Category Archives: LinkedIn

7 Steps to take when using LinkedIn to network for a job

You’ve heard it before: LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional, online networking application with approximately 700 million worldwide members. And according to many sources, at least 87 percent of recruiters are sourcing for talent on LinkedIn.

Woman using computer

Here’s another fact that I can personally attest to: most recruiters with whom I’ve spoken tell me that LinkedIn is their site of choice when it comes to looking for talent. Not Indeed.com, Monstor.com, SimplyHired.com, or any of the other job boards.

Shouldn’t these facts be enough to use LinkedIn for you job search? Now, here’s the question: how can you most effectively use LinkedIn to network for a job?

1. LinkedIn is more than your online résumé

Networking on LinkedIn begins with your profile and the understanding that it’s not your résumé. Here’s where I contradict myself: I suggest to my client that their first move is to copy and paste their résumé to their new LinkedIn profile. But wait.

From there, however, you need to add to it to make it more of a networking document that expresses your value, while also showing your personality. For example, your About section must tell a story describing your passion for what you do, how you do what you do, and throw in some accomplishments to immediately sell yourself.

Your Experience section must include accomplishment statements with quantified results that include numbers, dollars, and percentages. I prefer that each position comprise only of accomplishments and not mundane duties you performed for each position.

Also important is that your LinkedIn profile is optimized for keyword searches by recruiters and hiring managers. They’re looking for a specific title, vital areas of expertise, and location. For example: “sales operations” AND crm “lead generation” AND pharmaceutical AND “greater boston”. 

To learn more about how the résumé and LinkedIn profile differ, read The ultimate comparison of the résumé and LinkedIn profile: 12 areas

2. Use LinkedIn to find people at your desired companies

Perhaps one of LinkedIn’s greatest strengths is the ability to locate the key players at the companies for which you’d like to work. My suggestion is that first you create a list of your target companies and from there connect with people in those companies, ideally a level above you.

All Filters will be your best friend when it comes to locating people at your desired companies. You can use it to narrow down to the exact titles of the people for whom you’re looking. Important criteria would be Current Company, Industry, and Title. Choose 2nd degree as they’re more likely to connect with you.

When you’re using All Filters to locate people in your desired companies, make note of your mutual connections and the schools they attended. This can come into play when you write your personal invite.

Read 7 steps to take to find the right person using LinkedIn’s All Filters.

3. Solidifying relationships

Building relationships on LinkedIn can be a longer, more methodical process or a shorter one, where you and your connections hit it off immediately. To find a job using LinkedIn, building and solidifying relationships is an important aspect of the journey.

There are ways to go about getting noticed by the people with whom you’d like to connect:

  1. First follow said people.
  2. When you visit their profile, show your profile (don’t choose Anonymous LinkedIn Member).
  3. Thoughtfully comment on their posts.
  4. Wait to see if they reach out to you first—I’ve reached out to numerous people because of the comments they’ve left on my posts.
  5. Finally, ask to connect with them using a personalized message, not the default LinkedIn one.

Note: Your connections who work in your desired companies will be more likely to except your invite if they know one of your connections very well. Make sure to include your mutual connection in your invite letter.

Just recently one of my clients asked if I would introduce her to a person who works at one of her target companies. I was glad to do it. So now they have to develop a relationship that will be of benefit to her and him.

Read 3 proper ways for job seekers to send invites on LinkedIn.

4. Make use of your new connections

Once you’ve built your foundation at your target companies, you can ask for introductions to the individuals who would be making the hiring decisions. You don’t want to do this immediately, because hiring managers will be less likely to connect with you without an introduction.

When jobs become available at your target companies, you’re in a better place than if you were applying cold. You can reach out to the people you’ve connected with to have your résumé  delivered to the proper decision makers (in addition to applying on line).

Ideally you will build strong relationships with the connections at your target companies, so when companies are trying to fill positions internally, your connections will give you a heads-up. You’ll have an inside track, essentially penetrating the Hidden Job Market.

According to a 2017 Jobvite article: “Referred applicants are 5 times more likely than average to be hired, and 15 times more likely to be hired than applicants from a job board.” We can assume these stats are still true, if not higher.

5. Use the Jobs feature to network

Using LinkedIn’s Jobs feature to apply for jobs exclusively is not your best way to land a job because, after all, it’s a job board. (A very low percentage of job seekers are successful using job boards.) But I wouldn’t discount LinkedIn Jobs. Use it in conjunction with your networking efforts.

In many cases the person who posted the position is revealed, providing you with the option of contacting said person. You can also “meet the team,” whom you might want to reach out to. Perhaps my favorite feature of Jobs is the ability to see which of your alumni work at the companies of interest.

Finally, use Jobs to research other jobs of interest. On the right-hand side of the job description there are similar jobs at various companies. You might want to add some of these companies to your target company list.

6. Alumni feature

Alumni might be the most underutilized feature on LinkedIn. In fact, many of my clients are unaware of this great feature and are amazed when I demonstrate how to use it. To find Alumni, simply type your alma mater in the Search area and select it from the drop-down.

I show my clients how they can find alumni who studied certain majors, where they live, and where they work. I also explain that their alumni are more likely to connect with them than other people they don’t know.

If you see that some of your alumni work at a desired company, take the bold move of connecting with them. Your personal invite will start with , “Hi William, I see we attended Amherst College together….” This alone will give you something in common.

Read more about the Alumni feature.

7. Making the “Ask”

A LinkedIn connection is not bona fide unless you reach out in a personal manner, such as a phone call or, at the moment, having a Zoom session. A phone call should be the very least you do in your effort to make a personal connection.

You’ve spoken with your connections and have gained their trust. Now you’re ready to ask them to go to bat for you. You will message them to ask for an introduction to important people with whom you want to connect. The introduction invite is described in 3 proper ways for job seekers to send invites on LinkedIn.

With an ally on your side, your target connection is more likely to connect with you. But from there you’ll need to initiate a conversation that is not too forward. The process might be slow, but an opportunity can be wasted if you make the ask too soon.

You’ll know when the time is right based on the tone of the conversation. The ask can be an informational meeting where you’ll gather information and advice from your new connection. The ask will never be asking your connection if their company is hiring; it is assumed you’re interested in their company.

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

Photo: Flickr, JobMax

5 major components of the LinkedIn profile on the mobile app

And how they differ from the computer platform.

I don’t think LinkedIn’s computer (laptop/desktop) platform will disappear anytime soon, but I’m convinced that within five or so years the majority of us will be using our smart phone app more. At present, the app is used by more than 50% of LinkedIn members.

Further, a poll conducted on LinkedIn reveals that 65% of the voters (1,697) use the LinkedIn mobile app more than the computer platform. This is an overwhelming amount of people who choose the app over the computer.

With this in mind, I wonder how different LinkedIn appears on the two devices. Is the smart phone app all that different from the computer platform? There are some obvious differences, but are they too large to prevent the computer platform from becoming obsolete?

Let’s look at five major areas of the mobile app and how they compare to the computer.

1. Snapshot

The Snapshot area of your mobile app (that which sits at the top of your profile) is almost identical to your computer’s platform. There are some aesthetic differences between the two.

Brenda's background image

The first obvious difference is the background picture is smaller on the mobile app. You must take this into consideration if you have words on your picture, as they might be covered by your head-shot.

The example above is an excellent example of how Brenda Meller’s head-shot doesn’t cover any of her words.

The user’s head-shot on the mobile app is actually in good shape; in some cases better than the computer. I notice more clarity when comparing my headshot on the app and the computer.

Another small difference is that the computer provides live links for your current/past employer as well as your most recent education, allowing you to click on either to bring you to them.

A more significant difference is that LinkedIn has increased the headline character count to 200+ characters, but you can’t make edits on the mobile app; you are still limited to the former 120 characters.


2. About

LinkedIn increased the number of words one can initially see in the apps About section to approximately 23. Previously approximately 10 words were visible. Nonetheless, you need to demonstrate your value within the the few number of words you’re granted.

Laura's About App

The example of the first three lines on the mobile app About section starts strong, but the second sentence is cut off, failing to show the LinkedIn member’s further value.

It is prudent to write briefer sentences (three or four lines at most) so they don’t appear so dense on the mobile app.

Your computer’s About section displays approximately 50 words. Which isn’t a great improvement over the mobile app, but it allows you to be less stingy with your words.

Laura's About computer

You are now able to utilize 2,600 characters with the mobile app and desktop. So your kick-ass Summary can be expanded. It will just take some scrolling for visitors to see it in its entirety.

I suggest you include some compelling accomplishments within the About section to immediately show the value you’ll deliver to employers. Notice how dense the mobile app accomplishments appear vs. the computer view. Again, try to keep your paragraphs as brief as possible.

Mobile app view

Laura's About accomplishment

Computer platform view

Laura's About accomplishment computer

3. Experience

Bob's Education App

On the mobile app all your positions under Experience must be expanded. This requires a two-click process in order to access all jobs.

If visitors are unaware of this, they may miss your job descriptions; thinking you only listed your title, place of employment, and years of employment.

Therefore, it’s advisable to list as many areas of expertise next to your title as possible. This will give visitors a better understanding of not only your official title, but also additional value you provide/d your company or organization.

In contrast, the computer shows a partial view of a person’s position. All one needs to do is click …see more to get the expanded view. (Previously LinkedIn showed the fully expanded view of a person’s position.)

Bob's Experience computer

Again, it is important to write brief paragraphs so your Experience verbiage is easy to read on the mobile app…and the computer platform for that matter.

It’s essential to include compelling accomplishments for each position once again to show the value you’ll deliver to employers. Notice how dense the mobile app accomplishments appear vs. the computer view. Again, try to keep your paragraphs as brief as possible.

Mobile app

Highlight on app

Computer platform

Highlight on computer

4. The Rest

Madeline's eduatoin

Education on the mobile app provides the same information as the computer, but like the Experience section you must click multiple times to open the full view of an education and volunteer description. Given the limited size of the mobile app, this is understandable.

Provide as much information about your time at university as possible. Madeline Mann takes advantage of the ability to include more information in the Education section than most LinkedIn users do.

Featured Skills & Endorsements on the mobile app is relatively the same as the computer. You have the ability to arrange yours skills however you’d like. Only the top three are visible, as with the computer.

Recommendations reveal only one person, whereas the computer application reveals two. No huge difference here.

Accomplishments was the worst decision LinkedIn made, other than anchoring all the sections on the mobile app and computer. Within Accomplishments are some features that could (and were) be sections in themselves. Such as:

  • Certifications
  • Projects
  • Organizations
  • Publication
  • Courses
  • Honors and Awards
  • Patents
  • Test Scores
  • Languages

5. Editing Capabilities

Editing your profile on the mobile app is limited, of course. Unless you’re a master of copying and pasting text from a Word app to your LinkedIn app, making major changes to existing text on your profile would be better done on your computer.


This post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention some strengths of the mobile app, such as being able to share your profile with someone at a live event. I found this useful at one event where instead of exchanging business cards, I scanned a networker’s QR code.

For the most part, the mobile app provides the same functionality as the computer, but in a smaller version. It’s mobility makes it easy for visitors to see your profile when away from their computer. Which is what they may prefer doing.

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

It’s the LinkedIn profile over the resume by a landslide: 3,338 voters decide

Like a lopsided political race, this one is a landslide. I’m talking about a LinkedIn poll asking 3,338 voters to chose between keeping either their resume or LinkedIn profile. Which one wins by 72%? Why, the LinkedIn profile, of course. I’m not at all surprised by the result.

What I find interesting is that the voters opting for the profile seem to have forgotten that the resume is where it all starts; it’s the foundation of your LinkedIn profile. No one writes their LinkedIn profile and then their resume. No one has their profile written for them and then the resume.

It comes as no surprise

So why is the profile the favorite of the two? In three words: “It’s all that.” Let’s face it, the profile is more exciting. It’s, dare I say it, sexier. Your heart flutters a bit when you see a great background image and professional photo respectively.

There’s also the Featured feature, where you can see one’s video, audio, documents, and links to a blog. LinkedIn has improved this feature in both look and functionality. With just one click, you’re brought to a LinkedIn member’s website, audio, SlideShare, or document.

You’ll find none of this on your resume. The photo is the exception but only for certain occupations and foreign country.

Another attribute that barely makes it on your resume is personality. The point I make about your resume being the foundation of your profile is true. However, once you’ve laid down the foundation, you need to personalize it with first-person point of view. Call it your personal resume.

In an article I wrote that is still streaming out there, I point out the differences between the LinkedIn profile and the resume. Here are some sections/features the resume lacks:

Photos and background image, already mentioned, are major differences that are being utilized by increasingly more LinkedIn users. Rarely will we see the light blue (whatever it’s called) default background image.

Same goes for the ugly light-grey avatar. Increasingly more LinkedIn users have professional photos or, at least, selfies (a no no) to be more recognizable, trusted, and liked. There still are some LinkedIn users who don’t get it, but LinkedIn isn’t for everyone.

Activity brings you to other peoples’ contributions on LinkedIn. They deliver you from a LinkedIn users’ profile to all their activity, articles (a dying breed), posts, and documents (what?). To me, this is where one shows their mettle; are they engaging with their network?

Skills & Endorsements and Recommendations I lump together because LinkedIn does—they’re located at the bottom of a profile. Endorsements are bling in most peoples’ minds, but the skills are what recruiters use to search for you.

Recommendations have lost the respect it had in the last decade. Which is a shame. If truthfully written, they can add a great deal to a job seeker’s candidacy. Recommendations used to be considered one of LinkedIn most valued features. Now it’s buried at the bottom.

In defense of your resume

In addition to your resume being the foundation of your profile—your profile shouldn’t be your resume—it serves a very special purpose, which is it’s required for a job search. I’m hearing the groans from the peanut gallery. “Networking will get you further in the search then your resume.”

This might be true, but the majority of the time you’ll have to submit a well-written resume even if you land the opportunity for an interview via networking.

Another key factor—and most resume writers will tell you—is your resume has to be tailored to each job for which you apply. There are two reasons for this. First, it has to get past the applicant tracking system (ATS). Second, it has to prove to the reader that you’re qualified f

A professionally written resume is a work of art. Having read thousands and written hundreds of resumes, I know the feeling of reading one that makes your head hurt. Many job seekers throw their resume together without thinking about five major considerations:

  • Length: too long, too short. There’s no solid rule on length but, generally speaking, it should not exceed the number of warranted pages. What warrants a resume longer than one or two pages? This is mentioned next.
  • Value add: means relevant accomplishments rule over mundane duties. The more accomplishments, the better chance you have of getting to an interview. Have you increased revenue, save cost, improved productivity, etc.?
  • Readability: three- to four-line paragraphs are the limit. A resume with ten-line paragraphs will be thrown in the proverbial circular file cabinet. Who wants to read a dense resume after reading 25 of them?
  • Fluff: “dynamic,” “results-oriented,” “team player,” are but a few of hundreds of cliches making the rounds out there. Stay with action verbs and do away with adjectives.
  • Branding: means your resume is congruent with your overall message of the value you’ll deliver to employers. This message needs to be delivered throughout your document.

The final point

I’m not foolish enough to believe that all things were equal in this poll. Those who voted for the LinkedIn profile are probably gainfully employed and have no use for their resume at this point. I voted for the profile because I benefit from it far more than my resume.

The question I ask myself if I were unemployed, could I rely on my LinkedIn profile alone to land me an interview? My course of action would be to take a more proactive approach and network before and during applying online.

Another consideration is how consistent is my profile with my resume. I believe that other than it being more personal and telling a better story, my profile is consistent with my resume. No surprises there. Final decision: I choose my profile over my resume.

The ultimate comparison of the résumé and LinkedIn profile: a look at 12 areas

Occasionally I’m asked which I prefer writing or reviewing, a résumé or LinkedIn profile. To use a tired cliché, it’s like comparing apples and oranges. The first fact we have to realize is that each has its own purpose.

Reading a Resume

The second fact is that, although the résumé and LinkedIn profile are trying to accomplish the same goal, show your value; they are different in many ways. One of my pet peeves is looking at a copy and paste of the résumé to the profile. It’s just plain wrong, and you’ll see why as you read this article.

LinkedIn Logo longPurpose of each document

Résumé

Your résumé is most likely the first document hiring authorities will see, so your value-add must make an immediate impact. If not, your chances of getting interviews are very slim.

You will send your résumé in response to a specific job. As such, it must be tailored to each job and contain keywords. Failing to do this will adversely impact your résumé’s chance of getting past the applicant tracking system (ATS).

Lastly, you use push technology with your résumé; therefore far fewer hiring authorities will see it.

LinkedIn profile

Your consistent message of value-add demonstrated through your résumé carries over to your LinkedIn profile. Your profile is NOT focused on a specific job; it is static and more general.

Most likely you’ll have a résumé constructed before you build your profile. Therefore, the stronger your résumé, the easier to build your LinkedIn profile.

You rely on pull technology with your profile, as hiring authorities find you by entering your title, areas of expertise, and location if relevant.

Comparing the two

I’ve broken down the sections of the résumé and LinkedIn profile to compare them side-by-side.  It’s easier to see the differences this way. As mentioned earlier, it’s similar to comparing apples and oranges.

Note: Sections 1 through 6 are those which both documents possess. Further down this article are sections the LinkedIn profile has and most likely the résumé doesn’t.


1. Headline

Résumé: A headline tells potential hiring authorities your title and a line below it your areas of expertise and perhaps a two-word accomplishment (Cost Savings) in approximately 10 words.

It is tailored to the job at hand, like most sections on your résumé. Most executive-level résumés have a headline.

LinkedIn profile: Similar to your résumé, a headline will tell hiring authorities your title as well as your major strengths. It is more general and includes more areas of expertise.

One benefit I see with the profile headline is it allows more characters to work with than the résumé. You have a little over 200 characters or slightly more than 35 words. If you want to include a short branding statement, this could be a nice touch.


2. Summary/About

Résumé: The résumé’s Summary sometimes gets overlooked in a hiring authority’s rush to get to the Employment section. The key to grabbing their attention is creating  accomplishment-rich verbiage, such as:

Operations manager who consistently reduces companies’ costs through implementing lean practices.

There are two other points I emphasize with my clients. The first is that the Summary should not exceed 110 words or three lines; the shorter the better. The second is there should be no fluff or clichés included in it. Instead of using adjectives, employ action verbs that do a better job of showing rather than telling.

LinkedIn profile: Your profile’s About section will differ from your résumé’s Summary for a number of reasons.

  1. It allows you to tell a story that can include the, Why and What, Who, and How. In other words, why are you passionate about what you do, who you do it for, and how you do it.
  2. Similar to your résumé’s Summary, you should list accomplishments that immediately speak to your greatness.
  3. Your About section is written in first- or third-person point of view, giving it more of a personal feel than your résumé’s Summary.
  4. It is significantly longer. You’re allowed approximately 2,600 characters to work with, which I suggest you use, providing it adds value to your profile.
  5. Finally, you can highlight rich media such as video, audio, documents, and PowerPoint presentations in the Featured area.

Read this article that describes how to craft a kick-ass About section.


3. Core Competencies/Key Skills

Résumé: Here’s where you list the core competencies or key skills for the position you’re pursuing. These skills are specific to the position for which you’re applying. You can also include skills that might be tiebreakers. Nine to 12 skills are appropriate for this section.

LinkedIn profile: This section is located further down your profile; whereas it’s typically placed under the Summary on your résumé. However, I wanted to discuss this out of order, as this is the closest section to Core Competencies.

List your outstanding technical and transferable skills in the Skills and Endorsements section, which is similar to the Core Competency section on your résumé, with a few major differences:

  1. You can be endorsed for your skills. There is debate as to the validity of endorsements, but they can be legit if the endorser has evidence of the endorsee’s skills.
  2. You are given up to 50 skills to list. I suggest listing skills that are related to your occupation.
  3. When applying through Easy Apply in LinkedIn Jobs, they are one criterion by which your candidacy is measured.

4. Experience

Résumé: Job-specific accomplishments effectively send a consistent message of your value. While a show of your former/current responsibilities might seem impressive, accomplishments speak volumes. Provide quantified results in the form of numbers, dollars, and percentages.

Good: Increased productivity by implementing a customer relations management (CRM) system.

Better: Increased productivity 58% by initiating and implementing – 2 weeks before the deadline – a customer relations management (CRM) system. 

LinkedIn profile: Your Employment section will be briefer than your résumé’s, highlighting just the outstanding accomplishments from each job. Another approach is to copy what’s on your résumé to your profile, but that lacks creativity.

I also point out to my clients that they can personalize their LinkedIn profile’s Experience section, which is not commonly done with their résumé. One approach is to write your job summary or mission in first-person point of view. Following is an example from Austin Belcak:

I teach people how to use unconventional strategies to land jobs they love in today’s market (without connections, without traditional “experience,” and without applying online).

My strategies have been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Inc., Fast Company, and more. My students have landed interviews and offers at Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Uber, Deloitte, Accenture, ESPN and more.

Read this article on 5 reasons why you shouldn’t ignore your LinkedIn profile Experience section.


5. Licenses & Certifications

Résumé: This section is usually named Training and if there are any certifications or licenses earned, they are mentioned here. I suggest that my clients list them above Education, as hiring authorities’ eyes typically go to the bottom of the last page to find Education. In some cases, especially with teachers, Certifications are listed at the top of the résumé.

LinkedIn profile: LinkedIn doesn’t see the placement of Licenses & Certifications as I do. On your profile they are placed below Education. This is not the point, though. One might wonder why this section even exists, as it is buried in the bowels of your profile.

6. Volunteerism

Résumé: I include this section because it’s a good idea to list your volunteerism, as it shows your willingness to help the community and demonstrates that you’re developing new skills. If you’re volunteering in your area of expertise extensively—20 hours—include it in your Experience section.

LinkedIn profile: This is a place for you to shine, in my humble opinion. The experience you list on your profile can be as serious and strategic as what you have on your résumé; however, you can also be playful. For example, two of my volunteer experiences are about coaching soccer and basketball.


7. Education

Résumé: Typically the résumé’s Education section consists of the institution, location, years of attendance (optional), degree, and area of study or major. You can include a designation such as Magna Cum Laude. Here is an example of how your education should be written.

University of Massachusetts, Lowell, MA
Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Magna Cum Laude

LinkedIn profile: Many people neglect this section, choosing to simply list the information they would on their résumé. This is a shame, as LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to further support your brand by telling the story of your educational experience.

Take Mary who completed her bachelor’s degree while working full-time—a major accomplishment in itself. If she wants to show off her work ethic and time management skills, she might write a description like this:

University of Massachusetts, Lowell, MA
Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Magna Cum Laude

While working full time at Company A, I attended accelerated classes at night for four years (two years less than typically expected). I also participated as an instructor in an online tutoring program, helping first-year students with their engineering classes. I found this to be extremely rewarding.

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Sections more likely on your profile than your résumé

The following areas are most likely not going to be on your résumé; although, they’re not entirely out of the question. For instance, you might have a Volunteer Experience on your résumé, especially if your volunteerism is pertinent to your career objective.

8. Photo and background images

These two images are the first to brand you on your LinkedIn profile. They are what truly separate the profile from the résumé.

Résumé: A photo is not likely unless you are in acting, modeling, or perhaps real estate. I have never seen anything close to a background image on a résumé. However, graphics are common for graphic artists and other creative occupations.

LinkedIn Profile: The photo and the background image are a must for the profile. Discussing the profile photo with my clients is somewhat touchy, as the average age is 55. You know where I’m going with this.

Here’s the thing: without a photo, you will come across as unmemorable, untrusted, and unliked. What’s most important is that your photo is topical, current, and high quality. I’ve seen photos of older workers that make their profile pop.

The background image, if done well, can demonstrate your industry or personal interest. LinkedIn allows you 1,584 x 396 pixels in size.


9. Articles and Activity

Résumé: Nonexistent. Your Hobbies and Activities section would be the closest match, but there’s very little information included in this area compared to the LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn profile: Because LinkedIn is an interactive platform, your articles and activity will be shown on your profile. This is something I pay a great deal of attention to when critiquing a client’s profile. I like to see that they’ve at least been active four times a week.


10. Featured

Résumé: Nonexistent, primarily because this section requires access to links and downloads. Some job seekers will list a URL to their website, which is appropriate for people in the creative fields.

LinkedIn profile: This…feature…is not new; it’s just been enhanced. It previously had no name, but with the update, LinkedIn probably felt it needed to be named, as it wasn’t getting a great deal of play. As such, Featured no longer requires multiple clicks to get to the media you’re showing off.

What can you show off? You can provide links to video through YouTube and other sources; audio through podcasts and other recordings; PowerPoint presentations; documents; links to documents and your books. It’s a pretty cool feature, but is it being used to its capacity?

11. Recommendations

Résumé: Nonexistent, nor should they be included with your résumé. You might bring them to an interview as part of your portfolio, but to send them with your résumé just gives hiring authorities more verbiage to read.

LinkedIn profile: Where to begin? In short, one of the most important sections to be designated to the…you guessed it, bowels of the profile. What a gem these are in terms of branding you. Not only can you show hiring authorities how highly you’re regarded by people with whom you worked; you can write recommendations for your employees.

Read 5 reasons why LinkedIn recommendations should get more respect to get a clearer picture of how I feel about their treatment.

12. Accomplishments

Lastly we arrive at accomplishments, where so many great nuggets are hidden on your profile which could be included on your Résumé.

Résumé: Do you have a section on your résumé designated to outstanding projects? If you do, most likely it’s at the top just below your Summary section. It makes good sense if you want to highlight some of your greatest career accomplishments. Perhaps you have patents and publications listed on your résumé.

LinkedIn profile: Well, you can include the aforementioned and more; but in order for hiring authorities to see them, they’d have to be curious or you’d have to direct them to your Accomplishment section. I tell my clients to provide such instructions in the About section.

Write something in your About section to this effect: “If you would like to see how I raised 2MM in revenue for one company, scroll to the bottom of my profile where the project is listed in my Accomplishment section.”

Read How to direct visitors to LinkedIn Accomplishment section.

To further make my case, one of my dear connections was interviewed by Aljazeera America for his photography of homeless people and models in NYC. Naturally he has it listed as a project in this section. I had to write to him and advise that he include it as rich media in his About section. Here is the link to his awesome video.


Lastly…for real.

If you’ve read this far, I salute you. I would love to hear your feedback on this article, as well as know which you favor, the résumé or LinkedIn profile. By the tone of this article, I guess you know which one I fancy.

LinkedIn’s “Open to Work” is the winner of 3 new features for 2020

I am particularly fond of LinkedIn’s poll feature which has been brought back from the early years. With Create a Poll, you can ask LinkedIn members to vote on certain topics like which three new features They appreciate most–Open to Work, Create a Poll, or Add Name Pronunciation? This is the poll I conducted on LinkedIn.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

The winner (drum roll) was Open to Work, which baffles my mind. I thought for sure Create a Poll would run away with the crown. Not so. It only took 24%; Open to Work grabbed 43%; Add Name Pronunciation only 14%; and None of These Turn Me On, 19%.

My valued connection, Kevin Turner, has been keeping up with the changes LinkedIn makes for 16 years. His most recent release can be found here. This post was the inspiration for the poll I conducted.

Note: One change that’s not on Kevin’s list of 2020 features is the expanded headline character count. When I called him on this, he said he’d commented on it earlier. Bam, I stand corrected.

What’s so special about Open to Work?

That’s what I’m wondering. First of all, the banner is…ugly. I know this speaks more to aesthetics, but I can’t help but notice that it’s bold and reminds me of a green horseshoe.

Secondly, I don’t know what purpose it serves. According to LinkedIn:

If you specify the types of job opportunities that you’re interested in and your preferred location, we’ll help your profile show up in search results when recruiters look for suitable job candidates.

But will it work? LinkedIn tells us it will make recruiters aware of job seekers or freelancers who are looking for work. This makes me wonder if it only works for recruiters who use the Recruiter feature, or if it also works for hiring authorities who type in the Search feature “open to work.”

I typed this phrase into Search and found 14,000 people who had it in their headline, but not all of them have the border. So, apparently the banner is not necessary when you’re looked for by hiring authorities who type the phrase in Search.

Kevin further confirmed that only recruiters “who pay to play” have the ability to find job seekers who choose to turn on this feature.

To boot, there is some controversy surrounding this new feature. Some believe it doesn’t add value to your candidacy if you use it. It hurts your brand and recruiters are more interested in the value you’ll deliver, rather than the fact that you’re looking for work.

Sarah Johnston wrote a post that shares the above sentiment; she says when recruiters are looking for a qualified candidate and candidates sport the green banner, they aren’t impressed. She advises, “Instead of opening with ‘I’m unemployed looking for my next role,’ consider other ways that you can stand out or connect with decision makers.”

Polls are back

As I said earlier, LinkedIn had Create a Poll (they weren’t called this) years ago but discontinued the feature. Are they here to stay? I hope so; I enjoy posting a weekly poll as well as participating in voting when other LinkedIn members share them.

Along with casting a vote for your favorite answer, you can write a comment explaining why you chose the answer. Even though more than 100 votes separated the Create a Poll choice and Open to Work, I expected to see at least a few reasons why Create a Poll was their choice.

One thing people who’ve come across Create a Poll know is that they either work or they don’t. There are two reasons why they work: the question has to create interest and second, the people posting them have to have a large following. These are the only ways Create a Poll will work.

One correction LinkedIn should make to the feature is not letting voters see the results as they unwind. I think this sways people to vote a particular way if they’re undecided. What I found intriguing is not that Open to Work came in first and Create a Poll came in second, but that there were more comments (see below) for Add Name Pronunciation which came in third.

Speaking of the loser, Add Name Pronunciation

It’s no surprise to me that this new feature came in last. It’s nice to have your name pronounced correctly: I hate my last name pronounced, “Mick-in-tosh” when it should be pronounced, “Mack-in-tosh,” but I can live with it.

How it works is that a LinkedIn member can record a message of how to pronounce their name so when a visitor happens upon their profile, the visitor can click on the microphone and hear the message of how their name is pronounced. When you make the recording of how to pronounce your name, you can make it as personal as you’d like.

As I mentioned above, there were more proponents of this feature who took the time to write comments.

Seeing that I only recently got the poll feature myself, this is still novel. However, I really like the name pronunciation feature. I never want to mispronounce a name so I have often looked up correct pronunciations online. This feature will come in handy.

Adrienne Tom

One voter prefers Polls but selflessly voted for Add Name Pronunciation for her clients’ sake.

I enjoy the polling feature but of the three you mentioned, from a job seekers point of view, a few of my clients mentioned that name pronunciation had value to them.

Tara Orchard

I think one person voted for this feature because her last name has been mispronounced…by me.

I find “Add Name Pronunciation” interesting. A persons’ name is so important to them. Pronouncing it incorrectly can be such a turn-off. That’s why I like this one. It can be helpful when networking to confidently call people by name, knowing you’re saying it correctly 🙂

Maureen McCann

The people have spoken. Open to Work is the winner. I don’t agree with the decision. The feature might draw more attention from recruiters, but will it be positive attention? Will they click “next” upon seeing the green banner?

Create a Poll is by far my favorite feature, but some people haven’t even gotten it at this writing. The same goes for Add Name Pronunciation. When they get the two features, will the result be the same as the poll I conducted on LinkedIn?

The LinkedIn profile Headline is the MOST important section, according to 46% of people polled

Wouldn’t you know it, the LinkedIn profile Headline is deemed more important than the About and Experience sections. In a recent poll conducted on LinkedIn, in which 1,189 people voted, 46% of the voters chose the Headline over Experience, 30%, and About, 24%.

I get why the Headline is considered to be important. It and the photo are the first things you see when LinkedIn members show up in places like your homepage stream, invitations, and People you may know on LinkedIn. And you don’t even see LinkedIn members’ whole headline.

There’s another point to consider, your Headline is weighed heavier than other sections of your profile including About and Experience verbiage; although it’s said that titles in your Experience section are weighed heavily as well. So build them up.

This is not an old debate. Many years ago, the importance of the Headline was discussed. I remember back then it was argued by many people that the Headline was the most important section of the profile. Now it’s official.

I assumed that given the fact that the About section is now its own section, it would be considered more important. I was wrong.

What is important is that you make your Headline worth reading. Simply leaving it at the default setting when you enter a position is not going to do it. It reads like: Purchasing Manager at ABC Company. There’s so much more you can add to the headline:

Purchasing Manager at ABC Company. Saving Costs, Boosting Productivity, Sustaining Supplier Relationships

You need to show the value you’ll deliver to employers. What sets you apart? You could go with keywords like: Career Coaching ✦ Interview Training ✦ CPCC/CEIP ✦ Resume and Profile Development

Or you could create some intrigue which is my intent with: FACT: being unemployed is no fun❗️FACT: it’s temporary❗️ FACT: I’m in your corner❗️ LinkedIn Trainer | Career Coach | Blogger | LinkedIn Top Voices 🏆 #LinkedInUnleashed

Maybe a tagline is your thing: Emotional Intelligence is the difference maker to bring humanity, humility, and heart into the workplace

However you choose to grab potential visitors’/connections’ attention is up to you, but one thing is for sure, the bland default Headline LinkedIn gives you when you start a new position isn’t going to cut it. I don’t think the people who voted for Headline were thinking this is the way to go.

Lastly, most agree that writing, Seeking Next Opportunity or any deviation of this is a no no. Simply stating your situation doesn’t show your value and it can be a sign of desperation. My solution to this is to write about your unemployment situation in the About section.


What about the About section?

This is where you tell your story. It’s a place to talk about the Why you do what you do, What you do, How you do it, and list some of your accomplishments. People have various ideas of how to write their About section.

One simple way to do it is to structure it after your Headline. For example, I highlight my LinkedIn Training, Career Coaching, and Blogging expertise for each one. Of course I open with two brief paragraphs. In this case the What followed by the How. That’s the wonder of the About section; it’s about you.

The About section is also a platform for being personal by using first-person point of view. It’s vastly different from you resume Summary. I see the resume Summary as stiff and lacking personality, whereas the profile Summary gives you voice.

The low score totally surprised me. I thought About was making a real dash to the finish line as of late. There was a time fairly recently when it was embedded in the Snapshot area as an introduction. It didn’t even have its own name. In the past it was called Summary, then nothing, then Summary again, and now About.

Here’s an article I wrote on creating a Kick-Ass Summary.


It’s about time Experience gets some respect

Many recruiters who took the poll wrote in the comments that the Experience section is the bomb. It’s where they go first. Sure, the Headline matters, but what’s most important is the meat, e.g., accomplishments that show a candidate’s value.

One recruiter writes: “I’ll be honest, as an executive recruiter, I rarely pay much attention to someone’s Headline – I look to the experience section and then to the About section….”

Another writes: “As a hiring manager, I want to see a detailed Experience section. I’ll only read the About section if the experience is interesting.”

Finally: “As a recruiter, I care most about their experience. Everything else is ‘additional reading.’ (Although the About section is important for locale/type of work.)”

I would have chosen Experience over the Headline precisely for the reasons stated above; it’s where you get a sense of what a person has accomplished if written well. Unfortunately many people neglect their Experience sections, thinking that their title tells it all.

This is a huge mistake. Think about how you can wow readers with outstanding accomplishments—what recruiters want to see. You can even write your Experience section in first-person point of view, which makes your profile more of a networking document…a personal resume.

Back to what I said about how the title is weighed heavily in terms of keywords. Simply listing your official title at your company doesn’t do you justice. Take this CEO for a small company who gives his title more description:

Chairman, CEO & President ~ New Business Development | Marketing | Sales | Capital Raises

Here’s a post I wrote on how the Experience sections shouldn’t be ignored.


I wanted to sum up this article by again talking about the strength of the headline but thought someone else could say it better.

Laura Smith-Prolx wrote in the comments: “The Headline sets the tone for nearly everything else in your Profile… helping attract the right audience, convey your brand value, and show the strength of your industry expertise.

“When you intentionally craft your Headline (refusing to use the default value of your current job title), you quickly realize it has the power to turn casual observers into visitors of your LinkedIn page.

“While I also believe the About section is too-often ignored, it has little prominence vs. the Headline, which is always present on every action you take (posting, commenting, showing up in a list of other users, etc.).”

Finally, LinkedIn is rolling out a longer Headline ( approximately 250 characters) and dumping the 120 character two-liner. Now we’re going to have that debate akin to should Twitter increased its 140 character count to 280? I always said that was a mistake. Maybe this new character count will be a mistake as well.

It’s all important when it comes to your LinkedIn campaign

An optimized profile is important, but it’s not the end all be all. A strong LinkedIn campaign also includes a focused network and engagement. This is clear based on a poll I conducted on LinkedIn. At the end of the poll, 787 people weighed in. I would say this is a legitimate case study.

poll results

As you can see from the poll, 49% of the voters gave the nod to “They’re Equally Important,” but that answer was too easy in retrospect. So “Engagement with One’s Network” earns the champion’s cup with nine more percentage points than the profile and network options combined.

Hold on a second, you’re probably thinking, “How can one even engage without a profile or a focused network?” This is a good point. My question is, “Would you show up to a dinner with a pie that is short by one-third? The point is that you need all of it to be successful.

An optimized profile is not enough

Linkedin declared this a while back when their members were loading their profiles with keywords, namely in the headline and position titles. I once came upon a profile that had—no lie—approximately 900 instances of “web designer” on it. Things were getting crazy.

It’s widely agreed that one needs at least to have a quality photo and a strong headline to start their LinkedIn campaign. But surely that’s not enough.

There’s also an industry-related background photo to consider. You can go with the light-blue, dot-line, thingy LinkedIn provides as the default image, but that’s a sign of, “I didn’t know I can change it,” “I don’t have time to change it,” or “I don’t give a damn.”

Your About section has become the talk of the town. Tell your story, show your value, have a Call to Action, are familiar pieces of advice you’ve heard. I wrote on this subject when it was still called a Summary. Rather than repeat what I’ve written, I ask you to read the article.

I constantly complain that people don’t explain what they’ve done at their positions. It’s as if the Experience section is an afterthought. And yes, you can write it in the first-person point of view so it doesn’t resemble your resume. Also, just deliver the juicy stuff; don’t include your mundane duties.

Very briefly I’ve explained why you need a profile in order to show your value. You’re probably saying, “But you left out a lot of information.” I have.

Read more about the profile here.

The oft-forgotten network

According to the poll, this ranks last at 10% which seems kind of ridiculous. With whom would you communicate without your network? It’s like having no family members, friends, and work associates in your life. You have to have people with whom to share information.

That’s why you need to be selective in terms of who you invite to your network and accept invitations from. You want to have conversations—i.e., long-form posts, shared articles, comments on posts, articles you’ve written—with people who actually care.

Read more about the LinkedIn network here.

I go by the cliche 80-20 rule; 80% of your network should be like-minded, 20% of it people you find interesting. Am I successful in this effort? Do as I say, not what I do.

Of course what you do makes a difference. If you’re looking for work, for example, you want to focus on people who will get you closer to your final destination such as your former colleagues, people at your target companies, recruiters, and like-minded people who are in your industry.

If you’re currently working, your range of connections will be slightly different. You might consider connecting with people in various occupations and industries. Salespeople would connect with people in vertical industries, as would marketers and accountants, etc.

Many of my connections are career coaches who have a client base of a variety of occupations and industries, so they connect with executive level and mid-management job seekers. Nonetheless, they also have in their networks other career developer types.

Engagement is tough but necessary

Returning to job seekers; here’s where many of them drop the ball, and I speculate that if they voted in the poll, they chose either the profile or network options. My reason for saying this is because I rarely see them engaging on LinkedIn.

I see two reasons for this. First, engaging might not be their thing. They might not enjoy writing articles, sharing and commenting on articles, scripting long posts, or even short posts. Furthermore, they probably don’t see the value in becoming visible on LinkedIn. Huge mistake, in my mind.

The second reason they don’t engage is that they don’t feel they have a “right” to. I recall one client who when I asked him why he didn’t engage on LinkedIn, told me this exact reason. And he was a former director of communications. I repeat, a former director of communications.

Another client of mine wrote a wonderful piece on working in chaos and as an executive, he encourages it. He ran the piece by me for my approval but never did anything with it. I bet dollar to a donut now that he’s working he’ll probably turn it into an article. Or maybe not.

The sad fact of the matter is that the majority of LinkedIn members who engage on LinkedIn are the same people over, over, and over. I often think, “Where are the new folks?” When I see new contributors, they engage maybe once or twice.

Here’s the major rule for job seekers: if you’re going to communicate with your network, don’t go at it half-assed. Take the plunge. Job seekers especially need to get their faces and headlines on hiring authorities’ radars.

Read about engaging on LinkedIn here.

And lastly, don’t let low views, reactions, or just a few comments deter you. The people who are getting a lot of love have been at this for a while, but this isn’t their playground. Be the new kid on the block who asks to be part of the pick-up game. The next Michael Jordan.


So yeah, answer number four might have been the easy pick, but this is what it essentially boils down to; you have to focus on all three of the components. Focusing on only your profile won’t garner results. Boasting you have thousands of connections won’t do any good unless you communicate with them. Complete the job by performing all three.

12 LinkedIn experts weigh in on where to start your LinkedIn campaign

Working for a One-Stop career center, I’m often confronted by job seekers who haven’t used LinkedIn but know they must in order to shorten their job search. Some of them believe they should begin by writing a compelling profile which makes good sense. But is a profile alone enough?

woman in white dress shirt using laptop computer

Put yourself in my clients’ shoes; you’re starting with nothing. Of course you need to have a profile, and the best you might accomplish is copying and pasting your resume to your profile for the time being. First and foremost Sarah Johnston advises to create a strong headline:

The first thing a job seeker should do is to consider their headline to make sure that it delivers the most value. LinkedIn only gives you 120 characters for the headline. Make sure that you are maximizing those characters to the fullest with search terms.  No recruiter is searching for #ONO or people open to new opportunities UNLESS they need a temp or contract worker for an immediate fill role. Use words that a recruiter would actually search for to find someone like you.

So where do you go from there? Perhaps just as important is inviting people to the party. In other words, building a targeted network of the most important tier of connections and expanding from there.

And equally important would be communicating with your network. After all, if you don’t engage, your out of sight out of mind. I know it sounds like a cliché but any LinkedIn expert will agree that engagement is key to your campaign.

I wanted to know what great LinkedIn minds think about how one should start and maintain their LinkedIn campaign. Here’s what they wrote:

A strong profile is necessary to start

Mark Anthony Dyson reminds us to make sure you have the basics in place, which are often overlooked. He says you headline drives visibility.

The focus of getting your LinkedIn profile to 100% accomplishes the purpose of a presence:

1) The completed profile gets favored over non-completed profiles in the LinkedIn algorithm. As soon as you complete it, the benefits will come quicker.

2) People will feel comfortable interacting and building a relationship with you.

3) Although it doesn’t have to be perfect, you do want to make sure the grammar is as accurate as possible. Typos and grammar errors de-appreciate the real estate your profile uses.

4) A customized URL for your profile ranks 1st in Google results. It will be the first thing people will see when your name is Googled. Your first impression is essential to reaping the benefits.

Your headline and summary drive your visibility. The headline catches the eye of the referrer and makes me want to read your summary. Optimize the character count of your headline on the mobile devices of 220 characters while the desktop limit to 120 characters. Focus on value rather than position because you can’t take your job with you. If your summary is the story you want employers and recruiters to know outside of your resume, the LinkedIn algorithm will embrace you.

Andy Foote says be deliberate when writing your profile. Do your research by looking at what others write.

Before you do anything with your own LinkedIn page, look around. Peruse a few career blogs, search on “LinkedIn” within them. Then spend half a day browsing LinkedIn, search on relevant hashtags like #linkedin and #linkedintips and #andydoeslinkedin (that last one is mine).

Look at as many profiles as you can and take notes, what do you think makes a “strong profile” and why? What elements do you need? What impresses you? What should you avoid doing? After you’ve thoroughly researched and made notes, roll your sleeves up and get to work on creating your new and refreshed LinkedIn presence.

Once you’ve finished, pick 5 people you trust and ask them for their honest opinion of your new profile page, take before and after screenshots if you really want to show them the transformation that has taken place. If they suggest changes, implement those if it makes sense to you to do so. Thank them for their feedback.

Understand that the LinkedIn profile is a living and breathing document, it needs to change as you change, so get into the habit of updating and tweaking it regularly. It is also a powerful networking device. Thousands of people will look at it over the course of your life!

Susan Joyce encourages new LinkedIn users to be cognizant of using keywords and making sure your profile is consistent with your resume.

Starting or Restarting LinkedIn

If you are new to LinkedIn or haven’t been active on LinkedIn while employed, start by building or updating your profile. A robust and focused LinkedIn profile is the foundation for a successful job search today. Know what you want to do next, and focus your LinkedIn profile to show you are qualified (very important keywords!).  Then, add contact information and make your profile “public” in the privacy settings.

Recruiters rely on LinkedIn because your colleagues, family, and friends see your LinkedIn profile, so misrepresentations are less likely.

Your LinkedIn profile should support the claims made on your resume and demonstrate your understanding of the importance of online visibility.  When your profile contains examples of related accomplishments demonstrating those qualifications, your claims of skills or expertise are more effective. Recommendations from former bosses, co-workers, and clients plus endorsements for those skills, increase your credibility (and keywords!).

The profile plus professional visibility in posts and comments are the foundation of your professional credibility. If you are employed, your LinkedIn profile and activities show management and colleagues your knowledge and expertise while, at the same time, attracting the attention of potential clients and, possibly, new employers (more keywords!).

Shelly Elsliger emphasizes using this time to have fun on LinkedIn and write your story to attract recruiters.

In the face of Covid-19, LinkedIn has become an even cooler space to hang out for both job seekers and recruiters. To continue a level of normalcy, in the face of uncertain times, LinkedIn has gained popularity because it does an amazing job at helping job seekers tell their career stories, showcase their brands, build their professional relationships, and find countless opportunities.

For recruiters, it is an ideal space to potentially find who they are actively searching for. However, there is a caveat; for employers to find the “best sellers,” they need to be able to successfully search and then decide which stories need to be explored further.

Therefore, it is necessary for job seekers to write their stories first because the story is what highlights relevant skills, experience, education, unique attributes, and personality characteristics of potential candidates. It also indicates to recruiters just how confident and invested job seekers are in relation to their professional brand. The LinkedIn story acts as the foundation to help build credibility, support activity, and deepen connection on LinkedIn

Take it further with targeted network and engagement

Kevin Turner writes that creating a targeted audience and engaging with them is also important. 

As much has been written about LinkedIn profile best practices, I’m not going to spend our time on that.

To really accelerate your momentum on LinkedIn focus on Targeting your Audience & Engaging with Knowledge to build your Brand and Demand.

Targeting Your Audience on LinkedIn:

  • Research, Find, and [Follow] at least 25 to 100 Target Companies
  • Research, Find, and [Follow] all Leadership of your Target Companies
  • Set up Job Search Alerts for those Companies and Select [Notify recruiters]
  • Visit each company [Page] and [Follow] their #HashTags, so they appear in your Feed
  • Set up Google Alerts for each Target Company and their Leadership

Engaging Your Audience:

  • Know each company’s and leader’s pain points and how you may be able to solve them
  • Watch your Feed for Post Opportunities from your Targets that you can intelligently contribute too by [Like], [Comment], & [Reshare]
  • If a conversation sparks, be ready to nurture the process, and if this becomes a repeatable pattern send a personalized invite to [Connect]
  • At the right time, reach out to your new Connection with a request for their advice in the form of an informational interview

Follow these steps, and your LinkedIn experience can be transformed into a powerful campaign focused on creating your dream opportunity.nce can be transformed into a powerful campaign focused on creating your dream opportunity.

Ana Lokotkova offers that once your profile is completed you need to get on the radar of the people who work in the companies for which you want to work

Once you have a compelling LinkedIn profile, you want to find ways to get more eyes on it. No matter how many keywords you pack into it, your LinkedIn profile will not pop up at the tops of recruiters’ and employers’ searches unless you are active on the platform. That’s just how the algorithm works.

What’s the best way to get started, you ask? Create a list of companies you’d like to work for. This list can include not only your target companies, but also their competitors.

Next step is to identify people who work in those companies and check them out on LinkedIn. Go to their profiles and head straight to their “Activity” tab. That’s how you’ll know what content they engage with and which communities they are part of.

You need to show up there as well! Start engaging and commenting. This is a very effective way to break the ice and warm up those contacts before you reach out to them directly. It’s much easier to start a conversation once they see how much you have in common.

Virginia Franco states that engagement, not simply liking, as well as finding decision-makers at target companies are key to success.

I recommend starting by working to complete as many portions of the profile as possible, but in a pinch at a minimum have a headshot, customized headline, About, Experience, Education and Skills/Endorsement section complete.

From there, I recommend posting something at least once a week (once a day/3X per week is preferable), and/or engaging in the post of a handful of others that appear to be leaders and engaged on the platform. While liking someone’s article is good, adding a comment of your own is best to capitalize on LinkedIn’s algorithms.

Lastly, I recommend they use LinkedIn to identify decision-makers at companies they are targeting and strive for at least 5 email/Inmail outreaches daily. These outreaches should express their desire to learn, not to ask for a job.

Madeline Mann suggests starting with the profile basics and then reaching out to hiring managers at your target companies.

A great LinkedIn strategy is holistic, but the 3 factors that will dramatically outweigh the rest are your: photo, headline, and outreach strategy. Your headline should convey the value you add to the world by containing the same keywords that repeatedly appear in the job descriptions you are pursuing. If you are unsure how to uncover which keywords to include, follow these steps.

Next, your photo. It is important that you appear competent and likeable in your image. The biggest mistakes I see are selfies, poor lighting, and strange crops (cropping others out, making the crop to be your full body). Take the time to take a nice photo of yourself outside with your phone while dressed professionally, and then get feedback on Photo Feeler.

Finally, the outreach strategy. Contact people at your target companies. Focus on getting a referral or getting in contact with the hiring manager. It’s a common mistake to reach out to the recruiter because they have a flooded inbox and ultimately are not a decision-maker when it comes to choosing a candidate. For a deeper explanation of how to do this, including templates of what to say, you can go here.

Biron Clark advises to go the extra mile and impress hiring authorities with articles and long posts you’ve written on your subject matter.

If you want to stand out from other job seekers on LinkedIn, you have to do something they’re not doing! I’m talking about going the extra mile.

This doesn’t mean you should skip the basics, though. I recommend setting up a great profile first and focusing on the “quick wins”– areas that don’t take much time but get seen often and can have a big impact,  namely your headshot, headline, most recent jobs, etc.

Here’s one idea that I strongly recommend: Write articles on LinkedIn about a topic related to your industry. They don’t have to be extremely long; 500-750 words are fine. Then pin your selected articles to LinkedIn’s Featured section.

When hiring managers see your profile, your selected articles that you’ve pinned to your profile might be the only one they’ve seen all day!

Anyone can do what I suggest, even a recent graduate or someone with just a couple of years of experience. Here’s an example:

Imagine you’ve worked in customer service for 9 months. That’s not much experience at all, right? Yet you could still write a 500-word piece on: “10 customer service phrases that calm angry customers and boost customer satisfaction ratings.”

Now, this would really show your expertise and impress hiring authorities.

Have an overall plan

Maureen McCann gives us a 5-step plan including a profile with strong SEO, being referred to people with whom you want to connect, and following a plan of attack.

𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐟𝐢𝐥𝐞. Think of this as your home page. This is where people go to learn more about you. It teaches others what you’re all about and whether they want to connect with you.

𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐩𝐡𝐨𝐭𝐨 𝐠𝐨 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐠𝐨 𝐨𝐧 𝐋𝐢𝐧𝐤𝐞𝐝𝐈𝐧. Invest time in getting these two things right because people will see these things before they ever read your profile.

𝐒𝐭𝐨𝐩 𝐰𝐚𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝. SEO is important if you want employers to find you, but why wait? Go out and find the people you want to meet. Use connections you already have to introduce you to connections you want to make. Don’t be shy. Ask for what you want. “Hey Bob, I see you know Oprah, I’d love it if you could introduce me?”

𝐄𝐧𝐠𝐚𝐠𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐬. Comment, discuss and ask questions. Follow the topics that most interest you. Employers are watching so be sure to be professional and refrain from complaining.

𝐇𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐚 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐧.. Be consistent with what you share with your audience. Yes, you can have multiple interests and hobbies, but dedicate your LinkedIn profile to sharing content that both attracts employers and demonstrates the value of hiring you!

Adrienne Tom says to focus on building a robust profile, connecting with people of interest, and spending meaningful time on LinkedIn engaging with your connections.

If you are new to LinkedIn, use a 3-pronged approach. Start by building a robust and tailored LinkedIn profile. To support profile success, ensure you know what types of people and opportunities you want to attract to your page, and align LinkedIn content with the needs of the target audience. Using the right keywords in your content can help you get found.

Next, connect with people of interest. Research and engage with potential decision-makers, recruiters, or people who could potentially support your job search. LinkedIn is a giant database just waiting to be leveraged in search activities. Use it thoroughly to get connected with the right people.

Finally, get active on the site. This third step – which is often forgotten or overlooked – is critical for site success! If getting active seems overwhelming, break down actions into smaller steps like: spend 10-minutes each day reading the feed; make one meaningful comment on a post of interest; and connect with one person of interest with a customized connection request.

It is important to keep your profile fresh by engaging consistently. Recent activity shows right on your profile. If you haven’t been active for some time, your profile will look stale. Also, aim to be personable yet professional in all communications. Your comments and shares have the potential to be seen by many people, including prospective employers. Strive to make a good impression, always.


You’ve heard it from some great LinkedIn minds giving their advice on how to start and continue on LinkedIn. Yes a profile is important, but so is building a network and engaging with your network. Don’t be like some of my clients; build your profile and wait for them (recruiters and other hiring authorities) to come.

In a poll I created recently, close to 750 people have weighed in on what they feel is most important to a LinkedIn campaign (the profile, building a network, engaging with your network, or all). Hustle over to the poll and cast your vote.

 

Updating your LinkedIn Profile during COVID-19: 5 major areas

We’re in the midst of COVID-19 which has forced many of us to stay at home. To make matters worse, unemployment has risen to unprecedented levels. On the surface, things aren’t looking good. But I don’t need to tell you this if you’re out of work.

serious adult bearded worker using tablet near window in workshop

I also don’t need to tell you that being stuck inside probably leaves you sitting in front of your computer searching for jobs online; checking your LinkedIn and Facebook streams; or worst-case scenario, watching Netflix and the good ole tele. You have some time on your hands.

Now is the time to work on your LinkedIn profile, especially if it needs a lot of work. Not for nothing, I’ve reviewed and written hundreds of LinkedIn profiles, so I know there are some great ones, average ones, and downright poor ones.

Writing a profile is hard work and time-consuming; but if you want to separate yourself from the poor to average, you’ll have to dedicate some effort. Take advantage of the time all of us have on our hands due to COVID-19. Let’s take this step by step.

First, think about your accomplishments

Now is the time to think hard about your accomplishments. Easier said than done, you think. You think everything you did while working was just part of your job. Nothing special. I get it. But you have accomplished more than you think.

I tell my clients, who claim they can’t think of any accomplishments, to reach out to people with whom they worked for help thinking about their accomplishments. Like my clients, you might be too close to your accomplishments to recognize them as such.

For example, you led a team of five people that always delivered assignments on time despite tight deadlines. You don’t think of it as a major accomplishment. But if you were to reach out to members of your former crew, they’d tell you how your leadership made all of it possible.

The question is how do you reach out to your former colleagues? Put your computer to better use; set up a time to meet with video streaming platforms like Zoom, Skype, and Facetime. In some ways it’s easier to communicate with people than getting together for coffee.

After you’ve accumulated accomplishments you didn’t realize you achieved, you’re ready to go to work on your LinkedIn profile.

Your profile

Countless articles have been written on how to create an optimized profile that brands you. Take a look at yours and if it doesn’t accomplish this, now’s the time to make it right. I’m going to point out the most important sections on which to focus. Once you’ve nailed these, work on the others.

Snapshot area: background image, photo, headline

This is the area is at the top of your profile. It should include a background image first and foremost. Make sure your background image brands you by illustrating your industry and/or occupation. An image of a mountainscape or seashore is acceptable, as it describes your personality.

You might consider this statement to be too strong: you must include a photo because without it you won’t come across as memorable, trusted, and liked. What’s most important about your photo is that it’s high quality. This might be a tough order, as many photographers aren’t open for business.

Fix: have someone with a smartphone take your photo. I’ve seen some really great photos taken with an iPhone and Android.

A strong headline is essential. If your Headline is about your situation—you’re unemployed—it adds no value to your profile. This is where you want to tout your areas of expertise. Make it keyword rich like this:

Marketing Manager ~ Collaborative Planning | Customer Business Management | Brand and Product Marketing | MBA

A branding statement will also work but it won’t draw as many searchers, e.g., recruiters, as a headline that includes industry-related keywords will.

About section: the why, how, and what

The most important lines in your About section are the first three, where you need to entice the reader to continue reading. This is approximately 50 words, so make them count. Look at your opening paragraph as the Why. In other words, why should they click “see more.”

The “What” you do (to solve the “Why”) can be the next paragraph. Finally, “How” you do what you do rounds out your About section. Throw in some accomplishments here. As mentioned above, if you’re having trouble thinking of your accomplishments, ask people you worked with or your spouse.

Note: Don’t forget your call to action: your email address and telephone number (if you want to include it.

woman working at home using her laptop

Experience section: be more descriptive

The Experience section has been much neglected, in my opinion. Again, take some time to think about what you’ve accomplished at your previous jobs. Many people simply list their company name, title, and years of tenure. This is a shame. Even if you are/were the CEO of a company, at least describe what the company does.

Another thing people don’t realize is that you can add more to your title. For example, you are a Financial Analyst at Biogen with areas of expertise in Data Analysis, Project Management, Contract Negotiations, and Renewable Energy. Your title should read:

Financial Analyst ~ Data Analysis | Project Management | Contract Negotiations | Renewable Energy

You’ve been told not to simply copy and paste your résumé’s Experience information to your profile. I agree…to a point. While you won’t want to include everything from your résumé everything, including the kitchen sink, you will list only the highlights from your résumé.

And don’t be hesitant to show some personality in your Experience section. This is another place where you can tell your story. Here’s the job summary of my profile:

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

Read: 5 reasons why you shouldn’t ignore your LinkedIn profile Experience section

Education section: continue to tell your story

This is another section that can be expanded to tell your story. Sure you earned a Mechanical Engineer degree at MIT. Impressive, but that wasn’t all that you did while there. You were also an editor of the engineering newspaper. You also rowed Varsity crew.

I always ask my clients if they earned a degree while working full-time. Hands go up. “Do you have this fact listed on your profile,” I ask them. Hands go down. I reprimand them saying this factoid shows diligence, time management, among other skills. It’s not easy. Ask my wife who’s earning a Masters in Project Management.

Skills and endorsements/recommendations: help others

I want you to take some time to endorse your connections for their skills in the Skills and Endorsements section. A close connection of mine, Shelly Elsliger, prompted people to do this for a day. I thought it was a great way to get people active. Now that you have time, endorse your connections.

The same goes for writing recommendations for people you managed. Take this time to make their day and send them a recommendation out of the blue. Don’t wait for them to ask, because they probably won’t. This is a great way to show your authority and the values you hold in employees.

If you need recommendations, ASK! I find this is one of the hardest parts for people who are developing their profile. Fear of rejection. Afraid of putting people out. There are a number of excuses. Take this time to write your own recommendations and have someone approve it.


The rest

The easy part is done. What, you’re thinking? That’s right; you have reacted to what I’ve suggested. Now it’s time to activate your profile by reaching out to like-minded people to create a focused network. Once your network is established, you need to engage with them.

I won’t tell you that what we’re going through is a blessing, but I’ll tell you that you need to make the best of this unfortunate situation. Begin with your profile and work from there. One more thing, your profile doesn’t need to be perfect in order for your LinkedIn campaign to be put to use.

Hot LinkedIn Trends for 2020: What the Experts Say

To land a job in 2020, you will need to have a strong LinkedIn profile. And, that profile needs to clearly brand you. But is a strong, well-branded LinkedIn profile enough? According to four LinkedIn experts it isn’t.2020cubes

I asked Hannah Morgan, Kevin Turner, Jessica Hernandez, and Andy Foote for their insights for the year ahead and received answers ranging from the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) to building a strong network and engaging with your network.

Branding with Your LinkedIn Profile

Before I share the experts’ advice, let’s start with the basics—branding yourself with your LinkedIn profile. This will always be important.

In 2020 job seekers will have to put more effort into writing content for not only SEO, but content that resonates with hiring authorities. Yet great content won’t be enough:

Background image and head-shot photo

You’ll need to brand yourself with images that speak to your occupation and industry. These will include most notably your background image and photo.

More people are coming around to including a background image. After all, who wants that ugly, light blue image behind their photo? (LinkedIn Help: Adding Background Image.)

A head-shot photo is a must. Increasingly more people are realizing that to be memorable, trusted, and liked, they must have a quality photo. LinkedIn members are owning their photos by making them more theme-based or they’re presenting a casual pose.

LinkedIn Headline

Greater emphasis should also be placed on the Headline. There are a plethora of articles that talk about the importance of keywords and/or a branding statement to go with them. The following Headline includes keywords and a branding statement:

Finance Manager at Company X | Financial Planning and Analysis | Auditing | Saving Organizations Millions.

The About section

Job seekers are giving this section more attention, and that is a very good idea. They are including more content that tells their story which includes statements of their greatness. Think about the passion you have for what you do, and how well you do it.

Hint: share quantified accomplishments that prove your value. Write this section in first-person point of view.

Experience

You will be wise to provide more descriptions of your jobs in your Experience section. Your resume probably includes duty and accomplishment statements, but this is where you want to create the WOW factor with your profile. Stick with the accomplishment statements and personalize them.

One of my greatest accomplishments was initiating and implementing – before the deadline – a customer relations management (CRM) system that increased productivity by 58%.

Better content that brands you should continue throughout your LinkedIn profile. In Education you can tell a story. Do not skip adding your volunteer experience. Companies appreciate those who volunteer. Think branding!

Ensure that all of these elements consistently support your brand.

Advice from 4 LinkedIn experts

Gone are the days when your profile was seen simply as an online resume. Also gone are the days when your profile sat on the Internet waiting for hiring authorities to find you.

Now, with more than 675 million members on LinkedIn, you must be more proactive to be found. This means that, as a job seeker, you also need to consider multiple components of your LinkedIn campaign, not simply your profile.

Many resist getting more involved in their LinkedIn presence, and this resistance to developing a focused network and engaging with their network is human nature, as it takes hard work. But doesn’t being successful take hard work?

To discover which LinkedIn trends you should follow in 2020, I asked these four renowned LinkedIn experts their thoughts on this topic. Each of them offer valuable advice:

Hannah Morgan—your activity on LinkedIn matters  

Having an updated and robust profile is important, but posting, sharing, and commenting on LinkedIn will generate attention to your profile faster. In fact, posting updates on LinkedIn almost guarantees more people will view your profile.

LinkedIn users interact with content from peers and colleagues more than influencers or organizations. So what you share will get noticed.

Post information and topics most important to your network and potential fellow colleagues.

According to LinkedIn’s 2017 Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide, these are the topics users care about:

  • Industry Insights
  • Tips/Best Practices
  • Jobs/Skills
  • Leadership
  • Industry Events
  • Product or Service Information
  • Employee Perspectives

Here are some more tips to keep in mind when posting on LinkedIn:

  • When sharing an article, explain why you are sharing it.
  • Use three relevant hashtags when posting an update.
  • Respond to every comment on your posts.

There’s another reason to be active and positive on LinkedIn. Everything you like, comment, share or articles you’ve written are visible to anyone who looks at your profile.

Your activity shows the topics you are interested in, your communication style, and that you know how to use LinkedIn. You can see anyone’s Activity section, so go check it out. If they haven’t liked, commented or shared anything in 90 days, you won’t see any activity.

However, if they have been active, you can see all their likes, comments, and shares.

At the end of the day, being active on LinkedIn by commenting and sharing articles relevant to your field helps people understand your career interests and calls attention to your professional reputation and personal brand. When people see your photo and Headline along with the career-related updates you share, it puts you top-of-mind.

More about Hannah: Hannah’s LinkedIn Profile, Hannah’s website, and Hannah’s articles in Job-Hunt.

Kevin Turner—better SEO  

Back in 2005, I remember joining LinkedIn as one of its first million members in the US. Then in 2011, the membership hit 100M globally, and now we are entering this new decade 675M+ members strong. It makes sense that being found on this platform is more challenging than ever.

Continued change

Change itself will continue to be a constant state. If you have been active on the platform long enough, you have seen experts gaming the system, LinkedIn losing control, resetting the algorithms, and gaining it back again, time after time.

When you are in the business of monetizing data, as is LinkedIn, losing control, means losing money, so LinkedIn must continuously stay ahead of the experts. Nowhere was this more evident than in the early years, when getting your profile on the first page of a search was too easy.

The search results suffered, with top rankings given to profiles that were unread-ably swimming in a sea of keywords.

We should expect change, just when we think we have figured it out.

Keywords and personal SEO

Keywording an LI profile, to increase exposure, is now just a starting point of your personal SEO. Yes, you still need to implement in-demand keywords, but you can’t just stuff them in anywhere or leave them in lists.

These keywords should address your target audience, represent your niche value add, support your goals, and we must ensure they are consistently, grammatically, repetitively, and contextually used throughout each component of your complete ALL-STAR level profile.

Engaging other members

Engagement is what turns the world’s largest database of professional resumes into a vibrant community.

Social platforms exist for dialogue. So, those who regularly contribute, thoughtfully listen, respectfully nurture the conversation, and show they are always learning, will be rewarded.

Authentically publish, post, comment, like, and share every day to maximize exposure and establish your knowledge leadership.

Analytics and AI

Predicted Analytics based in the current and future state of LinkedIn’s AI, On and Offsite Tracking, and Psychographic Profiling will be taking on a more significant role in defining members’ value, ranking, and suitability for hire.

Beware that a misguided social campaign, off or on LI of flaming, cyberbullying, sexual harassment, hate, plagiarism, negativity, and even connectivity relationships (guilt by association) will negatively impact ranking, promotability to opportunities, and potentially lead to expulsion.

On the positive side, AI will be deciphering your content and actions to predict your unlisted hard and soft skills. Audit your reputation across the Internet, repair if needed, and refocus it to get you to your goals.

Remember the most valued social currency is based on the gold standards of Authentic Sharing, Caring, and Reciprocity.

More about Kevin: Kevin’s LinkedIn Profile and Kevin’s website.

 Jessica Hernandez—building strong networks  

The power of LinkedIn resides in building relationships and engaging with your connections.

In 2020, liking, commenting, and starting conversations is the best way to engage not only with colleagues but also with hiring managers, decision-makers, and those on your “get to know” list.

I encourage everyone (not just job seekers) to focus time on building and expanding their network by:

  • Connecting with 3-5 people per week.
  • Engaging with your network by liking, commenting, and sharing their posts.
  • Posting at least once per week, sharing relevant industry news, or publishing articles in your area of expertise.

I’ve found that most people don’t actively network on LinkedIn until they’re in job-search mode, but that’s when you should already have a strong foundation in place. You don’t have to wait until you want to make a career move to start engaging on LinkedIn.
In fact, it’s better if you start now.

Admire a few companies? Dream of being on their team one day? Follow those companies on LinkedIn now, look for connections employed by those companies, and start engaging with their posts.

Research who the hiring managers and decision-makers are within the company and request to connect with them. You can start building relationships long before asking for help in a job search.

Not foreseeing a career move anytime soon? That’s OK. It’s still important to connect and engage on LinkedIn. Many of the relationships I have with others in my industry started by liking their posts, following their work, and adding to the conversation.

Make it a goal to invest 10-15 minutes on LinkedIn every day engaging with people instead of just scrolling through the feed.

More about Jessica: Jessica’s LinkedIn Profile and Jessica’s website.

Andy Foote—video, causality, hashtags  

I have three predictions for your LinkedIn campaign: video. causality. hashtags.

When it comes to putting yourself out there and doing everything to be noticed, it is hard not to imagine a time when the About section will be a video. Whether that happens in 2020 or 2025, I don’t know.

I think LinkedIn users do not care about LinkedIn profile visits as much as they care about whether those visitors took action as a direct result of something they saw (or read) on their profile page or elsewhere on LinkedIn.

The missing link on LinkedIn is, and has been for a while, is causality. What causes people to take action on LinkedIn? That’s the holy grail.

People “browsed” me. OK. So what? Most of the time LinkedIn does not even show the route they took (80% of my profile browsers don’t come via Homepage, via LinkedIn Search, via LinkedIn Profile, via People similar to you, via Messaging, via Groups, via Other).

Seriously, what the heck is “Other” and how does that help me? So, I predict that LinkedIn will figure out a way to provide meaningful browser route data, hopefully soon. We are more or less operating blind without knowing this.

LinkedIn is 100% invested in hashtags. I think they are incredibly powerful, and we are just scratching the surface in terms of potential.

Hashtags plus analytics equals a new, efficient, and intelligent way of branding and content distribution.

Imagine a “hashtag dashboard” where you can see clicks live, time on page, and re-shares. I am thinking bit.ly combined with Google analytics, in a LinkedIn wrapper. Exciting, yes?

More about Andy: Andy’s LinkedIn Profile and Andy’s website.

The Bottom Line

Here you have it; all LinkedIn experts agree that content is not enough when it comes to your LinkedIn campaign. Yes, it is important, but so is being more proactive in developing a focused network and engaging with your network.

Let’s recap. To have a stronger LinkedIn campaign, you will need to:

  1. Create a profile with strong content and images.
  2. Engage, engage, engage. This is where the work really comes into play.
  3. Pay attention to SEO; it’s important in being found.
  4. Develop a strong network and engage with it.
  5. Make sure you use hashtags to the fullest and video might play a larger role in your profile.

More About Expert Advice for 2020:

This article originally appeared on Job-Hunt.org