you have something to contribute to the professional dialogue in your field, you won’t want to miss the chance to publish...

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Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 8.41.43 AMHave you seen the magic “pencil icon” in your LinkedIn status update? Are you even watching for it? If you have something to contribute to the professional dialogue in your field, you won’t want to miss the chance to publish your thoughts on LinkedIn.

Previously reserved for a limited number of “influencers,” including CEOs and other thought leaders, LinkedIn’s publishing platform will be rolling out to all users. You can request access by submitting a request to: http://specialedition.linkedin.com/publishing.

Why would you want to publish on LinkedIn?

First things first: if you already have a thriving blog or publishing platform, you’ll want to be strategic before you start to post content on LinkedIn. While LinkedIn allows you to duplicate content you’ve already written on your own site to publish on LinkedIn, it is possible that Google may penalize you for duplicate content and you may lose some search traffic as a result. Keep abreast of Google’s recommendations regarding cross-posting, which include posting a link to the original post in the duplicated blog.

However, if you have never blogged, there’s a lot of upside to posting on LinkedIn’s platform. It allows you to:

Demonstrate your expertise. When you write an article on LinkedIn, it is tied to your profile and available to anyone reviewing your information there. When you articulate complex concepts or describe strategic ways to address problems in your field, you can enhance your status and stature as an influencer in your field.

Expand your network. If what you write resonates with your audience, they have the opportunity to follow your updates, which could potentially increase your network, especially if they share your insights to their networks, which potentially expands your audience.

Who sees your posts?

Assuming you mark your post as public, LinkedIn notes that your posts will initially be distributed to your connections and followers via their LinkedIn homepage newsfeeds. As noted, your posts will also be linked in the “posts” section of your profile, which is under the top section of your profile with your headline and photo.

As more people read, comment, like and share your content, LinkedIn may pick up the article for broader distribution. They may distribute your posts as part of aggregated LinkedIn content (e.g., “Best of LinkedIn”) or on their trusted partner sites. You may find your posts featured on their news service, “Pulse,” which allows people to subscribe to topical news items.

Tips to extend your reach.

Consider the audience. Investigate topics in LinkedIn’s Pulse. (Found under the “Interests” tab on LinkedIn’s toolbar). Review “all channels” and identify what channel your content would most likely fit. Note that LinkedIn readers tend to be focused on business oriented topics; this isn’t the place for you to share your essay waxing eloquent on why the color green makes you feel peaceful. Keep your audience in mind and target your posts for the best chance at wide distribution.

Engage and interact. LinkedIn also notes that the more you engage and interact on LinkedIn by reading and commenting on posts, the more authority and influence you’ll gain. They note, “Your activity on LinkedIn will affect distribution. The more you engage with the platform the more reputation you’ll build, and the more likely members will follow you and your posts. Liking and commenting on other posts are good ways to engage.” In other words, don’t just drop off content and expect it to skyrocket you to fame and fortune. Be a contributing member to your community and you could be rewarded with higher visibility and influence. And, don’t forget to revisit your post to respond to comments and acknowledge people who reply to you.

Cross-promote. Don’t forget to share your post in groups and other social networks. Post links on Twitter and Facebook; turn to your most supportive networks. I’ve seen colleagues post specific requests to comment and share their latest LinkedIn posts, often resulting in the posts’ resounding success.

What should you write?

The best content taps your professional expertise. LinkedIn suggests you write about, “Challenges you’ve faced, opportunities you’ve seized or important trends in your industry. This could include your most memorable work experiences, lessons you’ve learned along the way, or topics you’re most passionate about.” You’re encouraged to write about your opinion; use your own voice; these posts can be conversational as well as offer strategic insights and actionable information. Obviously, LinkedIn advises you to avoid posting anything “obscene, shocking, hateful, intimidating or otherwise unprofessional,” or LinkedIn may revoke your publishing rights.

Before you take up the digital pen, be sure to read posts, with a discriminating eye. The platform is very transparent, in that you can immediately acertain how many views, likes and comments it has. It’s easy to see how often it’s been shared to other networks. Seek posts with lots of engagement and emulate them in your own way.

How often to contribute?

Don’t overdo it. Many influencers write once a week. Quality is more important than quantity, but if you really want to gain a following, be sure to be consistent.

How long should posts be?

This depends on your audience, but most people prefer short, but insightful posts. There are no word limits, and LinkedIn says posts of more than three paragraphs do best.

Decorate your post.

You can include uploaded pictures, videos, presentations and other documents to add to your content. If you hope to gain any traction on LinkedIn’s network, absolutely include a photo with your post. Be sure you have authority to distribute the picture and that you source it appropriately. Morguefile.com is a good source of free images to research.

Edit.

There’s nothing more credibility killing than a poorly written post laden with typos. If you’re not detail oriented, employ a friend or editor to review the content before you post it online.

Avoid selling.

LinkedIn could disable posts that are extremely and overtly selling a service or cause. (That’s what ads are for!) However, you can include links to information about you online, insert a bio and let people know if you have other publishing platforms, such as a blog or business site.

Legal concerns.

If you’re picky about what happens to your content, be aware that, while you own the rights to any posts you publish, LinkedIn’s terms say they may “distribute your content, annotate your content (e.g., to highlight that your views may not be the views of LinkedIn) and sell advertising on pages where your content appears.”

Summary

It can’t hurt to try your hand at publishing on LinkedIn if you are a strong writer and have something to say — or if you can hire an editor to help craft or hone your message.

Visit my first post on LinkedIn about appreciating employees. Stay tuned for another post breaking down my experience publishing on LinkedIn.

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Why freelancing is here to stay http://www.keppiecareers.com/why-freelancing-is-here-to-stay/ http://www.keppiecareers.com/why-freelancing-is-here-to-stay/#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 10:30:50 +0000 http://www.keppiecareers.com/?p=10946 While the news about the growth of the independent workforce continues to hit the blogosphere and traditional media outlets, some job seekers still haven’t embraced the opportunity to actively focus on sustainable, independent work. Gene Zaino, CEO of MBO Partners, a business...

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freeWhile the news about the growth of the independent workforce continues to hit the blogosphere and traditional media outlets, some job seekers still haven’t embraced the opportunity to actively focus on sustainable, independent work. Gene Zaino, CEO of MBO Partners, a business platform to help independent professionals succeed, says he believes that independent work is here to stay. Here are his six reasons to consider independent contracting as a viable, long-term alternative to traditional work:

1. The sheer number of independent projects. According to MBO Partners’ Third Annual Independent Workforce Report, up to 50 percent of the private workforce in this country will be employer independent, that is, providing services as free agents to more than one client. With this level of projected growth, workers can assume a greater volume of work will be emancipated from full-time positions and into project roles, creating sustainable opportunities for those who go solo.

2. Independents can work from anywhere. Location is not a barrier. The proliferation of mobile and Internet-enabled work led to an environment where contractors can safely and securely work from any location, emancipating workers from the need to sit at a desk to perform knowledge services. Zaino notes: “This, in turn, led to a virtualization of work, a trend that when placed alongside the projected growth of the project economy, leads to an even greater sustainable stream of work services independent of full-time roles.”

3. Independent workers are not specific to any generation or age group. Independent workers come from all demographic age groups, and are split 50-50 between men and women, suggesting this is not a niche trend, but a role that those in all age groups find appealing for different reasons. Some independent workers appreciate the flexibility they earn when taking on contract work, and others recognize that cultivating different sources of income can actually be more stable and secure than drawing a paycheck from one company.

4. Support for independents is growing and thriving. ”There are a host of innovative solutions and systems supporting the rise of solo workers, including health care, insurance, marketplace tools and co-working facilities that are joining together to make it fun and easier to be an independent professional,” Zaino explains. As more people earn their livings as freelance workers, both social and technical support communities grow to help enhance the independent worker community.

5. Social media tools make it easy to showcase expertise and grow your network and business. Years ago, to start a business likely required an actual storefront and a large marketing budget to get the word out about your services. Today, social networking tools such as LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter and Facebook make it easy for any expert to highlight what he or she knows to an exponential number of people. Potential freelancers and independent contractors can use these networks to indicate they are well-versed in their fields. With a focused effort, motivated professionals can become go-to thought leaders in their fields simply by connecting with the right people online and sharing useful news and information.

6. Independents won’t go back. Zaino says: “Regardless of the reasons they chose independent work in the first place, the majority of independents won’t go back to traditional roles, even if they face challenges being out on their own.” The MBO Partners’ report reveals only 1 in 7 independent workers ever wishes to return to traditional employment, and most are overwhelmingly satisfied with their current work life.

“The average independent has already spent 10 years in this work style,” Zaino explains. “Together, this successful and satisfied self-employed cohort is contributing $1.17 trillion to the economy, and hiring (via contract work) the equivalent of 2.5 million full-time workers. Further, 14 percent want to not just stay independent but go on to build a bigger business, suggesting the self-employed are the country’s economic engine.”

Consider pursing freelance opportunities; you may find they’re satisfying ways to earn a living.

Originally published on U.S. News & World Report.

 

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