The differences between the Summary sections of your LinkedIn profile and résumé–Part 3

resume linkedin

In part 2 of this series, we looked at the differences between the résumé’s Core Competency and LinkedIn’s Skills and Expertise sections.

One of the most noticeable difference between the résumé and LinkedIn profile lies in the Summary. Simply copying and pasting your résumé’s Summary to your profile without any further action is poor laziness and cheating yourself of a great opportunity to show your value to visitors and potential employers.

As well, this is a great opportunity to tell your story, express your passion for what you do, and show your creativity. 

Today’s résumé’s Summary is taking on a more concise, yet informative, presence.  This is due, in large part, because people who are reading a large volume of résumés value brevity over verbosity. Whereas the LinkedIn Summary grants you 2,000 characters, the résumé’s Summary is usually no longer than 500 characters, preferably shorter.

Your Résumé. Brevity without fluff and clichés are key to the success of your résumé’s Summary. As the cliché goes, “You must say more with less.” The goal is to express your overall value and promise for future success. Consider the following Summary that is three lines on paper and approximately 280 characters:

Senior Accountant with cross-functional expertise in all phases of accounting, including electronic processes
Manager—up to 18 staff—increasing productivity through clear communication and expectations
Operational skills in high-volume environments; consistently increases annual discounts taken in excess of $100K 

Some believe a Value Proposition should replace the typical Summary. Here is an example of a Value Proposition that immediately states one’s value.

Throughout my career, I’ve been hired to increase productivity by at least 50% at companies that required someone who identifies problems and attacks them with an eye on a quick and effective resolution.

My leadership style is fair, while also placing a demand for excellence on those who embrace a cooperative environment. Those I mentor have commented on my ability to see opportunities and act with conviction. (412 characters)

LinkedIn Summary. The LinkedIn Summary allows you more real estate to tell your story and/or state your immediate accomplishments. It’s your decision whether to enjoy the complete space allowed (my Summary is 10 characters short of the maximum) or be more concise.

I reiterate,  it’s a mistake to simply copy and paste your résumé’s Summary to your LinkedIn profile, as it should be:

  1. More creative and personable; remember LinkedIn is for networking and should read almost like a conversation.
  2. Be written in first or third person point of view, though first is preferred by most.
  3. Written with paragraphs, resembling a story format—or bulleted statements, resembling quantified results and easier to read.
  4. May be the only major section fully read by visitors, if your Experience section simply states your title, company information, and dates of employment.

One of my favorite examples of a LinkedIn Summary is from Louise Kursmark, a professional résumé and LinkedIn profile writer. Her paragraph format begins with:

I wear a lot of “hats” in the résumé/careers field, having honed my expertise during a long career as a résumé writer, career consultant, speaker, author and trainer.

EXECUTIVE RÉSUMÉ WRITING My expertise and my passion! I work with executive clients worldwide, creating highly strategic career-marketing documents that communicate credibility, expertise and value.

WORLD-CLASS RÉSUMÉ TRAINING As founder and director of Résumé Writing Academy, I have guided dozens of professionals through a rigorous training and testing program to sharpen their strategic thinking and writing skills. Our students truly EARN the prestigious ACRW designation!

Louise continues to use most, if not all, of the 2.000 characters allowed for a profile Summary. The content of this excerpt  begins with an overall statement of her career achievements and talks about her accomplishments in her writing and worldwide training.

On the other hand, Martin Yate, author of the Knock em Dead series, prefers a bullet-formatted direct impact approach to writing his LinkedIn profile Summary. Here is an excerpt of his Summary:

DOCTORS SAVE LIVES, I MAKE THEM WORTH LIVING, this what is I do, this is my life:
I have been delivering résumés, job search and career management advice for 27+ years; and LinkedIn profiles and SEO for the last three years.
Ive helped people get their first jobs after graduation and helped them climb to V.P. level in Fortune 100 companies and now I’m helping their children climb the same ladder of success. If you want better control of your career I can help.
If you are facing career challenges, I write the most effective résumé/LinkedIn profile you could ever own, and I GUARANTEE you’ll get INTERVIEWS IN 30 DAYS.
80% of companies use LinkedIn to recruit, so your profile needs to tell a convincing story and it must rank high enough in recruiters database searches, to be found. I can create a profile that is both credible and visible.
PROVE THIS TO YOURSELF: Do LinkedIn searches for LinkedIn coach, Linkedin profiles, Linkedin profile writer, LinkedIn SEO, LinkedIn writer etc and youll find me at the very top in every one.
Do the same test for a variety of résumé writer or career coach terms and you’ll get the same results…. at the very top in every one.

Unlike Louise, Martin has a little space left in his Summary, but both Summaries it far succeeds the character count you’d find in a résumé Summary. One thing for sure is that their Summary style effectively describes their story and expertise.

Readers of résumés want quick and easy. Visitors of your LinkedIn profile want a networking document, not a rehash of your résumé. Don’t disappoint the readers and visitors on any count. In the next post, we’ll look at the differences between the Experience sections of the résumé and LinkedIn profile.

The difference between the résumé’s and LinkedIn profile’s skills sections–Part 2

resume linkedin

Part one of this series addresses the differences between  LinkedIn’s and the résumé’s first impressions; the photo and Branding Statements. This post will address the differences between the résumé’s Core Competency and LinkedIn profile’s Skills and Endorsements, which are distinct in their own way.

LinkedIn enthusiasts create profiles that are dynamic, while others who don’t understand the purpose of LinkedIn, simply copy and paste their résumé  to their profile and call it a day; done, complete, finito.

That’s not enough if you want to attract visitors to your profile, including potential employers. If you believe your LinkedIn profile is your résumé, you are mistaken; there are distinct differences.

Of the résumés I critique on a daily basis, I notice that many people neglect to include a Core Competency section. This is a mistake, for this section provides an ideal place to highlight the must-have skills for a position, as well additional skills that can be a tiebreaker.

If you’re sending your résumé to large or mid-sized companies that uses an applicant tracking system (ATS), the Core Competency section is a great place to include those keywords. Skills that are easy to scan by human eyes and keywords that will be captured by the ATS are the goals for this section of your résumé.

Here’s an example of a Core Competencies section from an operations manager’s résumé:

Strategic Business Planning Project Management Cross-Functional Team Building IT/IS~Human Resource Issues Employee Benefits Risk Management Hiring, Training & Coaching Negotiations Research & Analysis Financial Modeling Business Modeling Portfolio Management Acquisitions & Divestitures Policies & Procedures

LinkedIn places a great emphasis on skills/areas of expertise as evidenced by its Skills and Endorsements area. This section allows you to list as many as 50 of your strongest skills. In addition, your first degree contacts can endorse you for any of your skills with a simple click. (The jury’s still out on the value of Endorsements).

The most obvious difference between the résumé’s Core Competencies and LinkedIn’s Skills and Endorsements is the quantity you would include on your LinkedIn profile vs. your résumé. The example of the operations manager’s above lists 15 core competencies, a good number for someone in that position.

On the other hand, the Skills and Endorsements example below lists close to 50, which would be far too many for a résumé. This is LinkedIn’s attempt at encouraging its members to tout their skills and expertise, as well as increase the keyword count.Skills and Endorsements

Another noticeable difference are the tidbits of information provided under the covers of LinkedIn’s Skills and Endorsements feature. If you click on a particular skill or expertise, you will be brought to a page that suggests jobs you may want to pursue, people with whom you could connect, and groups to join. I find this particularly useful if I want to connect with someone who has experience with LinkedIn, as well as other expertise.Information from Endorsements

I think you’d agree that LinkedIn’s Skills and Endorsements feature is interactive, whereas the résumé’s Core Competencies
section is not. This adds to Linked”s dynamism.

The next post will address the differences between the résumé’s and LinkedIn’s Summary statements.

2 differences between the Résumé and LinkedIn Profile–Part 1

resume linkedinI tell attendees of my Advanced LinkedIn workshop, “Your LinkedIn profile is not your résumé.” It’s important for me to say this, as some of their LinkedIn profiles resemble their résumé. I can spot a copy-and-paste a mile away.

A LinkedIn “résumé” gives off a generic look rather than a unique document that makes LinkedIn a powerful tool for the job search. Potential employers are not looking for a rehash of your résumé; they’re looking for more, another look.

Let’s examine two differences between the résumé and profile.

The most obvious difference between the résumé and LinkedIn profile is the Photo. Because LinkedIn is a networking application and the résumé is a job search document, here is one major difference. A photo on your LinkedIn profile is necessary, as it enhances your brand. It may tell visitor you’re creative, sincere and compassionate, a leader, ambitious, serious, etc.

As well, a profile with a photo is more trustworthy and memorable. A recent statistic states that a profile with a photo is seven times more likely to be opened.  I for one will not open a profile if it lacks a photo, unless it’s someone I know.

I tell my attendees that despite their fear of age discrimination, a photo is necessary to network. Imagine attending a networking event where people walk around with a paper bag on their head. Not very personal.

The headline is second on the list of differences between the résumé and LinkedIn profile. An Advanced résumé must have a branding headline that immediately tells potential employers that you are the right person for the job. The headline is a simple line or two of what you do and some of your areas of strength. Here’s an example of a position-specific branding title:

Marketing Specialist 

Public Relations ~ Vendor Relations ~ Staff Supervision ~ Web Design ~ Event Coordination

Look at another branding headline that is written for a similar job:

Marketing Coordinator

Social Media | Trade Shows | International Travel | Increased Production | Graphic Design

Your LinkedIn profile has a branding headline that is similar to your résumé’s headline, save for the fact the profile isn’t written for a specific job. It needs to include more general skills/keywords. You may choose to use a branding statement instead. The same position may resemble this:

Marketing Specialist with expertise in Public Relations, Trade Shows, Vendor Relations, Web Content,
Event Coordination;
leading to increased visibility and profitability for your company.

Furthermore, the branding headline adds to the keyword count for those whose résumé will be sent through an applicant tracking system (ATS). As well it makes being found on LinkedIn more possible with key skills of your occupation and industry/ies.

In the next post, we’ll look at the differences between the résumé’s Core Competencies and the LinkedIn Skills and Expertise sections.

 

The third of 3 steps for a successful LinkedIn campaign: being active

linkedin2

Previously we looked at connecting with others on LinkedIn, the second step for a successful LinkedIn campaign. Now we’ll look at being active on LinkedIn.

I tell my LinkedIn workshop attendees that one of my colleagues jokes that I need an intervention. Not for use of an illegal substance; no, an intervention for overuse of LinkedIn.

This little joke elicits laughter from my attendees, but I secretly wonder if there’s truth to his words. If using LinkedIn 365 days a year, including holidays, is considered abnormal; then I might benefit from an intervention.

This post is not about refraining from using LinkedIn often. To the contrary, this post is about being active on LinkedIn. How many hours should they dedicate to LinkedIn many of my workshop attendees ask me. There’s not a set number number of hours or minutes you must dedicate to LinkedIn, but to be active and communicate with your connections, you can’t sit idle.

1. An obvious way to be active is to communicate with your connections by posting Updates. How many you post is up to you, but I suggest at least one a day. This is when I get remarks from my attendees about not having time to make one update a week.

To prove this is not a tall order, I show my attendees how I update providing tidbits of job-search advice, asking a question, or sharing an article I find educational. I tell them it’s important to share relevant information with their connections; that’s what good connections do.

2. Another way to be active is to “Like” what your connections update; or, better yet, comment on their updates. Liking their updates is great, but it takes very little effort to simply click the link. Like, Like, Like. Be more creative and add a comment which can generate discussion, or reply to your connections privately.

3. I’ll visit my connection’s profiles–with full disclosure–many times a day. My connections will visit my profile many times, as well. When they “drop in” and have disclosed themselves (not Anonymous LinkedIn User or Someone from the Entertainment Industry), I’ll show my appreciation by writing, “Thanks for visiting my profile.” This will also lead to a discussion.

4. You’ve probably read many opinions from people on the topic of Endorsements–here we go again. Add me to the list of people who prefer receiving or writing thoughtful recommendations as opposed to simply clicking a button. And I’m not alone.

But, in fairness, Endorsements have a purpose greater than showing appreciation for someone’s Skills and Expertise; they act as a way to touch base. In other words, they’re another way to communicate with your connections.

5. Let us not forget your groups which give you another, significant way to be active. Participating in discussions regularly is a great way to share ideas with established and potential connections. I’ve gained connections because of the interests we shared revealed by discussions.

Did you know you can communicate directly with anyone in your group? That’s right, you don’t have to be a first degree in order to communicate directly with even a third-degree member. Trying to get the ear of someone out of your network? You may want to join a group that person is in.

6. If your connections blog and share their posts on LinkedIn, take the effort to read their posts and comment on their thoughts. This is an effective way of creating synergy in the blogging community. Now you can express your thoughts using LinkedIn’s Publishing feature. Take advantage of this if you have the ability to write and enjoy sharing your ideas.

Sharing blog posts on LinkedIn and making thoughtful comments in your groups can promote you as a thought leader in your occupation and industry. Don’t be shy about sharing your expertise. Employed or unemployed, you have important information to share. LinkedIn is not only about connecting; it’s also about information capital.

7. Pulse is one of the best ways to stay abreast of news in your selected industries (or channels), influencers, and publishers. LinkedIn delivers news to your homepage every day. And you choose which news you want to receive. When my workshop attendees wonder what they should update, I tell them sharing articles of common interest is a great way to start.

8. I saved one of the best features for last. This is Companies, which epitomizes networking on LinkedIn. Companies allows you to find people who are in a position to help you, it encourages you to be proactive. In my workshops I show people how to find people who have the authority to hire them by:

  1. Choosing second degree connections;
  2. Typing keywords in Advanced Search;
  3. Choosing “current” for currently working there;
  4. typing the person’s title, and;
  5. indicating the company’s geographic location.

Once you’ve located the person with whom you’d like to communicate, you can ask for an introduction from one of your first degree connections who is connected to said person.

These are some ways you can be active on LinkedIn. The first step is to create a presence with your profile, followed by connecting with others on LinkedIn, and finally being active. Combining all three will lead to a successful LinkedIn campaign.

The first of 3 steps for a successful LinkedIn campaign: creating a presence

linkedin2Some of my LinkedIn workshop attendees have told me they were encouraged to join LinkedIn because LinkedIn is the answer to their job search. I cringe when I hear this because what they were told is only partly true.

Being on LinkedIn will increase your chance of getting a job, but it isn’t a guarantee, especially if you don’t understand what it takes to be successful on LinkedIn.

I tell my workshop attendees their LinkedIn strategy involves 1) creating a presence, e.g. your profile, 2) connecting with others, and 3) being active. Without all three, your LinkedIn campaign will crash and burn.

Creating a presence. Let me make this easy for jobseekers who are starting their LinkedIn campaign. Leverage what you’ve already created, your professional résumé, by copying and pasting it to your profile. However, don’t stop there. After doing this you need to revise it to reflect a networking document.

Many pundits have written about how to create a powerful profile, so I’ll simply outline the necessary components:

Your Snapshot area is where you capture readers’ attention with your quality photo and branding headline. Don’t waste this area with a poorly done photo and a headline that simply states your title at your previous job. Both your photo and headline can brand you–a photo that shows you’re a professional and a headline that states your strong areas of expertise.

Let’s not forget how your headline can contribute to the keyword count. These are the skills recruiters/hiring managers/HR type into Search. Having the proper keywords and more instances of them will rank you higher and, consequentially, garner more visitors.

Make your Summary worth reading by writing it in first- or third-person point of view; include some Wow statements; and express your passion for what you do. You’re allowed 2,000 characters for you Summary, so use them all. This will allow you to tell your story, as well as give you more space for those ever important keywords. For more on this, read 4 reasons why you need a strong LinkedIn Summary.

Your Experience section can resemble your Work History from your résumé or you can simply highlight the accomplishments. I favor the latter, but some think their profile might be the only document an employer sees, so showing all is the way to go, duties included. One of the areas weighed heavily for keywords is the position’s title. You’re not limited to your title; you can add some areas of strength as well.

Ex. Project Manager | Budget | Lean Six Sigma | Cost Reduction | Leadership

The Media section is where your profile can be really dynamic. I tell my workshop attendees that it’s their online portfolio. There are a number of different media you can include in your Summary, Experience, and Education sections. On mine I share PowerPoint presentations and a link to my blog. Others, like my valued connection Anton Brookes, have YouTube videos and/or documents. What do you want to share with your LinkedIn visitors?

The Interests section is awesome. I don’t know why I love this area of the profile, but I always point it out to my workshop attendees with enthusiasm. Tell me where could you include such cool information on your résumé. I explain that this is similar to their Hobbies and Interests, but much more. Here are some snippets from my profile:

PERSONAL ME | Spending time with my familySpending too much time on LinkedInblogging about things career relatedchillin’ at Starbucks….PROFESSIONAL MELinkedIn trainingLinkedIn strategyLinkedIn profile critiquesLinkedIn profile writingLinkedIn for business marketing….

You’ll note these interests are hot links to people who also have these words on their profile. This is a great way to find people who also have interests in, say LinkedIn training or blogging.

Your Education is more than what you include on your résumé. It allows…or rather encourages you to expound on your degree and/or training. Along with the traditional information–college or university, dates attended (optional), GPA (also optional)–you’re given the option to include Activities and Societies, as well as Description.

Next we’ll look at the second of three components necessary for a successful LinkedIn campaign, connecting with other LinkedIn members.

9 reasons why I update so often on LinkedIn

update2Yesterday I tried really hard to refrain from sharing more than one LinkedIn status update. This resolution lasted an hour before I gave in to my urges, like someone on a bad diet. I don’t know what it is about this habit of mine, where I update no less than five times a day.

Daniel Newman an Adjunct Professor of Management at North Central College probably had me in mind when he posted Six Bad LinkedIn Habits That Must Be Broken on TheSavvyIntern.com.

I quote Daniel, “People don’t check LinkedIn nearly as often as Facebook or most other Social Networks for that matter. So I recommend that statuses are updated no more than once or twice a day.”

It’s not only Daniel’s suggestion that makes me examine my propensity to update. One of my colleagues told me I’m over the top and need an intervention, some kind of professional help he told me. So to validate why I update no less than five times a day, I came up with nine reasons.

Visibility. I reason that to be relevant on LinkedIn one must update. But how visible is too much? When people tell me they see me a lot on LinkedIn, are they just being nice and really thinking they see me too much on LinkedIn?

It’s fun. I can hear the guffaws from the peanut gallery, those who can’t think of what to update to save their life. Believe it or not, I enjoy writing and sharing articles…sometimes my own.

It keeps me from having to watch crappy television shows. Weighing watching The Bachelor against scanning my home page or Pulse for articles to comment on. Well, I’ll take the latter any day of the week.

It’s ideal for introverts. Here you go again, Bob, talking about introverts. I personally believe that updating on LinkedIn is an ideal way for introverts to communicate their thoughts. (Read 6 reasons why introverts prefer to write to understand what I’m talking about.)

I’m competitive. Or somewhat narcissistic if you like. Maybe subconsciously I enjoy receiving “Likes” or, better yet, comments on them gives me a feeling of being on the screen in Times Square.

I want to educate my followers. This is my pat answer to my aforementioned colleague and others who ask why it’s important to update at least once a day. Sharing articles…many times my own…what’s going on in my professional life, sage words of advice, etc, are intended to help my connections.

I’m addicted. This is perhaps my greatest fear. That I’m out of control and may need an intervention, as my colleague suggests. But like any addict, I can’t stop going to the strategically placed Share an Update box on my home page. It’s calling for me, “Bob, why aren’t you updating. It’s been an hour since your last one.” STOP, I yell. But then I give in.

I’m not as bad as some. I know this is a lame reason, almost an excuse, but some of my connections show up on my home page 10 times in a row. Do I remove them from my list of connections? No, I HIDE them. So I try to space out my updates.

I use it as a teaching tool. During my LinkedIn workshops when my attendees are outraged by the idea of having to update at least once a day, I demonstrate how to share an update within three minutes.

So here you have the reasons why I update and feel it impossible to follow Daniel Newman’s suggestion to update (only) once a day. I hope that he’ll revise his article to say, “Update as much as you’d like.” But I don’t think that’s likely because in all honesty, I’m the perfect example of an update freak.

 

 

4 ways to take control of your job search

Some jobseekers tell me they turn on their computer every day to log on to Monster, Dice, CareerBuilder, Indeed, and other job boards. They spend many hours a day applying for posted jobs, sending as many as 20 cookie-cutter resumes out a week, anticipating a call from a recruiter or Human Resources. They wait and wait and wait.

To these jobseekers I point out the futility of a job search like this, explaining that if they want faster results, they have to be more proactive. I tell them this in my Career Networking workshop.

First I talk about the “Hidden Job Market” which is a concept they understand, but I’m not sure they accept. When I tell them them connecting with others is the best approach to penetrating the HJM, I can hear them thinking how difficult it will be to get outside their comfort zone, to get away from their computer.

The message I try to deliver is that they have to be proactive, not reactive. They have to take control of their job search, not let it control them. Here are some ways you can be proactive in your job search:

Approach letters. Not oft used, these documents are ideal if you prefer writing more than using the phone, so you might be somewhat introverted. No job has been advertised. (Advertised jobs represent 20% of the labor market.) You’re not reacting to an advertisement.

The goal is to get an informational meeting or better yet, chance upon a possible opening that hasn’t been advertised (80% of the labor market). You must describe your job-related skills and experience and show the employer that you’ve done research on the company to boost the employer’s ego. Read Teena Rose’s article on approach letters.

Good ole’ fashion networking. Normally we think of networking as strictly attending organized meetings where other jobseekers go, doing their best not to seem desperate. (I’ll admit that this type of networking is unsettling, although necessary.) The kind of networking I’m referring to is the kind that involves reaching out to anyone who knows a hiring manager.

Most of the people who contact me after they’ve secured a job tell me that their success was due to knowing someone at the company or organization. You must network wherever you go. Network at your kid’s or grandchildren’s basketball games, at the salon, while taking workshops, at family gatherings (see Any Time is Time to Network)—basically everywhere.

LinkedIn and other social media outlets. I recently received an in-mail from someone who is currently working but is not enjoying her experience. I’ll keep my ears open for the type of position she’s looking for because she asked me to. LinkedIn members who know the potential of this  professional online networking tool are reaching out to other LI members for information and contact leads.

Another one of my jobseekers is doing everything possible to conduct a proper proactive job search. He updates me on his job search and sends me job leads for me to post on our career center’s LinkedIn group. I’ve got a good feeling about this guy. He’s being very proactive by using LinkedIn and his vast personal network of professionals.

Follow Up. Allow me to suggest a must-read book called Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. I think this guy gets more publicity from me than any author I’ve read. The reason I recommend this book is because none of these three proactive approaches are useful unless you follow up on your efforts.

Never Eat Alone teaches you how to network in every situation and then how to keep your network alive by following up with everyone. I mean everyone. Send an approach letter, then follow up with the people to whom you’ve sent it. Network face-to-face, then follow up. Connect with someone on LinkedIn…you guessed it, then follow up.

Being proactive sure beats the hell out of only reacting to jobs that have been advertised and visible to hundreds, if not thousands of other jobseekers. It gives you a sense of accomplishment and yields more results than exclusively participating in the visible job market. Being proactive makes you believe that the job search will finally come to a halt, that the job search is in your hands.

If you join LinkedIn, be prepared to work. 8 tips required to be successful

linkedin-sumary1It hurts my heart when jobseekers tell me they believe LinkedIn will be the success to finding a job. I mean it’s great that they’re using LinkedIn as part of their job search, but they have the misconception that LinkedIn is a job search tool that will deliver jobs to their lap.

LinkedIn is a networking application that was originally developed to help businesses network with other businesses, build leads, and help in marketing. Which is precisely why jobseekers should use LinkedIn to network and market their product (themselves); but in order to do this they need to clearly understand the purpose of LinkedIn.

An article, What To Say On LinkedIn When You’ve Been Laid Off, nicely says your profile is an online résumé  of sorts, which should be used to help in your networking endeavors.

“‘Until they are laid off, some folks either don’t know how to use LinkedIn, or have a very skeletal presence on the site,’ VanGilder says. Perhaps they think of it as a job search tool….” Deborah Jacobs writes.

And this is the conundrum–jobseekers who only become active on LinkedIn when they need a job. It’s almost like it’s too late. Their profile is incomplete, they have 4 connections, they haven’t joined any groups….But, alas, it might not be too late. What these jobseekers need to do about this problem is work their arse off.

Once that “online résumé ” is created, it must be modified to resemble an inviting networking document, and you must invest some time into stepping up your activity. This includes:

  1. A creative and somewhat lengthier Summary. (Some say it should be short. Let’s agree to disagree.) This, according to the author of the article, is where you should indicate you’re actively seeking employment. Agreed.
  2. Frequent updates, at least once a day. Occasionally you can explain your situation but not every day.
  3. A campaign to accumulate quality connections–20 connections will not impress anyone–totaling at least 150 quality connections over a period of time should be your goal.
  4. An Experience section that focuses on accomplishments more than basic duties. The mundane information might be on your résumé. Why repeat it.
  5. Playing the Skills and Endorsement game, where you can list as many as 50 skills and be endorsed for those skills. All one needs to do is click on any of your skills to endorse you. Can you tell I’m not a big fan of this feature?
  6. Acquiring recommendations. This feature was once considered for 100% completion but was taken over by Skills and Endorsements. Request recommendations from former employers who are your 1st degree connections.
  7. Joining groups that are compatible with your occupation and industry; for example, I would never join an IT group. But, like me, you might be interested in a variety of occupations or industries, such as social media, career development, and education.
  8. Use one of LinkedIn’s best features, Companies, to locate key players in your job search–the better to get your résumés in their hands.

Do you get the sense that LinkedIn will require hard work and may not yield immediate results? Good. Do you also feel that joining LinkedIn on the bottom floor will be to your benefit, as opposed to giving up on it? Good.

There’s one more thing to consider. Once you’ve created a great LinkedIn profile, have established a presence, and are active on LinkedIn leading to a job; don’t give up your activity on LinkedIn. You may need your network in the future. This time instead of having four measly connections, you’ll have hundreds.

Don’t disappear from LinkedIn, my valued connections

Why Connections DisappearI connected with a childhood friend about a month ago, and it was like a reunion where we caught up on good times, exchanged professional information, and were happy to reconnect. For the last two weeks, though, I haven’t seen hide nor hair of him.

What’s funny is that his profile was respectable; nay strong. He even used the media feature in his Experience section. He put real work into it and wrote to me, “I don’t know why people think building a profile is so difficult. All you have to do is play with it.”

But this post isn’t about the best way to build a profile; there have been many posts on this topic. What I’m constantly wondering is where are the people? The people who seem to be going strong, like my childhood friend, but suddenly disappear as if they’ve gone on an extended vacation.

One of the most important aspects of networking—online or personal—is maintaining a presence. I tell my LinkedIn workshop attendees to update at least once a day. That’s correct, once a day. This is how you communicate with your connections and…stay in their minds.

Of course there have to be viable reasons for updating daily. It’s not like you can write, “I’m off to the beach; let’s meet up,” like you might on Twitter. No there must be intelligent and professional topics on which to update.

Let’s start with the most common:

  1. Sharing articles—one of my favorites, especially articles from which people will learn. A good source for articles is Pulse.
  2. Posting quotes—some enjoy doing this. I’m not a big fan.
  3. Writing about skills you’re developing—great for jobseekers to show their value.
  4. Letting people know what classes or conferences you’re attending—perhaps you can meet up with people while you’re in DC.
  5. Are you leading workshops—updating is a great way to promote them, as well as strengthen your brand as a workshop facilitator.
  6. A great book you’re reading—keep it professional. Because LinkedIn eliminated its Reading List feature, you might want to let people know you’re reading Twitter 2.0, for example.

Maybe updating on a regular basis is not your thing. You might simply want to “Like” what others update, or write a short comment, or thank people for visiting your profile. The point is to be active and maintain your presence. It’s really not that hard, my valued connections.

I guess what I’m saying is I miss you. You are part of my network, so don’t disappear like a poof of dirt. Are you getting tired of LinkedIn? Are you spreading yourself too thin? Did you feel forced to join? Be persistent because, as you know, success only comes to those who work hard.

What fun is that? 5 reason why you should contribute on LinkedIn

thinkingRecently I spoke to a person who uses LinkedIn on a fairly regular basis, at least four times a week he said. When I asked him how often he updates, contributes to discussions in groups, or shares his thoughts in general; he told me never. So naturally I asked him what he does on LinkedIn, to which he said he reads what others have to say.

So I’m trying to figure out why someone would just read what others write or would share articles written by others. What fun is that? I’ll be the first to admit that I over contribute. I joke with my workshop attendees that I am probably the most hidden person on LinkedIn. In fact, I probably am.

Which isn’t to say I don’t read other’s updates and share articles written by others. A great deal of what I know comes from reading articles about the job search, LinkedIn, and introversion. I am constantly trying to increase my knowledge so I can share it with my customers and colleagues. Call me an equal opportunity contributor.

Back to the person who told me he doesn’t update, contribute to groups, or share his thoughts in general. Here’s the thing: LinkedIn is a platform that encourages its members to share information. Thus its recent roll out of the publishing feature—yes, I’ve contributed posts on LinkedIn—which gives anyone the ability to share their words of wisdom and thoughts.

For those of you who are on the verge of contributing to LinkedIn but can’t take the plunge, here are five reasons I hope will urge you to make that leap.

It gives us a voice. Whereas some people are verbal communicators, others are written communicators. They find comfort in being able to express their thoughts without interruption. Updating and contributing to discussions in groups follows Parliamentary Procedure which allows one to speak, receive feedback, respond to feedback, and so forth.

LinkedIn is educational. When you write an update, contribute to a discussion, or post an article; you challenge yourself to present viable information, which means it’s best if you do a little research to back up your assertions. Similarly you can be assured that what others write is well thought out and educational. Challenge yourself to produce updates, contribute to group discussions, and post on LinkedIn information that others will find interesting.

What you contribute isn’t done with impunity. On occasion I’ve been told my blog posts are utter shite, so I have to brace myself for this possibility. When this happens my first instinct is to feel hurt, but then I think, “Hey, people are paying attention.” And that’s a good feeling. You may want to be fairly conservative if you don’t want to be criticized harshly for your thoughts.

Contributing to LinkedIn can position you as a thought leader. Not everything one writes is worthy of a Pulitzer. But when you contribute to a group discussion with well thought out content, or, now, write a post that adds value; you’re positioning yourself as a thought leader. I encourage my jobseekers to write articles on their area of expertise, even if they feel deflated from being out of work.

It’s fun. This is a matter of opinion. I find writing on LinkedIn extremely fun. For the four reasons listed above, plus an escape from the demands of daily life, as well as not having to watch mindless television; I love expressing my thoughts. My family doesn’t understand it until I ask my girls why they spend endless hours taking photos for Instagram. Enough said.

These are my five reasons for contributing to LinkedIn. To simply read what others write and not write stuff of my own is not my idea of fun. I guess if I were a more understanding of people who feel shy about writing, I’d come up with five reasons why it’s cool not to update and contribute to discussions. Hey, there’s a topic for my next post.

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