Category Archives: Career Search

13 LinkedIn pros talk about creating a powerful LinkedIn Experience section

The previous installment of the three most notable LinkedIn profile sections addressed the About section. This installment looks at what some, particularly recruiters, consider to be the most important section, Experience. If some of you protest Experience being the most important, don’t worry. The next installment will look at the Headline.

The ultimate theme of this compilation of sage advice is to show value in your Experience section. This goes without saying, but how you show it varies in method. For example, one pro advises to use bullets when sharing metrics.

Another pro advises you to make your Experience section more visual rather than simply listing all your duties; in other words, make it interesting to read.

Two recruiters weigh in, one emphatically stating that keywords, keywords, keywords in your Experience section are required to be found. Another explains how to lay out how to format your positions.

We can’t forget that personal “blanding” must be avoided at all costs warns one pro, while another one says, “Celebrate all you’ve accomplished, encountered and undergone with memorable high notes to keep readers glued.”

There’s much more, including thinking about your ABCs when writing your Experience section. More than one pro mentions keeping search engine optimization (SEO) in mind.

But I won’t sway your opinion as to which section is more important. Read what the pros have to say about Experience.

Make bulleted statements impactful

Biron Clark, CareerSidekick.com

Use bullets

Recruiters and hiring managers tend to skim through your LinkedIn Experience section before reading closely. They’re viewing many profiles each day and may not read each one fully.

So you’ll get more of your information seen and read if you present it in bullet format since bullets are a format designed to grab attention and make information readable quickly.

Use either a combination of short paragraphs and bullets, or just bullets, and your Experience section will stand out from the many job seekers using only large paragraphs.

Share results and metrics

When writing bullets in your Experience section, don’t just repeat the phrase, “Responsible for…” and share your basic duties. It’s much more interesting to employers if you can talk about what you achieved in past roles.

If you can show how you helped a past employer, they’ll be thinking, “Great, imagine what they can do for us if we hire them.”

Here’s an example:

Rather than saying, “Responsible for training and team development,” you’d say, “Led 3-5 training exercises per week, helping the team ___.”

Now, if this next employer needs that type of work done for them, you’ve painted a clear picture of exactly how you can step in and help. That type of writing will win you more interviews.

As a side note, it’s okay to break some grammatical rules in your bullets. When writing an essay, you’d spell out the numbers “3” and “5” above, but it’s okay to type them as numbers in your work experience bullets. Numbers stand out visually and are another powerful way to get the reader to stop and pay attention, and to set your LinkedIn Experience section apart from everyone else’s.

Show me the beef and personalize your Experience section

Bob McIntosh, ThingsCareerRelated.com

Stick with only the accomplishments and chuck the mundane duties is what I advise my clients to do. This is how you nail the Experience section.

Many recruiters will skip the LinkedIn profile About section and leap to Experience. This is similar to how they treat your resume; they go directly to Experience because—quite honestly—the resume Summary is often filled with fluff, whereas the content in Experience is more factual.

Speaking of being factual, I see too many C-level job seekers make the assumption that their visitors know what they did/do at their positions. They simply list the company name, their title, and months/years of experience. By doing this, they’re robbing readers, namely recruiters, of valuable information.

Here’s how it should be done from one of my former client’s job summary:

“As the Director, Marketing Communications at ABC Compnay, I planned, developed and executed multi-channel marketing programs and performance-driven campaigns, using digital marketing principles and techniques to meet project and organization goals.”

Notice how he used first-person point of view? Use first person point of view for your accomplishments, as well.

Take, for example, an accomplishment statement from a resume: “Volunteered to training  5 office staff on new database software. All team members were more productive, increasing the team’s output by 75%.”

The same statement on the LinkedIn profile sounds more personal: “I extended my training expertise by volunteering to train 5 office staff on our new database software. All members of the team were more productive as a result of my patient training style, increasing the team’s output by 75%.”

Recruiters are specific when they search for talent

Ed Han, Job-Hunt.org

Your LinkedIn profile certainly looks like a resume, doesn’t it? Both have Summary and Experience sections. But your LinkedIn profile is supposed to explain why someone might want to network with you. Industry, people in common, alma mater, and of course current or former employers.

These are all fertile ground in which to sow the seeds of your future network. Incidentally, if you are currently employed and interested in exploring alternative employment, you can tell the world, or just recruiters. 

What LinkedIn means by the “just recruiters” is recruiters using their premium LinkedIn Recruiter service, which truthfully, the majority of recruiters do not use. LinkedIn protects your privacy by not telling the recruiters who work for your current employer that you are open to work

Note: LinkedIn only knows to protect you if your profile links to the correct company page.

Speaking of which..recruiters are occasionally tasked with finding talent that does not exist within the organization. When that happens, we might be seeking someone with prior experience in a given industry. The pharmaceutical industry specifically is well-known for this.

Keywords, keywords, keywords

There are several places where keywords are weighted more heavily than other parts of your profile. One area where they are weighted pretty heavily is in the Experience section. When recruiters like me look for talent, we aren’t just looking for [JOB TITLE]: that produces way too many results. You need to get more specific–a lot more specific.

Let’s say I am seeking a PMP-certified project manager with experience with data center migrations. I will almost certainly look for the term PMP as well as “data center” and migration. Why bother with the job title? With a PMP the title is redundant.

If I am seeking a full-stack developer that’s nowhere near enough: I need to be searching on all four elements of the specific tech stack.

So get specific with the entries in your LinkedIn profile Experience: talk about the value you added, the things you accomplished. You don’t need to–and really shouldn’t–go into full-scale STAR story detail, but at least give the reader a sense of the things you achieved, processes used, and relevant technologies if appropriate.

Skip the mundane duties and grab their attention with visuals

Erin Kennedy, ProfessionalResumeServices.com

The Experience section on your LinkedIn profile, like your resume, is a blueprint of what you’ve done beginning with the most recent.  As with your resume, you need company names, job titles, and dates.

*It can easily be one of the most boring areas of your profile.*

The difference is, your LinkedIn profile, unlike your resume, isn’t geared for just one specific job. It is a more general overview of what you’ve done.

You don’t have to add everything from your resume. You don’t need to include the more mundane parts of your job.  Be strategic with your Experience section. Add what you enjoy the most about your role.

I am not a fan of adding every single task. I like to read/skim/read/skim through the profiles. If the experience section is content heavy, I lose interest. Use emoji bullets and arrows for visual appeal and to create focus areas within the role.

Keep in mind that LinkedIn’s algorithms are perusing through your profile targeting certain keywords. Make sure your experience section is keyword heavy.

It’s OK to add pronouns like “I, we, our, they” and, like the rest of your profile, should be written in a conversational and engaging first person tone.

A cool feature with the Experience section is you can add visuals—graphics, documents, videos, recommendation letters, PDFs, PowerPoints, and anything else that supports your role and experience at that job. So, you’re not only talking about it but you have visuals to back up your work.

Don’t ignore your Experience section! A well-written look into what you did at each role can mean the difference between gaining someone’s interest and not.

Make every word count

Karen Tisdell, KarenTisdell.com

The hard part: writing. Let’s break it down.

Title

In a few words, a title gives your profile visitors an idea of what you do, your expertise, and your career level. Business owners can get creative if they want, but job seekers should stick to the script. Use common or standard titles by, again, typing slowly and picking the default option. Your titles inform LinkedIn’s search function.

Body

Don’t copy and paste from your resume. Job seekers, I’m talking to you. You don’t want to give everything away. Give your profile visitors a taste of your value, tease your expertise. Use your Experience to highlight key points only, and not the key points that matter to you, but the key points that matter to your target audience.

You have 2,000 characters in total and it is best to use strong, active verbs. Keep sentences short and punchy. Conquer your reader’s attention. If you’ve written ‘key responsibilities,’ you’re not on the right track. Some active words to get you thinking include drove, collaborated, initiated, aligned, negotiated, established, and secured.

Don’t make sweeping heroic statements, but don’t undersell your awesomeness, especially if you’re a job seeker. You really don’t want to come across apologetic, indecisive, or unsure of your skills.

Use visual elements like emojis and Yaytext.com to break up big chunks of text – but use them sparingly. Less is more. Also, keep in mind that emojis and Yaytext (or Lingojam) can’t be read by people using reading options or by LinkedIn’s search function. If you’re a job seeker, don’t put emojis in your titles.

And one last note, especially for job seekers: Don’t disclose dollar amounts or sensitive information if it’s confidential or not widely known. 

Avoid personal blanding by following these 6 tips

Kevin Turner, TNTBrandStrategist.com

The [Experience] section of your LinkedIn profile shouldn’t be a chronological dump of everything you have ever done, including everything that wouldn’t fit on a two-page resume. Leaving the [Description] portion of your Work [Experience] is one of the worst forms of Personal Blanding possible. 

🔘 Avoiding the ‘Responsible for’s and focus on a handful of bulleted, succinct accomplishments with proof metrics that solve business needs and moves you forward

🔘 Entering Title, Company, and Location slowly and accept the market value options in the dropdown box so that you ensure you are within LinkedIn dB Filters

🔘 Leaving the Employment type [-] blank or selecting anything less than [Full-time] will lower your profile rankings in search results

🔘 Unchecking the box [Update my headline] will keep you safe from accepting the Personal Blanding default [Title at Company] as you [Headline]

🔘 Adding Media by [Upload] or [Link] to external documents, photos, sites, videos, and presentations, is a Visual Reward in a sea of bland text (we process images 60K Faster than text)

🔘 Being aware of the [Share with network] toggle; [On] may share your updates, like a Press Release, with your network & [Off] makes your updates a little more noticeable

Don’t neglect your Experience section

Laura Smith-Proulx, AnExpertResume.com

Many users have neglected their LinkedIn Experience sections, filling in job titles and dates, but little else. If this sounds familiar, you’re wasting a HUGE opportunity to differentiate yourself and attract employer attention.

I recommend simple, yet powerful changes for your LinkedIn Experience section:

  • Add a bold opening statement to each of your job entries. This should be a short summary of your successes (such as “22% Profit Increase From New Sales Methods” or “Digital Strategies Enabling COVID-19 Remote Work”). You can further entice the reader with symbols or emojis in this line.
  • Describe what you enjoyed about this job, with a description of the projects, roles, and results you produced. These sentences don’t have to take up the entire 2,000 characters, but… (see the next point).
  • Make sure this text is keyword-packed and RELEVANT. Looking for a job in sales? Boost the sales-related content for each job. If you hated the job and there is little tie-in to your career goal, tone down the jargon and conserve your words.
  • Use plenty of white space to help readers navigate the great description and achievements you’ve written.
  • Add media for more color in your Experience section, clicking where it says you can link to documents, photos, sites, videos, or presentations. Maybe your employer published that big project on their News page, or you spoke at a conference. Feature these wins prominently.

If you’re unsure what to add, just start with your best shot at these steps. LinkedIn content isn’t carved in stone; you can change it tomorrow.

Keep them hooked

Loren Greiff, PortfolioRocket.com

Before you start taking the content from your resume and adding it directly into your Experience section. Step back, relax and recognize that the idea isn’t to cram it all in, you’re going to have to cherry pick the best of the best to portray the highlight your greatest hits.  

One way to do this is to get past the “ ✅ check the box” notion that your EXPERIENCE section is your resume online, and limited to nouns vs.verbs. 

Experience (n) practical contact with and observation of facts or events.

Experience (v) encounter or undergo (an event or occurrence).

Experience can be experiential. mitigating away from reporting  facts, metrics and responsibilities that risk putting those interested in you (and awake from your rocking Headline and About section) back to sleep. 

Keep them hooked with all eyes moving down your profile by: 

  • Choosing wisely which experiences to highlights and include ideally three to five tight ones making them easy to digest. 
  • Front load your biggest win within each role first, and with second biggest and so on. 
  • Mix up taking credit for what you’ve changed with what you’ve done. 
  • Embrace white space and formatting liberties with tasteful emojis and/or bullets. 
  • Include relevant attachments to make it easy for decision makers to find out more. 
  • Triple check your dates and explain any gaps unapologetically, sparing the TMI.

Celebrate all you’ve accomplished, encountered and undergone with memorable high notes to keep readers glued. 

Think ABC when you write your Experience section

Marie Zimenoff, CareerThoughLeaders.com

Although the About section may be first in a profile, there are a few reasons a recruiter or hiring manager will likely start with the Experience section when reading a profile.

First, hiring managers want to see if a candidate is qualified for the role before they take time to read an introduction like a cover letter or About section. Second, the Experience section titles are big, bold, and easy to skim – especially on mobile.

To maximize the LinkedIn Experience section to better connect with hiring managers, recruiters, potential customers, and beyond, follow the ABCs:

ATTRACT readers immediately with a strategic Title for each Experience entry. The Title field allows 100 characters – which most LinkedIn users seriously underutilize.

In addition to including an official title, add synonym titles recruiters might search and other targeted keywords. If there is space, consider adding a standout statement.

Example:

VP, Technology & Innovation ➡ Opened New Verticals & Grew Customer Businesses While Reviving $650M Operation

BEWITCH readers with a story that has an immediate hook. Make it clear right away that they are getting the same stories from the resume, with more detail, backstory, and intrigue.

This might be a challenge you faced at the company when you started, the details of your most relevant project.

Example:

Bringing disruptive technology to market isn’t easy. Businesses may not understand the value and want data that doesn’t exist before they’ll take a risk.

When I saw what the technical mastermind behind XYZ was doing, I knew it was valuable … and there was an opportunity for me to improve the value proposition so companies could see the value, too.

When you engage the reader in a story, it builds credibility and likeability while keeping their eyes on the profile longer.

CONVERT readers into connections or interviews by targeting stories – and especially the pains and challenges addressed – to align with the main concerns of the target audience.

When stories illustrate past experiences of delivering desired results, it creates an emotional connection – the feeling that they are understood and will get immediate value from taking the next step.

(Continued from Bewitch):

Together, we brought the first augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) content publishing solution (PaaS) to market.

My Role …

⤷ Creating the growth strategy with a competitive bid model to raise VC/private equity funds and scale market adoption.

⤷ Calling on my trusted relationships with business leaders to understand market need, improve positioning, and garner interest.

My Results …

➡ Secured proof of concept commitments from 5 Fortune 500 companies.

Putting time into writing an engaging LinkedIn Experience section will attract the reader, keep them reading the profile longer, and go beyond keywords to create an emotional connection that leads to action!

Have strong SEO and differentiate yourself from the rest

Shelley Piedmont, ShelleyPiedmont.com

Of all the sections of your LinkedIn profile, the Experience area is the most important one for recruiters and hiring managers. When I was a recruiter, I went straight to the Experience section to get a sense of the type of roles and employers. If I found that information of interest, I then would look at other areas of the profile.

Yet, this section is a lost opportunity for many LinkedIn users. Why? People only put a title, employer, and dates of employment.  Nothing else is there to explain the role or any accomplishments. Don’t be that person.

Two areas of focus should be Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and differentiating yourself from the competition.

SEO

People do searches based on specific criteria. Don’t you want your profile to show up high in the search results for those terms that showcase your expertise or interests? You need to have these search terms or keywords appear in your profile.

In the Experience section, you can add these terms both as part of your title or in the text. Here is a hint: Feel free to change your title from something uncommon, like Director of People Development to Director of Talent Management, if “Talent Management” is a common search term. Also, add important keywords to explain your responsibilities and accomplishments.

Differentiate Yourself

People want to see more than just a list of job duties in this section. Provide additional information about your job title or the work that you do/did. Don’t forget that you can also add media, so if you have work that you want to showcase, take advantage of the opportunity. Remember, always add information about how you have provided value to your employer. This will interest potential employers.

Think about the employers for whom you worked

Susan Joyce, Netability.com

LinkedIn gives you 2,000 characters to describe each job in the Experience section. Done well, this section will increase your visibility inside LinkedIn, strengthening your personal brand and making your best keywords visible while highlighting your professional accomplishments and demonstrating your ability to communicate effectively.

Be sure to include your accomplishments that are relevant, and research appropriate job descriptions to identify the best keywords.

Going back as far as 15 years, describe each employer (keywords!) and each job (keywords!):

  • As you type in the employer’s name, LinkedIn will offer you the names of employers who have LinkedIn Company pages. If available, choose the appropriate employer’s Company page inside LinkedIn, for your current and also your former employers.

    The Company page link makes it easy for people to learn more about your employer to gain insight into your skills and experience. Many recruiters search through a company’s list of employees looking for potential job candidates.
  • Briefly describe the employer as positively as possible, especially if not a well-known name or one which has disappeared. Describe the industry (keywords!), location (keywords!), and well-known products and services (keywords!).
  • Provide your job title(s) for that employer (keywords!). If your employer uses a unique or non-descriptive job titles, become a “slash person” to make the job clear (and to include relevant and appropriate keywords).

    For example, if your employer uses “Admin Wizard” as the job title for admin assistant jobs, become an “Admin Wizard/Admin Assistant” in LinkedIn.
  • If you worked remotely in a job, include that term plus the remote tools you used (keywords!)
  • If you had more than one job with the employer, describe each job separately, focused on the accomplishments relevant to your personal brand and future (keywords!).

Obviously, the Experience section offers members a wonderful opportunity to include appropriate keywords, making your profile more visible in LinkedIn and highlighting your relevant experience.

How recruiters read your Experience section

Tejal Wagadia

The experience section is the most important part of your LinkedIn profile. You can have the best Headline, About and Education sections, and recommendation; but if a recruiter or hiring manager can’t tell what you have done as work experience there is no point.

As a recruiter, here is what I look for:

1.     Your work history, company name, dates, title.

2.     Beyond it being chronological, you need to write down what you do and what you have accomplished. This is the perfect place to utilize “I” statements. It can be in whatever format you want. Paragraph or bullets but make sure to list it.

a.     Pro-tip: If you want to make it easier for the reader, I’d suggest starting with a summary under each company as a paragraph and then add your accomplishments and duties as bullets.

3.     If you have any publications or media links, you should absolutely list it here as it relates to specific jobs. Especially for creative people, your work specific examples on your portfolio will go here.

Whether you are looking for a job or not, your experience section should always be updated because you never know which recruiter or employer might look at it and reach out to you with a potential role that might be your dream job.

If you’ve held multiple jobs at the same organization and/or been promoted, you should update your LinkedIn accordingly to highlight that. LinkedIn has a great feature where they update your profile with the same company but highlight the different positions you’ve held. 

Pay attention to job titles and think before describing current projects

Virginia Franco, VirginiaFrancoResumes

When writing your LinkedIn Experience section, I advise job seekers to pay careful attention to:

Job Titles

The platform’s algorithm weighs the keywords it finds here. LinkedIn gives you 100 characters to play with – I say take advantage of them!

Here’s how:

If you are targeting a role in Medical Device Sales but your job title is “Account Executive,” consider expanding upon your title by using this as your job title to capitalize on keyword searchability:

Account Executive | Cardiology Medical Device Sales

Current Role

If currently employed, I don’t recommend sharing info about how you turned a team around or fixed a hot mess within your organization – as this can paint your current company (and your manager!) in a negative light.

It’s important to remember that you might still need to attract and maintain relationships with customers/vendors, etc. Your best bet at not burning bridges while job searching is to include some info about the company’s products/services/mission. In addition, include a paragraph about what you’ve been brought on to do.

Public/Private Information

Not every company is comfortable sharing revenue or market share figures – particularly if the company is private. If this is your situation, it’s OK to share your accomplishments, but take care not to share exact figures. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

6 types of LinkedIn users; which are you?

Spending as much time on LinkedIn as I do, I notice how often my network contributes. Some are consistent and strike an even balance, others do not. In this post, I’m going to address the six types of Linked contributors.

Man on phone 2

I’ve always asserted that there are three components of your LinkedIn success:

Creating a profile;

connecting with LI members; and

engaging with your connections.

It’s the third component that can be as important as the other two, if not more. By engaging with your connections, it keeps you top of mind. I use the familiar cliche when I explain the importance of engagement by saying, “Out of sight, out of mind.”

Let’s take a look at the six types of LinkedIn contributors

1. The non-contributor

Some of you might relate to this. You were an accountant until recently laid off. While you were working, one of your colleagues—maybe your colleague—said, “Hey, you should join LinkedIn. I hear it’s important to be on it.”

So you joined, not quite sure why, and let your profile sit. You accumulated 10 connections, because these were the 10 people you knew at work. You would get invitations, which sat in your My Network queue.

Now that you’re looking for work, you have no activity to speak of. In other words you’re nonexistent. You’re not getting any hits from recruiters, have no endorsements, not getting invites, don’t know how to share an update.

There’s a lot of work ahead for you.

2. Enough to be dangerous

If this is you, I want to say it’s almost worse than not contributing. You’re trying to do what you’ve been told by someone who was kind enough to give you advice. Perhaps your heart just isn’t into it.

Your profile is strong. There’s no problem here. In fact, you hired someone to write it for you. You were pumped when it was done. The person who wrote your profile mentioned numerous times that you have to 1) connect with ten quality connections a week and 2) engage with them.

The problem is that you are forgetting the last piece. You’re hoping that optimizing your profile with keywords will draw recruiters to you. However, optimizing your profile with keywords only works if you’re active and well connected.

You have potential, though.

3. Contribute too much

Someone managed to get it through your head that being a contributor on LinkedIn is crucial to being found. Your profile is strong and your network in good shape.

You’ve been contributing, which includes: sharing articles, mentioning industry trends, giving sage advice, asking questions, sharing news about your colleagues. All good stuff, but it’s gonna take awhile before your getting noticed like you want. So you overdue it.

I see you on LinkedIn contributing like a fiend. I see you six times a day. I won’t say your engagement reeks of desperation, but…. Here’s the thing, there is such thing as contributing too much.

It will take time to establish yourself, so be patient.

4. Addicted to LinkedIn

This is a bad thing, but you can’t help yourself. The worst thing you did was install the LinkedIn app on your phone. Just like people who are constantly checking their Instagram or Facebook accounts, you’re opening your LinkedIn app.

In fact, you’re posting updates and answering questions while you’re waiting for your son to get out of school, your wife to get off the train, during family gatherings. Yes, you’re concealing your phone underneath the table. You’re on LinkedIn every day, four hours a day.

I tell my LinkedIn workshop that at minimum they should be on LinkedIn four days a week. Their jaws drop. After pausing, I tell them that the optimum amount should be every day; yes, this includes Sunday. And I finish by telling them not to be like me.

Perhaps you should seek professional help.

5. Take too much or give too much

There are some people who just take and others who only give. Both attributes can be detrimental to your engagement. There are three major areas in which LinkedIn members take too much or give to much.

Recommendations: Takers will ask for recommendations but don’t think of returning the favor. When you look at the numbers of Received and Given, the numbers are extremely lopsided. It’s almost as bad to only give recommendations and not ask for them, as it looks like people don’t think highly enough about you.

Endorsements: Takers receive endorsements but don’t return the favor, whereas Givers will endorse their connections as soon as they connect. They’ll continue to click on others’ skills until the cows come home. But they won’t expect to be endorsed in return.

Long posts: Takers think that only their content matters in the eyes of their connections. They write multiple posts a week but don’t comment on what others write. Givers only comment on others’ content but don’t write their own. They are hesitant to write, thinking their expertise won’t be appreciated.

Not every LinkedIn user strikes an even balance. The next section talks about the takers, givers and the ones who share the wealth when it comes to engaging with the LinkedIn community.

6. Strike an equal balance

When I think about the people who strike an equal balance, I admire the humility my connections demonstrate when I’ve sent recommendations out of the blue to them. As well, my connections have sent me recommendations without my asking.

This is the way it should be. Will giving and graciously taking recommendations be 50/50? No, but the ones who strike an equal balance show a more balanced Received and Given ratio.

The same formula applies to endorsements. A golden rule of mine is that when someone endorses me, I send a quick personalized note thanking them for the endorsement/s and ask which skills they’d like to be endorsed for. This might shock the endorsers, but it only seems right to return the favor.

Another golden rule of mine applies to long posts. I believe in sharing long posts two or three times a week. When people comment on my posts, I do my best to interact with them. If they only react with a Like, Insightful, or Celebrate, that’s fine.

There are LinkedIn members who receive many comments on their posts because they comment on others’ posts. Their comments are sincere and fairly lengthy. Certain people come to mind because this is their policy.

Is striking an equal balance easy? No, it takes work. But the work you put in to strike an equal balance will be remembered by the people who truly matter.

The LinkedIn algorithm wants to see you participate in both manners. Comment on others’ posts and write your own.


Now that you’ve learned about the six types of LinkedIn contributors, which one are you? Are you barely on LinkedIn to the point where you shouldn’t bother or are you a LinkedIn addict like me. Or, do you strike a nice balance? I would love to hear your story, and I promise not to judge.

How could I judge?

If you want to learn more about LinkedIn, visit this compilation of LinkedIn posts.

16 LinkedIn pros talk about creating a powerful LinkedIn About section

What happens when you get 16 LinkedIn pros together to talk about creating a powerful LinkedIn profile About section? You get an variety of incredible answers. You might think all of the answers would be similar. Not so.

One of our pros advises not to write a boring About section. Blunt as this might sound, it makes sense; don’t use your 2,600 characters to write a whole lot of fluff.

Don’t write a “wall of words,” another pro emphasizes; meaning keep your paragraphs short.

Your resume is 2D but your LinkedIn profile is 3D, suggests a third pro. It contains your inner world and outer world. Read what he means by this.

Yet another pro writes, “Think of your About section as a sandwich, the top slice of bread makes a personal connection, the middle is the meat, and the bottom slice ends with a personal morsel.” Yum.

A recruiter among the group stresses the importance of keywords. If you want to be found, know where to place them.

These are only six of our pros weighing in. There are 10 more who have different, yet valuable, advice to impart.

What makes the About section hard to create for some people? One person who’s been active on LinkedIn told me he didn’t know what to write, so he doesn’t have one. Apparently, this sentiment applies to many people. I’ve seen many profiles without About sections.

If you are one of those people who don’t have an About section, or if you want more ideas on how to make it better; read this article. It’s long, but you’ll get plenty of great ideas. The authorities who contributed to this article are the best in their trade. You won’t go wrong.

Hook the reader and demonstrate value

Virginia Franco, VirginiaFrancoResumes.com

Taking a page from journalism, I liken your LinkedIn About section to a lead (lede) paragraph in a news story that gives the reader a sense of what the story will be about. Can you imagine a news article that skips this critical section? You’d probably skip reading it altogether. Same goes with your LinkedIn About section.

Contrary to popular belief, powerful and descriptive adjectives aren’t what make your LinkedIn’s About section powerful. While adjectives may be effective in telling the reader something, they don’t really show them anything of value.

Instead, a powerful About section tells the reader about the types of problems you solve while also sharing some detail about what makes you tick and be successful. It also hooks the reader within the first two lines and compels you to want to keep reading.  Here’s an example of an About section intro designed to inform and propel further reading.

When pharma companies need sales strategy and leadership to drive transformation, turnaround, launch new products or markets, or catapult teams from good to great – I am brought in.

The results? Plans that convert customers, bring new products to market and unseat the competition.

In addition to including details about your story, I often recommend including an email in your LinkedIn About section – which provides an interested party with an easy way to reach out without having to do extra clicking to find your contact info on your profile.


Avoid these three mistakes

Susan Joyce, Netability.com

I see three very common errors in the LinkedIn About section.

The first error is an empty or very short About section. Why is this a mistake? Wasted opportunity!

The solution? Summarize your qualifications for the job you want in your profile’s About section. Highlight your relevant accomplishments, and demonstrate your ability to communicate clearly.

The second error is what I call the “wall of words” mistake. The wall-of-words mistake is an About section with one or two very large paragraphs of content. Why is this a mistake? Because it looks like a wall of words and is not easily scannable! We are all in a hurry now.

So, recruiters and anyone else looking quickly to learn more about you, especially if they are looking at your profile on a smart phone (which more than 50% of them are), are not going to take the time to carefully read each dense paragraph.

The wall-of-words solution? Bulleted lists of short sentences, preferably highlighting your relevant professional accomplishments, quantified if possible to demonstrate your positive impact. Copy and paste LinkedIn “eye candy” (a.k.a. imoji) into About as bullets in your bulleted list to draw attention to them.

The third error is omitting contact information. Anyone not currently connected to you (like a recruiter) will not be able to read what you have posted in your “Contact info” section at the top of your profile. Even if you are the perfect candidate for a job, opportunities lost!

The solution? Add a sentence at the bottom of your profile which includes your permanent, professional contact information (NOT your current work or home contact information). My recommendation is to use Gmail and Google Voice, both of which can be re-directed to your current email and phone numbers.


Don’t write a boring About section

Shelley Piedmont, ShelleyPiedmont.com

Too many About sections have nothing in them or are boring. I read the first few sentences, and my eyes glaze over. It is such a wasted opportunity. When I ask why the person hasn’t focused on this section, they tell me they don’t know what to say.

So here is my advice. First, who is your audience? What do they need to know about you? Write it for them, not yourself. If you are a job seeker, what would an employer find of value about you? Focus on that. Likely, they will want to know about your knowledge, abilities, experiences, and accomplishments.

The About section is not your resume, though. You want to tell a story about what you have done but also who you are. What motivates you? What makes you stand apart from your peers? This is an opportunity to give a glimpse of the person behind the results.

It would be best to have SEO in mind as you are writing, so the search engine selects your profile as relevant. Ensure you sprinkle this section with keywords used to search for someone in your field or industry.

Make sure your about section is concise. Every word you choose is important. Does it bring value and tell your story in the best way? Likely you will need to edit your About section a few times to get it right. I have. And if it makes it easier to read, feel free to use emojis if your audience appreciates them.

Lastly, do not think that the About section is written once and never touched again. You should once a quarter review your LinkedIn profile and make updates as needed. That may mean adding or deleting information from your About section, depending on the changing needs of your audience.


A.C.E. your About section: Be authentic, captivating, and effective

Shea Ki, UpGradeMyInterview.com

The LinkedIn Profile About section can be our career momentum’s greatest friend or foe. So much can work against us including writer’s block, keyword or industry jargon overload, and too much copycatting someone else’s format. If you notice any of these issues about yours, I encourage that you inner-view yourself first to turn things around.

Reflect on: Why are you attracted to the work you are doing or want to do?
What stories might other coworkers, bosses, or colleagues share if asked about your contributions? Which accomplishments professionally, personally, and academically are you most proud of?

Depending on your career goals, several parts of your answers can be included in the LinkedIn profile About section.

Be sure to evaluate this section every 3-6 months to confirm it is serving you well. Here is a communication strategy to help you ACE your About section on LinkedIn or upgrade any message about your professional value:

A = Authenticity     

Does it sound like YOU? Do what you can to provide a sense of what matters to you or activates your values when you are at work. That makes you stand out in a positive way from everyone else. 

C = Captivating     

Are you targeting your ideal audience (those you want to read your About section the most)? Address a problem or need they have and describe what you offer to improve their situation. That is how you hold their attention to read more and take action to connect with you further. 

E = Effective     

Is it getting the results and impact you want?  Gain clarity of what outcomes you are aiming to achieve so you can measure how it is going. That will make it clear what changes to make or if it is time to get more support with it. 


Throw out the “Old-School” About section

Sarah Johnston, BriefcaseCoach.com

Old School” LinkedIn profiles were told in the 3rd person and were more biographical. (Example:  Mark is an executive leader who works globally with senior management.  He has demonstrated strengths in helping companies make sense of their numbers; passionate about educating and sharing the story with the rest of the organization….). “Old School” profiles are known for feeling less personal and more jargon-y. 

 The “New School” or modern profile is engaging and tells a first person story and draws the reader in with a hook. With “new school” profiles, readers are more likely to read and remember the summary. Which is one of the main goals of personal branding: to differentiate yourself and be known.


The About section speaks to your “inner” and “outer” worlds

Nii Ato Bentsi-Enchill, AvenirCareers.com

If your resume is a 2-D representation of your candidacy, consider your LinkedIn profile to be your 3-D representative. The About section of your profile is really where your professional persona can truly come to life by sharing your bigger story. 

The best stories make readers feel something. Your About section has the ability to accomplish this by weaving together a tapestry of your inner and outer worlds. Your inner world comprises your deep seated beliefs, values, & passions, which represent the steady, animating forces of your career path.

Your outer world are the achievements you’ve consistently made throughout your career that are the manifestation of your internal drivers. By weaving these two core elements together you’re able to not only show what you stand for but also how you uniquely impact the world around you.

In addition to these two core components, it’s crucial to articulate what’s unique about you and/or how you do things. You’re not the only person with your job title or level of experience, so it’s critical to ensure that you stand out by honing in on an aspect of your career journey, background, or way of using your skills that will help you stand apart from the crowd.

If you’re in leadership, take the opportunity to define the type of leader you are and how you help create the conditions for success, and bring out the best in those on your team.

Finally, don’t forget to invite people to connect with you who are similarly aligned with your values and career interests. A powerful About section will serve as a rich conversation starter by giving your audience ample opportunity to connect to an aspect of who you are that sparks curiosity or emotion in them, and compels them to reach out to learn more.


Your About section is like a professional/personal sandwich

Loren Greiff, PortfolioRocket.com

The P&P (Personal & Professional) Sandwich. 

First,  imagine the start and end of your About Section as two slices of bread. The middle is the filling.

  • The top slice or up-front portion is where your story begins and your personal connection is established.  
  • Allow some of your personality to come out, writing how you speak in the first person, using. 
  • Create a “hook” to grab your readers’ attention,  with what makes you tick. 
  • Include keywords without overstuffing and steer clear of too much jargon. 
  • Remember you want them to be engaged and read until the end.

For the filling, it’s about quality meat (skip the cheese) to capitalize on your professional impact. 

Sprinkle in some metrics, without reporting data. 

Share quick examples of your career wins, a cool client you worked with and/or a memorable nugget not captured on your resume. 

Keep them captive.

The bottom slice and end should offer some parting personal morsels.

  • A few little known facts. 
  • Call to action. 
  • Contact information, making it easy for them to reach out, pronto. 

No matter what, avoid treating this section as regurgitation of  the same information on your resume. 

This is a rare opportunity for those who don’t know you, yet to get a peek inside and find out more about you outside of the required hiring documents. You can still be buttoned up and deliver outstanding value without being boring or cliche. 

Lastly, know that this takes time to construct, revisions and some finesse to strike the right tone. 

Have others read it. If it doesn’t sound like YOU, have another go until it does. 

Decision makers read the About Section and this is a piece of the hiring process you can control so 

deliver excellence, to attract excellence. 


Consider these 4 tips when writing your About section

Lezlie Garr, ResumeLezlie.com

Start with a hook

With your About section, you want to catch the reader’s attention right away. You have a limited number of visible characters before the See More, so make them engaging.

You can start by telling an interesting (relevant) story about you, showcasing an impressive achievement, or outlining the most important pieces of your professional brand.

Present a concise, consistent brand

Speaking of your professional brand, your About section should present your brand in a cohesive, concise way that is consistent with your resume and other job search documents.

You’re not looking to make an exact replica; just make sure the message you present about yourself and the major highlights, achievements, and skills you showcase are consistent from your resume to your LinkedIn profile.

Include targeted keywords

The About section is (like most other profile sections) keyword searchable by the algorithm, so incorporate the most relevant and important keywords for your target roles. This will help increase your ranking in search results for those keywords.  

Set your content apart

While the platform doesn’t offer many native options for formatting your content, there are two options to add a unique look that will make you stand apart from your competition.

Emojis – While it’s important not to over-use these, a few well-placed emojis can make a big difference in the engagement-factor of your content.

Yaytext – Yaytext.com (not an affiliate link) is a web-based tool that converts plain text into styled text (bold, italic, etc.) which you can then copy/paste into your LinkedIn profile.


The About section is like the back cover of a book: 10 best practices

Kevin Turner, TNTBrandStrategist.com

Imagine your LinkedIn [Profile] like one Book in a massive Bookstore of 760M+ Professional Stories. The [Top card] is like the spine of the Book; [Profile photo], [Headline], graphic [Background photo], and small details may be what gets someone to pull your story from the shelf. Once that interest is initiated, we all know the back cover turns the browser into a buyer; this is your [About] [Summary].

The Most Successful [About] [Summary]s contain the following:

Captures interest in the first couple of lines to get that browser to dig in deeper

Stands out, in a sea of competition, a little different can make all the difference

Recognizes People buy from People, so make it Personal

Knows the Buyer and speaks to solve their needs

Avoids too many adjectives, complicated word salads, and unfounded statements

Goes for impact by bringing in the proof metrics

Implements Internet best practices by presenting in short paragraphs

Stimulates the reader visually between paragraphs with 3 to 5 concise, hard-hitting bullets backed with business-appropriate emojis: 🔘, ►, ✓, 📱, ✉ , 🌏, 6σ

Closes the deal with a ‘Call to Action’ and provides a way to buy in; list your contact, so it’s recognizable but not scrapable by Bots. Example: ✉ Kevin @ TNTBrandStrategist .com: 📱 +1.214.724.9111

Presented in a Mobile Friendly way, so we maximize all our customers

If you build that [About] [Summary] correctly, you will drive your [Profile] browser to devour the chapters within your work & volunteer [Experience], dive into your proof of knowledge leadership [Activity], understand the categories you serve in your [Skills & endorsements] and be further sold by your written [Recommendations]. Hope these thoughts help you, Market, & Book Your Own Success!


Your about section answers, “Tell me about yourself”

Hannah Morgan, CareerSherpa.net

LinkedIn provides every user with the opportunity to write a summary about themselves. What is it you want someone to know about you?

You have up to 2,600 characters to answer the question “tell me about yourself?” This is time when less is not more! This is your chance to explain who you are and how you work.

You want to highlight your professional skills as well as your motivation and personality. There isn’t a one-size fits all formula or answer. Pick and choose what you want to include from the options below:

  • What got you started in your field or career
  • Why you love what you do
  • Your top achievement and why it’s significant
  • Work processes or procedures you enjoy
  • Certifications, degrees, memberships that are important to you and the industry
  • Problems you solve and who benefits
  • Breadth or depth of industries you’ve worked in
  • Why people like working for you or with you
  • A hobby or interest outside of work that’s important to you

How you string all this information together and structure your About section is equally important. Make your content skimmable by writing in shorter sentences and shorter paragraphs.

Writing your About section will test your writing skills as well as you creative thinking. Enjoy the process of detailing what you want to be known for!


Write in 1st person and explain what you can do for employers

Erin Kennedy, Exclusive-Executive-Resumes.com

Want to know a secret about how to get readers stop in their tracks when they read your LI profile?

Write your About section like your story, not like a biography!

Gone are the days when we would write our About sections like a formal, third person, boring biography.

Hiring managers and companies want to learn more about you by the way you write about yourself. Think of your About section as your story intertwined with your brand, specialties, and accomplishments. Write it in first person as if you are talking to your reader. Consider these ideas when writing it:

What problems do I fix?
What do I bring to the table?
How do I make a difference?
How do I contribute to team goals?
What are my leadership strengths?
What are my top contributions?
What is my value statement?
What is my communication style?
What am I known for?
What am I passionate about?

You can also break up and organize different sections of your About section with emoji’s like arrows, dashes, stars, etc. This is a great way to showcase your different skill sets into mini stories with headlines like:

BUSINESS & TECHOLOGY PROCESSES
ACADEMIC ORGANIZATION
LEADERSHIP STYLE
TEAM LEADERSHIP & SUCCESS STORIES

One thing to remember is to keep your reader in mind when writing your About section. They are thinking, “How can this person help us? How can they fix our pain points? What makes them different from everyone else in this role?”

Once you’ve completed the content, don’t forget your call to action! Offer an invitation to connect or follow, remind them to check out your portfolio of projects, work, or events in your Featured section, suggest a virtual coffee with people in your industry, or put a link to your website for more information.

There is so much you can do with your About section that will help it jump out and draw the reader in.


Make sure to list your skills; recruiters are looking for them

Ed Han, Job-Hunt.org

Despite its popularity with recruiters and omnipresence in hiring, LinkedIn is first and foremost a networking platform.That’s why Reid Hoffman created it in his living room in 2002. When viewing your profile, people want to know whether you are someone with whom they would like to network. 

But you’re not here reading this installment of Things Career Related because you just want to network. You’re reading this article because you’re in the job search and want to be found be people like me.

As a recruiter, when I am finding talent via LinkedIn profiles, I conduct a search based on keywords. Keywords can appear anywhere in a LinkedIn profile, but it’s easiest and most natural for them to appear in either the member’s 220 character headline or the 3000 character About section.

The specific keywords I might search are those based upon my understanding of the need that will unearth the most relevant candidates. 

For example: if I am seeking a senior information security professional, I might search CISSP, a well-regarded certification for such professionals. I might also search for specific experiences or skills (e.g., threat or vulnerability management or pentesting). CISSP, threat management, vulnerability management, pentesting…all of these are keywords.

Personally, I avoid focusing on job titles. This is because I learned long ago that titles issued by employers can be non-intuitive. I’ve seen marketers with the job title of technical writer, VPs who are individual contributors (looking at your financial services industry)…heck, I’ve been an editor who didn’t actually edit anything.

For a powerful About section: talk about specific skills you have, the experiences you have had, the things that set you apart. That’s how you will be found by recruiters.


Show your greatness with your About section

Bob McIntosh, ThingsCareerRelated

When I talk with my clients about their LinkedIn profile About section, I tell them it should tell their story. But that’s too vague. There’s more to your About section than this simple statement. Another way to explain this section is that it should encompass your overall value.

“Encompass your overall value?” you may wonder. People who understand what it means to encompass their overall value take the time to write compelling prose that clearly states their greatness. Yes, they don’t save all of their accomplishments for the Experience section; they present some of them upfront.

There’s more than showing your greatness to consider when you’re writing this important section for the first time or revising it. To read further about 8 general tips and some ways you can write your About section, click here.


Your About section should sell you to the reader

Austin Belcak, CultivateCulture.com

The About section of your profile is your chance to really sell your reader. There are many ways to optimize it, but the two most important things any job seeker can do are:

  1. Lead with a highly relevant introduction

Your entire LinkedIn profile should be geared towards your target audience.

If you’re a job seeker, that means you’re writing it for the recruiter or hiring manager at your dream company who might read it. What do those people care about? They care about finding someone who matches the criteria for their roles. A winning About section opens with that.

I like to include a line that covers my background, how many years of experience I have, and a pitch of the value I bring to the table. For example:

“Award-winning sales executive with 8+ years experience driving $10M in new business for early stage cloud-based SaaS companies.”

If a recruiter or hiring manger needs a competent sales person in the SaaS / cloud space, you just checked a lot of their boxes! Relevance is key.

  1. Provide supporting evidence of their experience with results-based “Case Study” bullet

Now that you’ve introduced yourself, you want to back up your intro with some specific case studies of your best experience.

I like to include ~ 5 of these bullets that cover the full range of experience and results that my target audience is looking for. Continuing on the example above, I want to include some bullets that speak to my ability to drive $10M in new biz:

• Generated 5 deals worth $12M at [Company] in my first 16 months as an Account Executive
• Won “OneTeam” award for largest deal of the year ($8.7M) in 2021 at [Company]

These bullets should speak to specific wins and include measurable / tangible outcomes that make your value clear.

If you leverage both of these strategies in your LinkedIn About, you’re going to be off to a great start!


Think of your About section as a sales pitch

Ana Lokotkova, CVLabs.ca

Before diving into what a powerful LinkedIn profile About section is, let’s start with what it isn’t: it is NOT a word-for-word copy of the summary paragraph from your resume.

Imagine you’re browsing for a book on Amazon. A few books happen to match your search criteria. You click on them, and your eye immediately goes to the book description on the sales page (aka the short blurb you’ll likely find on the back cover) where you can skim through a short summary.

Just like the ‘About’ section of your LinkedIn profile, this short book description usually plays a key role in the book’s marketing by enticing you to buy the book. Same principle applies here: think of your About section as a powerful self-pitch.

What makes a compelling pitch for the About section? First of all, your pitch should reflect who you are and what makes you unique without giving away too much. Take an objective look: if your About section makes you want to read more, its core mission is accomplished. If, however, it reads as boring, overwhelming, and cluttered, then it’s definitely time for a revamp.

Writing the About section is my favorite part of crafting LinkedIn profiles for my clients. This is the perfect place for the core parts of your value proposition, i.e.:

  1. Summarizing who you are and what you do (what would you say during a handshake introduction?)
  2. Showcasing what sets you apart from your competition (what is your secret sauce?)
  3. Telling your target audience what’s in it for them (why should they keep reading?)
  4. Letting people know the easiest ways to get in touch with you (you might want to include a couple of options, such as your email and Twitter)

Think about S.H.A.R.P. acronym when writing your About section

Adrienne Tom, CareerImpressions.ca

When creating a LinkedIn About section, think S.H.A.R.P:

Searchable: Build your profile around your value offering and strategically integrate select words and language that support your offering and relate to your industry/role. What keywords and language are common for what you want to be found or known for (as a job seeker or professional)? Do some research to find out.

Hook ‘em in: Make the opening count. If a person lands on your profile, will the first few lines of your About section pull them in and entice them to read more? Ensure the first ~250 characters of your About section are interesting and relatable to the types of individuals you want to attract. Be unique.

Action-oriented: Write your profile with an active voice and share a few career wins or measurable achievements that support your brand and offering. Be specific about who you are and the outcomes you have generated. Metrics can really pop off the page.

Robust: The About section allows up to 2,600 characters – put these characters to good use to fully maximize all the above and more. A few paltry sentences won’t cut it. Just remember to focus on the quality of content versus quantity. 

Personalized: Write the About section in the first person to create more connection with readers. Be authentic and consider using the space to tell a story. Outline who you are as a professional, what makes you unique, and the value you have to offer. 


Well, here you have it. If you read to this point, skimming or reading every work, thank you for taking the time to do it. Every point to make about the About section has been covered. Or are there other points that haven’t been made? If you can think of any, let me know.

Photo by George Milton on Pexels.com

5 areas on your LinkedIn profile you absolutely must nail

No matter how you slice it, there are five areas you must nail on your LinkedIn profile. People’s opinions vary on the order of importance, so the best I can do is give you my take on this and why I list them in my order of preference.

In a poll I conducted a year ago, of 1,189 people who voted, 46% chose the Headline over the About and Experience sections. I was in the minority and chose About (24%). The runner up was Experience (30%).

I’m not going to rehash this poll other than to say I’ve changed my mind in terms of how I rank the sections. (Hey, if politicians can change their minds, why can’t I?) Were I to vote again, I would place the Experience above the other two.

Experience

I’m not trying to be contrary here. The reason why I think Experience is so important is that this is where you hit recruiters over the head with the accomplishments. Stick with only the accomplishments and chuck the mundane duties. This is how you nail the Experience section.

Many recruiters will skip the LinkedIn profile About section and leap to Experience. This is similar to how they treat your resume; they go directly to Experience because—quite honestly—the resume Summary is often filled with fluff, whereas you can’t fake the content in Experience.

I want to bring up one of my pet peeves. I see too many C-level job seekers make the assumption that their visitors know what they did/do at their positions. They simply list the company name, their title, and months/years of experience. By doing this, they’re robbing readers, namely recruiters, of valuable information. It also comes across as arrogant.

Here’s how it should be done from one of my former client’s job summary:

“As the Director, Marketing Communications at ABC Compnay, I planned, developed and executed multi-channel marketing programs and performance-driven campaigns, using digital marketing principles and techniques to meet project and organization goals.”

Notice how he used first-person point of view? Use first person point of view for your accomplishments as well. Take, for example, an accomplishment statement from a resume: “Volunteered to training  5 office staff on new database software. All team members were more productive, increasing the team’s output by 75%.”

The same statement on the LinkedIn profile sounds more personal: “I extended my training expertise by volunteering to train 5 office staff on our new database software. All members of the team were more productive as a result of my patient training style, increasing the team’s output by 75%.”

To read a more in depth article on the LinkedIn profile Experience section go to 5 reasons why you shouldn’t ignore your LinkedIn profile Experience section.

Headline

The Headline is my second choice of areas where you must nail one of the five sections. I’ve read thousands of LinkedIn profiles—this is a fact I had to double check—so I’ve seen the good, bad, and the heinous.

A Headline that meets the heinous criterium would be “Seeking Next Opportunity,” and that’s it. This adds absolutely no value to a potential employer; rather it simply tell them the job seeker’s situation.

Meg Guiseppi, Personal Branding Strategist says this about the Headline:

“I always want people to reinforce their personal brand by getting some personality in their headline. But I feel packing it with keywords is more important. For the most part, save the descriptive adjectives for your About and Experience sections, and elsewhere.”

Here’s an example she gives:

CFO, Senior Finance & Operations Executive – Alternative & Mobile Payments Pioneer, Global Monetization, E-commerce, M&A

Keywords are important, especially if you’re in the job search, but I also like to see a short, impactful tagline. Take Lezlie Garr’s Headline that includes a tagline following her keywords:

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

About

Not to dwell on that notorious poll, but this section was my first choice a year ago. As I said earlier, people are allowed to change their mind. This said, About can be impactful if done correctly. But many people don’t put in the effort to make this section great.

To nail About you have to tell your story. Story, you may wonder? What does Bob mean by this. This is where you can describe what drives you to succeed or problems you face in your industry and how you solve them.

Here’s a brief example of a client of mine who’s baiting readers by asking them in the first paragraph if they need his services.

Are you looking for someone who can increase your ROI? With my product development, sales management, and channel management experience, I am a triple threat and will add great value to your company. I am a sales/product leader and global channel manager with a demonstrated history of working from startup to large… see more

Another LinkedIn member uses the body of his About section to explain his experience in product management/marketing with a brief caption below. He lists five areas of expertise in all to tell his story.

►DEEP PRODUCT/TECHNOLOGY CAPABILITIES: My roots are in product management/marketing. This strength has enabled me to understand and market complex technologies. I have had success with a wide variety of innovative B2B and healthcare products, including data analytics, data prep, data integration, cybersecurity/compliance, telecommunications, and IoT platforms.

There are various ways you can conclude your About section, one of which is to list a call to action where you list your contact information. You can also reiterate your value to employers or, in my case, tell readers that you see the bigger picture.

𝗜 𝗚𝗘𝗧 𝗜𝗧

If you’re unemployed, you don’t need to be told that being out of work can be challenging, both emotionally and financially. I know because I’ve been there. So I’ll be the last person to tell you to not feel bad. However, I will tell you that it’s temporary. I’ll also tell you not to go it alone.

A recent article I wrote goes into greater detail on how to write a killer About section: 8 tips on how to write your LinkedIn profile About section, plus sample text

Activity

Why do I list Activity as one of the sections you need to nail on your profile? It’s simple; you demonstrate one of the most important components of a LinkedIn campaign, engagement. If I see no pulse in someone’s Activity section, I assume they posted their profile and just let it sit there.

This article is about the LinkedIn profile, but you have to look at the big picture. It’s not worth writing a stellar profile if people don’t know you exist. There are four simple ways to engage with your network:

1. Start by following LinkedIn members

You might want to start following people before connecting with them. You will still see their content in your feed, but you won’t be able to communicate with them directly unless you have a premium account and use Inmail to send them a message.

2. Actively search for content from LinkedIn members

Hopefully your first- and second-degree connections, and the people you’re following are like-minded and produce content that gels with you. For example, if you are in Supply Chain and want to read, view videos, or hear podcasts on this topic simply type “Supply Chain” in the Search field at the top left-hand corner of any page. Then select Posts.

3. Search for content companies produce

LinkedIn allows you to select hastags (#) which categorizes content. Instead of spending time on your feed searching for your desired topics, type in the Search engine #(topic). For example, if you want to read articles on digital marketing, type #digitalmarketing and select Posts.

4. React and comment on what others write

Once you’ve chosen who to follow or connect with, their content will be displayed in your feed. However, LinkedIn doesn’t show all of the content that LinkedIn members you follow produce. You’ll have to actively search for it. This might seem like a needle in a haystack.

3 reasons why your Articles & Activity section is important

Education

If you’re wondering why I list Education last, it’s simple. This section is the last one before Licenses and Certifications, and it can’t be moved like in days past. This is one reason why Education comes in last place.

More so, LinkedIn members dismiss this section by treating it like their resume. What I mean by this is that most of them simply list their school, location, and degree. But there’s so much more a person can write about their experience in school. Madeline Mann is a great example. Here’s what she writes:

University of Southern California
Master of Science (M.S.) Field Of Study Organizational Development – Applied Psychology Activities and Societies: Phi Kappa Phi

• Part of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society – only top 10% of the program selected for this honor
• Served as the sole student representative on the program’s admissions board

Relevant coursework:

Managing and Developing People, Strategy and Organization Consulting, Statistics, Organizational Psychology, Facilitation Design, Research Methods, Group Dynamics and Leadership.

The program turns psychology insight into business impact with a rigorously applied curriculum that combines research focused material in Dornsife College with MBA courses in the Marshall School of Business.

Do you see how well she uses the description area, rather than leaving it blank. This goes to further nail her profile.


You are probably wondering why Skills & Endorsements and even Recommendations weren’t included as areas you need to nail on your LinkedIn profile. And this is a fair question. Here’s the thing, these two sections have taken a serious nosedive in recent years.

Think about the last time you were endorsed for a skill. Are you being endorsed on a regular basis? Are you endorsing others? Now think about the last time you wrote someone a recommendation or received one. I think this makes my point.

Further, these sections are buried so low on the profile that people rarely look at them. I only visit these two areas on someone’s profile when I’m doing a LinkedIn webinar or training. And this is simply to say that one of my connections has 99+ endorsements for many skills, and that he hasn’t received any endorsements since.

6 tips for a successful video interview

While some employers are conducting in-person interviews, many of them are still using video interviews—Zoom, Skype, WebEx, MS Teams, Facetime, etc.—to fill positions. Video interviews have become more of the norm because they’re more convenient for employers and job candidates.

Job candidates might prefer in-person interviews over video because they’re more personal—they can see where they’ll be working, might be introduced to their potential colleagues, and they can gauge the commute. There are many benefits to in-person interviews, but video is here to stay, at least for awhile.

Loren Greiff (rhymes with “Life”) and I had a conversation about six tips we’d give job candidates about video interviews. Loren is more than qualified to talk on this topic; she’s been in the position of hiring candidates as a director of marketing and a recruiter, among other roles, and now runs a coaching business focusing primarily on marketing executives.

We talked about three phases of the interview: before, in-the-moment, and after the event.

1. Research for the interview (Loren)

If ever there was a time to turn into a stalker it would be when researching prior to your interview. Like a bloodhound, you want to stay on scent, following the clues that lead to information that goes beyond the surface. Set up Google Alerts to open up the flow of real time data.

Nothing says you’re on top of it more than when you offer congratulations for a recent win, recognition for a new product launch, or acknowledge a corporate announcement during your interview.

Scour online resources like LinkedIn, the company’s blog, press releases, and corporate About Section. But also dig further. Owler.com is great for grabbing the size & revenue of the organization & it’s competitors. Check out Crunchbase.com for more entrepreneurial companies. Theorg.com, depending on the company, gives you org charts. Don’t forget YouTube to find out if the CEO or other leaders have videos or have been a past podcast guest.

Keeping track and using verbiage relevant to your role and experience are great winning strategies. If it’s a public company review their filings at sec.gov. And absolutely work your magic to get on some calls with your connections so you’re not wholly reliant on Glassdoor or Fishbowl.

2. Get mentally prepared (Loren)

When it comes to being mentally prepared, there are 5 key things to keep in mind during your interview.

1. Remember you’ve already done the heavy lifting (practicing and researching). Show up strong and end strong. That’s what people remember—the beginning and at the end and it’s called the recency effect, easy to visualize as the upwards arc of a smile.

2. Clean Space = Clear Mind. Setting up a clean and clutter free space and background helps eases the noise within. If you want to go for a virtual background, opt for something professional vs. a beach setting or outer space. You want the focus to be on you and what you’re sharing.

3. Pace your pace. You don’t want to put anyone to sleep or rattle on, so getting it just right matters. The ideal speed is about 115 words per min. (to find out what your pace is you can use a speech-to-text converter like IBM’s Watson). A steady pace allows you to connect with your interviewer and oozes confidence despite the butterflies inside.

4. Eye contact & body language. No matter what comes out of your mouth your eye contact and body language will be doing most of the talking. Look at the camera not yourself on your screen.

Eye contact builds trust and nearly 80% of all candidates don’t do this. You can turn off the video mirroring feature too and remove temptations. When you want to bring something big to life, don’t shy away from hand gestures especially those that draw closer to the heart when speaking about yourself more personally.

5. Review the job description, have it handy with your notes & PAR’s (problem, action, results) well rehearsed.

3. Mind your first impressions (Bob)

In a webinar I lead, I talk about the importance of enthusiasm, confidence, and preparedness. These are three characteristics interviewers are looking for in your answers and body language.

We normally think of the content of our answers as the most important component of the interview, and it is. But we can’t disregard body language because it plays such a huge role in communicating with others.

Consider enthusiasm, for example. Your facial expressions and body language tell the interviewer that you’re excited about the role at hand and working for the company. Loren makes an excellent point about hand gestures; don’t be afraid to emphasize your points.

Lack of enthusiasm gives the opposite message; you’re a little bit excited about the opportunity but not ecstatic. This is akin to asking someone over for dinner and the person saying, “Yeah, I guess so.” You wouldn’t take this as a good sign, would you.

Expressing confidence is also important, as it tells the interviewer that you’ll be confident in the role. The employer want assurance that you’ll do a standup job for their customers and employees.

Regardless of your mental state, you’ll feel more confident during the interview because you’ve prepared by researching the role, company, and the interviewer/s (familiarity breeds confidence).

4. Answer the tough interview questions with the PAR formula (Bob)

The questions I see people struggle with the most are behavioral-based ones. They’re more like directives that begin with, “Tell me about a time….” or “Give me an example of when….” Even the higher-level job seekers struggle with these type of questions because they’re not prepared for them.

The clients who are unprepared for these questions when I mock interview them tend to avoid the specifics of the problem they faced at work, their actions to solve the problem, and the result or results from their actions.

Instead, they start by saying, “This is what I’d do,” answering the question in a theatrical manner. I put on the brakes and say, “Stop! I want a specific example.” Let’s say the questions is “Tell me about a time when you trained your colleagues.” I expect to hear something like:

Problem: The company wanted to move from our antiquated CRM system to Salesforce.

Actions: I volunteered to train my colleagues in sales on how to use Salesforce.

After the software was implemented, I researched how to use it. I spent many hours watching training programs like Udemy for new users.

The company also sent me to hands on training.

I began to conduct group training sessions which were helpful, but I also found that some of my colleagues needed more individual training.

Result: With group and individual training my colleagues learned Salesforce to the point where they occasionally asked me questions. I estimate that I saved the company thousands of dollars.

5. Ask the interviewers questions at the end of the interview (Loren)

We both agree that the questions job candidates ask can be as important as the ones they give during the interview. Loren sees the questions candidates ask in three categories, Impact, Relevancy, and Culture.

For Impact the candidates can ask, “A year from now we’re celebrating. What will that be for and how will this impact you, the team and the company?” Or “How will you know you’ve made the right hiring decision 60 days from now?”

For relevancy, “With social distancing and remote work, what tools or practices has the company implemented to continue communication, collaboration, and support employees?”

For culture, “What do you like most about working at XYZ, and if you had one thing that had to change you wish it was?”

There are other questions candidates can ask, but these are some of my favorites, and you only have so much time at the end of the interview. Come prepared with other questions written down just in case the interviewers want to hear more (a good sign).

6. It’s not over until you follow up (Loren)

No matter what, don’t approach your thank-you note as if it’s an afterthought or another to-do item to check off the list. Thank-you notes (and yes it’s perfectly fine to send an email) are one of the best times to rack up extra points.

I remind clients that just because the interview is over, it doesn’t mean the decision has been made. I am a huge fan of including an embedded video (using either Loom or Dubb) as a way to set yourself apart to personalize your appreciation, express your interest, and reiterate why you’re the one.

But whether it’s an email, with or without video, keep it impactful and short. If they had let you know in the interview when they would get back to you—let them know you’ll reach out to them around that time. You want to be proactive but never a pest. Your best bet is to wait 5 days in between follow ups.

And, when you do follow up, don’t just make it about you and what you want. Add in a PS. something that’s about them. This is a surprisingly effective—in fact 90% of readers read the PS before the letter


Video interviews will most likely be around for a while. They’ve proven to be convenient and, in some employers minds, safer than in-person interviews. However, they present a challenge for many job candidates in the way they present themselves, as well as the way they answers the interviewers’ questions.

If you follow the tips Loren and I provide, you will do fine. Remember: research before the interview; get mentally prepared; research the position, company, and interviewers; answer the tough questions; ask intelligent questions when asked; and follow up in a timely and impactful manner.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

5 keys to a successful mock interview

One of my clients told me recently that the mock interview I conducted with her was the best experience she’s had preparing for interviews to date. This was after a session where I reviewed her performance with constructive criticism, at times brutal honesty.

mock interview2

I understood my client’s sentiment, because I also think a mock interview is extremely effective, if done correctly. I’ve conducted hundreds of mock interviews over the course of my tenure at the urban career center for which I work.

You don’t have to be a career advisor in order to conduct a mock interview. You can be a friend or relative. But to successfully conduct a mock interview, you must cover the following four components.

1. Keep the interview itself short

The length of the mock interview should be no longer than 45 minutes; you’ll want to give yourself time to play back the recorded interview. The playback gives the client and you the opportunity to address the strengths and weaknesses of her performance.

The goal of a mock interview is not to make it the length of a real interview. Where the real interview might be a marathon, the mock interview is akin to a sprint. It is intense and just long enough for the client to get the idea of how she performed. Additionally, the interview part itself can be exhausting if it is 90 minutes long.

2. The mock interview should be filmed and played back

If possible, you should should film the mock interview with a digital camera. The old saying the camera never lies is true. Not only is it important for your client to hear the content of her answers and the tone and inflection of her voice; she also needs to see her body language and other nuances.

Your client, and you, may forget the answers she gives. Filming the interview allows both of you to hear her answers again. You can comment on her answers intelligently and accurately. For example, “Your answer to this question asking why you left your most recent position is a bit too long,” you may comment. “And refrain from blaming your supervisor if possible.”

Seeing her body language can be even more important to your client than hearing her answers, particularly if her body language is extremely poor. One of my clients came across so stiff that he didn’t move his hands the whole time. His eye contact was extremely poor, as well. He recognized this because of seeing the recording and vowed to correct his body language and eye contact.

Usually I don’t have the time to get through the entire playback, but this is fine. I ask participants to bring a thumb drive with them so they can review their mock interview at a later date.

3. Clients must take the mock interview seriously

Be sure to make this clear before a few days of the mock interview. Tell your client that it will be treated as a legitimate interview. Setting this expectation will ensure that the atmosphere will be professional.

This begins with something as simple as dressing the part. I can tell when a client is serious about his mock interview by the way he dresses. If he comes dressed to the nines, this is a good sign. On the other hand, if he comes dressed in a tee-shirt and shorts, this is a turnoff.

The participant must also have done his research. For example, if you ask, “What can you tell me about this company, and why do you want to work here?” it is unacceptable for him to tell you he will know the answers in the “real interview.” No, he must see the mock interview as a “real interview.”

Your client must be an active participant. I will ask for my client’s input during the playback of the mock interview. This is his opportunity to comment on the content of his answers, as well as his body language. As the interviewer, you don’t want to give all the feedback. It’s important that the participant does some self-critique.

4. You must also take the mock interview seriously

This means being prepared. If I show up for a mock interview unprepared, it doesn’t go as well; and I sense that my client knows this. I might ask canned questions.

Before conducting a mock interview, ask your client to provide two documents, her résumé and a recent job description. From these you’ll write the questions for the interview. You don’t necessary have to stay on script; you might fall into a more conversational mode if the spirit drives you.

The questions must be challenging, without embarrassing your client. It’s also important to come across as friendly in order to put her at ease. On the other hand, if you know your client will encounter stress interviews, make the mock interview stressful. Generally speaking, the mock interview must build confidence, not demean your client.

At times you might experience resistance from your client. Hold your ground. She doesn’t need to agree with everything you say; and you might want to preface this at the beginning of the critique. Keep in mind that she will know more about her occupation, but you know more about the interview process. However, if you are unprepared, your authority goes out the window.

5. Ask challenging question

As mentioned above, when conducting a mock interview, make the questions challenging. Ask questions that 1) determine the interviewee’s self-awareness, 2) her understanding of the position, 3) her knowledge of the company, 4) and even her take on the competition.

My preference is to ask more behavioral-based questions than the typical no-brainers. The “What is your greatest weakness,” “Why should we hire you,” and even “Why did you leave your last company” questions are ones the interviewee’s can rehearse.

Focus on the job description she’s provided and ask questions like, “Tell me about a time when you managed a team of more than 5 people. How did that work out.” This will require her to come up with a thoughtful story using the Situation-Task-Actions-Result formula.

Even though behavioral-based questions take longer to answer, they reveal many more skills than you ask about. To determine if the interviewee demonstrates self-awareness, ask questions that require a negative result, such as, “Tell me about a time when you led a project that didn’t go well.” Will she blame others or take ownership of her faults?


Mock interviews can be the most valuable job-search tool for a candidate. I encourage my clients to participate in them as much as possible. Many express discomfort at the idea of being asked questions, let alone being filmed. When you have the opportunity to conduct a mock interview with a client, don’t hesitate. You’ll be doing your client a great favor.

4 things to consider when answering personality interview questions

The majority of people I interview aren’t transparent when I asked the questions that require them to reveal something about their personality. The question could be what they enjoy doing outside of work or even something as simple as the genre of literature they prefer.

This is natural; who wants to talk about their personality with a complete stranger? In an interview their focus is on answering questions that are relevant to the job at hand. This is what they’ve prepared for.

However, avoiding answering personality interview questions is an irritant with interviewers and can hurt your chances of landing a job. Interviewers want—even need—to know who they’ll be hiring as a person.

Sure, your engineering, marketing, finance, operations, or management experience is necessary for the role to which you’re applying. But there’s more to you as a person than just this requirement.

Do you recall when you were a child and your parents told you they wanted you to be honest? Do you have a relationship with someone that’s based on trust? Interviewing is the same; the person or people interviewing you want to hear and see self-awareness.

I find myself getting irritated when job candidates danced around questions asking for them to reveal something about themselves because I honestly wanted to know their answers to my appropriate questions. But for those who obliged me, I am impressed and their answer prompted me to ask follow-up questions.

There are four reasons why job candidates are hesitant to answer this question.

  1. They don’t understand why it’s being asked.
  2. They overthink how to answer it.
  3. They don’t want to answer wrong.
  4. They think it’s irrelevant

Why interviewers ask the questions they do

Here’s the thing, you’re more than your title and responsibilities; you’re someone your colleagues and superiors will be working with at least eight hours a day. They’ll want to know you as a person and have conversations with you that doesn’t have to revolve around work.

When I go on a walk with a colleague or am eating lunch with them (pre-pandemic), the last thing I want to do is talk about work. It’s a time, albeit short because I don’t take a long lunch, when I don’t have to think about work. Talking about work during these times makes me irritable.

Instead, I like to talk about what they did over the weekend or what they plan to do for the upcoming weekend. I’ll give you an example. One of my colleagues is an avid cyclist. I admire this, as he sometimes goes on 30-mile journeys or more. He’ll talk about how he cycled the back roads of Massachusetts.

As an interviewer, I want to know what makes a person tick outside of work. I want to know that they have interests. They don’t have to reveal their whole life, but if there’s a commonality, that’s even better. If there isn’t, that’s cool. I don’t cycle, nor do I want to; but to hear my colleague talk about it with such excitement is enjoyable.

Don’t overthink it

As I interview some candidates’ via Zoom, I can see some of them thinking way too hard about how to answer the question, “What do you like to do outside of work?” It’s like their minds are doing somersaults trying to come up with the perfect answer. I want them to chill; just answer the question.

In some ways I blame people like myself and other job coaches for teaching our clients to carefully weigh answering questions in a manner that won’t hurt their chances of landing the job. Maybe too carefully. But this innocent question isn’t one of them.

During a Job Club meeting, I asked the participants an ice-breaker question that was simple in nature. Because it was only a Job Club meeting, most participants were animated in answering, “What do you do outside of work?” But a few of them asked, “What does this have to do with work?”

Admittedly this irritated me. It was a simple exercise and something to get the hour-and-a-half kicked off. Regardless, the few participants immediately went into interview mode. They were overthinking the simple question. They didn’t want to get the answer wrong.

There’s no wrong answer…usually

Well, usually you can’t answer this question wrong, unless what you like doing outside of work is pulling wings off of flies. This image is too morose, but you get the idea. When I ask about candidate’s outside interests, I don’t care if they’re similar to mine or if they’re totally different.

For example, if someone loves the theater, that’s perfectly fine. If they enjoy yoga or meditation, great. I even like to hear about activities they enjoy doing with their family. And, no, I don’t hold this against them.

We’ve told our clients to stay away from talking about their children. Why? I have children, albeit older in age, so I love family people. I also assume they’ll dedicate the required time to the job and not spend an unnecessary amount of time with their family.

By the point I ask this question in an interview, I should have a good sense that a candidate is a good fit for the job—able to excel in the technical aspect of it, are motivated to take on the challenges, and will be a good fit for the role.

The caveat of answering this question is to steer clear of political or religious activities. This is something I will stick by as a career coach. There are just some things that are out of bounds. I used to say anything to do with hunting was taboo, but I’ve since changed my mind on that.

Good interviewers ask relevant questions

I like to think that if I ask a question about what a candidate likes to do outside of work there is a good reason for doing so. Throughout this article I’ve talked about reasons for asking this question. I like to know the person as a person. I want to see how they answer; do they show self-awareness or are they guarded. Another reason would simply to put the candidate at ease.

Prior questions or ones to follow the personality questions are about the position and, to some extent, the company. These are all legit with no malice intended. This can’t be said about poor interviewers, of whom try to trap candidates into saying the wrong things.

Here’s the thing, every question an interviewer asks should be relevant. I for one am not a big fan of the generic questions, such as “What is your greatest weakness,” “Why should we hire you,” and “What do you plan to do in five years.” To me, they’re throw away questions.

What’s telling is a poll that I’m conducting at the moment where I ask, “Why do some candidates have a difficult answering questions about their private life?” Of close to 10,000 respondents, only 18 percent of have answered that they think questions like the one I write about today are irrelevant.

Following are some responses to the poll I conducted.


Tara Orchard: Some people prefer to keep their personal life private and focus on their skills and experience. Perception of the question is important. For some personal means too personal, including relationships, family, religion, personal beliefs, obstacles in their past and other private factors.

I remind clients it is useful to have some personal information to talk about but it need not be very personal. They can talk about why they selected the school they attended, an interesting adventure they had, sports, arts, hobbies and so on that are relatable, general or interesting.

The employer is likely either trying to build rapport or see if the person is well rounded, not digging for private information. As usual, perception and preparation are key.

MARY FAIN BRANDT: I think job candidates are simply afraid to “answer it wrong”, which is silly! Perhaps they are worried how they will be viewed if they say are a huge STAR WARS fan or if they love Comic Con, or if they spend all their personal time shuffling their kids around to soccer games and cheer practice. Or the big one – I am active in my Church.

I think people are afraid to say the wrong thing.

I say share something light, but don’t hide who you are. After all, if you do get the job, conversations will come up about what you did over the weekend.

Austin Belcak (He/Him): As I’m writing this “Don’t want to answer wrong” is leading the pack. It’s a bummer that companies have made candidates feel that a simple question could be a trap. Says a lot about the interview and hiring practices right now.

Anastasia Magnitskaia: That is a great question Bob! Part of it, sometimes we are so prepared to answer questions that we have researched and practiced that this question can come as a surprise. Think about answering the question with substance- we all have things we do outside of work that will inspire others. Don’t sell yourself short and answer “I watch tv”. I also want to add that if a company is asking that question, it shows that they actually do care about work life balance!

Erin Kennedy: Oooh, that is a great reminder, Bob McIntosh. It IS a question they may get asked. It’s good to be prepared with those types of questions as well. Keep your answers prepared and skim them lightly (no need to delve into your personal life).

Erica Reckamp: You can usually navigate this by picking out a couple of benign hobbies. Avoid anything dangerous (insurance liability) or elitist (yachting anyone?)

Most often, it’s an opportunity to open a broader conversation with the interviewer. If you’ve done your research in advance, this is a great opportunity to mention shared interests!

LAURA SMITH-PROULX: This is a great point, Bob McIntosh. I really think people are caught off guard and hesitant to get too personal in the interview. It’s good to prepare for some version of this question and give a brief description that doesn’t stray too far from the subject. “I’m a voracious reader” or “I enjoy the local outdoors” might help combat nervousness.

Lotte Struwing: I think many may want to keep their personal lives to themselves. Without understanding the question, they may think it’s not a legal question and are uncomfortable responding to it.

Paul Upton: Hiring manager perspective:
I love this question as well as “tell me about yourself”. As a hiring manager I’d love to hear when candidates tell me about who they are personally and professionally… we tend to spend more time with people that we work with than many other folks in our lives, so it’s so important to be personable and show your human side.

I’d always get a bit discouraged when candidates just jump into stuff they think I wanted to hear and focus strictly about the job.

These types of questions are such a great opportunity to really stand out and show who you really are and why you’d be someone folks would love to work with!

Paula Christensen: loved your poll Bob McIntosh and this follow up. I’ll continue to be optimistic and view this question as a chance to build a connection and create engagement. I do agree that keeping polarizing subjects out of the response makes sense. Don’t over think it.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

7 reasons why employers should hire active job seekers

A disturbing conversation with statewide colleagues revealed that some hiring authorities are still overlooking “active” job candidates and only considering “passive” candidates. I thought employers were getting past this malarkey and letting go of the idea that only passive candidates are best. Apparently not.

unemployed

Do you remember way back in 2011 when some employers shamefully admitted to not hiring active job seekers? I performed a search on this topic and found the infamous article from the  Business Insider,  72 companies that might not hire you unless you already have a job, supporting this fact.

There is something inherently wrong with employers refusing to hire people who are out of work for one year, six months, and even three months. It is especially heinous if employers are still carrying out this practice during COVID-19.

Here are seven reasons why employers should hire active job seekers.

1. It is often beyond a person’s control when they’re laid off. CNBC announced in 2015 that Kraft Food was going to lay off 2,600 people. All very capable and diligent employees, they were not terminated due to poor performance. They were terminated because the employer failed.

Other large employers in my part of the state, such as Philips Lighting and EMC, and Keurig Dr. Pepper have laid off many skilled people. Again, employees losing their jobs had nothing to do with their performance. Yet somehow employers overlook the fact that victims of major layoffs are unworthy of consideration.

2. The unemployed cannot be accused of not wanting to work. In fact, getting back to work is their motivating factor in life. Employers should see this as an opportunity to hire hungry qualified active job seekers.

According to a poll taken for a 2015 Indeed.com article, still applies: “VPs say active candidates have better motivational drive than passive candidates. When a candidate shows interest and applies in a job, they’re more likely to be invested in the role and have a higher chance at succeeding.”

I was encouraged to hear from Amy Miller, a recruiter at Amazon, that she searches for people who have the “Open to Work” displayed on their LinkedIn profile photo. More employers should take this approach in hiring.

3. Good job candidates shouldn’t be blamed for inadequate job-searching. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listen to job seekers say they’ve sent out hundreds of resumes, using Indeed.com, Monster.com, Dice.com—and other job boards—without getting any love.

The sad fact is that they know the best ways to conduct their job search, but they can’t bring themselves to network, use LinkedIn properly, contact their alumni association, enlist the help of recruiters, and basically get out of their house. They do what’s easy, not what’s right.

Furthermore, when they land an interview with employers, they freeze and all the intelligence they possess seems to vanish like fog. They go to interview after interview where they become increasingly nervous. Employers need to recognize this as nerves, not that candidates are incapable of doing the job.

4. To improve the economic landscape, people have to work in order to contribute. Doesn’t it make sense to hire a capable active job seeker as opposed to someone who is already employed? My feelings are particularly strong about this given the pandemic has all but killed many businesses.

One might reason that the person who leaves an employer for the next one will be replaced by a new employee. Not necessarily. Employers aren’t quick to fill vacant positions. Reviving the weak economy must be a priority of employers.

5. Employers’ complaints they can’t find enough talented workers is an excuse they use for not being able to pull the trigger. What they’re saying is that they can’t find someone who can assume the duties immediately, and aren’t willing to take a chance on active job seekers who (related to # 2) want to work.

In a conversation I had years ago with a recruiter, he told me his list of positions that needed to be filled was a mile long. He said it wasn’t for lack of trying, his hiring managers wanted the perfect candidates.

Perhaps an active job seeker doesn’t have the latest experience in Java or Salesforce or HR procedures, but they have the motivation and ability to update their skills. These candidates will probably make the best employees in the long term, if given the opportunity to learn.

6. Let’s not forget about emotional intelligence (EQ) which is perhaps more important than expertise in the latest technology. Reports claim that people with high EQ are 58% more likely to be successful than those who lack EQ.

Employers must look beyond an active job seeker’s resume and give them a chance to demonstrate themselves in an interview. Yet, too many active job seekers don’t get past the resume scan if they have an employment gap of more than three months.

7. It’s just plain wrong to default to passive candidates. As a webinar/career coach at an urban career center, I see the hopes of my clients crushed by being interviewed a number of times only to find out that an employer hired people who were already working.

Hiring employers must show compassion and try their best to hire qualified candidates who need the work. They have a moral obligation to hire qualified job seekers, regardless of their age, disability, race, gender, or employment status.

As well, a gap of up to a year doesn’t necessarily mean the active job seeker is unable to do the work required and do it well. Related to number 3, some job seekers struggle emotionally with their job search. This can be a huge barrier in finding work.


One more: active job seekers aren’t broken. To recruiters, “passive” job seekers seem like a sure bet. But there’s one thing they need to consider: just because someone is unemployed, it doesn’t mean they’re broken. Additionally, not all passive seekers are quality workers. Let’s keep this in mind. Please.

Photo: Flickr, Troy Granger 

3 Reasons to Take Your Current Job Out of Your LinkedIn Headline

In this guest article by Laura Smith-Proulx, one of my favorite resume and LinkedIn profile writers, she talks about adding value to your Headline and not simply listing your title and the company’s name. After all, your profile isn’t about your company; it’s about you. Laura also provides great examples of strong Headlines.

Did you let LinkedIn put your current job in your Headline?

If so, you’re among the millions of LinkedIn users who fail to market their own personal brand.

Look around on LinkedIn and you’ll see the same scenario: too many people fail to uncheck that box in their current job that says “Update My Headline.”

As a result, you’re left with Sales Manager at XYZ Company or VP of Production at AB Manufacturing.

This could be one of the biggest obstacles in your job search! You’re MUCH more than a job title. With so many opportunities on LinkedIn to promote your value to employers, your Headline should be tuned more carefully.

Here are the 3 reasons why you should take your current job out of your Headline (and what to use instead):

Your Headline should market your personal brand, not your employer.

personal branding for LinkedIn

Your current job title probably does a poor job of representing your potential!

Not only was it designed by your employer, it also picks up your company name… and now you have a banner that clearly describes a position you may want to leave.

But if you design your OWN Headline, you’ll have a valuable opportunity to add a success story, keywords, and job titles that help others find you.

These Headlines show how you can “advertise” your skills for a future job search:

VP Sales & Marketing | 13 Winning Sales Teams Developed to Create #1 Market Performance | Global & US Revenue & Growth Strategies | Fortune-Ranked Technology, Government, OEM, Engineering, & Defense Markets

COO & VP Operations. Fast Turnarounds & Market Share Growth in EMEA, Americas, & APAC Regions. 299% Growth From New Revenue Streams, Corporate Contracts, & Transformation. Board Member, Mentor, Executive Sponsor

Your current job might not match your career goals.

Let’s say you’re aiming for the next level up in your career. By tuning your Headline for a promotion, you’ll come up in searches for the target job, not just the one you already hold.

This example shows how an Operations leader can show readiness for the COO position, referencing the skills they are already using and focusing on high-value keywords:

Healthcare Executive. COO-Level Authority for Clinical Operations, Patient Care Quality, Safety, & CMS Ratings. Relentless Drive for Excellence & Patient Satisfaction. Champion for Team Growth & Service Line Development

You can see that this Headline continues to mention Operations, making it possible to be spotted as a senior leader while leaving the possibility open to be found in searches for a COO.

No matter your career level, mentioning your desired role (which you can also add to the About section) helps show your intentions and position you more strategically as a rising leader in your field.

Your current job title is far too SHORT to describe your skills.

As described in The Surprising Problem With Your LinkedIn Headline, most Headlines that use current job titles don’t fill even HALF the 220 allowable characters.

LinkedIn SEO

This means you’re missing critical opportunities to further describe keywords and strengths. Remember, your LinkedIn Headline is a critical piece of LinkedIn Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

With a longer Headline, you’ll also gain the opportunity to switch out a few phrases or keywords to “test” which version produces more interest from employers.

These examples show Headlines that exceed 200 characters by adding insightful  details and leadership strengths:

Chief Strategy Officer. 45% New Growth From Corporate Direction, M&A, Product Strategy, & Operations Improvements. Customer-Centric Product Lines, Outreach, & Technologies Taking Regional Operation to US Powerhouse

Senior Director, Product Engineering – Driving Software Quality & Product Performance With Scalable Solutions. High-Productivity Engineering Team Leader Creating 13 Straight Quarters of Profit in Mobility Startup

Here’s how to remove the current-job default: go to your Experience section, select the pencil icon next to your name, and look for Update My Headline. Uncheck this box and hit Save.

There’s NO BETTER WAY to broadcast your personal brand than to craft a UNIQUE LinkedIn Headline!

By removing emphasis on your current job, you’ll free up space for a compelling, keyword-specific description of your skills and top career wins.

3 Tips for using LinkedIn’s Companies feature to find a job

LinkedIn’s Companies‘ feature is a treasure trove of information if you’re searching for people with whom to connect. It’s of more value if you have a reason to connect with said people, namely they’re on your company target list (but this is a whole article in itself).

Many job seekers I speak with are unaware that the Companies feature exists. This might have to do with the fact that the feature isn’t highlighted as an icon to the right of Search. In addition, they don’t have a company target list. I strongly suggest they create one consisting of 15-20 companies.

Let’s look at how to find people at your desired companies

For our purpose we’ll assume you have an idea of who you need to find, such as the people on your company target list.

As stated above, the Companies feature is not listed on the toolbar. At one time, this feature was highlighted along with other features, but LinkedIn decided to “hide” it along with Posts, Groups, Schools, Events, and Courses.

To find the button for Companies, place your cursor pointer in Search and left click. You’ll see the drop-down shown below. When I click Companies LinkedIn shows 58,000.000 companies that have a company page.

You can simply type in Search the name of the company. The company for which I’ll search is Avid, a mid-sized company in my area. I know someone who works there, Debra, but not too well. My goal is to connect with a decision maker/s in the marketing department.

I could click People to find the decision maker/s, but I want more options, so I’ll click the number of employees who work there, 1,614. This will give me access to All Filters (see below).

In All Filters I select 2nd degree connections, the Greater Boston Area, and I type in Keywords “manager, marketing.” This gives me three people from which to choose. Rachel and Maria are two people who seem like ones to contact, so I visit their profiles.

Reading their profiles carefully, I look for commonalities between myself and them. Rachel and I went to the same university, and Maria and I have a mutual connection who will gladly facilitate an introduction.

To connect or not connect

You might be wondering why I want to connect with people on my target company list. Fair question. The idea is to penetrate the Hidden Job Market. In other words, get known by people at my desired companies before jobs are listed. Once jobs are listed it’s often too late. I’m building my foundation, if you will.

At this point I’m trying to build my foundation at Avid, as it’s a company high on my list of target companies. I figure there’s a 50/50 chance of one of the two connecting with me. Rachel would be my first choice because she’s managing content writers, which is my area of expertise.

But Maria would also be a bonus connection. Once I connect with Maria, chances are good I’ll be able to connect with Rachel. In both cases I won’t simply send a default invite. No, I’ll have to write a sincere, thoughtful message to both women.

Hint: There’s no reason for either women to connect with me simply because I’m interested in the company for which they work. I’ll have to write a compelling invite message that will entice them to connect with me.

First smother them with kindness

I can take the following steps to impress my possible connections at one of my dream companies. LinkedIn only allows 300 characters* for an invite, so I’ll have I’m limited in terms of the tactics I can use below.

1. I could show Maria and Rachel that I’m simply not connecting with them for the heck of it. I’ll show them that I’ve read their profiles and, of course, mention our commonalities.

2. If either of Maria’s and Rachel’s teams are responsible for doing something notable, I could mention that in my invite. People like to be complimented regardless of what they say. I won’t use shallow platitudes; I’ll point out facts showing I’ve done my research.

3. I could demonstrate that I’ve done my research on Avid and talk highly of it. People also like to know that others admire the employer for which the work. If they don’t, they’re not made long for their position.

The invites

I’ll start with the long shot first. This would be Rachel. She and I don’t have a strong common connection. Debra, who’s my first degree connection displayed on the front page of the Avid’s LinkedIn page, is not one of Rachel’s first degree connections. I’ll go with the cold invite.

Reminder: LinkedIn allows 300 characters for an invite. This is why you might want to follow up with an email.

Hello Rachel,

I hope this connection request finds you well. I’ve always considered Avid to be a great organization that helps directors produce great movies, one of which for me is Ocean 8.

I notice you and I went to UMass Amherst. Were you as excited as I to see them win the Hockey National Championship?

Bob

The invite to Maria will most likely be more successful because we have a strong common connection. When I ask our common connection, Brenda, if I can mention her as a reference, she gladly agrees. She even offers to write an email to Maria as an introduction. I’ll take her up on it if my invite doesn’t come to fruition.

Hello Maria,

You and I are both connected with Brenda (last name). I know her from our days in marketing, where I was a MarCom writer and she was in public relations at Company ABC. She strongly suggested that I invite you to my network. She believes I would be a strong attribute to your team.

Bob


I’ve described how to write an invite from a basic account. If you have LinkedIn’s Career premium account, you can send an Inmail message containing 2,000 characters*. People have varying reactions to Inmail; some appreciate them while others aren’t fond of them.

How you choose to send invites to people on your target companies list is up to you. You should make it a goal to send four to five invites a week, and don’t be afraid to send multiple invites to a target company.

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