Social Media Updates: LinkedIn’s New Look

Have you logged on to LinkedIn lately? If you have, you may have noticed a few updates to your homepage. I’ll just give a quick overview of the two key improvements.  I encourage you to check out the LinkedIn Blog for full details.

First, the tool bar across the top has a new look.  The categories pop thanks to new font and background colors.  This makes it easier to navigate the different areas of your account and utilize the system more efficiently.

Second, the news stream is more organized.  Have your eyes ever gotten tired after scrolling through network updates, the latest news, etc.? If so, then you will find this to be a welcomed change.

Overall, LinkedIn’s new homepage is much cleaner, and, as they put in their own words, “simpler”.  Whether you are new to LinkedIn or an experienced user, I hope you find this new look helpful. This update is also an important reminder that social networking sites experience change frequently, and sometimes with little warning.  Be sure you utilize resources, like the LinkedIn Blog, to understand new features and tools, as well as stay ahead of the curve when it comes to social media.





Keep It Moving: Maintaining Momentum in Your Career

By Sharon Fleshman

Whether you want to get a running start at your new job, invigorate your current career, or make a complete shift, being proactive is always a wise move.  Consider the following strategies and commit to moving forward with at least one action step by the end of the summer.

Conduct Self-Assessment: What do you want and what can you offer?

  • Reflect on past experiences and accomplishments and consider where you were energized and made impact.
  • Assess your skills, interests, personality traits and values using informal worksheets or career inventories.
  • Read about careers and job announcements and see what resonates with you.
  • Read more about self-assessment here.

Build Your Network: With whom should you exchange insight and information?

  • Conduct informational interviews via resources such as the Penn Alumni Career Network and LinkedIn.
  • Join a professional association or career-related group.
  • Set up a LinkedIn profile.
  • Become active in your alumni organization and online groups.

Plan for Professional Development: What do you need to learn and strengthen?

  • Attend a career-related seminar or conference.
  • Take a class.
  • Apply to get a certificate or another degree.
  • Participate in a project that will help you develop targeted skills and broaden your exposure.
  • Read more about professional development here.

Cultivate Professional Presence:  How can you find new opportunities to apply, share, and highlight your skills, strengths and expertise?

  • Join a committee in your office or in a professional association.
  • Write an article for a blog or newsletter.
  • Initiate or participate in a social media discussion on LinkedIn or Twitter.
  • Present at a meeting or conference.
  • Volunteer at an organization of interest.

When your thumbs do the talking, take extra care

Thx, C U soon, Same 2 U, Lv and miss u, R u kidding?, LOL 🙂

Text talk. It’s such an efficient way to communicate with friends and family when we’re on the go. The list above comes from a quick scan through my recent iPhone messages from family, friends, and co-workers. If you’ve ever seen me on Locust Walk, you’ve probably seen me fiddling with my phone, writing texts, talking to my dad, and checking email.

I’ve come to realize this technology is a blessing and a curse. My smartphone makes it easy to keep up with current events and what’s going on with work when I’m not at my desk. And sending “miss u, love u” messages and photos of my three year-old to my parents, siblings, and in-laws takes much less time than calling everyone. But do I need to be so obsessive about checking email? Probably not. And an emoticon could never replace my daughter’s smile when she hears the voice of a loved one who is miles away.  But enough of my musings about my own bad habits…

At work I recently received an email that simply said “+ Jennifer”. For a moment I thought this was a weird reference to Orwell’s double-plus type Newspeak from 1984.  But after rereading the email I came to the conclusion that since Jennifer (not my colleagues real name) had been left out of the previous email  “+ Jennifer” meant ‘Jennifer, I’m sorry I didn’t include you in my previous email. Please join us at the meeting tomorrow. I look forward seeing you then.” Or something like that.

Then I thought, wow, that’s really unprofessional. And then I remembered how just a few days earlier I nearly sent a co-worker an email from my phone that read, “Thx c u tomorrow.”  But before I hit send I (thankfully) realized I was in email NOT messages so I thumbed my way back and typed out a more coherent response.

For years I have groused with colleagues about the increasing number of students who are too informal and unprofessional in their email tone, often neglecting to use capitalization or proper punctuation. I frequently remind students that even if they write informally when emailing me with questions, they should use a more professional tone and take care with their grammar when writing to professors, prospective employers, alumni, and other networking contacts.

But my near miss made me realize how easy it can be to stick with the informal texting language when we’re switching so quickly between texting, email, Tweeting, Facebooking, etc. on our smartphones. But my advice to students, and myself, remains the same. When corresponding via email in any type of professional context, take the time to write a thoughtful, well written, grammatically correct message with a professional tone. (Note, professional can still be friendly and shouldn’t be stodgy).  The recipient may or may not be a stickler for this kind of thing, but if he or she is, you might not receive the response you were hoping for, or you might not receive a response at all.

What would your friends say about you?

I have been overwhelmed this week and last with the large number of remembrances that have been published following the death of Nora Ephron. Ephron, for those too young to know, had a distinguished career, or actually, four careers. She was a journalist, a screenwriter, a best-selling author and a film director. She wrote the screen plays for Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, and Julie and Julia (the last two she also directed), among many others.

All her films and books have been praised in the obituaries and tributes, but an equal emphasis has been placed on her ability to make friends, many friends. She seems to have been at the center of New York literary and film life, with writers and actors and journalists all citing her good humor, her energy, and her perseverance in the face of a fatal illness. Many people were unaware she was fighting leukemia until the very end: she didn’t call attention to herself, and she didn’t whine.

Somehow despite her busy schedule and many projects she found the time for other people. She helped others, mentored younger women, and shared screen credits with those just starting out who needed a leg up. Her legacy of numerous deep friendships stands as high as her artistic output. Her generosity towards others lives on as a testament to her success as a person.

Most of us would be lucky to achieve a tiny fraction of Nora Ephron’s career success. We may not have her energy or remarkable wit, but we would all do well to emulate her warmth, her caring, and her generosity. When all is said and done, that is what counts.

4th of July

Career Services will be closing at 2pm on Tuesday, July 3rd in observance of the Independence Day holiday.  We will re-open at 9am on Thursday, July 5th.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!