Category Archives: LinkedIn

The LinkedIn quiz: 50 questions

In a recent post, I asked my LinkedIn community to take a quiz consisting of 15 questions. Those who took it were honest about their LinkedIn prowess, or lack thereof. I promised in this post that I would reveal the entire quiz I give my clients.

Jigsaw-Phishing-Quiz_sm

The quiz I give my clients consist of 50 questions. If you decide to take it and don’t score 100%, don’t worry. There is always room for improvement. I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t have a perfect score.

Some of my failures have to do with my inability to perform the “tasks,” some of them are due to caring not to perform the tasks.

We’ll start with the LinkedIn profile. I tell my clients that while it’s important to have a value-based, optimized profile, this is only one-third of the equation. Here we go.

Your Profile

Determined how you want to brand yourself, or deliver your message. Express this on your profile through the following. Answer “yes” or “no” to the following:

  1. My profile is optimized with keywords. ___
  2. I have a background image that is relevant or reflects my personality. ___
  3. My photo is professionally done, or a buddy with a good camera shot it. (No selfies) ___
  4. I have a headline that brands me with keywords or a tagline or both. ___
  5. When you look at my Articles & Activity section, you’ll see I engage on LinkedIn. ___
  6. My Summary, now called About, tells a compelling story that shows value. ___
  7. My Experience section consists of accomplishments, not simply duties. ___
  8. I utilize my Education section to the fullest. For example, I tell readers some of my accomplishments at University. ___
  9. I show my Volunteer experience because employers like people who contribute to the community. ___
  10. I list at least 30 Skills which are endorsed. (Job seekers, you’re given a break on the number of endorsements, but the employed should have at least 50 endorsements per skill.) ___
  11. In my Recommendations section, I have at least 1 recommendation from a supervisor/manager for each position. ___
  12. I’ve written recommendations for my employees, colleagues, vendors, etc. ___
  13. My Accomplishments section has at least one of these: project, publication, patent, language, grades, courses. ___
  14. I have at least media, e.g., audio, video, documents, Slideshare, in either About, Experience, or Education. ___
  15. I post videos on a consistent basis. ___

Total number of yeses ___


Another important part of your LinkedIn campaign is developing your network, which should be large, yet focused. The more homogeneous your network, the more value you’ll add to your connections.

Your network

  1. My goal is to build relationships to land a job or increase sales. ___
  2. I believe that building relationships is about giving. ___
  3. I have 500+ connections. ___
  4. At least 80% of my connections are in my industry. ___
  5. I use All Filters to search for potential connections. ___
  6. I search and connect with people using the Companies feature. ___
  7. I search for people using See Alumni. ___
  8. I know how to use Boolean Search to narrow my search. ___
  9. Before connecting with potential connections, I read their profile in full. Well, mostly. ___
  10. I send cold invites and include a personalized message. ___
  11. I send invites with a personalized message using references. ___
  12. I ask for an introduction from someone in my network to someone with whom I’d like to connect. ___
  13. I thank people for joining my network. ___
  14. I follow up with a message to new connections. ___
  15. I make an effort to call or Zoom/Skype with my new connections. ___

Total number of yeses ___

Your engagement

Here’s where the rubber meets the road; thus, more questions. You’ve created a stellar profile, connected with people in your industry and some verticals; now it’s time to engage with your network and stay top of mind.

  1. I spend at least 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week on LinkedIn. ___
  2. I message my connections on a regular basis. ___
  3. I occasionally use group messaging. ___
  4. My comments are respectful, or I don’t comment at all. ___
  5. I react (Like, Celebrate, Love, Insightful, Curious) to other’s posts. ___
  6. I react (Like, Celebrate, Love, Insightful, Curious)  to other’s posts and write a comment for each one. ___
  7. I write my own long posts. ___
  8. I react and/or share articles written by my connnections’ or online publications, for example, The Muse. ___
  9. I react and/or share and comment on articles written by my connnections’ or online publications. ___
  10. I react to people’s videos. ___
  11. I react and comment on other’s videos. ___
  12. I produce my own videos. ___
  13. I use LinkedIn’s Publisher to write articles. ___
  14. When I share someone’s communications, I @ tag them. ___
  15. I use the appropriate number of  # hashtags. ___
  16. I endorse my connections. ___
  17. I ask for and write recommendations for my connections. ___
  18. I share my connections’ profiles with other LinkedIn members. ___
  19. I give Kudos to my connections. ___
  20. I use the LinkedIn mobile app. ___

OVERALL number of yeses ___


Legend

  • 45 out of 50 correct: Grand Master
  • 40 out of 50 correct: Very Good
  • 35 out of 50 correct: Good
  • 30 out of 50 correct: Fair
  • 25 out of 50 correct: Needs work

 


Thank you for taking this quiz. If you are new to LinkedIn, don’t worry about your score; it will increase the more you use LinkedIn. If you are a veteran of LinkedIn, your score should be high. Maybe not perfect, but high.

As always, I’m interested in hearing about other questions I should add to this quiz. I’d like to increase the overall number of questions to at least 60.

 

 

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10 reasons why you should use LinkedIn after you’ve landed a job

I’ve come across thousands of job seekers who believe in the power LinkedIn provides to help them land a job. I haven’t, however, come across as many people who believe in using LinkedIn after they’ve landed. They feel that once LinkedIn has done its job, it’s time to part ways.

LinkedIn for Business

Why is that? Do people not see the value of LinkedIn in their work?

In a LinkedIn post* I wrote on the fifth of September, I asked the question, “I have a job. Do I still need to use LinkedIn?” Following are 10 versions of the reasons I provided for continuing to use LinkedIn after being hired. Some folks from career development and sales have weighed in with great answers.

1. Continue to build your network as insurance, if you need/want to move on

Unless you were born yesterday, you don’t believe that any job is secure, except for Supreme Court Justices. What if you want to move on to another position? Whether you have to move on or want to move on, having an established network of trustworthy people, will be extremely beneficial.

Susan Joyce writes, “So sad when people stop using LinkedIn after landing a new job. Unfortunately, NOT unusual. What will happen the next time they need a job—start over with LinkedIn? That means a much longer job search. Instead, stay active, support the new employer, and remain professionally visible. Much smarter!”

2. Continue to build your brand

Make sure you update your profile with your latest accomplishments. Only connect with the people who provide value, as well as those to whom you can provide value. And, yes, share posts that are relevant to your network. This is all part of branding. Read The ultimate LinkedIn Guide series to learn more.

Perhaps you’re interest is gaining more visibility in your new role. Wendy Schoen suggests, “If you are engaging on LinkedIn, it is much easier for others in your field to reach out to you with speaking engagements or panel appearances. These are the ways in which you establish your ‘chops’ in your field!”

3. Be found by recruiters who are cruising for passive candidates

You might have landed your dream job and think you’ll retire from the organization, or you might have landed at an organization that didn’t turn out to be what you thought it would. In either case, there are always recruiters who are looking for good talent. You want to be found.

Cynthia Wright is a recruiter. She uses LinkedIn Recruiter and warns that passive job seekers never know when they’ll be approached: “It’s a great tool, and as a recruiter, 60% of my hires are made from LinkedIn Recruiter. Most are passive candidates (those who aren’t necessarily looking for a job). As a job seeker, you just never know.”

4. Give back: let people know of openings in your organization

The best of the best networkers will continue their efforts of helping others after they’ve landed. Some of my former clients have shared openings at their company, almost the minute they’ve started their job. They were paying it forward, which is the true definition of netowrking.

Employers are hiring. The questions is who are they looking to hire. The answer is clear; they’re filling positions with people who’ve been referred by those they trust and know. Be that person they trust and know; mention people with whom you’ve networked. Bonus: you might receive a finders fee.

5. Use LinkedIn for professional development

Let’s say you’ve landed at a company where there’s no money in the budget for professional development. You can reach out to other employees in your industry, or you can use information you gather on LinkedIn. One great source for professional development is LinkedIn’s Learning (Lynda.com).

Brian Ahearn, has produced four courses for LinkedIn. He speaks about persuasion in sales, personal relationships, and coaching. I have learned a great deal about the art of persuasion from him. Check out his courses: Persuasive Selling; Advanced Selling: DEALing with Different Personality Styles; Persuasive Coaching; and Building a Culture of Coaching Though Timely Feedback.

6. Research companies and people before meetings for business transactions

Let’s say you applied for a marketing director’s position. You were smart and researched the positions to which you applied and companies who were going to interview you. Did you also research the people who would be interviewing you? You were smart if you did. Now it’s time to research people in your industry or the company for which you work.

Sarah Johnston writes: “LinkedIn can be a great place to learn about your new colleagues. Individual profiles often reveal their, past jobs and non-profit involvement. This information can be helpful during water cooler conversation. One of my favorite things to do to look at the written recommendations that they’ve given to other people. This can provide you with insight into their work relationships and qualities that they value in others.”

7. Share posts and articles of your own, as well as those of others

If you didn’t share articles or comment on other’s posts while job searching, now is the time to do it. Share and comment on articles, write posts expressing your thoughts, attach a whitepaper in Rich Media sections. You want to stay on the radar of your network (related to reason number one).

Hannah Morgan writes, “Your goal in regularly sharing articles on LinkedIn is to stay top of mind among your network. Don’t just re-share the articles, though. Explain why you are sharing them and tag several people, including the author, to make sure they see it. Commenting on posts related to your field—either from people in your network, or those you do not know yet—is a way to expand your network and solidify your relationships with existing connections.”

8. Increase business and/or visibility of your organization

If you’re a salesperson or business developer in a B2B role, using LinkedIn is a no brainer. Even if you’re not directly involved in selling products or services, LinkedIn is instrumental in building relationships. Any employee in a company can be the face of the organization.

In support of this reason, Bruce Bixler makes an excellent point: “ONLY 20% of LinkedIn is used for job search the OTHER 80% is for business enterprise, sales, networking, lead generation, entrepreneurs, business development, and even small business.” By the way, he might not be far off with this figure.

9. Use LinkedIn to find talent

You’re on the other side of the table now as a hiring manager, recruiter, or HR: you are now searching for candidates. The company for which you work doesn’t have the budget for a Recruiter account or even Recruiter Lite. Your only tool for finding talent is using LinkedIn’s Search.

No problem; you used Search to find people who were hiring. You became proficient at LinkedIn’s All Filters, which allowed you to search for people by title; current and previous company; industry, location; school; and language, if you’re looking for someone who’s bilingual.

10. LinkedIn is fun to use and teach

This is my personal reason for using LinkedIn. I enjoy the platform, more so than Facebook or Twitter. Some of my colleagues tease me for my devotion to LinkedIn (one said I need an intervention), but I shuck it off. I enjoy it for disseminating information and gathering information. This isn’t to say it frustrates me at times.

I also teach job seekers to use it in their job search; having led thousands of workshops on LinkedIn strategy and building your profile. As well, I also help clients one-on-one. Using LinkedIn is my most enjoyable part of the job search to teach. Where some might not see its value, I do.


In my LinkedIn workshops I encourage my attendees to continue to use LinkedIn after they’ve landed their next job. Many nod their head in agreement, but I’ve yet to see most of them to do it. Hopefully if they read this article, they’ll see the value of using LinkedIn after they’ve landed their next job.

Here’s to hoping.

*Here is the post I reference in this article.

Shaming on LinkedIn is NOT cool: 5 possible solutions

One common complaint voiced by LinkedIn members is receiving unsolicited sales pitches. Most offensive to them is receiving a pitch from a salesperson right after agreeing to connect with them. Some LinkedIn members feel it’s intrusive and violates the true nature of networking.

shame

To sales people on LinkedIn, the complainers might be seen as lightweights. After all, LinkedIn was initially developed to create networking opportunities for businesses who were trying to…well, sell their products. They really don’t see a sales pitch as intrusive, and they don’t expect to be shamed for doing what they think is good business.

A salesperson shamed on LinkedIn

On a recent quiet Sunday, I came across an example of what I would call one of worst cases of shaming I’ve seen in years, if not ever. Without using names and being as neutral as possible, I’m going to use third-person point of view to briefly tell you the story.

A LinkedIn member received a sales pitch in a message right after accepting a salesperson’s invite. The recipient of the message took it upon themselves to announce to the world through a post, which described their abhorrence at receiving the sales pitch, provided the salesperson’s LinkedIn URL, as well as a screen shot of the interaction.

Seeing this post prompted me to write a post of my own (link at the end of this article) describing my reaction to this shaming and providing some solutions to deal with it. A large majority of the people who read the post responded with a similar reaction.

How can shaming be avoided?

The first step to avoid shaming on LinkedIn begins with the offender; salespeople need to understand their connections and only approach those who would appreciated a sales pitch. There are many LinkedIn members who engage in the sales arena and welcome unsolicited pitches.

For instance, one of my close LinkedIn connections, Kevin Willett, said he welcomes people reaching out to him to offer their services. Kevin is the founder of Friends of Kevin, which is a networking group for businesses. He believes LinkedIn is a vehicle to generate business.

On the other hand, someone like me doesn’t appreciate being approached by a salesperson trying to peddle their services or products, especially in an initial invite or the second correspondence we have. I don’t stand alone on this, as you will see from reading the reactions from people who responded to my post.

What should you do if you don’t appreciate being approached?

This gets to the heart of this article. So you’ve been approached by a salesperson and you’re angry. Is shaming that person the answer? There were many suggestions from the people who read and responded to my post. Here are some of them:

Educate the offender on LinkedIn etiquette

See the sales pitch as innocent

Thank you for posting this Bob. While receiving these unsolicited sales pitches certainly seems to annoy a number folks, I think it’s important for all of us to remember that most sales pitches (at least the ones I have received on LI) come with good intentions from people just trying to earn a living.

Of course if the pitch contains hateful language or other truly offensive content, then public shaming would not be out of line. But aside from that, I see no reason to get angry or upset over a well-meaning sales pitch. Let’s be kind to one another and remember, we’re all on this journey together!

Ignore the offender

I recently had a similar situation arise where someone lashed out and I had one of two options: publicly shame or play nice. To be honest I’m still contemplating how to handle it. For now it can be seen as the nice route since I’ve chosen to ignore it and not give it power.

If I address it then I’m putting negative energy out there that could potentially portray me in a negative light as well. End result: it’s not worth the energy. If there’s another situation such as this I might be inclined to respond and try to educate but it would all be situational.

Disconnect or block the offender

I simply disconnect from the person. The online equivalent of a “cold call” seems to be garnering favor among more sales reps. Not a good trend because there is no online equivalent of the “do not call” list (unfortunately).

Resort to shaming

I’m happy to say that, at this point, no one has suggested outright shaming the offender. This is the worst possible way to deal with an unwanted sales pitch. I wonder if the offender has received any backlash. Has this person’s reputation been tarnished? Will this effect their brand?

I hope that those who’ve read this article will not resort to shaming anyone on LinkedIn, because, as some respondents wrote, it could affect your own brand. It could make other LinkedIn users be reluctant to connect or follow you.

What would I do? In the past I’ve used the ignore-and-hope-the-person-goes-away approach. If that didn’t work, I simply wrote back, “No thanks.” That’s worked 100% of the time.


See my post, which prompted me to write this article: https://tinyurl.com/y656zdz3

Photo: Flickr, ParraLobato

It’s your LinkedIn profile, not your company’s: 4 areas to show it

Recently I viewed a profile from a gentleman whose current job description was…well a job description. Or I should say all about the company for which he works and nothing about him.

Company Hallway

This left me wanting to know more about him in his current role. I reached out to him, telling him it’s nice to be a company man, but that his profile should be more about him.

His response was gracious, saying he just hasn’t gotten around to updating his latest position. Fair enough.

This also got me to thinking what if your current company requires you to reference it throughout your LinkedIn profile? How do you address this in certain sections of your profile?

Abide by your company’s rules, to a point. If the company insists that you mention them on your profile, heed their request. After all, you work for them and want to keep your job. Heeding their request doesn’t mean your profile should be an advertisement for the company, though.

Important to note: my valued LinkedIn connection and Personal SEO Researcher, Trainer, Writer, Susan Joyce, believes describing the company for which one works is beneficial. She writes:

“More words, done well, about the company usually means more keywords—like the industry name, names of products and/or services; even names of corporate officers and locations can be important keywords to include.”

There are four sections on our profile where you can promote the company, while still expressing your value to the company.

Background image

This is not as problematic as with other areas on you profile, particularly if the company has an impressive image (below) that fits this space on your profile (1,584 x 396 pixels recommended).

Raytheon background

A smart company will provide its employees with a background image that supports consistent branding.

Headline

The company for which you work might require that its name is in your headline. That’s fine. In fact, some recruiters and other visitors like to see in your Headline where you’re currently working.

Simply list your company name first or last.

 New Business Development Director at (Company Name) ~ Global Marketing | Training | ~ Generating $50+ million in sales

About section

Don’t use this valuable real estate for your company’s benefit only; rather you’ll dedicate approximately one-third of it in your About section. The remaining content will be about you.

Where you place your company’s information is up to you; however, I suggest listing it at the end of your About section. The reason for this is because the first three lines should be used to highlight your value, not your company’s.

Here is an example for our New Business Development Manager.

ABOUT ME

Forging partnerships with domestic and international partners, I enhance businesses’ internal management processes. In turn, they become more productive and realize growth and prosperity.

My start in business development began five years after graduating from university. With a drive to strive for more experience and knowledge I rose to various managerial roles (10+ years) before becoming Director of Business Development.

In 2018 I conceived and marketed, on a global level, a software solution that increased office production by 210%, garnering (Company) $56 million in revenue. This solution is in use in eight countries in Western and Eastern Europe, as well as  the U.S.

A product will not sell itself. I am highly adept at training and educating inside sales and distributor sales staff in all aspects of selling. I have trained more than 2,500 sales people in 12 countries.

ABOUT (COMPANY)

(Company) sells products to many B2B distributors, as well as numerous B2C outlets. It provides business management solutions to industries that include the USDA, EPA, DoD, Energy, Higher Ed, Health Science, Transportation, and more. (Company) has gained recognition for its solutions’ ease of use in helping businesses support and automate their processes.

Experience section

It was in my subject’s Experience section that he described the company for which he works and nothing about what he accomplished. It does no good to dedicate most of the content to the company’s successes. In terms of selling yourself, this is where you do it.

Instead of denying yourself the opportunity to describe your quantified accomplishments, briefly describe the attributes of the company in your Job Summary. Let’s look at our Dir. of Business Development’s Experience section which follows my suggestion.

ABOUT COMPANY

(Company) delivers to market business management software serving the USDA, EPA, DoD, Energy, Education, Life Sciences, Food & Beverage, Transportation, and more. In this role, I led all aspects of business development including:

NEW BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND MARKETING

► Conceived three software solutions within a three-year time-frame, while also overseeing the global marketing efforts. The Top Tier solution:
»» Commands 30% of business management software market.
»» Has generated more than $56 million in worldwide business.

► Established (Company) as a contract vendor to (7) leading regional, national and international distributors in multiple business sectors.

SALES & TRAINING

► Increased EBITDA margin 12% while simultaneously improving margins, continually cutting costs, without sacrificing quality of brand or brand performance.

► Created sales programs, marketing initiatives and pricing matrices for all levels of customers.

HELPING BUSINESSES GROW

My success as a New Business Product Director is due in large part to the ability understand companies’ needs based on the business management market. I have an instinct to foresee what’s coming down the road and act on it.


One Exception

There is one exception to the rule. If you’re the top employee of the of a company—perhaps CEO—it’s assumed that anything under your charge has your name on it.

Also, describing in detail what you do as the CEO of the company might draw attention to the fact that you’re pursuing other opportunities.


I hope the subject of this article has taken the time to describe more of what he does in his position than the details of the company for which he works. After all, I’m more interested in his accomplishments than those of the company.

Photo: Raytheon

Photo: Flickr, stefgibson01

 

8 ways to use LinkedIn to shorten your job search

If you’re searching for a job, LinkedIn can shorten your search. You’ve probably been told this, but it’s well worth repeating. Hopefully this article will be the push you need to dust off the profile you started years ago but forgot about it like your mother-in-law’s birthday.

LinkedIn mobile

Will using LinkedIn alone guarantee that you land your next gig? No; LinkedIn is a great supplement to your in-person networking, but you need to engage in both for a strong networking campaign.

So, how can LinkedIn help you land a job? There are at least eight ways LinkedIn can be one of your best friends in the job search.

It’s where hiring authorities hang out

Almost every recruiter I talk with says LinkedIn is the place to find talent. To them it’s like their favorite diner. Estimates of the percentage of recruiters who use LinkedIn to find talent range from 87 to 95 percent. Either way you slice it, these figures are astonishing.

I’m never surprised these days when clients tell me they were introduced to a company from a recruiter who found their profile on LinkedIn. It also doesn’t surprise me when I’m told my clients were contacted by the VP or president of an organization.

To this point, it’s not only recruiters who look for talent on LinkedIn. Human resources departments, hiring managers, even C-level employees will utilize LinkedIn’s search capabilities.


Your profile is similar to your online résumé but offers more

You might have noticed that the sections of your profile are anchored. Further, you might have noticed that your profile is ordered similar to your résumé. This is because recruiters prefer it this way.

Even so, recruiters will only find your LinkedIn profile if it’s complete and keyword optimized—similar to your résumé up against an applicant tracking system. Like your resume, recruiters expect to see the value you’ll bring to their client.

But let’s be clear, your profile is not your résumé. I often run across profiles that are simply a cut and paste of their résumé. While the two are similar, there are some major differences.

One major difference is that your résumé is sent out in response to a job post, whereas your profile draws hiring authorities to you. Think of your résumé as push technology and your profile as pull technology.

Your résumé should be tailored to each job; your profile doesn’t change as often. Therefore, your profile is more inclusive.

Your profile is also written in first-person- or third-person-point of view. It should tell your story through:

  • a relevant background image,
  • quality photo,
  • branding Headline,
  • accomplishment statements with quantitative results throughout, and
  • personable About and Experience sections.

This last point is what makes the LinkedIn profile more enjoyable to read for me. I love a well-told story woven throughout the profile. The résumé comes across as factual and less personable.

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


Create a focused network of quality and quantity

Here’s the thing: you can reach out to a bazillion people—LinkedIn’s limit is 30,000—but what good is that if you never interact with a majority of them?

Nonetheless, your LinkedIn network should be focused more on quality, not quantity. What’s a good number of connections I’m asked.

I tell my clients who have started their job search after many years of having to look that 250 connections is respectable. However, they won’t be taken seriously until their network is closer to 500 plus.

The big question is with whom you should connect. The short answer to this is the people who will be of mutual assistance. Your former colleagues are a no-brainer.

Seek out like-minded people next. These are people who do work similar to you, are in the same industry. If you work with recruiters, connect with the ones who serve your industry. They have a pipeline of employers of whom you might not be aware.

I Strongly suggest connecting with people who work in companies for which you want to work. Do this before jobs are advertised at said companies. The idea is to build your foundation before jobs are advertised; penetrate the Hidden Job Market.

Read Ultimate LinkedIn guide, Part 2: How to optimize your LinkedIn network.


Research companies and the people who work there

As I’ve strongly suggested, you should have a list of companies for which you’d like to work. Your list can include 10-15 companies or more. Remember, these are only companies of interest. You can follow companies and research them on their LinkedIn company page.

Of more value is connecting with current and previous employees at these companies. To access these potential connections:

  1. Type in Search the company’s name. I chose IBM.
  2. In the sidebar, click People. I came up with 583,133 employees.
  3. Narrow your search with filters. Here’s my string: IBM, Greater Boston, University of Massachusetts.
  4. My count is now four people who follow that criteria.

With a manageable number of LinkedIn profiles, I can read them with ease. I’m interested in if they currently work there or worked there, their previous experience, their Volunteer Experience, and other information with which we have something in common.

Your next step is to send an invite to people of interest. Do not make the ask in your first invite; rather comment on their posts, send personal messages, and engage with them in other ways. When a job becomes available, contact them to see if they can be of assistance, tell you more about the position or possibly deliver your résumé to the hiring manager.


Engage with your network

Once you’ve developed your network, you need to engage with them. This means sending personal messages, commenting on their posts or articles, creating your own posts, providing information on your occupation or industry, etc.

You will further brand yourself by providing valuable content to your network. I challenge you to write articles using LinkedIn’s Publishing feature. Although you might not get hundreds of likes and comments immediately, it’s a start to demonstrating your though leadership.

It floored me one day when a client of mine told me that because he was out of work, he didn’t feel he had the right to even write a long post. Hogwash. Anyone who has expertise to share, employed or not, has the “right” to share their expertise.

The bottom line: if you don’t engage with your connections, you’re out of sight, out of mind. There are some connections who I miss when I don’t see their comments or shares with their thoughts. Also realize there’s a difference between engagement and activity.

Read 6 ways to engage on LinkedIn, not just active


LinkedIn is the number 3 job board…for now

Polls are as good as a the source that provides the ranking. A more recent poll puts LinkedIn as the number 3 job board out there, with Indeed.com topping the challengers. I also saw a poll which put LinkedIn at the top and Indeed third. Go figure.

Nonetheless here are some notable benefits of using LinkedIn Jobs (its job board).

  1. With the basic feature, you can use Easy Apply, which is…easy to use. The idea behind this feature is that you send your profile directly to employers (another reason why your profile needs to be strong) along with your résumé.
  2. LinkedIn purported in April that there were 20 million jobs advertised on LinkedIn.
  3. The company also claims, “a hire is made every eight seconds on LinkedIn…” I buy that!
  4. LinkedIn Jobs also has some pretty cool features which allow you to choose the date it was posted, people who are in your network for each job, companies that are offering your desired position, experience level, and more.
  5. One feature I enjoy showing my clients is who posted the position. I encourage them to reach out to this person to forward their résumé to them, or to learn a bit more about the position.
  6. The Careers premium account shows you how many people have applied to the position, the skills you have or are lacking, the educational degrees applicants possess.

I’m not a huge fan of job boards—I rather see people use in-person networking coupled with LinkedIn. However, I never discourage my clients from using them. I know plenty of people who landed interviews by using them.


Introverts dig LinkedIn

As an introvert, I can attest to the comfort of communicating through writing. It allows me to compose my thoughts—multiple times if necessary—before releasing them to the world. Read 6 reasons why introverts prefer to write.

This said, I know plenty of great writers who are extraverts. My MBTI champion, Edythe Richards, always reminds me that both dichotomies are capable of demonstrating introverted and extraverted traits. She is an extravert and a great writer, by the way.

My belief is that introverts find it easier networking online than in person. Thus, they favor using LinkedIn over going to networking events. First of all, I get that. Second of all, this is not a way to conduct your Networking campaign.

Your connections aren’t bona fide until you reach out the them in a personal way. This deserves repeating. Even if you aren’t into large networking events, you can get together in smaller groups, affectionately called Buddy Groups.

I’ll contradict myself here: one of my best connections is someone I’ve yet to meet in person. We have spoken on the phone many times and Zoomed on occasion. So I feel like I know him well. Jim, you know I’m talking about you. And, yes, we’ll eventually meet in Maine.


You can take it on the go

Approximately 60% of LinkedIn members use their LinkedIn mobile app, which isn’t a surprise; we bring our phone with us wherever we go. I’m constantly on my phone, checking email, LinkedIn, Facebook, my blog, and WhatsApp. You get it.

Using your LinkedIn app can help you stay in touch with your connections for potential networking opportunities, recruiters and other hiring authorities, as well as being alerted to jobs that might be appropriate for you.

In addition, you can write posts and reply to posts, further contributing to your engagement.

I’m highly encouraged when I ask my workshop attendees if they have the LinkedIn app installed on their phone; most of them do.

The computer UI has increasingly been developing to resemble the mobile app. You’ll notice the look and feel is similar. There are some features the app has which the computer doesn’t, and vice versa. Anyway you look at it, you should be using both platforms to enhance your job search.


These are eight ways you can use LinkedIn to shorten your job search. Keep in mind that in order to benefit from LinkedIn, you have to put effort into it.

The number one area I see lacking in job seekers is engaging with their connections. Let me reiterate, you have the right and reason to engage with your connections. Remember this.

Photo: Flickr, Christine Hueber

9 essential components of your job-search marketing campaign: Part 2

If every successful business requires a marketing campaign to promote its products or services, it figures that your job search requires the same. In part one of this two-part series, we looked at the written communications of a job-search marketing campaign. Four career-development pundits weighed in on research, the résumé and LinkedIn profile, and the approach letter.

 

woman on phone

Part two features five pundits, who address the verbal side of your job-search marketing campaign. To kick off this article, we’re going to address a very important part of you campaign, personal branding.

Personal branding

Erin Kennedy specializes in personal branding for executive-level job seekers. She talks about the importance of creating a clear, strong brand for your verbal communications.

People sometimes get confused about what their personal brand is. What is it? How do I figure it out? But the fact is, we all have a personal brand already. It is entwined in everything we do i.e. what we are good at, what we are known for, what others come to us for, what we specialize in.

“Once job seekers look at it that way, it’s much easier to break it down and define what our “personal brand” is. One way to strengthen your brand is through your verbal communications. It is easy to confuse people about who you are if you are not crystal clear about your brand.

Job seekers need to realize that not properly communicating their brand in their job search can be a huge obstacle in finding the job they are qualified for…and are hoping for. Take the time to ensure you have a strong brand statement that shows your expertise and the value you can offer a prospective employer.

Every successful business requires a strong brand which is unique to its products or services. Taglines like, “Just Do It,” “Think Different,” and “I’m Lovin’ It” stand on their own because of the strength of Nike, Apple, and McDonald’s.


Networking

Nothing can be more effective to land an interview than networking. Many will agree that your résumé and LinkedIn profile are all important, but they would also agree that how you distribute them largely depends on networking.

Austin Belcak’s LinkedIn profile tagline is: I Help People Land Amazing Jobs Without Applying Online // Need Help With Your Job Search? Let’s Talk. Austin is definitely a proponent of networking.

“When it comes to expanding your network, there are two rules I like to follow: first quality always beats quantity. People get scared of networking because they think they need to blast out a million connection requests or go to these meetups. That stuff doesn’t work.

“Real relationships are usually built in a small setting and they require a lot of work. Instead of spraying and praying, pick a handful of people you really want to connect with and focus in on them.

“Second, be relentless about adding value Don’t start the relationship with your palm out. Instead, research the person and work to find ways to add value. Send them a resource, offer some feedback, introduce them to someone, tell them how you took their advice and benefited from it.

“If you approach each relationship with a value-add mindset and consistently show up in a positive light, the reciprocation will be there. It takes time and it takes practice but it’s the best way to build strong relationships that pay dividends down the road.”

Whether you decide to go to large or small events or simply networking in your community, make sure you are equipped with personal business cards. Learn 7 reasons why personal business cards are important and what information to include on them.

Without networking, many companies would fail. Smaller companies often survive on word of mouth. Similarly, large companies need to create trust to close a deal. Your marketing campaign is similar. As Austin says, be selective in who you approach in your marketing campaign.


LinkedIn engagement

Although your LinkedIn engagement is accomplished through writing, I feel it’s important to note in this part of the article as a form of networking.

I tell my clients that their profile is important, but it’s also important to develop a focused, like-minded network and engage with those connections. Engaging with your network can be difficult if you don’t have the confidence and you don’t know how to communicate with them.

First of all, you have expertise in your field and, therefore, shouldn’t question your right to engage with your connections. Second, don’t start the relationship with “the ask.” I’ve been approached by LinkedIn users who want to connect, but instead of taking the time to communicate with me and build a relationship; they ask if I’ll review their profile. This is in the initial invite.

My clients often ask me how they can engage with their connections. The first and most obvious way to engage is through personal messages. You won’t reach as many people this way, but you can develop and nurture relationships.

Other ways to engage with your connections include: sharing and commenting on articles that will add value to them (just be sure to tag the writer of said articles); writing long posts in which you express your thoughts and expertise; contribute to other’s long posts; share photos and thoughtful captions; and ask questions. These are a few ways to engage with your connections.

Many successful businesses are using B2B networking, as they can reach more potential partners. The idea of using LinkedIn is similar; you, as a business are reaching out to potential employers and quality networkers.


The interview

Maureen McCann is a job search strategist and executive résumé writer. Who believes that first impressions are the first part of the puzzle. She relates her story to demonstrate the importance of first impressions.

One of my first jobs was as executive assistant to a general manager of a pharmaceutical company. Anytime he interviewed new members of our growing sales team, he’d immediately close the door after the candidate left and ask me what I thought of the candidate.

You see, all of the candidates would be selling products to medical professionals (think: plastic surgeons, dermatologists). To get the attention of the doctors, the salesperson would have to first connect with the person at the front desk (the gatekeeper) before scheduling an appointment with a busy doctor.

The GM of my company knew this and so he paid close attention to my first impressions of candidates. Those that did not strike up a conversation and simply waited to talk to the GM missed an opportunity to sell me on their candidacy and have me advocate for them following their interview with the GM.

It’s time for the interview. Are you ready? Sarah Johnston feels not only strongly about the importance of doing your labor market research (as she explains in part one of this article), she also feels strongly about assessing the big opportunity.

“When you are interviewing, make sure that you evaluate the company, your future boss, and the actual opportunity carefully to make sure that it’s a good fit for you. In researching a company, some of my favorite tools include:

  • “LinkedIn to review the credentials of the people that you are interviewing with. By looking at their profile, you can often gather where they’ve worked, how long they’ve been in a role, groups that they are apart of and where they went to school or received training.

  • “If you are interviewing with a publicly traded company, it’s a good idea to review their annual report to learn more about their profitability, biggest challenges, and their corporate responsibility. To access free reports, visit: http://www.prars.com/about.php.”

Along with assessing the company and people who will be interviewing you, it’s important to be prepared to answer tough interview questions. There are interview questions you know you will be asked. And you should have answers in mind.

Madeline Mann is the founder of the YouTube channel, Self Made Millennial, which delivers outstanding job-search tips. When asked what her number one tip for interviews is, she says, “Know your stories.”

“My top interview tip–the one that clients have most tightly correlated to getting a job offer–is what I call a “Story Toolbox.” It allows you to answer any behavioral question, and many of the other questions typically asked in an interview.

“What most people do when asked questions like, ‘What’s your greatest strength?’ or ‘What’s your leadership style?’ is they describe themselves. They say, ‘I am hard worker, team player, highly skilled…blah, blah, blah.’ But none of this gets down to: So what did you do?

“According to American psychologist Jerome Bruner: ‘stories are up to 22 times more memorable than facts alone.‘ Therefore, telling stories will help you to be memorable and are a great way to show your character through describing situations you’ve been in, rather than simply stating characteristics.

“So what I recommend is to make your own story tool box. You go into every interview with a set of planned stories and you frame it in a way that answers whatever question they are asking. Trust me, your stories will be effective for a wide variety of questions.”

Closing the sale is how I look at the interview. Here’s where your ability to speak of your value comes into play. For established companies it’s similar to attending conferences, trade shows, meetings, and other opportunities where they can deliver their value face-to-face.


Follow up

The final element of your job-search marketing campaign is one that people feel to complete. One of my valued LinkedIn connections said it best, “When you don’t follow up, you were never there.”

Some job seekers believe the interview is over once they’ve shaken the interviewer’s hand and left the room. “That went well,” they think. “Now, it’s time to wait for the decision.”

Perhaps it went well, but perhaps one or two other candidates also had stellar interviews. Perhaps those other candidates followed up on their interviews with thoughtful thank-you notes.

So when is the interview really over? Not until you’ve sent a follow-up note.

If you don’t believe sending a follow-up note is important, one source claimed:

  • 86 percent of employers will take your lack of a note to mean you don’t follow through on things;
  • 56 percent of employers will assume you aren’t that serious about the job; and
  • 22 percent of employers are less likely to hire you if you don’t send a follow-up note.

What Goes in Your Note?

  1. Show Your Gratitude
  2. Reiterate You’re the Right Person for the Job
  3. Cite Some Interesting Points Made During the Interview
  4. Do Some Damage Control
  5. Suggest a Solution to a Problem
  6. Assert You Want the Job

Lastly, follow up a week after the interview for no more than three consecutive weeks.

A company that fails to follow up will lose the sale or fail in attaining the bid. This reminds me of a plumber who doesn’t return my call. I’m on to the next person.


If you haven’t read part one of this series, I encourage you to.

9 essential components of your job-search marketing campaign: Part 1

Every successful business requires a marketing campaign to promote its products or services. Businesses utilize a variety of delivery methods—social media, websites, television, radio, and other methods—to deliver their message to their consumers. Their campaign must be convincing, impactful, and informational, or it will fail.

social media phone

Like any company, a successful job search requires a marketing campaign to deliver a strong message. Obvious methods to deliver your message are the résumé and interview. But your job-search marketing campaign must consist of more than these two elements.

Part 1 of this article focuses on your written communications, as well as what comes before. Part 2 addresses engaging with your LinkedIn network and your oral communications. I’ve asked nine career-development pundits to contribute to this article. Read both parts of this series to learn about your job-search marketing campaign.

Labor market research

Before you write your résumé, it might make sense to know which skills, qualifications, and experience employers seek, wouldn’t it? This general information can be ascertained by researching the labor market. This should be your first task in you job-search marketing campaign.

Ask yourself these questions: What kind of work do I want to perform? What is my ideal salary? Is my occupation growing or declining? Take it further and ask yourself which types of companies I want to work for? Do I have a list of 15 companies for which I’d like to work?

Sarah Johnston, is an Executive Coach and Résumé and LinkedIn Profile Writer who understands the importance of researching the labor market. She writes:

“There is a famous French quote that says, ‘a goal without a plan is just a wish.’ I’d like to go down in history for saying, ‘a job search without research and a strategy is like a trip with no destination.’ After getting crystal clear on your own personal strengths and career needs, one of the best places to start a job search is identifying a target list of companies that you’d be interested in working for or learning more information about.”

Any strong company will conduct consumer market research to determine if its products or services will be successful in a given geographic location. If they fail in this component of their market research, they will go under.


Résumé

One thing most job-search pundits and hiring authorities will tell you is that your résumé is a key component of your job-search marketing campaign. It is your ticket to interviews. However, few job seekers understand what employers are looking for in a résumé. Adrienne Tom, Executive Résumé Writer, knows what employers are looking for.

To make your résumé stand out, Adrienne recommends two important strategies: making your résumé relevant and including powerful accomplishment statements. In terms of relevance, she advises:

“Focus on creating good quality content. Align every point with the reader’s needs. For every point you write down in your résumé ask, ‘So what?’ and ‘Will this matter to this reader?'”

And when it comes to creating impactful accomplishment statements, she recommends listing the most important information at the beginning, which she calls “frontloading.”

“Lead bullet points with results. Make it easy for hiring personnel to spot important details, fast; don’t make them hunt for it. Walk the reader through your career story, start to finish, by sharing relevant, measurable details that matter.”

Ashley Watkins, Executive Résumé Writer, spent 15 years as a corporate recruiter, so she understands what employers are looking for in a résumé. She echos what Adrienne says about accomplishment statements:

“Hiring managers want to know what you can do to positively impact the company’s bottom line. Use every opportunity to include numbers, dollar amounts, and percentages to validate your results. It’s crucial that job seekers bring their achievements to life and convince employers that hiring them will solve their immediate problem.”

Ashley warns against writing generic, one-fits-all résumés.

“Although having a clearly defined career target is the most effective way to land a job, many job seekers use a very generic résumé strategy when applying for positions online and when networking with their referral contacts. When you do not have a keyword-rich, targeted résumé focus, you are leaving it up to the reader of your résumé to figure out what you do. Therefore, increasing your chances of winding up in the ‘no pile.'”

Both résumé writers stress the importance of crafting a résumé that will pass the applicant tracking system. You will only accomplish this if, like Ashley advises, your résumé is key-word rich.

Successful businesses deliver a strong message that encourages consumers to buy. Your goal is to encourage employers to invite you to interviews.


LinkedIn profile

Does your LinkedIn profile resemble your résumé? If it does, you’re hurting your chances of impressing people who read your profile.

Ana Lokotkova is a Personal Branding & Career Search Advisor, who specializing in writing résumés and LinkedIn profiles, as well as coaching interviewing. She sees the LinkedIn profile as a digital handshake.

“The days of using your LinkedIn profile as a copy-pasted version of your résumé are long gone. Today, you can drop the résumé lingo and humanize every section of your profile. Your headline is the first thing people see when they come across your profile. Forget your most recent job title, and turn your headline into a slogan-like value proposition.

“Include relevant keywords that will help others find you on LinkedIn more easily. Write your summary section in 1st person. Help others learn about your WHY and what sets you apart from other professionals in your industry.”

Another authority on LinkedIn is Virginia Franco, Executive Career Storyteller. According to her, the headline and new About section are critical to your LinkedIn profile’s success:

“Storytelling as a concept is prevalent across our media today from newspapers to magazines. This is important to recognize because, in reality, readers skim LinkedIn profiles in THE EXACT SAME WAY they digest the news.

“At first glance or when in a rush, readers skim the headline and the first section of the article tell them 1) what the story is going to be about and 2) help determine if the story is worth a deeper read when there is more time. Applying this methodology to LinkedIn, it is essential that a profile contains a headline and About section tells the reader what your story is about, and intrigues them to want to read more when they have time!”

Successful businesses recognize that their audiences vary. Whereas a document as factual as a résumé is appropriate for one audience, a document like the LinkedIn profile might be more appealing to another audience.


Approach letter

A little known tool for your written communications is a networking document referred to as the approach letter. In the days of digital communications, this is usually sent as an email or even a LinkedIn message.

The idea is to send this to companies for which you’d like to work but haven’t yet advertised a position. You want to penetrate the Hidden Job Market by being known by companies before they advertise a position.

In your approach letter you can ask for a networking meeting where you will ask questions about the company, a position you’re interested in, and the individual who has granted you the informational meeting.

Your questions must be illuminating, not a waste of time for the individual. Ask about potential problems the company might be facing. What are the major requirements for the position. How the individual came to working in their role and at the company. What they see the role or industry evolving in the future.

If your timing is right, the company might be trying to fill a position it hasn’t yet advertised. You could impress the person granting the meeting so much that they might suggest you to the hiring manager. At the very least ask if you can speak to two other sources.


In this article I’ve covered the written communications of your job-search marketing campaign. In part 2 we’ll look at the verbal side, which will include personal branding, networking, the interview, and following up.