Tips for Using LinkedIn for Professional Growth

I recently attended a session on using “LinkedIn for Professional Growth and Connectivity” at my local Social Media Breakfast Club meeting. LinkedIn is a social network I’d like to explore and better understand this year, and my current work has me thinking along the lines of using social media to enhance opportunities for growth and connectivity in several capacities. So needless to say, I was very interested and impressed to hear how career counselor and our presenter, Andrea Chartier, has explored and modeled using LinkedIn for these same reasons in her work.

LinkedIn – Don’t Set It and Forget it!

The general idea by many is to treat LinkedIn as an online version of a resume and ‘set it and forget it’. I am a somewhat guilty party here, so it was refreshing to hear Andrea’s ideas about ways we can use LinkedIn to enhance our profiles, and to search and connect with other professionals to help us learn or achieve current work goals (not just job searching).

How? Below, I’ve highlighted a few takeaways from Andrea’s session that will be helpful for expanding my own use of LinkedIn and my work helping other education professionals.

7 Takeaways from ‘Using LinkedIn for Professional Growth and Connectivity’

  1. LinkedIn Pulse is a way to keep up-to-date and a nice substitute for the drama of the Facebook news feed. Here you can keep up with your industry, and find opportunities for professional growth.
  2. Use LinkedIn to find people to help you do your (current) job. LinkedIn can be used to connect and find people with skills and connections you are looking for to help you do your job. (See the next bullet for how to find the right people)
  3. Use LinkedIn to grow your network through your network. For example, go back to the connections you have, like your Alma Mater, then look for people that are similar to you, or would be helpful for you to connect with for professional growth. (Tip: search by a job title keyword and location. It works surprisingly well).
  4. Change your summary to update your skills as you go. Andrea says she updates her summary all the time. She also recommended adding a few bullet points at the end of your summary that suggests how people should reach out to you to have conversations (over coffee, of course).
  5. Update your skills list. When you look at your skills list, does it match the skills you have? If not, it’s time to update it. You can also add skills you have that have not been suggested or endorsed by others.
  6. Re-order your skills list. Did you know that all those endorsed skills that other people say you have can be re-ordered or prioritized by you, too?
  7. Use your skills list to identify skills you’d like to acquire and new connections to make.   What about other skills would you like to acquire? Seeing the gaps in your LinkedIn skills list can help you consider what you’d like to post to your LinkedIn profile in the future, and help you search for people you can learn from to acquire new skills.

Ideas to Add to My Facilitation Toolbox

Aside from the helpful tips Andrea provided about using LinkedIn, she also shared some insightful facilitation tips that I plan to use in some upcoming professional development sessions.

Co-write your LinkedIn summary! (20 minutes – 1 hour). Writing about yourself can be difficult. Understanding what your peers and colleagues think are your best skills or assets can be very helpful for crafting an intriguing summary that others will want to look at twice, or thrice!

Here is how Andrea suggested this summary writing exercise can work:

  • Take a blank sheet of paper.
  • Write everything down that you are good at – things your mom, colleagues, or friends tell you that you are good at. (5-10 minutes)
  • Next, have someone else look at these skills and highlight the ones they think are most valuable or describe you best. Discuss (5-15 minutes)
  • Now, work on your own. Turn these skills into bio line sentences or a LinkedIn summary (10 -30+ minutes).

Relationship Economy exercise (5 minutes). Learn how being connected matters to know something new. Andrea pointed out that we are in a relationship economy in our local community. She says that many jobs get filled before they get posted, and that who you are connected to matters.

She gave everyone in the room 5 minutes to find someone and to find one person in common (out of the 100,000+ or so that exist in our local community/region). I met someone that was involved with music.  I thought this was going to be hard to figure out one connection we had in common, but it only took us 2-3 minutes to find a connection in common. After asking her what she did, I found a common connection between another person I knew that participated in a local musical venture. It was an interesting example of how thinking about a specific skill or sub-community that you have in common might help you make a connection.

Is LinkedIn the New Resume?

Andrea wrapped up her presentation by asking, “Is LinkedIn the new resume?” She answered with, ‘it depends’. In some cases, the old paper resume is still needed, depending on the expectations and processes of the people and organizations hiring. In other cases, the paper resume is just too stale. It is not dynamic enough for today’s dynamic world of work.

I think you need both. LinkedIn gives people a dynamic idea about who you are and what skills you offer. I see the value of using it to communicate both what I do and to identify skills gaps that I would like to close.

Andrea had many good ideas of how you could spend time improving your profile and making effective connections (many of which are in her A Practical Approach to Actually Using LinkedIn for Professional Growth and Connectivity, which can be found on her LinkedIn Profile via Slideshare.net).

 

Now the challenge: Can I schedule a routine practice to keep my LinkedIn profile, summary, and connections up-to-date and useful?

 

 

Is a routine blogging practice on my horizon?

I recently took a few days to reflect and recharge. I tirelessly watched the sunrise as it gradually gave definition to the waves that swelled, crested, and crashed beneath it, all without a digital device interrupting me.
20151108_062909

As I watched intently and uninterrupted, I thought a lot about my reflective practices, processes, and tools this year.  I had thought I would have an opportunity to do more blogging this year, but for many reasons, this hasn’t been the case.

Instead,  I have spent a lot of time learning and making sense of many changes with colleagues via conversations and collaborative projects. 

I also found ways to maintain some “pre-blogging” activities such as collecting bookmarks, writing lots of notes, journaling, taking pictures of images that represent useful metaphors,  and continuing to work to improve my sketchnote making and doodling abilities.

Sunrise

Sunrise – 2015 was not quite the year of getting into a routine blogging habit, but I did manage to work toward it.

Even though I didn’t develop a routine blogging habit this year, these pre-blogging activities are helping me move closer to developing a blogging habit in the following ways…

  • developing better insights, or perhaps a tighter focus for my blogging goals
  • developing better repositories of images and ideas
  • establishing and improving my systems to organize, collect and create materials around my blogging goals and across digital and social platforms.
  • providing opportunities to develop better overall visual communication skills

Keeping these ideas in mind, I know that I need to set some priorities, deadlines, and boundaries for myself if I’d like to start blogging on a routine basis. Here are my current ideas for beginning to establish a blogging routine:

  • Use a few select blog categories to focus blog writing, idea and image collections, in a way that contributes to a greater discussion. Quite serendipitously, I ran across John’s Stepper new post about goal setting and purposeful discovery which helps illuminate more ideas on this topic.
  • Make a blog topics spreadsheet, with a ‘priority’ column, and category column that I can use to make decisions about what I should blog about first and how these topics relate to my goals.
  • Commit to sharing my story when I go to an event or present at a conference.
  • Blog with fewer words. (I’m considering limiting myself to approximately 400 words for awhile.)
  • Use more visual prompts and metaphors.
  • Start with a realistic goal (e.g. 1 blog post per month?).
  • Set an appropriate time aside.  (I’m working on determining what this means.)
  • Learn how others have set and mastered committing to this habit.

Having this list is a bit like seeing the sunrise over the horizon. There is more I’ll have to do, more questions to answer, and more I’ll have to commit to in order to see the daylight of establishing a more routine blogging practice. In the meantime, I’m learning a lot, which in itself is worth taking the time to establish the practice.

Had an amazing 3 days of watching the sun rise over the lake this week.

A post shared by Karen Jeannette (@kjjeannette) on

Online Tools for Collaboration between Staff and Volunteers

In preparation for today’s web conference conversation on Online Tools for Collaboration between Staff and Volunteers,  I wanted to prepare a few thoughts about how a task force of six people have come together for the past two years to volunteer their time to create a social media training.

The training is designed to help Extension Master Gardener (EMG) volunteers learn about using social media to share research-based information in a volunteer role with EMG programs across the United States. The virtual task force has been glued together by their passion of helping volunteers learn to use social media to “Learn. Reach. Teach” in a Extension volunteer role, and made possible by a myriad of online tools and collaborative approaches.

EMG Social Media Training

A list of online tools for collaboration between staff and volunteers

Today, Steve Judd (co-task force member, and chair of the eXtension Network Literacy CoP) and I will discuss some tools we used to collaborate and create the online training.  Here is a quick list with a brief description of how the tools were used:

  • Doodle Polls – scheduling meetings across time zones.
  • Google Hangouts – F2F like video conferencing with colleagues
    • Uber Conference app for Google Hangouts (a way to bring people together in a Hangout despite firewalls and internet connectivity issues)
    • Google Hangout event (scheduling the meeting)
  • Email updates and reminders – perhaps this is a given, but it was still an important way to communicate progress, help people find links to documents,  and send meeting reminders to the team.
  • Drupal – a CMS that served as a container to chronologically organize meeting notes.
  • Boomerang – a way to send email in the wee hours of the morning so they hit the team’s inbox at 9 am.
  • Boardthing.com – a way to brainstorm and organize ideas for putting the training together.
  • Google Sites – first a way to organize the content of the site. Secondly, a way to offer the site without having to log in with a password. Thirdly, the comments feature also provided a way for team members to have and keep track of conversations around content sections.
  • Google Drive
    • Google Docs – putting thoughts together and enabling discussions around them
    • Google Sheets – organizing team assignments, user testing results and priorities
    • Google Forms – creating knowledge checks
    • Google Slides – putting slide presentations together
  • YouTube – a way to embed videos into Google Slides and Google Sites.
  • Word Docs –  a tool used for gathering user testing participants feedback (sometimes communicating with tools that people use most frequently is best)
  • WebEx – a way to allow user testing and focus group participants access to a phone number and video conferencing options, while also enabling the recording of focus group feedback.
  • Flickr images and wikimedia – a place to find CC images, acknowledge attribution, and share images
  • Qualtrics – a way to create a certificate quiz that auto-generates a certificate to the participant (without having them create a password for a LMS).

Following the announcement of this session last week, Jerry Buckho, colleague and fellow Network Literacy CoP member, asked a few questions about online tools for collaboration:

  • What did you do to help the team to keep moving forward?
  • What approach did the team take towards completing the various tasks? Who contributed to what and how was it decided?
  • Did you have to work through any issues w/ team members having lack of access to tools/resources?
  • What kind of time structure/temporal framework did the team adopt? Is all work done via team meetings, or something more fluid?
  • How did you work w/ the differing experience levels of team members w/ distance collaboration & the tech/tools you used?

I thought these questions were helpful as I prepare my thoughts for today’s session. On today’s call, we will likely discuss some of these questions or similar aspects.

{Update: the recording is posted via the same link provided} The Online tools for Collaboration between Staff and Volunteers web conference discussion will be held today (9/29/2015) at 2pm ET.  If you have an interest in online collaboration and tools, join us!  If you need to see what 2 pm ET is in your time zone, check the link, it should convert to your timezone!

4 microlessons worth sharing – March 25

Ever since last week’s #PKMChat on microcontent and microlearning (3-18-15) I’ve been thinking in microterms. As I thought more carefully about how I was using microcontent to microlearn this week, I realized that I had learned a few microlessons. This things worth sharing post is themed around these microlessons.

1) How can game design principles help us use smaller slices of information to enhance engagement and learning? Game On! Applying Game Design Principles to research, teaching, and outreach strategies, a conference keynote session I attended by Dr. Rosa Mikeal Martey in 2011, has influenced my thinking about using smaller slices of information to create engaging learning opportunities. With all the conversation on microcontent and microlearning in #PKMChat this week, many insights about microcontent and microlearning can be gained by understanding these gaming design principles, specifically:

  • progressive levels – how can we break things into smaller more manageable slices
  • feedback and measurement – providing more frequent feedback and measurement to sustain motivation and encourage experimentation
  • narrative and purpose – how to connect the smaller slices to a larger purpose

Towards the end of her presentation, Dr. Martey prompts researchers, educators, and outreach professionals to design learning and engagement opportunities (perhaps microlessons?) around the question: “What is it you need to learn?”, rather than  “How will I know what you know?”.

2)How about a drawing microchallenge? A couple weeks ago I used Dave Gray’s squiggle bird YouTube video to give myself a two minute drawing microchallenge. Adding feet and tail feathers on a variety of squiggles stretched my idea of what a bird could look like (check out the long little bird in the middle). This microchallenge helped me see how I can make characters out of many other shapes. It also was a great example of microcontent (video) and microlesson (the challenge) which led to my own microlearning (a small step forward in my artistic skill development).

My attempt at drawing squiggle birds on my phone.

My attempt at drawing squiggle birds on my phone.

3)Does microcontent = planned and re-purposed content?    I’ve thought of creating better microcontent mostly as the act of re-purposing bits of long form online educational events and content such as webinars, blog posts, or PDFs to share through social media. During a conversation with Helen Blunden during last week’s #PKMChat,  I realized I highly value conversation threads as a form of microcontent.

This helped remind me to plan to curate or share conversational insights back to the community of learners when appropriate. Storify and RebelMouse (see this EdTechLN example with its e-newsletter feature) are two tools I’ve seen that help to make lighter work out of curating and sharing conversations that make for great microcontent.

4)How do we become designers of better microchoices? Information architect Abbey Covert changed my thinking about who is a designer when I first saw her Slideshare presentation How to Make Sense of Any Mess.

After many years of not completely understanding why I’ve been intrigued by design thinking or why I’ve been completely annoyed by the paradox of choice when I enter the toothpaste aisle or go to buy a pair of jeans, it has become apparent to me that 21st century skills include becoming better at designing solutions and frameworks to make better and many microchoices.

As educational professionals, I see three ways where we can design solutions to help make better microchoices:

  • Designing and implementing our own daily (PKM)  personal framework and routine to get better at making, articulating, and sharing how we make microchoices in an information abundant and complex world.
  • Designing microcontent (or perhaps microlessons) that can help others learn and act to make a microchoice.
  • Designing (or co-designing) social learning frameworks or environments that spark opportunities to build knowledge, skills, and on-going social support so people can continue to learn together as knowledge evolves.

Viral Video Sketchnotes

I attended a ‘Viral Videos’ Social Media Breakfast Club session earlier this fall.  These are my sketchnotes and highlights from the session. Both speakers discussed marketing’s role in creating engaging and discoverable videos.

Beau Walsh described the need to understand marketing and branding to create engaging video stories. Manny Rivas‘s focus was more on establishing KPI’s and using tools and tactics to increase search ranking/discoverability.

Both are helpful points to consider, as I see video strategy is something that is becoming (or rather has become) vital to explore as part of a communications strategy.

Beau Walsh:

Sketchnotes from Viral Videos Social Media Breakfast club session

Sketchnotes from Viral Videos Social Media Breakfast club session

.

Here are a few links to the videos mentioned in the sketchnotes:

Duluth Grill – Parking Lot Orchard
Lake Superior Honey Company
Locally Laid

Manny Rivas:

Video Marketing

Video Marketing

As you can see, I had to leave early, so I missed Manny Rivas’s final points on tools and tactics, but luckily I was able to capture some of the tweets to patch together some of the details:

Tools and Products of Seek-Sense-Share

Do I need another online tool for work or learning? I use or have used a little over half of the Top 100 Tools for Learning in 2014 compiled by Jane Hart.

I wanted to know:  Why am I using these tools? How do they support my learning and work in online environments? Should I consider using a new tool? Take a tool off my list? I began to answer that question by mapping out how I use these tools as part of a PKM routine using Harold Jarche’s Seek-Sense-Share framework.

I’m simplifying here, but ‘Seek’ is an input – how we gather information. ‘Sense’ is an output, or how we reflect and create new meaning. ‘Share’ is also an output, how we share with others in a meaningful way.

Seek-Sense-Share sketch

What Seek-Sense-Share looks like to me

Near the edges of my routine Seek-Sense-Share process, I found intermediary processes:

  • collect, capture,  organize
  • group collaboration
  • create

These intermediary processes help me move between Seek, Sense, or Share.

Seek-Sense-Share with accompanying routine practices

Seek-Sense-Share with accompanying routine practices

Next, I mapped out how I was using online tools to fit with my Seek-Sense-Share process.

Seek-Sense-Share: Tools (green), products (grey), intermediary processes (blue)

Seek-Sense-Share: intermediary processes (blue), tools (green), products (grey),

Seek Tools – These tools or conversation spaces are the primary places I receive sources of online information. I tame the flow of information by trying to tune in this information by creating useful categories and filtering mechanisms.  My ‘Seek’ tools include:

  • Twitter (also the top tool for learning in 2014)
  • Google+
  • Feedly (manage blog subscriptions)
  • Pinterest (search for diversity of ideas)
  • Slideshare (an increasingly good source of ideas)
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn

Collect, Capture, Organize Tools

I use tools and methods to collect, capture, and organize information I ‘Seek’ before I ‘Sense’ by making sketchnotes, writing or present information. These include:

  • Evernote/Skitch  (capturing, tagging, and making personal notes about resources)
  • Twitter Favorites (bookmarking tweets to sort and review at a later date)
  • Flickr – (storing, and organizing images I take or create)
  • Pinterest  – (bookmark visual resources onto themed boards).

Group Collaboration Tools

I  consider group collaboration both an input (Seek) and an output (Sense). This is why I’ve sketched ‘Group Collaboration’ between and at the edges of ‘Seek’ and ‘Share’.  It is certainly an integral process to my sense-making process, especially the conversations that take place around collaborative or brainstorming processes.  I have routinely found my favorite and most frequently used group collaboration tools to be:

  • Google Apps
    • Google Drive – (I especially like the ‘share with anyone with a link’, sticky note-like comments, autosave, and revision history features)
    • Conversations via Google Hangout
  • Boardthing – (group facilitation tool to brainstorm, understand, or organize ideas)
  • Basecamp – (helpful for communication around project needs)

Sense Products – In my sketchnotes, I identified ‘Sense’ outcomes as products, rather than a set of tools. Having three main products seems very simple for how much work these three products create!

  • Sketchnotes
  • Presentations
  • Blogging

Creation Tools  –   These creation tools feel more like an input to create my ‘Sense’ products, and yet, when creating, I need to think how they will be used as an output ‘Sense’ and ‘Share.’ This is why these are listed separately and on the edge between ‘Sense’ and ‘Share’. My list of creation tools for creating ‘Sense’ products, include:

  • Sketchnoting:
    • Samsung Galaxy Note Tablet & SketchbookX App
    • Paper sketches captured to Evernote or Dropbox
  • Presenting (includes making graphics, slide decks, or videos):
    • PowerPoint
    • Prezi
    • Photoshop
    • Screenflow
    • iMovie
  • Writing:
    • Blogging
    • Evernote

Share Tools – Sharing is like exhaling.  I find a significant part of my what happens in ‘Share’ is actually thought about in ‘Create’ and ‘Sense’, as I have to determine when and where (or with whom) to share to present a valuable product. My ‘Share’ tools, include:

  • Twitter, Google+ (most frequent)
  • Comment on blogs (I could be much better about this)
  • Slideshare/Prezi (when presenting)
  • Vimeo (mostly ‘how to’ screen capture videos)
  • YouTube (rarely used)
  • Web conference (Adobe Connect, Google+)

Do I need another online tool for work or learning in 2014?

I see two areas where I may adopt new tools this year: Create and Group Collaboration. In the next few months, I’ll likely experiment with tools that help me present or communicate more effectively (e.g. Canva, Goanimate) and look for task management tools that may tie group collaborative tasks to personal notes (like Evernote).

The above prediction is limited. I know there are tools I don’t know of yet that may be useful, so more importantly, mapping out my tools, products, and processes in this post, I have a new set of questions to ask when I consider adopting a new tool:

  • How will a new tool supports the processes I’ve outlined above?
  • How often will I use it (i.e. daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or as-needed) ?
  • Does it fill a niche, does it make it easier for me to find, retrieve, make or share information?
  • Will I add it to my toolbox as a complement to something else I’m already using?

Tuning in the right amount of information with goals, categories and tools

I am reviewing how I filter information on the web by subscribing to information in a feed reader (Feedly) and following others in social networks (Twitter/Google+).  I’m now realizing this process of filtering information is really more like a process of ‘tuning in’ information.

In the past, I used some keywords that I thought best described my areas of interest. I would use those keywords to make categories (which act like folders) in my feed reader (Feedly). After awhile, I had too many categories to check through, and some were too noisy. I began to think I needed ‘priority’ categories rather than ‘interesting keyword’ categories.

Tuning in information by goals and categories, then tools

Recently, I’ve taken time to more clearly define my own ambitions and professional goals (some might call this part of the personal branding process).  Matching these goals to my categories or streams of information has been helpful in improving for how I find and decide how to “tune in” sources of information to gain new insights, improve a skill, or become better informed of activity in my network.

I’ve sketched how I have defined these categories (drawn as circles of people) in Feedly. My goal in reviewing/updating these categories is to create clear and useful streams, or those that I can easily dip into as needed for a specific purpose. (As I mention later, these categories also inform how I decide to follow people through Twitter/Google+.)

Filtering information into subcategories

Filtering information into subcategories

 

Why, how and when I dip into my Feedly categories

* Social change (and networking): This is my “crystal ball” category, the stream of information I most frequently read, which helps me to see the road ahead, or navigate a path in unknown (to me) terrain.  To keep this stream clear and useful, I have developed a habit of only subscribing to one or two people that present a unique and insightful perspective for something I want to understand more fully. As of now, these are people interested in how people are working through behavioral, organizational, educational, networking,  technological, or societal change in one capacity or another.

Words that define social change related to my work and interests

Words that define my work and interests as of August 2014

Science and nature: I don’t make it a rule to check here as often as my other categories. The information in this category applies to my formal education in the natural sciences, but indirectly applies to my current work. I still get new ideas here (ecological and social networks have a lot of similarities), which is why it’s nice to check on this stream less frequently or “every once in awhile” in Feedly.

Science communication:  This includes behavior change. Upon further thought, I will probably fold subscriptions in this category under science and nature or perhaps social change.

*Visual communication:   This is a specific skill I’m targeting to improve this year.   Next year, this folder might be about another skill I’m targeting to improve. This has proved be be extremely valuable to have a separate ‘skill improvement’ folder so I can dip into the stream when I’m looking for new ideas and inspiration.

*Colleagues:  “Colleagues”  used to mean everyone I was connected to in my organizational network. This now includes a broader network of people that I interact with on Twitter or other social networks. I occasionally dip into this category in Feedly to stay up-to-date or informed of what they are learning.

Other categories: I’ve recently updated my feed reader to include two new categories…

  • Local community: I want to do a better job keeping up with the news in my local community.
  • “Maybe”:  These are sources I find, but I’m not sure I want to subscribe to in the long term. If I like them, I’ll likely move them to one of the other folder I previously mentioned.
Feedly streams

A view of my Feedly home page stream

Social networks (Twitter/Google+)

As a rule of thumb, I use my Feedly categories as a guide to decide who to follow or search for through my social networks (Twitter/Google+). Then, I end up deciding if they should be viewed in one of two streams, the “Home/Follow”  or “Colleagues”  stream.

My “Colleagues” stream slows this information stream so I can see the best information from anyone I don’t want to miss hearing from.  Deciding who goes in the colleagues column is really subjective, in fact,  I’m not sure how I can tell you how I decide this — as it’s some “very scientific” combination of your-helpful-with-a-good-signal-to-noise ratio-and-I’m-just-curious-what-you-are-saying kind of rule. Yet, it is a really helpful rule! 

On Google+, my process is similar.  I have ‘Follow’ and ‘Colleagues’ circles.

2 columns in Tweetdeck. Left is a stream of everyone I follow. Right is 'Colleagues' column - or people I learn from or work with most.

2 columns in Tweetdeck. Left is a stream of everyone I follow. Right is ‘Colleagues’ column – or people I learn from and/or work with most.

 

What did I learn from reviewing my information filtering process?

The above process has brought about a fair amount of relief to my information seeking routines. The frequency of feeling overwhelmed with information is a lot less now, and I’m a bit surprised how much useful information I’m running across. I think I’ve begun to discover what a good signal to noise ratio looks like. Based on some careful thought about my ambitions and goals, I see that tuning in information on the web can even be conjoined with a continual and annual goal setting process.

This blog post was part of my participation in the ‘Filters’ activity in Harold Jarche’s PKM in 40 days workshop. (It also related well to “Finding the Right People” activity.)