Monday, March 31, 2014

Book Summary: The Ultimate Question 2.0 by Fred Reichheld.

Last summer I asked Nick Besbeas (LinkedIn's CMO) if he could recommend some marketing books for me to read to prepare to come back to LinkedIn after I graduated. I just finished one of the first books, The Ultimate Question 2.0 by Fred Reichheld.

After reading each book, you'll get a post that has my key takeaways. Here they are......

Avoid "bad profits" at all costs. Bad profits are "profits earned at the expense of customer relationships." A great example of bad profits are the late fees from Blockbuster. Late fees were one of their biggest sources of profit. People were all too eager to abandon Blockbuster for companies like Netflix, who took advantage of Blockbuster's mistake. Netflix built their business off of the mantra "no late fees". Bad profits is one of the main reasons Blockbuster went down in flames.

Current accounting systems encourage bad profits. The book highlighted that current accounting systems do not distinguish between bad and good profits. This makes having another measure that you put alongside your financial reports extremely important. Naturally, the book recommended net promoter score

Net promoter score is a simple way to measure customer satisfaction. Net promoter is a customer satisfaction methodology based on one simple question you ask your customers. That question is "How likely is it that you would recommend this company, or this product or service, to a friend or colleague? Most often used on a scale of 0-10. This helps you bucket customers into detractors, passives and promoters.

Though the concept is simple, it is extremely difficult to implement. The companies highlighted in the book as successful users of the net promoter methodology all had large initiatives supported throughout the entire company to focus on using the net promoter score. For the system to really work, everyone from the management to the front line workers need to be committed to trying to create promoters among their customers.

Customer obsession is the winning strategy. Net promoter score, when implemented correctly, is a great forcing function to get the whole company thinking about whether they are creating positive customer experiences everyday.

This is fantastic book if you thinking about revamping how you measure customer satisfaction at your company or thinking of adopting the net promoter score methodology. Anyone that has to create customer satisfaction surveys for their job should read this book. Tactically speaking, if you're creating surveys the shorter the better and this one simple question can tell you a lot.

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Simple Way To Strengthen Your Professional Network

a picture of two men shaking hands dressed professionally
If you want to strengthen your professional network, one the most important things that you can do is report back after any interaction with professionals in your network.

If you reached out to a former coworker to get advice on a marketing campaign you were going to run, let them know whether or not the campaign was successful and what you learned.

If while looking for a job you got an introduction from a friend to their old roommate, who now works at your dream company, let your friend know how your conversation went with their former roommate.

Following up afterwards will help you take that professional relationship to the next level. The reason this step is so important is because it increases the level of trust. Someone trusted you enough to take the time to make an introduction or give you advice. In following up, you confirm to them that this trust was not misplaced and that you made good use of their time. Every time you report back positively, this trust will grow stronger. People just feel great when they know they have really helped someone. Reporting back will actually increase their willingness to help you in the future.

My good friend Sonal is a great example of what can happen when you report back. At the beginning of her MBA program she reached out to an alumni to talk about internships in the Boston area. She ended up doing her internship in California, but kept it touch with the alum in Boston and let him know how it was going, even getting feedback from him on her summer project. After the project was over, she reported back on how it went. She found that each time she followed up on their different conversations, he seemed even more willing to help her in her career and job search. In a relatively short period of time, the relationship flourished into a strong professional relationship.

One common concern I've heard people say, is that they don't want to bother them again. Do not worry about that at all. It's never a bother, people want to know, especially if they have really helped you.

It only takes a few minutes to write a short email or make a quick call, but the positive impact reporting back on different professional interactions will have on the strength of your network will be profound.

Monday, March 17, 2014

How To Get Great Work Experience While You Are In College

When I was in college, I organized a Guinness world record breaking rock paper scissors tournament as a fundraiser for my university’s entrepreneurship club. To promote the event we had a helicopter land on campus, parked a Lamborghini in the quad and got the volleyball team to act as the referees for the tournament. It was a ton of work and a ton of fun.

Would it surprise you if I told you that being in the leadership of that club and running that tournament helped put me on the path to landing a great full time job when I graduated? The skills I learned from running that tournament and the exposure to the local business community it created, helped me get my first internship. That internship led to a better internship, which led to a great full time job.

These days companies seem to have higher and higher expectations for the skills that grads have coming out of college. It is important to get good grades, but having valuable experience AND a diploma is more frequently the recipe for success when it comes to finding a job after graduation. Below are 10 ways students can get great work experience.

Picture of the omniture throwdown a BYU fundraiser

1. Do an Internship- Internships can often lead to a job or at least provide you with skills that will help you get a job later.

2. Volunteer- Getting paid is not a requirement to count as work experience. Often volunteer work can be done on a project basis or maybe over a holiday break.

3. Get involved in clubs- Don’t just go for the pizza, get involved in the leadership of the clubs that interest you. This will increase your visibility and access to the club’s network.

4. Get a part time job- Not only does it pay the bills, but can help make you be more marketable for after graduation. Try to find something that could be a stepping stone towards your post graduation plans.

5. Look beyond your current role- Leverage your current job to get exposure to other parts of the company that might interest you. Offer to help another department with a side project to learn a skill you need.

6. Work for a start up- They are often are fast moving, exciting and willing to give you more responsibility than you should have as a student.

7. Take the right classes- This could be a class that gives you hard skills, like an advanced excel class. It could also be a field study or an on campus internship. Select your classes with a future job in mind.

8. Participate in competitions- It could be a film competition or a business case competition. Often the sponsors of competitions for students are interested in hiring students. Take the chance to show them what you got.

9. Start your own business- Can’t find someone to hire you? Have a great idea? Don’t wait around. Try it on your own.

10. Teach yourself the skills you need- There are many skills that can be self taught. Read a book or watch “how to” YouTube videos. Connect with professionals that currently have those skills to get ideas how to develop them on your own time.

Those four years will be over before you know it. Don't forget to take the time now to make sure that you graduate with a diploma and a resume. Make sure that each semester, whatever you are doing outside of the classroom, is getting you one step closer to your dream job.

Monday, March 10, 2014

How Students Can Use Twitter To Find a Job

In 2009, I graduated from my undergrad with zero full time job prospects. I ended up taking a post graduation internship at Adobe (Omniture at the time). During my internship I started to follow the web analytics community on Twitter. I was looking for a full time job and happened to see one of the industry experts (Adam Greco) post a tweet saying he was looking for candidates with Omniture experience for a job in San Francisco. I reached out to him immediately. Six weeks later, I was driving across the bay bridge to start my career in San Francisco.

Twitter can be a powerful tool to help you find a job. Below are some ways that students can use Twitter to help them find a job. You can use Twitter to.....

Build new relationships. Follow people that you would like to get to know. Respond to their public questions or comment on articles they share. You'll be surprised at who will respond back to one of your thoughtful tweets. Twitter is a great place to start a relationship.

example of a conversation on twitter with Greg Mcneal
I told a guy on Twitter I liked his article he wrote for Forbes, got to meet him a few weeks later

Nail the interview. Looking at someone's tweets is a great way to get to know them better as you prep for an interview. Following a company's Twitter handle will help you keep current on the latest things going on with the company. Use all this social information to show in an interview that you are passionate and up to date on what is happening in the industry.

Uncover new job leads. It's not uncommon for users on Twitter to tweet out job openings at their company or on their team. Often it's way before they are posted publicly on job boards. Get a head start and contact the person who tweeted directly to avoid the black hole of applying online. Do searches in Twitter for the titles of the positions you are interested in.

example of hubspot posting a job on twitter

Establish influence. As you participate in the professional community you're interested in on Twitter, you can become a valued member of that community. Contribute to the conversations that are happening around your profession. Over time, if you're thoughtful, people will want to follow you too and hear what you have to say.

Twitter should not be your only job search strategy, but can definitely give you an edge as you pursue your dream job. Please share any questions you have about how students can use Twitter to find a job in the comments.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Advanced LinkedIn Tips For MBA Students

*While I'm writing this from the perspective of an MBA student, all these LinkedIn tips work for any sort of student.

You've mastered the basics of LinkedIn. Your profile is filled out. You've stopped connecting with strangers. You always send a personalized message when you connect. What's next? Below are my advanced tips for students who want LinkedIn to be a competitive advantage for them in finding a job and managing their career.

1. Embed work that you've done. It's your reputation, not your resume. Show everyone what you can do. If you have any examples of your work that you're proud of, put them under the job where you created it. LinkedIn lets you embed videos, Slideshare and links to webpages.

Image of some presentations embedded in a LInkedin profile

2. Create profiles in other languages you speak. I wrote another post about why you should do this. You can read it here. It's easy to create a profile in another language in LinkedIn.

"hello" word cloud in multiple languages

3. Optimize your profile for the right keywords. Make sure the key words you want to be found for are in your profile. LinkedIn works a lot like a search engine. If the words or job titles you want to be found for are not in your profile, you'll be hard to find.

Screenshot of the linkedin search bar

4. Join groups strategically and participate. Join groups that are the watering holes of the people you want to be associated with. Jump in on the conversations that are interesting. Groups are a great way to show expertise and build new relationships.

5. Automate some of your sharing. I've found that it is a lot easier to share content on LinkedIn if you use a tool like Buffer. Consistent sharing of relevant content about your industry will keep you top of mind in your network. Buffer queues up articles so they are shared in the future. For example, you can have a post go out every Monday at 3:00 pm. If you find 7 articles you'd like to share one morning, you can have them easily scheduled to go out over the next 7 days. The advanced scheduling helps you be consistent and saves you the hassle of trying to find a new article to share everyday. Check out this article from Buffer on how it works.

6. Sign up for advanced contacts functionality. Go to, hit the "get started" button. As you go through the sign up process, don't forget to sync LinkedIn with your email and calendar. For more details on what these features can do, check out this article from Hubspot on how to use LinkedIn contacts. As an MBA student, these features will save you countless hours as you use LinkedIn to build your network and find a job or internship.

Screenshot of the email integration with Linkedin contacts

7. Get recommendations- I recommend getting one or two for each major role. While it's tempting to get them from a fellow MBA student, try to get recommendations from professionals you worked with in your jobs.

8. Manage your endorsements- If you are getting endorsed for something you don't want to be endorsed for, take it down. Check out this article to learn how to do it. If there is something you'd like to be endorsed for, send an email to a bunch of fellow MBA students or a small trusted group of friends/colleagues asking them to endorse you. Definitely do not SPAM everyone you know asking for an endorsement. Also, only ask to be endorsed for skills that you legitimately feel you have some expertise in.

List of LinkedIn endorsements

I hope you've enjoyed these advanced LinkedIn tips for MBA students. If you have done all these things, you are well on your way to becoming an LinkedIn expert. If you missed my first post on this topic LinkedIn Basics For MBA Students, click the link to get the basics down before you try all the steps I've outlined above. If you're looking for more tips on how to write your LinkedIn summary check out LinkedIn Summary Examples for MBA Students. If you have any other questions, please comment below. Also, if you have some advanced LinkedIn tips I'm missing, I'd love to hear about them.