5 LinkedIn mobile app features you need to learn

In an earlier post I compared LinkedIn’s mobile app to the desktop platform. While the desktop (laptop included)  is more widely used than the app, the app is gaining ground with a little less than 50% turning to their mobile phone to connect with LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Phone

Personally I use the app the approximate amount of 50%, as I’m constantly clicking the icon on my phone throughout the day. LinkedIn’s app makes it too easy to stay connected. I’m not complaining though; I enjoy staying connected with my network, reading articles of interest, etc.

In the aforementioned post I addressed the Home functionality of the mobile app versus the desktop. Obviously the desktop offers more functionality, but the app has become more versatile. We’ll look at the following features:

  1. My Network
  2. Messaging
  3. Announcements
  4. Jobs
  5. Companies

The first noticeable difference between the mobile app and the desktop is that none of the features are titled on the app. But the icons are so intuitive that there’s really no need for titles, and I imagine the desktop is going to do away with the titles in the near future.

My Network

navigation bar app My Network

My Network on the mobile app is more difficult to navigate than on the desktop. Clicking on the icon brings you to a view of the number of your connections. You’re given the option to  Add contacts, which allows you to send mass invites to your email list. Visible is recent invitations; and below it People you may know.

Note: Clicking on View of connections, you can only sort them by First name, Last name, and Recently added. However, you can’t filter your connections as well as you can with the desktop platform.

To filter your connections, you have to search for people by using the Search feature. This will bring you to a list of your first degree connections. (Inexplicably my number of connections in this view was less than the number I have upon clicking on the icon.)

Filtering connections app

The tricky part about filtering people using the mobile app is identifying the Filter icon (circled to the left).

You don’t have as much filtering capabilities with the mobile app as you do with the desktop, but you can search for:

  1. Connections (degree of connection)
  2. Location
  3. Current companies
  4. Past companies
  5. Industries
  6. Schools

Messaging

navigation bar app Messaging

The most noticeable difference between the mobile app and the desktop for messaging is that the app’s version is truncated. Only by clicking on your connection’s message can you read the stream of conversation. On the desktop you can see multiple connections. But this is expected, as the desktop has a larger surface.

Both the mobile app and the desktop allow you to search by Unread, My Connections, InMail, Archived, and Blocked, albeit in a different order. (Are you getting the sense that the desktop platform is becoming more like the mobile app?)

With both mobile app and the desktop, you can respond to Inmails by choosing Interested, Maybe later, or No thanks.

One noteworthy difference is that the mobile app has a feature that suggests an opening verbiage for messages, such as, “Hi (name), I notice you’re also connected with (name).” This feature  is akin to LinkedIn’s default invite message. No thanks.

Notification

navigation bar app AnnouncementsThis feature allows you to see what your connections have been doing:

  1. Who’s mentioned you in a post
  2. Liked your post, liked a post that mentions you
  3. Is starting a new position; and
  4. Commented on (someone’s ) post

The differences between this feature on the app and desktop are negligible and hardly worth mentioning. However, there is one major difference: the desktop seems to lag behind the mobile app. In other words, the streaming is slower on the desktop than the app.

Jobs

navigation bar app JobsPerhaps the most difficult mobile app feature to navigate is Jobs.

My suggestion is to forego the suitcase icon and simply use the Search feature.

The Search feature allows you to find jobs, say in Accounting, and then narrowing them down to Location (allow your device to identify your location, if you like), and if you want to take it further, filter by:

  1. Most relevant
  2. Most recent
  3. Determine how many miles you are willing to travel
  4. Only show jobs with which you can apply Easy Apply
  5. Date posted
  6. Company
  7. Experience level
  8. Job type
  9. Industry
  10. Job function

When you’ve chosen the job to investigate, you’ll notice—because of the limited surface—the mobile app is not as robust as the desktop version. Some similarities are:

  1. Number of first degree connections
  2. Number of alumni
  3. Job description
  4. The person who posted the job
  5. Jobs people also viewed
  6. Easy Apply

What you don’t get with the phone app are:

  1. Video of the company
  2. Meet the team

Companies

Like the desktop, you have to use the Search to access your desired companies. The most important reason to use Companies is to locate people who work for your target companies, which is a bit more cumbersome with the mobile app than the desktop.

People filter AppTo do this you must type the company name into Search and choose People, and then use the Filter tool, as shown above. You can filter by:

  1. Connections (degree)
  2. Connections of
  3. Locations
  4. Current companies
  5. Past companies (not shown)
  6. Industries (not shown)
  7. Schools (not shown)

The only benefit the desktop version offers is the ability to search by Keyword. The other filters are superfluous. Such as Profile language and Nonprofit interests.

In my opinion, this is the most important feature LinkedIn provides, whether on the desktop or mobile app. This is where real online networking happens. In fact, a blog post can be dedicated alone to using the Companies feature.


When you open the LinkedIn app on your smart phone, you’ll see the power, albeit limited, it has to offer. You’ll also see that the desktop version closely resembles the mobile app.

Next up is the differences between the LinkedIn profile on the mobile app and desktop.

 

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How a car salesperson taught me 4 important Job-Search lessons

Like many people, I hate buying cars. But just recently I had a pleasant experience buying one. What made this transaction pleasant was the salesman, who came across as a person not concerned about meeting his quota. I got the impression that he cared about me as a person. He wasn’t pushy.

Be Safe. Girl receives the key of her new car

At one point, as I was driving the car, we were talking about our families. He told me he has a daughter who was going to meet someone from the Dominican Republic, who she met on the Internet. We both agreed this wasn’t a smart idea on her part.

I was wondering when he was going to talk about the benefits of the car, deliver his sales pitch. But he only answered questions I had about the car. And when I told him I had to bring my wife by for a test drive, he smiled and gave me his business card.

What makes a successful job seeker is similar to what makes a successful salesperson. Here’s why.

They don’t try too hard. If my car salesman had immediately delivered a diatribe on the features of the car, he would have come across as a know it all or desperate. He sensed I just wanted to drive the car.

Job seekers try too hard when they badger recruiters or potential employers before the game has begun. When a recruiter says give it three days, then give it a three days. Don’t call a day after asking about the hiring progress. Same goes for hiring managers.

On the flip-side, there are hiring authorities who aren’t as responsive as they should be. If they haven’t responded as they said they would after three days, give it two days after that to touch base.

One of my customers recently landed a job. The company said they would get back to him with a final decision in a couple of days. One week later crickets. Finally they gave him the good news. Sometimes employers get busy and can’t follow through on their promise.

Their résumé isn’t full of superfluous crap. One thing my car salesman could have done is pontificated about his sales record, which he said was quite good when I asked him. One of the biggest pet peeves of hiring managers is wading through résumés with a bunch of cliches and fluff, as well as irrelevant duty statements.

As I’ve said before, what sells are accomplishment statements. I recently read a client’s résumé and politely told her that words like “result-oriented,” “top performer,” “outstanding,” etc., added absolutely no value to her performance profile.

Further, she listed duty statements that made the résumé  look like a grocery list. I told her this and talked about how accomplishment statements can paint a picture of how well she did her job, as well as what she can offer employers.

The next time we met, she showed me her new résumé. What a difference between the former version and the new one. Sometimes job seekers try too hard to sell themselves by listing everything they’ve done. In many cases, less is better.

They don’t bombard you with their personal commercial. My car salesman merely walked up to me, extended his hand and told me his name. I told him I was only interested in driving a car. So he retrieved the key for the car I wanted to drive.

He did not jump into a sales pitch about the benefits of the car. He knew I didn’t want to hear it. Instead, he did exactly as I asked him to. One very important component of the job search is listening.

The point is that he didn’t try to sell the product from the start. Treat your personal commercial the same way; make small talk before launching into who you are and what value you deliver to employers.

They know when to stop talking. One of the largest problems job candidates have is not knowing when to put on the breaks. They don’t know when to stop talking about their greatness, or worse they go on and on about their greatest weakness.

I recall a time when my father was buying a car. A young salesman who was a wiz at knowing the cars on the lot. The problem was that he was programmed like a robot to give a dissertation on the cars. When my father told him to stop talking about the car in question, the salesman refused. My father didn’t buy the car.

What many job candidates don’t realize is that interviewers have an agenda; they have a number of questions they need to ask. By talking too much and act like you’re selling a product, you run the risk of irritating the interviewers.

Further, the people you may be working with will get the sense that you talk too much. I personally get irritated when colleagues dominate airspace and keep me from doing what needs to get done. When colleagues do this, it’s as if they are selling themselves.


The bottom line is that to be successful in your job search you need to be a salesperson like mine. He read the situation and didn’t try to push the product.

10 steps toward a successful LinkedIn strategy (Part 2)

One thing I emphasize in my LinkedIn workshops is the importance of being active on LinkedIn. My mantra is, “You can have the best profile in the world, but if you’re not active, it means nothing.” In part one of this two-part article, I listed five steps to make your LinkedIn strategy a success. The conclusion of the article addresses the remaining five steps.

Kid playing chess

6. Use the Companies feature to network. The Companies feature is one of LinkedIn’s best features, as it allows you to identify valuable people in various companies. Often LinkedIn is the only way job seekers can locate important people at their target companies.

Your goal is to connect with people at desired companies (do you have a company target list?) before a job is advertised, thereby penetrating the Hidden Job Market. Play your cards right and you can set the foundation, so when the job becomes public knowledge you’re already known by the company.

Another scenario is identifying people who work in your target companies who can provide you with additional information, or even deliver you resume to the hiring manager.

Similar to using the Companies feature to network with strategic people is Find Alumni, a feature that helps you connect with people you went to school with based on criteria, such as what they studied, where they live, where they work, etc. The benefit of connecting with your alumni is obvious; people want to help their own.

Read 6 interesting facts about your alumni on LinkedIn.

7. Use the Jobs feature. LinkedIn has made strides to make the Jobs feature a player in the job board arena. It’s not succeeding as well as LinkedIn has hoped—Indeed.com and others still draw many job seekers. But increasingly more companies are using LinkedIn to advertise their jobs.

What’s nice about Jobs is that you can apply directly to a company’s website, as well as use “Easy Apply,” which allows you to send your profile to companies trying to fill positions. As well, the poster of jobs might be listed, allowing you to send an Inmail to said person.

Before you select a job, you can see first degree connections or alumni who work for companies filling positions. This gives you the opportunity to contact said people for better networking opportunities.

Note: if you are a Career premium member, you have access to information basic members don’t. You can see who your competitors are, as well as the major skills you might lack for a particular position. LinkedIn provides you with the average salary of the job for which you’re applying.

8. Endorse your connections’ skills. I never thought I’d write this, but endorsements are here to stay. The argument against endorsement is that skills can be endorsed willy nilly, without people actually seeing a person perform said skills.

Certainly this happens, but my solution to making this more viable is outlined in an article in which I encourage LinkedIn users to rearrange their skills in order to give their connections an idea of which skills they should be endorsed.

One thing we can say about endorsements is that they encourage engagement between connections. If your goal is to accumulate endorsements, you’ll have to endorse people in your network. Do this only if you have a sense for the skills you’re endorsing. Otherwise you’re supporting the argument that endorsements are meaningless.

9. Ask for and write recommendations. Your strategy should include requesting recommendations from your former supervisors and, to some extent, your colleagues. If you find that your supervisors are slow in writing your recommendation, you may want to offer some guidance in terms of what you’d like included in your recommendation, or you may even want to write it yourself.

Write recommendations for your former employees; it’s a great way to brand yourself. This shows your authority, as well as what you value in a good employee. You don’t have to be asked to write the recommendation; simply write one and send it to your former employees. They’ll appreciate your generosity very much.

10. Follow up. Always follow up. Every networking pundit will tell you that following up with new connections can be the most important piece of networking, both after personal meetings and connecting with someone on LinkedIn. Obviously it’s difficult, if not impossible, to follow up with everyone in your LinkedIn network, particularly if you’re a LION.

Keep in constant contact with your connections by responding immediately to direct messages or even responding to their updates. There’s nothing worse than starting a relationship and then dropping it like a lead balloon.


Sometimes we loose sight of our strategy and our LinkedIn campaign becomes disorganized. At this time it’s important to reign it in and adhere to the components I’ve outlined in this two-part article.

Photo: Flickr, moradini2009 (mikeoradini.dotphoto.com)

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10 steps toward a successful LinkedIn strategy (Part 1)

In our neighborhood no one knows which side of the street to park on when there’s a snowstorm, which prevents the plows from clearing the street properly. The result is a cleared path the width of fish line. My wife and I have deduced that this is because there’s no strategy in place.

business strategy woman

What does the dire condition of my neighborhood during a snowstorm have to do with LinkedIn? Simply this, like a neighborhood without a strategy for a nor’easter, your LinkedIn campaign will not succeed.

Do you have a strategy for your LinkedIn campaign, or is it like the street I live on which requires a snowmobile to negotiate? If you lack a strategy you’ll spin your wheels, get frustrated, and possibly give up on a valuable tool that has the potential to create job opportunities. A plan includes the following:

1. Dedication. I’m a bit of a lunatic when it comes to LinkedIn. One of my colleagues once said I need an intervention and he wasn’t joking. I’m on LinkedIn for an average of one hour a day, 365 days a year—yes, this includes holidays. I’m not advising you to spend this much time on LinkedIn.

However, a dedicated strategy is necessary to stay on your connections’ minds. This is why I tell my LinkedIn workshop attendees to dedicate at least four days a week of activity, or for the more dedicated, everyday. Try to share at least two updates a day.

2. Know what you want to do. Are you zeroing in on a specific occupation in a specific industry, or are you willing to take anything? The former is the correct answer. With this in mind, you’ll be able to determine who to best network with. If your goal is to work in public relations at a university, you should connect with people at universities, not retail.

3. Write a great profile. This is a big order and a blog post itself, but having a profile that attracts employers and other visitors to your site will take a strategy. You’ll need a photo that brands you—the days of a suit and tie might be history. Write a branding title that immediately describes what you do, as well as your areas of strength.

Your Summary should tell a story, your Employment section describe quantified accomplishments, and don’t forget using the Media section to highlight your talents. A major part of your plan should be Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that includes the correct keywords to raise your profile to the top of the first page.

Read How to brand yourself with the new LinkedIn profile.

4. Update often. This is how you communicate with your LinkedIn community. I get looks of disbelief when I suggest to my LinkedIn workshop attendees that they update once a week. They ask me what topics they should updates about. First, I tell them, share articles they’ve found on the Internet.

Other topics can include seminars or conferences you’re attending; interviews you’ve had; advice pertinent to your industry; a great book you’re reading; a happy landing; even a good quote or two; and, of course, a reminder you’re looking for a job. Just keep it professional and refrain from negativity.

5. Connect with other LinkedIn members. No two LinkedIn members are alike; some prefer to keep their network intimate by connecting with people they know and trust, while others will connect with anyone who’s willing. My suggestion is to have a strategy and be faithful to it. Connect with those who you can help and who can help you—a lot like personal networking.

Expand your horizon. Include people in your occupation, industry, and various levels of employment. There are like-minded people in different industries, so don’t be afraid to invite them to your network. Who knows, maybe opportunities will arise from the most unlikely people.

Read How to brand yourself by connecting with others.


Read part two of this article. In it I’ll discuss five other components necessary for your LinkedIn plan. You need a plan to be successful on LinkedIn.

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Photo: Flickr, Sandy Huang

5 reasons job seekers dread networking events, and what to do about it

How do you react when you hear the word “networking?” Do you feel uncomfortable, roll your eyes, or even break out in a sweat? You’re not alone if the prospect of networking doesn’t make you jump for joy. Truth be known, most people don’t relish the idea of networking.

Scared Networker

Truth also be known, networking remains the most effective way to get referred for jobs that aren’t advertised. According to Jobvite.com, 40% of hires come from referrals, twice the number than the next option, the company’s website.

So why do job candidates react negatively when they hear the word “networking?”

Here are five common reasons why networking is dreaded, and what you can do about it:

1. You think it’s too late

Most job seekers have one thing – and one thing only – on their minds: landing a job. Their finances are suffering and their state of mind is in shambles. There’s no time to waste. They need to find a job now.

This sense of urgency is only heightened when you need to develop an effective network immediately – a network you should have developed while you were working.

Unfortunately, many people don’t think about networking when they’re gainfully employed. They feel secure in their positions, or they consider it to be in bad taste; both conclusions are false.

What you should do: Tell yourself that it isn’t too late. As we’ve heard many times, networking is all about building and maintaining relationships. To build relationships requires some give and take. You need to be patient, despite the urgency that is consuming you.

I tell my workshop attendees, “The next job you land, make sure you keep up with your networking – which means also letting people know about jobs that exist (unadvertised) at your company.” Think not only of yourself, but also of others who are looking for work.

2. You’re outside your comfort zone

Introverts are particularly prone to feeling uncomfortable during networking events. Many of these events consist of hoards of people huddled together in a library, church, or other free space.

These environments can be hard on an introvert – but it also makes effective networking hard for everyone. To be effective when networking, you need relaxed conversations before you can deliver your elevator pitch. Often this is not the case.

What you should do: Develop a game plan. If you’re introverted, don’t expect to “work the room.” Rather, plan to speak with a few people. Be sure to arrive with some questions for particular people, as well as a few talking points.

Put the people with whom you speak at ease. Don’t jump into your elevator speech immediately. You’ll probably flub it. Instead, talk about current events, the weather, what brought the person there, etc.

3. You have to talk about yourself

I hear it all the time. “I can talk about other people, but when it comes to me, I can’t do it.” Or, “It feels like bragging.” Look at it this way: you’re not bragging; you’re promoting yourself when the time is right.

Simply networking

For example, you wouldn’t declare during dinner that your gift to employers is that you increase productivity. However, when you’re asked during a networking event or connecting in the community, these are ideal places to let people know what you do and how well you do it.

What you should do: Talking about what you do and the value you deliver to employers should come across as normal conversation. Use your own voice and style to do this. Don’t rely on some formula you learned from career pundits. It may not work for you.

If talking about yourself or making small talk is not your thing, go to events with the purpose of listening to others. Ask questions and add your input on occasion. My warning here is that you don’t allow people to take advantage of your willingness to listen.

4. You believe you have to attend organized events

I’ve always insisted that there is no single environment that’s best for networking. Networking can happen everywhere, whether you’re at a family gathering, a sporting event, a summer BBQ, a religious meeting place, or pretty much anywhere else.

Networking is about building relationships. True. But many an opportunity has arisen when least expected. Say you’re watching your kid’s soccer game and you overhear a woman talking about how she can’t get good help in her Q.A. department.

You’re in Q.A. You politely introduce yourself and mention this bit of information. Before you know it, the woman is asking for your personal business card.

What you should do: See everywhere you go as an opportunity to network. Let me illustrate. Many years ago, my cousin Johnny attended a family gathering, at which he explained his situation and the type of work he was looking for. I considered this incredibly tacky.

Jump to five years later when there was an IT opening at the software company for which I worked. I remembered what Johnny said the day of the party and recommended him to our CFO. He was hired for the position.

5. You expect instant gratification

I’ll admit that going to networking events can be disheartening at times, especially if I don’t leave with at least two or three quality contacts. But after feeling sorry for myself, I reason that the next time will be better.

I remember running into a job seeker who attended a networking event we sponsored. I asked him if he found the event useful. His response was that he didn’t get anything out of it. No one from his industry was there.

What you should do: Do not expect great things the first or second time you attend an event. Be patient. Also, learn how to tell people in an understandable way what you do and how you can help employers. This will help you find leads or obtain great advice sooner rather than later.

The job seeker I mentioned wasn’t keeping an open mind. He should have been thinking of the bigger picture. For example, did anyone know someone at his target companies? Or better yet, how could he have helped someone? At the very least, he should have given it a couple more tries.


Networking can be uncomfortable and almost painful for some people, but it’s something we must all do. The fact remains that networking accounts for roughly 70 percent of jobs landed by job seekers. It is the most successful way of gaining employment – even if it also feels like the most difficult one.

Photo: Flickr, KELLY L

 

 

 

 

5 reasons why a side hustle is great for your job search

When I was unemployed and my kids were going to a preschool we couldn’t afford, I approached the director of the school and asked if I could create a website for the school. The only payment I asked for was allowing my kids to attend her school free of charge. The kind soul she was, she agreed to my request; and as a result, my kids attended the best preschool in our city.

Taking Photo

What I arranged was a side hustle that saved my family thousands of dollars. The gig lasted the duration of my unemployment and until my youngest graduated from the school. The website I created and maintained was, truthfully, not that great; but the director and her staff loved it. Money saved for my family was money earned.

I remember with fondness going to the school to take photos for the website of students engaged in school projects, as well as school events like the annual parade. And I wrote content for the school site, which was title “Director’s Corner.” At times it was extremely fun, at others time consuming and frustrating.


The side hustle concept isn’t new. But for people who are unemployed, it can be a game changer. It can keep them out of debt like my side hustle did for us, or it can earn them as much money as they were making while they were employed. It all depends on what they have to offer.

I tell my clients having a side hustle could help them in their job search. If you haven’t considered a side hustle, perhaps you should. Here are 5 reasons why:

1. Earn money

This is an obvious reason. The money you earn could supplement your unemployment income. In my case I didn’t pocket cash. But over the course of of my unemployment and beyond my wife and I saved money we would have had to pay.

Considered part of the Gig economy, driving for Uber can be lucrative if you’re willing to drive odd hours during the day, as well as put mileage on your car. Some of my clients have made this their main source of income.

One of my clients referees football and umpires baseball more often now that he’s out of work and has more flexibility. He’s making a good sum of money doing something he loves. He’s even learning how to referee soccer.

2. Utilize your skills and/or develop new ones

You might be an amateur photographer who can “shoot” weddings at a fraction of the cost of an established photographer. After taking thousands of shots for one or two weddings, you’ll learn how to be more efficient. Better understand lighting or where you should stand.

Did you act in college or even professionally? You could provide acting lessons to young students. Acting and teaching are two different skill sets. Some actors might say that explaining the art of acting is more difficult, as you have to employ communication skills and see the “big picture.”

If reading is your thing, you might consider proofreading as a side hustle. Writers don’t want their work published littered with typos, so they hire people who have a keen eye for finding mistakes. You could advertise your services on a site called fivver.com.

A website called sidehustle.com suggests 102 possible gigs you could consider based on your skills.

3. Get out of the house

Lunch time at Le Pain QuotidienOne of the most important things you can do during the job search is get out of your house. Having a side hustle that requires this is ideal, as it gets you away from your television, computer, or out of bed. You’ll also interact with people, e.g., your clients.

If your side hustle is computer based, that’s fine, as long as you take breaks to exercise or do errands . Better yet, set up a virtual office at Starbucks or your local library, especially if you need to get away from distractions. My gig required visiting the school often, including during lunchtime when I landed full-time employment.

Choose side hustle gigs that require you leaving your house, such as personal trainer, yard worker, house cleaner, nanny, junk hauler, tour guide, etc.

4. Create networking opportunities

Whenever you’re around people there are opportunities to network. Always keep your ears open and ask questions about what your clients do. Make it clear that your side hustle is exactly that.

Business consulting is a great example of interacting with people who could be helpful for networking, particularly if said businesses are in your industry. Starting a small business marketing service will also give you exposure to great networking opportunities.

Even running a grocery shopping business can expose you to people of all types. Imagine talking with people in the check-out line and inserting into the conversation that you’re shopping for clients, but your real job is software engineer.

Eventually shoppers in line will say, “I know someone who works at Company (XYZ) and she’s looking for a software engineer. Do you have a personal business card I can give her?” And, of course, you’re prepared to hand them your business card.

5. Continue your side hustle after land your next job

Bring in additional income to make up for what might be a poorly paid position. This is more likely if your side hustle can be done during the evening. I coach people on using LinkedIn, including writing their profiles. This is done strictly during the evenings and on weekends.

walking dogsAs an accountant, you can continue your side hustle by servicing the small clients you gained while unemployed. You’ll perform accounting services during evening hours.

Your side hustle could lead to a career change. One of my LinkedIn connections, Jack Wang, worked in banking until he joined the non-profit world. Wisely he continued financial advising on the side. Now he has made financial advising his full-time calling and is doing quite well with his own business.

Another close LinkedIn connection, Kevin Willett, started out in banking, as well, but is now running a very successful business networking group called Friends of Kevin. He utilizes what he learned about networking, as a VP of banking, to facilitate this group. He loves what he’s doing, and he’s been doing it for quite some while.


You can see how running a side hustle can be beneficial to your job search—earning money, getting out of the house, networking, exercising your skills, and continuing your business while employed.

It’s been awhile since I designed and maintained my kids’ school’s website, but I remember with fondness my visits to their school to take hundreds of photos of happy children. My side hustle allowed our three kids to attend a very good preschool. That made it all worthwhile.

Photo: Flickr, Aldo Vargas

Photo: Flickr, Ed Yourdon

Photo: Flickr, David Gibby

 

 

8 ways to keep the LinkedIn profile process from breaking down

And 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 whamo….

picket fence

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. Now paint is on my hands, clothes, even my hair.

I lose focus, get sloppy, make a mess of things. 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.

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

It’s said that a profile with a photo is at least 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 kick-ass 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 three years LinkedIn has offered the a 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.

To date, I have published over 149 posts on LinkedIn. Obviously I enjoy writing. You can also be featured in Pulse, providing you receive enough “Likes” and views of your posts.

Although, the standards have become tougher to be featured. Don’t be deterred from writing; what counts the most is that you’re sharing relevant information.

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 to stay; 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.

Your skills won’t endorse themselves, just like my wife said about the unpainted fence. 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. 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; engaging with your connectionsincluding updating on a regular basis, 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 my wife told me, “It won’t paint itself” are a good lesson for writing your LinkedIn profile and putting it into action. You’re  are responsible for your LinkedIn process; you alone.

Photo, Flickr, David Alston