linked to the ironic unknown

December 27, 2010

So… I don’t know how many of you use LinkedIN. As it turns out, I do. And, we average two new clients a month that we can directly attribute to the business network. So, I’ll take the position it’s worth the fifty dollars we pay for the extra inMail capability.

Recently I was looking for a Subject Matter Expert (“SME”), and I found a good one on LinkedIN. But, my inMail went unanswered for several weeks until his wife, who was rummaging around on his laptop, and just happened to stumble upon the link herself, advised me that her husband was deceased. That all struck me as a bit creepy. So… It’s rather unsettling to realize that, over the course of time, more and more profiles will be a lingering memory of people that are deceased. So… You can really see dead people on LinkedIN.

In the cases of the lonely or unattached, who would know to remove the profile? Who will police that?

By the way… I was meeting with a gen-something (who really cares?) upon the request of a friend (it was his son). The young lad was twenty three and a recent graduate of Georgia. He confidently advised me that he was a social media expert (seriously). When I inquired about business context, he actually waved me off and told me that did not matter in business these days. I almost gagged on the irony (and, didn’t even need a spoon).

…oh… And, he told me LinkedIN is dead.

…he’s also unemployed, with few prospects.

…which reminds me… It’s amaz­ing how the only day most people use LinkedIN is the day they lose a job.

Let’s be part of the Solution.

Brian Patrick Cork

more thinking on LinkedIN

September 20, 2010

All of my coaching clients, and the people we recruit understand that we do not advocate having a general resume handy. And, we don’t advocate having your profile on a repository like (especially and The Ladder, etc.

NOTE: Many companies prohibit outside recruiters from pulling candidates from the repositories (again – especially, and mostly because in-house recruiters can leverage those uncertain platforms themselves. Good recruiters don’t, or shouldn’t, need to use repositories.

But, the primary point I want to make concerns LinkedIN.

And, I want to keep it real simple, today.

LinkedIN is less about social networking as it is self-promotion. It can certainly be a collaboration tool. But, few people really use it to help one another. Let’s be honest about that. However Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is working better and better when it comes to Google-oriented candidate search efforts by recruiters, analysts and hiring decision-makers.

So… To that end, here are some quick job search and/ or positioning tips to optimize LinkedIN…

If you are in career-transition, or want to be in transition, be transparent about that (well… maybe not if you are employed). But, use the Summary section to highlight the best things you have accomplished relative to industries you find attractive. Reference Blogs and “Thought Leadership”. But, the real gold mine opportunity will be found in the mini-summaries in the Experience section. Take the opportunity to drop in duty post (job) highlights per job that can be picked-up under SEO search algorithms. These can include key words, buzz phrases, industry subject matter expertise (SME), Thought Leadership efforts including Blogs and White Papers, and performance awards.

In summary… Even though most people ignore your updates on LinkedIN. Use it as a filter for those companies that need you, and are looking for you. Make LinkedIN work for you.

Let’s be part of the solution.

Brian Patrick Cork

First of all, networking was invented about the time God created – someone else.

Today, younger, and less imaginative people have decided to call networking aka communicating “social networking”. It’s really cool, and different, just the same.

In any event, social networking sites like LinkedIN work because they are, essentially, platforms where we can discuss and promote ourselves. That’s why we’re attracted to them. There is likely more effort, there, to refine ones own profile, rather than striving to communicate meaningfully with other people. But, racking up contacts is like keeping score, so that’s kind of cool.

I’ll take some initial heat for participating in LinkedIN myself. But, I really do try to make it a tool to better my business community. I have very few talents or skills. However, linking people in ways that help them profit emotionally, intellectually and financially is absolutely one of them. I have more endorsements than you to prove it.

The key, I think, is something Joanne Sanders (see what I just did? Joanne is now famous!) once said – right in front of me: “Its people talking about what you care about”. Or, maybe it was “It’s people caring about what you talk about”. Either way, that’s got to be a, if not the, standard for successful networking.

From the Cloud – and, being part of the solution.

Brian Patrick Cork

We see this quite a bit.

The following exchange occurred between me and Karen, A solid citizen and a senior Human Resources professional, here in Atlanta, that was in career-transition. It’s uncensored to help illustrate the point.

Karen like many minorities (and older candidates as well) are concerned that if they reveal their age and/ or race they might be at a disadvantage in securing interviews.

The point here is “transparency”. If you are going to be profiled by gender, race or age, it’s better that be filtered right away. Why would you want to work for a company or boss that see’s the world through that sort of lens anyway.

So, our advice is to always put your picture on LinkedIN and similar Social Networking-oriented media. On the other hand, we don’t recommend photos – and, most graphics on resumes. Better to stick with common templates.

To wit…

From: brian patrick cork []
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2009 5:43 PM
To: Karen Smith

Hi Brian,

Thanks for getting back to me.  In working with my outplacement counselor, the advice is not to include the photo until after I’ve landed a job to alleviate any employment decisions based on race, age, etc.


From: brian patrick cork []
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2009 5:43 PM
To: Karen Smith

Hello Karen.

Thank you for checking in.

The good news is that hiring is really heating up. We have over 56 senior level job orders in motion.

One suggestion for you: Upgrade your LinkedIN profile to include your photo.


:: brian patrick cork, SME ::

Cultural Architect

404 451 4799 macberry

877 843 2675 toll-free

Video:  Brian Patrick Cork

Post: texting and driving to death

“We Help Companies That Change The World Build Cultures That Endure.”

On Sep 11, 2009, at 5:12 PM, Karen Smith wrote:

Dear Brian,

You are part of my Linked In network and I wanted to reintroduce myself to you.

I am Karen Page Smith and you presented me to one of your clients, who had a start up business marketing wedding favors online about 2 years ago.  Unfortunately, I was the number 2 candidate for the position.    Currently, I am seeking a senior HR management position in communications or technology or I am open to considering any industry.  My search profile is enclosed.

In my 20 years in Human Resources, I have enjoyed continuous upward mobility. Some highlights of my experience follow:

* Training employees in the aligning of individual goals and objectives with organizational goals and in measuring results against performance standards.

* Creating a vision, mission and HR plan to position the business unit of the company as an employer of choice.

* Designing recruiting strategy to attract and retain employees to meet the business objective of reducing expenses associated with outsource vendors.

I am willing to travel up to 25%.  A minimum compensation package of $110,000 plus bonus is my goal.

Should you have any positions for which I qualify, I would appreciate your consideration.  Thank you for your time.

Kind regards,

Karen Page Smith, SPHR

678-428-7887 (mobile)

By way of update, Karen is now gainfully employed, and apparently quite content with her career-path. And, it should be noted that she now has her photo on on LinkedIN profile.

Lets be part of the solution, and not the problem.

Brian Patrick Cork

The advent of Social Networking, and it’s associated media is a veritable, if only, a potential Pandora’s Box.

Just read the string from LinkedIN. It’s fair and uncensored.

Brian Cork wrote:

I don’t think so. And, I gave your argument a fair amount of consideration (thus the belated response).

The LinkedIN question was genuine in our efforts to make a real point, and then pivot off of it to position the query.

I fully understand that the social media Gods befuddle most folks. That hearty list would not include the inestimable Matt Rosenhaft, but we’ll always have the opportunity to address him fully at some other date. Yes, we could!

My personal – and, mind you, not the business Blog, gets a lot of attention. And, I don’t try to leverage it for business. Yet, it finds it’s way to our doors nonetheless. My CFO says it could well now account for close to thirty percent (30%) of our new business. We are hovering at $17mm, and have remained constant regardless of the alleged recession. and, that Ms. Paul is due to the referrals-only model that we are fiercely proud of.

We recruit for companies that change the world. And, for many years I raised money for their founders. Today, I coach leaders that you read about (and, others you just might eventually read about). But, we carefully side-stepped those points in that doomed LinkedIN question. Because, had we made a big deal of those facts, we might then, and in our far from humble opinions, only then, have come across as promoting our own services. The true objective was to determine what other leaders were doing with Blogs. It’s that simple. And what poor little Amit tried to do with his Answer was blatant promotion – and, as a “marketer”, you surely must recognize that. Had he at least, in the least, I say again, attempted to offer an example of how his product might work for leaders relative to my question, we in all likelihood, would not be having this exchange.

Although this exchange as inspired another line of thinking: “Do startup and emerging culture CEO’s have an advantage over their larger company peers from a ‘disruptive’ standpoint?”

This from: Are we truly in the midst of the era of the entrepreneur?

In closing, and I’ll have not more of this, please stay in touch.


On 09/18/09 3:45 PM, Rebekah Paul wrote:

Everyone on LinkedIn and everyone in the social media space is trying to figure out how to market without coming off as sounding as though they are selling. Although it sounds like you truly believe you weren’t doing this, it comes off that way. If you had simply asked “I want to know what other leaders are doing with blogs” and left it up to the individual to enter your profile and click through to your blog, that would have been a better approach.


On 09/18/09 3:31 PM, Brian Cork wrote:
That’s part of my point. We don’t advertise or market. We’ve made Inc. 500 twice and I was named Catalyst 25 twice with no pushing.

We get A LOT of referrals. And, now we are getting action off of my Blog.

Me aside, I want to know what other leaders are doing with Blogs. So, Amit bugged me when he jumped in with a plug for a product other than what I was seeking information over.

You seem like a good sort Rebekah. But, with this response from me in mind, I feel like I was blind-sided.

No hard feelings, though. Life is charmed.


On 09/18/09 12:54 PM, Rebekah Paul wrote:
Ah, come on. You can’t out-market another marketer. 🙂 You didn’t have to mention your blog when you posited the question.

On 09/18/09 12:51 PM, Brian Cork wrote:
Mine’s an example, Rebekah. No promotion is required.


On 09/18/09 12:49 PM, Rebekah Paul wrote:
I find it interesting that you said “Please, no advertising or self-prommoting, like Amit.” when that’s exactly what you’re doing to promote your blog. Granted, it’s rather veiled but still.

Question Details:
How valuable, in terms of developing new business, are CEO’s finding company Blogs?

Our business model reflects referrals-only. We don’t advertise nor market ourselves. But, it looks like we are seeing roughly 30% of our new business coming from my personal Blog:

Along this line of thinking… When coaching executives I am recommending they Blog regularly to establish Subject Matter Expertise (SME). In addition to this, while recruiting for a wide-range of companies, decision-makers (for example Board of Directors) are inquiring around candidates and their Blogs – again, seeking Subject Matter Expertise for credibility.

From a marketing perspective, I am curious how valuable leaders in business are finding Blogging.

Brian Patrick Cork

On 9/18/09 11:51 AM, Brian Cork added the following clarification:
Please, no advertising or self-prommoting, like Amit.

View question – Respond to Brian Cork

A recent survey found that more and more employers checking-out job applicants on networking sites like Facebook before making offers of employment.

Brian Patrick Cork

(Social) Networking Tools

January 10, 2008

We were recently asked what the best social networking tools online might be – and, how effective they are.

This response my seem counterintuitive to the current online frenzy.

But, my team has evaluated most of the (social) networking tools and programs available.

Connecting with people in an efficient manner is core to our business.globe-shot2.jpg

Through a series of polls, interviews and other evaluations over the past 30 months, we have come to the reasonable conclusion that the current tools online feed into many people narcissistic tendencies. Most are also driven by “population stimulai” meaning people get obsessed with making key numbers/ indicators grow. I feel that we use LinkedIN very effectively. However, most LinkedIN users focus more on making the contact number bigger as opposed making the contacts meaningful.

I understand I am going to rankle some folks here, but most of the online (social) networking tools perpetuate laziness as people attempt to tap into networks without earning a spot or contributing upline.

If you consider my Human Capital Blog entry entitled “Networking: Rule #33″, you will note that successful networking is about connecting people in an immediately meaningful way that can be followed up on, tracked and quantified. LinkedIN enables this level of activity – in part. But, the reality of 94 degrees of separation remain an issue.

In my opinion, the best networking tool is your own address book. Once you have a valid and effective network comprised of people that genuinely want to and can help one another, broadening that base through “mission specific” online tools begins to make sense.

For the moment, as I indicated earlier, we focus our energy into LinkedIN to augment our global network that has been in-build for almost 20 years. Not everyone in our network uses LinkedIN; but, everyone in the network is expected to contribute in a meaningful way.

Please feel free to call me at 877 843 2675 or email me at if you would like me to elaborate further.

Brian Patrick Cork