Using LinkedIn InMap Metrics to Assess Your Network

Thanks to everyone who came to last night’s LinkedIn workshop. Everyone learned a lot in the very comfy couches at McAnns- I am sure the Pinot Grigio helped! One of the topics we discussed last night was connections. Here are some thoughts and helpful hints.

Why Your Connections Matter

Here are some important things to think about when reviewing the status of your LinkedIn connections.

First, are you connected to everyone you should be? As job seekers or professionals who want to position yourselves for new opportunities, your network is one of your greatest assets. While you talk with many people outside social media, connecting with them on LinkedIn can add a richness to your professional relationship. You can see what they are working on and what their priorities are, which you would only know if you spoke to that person every day. By having this information, you can easily add more value to your relationship by sharing relevant information or connecting them to others who could help with their current projects.

Second, do you use “offline” rules when deciding who you connect with on LinkedIn? That means that if you would feel comfortable communicating with a specific person at a cocktail party (for example, an executive at your company), you should feel comfortable requesting to add them to your network. If you would never speak to someone in that type of situation, it’s probably not a good idea to ask the CEO to join your LinkedIn network. When emailing someone to connect, always ask yourself, “What would I do offline?”

Third, for many industries and companies, influence matters. If you have less than 100 LinkedIn connections, how are you going to be a brand ambassador in your new job? While this does not mean you should add people to LinkedIn for the sake of increasing a number, it’s important to ask yourself if your current number of connections is an accurate representation of what you want other people to perceive about your professional network.

Assessing Your Network with LinkedIn InMaps

One of the great ways to assess your network is to use a new feature in LinkedIn Labs called InMaps. The InMaps application will create a colorful map of all of your LinkedIn connections and how they connect to each other. Connections with large dots are “super-connectors”- they are connected to many people, and in many cases, a number of people also connected to you. Below is my InMap, which I ran on January 30th and again on February 28th. I was fascinated to see how my network has changed and evolved in just a month. It has also given me a sense of some specific actions to take in my networking activity. Here is how I assessed my February 28 map of 390 connections and hopefully it can give you some ideas of how you could do the same.

 

LinkedIn InMap

1. I like how the map visualizes my trajectory as an entrepreneur. The red (Office of Teacher Recruitment and close supporters), green (other NYC Department of Education staff), and dark orange (Teach for America) clusters on the left are my base and are launching me toward the other parts of my life that I am growing, represented by my Fast Trac Entrepreneurship fellowship program network (cluster in pink) all the way to the right. By March 30th, I’d like to start to see the volume of dots on my map sway more to the right.

2. I had no idea how big my Teach for America alumni network was on LinkedIn. I should really communicate with those people more since we’re all committed to improving education. We should be mutually helping each other and I don’t feel like we do that enough.

3. The green cluster is my network from when I was Director of Project Management at The Princeton Review’s K-12 division. I left the company six years ago, but am still close with most of those people. That being said, I am not sure if they all know about what I am doing these days and I should look at that cluster. I am also not sure if I know about their current projects.

4. The light orange cluster is very small, but all people I have met through Twitter chats since September. I think it’s interesting that even though it’s just a few people, LinkedIn has found them to be influential. When I reflect on how those relationships have evolved over the last five months, that makes sense. I want to see that group expanded in the next month as those people have become my new tribe.

6. The light blue cluster are people from my sorority Alpha Gamma Delta. I write often that college was a transformative time for me, but I have very few people from college or grad school in my LinkedIn network. This floored me. I speak to people from my college days all the time, but socially. If one of them was searching for a job, I would hope they think of me as a professional who could help them and not just a friend. I would like to see where I can make this base more substantial in my LinkedIn network.

7. All of the gray dots are people who LinkedIn can’t associate with a group. They include people in education reform who are not DOE or TFA, recruiters, coaches, clients and others. Over time, I’d like to see some of these dots become visual clusters, especially the recruiter group. I was actually surprised that the recruiters weren’t their own group, but the map helped me see how disparate those connections are. Growing these clusters may take a few months as I network and do more coaching. For the recruiter relationships, I will also pay attention to the big dots on the map as those people can help me network and meet more people.  I’d also like to see clients visually represented, but since they don’t know each other, I am not sure if that is a realistic goal.

Too often, we focus on what’s on our profile on LinkedIn, but not the other aspects of it, like our network. Can you commit to downloading your LinkedIn map every month and making a plan to improve your professional relationships? Let me know in the comments. Also, check back on my progress on my new network goals at the end of March!

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

 

Achieving Success with LinkedIn Workshop Tomorrow, Extra Resources

Our Achieving Success with LinkedIn workshop is tomorrow at 7PM at one of our favorite places, McAnns, at 3 West 46th Street at 7PM. We’ll have the upstairs lounge to ourselves. Appetizers and networking included.

Hundreds of people received new professional opportunities today via LinkedIn. If you were not one of them, you should be attending this workshop.

Please RSVP in advance on Eventbrite. Friends of The Opportunities Project can use discount code oppsfriend to get 25% off the ticket price and attend for $15.

Here are also three recent articles and blog posts on using LinkedIn that I liked.

1. 4 Essentials for Reaching Out to Strangers on LinkedIn on Careerealism. In the last week, I’ve had conversations with three clients on this very topic. I think this article makes something abstract seem specific and easy and is a great read for that reason.

2. LinkedIn is Changing. Are You Keeping Up? on the Recruiting Unblog. As I’ve blogged before, I get nutty when articles don’t frame LinkedIn as a database and focus on it as a personal marketing tool. This blog post does a great job reinforcing that the point of using LinkedIn is to be found. If you’re not doing what you need to do that, fix it or get off.

3. Creating a Striking Social Media Profile in The Creative Group eZine featuring LinkedIn Trainer and expert Tracy Brisson… OK, this is a complete shameless plug for my interview for this publication. :) It has great advice if I do say so myself.

I also critiqued a job seeker’s LinkedIn profile on the Recruiting Animal’s Blog Talk Radio Show. The job seeker didn’t like my advice- or the feedback from the other recruiters who were agreeing with me. That is the topic for another blog post.

See you on Tuesday!

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

 

Website Maintenance

I’d love to say that my website is running slow because of the amazing traffic I am getting (though it is way up the last two weeks- hello new readers!), but it seems to be due to the changes we’re making and a pesky, unidentified plugin. My website hosting company is helping me troubleshoot. In the meantime, you may see some performance issues. My apologies in advance. I’m on it.

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

Cocktails and Careers Event and Networking 101

We’re bringing our popular Cocktails and Careers Networking Events back! We’re having our first event Wednesday, February 23 at 7PM at The Copper Door Tavern at 272 Third Avenue between 21st and 22nd Street. All are welcome- job seekers, people who want to meet new and interesting people, and those who are open to giving some career advice. As of now we have three recruiters tentatively lined up, too.

The event is free, but we ask that you order at least one drink and tip well to thank The Copper Door Tavern for graciously hosting us. We’ll also pool a few dollars together for appetizers. Please RSVP for the event via Eventbrite. The event is sponsored by TweetMyJobs and I’ll have information on them at the event.

On the Brazen Careerist Networking Roulette event this week, many people revealed that they are nervous about networking because they feel that they have little to offer, especially when they are in job seeking mode. Every one of you has something to offer and don’t forget that!

So to get prepared for the event on Wednesday, here is some Networking 101 Advice.

1. Bring business cards.

Job seekers often ask if they should have business cards printed and my answer is “Absolutely!” How do you expect people to know how to contact you in the future? When you’re going to a networking event, your goal is to meet people who are going to become part of your network for a long time so you should always prepare  with that in mind.

We’ve been talking the Teach for America 20 Year Anniversary Summit this week on the blog, and I found attendees to be unskilled at networking, especially with business cards. Be prepared!

2. Get your elevator pitch ready.

Read my blog post on developing great elevator pitches. Don’t be afraid to have a call to action and be strong about it. Everyone has asked for help from other people and they remember. Some will also be excited to pay it forward to you.

3. Make a list of what you have to offer.

In addition the skills you have to offer to potential employers, you also have other things to offer every other person at the event, too. One is your ability to connect them to other people who would be interesting for either business or maybe even personal reasons. Spend some time this weekend reviewing your LinkedIn Connections and what they’re up to these days. If you don’t have a large network, you can also share information. People LOVE information that makes them step back and think, or new tips and tools that they can use in their lives to be more effective or efficient. What are cool, interesting, and helpful things that you read in the last month or so? What are some interesting magazines, articles, or blogs that you could read this weekend?

With the right preparation and attitude, everyone can be a great networker.

See you on Wednesday!

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

Teach for America #TFA20 Recap and Reflections: Part II

Based on length, I am now separating my TFA posts into three parts. As a result of a conversation I’m having on another blog, I’ve decided to address something in the interest of transparency. Class and ideological assumptions about who participates in TFA and why is a prickly thing for me. Once people hear that I’m a TFA alumna, many will start talking to me as if they know what type of family I grew up in, what schools I went to or what I think politically. So you don’t have to make any assumptions, here is what you need to know: I grew up in a working class family in a Massachusetts fishing town and graduated from a high school that lost its accreditation because our building didn’t have a proper gym or library, among other reasons. Both the valedictorian and I (3rd in my class) were lucky enough to go to Syracuse University based on generous scholarships. I’ll never be a graduate of an Ivy League school and after interviewing several of them for jobs over the years, I’ve become okay with that. Politically, I am all over the map, depending on the issue.

These next reflections on the Summit focus on what I’ve called Sticky Concerns because I think if they’re not addressed, they’re going to “stick” to Teach for America’s work to meet its goal that all children will have an excellent education. Ruben Brosbe on Gotham Schools also blogged about this yesterday. Everything that follows is based on my observations, and not any conversations I’ve had with people at TFA, official or unofficial.

So my Sticky Concerns…

Our Egypt Moment, Ed Reform Assumptions, and Unions

At the Summit, there was a theme that education should become our country’s “Egypt moment.” At first, I was taken aback by the connotations of that statement, but as I’ve reflected on it, I think it’s appropriate. Schools in all types of communities are struggling and something significant and urgent needs to happen. Like most taxpayers and Americans, I have become increasingly impatient.

I think that Teach for America has the right to assume that if you chose to attend the Summit, (1) you have bought into their vision that all students deserve and MUST have the opportunity to achieve academically (and economically as adults), and (2) that collectively, we can make a difference. However, I think it’s a big leap to believe we are all in agreement on what that path looks like and this is not an insignificant assumption to make. For that reason, I had issues with the morning panel on education reform. There were people on the panel that I respect individually, but I think that featuring them together collectively was a mistake for Teach for America, especially with no alternative perspectives in the group. The fact that 80% of the panel either lead non-unionized charter schools or recently led the only two major districts that didn’t participate in the US DOE’s federal conference on Advancing Student Achievement through Labor Management Collaboration sends a message about what you need to believe if you want to participate in this Egypt moment. Having Randi Weingarten on a panel by herself at the same time that Malcolm Gladwell and Gloria Steinem are speaking doesn’t cut it as portraying that your organization is open to multiple opinions.

Personally, my opinion on labor unions has always been complicated. Here is why:

•    All four of my grandparents were union members. The three that worked for the federal and state government made important contributions to society, experienced great working conditions and retired with good pensions. My other grandmother worked her butt off for 40 years in sweatshop conditions as a member of the Ladies Garment Workers union (I speak about her on a video on my Facebook page) and died almost penniless because of a worthless pension.

•    My dad has been a union member his entire life, mostly as shop steward, and is still active as a leader. I walked my first picket line at eight years old and helped mimeograph (yes, mimeograph) materials at the union hall for my dad’s meetings. I saw first hand how my dad helped countless people who were really screwed over due to no fault of their own.

•    When I was a member of the UFT, my chapter leaders (I had three in two years) were so far up the principal or central UFT’s ass, they couldn’t be bothered with any new teacher concerns. I spent two years calling and writing letters about per-session work for which I was never compensated. I only got paid when after telling him I was giving up, my dad (unbeknownst to me) found the phone number of a high-ranking official at the UFT online and left a message for him using an AFSCME Executive Board title (a volunteer position). His message was returned in 24 hours and I had my check within ten days.

•    As a manager for over ten years, I saw the UFT defend people who they knew didn’t deserve to be teaching. I saw them ignore the concerns of a new teacher (with high student test scores) who was run out out of her school by an incompetent principal. I’ve also seen them help good teachers who were really concerned about kids, but were terrorized by poor managers.

I bring all of those experiences with me and I can’t just let them go based on a fiery speech.

One of the speakers on the morning panel spoke about how policies like LIFO (laying off teachers in seniority order) treat teachers as if they were widgets. I agree, but that’s identifying a problem, and I want to hear a good solution. There is a vague proposal that principals should make layoff decisions because they know teachers better. I’ve worked with principals in NYC for years and have seen MANY of them do wacky things when it comes to hiring and working with teachers- not here and there, but as a matter of practice. Waiting for Superman didn’t talk about how principals impact our educational problems and it was a major omission.

I don’t support LIFO. But not being in favor of an existing law is not a policy solution. If we get rid of something, what are we substituting it with? For me, accepting that there will be some collateral damage for teachers and kids if principals don’t get layoffs right is a struggle I’m having a hard time overcoming. I know too many good new teachers who I personally recruited and think it would be a travesty if their students lost them, and I can’t stop thinking of a friend and good veteran teacher who had an extremely hard time transferring because countless principals balked at her salary. I am begging for someone to show me a real plan that will be fair to teachers and provide the best results for students. My concern is that we have too many people with opinions on both sides who turn passive-aggressive when it’s time to hammer out the details of how we’re really going to help kids and the people closest to them. This is not easy at all.

Finally, I am also worried about how this rhetoric plays with our current college students. The last few years, I ran a successful intern program at the NYCDOE. It was my great pride that almost every intern was inspired by his/her experience in public education and applied to Teach for America (most were accepted). This year, not one applied. When I asked them why, they said that they don’t want to join a profession that’s so “unstable.” I felt utterly startled by that statement because all we hear is how teachers have the most secure job in the world. But it’s not only my former interns. The National Association of College and Employers interviewed some of the best and brightest college students across majors about what they’re looking for in their first job and their priority is security. If the rhetoric about education continues this way, I’m afraid it’s going to be a distraction and prevent the smartest young people we graduate from considering teaching. That will have a very real impact on students.

Is there a middle road here or am I being delusional? What do you think we should do in the name of change that works?

As a PS, one of the best classes I ever took was The History of the Teaching Profession at New York University under Lynn Gordon. If you want to know more about why our teaching corps looks like it does and how unions have been innovative and improved educational outcomes, not just working conditions, I have a great reading list. I was annoyed by Waiting for Superman’s underwhelming summary of how teachers’ unions were started because the history is so rich. If you’re interested in this, email me.

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

Event Reminder: Brazen Careerist Event Tonight

Just a reminder that we’re participating in our second free Brazen Careerist Speed Mentoring Event tonight at 8PM ET. We were very excited to see that we were featured in Their Ultimate Guide to Finding the Perfect Career Coach this week!

For information on how Speed Mentoring works, check out our post on the first event.

And while we’re talking reminders, don’t forget about our webinar this Thursday, February 17th at 7PM on 12 Career Assessment Steps for 2011. RSVP for login information.

Have a productive and happy day!

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

Teach for America #TFA20 Recap and Reflections: Part 1

If you’ve been been following me on Twitter recently, you know that I attended the Teach for America 20 Year Anniversary Summit. With 11,000 people at a highly programmed conference, I knew connecting with people via Twitter throughout the day would be my best bet to meet people. During the conference, close to 1,000 people tweeted the conference using the #TFA20 hashtag and every 50 tweets were exposed to about 26,000 other people on Twitter.  It’s a great testament to the power of social media to reach people with a message. Below is the tweet cloud of the most common words tweeted as part of the conference. (As a FYI, the most re-tweeted message was a quote from Joel Klein, but the tweeter spelled his name “Kline.”)

Teach for America Tweet Cloud

I can’t deny that I’ve been struggling with writing about the Summit. Teach for America always riles up emotions in me and writing about them is hard. If I wrote every thought that came to me over the last few days, it would be the length of a book so there’s been much thought on how to structure this post. Finally, I am tentative about fully discussing my views on some education issues as I have consulting clients who are school districts and charter schools and I don’t want to jeopardize those relationships. My consulting focuses on helping institutions find great teachers who are dedicated to helping students achieve at high levels, something I believe in deeply and am very good at doing. What I ultimately feel about other education issues shouldn’t matter, but it will to some.

I’ve decided to split my thoughts into two posts. The first is on Pleasant Surprises and the second will be on Sticky Concerns. If you want a summary of the Summit, you can view the official videos of the conference sessions or read a play-by-play on Norm Scott’s Ed Notes Online blog.

My pleasant surprises…

Focus on Staying in Teaching and Schools

I found there was an emphasis on staying in teaching in the messages I heard and saw at the Summit. I also took a bus from New York City with mostly younger corps and I heard about how they wanted to stay in teaching. I know Teach for America has a rap for being a resume builder for young graduates and that’s why many leave after two years, but that’s a simplistic take on a complex situation. As a career coach, I work with people who change jobs and careers every few years because it’s in their DNA and they shouldn’t be judged, whether they are a TFA alum or not.

I admire people who found teaching and have stuck with it as a long-term career because they found their passion. I only taught for two years and I have no apologies. I came to teaching with the best of intentions, and I loved working with kids, but I realized it was not my calling. I am sure it didn’t help that I did TFA back in 1997 where you were thrown in a classroom and told “See you in two years!” But ultimately the isolation, routines and structure of teaching did not make me a happy person and I knew that my strengths and talents (working with large-scale projects, for example) could be put to better use. I stayed in public education for over ten years and am confident about the good work I did, as well as the work I do today as a career coach working with college students and young professionals. I keep in touch with the kids I did teach and have helped them over the years because they were what mattered to me in the experience, not my career. That being said, I am glad more corps members want to stay teaching and feel prepared to be effective. I like that TFA is actively encouraging this, even though it’s up to each individual to decide what’s right for them.

A New Appreciation for Dave Levin, Mike Feinberg, and Deborah Bial

The Opportunities Project is about maximizing human capital and creating long-term economic success for people, especially those who face disadvantages. I founded my company because I was sick of encountering college graduates who had few tangible skills to make themselves successfully economically, but possessed unconscionable levels of student debt.

I think it’s naïve to think that college admission should be the goal of education reform when we have so much data on student debt and unemployment for recent graduates. So I was pleased to hear this message from Dave Levin and Mike Feinberg of KIPP. Both spoke about long-term student success and where our collective responsibility as educators lies. Like Dave Levin said, we have toaim higher than creating groups of smart eighth graders- no one’s going to give an 8th grader a job. We’ve broken the American promise that schools can change a young person’s life and we have to fix that. I couldn’t agree more.

I know there are people who have issues with KIPP. I am not going to take those on here. Whatever you might feel, I think that they should be celebrated for their focus on economic success as an important education outcome and not just test scores.

Deborah Bial is the President of The Posse Foundation, an organization I was only vaguely familiar with before the Summit. I heard her speak on the Ensuring Success in College and Beyond panel. She spoke about how our higher education system, especially its staggering costs, is creating a perpetual class system. I found her conviction inspiring in all her comments. My one gripe about this panel is that the moderator didn’t ask any questions about the “beyond” part of the panel’s title.

This is a non-sequiter, but right after Deborah’s opening remarks during the College and Beyond panel, I had an epiphany that I want a career that is part Wendy Kopp, part Deborah Bial and part Penelope Trunk (without all the weird personal revelations). Need to journal on that one.

The Sheer Force of 11,000 People Committed to Kids

I have a pro-union education blogger friend who I speak to quite often. He says that we probably agree on about 80% of the issues- I think it’s about 75%. However, the one thing we agree on 100% is that we want a better education system for kids in NYC, even if we don’t always agree on the same strategies we need to get there. Our agreement matters, not just the ideas. If you don’t agree with how TFA is helping to increase educational equity, you still should be impressed with their passion and energy.  I think Pedro Noguera’s tweet sums it up well.

I’ll post my Sticky Concerns tomorrow. Interestingly, I am also finally seeing Waiting for Superman tonight on a college campus. When the movie played here in the NYC area, I was in the midst of an intense entrepreneurship fellowship program and I couldn’t get to a theater before it closed. Since the movie focuses on employee performance (at least in part) I am really interested in viewing it from a wide human resources perspective so I can talk about some of the issues with the corporate human resources and recruitment professionals I work with these days. You’d be surprised what happens (or doesn’t) in corporate HR, even when they don’t work with unions.

Interested in knowing more about how the achievement gap is perpetuated after college graduation? Download our white paper on this topic and understand the facts.

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

Join our Career Management Webinar on Thursday

Our busy week for The Opportunities Project starts NOW!

In addition to helping people find their passion and manage a results-driven job search, I also coach and consult with clients who want to manage their current careers more effectively. For example, I’m working with a client who is very happy in his job, but has a long-term (2-3 years) goal to become an entrepreneur. We are assessing his strengths, as well as gaps, and are building a plan that will attract more success when he is ready to make the jump. You may be in the same place- wondering if you really know what your next steps are for getting what you desire in your career now and in the future.

It’s about 45 days into the new year and many of your career resolutions may have been put on hold or are going slower than expected. Let me help you speed things up. I am hosting a FREE webinar this Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 7PM on 12 Career Assessment Steps for 2011. During the webinar, I am going to review DIY tips for anyone who is in the job search mode or thinking about how they can position themselves for success for a future change or promotion. The content is aimed at people at all levels in their career, from college students and entry-level workers to experienced professionals. Among the topics we’ll discuss on the webinar are

– the importance of setting process goals vs. outcome goals
– specific steps you can take to make yourself a better professional
– tips on how to improve your online and offline networking
– how to make a career management plan that’s doable

You can register for the webinar here.

In the meantime, watch this awesome 48 second inspiring video from Box of Crayons on 11 Powerful Words to Live By in 2011 to get you motivated to recommit to any resolutions you made this year. Box of Crayons is led by Michael Bungay Steiner, author of Do More Good Work, a book I recommend on my website. In addition, here is a blog post he wrote on strategies you can use to assess and plan for 2011. We’ll touch upon related ideas in the webinar, especially how you can introduce regular reflection into your goal setting for your career.

See you on Thursday at 7PM!

If you can’t come to this event, don’t forget to check out our News and Events page for more upcoming opportunities to learn and connect!

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

#TFA20 Tweetup This Weekend!

I’m attending the Teach for America 20 Year Anniversary Summit this weekend in Washington, DC. (I’m a 1997 New York corps member and you can read my blog post about my Teach for America experience here). There are 10,000 alumni expected at the summit and I’m excited to see old friends and make new ones. There is something to be said about meeting a stranger, saying the phrase “Moody Towers” and feeling like you’ve shared a lifetime of experiences.

I am co-hosting an in-person #TFA20 Tweetup for all the people at the conference who are tweeting it on Saturday in the Google Lounge. Two specific reasons why I am excited about the Tweetup:

1. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate the power of the digital democracy. The internet is full of stories of people who used social media to grow their network, find opportunities and eventually find a job, which is why it’s a tool I use in my career coaching and recruitment consulting. If WE can use to it connect personally and professionally and advocate for our causes, imagine what others can do to advocate for themselves?

2. It’s an opportunity to connect the great work of Teach for America alumni who are tackling different parts of our nation’s education problem. I left school district leadership because I saw that the children we were trying so hard to educate were not realizing economic opportunity because there is a college to career gap, one that grew after our economy changed forever in 2008. I know there are many alumni doing their part in new and inventive ways and I am looking forward to meeting them and learning more about what they do.

Here are the event details. See you there!

Teach for America 20 YearsThe Teach for America 20th Anniversary Summit #TFA20 Tweetup

Saturday, February 12 at 12:45 PM to 1:15 PM in the Google Lounge @ The Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C.

Tracy Brisson (1997 New York TFA Corps Member) of The Opportunities Project will be co-hosting an in-person Tweetup of Teach for America alumni and friends who use Twitter to connect and advocate for educational opportunity. For more information leading up to the event, and to follow the Tweetup in real-time, please follow @TFA20 and @oppsproject on Twitter, as well as the hashtag #TFA20.

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

Today’s Housekeeping Post: Updates, Events, News

Happy Monday! I wanted to start the week with some housekeeping updates. There’s a lot happening at The Opportunities Project and you should all know the latest.

Website Updates

After almost six months in business, I took some time to look at my data, which included looking at my website analytics and my sales and lead data that I record in my Batchbook CRM (thanks to my friend Michelle Ward, the When I Grow Up Coach, for inspiring me). Based on my analysis, I am making some structural changes to my website so that certain pages convert better (damn you, About page!) and reflect The Opportunities Project’s values and new programs. Here is an overview of some of the changes I’m making.

– Changing and streamlining blog categories

– Adding new coaching programs and solidifying my pricing now that I have a better sense of the market

– Focusing back on events, my biggest sales lead

– Redesigning the home page with content being moved to new versions of the About and Services pages

– Experimenting with some color on the home page

– Increasing focus on my recruitment consulting services (just a little)

– Introducing a store with guides and e-courses for purchase (including some freebies!)

While I’m making these changes, you may see the same photo or content on more than one page while things get moved around. Thanks for understanding. Hopefully, all maintenance will be completed within the next ten days.

Promotion Updates

One of the changes that I have already made is an updated Promotions page. Here are some quick updates on our current promotions.

– Due to popular demand, I’m bringing back Pay What You Can Coaching (PWYCC) sessions on the 20th and 21st of every month. Apply for one of these slots before they fill up!

– I am officially launching my Referral Program for friends, readers and fans who know people who need a pragmatic and affordable career coach. Join to get 20% of the coaching sale back in your pocket and get your referral a discount.

– I’ve given away three scholarships since I started my business, all to initiatives for charity, and they’ve all been great experiences. I’ve decided I wanted to do my own scholarship program and am launching three of my own on Valentines Day…. because I love you. Awww. Details coming next Monday.

Speaking of scholarships, I also want to take a moment to give a shout-out to the client I’ve been working with through the Hired for the Holidays scholarship, Alexandra Patterson. Alexandra is an aspiring writer and is going to knock the socks off the organization that is lucky enough to land her as a summer intern. Her article Everything You Need to Know about Virtual Internships was published last week in USA TODAY College. Go Alexandra!

Events, Events, Events

I’ve posted some great events on our News and Events page. I’ll write blog posts on each as they get closer, but here are some very quick highlights.

– Two events I’m attending: NYC Social Media Week, Teach for America 20th Anniversary Summit

– Three Events I’m actively participating in: Second Brazen Careerist Speed Mentoring Event, Reach Out Job Search Radio, American Educational Research Association Conference

– Six (!) Events I’m hosting: #TFA20 Tweetup at the Teach for America 20th Anniversary Summit, 12 Career Assessment Steps for 2011 (webinar), a NYC Cocktails and Careers Networking event, a LinkedIn workshop, a Building Soft Skills/Interviews workshop, a social media webinar for schools and school districts

I expect to add three more virtual events and two possible in-person events in March.

Press Appearances

I updated our Press page to include a shiny media kit I’ve been working on since November. You can view it on SlideShare or download a PDF version. I also added two really great January 2011 press mentions that made me very proud and happy about the career choices I’ve made this year.

– I was named one of the top five career coaches for serious job seekers by YouTern, a company that commits to matching organizations with talented interns. I was honored to be in such good company.

– The Ladders ran a story on best practices for using Applicant Tracking Systems to improve quality of hire and the system I developed as the Director of Teacher Recruitment for the NYC Public Schools was featured. Kind of awesome.

Questions about these changes and updates? Leave them in the comments.

 

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Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog