How to Get Employers to Run After You

You may not know what mercaptan is, but you would probably be dead without it. I thought about this while watching a documentary on a boon town in Texas, during the Depression, which was literally the only place in the country with jobs. Sorry, green energy fans, but it was all because of fossil fuels. Now what I did not know was that natural gas was a biproduct of oil exploration. And I certainly did not know that they did not know what to do with it so they burnt it off, on site. Then they discovered that it could provide heat. So they pumped it into their brand new school, providing them with free heat. No good deed…

The school filled with gas, someone lit something, and the school blew up, literally, and fell back down where it had previously been standing. Some 300 students, teachers and staff died. Mercaptan was the solution. It was safe, had no impact on the efficiency of the gas and, most importantly, provided an odor that people could smell when there was a leak.

I have had two job seekers contact me in the last week or so. Neither understood why they were getting no calls, not even from recruiters.

The first had what is called a “functional” resume. The “function” seems to be unemployment. Those are the resumes that don’t include the names of employers or, if they do, they do not include the dates of employment. Two very large red flags. The first means that the applicant is afraid of what the employer(s) might say about them. But, as far as I am concerned, the second is far more serious: No dates means the person can’t keep a job. I don’t submit candidates who can’t keep a job. So when I see a functional resume, I move on. And the few times I didn’t, I should have. If you have a “functional” resume, please don’t contact me.

The second was as serious, but in a totally different way. He had a decent resume. He actually has had a few interviews. But he has had no offers. Why? I believe it is because he is running after employers instead of having them run after him. Put differently, he did not stand out. There was nothing special about him.

Just as the presence of natural gas must be known, so too must your presence. And today, it’s easy. It’s called “social media.” It is what we are doing right now. It can be what gets you found or what makes you stand out from your competition.

Now let’s be honest: I have been doing this for at least a decade and probably longer. (I was one of the first to sign-up for LinkedIn.) I actually track this: between my social media sites, my blog (www.employmentedification.com), and the blog on my website (www.hsstaffing.com) I have over 46,750 followers, and my posts on LinkedIn, which I share on all my social media sites, have been read over 430,000 times. I hide from no one. You may not always like what I write, but you know I write!

Personally, I act identically on all my social media platforms. I have seen, blocked and rejected candidates/individuals who act professionally on LinkedIn, but like idiots on Facebook, lunatics on Twitter, and morons on Parler. How can I possibly work with someone like that or submit a client to them? Who will they be getting? The LinkedIn professional or the Facebook psychopath? I can’t afford to take the risk and neither can any employer. Social media is a public forum and you have to behave properly in public at all times.

So how do you get employers to run after you? Write long posts on LinkedIn. Write updates/comment/tweets/parleys on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Parler. Read what others post. Comment on them, but always be professional. Never be insulting. Don’t argue; ask. Engage people, including those with whom you disagree, in conversation but always do so on a high level. Let employers see that you not only know your stuff, but know how to behave.

And don’t just share your own writings. Share articles. Comment on them. Explain what you like and with what you disagree. Become known as a source for important writings (articles, etc.) on your profession.

I guarantee you, that 47,750 people will not read this article. I guarantee you, if you are an average person, you will probably get a couple of dozen reads on whatever you publish on-line. Who cares? All you need is the one person who will be so impressed that they will help move your career, or business, forward.

One last point: Remember to share you articles, etc., with your LinkedIn and Facebook groups. Even if they are not, strictly speaking, profession-related, someone in those groups may know the person you will want to meet. Don’t keep yourself a secret. Be the best known professional not the best known secret in your industry. Remember, in business it is always best to be the hunted and not the hunter.

How to Debate at Work and Maybe Get a Promotion

Whenever I am asked by a high school student what they should study in college, I always tell them that their major does not matter. What matters is that they take a couple of classes in English. No matter your profession, the only way to advance, to get promoted, in your career is by having, at a minimum, a good command of the English language. You have to be able to write well and, just as importantly, to speak well.

In Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, Jon Meacham writes,

[John] Adams said, “A public speaker who inserts himself, or is urged by others into the conduct of affairs, by daily exertions to justify his measures and answer the objections of opponents, makes himself too familiar with the public, and unavoidably makes himself enemies”

To write public papers or to negotiate quietly, away from the floor of an assembly or even away from a largish committee, enabled a politician to exert his will with less risk of creating animosity. [p.108.]

Put differently, if you have a problem with something at work, sit down, shut up, and put it in writing. Adams, as he was so often, was correct. And for one very simple reason.

When you debate someone verbally, it is almost always viewed as an attack. The other person feels a need to immediately respond. Immediate responses can be emotional. Rarely does the person have time to think. However, if you write something, and take the time to proofread it, you’ll also, literally, add oxygen to the equation (as in, taking time to breathe) and you may calm down. As the saying goes, “Calmer heads will prevail.” Similarly, saying, “Let me think about this. I don’t think it is as simple or clear-cut as it appears at first. I’ll send you something later today,” gives you time to properly think the matter through and, more importantly, to word you response carefully in a way that cannot be misquoted. A person can honestly, or dishonestly, misquote something that has been said, but not written – at least not for long.

You don’t want to be the victim of “telephone,” the children’s’ game where the first child whispers something to the second child, who then repeats it to the third. By the time it reaches the fifteenth child, any resemblance between the original statement and the final one it totally coincidental. That does not matter when playing a game; it most certainly does matter when trying to create policy.

Most people think that Lincoln won the debate again Douglas. Most people think they were debating for the presidency. Most people are wrong. But that’s not what is important. What’s important is that most people think the foolishness that we call “debates” today was what they did. They didn’t. The first speaker spoke for an hour. The second spoke for an hour and a half. The first had a half hour to respond. Can you imagine any of the candidates who have recently run for public office being able to do that? And I am not talking about the physical stamina and dignity. To stand for 60 minutes and speak, and then to sit for 90 minutes and not say a word, takes more than physical strength. Both men, whether you agree with them or not, were as brilliant when they began as when there time finished.

I’m no Lincoln. I’m no Douglas. And, respectfully, I doubt any of you are either. Our formal education is certainly better today than in ante bellum America, but not the informal. I just don’t think we have it in us. But Socrates…that’s a different subject.

If you have to publicly debate, by which I mean to defend a proposal in the office, your responses may be seen as attacks, unless you follow Socrates (and even then, an immature opponent still will not understand). The Socratic Approach, as it is called, is to ask questions to cause the other side, and force the audience to think critically. Asking questions, instead of making declarative statements, appears to be less confrontational but, in truth, it is a far more effective strategy and can be devastating because it requires the person to logically, rationally and, most importantly, dispassionately, defend their position. If they respond with emotion, they lose!

Being Lincoln or Douglas causes the audience to think but not, necessarily, to stay awake. Being Socrates, causes the audience to think and keeps them engaged, awake, because the “debate” is rapid fire. But this means that you, the questioner, have to be prepared. You have to understand what the other side is going to say. You have to appreciate their logic and know how to attack it not them.

I have always found that a higher level of debate results in better decisions. Allow your staff to ask probing questions, in fact, let them know that they are expected to ask and respond to probing questions, and, most importantly, to do so respectfully. Do that and your decision making will be exemplary and the results exceptional.

In Support of Conformity on Social Media

I had an interesting exchange with an acquaintance on LinkedIn. Basically, I asked him why he acted one way on LinkedIn and differently on Facebook. He explained that his persona, and these are my words, not his, consists of his professional self and his personal self. He also stated that he follows the rules of the various social media sites. I assume this means that what he does on one site may not be acceptable on another. He also mentioned that he has a significantly larger number of followers on LinkedIn than first-degree connections, stating that his followers like to read his posts, etc. (He did not mention the number of “friends” and followers he has on Facebook.)

I do not subscribe to the school of thought that you should act one way on one social media site and differently on another. All are public and everything you do on them is in the public domain. My rule is simple: If you wouldn’t do it on Main Street, don’t do it on the Internet.

Our personas have many components. There are things we do in public and things we do in private. Some we would do in both. Discussing a book. Watching a movie. Eating. But there are things we do not share in public which are best kept private. Political views immediately come to mind, not to mention family issues. True, millions of people post their political thoughts (it’s their right) proving them to be liberal loons or crazy conservatives. But why be like them?

If you act like a consummate professional on, let’s say, LinkedIn, and go nuts on, let’s say, Twitter, what does that tell an employer or potential collaborator about you?

I’ll use myself as an example. My articles on LinkedIn have been read, as of the beginning of this year, over 425,000 times. I must be doing something right! They are all, basically, business related. Or, just something I wrote for fun. (Silly has always been part of my persona.) I have never written anything purely political. The one possible exception resulted in only praise, public and private, mostly private. And all of my articles/updates are identical on all my social media platforms. The only time there is a difference is when I am responding to someone else’s posts which, obviously, cannot be shared on other platforms. But the style is the same. I have the nasty habit of asking people to share the sources on which they have based their views! I’m a “Prove it!” of “Show me the beef!” type of guy. And I am also known for providing links to facts disproving claims, which result, more often than not, in the original post, to which I was responding, disappearing.

Look at it this way: The way you act on LinkedIn is likely the way you will act at work. That’s what most employers will think! The way you act on Facebook, Twitter, and the rest, will be the way you act outside of work. Again, that’s how most employers will think! But there is no “outside of work.” A woman was fired, for example, because of the way she acted at a bar. She was seen by a client. The client called her boss, reported the behavior, and said that she did not want to work with her any longer. She was fired. How do I know? She called me for career counseling. Sure enough, her LinkedIn profile was professional; not so much her pages on Facebook and Twitter. And this was far from the only time I saw this. It’s more common than you may think.

For sake of argument, let’s say that LinkedIn, and I believe this to be so, is the gold standard for behavior on social media. (We have all seen the “LinkedIn is not Facebook” posts!) Well, what does it say about you if you lower your standards on your other social media platforms? And why would an employer want to take a risk and hire you. Who are they going to get, the professional on LinkedIn or the raving lunatic on Facebook? Why take the risk? And it’s not just employers. The same thing is true for someone trying to sell you their products, good or services. No one wants to work with someone who reflects poorly on them. “I know he’s an idiot, but he pays his bills on time,” is not the reputation you want to have.

Social media platforms should not set the standards for your behavior. You should! On-line and off-line. That’s what I do and maybe that’s why I have over 46,000 followers across all of my social media networks – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Parler and my blogs.

The Components of a Successful LinkedIn Marketing Campaign

LinkedIn can and should be the nexus of a successful corporate marketing campaign. In addition to being able to write full-length articles, the beauty of the system is that it has the features of most, if not all, of the other major social media sites: You can share short messages (updates), pictures (photos), and multimedia (audio and video) files and, most importantly, you can interact with virtually no limitation, with current and potential clients/customers, whether they are your direct (first-degree) connections or not.

It is how I built my brand which equates to my business. And while it is a long, on-going, process that takes commitment and an investment of time, it’s relatively easy to do.

What are the steps?

First, obviously, create a personal profile. But what some business owners neglect is to create a Company Page as well. While not obligatory, it may be helpful, depending on your type of business. There may be some things you don’t want to have on your personal profile but would want on your Company Page. This is similar to Facebook complementing your website. You do some things on the former that you would not do on the latter.

Of course, if you do not let the world know what you are doing, then you are doing nothing. You can’t be the best kept secret in town! And this is what takes time. You not only have to write articles (posts), but share updates and (business related) photos, but also promote any of your PR successes, such as quotations on news sites, podcast or radio interviews, television appearances, and speaking engagements (all of which may come as your reputation builds).

The foundation of your LinkedIn world is your network. You can literally invite the world to join you. That is a strategy that works for some but not for others. It depends on your type of business. I, for example, need connections in all industries across the United States. A realtor in New York City only needs first-degree connections in the “Greater New York City” area. That said, she still will want to be known outside of New York so that if someone is moving to the City they will reach out to her for advice and assistance. That is accomplished by becoming a recognized industry leader.

This brings me to Groups. In addition to writing articles and sharing updates (not just about your activities but also professional articles/news stories), and photos, it is important to lead and participate in discussions in LinkedIn Groups, which is why joining Groups is so important. It is also a great way to promote your LinkedIn articles.

But let’s return to those first-degree connections. Once you have them, you have to use them. If you don’t interact with them, professionally, through messaging, it would be like going to a party, getting the phone numbers of persons in whom you are interested, not calling any of them and then complaining that you don’t have a date for Saturday night!

Additionally, you should not ignore other social media. For example, make certain to Tweet about your LinkedIn and real-world activities. (This can easily be done by using the social media message scheduling site, HootSuite, which, like all the other sites mentioned here, excluding LinkedIn, are free.) That will help to broaden your name recognition and will result in your receiving requests from LinkedIn members to join their networks. As soon as you are discovered on LinkedIn, based on your activities, people will want to have you in their networks.

(For the record, there is a free LinkedIn account. That said, you need a premium account because there will be no limitations on the number of searches you can conduct. You need to conduct searches to find members to join your network.)

A great website to help further build your reputation is Help A Reporter Out. Sign up as a “source” and every day, three times a day, you will receive literally hundreds of questions from reporters. Answer those that pertain to your profession or industry and, before you know it, you will have media citations which you can share with your LinkedIn and social media networks and include on your personal Profile and Company Page.

Similarly, opening an account on the podcast site BlogTalkRadio, can also help in the building of your brand. If you are proactive, you could be a guest on podcasts. Once the interviews go live, so to speak, you will then have links to share as updates, not to mention having something to add to your Profile and Company Page, thus making them multimedia.

There is no doubt that this is a time-intensive activity, but if you have the time, it is time well spent. And, if not, there’s someone you can hire to do the work for you.

Building a Brand? Here’s How to Get Cited in Hundreds of Publications Across the US and Around the World, Secure Tens of Thousands of Real Followers and Do It All on a Zero Budget

The answer?  A website.  WordPress.  LinkedIn.  Help A Reporter Out.  Twitter.  HootSuite.  YouTube.  BlogTalkRadio.  Put them all together, mix thoroughly and – voilà – fame!

Of course the secret, like in any recipe, is knowing how much of each ingredient to use, and how to combine them.

Let me begin by establishing my credentials:  First, I have been cited in over 600 articles, appearing in 400 publications, across the US and in 23 foreign countries.  Second, I have tens of thousands of real followers.  I have never signed a single person up to receive any of my publications.  Anyone who follows me does so of their own volition.  And I certainly have never paid for a list of followers.  No, my tens of thousands of followers are all real.  Third, with the exception of my website (which I would have to have regardless of any marketing campaign), I have never paid a penny for any of the marketing/promotional websites/platforms I have used.

Now to the matter at hand:

As noted, I have a website.  Having a website is the minimal cost of doing business in today’s world.  You have to have a website and a professional e-mail address if you want to be taken seriously.  You need the site to be able to show people your expertise.  Being “the best kept secret” is not a formula for business success.  There is no room for modesty in business promotions.

I have a blog.  It’s a simple WordPress production.  I write all the articles myself.  And, as of this moment, the 3,529 subscribers have all signed up on their own.  Every article I write arrives directly into their e-mail Inbox.  I don’t SPAM.  They signed up to receive the articles.  They can unsubscribe whenever they want.  Fact is, every month I gain a few more readers.

Of course, if you don’t have a website, you can let the world know about yourself by making your LinkedIn profile multimedia, as I have done.  If I wanted to, I could add links to all of the articles in which I have been quoted.  There’s no limit to what you can include on a LinkedIn profile.  But sometimes focusing more on your activities (updates, photos and posts) than on your profile content can lead to better results.

But one word of warning:  You never want to sound obnoxious.  If you get up and say that you are the best at what you do, you will come across as foolish and lose any credibility that you may have.  Saying you are an authority in your field is not much better.  Showing it, however, is a different matter.  I could say that I am a recognized authority on executive recruiting or career counseling, and sometimes I do, but I prefer to show it.  I do so by publishing links to hundreds of articles on employment-related topics in which I am quoted.  I have those links because I know how to use the website Help A Reporter Out.

My industry is not visual so I do not need to use social media cites that feature photographs.  I use LinkedIn (which does allow for the uploading of photographs).   I’m also not a big fan of Twitter, although I have over 3,300 followers.  But Twitter is a great site, along with HootSuite, to use as a tool to “broadcast” accomplishments to numerous social media platforms simultaneously.

And then there is YouTube, which you can use to upload tutorials, and BlogTalkRadio, which allows you not only to possibly be a guest expert on countless podcasts, but to host your own show, further raising your profile as an expert in your field.

Bottom line:  When you are a recognized expert customers, clients and potential employers will come to you – which is a lot better than having to go to them!

Of course, what is missing from this article are the details.  Not to worry; if you are in New York City on Friday, June 17, at 10:00 AM, join me at the Science, Industry and Business Library, 188 Madison Avenue, to learn my secrets.  There is no charge for the event which, by the way, is purely educational.  You will not have to sit through any sales pitches.  Registration is requested.  (This presentation is part of MarketingWeekNYC, sponsored by the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce.)

Not in New York City on the 17th?  No matter.  I will be uploading a video of the PowerPoint presentation to my YouTube page and will let my followers know when it is available.  So become a follower!