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Social Skills: Rules for LinkedIn

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This entry was posted in Job Seekers, Whitepapers by .

On LinkedIn, social media meets professional networking. It’s like a giant networking event combined with a resume megaphone. If you’re a regular user of Facebook, we have lots of tips on how to use that platform for your job search,  but LinkedIn is viewed by employers as the “go-to” destination for finding the most professional candidates.  We recommend using a multi-channel approach to give you the most options in your job search. Currently, 93% of companies use LinkedIn for recruiting (Jobcast) and amongst those who found their job through a social network, 40% cite assistance from LinkedIn.

If you use Facebook in your job search process, you must balance a pseudo-professional and a casual social presence. LinkedIn allows you to present yourself solely as a formal, professional entity. Everyone on the site has the same intentions: to present and build themselves professionally. That makes the rules much easier to follow, and much easier to be noticed by the right people.

Currently, LinkedIn has 128 million users in the United States alone (DMR), and recruiting, sourcing, and HR professionals account for 5% of all U.S. LinkedIn Profiles – that’s 1 in 20! With so many eyes on you, you must be prepared to wow them. Remember, this is a candidate’s market, the odds are in your favor as recruiters are on the hunt for the best talent. Even if you are a passive candidate (still working, but open to new job opportunities), your profile and activity should be ready to flaunt.

Not having a LinkedIn profile, not being active on the platform, or not using it properly can be equally detrimental. Employers now expect you to be tech savvy and connected to the online community.

You only get one chance to make a first impression, don’t let yours be unprofessional. Check out our tips to make the most out of LinkedIn.

Prepare: Are you ready?

LinkedIn serves as an internet-based version of your resume, with a little extra personality. You must prepare your profile to be eye-catching and effective. This may very well be your first impression on a recruiter or organization.

Disclaimer: These are only recommendations. There are no requirements on your social media behavior. The tips listed are only intended to be helpful, and we have a lot of inside information speaking from an organization comprised of hundreds of recruiters.

Privacy: Go Public

On LinkedIn, there is almost no reason to not make your whole profile completely public. On other sites like Facebook or Twitter, it makes sense to reserve most information for your friends. However, on LinkedIn, almost exclusively, strangers will be looking you up.  Reserving information for an exclusive audience can lead them to move on to the next candidate.

(1) To change your privacy settings, log in and click on your profile.

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(2) Then click on “Edit your public profile

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Here, you can select what you want to make public. It’s best to click every box, but if you had to choose only a few, we recommend at the very least including your:

  • Picture
  • Headline
  • Current Positions
  • Past Positions
  • Education

(3) While you’re in this section, edit your public profile URL.

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When you signed up, LinkedIn gave you a random URL to share. Edit this to something a little easier on the eyes, also known as a vanity URL. Just as you would with a professional email, make sure it is appropriate and reflects your name. For example, if your name is Bob Smith, try something like linkedin.com/BobSmith1234 or linkedin.com/BobSmithLosAngeles, not linkedin.com/badboy97 or linkedin.com/pro4ubsmith.

Once you have your vanity URL, you can include it on your paper resumes. Recruiters can check out your profile and have a more dimensional view or see features that wouldn’t fit on paper.

Intro

Your Intro is the section at the top of your profile. The information here is what others will see when you post or what recruiters will see when they search for candidates and land on a result page.

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This section includes your photo, name, title, current position, and location. You can customize nearly every aspect of this – just click on the little pencil in the corner.

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Make sure this is an accurate representation of you. Never make up a title or refer to yourself as a “Guru” or “Ninja.” These phrases don’t mean anything to recruiters, and sound like made-up positions. They aren’t searchable and don’t speak to what you have done.

Picture Perfect

Your picture can make all the difference. While it may feel superfluous to feature a picture on a professional site, a photo can be the difference between landing the job and not. LinkedIn profiles with photos get 21 times more profile views and 36 times more messages (DMR).

Embrace the human element of LinkedIn and use a professional photo. Don’t just copy and paste your current Facebook pic. Having the right picture is crucial.

A professionally taken photo will always be best. It’s a worthy investment, but if you need to get out there right now, here are a few tips to help you get the perfect, job-winning LinkedIn profile picture:

  • ALWAYS wear professional clothes in your photo. The term “professional clothes” can vary from industry to industry, so pick what is appropriate.
  • You can take a photo of yourself, but be wary of the angles you employ. For a selfie, take it straight on, preferably from the chest up. It’s usually best to grab a friend and have them take the picture, that way your arms aren’t awkwardly positioned in the frame. Additionally, a photo that is too close can make viewers uncomfortable.

Whatever you do… NO CAR SELFIES. NEVER. NO MATTER WHAT. ABSOLUTEY NOT. The lighting may be in your favor, but it’s so incredibly unprofessional, looks lazy, and can even suggest narcissism. Don’t do it, you’re worth so much more.

  • Do NOT take a photo from a past event and crop other people out of the frame. This photo is part of your digital resume, and resumes are strictly solo. Employers can totally see your friend’s shoulder.
  • Just because you did get professional photos taken, doesn’t always mean they are appropriate. Do NOT use photos from your wedding, graduation, or any other non-professional event. However, if you have a professional photo session coming up, bring a shirt and blazer with you and get a couple specialty business shots.

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY… Say cheese!

  • Your picture is supposed to look like you! What’s the first thing you do when you meet someone? You smile. It’s a natural human emotional cue to indicate that you are safe, nice, and welcoming. No matter how artsy you are, no staring pensively into the distance, no duck face, and no maniacal laughter either. Humans rely heavily on eye contact for social relationships, so look in to the camera and no sunglasses, ever. A nice warm, regular smile is all you need.

Experience

If you have a resume, you know how to do this section. Fill it out just as you would a resume. Make it easy to read, quick to reference, and accurately reflective of your past positions.

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To add experience, click the little plus sign and add all relevant experience.

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To optimize this section, consider these tips:

  • Link each position to its respective company page
  • Start descriptions with a brief and prompt overview of your position
  • Utilize bullet points to further describe the position and achievements
  • Employ action words (managed, created, grew, reduced, etc.)
  • Include supporting documents and links to other media
  • Use the appropriate tense (past-tense for past jobs, present-tense for current jobs)
  • Always double, triple, and quadruple check spelling and grammar

The key here will be prompt, effective language that speaks to your skills, responsibilities, and accomplishments. If you need help with your resume, reach out to your [Ultimate] representative for general resume tips and apply them to your LinkedIn profile.

Education

Your education section will be affected by how long you’ve been out of school.

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To add to this section, click the plus sign. Include all levels of education. If you have a college degree, you do not have to include high school. Be sure to include activities, societies, and major projects (if they have a professional application). Include accomplishments like awards won, research conducted, or honors received – but unless you’re working in education, employers likely aren’t too invested in day-to-day activities from long ago.

You don’t have to go nearly as in depth as you do in your Experience section, especially if you’ve been out of school for a while. If you are a recent graduate with little experience, make sure to go more in depth.

Volunteer Experience

This section can give your profile dimension and shine light on some of your passions. Include your past and present repeat volunteer experience. One Saturday serving at a soup kitchen is great, but it may come off as you trying to fill up space. However, if you coordinated a big event, like a charity walk, include that and the responsibilities and actions that were required.

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Skills & Endorsements

Recruiters can search by skills, so make sure you flaunt yours! LinkedIn users with skills listed received 13 times more profile views than those who don’t. And those with at least five skills listed on their profile receive up to 17 times more profile views (DMR).

Only add current skills, don’t include ones that you “kinda know.” A good rule of thumb: If you were in an interview and the interviewer asked you to demonstrate a skill on the spot, you could perform it with flying colors.

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Your connections can then endorse these skills. A good way to increase your endorsements is to endorse others.

Recommendations

Your connections can write recommendations for you that will show up on your LinkedIn profile. Recommendations are extremely powerful when searching for a job.

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You can ask the connections you’ve worked closely with to recommend you. Click on “Ask to be recommended” to reach out to your connections.

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It’s best to reach out to your connections and ask prior to submitting this request.

Follow each step accordingly and customize your message at the bottom. Check out our tips here on asking for a reference.

Accomplishments

LinkedIn is the place to brag about yourself. In your Accomplishments section, list relevant recognitions and associations. Don’t shy away from “softer” accomplishments that could highlight your cultural fit with an organization.

In this section, you can add:

  • Certifications
  • Courses
  • Honors & Awards
  • Languages Spoken (only add a language if you are fluent)
  • Patents
  • Projects
  • Publications
  • Test Scores
  • Organizations

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Interests

This section highlights the Influencers, companies, groups, and schools you follow. Definitely expand this area, but try to avoid potentially controversial figures or causes – anyone can see who you follow.

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Join groups that pertain to your interests or experience and follow any and all organizations you may be interested in working for in the future. When their posts pop up in your feed, like and comment, making sure the organization sees you and you stay in front of them – follow the same rules for posting, sharing, and commenting below.

Be sure to add in plenty of publications so informative articles will show up on your feed – you never know what kind of information you’ll be able to exhibit in an interview! Employers want to make sure they hire those who have a pulse on the industry and the current work space.

Engaging Usage

Now that your profile is ready to mingle, your activity will continue to build your persona as a professional and an employee. It’s not enough just to have a profile. When they click on your profile, recruiters can see your recent activity. No recent activity, or the wrong type of activity, can leave the wrong impression.

Adding Connections

When adding connections, begin with people you know. But don’t be afraid to branch out to others in the industry or even recruiters at organizations you’re interested in working with. When reaching out to somewhat random profiles for a connection, always go beyond the template and include a custom message.

Professionally and promptly, tell them why you are interested in connecting with them and include aspects of their profile that caught your eye. Quickly get to the point and don’t be afraid to compliment them. A good message can mean the difference between a connection and a bad first impression.

Here are a few examples of typical messages you might send:

A Casual Acquaintance

Hi ______,

I’m glad we had the chance to meet through [connection]. I’d love to learn more about your work in [industry], particularly [topic]. Is LinkedIn your preferred method of contact?

Thank you,

Someone you met at a Networking Event

Hello _______,

It was great speaking to you at the [event] last month. I enjoyed hearing your ideas about [topic/industry], and I am very intrigued to see what will happen next. I’d definitely like to stay in touch and keep up on the latest in your career.

Thank you,

A Recruiter

Hello ___________,

I have been following [organization] and I came across your profile and couldn’t resist reaching out. I have been working in [industry] for ___ years, and currently seeking new opportunities. I’d love to talk about whether my background might be a fit for the organization – and also keep up on the latest within [organization] from your perspective.

Thank you,

Recruiters get a lot of messages, so don’t feel discouraged if you don’t get a response. Once you’ve connected, comment and like their posts and continue to message without being overwhelming.

Messaging

You can freely message anyone you’re connected to. However, if you want to message someone you’re not connected to, you will have to purchase InMail capabilities. If you are wary of dropping the cash, check out these tips from our Social Media Manager, Valerie Killeen.

Tips from Within: InMail

Valerie Killeen is our Social Media Manager. She oversees and sets the guidelines for all of our social media channels. Check out what she has to say about InMail:

“No InMail, no problem!

For professionals without a premium LinkedIn subscription, communicating on LinkedIn can be a bit frustrating. If you’d like to send a message to someone that you’re not connected to, you can join their LinkedIn group (members of a common group can send 15 free messages to fellow group members, per month).

  • LinkedIn group memberships are identified at the footer of each profile.
  • Once you’ve been approved to join the group you can search for their name within the group and select the envelope icon near their name to compose an InMail message.
  • The best part?  If your InMail receives a response, you can communicate back and forth as many times as you’d like without deducting from your 14 remaining InMail messages.

Posting & Sharing

Posting on LinkedIn increases your visibility and the reach of your profile, but only if you do it right.

Anything you ever like, comment, or post, can be seen by every single one of your connections. And if someone in your network likes or comments on that, then it is visible by every single person in their network. It does not take long for a single like to find its way around the world.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when posting on LinkedIn:

Generally speaking, these are the best reasons to post on LinkedIn:

  • Professional accomplishments
  • New ideas or inspiration that relate to work life
  • New development in your career or in the market
  • Industry announcements or trends
  • Job postings
  • Professional events that you are attending or promoting

Experts recommend posting a few times a week, but no more than once per day. If it doesn’t fall into any of these categories, it may be better suited on a different platform.

Post articles.  It’s a quick and simple way to engage with your connections, as long as you remember your R’s: Recent, Relevant, and Reliable.

You can also create your own articles. Share your expertise with the world, just remember to keep it Recent, Relevant, and Reliable. Don’t underestimate the power of your perspective.

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Make sure outside articles and sources you post are coming from a reputable, professional source. For maximum engagement, include a quick sentence on why you find the article interesting, or one of your personal insights.

Pro-tip: People love to interact and share ideas, so pose a question at the end of your post. Ask a question that can lead to more than a yes or no answer; it has to get the conversation going. For example, you can say, I find it interesting that this expert discusses x and y as the driving factors, what have you found in your experience? Now the conversation is flowing and you’re learning from your connections.

When posting, make sure you monitor your post appropriately. Don’t check it every 5 minutes, but be sure to correspond with those who comment in a timely manner. If someone is acknowledging your post, acknowledge them – engagement goes both ways.

A quick “Like,” a “Thank you,” or “Totally Agree” can go a long way. Reciprocity is key.

Beware the 7 B’s:

  1. Better Half: Unless you’re connecting your significant other with one of your online connections, or highlighting a professional accomplishment — there’s really no need to post about them or your relationship. No anniversaries, no wedding photos.
  1. Booze: it’s no secret that your crazy weekend stories have no place in the office, and there’s no place for them on LinkedIn.
  1. Barack: Politics are a sensitive subject for a lot of people, and can lead to heated arguments quickly. Quite simply, it’s just unprofessional to discuss in a professional space.
  1. Bucks: Discussing your salary publicly on LinkedIn is a big no-no. This may scare away potential employers.
  1. Beliefs: For many, religion, or lack thereof, is a very personal topic, and it should remain personal. Avoid religious posts, even if they are positive.
  1. Battleground: Do not start arguments on LinkedIn, as that would be incredibly unprofessional. Also, avoid complaining about any current or past jobs.
  1. Blades + Blasters: Weapons have no place in the workspace. Weapon-related posts can make people feel uncomfortable, so it’s best to avoid these.

The rule should be: if I wouldn’t share it in an interview, I probably shouldn’t post it publicly.

NO. SELFIES. EVER. NEVER EVER EVER – unless they depict something else business related going on in the background. Otherwise, you wouldn’t stop a coworker as they walk down the hall to show them a selfie you took in your car, so don’t post it on LinkedIn.

Posts that include a photo will get more attention, but the photo must be appropriate. If you won an award or attended an exciting professional event, by all means post. However, you must make sure you still uphold professionalism, outfits included. That means no photos of you in a bathing suit poolside at a conference, or in any other outfit you wouldn’t wear to the office.

 

You may be saying, “but the posts that violate all these rules are the ones who get the most Likes and Comments,” and that’s true. It’s not necessarily a good thing that the post received so much attention.  Don’t try to go viral for the sake of going viral. You shouldn’t be posting for Likes, you should post to educate and share ideas with your connections. Meaningful connections will always beat Likes.

Liking & Commenting

A friendly reminder: all of your connections can see everything you like and comment on. We repeat this twice since some people don’t seem to realize that… Off-putting comments or liking inappropriate posts can ruin your professional image for a lot of connections and recruiters.

 

You have a lot of insight. Courteously share your ideas and learn from your connections.

Tips from Within: Don’t be that guy

Our social media specialist Victoria Hayes spends most of her day on LinkedIn. Check out her list of the 10 most annoying people on LinkedIn. Her advice? “Don’t be that guy.”

  1. The Facebook Police – These are the ones who berate others for inappropriate posts, or simply comment “Facebook” (insinuating the post should only be on Facebook and not LinkedIn). No one likes a party-pooper – if a post is truly inappropriate, report it.
  2. The Complete Stranger – These users try to add connections with absolutely no connection or introduction.
  3. The Selfie Queen – Let’s face it – you’re not fooling anyone by captioning your (usually somewhat provocative) selfie with an inspiring quote or recap of a recent career success. You wouldn’t pull that out in an interview!
  4. The Social Spammer – We don’t need to see your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook posts ALSO on Linkedin. Post appropriately on each channel
  5. The Creep – They comment inappropriately on selfies. Or, they post inappropriately on articles or accomplishments. Again, if you wouldn’t say it in the workplace, don’t say it on LinkedIn.
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  6. The Narcissist – The person who likes their own posts. Of course you like it – you wrote it!
  7. The Troll – We’ve seen this guy on just about every social media platform. They disagree with every post and aren’t shy about saying so – and usually not in a respectful manner. It’s okay to introduce differing ideas, it’s not okay to start an argument. If an exchange of ideas gets heated, know when to tap out.
  8. The “Guru” – “HR guru” and “recruitment ninja” are not real job titles. Just be yourself!
  9. The Philosopher -These users are always liking/sharing quotes. There’s nothing wrong with a few every once in a while, but you should be focused on sharing your ideas.
  10. The Over-Sharer – They share their professional stories, but weave in way too many intimate details.

Job Searching

Once your profile has been established and your activity has built it up, you are ready to hunt for a job.

Head to the top menu bar and click Jobs.

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Here, you can search for jobs of any kind, anywhere.

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Every job posting will have its own requirements and its own process for application.

In the jobs section, you can also indicate to recruiters that you are open to new opportunities – without anyone at your organization seeing. LinkedIn’s new Open Candidates feature privately signals to other organizations what you have to offer and what you are interested in.

Go to the Jobs tab and click on Update Preferences.

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Then you can fill out their guided form. Your “Note to recruiters” should read like a message/InMail meets Resume Summary, speaking to your skills and letting them know you are interested. Add any and all job titles you are interested in and qualified for. You can also include locations, including general, “Greater” areas, like the “Greater Los Angeles Area.” You can even specify the type of work you’re looking for, including Full-time, Part-time, Internship, Remote, Freelance, and Contract.

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Then, recruiters will have the opportunity to reach out to you. However, this does not mean that you should sit back and relax. Continue to reach out and apply for jobs.

Should I go Premium?

Looking for work is an area where a Premium membership might be most beneficial. A premium membership allows you to:

  • Reach out directly to any recruiter or job poster with 3 InMail credits
  • See who’s viewed your profile in the last 90 days and how they found you
  • Move to the top of recruiters’ applicant lists
  • See how you compare to other candidates
  • Gain access to online video courses
  • See salary details when browsing jobs without sharing your personal data

The first month is free, but monthly payments range from $25+.

Continued Engagement

It will be most important that you continue to have an active involvement on LinkedIn, even when you are not looking for a job. While 70% of Facebook users engage daily, only 13% of LinkedIn users do the same (Pew Research). Make sure you’re not only active when you need something. Recommend others and endorse their skills, assure you have a symbiotic relationship with your connections.

Comment, like, and post even when you are happily employed. Engage with your employer and boast your current work and other workplace events. Share company content and don’t be shy about your accomplishments.  LinkedIn is not just for job searching, it’s primarily an online network for professionals to share expertise, get inspired, and a place to build your professional credibility.

Roth is passionate about helping you in your job search. You have the smarts, experience, and the passion to catch the eye of top employers – use Roth Staffing and LinkedIn to make sure you get there.

Social Skills

Social Media for Employers

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This entry was posted in Business Customers, Whitepapers by .

Welcome to the new frontier.

Social media is no longer viewed as a young person’s time-waster; instead, it has transformed into one of the most proliferate forms of communication today. While it’s true that more businesses embrace the use of social media, too many solely focus on speaking to their customers and ignore a vital audience: their current and future employees.

How you present yourself as an employer on social media not only affects the perception of your employees and potential candidates, but can impact the relationship you have with customers. In the new age of accountability and transparency, your audience is constantly looking for better ways to make informed decisions. What they find online creates a multidimensional profile of who you are as an organization.

The Current Social Media Climate

Social media usage is soaring. Currently, 83% of Americans have a social media account (Hootsuite) and social media comprises 30% of all time spent online (Global Wed Index). Due to widespread adoption, a once leisurely novelty now blurs the lines between social, professional, and consumer spaces.

Not only do people expect to find their friends online, but they expect to find the businesses they interact with on social media. Amongst Americans, 48% have interacted with companies or institutions on at least one social media network, and 28% would rather engage with a brand/ organization on social media than visit a physical location (Hootsuite).

At the bare minimum, an employer should maintain a presence on these channels:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Yelp
  • Glassdoor

More savvy organizations will also typically adopt Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+… the list goes on and on.

Social media has a very personal approach in a relatively public space, creating a unique vortex of expectation centered on transparency, authenticity, presence, and accountability. How you use these channels as an employer can boost employee engagement, recruiting efforts, retention, and your overall image as a brand, which can further boost your reach to customers.

Beyond advertising, employers should use social media to:

  • Display your culture
  • Praise employees
  • Address complaints and negative feedback
  • Celebrate organizational accomplishments and employee achievements
  • Announce changes
  • Promote your blog or other expertise

Job Ad ≠ Presence

When you think of the relationship between employers and social media, most minds immediately jump to LinkedIn and job postings. While LinkedIn is an important and vital tool, your reach should stretch beyond this professional networking site. Strictly from a recruiting perspective, 93% of companies use LinkedIn for recruiting, but only 36% of jobseekers are actually active on LinkedIn (Jobcast). And among people who found their current job through a social network, 78% attributed their job to Facebook, while only 40% cited assistance from LinkedIn (Jobvite). In general, Facebook has a higher engagement rate: 70% of Facebook users engage daily compared to only 13% of LinkedIn users (Pew Research), and 83% of jobseekers are active on Facebook (Jobcast). An in-depth, multi-channel approach creates the presence you need.

The time has come to present yourself as a multidimensional entity, beyond your product or service. The inner workings of your organization are not only intriguing, but they speak to your competence and trustworthiness.

Leading with Transparency

Yelp has demanded a new level of accountability and transparency from businesses. Glassdoor has done the same with internal organizational policies and conduct. While this can feel detrimental to business, this actually strengthens it. Privacy is no longer a virtue, it is a caution sign to customers.

In this new era of vulnerability, a lack of online presence suggests you have something to hide. Your clients and customers want candid information on your services and your internal operations—even the nonfavorable reviews. (Too perfect of a reputation can imply bribery or tampering.) Referrals are consistently the best way to gain new business. Let the internet be your referral service. Perfect your service and address issues or complaints brought up online. This will give your clients and potential candidates a taste of the service they can expect.

For Your Employees…

Your social media movement should begin with your employees. They will be your first followers/friends, give your first shares and likes, and leave your best comments. Your employees will be your strongest testament for your employer brand and their presence will have the greatest influence on your potential candidates and client base.

According to Forbes, when employers encourage their employees to be active on social platforms, those employees are more likely to help increase sales. However, nearly 3 in 4 employees say their employer does not (or does not know how to) promote their employment brand on social media (Glassdoor). Meanwhile, 69% of jobseekers are more likely to apply for a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand (e.g., responds to reviews, updates their profile, shares updates on the culture and work environment, etc.).

How you engage your employees and how they engage with you will contribute to and strengthen your employer brand and overall reputation on social media. Glassdoor recommends utilizing social media as a tool for employee engagement through:

  • Collaboration and visibility
  • Advocacy
  • Storytelling
  • Employee feedback
  • Motivational work environment

Alongside your advertisements, news updates, and other content, celebrate your employees (with their permission of course): tenure, accomplishments, who they are, the work that they do, and especially their contributions to your culture—individually and as a whole. Nearly one-third of employees would rather be recognized in a company-wide email from an executive than receive a bonus of $500 (BambooHR). Acknowledging your employees publicly can give them the recognition they crave.

Recognition often becomes a two-way street – when employees part of the company’s story, they actively participate in telling that story to others. Employees who feel connected will be eager to share your content online. This is key because employee involvement is crucial for an organization’s social media strategy to be effective.

Only 26% of Baby Boomers, 40% of Gen Xers, and 49% of Millennials follow their organization on social media (Modern Survey), and only 33% of employees post messages, pictures, or videos about their employer on social media without any encouragement from their employer (Weber Shandwick/KRC Research). Meanwhile, only 33% of employers encourage employees to use social media to share news and information about their work or employer (Glassdoor).

You must demonstrate that social media participation is a valuable behavior. Involve leadership and, without bribing, reward employees’ social media activity.

Demonstrating that your organization is successful (in a business and cultural sense), combined with the widespread influence of your employees and their pride, is attractive to your clients and future candidates. Your reputation will spread, and your customers and future candidates will get to know who they will be working with.

Culture Check, Purpose Reigns

Across your social media channels, culture and purpose should be your building blocks and your guidelines. All of your communication should express both.

Begin by defining your culture and your purpose. Culture is the personality of your organization based on a shared set of values and beliefs, while purpose is why your organization exists at all, distinguishing your business in a sea of corporate-ness. All of your communication should align with these two narratives.

If your culture is not brag-worthy yet, build and nurture it. If you share anything that is untrue or uncharacteristic, you risk backlash from your employees.

Psych Break

When employees share information about their employer on social media, it influences a concept known as BIRGing – or Basking In the Reflected Glory. People like to associate themselves with successful entities. It’s one of the reasons we wear hats with our favorite sports teams or shirts with our favorite bands. Employees reflect in the glory of their organization’s triumph and are eager to advertise shared success.

Social media also influences the brain’s reward system, inducing feelgood chemicals with every “like.” When value is defined by both sides – employer and friends – it boosts the ego and creates feelings of pride. Your employees will be eager to share and maintain their participation, but only if your organization defines social media activity as important first.

For Your Jobseekers…

What your employees say about your organization will have an effect on job candidates. Remember, this is a candidate’s market. Jobseekers have more options than you do. How your organization is perceived has more impact than what your recruiters boast.

Even if you don’t maintain a strong presence, jobseekers are still looking to your social media platforms for information. In the US alone, 14.4 million have used social media to search for a job, while 48% used social media to find their current job (Jobvite).

When jobseekers are on the prowl, 76% want details on what makes a company an attractive place to work, 59% use social media to research the company culture of organizations they are interested in (Jobvite), and 54% read company reviews from employees (Glassdoor). The information that they find – more so than what you present on company-sponsored pages – can be extraordinarily beneficial or drastically detrimental.

Glassdoor reports 84% of candidates would consider leaving their current company if another company with an excellent reputation offered them a job, while 70% would not take a job with a company that had a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed (Corporate Responsibility Magazine).

Social media can even increase the number of high quality candidates you attract. Of companies that have implemented social recruiting, 42% say that their candidate quality has improved and 20% say it takes less time to hire (Jobvite). When they get a clear and candid picture of your workplace, candidates almost screen themselves.

However, nearly two in three say their current employer does not (or does not know how to) use social media to promote job openings (Glassdoor).

For Your Customers…

A third of Millennials say social media is one of their preferred channels for communicating with businesses, while 84% of CEOs and VPs say they use social media to help make purchasing decisions (B2C).

How you treat your employees, and how you communicate that, matters to your customers. As potential customers Google your organization, they will come across employee feedback – both positive and negative.

Mistreatment of employees can be the ultimate PR blow, while support for employees can be the ultimate boost. When your employees are unsatisfied and unengaged, they won’t deliver the best service to your customers. Companies that excel in customer experience have 1.5 times as many engaged employees (Temkin Group).

Your customers want to hear what your employees have to say. Customers are also more likely to trust in-house technical experts than CEOs, reinforcing the overall credibility of a company’s strategy (Edelman). When they share your organization’s content or praise the organization, your customers trust them. Your employer brand complements your consumer brand, and how you advertise it on social media shapes both.

8 Socially Conscious Steps

Your social media strategy should be deliberate, not an afterthought.

1. Build a strategy

Eighty-four percent of companies believe a clearly defined strategy is key to achieving employer branding objectives (Employer Brand International Global Research Study). Before you post anything, define your culture, your purpose, your employer brand, how you can best express it, and who is going to oversee the process.

2. Prepare your website to greet them

All of your social media will lead back to your website, so make sure your site is consistent with your social media channels in regard to branding, message, and content.

3. Involve leadership

Your senior leaders should be your most prominent social media advocates. If you want your employees to be involved, your leaders will set the tone. They should actively post and share content – both business and culture-based.

4. Provide guidelines for employees

Many of your employees may not even know where to begin when supporting their organization online: 14% have posted something about their employer on social media that they wish they hadn’t (Weber Shandwick/KRC Research). While you cannot force your employees to praise your organization, or keep them from speaking their minds, you can provide general guidelines about what can be helpful to share regarding the organization and what information should not be shared. On more professional platforms like LinkedIn, create stricter guidelines and boilerplates to maintain a consistent message. For example, no one in your organization should create their own job titles such as labeling themselves as a “guru” or “ninja” if, in fact, that is not their professional job title. Be sure to also create post templates to easily share things like job postings or events.

5. Share your expertise

The world wants to know what you know. Don’t just share your business expertise – share your expertise on corporate culture. Sharing tips will not make you weaker, but will position you as an industry leader and your employees as experts.

6. Incentivize employee social media involvement

There is a 50% increase in employees recommending company’s products or services when their employer encourages social sharing (Weber Shandwick, Employees Rising, 2014). Reward social media activity and recognize your social media super stars.

7. Designated personnel

Having too many cooks in the kitchen can muddle your message. Have designated team members focus on responding to both customer and jobseeker inquiries, complaints, and praise in a timely fashion.

8. Expand your presence to multiple channels

Utilizing more casual tools like Facebook and Instagram can have a more widespread influence. All 100 of the top global brands maintain at least one company YouTube channel, and more than half (27 of 50) of CEOs in top global companies have appeared in a company video (B2C). While it seems most logical to predominantly maintain a presence on LinkedIn, a multichannel approach is important.

Although we just emphasized a multichannel approach, your LinkedIn should still be strong. Valerie Killeen is the Social Media Manager for Roth Staffing Companies (parent company of Ultimate Staffing). She manages more than 100+ social media pages and educates the entire organization on best practices.

Check out her tips on getting the most out of LinkedIn as an employer:

Link In with LinkedIn Company Pages

Claim and develop your (free) LinkedIn company page. Company pages are an excellent platform to share news, press releases, key hires and special events. Additionally, it allows your employees to formally connect their profile to your company, and further your employer branding efforts by sharing updates exponentially, with their respective networks.

Use Social Media to celebrate your employer brand and what makes your company unique.

Do you wear Hawaiian shirts on Fridays? Do you decorate desks for Birthdays? Do you have an Ugly Sweater Party for the Holidays?

If so, take a fun team photo and share it on your Company’s social platforms. People love looking at photos of other people, so don’t be afraid to post away!

In the simplest sense, let the company be its authentic “self.” Your social media presence does not have to be packaged and commercialized, it just has to be real. As an organization, you might already be extraordinary – and social media can help make sure the world knows it.

Generation Re-evaluation

Engaging Millennials

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Part pariah, part godsend, Millennials occupy a unique space in the social and working world. Raised on a diet of technology and participation trophies, Millennials are challenging the corporate world to find ways to balance their unique skills and quirks, and engage them. In reality, however, Millennials are nothing new, and what engages them may surprise you.

The Millennial Revolution

Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are defined as being born between 1980 and 2000, but perhaps you know them more for their stereotypes: narcissists, the selfie generation, social media addicts, overly sensitive. Supposedly, they’re unorthodox, they want special treatment, and they have no work ethic.

But they’re here—and their numbers in the workplace are growing. Millennials are currently the largest generation, and by 2030 they’ll make up 75% of the workforce (Bureau of Labor Statistics). They are flooding into the workplace in record numbers, and their less-than-desirable characteristics and general approach to life are puzzling their Gen X and boomer counterparts.

While Millennial stereotypes make for tantalizing click-bait, they’re far too generalizing and not new. You’ve lived all of this before.

The 25-Year-Olds of Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow

Millennials were raised under unique circumstances, but they aren’t that different from their predecessors.

Typically, the human brain does not reach full maturity until a person reaches their mid-20s. During this time, the prefrontal cortex, the area associated with higher critical thinking, reaches maturity. The MIT Young Adult Development Project cites the Car Rental Rule: “The brain isn’t fully mature at 16, when we are allowed to drive, or at 18, when we are allowed to vote, or at 21, when we are allowed to drink, but closer to 25, when we are allowed to rent a car.”

It’s not until the brain reaches 25 that it reaches its full calibration of risk and reward, problem-solving, prioritizing, thinking ahead, self-evaluation, long-term planning, and regulation of emotion.

This has remained an objective truth for 25-year-olds throughout history. The Yuppies, the DINKs, the Dot Com Entrepreneurs, and Millennials are all the same person existing at a different point in time. The Harvard Business Review (HBR) quoted Elspeth Reeve, “It’s not that people born after 1980 are narcissists, it’s that young people are narcissists, and they get over themselves as they get older.” This does not make 20-somethings unemployable, it is simply a matter of understanding the growth process that everyone must go through.

This is a good thing. It means that the needs of each generation match, and you can meet the needs of today’s, yesterday’s and tomorrow’s Millennials with relative ease. The needs of young people have not necessarily changed, but instead we have learned more about employees in general, their engagement, and the programs that best suit them at any age.

Generation Re-evaluation

Just listen to The Who’s “My Generation” or The Beastie Boys’ “Fight for your Right (to Party)”—the tune of the young, confident hopefuls feeling misunderstood by their jaded elders is a consistent theme throughout time. The laziness, the need for participation trophies, and the requirement of special treatment are all less prominent than you think.

At this point, the term “Millennial” is used more as an insult than generational descriptor, and relying too heavily on these stereotypes can be harmful to your employees, candidates, and business.

Greater Purpose

A shared purpose is defined as “the why”: why an organization exists at all and what distinguishes it in a sea of corporate-ness. The purpose drives all organizational activities, serving as a compass. There is an overwhelming sense that only Millennials need a defined greater purpose in their work, but it’s not just a “Millennial thing.”

Six in ten Millennials cite a “sense of purpose” as part of the reason they chose to work for their current employers, and 40% of Millennials who plan to remain in their jobs beyond 2020 say their employers have a strong sense of purpose beyond financial success (Deloitte).

While shared purpose does bring out the best in Millennials, it also brings out the best in all employees. A shared purpose gives value to every member of an organization, defining why they come to work every day. In organizations with a strong sense of purpose, 73% of employees were engaged, compared to only 24% of employees in organizations without it (Deloitte). And 89% of executives stated that a strong sense of collective purpose drives employee satisfaction for everyone (HBR).

Entitlement

Nearly two-thirds, (65%) of people surveyed, say the term “entitled” describes Millennials very or somewhat well, and 58% of Millennials agree (Reason- Rupe).

POPSUGAR, a Millennial publication, offers unique insight on the matter. They believe that Millennials and their elders view entitlement differently. Instead of viewing entitlement as a sense that the universe owes them something they haven’t earned, many Millennials view entitlement as the right to go after big goals without asking for permission from gatekeepers and authority figures. Additionally, Millennials were raised under different technological circumstances, receiving results almost instantly for most of their lives. Their expectation for fast results and rewards might explain why they are labeled as “entitled,” especially if their expectations don’t match the reality of the situation—something they may not have learned yet.

These factors, combined with a newly 25-year-old brain, can create a perfect storm of narcissism.

However, Millennials may be humbler than expected. Sixty-four percent of Millennials consider themselves lucky to even have a job (CBRE). Additionally, in the workplace, Millennials feel more accountable than they do influential, indicating that they do feel a sense of responsibility over simply expecting change (Deloitte). They feel the most accountable and influential in regards to client/customer satisfaction and work culture/atmosphere. These findings suggest they believe their efforts and actions have a direct effect and will benefit their greater organization or workplace.

Job-Hopping

Career tenure is decreasing for all age brackets. The Bureau of Labor Statistics currently defines the average employee tenure at 4.2 years, and most are not shy about pointing the finger at Millennials for the decreasing number. Currently, 43% of Millennials are open to new job offers, while 38% are actively looking for a new role (PwC). But don’t let those numbers scare you: 71% of all workers admit to active job searching or at least being open to a new opportunity (Indeed).

More than 60% of Millennials said that they plan to stay in their jobs for “some time.” Yet, over 25% admitted that they often thought about quitting their jobs (Boston College).

However, Millennial loyalty is growing. According to Deloitte’s 2017 Millennial Survey, in 2016, 44% of Millennials planned to leave their organization within the next two years. In 2017, that number dropped to 38%. Similarly, those who planned to stay beyond five years increased from 27% to 31%.

You can increase Millennial tenure with internal programs. Growth opportunities seem to further increase loyalty: 44% of Millennial leaders say they intend to stay at their same company for more than 15 years; while 29% of non-Millennial leaders said the same thing (The Conference Board).

Millennials who feel they’re at a great workplace are 25 times more likely to plan a long-term future at that workplace (Great Place to Work). When Millennials receive 12.5% more job offers than older candidates (CEB Advisory Firm), a career change can be tantalizing. Make sure it’s hard for them to leave.

Recognition

The participation trophy has become a powerful symbol in the argument against Millennials, exemplifying their complacency and demand for attention for every small accomplishment. In reality, they don’t really need more recognition than their older counterparts. According to IBM’s Millennial Myths study, Millennials want a manager who’s ethical and fair and also values transparency and dependability, over a boss who recognizes their accomplishments and asks for their input. According to the study, it’s largely Gen X employees, not Millennials, who think everyone on a successful team should be rewarded.

Our own internal research reveals a constant truth: recognition has a direct correlation with engagement. All employees hunger for recognition: 40% of employed Americans say they’d put more energy into their work if they were recognized more often, while 50% of employees who don’t feel valued plan to look for another job within the next year.

More than 50% of HR Managers say showing appreciation cuts turnover, and 49% believe it increases profit. Dedicated recognition can benefit all employees.

Lazy

Laziness is hard to quantify. While it’s one of Millennials’ biggest negative descriptors, there isn’t much research on it. However, we do know that one quarter of young Millennials between the ages of 18 and 25 say they’re not using any of their vacation time this year, versus fewer than 1 in 10 Americans overall (Project: Time Off). Are they refraining from taking time off for fear of being seen as lazy?

We also know that Millennials grew up amidst massive technological innovation including the internet and the smart phone, and they’re used to finding what they perceive as the fastest route or best shortcut. They are multitaskers and great at finding diverse ways of approaching a subject, and often those ways can conflict with what their coworkers believe is the “right way.”

All of these stereotypes (needing a greater purpose, entitlement, job-hopping, recognition, laziness) are not nearly as prevalent as blog posts would lead you to believe. However, engagement–for anyone—is not a passive experience. As an organization, your leadership must initiate active efforts and dedicated programs that will give employees the opportunity to engage themselves in their work and workplace. Earnestly facilitating employee engagement programs will produce results.

The Same and Different, All At Once

While Millennials’ needs may not be too different from their predecessors, your organization still may not be prepared for engagement.

Amongst Millennials, these factors most influenced their decision to accept their current job:

The opportunity for personal development (65%) The reputation of the organization (36%) The role itself (24%) The starting salary/rate of pay (21%) The working location(s) (20%) (PwC)

Meanwhile, the top reasons Millennials considered leaving their jobs were to:

Make more money Move forward in their careers Pursue work that is more aligned with their passions Have more flexibility/better work-life balance Be in a more desirable location (Boston College)

Once again, these are not radically different from what older employees want, but addressing these issues can increase engagement for all of your employees, Millennials included. Implementing programs like the ones below can increase engagement and lower the turnover that Millennials are so famous for.

Fair Pay

Always begin with fair pay and benefits. Further engagement simply isn’t possible without it. Remember that Millennials have more student debt than their predecessors. In fact, the class of 2015 averaged about $35,000 of debt (Wall Street Journal). Additionally, many of them spent time working for free—in 2012, 1.5 million internships were filled in the United States, and it’s estimated that roughly half of those were unpaid (Forbes). These factors make fair pay imperative.

Staples reports that 29% of Millennials state that higher salary is the biggest contributor to their loyalty, compared to 20% of the broader workforce, while Gallup reports that 50% of Millennials say they would consider taking a job with a different company for a raise of 20% or less.

See our Salary Guide to ensure that your pay is not only fair but competitive.

Shared Purpose

A shared purpose is arguably the most important tool for the entirety of your organization. Harvard Business Review reports that only 46% workers say that their organization has a strong shared sense of purpose, while only 38% report that their staff has a clear understanding of organizational purpose and commitment to core values and beliefs.

Work together with your leadership to define and implement your company’s shared purpose. Read our White Paper for more information on how to do this effectively.

Flexible Work Options

Flexible work is all the rage—and for good reason. Workers who were offered telecommuting options were more productive and had lower turnover (Harvard Business Review), and 64% of Millennials want to occasionally work from home.

While this can increase engagement, make sure that your Millennials (and all other employees) receive the right tools and preparation to work efficiently.

Recognition Programs

As we mentioned before, recognition is both powerful and underutilized: 75% of employees receiving at least monthly recognition (even if informal) are satisfied with their job, but 82% of employees don’t think they’re recognized for their work as often as they deserve (BambooHR). Meanwhile, 38% of Millennials would like to see the recognition program at their current employer improved (Aon Hewitt).

Create a structured program that allows for both formal and informal recognition. Nearly one-third of employees would rather be recognized in a company-wide email from an executive than receive a bonus of $500 (BambooHR). Read our White Paper for more advice on creating an effective program.

Transparent Leadership

Many believe Millennials feel too entitled to information across an organization. In reality, 54% of Millennials don’t fully understand their organization’s business strategy (IBM). Leading with transparency can not only keep them informed but make the whole work process easier for everyone involved. When describing their perfect boss, all three generations agreed that “transparent and readily shares information” is one of the top three most important traits (IBM).

Open communication regarding organizational workings can keep employees informed and empowered.

Mentor Programs

Mentor programs can help decrease misunderstandings across generations, and can even squash some of those undesirable Millennial habits. Create mentor and reverse mentor programs to increase exposure and teamwork. Not only do 71% of Fortune 500 companies offer mentoring to their employees (Cronus Corporation), but retention is 25% higher for employees who have engaged in companysponsored mentoring (Deloitte). The best way to decrease stigma is to increase exposure.

Structured Career Paths

Structured career paths increase transparency and fairness. When your employees know what it takes to succeed, they feel empowered and valued, and therefore stay longer. Amongst Millennials, 45% would quit a job if they didn’t see a career path they wanted at the company (Ultimate Software), and 78% of employees said they would remain longer with their employer if they saw a career path with the current organization (Mercer).

However, while 60% of HR leaders believe that their companies provide employees with a clear career path, just 36% of employees agree (Saba Software). Make sure career paths are precise and made available for all employees.

Invest in Your Reputation

Humans of all ages have the tendency to associate themselves with successful entities, a phenomenon known as Basking in the Reflected Glory or “BIRGing.” That’s why we wear hats with our favorite sports teams, wear t-shirts with our favorite bands, etc. Your business is not excluded from this concept. Your reputation will affect who you attract and the pride they feel will affect how long they stay.

Glassdoor reports 84% of candidates would consider leaving their current company if another company with an excellent reputation offered them a job, while 70% would not take a job with a company that had a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed (Corporate Responsibility Magazine).

Millennials are the social media generation, so give them something to brag about. Build your online presence and proudly share your accomplishments.

A robust reputation can create an influential cycle. Your employees have a direct impact on the organization’s success and they will be eager to maintain that reputation. As your reputation grows, you will attract more spectacular talent from across all generations.

As you prepare your workplace for the Millennial revolution, don’t just focus on current Millennial needs. Emphasize growing them into your organization’s next leaders. When the boomers are gone and the Xers retire, Millennials will be left in charge. Your organization falling apart will not be a testament to how great Gen X and boomers were, it will be evidence that they failed to create sustainable success.

Millennials are here, and they are both familiar and foreign all at once. Open communication and collaboration will be your greatest asset. Companies have welcomed new generations before, and they will do it again. Remember, Gen Z is already on Millennials’ heels.

Gen-Whenever: Recruiting & Retaining the 3 Generations

A WHITE PAPER PROVIDED BY ULTIMATE STAFFING

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Curmudgeonly Boomers, Skeptical Xers, Entitled Millennials – even a few Traditionalists and members of Gen Z – all occupy the working population. A multigenerational workforce brings diverse viewpoints, differing skill sets, and a mix of experience and eagerness. But finding and managing this extraordinary talent is not successful without strategy. Continue reading

Passive Candidates:

Attracting casual job seekers in a candidate-driven job market

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It’s a candidate’s market, we just live in it. Unemployment has fallen below 5%, and the demand for new talent only continues to grow. According to Glassdoor, 90% of recruiters agree that the market is in the candidates’ favor. When available talent dwindles, you have to find them. Continue reading

Purpose: A White Paper

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You’ve heard that “teamwork makes the dream work.”

But at Ultimate Staffing, we’ve learned that the opposite tends to be more effective: “dream-work makes the team work.” A shared purpose (the dream) amongst a team, and across an organization, serves as a powerful motivator and has a positive effect on the entirety of your business.

Continue reading