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.
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.
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 endorsementsis well known by my clients. The opposite of endorsements are recommendations (discussed below).
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.
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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I’m often asked by my clients how they can be found by recruiters on LinkedIn. That’s a great question, and contrary to what my job seekers think, optimizing your profile with keywords is not enough. Sure, having a profile that contains the proper keywords is important, but being found by recruiters takes more commitment than that.
What we’re talking about is your ranking on LinkedIn — that is, how high up you appear in search results when recruiters look for people like you. The higher you rank, the more likely it is that recruiters will contact you.
The recruiters with whom I have spoken about this say they rarely look beyond the fourth page of results. At 10 profiles per page, that means recruiters will only look at the first 40 profiles. If you’re below No. 40, you’re probably not getting a call.
So, how do you improve your rank? There are three factors at play.
1. Keywords matter, but they’re not everything
You do need to include the right keywords throughout your profile, but according to LinkedIn, the balance of keywords matters more than abundance. In other words: Don’t stuff your profile with repeated words, as this is considered spamming.
More keywords aren’t always better. Our advice would be to avoid overfilling your profile with keywords and only include the keywords that best reflect your expertise and experience. If you integrate an extended list of keywords into your profile, it’s likely that your profile will be filtered out by our spam detection algorithms, which will negatively impact your appearance in search results.
Where do keywords matter most? Every keyword is important throughout your profile, but the areas weighed heavier than others are the Headline and titles of your positions in the Experience section.
So, yes, keywords are important, but take LinkedIn’s advice and don’t overdo it.
2. Maintain an extensive network…with the proper people
The more connections you have, the more likely you will have a connection to the searcher. Closer connections, such as a 2nd-degree connection compared to a 3rd-degree connection, improve the likelihood your profile may appear in searches.
The more people you have in your LinkedIn network, the more connections you have. The more connections you have, the more likely it is that you will have some connection to a searcher who is looking for someone like you.
Keep in mind we’re talking about connecting with the proper people — people who will actually be meaningful members of your network. You don’t have to accept every invite you receive just to build a network.
You can see how many searches you’ve recently appeared in by visiting your profile’s dashboard. When you click on the number, you’ll see where the searchers work, which occupations they hold, and the keywords they searched.
This last bit of information can be valuable, as you’ll get a sense of whether you’re using the proper keywords to brand yourself.
It’s also important to note the number of people who visit your profile, as this will give you an idea of your LinkedIn presence. You can find this number on your homepage under your headshot, as well as in your profile’s dashboard.
3. Engage with your connections
LinkedIn is a professional networking site. As such, LinkedIn wants you to network with like-minded people. A safe number of interactions on LinkedIn is twice a day, four times a week.
I suggest to my LinkedIn workshop attendees that they engage with their connections daily. This suggestion is, in part, to set the bar high but also because the more often you’re seen, the better chance you have of getting contacted by hiring authorities.
Participate in discussions, create your own discussions, share articles, write articles, ask questions, and provide tips about your industry. The most obvious way to engage with your connections is by writing direct messages. You can include as many as 50 people in a group message; although one-on-one messages are more intimate.
This aspect of your LinkedIn campaign is often overlooked. Many people believe that “set it and forget it” is the approach to take — that a great profile alone will draw people to them. Or to amass a ton of connections will do the trick. Both are important, but more engagement on LinkedIn is also essential to improving your search results.
In the end, note that LinkedIn’s algorithm for search appearances isn’t an exact science. LinkedIn writes:
Unlike standard search engines, we generate relevance uniquely for each member. The order of a search result is determined in part by the profile, activity [engagement], and connections of the person who is searching.
If you want to be found on LinkedIn, you must create a complete profile containing the proper keywords, develop a strong network to engage with, and stay active on the platform. If you do this, you’ll appear higher when recruiters search for someone with your experience and talents.
You might be a beginner on LinkedInor even well versed with the platform. Either way this compilation of posts can help you use LinkedIn more effectively. Stay current by reading the most recent ones or all of them. I hope these posts help you with your job search.
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? To my chagrin, Create a Poll didn’t win.
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%.
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.
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?
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. Now is the time to work on your LinkedIn profile, especially if it needs a lot of work.
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.
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.
LinkedIn has launched a new interview-practice feature which leaves me with a sense of ambiguity. On one hand, I think it’s a great attempt to educate job seekers on how to interview for a position. On the other hand, there are limitations to this new feature.
The latest article makes a comparison between your LinkedIn profile and a combination résumé. Your About section is the functional piece of the combination résumé and the Experience section should be written with as much detail on the profile and résumé.
To land a job in 2020, more than ever, you’ll need to be proactive rather than reactive. In other words, stop blasting out job applications 10 per day. If you’ve been doing this for months, by now you know the ROI is very low.
This act of futility demands different approaches. This article explains how to be more proactive in your job search by researching and using LinkedIn.
You’ve heard of the seven deadly sins—Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed, Sloth. Two years ago I heard a podcast talking about them. Two years later I’m writing an article focusing on the sins you’re committing with your LinkedIn campaign.
They are not the deadly sins discussed in the podcast I listened to, but they can definitely hurt your campaign and, consequently, your job search.
Many people won’t look at your Accomplishments section. Many people don’t even know it exists. How do you draw people to this important area of your profile? You direct them to this area by mentioning it in your About section.
Like many people, I dislike New Year’s resolutions, mainly because we rarely achieve them. But this year I’m going to set some resolutions that are attainable. The resolutions I vow to achieve are ones that relate to LinkedIn. These are ones I can do. I also hope my resolutions will benefit other LinkedIn users, namely job seekers; that they will emulate them. The following are 10 actions I will take in 2020.
It’s safe to say I’ve critiqued or written hundreds of LinkedIn profiles. What’s most important in a profile is that it brands the LinkedIn member; it sends a clear, consistent message of the value the member will deliver to employers. Does your profile brand you?
In a recent LinkedIn Official Blog post, the author suggests you should connect “with people you know and trust.” This seems like sound advice on the surface, but it shouldn’t be followed literally. My suggestion is to take it a step further and connect with like-minded people.
Engaging on LinkedIn can be tough. It requires dedication, stretching your zone and putting yourself out there. But here’s the thing; if you don’t engage, you’ll be forgotten by your connections. In this article I coach you on how to engage on LinkedIn.
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. Read this article to discover why the résumé and LinkedIn profile are different.
In a recent LinkedIn post, I asked my LinkedIn community to take a quiz consisting of 15 questions. Those who took it were honest about their LinkedIn prowess, or lack thereof. I promised in this post that I would reveal the entire quiz I give my clients. The quiz I give my clients consists of 50 questions. If you decide to take it and don’t score 100%, don’t worry. There is always room for improvement. I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t have a perfect score.
I’ve come across thousands of job seekers who believe in the power LinkedIn provides to help them land a job. I haven’t, however, come across as many people who believe in using LinkedIn after they’ve landed. They feel that once LinkedIn has done its job, it’s time to part ways.
Why is that? Do people not see the value of LinkedIn in their work?
You might be in a situation where your company requires you to make your profile more about it than you. If this doesn’t settle with you, try compromising. In other words, dedicate most of your profile to your greatness and the rest to your company’s. Easy Peasy.
When you send an invite to a LinkedIn member to join your network, it’s important that you personalize the message. To do otherwise would show a lack of effort, and your invitation would probably we rejected. So what do you write in the message box when you send the invite off? This article explains how to write a cold invite, use a reference, and ask for an introduction.
If you’re searching for a job, LinkedIn can shorten your search. You’ve probably been told this, but it’s well worth repeating. Will using LinkedIn alone guarantee that you land your next gig? No; LinkedIn is a great supplement to your in-person networking, but you need to engage in both for a strong networking campaign.
LinkedIn can play an important role in your job search. You might be neglecting LinkedIn, thus hurting your chances of landing a job. Read this article to discover 8 common ways people neglect LinkedIn.
Are you wondering if you’re on LinkedIn? This article is meant for you. If you are on LinkedIn, this article will confirm your wise choice. The first thing you need to determine is if your industry is well represented.
This article stands the test of time, as I see negative posts here and there on LinkedIn. Think about how it hurts your personal brand when you show your negativity. In this article I use an analogy of a boyhood friend who was always angry. Eventually we drifted away.
Many people who know me, consider me a LinkedIn connoisseur. They would never imagine that I, in fact, enjoy Facebook. Awhile back, I decided if I were going to bash Facebook, I had to know what I was bashing. In any case, there are times when Facebook is preferable over LinkedIn. This article talks about the strengths of both.
You are killing your chances of being contacted by recruiters, hiring managers, and HR if you don’t list your contact information on your profile. Include your email address and phone number in four key places. At least your email address.
Many of my clients are unaware of the Contact Info area on their profile. This is a bit disconcerting, especially since it’s an area stock full of information. Make sure you’re utilizing it, as well as checking other LinkedIn members’ Contact Info.
When you’re searching for people on LinkedIn, there’s a nifty feature called All Filters. It allows you to narrow your job search to find who you need to connect with or send an Inmail. Read this post to learn about All Filters.
LinkedIn members can see your activity section. That’s if you have one. If you don’t have this section, you might turn people away, including hiring authorities. Don’t make this mistake. Engage on LinkedIn.
If you want employers to know you’re unemployed, here are 5 possible ways to do it. I’ll give my opinion on which ways are not preferable and which are. Here’s a hint, leaving your last position open is the least preferable.
I consider myself to be a fair guy. When LinkedIn does things right, I compliment them. When they do wrong, I criticize them. This time LinkedIn made a smart move by joining multiple job titles to fit under one company icon. But in the same fell swoop, LinkedIn truncating each position.
Use this checklist to improve your LinkedIn profile. This is part 1 of a 3-part series. To succeed in your LinkedIn campaign, follow these posts on creating a strong LinkedIn profile, building your network, and engaging on LinkedIn.
After a client asked me if she should send an invite to a recruiter after their first interview, it prompted me to ask recruiters who hang out on Facebook this question. Surprisingly, their answers were a definitive yes. Read what they have to say.
Recommendations were once the rave of the LinkedIn profile; some considered them the profile’s best feature. Recruiters only had to read them to see your excellence. They could make a quick decision on whether to contact you or not. This is no longer the case.
Would you go to an interview or business meeting without shoes? Of course not. So I wonder why people feel that a Summary statement on their LinkedIn profile is unnecessary. Having viewed hundreds profiles, I’ve seen many that simply begin with the Experience section and have no Summary.
All too often job seekers and business people ignore their Experience section, assuming people will know what their positions entail. Even if you’re a CEO, visitors would like more description of what you and your company have accomplished. Don’t undersell this important section of your profile.
Many people think having a great LinkedIn profile is enough. Well, think again. You must also develop a targeted and large network, as well as engage with your connections. These are the three pieces to a successful LinkedIn campaign.
If you’re not paying attention to the Dashboard on your LinkedIn profile, you’re missing out on some information. Who’s viewing your profile, how many views does your latest post have, and how many people have searched for you, plus more.
One of the things I like about the LinkedIn profile is the ability to express your written voice. This is particularly important for job seekers, as it gives hiring authorities an idea of their personality. The résumé, on the other hand, doesn’t do this as well as the profile.
Now that your profile is optimized for 2018, it’s time to optimize your network. This post helps you get the most out of your network by explaining the 5 types of connections with whom you should engage.
No one knows when LinkedIn will make changes to its functionality. Some changes are good, others make you scratch your head wondering why certain changes were made. This has been LinkedIn’s MO since its inception.
How do you connect with people on LinkedIn? And what are the five steps to take to connect properly? Learn about the feature “Connections of” and how it can be a game player when you’re asking for an introduction or making a “cold call” connection.
LinkedIn members need to be aware of the LinkedIn mobile app, as it will soon surpass the use of its computer application. This is one of a three-part series that discusses the LinkedIn profile on the mobile app.
One gets the feeling that LinkedIn is migrating its desktop platform to its mobile app. Maybe not tomorrow, but gradually. The most obvious hint is the way the desktop’s interface increasingly resembles the app. We noticed this when LinkedIn launched its new, slimmed-down platform almost a year ago.
Sharing what others write is a benefit to not only that person, but a benefit to you as well. You come across as someone who cares about your LinkedIn community. This post includes names of people who are great curators.
It hurts my heart when job seekers tell me they’ve been told that LinkedIn will be the reason for their success in finding a job. It’s great they’re using LinkedIn as part of their job search, but to believe that LinkedIn will the golden ticket to their success is false thinking. They need to combine it with face-to-face networking and other job-search methods.
This said, If you’re going to use LinkedIn in your job search, you have to put your all into it. So what does it look like to work your arse off on LinkedIn, to take full advantage of what it offers?
1. Create a full profile
The first area where you band yourself is a background image, not merely the default, light blue background LinkedIn provides.
A professional photo that best reflects your industry. If you’re customer facing, you’ll dress to the nines. An engineer, most likely business casual is fine.
A branding headline that tells more than your occupation. It also shows the value you can bring to an employer. Think of your areas of expertise, as well as your occupation.
A creative and somewhat lengthier Summary. (Some say it should be short. Let’s agree to disagree.) Your Summary should demonstrate the value you will bring to employers from the get go. To understand what I mean, read Create a kick-ass Summary with these four components.
An Experience section that focuses on accomplishments more than basic duties. The mundane duties might be on your résumé. You want to highlight the great things you did.
An Education section that goes beyond the name of the institution; degree; major; and, perhaps honorary designation. Take advantage of an area where you can show personality, describing what was going on in your life at the time.
Skills and endorsements. The skills you list–you can list up to 50–count toward the keywords by which people search for you.
Speaking of Keywords that will help you get found. After optimizing her profile, a former client said she went from close to 100 in rankings to 13.
2. Demonstrate commitment
Spend at least four times a week on LinkedIn. For the diligent job seekers, every day of the week should be the norm. Spend at least 20 minutes a day on the platform. LinkedIn never sleeps; it’s 24×7. But don’t overdue it. You don’t want to be un-followed.
Update at least once a day. Occasionally you can explain your situation but not every day. Your updates can also include industry news, questions you have, sharing articles and media, tips or advice, and more. Updates keep you top of mind. If you’re really adventurous, you can consider posting short videos (only from the LinkedIn app).
4. Develop a quality network
What I call phase two of a successful LinkedIn campaignisaccumulating quality connections, totaling at least 250 over a two-month period. Twenty connections will not impress anyone. You’ll be seen as timid and afraid to develop relationships. As well, your search engine optimization (SEO) will suffer, unless your a taxidermist.
5. Skill & Endorsements
Playing the Skills and Endorsement game, where you can list as many as 50 skills and be endorsed for those skills. All one needs to do is click on any of your skills to endorse you. It’s not necessary for them to witness you demonstrating your skills; although, LinkedIn now asks about your level of expertise and how the person knows you. Can you tell I’m not a big fan of this feature?
A certain number of recommendations were once necessary for All Star status, but this sections was taken over by Skills & Endorsements. I’ve been vocal about my displeasure at how Recommendations are disrespected. Request recommendations from former employers who are your 1st degree connections.
Use one of LinkedIn’s best features, Companies, to locate key players in your job search—the better to get your résumés in the hiring managers hands. Before you connect with someone, ask for an introduction from one of your shared connections. Or mention your shared connection in a cold connection request. Read 5 steps to connecting with LinkedIn members.
Use LinkedIn’s Jobs feature which has been enhanced to include demographic information, including other positions viewed by job seekers, who you know at the company, the ability to apply to the company on its website or through Easy Apply. For Premium members there are additional features that give you access to big players and provide you with demographics.
9. Engage on LinkedIn but be professional
This is a very important part of you LinkedIn campaign, so work hard on it. But, keep your engagement on LinkedIn professional. If you are more of a Facebook fan, refrain from posting family photos, video of the presidential primaries, and no mention of your frustration in your job search. Be relevant.
10. Use LinkedIn after you land your next job
There’s one more thing to consider. Once you’ve created a great LinkedIn profile, have established a presence, and are active on LinkedIn leading to a job; don’t give up your activity on LinkedIn. You may need your network in the future. This time instead of having four measly connections, you’ll have hundreds.
Do you get the sense that LinkedIn will require hard work and may not yield immediate results? Good. Do you also feel that joining LinkedIn on the bottom floor will be to your benefit, as opposed to giving up on it? Good.