Monday, March 30, 2009

Is That Company Closing?

Would you like to know if a company you are sending your value proposition is closing its doors in the next few months BEFORE you invest time and effort into a hiring campaign with them?

The State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has this great feature on their website that will show you how.

  1. Go to
  2. Type "WARN" (include the quotes and uppercase) in the search field in the upper right hand corner of the page.

  1. Click the blue/white arrow to the right of  the field to perform a search. A new tab will open.
  2. Click on the first document that reads "Department of Labor and Workforce Development | Response Team/WARN Notices..."

  1. Click on the month you are interested in. *Check at least 6 months past because some companies might have announced their closing more than a half year ago.

The LWD states...
"WARN offers protection to workers, their families and communities by requiring employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs. This notice must be provided to either affected workers or their representatives (e.g., a labor union); to the State dislocated worker unit; and to the appropriate unit of local government."

For more details about how a company is added to the WARN list; go to this link to read the fact sheet:

With this information, now you can decide if you are going to target a company for a permanent position (as permanent as can be expected is this economy) or pursue a consulting position, as companies that are closing up typically hire consultants to shut down their businesses.


While all of the information and screen shots pertain to The State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, I checked with one of my networking contacts in New York and another in California and it is applicable there.

Test your state and leave comment to let us know. I will compile a table and post it in the future.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Wish You Hadn’t Send That Email Last Night?

Ever send an email out that you wish you hadn't; especially because you were not thinking clearly late at night? Did you regret it afterward? Do you think you might have lost a business opportunity because of it?

There's great news! For those of who use Gmail, introducing Mail Goggles.

Mail Goggles is a feature within Gmail that analyzes if you are coherent enough to send emails. How can your PC know if you are coherent or not? Mail Goggles uses a math test to discover if you are awake. You set the day of the week and time of the day that you believe you should be sleeping (and not sending email). By default it is set for Friday and Saturday from 10:00 PM to 4:00 AM.

To use Mail Goggles…

1. Click the Settings link in the upper right of the Gmail screen.

2. Click the Labs link. Note: You can also click the “pawn” icon to the left of the Settings link.

3. Scroll down the list of Lab Applications until you see Mail Goggles. Select the Enable radio button.

4. Scroll up (or down) and click Save Changes button.

5. Click the Settings link (see Step 1).

6. Select the day, times and difficult level (see examples below) you want to use. Note: You cannot set separate times for each day.

7. Scroll to bottom of screen and click the Save Changes button (see Step 5).

Now,whenever you click the Send button for an email you compose between the times configured for Mail Goggles, the following window will open. Note: As you increase the level, the math problems become more difficult.

This is an example of Level 1.

This is an example of Level 5.

You have 60 seconds to answer all 5 math problems correctly.

If you don’t answer within the 60 seconds, you will get this message and a set of 5 new problems.

If you fail to answer all 5 correctly, you will get this message and a set of 5 new problems.

I tried repeatedly with both messages above for 25 times each. I don't think there is a set number when Gmail will finally shutdown. But after the 3rd time if you can't answer the math questions, you should reread your email message, remove the address(es) and go to bed.

Let me know what you think. Add a comment.

Monday, March 2, 2009

On LinkedIn, Don’t Get LockedOut! – part vii

part vii – what does linkedin customer service have to say?

Here are some tips offered by LinkedIn's Customer Service team.

  1. Only use your invitations for individuals who you know.
  2. The reconnect feature should be used solely to reconnect with individuals that you personally knew through a mutual employer or through attending the same educational institution.
  3. If there are individuals that you wish to connect with but they do not fall under the two categories listed then we encourage you to use our other features which include InMail, OpenLink or Introduction requests.
  4. Editing the body of your invitation to prompt a recollection. This can be done when you arrive to the "invite page". At the bottom, you have the option to add a "personal note" which may be edited to reflect your personalized message.
  5. Click on the "Get introduced through a connection" link if this person is connected to someone already in your network.
  6. Add a photo of yourself so that members who may not recognize your name but would certainly remember what you look like.

On LinkedIn, Don’t Get LockedOut! – part vi

part vi – good invite etiquette

Here is a sample invitation that I now send out.

Hi Frank,
My name is Genesius (Gene) Jaromsky and I believe we attended the same high school in New York City (1977-1981), Power Memorial Academy.
How's everything? I recently found your name on LinkedIn and would like to add you to my professional network.
If you are not interested (or don't remember me), please accept my apologies, and don't click the "I Don't Know" button. Click the "Archive" button instead.
If you are uncertain, please email me so we can chat.
Thanks and God Bless,

PS. Do you still play the trombone? Did you ever get back into running? My clarinet was stolen when I moved 6 years ago, and I just started running again (last year) after 25 years of not running; ran my first marathon last May. Chat soon.

So to recap, here's some things you should add to your invite.

- Their name (and maybe their nickname if you feel it's appropriate).

- Brief bio on who you are and how they should know/remember you. Something that will jog their
memory: dates; mutual friends; clubs/schools; location(s); anything that might help them
remember you. You can add more in your PS you later.

- Explain that you want to add them to your LinkedIn network (use words that you feel comfortable

This next part is very important.

- Explain to them that if they don't remember you or don't want to be added to your network, to
please click not click the "I Don't Know" button. You can further explain what happens if you receive
5 IDK's.

- Add your email address to the invitation requesting them to can contact you if they want to get
reacquainted before they accept your invitation.

- Thank them in your closing.

Remember, you are trying to build your trusted network; you are not playing a numbers game. Look to only invite people you know and trust, AND that know and trust you. You are creating a Board of Trusted Advisers in your field/industry, as well as looking for people who you can help in their careers. That's networking.

Now that You are On LinkedIn, Don't Get LockedOut!

Click here to see LinkedIn's Customer Service suggestions for sending out invitations.

On LinkedIn, Don’t Get LockedOut! – part v

part v – i'm lockedout of linkedin, now what?

Every time you receive an IDK you should make note of it and investigate why you believe you received the IDK. Keep a list of the IDK's and add screen shots (if possible) of your invites to your list to send to Customer Service later if needed.

You should also check your Inbox for Sent emails where a reply has not been received. Investigate why you believe your invitation has not been accepted. If you ascertain that you might have sent it to the wrong person, delete it immediately so it does not become an IDK later. Delete a previously sent invitation that has not been responded to by:

  1. Clicking "Inbox" in the left-hand frame.
  2. Select "Sent" link in the Invitations area.
  3. Sort the list by clicking the "Status" column.
  4. Search for the "Sent" invitations and click the "Join my network on LinkedIn" and not the name of the invitee.
  5. Click the "Withdraw" button. Note: You will receive a warning message asking if you want to continue to withdraw the invite. Plus, no email is sent to the invitee letting them know that you withdrew your invite. If they keep an eye on their inbox, they might notice your invite is now gone.

After deleting invites, don't invite them again unless you are sure they are who you think they are. If you can find an email address for them, send them an email first and ask if they want to become part of your LinkedIn network.

Note: Sending an email before inviting someone through LinkedIn is a good practice.

Here are some examples of the information I sent to LinkedIn's Customer Support. The names have been changed, to protect the innocent (and to have some fun).

Mr. Raymond Charles was a gentleman I met at a piano concert in PA over 3 years ago. He runs a jazz- radio station. We spoke for about 5 minutes about music and other things. He was in my Outlook Express address book, and being new to LinkedIn I sent the generic invite.
This was the first invitation that was returned "Doesn't Know".

Mr. Tom Jones used to work at my former employ. I fixed his PC, network and desktop applications when I worked at "Not Unusual Magazine". I am not sure he said he didn't know me.
This was also a generic invite.

Ms. Barbara Streisand and I worked for the same company. We met in London where we worked on a variety of different music projects. Prior to sending out the invite I checked her profile to make sure she worked for "Yentel & Daughters" before and she did. However, after sending out the invite and upon further investigation, I found there was more than one Ms. Barbara Streisand employed at the company.

I was checking LinkedIn for names of people I knew in high school. I found Mr. Tony Soprano. Since there was no LinkedIn Group for my high school, "FaGetAboutIt High", and I could not find any entries with this school as a keyword, I searched by name and found this Mr. Soprano. As you can see, I was very respectful in my invite.

Yo, Tony,
Are you the Anthony Soprano who used to attend "FaGetAboutIt High" in New York City? If so, I would like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn. If not, I apologize for the intrusion.
Thanks and God Bless,
Genesius (Gene "The Fingernail") Jaromsky

No need for a fifth example, you get the idea.

Remember to explain how you honestly made a mistake. Presenting this detailed list and explaining why you have these "Don't Knows" helps the LinkedIn's customer service team to evaluate your situation and unlock your account. It shows that you understand why your account was locked, as well as shows them that you are serious about not repeating this issue again. I have heard from some of my colleagues that when they were locked out all they did was send an email requesting their account to be unlocked. So sometimes the "documentation" might not be needed, but it is a good lesson to monitor how you are inviting people into your network. It is also a good tool to help keep you compliant with LinkedIn's policies.

Note: Once you receive an IDK, you cannot withdraw it or delete it. I am not sure if LinkedIn starts you at zero after they unlock your account, or if the sixth and subsequent IDK's will lock you out again.

Click here for examples of what you should put in your invitation.

On LinkedIn, Don’t Get LockedOut! – part iv

part iv – what happens if you get lockedout of linkedin?

Once your account has been locked you are restricted in how you invite people into your network. In order to add ANYONE to your connections list in you must have the person's email address. "Not a big deal", you say. Yes, it can be.

First Scenario
Suppose you want to add someone you went to high school with. You search the LinkedIn site using that person's name (as you remember it) and you find them. Great, there is only one listed. It has to be them, right? You start to send them an invite, but you're stopped because you don't have an email address for them. And if you are part of the crowd that attended high school in the 80's and prior (like yours truly), we didn't have email addresses back then. Heck we didn't have a World Wide Web. Now what do you do?

You can search the Internet and hope that a student or alumnus has created a website for your school, and that there is an alumni database of all the former students. If so, pray that the list includes email addresses. Fine so far? However, how many of us have more than one email address? Unless the email address in the alumni database matches the email address they registered with/use in LinkedIn, no connection will be made here. You invite will be bounced and no connection will be made with that person.

Second Scenario
Let's say you don't care to connect with any of the losers [;-) you knew in high school (or college, or the old neighborhood gang). Say you want to reconnect with one of your colleagues from a former (or current) employer. Even though the name of the company is part of your experience in your profile, you STILL have to enter their email address in order to send the invite.


To paraphrase Jason Alba's book "I'm On LinkedIn. Now What?" Click here to find out "I'm LockedOut of LinkedIn. Now What?"

On LinkedIn, Don’t Get LockedOut! – part iii

part iii – why it is important to send out good invites?

When you send out an invite, there is a chance that the person will not know you, remember you, or like you. Therefore, there is a good chance they will click the dreaded "I Don't Know" button in reply to you invitation. LinkedIn has a policy where once a member receives five IDK's (there is no set time frame for receiving these – could be weeks, months or years apart), the user's account becomes severely limited. What I like to call, "Being LockedOut of LinkedIn!"

And your account will remain in this lockedout state until LinkedIn's Customer Support unlocks you. They also need to know that you are in agreement with the policies for using their web site.

Click here to find out what "LockedOut" means for you on LinkedIn.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

On LinkedIn, Don’t Get LockedOut! – part ii

part ii – great tool, but how do i use it wisely?

First, let's see how to use this function properly, and if you should use it at all.

After the page is populated with your contacts DO NOT CLICK "Invite Selected Contacts". Instead, follow these instructions.

  1. Click the "remove all" link at the bottom of the list on the right. This not only clears the invite list, but also removes the checks from all of the contacts in the list in the center of the page that would have received invitations.
  2. Review each contact for the following:

    Do you want to add this person to your network, and…

    Does this person know who you are?

  3. Contacts that have the blue "in" icon to the right of their title are already members of LinkedIn. You can check their profile, by clicking their name. Then you can decide if you want to add them to your network or not. You need to do some investigating for those without the "in" icon. Try checking any saved emails you sent/received to/from them, as well as Googling ( or Pipling ( their name.
  4. Select all the contacts you don't want to invite by clicking the uncheck the box near their name, and clicking the "Delete selected contacts" button, and those contacts will be removed from the center list. All remaining contacts will be checked, and the right-hand invite list will be populated with those contacts.
  5. Write down the names and email addresses of those contacts you want to add to your LinkedIn network.
  6. Click the "remove all" link again to clear the list.

Note: You should not use this function to invite people to your network. This list is good though for knowing who you need to send separate, personalized invitations to.

Click here to find out you should separate invites.

On LinkedIn, Don’t Get LockedOut! – part i

This seven part blog series will give you, the reader, some insight into the proper way to invite people you know (and don't know) into your professional LinkedIn network.

part i – great tool, but use it wisely

LinkedIn is more than a social networking site; it is a great professional networking site offering a variety of tools and applications to both its paying and gratis members. One of those tools is Imported Contacts. New members will typically use this function right away because it makes setting up their network quick and easy. However, one shouldn't use this without some care because it can seriously impede your LinkedIn experience.

This function is accessed by clicking the "Imported Contacts" link and then clicking "Add contacts to your contact list". From this screen you can choose to have LinkedIn check your Outlook account(s) stored locally on your PC, and/or check your web email account(s). After you select the email account, and enter your credentials, just click the "Upload Contacts" button. In a few moments the screen will be populated with all contacts from your email account(s). Here is where you need to be cautious. Make a mistake here and you could be Locked Out of LinkedIn.

Let's see why.

By default, LinkedIn selects all of your contacts and adds them to the invite list on the right of the screen. Many people, unwittingly, harmlessly, let LinkedIn do all the work for them and click the "Invite selected Contacts" button. Maybe you'll be lucky and everyone in your email address books knows you, likes you and would be willing to join your network. But if you are like most of the Internet population, you will have addresses of people who don't know you, like you, or have spammed you in the past. And if they do know you, you still shouldn't click the "Invite selected Contacts" button at this time. If you do you will be sending them the very impersonal "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn." message. Even if they know you that might feel slighted by your lack of common courtesy and manners. You might end up receiving the dreaded "I Don't Know" response. No big deal, right? Well, yes. It is a big deal.

Click here to learn how to use Imported Contacts.