4 steps necessary to prepare for behavioral-based questions

During our career center orientation, I ask the participants if they’ve been asked behavioral-based questions. Then I say, “If you find this type of question difficult to answer, keep your hands up.” Almost all hands are still raised.

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I’m not surprised when job seekers in my orientation admit that behavioral-based questions are difficult to answer, given the fact that this type of question is meant to get to the core of the applicant.

Surprisingly, not enough interviewers ask behavioral-based questions. Instead they fall back on traditional questions that lack creativity and can be answered with rehearsed replies. “What are your two greatest weaknesses?” or “Why should I hire you?” are two examples of predictable traditional questions that are easy to prepare for.

In addition, traditional questions  can be answered theoretically—in other words, the candidate hasn’t performed, or failed to perform, the desired competencies successfully. The candidate can essentially tell the interviewer whatever he/she wants to hear.

What is difficult about answering behavioral-based questions is that they demand the candidates to address specific times when they’ve performed certain skills and then tell stories about those times. To be successful, candidates need to do the following:

1. Understand the requirements of the job

In order to prepare for a behavioral interview, it requires acute knowledge of the position’s requirements. If you are able to identify eight or more competencies required for the position, you can predict, within reason, the types of questions that will be asked.

For example, if the job ad calls for someone who is organized, demonstrates excellent verbal and written communications, is a leader, etc., you can expect questions such as:

“Tell us about a time when your organization skills resulted in a smooth delivery of services.”

“Give me an example of when your verbal communications skills made it possible for you to solve a conflict between colleagues.”

“Tell me about a time when your leadership faltered and resulted in a conflict between a subordinate and you. What did you learn from your error?”

2. Write the stories for each question

Questions like these will require you to tell a compelling story for each of these skills. How you tell your stories is important. They will consist of a beginning, middle, and end. You should write your stories because you will remember what we’ve written better than by simply trying to remember them.

When you write the stories, use the S.T.A.R. formula. The beginning is the Situation and (your) Task, the middle consist the Actions taken to meet the situation, and the end is the positive, or negative, Result.

Following is an example of an answer for a behavioral-based question. The question is, “Tell me about a time when you collaborated on a successful project.”


Situation: As part of a three-member team, we were charged with writing a report necessary to continue operating an outside program funded by the Department of Labor.

Task: I was given the task writing a detailed report of our participants’ training experience and the jobs they secured with the assistance of a dedicated job placement specialist.

Actions: I started with noting how I recruited 80 participants for the training program, a number I’m happy to say exceeded previous expectations of 50 participants. This required outreach to junior colleges, vocational schools, and career centers.

Step two involved writing detailed descriptions of their training, which included Lean Six Sigma, Project Management, and Agile. Then explaining how this training would help the participants secure employment in their targeted careers.

Next, I interviewed each participant to determine their learning level and satisfaction with the program. All but one was extremely satisfied. The person who was not satisfied felt the training was too difficult but wanted to repeat the training.

As well, I tracked each participant over a period of four months to determine their job placement. Jobs were hard to come by, so at times I took it upon myself to approach various manufacturing companies in the area in order to place 40 of our participants.

Finally I took the lead on writing a five-page report on what the members of the team and I had accomplished in the course of  three months. Other members of the team were of great help in editing the report and making sure it was delivered on time to Boston.

The result: The result was that we delivered the report with time to spare and were able to keep funding for the project for three more years. In addition, the DoL told our director that our report was the best one they’ve received.


3. Rehearse your stories

The story above, as written, takes approximately two minutes to read. This is stretching it in terms of time, so you’ll want to rehearse your stories to the point where they’re more concise, yet maintain their value.

You can talk about them in front of a mirror or deliver them to a live audience, like your friend, neighbor, or family member. The latter is probably the best method to use, as you will not only speak them aloud; you’ll speak them aloud to someone who may make you a tad bit nervous.

Do not try to memorize every little detail of each story. You may fumble with your stories during an interview. Also, you will forget some of the smaller details, but don’t get down on yourself when this happens. Just make sure you hit the major points.

4. Be prepared for zingers

In the interview, you may face questions that take you off guard. Perhaps the stories for which you prepared and rehearsed only end with positive results.

Keep in mind that not all questions will call for a positive results; some interviewers will ask about a time when you failed. Obviously you don’t want to elaborate on these situations.

And don’t answer negative questions with stories that describe the downfall of your company. Therefore, it’s important to write brief stories that end with negative results. A popular question is: “Tell us about a mistake you made and how you rebounded from the mistake.

Interviewers who ask negative questions are smart. Would it make sense to you to learn only about the positive side of the candidates? No. Smart interviewers need to know the good, bad, and  ugly.


How many stories are necessary?

One wonderful thing about stories is that they often reveal more skills than the interviewer originally asked for. For example, the story I provided above reveals the following skills: coordination, outreach, interviewing, interpersonal, initiative, writing, and more.

Photo: Flickr, cthoma27

6 Steps to take when using LinkedIn to network for a job

You’ve heard it before: LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional, online networking application with approximately 470 million worldwide members. It’s also said that LinkedIn is growing at a rapid rate of two people per second. And according to Jobvite.com, at least 87 percent of recruiters are sourcing for talent on LinkedIn.

Woman using computer

Here’s another fact that I can personally attest to: most recruiters with whom I’ve spoken tell me that LinkedIn is their site of choice when it comes to looking for talent. Not Facebook.com, Monster.com, Indeed.com, or SimplyHired.com.

Shouldn’t these facts be enough to use LinkedIn for you job search? Now, here’s the question: how can you most effectively use LinkedIn to network for a job?

1. LinkedIn is more than your online résumé

First of all, your LinkedIn profile is not simply your resume. This said, I suggest to my LinkedIn workshop that their first move is to copy and paste their résumé to their new LinkedIn profile.

From there, however, you need to add to it to make it more of a networking document that expresses your value, while also showing your personality. For example, your Summary must tell a story describing your passion for what you do, how you do what you do, and throw in some accomplishments to immediately sell yourself.

Your Experience section must include accomplishment statements with quantified results that include numbers, dollars, and percentages. I prefer each job to comprise only of accomplishments, while other LinkedIn members throw everything into the mix,

Also important is that your LinkedIn profile is optimized for keyword searches by recruiters and hiring managers. They’re looking for a specific title, vital areas of expertise, and location. For example: “sales operations” AND crm “lead generation” AND pharmaceutical AND “greater boston area”. 

Read how to create a powerful profile with the new LinkedIn.

2. Use LinkedIn to network with people at your desired companies

Perhaps one of LinkedIn’s greatest strengths is the ability to locate the key players at the companies for which you’d like to work. My suggestion is that first you create a list of your target companies and from there connect with people on your level in those companies.

There are ways to go about getting noticed by the people with whom you’d like to connect:

  1.  You may want to first follow said people
  2. When you visit their profile, show your profile (don’t choose anonymous)
  3. Like or comment on their posts
  4. Wait to see if they reach out to you first
  5. Finally, ask to connect with them using a personalized message, not the default LinkedIn one

Read this popular post on the proper way to connect.

Once you’ve built your foundation, you can ask for introductions to the individuals who would be making the hiring decisions. You don’t want to do this immediately, because hiring managers will be less likely to connect with you without an introduction.

3. Make use of your new connections

When jobs become available at your target companies, you’re in a better place than if you were applying cold. You can reach out to the people you’ve connected with to have your résumé  delivered to the proper decision makers (in addition to applying on line).

Ideally you will build strong relationships with the connections at your target companies, so when companies are trying to fill positions internally, your connections will give you a heads-up. You’ll have an inside track, essentially penetrating the Hidden Job Market.

According to an article in Jobvite on what job seekers need to know in 2017: “Referred applicants are 5 times more likely than average to be hired, and 15 times more likely to be hired than applicants from a job board.”

4. Use the Jobs feature to network

Using LinkedIn’s Jobs feature to apply for jobs exclusively is not your best way to land a job because, after all, it’s a job board. (A very low percentage of job seekers are successful using job boards.) But I wouldn’t discount LinkedIn Jobs. Use it in conjunction with your networking efforts.

In many cases the person who posted the position is revealed, providing you with the option of contacting said person. You can also “meet the team,” whom you might want to reach out to. Perhaps my favorite feature of Jobs is the ability to see which of your alumni work at the companies of interest.

5. Alumni feature

Alumni might be the most underutilized feature on LinkedIn. In fact, many of my LinkedIn workshop attendees are unaware of this great feature and are amazed when I demonstrate this feature.

I show them how they can find alumni who studied certain majors, where they live, and where they work. I also explain that their alumni are more likely to connect with them than other people they don’t know.

If you see that some of your alumni work at a desired company, take the bold move of connecting with them. Your personal invite will start with , “Hi William, I see we attended Amherst College together….This alone will give you something in common.

Read more about the Alumni feature.

6. Take it a step further

A LinkedIn connection is not bona fide unless you reach out in a personal manner, such as a phone call, meeting for coffee, or even grabbing lunch. A phone call should be the very least you do in your effort to make a personal connection.

Talking to your connections give them a better sense of who you are. I’ve talked with some of my connections and was able to judge their character. For some I got the sense they were of quality character; for others I felt the opposite.

The final step. You’ve spoken with your connections and have gain their trust. Now you’re ready to ask them to go to bat for you. You will say, “I feel that you’ve gotten a good idea of who I am as a person. If you would mention me to your manager, I would greatly appreciate it. If you feel uncomfortable, I completely understand. I leave this up to you.”


Using LinkedIn alone will not quickly secure a job without also reaching out in a personal manner. This is the final step, and for some the hardest one to take. LinkedIn offers a lot of potential. Use it to its advantage, and then close the deal.

This post originally appeared on recruiter.com.

Photo: Flickr, JobMax

Employers, 5 ways to retain your older workers

I’ve marveled at the number of posts that have been written about how employers need to retain Millennials. How important it is to provide an environment that promotes learning, advancement, technology, etc. Yet, ne’er a word has been written about retaining older workers. Why is that?

older workers

For employers who value the job experience, maturity, and dependability that older workers offer; consider the values they seek in a work environment. Consider how providing the values will cement their loyalty. Oh yes, older workers are, by and large, more loyal than younger workers.

Read this article on how millennials should stay at jobs longer.

So what are the values older workers desire? Here are 6 important ones:

1. Professional, results-driven environment. I remember the days when I was in marketing. I had reached the ripe ole age of 40. And I sat adjacent to the Sales department, most of whom were in their late 20’s. It was a common practice in their department to let off steam by playing Nerf football. It was also common for the football to whiz by my ears.

The environment I just described does not represent a professional, results-driven environment. The Sales department got their work done, albeit it took them longer to accomplish it. (Not a great example of time management.)

Older workers prefer a team-oriented environment where everyone is focused on the work at hand. They want to dig in, work hard, and not waste time. I consider this an important goal of any company, even ones that employ younger workers.

2. An environment that provides proper motivation. In Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink asserts there are three factors that motivate workers. They are autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Older workers aren’t motivated by the carrot and stick method, despite what managers think.

Although all three factors are important, autonomy is the one employers can control the most. Older workers will develop mastery through repeatedly performing their tasks. If there is no purpose in what they do, they should find another job.

When I ask older job seekers which type of management style they appreciate most, the majority of them say a hands-off approach. This, I believe, is because they want to be treated like adults, rather than having someone constantly looking over their shoulders.

3. An environment that’s youthful. Recall the description of the sales department playing Nerf football in the office? That isn’t what I’m talking about; although, I did find it humerus and even participated every once in awhile.

I, for one, am not all about a stodgy, “professional” environment where it’s all about work. I enjoy letting off steam and having fun, perhaps playing some practical jokes and engaging in fun banter. To me, it’s about having fun doing what you’re doing.

I’ve worked for organizations where many of the employees were older than 50…and they showed it. I think their attitude had more to do with the management style that would have required the same behavior from 20 somethings. In other words, older workers can behave young, while still maintaining professionalism.

4. Work they look forward to when Monday roles around. Do any of you feel this way. I’m talking with a client who told me that he wants a change. He’s more than 50-years-old and wants out of what he is doing.

“Bob, I want to be excited about going to work,” he said to me. So when Friday roles around he won’t have one foot out the door, looking forward to the weekend like he has been. And when Monday arrives, he’ll not dread going to work.

In other words, he’ll have purpose. When Pink talks about purpose, he means the type of work you do. Do you feel it’s valuable to humanity? And if you don’t have purpose in your work, you’re saying to yourself, “Why am I doing this?” This can be a sad feeling.

5. Disperse the work appropriately. This is where I say that, true, older workers can’t lift 100 pounds as many times as they used to. It’s a given that older workers lose some of their physical abilities. They, as well as companies, have to realize this.

Companies need to groom workers to become supervisors or train them on automated tasks and other technologies. Older workers don’t lose their capacity to think and reason. If given the opportunity, they will take on roles that require more advanced knowledge.

Read this post on 5 strengths of older workers.

Older workers also make great mentors to younger, less-focused workers. One of my customers was hired by a larger corporation to mentor their technical writers. What a great job, I thought to myself. Older workers have possibly lived through harder times and have learned from those experiences. This makes them great problem solvers.


Employers, retaining your older workers makes plenty of sense. Most likely they’ve been loyal employees who have been with you many years. You’ve invested in training them and they’ve learned your system. Keep in mind that training new, younger workers will be expensive. Also keep in mind that today’s younger workers probably won’t stick around very long.

3 vital areas where extraverts can improve their job search

With the plethora of job-search advice for introverts (Is) and approximately zero for extraverts (Es), it must make the Es feel…unloved. I’d like to give some love to the Es, because that’s the kind of nice guy I am. In this post I’ll advise the Es on mistakes they can avoid.

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There are three components of a job seeker’s marketing campaign, written documents, networking, and interviews, where Es can use some help.

1. Written communications. For most, the job search begins with submitting a résumé and posting a LinkedIn profile. The act of writing their marketing documents can sometimes be problematic for the Es, who prefer speaking over writing.

Is, on the other hand, prefer writing than conversing and, as a rule, excel in this area. The Is are more reflective and take their time to write their marketing materials. They prepare by researching the position and company—almost to a fault.

Es must resist the urge to hastily write a résumé and LinkedIn profile that fails to accomplish: addressing the job requirements in order of priority, highlighting relevant accomplishments, and promoting branding.

One excuse I hear from my extraverted customers for faltering in this area is that they’ll nail the interview. At this point I tell them they “ain’t” getting to the interview without a powerful résumé.

Where the Es can shine in this area of the job search is the distribution of their written material. They are natural networkers who understand the importance of getting the résumé into the hands of decision makers and, as such, should resist simply posting their résumé to every job board out there.

This is where the Is can take a lesson from their counterpart, the ability to network with ease.

2. Speaking of networking; Es are generally more comfortable than Is when it comes to attending formal networking events. But not all Es are master networkers.

The main faux pas of poor networkers is loquaciousness, which is a fancy word for talking too much. While Is are often accused of not talking enough, Es have to know when to shut the motor—a tall order for some Es.

Networking isn’t about who can say the most in a three-hour time period. Proper networking requires a give and take mentality. Take a lesson from the Is who listen to what others have to say, as well as ask probing questions. People appreciate being listened to.

Many of my extraverted customers tell me they talk too much, and some have admitted they annoy people. These folks feel the need to explain every little detail or their search or their past work. Others might just like the sound of their voice.

I would be remiss in not stating that I know plenty Es who are great listeners and are truly interested in what others have to say.

3. Es are known to be very confident at interviews, which is a good thing. But they can also be over confident which leads them to ignore the tenets of good interviewing. That’s a bad thing.

At interviews the Es must keep in mind that it’s not a time to control the conversation. The interviewer/s have a certain number of questions they need to ask the candidates, so it’s best to answer them succinctly while also supplying the proper amount of information.

Lou Adler writes in an article about answers that are too long:

The best answers are 1-2 minutes long….Interviewees who talk too much are considered self-absorbed, boring and imprecise. Worse, after two minutes the interviewer tunes you out and doesn’t hear a thing you’ve said.

One more area the Es must work on is conducting the proper research before an interview. They are confident oral communicators and may see no need to research the job, company, and competition; thus going in unprepared. Winging it is not going to win the job; the person with the right answers will.

The Is, on the hand, could take a lesson from the Es’ playbook in terms of confidence during the interview. They need to speak more freely and quicker; rather then reflecting and appearing to reflect too much. This is where the Is preparation comes in handy.

There has to be a middle ground, referred to by folks like Daniel Pink as ambiverts, when it comes to reaching the right amount of talking and listening at networking events and interviews. Accordingly, the Es who “score” slight in clarity on the continuum (11-13) are more likely to be better listeners, as well as comfortable with small talk. This is likely true for Is who also score in the slight range.

When it comes to written and oral communications in the job search, Es have to be cognizant of taking their time constructing their résumés and knowing when it’s time to listen as opposed to talking too much. Without understanding the importance of effective written and verbal communications, the job search for the Es can be a long haul.

Photo, Flickr, Source One Network Solutions

The most important trait for a successful job search

And 6 reasons why it’s the most important.

I recently received an email from a former job seeker who said she landed a job after three years. I’ve also heard from other job seekers who landed jobs after more than a year after beginning their search. What was the secret to their success? In one word, persistence.

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One definition of persistence is a, “firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.” A simple definition would be, “not giving up.”

What we know about the job search is that there are new obstacles that make it difficult. I say this based on my experience in the job search when certain requirements were not expected of job seekers.

Having witnessed many job seekers struggle with their job search, I can say the job search is harder now than when I was unemployed. Here are six reasons why:

1. The applicant tracking system (ATS) is more prevalent. One source says 127 people apply for entry-level positions and 89 apply for professional level positions. What this means is employers would have to read many résumés without the aid of an ATS. Instead, they rely on a “robot” that reads resumes and chooses the ones that are, theoretically, the best ones.

The ATS relieves employers from reading more than 75% of résumés for a position. That’s the good news. The bad news is that job candidates must write keyword-rich résumés that get them past the ATS. And many qualified job seekers are unaware of this requirement.

Writing tailored résumés for each job requires persistence. It’s easy to put together a generic résumé and send it to every position for which you apply. To modify your Summary, or re-write it entirely, and prioritize relevant accomplishments is entirely different. Only by doing this will you get past the ATS.

Read 10 tips for writing a professional resume.

2. Employers rely heavily on social media. Two years after I had to look for work LinkedIn came on the scene, and a year later Facebook arrived. I didn’t have to contend with either. LinkedIn, originally developed for business but largely used by job seekers for their search, takes diligence, knowledge of the platform, and realizing its significance.

Jobvite.com recently revealed that 87 percent of hiring authorities use LinkedIn to cull talent, so it makes common sense to be on LinkedIn. Job seekers are using LI to find people at companies they’re targeting, networking with people who might provide opportunities, and using the Jobs feature. To be effective, job seekers must use LinkedIn daily. This takes persistence.

Read If you join LinkedIn be prepared to work hard.

Although not used as much as LinkedIn, Facebook has a job-search purpose. Recruiters are on Facebook, and they’re reaching out to job seekers. Jobvite.com also revealed that more job seekers are using Facebook (67 percent) in their search than they’re using LinkedIn.

A serious consideration is keeping your Facebook account professional, because hiring authorities are looking on Facebook to see if you’re behaving. I was asked by one of my managers to look at job candidates on Facebook. One particular candidate didn’t come across as a girl scout. Enough said.

3. Employers are pickier. The average time to find employment is approximately 26 weeks, based on a position paying $60,000. In addition, many employers have extended the number of interviews from two to four, or even five. And given that they’re busy, the time between interviews can be as long as two weeks.

Why are employers pickier than they were when I was looking for work? The simple answer is to reduce mistakes. Besides getting egg on their face, hiring the wrong person can be extremely expensive. (A Forbes.com article states a “bad” hire can cost more than 30 percent of a person’s first year salary.)

You must be persistent when the job search is taking so long. Don’t give up on employers who are taking their time. Understand that they want to avoid mistakes. Stay in contact with your recruiters to see how the process is going (believe me, they’re just as anxious).

Read 7 thoughts on the mind of a recruiter.

4. Ageism is a reality. Unfortunately, employers discriminate against age. I tell my workshop attendees that a few employers, not all, will practice ageism. Nonetheless, it’s wrong and can’t be defeated easily.

Older workers must be especially persistent and think about ways to get to the interview, one of which is writing résumés that don’t reveal their age. Then during the interview sell themselves as a benefit to the employer, not a disadvantage.

Smart employers will see that older workers want to work as much, or more, than people younger than them. Employers will realize that older workers are more mature and dependable, have extensive job experience, as well as life experience.

Your job is to dispell the stereotypes that exist for older workers, such as they expect too much money, are not as quick to learn, are set in their ways, will be sick more often, and will leave sooner than younger workers. These are all untrue.

Read 5 strength of the older worker.

5. Networking is necessarily more than ever. Regardless of age, networking will be the key to your success. The old saying, “It’s not what you know or who you know, it’s who knows you”; is truer than ever.

One of my favorite job seekers wrote to me about another job seeker’s Happy Landing. She wrote: “[Landing her job] was completely through networking; she has not even met her hiring manager yet. One person’s word and recommendation was enough!

Of course networking involves more than relying on your reputation to land a job. You need to be more persistent than I was during my unemployment. To say networking is the name of the game is an understatement.

It’s believed that your chances of landing a job are 60%-80% by employing networking. Of course other methods of job seeking must be used to supplement your networking. And networking doesn’t have to be confined to networking events; you must persistently network on a daily basis, throughout the community.

Read 5 steps to uncovering career opportunities.

6. Don’t forget to following up. Perhaps the biggest failure in the job search is not following up with potential valuable contacts. I hear it all the time; someone meets a potential contact at a networking event, or in the community, and doesn’t follow-up; thereby loosing out on a huge opportunity.

You must be persistent in following up. I say to my workshop attendees, “Why put all the hard work you do while networking, submitting your written communications, and networking by not following up?” It doesn’t make sense.

Remember that your job isn’t done after the first or even second contact. It’s done when you get a yes. Yes, the person you met at a networking event will meet you for coffee. Yes, after coffee they will agree to deliver your résumé to the hiring manager. Yes, it leads to an interview. And yes, you’ve been accepted for the position after five interviews.

If this isn’t persistence, what is?


The saying that anything worth having takes hard work is about being persistent. It’s about not giving up. It’s about getting to yes. I can think of other words which begin with “P” that are important to the job search, but persistence always comes to mind.

5 ways LinkedIn Lite’s anchored sections are hurting its members

The inability to move LinkedIn profile sections around may cause consternation for some members. Although the new LinkedIn profile is condensed, slim, and uncluttered; members are prohibited from strategically rearranging sections to highlight what’s most important.

Read How to brand yourself with the new LinkedIn profile: part 1.

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Did LinkedIn have its members’ best interest in mind when they made this decision? Will the profile revert to the former version when one could move sections about the better brand them? Below are reasons why LinkedIn members are hurt by the sections being anchored.

1. Education first comes to mind 

One night I volunteered to critique current students’ and recent grads’ LinkedIn profiles for my alumni association. One thing that’s become clear from critiquing their profiles is how the inability to rearrange the profile’s section is a disadvantage to them.

One recent grad, with whom I spoke, had virtually no work experience or internships to tout. She had focused on completing her double major in business management and mathematics. She did extremely well, earning above a 3.5/4.0. However, her dual major put a toll on her, making it virtually impossible for her to secure internships.

Because LinkedIn has arranged the profile in the following order: Summary, Experience, Education, and less significant sections; this woman could not highlight her greatest accomplishment, her education.

What about teachers? The anchored sections isn’t a problem for only the recent grad; it affects most notably teachers, who benefit from placing their Education section below the Summary, rather than below the Experience section of their profile.

Generally speaking, teachers must immediately show their teaching license, school transcript, and GPA. School system would like to see this early on.

Even IT job candidates might want their Educations section near the top. Not only teachers place their education at the top of their profile. Information technology candidates have been known to do this.

When I asked one of my workshop attendees why he placed his education at the top of his profile, he said it was a major requirement for a job he last applied for. He was going to keep it near the top for future jobs.

Other sections could be highlighted to strengthen a profile

2. Volunteer Experience. LinkedIn members who want to display their Volunteerism near the top of their profile will be frustrated. I had a private client who wanted to highlight his volunteer experience over his employment. With the old LinkedIn, this was an easy fix.

3. Featured Skills & Endorsements. I had this section placed under my Summary (which was expanded in the old LinkedIn), because I was more interested in showing my outstanding skills than my experience.

As an added insult, this section has been truncated to show only the top three skills. If visitors want to see additional skills, they must click “View more.” I fear people will only endorse their connections’ top three skills, because they will not think to…view more.

4. The Recommendations section was anchored at the bottom of the old LinkedIn profile, which caused consternation for some business owners, I’m sure. Recommendations are testimonials for members who rely on them to grow their business. To me this was a lack of respect for this section.

Now Recommendations are given the same amount of respect as Skills & Endorsements…well, almost. Let’s say they’re given more respect now, prompting me to request and write them more than before.

5. Accomplishments. LinkedIn has done such a great job of truncating the profile that sections some would like to relocated are hidden from the common observer. Within the Accomplishments section are subsections that used to be separate and rearrange-able:

  1. Certifications
  2. Projects
  3. Organizations
  4. Patents
  5. Publications
  6. Courses
  7. Honors
  8. Awards
  9. Test Scores

I know a LinkedIn member who uses Projects for highlighting a mini documentary filmed by Aljazeera America. In the video he is depicted as a New York City photographer who films models and the homeless. He used to have this section at the top of his profile; now it’s buried in Accomplishments.

Patents might be another section members would like to rearrange. Maybe not closest to the top, but within the first three-quarters. Engineers, scientists, and inventors could see these as some of their greatest accomplishment, and therefore place them below their Summary.

Courses, Honors, Test Scores all might benefit college students or recent grads. Yet, like all the sections contained withing Accomplishments, they must be discovered and chosen in order to view.

The goal of your LinkedIn profile is to highlight the most important aspects of your career. If you can’t rearrange your sections to do this, what’s the solution?

Two solutions to solve the anchored section’s conundrum 

The fist solution would be making better use of your Branding Headline. Let’s return to Education. Begin by showing your value in the Branding Headline by stating that you’re a student from your university, include your major, and what you’ll offer employers.

Wrong: many college students will simply write in their Branding Headline, Student at the University of Connecticut. This uses 40 of the 120 characters you’re allowed in your Branding Headline.

Better, show your accomplishments and goals: High Honors Student at UConn | Major: Business Management | Minor: Mathematics | Aspiring Business Analyst

Despite the Summary section being condensed and showing only the first two lines, it’s more important than ever to tell your story. Moreover, it’s essential that you use those two lines to highlight your greatest accomplishment.

You might indicate within the two opening lines that you worked extremely hard completing a Chemistry major while also completing four internships.

While at Tufts, I majored in Biology and completed internships in all four semesters. As a testament to my time management skills and ability to stay focused, I maintained a 3.8/4.0 GPA.

This falls well within the characters allotted for the opening two lines of your Summary statement. You will continue to tell your outstanding story about your college years, including participating in extra curriculum activities.


While the anchored sections might be a deterrent to showing the skills and accomplishments you want to closest to the top of your profile, LinkedIn has done a fine job of streamlining the profile.

No longer do we have people abusing the ability to overload their profiles with pages upon pages of extraneous information. Touche for that, LinkedIn.

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

thinking

Recently 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 creation 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 prefer to communicate via writing. 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, though. 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 brand 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 write a post that adds value; you’re positioning yourself as a thought leader.

I encourage job seekers to write articles on their area of expertise, even if they feel deflated from being out of work. They are, after all, professionals in their field.

Even asking an interesting question can demonstrate your expertise. Some of my most viewed writing are questions I pose to my connections. Make it simple, yet relative.

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.

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.