Your LinkedIn profile alone won’t get you an interview

Here are the 3 components of your LinkedIn campaign that will.

If you think your LinkedIn profile alone will get you an interview, you’re sadly mistaken. I wish it were that easy. Imagine that you could write a great profile and wait for the interview offers to roll in. Sadly, this is not the case; it takes more than just your LinkedIn profile to get to interviews.

This isn’t to say you don’t need a LinkedIn profile that is optimized with keywords and brands you with the proper message. It will have to show the value you’ll deliver to potential employers with strong accomplishments, preferably with quantified results.

Enough of the profile for now. You can read about how to create one at the end of this article. Let’s start with two components of your LinkedIn campaign that might be considered even more important than your LinkedIn profile.


1. Let’s talk about networking

It’s not evident to enough people that the foundation LinkedIn is built on is making connections and nurturing relationships. Yes, creating a strong profile is important, as is engaging with others; but building your LinkedIn network is essential to getting to interviews.

How NOT to Connect

The number one rule when connecting with LinkedIn members is to send a personalized invitation. There is no deviating from this rule. To click “Send now” lacks creativity and is lazy. Instead, always choose “Add a note.”

The following ways to connect will not give you the opportunity to send a personalized invitation:

  • “Your contact import is ready” and then choosing to send mass invites to your email contacts. You’ll find this option in the drop-down tab “My Network” on the top navigation bar.
  • “People you may know.” This option is also in “My network.” When you click Connect, your invite goes straight to the recipient. No chance to write a personal invitation.
  • Connecting with someone on your mobile app by simply hitting the connect button. This, like the aforementioned ways to connect will send along the default message.

The Correct Ways to Connect

Connecting correctly simply means taking the time to read a potential connection’s LinkedIn profile and then writing a personalized invitation. This is covered in step 4 below.

You can connect with second and third degree connections. You should focus on your second-degree connections first, but your might come across third-degree connections with whom you’d like to connect. For third degree connections, LinkedIn hides the connect request under the three horizontal boxes beside the message box.

Contrary to what many believe, you can connect with the LinkedIn mobile app and still send a personalized invite. It’s tempting to simply click “Connect,” but open the person’s profile first and then select the drop-down box. I’ve been guilty of accidentally hitting the connect button without going a person’s profile.

With Whom to Connect

Your LinkedIn network is your life blood. Without a strong network of people, you won’t be successful on LinkedIn. If you are weary of reaching out to people you don’t know, you’ll have to get over it. I tell my clients that the only way they’ll get to know people is by inviting them to their network, or accepting invites from the proper people.

LinkedIn members have opinions on how many people should be in their network. Some believe a smaller, more focused network is better; whereas others believe the more the better. How many people you have in your network is your prerogative.

Note: If you have less than 400 connections, you might not be taken seriously by some recruiters.

Regardless of how many people you would like to connect with, there are tiers of people you’ll want to approach. Note: these are interchangeable.

1st tier: Former colleagues and supervisors, as well as vendors, partners, distributors, etc. Connecting with these people first makes the most sense, as they know your work and can vouch for you.

2nd tier: People who work in your Target companies. Connecting with this group is your “in” to companies for which you’d like to work. Try to connect with people at your level or a someone who might supervise you.

3rd tier: Recruiters are an important group of people for many job seekers. I always suggest to my clients that they reach out to recruiters, as they have a pipeline of employers job seekers are unaware of.

4th tier: Same occupation, same industry. As an example, you’re an accountant in the manufacturing industry. You will search for other accountants in your industry.

5th tier: Same occupation but different industry. They have less in common with you, but can also be of assistance. A project manager in the software industry may know project managers in the medical device industry, and therefore can introduce you to them.

6th tier: Your alumni can be beneficial to you because of the bond you share–you attended the same university. This tier of people is particularly helpful to post grads entering the workforce who need connections to certain companies.

Tip: to get on someone’s radar or to be noticed by companies’ recruiters, follow said person and the the companies for which you’d like to work. Then comment on what your party of interests writes (this is discussed below).

How to Write Proper Invite Messages

The art of connecting with LinkedIn members is in the message you craft. There are essentially three types of messages:

The cold message. This is the most difficult to write successfully. In your message you need to provide a reason why your desired connection should join your network.

Using a reference. This message should garner success as long as the person you reference is well known and trusted by your desired connection. It’s important that your reference agrees to being mentioned in your invite message.

Asking for an introduction. This process is longer but involves sending a separate message or email to a trusted reference who can vouch for you. The person making the introduction for you must be a first degree connection with you and the recipient.

For the full article on how to send connection invites, read 3 Proper Ways for Job Seekers to Send Invites to Potential LinkedIn Connections


2. Be engaged, not just active, with your connections

To land an interview by using LinkedIn, you’ll have to show your areas of expertise or thought leadership. The key to doing this is engaging with your network and not just being active.

Write comments

To be engaged, you must read the post, interpret it’s message, and then Comment on said post. Do this first and then react to it. The poster will appreciate that you took the time to read their post. This can lead to further communications between you and the poster.

When you’re engaged, you elaborate further and demonstrate that you read the post, processed it, and respond to it in detail. For example:

“Great post, Susan. Your statement about a company lacking a social media campaign being akin to living in the dark ages really resonated with me. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other platforms can create that ‘like, know, and trust’ relationship between the company and its’ customers. You’re also correct in stating that all platforms should be connected, as well as linked to and from the company’s website.”

Note: always remember to tag a person with @name so they will be notified in LinkedIn’s Notifications. When you tag someone in a comment, their name will appear in blue.

Write long posts

To stay top of mind, your posts must show engagement. LinkedIn encourages you to share an article, video, photo, or idea. Take the opportunity to engage with your network by providing valuable content to them; content that elicits responses. A sign that you’ve succeeded would be the number of Likes and, more importantly, Comments you receive.

One type of update I find successful is asking an illuminating question. If you’re going to do this, be diligent in replying to your connections’ and followers’ responses. Failing to reply to your connections who answer your question does not demonstrate engagement.

Write and share your own articles

Writing an article with unique and fresh content shows you’ve considered what your audience would benefit from. My primary audience is job seekers and career coaches, so I write articles focusing on the job search and using LinkedIn in the job search. I know I’ve been successful when people react to what I’ve written.

Note: refrain from only sharing your own articles. This gives off the sense of superiority.

I include creating and sharing videos under being engage. This is not a new concept and requires feeling comfortable being recorded. If you are going to share videos, make sure you’re consistent and produce videos your network will appreciate.

Tip: by engaging with the public, your name and Headline will appear in your first-degrees’ timeline, thereby giving you more visibility. Further, if a second- or third-degree connection happens upon what you write, they can share it with their network.

Send direct messages

This is the most obvious way to engage with your connections. You won’t reach as many people as you would by commenting on others’ posts, writing long posts, etc, but it is a sure way to solidify relationships. I write or receive on average at least one direct message a day. These are people with whom I’ve developed a relationship.


3. Yes, you need a profile, and it needs to be strong

You need to know your story. As easy as this sounds, it might take some reflection. For example, are you pursuing similar work? What do you enjoy about your occupation? Adversely, what do you dislike about your work? Importantly, what value do you feel you bring to a company?

Questions like these are necessary to create a compelling profile that sends a strong message that brands you.

Writing your profile

The first rule is that you profile needs to be complete. When I talk to my clients about their profile, I use a checkoff list to guide them through the process. Although there are more than 10 sections that you need to complete, I’ll cover the most important five.

The Headline is a section that can tell visitors your value by your title, areas of expertise, and a branding statement if you want to add one. Here’s an example of one that I consider to be strong.

Career Change Advocate | Certified Career Transition Coach & Resume Writer | LinkedIn, Interview & Job Search Strategist | I help ambitious professionals shift out of soul-sucking work and into meaningful careers

It includes important keywords and adds a little humor in the branding statement. This article talks more about the ways you can write your Headline.

The About section should tell your story. It’s generally longer than a resume Summary statement. Written in first-person point of view, the first paragraph must grab the reader’s attention by talking about how you solve problems or what drives you in your occupation.

Following paragraphs can be examples of your greatness in bullet format. I prefer headers that are written in ALL CAPS to draw the reader’s attention to them. Here’s an example for a Information Systems Department Director who wants to highlight their ability to develop business:

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

  • Specializing in new project planning and achieving business objectives, I budget hundreds of thousands of dollars in project resources.
  • I Lead efforts that consistently generate sales exceeding $15K in a competitive pharmaceutical market.

Someone like this might have two or three additional examples of the value they can bring to employers.

Following the examples of what I like to call greatness, the profile writer might write about their client’s personality traits in the form of brief examples or even testimonials.

The Experience area is where you will take painstaking efforts to turn your duties into accomplishments. But before this, I like to ask my clients to give me a brief explanation of their overall responsibilities or even a mission statement. This is what I have on my profile:

I’m more than a webinar designer and presenter; I’m a career coach and LinkedIn trainer who constantly thinks of ways to better market my clients in their job search. Through disseminating trending job-search strategies, I increase their chances of finding jobs.

Here’s one example of turning a mundane duty into an accomplishment statement:

The duty: Used Lean methodology to increase productivity in a supply chain operation.

The accomplishment statement: I Increased productivity 80%—over a 3-month period—by employing Lean methodology in supply-chain operations. My CEO gave me kudos for this achievement.

Don’t be afraid to write some or all of your accomplishment statements in first-person point of view. Remember, you’re adding personality to this online document.

Education section. You earned Magna Cum Laude in university. I strongly suggest you include it in this section. As well, if you earned a degree while working full-time, include this in the description box. This makes the reader feel that you’re diligent and have strong time-management skills.

Skills and Endorsements. The reason why you need to focus on this section is because they will appear in recruiters’ premium package. You’re allowed to list up to 50 skills, but only list the ones that are relevant. And as far as endorsements go, they are looked upon favorably by recruiters. Want endorsements? Endorse others and hope they will return the favor.

Optimize your profile

Ensure your LinkedIn profile contains the proper keywords that will help you be found by recruiters and other visitors. The more keywords you have in heavily weighed sections, namely your Headline and job titles, the higher you’ll appear in searches.


Going beyond

Engaged—I’m brought back to the party analogy, where the person simply shows up and makes no effort to engage. I’m talking about going beyond the conversations you have with your LinkedIn connections. Yes, they constitute engagement; but there’s no effort to solidify the relationship.

Truly engaged—To truly show engagement, you must follow up with your connections. I have developed many relationships by reaching out to them via telephone, if they live a distance away, or meeting them, if they don’t live that far away. One of my connections and I had been exchanging discussions via LinkedIn. Yesterday we had our first phone conversation. Although we will not do business together, it was great finally “meeting” her on the phone.

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