Tag Archives: LinkedIn Connections

8 common excuses for neglecting LinkedIn in your job search

“Are you using LinkedIn in your job search?” That’s one of the first questions I ask my clients when I sit with them. Most of them say they are using it frequently.

no-excuses

Others say they rarely are, and a few admit they aren’t using it at all and give excuses for not being on the greatest online networking application there is.

Here are 8 of the most common excuses I’ve heard from people who neglect LinkedIn.

1. I was told to join LinkedIn when I was working but haven’t used it

This is basically saying you don’t use LinkedIn. I have a Pinterest account but don’t know my user name or password. I didn’t see any reason for using it. How ignorant on my part.

I get this. Your boss or colleague suggested you join but you weren’t encouraged to use it for your benefit or the benefit of the the organization.

Smart organizations, especially those who believe in the power of B2B, will strongly suggest that LinkedIn be part of your routine.

2. My LinkedIn profile is great as is

One day I received a phone call from a gentleman who wanted to skip my LinkedIn Profile workshop so he could attend the more challenging workshop, Using LinkedIn to Find a job.

While he was talking, unbeknownst to him I was looking at his profile which was sparse and only showed 94 connections. His inflated opinion of his profile was definitely faulty. Perhaps he’d been given poor advice.

3. I posted my résumé on LinkedIn, so I’m done

Similar to excuse number 3. Whoever believes this has their head in the sand. Start your profile by copying and pasting the contents of your résumé to your profile. But that’s just a start. From there, you’ll turn it into a networking document.

Your résumé is a document you send out when applying for a job, while your profile is a place people come to learn about you as a person and professional.

Read this popular article on How to optimize your LinkedIn profile.

4. I don’t want to connect with people I don’t know

Here’s the thing, networking—whether it’s in person or online—is about meeting people and developing relationships.

Not everyone will turn out to be a valued connection, but if you don’t extend yourself, you’ll never know the potential networking offers.

Read The ultimate LinkedIn guide how to connect on LinkedIn.

5. I don’t have the time to use LinkedIn

I hear this often in my LinkedIn workshops. This is a huge excuse. I only ask them to spend 20 minutes, four days a week on LinkedIn. I see some of them shift in their seats, their eyes roll, some groans.

Using LinkedIn to find a job is an important tool in your tool chest. It’s worth it to put in the effort to help supplement your overall networking campaign.

Just because I am on LinkedIn approximately 30 minutes a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year doesn’t mean my workshop attendees have to do the same. That would be crazy.

6. I don’t want to brag

Related to the previous excuse, what you’re really saying is you don’t want to promote your value to employers and potential business partners.

You’re not bragging if you state facts and provide proof of your accomplishments. And avoid using superlatives, like “excellent,” “expert,” “outstanding.” They’re empty promises.

Too many people have given me this excuse for not promoting themselves both on their résumé and LinkedIn profile. These are people who have a more difficult time getting to the interview.

7. I don’t know how to post a status update

I get this. You’re not sure how you can provide your connections with relevant information.

You’ve just been laid off and lack the confidence to write words of wisdom. Don’t sweat it. At first share blog posts from your connections or from publications you enjoy reading.

This article provides ways to engage with your connection as opposed to just being active.

8. LinkedIn is too complicated

This must be what my daughter is feeling, as I haven’t seen her on LinkedIn…at all. I’ve also heard this from older job seekers who feel they can’t master the technology.

Granted I use LinkedIn on a regular basis, read articles from my colleagues, and have taught it to thousands of job seekers; you don’t have to be an authority on LinkedIn to use it.

LinkedIn might not be as sex as Instagram, but it’s purposes are to help you land a job and, once you’ve landed that job, use it for business purposes. What’s complicated about this?


Ending thought

One young, smug man told me he’d never have to use LinkedIn; he would always have a job as the assistant to the Mayor. He was attending the workshop I was delivering out of curiosity.

After our discussion, he went on a stint of serving coffee, a far cry from what he was doing. He contacted me and asked if I’d review his LinkedIn profile. At first I was inclined to say no, but I couldn’t hold his ignorance against him.

30,000 LinkedIn connections. Really?!

30,000

I’ve read a number of posts from people who are complaining that some of their 30,000 connections are being reduced to followers. They apologize to their “valued” connections for the injustice LinkedIn has committed.

(LinkedIn has made some bonehead moves in the past, such as stripping us of unlimited searches, but this is not one of them.)

I know I’m going to anger a lot of my connections, but the way I see it, people with 30,000 connections are collectors who don’t understand the purpose of networking. They’re collecting connections like Imelda Marco collected shoes, but by tenfold.

But these connections represent opportunity, you argue. Bullsh#t, I say. Besides the thousands of fake profiles you have accumulated, 90% of your connections will never follow up in a meaningful way.

Some of you say you communicate with them on a daily basis. This is true but only because you share updates, which potentially all 30,000 connections can see. Not likely.

Be honest with yourself, how many of the 30,000 connections have you even communicated with after receiving their default invites? Eight percent if you’re lucky. Or 2,400 if you’re counting. You L.I.O.N.S out there, I’m speaking to you.

Lion

My number of connections is more than 2,500, and I have to honestly say I don’t recognize many of them. Which makes me wonder if I have done the right thing by connecting with them. Probably not.

According to Robin Dunbar, a anthropologist and physiologist, we can truly know know 150 people; I’m a living testament of this assertion. (Read The New Yorker article, The Limit of Friendship.)

So when people tell me they know all of their first degree connections, even if it’s 2,400, again I say bullsh#t. This is not to say you need to confine your network to people you can name; at least they should be meaningful.

Collecting LinkedIn connections is like going to a networking event and collecting 100 personal business cards; just grabbing them out of people’s hands. Will you follow up with 100 people? You might as well find the nearest waste basket immediately after the event and dump those cards into it.

If you are saying, “LinkedIn’s purge is arbitrary. Like, they’re taking away valuable connections and turning them into followers instead.” My response to that is if you miss them (as in you know them) then simply reconnect…after you’ve eliminated some of the chaff among your 30,000 connections.

Throw out your connection trash. None of my connections are trash, you argue. Have you, as a true networker, hand-selected these connections? I didn’t think so.

That teenager from Huston, TX, who you blindly accepted, won’t be of any assistance. But all’s good, right.? She got you closer to 30,000 connections.

Once, my son told me he had 500 Facebook friends. I asked him if he knew them. Sure, he told me. Bullsh#t, I told him.

It is time that you open networkers focus on the purpose of networking (this is actually what we’re supposed to be doing) which is to connect with people of like interests who can be of mutual assistance.

Photo: Flickr, d00133519x

 

11 ways to communicate with your LinkedIn connections

A blast from the past, but well worth repeating. I’ve added one more way to communicate with your connections.

Having a strong LinkedIn profile is essential to being found by other LinkedIn members and employers, but you’re job isn’t complete unless you’re communicating with your connections and the LinkedIn community as a whole.

business_communication

I tell my LinkedIn workshop attendees that I spend approximately an hour a day (it’s probably more) on LinkedIn. Their faces register surprise; and I’m sure some of them are thinking, “Does this person have a life.”

Part of the workshop is about explaining the need to communicate with their connections, because networking is about communication.

1. The most obvious way to communicate with your connections is to message them directly. Awhile back LinkedIn changed the way we message our connections. Now, our messages are a running stream beginning when we first started a message.

It took awhile to get used to, for me, but now it’s nice to have a history of a conversation I have with one of my connections. In addition, the ability to begin a message is available on every page you’re on. This is an obvious sign that LinkedIn wants you to communicate with your connections.

2. Another great way to communicate with your connections is by is posting Updates. How many you post is up to you, but I suggest at least one a day. This is when I get remarks from my attendees about not having time to make an update a week.

Update oftenYou’ll notice that LinkedIn has given its members the ability to create and post videos. Although a nice feature, not many people are using it. This feature is similar to what Facebook has offered for many years.

3. Another way to communicate with  your connections is to “Like” their updates. Liking their updates is great, but it takes very little effort to simply click the link. Like, Like, Like. Be more creative and add a comment which can generate discussion, or reply to your connections privately.

4. I’ll visit my connection’s profiles—with full disclosure—many times a day. My connections will visit my profile many times, as well. When they “drop in” and have disclosed themselves (not Anonymous LinkedIn User or Someone from the Entertainment Industry), I’ll show my appreciation by writing, “Thanks for visiting my profile.” This will also lead to a discussion.

5. You’ve probably read many opinions from people on the topic of Endorsementshere we go again. Add me to the list of people who prefer thoughtful recommendations, both receiving and writing them, as opposed to simply clicking a button.

But, in fairness, Endorsements have a purpose greater than showing appreciation for someone’s Skills and Expertise; they act as a way to touch base. In other words, they’re another way to communicate with your connections.

6. Participating in discussions regularly is a great way to share ideas with established and potential connections. Yes, I’ve gained connections because of the values we shared as revealed by discussions.

Just today I connected with a great resume writer who impressed me with comments she made regarding a question I asked from my homepage.

7. If your connections blog, take the effort to read their posts and comment on their writing. This is an effective way of creating synergy in the blogging community, but blog posts have made their way into the Updating scene, as well. The majority of my Updates are posts that I’ve read and commented on.

8. I turned 50 yesterday. Not surprisingly I received happy wishes from some of my connections. When your connections have an anniversary (work, that is) or have accepted a new job, you’ll be alerted and be given the opportunity to communicate with them. A small gesture but nice to recognize your connections and generate some discussion.

Take it a step further

So far I’ve written about how you can communicate with your online connections. You can’t lose sight of the fact that an online relationship will not come to fruition until you’ve reached out and communicated with your connections in a more personal way.

9. A very simple way to extend your communications is by e-mailing them. I know, it doesn’t require a lot of effort, but it’s another step toward developing a more personal relationship. Because you are connected by first degree, you have access to their e-mail address, access which can come in handy at times.

10. Naturally the second act toward strengthening your relationships is to make that daunting call (for some it is a big step), Let your connections know, through e-mail, that you’ll be calling them. Write the reason for the call, such as explaining who you are and what goals you have in your professional life. Nothing is as awkward as dead air and running out of things to say, because the recipient of the call is caught off guard.

11. Finally comes the face-to-face meeting at a place that is convenient for both of you. If your connection lives in a distant location, you may suggest getting together when you’ll be in their city or town. Plan to meet at a coffee shop or a personal networking event if your connection lives close by.

When you meet in person with a connection, he/she becomes a bona fide connection. This is the ultimate way to communicate with a LinkedIn connection. It may not happen often, particularly if he/she lives a great distance from you, but when it does possibilities may present themselves.


Having a great profile is not enough. It’s a start but only the beginning to communicating with your connections. I’ll write LinkedIn profiles for people, and they might have questions about what to do next. Sometimes it’s your activity on LinkedIn that really makes the difference between standing still and realizing success.

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2 important hints about LinkedIn endorsements

endorsemments2When you endorse your connections’ skills and expertise, do you simply click Endorse next to the skills with the highest number of endorsements? You may not be doing your connections a favor by doing this; but it’s not entirely your fault.

Your valued connections should be guiding you through the process, and you should follow their wishes.

Hint 1: guide your connections

Endorsees, you may be unaware that you can move specific skills and expertise toward the top of your list as a way to highlight their importance. Without doing this, your skills will be listed in highest to lowest number of endorsements. Which works out fine if your highest number of endorsements properly brand you.

But in some cases your skills are not being endorsed in a manner that tells others how you want to build your brand. One of my connections aptly illustrates which skills he wants endorsed to better brand him. He lists Social Selling ( a mere 13 endorsements) listed above LinkedIn (98), LinkedIn Training (74), and so forth. He’s obviously sending a message to his connections.

How do you rearrange your skills in the order you desire? In Edit Profile select Edit Skills and Endorsements. You’ll see a field like this:

skills

Now simply move the skills in the order you’d like them to appear. I’ve moved LinkedIn (33 endorsements) ahead of Workshop Facilitation (98+) and Blogging (41) ahead of Interviews (82), as I want these two skills highlighted.

Hint 2: those of you endorsing your connections, take the hint

So if you’re endorsing your connections, take the hint. The skills your savvy connections want endorsed first are the top five to 10, not the bottom 10. Endorse them for those skills first and then endorse them for the others.

People often ask me if I see value in endorsements. I tell them only if the endorsers are aware or have witnessed the endorsees perform the skills for which they’re being endorsed. However, if LinkedIn wants us to endorse our connections–even those we haven’t seen perform–we can only trust their word on their proficient skills.

That said, I feel it’s perfectly fine to ask a connection which skills she wants endorsed–in other words, respect your connections’ order of skills. (Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think eliciting endorsements from others is ethical.)

I asked one of my connections which of his skills he wanted endorsed. His simple response was the top five because those are the skills he is strongest at. I wouldn’t know without asking him because he lives in California, and I’ve never seen him in action. Nonetheless, like Lin Sanity, I was caught up in endorsing people.

Take the hint if you’d like to endorse me by clicking Endorse next to my top five skills, because I’ve arranged them in order of preference. I’m pretty sure I perform those skills very well. I’d do the same for you.

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