5 places where introverts need to get away to recharge their batteries

There are places where introverts need to get away to recharge their batteries. In this post, I’ll address five places where introverts sometimes need to escape for a moment. First I’ll relate a story of a family party, which illustrates the first place where introverts need to get away.

lake

A few years ago my family celebrated our daughter’s graduation from high school with a small celebration. We were near a lake and the temperature was in the 90’s. Many of our friends were there with their kids, who immediately took to the water.

It was the perfect setting. I enjoyed conversing with our friends, as we talked about kids and past events; and I was particularly animated as I talked.

Then it hit me like a title wave. I needed time to get away and recharge my batteries. Did I care if company would miss me? Not really.

As an introvert, group events can take a toll on me. I enjoy the company of others, but my energy level for talking with them is not as enduring as it is for extraverts.

Extraverts have that energy that drives them through a party; it charges their batteries. They derive mental stimulation by talking and being listened to.

I don’t’ envy them, though. The time alone to watch the kids swimming in the lake or even sitting in silence next to another introvert is as rewarding as it is for extraverts to talk to others at length. It’s a time to reflect.

Networking events. As an introvert, you may find yourself enjoying a conversation with a few people, but suddenly it occurs to you that where you’d rather be is in a quiet place, such as outside getting some fresh air.

What’s likely to happen is another introvert joining you, perhaps by mistake or because she saw you escaping to your place of reflection.

This is fine, because it’s you and she making small talk, such as, “Had to get away from the crowd.” I know what you mean, she tells you. And so you’ve established a bond.

Like the time I stole away from our guest at my party, you’ve had the opportunity to recharge your batteries so you can return to the larger group, which is now in the “needs and leads” portion of the event.

One of my LinkedIn connections told me this type of break is what she needs during a business event and possibly an extended after hours. Sure, she’d like to retire to her hotel room, but understands the value of personal networking and pushes herself to keep going.

reflect

Work. Some introverts enjoy the opportunity to take a lunch-time walk, while their colleagues, most likely extraverts, are gathered in the staff room engaged in a boisterous conversation.

Walking alone or with a walking mate is a great way to recharge your batteries. I personally prefer listening to music or talk radio, as it allows me to walk at my rapid speed and lose myself in thoughts of the day.

If you’re fortunate to have an office or cubicle away from the fray, this type of situation is ideal after a day full of meetings, not only to recharge your battery but also to respond to any e-mails following the meetings.

Introverts are more productive when they have solitude and moments to reflect and write, something they prefer over meetings and brainstorming sessions. They derive their creativity from being alone or working with one other person.

Watch this TED talk by Susan Cain who explains how introverts are most creative.

Research

At home. Even when I’m home, I feel the need to wind down by reading a book or watching Netflix. This is alone time I value you very much.

My wife says I’m rigid, because I usually won’t join her when she goes out with our friends for dinner, as I know “dinner” can mean staying out past my bedtime. I don’t mind missing the interaction with our friends, and they understand my need for solitude.

Introverts need the opportunity to recover from an intense day of job searching or working. It’s the perfect conclusion to their day. Of course this doesn’t mean you neglect your family; be sure to engage with them before you get away to retire to a quiet place.

Vacation. Two summers ago our family was fortunate to vacation on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. (I say fortunate because we can’t always coordinate time when we’re always together.)

In my mind, this was a great vacation because it afforded me the time to reflectdraw my energy inward, and not concern myself with too much external stimuli. In three words: an introvert’s paradise.

We enjoyed many activities, including body surfacing in the ocean, people watching in Province Town, buying and eating lobster, taking walks to the Bay, and relaxing by the nightly fire.

The best part of the vacation was the time I spent reading alongside my daughter, who was engaged in Gone Girl. The rest of the family was down by the ocean body surfing or floating on the surface. Occasionally they’d beckon us to join them, but we’d wave our hands at them indicating we were happy where we were.


 

Whether you’re at a family gathering, a networking event, at work, at home, or on vacation; getting away is important for maintaining a strong energy level. Introverts are capable of interaction for extended periods of time, but we’re more comfortable if we take time to get away.

Don’t deny yourself this opportunity and don’t feel as if you’re being antisocial. You’ll be happier and more productive if you tend to your preferred way to energize yourself.

Photo: Flickr, Dave McGlinchey

Photo: Flickr, Kirsty Harrison

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Apply for some jobs already! 5 reasons why you’re not applying.

And what you should do about it!

It’s called paralysis by analysis. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, or even suffered from it. I have. Suffered from it, that is. This is when you’re caught up more in the process than achieving the goal. No, this is different than procrastination. This is the inability to act.

Man from recruiter

I see it in the resource room of the career center for which I work. A person sits down in the morning; opens their résumé on a computer to revise it; and when I walk by at the end of the day they’re still revising the same résumé, their eyes bloodshot. I ask nicely, “Are you applying for jobs?”

“Not yet,” he replies. “I’m waiting until my résumé is perfect.”

“You’ve been here all day working on the same résumé.”

“I want it to be perfect.”

One time I must have been heard throughout the career center as I raised my voice at one person, “Apply for some jobs already.” I was being playful, but I also meant it.

Another person is doing such a great job of networking. He is meeting people for coffee or lunch, going to networking events and buddy groups. This has been going on for weeks. I ask him where he’s applied.

“I want to make sure I apply to the right companies,” he says. “I’m trying to get a sense of their culture.”

“Great,” I reply. “But you need to start applying. Apply on line.” And I hate saying this, because to me applying online is equivalent to throwing chumline in the ocean and waiting for fish to surface.

These are but a few examples. It could be trying to make their LinkedIn profile perfect before sending invites to people, asking for recommendations, or engaging with their network. Anything less than perfect is unacceptable.

Are you suffering from paralysis by analysis? Here are a few reasons why you might be, as well as some advice on how to move forward:

You’re shell shocked

Losing a job is a terrible blow to your psyche, even if you weren’t to blame. Additionally you’re wondering how you’re going to pay the bills. What will working again be like, you wonder? It might be 15 years since you last engaged in the job search. A lot has changed since then. This is a scary prospect.

What to do

I’m not going to say, “Get over it.” But I am going to say, “Take some time—a week or two—to realize that the more you’re out of work, the longer it will take to find employment. Understand that:

  • this is temporary,
  • it happens to many people,
  • it’s natural to feel despondent,
  • there is help from your One-Stop career center and a therapist, if necessary.

Writing résumés has changed over the past 15 years

The way résumés are written has changed. Recruiters want to see accomplishment statements, with quantified results. The applicant tracking  system might not have been used by organizations, as well.

What to do

Don’t be obsessed with writing your résumé; however, make sure it meets the following criteria:

  • shows value with accomplishments,
  • is tailored to each position,
  • is readable with short paragraphs and plenty of white space,
  • doesn’t exceed 15 years of work history,
  • finds itself in the hands of the hiring manager, as much as possible.

Networking is key

Most companies want you to apply online or go through recruiters and staffing agencies, but you’re more likely to get better results by getting your resume in the hands of the hiring manager directly. Most companies prefer to hire job seekers through referrals from people they know and trust.

What to do

Despite what most people think, networking events aren’t the only activities that constitute networking. Look at networking as connecting with people everywhere. Your neighbors, relatives, friends, store owners, dentists — essentially everyone can be a valuable networking connection. Make sure to reach out to former colleagues and supervisors who can act as references. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Social media plays a large role in the hiring process

In today’s job market, you have to be cognizant of your social media image. According to a 2014 survey, 94 percent recruiters look for and vet talent on LinkedIn. Four years later, the number may be even higher. Employers are also checking you out on Facebook and Twitter to dig up any dirt that may disqualify you from the running.

What to do

First of all, LinkedIn will not land you a job by itself. It is a supplement to your face-to-face networking events. However, it can be very helpful if used properly. Like your résumé, don’t dwell on trying to make it perfect. There are two other components that make your LinkedIn campaign a success—growing your network and engaging with your connections.

The interview process is longer

You might have to endure as many as five telephone interviews before multiple face-to-face interviews. The types of interviews you will participate in could vary, including Skype, Zoom, group, and, of course, one-on-one.

What to do

Go with the flow. It’s a known fact that employers dread hiring the wrong person because it’s costly and embarrassing. It may seem like they’re looking for the purple squirrel, so be patient and persistent. Most importantly, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Some job seeker tell me they’re only applying to a couple of companies, because they’re the ones. Apply to the right companies, but have a list of at least 10 companies for which you’d like to work.


If my clients think I want them to scatter their résumés around the state, they’re wrong. All I’m asking is that they don’t spend more time doing nothing than doing something. Yes, they should recover from their trauma…or fake it til they make it. They need to connect with people in their community. The interview process, and the methods employers are using, is taking longer.

One thing we all an say for certain is paralysis by analysis is real and detrimental to your job search.

Photo: recruiter.com

__________________________________________________________________________

Bob McIntosh, CPRW, is a career trainer who leads more than 17 job search workshops at an urban career center, as well as critiques LinkedIn profiles and conducts mock interviews. Job seekers and staff look to him for advice on the job search. In addition, Bob has gained a reputation as a LinkedIn authority in the community. Bob’s greatest pleasure is helping people find rewarding careers in a competitive job market. For enjoyment, he blogs at Things Career Related. Follow Bob on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

45 Résumé words that need to be made extinct

Attention job seekers; there are some words you should not include on your résumé. They are overused, clichés, plain ole fluff. One of the biggest offenders in my mind is “dynamic.” Before you type such words, ask yourself, “Does ‘dynamic’ show what I’ve accomplished, or does it simply say I’m dynamic, without proving it?” See what I mean?

Wordcloud

What’s the big deal with fluff words, you might ask? To illustrate, read this sentence: “Dynamic, results-oriented, innovative professional with vision and leadership abilities required to deliver projects on time and under budget.” Five words (one hyphenated) and a phrase that are considered fluff.

I’m not the only one who cringes at fluff words. The belief among most executive résumé writers I know is that job seekers need to eliminate overused adjectives and replace them with strong action verbs. (However, there are even action verbs out there that are considered fluff, such as “spearhead.”)

The problem with fluff words is that they’re meaningless; employers are tired of seeing them on the hundreds or thousands of résumés they read. Job seekers who write them on their résumés might believe they possess these traits or skills, but what they must do is show, rather than tell.

It all began with “utilize”

What prompted this post? Donna Svei, Executive Résumé Writer started a major discussion with a post she wrote on LinkedIn. She asked, “What’s your least favorite RESUME WORD or PHRASE? The one you’d like to see made extinct?” The driving force behind her LinkedIn post was her disdain for the word “utilize.”

At this writing there are 206 comments. Which means résumé pundits and people who happened across this post feel very strongly about this red-hot topic. From Donna’s LinkedIn post, many fluff words emerged. Here they are in alphabetical order, as well as the number of times they were listed in the post.

Best of Breed

Bottom Line

Capable

Catalysis

Championed

Change agent

Creative (3)

Dedicated

Detail oriented (3)

Driven (2)

Duties included

Dynamic (3)

Enthusiastic

Excellent communication skills

Experienced

Expert (3)

Extensive experience (2)

Go-Getter (2)

Think Outside of the Box (2)

Go-To Person (3)

Hard Worker (3)

Innovative

Motivated (2)

Organizational (2)

Out of the box thinker

Passionate (3)

Professional

Proven track record

Responsible (3)

Result driven (3)

Seasoned

Self-Motivated (2)

Spearhead

Strategic (3)

Strategic Thinker (2)

Superior

Synergy (3)

Talented

Team player (4)

Thought leader

Thought Leadership

Track record (2)

Utilize

Value Add (2)

Visionary (2)

World class

LinkedIn and resume yield similar results

Awhile back in 2015, LinkedIn came out with 10 of its outlawed words. All the words it listed are included in the list above. Alison Doyle wrote an article that includes some of the fluff words in Donna’s list.

This is a hot topic. Glassdoor.com, BusinessInsider.com, TheMuse.com, Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com and a whole slew of other blogs have weighed in on words that should not be included on a résumé.

When using fluff words is unavoidable

If you’ve had the pleasure of applying for positions which were advertised with poorly written job descriptions, you noticed some of the aforementioned words in those descriptions. You’ve probably been warned by professional résumé writers to avoid using such words on your résumé.

Therein lies the rub. If you are applying to companies that use an application tracking system (ATS). One of the golden rules of writing an ATS-friendly résumé is including keywords found in job descriptions.

The question I ask my clients is, “Do you want to take the high road and write a great résumé, or do you want to play the ATS game?” Their response is somewhat ambivalent.

Jon Shields, a content manager and writer for Jobscan.co, states in an article that most job descriptions are poorly written:

The people tasked with writing job listings aren’t typically experts in the field. It’s not their fault– HR professionals can’t be expected to have encyclopedic knowledge of every new role in the company and how it will interact with existing positions.

In addition to job posts neglecting to include key skills, they also are full of fluff words. Take an excerpt of a job post for a marketing manager:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Detail-oriented and process-driven.

“Excellent written and verbal communication skills” is a phrase that is as overused as an old shoe. Similarly, “detail-oriented” and “process-driven” are huge offenders. If this phrase and fluff words are not used on a résumé, it could result in being disqualified by the ATS.


What’s the answer? Take these words that should be made extinct with a “grain of salt” and try to “straddle the fence.” In other words, don’t feel guilty if your résumé contains a select few fluff words. Just as long as they aren’t “dynamic,” “innovative,” “detail-oriented….” Need I go on?

Are there any other words you consider to be “fluff”? Please list them in the comment area.

Visit Donna Svei at AvidCareerist, where you can learn about her services and take a peek at some great résumé examples.

The Ultimate LinkedIn Guide, Engaging on LinkedIn: Part 3

In part two of this series, we looked at how to optimize your LinkedIn network. This post will address how to engage with the connections within your network in various ways. When I explain this concept to my clients, I tell them that they can have a stellar profile and large network, but if they don’t engage their connections, it’s like they don’t exist.

linkedin-alone

Being Active Vs. Being Engaged

First let’s talk about the distinction between “active” and ”engage.” It’s possible to be active on LinkedIn, while not being engaged. When you’re active, you’re simply there and not making an impact. Whereas when you’re engaged, you’re truly communicating with your connections.

Let’s first look at examples of being active, followed by being engaged. Think about what you’re doing and if you need to change how you interact with your connections.

Being Active

Liking What Your Connections Post

There’s not much you can say about simply liking what your connections post, other than your connections might appreciate the number of Likes they receive. Then they’ll wonder, “What did Bob think of what I wrote?” This is the ultimate example of simply being active.

Sharing What Your Connections Post

Similar to liking what someone posts, simply sharing a post is clicking the Share button. Again, people will be grateful that you shared their post or article, but couldn’t you do more? “I’m glad Bob shared my article,” they will think. “But why did he share it? What did he think of it?”

Posting a Picture and Sharing a Quote

Posting a picture is nice. It adds color to peoples’ homepage feed. They may pause to look at it. A picture says a thousand words, right? Wrong. You want to explain why you’re sharing the picture, not have people guess. The same goes for sharing a quote without an explanation as to why you shared it.

Writing Brief Comments

Writing comments to what your connections post is a step toward the right direction, but your comments should be meaningful. For example, “Great article, Susan,” is not very meaningful. It is similar to Liking what someone posts.

One excuse I’ve heard from my clients is that it’s difficult to write a lengthy comment with their smartphone. My reply is wait until you’re in front of a computer, if that’s the case.

Asking a Question and Not Responding to Answers

Asking questions is fine; I do it all the time. However, just letting the responses you receive sit is disrespectful to the people who provided the answers. Make sure you ask meaningful questions, though.

Endorsing Connections for Their Skills

This doesn’t constitute engagement. You are simply clicking on your connections’ skills. Further, you might not have seen them perform the skills for which you’ve endorsed. My opinion of endorsements is well known by my clients. The opposite of endorsements are recommendations (discussed below).

Engagement

Writing Comments that are Meaningful

The opposite of writing a brief, meaningless comment is putting thought into what you write. The best way I can illustrate this is by sharing one I wrote for this article:

“Great post, @Susan Brandt. Your statement about a company lacking a social media campaign being akin to living in the dark ages really resonated with me. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other platforms can create that ‘like, know, and trust’ relationship between the company and its’ customers. You’re also correct in stating that all platforms should be connected, as well as linked to and from the company’s website.”

Note: always remember to tag a person with @name so they will be notified in LinkedIn’s Notifications. I was scolded once for not doing this.

Sharing Original Updates

To stay top of mind, your shared updates must show engagement. LinkedIn encourages you to share an article, video, photo, or idea. Take the opportunity to engage with your connections by providing valuable content that elicits responses. A sign that you’ve succeeded would be the number of Likes and, more importantly, Comments you receive.

Note: Many LinkedIn pundits suggest keeping your status updates to one or two a day. I blatantly break this rule.

Responding to What Others Write about Your Updates

One type of update I find successful is asking an illuminating question. If you’re going to do this, be diligent in replying to your connections’ and followers’ responses. Failing to reply to your connections who answer your question does not demonstrate engagement. I am impressed with people who take the time to answer every reply they receive. I try to reply to all the feedback but, alas, I am only human.

Sharing Your Connections’ Articles AND Commenting

Unlike the aforementioned example of simply sharing someone’s article, you will go a step further and share a short synopsis of the message it delivers. This says, “I’ve taken the time to read the article, understand its meaning, and will elaborate on it for the benefit of the readers.” To be a curator is the true definition of networking.

Writing and Sharing your Articles

Writing an article with unique and fresh content takes engagement; it shows you’ve considered what your audience would benefit from. My primary audiences are job seekers and career coaches, so I write articles focusing on the job search and using LinkedIn in the job search. You can write an article on the LinkedIn platform or share one from a blog, such as this one.

Note: refrain from only sharing your own articles. This gives off the sense of superiority.

I include creating and sharing videos under engagement. This is a fairly new concept—probably a year old by now—but it’s catching hold among LinkedIn members. If you are going to share videos, make sure you’re consistent and produce videos your connections will appreciate.

Sending direct messages

Sending individual messages to your connections is the most obvious form of engagement. This is where relationships are cemented, or not, depending on the interaction you have with said person. I received from a client a question about sending mass messages. This is not considered proper policy; but if you need to reach many people at once, you are allowed to message 50 people at a time.

Writing Recommendations for Your Connections

Unlike endorsing your connections for their skills, writing recommendations take thought and time. To write a recommendation requires having supervised a connection or witnessed them as a colleague, partner, or vendor. This is a true form of engagement, but isn’t getting the respect it deserves. Listen to my interview on The Voice of the Job Seeker podcast.

Following Up with Your Connections

To truly show engagement, you must follow up with your connections. I have developed many relationships by reaching out to my connections via telephone, if they live a distance away. If they live closer, I’ll meet them for coffee. One of my connections and I had been exchanging discussions via LinkedIn. Yesterday we had our first phone conversation. Although we will not do business together, it was great finally “meeting” her on the phone.


Perhaps the most difficult part of a successful LinkedIn campaign is engaging with your LinkedIn connections. To do so requires you to extend yourself; perhaps reach outside your comfort zone. One of my clients told me, “I don’t know what to write.” I told her to write what she feels.

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Avoid résumé obsession by following these 6 rules

I’ve been helping a client with his résumé. Originally it was a sound résumé but weak in certain areas. He lacked a branding headline, so I suggested he use a headline similar to what he uses on his LinkedIn profile but stressed it needed to be tailored to each job.

obsessed-with-your-resume

He also needed to tighten up his writing, pay attention to typos, and avoiding being verbose. I also suggested he quantify his results. Mission accomplished.

Shortly after our meeting, he told me he would send me his “next” revision in a few days. In addition to the changes I suggested, he said he prettied it up a bit. They were aesthetic changes that probably wouldn’t play a big role in garnering him an interview.

I sent comments back to him, ending it with, “Ready to go.” He sent me two more updates, each containing minor changes; not much had changed. There was not much I could add.

He was suffering from résumé obsession.

While aesthetics are nice, your résumé needs to be much more impactful than pretty font, interesting layout, unique bullet points, etc. Here are six general rules about putting your résumé to best use.

1. Yes, a powerful résumé is necessary. A résumé should lead with a strong branding headline to capture the employers’ attention, tell them who you are and what you’re capable of doing for them. This is where you first introduce the job-related keywords.

Follow your branding headline with a concise, yet grabbing Performance Profile. All too often I see profiles with lofty adjectives that have no meaning. Your profile is the roadmap to your work history; whatever you assert in it, you have to prove in the experience section.

The work experience must demonstrate accomplishments that are quantified. Employers are looking for numbers, percentages, and dollar signs. Having accomplished this, along with an education section, your résumé is ready to go.

2. It’s only one part of your written communications. Let’s not forget a well-written cover letters that grab the employers’ attention with the first sentence. Forget the tired, “I was excited to read on Monster.com of the project manager position at (company). Please find below my accomplishments and history that make me a great fit for this job.”

You have to show the employer you’re the right person for the job. This includes highlighting job-related skills and mentioning a couple of accomplishments. Like your résumé, the cover letter is tailored to each job.

3. Send your résumé to the hiring manager. Some of my customers are shocked when I tell them that they need to send their information to human resources and the hiring manager. The reason for doing this is because the hiring manager may see something in you that HR doesn’t.

Another reason for sending your résumé to the hiring manager is because she may overlook the fact that you don’t have a certain requirement, such as education, whereas HR must reject you for this deficiency. One of my job seekers, a former hiring manager, confirmed this assertion, adding “experience trumps education any day.”

4. How you distribute it. It doesn’t end with hitting “Submit.” You can’t sit back and wait for recruiters and HR to call you for a telephone interview. Some believe that sending out five résumés a day is a personal accomplishment; yet they fail to follow up in a timely manner.

Worse yet, they don’t send their résumé and cover letter to targeted companies. This involves networking face-to-face or via LinkedIn to determine who the right contact is at the company. Distribute your résumé to the people who count when you can; rather than applying online and taking your chances with the Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

Note: one product I swear by to determine the effectiveness of keywords on your resume is Jobscan.

5. LinkedIn is part of it. Whether you like it or not, it’s time to get on board with LinkedIn. Countless success stories of job seekers getting jobs are proof that employers are leaning more toward LinkedIn than the job boards.

They’re enabling the Hidden Job Market (HJM) by not advertising their jobs; rather they reach out to you to have you come in for discussions first..

Your LinkedIn profile should mirror your résumé (branding headline, summary, work history, education) to a point. Each section on it will differ, plus there are sections and recommendations you can display on your profile that you might not on your résumé. There must be a harmonious marriage between the two.

6. Just get it out. I know this sounds odd coming from a person who writes and reviews résumés. “Are you suggesting I send out an imperfect product?” you’re wondering. Well, yes if it’s holding you back from getting a job that’s available.

All to often I see clients in the career center for which I work spend too much time trying to make their resume perfect. Days, weeks, months go by before they’re “ready to send it out.” Don’t sweat the small stuff, as they say. Because while you’re doing this, opportunities are disappearing.


Fruitless pursuit. Trying to perfect your résumé and neglecting the aforementioned steps needed to make it work is similar to cleaning every snowflake from your steps and neglecting your entire walkway. A great résumé is what you aspire to create; a perfect résumé is not possible. To aspire to perfection will most likey prevent you to send out your résumé all together, just like my former client.

Photo: Flickr, Jordan

2 recent LinkedIn changes: one good, the other MEH

I consider myself to be a fair guy. When LinkedIn does right, I complement them. When they do wrong, I criticize them.

linkedin-alone

This time LinkedIn made a smart move by joining multiple job titles to fit under one company icon (see below). But in the same fell swoop, LinkedIn truncating each position. More on this later.

New experience2

Good move: joining positions

GOOD WORLDWIDE LLC LOGO

Previously, if you wanted to list all your positions at one company, you  entered a “new position” and your company’s icon appeared for each position. This got confusing, because at quick glance it appeared as if you worked at two, three, four, or more companies.

Note: the process is still the same in terms of entering your titles, but LinkedIn shows the line joining the positions, displaying the company icon only once.

My solution to the multiple-icon fiasco for one company was to write another positions within the original entry and separate them with a line. Unfortunately, it limited how many characters I could use for each entry.

Another problem with showing multiple positions under one entry was diminishing SEO. (Titles are weighed among the heaviest of the areas on your profile.) So it was to one’s benefit to enter as many job titles for each company. Still, it looked confusing and and disorganized.

MEH: truncating positions…again

MEH3

Remember when LinkedIn showed a person’s first position and truncated the rest of them? I do, and I thought it was a terrible move. Here’s what it looked like below the full first job description:

truncated-experience

Well this brilliant move more than a year ago must have disappointed LinkedIn members, because LinkedIn went back to expanding all but a few positions, which I loved. I just couldn’t look at a profile which only displayed titles, companies, and tenure of employment.

When LinkedIn reversed its decision, I wrote this in a post:

The good news is that LinkedIn has reversed it’s decision of showing only the first position in its entirety and truncating the previous ones. On May 26th, 2017, I noticed that LinkedIn corrected this faux pas. Now we can see most of the positions expanded.

LinkedIn meets its users halfway

Currently LinkedIn has decided to truncate people’s positions to a point (approximately 60 words). This includes your first position, as well. Visitors to your profile can still see the rich media areas, but there’s still that thing about clicking to “See more” that leaves me sour.

Note: these 60 words have to be grabbers. I suggest they’re written in first person point of view, contain a value statement, and are kept to three lines at most. Three lines at most because you should show a bulleted accomplishment. An excerpt of my first job description reads:

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.

HIGHLIGHTS

► To meet the needs of my customers, I have developed more advanced workshops that have garnered high praise

I get it. LinkedIn wants a streamlined profile that doesn’t take up too much space. And the nice move it made by joining positions might not look as appealing if the position are expanded. I guess I’m a traditionalist who likes to see a profile that resembles a resume outline.


What do you think about these two changes? I’d love to hear your opinions, even if you disagree with me. Especially if you disagree with me.

The Ultimate LinkedIn Guide, Part 2: How to Optimize Your Network

In Part 1, we looked at a checklist you can use to optimize your LinkedIn profile. This post will address optimizing your LinkedIn network; how to connect, with whom to connect, and connecting etiquette.

linkedin-alone

As we address the three stages of optimizing your network, check off the ones you feel you are succeeding at.

Why Connecting with LinkedIn Members is Important

It’s not evident to enough people that the foundation LinkedIn is built on is making connections and nurturing relationships. Yes, creating a strong profile is important, as is engaging with others (which we’ll address in part 3); but building your LinkedIn network is essential.

There are approximately 560 million LinkedIn users worldwide. You are allowed to connect with 30,000 LinkedIn members. Am I suggesting that you build you network to 30,000 people? No. What I am suggesting is that you reach out to an amount of people you’re comfortable with. Most important is that you reach out to the right people.

1. How NOT to Connect

The number one rule when connecting with LinkedIn members is to send a personalized invitation. There is no deviating from this rule. To click “Send now” lacks creativity and is lazy. Instead, always choose “Add a note.”

Invite box

We’ll get into writing the proper invitation note later in the post. Let’s first look at the improper ways of connecting with LinkedIn members.

The following ways to connect will not give you the opportunity to send a personalized invitation; rather it will simply state your name and give the recipient of your invitation the option to Ignore or Accept (see below). When I receive invites like these, I click “Ignore” with no remorse.

Invite without message

Number one on the list of connecting improperly is through the feature, “Your contact import is ready” and then choosing to send mass invites to your email contacts. You’ll find this option under “My Network” on the top navigation bar.

Connecting through email

Second on the list is, “People you may know.” This option is also under “My network.” When you click Connect, your invite goes straight through to the recipient. No chance to write a personal invitation.

People you may know

Finally is connecting with someone on your mobile app by simply hitting the connect button. This, like the aforementioned ways to connect will send along the default message.

2. The Correct Ways to Connect

Connecting correctly means taking the time to read a potential connection’s LinkedIn profile, and then writing a personalized invitation. Following is an example of a personalized invite.

Personalized invite

You can connect with second and third degree contacts. For third degree contacts, LinkedIn hides the connect request under the three horizontal boxes beside the message box. (See below.)

Connecting with 3rd degrees

Contrary to what many believe, you can connect with the LinkedIn mobile app and still send a personalized invite. It’s tempting to simply click “Connect,” but open the person’s profile first and then select the drop-down box (seen below).

phone-invite

3. With Whom to Connect

Your LinkedIn network is your life blood. Without a strong network of people, you will not be successful on LinkedIn. If you are weary of reaching out to people you don’t know, you’ll have to get over it. I tell my clients that the only way they’ll get to know people is by inviting them to their network, or vise versa.

How Many is Enough?

LinkedIn members have opinions on how many people should be in one’s network. Some believe a smaller, more focused network is better; whereas others believe the more the better. How many people you have in your network is your prerogative.

Note: If you have less than 400 connections, you might not be taken seriously by some recruiters.

Regardless of how many people you would like to connect with, there are tiers of people you will want to approach. In the pyramid below the more important or relevant people ascend from the bottom to the top.

pyramid of connections 2

1st tier: Your former colleagues and supervisors, as well as vendors, partners, etc. Connecting with these people first makes the most sense, as they know your work and can vouch for you.

2nd tier: Same occupation, same industry. As an example, you’re an accountant in the manufacturing industry. You will search for other accountants in your industry.

3rd tier: Same occupation but different industry. They have less in common with you, but can also be of assistance. An accountant in the information technology industry may know accountants in manufacturing, and therefore can introduce you to them.

4th tier: Recruiters are an important group of people for many job seekers. I always suggest to my clients that they reach out to recruiters, as they have a pipeline of employers job seekers are unaware of.

5th tier: Target companies. People at your target companies are your quickest way to get to know important employees who work for companies for which you’d like to work. Try to connect with people at your level or a someone who might supervise you.

6th tier: Your alumni can be beneficial to you because of the bond you share. This tier of people is particularly helpful to post grads entering the workforce who need connections to certain companies.

4. Finding Potential Connections

LinkedIn is a powerful database of professionals throughout the world. Finding people will not be difficult if you know how to use LinkedIn’s features. The most obvious way to look for someone by occupation is to use “Search.” A search for Program Manager garners 1,974,989 people. (See below.)

 

People search, program manager

However, to conduct a more focused search, you’ll use “All Filters.

All Filters

From the diagram below, you can see I’ve searched for program managers using the following filters:

  • Title: Program Manager
  • Degree of Connection: 2nd
  • Location: Greater Boston Area
  • Company: IBM

search for program manager

This garnered 37 results to match the criteria. This is a manageable amount of people to consider connecting with.

5. How to Write Proper Invite Messages

The art of connecting with LinkedIn members is in the message you craft. There are essentially three types of messages:

The cold message: This is the most difficult to write successfully. In your message you need to provide a reason why your desired connection should join your network.

Using a reference: This message should garner success as long as the person you reference is well known and trusted by your desired connection. It’s important that your reference agrees to being mentioned in your invite message.

Asking for an introduction. A separate message, or email, from a trusted reference must be sent to the intended person. The person making the introduction must be a first degree connection with you and the recipient.

For the full article on how to send connection invites, read 3 Proper Ways for Job Seekers to Send Invites to Potential LinkedIn Connections

Read part 3 of this series.