What Will Be the Title of Your 2014 Chapter?

happy new year

First, I want to start off by wishing all of you a very happy, safe, healthy and prosperous New Year. As the New Year begins, it provides a sense of optimism, opportunity and possibilities. I like to think of it as ending the chapter of the previous year and starting a new chapter charting your course for the year ahead.  So what will the  title of your 2014 chapter be? For some the chapter may contain goals for a new job, home, travel, more money, etc. The title of your chapter can guide you on creating a plan to help you achieve those goals. It can serve as an anchor to remind you what you set out for the year.

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If your 2014 chapter has aspirations for a promotion or career change (and of course more money), consider exploring development opportunities that may be available to you through your company’s eLearning tool or education/training programs. Social networking tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ also have free groups you can join to participate in conversations, projects, webinars, events and industry discussions. Upgrading your skills in an evolving market is always a good idea.

It demonstrates your willingness to learn new things and keep relevant. Take a few moments to think about what new skills or training you would like to acquire and how that may help you align with your holistic career plan.

Maybe you’re quite happy win your job but would like to get a better sense of what’s happening within your coffee chatcompany or out there (in your industry). The start of the new year should also be the start of new relationships. Take some time to build networks both within and outside your organization. I am a firm believer that different perspectives can help you make a more informed decision about what’s happening both beside you and around you. How about making a goal to network with six people this year? That’s one every two months.  Perhaps three people internally and three people externally. Maybe they’re acquaintances that you casually interact with that you would like to get to know better. Build you networks through LinkedIn, Twitter and/or Google+. Pick a few people and reach out to them. If  you can’t meet in person, set up a virtual coffee. Building and cultivating your network can be an important step in helping you make connections to realize your end goals.

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Regardless of your end goals. as I wrote in my last blog post How to Articulate Your Accomplishments for Your Performance Review, make a point of updating your online profiles to include accomplishments, skills and projects you completed. Having an updated profile helps build your brand and showcase your updated skills.

Finally, and most importantly, incorporate your personal goals and objectives into your 2014 chapter. The way we feel is the foundation of
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how we project ourselves to our family, friends and work colleagues. Feeling positive about you should be your number one priority. Maybe it’s time to take up a new hobby or start an exercise routine. Having balance helps put you into the right frame of mind to focus and achieve your goals.

As for me…the title of my 2014 chapter will be an expansion of my 2013 continuous improvement philosophy, simply: “Expanding My Perspectives Through learning”.That will include both professional and personal goals.

I look forward to hearing what titles you come up with for this year. I wish you every success in achieving your goals. Tweet me @annzaliebarrett !

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Who’s Using Social Media Anyway?

Facebook. Twitter. Google+. Pintrest, Instagram, LinkedIn. They all have become mainstream words we use in our everyday conversation. They have penetrated all forms of media including print, TV, radio, video and digital. It would almost seem strange not to hear or see those familiar icons.

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For a long time, there seemed to be a perception that only younger people (under 25) were “on” social media. So why then are companies putting so much time, effort and money into using social media platforms for marketing, branding and engagement to a small segment of the population?

Think about it:

  • Almost every company, globally, is using a social media channel for branding and engagement
  • News channels use Twitter to solicit questions and comments
  • Commercials almost always have a “check us out on” Facebook or Twitter as part of their closing
  • For reality TV shows… Twitter is a staple
  • For mobile, social channels are readily available
  • Many web sites enable you use your Facebook, Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts to sign into other accounts such as Pinterest, TripAdvisor, etc.
  • Some companies provide the ability use your social accounts such as LinkedIn to apply for jobs.

So it’s not just young people who are using social media channels.

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As social media becomes more intertwined with consumer marketing, recreational activities and personal transactions (such as banking), it encourages more people across a wider demographic to use these channels. Mobile technology also offers social media as a core part of their smart phones (including tablets) which make social media channels readily accessible and easy to use on the go.

In the last two years we can see a steady increase across all demographics of people using social media.

Edison-research-graph

No surprise that the highest usage is the under 25 age group. But what we are seeing is the year over year increase of people over 45 using social media. In just one year the 45-54 age group increased 10% shifting to more than half of that demographic now using social media channels. Another interesting observation is an 8% increase of those 65 and over using social media between 2011 and 2012.

The marketing of social media on traditional channels has increased conversion to use these channels and apps to engage and perform transactions. The upsurge in usage for those 55 and over may also be attributed to the way they have determined how the use social media. Research shows that as people get older they tend to take a more thoughtful approach to social media; separating their professional and personal social channels such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Friends and network connections tend to be people they know, instead of casual acquaintances.  Increased ability to control privacy settings also make people feel more secure about social networking and sharing information.

As more people start to use social media we also see them expanding and using a variety of different channels. If we think about personal usage on channels such as Facebook we can see in the chart below, there is a broad distribution of users across all demographics. If we look at LinkedIn, we can see more usage for those over 25, the highest among those in the over 55 age bracket. Twitter on the other hand has broader usage for those under 25 and the least amount of usage for those over 55. What they all have in common, are all demographics are using these channels, but at a different capacity, based on what they deem the channels are useful for. What we will start to see is a rise in channels like LinkedIn for those under 25 looking to build their professional profile.

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The results show us that social media is being used by all demographics. With technology making it easier to connect we can expect to see a continued rise in the number of “older” people using social media. This is key if you are thinking about possible avenues to market your products, services and jobs.

Consider where you could source your next new hire or business opportunity from using a social media platform.

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by Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

Do Employers Really Look at Social Networking Sites as Part of the Recruitment Process?

Many employers now regularly visit social networking sites to pro-actively recruit and source candidates. The older eRecruitment model of automate it and they will come, is quickly being abandoned in favour of the social recruitment philosophy of meet them where they are.  Since social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, etc. are all public forums, by default your profile, connections and information on those sites are set to “public”/”everyone”. This means if you haven’t changed your privacy settings information you post is readily available and searchable on the internet. That includes video’s, photo’s, status updates, photos you are tagged in, etc., which also appear on your network/friends wall and news feeds.

There have been a number of articles, blogs and new casts cautioning people to be careful about how they portray themselves on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc. There have even been cases around the world where candidates have been passed over for jobs or employees terminated for posts they have written about their company or fellow employees on Facebook and Twitter.

With Big Brother (internet) housing all of this information how can you keep your private information secure, so it isn’t available all over the internet?

Here are few things you can do to keep information private on the internet:

1. Adjust your privacy settings on all your social networking accounts: Every social networking platform has specific privacy settings that you can adjust. Facebook for example, allows you to limit who can see your information, provide an approval process for pictures others have tagged you in, and create lists to categorize people you know.  This is just a few examples.

  • Part 1 Facebook Privacy Settings Tutorial
  • Part 2 Facebook Privacy Settings Tutorial
  • Click here for a tutorial on how to change your Twitter privacy settings.
  • Click here for a tutorial on how to change your Google+ privacy settings.

 2. Use “lists”/ “circles” to help categorize your friends, acquaintances, family, colleagues, etc.: If you want to use a single social networking platform such as Facebook or Google+ to share information with your friends, colleagues, family, etc. you should develop lists/circles to help categorize what information you want people to see. For example, if you want to post information to your non-work friends about a party you went to on the weekend, you can create a list to determine who should receive those updates. This is a quick and easy way to direct information to those you intended if for. Click here to see a tutorial on how to create friend lists in Facebook.

3. Use LinkedIn as your professional marketing tool: While sites like Facebook are looking to integrate your business and professional life into one neat little package, there still are cross overs between your personal and professional profile. For example, if you choose to use the Glassdoor or Branchout app on Facebook, your Facebook profile picture will be used. Instead, use a single platform like LinkedIn which has been globally marketed as a professional networking tool. This will allow you to focus on building your professional network and marketing yourself in a professional way. You can then adjust your privacy settings to filter out unwanted solicitations or junk. Click here to see how you can change your privacy settings on LinkedIn.

4. Routinely revisit your privacy settings: As new features get rolled out (e.g. Facebook Timeline) there may be additional privacy settings you can change to keep your information secure. It’s a good habit to check-in once a quarter to see if there are new privacy settings available to you.

5. Periodically clean up your friends: Friends come and go. It’s a good idea to periodically do a spring cleaning of your friends and friend lists. For those you only want to connect with professionally, think about having them as a LinkedIn connection rather than a personal connection.

6. Always abide by your company’s Code of Conduct: If you are posting information about your company or fellow employees you should be well versed on what is deemed suitable content to be posted.

Happy tidying up!

Written by Ann Barrett- Director, eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy