Raise your hand if you visit a LinkedIn user’s profile and get as far as the Recommendations section. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t. Rarely do most LinkedIn members travel that far down another member’s LinkedIn profile. I usually don’t.
Now raise your hand if you feel the recommendations you proudly tout on your profile are helpful or essential to your business. I don’t blame you if this request gives you pause. After all, the Recommendations section is anchored in the basement of your profile. It’s likely that even you have forgotten about this section. We tend to forget what we don’t see.
There was a time when Recommendations was one of the most valued sections on the profile. That time was so long ago that I can’t remember when this was the case. My LinkedIn historian, Kevin Turner, reminded me of when Recommendations were banished to the cellar of our profile, and we lost our ability to move all our sections about:
“Recommendations were banished to the bottom of the profile around 04.07.2018 when the New Look was established. Around ~03.2017 we lost the ability to reorder, having the corresponding [recommendations] under each job, and the ability to pull it to the top of the profile.”
I believe there is a segment of the LinkedIn community who still believes in the value of Recommendations, particularly business folks who use them as testimonials. I recall some of my connections who would move their recommendations to below Summary—as it was called then—to highlight the excellent services they provided.
But I also believe recommendations on a job seeker’s profile is also of great benefit. Think about how some hiring authorities might be more interested in a candidate’s recommendations and not so interested in their skills and endorsements. Reading some stellar recommendations could lead to a telephone call and subsequent conversations.
So, how do you direct visitors to your Recommendations section? I put forth three solutions.
First solution: mention Recommendations in your About section
Given that your About section draws the attention of visitors, doesn’t it make sense to point your audience to Recommendations within this section? Unfortunately, we don’t yet have the ability to post links to Recommendations—similar to the links to our Current Employer and Education—so words will have to do.
Matt Warzel has this simple statement in his About section: “I’ve earned 740+ LinkedIn recommendations.”
Or you might want to give your visitors a taste of your recommendations by including a few excerpts from them. This is how I do it:
𝗪𝗛𝗔𝗧 𝗠𝗬 𝗖𝗟𝗜𝗘𝗡𝗧𝗦 𝗦𝗔𝗬 𝗔𝗕𝗢𝗨𝗧 𝗠𝗘 (𝗘𝗫𝗖𝗘𝗥𝗣𝗧𝗦 𝗙𝗥𝗢𝗠 MY 𝗥𝗘𝗖𝗢𝗠𝗠𝗘𝗡𝗗𝗔𝗧𝗜𝗢𝗡𝗦)
“Bob’s expertise regarding LinkedIn is second to none. He is always looking for ways to leverage the platform for the benefit of his clients and his approachable style makes it easy to work with him and understand what he is saying.”
“Bob is the real deal. With his consistently published articles, super actionable tips and daily dose of inspiration here on LinkedIn, Bob is really the King of all Things Career Related. He made an appearance on my weekly live broadcast a few months ago, and the audience loved him. No surprise why.”
There are two other excerpts from some of my recommendations I list in About . Following the excerpts, I direct visitors to my Recommendations section by writing: “⬇️ 𝐈𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐬𝐞𝐞𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐦𝐲 𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬? 𝐒𝐜𝐫𝐨𝐥𝐥 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐨𝐭𝐭𝐨𝐦 𝐨𝐟 𝐦𝐲 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐟𝐢𝐥𝐞 ⬇️”
Second solution: point visitors to your recommendations in Experience
If you want to include excerpts from your current or previous positions, they’ll make a splash as worthy accomplishments. As I tell my clients, “What others say about you weighs heavier than what you say about yourself.”
“Susan took our marketing department to greater heights with her advanced knowledge of product marketing. She and her team increased revenue over the course of 10 years to the tune of $400 million dollars.“
You can point your visitors to your Recommendations section in the same manner you use in About. Susan’s excerpt can be followed with: “To read additional testimonials, visit my Recommendations section.” Again, it would be nice to have a link bringing your visitors to recommendations.
Third solution: point people to your recommendations in Volunteer Experience
By this point, your visitors have traversed a great distance on your profile, but why not direct them here as well? I will read a person’s Volunteer Experience section if I want to know more about the work they’ve done. And yes, volunteer work is experience.
Again, the process is the same as it is in your About and Experience sections. Take another example of someone who has volunteered to perform duties for his alma mater:
“Jason put in endless hours developing the University of Massachusetts license plate initiative which has exceeded expectations by 30,000 participants. There are hundreds of thousands of cars donning UMass license plates. This is special.”
Jason writes: “To the full recommendation from the director of Alumni, scroll down to my Recommendation section. Can a say it again? It would be nice to have a link to Recommendations.
It’s unfortunate that you can’t move your Recommendations section to the top of your profile — like you could on your resume—or LinkedIn doesn’t allow you to link to it. For some people like Matt Warzel, he displays hundreds of recommendations to prove his work. I wonder if he would want to reorder his Recommendations section.
Most job-search articles, posts, videos, and podcasts offer tips on how to succeed in various components of the job search. This article is different. Different because it’s based on the failures of my job search. I’m writing it because I believe one can learn from the successes, as well as the failures of others.
Since my failure of a job search in 2003, I’ve coached thousands on how to do it properly. In a few situations, I was successful in hunting for other jobs because I practiced what I preach. This article’s purpose is to tell readers not to do what I did.
My story begins when I was laid off from marketing, where I was unhappy. My unhappiness wasn’t due to the people with whom I worked; it was due to a lack of purpose. I was peddling software I didn’t believe in.
Daniel Pink, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, claims that purpose is a key motivator. He’s correct. I saw my purpose as helping people land jobs, not marketing document storage media.
After being laid off, it took me seven months to land a job which was a gap filler at best. Looking back on it, I can see clearly what I could have done to make the journey shorter for me and my family. Here are my failures.
The beginning of unemployment wasn’t too bad, but it became worse
When I was laid off, I wasn’t devastated; it was more like I was relieved. I was called into a conference room where my boss and our “HR” person was sitting with papers spread out on the table. “This isn’t good,” I thought. Sure enough, I was getting laid off.
My boss, who happened to also own the company, was weepy-eyed, a little upset, and constantly apologizing for having to lay me off. During the meeting I was the one who was consoling him, not the other way around. “George,” I said, “It’s business, nothing personal. I’ll be alright.” He seemed relieved to hear me say this.
I found comfort in getting together with a former colleague, who had been laid off with me, by drinking beer at a pub down the road from where I live. Our times of commiserating became increasingly more frequent; so frequent that I had to call a halt to it. I realized that it was destructive behavior.
Two months after I was laid off it became apparent to us that we needed more than what Unemployment Assistance was providing, $565 which included allowance for three dependents, and that using credit cards was not the best option
My wife had to return to work full-time at a nearby town. Now raising the kids became my full-time responsibility. This wasn’t a bad thing necessarily; it was unfamiliar territory for me. I now had to tend to their every needs. Our oldest daughter was 7, followed by our 4-year-old daughter, and the baby boy was 1.
Looking back on it, I was grateful for the opportunity to spend quality time with our kids.
Quality time included bringing the two youngest to play group while the oldest was at grade school. I was also responsible for driving the kids to their locations and grocery shopping. In all instances I was the only male present, which was embarrassing. I once witnessed a woman at playgroup breastfeeding two children at once.
I felt trapped at home while my wife was doing what I wanted to; she insisted she didn’t want to work full-time, but she was growing happier with “real” responsibilities as I was growing miserable with unfamiliar responsibilities. Was I jealous of my wife? Yes.
My temper grew increasingly moodier and at times angry. I lashed out at my wife who was only doing what had to be done. There came a time when she demanded that I see a therapist. I agreed and met once a week with a kind gentleman with whom I couldn’t relate.
If there was one thing I could have done better, it was not turning into an asshole.
My time management skills sucked
To say raising the kids impeded my job search would be an excuse. The second failure that comes to mind was the inability to schedule job-search activities around caring for the kids. I could have risen early in the morning to job search and continue the process when my wife got home from work.
When I had some free time away from the kids, I could have done some administrative work, e.g., written resumes and cover letters. But my mind was consumed with making sure the kids were fed and entertained.
Instead of using the evenings to call people who I could have met while networking I walked the streets of my city for hours. I had to clear my head of the frustration that was building inside me. I often tell my clients that walking is good medicine, but in my case it was a way to escape the family.
One of the good things that came from being home with the kids was creating a website and maintaining it for my oldest daughter’s school. I asked the director if she would allow my child to attend school free of charge in exchange for the website. Apparently she didn’t know how easy it would be, because she happily agreed.
I didn’t network
I said I should have contacted people I met while networking, but the sad fact is that I didn’t network as much as I should have. The extent of my networking was sending a group email to everyone I knew, letting them know I was out of work and attaching my resume to the emails.
This method was ineffective, as I hadn’t clearly indicate what kind of work I was looking for. My resume was sound but not targeted to the career I was pursuing, career development. This explains why group emails are not the best way to network.
What I should have done was reach out to people individually and asked to meet for coffee or simply have a phone conversation. I should have asked for advice on where I could pursue positions in career development. I should have gathered information on the labor market by talking with said people.
Who did they know that I didn’t? Who would they suggest I talk with? One of my contacts might know people in the nonprofit world, perhaps in a municipality. That could have led to connecting with people in social services. I knew what I wanted to do, but I didn’t know how to ask for information.
Networking groups? I had no idea what they were and that they even existed. I hadn’t visited my university’s career services, where they would have told me about job seeker networking groups. Perhaps they would have mentioned professional associations. When it came to networking, I was totally in the dark.
The bottom line: I should have been more proactive
To preface, the first job I landed in marketing was through a referral from my university professor. The second position was an interesting story. Briefly, I was laid off from my first job in marketing. The same day my president introduced me to the marketing manager of the second company for which I started that day.
These jobs were essentially handed to me. This time around I didn’t have help like this.
I sent close to 40 resumes and cover letters for jobs which resulted in two interviews. Even in 2003, the way to land interviews for rewarding jobs was not to send a generic resume and a tailored cover letter to employers, especially if you weren’t qualified for said jobs.
The shotgun approach wasn’t working. I became increasingly more discouraged. The one thing I had going for me was knowing what I wanted to do, as well as what I didn’t want to do. (To the chagrin of my wife, I wasn’t applying for marketing positions.)
This must have made employers wonder why a marketing guy wanted to work in career development. Had I asked for informational meetings I would have built a more focused network. My one attempt at asking for an informational meeting was a complete failure.
I only landed two interviews and one job
The first interview after my marketing career ended was as painful as it could get. It was for a Development position at my alma mater. I was ill prepared and insulted one of the interviewers by asking her why she was on the interview panel. To my defense, I phrased my question wrong, but the damage was done.
My second interview was the winner…in a way. I landed a job that was a two-year gap filler as a program manager for technical training for people with disabilities. There were enjoyable aspects of the position, but I was yearning to get more entrenched in career development.
The most important skill I developed in this program manager position was the ability to speak in front of groups of people, explaining the purpose of the program. It was during one of the speaking engagements that I employed my networking skills. I presented to my current employer directing my attention to my future manager.
Whether directing my attention to my future manager was the reason I landed the job is debatable, but it certainly was intentional. The interview had with her was a formality because it lasted 15 minutes. Half an hour after the interview she called to tell me she was forwarding my name to the city manager.
My suggestion to people who’ve lost their job for any reason is first, think about the others around you who are probably struggling as well. I should have been more cognizant of my wife’s feelings; rather than thinking only of mine.
Second, don’t let caring for children or elderly adults be an excuse for not getting things done. I had a client who said he would rise at 5:00 am to conduct his job search until his children would rise at 7:00 am. He would grab any moment he could during the day, including attending my Job Club in the afternoon.
Third, be more proactive in your job search. Simply sending out resumes won’t do it. Implement networking into your routine and follow up with those you network with. Again, the resume shotgun approach will not yield great results.
Lastly, anyone you run into can be a potential boss. Do your best to impress people who have the authority to hire you, like the person who became my boss after my presentation.
One more: don’t be an asshole during your job search.
One Facebook announcement tells me a friend is eating dinner in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Another announcement let’s me know that a friend is taking a cruise from Seattle to Alaska and back. And one more shows how a friend is using his pressure cooker to cook baby-back ribs. Yum.
This is all nice and good. After all, Facebook is a true social media site, where people share their personal life; maybe too personal. Every once in awhile you’ll come across political and religious musings which might offend your senses. But if you understand the purpose of Facebook, you won’t be too offended.
According to the Guardian.com, “Facebook was developed back in “February 2004 when Mark Zuckerberg launched ‘The facebook,’ as it was originally known; the name taken from the sheets of paper distributed to freshmen, profiling students and staff.
Then it took off from there, enticing people from all over the globe to sign up for this free platform, where they could tell their stories, play games, donate to charities, record videos, and many other activities too numerous to mention here.
Ironically, very few people (who I know of) don’t use Facebook to announce they’re looking for work. “Ironically,” I say because who can be some of your strongest allies than your friends? A friend tells me he needs to find a job, I do my best to keep my ears to the pavement for him.
LinkedIn is where 78%-90% recruiters look for talent, but…
We all know that recruiters hang out on LinkedIn to find talent. Many of them will tell you that it’s their go-to source for finding talent, but a recent Jobvite study found that 60% of recruiters also use Facebook to find talent.
Still, we associate LinkedIn as the “professional network,” where business and the job search are conducted. Tis true but would it hurt job seekers to employ both, cover all bases?
In a long-post I wrote, I mentioned a conversation Hannah Morgan and I had in which we agreed that Facebook and LinkedIn would be great platforms to announce job seekers are looking for work. Why not use both? To use Facebook, you need to do it correctly. Here are six pointers.
How to use Facebook to announce you’re looking for work
1. Post a friendly, upbeat message. This doesn’t have to be a novel. Remember that people like to read concise informative word blocks. You might want to begin your message with something like: “Hi friends and family! I’m currently in transition and looking for my next great opportunity.”
2. Tell your friends the type of work your pursuing. It’s important to be clear on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for something in project management but your friends misconstrue your message and think you’re pursuing program management jobs, they’ll be of little help.
3. Provide some brief, recent accomplishments so connections and friends can spread around. Because you’re addressing friends, you don’t want to come across as bragging, but you also don’t want to let opportunities to slip away because your friends don’t know how great you are.
4. Reiterate your appreciation for help in advance. These are one of the things you learned in kindergarten, right. Thank people for their help.
5. List your LinkedIn URL in the message. Some of your friends might not know you’re on LinkedIn. Hell, they might not even know what LinkedIn is.
6. End by asking them to be safe. In these times, it only makes sense to show gratitude, as well as concern.
The old saying that everyone can be a part of your network is true. Remember that friends, relatives, and associates can be your strongest allies. Even if they’re not in your industry, they might hear of opportunities you’re not aware of.
Another option is to send a direct message (DM) to your Facebook friends. A close friend who commented on my post suggested this approach rather than sharing a blanket post.
Let’s look at some reasons why Facebook might be a better platform to use when announcing you’re looking for a new job.
Reach out to recruiters on Facebook
Go where the recruiters hang out. Recruiters Online has more than 20,000 members. This group is strictly for recruiters, states group administrator Mike Kelemen; so, if you want to find recruiters to approach, go where they graze.
But make sure you have you deliver a strong message when approaching a recruiter on Facebook. Of course it will start with a friendly introduction, but the gist of your message needs to highlight your top skills and relevant accomplishments. Bottom line, recruiters don’t have a lot of time to waste on a weak intro.
While some recruiters might not consider Facebook to be a pool of talented job seekers, there are plenty who do. Recruiters have one goal in mind, and that is to fill positions. So, if they are presented with an opportunity to present a quality candidate to their employer, they’ll take it.
Recruiter David M. Marr keeps an open mind: “Facebook groups are way more active and useful now than LI Groups are. You can post jobs on Facebook now. You can search inside Facebook and XRay Facebook for Talent.
“Their jobs and skills section are not as advanced as LinkedIn, but considering they have 2.3 Billion users globally and the global population is 7.7 Billion, and you compare that against LI’s 200+ Million profiles. It’s really a no brainer based upon the data alone.
“That and EVERY recruiter is sourcing for the same talent from this channel and it’s over saturated. If you want to find new talent that your competitors aren’t, take the time to source from Facebook.
“You can even message someone not in your network. And you have the personal touch of actually getting to know about them as a person vs a professional Profile on LI.
“I cross reference against all of their social media profiles I can find and try to craft a customized email template with at least 3, but ideally 7 touch points that shows I read their profile. Videos and Gifs and humor work great.”
What others say about announcing you’re looking for work on FB
Emily Lawson: One thing to keep in mind with your Facebook community is to communicate level, industry and types of companies to help your network zero in on what’s ideal. Many of those connections are not familiar with your career history or LinkedIn profile.
If I was looking for HR work, and shared it with my Facebook network, I’d likely get all kinds of responses since I’ve lived in many different areas and have friends all over. Here’s an example: “I’m looking for a senior level HR Manager or HR Business Partner role in the technology or medical industry. Preferably, within a mid to large company with an established positive culture. It may seem like a lot up front, but it would actually save them time so they don’t share information that isn’t the right fit.
I think a more tailored approach would work better. There are likely many job seekers who could say the exact same thing. The key to differentiating yourself as a candidate is to focus in on value and alignment. For example… If the message is regarding an existing opening, I would focus on your value and how it relates to that specific role.
I would highlight experience based on major requirements from the job description. If the message is regarding your interest in working at that specific company, then I would focus on alignment with their values or culture.
I would expand on “why” and what’s driving your interest. Both provide great storytelling opportunity that holds far more interest and relevancy for a reader who needs to build confidence in your ability to provide solutions and fit where they need it most.
Paula Christensen: Years ago when I changed industries I found that my Facebook friends were my biggest supporters. In some instances, these people knew me the longest and trusted me immediately because of that tenure and my reputation in previous jobs.
Sarah Johnston: I’ve relocated a number of times for my husband’s job. I’ve posted an update on FB every time letting my friends and acquaintances know about my relocation. My FB community never disappoints me. I’ve made many real connections through friends of friends… online social networking sites were designed to help you stay in touch with more people and are great for building “friend of friend” connections
Jayne Mattson:If you are want to broadcast, then do it with 2 things in mind, which are giving and receiving. In the broadcast ask 3 even 5 questions or advice that will help you in your search. More than likely you will get responses with information that will benefit you. Telling people you are in the market could lead you to advertised jobs and maybe ones that aren’t posted. However, I believe it is unlikely. Now the major part of your message, thank everyone in advance and with a “please do not hesitate to reach out to me for help if there is information you are seeking.”
Erin Hutchinson: I tell people that the more they can get their brand/value across in the message, the better chance they are of having a friend/connection reach out to help! As a workforce professional, I even hate it when people ask me to help them find a job, but have no direction or understanding of what they bring to the table! Help me help you!
Jean Avery: I’d add: if there’s a specific company of interest, it’s worth mentioning. “I’m looking for a data analyst role, and would love a connection at Salesforce or Amazon here in Seattle.” This is a good way for people who don’t have a lead to help, by tagging friends at a specific organization. If it’s not clear, I’d mention whether it’s a local or national search (or clarify onsite vs. remote work). I also explicitly say ‘comment or message me’ so people are less intimidated to follow up with a general question or inquiry/lead.
Read what others have to say in the long post that inspired this article.
I’ve written or critiqued hundreds of LinkedIn profiles in my role as a career coach. Whether this impresses you matters not. I only mention this to let you know I’ve seen brilliant, so-so, and downright terrible profiles. In this article I’m going to address what makes a profile terrible.
Don’t be offended if your profile falls under the following faux pas; not everyone has the gift to write their own powerful profile. Nor do they have the resources to hire a professional resume/LinkedIn profile writer (the two are mutually exclusive).
Let’s start at the top.
A painful background image
I experimented by searching for a Project Manager to see what the first profile would have for a background image. Much to my dismay the first one at the top of my list had the default one LinkedIn provides (below).
I say “dismay” because the person whose profile sports this background image presents an outstanding photo, which I’d show you if I weren’t afraid of retribution from said person. Why didn’t this person finish the job? Said person could have Googled “LinkedIn background images” to find a free one.
A painful photo
There are numerous photos that I find painful. Here they are in no particular order:
The imposter. This photo is 10 to 20 years old. Come on, we al realize that people age. I’m not satisfied with the photo that depicts my age, but it is what it is.
The over-the-top photo. You know these photos of people who are trying too hard to impress us with their creativity.
The group photo. Not really a showing the group but someone who has an arm draped over their shoulder.
The blurry photo. I can’t make out who the person is. This shows they don’t care about quality.
The selfie. I’ve seen photos of people shooting selfies in their car.
These are only a few of the photos that make reading a profile painful. Trust me, it’s worth investing some money in your photo; it’s part of your personal branding.
A painful Headline
Some will tell you that the Headline is the most important section of your profile. In a poll I conducted on LinkedIn, 46% out of 1,176 voters concluded that the Headline is more important than the Experience (30%) and About (24%) sections.
Unemployed statement. Writing that you’re Unemployed, Seeking Employment, Open to New Opportunities, etc. do nothing for your branding. Save that valuable space by using the Open to Work badge LinkedIn provides.
Your title and current employer only. If you have enough remaining space to show your value, it’s fine to state this. But it’s more important that you have keywords that help others find you. A branding statement is helpful, as well.
The scatter-brained Headline. This Headline gives readers no idea what you do or want to do. Visitors must have a clear vision of your career direction and areas of expertise at least.
Here’s one from Elise Finn which is nicely written:
Director and Co-Founder of Nkuzi Change – helping large organisations unlock the potential of Middle Leaders through Coaching | Leadership Coach | Senior Exec in FTSE 100 Companies | She/Her
Although the poll mentioned above might indicate your About section isn’t as important as the other two, it is extremely important. So don’t fudge on this one. The About section is read by people who want to know your story; it’s where you can describe your passion, excellence, and voice.
A painful About section looks like this:
It’s your resume’s Summary. Enough said on this. I can see a person’s resume Summary a mile away. It’s short and devoid of first-person point of view and sometimes is full of cliches.
It’s too brief. I wouldn’t assume that your About section should be as long as mine, but I will advise that it provides some value. Some visitors find this section to be of most interest, so don’t disappoint.
It’s too dense. When I see a paragraph that’s 10 lines long, I ignore it. If I want to read something that long, I’ll read Moby Dick.
There are too many keywords. Some people like to cram as many keywords in their About section in order to be found by recruiters who are looking for particular skills. It’s best to sprinkle them throughout your profile to create a flowing document.
I wrote a recent, comprehensive post on what a strong About section looks like, so I won’t go into great detail about what to include in yours.
A painful Activity section
If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, it means you’re not using LinkedIn for one of it’s greatest assets; allowing you to be heard. This is where I like to see that people have shared long posts, commented on what others have written, created polls, maybe written articles.
This section is one of the most neglected ones on a LinkedIn profile. And I don’t understand why. Here’s where you can really tout your greatness through accomplishments that are hopefully quantified. If not quantified, you can qualify them using first-person point of view.
A painful Experience section looks like this:
Only includes the bare basics. This means one’s title, place of employment, and months and years of tenure. Come on, show me the money! Give me some description.
Like About, it’s the resume’s Experiencesection. Here’s where you want to include only the best of the rest. In other words, highlight the accomplishments and the accomplishments only. If you have mundane duties on your resume, no need to mention them here.
It shows no character. Start creating your profile by copying and pasting your resume content to it, but then personalize it with, you guessed it, first-person point of view.
For example, “The team I lead keys into the business priorities, builds learning experiences to amplify the superpowers of the organization, and crafts engagement experiences to retain and celebrate the employees who achieve incredible results. We have such a blast making Inspire a place where people feel connected and are stretched to reach new heights.” ~Madeline Mann
You don’t utilize keywords. This is similar to your Headline where you simply write, “CEO at ABC Company.” Boring. Instead, write, “CEO at ABC Company ~ New Business Development | Global Strategic Relationships | Marketing and Sales“
Yes, your Education section can be painful. Many assume that LinkedIn wants you to write this section like it would appear on your resume. Wrong. You want to put some detail into it.
This is painful:
University of Massachusetts Bachelor’s Degree, English
Here’s my colleague Stacy Thompson‘s profile’s Education section, which is much better:
Boston College Bachelor of Arts Field Of Study Sociology, Pre-Law Activities and Societies: Undergraduate Government of Boston College, AHANA Leadership Council-Event Planning Director, Voices of Imani Gospel Choir
Member of the Undergraduate Government AHANA Leadership Council Member AHANA Leadership Council Assist Director Event Planning AHANA Leadership Council Director, Event Planning Voices of Imani Member, Leadership Role
In case you’re wondering, AHANA stands for: African, Hispanic, Asian and Native American descent. I’m proud to say that Stacey is a member of our city’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee.
Skills and Endorsements took its place as one of the criteria to have an All Star profile. Now S and E is also in the basement. There’s justice for you.
A painful Recommendation section looks like this:
Poorly written recommendations. There are multiple typos and grammatical mistakes. Sharing them is just as much your mistake as the writer’s. You have the ability to send them back for revision.
This section is all about you. So you have 20 recommendations. Great. But how many have you written for others? Are there crickets going off in your head?
You got nothing. You’re so afraid of asking for recommendations that you literally have none to show. Which leads to….
They’re old. The recommendations you have were written for you when you last looked for work, which was 10 years ago.
You might hate me for pointing out the faults of your profile, but I’m not writing this article for love. I’m writing it to make you better. When you write a strong profile–or have someone do it–it makes you think of your greatness. You need to think about your greatness.
Most people have a hard time engaging with the LinkedIn community, according to a poll I’m conducting on LinkedIn. Although the poll’s only on its second day, it reveals that 42% find it difficult to engage and 21% feel it’s somewhat difficult. Only 37% have no difficulty engaging with the LinkedIn community?
As someone who engages on LinkedIn on a daily basis, I find it hard to believe that others find it hard engaging with the LinkedIn community, but I’m the exception to the rule. This article is for job seekers and goes over the tips that will make it easier for them to engage with other members.
The first thing job seekers need to do is change their mindset and understand that engaging with LinkedIn members is no more than starting and nurturing communication with them. Think of engaging as conversations you gradually become immersed in.
Note: Don’t confine communication to your 1st degrees; communicate with your 2nd degrees, as well. Doing this can result in connecting with your 2nd degrees who could potentially be your best relationships.
Why it’s important
I’d be remiss in not telling you why it’s important to communicate with LinkedIn members. You know the old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind.” This is a good way to look at it. You want to stay top of mind, not be forgotten. In addition, recruiters and other hiring authorities will see you in their feed.
Follow these tips on how to make communication easier.
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.
Another benefit of following someone is getting on their radar for potentially connecting with them in the future. Some of the best invites I receive are those that say a person has been following me and enjoys my content. Would I like to connect with them.
Note: If you see a Connect button on their profile, click on the More drop-down and choose Follow. In some cases, people will prefer that you follow them and won’t be notified that you’ve started following them.
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.
I found 525 results for this topic, which is way too many to consume. By going to All Filters, one can select, Date posted, Sort by, Author industry, and Author company. I chose Past Week, Top Match, and typed in Pharmaceuticals. These filters garnered 21 results, including videos, posts, and an invite to join a webinar.
3. Search for content companies produce
Assuming you have a list of target companies, you can find content by visiting their LinkedIn page. I’m going to go to Fidelity to see what kind of content they’re producing.
On their page I see options for Posts which include All, Images, Documents, Videos, and Ads. Under All, there is a link for an article titled: Markets, emotions, and you. Currently there are 53 reactions and zero comments. This is your chance to react and comment on the article. (More on this later.)
Out of curiosity I select Videos, where I see that one was produced three months ago. It’s titled Mastering Stability Amid Change. I decide to watch it and am pleased that it’s only 31 seconds long. It’s obviously an advertisement. There are 138 reactions, five comments, and 5,190 views.
4. Use hashtags (#s) to find content
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.
How are hastags created? When people share content, they can choose existing hashtags or write their own within a post or at the end of it. Additionally, LinkedIn allows you to choose existing hashtags by clicking Discover More on the left of your homepage.
5. 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 produces. You’ll have to actively search for it. This might seem like a needle in a haystack.
When you happen upon a long post, article, video, or podcast you read or listen to, choose one of the reaction buttons. They are: Like, Celebrate, Love, Support, Insightful, and Curious. Don’t leave it at that, though, write a thoughtful comment on something that resonated with you.
Here’s an example of a comment from someone who read one of my posts:
All are good points about resumes, Bob. I would say more important than anything about your formatting is the content. That is what the reader cares about above all else. Tell a compelling story that explains what value you bring to the employer. That is what will get you an interview.
Notice that my name is highlighted in blue and underlined. This commenter tagged me so I would be alerted in Notifications of her comment. More on this later.
6. Share articles of interest and comment on them
One of the benefits of using LinkedIn is that you can read, see, or hear content that is relevant to your occupation or industry and, in effect, learn from it. Many of my clients will share a post, podcast, or YouTube video with the people in my job club.
I began an assignment by sharing an article I read and asked the members of the group to do the same. There were two stipulations. First, they had to share the content with everyone. Second, they had to react and comment on what they shared.
Like commenting on a post, this is one of the easiest ways to communicate with your network and followers. I suggest to my clients who are just starting on LinkedIn that they do this on a regular basis. When they tell me they don’t have time to research topics on LinkedIn, I tell them it’s one of the best ways for them to use their time.
7. Write posts of your own
Once you’re use to commenting on other LinkedIn members’ posts, it’s time to write your own. I know what you’re thinking, “I’m out of work. What do I have to add?” You have a lot to add. Did you forget your expertise in marketing? No you didn’t. You are still an expert in your field.
Share what other LinkedIn members wrote (and comment on it)
News about companies (mentioned above)
Commenting on a photo
Producing a video (for the more advanced)
These are just a few ways you can communicate with your connections. It’s up to you to determine at which level you want to go.
8. Tag people
There’s nothing I dislike more than coming across a comment or even a post in which I’m mentioned but not tagged. I’ve had people share my articles without letting me know. It’s like people talking behind your back.
When you comment on someone’s post, for example, do the following: type @Bob McIntosh. Before you write my last name, I’ll appear in a drop-downof names. Simply click on my name and I’ll be inserted into your comment.
As soon as you do this, I’ll see a number appear on my Notifications icon. I’ll click on the icon and see that “(someone) has mentioned you in a comment.” Thus begins the conversation with whomever tagged me in a post or shared article.
9. Be consistent
I was told years ago that the way to gain a following is by being consistent. So, what I try to do every week—I’m not always successful—is create a poll on Monday, publish an article on Tuesday, write a long post on Wednesday or Thursday, and publish what I call “Blast from the past Saturday.”
By no means am I saying you should do what I do. What you should do is try to communicate with your connections at least four days a week. Whether it’s commenting on posts or articles, writing your own posts, or even writing articles and producing video—it’s your call.
10. By no means, be negative
This should go without saying, but I’ve seen some pretty nasty comments on posts. My thought is that if you read something you don’t like, keep scrolling until you find something you do like.
This is not to say you can’t disagree with something someone wrote. Just do it in a diplomatic manner. You could write, “You make some excellent points, Bob. However, I don’t agree that the #resume Summary should be written in bullet format.”
I would be more likely to respond with “I can see your point, Cheryl. I just feel that too many bullets will confuse the reader.” No harm, no foul.
There you have it. My final tip is to simply do it. As I mention above, if you want to stay on your connections’ radar, you must communicate with them. I know if might be intimidating at first, but once you begin the process and maintain consistency, it’ll be come second nature.
It’s a fact that if you hire 10 resume writers to write your resume, you’ll get 10 different resumes. It’s also a fact that there are some traits of a resume that are universal. In other words, they are a staple of a resume.
The most obvious traits begin with a Summary statement that effectively expresses the value a job candidate will deliver to employers. Skills/Core Competencies required for the job at hand follow. Of course a value-rich Experience section and Education piece complere the resume. Or is Education placed at the beginning?
Bonus: a great resume writer will most likely include a headline or branding statement at the top of the resume. This is one addition that will give their clients a foot up on the competition.
In a poll I conducted on LinkedIn, some of the best resume writers weighed in on what they consider to make an outstanding resume. I presented two resume groups, both containing some do’s, as well as some don’ts and asked which one they would select.
Thinking that most of them wouldn’t go with Resume A or Resume B, I gave them the option to choose Resume C, which essentially meant they could create a stellar resume based on the traits of the first two. They could also add others. Here are the two groups I presented:
Resume A must:
Brand a candidate with a value proposition or headline
Contain accomplishment statements with quantified results
Be no longer than one page
Have the Education section near the top
Utilize graphics and color
Resume B must:
Be readable with paragraphs no longer than 3 or 4 lines
Consist of bullets only, as they make a resume easier to read
Include a candidate’s entire work history
List the candidate’s home address in the Contact Info
Be written in sans serif font
Resume C must (voters could customize their idea of a stellar resume)
Surprisingly, only 39% of the voters chose Resume C; Resume A edged out Resume C with 43% favoring this group. Resume B only garnered 18% of the voters.
I was one of 101 commenters who added my two cents. I chose Resume C with the following traits:
Brand a candidate with a value proposition or headline. This is a two-line statement that includes the title from a job add and below that some areas of expertise.
Contain accomplishment statements with quantified results. Agreed, not always possible to quantify results with #s, $s, and %s but they have more bite to them.
Be as long as warranted, all within 15 years. If you have all accomplishments, your resume can be as long as three pages. Acceptation to the 15-year rule would executive-level job seekers.
Utilize graphics and color is appropriate. Graphics appeal to hiring authorities like visuals. However, applicant tracking systems (ATS) don’t digest them well.
Be readable with paragraphs no longer than 3 or 4 lines. No one likes to read 10-line paragraphs. Shorter ones are more digestible.
Be written in sans serif font. Arial and Calibri are most common these days. Times New Roman dates you.
Include in contact info your name, professional email address, LinkedIn URL, cell phone. Key is a professional email address that includes your whole name, not something like email@example.com.
Must be ATS friendly. The only way to ensue this is by tailoring your resume to each job. A tailored resume will include the necessary keywords.
The fact that people were torn between Resume A group and creating their own Resume C group is telling. Maybe the traits of Resume A are acceptable, almost preferable. I found the one-page rule, for example, unacceptable. And placing Education at the top? This doesn’t apply for all people.
I decided to include in this article what some of the voters added in comments for this poll. You can read what others said by going to the poll.
What some voters said
Sweta Regmi: One Size Doesn’t Fit All. Have them at hello from the top part, would they want to continue reading? Hook them 👇 Use the marketing commercial of 10 secs to get them hooked and call you.
Less is more, make them curious to call you but don’t leave [out] crucial info related to JD. The education section depends on job descriptions and career level. Personal preferences here. The recruitment industry wants education on top. Coaches customize based on client’s experience and job descriptions.
Adrienne Tom: I can find potential hang-ups with both A and B, depending on the person and their career level. For example, a senior-level professional wouldn’t showcase their Education section near the top of the file (nor should they), and not everyone needs to stick to 1-page.
Listing a complete work history may not be relevant. Ultimately, how your resume looks and is formatted all ‘depends’. You are unique. Therefore, your resume will be too.
Lezlie Garr: I’m not really a fan of ‘musts’ for a resume, except for this one: a resume must be relevant to the position you are applying to. All the other details are subjective and variable, depending on how relevant the information is to the position.
These are some great examples of things that CAN be included, and some typically and probably should be included, while others can be used less often.
Maureen McCann: Every person is different. They deserve a resume that highlights what’s most valued about them. Some people have recent and relevant education, so if that was the case, I’d highlight that. Other people might have direct work experience. For them, I’d highlight their work experience, skills and time spent in the industry.
Derrick Jones: First “There is no one-size-fits-all” when it comes to writing a resume. Both use strong resume writing principles. I could use several strategies from Resumes A and B. It depends on the role and industry. The “No one-size-fits-all” principle is different from essential components of a resume which should have the right: 1. Content 2. Format 3. Design.
Virginia Franco: I’m with you Derrick Jones, CPRW/CEIP. Everything depends on the story and the job target. All my resumes, however, contain a headline and summary, and are designed to be read on mobile just as easily as in print.
Donna Svei: My sister paints. I write. Sometimes we explain how we do what we do to each other, but we both know we’re only scratching the surface. A resume “should” be written by someone who wants to tell a story in a way that will make others want to read it. If you let that be your guiding principal, you will write a good resume.
Loribeth Pierson: I agree with Donna, a resume “should” be written by someone who wants to tell a story in a way that will make others want to read it. Also, Adrienne has a great point, “Ultimately, how your resume looks and is formatted all ‘depends’. You are unique.” A lot of misleading data out there, which makes it difficult for the job seeker today. 🤷♀️
Scott Gardner: 👉🏻Brand a candidate with a headline, tag line and value proposition. 👉🏻Focus in accomplishments and quantify the results. 👉🏻As long as needed, but make sure to highlight the last 7-12 years, and have the rest just form the foundation of the career. Exception to this is an early career success that is truly impressive.
👉🏻 Leverage graphics and color as appropriate. 👉🏻Consumable content with paragraphs no longer than 3 or 4 lines and bullets at 1-2 lines preferably. 👉🏻Use a sans serif font. Contact info Name, email address, and create hyperlinks for the LinkedIn URL and cell phone.
The biggest thing is that these are all just general guidelines. A great resume reflects the candidate, targets their career goals, and speaks to the hiring authority managing an open position at a desired employer.
Julie Walraven: Many job seekers are confused by the misleading data out there on 1 page resumes and ATS-friendly to the extent that they eliminate marketability of the resume. The reality is that focusing on telling your story is key to creating readability and enthusiasm for you as the candidate. I agree with Erin Kennedy, MCD, CERW, CMRW, NCOPE, CEMC, CPRW that all bullets or all paragraphs makes for a dull and boring resume.
Guest writer and recruiter Jeff Lipschultz is a 20+ year veteran in management, hiring, and recruiting of all types of business and technical professionals. He has worked in industries ranging from telecom to transportation to dotcom.
With all the rage around social media in job searching, LinkedIn stands out as the tool of choice for many recruiters to connect with job seekers (or future job seekers). Knowing how recruiters use the tool may shed some light on how to leverage LinkedIn in your own job search efforts.
Granted, good recruiters use many social media tools to find candidates, like Facebook and Twitter. However, LinkedIn.com is the largest social network for professionals. LinkedIn provides the best avenue for a recruiter to quickly learn enough about a person to see if they should be contacted for a particular job opening.
Candidates need to leverage LinkedIn as much as possible to be included in these searches.
1. Have a large LinkedIn network
To be found on LinkedIn, you need to have a large network because…
LinkedIn search results are limited to those accounts which are the searcher’s first, second, and third level connections. If you aren’t connected to someone at one of those levels, you won’t appear in their search results.
Although many recruiters know how to search for candidates who are outside their own LinkedIn three degrees of connectivity or pay LinkedIn for that access, not all do. Therefore, the more people you are connected to, the more likely you may be connected to recruiters.
Many recruiters, especially independent recruiters who don’t work for a single employer, love invites to your network, too. Don’t be afraid to ask recruiters to join your network — they may be unable to ask you to join their network because of LinkedIn’s built-in rules.
2. Use the right keywords to describe yourself
When recruiters search for candidates in LinkedIn, they focus on keywords just like the resume databases and applicant tracking systems do. Without the right keywords, your LinkedIn Profile will not be found.
Your LinkedIn Professional Headline is the perfect place to include the right keywords for your job search. Be specific to attract recruiter attention.
No one searches for a “business professional” but they do search for a “marketing manager who understands how to leverage social media for B2B visibility and sales.” So, avoid being too general — general headlines will not be impressive or contain the right keywords.
There are also ample opportunities to sprinkle in your key abilities and skills within the Summary and Experience sections. Every job you list should include the expertise that you demonstrated in that job. Think keywords!
Prove that the keywords you have used to describe yourself are accurate.
LinkedIn offers many opportunities to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise, including these five:
⏩ LinkedIn recommendations
Having recommendations within LinkedIn is a nice way to convey you are a quality candidate. But having more than two from each job looks like you are just asking everyone you know for a recommendation. This can diminish the value of the best and most articulate recommendations you have.
So, unless you have been in one job for many years, two short recommendations are best.
Recruiters sometimes ask for references who are not included on LinkedIn, so be prepared for that request.
If you publish a blog, include it in your Profile. Add it to the contact information near the top of your Profile. Click on the “See contact info” link near the top of your Profile, and then click on the pencil icon in the dialog box that pops open to add and edit the information.
Having a blog included on your Profile adds to your credibility, too. You can show off your technical knowledge and insights as well as your writing skills.
Similarly, you can use another application, SlideShare (which is owned by LinkedIn), to post a PowerPoint presentation on related subject matter. Link those SlideShare pages to your LinkedIn Profile. These will catch the eye of the recruiter, and provide more information about you and the knowledge and skills your presentations demonstrate.
⏩ LinkedIn posts
This may look a bit like Facebook’s news feed, but remember that it is NOT!
Keep in mind that LinkedIn is NOT Facebook, and should not be the place where you share photos of you and your child playing in the snow (unless taking care of children is your profession) or making political statements.
Use Status Updates in your Profile to share good relevant news and other helpful information, including:
Share good information posted by other professionals on LinkedIn, whether as a “post” (short discussion in the news feed) or as articles they publish on LinkedIn.
Share important happenings in your industry, and whenever you publish an article, are quoted in someone else’s article, or receive other positive visibility, share that as well.
Share images, videos, or documents you upload.
Link to good information you find (understand the LinkedIn does not distribute links to external websites as generously as it distributes content inside of LinkedIn).
Of course, if you are actively looking for a new job (and are unemployed so you safely can announce this), feel free to post a status of exactly the type of job you’re looking for.
Also, check the “Notifications” stream, and “Like” or share good information shared by others. When appropriate, comment on the others’ posts (positively and professionally, not negatively or nastily).
Currently, every LinkedIn member can belong to as many as 100 Groups, and over 2.1 million Groups exist.
You can be found more easily if you are a member of LinkedIn Groups for your specialty (i.e., .NET, SQL Server, Flex, Information Architects).
LinkedIn will suggest Groups for you to join if you click on the “Work” link at the top of your Profile, which opens the dialog box shown on the left here.
As the image on the left shows, you can also find Groups to join by clicking on the “Groups” icon in the options that drop down when you click on the “Work” icon at the top, right of most LinkedIn pages.
Recruiters love to scan discussions on topics related to positions they are working on in order to find “subject-matter experts.” Posting good information or making well-informed comments on Discussions in Groups relevant to your profession, industry, or, even, location can bring you to the attention of recruiters scanning the Group for good candidates.
Employers and recruiting companies even start their own Groups to share news and attract members. Join, and contribute to discussions or provide valuable news relevant to members.
You can meet and even connect with people on LinkedIn through the dialogs that develop over discussions. People notice those who “like” their posts, and also those who make positive, relevant comments — not necessarily saying everything is “Great!”
Don’t automatically “like” a Discussion to bring yourself to the attention of the person who shared it. Read the related web page first to be sure that you do actually agree with it. If you do, then “like” it.
If you are a reasonably skilled at writing and have good information to share, LinkedIn’s blog is a very visible platform. The articles you publish are highlighted by LinkedIn near the top of your Profile for everyone who visits your Profile to see (and, potentially, read).
Simply click on the “Write an article” link at the top of your LinkedIn home page, as shown above, and get started. You choose when your article is shared with the public on LinkedIn.
Well done, these posts can dramatically raise your visibility as more and more people read and share them. But, even if they don’t end up with 5,000 views in a week (or even 50), they demonstrate your communications skills and some aspects of your professional knowledge. A recruiter scanning your Profile is apt to check your articles to gain more insight into your qualifications and personality.
4. Provide contact info!
If you want to be contacted by recruiters and potential employers, you must share your contact info.
If they cannot contact you, they cannot hire you.
You can list your Twitter handle and can include your personal Web site or blog (which should also have your contact info). Edit the “Contact Info” in the column on the right near the top of your LinkedIn Profile. You can safely include your email address and phone number. Read To Be Hired, Be Reachable – How to Safely Publish Your Contact Information on LinkedIn for how to do it without compromising your privacy or putting your job at risk.
5. Include your photo!
It’s not a bad idea to include a picture, too.
Recruiters roll through dozens to hundreds of Profiles a month. They don’t always remember names they have seen, but they do remember pictures.
This will help them remember if they have contacted you in the past (and check their files accordingly). Also, Profiles without pictures can send the message of “anti-social media” or “not social media savvy” or even “fake LinkedIn Profile” or “hiding something.”
Obviously, you need to make sure you are open to invitations to connect or InMails from recruiters. Make sure your contact settings are set appropriately on your profile. You can include your preferred contact information in this section, as well as, the Personal Information section.
You should be open to connecting with recruiters even when you are not looking for a job. You may not currently be a job seeker now — but some day you likely will be.
If you already have a strong network of recruiters on LinkedIn, you’ll be way ahead of the game when it’s time to look for your next opportunity.
Notice that the advice above is all about getting a recruiter to find you, not the other way around. You are presenting yourself to recruiters without any extra outreach work on your part. All you need to do is set up your Profile well, keep it current, stay active on LinkedIn (ten to twenty minutes a day reading and sharing), and LinkedIn does the work for you.
This post originally appeared in Job-Hunt.org and has been slightly edited.
Has it always been the case that shorter is better? I’m sure there was a time when verbosity was appreciated; when long-winded stories captivated the listeners. Even elevator pitches—statements that answer, “Tell me about yourself”—were longer. I remember a workshop I led where I encouraged two-minute elevator pitches.
But times have changed. I’ve changed. An elevator pitch that’s anywhere between 30-45 seconds is more digestible. One that’s 90-120 seconds is a tad long. Two minutes is way long. This is my opinion. The trick job candidates need to learn is mastering a short, yet value-packed delivery. Again, my opinion.
It matters where you deliver your pitch. At a networking event, your elevator pitch can be 15-30 seconds. Any longer is considered obtrusive. In an interview keeping it under 45 seconds is advised.
But wait? you ask. To answer the directive, “Tell me about yourself” requires a longer explanation in an interview; certainly more than 45 seconds. Here’s my question for you? How long is the average attention span of a human being? I’ll tell you. Eight seconds.
This isn’t to say that after eight seconds we zone out and stop hearing what others are saying. No, we zone out and zone in. Here’s another fact, the attention our attention span has decreased from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 present day. Says Time magazine, the Telegraph, the Guardian, USA Today, the New York Times or the National Post.
Dr. Gemma Brigg from the BBC disputes this: “It’s very much task-dependent. How much attention we apply to a task will vary depending on what the task demand is.”
This article is not about the average attention span of a human, though. It’s about the proper length of an elevator pitch. According to a LinkedIn poll, which has garnered more than 7,000 votes, 16% say the pitch should be approximately 15 seconds, 46% 30 seconds, 31% 45 seconds, and 8% more than 45 seconds.
Here’s are the outlines some interview-prep pros and I offer to structure your elevator pitch. Notice, like snowflakes, that no two are exactly alike, save for the fact that expressing your value is a key element of all elevator pitches. These outlines are laid out in the discussion of the poll.
Sarah Johnston ✔ The hook ✔ 2 Strengths that relate to the job ✔ And WIFM (Which stands for “what’s in it for me?)
Rachel Montañez ✔ Story ✔ Story climax/intrinsic motivation ✔ Evidence of your capabilities and not just your skills ✔ Current goal – Tie it to the corporate values
Me ✔ Ask yourself, “What are the companies pain points?” ✔ Demonstrate your value in form of your passion for the job. ✔ Next talk about your relevant accomplishments. ✔ Why you’re a fit.
KRISTIN A. SHERRY ✔ Three strengths you bring to the job ✔ Plus, the value results ✔ Plus, a story to back it up
ALEX FREUND ✔ Provide some concrete facts the of work you performed. ✔ Give an example of a professional success story. ✔ To follow up immediately on that, ask the interviewer a question about the job’s responsibilities.
This still leaves us with the question of how long the elevator pitch should be. Here are the stats again: 16% of voters say the pitch should be approximately 15 seconds, 46% 30 seconds, 31% 45 seconds, and 8% more than 45 seconds.
Let’s hear it from some career-search strategists
Of the 7.065 who voted, some had opinions on the length of the elevator pitch. Most agreed that it depends on the situation, but given the nature of LinkedIn’s polls, listing all the variables is not an option.
Hannah Morgan—Context matters A LOT. Is this pitch being delivered during a job interview? Is it a first interview? Who is asking the question (HR, recruiter, hiring manager).
All these things matter and that’s why one answer won’t work all the time. Attention spans are short. But if you are interviewing for a job, you have up to 1 minute to convey why you are interested and a fit for the role.
Austin Belcak—I’d encourage people to time themselves before answering Bob! I’m a BIG fan of being direct and concise but it’s pretty darn hard to get everything across without leaving out value in <30 seconds even if you have it down pat.
Jim Peacock—I voted longer than 60 seconds because I often think it is more like a conversation about value you bring to the company…specifically that company. If it is in an interview situation then less than 2 minutes for sure.
KRISTIN A. SHERRY—Being able to share your pitch in 60 seconds or less demonstrates confidence and clarity about the value you bring. People can ask for more detail if they want it, so it’s best to be concise. Thank you for the mention!
Angela Watts—As we know, there is rarely a one-size-fits-all approach to these kinds of things. I think it’s always a good idea to err on the side of speaking briefly and allowing the other person to hone in on what interests them most.
Ideally, you would give the pitch and they would be so intrigued by something you said that they will ask for more. When this happens, you’ve got their full attention and intrigue.
Jayne Mattson—If you are referring to being asked “tell me about yourself” as the first interview question, your answer needs to apply to the position. Your examples ideally should be related to what you will do in this role. Have it be 2 minutes and well prepared, so you don’t ramble.
I work with clients on answering with their head and their heart. I always encourage someone to share something about their human side too. After all they are hiring a human being and you can use something that relates to the culture or mission
LoRen 🚀 gReiFf —I advise for 60 seconds; right not rushed. Which means no fat. And the other key to getting it right is lots of practice. “I fear* not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times” – Bruce Lee *Of course the goal isn’t to generate fear, but the take away still applies!
Wendy Schoen—This is a question that is asked in EVERY interview. And a canned answer isn’t going to do it. I am a believer in the 60 second answer. It needs to be tailored to the specific job/company you are interviewing for/with.
It needs to cover who you are, WHAT you have accomplished and WHAT/WHY you are sitting in that chair today! IF you are able to craft the answer in a story, all the better for you. Engage the interviewer with your answer!
Ed Lawrence—In my MCOA sessions, I advocate a concise answer for networking situations. I follow Stephen Melanson’s approach—aim for 15 seconds: continuing if there is clear interest or a question from the other party.
I direct people to work on their 30 second elevator speech, if they want to. I then say it can be the basis for their interview answer to “tell me about yourself.” I think the goal there is one minute. Two at the absolute max and only then if you have led a fascinating life.
Becca Carnahan—I go with three relevant strengths, brief examples/stories, why you’re looking to make a change (in brief- one major reason related to growth/investment in industry/function/role, and why this company is the ideal fit. I recommend 60-90 seconds because the extra length helps answer the interviewer’s next question and ties the interviewee’s experience directly to the role.
Paula Christensen—The pitch length depends on the audience. I recommend between 30-90 seconds. Job seekers need to use their intuition here. The elevator pitch will be longer for someone in your industry who is engaged, like an interview with a hiring manager. Use a shorter version for networking.
Sweta Regmi—It depends on the role, industry and job description. I have coached up to 2 minutes. Use the tactics of commercials we see on TV. If you could pick one pain point on tell me about yourself and say “why you can solve their ongoing problem.” it hits the hiring manager’s head.
Have them at hello. “I understand that your customer satisfaction survey was only 60% last year. I have a formula on how to get that higher. I have saved xxx for my previous company” Dare to show numbers on tell me about yourself.
Rebecca Oppenheim—This is a really important topic – but I strongly disagree with a “one size fits all’ approach. It’s like telling people their resume needs to be X amount of pages. Too many variables. Unfortunately, many interviewers start out with “so tell me about yourself.” And if you go on for a long time, monopolizing the conversation, you’ll lose the interest of the interviewer before you even get started.
Ana Lokotkova—The way I see it, anywhere between 30 and 60 seconds works well. You want to be concise, but at the same time give enough “flavor” to leave the other person curious for more.
When you think about what makes a winning LinkedIn Profile, what comes to mind? Is it the first impression—background image, headshot, and Headline—the About, Experience and Volunteer sections, Skills & Endorsements, or Recommendations?
Many people will agree that the Headline is key, as this is where you first tout your greatness. Others will say the About section rules; this is where you tell your story, including your why, who, what, and how. And Experience is where you elaborate on your accomplishments.
But there are many areas on your winning profile that show your greatness, and you should capitalize on them. This is what I impress upon my clients—use every section on your profile to show your greatness.
I asked five LinkedIn pros what comes to mind when they think of a winning profile. One of them writes of it from a recruiter’s point of view, another focuses on Skills & Endorsements, one equates it to a Swiss Army knife. Reading what they’ve written can help you create a winning profile.
Jack is a welcome contributor, as he provides the point of view of someone who reads profiles with the goal of hiring the right person.One of his tips to provide enough information in your experience section, lest you irritate the recruiter.
Recruiters have their own opinion on what a LinkedIn profile should look like. When a recruiter has a job assignment from a company, usually it’s on a contingency basis.
This means that the recruiter is given permission to search for talent, but so are a number of other recruiters and the company itself.
The recruiter is in an intense race to find the best, most appropriate candidates before anyone else. If they can’t, the recruiter won’t earn anything for her time and efforts.
Since time is paramount, recruiters want to see a LinkedIn profile that clearly states the prospective candidate’s responsibilities. The summary should be an advertisement highlighting the specific amazing things they’ve accomplished.
Recruiters need to know exactly what the person’s title is, the name of the company he works for, how long they’ve been there, duties and crowning achievements. A recruiter will only spend about 30-seconds viewing this information. They don’t want to have to decipher what the person does.
As a recruiter, it’s frustrating to see a naked or barely dressed LinkedIn profile. You know the type—the person hastily slapped on his recent job without much, if any real effort or content.
You can quickly ascertain that he’s not too motivated or lacks attention to detail when the prior couple of jobs from five to ten years ago take up much of the real estate.
It’s unhelpful when the job responsibilities are vague. This is not supposed to be a guessing game. You’re not generating interest by purposely leaving vital information off of your profile. In fact, it’s annoying and irritating and a turn-off to recruiters.
You have to ensure there are relevant, industry-specific recognized keywords on your profile. When recruiters search on LinkedIn, they are purposely seeking out people who have on-target skills, experience and background.
Don’t use buzzwords like “results-driven,” “self-starter,” and “highly motivated.” Instead offer details on the successful projects you spearheaded, your achievements in your field and the value you added to your employers.
It’s not a good look when there’s no photo. If a recruiter sees a picture of a sports team logo, car or one with his girlfriend, there’s a strike against him. You should come across likeable in the picture. It’s not a deal-killer if you don’t, but recruiters are only human.
Recruiters know that their corporate clients desire candidates that show evidence of a progressive career arc. They’re not excited about someone who has held the same job for ten years or longer without any promotions.
They don’t want to see too many job switches. This seems unfair, and it is. However, the recruiters know that companies are leery of people who move too often. They fear that the applicant may be a flight risk and leave after only a year or two.
Hiring managers worry that maybe there’s a negative reason for the person constantly moving. It’s known within recruiter circles that there are people who are amazing at selling themselves on interviews and getting the job, but terrible at keeping their job. They’d prefer a person who has shown stability and loyalty.
Biron Clark also contributed to all three of the articles in this series. For his piece, he covered the key components of the LinkedIn profile. One tip he imparts is to focus on the sections of your profile that will be viewed with more frequency. Another is to keep your paragraphs short for better readability. This tip resonates with me and is one I impart on my clients.
Not all sections of your LinkedIn profile are viewed with equal frequency, so you should focus your attention on the areas that get seen most. These provide the biggest opportunities for “quick wins” when updating your LinkedIn profile.
The first section that comes to mind is your LinkedIn headline. Your headline shows up in search results even before someone decides whether to click on your profile or not.
It’s also shown when you share a post or comment on someone else’s post.
A LinkedIn headline is like your online elevator pitch. It’s what people see first, and what they make an initial judgment with, so spend a good amount of time here.
Make sure you have a friendly, professional-looking profile photo, too.
Next, focus on your “About” section and your “Experience” section. These sections both appear high on a profile and are frequently viewed.
I recommend using very short paragraphs or bullet points to make the content eye-catching and skimmable. People don’t like to read long paragraphs on LinkedIn, generally, so break your paragraphs into smaller pieces.
Next, take advantage of the LinkedIn “Skills” section, which provides up to 50 slots for you to enter skills that also serve as LinkedIn profile keywords.
Finally, get at least one LinkedIn recommendation written by a colleague. Most job seekers still have no recommendations on their profile (just skill endorsements, which are different), so you’ll stand out immediately if you have at least one recommendation.
As you write all of the sections above, think about your target audience.
What do they care about? What do they find relevant?
Your LinkedIn profile is a marketing tool to help you attract your ideal audience, so you need to write it with your target reader in mind. Before you take action on anything above, sit down and think about who you want to respond to your profile, and what factors they’d respond best to!
Your Skills & Endorsements section is more important than you might think. This is what Susan Joyce tells us. Your skills are one of the criteria recruiters use to determine if you’re going forward in the hiring process.And endorsements do matter.
Your profile must have at least 5 skills before it can qualify as “All Star.” An All-Star profile has much greater visibility in LinkedIn than other profiles, resulting in many more opportunities.
Three skills are visible on your profile, and you choose them. These 3 skills are more likely to receive endorsement votes than the others which require someone to click “Show more” to see them.
Increased LinkedIn Recruiter Visibility
The reason skills are required for All Star? Skills are one of the primary search criteria in LinkedIn Recruiter when recruiters search for qualified job candidates. If you do not have many in-demand skills on your profile, or many endorsements for the skills you claim, your profile will not be very visible in LinkedIn Recruiter’s search results.
Review the job requirements for the job you want next. Pick the skills you have which are in greatest demand for your target job.
Increase your credibility by getting endorsed for those skills. The best endorsements, when appropriate, are highlighted by LinkedIn as:
Endorsements by members who have several endorsements for the skill are viewed as “highly skilled at this.”
Endorsements by colleagues from the same employer.
LinkedIn allows you to have up to 50 skills – very important keywords in LinkedIn Recruiter!
Only first-degree connections can endorse you for a skill. Often, reciprocity works. You endorse a colleague or friend for their skills, and they demonstrate their gratitude by endorsing you for your skills. You can also reach out, and ask someone to endorse you, especially after you have endorsed them.
Types of Endorsements
In 2020, LinkedIn added skill-level options (“Good” “Very good” “Highly skilled”). LinkedIn also began requiring members indicate how they know someone actually has the skill when endorsing them (“Worked together directly” “Managed the member” “Reported to the member” “Worked together indirectly” “Heard about the member’s skills from others” “None of the above”).
In September 2019, LinkedIn added “Skills Assessments,” visible as the “Skills Quiz” option in Skills & Endorsements. Passing the quiz and receiving the skill badge to add to a profile increases credibility and helps demonstrate to employers the member has that skill.
Skills Quizzes are being rolled out gradually, expanding the number of skills and the languages for the tests. You have 2 opportunities to take the quiz on a particular topic, answering 15 multiple choice questions in 22 minutes or less.
Of course, LinkedIn would be very happy if you participated in LinkedIn Learning to increase your skills.
Endorsements Are Not Recommendations
On LinkedIn, do NOT confuse “endorsements” with “recommendations.” Recommendations are short paragraphs written by someone attesting to the high quality of your work and included in the “Recommendations” section of your profile. While recruiters find these written recommendations very useful, LinkedIn does require them for All Star.
Madeline Mann writes about a very specific topic; your location. I have to admit that I overlook this important aspect of a winning LinkedIn profile. It’s not necessarily where you live; it’s where you want to work that’s important, according to Madeline. She also sees value in the Skills and Endorsements section.
LinkedIn is a search engine that can help opportunities come to you, so it is crucial that you are optimizing every aspect of it. There are two areas of the profile that are highly influential to showing up in search, yet they are often overlooked.
The first place to optimize is your location. Candidates who have the same location as the person who is searching are much more likely to show up in the search. Therefore if you’re trying to get a job in another city, make your location that city.
I have a client who resides on the East Coast but frequently comes to the West Coast to work with her clients and is interested in possibly relocating here for a full time job. Anyone searching for executives in Los Angeles would never see her profile since it says she is on the East Coast, and so to tap into those opportunities she changed her location to Los Angeles.
She included in her About section that she lives a bicoastal lifestyle and in her interviews explains her setup. This is not seen as dishonest, they are actually glad that she made it apparent that she is so open to relocation. So be strategic about your location.
Second, consider your Skills & Endorsements section. That’s right, that section down at the bottom of your profile in the nose bleed seats, where people endorse you for different skills. This is one of the highest predictors that you will show up in a search. Put key skills from you profession in this section. For inspiration, go to the profiles of professionals who have the same job as you and see which skills they have.
You can have up to 50 skills but still delete any that are unrelated to your work. Pin your top 3 most important skills to the top of endorsements to encourage more people to endorse you for them, even if others are endorsed more. And the best way to get endorsements? Endorse others!
Do you have a Swiss Army Knife. I used to own one but have since lost it. Sonal Bahl equates your LinkedIn profile to this incredibly versatile tool. I’m happy that Sonal agreed to contribute to this article, as she mentions some very important aspects of your profile. I love the point she makes about your profile not being your resume.
We’ve all heard about the incredible utility of the Swiss Army Knife, and since the 1880’s, you can use it to punch files, cut, open a wine bottle or a can…and so much more. The epitome of design and utility, multiple uses in one.
Well, LinkedIn has been around since the early 2000’s, and your LinkedIn profile is the Swiss Army Knife of social media profiles! Except it won’t throw you back a pretty penny.
Now before you brush me aside with your cynical pish posh, let’s dive in and break some of those myths that convince you that your LinkedIn profile is ‘good enough’:
1.Your website: If you don’t have a website, fret not. Your LinkedIn profile is your little space on the interweb. Imagery and visuals like a clean and attractive headshot, as well as a banner in the background, welcomes the visitor and draws them in to ‘read more’.
Think ‘about’ section of a website. What can really help is a nice profile picture. Studies have shown that a profile pic results in 21 times more profile views and 9 times more connection requests. Website, check.
2.Sales landing page: I know what you’re thinking, “I’m not selling something, I’m not a business owner.” Shhhh, don’t ever say that out loud, ever again. You’re selling your skills, your personality, your experience, towards the next opportunity.
Your ‘headline’ and ‘about’ section, when beautifully sprinkled with keywords that are used to search for someone like you, are all about what you can do for them. Sales page, check.
3. Blog: want to write an article? LinkedIn is still a great place to do so. Never mind that articles on LinkedIn don’t get as many views as some years ago, the purpose isn’t to show what you know, but to show authority and expertise in what you know.
And articles are evergreen with a much longer shelf life than posts, which in essence are short form blogs. Blog, check.
4.Resume: your work experience section comes to life on your LinkedIn profile! But for heaven’s sake, please don’t copy paste everything from your resume. Instead, tell a story, explain your top achievement, how you grew within the company, how you helped people and revenues to grow. Think: short, easy to read bullets. Resume, check.
5.Background check: Is your recommendation section vacant? Think Amazon reviews, but about you. When was the last time you bought something on Amazon with zero reviews. Exactly. Get cracking, ask 10 people who have praised your work in the past, to document their praise on your profile. Background check, check.
6.Trophy case: received some awards or got some accomplishments you’re particularly proud of? Use that section, and don’t be shy! Trophy case, check
7.CSR page: done your own version of corporate social responsibility like volunteering at a school or working for the underprivileged? Mention it, own it and share it with pride! A study 5 years ago stated that 41% of hiring managers value volunteer experience at the same level as paid experience.
I hope I have convinced you of the gold you’re sitting on, in terms of your LinkedIn profile. If you needed one more reason, consider this: An original Swiss army knife can retail for anything from $100-$1000. Your LinkedIn profile is free. And the outcome of a ‘sharp’ LinkedIn profile? Priceless.
Your winning LinkedIn profile is about your personal brand. First we need to agree with the definition of “personal brand.” One aspect of it is that it’s humanizing. Another is that it defines your greatness. Lastly, it’s consistent. Anything less is empty words on the screen.
There are four areas on your profile that demonstrate your personal brand:
1. I call it your background image. Often overlooked, it is the first thing that brands you, unless you have the default image LinkedIn provides in its place. If this is the case, you’re not thinking about your personal brand.
Ideally your background image illustrates your industry or something of interest. A double whammy if it does both. I had a client who worked for the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) as a marketer. Her background image showed her with the mountains in the background. Perfect.
2. Most people see the profile Headline as the most important section of your profile. What your Headline needs to achieve in branding you is delivering your greatness in 260 words or less. I had a group of eight people select from 86 Headlines the 10 best ones.
Here’s one that includes the required keywords to be found as well as a powerful branding statement:
Lezlie Garr Career Change Advocate | Certified Career Transition Coach & Resume Writer | LinkedIn, Interview & Job Search Strategist | I help ambitious professionals shift out of soul-sucking work and into meaningful careers
3. Perhaps the place where you can best brand yourself is your About section. The reason I say this is because it, more than any other section, allows you to show the human side of you while also demonstrating your greatness through accomplishments (the what and how).
In a recent article I wrote, I talk about how the first three lines of your About section need to capture the reader’s attention. Explain in first-person point of view your passion or what drives you. Now back it up with some accomplishments that prove this. I call this branding.
4. Lastly, is your Experience section where you hit them over the head with your quantified results. Let’s say you increased efficiency 45% by improving manufacturing processes using Lean methodology. Now, that’s talking the talk and walking the walk.
Where’s the human element in your Experience section? Use first-person point of view. Start with a mission or job summary and continue the narrative with accomplishment statements written in first person. “I’m proud to have increased efficiency 45% by improving manufacturing processes using Lean methodology.”
In describing your greatness, make sure you’re consistent throughout your whole LinkedIn profile. This is how you’ll create a winning profile. Like Sonal Bahl says, “…You’re selling your skills, your personality, your experience, towards the next opportunity.”
Now check out the other two articles from this series:
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. First, consider the following 8 tips. Then read about some ways you can write your About section.
Here are 8 tips to consider
1. Don’t skimp on your About section. If it’s similar to many of the ones I see, it lacks creativity. In fact, it resembles a résumé. This is what I call the bare minimum. You’re telling the world you don’t give a rat’s ass about your online image.
You’re allowed 2,600 characters—up from 2,000. It’s a lot, I know, but you’re not required to use all 2,600 characters. Some people write killer About sections with less words.
2. Make sure to include the keywords hiring authorities and other visitors are looking for. If you’re a project manager with expertise in Lean Sigma, list those words numerous times in your About section. It’s not only about the proper keywords; it’s also about density.
3. Write your About section in first-person point of view. In fact, write your whole profile in first-person to make it more personal. You can even write your Experience section in first-person.
4. Don’t be afraid to use some colorful symbols in your About section. It contributes to your personality. Just don’t over due it. You don’t want to distract your readers from the message you’re trying to deliver.
5. Use some HEADERS to guide your readers as to what your paragraphs or bullets are describing. I use all-cap headers like JOB-SEARCH STRATEGY and WHAT MY CLIENTS SAY ABOUT ME (EXCERPTS FROM RECOMMENDATIONS 👇) to indicate exactly what I’m describing.
6. Keep your paragraphs short. Three or four lines should be the limit. I’ve seen About sections written like stream of consciousness. Dense paragraphs consisting of 10 lines will scare people away from reading your content.
7. Always include your contact information. At the very least list your email address. At best include your telephone number. Here’s the thing, hiring authorities aren’t going to spend time trying to find you. And, they might not be astute enough to look in the Contact Info drop-down under your name.
8. I saved the best for last. Use your About section to brand you. There is perhaps no better place to do this; you message must be compelling—who are you, what do you do, how well do you do it, and do your readers believe it? These are questions you need to answer.
Three of the most important lines (approximately 50 words) are the ones that appear at the beginning of your About section; therefore they need to grab the reader’s attention and make them want to click …see more. I tell my clients they can talk about the following in their starter lines:
► A greater problem you solve ► What drives you in your occupation ► A question which you will address in the body
These will comprise your first paragraph. Here’s an example, from a salesperson in the LED lighting space, of the start of a great intro paragraph. He uses another approach for the intro paragraph by asking if the reader needs him, then explaining what he can do.
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
Body of your About section
After your first and second paragraphs, it’s time to prove what you assert. Following is body content from a director of marketing. He chose to write his body highlighting areas of expertise, some of which follows what he wrote in his Header.
►DEEP PRODUCT/TECHNOLOGY CAPABILITIES: My roots are in product management/marketing. This strength has enabled me to understand and market complex technologies and 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.
►DEMAND GENERATION SUCCESS: I’ve created modern demand generation engines that have led to fast growth (50% – 160% year over year growth). I’m experienced in different approaches, including account-based marketing, content marketing, digital marketing (SEO, PPC, email, website), product-led/freemium programs, and partner marketing.
►BRAND BUILDING / CATEGORY CREATION SUCCESS: I’ve helped companies become category leaders in the eyes of customers and industry influencers, such as Gartner and Forrester. Twice I have influenced Gartner to create new categories to reflect my company’s unique value. I believe customer advocacy and partner marketing are critical elements to making a brand grow.
►SALES/RESULTS FOCUS: Yes, I am a marketer, but I focus on driving sales results, not just marketing metrics. This focus permeates activities from buyer journey development to content generation and sales enablement. I’ve event built and managed business development and inside sales teams that generated $18M/quarter in pipeline.
►HANDS-ON CAPABILITIES: My hands-on capabilities span content development, campaign execution, marketing tech/CRM deployments, SEO optimization, ad campaign management, website optimization and more. I like to build and scale organizations, but I can do the job first to get things moving.
Note that my former client uses first-person point of view to add personality to his achievements. As well, he breaks down his achievements with all-cap headers. Finally, he provides some quantified results. And yes, he exceeds the three-line limit but only in one of his areas of expertise.
Consider your About section a perfectly sculpted sandwich; the top bread is your intro paragraph, the middle is the roast beef and fixings, and the bottom bread is your concluding paragraph.
You need to tie it together with a paragraph that explains why you’ve written what you have above. I took the approach of ending my About section telling my readers that I get their plight.
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.
Clearly there are many way to write your About section. Some choose to literally tell a story that describes their career trajectory. Others are all about the accomplishments. Some like to highlight their testimonials, which is a wise decision for entrepreneurs. However you cut it, your About section must demonstrate value and a reason for your visitors to read on.