ed muses upon

2011/10/03

LinkedIn Quiz: How Well Do You Know LinkedIn?

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I did a quick search to see if there are any blogs that offer a quiz to see how well you know LinkedIn and didn’t see any on page 1 of my Google search results. That seems odd.

There are a ton of blogs about LinkedIn: how to use it for recruiters, how to use it for job seekers, how to use it for networking. But there aren’t a lot of search results for LinkedIn quizzes that assess a reader’s knowledge of this great professional networking tool. Given that dearth, it appears there’s a real need for something like this.

So I present my LinkedIn Quiz: How Well Do You Know LinkedIn! There are 10 questions, with answers to follow. Ready?

Questions:

  1. What is the benefit of a 100% complete profile?
  1. Once you have created a LinkedIn profile, what URL should you send people to ensure the greatest likelihood of their seeing it?
  1. Is there anything you can do to make that link easier for people to remember and if so, what?
  1. Apart from the LinkedIn Applications, what is the only update you can make to your profile that will have a date stamp?
  1. LinkedIn recognizes 4 degrees of separation from other LinkedIn members. What are they, and how are they distinguished?
  1. There is a part of your LinkedIn profile that will appear anywhere your name does on LinkedIn, along with your profile picture. What is it?
  1. Is it possible to have more than one e-mail address associated with a LinkedIn profile?
  1. There are 3 LinkedIn Applications that will allow a user to share content with other LinkedIn members. What are they?
  1. From viewing a LinkedIn user’s profile, what clues are there to the size of that member’s LinkedIn network if they have more than 500 connections?
  1. When sending another LinkedIn member an invitation to connect, you are required to identify the basis for sending that invitation: classmate, colleague, friend, group, etc. What is the relevance of this requirement after you have sent that invitation?

 

Once you have answered all questions, scroll down for the answers.

 

 

 

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When you are ready, please scroll down for the answers.

 

 

 

Answers:

  1. A 100% complete profile will appear higher in search results than a profile that is less than 100% complete. This is of considerable relevance to certain types of LinkedIn users, particularly job seekers, whether active or passive candidates.
  1. You should provide your public profile URL, which is visible if you go to Profile|View Profile. In the summary box, the last field is labeled Public Profile. The link that follows is what you want.
  1. When you go to Profile|View Profile, at the bottom of the summary box, you should see a link that begins http://www.linkedin.com/xx/… as described in answer 2, above. The xx is a 2 letter code identifying the primary language for our profile and what follows is one of 2 things: either a) an auto-generated number created by LinkedIn when you create your profile, or b) whatever you customized it to say by going to Profile|Edit Profile.
  1. Apart from LinkedIn Applications, the only update you can make to your profile that will have a date stamp is to make a status update. Once a status update is posted, LinkedIn posts a “freshness” date on it, with how long ago that status was posted. After one week, that date expires, as does the status update.
  1. LinkedIn recognizes 4 degrees of connectedness: 1st represents another LinkedIn member with whom an invitation to connect was sent & accepted; 2nd represents another LinkedIn member who has done that with another person with whom you too have done this; 3rd represents yet another step removed; and Group is another LinkedIn member who has no other degree of connectedness to you but shares membership in one or more groups.
  1. The part of your LinkedIn profile that appears everywhere your name does on the site is called your headline. It is a 180 character description that you can fill in any way you like. Because it goes everywhere your profile picture and name go on LinkedIn, I find it helpful to conceive of it as a billboard.
  1. Not only is it possible, but recommended, especially if your e-mail address is employer-provided. This can be addressed by going to the Settings page and adding one or more alternate e-mail addresses. This will also help ensure that when other LinkedIn members send an invitation to connect to that e-mail address, you can accept the invitation.
  1. The three LinkedIn Applications are Box.net, Google Presentation and SlideShare, all of which will allow you to upload and share content. Box.net allows your 1st degree connections to download such files, while both Google Presentation and SlideShare will display any such content on your full (but not public) profile.
  1. This is a trick question: no. LinkedIn only indicates that such users have 500+ connections. Users who are LIONs (LinkedIn Open Networkers) sometimes will indicate in their user name or profiles the size of their network but absent that, there is no way of knowing how much more than 500 connections any given LinkedIn user’s network is, whether 501 or 30,000, which is the maximum number of connections may now have. A handful of users have more: these individuals grew their networks to such a size before the maximum was implemented several years ago.
  1. The reason for connecting becomes what is known as a tag, a descriptive label used to help organize those in your network. If you go to Connections|My Contacts, you should see all of your connections running vertically down the left. You will also see several groupings: Classmates, Colleagues, Friends, etc. This is what LinkedIn does when an invitation has been accepted, irrespective of who sent the invitation and who the recipient was: it uses the reason and groups it by this tag. An under-recognized feature of LinkedIn is the ability to add custom tags to help organize one’s network.

 

 

So let’s gauge your performance on the quiz:

10        Guru: you know LinkedIn well enough to teach a master a thing or three

8-9       Master: other than a few obscure features, you know this tool and have done a lot with it

6-7       Power user: you’ve used LinkedIn to do a lot already

4-5       Experienced user: you probably haven’t had the opportunity to explore some of its more advanced features.

2-3       Average user: you know the fundamentals of LinkedIn

0-1       Neophyte: a whole world of LinkedIn awaits you

2011/06/01

Staying Focused: Meaningful Metrics

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Some years ago, I was involved in a project that required negotiating with several dozen data vendors and stock exchanges around the world, both in developed and emerging markets. It was a high-profile mission-critical project so I allocated my time accordingly, working practically around the clock. When I first undertook this project, success was defined as an executed agreement with a data vendor or stock exchange for a given market.

As time went on, I grew increasingly frustrated because these conversations took a considerable amount of time to complete. More often than not, at the end of each week, I could not report the satisfactory conclusion of any such discussion. While discussing this issue with my manager, he observed that I was tracking the wrong metric: completed agreements.

In the ensuing conversation, he noted that where results are not directly related to effort, tracking effort was more appropriate. I had no control over whether or not any given negotiation would conclude on a given timetable: I could only control the effort made to facilitate such a conclusion. And so long as I communicated the effort clearly and my strategy made sense, the lack of completed contracts became less vexing.

This experience relates directly to managing one’s job search. It’s very easy to get hung up on the big events in job search, such as interviews or offers. But not all job seekers have a skill-set and orientation that affords such a volume. So instead, track the effort: number of applications completed, informational interviews, new contacts, networking events attended. These are metrics over which you have much greater control than interviews or job offers.

I have two suggestions for methods to help feed one metric over which you have control: the number of informational interviews you have.

One method to feed your metrics is the Follow Company feature on LinkedIn. Open up any company profile on LinkedIn and in the upper right corner of the page is an option to follow the company. Going forward, LinkedIn will keep you informed about promotions, departures, new hires and new LinkedIn job postings. This is a great way to stay apprised of new opportunities but also possible candidates for informational interviews. It’s important to recognize that this information is based upon when a LinkedIn user updates his/her profile to indicate that they are now working at the organization. Presumably, someone would not so update their profile unless they had been in place for a few weeks and are feeling comfortable letting their professional network know they have landed there.

Another simple way to do so: when attending job search groups, incorporate three of your target employers in your elevator speech. This approach can be particularly effective when you are new to a group. By providing this information, you offer a natural icebreaker to other attendees and better enable them to offer suggestions for informational interviews.

Together, these two steps should yield many more prospects for informational interviews. This is important, because feeling good about your effort in job search will otherwise be very hard to find.

In closing, think about what job search metrics you are tracking. Do they make sense to track week in and week out or do you need to add some good, achievable metrics? I suspect it’s the latter. Success breeds success: succeeding with challenging but attainable goals will help you remain on target.

Tracking achievable metrics will help you stay focused on the big picture: landing your next opportunity.

2010/12/15

Just a Few More LinkedIn Best Practices

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Because of the popularity of Just a Few LinkedIn Best Practices (which if you missed it, can be found here), it seemed like a few more are in order.

Thanks in part to the changes recently introduced on LinkedIn, some of the best practices I learned have evolved, while in other cases, new functionality has forced a different understanding. But here is what I expect will be my last blog of the year: Just a Few (More) LinkedIn Best Practices.

Profile

In the Experience section of your profile, where your current and past positions are listed, please make sure that you are seeing a superscript square after the organization’s name. If not, do a Company search for the organization and edit the name in your profile to match the Company Profile you find. The odds are good that due to merger & acquisition activity or simple re-branding the name may have changed since you first walked through their doors. So long as the company’s name is a match for how it appears in the Company Profile.

This is a good thing to do for 2 reasons:

  1. Although this is uncommon, it’s possible that there are multiple organizations with very similar names. In fact, questions and confusion stemming from this appear every week on LinkedIn. Make sure you are not inadvertently representing yourself as a (former) employee of an organization for whom you have never worked.
  1. Listing the organization’s name correctly, in a manner consistent with current branding practices, creates a more professional impression.

Status

I know, I discussed this last time, but I realized there was more that needed to be said here.

When you log into LinkedIn, there’s a slender, rectangular box with the words “Share an update”. In Facebook fashion, you can create an update of up to 140 characters. When you do this, the people in your network receive an update in their LinkedIn “update stream”.

Don’t know what to say? What about some project you recently completed, or a convention from which you’ve just returned? Maybe you just started taking classes for a new certification or license.

Do yourself a favor and update this from time to time. By so doing, you are providing the clearest and most unambiguous indication that you’re maintaining a presence on LinkedIn. I recommend updating no more than once every day, maybe once every other day. This is directly related to the next point…

Status Updates/Twitter

If you’re not on Twitter, you may have recognized that 140 character restriction I mentioned two paragraphs earlier. And if you are, you very likely already knew this.

The temptation exists to integrate your Twitter and LinkedIn status updates. Fight the urge. Fight it very, very hard. Because for the people in your network, filling their LinkedIn “update stream” with your tweets, retweets and the like is a surefire, first-class, all-expense paid ticket to having all of your LinkedIn updates hidden by people in your network—even the really good stuff that’s going on with you.

I’m far from a Twitter hater: I’m on Twitter. I like it a great deal, in fact. But the expected update frequency is very different. On LinkedIn, it’s once/day at the outside. If I’m on Twitter, reeling off literally dozens of tweets (OK, RTs) is normal for me. But I will never push all my tweets to LinkedIn, specifically because I know what that looks like for those not on Twitter.

The truth is that the people who dislike Twitter really dislike it. And I am willing to bet there’s at least a few in your own network.

Heck, on LinkedIn, that includes me, too.

I Found Myself, I’m Right Here

We’ve all heard of the practice of searching (or more specifically, Googling) ourselves, right? Try logging out of LinkedIn[i] and doing a search on your name. If you aren’t the first result, it might be worth asking why not. Having a 100% complete profile will certainly get you higher in the results.

Another, often under-recognized reason to do this is to discover instances in which you might have accidentally created a duplicate profile. This can happen very easily by accident if you accept an invitation to connect that was sent to an e-mail address you haven’t included in your profile.

You can help avoid that situation by adding any other e-mail addresses you have used in the past or are using now. This is done by going to the Settings page (see the endnote re: finding the Settings page nowadays). From the Settings page, select Personal Information|Email Addresses.

It’s important to note that so long as you are not changing your primary e-mail address, it doesn’t matter if you no longer have access to the secondary e-mail address you add: LinkedIn will just create a cross-reference between you’re the one (or more) secondary address(es) in question to the primary address.

Summary

I am sure there are other best practices re: LinkedIn that I neglected to mention either in the last blog entry or in this one. So feel free to tell me what I’ve missed! I removed an entire paragraph because I’m running pretty long here so I can definitely think of one off the top of my head.

In fact, I double-dog dare you.

But whether you can or can’t, a very happy holiday season to you: enjoy the snow in the background!


[i] Perhaps surprising, I do know how to do this. However, due to recent unannounced changes in the user interface, the method isn’t very intuitive any longer. You can do this by hovering your cursor over your name in the upper right corner where it appears on any LinkedIn screen. This will produce a menu with two options: Settings and Sign Out.

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