4 reasons why you should just answer the question

answer the question2Before I ask someone a question which requires a yes-or-no answer, I feel like adding a disclaimer: “I don’t want a 10-minute diatribe or even an extended answer. I simply want a ‘yes or no’.”

I’ll take it from there. This is particularly true when I’m leading a workshop that has a two-hour limit.

For some reason unbeknownst to me some people feel the need to pontificate until I give them the “enough” signal, which is as obvious as I can be. In other words, I hold up my right hand to gesture, “Stop!” This seems to get people’s attention; although, it leaves me with the feeling that I’ve been rude.

If you’re reading this and get the sense that I’m far too rigid leading workshops, keep in mind that if I don’t require people to just answer the questions, I probably won’t cover all the topics.

There are times when elaboration is required, such as when you’re asked an open-ended question at an interview. “Why do you feel that customer service is your greatest strength?” requires an answer that is longer than five seconds. It’s a question that gives you the “go” sign. And when your answer is complete, simply conclude with, “This is why customer service is my strongest skill.”

The ability to communicate verbally is essential in our work and job search, arguably more important than our ability to write; and knowing when to put the brakes on talking plays an important part in communicating. Here are four reasons why just answering the question is required.

Time is valuable. I’ve been told I’m always in a hurry to get nowhere, and sometimes I feel that way. But when I’m rushing to get to a workshop or a meeting, I don’t have time to waste listening to an elaborate response to a very simple question.

“How’s it going?” is perhaps an overused question. It really means, in a sense, “Hi there.” Some people take it literally and feel the need to tell me how it’s really going. My mistake. If I were to say, “Tell me how your day is going, and don’t leave out any details,” I would completely understand an elaborate answer.

It’s inconsiderate to dominate airtime. In my workshops I’ll ask yes-or-no questions, and I expect yes-or-no answers. Of course I ask open-ended questions, to which I expect some detail—not too much detail, mind you, as there is an agenda.  This is not the time for someone to dominate airtime simply to show off his/her knowledge.

How I’ve handled this dilemma when I see it coming on is by quickly interrupting the person by saying, “Yes or no?” If the person persists I again ask, “Yes or no?” It’s important to know that in the job search, interviewers don’t appreciate people who talk too much. It may make the difference between getting the job or not.

I really don’t care. Harsh, I know, but that’s how I feel some times. “In two sentences can you explain what value you’ll offer the company?” Because you’ll make our customers happy and increase return business. That’s one sentence. Because you’ll write code that will require minimal quality assurance and therefore your product will ship sooner than expected. That’s it. On to the next question.

But, “And I’ll work extended hours,” you continue. No (stop signal). Cut. I don’t care to hear more, and besides you don’t follow directions. One more minute added to the interview. One more minute added to the workshop. Can’t you see the person in the back row rolling her eyes? Don’t lawyers on TV say, “Just answer the question?” This is why I don’t care.

When I care for a longer answer is usually when I’m asking my kids about their day. And, sadly, their answers are too brief. “It was fine,” they say. Fine as in nothing unusual happened? Fine as in Josh didn’t break up with you? “Just fine. Okay?”

Would you answer my question? “My day was fine. You know, fine?” This is similar to, “My greatest strength is developing teams….” Care to elaborate? This is where the interviewer needs more. Tell me how you’ve built teams. “Well, where I last worked I built teams.” And what were the situations? What were your actions? What were the results?

There are times when elaboration is necessary, such as when you’re having a conversation with someone. Recently we took our daughter’s boyfriend and her out for dinner after we watched him compete in a swim meet. He proved to be a very good conversationalist.

When I asked him open-ended questions he responded them with detailed answers, and he seemed relaxed and confident. Had he simply said, “Yes” to my questions, “Are the pools you race in always so sweltering in the stand section,” I would have been concerned about my daughter’s choice in boys.

Posted in Career Search | 1 Comment

Extravert or Extrovert? Does it matter? My 3 reason for being contrary

jungA woman who comment on an article I wrote called 7 awesome traits of the introvert stated that she “loved” the article, but noted I misspelled “extrovert.”

I understand her confusion because there are two accepted spellings for this dichotomy on the introvert/extrovert spectrum of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The other is “extravert.” I prefer the latter.

I was aware of the two spellings before I began writing about introverts and extraverts. I was also aware that the “extrovert” spelling was the most common of the two. However, I made a conscious decision to run with the less common spelling.

Some would peg me as being a nonconformist or contrary. I began spelling the name of this dichotomy I think because “extra” means “outside” in Latin–as in outside oneself–and, most importantly, it was easier to remember.

However, the second reason is not a valid reason to spell a word a certain way, a way that is uncommon to most. So to justify my unconventional way of spelling this word, I decided to research the spelling of extravert/extrovert.

A fellow blogger, Bill McAneny, wrote on this a blog post on this topic, which appears first when you type in Google “extravert vs extrovert.” He defends his use “extravert” in his writing by quoting Carl Jung:

“Carl Gustav Jung first coined the terms and he was very clear:

Extraversion [sic] is characterized by interest in the external object, responsiveness, and a ready acceptance of external happenings, a desire to influence and be influenced by events, a need to join in…the capacity to endure bustle and noise of every kind, and actually find them enjoyable, constant attention to the surrounding world, the cultivation of friends and acquaintances… The psychic life of this type of person is enacted, as it were, outside himself, in the environment.

CJ Jung, Psychological Types, CW 6, pars. 1-7″

Further research on this subject–which now was becoming an obsession with me–led me to turn to Wikipedia, which uses “extraverstion” to describe the differences between the two dichotomies on the spectrum.

My search continued for a valid reason for the difference of spelling extravert.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary offers the “extrovert” spelling and “extravert” as an option. In other words, “extrovert” is the favorite child. I guess the dictionary has progressed to modern day times.

One blog claimed “extrovert” is bad Latin and recounts a story (hard to verify) where Jung was asked the question of which spelling is correct, to which Jung’s secretary replied on Jung’s behalf that “extrovert” is bad Latin.

The general feeling I get from this little issue is that the Latin spelling is being thrown out the window in favor of modern day jargon…rubbish.

At this point I’m thinking I’ve spent way too much time on this topic, and if you’ve read this far, you probably have better things to do. I have come up with three reasons why I will continue to write “extravert” rather than “extrovert”:

  1. I’ve spelled it this way in every post I’ve written and don’t feel like going through all of them and changing the spelling simply to satisfy people who don’t like it.
  2. It’s easy for me to remember…extra meaning “outside.”
  3. If it’s good enough for Carl Jung, it’s good enough for me.

These are my three reasons for being contrary. Next I’ll explain why I spell “jobseeker” and not “job seeker.” Or not.

Posted in Career Search, Introverts | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Perceiver’s ability to handle problems with ease and other facts about Perceivers

Cat eating food

And a story about my daughter and cat food.

When my oldest daughter was a toddler she had a tendency to stick dried cat food up her nose. The first time she did it it was no big deal. I simply fished it out with tweezers and then asked my frantic wife what we were having for dinner.

The second time, however, my wife insisted we bring her to the emergency room, where we waited a solid hour until we were seen by a doctor. (By then, the cat food had puréed and was running out of her nose.)

The doctor was nonchalant about this “emergency.” He took one look at the situation and excused himself  (I suppose to laugh at the young couple who brought their child to a emergency room to have cat food extracted from their daughter’s nose).

He returned approximately 20 seconds later with a paperclip, which he unfolded while humming all the while. Gently he stuck the U-shaped part of the paperclip up our daughter’s nose and pulled the gooey mess out.

I don’t know who was more embarrassed;  my wife for insisting that we bring our daughter to the emergency room, or me for giving in to her demand. “I didn’t want you to stick the tweezers into her brain,” my wife said as she held our daughter in her arms on the way to the car.

What does this story have to do with the Perceiver on one of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator’s spectrum, which contains those who prefer the dichotomies Judging or Perceiving? The doctor demonstrated the calm nature of the Perceiver.

Often times we focus mainly on introversion and introversion the first two dichotomies and not enough on the last two, Judging and Perceiving. This fourth preference pair describes how you like to live your outer life.

On the Judger/Perceiver spectrum,  my wife is a J. This is a good thing because she organizes the family affairs. I, on the other hand, am an off the chart P, which means I’m more likely to handle problems with more ease than the Js.

I once shared an office with a J who was the epitome of organization. She would remind me of workshops I had to do everyday, and I would say, “I remember, Ellen.” Ps aren’t that disorganized.

To add to my role in our working relationship, I would calmly handle any issues she had with, say her computer, or I would calmly tell her not to worry about the size of her workshops—for me the larger number the better. We Ps handle problems in stride.

She was an interesting J, extremely organized. I would walk in the morning of my workshop without having set up the night before, whereas she would have everything prepared; all the paperwork to hand out; the name tags set up (I don’t use name tags); her station organized to include exactly four Starburst candy, a warm mug of water, not cold, and four paper napkins.

How do my workshops go, you may wonder. If the majority of my marks are “Excellent,” I guess that’s a good indication of how well I do. Ps want to succeed as much as Js; we just do it differently. Another great trait of the Ps is spontaneity. This is why none of my workshops are exactly the same, another reason why my marks are very high. “Bob makes things interesting,” is a common comment on my evals.

One thing we are known to do is procrastinate. (Read my post on the curse of Perceivers.) We’re not proud of this. Many years ago I had to install a screen door on our house. After a week of patiently waiting, my wife put her foot down and told me to “get it done.”

A Judger probably would have had that screen door attached the day after the screen was ripped by our upstairs tenants. He would have written it on his calendar and made a list before going to Home Depot. The screen door eventually was attached to our house, which was a proud moment for me, but an irritant for my wife.

I’m glad the doctor extracted the cat food from my daughter’s nose with such precision and that I didn’t pierce her brain with tweezers (my wife and I still argue about the likelihood of that happening). Was the doctor a Perceiver? Who knows. All I know is that his calmness reminded me of my preference for perceiving and how proud I am to be a P.

Photo: Flickr, Trond Hagheim Kristensen

Posted in Career Management, Career Search | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Why I stopped reading a blog post on how to brand oneself

And sadly I won’t know if it was any good.

No photoYou’ve probably read so many blog posts on the importance of a LinkedIn photo that you’re tired of the topic. I know I am. So why am I revisiting it? Because the message doesn’t seem to be getting through to enough LinkedIn members.

I recently began reading what had the potential to be a well-done post about how jobseekers should brand themselves in their job search; but then I stopped in my tracks.

Why? Because the author made a most obvious blunder—he had no photo on his own profile. What’s the big deal, you’re asking? Here’s the deal; without his photo, he lost credibility with me. His purpose was totally deflated.

How can someone write about succeeding in the job search without having a photo on his own LinkedIn profile, and be convincing? He can’t. Plain and simple, a profile sans photo doesn’t give people faith in a person. This person came across as a hypocrite.

At this point almost every LinkedIn member has a photo—albeit sometimes of poor quality—so someone who doesn’t have a photo is an odd ball. I can safely say that more than 90 percent of my connections have a profile photo. Nay, 95% at least.

I know this because one benefit of having a photo on your profile is that you become memorable, hopefully in a positive way mind you. Lacking photo makes you memorable in a negative way, and you don’t want that. Right?

Because LinkedIn encourages its members to include a photo on their profile, anyone who goes against the grain is seen as unprofessional. Someone who is unprofessional comes across as unqualified to share information or undesirable to connect with.

Many people won’t even open a profile without a photo. This includes me. I don’t trust who I can’t see. I don’t judge people based on their physical appearance; although, I will judge them on the quality of their photo. But even if I don’t like the quality of their photo, I’ll still connect with them, especially if their Value Headline is strong.

It’s estimated that profiles with a photo are 14x more likely to be opened than those that don’t. This illustrates my point. I remember the days when the lack of a photo was commonplace. Heck, for the longest time I didn’t have a photo; instead I sported a picture of a soccer ball in its place.

A profile without a photo seriously hinders him from branding himself. This is what ruined the reading experience for me. Your first impression on LinkedIn begins with your photo. Do you want to make it a poor first impression by not including one, or a poor photo? Of course not.

I’m not suggesting placing a photo on your profile at all expense. A photo of you at a frat party participating on a beer bong event is not how to brand yourself. A photo of good quality, on the other hand, will brand you.

There’s no excuse for not having a photo. One of my customers showed me his LinkedIn photo, which was taken by his wife with an iPhone. Not too bad. Not bad at all. If you don’t have the means to have a photo taken professionally, this is a good substitute.

“Certainly you could have gotten past the fact there was no photo on this person’s profile, Bob,” you might be saying to yourself. To that I say, If the author is going to talk about branding oneself on LinkedIn, one of the most fundamental component is the photo.

Yes, we’ve read posts about LinkedIn photos ad nauseam, but I couldn’t let this person’s mistake go without saying something. What’s unfortunate is that this post may have been a very good one, nay great one; but because the person didn’t sport a photo, I just couldn’t finish reading it.

Call me shallow if you like, but this goes to show how important a photo is in branding oneself. If this is the 100th post you’ve read on the importance of a profile photo, thanks for bearing with me. If this is your first, hopefully you get the message.

Posted in Career Search | 15 Comments

16 of my rigid LinkedIn principles…

serious man

Somewhat controversial and very popular, I’ve added 6 LinkedIn principles to the original post. And I’ll continue to add principles as I think of them, or if people suggest them. This post has resulted in an increase of personalized invites!

…and my story about being accused of lying.

There are some LinkedIn principles I hold which are quite rigid. They guide me in how I interact with people on LinkedIn. You may agree with some of them, and you may think some of them are bunk.

Before I go into them, there is a story I have to tell. (You are welcome to skip the story and jump to my LinkedIn principles.) This is a story I relay to my workshop attendees when I talk about principles.

My story

Although I don’t live by an exorbitant amount of principles in my life, I will not be accused of lying or stealing.  An event I tell my workshop attendees is one that happened some 15 or so years ago.

One morning I went into my local convenience store to make a purchase. I gave the cashier, a cantankerous woman who often confronted me over the smallest reasons, a 20 dollar bill. I walked out of the store without incidence. Note: I later remember seeing her gliding the $20 I gave her to the left of the camera.

Later that day I returned to purchase other items. Upon arriving at the cash register, said woman told me I hadn’t paid for my previous purchase. The owner of the store happened to be standing next to her. I said, “Excuse me?”

“You didn’t pay for your items this morning.”

“I certainly did,” I told her a bit angry at the accusation.

“We have you on tape,” she said pointing at the video camera.

“Great, let’s play the tape.”

The owner of the company suddenly became nervous. “Oh no,” he said. Not necessary he implied.

Here’s where I applied my principles. “If you don’t play the tape or apologize to me, I will never set foot in this store again. Do you want that? I drop at least $40 a week here.” And here’s where she stonewalled me.

To this day, I have not stepped foot into that store, even though it’s changed ownership. Let me now tell you that some of my workshop attendees’ mouths drop. “I know,” I tell them, “sick.”

My rigid LinkedIn principles

  1. Like many people, I will not accept an invite without a personalized note. Tell me how we know each other, at least. “Bob, I took your Advanced LinkedIn workshop and would like to connect.” Good enough. (I make one exception; If I know the person, I will forgive this faux pas.)
  2. I will thank you for connecting with me. I guess this goes back to my childhood when I was taught to always say thank you. There is one exception to this policy (and this rarely happen); if you send me an invite without a personalized note and I accept it, I won’t feel the need to thank you for the invite. I figure if you’re lazy, I’ll return the favor.
  3. Please don’t use LinkedIn’s Publish a post feature as a way to announce your events or advertise your products. This is not what it was intended for. Yet, occasionally I see people provide links to promote their events. Maybe they don’t know better. Unfortunately LinkedIn did away with a feature called…can you guess? Events.
  4. I will not open your profile if you don’t have a photo. Sorry. I think you’re hiding something. I know you might be concerned about age discrimination, but please. A photo gives you an identity, an identity that is necessary when you’re networking. Honestly, I think not showing a photo is creepy.
  5. I will lose respect for you if you abandon LinkedIn. I’ve seen people work hard to create a kickass profile, only to abandon it perhaps because it’s too much work. Or they’ll land a job and forget that networking must continue even as they’re working. “I don’t have time,” they tell me. “Make time,” I retort. (Read my post on abandoning LinkedIn.)
  6. I will hide you if your face appears on my home page numerous times in a row. When I see someone’s face 10 consecutive times, my initial thought is, “Did you schedule these updates on Hootsuite to occur at the same time?” People, spread them out. Note: I am a bit a hypocrite; I update multiple times a day; way beyond the one-time-a-day recommendation. Who came up with this arbitrary number, anyways?
  7. Read my posts and comment on them, I’ll do the same with yours. This is just common courtesy and good blogging etiquette. As well, I won’t simply “Like” your posts without leaving a few words of what I thought of it. I figure if you put the effort into expressing your thoughts, I’ll return the favor.
  8. Don’t use LinkedIn as a Twitter chat. I know it’s tempting to converse real time with your connections, but when you do it in a group discussion; it’s reminiscent of tweeting. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy Twitter, but LinkedIn ain’t Twitter; at least I hope it doesn’t become Twitter.
  9. Briefer isn’t always better. You’ve been told that your profile Summary should be as brief as possible—that no one wants to read a novel. This is sound advice for your résumé, but keep in mind that you are given 2,000 characters for this section of your profile to tell your story, show your passion, and grab visitors with some accomplishments. 
  10. I don’t know where you got the idea I have skills in staff development and project management, or that I want to add nonprofit to my list of skills. I know you’re trying to be helpful, and I appreciate it; but please don’t suggest skills for me.  I’m trying to present as accurate a picture of who I am as possible.
  11. If your profile is a wasteland, I’ll think you’re not serious about LinkedIn, maybe using it as a place mat, or you were told to be on LinkedIn so you obliged. Whatever the reason may be, I’ll form a negative opinion of you and won’t read your profile. (Read my post on what constitutes a strong Experience section.)
  12. You immediately ask for something. Some people don’t know better. They’ll send me an invite with a personalized message, but in it will be a request for, say, a critique of their profile. Hold on a second. Start a conversation before going for closing. This is another reason for me to hit Ignore.
  13. When I see an update that is negative, I won’t respond to it. I believe in truth and honesty. So here’s the truth, when you’re negative, I pass on you. As an example, I have a string of conversation developing in response to a post I wrote (8 major job-search changes for older workers), and some of the respondents are going off on a negative slant. I didn’t respond, “Like,” or comment. I simply passed on the conversation.
  14. If you ask me to await your call, call me. Key to conducting business or your job search is follow up. I once tried to get together via the phone form many consecutive Fridays, but he was always busy. On the surface it didn’t seem vital, but you never know what comes from exchanging ideas.
  15. It irritates me when people say LinkedIn alone will get them a job. This is more the fault of an adviser or articles they’ve read, but jobseekers need to know that LinkedIn is not a magic potion; it takes personal networking as well. LinkedIn is a supplement to personal networking.
  16. Further, I’m frustrated when people tell me they’re afraid of being on the Internet. To them I say to not bother with LinkedIn or any application on the Internet. LinkedIn isn’t for everyone. I’ve come to realize this and tell people outright that LinkedIn isn’t for everyone.

So there you have 16 of my rigid LinkedIn principles. I know they’re not as extreme as the story I relayed to you, but everyone has to have principles in my opinion. If you have a rigid principle, e.g., you don’t like to be accused of lying, I’d love to hear about it.

Photo: Flickr, Alessandro Liga

Posted in Career Search | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

My love/hate relationship with LinkedIn endorsments


Perceived value or real?

Ask anyone who knows me how I feel about LinkedIn endorsements and they’ll tell you I love them but also hate them. My ambivalent feelings have something to do with their value, which other LinkedIn members also question. Are they perceived value or real? This is the question.

Awhile back I used to work for a guy who introduced me to the term “perceived value.” He used this term when I questioned him about a new program the company was rolling out, whereby our customers had the fortune to buy unlimited technical service or pay some outrageous cost like $90 an hour per phone call.

Perceived value. I love that term and it has stuck with me. It’s like buying a grapefruit at an expensive grocery store believing it has more value than a grapefruit at a less expensive grocery store.

In the end, the grapefruit from the less expensive store is tastier, juicier, and more delectable. Still the more expensive grapefruit’s perceived value tricks our minds into thinking it tastes better.

LinkedIn endorsements’ perceived value

Someone who has many endorsements is perceived as being strong in those skills. For example, I visited my valued connection’s profile where every bleeping skill had 99+ endorsements. I asked him how he had accumulated so many endorsements. With a smirk on his face he told me it was because he has a lot of friends.

Endorsements were introduced by LinkedIn to increase engagement, plain and simple. With a left click of the mouse you can endorse someone for a skill you’ve never witnessed them perform.

While some argue that what they write on their profile is proof enough, you and I both know that words can be embellished all for the sake of marketing oneself. So this reasoning for me is faulty.

LinkedIn is screwing with people’s minds by suggesting which of your connections’ skills you should endorse. They do this occasionally when you visit someone’s profile (see below) and also offer suggestions on your profile.

I once asked one of my colleagues why he endorsed me for some skills I didn’t want endorsed, and he told me, “Because LinkedIn told me to.” There is LinkedIn screwing with people’s minds.

LinkedIn is turning us into lemmings who are running off the proverbial cliff.

LinkedIn endorsements’ real value

But wait, you’re thinking, if you’re opposed to endorsements, why are you making such a fuss over them? This is a fair question. It’s because endorsements can have real value if they’re awarded the proper ways.

The first of two ways is by seeing your connections actually perform the skills they have listed on their profile. Remember the person who joked that he was endorsed for his skills because he has a lot of friends? Truth be told, I’ve seen him perform a number of those skills and he deserves to be endorsed for them.

The second proper way to endorse someone is by trusting them. Based on how the recipient lists their skills, this is giving you a clue as how to proceed. The skills I have listed on my profile, for instance, have been carefully selected to reflect my value, not perceived value. (Read my post on how to help people endorse you.)

I see many LinkedIn members take special care in arranging their skills to provide guidance to people who’d like to endorse them for their skills.

LinkedIn endorsements will only provide value when they are dealt out accurately. This can be accomplished if visitors have seen recipients demonstrate the skills for which they’re endorsed or, as I’ve said, trust them to arrange their skills to truly represent their strengths.

When this happens, I will have faith in LinkedIn endorsements. But if endorsers continue to follow LinkedIn’s suggestions, or endorse people by the highest number of endorsements, I see them as perceived value.

Photo: Flickr, Mauricio Sarfati

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8 ways to keep the LinkedIn profile process from breaking down

picket fenceAnd how it’s like painting a fence.

This weekend I did something I hate. Painting. I hate painting for a number of reasons, but the major reason is the breakdown of process.

For example, I’m cruising along painting my picket fence, taking my time, no spills, not a drop on my person (I’m proud of this), hitting every spot; and then wham o….

Things start to hit the fan. All of the accomplishments I sustained for half an hour vanish, including not stepping on the top of the paint can and tracking white paint on the sidewalk.

That’s the breakdown of process.

If you ask some people who are starting their LinkedIn profile, they’ll express the same sentiment I have for painting–they just want to get it over with and have a profile that will help people find them. In other words, they don’t give it the attention it requires.

The process breaks down.

Do you relate to this sentiment? Here’s what you ought to do to prevent the breakdown of process.

1. Take your time. When I set out to paint my fence I said to myself, “Bob, you’re going to take your time and do this right. It’s only a fence.” LinkedIn is not a fence that needs painting, but there is ample opportunity for the process to break down. Following are some areas to pay attention to.

2. Get your photo done professionally. I had mine done by someone who sells one photo for $40.00. I’ve heard they come much more expensively than that. But JC Penny and Sears charge approximately $20.00 per photo. Having your photo done professionally is far better than having a relative take it with her Iphone.

I’m not saying you have to wear a three-piece suit to your photo shoot. Just make sure your photo is of quality. And no iPhone photos with you and your family on the beach or at a campground. Remember that a profile with a photo is 14x more like to be opened.

3. Think of a headline that brands you. Many people will settle for something like Marketing Professional which doesn’t do them  justice. Instead, Marketing Director | National Speaker | Author | Revenue Generator | Business Development will do a better job of branding you. Don’t rush and throw any ole Headline up there.

Ask others what they think of your Headline. Does it sell you, show your value to potential employers? This is what you need to consider. Your Headline is the second element of your profile that brands you; your photo is the first.

4. Write a Summary worth reading. What I’ve seen hundreds of times are LinkedIn Summaries that are a rehash of a person’s résumé Summary. Will this impress anyone? Certainly not.

Instead, take your time and write a Summary that tells a compelling story—your philosophy, areas of strength, accomplishments, future plans. This section of your profile is one of the most important ones. Without an impactful Summary, there’s a breakdown of process.

5. Your Experience section must lower the boom. Have you ever read a résumé that said, “So what? Who cares? Big deal”? Does your LinkedIn profile’s Experience section say the same? Is it a list full of duties and lacking accomplishments?

I suggest an Employment section that states accomplishments only, or strong duty statements and accomplishments. If you’re just starting your LinkedIn profile, copy and paste your résumés Experience section to your profile, but build it from there to be more personal.

6. Show off your writing. For more than a year LinkedIn has offered the Publish a post feature which allows you to publish a post on LinkedIn. If you enjoy writing and feel you’re a good writer, show off your expertise and writing style.

One of the posts I’m particularly proud of is 8 major job-search changes for older workers. I have published over 80 posts on LinkedIn. Obviously I enjoy writing. You can also be featured in Pulse, providing you receive enough “Likes” and views of your posts.

7. Have fun with Media. Make use of the Media feature—found in Summary, Experience, and Education—to show off PowerPoint presentations, links to your website or blog, example of your greatest photos of urban blight, or YouTube videos.

LinkedIn is making it easy to showcase your talent to make visitors want to stay on your profile. Take advantage of this. (Watch this video from one of my connections which he places in his Projects section.)

8. List your skills and amass endorsements. Like them or not, endorsements are here for a while; so you might as well list as many skills/expertise for people to click on. My feelings about endorsements are not all favorable. I believe they are more perceived value and a way for people to engage with each other. (Read why I think recommendations are getting a bum wrap.)

Your skills won’t endorse themselves, as my wife said about the unpainted fence, “It won’t pain itself, Bob”; but if you endorse your connections’ skills, you’ll get endorsements in return. (Read how to endorse skills properly.)

white paint

This is just the beginning. I hate to sound corny, but the line from Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” Is hogwash. You can build the Taj Mahal of all profiles, but if you’re not active, no one will notice.

Being active on LinkedIn includes: connecting with people; and engaging with your connectionsincluding updating on a regular basis, joining groups, writing recommendations for others, endorsing your connections.

I’m happy to say my white picket fence is finished and looking great. The process of painting broke down, much to my chagrin, but I learned valuable lessons: take it slow and focus on quality. The words, “It won’t paint itself” is a good lesson for writing one’s profile and putting it into action. You are responsible for your LinkedIn process; you alone.

Photo, Flickr, David Alston

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