On Social Media, by Claude Penland
For the last 12 years, I’ve been involved in actuarial recruiting, most recently with Ezra Penland Actuarial Recruitment. In the eight years before that, I worked as a casualty actuary. I’ve been on LinkedIn for 5 years and on Twitter for 1 year.
On Monday, October 17th, at 1:15pm in the Missouri room of the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, I’m looking forward to being on a fun and interesting panel with professionals that have substantial social media experience. The panel includes Lisamarie Lukas, the Communications Director at the Society of Actuaries; Erika Crowell, VP at InsideEdge; David Merkel, Principal of Aleph Investments, LLC; and Brian Septon, a VP at Aon Hewitt.
If you’re looking to get started with social media, a good place to start is on LinkedIn. That’s where your peers and competitors are already. Write a good summary of your overall experience, with descriptive keywords, on your LinkedIn profile. You have about 250 words to get your points across. If you were looking for someone like yourself, which keywords would you use?
Join LinkedIn special interest groups and be active. Consider creating your own groups. Read. Read. Read. Jump in when you have a good understanding of the context and the thoughts of people with whom you’re interacting.
If you write an article or put together a presentation, share it, give it away, let people download it on LinkedIn. You might receive additional opportunities to speak, present, author papers, consult or recruit actuaries because of your visibility.
Be real and be the same person on social networks as you are in real life.
Actuarial recruiters reviewing LinkedIn profiles look for similar things that they look for in resumes. We look at your profile through the eyes of our clients. If you have career goals that you would like to make public, spell them out. Somebody with the connections to help make those goals a reality possibly will eventually see your profile.
If you don’t tell people that you have Medicare or Medicaid experience, or you don’t list financial reporting or ratemaking expertise, nobody looking at your profile will know those things about you. Have your co-workers or bosses recommended you on LinkedIn? What did they say about you?
Why should you be on social media? Whether you are on LinkedIn or Twitter or both, set goals for what you want to get out of it and take incremental steps to get there. LinkedIn is a great way of organizing information. Twitter is a fantastic news delivery system. You can often find out news sooner on social media than you might otherwise find out about information.
If I were to give some pieces of advice to those considering social media forays, it would be the following: 1) give more than you receive, 2) don’t try to control the conversation, because social media isn’t broadcasting, it’s conversation, and 3) be a real person.
See EzraPenland.com/publications for links to PowerPoint presentations that include “LinkedIn for Insurance Professionals” and “111 Twitter Feeds for Insurance Professionals”. Follow Twitter.com/EzraPenland/news for aggregated news from 100+ actuarial and insurance news sources. And, finally, search SlideShare.net for dozens of good, free how-to presentations on LinkedIn and Twitter.