Monday, August 24, 2009

Sending Email to Your LinkedIn Connections

This morning I learned of a new tip about LinkedIn that I wasn't aware of - the ability to export your LinkedIn Connections into a .CSV file (or .VCF file) so they can be imported into your email address book.

The reason I even started investigating this was that I'd heard of a guy who'd gotten an interview by sending an email to all his LinkedIn Connections letting them know that he was searching for his next opportunity and giving them some insights into what he was looking for.

Now, if you're going to do this, you definitely want to tread carefully and make sure your email is worded very respectfully, as his was. The last thing you want is to be labeled as a spammer or you may find yourself permanently kicked off of LinkedIn. But I wasn't even sure how he was able to do this. LinkedIn is very sensitive about preventing anything that might be perceived as spam going out, so I've never seen the ability to send email to all your connections before. I sent him an email asking him how he was able to do this and I'm still waiting on his response, but meanwhile, I started doing my own investigation, and found this ability to export your LinkedIn Connections. You can even filter them by location or industry first if you have a targeted message you want to send. (And in my opinion, when it comes to job search, the more targeted the better. "I'll do anything" is not the right message! You may be desperate, but don't advertise it!)

Once you have a .CSV file, you can import into an email address book. For example, I went to Yahoo! Mail to import the email addresses. This proved a little more cumbersome than it should have been. I couldn't find the option to import a .CSV file in Yahoo! Mail's new version, but when I went to Classic Mail I found it quite easily.

Now I have my LinkedIn connections safely backed up in a .CSV file as well as in an email address book.

As for sending an email to all your connections? worked for him. I'd probably stick to updating your status on your LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter first, and keep the mass emails to a minimum, especially to your LinkedIn connections. If people start misusing this, LinkedIn might take away the option to export email addresses, so please be respectful and careful about how you use this! One more reminder: If you do send a mass email of any kind (LinkedIn connections or otherwise) always .bcc your distribution list!

So...message here is: Back up your LinkedIn email addresses and use them wisely! Target your job search messages...the more personal* the better.

*By personal email, I mean sending it directly to one person rather than everyone in your email address book, using their first name, maybe remind them how you're connected, etc. I'm not suggesting "personal" as in "you look very pretty." Speaking of that, however, I did, oddly, receive a LinkedIn email the other day from someone I didn't know that told me I was "beautiful." This is inappropriate on LinkedIn (though I still connected with him.) For future reference, however, the appropriate place to tell me I'm beautiful is on FaceBook!

PS. I did get an update that the guy did use the export option from LinkedIn and then imported into Outlook.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Woo Hoo! Second Place in Job Mob's Guest Blogging Contest!

It's been an incredibly busy and productive week and there's so much I want to share, but for now I'll stick to one topic: How I got to 2nd place in Job Mob's Guest Blogging Contest with my entry on Networking!

The way it worked was that participants needed to write an original post and publish it on the Job Mob blog. Then I'd promote it to all my networks. The person with the most visitors wins the contest.

So, I wrote my article: 7 Quick Rules for Networking To Your Next Job and sent it to Jason Share who posted it to the Job Mob site. Since Networking is pertinent to the many LinkedIn groups that I'm a member of, I felt it was entirely appropriate to promote that article via the groups "News" sections. This is very easy to do in LinkedIn! You simply include the URL in News and then it goes out to all the group members in the next LinkedIn update.

So today (the final day of the contest) I checked the rankings and find that I'm in second place with 779 visitors to that article! This was helped by 19 ReTweets (visitors that felt the article was worth sharing via Twitter.) I'm not sure what time the contest officially ends but first place is 1866 visitors and third place is 355 visitors, so I'm in pretty solid standing for second place. But if you want to help me further (as well as learn 7 quick rules about networking) go ahead and check it out! (Do you think I've included the link enough times in this post?)

I always feel a little 'iffy' about promoting my blog posts. I don't want to be guilty of constantly asking people to 'read my stuff.' However, again, I didn't worry at all about that with using LinkedIn News. As long as the post reflects something that is pertinent to that group, it's perfectly acceptable to promote it using that option! So if you're trying to figure out a way to get more readers for your blog, join a LinkedIn group that's relevant and promote it via the News section!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

FaceBook Luck

It all started when my friend Dawn invited me to join the FaceBook Event: 21 Days No Negativity.. Allowing Career and Professional Success! Hey, I like challenges and 21 days of positive thinking sounded pretty good to me. So, August 11 at 8am, I purged my thoughts of any negativity, preparing my mind for positive affirmations and all that other law of attraction "stuff."

Well, at 10:43am, I got an email informing me I'd won entry to the Muddy Buddy.

Now winning entry to the Muddy Buddy may not sound like a great prize to all of you, but for me it was perfect! I had planned to run in The Great Urban Race in June with my son. Scotty and I had both really been looking forward to it, but when I lost my job, I told him I couldn't afford it. The Muddy Buddy will SO make up for it! Scotty and I can't wait!

Later on that first day of positive thinking, I got a request to come in for a second interview (the "technical one." Yikes!) for a job I'm very interested in. The interviewer, Mark, gave me some dates and times. I opted for the earliest, Aug 12 at 1:00, despite the fact that that would give me no time to study (or even get the much-needed dye-job on my hair that is scheduled for today.) I had no idea what kind of technology questions I'd be asked, and I did not want to be cramming for a "technology interview" all weekend. I'd either know it or I wouldn't

I updated my status on FaceBook, letting my friends know about the interview. The outpouring of Good Luck notes was incredible! Dawn even blogged about me! Wow! You can't imagine how heart-warming it was to get such public support. I got good luck wishes from people I barely knew...even from one of the head honchos of Communications at Sun, Terry McKenzie. I went into that interview feeling so supported!

The interview started with a hardware question about processors to which I answered, "I have no clue." Just because I was an EE major doesn't mean I know a thing about hardware. And despite what might have been considered a rocky start, I've never enjoyed any interview more! Mark asked me all kinds of questions covering my whole career. It was almost like a Trivial Pursuit game (No, I didn't know Grace Hopper was the person who invented Cobol. Programmers who code Cobol compilers aren't required to know those historical facts.) What really got fun was when Mark started asking me some design questions. My days of fiddling with code are long past, but his questions sparked my memory of the good 'ol days when I was trying to piece together a solution for a seemingly impossible requirement. This was a game of MindTrap and I'm much better at that then Trivial Pursuit.

Despite my dusty mind, I could tell Mark wanted me to succeed. When I stumbled, he gave me hints, much like a wise mentor... just enough of a clue to trigger a memory of a past programming concept. The lightbulb would go off and I'd answer. He'd smile and nod, as if to say, "That's it, Grasshopper. You're remembering."

At the end of the interview, he told me I'd "passed." He was going to recommend I come in next week for a final round. I had the technical knowledge required for the job. Yahoo!

It's hard to explain how positive I feel about this experience. Even when I got the questions wrong, I didn't feel panicked or upset. I felt like this guardian angel was with me, letting me know that whatever happened, it would be OK. If I was meant to get the job, I'd get it. I don't know if it was the power of positive thinking, the law of attraction, my Facebook Friends sending me messages of luck, or an interviewer that wanted me to succeed. I just know that it felt great.

So this is a big thank you to the Universe and to all those that are supporting others with positive thoughts and wishes. Keep doing it. It does make a difference.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Free Hugs and Acts of Kindness

I first saw this YouTube video a few years ago. I thought the concept of Free Hugs very unique and touching. Well...for some people, maybe too "touching". Hugging someone you don't know can be uncomfortable. Last year, I had a big debate with my extended family, out visiting from California, about whether "free hugs" were inappropriate. I was part of a Random Acts of Kindness Meetup group and there was a Free Hugs event that I wanted to attend. I eventually talked some of my family into going with me. It was an interesting experience, but I admit, I ended up feeling a little reluctant to hug people I didn't know. My geek side is much more comfortable with "virtual hugs" with strangers in the form of social media greetings or blog comments.

Though I can see how hugging may be a little too touchy-feely for a first encounter, I'm especially moved when a stranger is kind to me. There are a lot of examples, especially via the Web, to "connect". Today I got an email from someone I'd met very briefly at the Renaissance Festival last month, and she sent me digital photos she'd taken. Yesterday I got taken to lunch by someone that had read my "SuperFrug" blog post. Recently, I was congratulated on the birth of my grandson from someone who lived in Spain! These random acts of kindness are happening every day. Social Media and the web have made it easier for us to have conversations with strangers and share of ourselves. And soon we're no longer strangers. That is so cool.

Some people are skeptical when they're approached by a stranger. "What do they want?" is always the question. And it's true...sometimes, especially in the world of social networks, often a comment from a stranger means they want you to connect or to follow them or to read their blog or buy their product. But sometimes, they just are truly kind and not expecting anything in return. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Accept the kindness and don't question it. If you feel like reciprocating, then do. If you don't, then don't. But reaching out or accepting a "virtual hug" is easy and you run little risk of invading anyone's personal space. If people are blogging or on the social networks, they're inviting your comments. So go out and give some virtual hugs in the form of emails or comments to strangers today, with no ulterior motive other than it feels good.

Want to do more? Check out Random Acts of Kindness. Make the world a better place.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I Love A Freebie - The Frugal Social Media Coach

I took this photo when walking along Pearl Street today. It made me smile! 10 points!

To say I'm frugal is bit of an understatement. When I'm in a financial crisis (as I just happen to be right now) I like to play a game that I made up called SuperFrug! (An alternative name might be "Cheapskate Fun!")

Here is my "SuperFrug" game:

Objective: Have the most fun and spend the least amount of money

Every Day do these things without spending money:

  • Learn something new - 10 points
  • Experience something (person, place, event, etc.) that makes you feel happy. - 10 points
  • Take a picture of something that makes you smile (could be same as above.) - 10 points
  • Do something that brightens someone's day - 10 points
  • Record what you've done (either via blog or private journal) - 10 points

At a loss for what you can learn new? Look no more! Here are 130+ things you can do that will most likely fall into the Learn Something new" category.

Please note: Points are completely worthless, but if it makes you feel better, let me know when you reach 1000 points and I'll send you some kind of brand-spanking new virtual gift.

Ideas of things you can experience for free:
  • Go to a meetup for something your passionate about
  • Exercise: hike, bike, run, swim, etc.
  • Invite someone you meet via FaceBook to coffee (Though I think proper etiquette would be to pay for the coffee, that's a small price for gaining a new friend. If you're really desperate, I suppose you could rob the place, but that would reveal a Go Directly to Jail card and is poor strategy for this game.)
  • Write
  • Read
  • Listen to music (Live bands playing all summer in many locations around Boulder)
  • Go on a picnic (maybe with a new contact?)
  • Play!
  • Enjoy the summer sun
  • Go to free events around town (Check the Yellow Scene for ideas )
Ideas of things you can do to brighten someone's day for free:
  • Comment on someone's blog (if you're at a loss, you can always use mine!)
  • Call or email a friend to let them know what you admire about them
  • Invite someone to go with you on one of your "SuperFrug" adventures
  • Spend 15 minutes catching up with friends via FaceBook or Twitter. Comment so they know you checked out their latest photos, etc.
  • Make a yummy pasta dish or cookies to share with someone
  • Write on your blog about a person you admire (and let him/her know!)
  • Volunteer

And the number one thing you can do, over and over again?


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Social Media Consultants Exposed

Monday, August 3, 2009

How to Get Your Blog Post Blasted Everywhere

Every once in awhile I try to post something informative about the use of social media to my blog and this is one of those days. As of today, my blog posts will now be blasted automatically to LinkedIn, FaceBook, and Twitter whenever I post anywhere.

If you're a follower that wants to get to the "how to get your blog post blasted everywhere" information, skip to the [Serious Section] of this post.

If you're one of my FaceBook friends that really only cares about what kind of Romance Movie I am ( you don't care about that either) this is not the right post for you.

If you are a Twitter follower, I'm sorry this is more than 140 characters. I'm also sorry that I don't pay much attention to Twitter, so I apologize for not properly building our relationship.

If you take the time to blog (which is a good idea if you're in business) then it would be really nice to get as much exposure to your blog as possible, right? Well, there are some very easy ways to get your blog posts automatically updated to your LinkedIn, FaceBook, and Twitter accounts. This will take you about 5 minutes to set up and after that! Boom! Every time you make a blog post, all your networks will get updates with your magnificent missive, gaining you instant fame and fortune! Now, don't worry... your networks won't get emails about your blog posts unless they've specifically subscribed to receive them. Your posts will be on your profile pages, but one of the nice things about social media is that all your friends and followers can decide what they want to read. If you've posted about your wonderful new grandchild, for example, and they don't care about your wonderful new grandchild, they can just choose not to read it. (Though I really don't know how it would be possible to NOT care about such a newsworthy post.)

In any case, here's what you do:

[Serious Section]
On LinkedIn:
* Make sure your blog is listed on your "Websites" on your profile
* Add the Blog Link Application to your LinkedIn Profile. The Applications Link is on the left hand menu in LinkedIn.

On FaceBook:
It's really simple to import your blog into your Notes, once you find the right page in FaceBook. (I don't know about you guys, but sometimes I have a very hard time navigating through the FaceBook screens. I know I claim to have all this social media "expertise" but I'm navigationally challenged, in general.) I finally used google to help me find the link. Here it is:

On Twitter:
Use the application Twitterfeed to get your blog post automatically to update Twitter. For this one, you need to know your blog's RSS feed. For example, if you are using Blogger, your RSS feed will be: (substituting in your own blogname, of course.)

OK, there you have it! Go forth and multiply the readers of your blog! And if you don't want all your friends on all your networks to see your blog, well, then... don't do this.

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