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Posts Tagged ‘networking’

wtfSometimes I can’t believe the stuff I see on LinkedIn.  To wit: someone asks “Are arranged marriage more successful, and why or why not?”

I’m flabbergasted by both the question and some of the responses.  I just blew a few brain cells.

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Here are some free online learning resources you can use to do some research, improve your skills, and share information.

I like using free e-books, slide presentations, images, and videos to find cool ideas, information, and resources.

  • Scribd — a place where you can store documents online and browse what others have uploaded. I’ve found many useful e-books there.
  • Free-eBooks.net — more e-books, with a dedicated and more organized browsing system.
  • Project Gutenberg — digital versions of public domain texts, which means most of the classics, among others. Project Gutenberg aims to make the contents of our libraries available for free to the widest number of people possible.
  • ManyBooks.net — an extension that builds on the Gutenberg Project and other sources to offer texts in many different formats.
  • The Best 6 Sites to Get Free Ebooks — on MakeUseOf.com
  • SlideShare — A place to store slide presentations, such as PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, iWork, Word, or Open Office documents. I’ve found many a useful and interesting presentation there. Slideshare also lets you share and embed slides into other sites.
  • Flickr — the well-known photo storage site not only lets your store, organize, and share your images; it also has a neat Creative Commons section you can search for images from others which you can legally reuse (read the specific conditions applicable to the images.)
  • YouTube — not just for stupid pet tricks and movie previews; under categories like Education or Science & Technology you can find very interesting material.

And tools to get more tools:

  • Feed43 — If you have a little familiarity with HTML and carefully read the instructions, you can create feeds from sites that don’t already provide them; then you can route the feeds to your favourite reader.
  • MakeUseOf.com — a blog dedicated to scouring the Web for more tools of all kinds. Every day you get links to new resources.
  • Free Download A Day — daily suggestions of freeware and shareware you can use.

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Back in January 2006, Jason Alba, a young IT professional and up-and-coming business manager was laid off from the software company he had helped develop. He says that although he was was sure he would find another job in a matter of weeks, he found himself months into his job search with no success.

But as part of his job search, he rapidly got tired of complex spreadsheets and sticky notes to keep track of his job search activities and contacts, so he started developing a little online database application he could use like a customer relationship management (CRM) system. He soon realized that others would find value in this tool, so he started his own company to make the new tool, which he called JibberJobber, available to the public.

Three years later, Jason Alba owns his own business, is a successful speaker, and has published books and instructional DVDs on using LinkedIn and Facebook, particularly for career management and job search.

This week, Jason is celebrating: it’s three years this week he started his own business — and his fifth child was born just days ago. So I thought I’d point people in his direction, for several good reasons.

  • Inspiration. Jason’s story makes a great narrative of the guy down on his luck who rebounds, the guy who rewrites the problem statement in order to solve it. Go read or view the story in some of the interviews .
  • Useful resource. Actually, multiple useful resources. I usually hesitate to write about commercial products, but I’ve already mentioned JibberJobber.com a few times in previous posts. When I was laid off a year ago, I was convinced that I was tracking job search information just fine. But I still gave JJ a whirl — and within days, it saved me from forgetting important details (contact info, follow-up letters, etc.) I’ve been employed for over eight months and I continue to use JJ as a contact management database and a job journal. On top of that, Jason posts tons of useful information on his site, and his books are also useful to me.
  • Job search ≠ career. In his blog, Jason often explores the distinction between career development and job search. It’s a fine point that is easy to miss while you’re searching because of the urgency of finding a job, and easy to forget when you’re employed because the sense of urgency is now missing. In other words, we tend to manage our careers in crisis mode — hardly a smart plan. I’ve drawn a lot from the JibberJobber blog in this respect.
  • Trifecta. How could I pass a chance to congratulate Jason for the triple shot of his new baby, his recently released DVD, and the third anniversary of his company?
  • Special. Yeah, JibberJobber has a special going on all week. You don’t actually need to pay to use JJ, only for the premium features, so this may or may not matter to you. But I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of it, myself.

Congratulation, Jason!

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stopIn this troubled economy, we all know people who are looking for a job, whether they’re still employed or not. And I take it as a good sign that we want to be helpful, and pass tips along when we hear of a good opportunity that might match a contact’s background.

Still, there is such a thing as going too far with the networking. Here are a few cases when you want to stop and think: “Do I give a name and contact info to the recruiter, or do I simply pass the information along to my contacts who might be interested?”

In all these examples, the premise is that you are contacted by someone actively recruiting for a job, and the job opening seems like a good match for one of your contacts.

  1. If you know your contact is unemployed and actively looking: Yes, go ahead and provide your friend’s contact information to the recruiter; and let your friend know at once.
  2. If you know your contact is currently employed but actively looking: If your contact gave you the OK to disseminate her/his contact information, provide it to the recruiter; otherwise, NO, ask the recruiter to send you the job description and contact your friend to pass it along.
  3. If your contact is or may be employed but you think s/he might still be interested: NO, do not pass your friend’s contact information along. Ask the recruiter to send you the job description and contact your friend to pass it along.

I know we all want to be helpful, we really are aching to make a difference for all our friends by helping them get back on their feet but some help may be a nuisance or even a hurdle. At the very least, hastily passing contact information without permission — especially from contacts that are not actually friends but more distant — can be a breach of etiquette and privacy.

Links of interest:

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Flag answer as: Spammy; Self-serving; Didn't read the question; Unnecessarily flippant; Proselytizing; Insufferably smug; tl:dr; Check all that apply…Why do we put up with obnoxious people just because they’re registered on LinkedIn?

I find LinkedIn very useful, but I’m amazed at how some people waste their time to write, my time to read, and some poor innocent electrons in order to provide useless answers in the Q&A section.

Mood-relevant links:

LinkedIn-relevant links:

Posts where I say good things about LinkedIn instead of kvetching:

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LinkedIn just borrowed yet one more feature from Facebook — and that’s a good thing.

As of this week, you can see two little links that say “Reply privately” and “Add comment” after the status line updates of each your contact. So if one contact says he or she is preparing a white paper on your favourite topic, or is visiting your city this week, you can chime in with a question, a comment, a recommendation, a congratulation, whatever.

The feature may seem like no big thing, and it’s certainly been available for a long time on Facebook, but it’s a really good opportunity to engage your contacts in conversation, to have short, quick, friendly exchanges without either side have to devote a whole lot of time to correspondence.

Another nice feature that is reminiscent of Facebook, and has been in place for a few months now, is the ability to post not only questions but also links to articles and news items in your LinkedIn Groups. This is a good way to share tidbits and technical information that may be of interest to your peers.

Both the comments and the news items are nice ways to stay in touch in a light-handed way. It has been nice to exchange a few notes with people in my network regarding books we are reading or industry news of mutual interest. I’m happy with the new features.

Related posts:

Links of interest:

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This is an invitation to all my friends — and they are many — who are looking for a job these day. It’s a crappy, crappy economic climate we’re in, and the year is shaping up to be rough; I want to help those I can.

I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago to talk about the best online resources* I had found for networking, job search, and career planning. Now I’d like my many friends to tell me about their skills and the kind of job they’re looking for, to “give me their pitch.”

If I run across a contact who can help, or an opening that would fit you, I need to know! So please, send me a short summary, say the paragraph you’d put at the top of a good resume, or the core of a good cover letter, so I can keep my eyes open for you. Tell me what I need to tell about you to a contact. Better yet, I’d like to post these summaries here, if that’s OK with you.

I don’t know how much it will help you, but at the very least it may make you boil down your ideas to a short-and-sweet summary, and focus your search. Or if you freelance or have your own business, send me your info too!

P.S.: Hee.  The very next day, there’s a relevant post on the JibberJobber blog: “Job seekers, help your network help you”.  This — item #1 in particular — is exactly what I’m talking about! I need to know how to help you.


* I realise that these are more useful for certain types of jobs than others; if you’re looking for a job in construction, or in-store sales, or modelling at Abercrombie and Fitch, then you may rely less on resumes and online presence, but give it a thought anyway.

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