Thursday, March 18, 2010

Linkedin Has Revolutionized Professional Networking

It was back in 2007 when I first created my profile on LinkedIn. I'd like to tell you what made me land on It was the emergence of Facebook as a social networking platform that tickled my mental curiosity buds as to who can build a community as populated as them.

One day while searching for the competitors, I came across this simple interface that was engaging me to connect professionally to exchange information, ideas and mostly importantly "OPPORTUNITIES". I was immediately sold out on it. Once i started creating my profile on LinkedIn, I did not give much attention to recommendation section, groups, etc. I just created a simple profile to mark a presence. After 10-11 months approximately, I got an email from an HR Department of a well known organization based in USA to share my contact number with them so that we can discuss mutual benefits.

I was taken aback and thought it was a spam. I did a search on the person's name that I had an email from and found it to be a legitimate email. But just to be safe, I called them instead (I found the number in the signature of the person's email). To my utmost surprise, they had seen my profile on Linkedin and wanted to discuss whether I would be interested in a career move for a position that was vacant in their organization. During that time, the word "Recession" was alien to me and I was doing quite well within the organization that I was working for, hence I decided to stay. But the whole event changed the way I used to think about these online networking platforms.

I used to be mostly an introvert before being associated with LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.. Being in a customer services industry, I used to have enough time talking to so many people that I hardly had time to build further networking professionally. Today, LinkedIn has become more important to me than newspapers. First thing, when I reach home, I have to make sure I check whether someone has sent a request to connect to me. I also make sure that I contribute in professional discussions within the groups that I have joined. I also make certain that I post vacancies within the jobs section of the groups if ever I come to know about them.

Lately, the latest added feature of sharing your blogs through added applications on LinkedIn has instigated me to become a blogger. If i sum up how LinkedIn has changed my life and what have I achieved from it, I would make sure that I mention the following points:

1. LinkedIn has provided me with an opportunity to connect to professionals that were not reachable at one time due to limitations of technology.

2. It has assisted me in professionally presenting my profile in front of the professional and educated crowd. Today, it is not just about having a CV. It is about having recommendations published directly from people you have worked with, directly or indirectly. It is also about adding files, presentations, blogs, etc. to your profile in order to share knowledge and demonstrate your versatility and resourcefulness.

3. It has supported me in keeping myself updated through discussions and topics posted by leaders right on the top of the industry.

4. It has made me feel concerned about how can I always keep learning new ideas of approaching people and minimizing the inaccuracies.

I can keep on blogging about it whole day but one thing is for sure and we all might have consensus on it:

In future, companies will definitely develop an interface that would enable users to submit profile data directly on the company's website through LinkedIn. Visualize for a while, how easy would it be to go to a recruitment website, fill in your LinkedIn ID and Password to retrieve all the data from your profile and submit to the website as opposed to visiting the recruitment websites and company websites filling in all the professional details about oneself again and again. It is a wakeup call for all the headhunters and HR professionals. You can cash on it today. Many people don’t apply for open positions due to the fact that it requires them to fill in their entire academic and experience details manually.

I always say “Get Inspired, motivated and strengthened to make it to the top. Make yourself known through your sword of intellect.” Today in order to get yourself known and strengthened, you should have a presence on a professional and intellectual platform such as LinkedIn.

M Zeeshan's Views

Thursday, March 11, 2010

10 Common Avoidable Mistakes During an Interview (By Samreena)

No matter how good you look on paper, everything you do­ from how you treat each member of the interview team, to what you’re wearing, to what you say or don’t say during the interview is noted, and taken into account in the hiring decision.

A big part of a successful interview is avoiding simple mistakes. Mistakes are deadly to the job seeker and easy to avoid if you are prepared.

Here are ten of the most common mistakes people make during job interviews:

Arriving Late. One of the worst job interview mistakes is to not be on time for the interview. Collect all the necessary details beforehand to ensure that you arrive on time. Get directions from the interviewer or a map. Leave home early. If you cannot make it on time, call the interviewer, and arrange to reschedule.

Not Being Prepared. There is no excuse with today’s technology to go into an interview without doing basic research on the company interviewing you, their executives, products, customers, and competitors.
You also should prepare answers on the most common interview questions such as, “What are you strengths and weaknesses? Where do you see yourself in ten years? What can you bring to the company that nobody else can? What brought you to this part of your career?” You will be more than likely asked these questions.

Dressing Inappropriately. When hiring managers were asked to name the most common and damaging interview mistakes a candidate can make, 51% listed dressing inappropriately. You make your greatest impact on the interviewer in the first 10-17 seconds, an impression you want to make powerfully positive. It’s therefore important to carefully consider what you should wear to impress your interviewer.

Talking too much and saying too little. There is a misconception that the length of your response to an interview question is as important as the quality of your answer. The interviewer really doesn’t need to know your whole life story. Answering to a simple question with a fifteen-minute reply can be avoided if you practiced what you want to communicate. Good answers are succinct, to the point and focused when demonstrating your knowledge, expertise, and value. The best way to do this is to prepare and practice your interview answers beforehand.

Being too modest. Don’t be afraid to talk up everything that you’ve accomplished, whether in school or in previous companies. This is your time to shine. It’s really hard to communicate with someone who answers a question with a word or two.

Speaking Negatively About Previous Employers. Your previous boss was an idiot? Everyone in the company was a jerk? You hated your job and couldn’t wait to leave? Even if it’s completely true, you don’t want to be labeled a troublemaker or someone who isn’t a team player and you do not want to look like a complainer. You also don’t want the interviewer to think that you might speak that way about his or her company if you leave on terms that aren’t the best. Complaining about former employers and colleagues creates a negative impression. Focus on the positive - that you are looking for opportunities to grow professionally and be a part of an organization where you can make a difference.

Failing to Ask Questions. Interviewers are unimpressed when they ask the candidate if they have any questions and the candidate does not! Prepare at least 3 or 4 questions in advance to ask the interviewer. Interviews are an exchange of information, and having no questions indicates that you are not sufficiently interested and have not thought much about the position.

Not Displaying a Positive Attitude. This is your first and sometimes only chance to showcase your personality. Managers want to hire people who are enthusiastic. Put a positive spin on the situation and your job search. This is particularly important for people who have been in the job hunt for a long time or who left their past employers under strained circumstances. Show your enthusiasm for both the job and the opportunity to interview for it. And don’t forget to thank the person at the end of the interview!

Asking about Salary too early. Don’t ask about salary at a job interview. Wait for the interviewer to bring up these issues. The interviewer will inevitably tell you what salary and benefits come with the job. There are so many people looking for jobs, so if the company sees you as someone who just wants the money and does not necessarily care about the job, it will work against you in the long run.

Allowing Distractions. While you will probably be nervous prior to and during your job interview, try not to fidget. Think about what you are doing with your hands to keep them under control. Fiddling with your clothing, your notebook, your hair, tapping your pen, etc are all distracting and irritating. No employer wants a fidgety co-worker in the building.

Lastly, I'd like to mention that sometimes you can be shortlisted for an Interview even if you do not fulfill the complete requirements in the Job Description. It is strongly recommended to prepare for the prerequisite. Thanks to Internet and sites like Wikipedia, there are lots of information available for candidates. I can assure you that preparation will make you feel more confident and it will lead to better presentation and body language.

Best of Luck!