Before my brother, Fat, (don’t ask) lost his job, he didn’t know what Linkedin was. Fat is 53 with a stay-at-home wife, a four year old son, and a nine month old daughter. He got married for the first time at age 49 and quickly made up for lost time! He received word two weeks before Christmas that he would soon be “on the street.” It’s an understatement to say, he was motivated to find a new gig.

His soon-to-be former employer gave him a reasonable package, including a stint with an outplacement firm. At first, Fat thought all the seminars and meetings would detract from his job search. But, he attended and found it time well spent. One day, he asked, “Kathy, have you ever heard of something called Linkedin?”  To which I replied, “Yes, of course; why do ask?” He responded, “The outplacement firm wants me to use it to find a job! Seems weird to me.”

He gave it a whirl. Today, my brother is a Linkedin master. With handouts from two “Using Linkedin in your job search” seminars as his bible, he tackled a social world previously unknown to him. While he only added a total of 15 connections, he used his targeted network surgically and effectively. He:

  • searched for contacts from past jobs to build a network
  • found family, friends and friends of friends and reached out to them
  • asked for introductions to people who might be able to help him
  • found people who could give him insights into companies that had openings
  • joined the right groups
  • identified people who could “sponsor’ him into companies that had jobs posted on various job boards
  • got the skinny on people with whom he was interviewing
  • ratified information he learned from companies he interviewed with

He took to Linkedin like a snowstorm in ski country, which should not have surprised me. You can walk down the street with my brother in almost any neighborhood or city and three people will stop to slap him on the back and say “hey.” This happens in the neighborhood where we grew up and on the streets of Paris. Fat is a natural networker. He’s smart, charming and self-effacing. To him, Linkedin was a tool that let him be him to the nth degree. It was efficient and effective.

And, yes, the story has a happy ending.My brother starts a new job in a week that’s a perfect fit! Now, he is a Linkedin evangelist. Unemployment hit my extended family particularly hard. I have three nephews who have been out of work for 15 months, a sister who got laid off late last year and another one who lost her job about eight months ago. Stephen is paying it forward by sharing his knowledge and helping anyone who wants it. Another microcosm of the power of both networks and community. Oh, and family, too!

Cheryl Treleaven

Cheryl Treleaven


Engaging your customers is at the heart of successful marketing programs. For more than 20 years, Cheryl has been building and executing content and thought leadership strategies designed to do just that. She is excited to be applying that well-honed skill to a help companies like Microsoft, Cisco, 3M, Intel, Capital One and Barclaycard tap into their stakeholder communities and build sophisticated content strategies.

Her experience base spans a range of industries – from technology and financial services to retail, travel, consumer products and healthcare. Cheryl has served as an integral member of her clients’ marketing teams, providing counsel on marketing and brand strategy, thought leadership, media relations, product introductions, and event management.

Prior to joining ComBlu, Cheryl spent 10 years leading corporate marketing for large, complex organizations.