It’s been quite some time since I did an update on the Top Recommended People Group and its website.

As today is February 29th, 2012, a leap year, it’s time!

To begin, the group has grown to over 2,670 members since it started on March 21st, 2009!! That is a net 2.4 new members each day, every day, 7 days a week, for the past three years. Each member meets or exceeds the entrance criteria of at least 10 recommendations on his/her Linkedin™ profile! That is quite an accomplishment, one where we should all be proud!

I have met some incredible people during this time, way too many to list in this post. I owe it all to the members.

We have been actively working on a major revision to the Top Recommended People website, http://toprecommendedpeople.com. While it is not yet ready for “prime time”, it is getting close. Much new interactive functionality will be added.

A new Top Recommended People (TRP) high resolution logo download  and validation functionality has recently been added to the current website. This functionality allows you to download the Top Recommended People logo to be used on your emails, word documents, etc., and the only stipulation to use it at this time, is the logo must point back to your personal validation page.

This is mine, click it:

To get your unique validation link and logo, follow this procedure:

1. Click the “Join TopRecommendedPeople.com” link on the center bottom of the page at http://toprecommendedpeople.com .
2. Fill out the form and click submit.
3. Wait for an activation email to come to your email inbox (if you don’t get it after 20 minutes, check your spam folder).
4. Click the activation link in the email and you should get “your account has been activated.”
5. Click the “Login” link on the activation page.
6. Fill out the login form using the login credentials you put in the join form, click submit.
7. Click “Click here” to enter the member area.
8. Click “Generate Files” on the member page.
9. Click “Here” on the Logo Generation page.
10. Click “Click here” on the Logo Download page.
11. Save the zip file to your PC.

Inside the zip file there will be either 4 or 5 files:

1. A “QR” code graphic that if snapped with a smartphone will deliver the person to your unique validation page.
2. A readme.pdf file which will contain a description of each of the components.
3. One or two high resolution graphics trplogo.png, and trpgold.png (example, if you are in one of the higher level subgroups).
4. A text file called trplogo##-#########.txt where the #’s will be unique numbers for your record. Inside that txt file will be the URL to deliver a person to your unique validation page (your validation link).

The highest resolution logo is provided to allow for any application usage. For your particular usage, you may need to re-size the logo. This is easily done using Microsoft Office Picture Manager, Picture, Re-size, or any of the other graphic programs like Adobe Photoshop.

A instructional video of this process is forthcoming.

If you have any questions, or get stuck, please let me know at: ross@toprecommendedpeople.com.

Also:

As many of the TRP members already know, we now hold twice a month webinar’s to feature members of Top Recommended People. We are currently hosting these sessions on http://anymeeting.com, which requires a PC and broadband internet connection to attend; a headphone and microphone to interactively participate. You must be a member of TRP to be featured, as well as to attend. The subject matter is as diverse as the membership.

To validate your PC is “anymeeting.com” compliant (e.g. latest version of Adobe Flash), you can run a test here:

www.anymeeting.com/systemtest

An announcement is sent out every other week on Monday, with the planned featured speaker for that week as well as a registration link to sign up. Registration is required to attend.
The current schedule, which is, of course, subject to change is:
Friday March 2rd, 2012, 11 AM EST. Rick Gillis – “Secure Your Career”
Friday March 16th, 2012, 11 AM EST – Gail Sussman-Miller – “How to Love Networking — For Those Who Don’t” – Learn to network the way you golf, ski, read, shop, etc.!
Friday March 30th, 2012, 11 AM EST – Brenda Bernstein – Seeking member input on Subject
Friday April 13th, 2012, 11 AM EST – Lexy Thompson – “Human Capital”
Friday April 27th, 2012, 11 AM EST – Traci Duez – “Change is Impossible Unless You Change Your Mind”
Friday May 11th, 2012, 11 AM EST – Kathleen Watson – “Stop Playing Small! Seven Keys That Open the Door to Your Big Future”.
Friday May 25th, 2012, 11 AM EST – Kathy Bernard – “Landing a Great Job after 40.”
June 2012 Summer recess.
Friday July 6th, 2012 Summer recess continued
Friday July 20th, 2012, 11 AM EST – Jonathan Ressler – “The top 10 Myths about Social Media”
August 3rd, 2012, 11 AM EST – Joy Montgomery – “Starting a Business and Keeping Your Life”
August 17th 11 AM EST – Dave Hatter – “Mobile Technology Strategy”
August 31st 11 AM EST – TBD
September 14th 11 AM EST – TBD
September 28th 11 AM EST – Vito Simone – “Evaluating Opportunities in the Current Housing Market”
If you are interested in being featured, please drop me a line at ross@toprecommendedpeople.com.
Thank you all for sharing this incredible journey with me. More to come….

The group turns 1 year old today!!  It was started on March 21st, 2009. The group went from 3 of my personal connections who joined on that very first day, to well over 1,600 members as it sits today.

The discussion posts are both stimulating and intellectually challenging, which demonstrates why the members posting and responding to them are Top Recommended People. Each member brings to the group a unique set of skills and experiences, which help shape the group into what it is today. I continue to be amazed at the depth and breadth of knowledge of the members, as well as their service to the online and offline communities.

Even Linkedin™ has asked me to allow the group to participate in a beta test of new discussion features!! Obviously my response will be positive, and I am sure each of you will provide Linkedin™ valuable feedback!

I want to say Happy Birthday to the team, and thank you all for making Top Recommended People what it is today.

All the best,

Ross

Lots happening to the Top Recommended People group since my last post.

To begin, and probably the most significant change, is that Erika Hanson Brown has agreed to accept the role of manager of the group which was previously announced on December 15th, 2009. Since that time, she has posted great discussion items, and has been actively helping me manage the influx of new members and discussion posts. Please give Erika your full support, she deserves it!

The group stands at 1,566 members today!

As many of you may know, I have been working for a couple of weeks on Top Recommended People group demographics. The following statistics represent a summary of the findings:

Countries

The group clearly has worldwide representation! This is a list of the 42 countries represented:

Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Caribbean Islands, China, Commonwealth of Nations, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America and Venezuela!!

The largest percentage of members in the group representing the top 10 countries are: Not unexpectedly, the United States at 82.1%, United Kingdom at 5.2%, India at 3%, Canada at 2.4%, Australia at 0.8%, the Netherlands at 0.7%, Brazil at 0.6% and the final three are tied at 0.4% in alphabetical order Argentina, Denmark, and Spain.

U.S. States

Focusing on the 82.1% of the group members in the United States, because of the way Linkedin™ works, not all states are represented. For example, Greater Boston includes New Hampshire and Greater New York includes New Jersey.  The 12 states not presently represented in the Top Recommended People group’s demographic data are Alaska, Delaware, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.  Know any Top Recommended People who live there?

The number and percentage of Top Recommended People members that live in the U.S.’s Top 10 states are: North Carolina #173 or 13.5%, Massachusetts #163 or 12.8%, California #142 or 11.1%, New York #128 or 10.0%, Texas #84 or 6.6%, Georgia #79 or 6.2%, Illinois #50 or 3.9%, Florida #48 or 3.8%, Ohio #46 or 3.6%, Colorado #39 or 3.1%.

By Industry Worldwide

The number and percentage of Top Recommended People members who work in the Top 10 industries are:  Not surprisingly, Information Technology and Services is at the top with #348 or 22.3%, Staffing and Recruiting #118 or 7.5%, Marketing and Advertising #111 or 7.1%, Management Consulting #84 or 5.4%, Computer Software #80 or 5.1%, Financial Services #77 or 4.9%, Human Resources #64 or 4.1%, Professional Training and Coaching #64 or 4.1%, Telecommunications #45 or 2.9%, Internet #40 or 2.6%.

Employed/Self Employed/Unemployed

As you can imagine, trying to determine whether an individual is employed, self employed, or unemployed represents a unique challenge. You see, when someone is unemployed they are not likely to be sitting on their hands. The unemployed are often working on other projects, roles, or simply consulting.  Therefore, wherever possible, I would default those profiles to “self” employed. Only if I saw a clear indication that the person was actively seeking employment would I default that profile to unemployed.  Hence, the following statistics are likely to be somewhat over inflated in the self employed category.  From an overall prospective:  #948 or 60.7% are employed, #402 or 25.7% are self employed, and #206 or 13.2% are unemployed. These are Top Recommended People, 13.2% unemployed, amazing.  So much for the federal statistics!

Unemployed by Industry

Due to the size of the population in each industry, for the purpose of this write-up, I am ignoring certain industries. For example, Machinery and Textiles show 100% unemployment, but the population was 1 member.  However, some industries appear to be particularly hard hit. For example, Semiconductors shows 66.7% unemployment, 3 members employed and 6 not! I guess people aren’t buying electrical components!

The following industries are also particularly hard hit, with a population large enough to draw statistical comparisons: Banking 42.9%, Computer Hardware 36.4%, Hospitality 30.8%, Consumer Goods 28.6%, Electrical/Electronic Manufacturing 28.6%, and Medical Devices 28.6%. Given the current state of the economy, all make perfect sense, except perhaps Medical Devices.

Other industries impacted are: Insurance (think AIG) 23.8%, Retail 20.0%, Financial Services (TARP?) 19.5% and Human Resources 18.8%.

Also particularly hard hit with a large number of members are Telecommunications 17.8%, and an industry near and dear to my heart, Information Technology and Services 17.2%. As would be expected Marketing and Advertising was also impacted at 13.5%, and Computer Software at 12.5%.

At the bottom end of the scale, some industries seem to have weathered the current economy better. They are: Management Consulting 4.8%, Professional Training and Coaching 4.7%, and Staffing and Recruiting 3.4%. It looks like if you are a management consultant or a professional trainer or coach, you lucked out.

Staffing and Recruiting appears to be a statistical anomaly because if there are no jobs, why wasn’t that industry harder hit? The only thing that would make sense is that some recruiters list their industry as Human Resources, so their job losses may be covered under the 18.8% Human Resources category.

Recommendations

It only seems fitting in a group based on a minimum number of recommendations, that we provide statistics around recommendations.  There are 14 members with over 100 recommendations, and believe it or not, we have identified 13 members who have, or are displaying less than the required 10.

For those members that do not meet the minimum level of 10 to join or remain members will be given a certain period of time to return back to the minimum level, or be asked to leave. I’d be interested in what the members feel is a reasonable period of time. We can assure you that all had 10 when they joined, however, since recommendations are dynamic, they can increase or decrease at any time.

The top 10 members with the most recommendations include, in descending order:

Steven Burda………………………………….2,903

Jeff Hodgkinson.…………………………..…..442

Mike O’Neil…………………………………..……252

Chad Coe……………………………………………222

James (Jim) Patrick…………………………..190

Janice Worthington……………………….….189

J.D. Gershbein……………………………….….116

Jim Nudelman……………………………….….116

Brian Schulman…………………………………116

Marie Schulmann………………………………116

The average number of recommendations each member has is 24.9. If we statistically remove the top ten and the bottom 13 (below the minimum 10) from the calculation, that average recommendation number drops to 22.2 per member average.

Top Recommended People Subgroups (and Hiring Group)

There are a number of Top Recommended People subgroups.  For example, there is Gold (25 to 99 recommendations), Platinum (100-499 recommendations), and Elite (500+).  Based on the statistics compiled, 431 Top Recommended People members qualify for the Gold subgroup, but only 184 have joined.  There are 13 members who qualify to join the Platinum subgroup, however only 7 have opted to join. Only one member qualifies for Elite, and he has chosen not to join.

For the separate Top Recommended People – Hiring group, only 95 have joined indicating an active job search or recruiting, however based on the statistics, at least 206 are unemployed.

There are only 50 members of the “Open Networker” subgroup but our feeling is that more than 3.1% of the Top Recommended People membership would consider themselves Open Networkers.

There are only 34 members of the Twitter subgroup, however, 585 members display their Twitter™ ID’s on their Linkedin™ profiles indicating, at least some interest at having other people follow them.

So, my question to the group is: Are the subgroups (and Hiring) providing any value?

Relationship “Levels”

As many of you know, groups allow you to “communicate”, that is, send e-mails to people who are not 1st level connected to you. Without having a paid Linkedin™ account, if you are not in a group together, you can only be introduced to 2nd level contacts through a 1st level contact of your own.  3rd level contacts are considered “out of your network”, and therefore cannot be contacted other than through a paid account’s InMail, or introduced through a 1st and 2nd level contact. Groups significantly change this picture.

For example, 286 members, or 18.2% of the Top Recommended People membership would be considered 3rd level to me, and therefore, without the Top Recommended People group, or other groups we share, I may never have met or corresponded with them. Amazing!

An additional 984 members or 62.8% would be considered 2nd level for me, and therefore without the Top Recommended People group, or other groups we share, I would have needed to be introduced to them by one of my 800+ 1st level connections.

Finally, 298 members or 19.0% are 1st level connected to me. I routinely accept 1st level connection requests from members of Top Recommended People, so I find this number to be less than I would expect.

Twitter™

The “marriage” between Linkedin™ and Twitter™ appears to be a marriage made in heaven.  What easier way is it to grow your Twitter™ following by putting your Twitter™ ID on your Linkedin™ profile? There are 585 members of Top Recommended People showing their Twitter™ ID on their Linkedin™ profile, or 37.3%. There are likely other members who use Twitter™ who do not want to link their Linkedin™ profile to their Twitter™ profile.

Membership Growth

At the time of this writing, 1,568 members joined the group in its 280 days of existence since March 21st 2009. That growth translates to 5.6 new members joining each and every day!

Potential Group Conference

Now that group demographics have been compiled, we are trying to determine interest in holding a Top Recommended People group conference (or possibly regional conferences). We would likely be able to have guest speakers present, and may even be able to secure some corporate sponsorship to keep the overall costs down. Obviously, it would be a significant effort to arrange such an event. If you think it is a good idea, and would be interested in attending an event like this, please let us know. If you have ideas around presentation topics, or even potential corporate sponsors, please share them with us.

Other observations

Names with other information like link #’s, phone #’s, etc. are not only against Linkedin™’s policy, but make it extremely difficult to extract and sort names. Linkedin™ does delete people who do not adhere to their policies from time to time, so please be forewarned.

Many members have put “Top Recommended People” in their Professional Headline, which makes the record searchable on Linkedin™, and helps to promote the group. If you have it there, thank you.

Please let me or Erika know if you have any questions. We now know much more about the Top Recommended People group, than we did yesterday!

Nathan (Nate) Kievman, a good friend of mine, a Top Recommended People Member, and the owner of the 13k+ member Linked Strategies group on Linkedin, wrote me the following message in an e-mail, which is also available on his blog at:  http://www.linkedstrategies.com/blog/haiti.htm

— His efforts demonstrate the REAL meaning of Social Media.  I’m glad to be connected to Nate, and happy I can do my part!!

Hi Ross,

As you are likely very aware, a couple days ago Haiti was hit by a
7.1 earthquake.  Fatalities and injuries are tremendous with over
100,000 – and possibly as high as 500,000 – passing on and roughly
3,000,000 affected by this incident according to the Red Cross.

I am writing this message to you not to sensationalize the event,
but I am writing because when an event like this strikes humanity, I
believe we are all affected (positively or negatively).

When major tragedy hits humanity we are faced with many choices of
how to act, think, feel and converse on the topic.  We have an
opportunity to use social platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and
Twitter in many ways.  As the news has indicated, twitter and
Facebook are a major venue for communication between families
trying to find one another.

In my experience it seems that media and society as a whole wants
to push us to dwell in fear and worry over the major event.  Media
is very focused on the WOW affect and wants us to sensationalize
events such as this which in turn distracts us from the real human
needs and in a sense, paralyzes us to take no action because the
tragedy seems so big… thus, how could one person really make a
difference and help?

We send our hearts out and love to all the families dealing with
this situation and if I may ask you to take action, even in the
smallest regard, please consider taking any of the following steps
to help uplift this situation first in the minds and hearts, then
with the immediate human needs. Some steps you can take to help are:

1) Pray, meditate, send your Love out to the Families in need (imagine
100,000,000+ people doing this!)

2) Support Financially…
http://www.redcross.org/
– Text 90999 the word [ HAITI ] and donate $10 from your cell bill instantly
(You can verify this at:
http://www.redcross.org

Now in complete respect for those who have lost their lives in the
Haitian Earthquake, I would suggest that fear and worry would only
add chaos to this situation.  So let us rejoice in gratitude for
what this brings to the world as an opportunity to grow
spiritually, to unite in brotherhood and sisterhood, to pull
together to help people who through no fault of their own are faced
with great challenges.

Please share this message with your friends and family.

Wishing you well,

~ Nate Kievman ~

Ps. View what the Redcross is doing for relief at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–Ak-Ze87Fc
Seek Higher Publishing LLC
17209 Chesterfield Airport Rd
Chesterfield, MO
63005
US

The numbers of people contacts that have come to me from all over the world over the last 9 months are simply incredible. The group has now grown to over 1,425 members!! That is 1,425 people, each with over 10 recommendations (14,250 separate recommendations minimum)! Of course, many members have more than 10.

During that time, the depth and breadth of my personal network continued to expand.

Top Recommended People member Sean Nelson has willingly provided Linkedin™ strategy information on his blog for over 2 years free of charge.  His blog can be found at: http://socialmediasonar.com/, where he also promotes the Top Recommended Group via a link. He asked me help to advertise his blog because he was in a blog-off competition. In doing so, I realized my “reach”, as Sean would call it, was easily in excess of 500,000 people, that is I could directly contact that number of people either in an e-mail, or in a discussion item posted in the groups I belong to. The “reach” number was actually much higher than that, however, Sean and I share many of the same groups. I gladly reached out to help Sean. Sean also owns the Edulinktion group on Linkedin™: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=1834863.

Sean also manages Top Recommended People member Nathan Kievman’s Linked Strategies group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1245667, as does fellow Top Recommended People member Randy Schrum (more on Randy later). Nathan or Nate as his friends call him has been providing Linkedin™ knowledge free of charge to the greater Linkedin™ public via his webinar’s for some time. Join Nate’s group and attend one, you can’t go wrong.

Then, all of a sudden I started getting many 1st level connection requests. Since Sean’s “reach” is much larger than mine, I assumed they were coming from a comment I posted on Sean’s blog-off blog calling myself what Sean describes as an “Alley Cat”.

Sean describes himself as an Alley Cat saying, “I still only send invitations to people I know or people that I have a specific reason for connecting to.  What changed is that I now accept invitations from just about anyone.  There is value in knowing your connections but there are also unexpected opportunities that develop from establishing new connections, known and unknown.”

This post can be found at: http://www.communitymarketing.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/12/are-you-a-lion-turtle-hounddog-or-alley-cat-whats-your-linkedin-strategy.html

Please add a comment of your own, the blog-off ends tomorrow!

I responded to Sean’s blog post by commenting:

“Sean,

I guess I’d call myself an Alley Cat. I don’t solicit too many 1st level contacts, although I do accept most. I do send out invitations to join the Top Recommended People group on Linkedin™ for those individuals having 10 or more recommendations. The group has grown to 1,400 members today, with people like you.

Sean I want to thank you for your exceptional blog posts, for being a Top Recommended People member, and for being a terrific 1st level contact of mine!

Ross”

Sean’s response to my comment was “Ross if I remember correctly you were part of the discussion that led to me defining an Alley Cat. Thanks for the comments and for creating the Top Recommended Group on LinkedIn. It’s been one of the top groups I’ve interacted with.”

Then Randy Schrum labeled me a “Super Connector” on his blog My Corporate Media along with 13 other people other Top Recommended People including Sean, Nate, Mike O’Neil, J.D. Gershbein, Lori Ruff, Dave Maskin, Steve Burda, and of course Randy himself (although not really in the list, he should be).

The post can be found at: http://mycorporatemedia.com/2009/12/07/linkedin-superconnected/

My response to Randy was:

“Randy,

I just had Khan Ozol request a 1st level connection with me because of this blog post. You are the Super Connector my friend, and you should have been at the top of the list. The value you add to the greater social media community through your group Twitter Strategies which I am a member of is simply amazing. You pulled me into the Twitter space while I was growing the Top Recommended People group on Linkedin, of which of course, you are a member.

I am honored to be 1st level connected to you Randy, and able to engage with you on an ongoing basis. The social media space would not be the same without you…..

Thanks,
Ross”

Randy responded,

“Ross thank you for your kind words, I must say your idea to start and maintain http://www.toprecommendedpeople.com is amazing. What a GREAT idea!

~Randy”

Randy owns the Twitter Strategies Group on Linkedin™ and has helped me grow my Twitter following substantially. Any person interested in Twitter needs to join his group at

http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1935280

My whole point to this post is that Linkedin™ has provided a medium for Top Recommended People to connect, and provide value to each other.  I am excited at what lies ahead in the social media space, aren’t you? More to come for sure…..

The Top Recommended People Group on Linkedin ™ continues to evolve. It now has 1,222 members!! Three additional subgroups have been added.

At Sean Nelson’s request an Open Networker subgroup was established, to provide an opportunity for the members of Top Recommended People to signify that they are willing to accept 1st level invites from other members of Top Recommended People. If you want to grow your 1st level connections with members of Top Recommended People, the subgroup can be joined at:

http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=2149256

Simon Hamer requested that a Twitter subgroup be added.  Simon felt that it would be a great way to grow Twitter followers with Top Recommended People.  The group was established and a discussion item was added for members to respond to with their Twitter ID.  It’s like an Open Networker subgroup for Twitter!!  If you want to grow your Twitter followers with members of Top Recommended People, the subgroup can be joined at:

http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=2182972

Don’t forget to add your Twitter ID to the discussion item!!

Simon Hamer made another subgroup suggestion.  He recommended a subgroup called Answer Experts.  The criterion to join this subgroup is that your name must appear on Linkedin’s ™ All Time Top Experts list. The list can be found at:

http://www.linkedin.com/answers?leaderboard=&allTime=

Since it was Simon Hamer’s original suggestion for the subgroup, it seemed only fitting to appoint him manager.

If you are on Linkedin’s ™ All Time Top Experts list, and a member of Top Recommended People, you may request to join the Answer Experts subgroup at:

http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=2189851

Obviously, to join any of these subgroups, you would need to be a member of the original Top Recommended People group, with its minimum 10 recommendation criterion. If you are not a member, and you have 10 recommendations you may request to join at:

http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1857786

I continue to feature 10 or more members of the Top Recommend People group each week on the Top Recommended People website at:

http://www.toprecommendedpeople.com/Featured.html

and previously featured members are moved to an archive page:

http://www.toprecommendedpeople.com/PreFeat.html

Each week new links to member websites are added to the landing page at the Top Recommended People website:

http://www.toprecommendedpeople.com/index.html

There will likely be some restructuring of the site shortly to accommodate additional links and featured members.  I also have many ideas on expanding the site further. Suggestions are always welcome!

As we continue to grow this group together I ask each of you to reach out and connect with other members. Offer to help.  Provide free or discounted products or services, suggestions, a link to a job, or potential customer. Post relevant and thought provoking discussion topics or news articles. Simply put, actively participate. Thank you!


  1. The Top Recommended People group on Linkedin ™ turns 6 months old on Monday, September 21st.  The membership roster now stands at 1,155, an increase of 155 members since the last blog post less than 1 month ago.
  2. The Top Recommended People website was launched, http://www.toprecommendedpeople.com.

The Top Recommended People Linkedin ™ group continues to have great thought provoking discussion topics presented, like Jon W. Hansen’s question, “Is there a difference between broadcasting one’s message and truly engaging individuals in the social media world?”,  J.D. Gershbein’s “How Do You  Leverage Your Status As A Top Recommended Person on Linkedin ™”, Gene Babon’s posting of Inc. Magazine 5,000 Fastest Growing Private Companies and Ginger Shawver’s clever use of her status line to promote the group  to HR Professionals!

There has also been an increase in job postings, an activity near and dear to my heart, like the ones posted by Nicole Woody, Elisa Sheftic , Natalie Scott, Maricel Quianzon, and Jacqueline  Harrison.

I continue to see a cross pollination of group owners within the group.  I personally know of at least 25 of us who own other groups on Linkedin ™, many more than one, and I am sure there are others for which I am not aware.

There has also been a lot of free sharing of information, be it from Randy Schrum’s My Corporate Media (http://mycorporatemedia.com/), Sean Nelson’s Social Media Sonar (http://socialmediasonar.com/), Jill Konrath’s Get Back to Work Faster (http://www.getbacktoworkfaster.com/), Alison Doyle’s Job Search blog (http://alisondoyle.typepad.com/) and Nathan Kievman’s free Linkedin Webinars (http://www.linkedintomarketing.com/webinar-optin.htm), and my own How to Lose Debt Blog, (http://howtolosedebt.com/blog), among others.

We are also seeing “monetization” within the group, as I have also personally purchased 2 paperbacks and 3 e-books from members of the group, Chuck Hester’s “Linking In to Pay it Forward  (http://www.thepayitforwardchronicles.com/linking-in-to-pay-it-forward-the-book/) and Tom Gomes’s “Something’s Very Wrong” (http://www.somethingsverywrong.com/order_01.php),  and the e-books, Alison Doyle’s “Internet Your Way to a New Job” (http://www.happyabout.info/InternetYourWaytoaNewJob.php), Nathan Kievman’s Linked Into Marketing (http://www.linkedintomarketing.com/) and Sean Nelson’s LinkedIn Marketing Secret Formula (http://socialmediasonar.com/linkedin_marketing_secret_form.html).

I see other “reduced price”, “for free” and “for fee” transactions taking place among the members of the group, like Brenda Bernstein’s Linkedin profile reviews or resume writing service (http://www.theessayexpert.com/), or J.D. Gershbein developing and providing “The Handshake Club” comics free for Sean Nelson’s blog (http://socialmediasonar.com/the-handshake-club-linkedin-causes-loss-of-sleep), and his internet marketing business http://www.owlishcommunications.com/.

Finally, the Top Recommended People website now gives us a Google ™ search-able avenue to promote member websites and feature member’s Linkedin ™ profiles, http://www.toprecommendedpeople.com/ and http://www.toprecommendedpeople.com/Featured.html.

If you are member of the Top Recommended People group, and you want your website or Linkedin ™ profile promoted on http://www.toprecommendedpeople.com, please e-mail me at RADodwell@Juno.com.

In summation, I continue to be honored, amazed, humbled, and awe inspired by being among such an incredible group of Top Recommended People!!  Thank you!

Where do I begin?

I begin with a word of thanks!

Thanks to all the members of the Top Recommended People group! Thanks to the members who have “sold” the group to their friends! Thanks to each member who has offered to help other members of the team!

Thanks to Catal Breen who luckily or possibly unluckily, which depends on his point of view, became the 1,000th member.  Sam Misseri recommended that Catal buy a lottery ticket!! That could be a good thing Catal, we all know New York could use the tax money!!

Reflecting back to the original premise for the group, helping people stand out, who would have ever thought that this recession would have dragged on so long?  I am amazed and saddened by the number of quality people who are actively seeking their next career opportunity, without any clear immediate successes.

People like Top Recommended People member Fred Held who has now postponed his retirement due to the current market conditions, and is seeking a position in “Integrated Marketing” where online and offline marketing efforts are banded together to be greater than the sum of its parts. I think Fred is on to something here, and I’m thinking he and Top Recommended People member J.D. Gershbein should talk! Perhaps there is a value in joining forces? If you have any other ideas, please contact Fred.

From a personal perspective, I refuse to be negative. I have branched off into helping people through this difficult time with my newest blog: http://howtolosedebt.com/blog, while I continue to seek a position in my chosen field, IT Management.

I also know, this market WILL turn around, and when it starts to accelerate again, it will be the experienced people companies go after!! The same people that were impacted by the across-the-board cuts that were happening, will be the ones in demand immediately following. You wait. The future will prove I am right!!

I am also humbled by the quality of the Top Recommended People membership roster. They are from all walks of life, all skill levels, all skill types, all locations, but two things in common. They have a drive to succeed, and of course 10 or more recommendations recognized by other people.

So as we begin to add the next 1,000 members to the group, I only ask one thing.  Reach out, connect, and add value to your fellow members.  It will always come back to you tenfold.  Trust me, it works!

P.S. JB this update is for you!

It’s time that I added an update to this blog.  I’ve been busy, so I appreciate your patience.

OK, so we built the Top Recommended People Group on Linkedin, so what? What now?

The statistics and history:

-The group was established on March 21st, 2009.

-The group has since grown to 596 members, simply awesome!

-The Linkedin community has grown to over 42 million members; I have more work to do!

-The group includes an incredible number of amazing people which I started to list and then realized it’s impossible. We are all Top Recommended People. Each stands out for his or her own expertise and quality of effort. If you want hint, read the discussion and news posts, or simply e-mail me!

-The group premise remains the same, to have each member stand out from the overall Linkedin community for hiring purposes. However, the group dimension has changed quite a bit.  There are as many exceptional Top Recommended employed people, as exceptional people in transition!  For those still in transition like me, please do not give up hope, our day will come!! If you are in transition, please join the Top Recommended People-Hiring group.

-The group has been showcased in a number of blog entries like Top Recommended People member Sean Nelson’s blog, http://www.linkedintuition.com/blog, and Sean’s Linkedin Marketing Secret Formula e-book, http://www.linkedintuition.com/linkedin_marketing_secret_form.html. I even got the original concept of the group published on ezinearticles.com, the internet’s premiere e-magazine: http://ezinearticles.com/?Top-Recommended-People-Group-on-Linkedin—What-Was-He-Thinking?&id=2202727.

-The group has been highlighted in discussion items on a number of large groups like Nathan Kievman’s Linked Strategies http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1245667.

-The group expanded to new groups, TRP-Hiring, and new levels, Gold, Platinum, and Elite, and then contracted to subgroups for Gold, Platinum and Elite when the Linkedin functionality for subgroups became available. For the record, the TRP-Hiring could not consolidate to a subgroup because it contains hiring managers and recruiters that do not personally meet the minimum 10 recommendations.

The interaction between the members of the group has been nothing short of incredible.  I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to read and comment on Sean Nelson’s e-books before they were published.  J.D. Gershbein now produces the Handshake Club comics for Sean’s blog, Nathan Kievman and Sean have now partnered to manage Nathan’s Linkedin Group Linked Strategies, and Jill Konrath joined the group after I had the opportunity to read her free e-book, Get Back to Work Faster, http://getbacktoworkfaster.com, as did her “subject” Jeff Ogden, a “Fearless Competitor”, http://fearlesscompetitor.com/!

Tom Gomes published a book “Something’s Very Wrong”, http://somethingsverywrong.com, and provided me with a hand signed copy!

Alision Doyle published a book I purchased “Internet Your Way to a New Job – How to Really Find a Job Online”, http://alisondoyle.typepad.com/alison_doyle/internet-your-way-to-a-ne.html.

Chuch Hester wrote a book, “Linking In to Pay it Forward”, http://www.thepayitforwardchronicles.com/linking-in-to-pay-it-forward-the-book/, and provided me with a hand signed copy!

Mary Lascelles (ReloMary) and I communicate on almost a daily basis because she always asks and answers thought provoking questions http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0fgRlxsyE4 and http://www.movinglinks4you.com/ (and no Mary I am not relocating, but if I did, I would call you)!

Joe Reardon personally added a huge number of his 1st level contacts to the group, by reaching out to his amazing number of 1st level connections. Joe keeps me busy!

David Fournier gave me my first personal recommendation for efforts around the group, as did J.D. Gershbein!! They both are also actively adding 1st level contacts to the group

I was proud to provide Sean Nelson a personal recommendation for his blog and the free Linkedin intelligence he provides to all of us: http://www.linkedin.com/profile?viewProfile=&key=6477792&authToken=akvk&authType=name

There is also quite a bit of “cross pollination” between the Top Recommended People group, and other groups. For example, I am a member of the following groups, all of which are owned or managed by members of Top Recommended People:

EduLinktion – Sean Nelson

Linked Strategies – Nathan (Nate) Kievman

NetworkforWork – Jim Starrett (and NFW co-founder Joseph Guilfoyle)

Fidelity Investments Networking Group – Steven Burda

Raleigh NC Job Search and Executive Recruiters Network – Greg Angelillo

Senior IT Professional in Transition – Norman Veit

Software Development Managers 4 Hire – Michael Bacon

Statistical Consultants – Daniel Evans

Ad & Marketing Jobs North Carolina – Jane Conversano

UPMO Professional Network – Sarah A. Lynn (Manager)

One thing is certain.  I am honored and humbled by being among this most incredible group of people!!

Thank you all for your participation! I am proud to be a member!!

What now?!! I have some ideas, but I am interested in yours. Discussion topics are always welcome.

If you know anyone on Linkedin that has 10 or more recommendations that is still not a member of the group, please ask him or her to join!

Why would someone create a group called Top Recommended People on Linkedin, and require each member to have a least 10 recommendations displayed on his or her Linkedin profile before being admitted? 

Well, to begin, there are over 37 million users of Linkedin.  If the unemployment rate among those 37 million people is 10% that is 3.7 million people out of work seeking employment at the same time. I am one of them.

So, you go through the steps.  You update your resume, prepare a cover letter, determine your target companies, and attend networking events and career fairs. You culture and develop your personal network. You seek out people that you have worked with for references. You build a core set of recommendations on Linkedin.

Then you realize, no matter how good your qualifications are there are millions of other educated, highly skilled, highly experienced, dedicated people seeking employment just like you.

Resume scanning software is there to ensure that you either do, or do not make it through even to the point of having a phone screen, let alone an interview.  So, you post for position after position, and never even hear a word back. Of course, that’s after you spent hours rewriting your cover letter making it position specific and navigating the endless variations of website design, and the ever larger array of questions that are asked. If I was a convicted felon, would I really be applying for this position? Do I really expect to make between $100,000 and $101,000 dollars per year, etc. etc.?

Then, as I am pondering the state of the world as I see it, it comes to me, as I am sure it has to others.  What sets me apart from the crowd?  What is my value proposition?  Besides skills and experiences, what can I offer a prospective employer? 

Well, I have 18 recommendations on Linkedin for one.  Would 18 people take the time and effort to document their belief in me, if I didn’t add at least some value to the companies?  What if those 18 recommendations actually do set me apart from the crowd, would they then add real value in a search? Could I help others in my exact predicament, by helping them stand out from the crowd too? Then it came to me in a flash, Top Recommended People, those with 10 or more recommendations on Linkedin.  That would be a significantly smaller group than the 37 million other people, a subset if you will. Your participation in the group will allow you to stand out.

I then heard many debates, the quality of a recommendation versus quantity, Quid Pro Quo of two people recommending each other, recommendations from peers and others that should not carry as much weight as a prior boss, the value of a career of recommendations at more than one employer, and even as sick as it is, hearing that some people actually recommend people they don’t even know!! 

I can’t change any of that; they all provide good arguments against the Top Recommended People Group.

What I can change is I can report on it.  I can provide only those people that have 10 or more recommendations.  Let the user of the data determine its true value.  Does that preclude a recruiter or hiring company from doing their due diligence, background research, and possibly contacting some of the people that provided the recommendations?  No. What we have done is separated a group of people for further review.  Could there be people with great qualifications but no recommendations, sure.  But just like anything else in life, the best prepared wins.

So as I enter the next phase of my life here, I say to myself, if I can help just one person, wouldn’t that be great?  I hold to you, and all the naysayers out there, yes it would! 

We at least did something as a team by joining together to stand out!!

If you agree with me, and meet the criterion, please join. The Top Recommended People Icon will become your blue snowflake!