Category Archives: Career Search

3 LinkedIn Tips Guaranteed To Skyrocket Your Visibility

This guest article is written by Austin Belcak, founder of Cultivated Culture.

If you’re a job seeker and you haven’t optimized your LinkedIn profile, you’re missing out on a ton of opportunities.

In today’s market, 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find and vet new candidates. But not everyone is capitalizing on what the platform has to offer.

In this post, I’m going to walk you through three highly actionable tactics that will help you appear in more searches, get more profile views, and land more jobs. Let’s dive in:

Tip #1: Optimize Your Headline For Visibility And Value

Most people know that their LinkedIn headline is important, but they don’t know exactly how to maximize that opportunity.

Your headline is one of the most valuable parts of your profile for two reasons:

1. LinkedIn emphasizes the keywords in your headline when serving up search results. The more relevant keywords you have, the more visibility you’ll get.

2. Your headline is your hook. It shows up in search results and it’s one of the first things people see on your profile. A bad headline can cause people to click away while a great headline can convert more views into job opportunities.

If you want to capitalize on the opportunity here, you need a keyword optimized headline that sells your value. The LinkedIn headline formula I use with clients consists of two parts:

A keyword filled overview of your role/abilities followed by an illustration of value (preferably with measurable metrics). 

For example, let’s say we’re a sales person in the market for an account executive or sales manager role. Our headline might look like this:

Account Executive, Business Development, Sales Manager | Helping SaaS Companies Accelerate Revenue To $10M+ In ARR

The beginning of the headline is packed with relevant keywords and the second half of this headline creates a clear illustration of the value we bring to the table.

If you optimize your headline using this formula, you’ll not only show up in more search results, but you’ll win more clicks and generate more opportunities.

Tip #2: Double Down On Your Skills & Endorsements

Speaking of search results, I want you to run a quick search for your current job title on LinkedIn.

How many results does LinkedIn give you? 1,000? 10,000? One million?

There’s a specific way that LinkedIn ranks its search results and the secret lies in your Skills & Endorsements section.

LinkedIn uses this section to stack rank candidates in search results.


Let’s say you have a recruiter who is searching for a software engineer with Node.js experience. 

Three candidates pop up. Candidate A has 5 endorsements for Node.js, Candidate B has 10, and Candidate C has 15. All else being equal on their profiles, Candidate C will show up highest in the search results for this instance.

What does that mean for you?

If you want to appear higher in more searches (and increase your chances of getting a click!), you need to make sure you have the right skills on your profile and they need to have endorsements.

How To Find The Right Skills To Add

The first thing we need to do is find the right skills that are relevant to the roles we want. Here’s how to do that in three simple steps:

1. Open LinkedIn Jobs and run searches for all of the titles you’re targeting, same as you would if you were planning to apply for a job.

2. Browse through each job description and, when you find one that matches your goals, copy and paste the job description into a Word doc. Rinse and repeat until you have 20-30 job descriptions.

3. Open ResyMatch’s job description scanner and paste in the entire Word Doc, all of the contents from the 20-30 job descriptions, then hit scan.

ResyMatch will show you the keywords and skills that appear most frequently across all of these job descriptions! You want to prioritize the skills that appear the most and then work your way down.

How To Gain Endorsements

Endorsements can be a tricky thing to get because most people don’t know how to endorse skills on LinkedIn, and they’re also afraid to ask.

The good news is that I have an easy trick to help you with both!

First, you can learn how to endorse someone on LinkedIn in this post (feel free to bookmark that so you can send it to people when you make the ask).

Second, all you need to do is ask! Make a list of all of the people – friends, family, colleagues you trust, who would be willing to endorse you for a set of skills. When making the ask, be sure to call out the specific skills you want them to endorse and offer to endorse theirs as well.

Here’s a template:

Hi [Name],

I hope you’re doing well!

I wanted to shoot you a quick note because I’m doing a bit of an overhaul on my LinkedIn profile and I’m aiming to get some more endorsements. I’m aiming to get more support for skills like [Skill 1 ], [Skill 2], and [Skill 3] because I’m targeting [Job Title] roles. Would you be up to endorse me for those skills? Here’s a quick guide on how to do that.

If you’d like, I’d be more than happy to reciprocate with endorsements or a recommendation for you. Either way, I appreciate you!

Best,

[Your Name]

Now all you need to do is rinse, repeat, and watch your endorsement count grow!

Tip #3: Start Leaving Thoughtful Comments

Now that your headline and your Skills section are optimized for visibility, you should start to see more views roll in.

But optimizing for search visibility is only one piece of the puzzle. There is still a LOT of competition out there and there are only so many searches happening every month.

If you really want to skyrocket your LinkedIn profile views, you need another strategy that will allow you to push people to your profile.

That’s where comments and engagement come into play.

Commenting and engaging on the right posts, in the right way, can send massive surges of traffic to your profile. People see your comment, they think, “wow, this is a great take, I want to learn more about this person” and boom! They click on your profile.

Here’s how to execute on this in less than 15 minutes per day:

1. Find people in your target market who post regularly and have followings who engage with them. This way you’ll be able to piggyback off of the views that their post is getting.

You can find them by going to Google and searching for “[Industry] influencers to follow on LinkedIn” or you can use LinkedIn to run a search for your job title and then filter by “Content.”

2. When you see a post that resonates with you and is picking up traction, you’ve found your mark (it helps if the post has been shared in the past 24 hours). Read through the post and think of a thoughtful comment that adds to the conversation. Aim for a few sentences vs. “love this” or “great tips.”

3. Set a timer on your phone for 15 minutes and knock out as many comments as you can before the timer goes off.

If you do that every day, you’ll see a significant jump in profile views and you’ll spark up a connection or two!

Happy searching 🙂

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Things don’t look great for LinkedIn’s voice messaging, according to a poll taken by 1,355 LinkedIn users

occasionally I see on my LinkedIn App that someone has sent me a voice message. When I see these it’s like do I want to listen? What if they sound strange, incoherent, or like serial killers? They never do. Rather, it’s awesome to hear their voices.

I’ve tried sending voice messages but it doesn’t go as smoothly as I’d like. I forget that it’s not like using voice command on my phone (in lieu of texting).

Using voice messaging on LinkedIn’s app usually goes like this: “Hi, comma.” Oh crap, don’t say, “Comma.” Try again.

“Hi Jason (pause) This is Bob (pause) It was great hearing your voice (pause) I’m more of a writing guy um (long pause) I guess I should have planned this voice message period.” Oh crap, you don’t say, “Period.”

The concept of leaving a voice message is cool, but it’s unnatural to me. I’ve used the feature probably 1% of the time I’ve messaged. Apparently I’m not the only LinkedIn user who doesn’t use voice messaging a great deal.

I decided to conduct a MONDAY POLL to see how frequently people use this feature. After one day of voting, it was obvious that the outlook wasn’t good. Sixty-nine percent of those who voted chose, “What’s voice messaging?” Only four percent said, “I use it a lot. Cool!”

Here are the results from 1,355 people who answered the poll:

  • I use it a lot. 4%
  • It’s cool I use it when I think about it. 5%
  • I rarely use it. 22%
  • What is voice messaging? 69%

People who took the poll had some things to say about voice messaging. There were those who weren’t too crazy about it, while others thought it was a neat feature. Surprisingly, those who like the feature were more outspoken about it–nine in favor vs. seven not in favor.

Not all that crazy about voice messaging

I’ve already given my opinion on voice messaging; it’s not a deal maker. So, let’s hear from other people who are not crazy about voice messaging and why they could go without.

Marie Zimenoff: Voice messaging is especially hard for those of us with young kids. “Who’s that?” “Mom, who are you talking to?” That’s all I hear if I try to listen or send one … all my voicemail goes to text so I can read instead of listen.

Marietta Gentles Crawford: I’ve used it when someone else has or maybe it’s a special message that’s more detailed but it’s not my first go-to response. As a writer/editor, there’s too much pressure to casually record in one shot! Lol

Kevin D. Turner: I actually prefer Video to Voice Messaging. Once in a while, its nice to add the extra personality or connectivity that these formats provide. How often, maybe 1 in 50. Keep Rocking LinkedIn!

WENDY SCHOEN: As far as I am concerned, #linkedin is great for all of the things it was originally intended for…job search, networking, social media. But it is terrible for the things it has decided it can also do…The same is true for voice messaging. If I wanted to leave a voice message, I would CALL you and leave one on your voice mail.

Sarah Johnston: Text is easier and faster to read. If you are making a request of someone, don’t send them 3 sixty-second voice texts. It can feel intrusive to the person on the receiving end.

Emily Lawson: I remember when it first came out and I actually sent Karen Tisdell one of my first messages. I love the personal aspect of it, but I don’t always think to use it.

Madeline Mann: Thanks for the voice message, Bob! It was great to hear your voice and the message was short. The thing I am not fond of with voice messages is when they are from people I don’t know. If we are not familiar, I want to be able to read your message to quickly understand what you are contacting me about. But with a friend like you, I am happy to hear your voice!


Like or even love voice messaging

Now let’s hear from some of the proponents of voice messaging:

🚀LoRen GReifF🚀: I would say I use it sparingly and since LinkedIn is all about personal connections while even finding scalable personalization solutions, it’s quick,easy and even fun. It can also serve as a strong differentiator to stand a part from the sea of texts 🚀Thanks for the mention : )

Dorothy Dalton: I like it and find it helpful to contact existing connections. In lock down I find it’s more personal. I don’t use it with people I don’t know in case they think it’s odd. I have no evidence to support that assumption- just a feeling! They might be totally fine with it!

Tara Orchard: I advise my clients that voice and video can be a nice way to change up how you contact and follow up with people. Leaving a voice or video can be a way to humanize yourself when you have been trying to connect or reconnect with someone. The down side, you are using up more of the other person’s time and perhaps energy as it takes longer to listen or watch compared to reading a brief text.

Lotte Struwing, CHRL, CCP, CBP, CCS, CRS: I just discovered this on LI but you reminded me of how often I leave voice texts and it is so normal to say, comma, period etc. When I leave voice mails on the phone I say comma, period etc. and by the end of the voice mail, I am laughing on the phone……Between two worlds!

Karen Tisdell: Ha! This made me laugh out aloud. I hear you Bob! It has taken me ages to be a voice message person and stop verbalizing the commas as I speak. I can’t imagine ever being a video person. I use the voice feature a lot now though, and advocate for others to use it because in a world of chatbots and (YUCK) LinkedIn automation, a voice message is likely more trusted… Thanks for the mention and for making me laugh.

Sweta Regmi: I have been using it from day one and love it! Reason- I feel more connected through voice and articulate better. Saves time too. I wish LinkedIn give us more than 1 min.

Ana Lokotkova: I’m so glad you brought this up Bob! I love using voice messaging on LinkedIn. It feels more personal and also allows me to do a better job at responding to messages on the go.

Thomas Powner: I use it often, but after I’ve had some prior verbal interaction with the person. For me, using it with people I have not met can come off a little creepy; that might just be me; what do others think?

Sonal Bahl Love, love voice texts and use them a lot. A lot! The response I receive almost 99% of the time: “I didn’t know you could do that!!” In lock down, like Dorothy mentioned, I find it more personable and not intrusive at all. Unless someone is trying to sell something, I can smell that from a mile away.


You might be wondering why there are more people who were outspoken about their excitement of voice messaging. So am I, given that a combined 9% use it regularly or when they think of it.

What strikes me is the statement from Ana Lokotkova: “I love using voice messaging on LinkedIn. It feels more personal and also allows me to do a better job at responding to messages on the go.”

This makes me think that I should be using it more often. It is more personal than plain text and it allows listeners to hear the tone of your voice, which is something that’s missing from email and other written verbiage.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Show value on your LinkedIn profile by using testimonials: 5 areas to showcase them

And where to find your testimonials

I recall in one of my LinkedIn profile workshops an attendee told the group she couldn’t think of any accomplishments from her last job. As I’m known to do, I told her she wasn’t thinking hard enough. Silence.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

She was an administrative assistant and, like we’ve all heard before, she was just doing her job. I began by asking, “Did you reduce your boss’ stress?”

“Yeah,” she said. “He told me I organized his life. He’d be lost….”

“Do you have that in writing?” I interrupted.

She smiled. “He sent me e-mails saying this. Other bosses said I was efficient, organized, and had great time-management skills. These emails were really great to read.”

“Did you keep them? Forward them to your personal e-mail? Did you keep a brag e-mail folder?”

No she hadn’t. I’m not one to harp on past mistakes; but this was a mistake, and a good lesson for the rest of the group. I didn’t need to say more; the lesson was learned.

Normally we think of quantified accomplishments as the only ones that matter—they matter a great deal—but what others write and say about you also matters. Take the following testimonial for an administrative assistant:

The electronic filing system Adam created reduced tons of paperwork. It made the workflow process much more efficient.

Brian Martin, VP of marketing, ABC Company

Although the positive result—reduced tons of paperwork and made the process more efficient can’t be quantified—the VP of marketing makes the statement an accomplishment. One might argue that a testimonial from a boss is more persuasive than an accomplishment, especially if you can’t quantify the result.

Where to use your testimonials

To answer your question, there are five obvious places for your testimonials. I’ve listed them from most popular to least, but all five areas are game.

About

This would be ideal real estate to use your testimonials. You could list them under a heading: WHAT MY CLIENTS SAY ABOUT ME (EXCERPTS FROM RECOMMENDATIONS 👇)

“As a fellow MassHire Career Center colleague of Bob’s, I turned to his expertise of LinkedIn when I was working on developing a LinkedIn program for MassHire Cape & Islands.”

“If you are looking for someone who can help you maximize the value of your job search and your LinkedIn Profile, you need to look no further than Bob McIntosh”!

The above excerpts are a couple of testimonials I have in my About section.

I’m not saying they’re not worthy of being anywhere else in your About; it’s just that we remember statements at the end or beginning of something written or said. Which leads me to say that you could list them at the beginning of your About section. Hell, why not list them at the beginning and end?

Experience

This is also a great place to list your testimonials. Struggling to write accomplishment statements? Again, testimonials can be a great source of accomplishments.

Let’s face it; some people have jobs like the story I describe above, where it’s hard to put numbers, dollars, and percentages to results. I think of the nurses, teachers, engineers, marketers, etc., who’ve come to me with this conundrum.

Here’s one for a nurse:

Andrew was attentive to the needs of our patients, showing compassion and making them feel at ease. More importantly, he was extremely knowledgeable of medical care.”

Jessica Johnston, Nurse Supervisor, Lowell General Hospital

Make sure you list who provides your testimonial; their name, title, and organization. This gives a testimonial more credence.

Education

This is particularly relevant to students whose main accomplishment is graduating from university, even high school if they’re young. Employers who are looking at you for a internship or full-time work would like to see some evidence of what you did while in school.

Even if you don’t have a great GPA, you might have excelled in you area of study (I’m a perfect example of this). Ask your professors and internship provider for testimonials. Here’s an example from an internship provider:

James did such a fine job reporting the financial news that I assigned him cases that our full-time analysts were covering. I offered James a full-time job, but he was concerned about finishing his Journalist degree.

Susan Abbott, Sr. Editor, Dallas Reporter

Featured

You can use your featured section to post videos, audio, Slideshare, and documents. And for each media you can add a caption for them. A video would be awesome if you could get people touting your greatness, but a document or Slideshare would be more likely.

Volunteer Experience

I had a client who was very proud of the work he’d done with Boy Scouts of America. He had a testimonial from the district scout leader which he wanted to highlight. Although his volunteerism as a scout leader didn’t fit well in his Experience section, I suggested he use About to direct them to Volunteer Experience.


Where to get your testimonials

  1. E-mail is fair game. If you’ve receive an e-mail from you boss that touts your accomplishments, store it in brag e-mail folder. I do this when I get e-mails from my clients thanking me for the help I’ve given them in their job search.
  2. Performance reviews are an obvious source of fodder for your profile, especially if your boss was generous in what he wrote. However, If he merely clicked off some boxes, these reviews won’t be as useful.
  3. Verbal comments from your boss can also be used on your profile as testimonials. “Director of marketing commented, ‘Josh, your ability to build and foster relationships has helped Company X achieve the visibility we’ve striven for.'” It’s important that you’re both on board with this, just in case she’s questioned about it during a reference check.
  4. Thank you cards from patients/clients speak to your customer service and other skills you’d like to highlight on your profile. Have you received cards that thank you for your help and caring nature? If so, ask the sender if you can quote him for your profile.
  5. Voice-mail you’ve saved can be used as well. If your boss compliments you, consider using it on your profile and other written communication. You might want to get your boss’ approval before you use his words in a public forum; it’s only courteous.
  6. LinkedIn recommendations have been used by my clients as fodder on other sections of their profile. Not all employers will see your LinkedIn recommendations; many people won’t scroll that far down on your profile.

If you haven’t considered using testimonials on your LinkedIn profile, I suggest you do. I encourage my clients, who don’t have accomplishments with quantified results, to use testimonials instead. I reiterate that testimonials could carry more weight in this case.

The ultimate list of 80+ LinkedIn voices job seekers should follow

Like any list one creates, there’s a magic number in mind. It could be 10, 20, 30, etc. Mine was 50 LinkedIn voices job seekers should follow, but then I dug deeper in the proverbial weeds and found more than 50 voices who deserved to be on this list. And I’m sure I’ve forgotten people, so more will be added.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

The people on this list have stood out for sharing posts and articles; commenting on others’ content; producing video, YouTube, and podcasts; and overall providing sage advice on the job search. In short, they engage with their community. I assure you they have been present and accounted for.

The number of LinkedIn followers was not a condition when I put together this list: some have 500,000 or more, others have less than 10,000. No, this is a group of people whose purpose is to help others find work. And this purpose is much needed in these times.

Read their headlines to learn a little bit of who they are. Then read their profile, including their About, Activity, and Experience sections. If you like what you see, follow them. I have a strong feeling that you’ll follow most of them. They are the best of the best. Happy viewing.


Adam Posner 👉 Founder & Managing Director @ NHP Talent Group | #TalentAccess | 🎙 Host of #ThePOZcast | Connection Conduit |  #Recruiter

Adrienne Tom 👉 31X Award-Winning Executive Resume Writer, LinkedIn Profile Writer, Job Search Coach ▶️ I help managers, directors, & corporate executives (CXO) level up, land a job faster, & increase earning power! Canada & US Resumes

Alison Doyle 👉 Career and Job Search Expert | Consultant | The Balance Careers | Career Tool Belt

Ana Lokotkova 👉 Helping hustlers tell their career stories & get hired | Career Advisor | LinkedIn Personal Branding | Interview Coach

Andrew Seaman 👉 Senior Editor for Job Search & Careers at LinkedIn News

Andy Foote 👉 (I could be YOUR) Advanced LinkedIn Strategies Coach. Creator of the FOOTE-NOTES Podcast.

Angus Grady 👉 LinkedIn Unlocker marketing and magnetising profiles attracting customers and sales for business owners, start ups, Fiftypreneurs 💡 LinkedIn Trainer 💡 Lead Generation 💡 Job Seeker Help 💡 Common sense marketing

Ashley Watkins 👉 Certified Resume Writer ★ Job Search & Interview Coach ★ Former Recruiter ★ 2019 LinkedIn Top Voice ★ Land more interviews and job offers faster!

Austin Belcack 👉 I Help People Land Amazing Jobs Without Applying Online // Need Help With Your Job Search? Let’s Talk (Info Below👇)

Brenda Meller 👉 I Help You Unlock the Power of LinkedIn | Read My Profile for LinkedIn Strategy Tips | Virtual Speaker & Team Training | #LinkedinROCKSTARS List Creator | FYI: Headlines Can Now Have 220 Characters | Pie Enthusiast

Biron Clark 👉 Founder at CareerSidekick.com | Former Recruiter

Bob McIntosh (Me) 👉 I’m on the front-line fighting unemployment 👊 LinkedIn Trainer 🔸 Career Coach 🔸 Blogger 🔸 Online Instructor 🏆LinkedIn Top Voices for 2019 🏆MassHire Ingenuity Co-Award Winner 🔸 #LinkedInUnleashed

Catherine (Cat) Byers 👉 Chief Stripe Changer | Speaker | Author | Media guest | Recovering Recruiter | Consulting & Gig Economy Adviser since’97

Cynthia Pong 👉 Feminist Career Strategist for Women of Color | LinkedIn Top Voice | Speaker, Coach, and Author of **Don’t Stay in Your Lane: The Career Change Guide for Women of Color**

Daisy Wright 👉 Forbes Coach ★ Certified Career Management & Executive Leadership Coach ★ Certified Resume Strategist ★ Author

Debra Wheatman 👉 Marketing & Branding “YOU” for Career Success!

Donna Serdula 👉 LinkedIn Profile Writer ♛ Author ▪️ Speaker ▪️ Brand Strategist ▪️ Content Creator ▪️ Webinar Presenter ▪️ Career Branding ▪️ Transform your future today!

Donna Svei 👉 Executive Resume Writer | Former Retained Search Consultant | Certified Korn Ferry Leadership Architect | Award-Winning

Dorothy Dalton 👉 Executive Search | Career Coach (CBC) | Certified Trainer | Workshops | Speaker | Talent Management Strategy | Diversity Recruitment | Inclusive Workplaces | Helping YOU reach YOUR potential!

Ed Han 👉 Talent Acquisition Geek | Job-Hunt.org Contributor | JobSeeker Ally | Knows about LinkedIn | Wordsmith | Recruiter at Cenlar FSB | Ask Me About IT & other opportunities in the 19067 and 08618 ZIP codes!

Edythe Richards 👉 Career Counselor │ Podcaster | Emotional Intelligence Practitioner

Elise Finn 👉 Mentor and Advisor | Helping Female Professionals take Practical Steps to unlock the potential in their careers, businesses and lives | Leadership Coach and Marketing Expert| #HerCareerHerLife

Erin Kennedy 👉 Executive Resume Writers ✩ Forbes Top 100 ✩ Award-Winning Executive Resumes ✩ LinkedIn Profile Writers ✩ Mid Level Resume Writers ✩ Career Branding ✩ Career Coaching ✩ Coffee Lover ☕

Gina Riley 👉 CAREER TRANSITION COACH | EXECUTIVE SEARCH | Helping leaders customize career stories to land high impact jobs where they can create a legacy | Talent Assessment | Interviewing Skills | YouMap© Coach | Disrupt HR Speaker

Greg Johnson 👉 Executive Coach ✔️ Career Management Strategist ✔️ LinkedIn Evangelist ✔️ Speaker ✔️ Above The Rim Executive Coaching

Hank Boyer 👉 Strategic Planning | Leadership | EQ | Exec Coach | Employee Engagement | B2B Sales | Assessments | DISC | Talent Advisor | Hiring | Onboarding | Career Coach | Talent Development | Management Training | Top ROI

Hannah Morgan 👉 Job Search Strategist | Speaker & Trainer | Career Sherpa.net | LinkedIn Top Voice

Jack Kelly 👉 Founder and CEO of Wecruiter.io

Jared Wiese 👉 ProfilesThat🅿🅾🅿.com!™

Jeff Young 👉 #TheLinkedInGuru (Teacher), Professional Networker, Volunteering – getting paid in 3 “Cs”, Coffee, Conversation and occasionally Chocolate! Please click the Follow button if you want to see LinkedIn tips! Namaste 🙏 🖖

Jessica Hernandez 👉 Executive Resume Writer ★ Certified Personal Brand Strategist ★ Forbes Coach ★ Founder & CEO

Jessica Sweet 👉 Career Coach for Midlife Professionals & Executives | Job Search Strategy | Job Search Coaching | Interview Coaching | Forbes Coaches Council

Jim Peacock 👉 Providing Professional Development for Career Practitioners ◊ Skilled Presenter ◊ LinkedIn Strategist ◊ Author

Jo Saunders 👉 LinkedIn Training, Coaching & Marketing Strategy to Future Proof Your Brand // Connectfluence™ Coach Trainer & Keynote Conference Speaker ✈️ WA / Virtual // Energise Your Presence ⇢ Enhance Credibility ⇢ Earn Influence

John Marty 👉 LinkedIn Top Voice | Co-Founder Project 1B | Man on a Mission

Jon Shields 👉 Marketing Manager at Jobscan 🤖 I’m hiring!

Jonaed Iqbal 👉 Founder NoDegree.com | The NoDegree Podcast | Helping You Get a Killer ATS Resume & Secure Interviews | Speaker | LinkedInLive | Helping companies find exceptional talent without college degrees | Let’s Connect! |

Kamara Toffolo 👉 🤬 Job searching shouldn’t be this hard. That’s what she said. 🤬 Executive Resume Writer + LinkedIn Consultant + Job Search Strategist 👇🏼 GET MY FREE COVER LETTER GUIDE! 👇🏼

Kenneth Lang 👉 LinkedIn Trainer * Connector * Business Analyst * Product Owner * Networking coach * LinkedIn Lunch ‘n Learn facilitator * Founder * Always learning!

Karen Tisdell 👉 LinkedIn Profile Writer & Designer ♦ LinkedIn Webinars, Trainer, Speaker 📩 Karen@TisdellCareers.com

Kathy Caprino 👉 Author of The Most Powerful You | Finding Brave™ Career, Leadership & Executive Coach | Int’l Speaker & Trainer | Forbes Senior contributor | dedicated to helping women reach their highest, most thrilling potential

Kerri Twigg 👉 LinkedIn Top Voice | Author of “The Career Stories Method” | Story-based International Career Coach | M.Ed

Kevin Turner 👉 Personal and Organizational Brand Strategist; Providing the Sharpest Tools and Strategies for Your Professional Success! LinkedIn, Resume, Web site, Writer, Trainer, Career Coach, Board Member

Kyle Elliott 👉 Career & Life Coach | Resume & LinkedIn Writer | Business Mentor | Professional Speaker | Caffeine Addict | Disneyland Annual Passholder | Forbes Coaches Council & CaffeinatedKyle.com

Kyle Gantos 👉 CEO @ Learn Solve Grow | I transform ambitious leaders into empowered executives.

Lacey Abbacchi 👉 LinkedIn Coach | Unwavering Optimist | Classic Rock Enthusiast | LinkedIn Queen | Forbes Business Council | Personal Branding Strategist | #laceyisms 🌸

Laura Smith Proulx 👉 Global Award-Winning Executive Resume Writer & LinkedIn Profile Writer. Former Recruiter. 11X Certified, 21X Award-Winning Writer & Job Search Expert. Forbes Coach. Featured in Time, CNBC, Glassdoor. I get RESULTS!

Lorie Camacho 👉 Career Strategist ★ Consultant, Coach and Facilitator ★ I Build Community & Value-Driven People, Teams, & Business Initiatives ★ Skills Training & Development, Strategic Networking & LinkedIn Guru

Lezlie Garr 👉 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

Lisa Orbe-Austin, PhD 👉 Psychologist & Executive Coach|TEDx Speaker|Author, Own Your Greatness: Overcome Impostor Syndrome|Top LinkedIn Voice

LoRen GReiff 👉 𝗜 𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗽 𝗦𝗿.𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲𝘀 & 𝗺𝗮𝗿𝗸𝗲𝘁𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗱 𝟴𝟬-𝟴𝟱% 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗷𝗼𝗯𝘀 𝗡𝗢𝗧 𝗽𝗼𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗼𝗻𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗲.

Madeline Man 👉 Award Winning Career & Job Search Advice from Human Resources | Learning & Talent Development | Creator of Self Made Millennial | Featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Newsweek

Marc Miller 👉 Career Pivot | Author of Repurpose Your Career A Practical Guide for the 2nd Half of Life | Forbes Top 100 Career Website | Podcast Host & Producer of the Award Winning Repurpose Your Career Podcast

Marie Zimenoff 👉 Careers Industry Advocate ► Advance the Careers of Clients & Colleagues ☆ Train Career Coaches & Resume Writers Globally

Maria Farfard 👉 Executive Coach, Facilitator, and Speaker

Mark Anthony Dyson 👉 I hack & reimagine the modern job search | E-Book “421 Modern Job Search Tips 2021!” ✍️🏾 Freelance Career Writer | Award-winning blog 🏆 Podcast 🏆 Features: Forbes, Business Insider, Inc., Fast Company, LI News LIVE

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3 reasons why people are getting more personal on LinkedIn

You might have noticed that content on LinkedIn has taken on a more personal touch. While I’ve never been a fan of this, I can understand it and even accept it…to a point. There was a time when I would write in the comments, “Take it to Facebook” when someone shared something personal. Now I simply scroll on down.

Photo by Nicholas Swatz on Pexels.com

Recently I came across a post from someone whose son voted for the first time. It was heartfelt but the verbiage indicated the importance of everyone having the ability to vote. Voting has been a hot topic in the news; it is a political one. I processed this post and scrolled on down.

I also happened upon a post about challenging yourself to be alone. Again, it had nothing to do with business or the job search. If the author had tied it to anything professional, the post would be LinkedIn worthy for sure. You guessed it, I scrolled on down.

Of course content on LinkedIn has been personal since its inception, but never to the extent that it is now. As I’ve said, I’m not as adamantly against it as I was in the past. And I think others are coming to tolerate, almost accept it, in today’s climate.

Here are three reasons why content on LinkedIn is becoming more personal.

COVID-19 has changed the game

Those of you who know me know that I’m on LinkedIn every day, so I don’t miss much. I have seen the aforementioned examples and other personal ones like them shared on LinkedIn. Yeah, it causes a little twinge in my neck, but I’m not as taken aback by it like I was in the past.

Why? Because we’re in a different world now. People need to maintain their sanity if they haven’t already lost it. We forgive all kinds of actions people take—within reason—because of the stress and anxiety the virus has caused.

COVID gives one a sense of “what of it?” This is what we might call the perfect storm when it comes to abandoning professionalism. “COVID is ruining my life,” people want to write out of frustration. They need the release of putting word on screen. They need to be well.

Here’s something telling:

The good news is that the data shows professionals are taking action to take care of themselves and their mental health, and that step alone is an empowering first one to take. Professionals on LinkedIn Learning watched 5x more courses on Stress Management, Mindfulness, and Meditation this year compared to last year. 

Excerpt from Prioritize Your Mental Health with Free LinkedIn Learning Courses

COVID has caused people stress and anxiety, even depression, but should LinkedIn be used as a outlet for release? And if so, how can this release come across as professional? I don’t know if it has to. I think people should take a moment or two to express their feelings.

A valid point made by one of my valued LinkedIn connections, Virginia Franco, is that COVID is forcing people to stay home and perhaps causing them to interact more on a personal level. With kids under foot and space declining, frustration runs high and things are said and written our of duress.

LinkedIn encourages it

With the advent of Stories, LinkedIn is encouraging people to tell their stories. There isn’t an emphasis on being professional as evident by people sharing their workspace, showing themselves cooking in the kitchen with their kids, filming their walking route (for 20 seconds), and other activities we would call ridiculous in the past.

Perhaps this is LinkedIn’s way of separating the “unprofessional” from the professional content.

I’ve heard people talk about how LinkedIn is trying to be Instagram, but because I’m not on Instagram, I don’t get what they mean. LinkedIn has tried to copy Facebook in many respects. Take LinkedIn Live or even recording video. Yep, Facebook did it first.

One of my favorite features is Polls. I keep my questions professionals, but I’ve noticed some LinkedIn members getting a little more personal. “What’s your favorite cereal–Frosted Mini-Wheats, Captain Crunch, or Mueslix?” is not a professional poll question. But would I lash out at the author? No, I’d say “Captain Crunch.”

I’m not a fan of photos of people who declare a personal accomplishment, but the one I ran across to today was bordering on personal. How did said person turn their personal photo into a somewhat professional statement. They asked how they could post it on their LinkedIn profile. The comments they received were all complimentary.

I also happened upon a post about tables:

I’m obsessed with tables.

Some of my best business ideas came while at a table. The most memorable conversations I’ve had with my wife and kids were at a table. The last time I saw my hero (my grandfather) before he died was at his dining room table.

Today I got a new table!

Here’s to new business ideas and more memories. 🍻

Where do you get most of your creative ideas?

What I ask you does buying a table have to do with professionalism. Oh well, scroll on down.

Facebook and other outlets aren’t favored by some

We have to agree that some people on LinkedIn don’t use other outlets for personal content. They’re not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or YouTube; even if they are, they don’t use these platforms. Probably can’t remember their passwords.

I’m on Facebook but take too much slack from the females in my family because of what I post, so I post sporadically and have my wife to sign off on my posts. This is probably a good thing, as I tend to be somewhat daft on certain matters. But I see many of my friends posting every day. Oddly they’re not active on LinkedIn, but this isn’t the point.

What do you do if you want to share a vacation, mention that you’re taking a cooking class, celebrate your kid’s graduation, or announce the death of someone important to you? Because you don’t use Facebook or the others, you’re in a bind. You so badly want to let the world know the news.

We’ve seen the angry side of people post racist comments and try to use LinkedIn in as a dating site, to name a few. In addition, I read an excellent article posted on LinkedIn about how bosses suck.

Articles like these aren’t rare—I’ve even written articles about how bosses can be better—but they probably don’t do job seekers much good.

I happened upon this post that has very little to do with the job search or business. It’s not professional but it comes from the heart:

[In] my opinion, there’s nothing worst than a human, who wants to hurt another human; Because a human is able to hurt even your heart and your soul, while a wild animal can only hurt your body. Humans are very different creatures on earth. Created to select between good and bad.

Don’t you agree?

Author is anonymous

Things might have gotten out of hand, as LinkedIn has just released a feature that issues a warning if the content someone posts is too controversial, e.g., using LinkedIn as a dating site or spewing racist and political garbage.

Perhaps LinkedIn has seen the writing on the wall. Is LinkedIn becoming too personal? I stated earlier that for various reasons some personal content can be understood, even accepted; but come on folks, let’s not get too personal.

Just how important is having a recent LinkedIn photo?

Before saying, “haven’t we read enough about LinkedIn profile photos,” consider how important it is to have a recent one. I believe having one that’s no more than two years old is ideal and anything beyond four years needs to be retaken. Of course there are exceptions; you might age nicely, or you might age…not so nicely.

When asked in a LinkedIn poll, that’s still brewing, if voters’ profile photo is too old, 41% of 2,017 voters say it is. The definition stated in the poll of too old means their photo was last taken four or more years ago. Thirty-eight percent of voters say their photo falls within the two- to three-year range.

Where did the remaining 20% go? Those people “don’t see a need for a photo.” Shame.

There are many reasons why your photo should be more recent than ancient. In the comments of the poll, I shared an article I wrote back in 2016 called 4 ways your LinkedIn photo is an imposter. Trust me, the ways people’s photos are an imposter haven’t changed. Here is a rundown of what makes your photo an imposter:

  • You’re vain. This is the worst kind in my mind. Pride is listed as one of the 7 deadly sins. Vanity is a form of pride. As my father said, “We enter this world naked and we leave it naked.” As Popeye said, “I Yam What I Yam.” Why should we pretend to be someone different?
  • You don’t realize that eventually you’ll be outed. I’ve entered many a room where someone says, “Hi Bob.” It’s flattering, while at the same time a little creepy. People do recognize you on social media, so you will be outed, if you don’t update your profile.
  • You don’t realize that honesty is the basis for networking. One point I make in my Advanced LinkedIn webinars is that those who don’t have a photo on their profile will not be trusted as those who do. To gain complete trust, don’t put up a photo of you in college when you’re 20 years beyond those golden years. What does this say about your trustworthiness?
  • You aren’t concerned about branding himself. Your photo is a way to brand yourself in a positive light. It can tell people about your personality; it really can. My photo, old and new, I’ve always felt it tells people that I’m caring and nurturing and, hopefully, wise. Others can brand people as authoritative, creative, serious, intelligent, etc.

To further illustrate how your photo can be an imposter and therefore should be updated, my valued LinkedIn connection, Kevin Turner posted a photo (image above) of the younger Kevin and one of him now.

This image from Kevin speaks to bullet number four of my reasons why your photo is an imposter and needs to be amended. You have to establish trust when you’re networking, whether it’s in person (we’ll get there) or via Zoom.

Speaking of…I often have the opportunity to look at myself while I’m doing one of the thousand webinars I’ve done over the years, and I can’t help but think about how my photo needs to be updated. Judge for yourself. Below are photos of Bob three years ago and a screenshot I took yesterday.

What others say about the importance of having a recent photo, or not

The reasons mentioned below speak to: trust, being recognized, your photo being part of your brand (3), and how to get a photo properly taken.

You’re right Bob McIntosh, CPRW it’s all about building Visual Trust. You don’t want someone to remember who you use to be by posting an old picture, then showing up in person, and they can’t recognized you, feel duped, or worse just can’t pin point why they don’t trust you. Even if the Profile Picture is recent but you made a major change like shaving your beard or coloring away the gray (neither of which I plan to do) you then need a new picture that represents the current you. Trust takes time to earn, but only seconds to destroy.

Kevin Turner

I just got a new one, too, Bob McIntosh, CPRW. I want my pictures to look like what you see when you meet me at a networking event or conference, and it was getting a bit dated (maybe 6 years).

Marie Zimenoff

Bob McIntosh, CPRW even a newly taken photo may not reflect what we look like on a given day on Zoom, so I don’t worry too much, although I try to maintain a consistent smile.

With that said, I think a photo should be reasonably timely. My strategy! Each year I look for the intersection of available time, such as a client cancellation, with great natural light and a good hair day. Then I take many pictures and see if any work out well.

Tara Orchard

This is a fun poll. I recently got a new headshot—not because I didn’t like my old picture– but because I am getting older (and wiser)–and wanted to make sure my headshot is a true reflection of me now.

It’s important to remember that your photo is an extension of your personal brand and in a lot of ways like your “brand logo.” I think a lot of people who typically engage with my content aren’t recognizing me on the platform [with new photo]. This is an important takeaway for folks too– make sure your not changing your picture too frequently!

Sarah Johnston

This is a big one Bob! Most people don’t understand just how important your profile picture is. Whenever I update mine or work with a client to update theirs, I have them follow this process:

1. Hire a professional photographer or grab a camera with portrait mode

2. Go shoot 3-5 headshots with different outfits and backgrounds

3. Upload all of the images to Photofeeler.com and see which image scores the best That helps you know which one is landing best and will maximize your results!

Austin Belcak

I am still within 2 years, though when I do update my photo, you better believe it will still have an orange background. People have come to expect and recognize it!

Madeline Mann

I just changed mine today! I had a brand shoot last month and was much clearer on what I wanted from my photos this time around. I hired a photographer last year as well, but my business was brand new and I wasn’t super clear on my goals – it was more of a lifestyle shoot. Living and learning as an entrepreneur!

Karen Styles

Please feel free to read what the other 91 people said about their LinkedIn profile photo by going to the poll. You may decide to have a new one taken or stick with the one you have. Also, please vote, and I don’t just mean for the poll.

Your elevator pitch: why years of experience don’t matter as much as what you’ve accomplished

It’s inevitable. When an older job seeker delivers their elevator pitch to me, they lead with something like “I have 20 years of experience in project management.” My reaction to this auspicious beginning is that it’s not…auspicious. In other words, the person’s years of experience doesn’t impress.

What impresses me AND employers is what you’ve accomplished most recently, say in the last five to seven years, and that your accomplishments are relevant to the employer’s needs. In addition to this, by stating your years of experience, you risk being exposed to ageism.

Besides, your most recent 10-15 years of experience is stated on your resume. There’s no need to bring it up in your elevator pitch.

If you ask 10 people how someone should deliver their elevator pitch, you’ll get 10 different answers. This doesn’t mean the answers will be wrong; it simply means the components of the elevator pitch will vary slightly or be arranged in a different manner.

Following is my opinion on how to deliver the elevator pitch without stating years of experience.

Start strong

Instead of beginning your elevator pitch with the number of years you’ve been in occupation and industry, explain why you enjoy what you’re doing. That’s right, tell the interviewers or fellow networkers what drives you in your work. I’m tempted to say what you’re passionate about, but why not?

People like to hear and see enthusiasm. Especially employers who are hiring people for motivation and fit. Sure, technical skills matter. Employers need to know you can do the job, but your years of experience doesn’t prove you can do the job. “I have 20 years of experience” is a “So what?” statement.

Let’s look at a sample answer to “Tell me about yourself.” The following statement shows enthusiasm and draws the listener’s attention, especially with inflection in your voice:

I knew marketing communications was the route I wanted to take as soon as I realized what an impact it has stakeholders. Playing an integral role in getting the company’s message out to the public is one of my greatest pleasures, (slight rise in voice) especially when it increases awareness of our products or services.

Back it up with relevant accomplishments

This part of your elevator pitch is the most important, as you will speak to the employer’s needs. Two or three relevant accomplishments of what you’ve achieved most recently is best. But keep in mind they don’t want to hear your life story. Keep it brief, yet impactful.

Telling your life story in your written and oral communications is not what employers want to read and hear.

(Big smile) One of my greatest accomplishments is having recently led a social media team of five who were able to increase traffic to my previous company’s website 250% since I took over. I was hired for the role because of my (slight rise in voice) leadership abilities and intimate knowledge of the platforms we used, such as: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

(Slight pause)

One of my favorite aspects of communications is writing content for press releases, whitepapers, customer success stories, newsletters, and product releases. My former boss said I was the most prolific writer he’s seen. More importantly, (slight rise in voice) I increased our organization’s visibility by 40%.

(Another slight pause)

I know you’re looking for someone who can create and conduct webinars. I have extensive experience over the past five years delivering three webinars a week on a consistent basis. These were well received by our (spread arms wide) 10s of thousands of viewers. One of my favorites was interviewing the VP once a month.

Wrap it up with energy

You’ve made it to the concluding statement. Maintain the energy that makes you the go-getter all employers want. Make them look past your age and focus on what you’ve achieved. A strong ending will set the tone for the rest of the interview. Use the word “energy.” If you say it, they’re more likely to believe it.

I’d like to end by saying that I’ve received multiple awards of recognition from my colleagues for not only the expertise I demonstrated (slight rise in voice) but also the energy I exuded. In addition, I was often told by my boss that if she could clone me she would. I will bring to your company the experience required and the energy needed to get things done.

You might be an older candidate, but by not letting interviewers to focus on your 20-years of experience and more on what you’ve accomplished, your chances of wowing them will be greater. They would if I were interviewing you.

8 areas on your LinkedIn profile where you can make your voice heard

One of the things I like about the LinkedIn profile is the ability to express your written voice. In addition, you can express your voice with images. This is particularly important for job seekers, as it gives hiring authorities an idea of their personality. The résumé, on the other hand doesn’t do this as well as the profile.

VoiceAs a job seeker, the goal of your résumé is to make you stand out among hundreds of others submitted for a job with value statements throughout. Your LinkedIn profile also needs to show the value you will bring to employers, only in a more personal way. This is why I tell my clients that their profile is a “personal résumé.”

Background image

The background image is the first area that gives your LinkedIn profile voice. The back ground picture of one my clients shows her standing in front of a snowy mountain side. She told me it accurately reflects her love for hiking. Her image also is relevant; at the moment she was working for Appalachian Mountain Club.

On the flip side, if you don’t sport a background image, it expresses a lack of voice. To some people who visit your profile, it may indicate that you don’t care about your LinkedIn profile. This seems unfair, right? After all, LinkedIn no longer offers stock photos from its site.

If you’re profile doesn’t have a background image and you’re looking for a quick fix, go to https://linkedinbackground.com/ to download a background image.

Photo

Your voice definitely comes through loud and clear with your head shot. The most important rules for your photo are it 1) includes only you, 2) is of high quality, 3) matches your occupation, and finally 4) expresses your personality.

When I talk to my workshop attendees about their profile photo, I stress they should project a professional image. This doesn’t mean they have to wear a suit and tie or a suit and blouse. However, it should reflect their personality in a positive light.

Headline

Your headline is what people see on their timeline, along with your photo. So it has to entice LinkedIn members to open it. A headline like, “Project Manager at IBM” Doesn’t do a great job of selling your value, and it certainly doesn’t express your voice.

This is where you can opt for a key-word based Headline, such as:

Project Manager ~ Business Development | Operations | Team Building | Lean Six Sigma

Or you might want to use a branding headline that gives your Headline more voice:

“Ask me how I can meet aggressive deadlines in delivering quality products on time and under budget”

The branding statement is meant to pique interest and is more conversational; however, if you’re goal is to optimize your profile, the key-word based Headline is the way to go.

About

If there’s any section where you’ll share your voice, this is it. This is a section that differs greatly from your résumé in voice. The idea with your résumé is to make it brief, while still demonstrating value. Brief is not the word to describe your LinkedIn profile Summary.

Note: LinkedIn now allows you 2,600 characters up from 2,000. Should you use all 2,600? It’s entirely up to you. I use 2,000 characters, not expecting people to read every word of my About section.

LinkedIn pundits will suggest different ways to write your About section. What’s most important is that your unique voice comes through. I suggest to my clients a variation of structures, such as:

  1. What you do—perhaps what problems you address;
  2. why and for whom you do what you do—you do work for company growth or to help people;
  3. how well you do it—include accomplishments to back it up; and
  4. where you can be reached.

Of course there are other ways to structure your profile’s About, but what’s important is using words and phrases that express your voice, giving readers a sense of your personality. This is as simple as using first, or third, person point of view. An About that lacks a point of view resembles that of a résumé; bland.

Activities

This section of your profile is often overlooked. Not by me. I always check to see if people have published posts on LinkedIn. Speaking of a way to make your voice heard, publishing on LinkedIn is a great way to do this.

You don’t have to be a author in order to create an article and publish it on LinkedIn. However, you should share information that is relevant and of value to your audience.

I also don’t overlook a LinkedIn member’s activity on LinkedIn. You can learn a great deal about a person’s voice by reading their shared updates. Your voice should be natural but, at the same time, professional. There will always be people who share updates better suited for Facebook. Don’t be that person.

Experience Section

Believe it or not, your Experience section can have a voice. Many people will simply copy what they have on their résumé and paste it to their profile. This is a good start. But it’s simply a start. From there you’ll want to personalize it with a point of view.

The most obvious area of a job description is the job summary. This is where you describe your overall responsibilities for that position. Here’s how I personalized my job summary to give it a voice:

I’m more than a workshop facilitator & designer; I’m a career and LinkedIn strategist who constantly thinks of ways to better market my customers in their job search. Through disseminating trending job-search strategies, I increase our customers’ chances of finding jobs.

Here is part of a valued connection of mine, Adrienne Tom’s, Experience section, which not only shows accomplishments, but voice as well:

▶️ If you want to move FORWARD in your career, generate increased recognition, and escalate your earning power with value-driven career tools = let’s talk.

▶️ My RESUMES differentiate executive candidates from the competition. For 14+ years, I’ve supported the careers of global C-Suite executives, VP’s, Directors, Managers, and top professionals through captivating executive resume writing.

Education

You’re sadly mistaken if you think you can’t show your voice in the Education section. Your experience in university or high school wasn’t all about studying, was it? For your résumé it’s the basic information, such as educational institution and location, degree, area of study, maybe GPA or designation.

On the other hand, LinkedIn encourages you to describe what was going on during the time you were in school. One great example is someone who was earning their Bachelor’s while working full-time. Perhaps you were a scholar athlete. This is another opportunity to express your voice by describing the experience.

Volunteer Experience

We often don’t consider including volunteer experience on our résumé, particularly if there is a space issue. There is no space issue with your LinkedIn profile, so don’t miss the opportunity to express your voice in this area.

You volunteer at a homeless shelter. Describe your experience, in first-person point of view, and how it has had an effect on your life. Or you utilize your coding skills to develop a website for a nonprofit organization. Use your voice to describe the experience. In my case I describe how I help my alma mater with its Career Expo Night.


You have the opportunity to express your voice with your LinkedIn profile. Don’t squander this opportunity. Yes, you must show the value you’ll present to the employer, but hiring authorities want to know the whole person. What better way to do this than by using your voice?

Everyone can use advice on their LinkedIn campaign in these 3 areas

I recently completed teaching an online LinkedIn seminar. As the role of the instructor, it’s assumed that I know more than the students. This is probably true but there’s always something you can learn from your charges. If not, what’s the sense of being an instructor?

I had this great idea to ask my students to be the teacher and teach me how to write a better profile, create a more effective network, and how to engage with my network. Some of them wrote that as the instructor, how can my LinkedIn campaign be improved.

The answer to this question is revealed in a poll I started on LinkedIn yesterday, 79% of the 1,859 voters say to “Bring it on” when it comes to feedback. So, feedback for even some of the best LinkedIn users is considered a good thing to receive.

I was looking for honest critique from my students. This is what one of the students wrote about my profile:

This is a matter of preference, but for the headline, the way that it is written sounds like a commercial to me.

Ouch was my first reaction. But then I thought about it, she might have a point. I’ll have to revisit.

About creating and maintaining my network, the same person wrote:

Are there specific goals you have, such as connecting with more potential clients or identifying organizations that you want to provide training for? The exercises we did in this class are great for any stage, including identifying organizations.

She makes an excellent point. I should connect with people at companies where I’d like to provide LinkedIn training.

Another student wrote about my engagement:

One question I have that keeps niggling in the back of my mind is you actually have a tab titled Introverts on your thingscareerrelated.com blog. This seems like an area of interest, yet I don’t feel like I see a regular smattering of posts related to this topic

I thought this was incredibly insightful. She had taken the time to read through my blog and notice that one of the tabs is Introverts. Perhaps she is one herself and wanted to read my musings on preferring Introversion, and perhaps she was disappointed to find a limited number of articles.

These were just some of the observations a talented group of people offered up. There were many more. (In retrospect, I should have made this two- to three-page essay all about how they would teach their students/clients how to create a successful LinkedIn campaign.)

But I’m glad I gave them the opportunity to critique my LinkedIn campaign, and I think you should have others do the same for you. It could be incredibly helpful, providing you have thick skin (joking…no, not joking) and are willing to accept some of their advice.

Choose what you want critiqued

This isn’t a seminar. Ask the person who will critique your your LinkedIn campaign (I’ll call them “your mate”) to critique part of your LinkedIn campaign, not all of it. Ask them to be honest, keeping in mind that you can implement their suggestions or ignore them.

Profile

It’s all about value through branding and optimization. Ask your mate to read it in its entirety to get a sense of the message you’re trying to deliver. Is it making a strong overall branding statement? Does it come across as a profile that shows the value you deliver to employers or business partners?

Ask them to examine every section of your profile, especially:

  • Background image: is it industry related and of high quality?
  • Photo: this is what people will see in their stream and other pages on your LinkedIn account, so make it recent and of high quality.
  • Headline: some say this is the most important part of your profile. Make sure it contains the keywords for which employers are searching. You might also include a branding statement.
  • Activity section: more on this later; but suffice to say this is a tell-tale sign of your engagement on LinkedIn. One of my student delved into my Activity secion.
  • About: story, story, story. What’s your passion? Who do you do what you do for? Do you show immediate value with accomplishments? Why, who, what.
  • Experience: the person critiquing your profile should look for an accomplishment-rich section. Write this in first person point of view like your About section.
  • Education: There’s a story to tell her, believe it or not. What were your personal experiences while at University? Were you captain of a D-1 team? Did you work full-time while earning your degree.

These are some of the details your mate should look for. Provide some guidance as to what to look for. A detailed critique—like the one one of my student provided—will include comments on the other sections.

Network

This is a tough one for your mate to critique. The most obvious indicator is how many people show under your headline. LinkedIn only reveals 500+ which means the user can have 501, 1,000, 5,000 or 30,000 connections (the limit). If you have 250 connections, this might one of your mate’s concern.

Your mate will have to ask how many connections you have. They can find this under your My Connections tab, providing you give them access to your profile (requires your password). But it’s against LinkedIn’s rules to give access to your LinkedIn account.

The most important aspect of network is the modus operandi of your connections. In other words, which occupations and industries are they in? I suggest that a strong network would consist of 80% of like-minded occupations/industries.

For example, the like-minded people in my network would be career developers, recruiters, HR, and those in the industry Professional Training and Coaching. I also like to connect with people in academia and companies of interest. Remember what one of my students wrote:

Are there specific goals you have, such as connecting with more potential clients or identifying organizations that you want to provide training for? The exercises we did in this class are great for any stage, including identifying organizations.

The person critiquing your profile should recognize some tell-tale signs that show whom you’re connected with. They are your Skills and Endorsements section, Recommendations, and way down at the bottom in your Interests section the groups you’re in and even the companies you follow.

Lastly, ask your mate how you’re sending invites to potential connections. Are you personalizing the invites or are you simply hitting send without a note? The former is the correct answer. Many people who I’ve queried didn’t realize you could send a personalized invite. The person critiquing your network will be wise to ask this question.

Engagement

Another poll I conducted revealed that the majority of people feel that engagement is the most important aspect of your LinkedIn campaign. For some it’s also the most difficult to master, especially for job seekers who haven’t been using LinkedIn since losing their job. If you’ve been using LinkedIn regularly, this is a different matter.

There’s one sure way for your mate to determine how engaged you are on LinkedIn, it’s by visiting your Activity section and clicking on All Activity and Posts. Articles and Documents are a nonentity at this point. Very few people are writing articles; if anything they’re pumping out long posts.

You should demonstrate a consistent amount of engagement. Some say four times a week is sufficient, others claim every day is appropriate. How often you engage depends on the type of engagement:

  • Sharing long posts: this is the rave these days. Your post should show thoughtfulness and be relevant to your audience. It’s also wise to tag LinkedIn members if you want them to see your posts.
  • Commenting on other’s long posts: just as important is commenting on what other’s share. LinkedIn’s algorithm looks at both sides of the coin, sharing long posts and commenting on them. Your mate should take not of this. If you are only sharing, this comes across as narcissistic.
  • Sharing articles and commenting on them: I tell my clients that this is the best way to start engaging. Your mate should check to see if you’re comments are sincere, that you’ve actually read the articles.
  • Writing articles using LinkedIn’s Publisher feature: as mentioned before, this is not being done as much as it was in the past. There are many reasons for this, one of which is LinkedIn doesn’t promote one’s articles; it’s up to you to do that.
  • Asking a simple question: this is something I like to do on occasion. Your mate should see if you’re doing this as well and that your questions have a purpose.

Follow these people to learn how to engage. This is what your mate should be telling you. You can learn a lot from the information people in your network (remember, like-minded) share. Here is a partial list of the people I follow: Sarah Johnston; Hannah Morgan; Austin Belcak; Kevin Turner; Mark Anthony Dyson; Laura Smith-Proulx; Susan Joyce, and Adrienne Tom. There are many more.

Numbers do matter. Who you’re following and/or connected with does help you gain more visibility. For example, if you mention any of the aforementioned people in a long post, you’re more likely to get more people seeing your post. The same applies to commenting on their posts. Unfortunately, it is a numbers game.


Return the favor

If you’re looking for help with your LinkedIn campaign, be willing to reciprocate by critiquing the other person’s campaign. If the person feels they don’t want the favor returned, do it for someone else. Pay it forward. (For the seminar, I critiqued three of the students’ profiles for which they were very grateful.)

Here’s a guideline to follow in terms of your full-blown critique:

6 soft skills of most importance to hiring managers and how you can demonstrate in an interview that you have them

There are plenty of articles floating out there declaring questions for which job seekers should be prepared. “What is your greatest weakness?” is a popular one. “What would your former boss say about you?” is also common. “Why were you let go from your last job?” scares the bejesus out of job seekers.

businessman man person bar

But the questions above are ones that job candidates can predict will be asked. That’s why I tell my clients that they should have an answer in mind before even getting to the interview. The same goes for every other traditional question.

LinkedIn published in LinkedIn Talent Solutions a guide that it calls Guide to Screening Candidates: 30 Essential Interview Questions. This guide tells readers the questions hiring managers (HMs) should be asking job candidates.

To create this guide, LinkedIn polled 1,297 HMs to determine which “soft skills” the HMs feel are important for a candidate to demonstrate. LinkedIn then came up with five questions for each skill, totaling 30, that the HMs should ask. The majority of the questions are behavioral-based ones.

So, what are the skills of most interest to the HMs who were polled? Here they are in order of importance:

  1. Adaptability
  2. Cultural Fit
  3. Collaboration
  4. Leadership
  5. Growth Mindset
  6. Prioritization.

What’s so special about behavioral-based questions?

If you think behavioral-based questions are not important, think again. Behavioral-based questions are being asked in interviews because employers see value in them. Behavioral-based questions are an accurate predictor of job candidates’ behavior in the future.

“The good news is that behavioral interview questions are a proven way to reveal a person’s ability to collaborate, adapt, and more. By looking at their past behavior, you can more easily determine what someone will be like to work with,” says LinkedIn

Most job seekers have difficulty answering behavioral-based questions. Why? These questions demand a great deal of preparation and the ability to answer them with a compelling story. But with preparation comes success. Go into an interview without preparing your stories can lead to disaster.

Some things to consider when answering behavioral-based questions. First, know that they’re used to discover strengths and weaknesses in a candidate. Second, answering them requires telling a brief story. Third, they reveal requirements for the job.


How to answer behavioral-based questions

The best way to answer behavioral-based questions is by telling a story using the S.T.A.R formula, where:

S stands for the situation you faced at work;

T is your task in that situation;

A the actions you took to solve the situation; and

R the positive result/s.

You’ll want to keep the situation and tasks brief, perhaps 20% of your story. The actions should be the main part of your story, let’s say 60%. And the result/s is also brief, the other 20%. Does it always work out this way? No. Can you start with the result first? Sure.


The soft skills employers feels are important

Adaptability

Says LinkedIn: 69% of hiring managers say adaptability is the most important skill.

The most popular question: “Tell me about a time when you were asked to do something you had never done before. How did you react? What did you learn?”

This question makes me think of a colleague in the next cube saying loudly, “I wasn’t hired to do this work.” A person with this mindset won’t answer this question well–they’ll crash and burn. Companies don’t operate on still mode; there’s constant flow. A successful answer would sound something like:

The webmaster of our company left abruptly. At the time I was the public relations manager. The CFO asked me to take over maintaining the website.

My first step in the process was to learn how to use Dreamweaver quickly, plus brush up on some HTML I’d learned in college.

I also had to gather information that the company wanted posted on the site. This required interfacing with Engineering, Marketing, Finance, Sales, and the VP. Often times I would have to write original content and get it approved by each department.

One department that was especially difficult from which to gather information was Engineering. I had to explain to them that their information was vital to the success of the website. In addition, their names would be mentioned. That did the trick.

There were moments of frustration but I grew to like this task, and the VP commented that I was doing a great job. I would say I saved the company close to $50,000 over a six-month period.

Cultural fit

Says LinkedIn: 89% of hiring managers say adaptability is the most important skill.

The most popular question: “What are the three things that are most important to you in a job?”

Although not a behavioral-based question, this requires knowledge of the company’s work environment, including the position and culture, before going to the interview. If the three aspects of the position and culture align well with your values, this will not be a difficult question to answer. With this knowledge your answer would be:

The most important aspects of a job would be in this order: a variety of tasks, leading in a team environment, and achieving the results to get the job done. I am excited to work oversee a team in the inventory room, purchase the exact amount of products for distribution.

There’s nothing like leading a team that practices lean methods to get the job done. I’ll be clear in my expectations like I have been in the past, leaving no room for doubt. I’ve been told by my boss that I’m a natural leader.

The third aspect of this job I’m looking forward to is the autonomy that it will offer. My team and I will be held accountable for the meeting company goals which is something I’ve always achieved in the past.

Collaboration

Says LinkedIn: 97% of employees and executives believe a lack of team alignment directly impacts the outcome of a task or project.

The most popular question: “Give an example of when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with. How did you handle interactions with that person?”

Answering this question will take diplomacy and tact. You don’t want to come across as difficult to get along with while at the same time you don’t want to cast aspersions on the colleague with whom you had a conflict. You might answer this question like this:

I’m generally a very organized person. I was working with another software engineer who was very talented but didn’t always get the assignments he was given completed on time. This was frustrating, as it effected the team and landed us in trouble with some of our clients.

After some heated discussions, held privately, I offered to help him with his organizational skills and he accepted my help, knowing his performance was hurting not only him, but the team only. Reluctantly he accepted my help, but in the end he became more organized.

Leadership

Says LinkedIn: High-quality leadership 13X more likely to outperform the competition.

The most popular question: “Tell me about the last time something significant didn’t go according to plan at work. What was your role? What was the outcome?”

This is a tough question because it calls for an instance when you didn’t come through with a positive result. You have to be prepared to answer questions that ask for negative results. Keep your answer brief and don’t bash any of your colleagues. Interviewers want to hear self-awareness.

Our company was launching a social media campaign. As the marketing manager, my role was to over see this project. I was given two months to complete the project. One piece was to develop a LinkedIn company page and LinkedIn group. I didn’t stay on top of this. As a result, we were two weeks late in completing the project. The outcome was a brief reprimand from my boss.

Growth potential

Says LinkedIn: When an employee leaves, it costs your company 1.5X the employee’s salary to replace them.

The most popular question: “Recall a time when your manager was unavailable when a problem arose. How did you handle the situation? With whom did you consult?”

To answer this question you need to demonstrate your problem-solving and leadership abilities. State the problem briefly and then describe the actions you took. Finally explain the positive result.

One of our clients was upset because our CRM software wasn’t as user friendly as they had expected. As the systems engineer who was responsible for the integration of our software, I felt I was also responsible for servicing our customer.

Since my boss was on vacation, I had to make a decision as to how to proceed with the issue. I decide that bothering him wasn’t the best route to go. Normally he would prefer that I have his approval to go onsite to our clients, especially if I was working on another project.

I made an appointment to see our client the day after I heard about their disapproval. When I arrived, the CEO met me, and I could tell she wasn’t happy. She took me to the sales department, where I spent an hour going over all the features of our software.

In the end, they were ecstatic with our product. They didn’t realize the capability of it. Furthermore, the CEO sent a glowing email to my boss describing her pleasure of having me making a special visit to her company.

Prioritization

Says LinkedIn: Being unable to prioritize means that key assignments fall through the cracks.

The most popular question: “Tell me about a time when you had to juggle several projects at the same time. How did you organize your time? What was the result?”

This question gives you the structure needed to answer it successfully. It provides the situation and task, the skill the interviewer wants to hear about (organization), and the result. With this guidance, your answer might go like this:

Two years ago I had three projects that landed on my plate. I was asked to present at our company’s largest trade show, we had a new build that had to be released around the same time, and I had to prepare performance reviews of my staff. I definitely had to organize my time for all three to go as planned.

I discussed this with the VP and told him that doing all three were near impossible. He agreed. If I had help with one of the projects, I could complete the other two. I decided that the release of our new build was most important, considering three of our clients were dying to purchase it.

The presentation was the second priority. I had to prepare speaking notes and have my marketing specialist create a PowerPoint presentation. She was fully capable and took the ball and ran with it.

For the performance reviews, my VP and I decided that we would have a working lunch or two, if needed, and I would provide him with all the reports on my staff. The reports were mostly positive, save for one of my staff who needed to pick up his game.

By the time of the deadline, we shipped the build two weeks ahead of projection, I was confident the speaking engagement would go very well, and my VP had all the information he needed to conduct the performance reviews.


LinkedIn also provides questions for you to ask HMs

Your job is not only to answer the questions HMs throw at you; it’s also to have questions to ask them. If anyone tells you it’s alright to say you don’t have questions to ask, they’re out of their mind. I tell my clients to have 10-15 questions to ask at the end. In case you’re at a lost, here are seven to start you off.

  • Why did you join this company, and what keeps you here?
  • What does success look like in this position?
  • What was the biggest challenge affecting the last person in this job?
  • Why do people say __________ about your company?
  • How does the company measure success?
  • What would you expect from me when I start, after three months, and after a year?
  • Can you describe what my career path could look like?