3 reasons for your LinkedIn success; it’s not only about your profile

There’s an old saying that goes something like this, “A great website that is not promoted is like a billboard stored in your basement.” This sentiment reminds me of LinkedIn members who have strong profiles, but they’re invisible. For job seekers to be successful, they must consider what a successful LinkedIn campaign consists of.


A successful LinkedIn campaign consist not only of a strong profile; it also includes building a targeted network, and engaging with your connections. Anything less will not garner the results you desire, will not help in your job search. Let’s look in greater detail at these three components.

A strong profile is essential

It goes without saying that a strong profile is essential to your LinkedIn campaign. It is, after all, what expresses the value  you will deliver to employers. There are a few basic tenets to follow when constructing a profile.

  1. It must be complete. This means having a background image, head shot photo, summary, detailed experience section, education, your strongest skills, and other sections LinkedIn allows.
  2. It must show employers the value you’ll bring to them through accomplishments relevant to your industry and occupation; similar to your resume.
  3. It’s not your resume. This is a mistake many job seekers make. They simply copy and paste their resume to their profile and leave it at that.
  4. It must be optimized in order to pull visitors, such as recruiters, to it.
  5. It must show your personality. Look at your profile as a networking online document. Write your profile in first-person point of view; perhaps 3rd person if you feel it fits your personality.

So is a targeted network

I recall a client of mine who had a strong profile, but was only connected to 80 people. When I told her she needed to connect with more people, she told me she only wanted to connect with people she knows.

Herein lies the problem: people need to connect with people they don’t know in order to get to know them. If you are one who doesn’t embrace the concept of connecting with targeted people, your LinkedIn campaign will be a bust.

Who do you connect with? Let’s look at some of the people with whom you should connect by tiers.

Connection PyramidRecruiter

Your first tier will consist of those you previously worked with, as they know your performance and probably will have an invested interest in your success. Many job seekers rely on their former colleagues as referrals to land their next job.

Your second tier should be people who share the same occupation and industry. You’ll have more in common with them than the following tiers. For example, if you’re an accountant in the manufacturing industry, you’ll have more in common with accountants in your industry.

The third tier comprise of people who do what you do but are in different industries. Again, taking the accountant as an example, his ability to switch from manufacturing to medical devices should be nearly seamless.

Your fourth tier can be perhaps the most valuable one. That’s if you’re willing to do your research on companies for which you’d like to work. You will connect with people within those companies before jobs are advertised. This will give you allies in those companies.

Your last tier are your alumni. This is especially important if you are targeting a company and want to reach out to “one of your own.” College-age students can benefit from connecting with people who can help them network.

After you’ve connected with them, you’ll be diligent in completing the next step, keeping your network thriving. You’ve heard of building your well before you need it, right?

Finally, engaging with your network

We’re all familiar with the saying, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Keep this in mind when it comes to engaging with your connections. Your goal is to keep your thriving in order to be top of mind.

To keep your network thriving takes some work that many LinkedIn users are unwilling to do. I ask my clients to dedicate at least 20 minutes a day, four days a week to LinkedIn. If they’re good, every day is what I suggest. Eye rolls. But I’m quick to say it’s not difficult. For example, one can share:

  1. an article that adds value to your network,
  2. an update offering advice or asking a question that elicits great responses,
  3. a photo with a witty caption,
  4. like and comment on your connections’ updates,
  5. write a direct message to your updates,
  6. a shout-out to your connections.

Mark Anthony Dyson, career consultant and creator of the popular podcast The Voice of Job Seekers, sees engagement as something that can’t be taken lightly. “As we consider how important engagement is,” he says, “I think the tone of a user’s messaging (including responses to group posts) matters. People want to be valued and feel safe. Share and offer advice, opinion, or message without making anyone feel under valued.”

One final point I’d like to make; refrain from sharing Facebook content with your connections. The majority of them won’t appreciate it.

Donna Serdula, an authority on LinkedIn profiles and author of LinkedIn Profile Optimization for Dummies, sums up your LinkedIn campaign nicely, “It’s true that success on LinkedIn hinges upon an optimized, strategic profile, but that’s not all! In order to be found on LinkedIn, you need a strong, robust network. In order to be seen, you need to have an engaging feed of posts, comments, shares, and articles. In order to be sought after, you need to add value, inspire others, and have fun.”

This post originally appeared on Jobscan.co


3 features your LinkedIn profile Dashboard provides: part 2

In 3 areas of information your LinkedIn profile Dashboard provides: part 1, I talked about information you can use to gauge your status, such as: Who viewed your profile, Post views, and Search appearances. In part2 of this two part series, I’ll talk about the features you’ll find in your Dashboard.


Again, the Dashboard on your profile is for your eyes only. So only you can see how many people viewed your profile, unless you are leading a workshop and displaying your profile; at which point you’ll have to say, “Look, I’ve been at this a while. So don’t feel insecure.”

Career Advice

For job seekers who need help with their job search, LinkedIn offers a feature for career advice. I thought I’d check it out to get a better understanding about the process of asking for career advice. The first step is to get started by clicking on Career Advice. You’re told you’ll complete the following steps:

  1. “Tell us what kind of advice you want.”
  2. “Review potential matches” Here you’ll see LinkedIn users who are experienced leaders in their field. I wonder what makes them “experienced” and if I’m experienced.
  3. “Get in touch” You’ll have the opportunity to have a 1:1 conversation with the experienced leaders.

After you click “Get Started,” you’re given the option of choosing from someone “In my 1st or 2nd degree network, in my region, from my school, or I don’t have a preference.” Next you click “Continue.”

Now you’ll have a limited list of job function from which to choose. I choose Community & Social Services.You’ll also have to choose an Industry Sector. I went with Nonprofit.

Step 3 of 3 is typing in text explaining what kind of help you need. LinkedIn gives you examples, one of which is: “I’d like advice for career pivot strategies from consulting into a marketing, strategy or business development job in the tech industry. What do you see as the pros and cons? And what are some challenges I might face?”

Finally you choose, “Agree & finish,” which I didn’t click. I didn’t want to be put in the system.

Career Interests

This is a feature I recommend to all of my clients. It allows recruiters to see if you are currently seeking employment and what kind. For instance, you might be interested in full-time, part-time, freelance, etc. LinkedIn explains this feature:

Among the many Recruiter spotlights we provide, the Open to New Opportunities feature allows LinkedIn members to privately share their career interests with Recruiter users who aren’t affiliated with their current or related companies.

Once a candidate opts to privately share their career goals with recruiters, users of LinkedIn’s Recruiter product will be able to see that candidate as “open to new opportunities” when running a search that aligns with their background.

If an open candidate starts a new position, they’ll be prompted to turn off their signal if they’re no longer open to new opportunities. They’ll also receive a reminder to respond to InMail messages from recruiters if they haven’t responded to two consecutive InMail messages.

Below is how Career interests looks:

career interests

Note that you don’t have to be looking for full-time work to use this feature. You might only be looking for contract, part-time, internship, etc. One of my former clients benefited from this feature. I’m sure others have, as well.

Salary Insights


This feature is the last one listed on your desktop/laptop. It is available to basic members. It provides information you can probably find on Salary.com, Payscale.com, or Glassdoor.com; nonetheless, it’s interesting information. You’ll discover that LinkedIn sends you to a separate site. And if you click “View Jobs,” it returns you to LinkedIn’s Jobs feature.

I decided to look up the salary for a Financial Analyst in the Greater Boston area. LinkedIn provides the following information on the position and location I chose:

Median salary ($65,000) and range ($51,000-$88,000), as well as total compensation ($67,000) and range ($53,000-$90,000).

You can get more specific and choose an industry and years of experience. I chose manufacturing with 6-14 years of experience. Below are the results:

Financial Analyst

You’ll notice that only 7 people responded to LinkedIn’s request for salary information. This doesn’t give one confidence in the accuracy of the numbers.

Like Glassdoor.com, you can get the salary range for your criteria for various companies. You can also get more insight based on size of company, industry, educational level, and field of study.

Finally, LinkedIn provides the median base salaries and salary ranges for ten selected cities. At the top for financial analyst in San Fransisco is median salary of $77,500 and salary range of $60,000-$100,000. Rounding out at the bottom is Dallas with $63,000 and $50,000-$84,000 respectively. I guess this is information you’d consider if you’re considering moving from Dallas to San Fransisco.

Bottom line: As I tell my clients, no two companies are the same. This is clearly illustrated when you see the differences between Mutual Liberty Insurance $79,000 and Waters Corporation $71,400.

So there you have the features in the Dashboard of your profile. Is all of it valuable? No. But there are definitely aspects that you should consider in your job search, most notably Career interests.

3 areas of information your LinkedIn profile Dashboard provides: part 1

The Dashboard on your LinkedIn profile is a source of information, to which only you are privy. It provides you with information on three main areas: Who viewed your profile, Post views, and Search appearances. When I discuss the LinkedIn profile in my workshop, many people are unaware of the Dashboard. This area of your profile should be visited often.


Below the aforementioned information, you can also benefit from three features: Career Advice, Career Interests, and Salary insights. I will address these features next week.

Who viewed your profile

The information you’ll see first when you click on Who viewed your profile is the trend of visits you’ve had in the past 90 days. As you can see, my percentage of visitors has dropped 9 percent in the past week.

You can also see that the number of visits was highest in March and hasn’t reached that number since. I’m also on a disturbing downward slope. Must do something about this.



Below this graphic you’ll see LinkedIn members’ head shot, name, and a partial view of their headline. For basic members, such as myself, you’ll see the most recent five people who’ve visited your profile. (Incidentally, four of mine are named “LinkedIn Members.”)

LinkedIn kindly gives you the option to upgrade to a premium account (of course they do) so you can see beyond the most recent five visitors. You’ll see everyone who viewed your profile in the past 90 days.

Well, this is partly true. You will not be able to discern the identity of visitors who select “private profile characteristics” or “private mode” in their settings to view your and other profiles. If you hoped to break through these two privacy settings, you’re out of luck.

Post views

LinkedIn shows you how many people viewed your latest post. This gives you a good sense of how many people are paying attention to what you posted. If the number is high, it’s time to rejoice. On the other hand if it’s low it means that the content is not what your audience is interested in. Below is a screenshot of one of my latest post which was one day ago.



Posts can include anything from an article you shared; a question you asked; some great advice you gave; a photo with a caption; a video you created for LinkedIn; a quote you appreciated; and, in my case, an announcement of what’s going on in your organization.

Search appearances

This is the most interesting information, in my opinion. Here is were you’ll see who’s searched for you based on companies, what your searchers do, and the keywords they used to find you.

Where your searchers work

Demographics of Jobboard

I find it intriguing that LinkedIn employees are searching for me. Could it be that I’ve offended them? Might they be looking to hire me? It’s most likely the former. For job seekers this can be exciting news if the companies looking at you are the ones you’ve targeted or have applied to.

Also of interest is that authors and online marketing managers round out the top two occupations interested in me. Again, you will strive for people in your industry and at higher levels. Recruiters might show up as people who viewed your profile, which is a good thing.

In terms of keywords, I get every one of them except for Edit.com. Could someone explain this to me? What’s important is that hiring authorities are searching for words that are in your branding strategy. LinkedIn is obviously a word I want people to use when searching for me.

Lastly, I appreciate LinkedIn’s advice on how to improve my profile, but keywords alone want increase your visibility. You must also develop a focused network, as well as engage with your connections on a daily basis.

Improve Your profile

These are three areas of information your dashboard provides. Next week I’ll go over  three features your dashboard provides.


Knowing your work values is important

I recall when Wes Welker, then a wide receiver for the New England Patriots, declared that the 2011 walkout of NFL players “is pretty sad.” He further told reporters that he was happy to be playing and never imagined he’d be making the money he is. It was obvious he loved football.


This made me think of two things: one, there are professional players who want to play the season and two, money isn’t everything to some of them. Surely pro athletes make more money than most of us could imagine, but for a pro athlete to imply that he makes more money than he should is remarkable and refreshing.

Perhaps the lesson we can take away from Wes Welker’s statement is that money doesn’t define the success of one’s career. What defines the success of one’s career is how rewarding it is. Yes, some would say that money is their most desired value; but it’s a known fact that the majority of employees hold other values closer to their heart.

In a workshop I delivered at our career center, I conducted an exercise on work values. This exercise made my clients think about which values would make their jobs more rewarding. Many of the workshop attendees list values such as:

  • Achievement: being able to meet their goals.
  • Balance: having time for family, work and play.
  • Independence/Autonomy: control of their own destiny.
  • Influence: able to have an impact on others.
  • Integrity: stand up for their beliefs, as well as others who showed strong character..
  • Honesty: telling the truth and knowing that others are telling the truth.
  • Power: control over others.
  • Respect: care and trust of self and others.
  • Spirituality: believing in their core beliefs.
  • Creativity: able to express their personality in your work.

Over the years our values may change. Some of my clients saw health as their number one value, and this came as no surprise, as they were older workers and their bodies were changing. Personally, I valued balance, creativity, and autonomy. I desire the same values, but autonomy is at the top of my list.

My workshop attendees agreed that unless their values were met, they’d be unhappy with their perspective jobs. Some openly admit that they were unhappy at their last job because their values weren’t being met.

Job seekers need to determine if their values jive with the company’s

Now the question is how do job seekers know if a perspective company supports their values? The simple answer might be to simply ask during their questioning phase. “What are the values your company supports?” Fair enough question, right.

Another approach would be to ask someone who works for the company you’re considering. This might result in a more honest answer. “Their number one value is increasing revenue no matter what it takes” is not a value for job seekers who want balance, as it implies working long hours.

Some job seekers might feel more comfortable researching a company by going to http://www.glassdoor.com, where they can read reviews others have written on said company. My feeling about these reviews is that the people who write them might be disgruntled, so you’d never know if the reviews are accurate or written out of spite.

I’m curious to know what your three most important values are. Especially if they’re not on the list.

LinkedIn’s Career Interest function worked for one of my clients

Following is an email I received from a client of mine.

Hi Bob,

I Thought I’d share my latest LinkedIn story. I have the experience to be more than entry level, but due to my life situation (single mom) I choose to make my child my priority, not money and work responsibility.

I have been working [part-time] in an entry level position for about [two] years. Ready to go [full-time], the company [for which I work] was not interested in increasing my hours, so I updated my LinkedIn profile and made it available for recruiters [using Career Interests]; that’s all.

A week later I was contacted by a recruiter in Chicago stating they had a position I was perfect for. Reluctantly, I arranged a telephone conversation with the recruiter who sent me the job description and advised that she was hiring for a Cambridge, MA, company.

It was like the description was written from my resume. So I forwarded my resume over thinking, can’t hurt. Two days later the phone rang, the company wanted to bypass the telephone interview and meet me face to face. So I did.

Yesterday I accepted the position of contracts manager for a 30k-person company based in Japan. I will work in Cambridge. After travel and parking expenses I will be making almost three-times my current salary. LinkedIn works well!!! At least for me! And you showed me how.

All my best, Kelly

LinkedIn explains how “Career Interests” works

Among the many Recruiter spotlights we provide, the Open to New Opportunities feature allows LinkedIn members to privately share their career interests with Recruiter users who aren’t affiliated with their current or related companies.

Once a candidate opts to privately share their career goals with recruiters, users of LinkedIn’s Recruiter product will be able to see that candidate as “open to new opportunities” when running a search that aligns with their background.

If an open candidate starts a new position, they’ll be prompted to turn off their signal if they’re no longer open to new opportunities. They’ll also receive a reminder to respond to InMail messages from recruiters if they haven’t responded to two consecutive InMail messages.

I was excited to hear about Kelly’s success, especially given that her new job got her out of a jam. She is making three-times more than she previously made. I would call this a success story.

4 keys to a successful mock interview

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

mock interview2

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

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

Keep the interview itself short

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

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

The mock interview should be filmed and played back

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

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

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

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

Clients must take the mock interview seriously

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

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

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

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

You must also take the mock interview seriously

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

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

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

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

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

6 LinkedIn profile rules to ignore in 2018

There are numerous articles on how to properly write your LinkedIn profile. With all the advice that is floating out there, it’s no wonder that LinkedIn members might be confused.

Dennis Background

I am guilty of writing some of these articles, so I would like to provide relief for the confused people trying to write their LinkedIn profile for the first time, or revise the one they already have. What follows are some rules you can ignore for six important areas of your profile.

1. Your background image must reflect what you do

I’m sure some people are freaking out because they don’t have a background image that illustrates what they do, such as a medical lab for a tech, a row of million dollar houses for a realtor, etc. I get it. You want your background image to reflect what you do.

Don’t worry. People who visit your profile also want to know what motivates you, describes your personality, shows what you love. Take the image below that shows one of my clients enjoying the view of a mountain range she was hiking. And the image above which is…just colorful.


2. Dress to the Nines for Your LinkedIn Photo

I’ve said it myself and regret it. “Your photo should be professional.” So what is the definition of professional? Over the years the idea of a professional photo has changed, and so has my opinion.


Maybe you men were told that you had to dress in a three-piece suit, and you women were told you had to wear a dress suit with a white blouse. In addition, you were told you had to have a blank, boring background.

I used to advise my clients to do exactly this.

Now your photo can be more casual. Or you might prefer a theme-based photo that describes what you do, such as the one on the right. Can you guess what he does?

3. Your Headline Must Only List Your Professional Title and Employer

Whether you decide to go with a keyword-rich or branding statement Headline is your choice. Please don’t leave it as “Project Manager at IBM.” This doesn’t say anything about your value; it simply tells viewers what you do and where you work.

Instead, be creative and add areas of expertise that show your value, as well as contain keywords employers are looking for in, say, a project manager. For example:

Project Manager, ABC Company ~ Business Development | Lean Six Sigma | Projects On-Time, Under Budget

4. Make Your Summary Short

There are those who believe your LinkedIn profile Summary should be short because it will make it easier for recruiters to read. While I agree this applies to your resume, it doesn’t apply to your profile. Here’s why:

1) Don’t expect your visitors to read your whole Summary. They will be attracted to certain areas of expertise (written in all CAPs) and read that content.

2) With a short Summary you rob yourself of including keywords that help hiring authorities find you.

3) This is where you tell your story, so don’t leave out important details.

Here is an excerpt of what I consider to be a strong Summary, which uses all but 44 characters out of the 2,000 allotted. Visitors might read some of it, or they might read all of it.

Advanced materials and processes can form the basis for a product portfolio that will generate repeat revenues for years to come – if a company is able to leverage those innovations. I have been fortunate to participate in several technology firms where I’ve led teams that did exactly that. Here are a few keys to our success:

► BUILDING TALENTED TEAMS – of professionals who are leaders in their respective areas. Then, encouraging and rewarding them for their collective success.

► ENGINEERING CREATIVE SOLUTIONS – that solve the customer’s problem, but also create manufacturing differentiators that will lead to follow-on production.

Here’s what I offer:

► PROVEN TRACK RECORD – At growing engineering R&D firms into repeat manufacturing businesses with broad portfolios of products (including MSI, which was recently acquired for its manufacturing operations and product pipeline).

5. Only List Your Company and Job Title

Who says you have to stick to the “official title” of where you work or worked? I haven’t been told I need to list my official title of Workshop Facilitator first. (Not yet, at least.) My current title is:

Career Strategist ~ LinkedIn Trainer | Workshop Facilitator | LinkedIn Profile & Resume Consultant.

Another consideration is that your title might not make sense to people reading your profile. One of my client’s title was “Director of Innovation.” When I asked him what his title meant, he told me he was a Project Manager.

6. Don’t Personalize Your Experience Content

This is a tough one to comprehend. I see many profiles that are meager at best when it comes to their Experience section. People have been told, “Don’t regurgitate your resume.” Yes, don’t regurgitate your resume, but do include the meat of what you do/did where you work/ed.

I suggest beginning with a job summary that acts as a mission statement. For example:

When the power’s out and you can’t see two feet in front of you, your television isn’t working, the Internet is down; I’m the one who gets your power up and running. I love the feeling of fixing a generator that powers hundreds of houses. This is what makes being a Power Line Tech so rewarding.

From there you personalize your accomplish statements, as well.

► I’m often called upon to climb the highest towers during inclement weather, when others won’t. I thrive on this.

► On average, I repair damage generators faster than most Power Line Techs. My Supervisor has named me “The Magician.”

These are six important areas on you LinkedIn profile where the rules you’ve learned can be ignored. Don’t treat your profile like your resume; they are special in their own ways. Have fun constructing your profile.