Tag Archives: LinkedIn Engagement

3 challenges to improve your LinkedIn engagement

At work we’re involved in a citywide step challenge. Our organization, MassHire Lowell Career Center, is currently in first place with 10 days to go. One of my team members is in second place, 3,060 steps behind the city leader. I’ve taken it upon myself to coach her to the top. I’m pushing her to walk farther everyday.

challenge3

Now consider me your coach. I’m going to push you to engage on LinkedIn. I’m going to provide guidelines for you. When you read the entirety of this article, you’ll probably be relieved. It will make sense to you. It won’t seem so daunting. My goal is to get you up to speed in a month. That’s right, one month. Here’s what you will do.

You’ll increase your presence on LinkedIn

Of all the criteria, this is an important one. It’s important because you’ll increase your visibility and climb higher on the LinkedIn ladder (algorithm). Just so you know, it’s important to have a kick-ass LinkedIn profile and a focused network; but to really make an impact, you have to be seen.

One source says the average time people spend on LinkedIn is an abysmal 17 minutes a month. My challenge to you is to almost double that…per day. That’s right, I strongly suggest you spend seven days a week, 30 minutes per day, on LinkedIn. This might seem unrealistic, but if you break down your day to morning and night, morning, mid-day, night, or little segments all day, you can do it.

Here is something that will help you; the LinkedIn mobile app. Approximately 60% of LinkedIn members use the app. While the features are limited, you will still be able to perform most of the functions I explain below. Use the app while you’re waiting for the train or your child to get out of school or just hanging out in the park.

You’ll go from reacting to engaging

I’m glad you’re reading to this point, after having read the proceeding section. This means you’re serious about LinkedIn engagement. Let’s look at some ways to be present on LinkedIn.* I’ll start with the least amount of effort followed by the most.

Reacting—least amount of effort

If you’re a beginner, reacting to what people share is a good place to start. This will help you with LinkedIn’s algorithm but not as much as what follows. I have a feeling that after only reacting to what people share, you’ll get bored.

1. Reacting with the five icons. You might want to begin with reacting to what people post or share. Reacting means you can Like their content or more. LinkedIn as recently added other types of reactions. They are Celebrate, Love, Insightful, and Curious. I react with Insightful in most cases. I have used Celebrate when a LinkedIn user has received good news. You’ll never catch me Loving what people share.

2. Reading articles and sharing them. This is another way to react which takes little effort if that’s all you do. My advice is to actually read the articles and then share them; not just share your favorite connections’ articles unread. Clearly by reading the articles, you’ll form an opinion of their content.

3. Give someone Kudos. This is as simple as going to someone’s profile, choosing More, and clicking Give Kudos. Then you can choose why the person deserves Kudos. I rarely use this, but you might want to for people who’ve been helpful in your job search.

4. Endorse your connections’ skills. While you’re on someone’s profile, why not endorse them for their skills. The debate here is that you might not have witnessed the person perform said skills. Read their profile carefully to see if they back up their skills. Maybe you’ve seen them share posts and articles on LinkedIn and have determined that they know what they’re talking about.

Engaging—more effort

Now you’ve reached the point where your presence shows more value to your network. You’ve gone beyond simply reacting to a post or article, given Kudos, and endorsing your connections. This is what I call the breakthrough moment where you’re noticed more by your connections, as well as by LinkedIn’s algorithm. Let’s break this down.

1. Comment on other’s posts. Read someone’s post and instead of just clicking Like, Celebrate, or the like; write a thoughtful comment reflecting on what the author wrote. Try to be as positive as you can; however, it’s okay to disagree with someone. For example, I wrote a post about being sold to on LinkedIn. One of my connections opposed my opinion, which I respected. He wrote:

Bob, in my line of business, I am responsible for buying products and services. Therefore, I appreciate when people approach me on LinkedIn with a sales inquiry. I can say, “no” in a respectful manner and in most cases, the person respects my wishes. I enjoyed your post, nonetheless.

2. Write a comment for someone’s article. After reading someone’s article—either published with LinkedIn’s Publisher or linked to their blog—you have the option to share it with your connections or directly comment on it. Do both. Of course you can react to it, as well. After reading an article titled Five Steps to A Winning CV Structure, I wrote:

Andrew, I agree with so much of your article. I really try to drive home with my clients the importance of keeping the CV structuring their roles for ease of reading. I’m glad you mentioned this because it is important, especially if someone is reading a ton of resumes. Another point you make which resonates with me is keeping it brief. I can’t stand reading paragraphs that at 10-lines long. Three lines, four at most, are my idea of a good paragraph length.

Note: Be sure to tag the author with @Andrew Fennell; he’ll be notified that you commented on his article.

3. Write your own post sharing your expertise. This, for some, is difficult because they feel unsure of their writing or believe they’re not worthy of sharing their thoughts. This second point, I find, applies to job seekers who see their unemployment as a scourge. One of my clients, a director of communications, once told me that because he’s out of work, he doesn’t have the right to share a post. Nonsense.

I don’t care if you’re unemployed; you’re still an expert in your field. You wrote whitepapers, proposals, press releases, web content, etc. up to three months ago. You still have the ability to write relevant content for your network.

4. Create a video. I’ll admit that this is not in my comfort zone. Some people excel at this, while others make it painful to watch. I feel that I fall in the later category. So I’ll leave this up to you. Some believe the LinkedIn algorithm ranks videos higher than other forms of content. If this is true, it’s probably because LinkedIn wants to encourage people to share more video.

On the flip side you might feel more comfortable producing video because you have confidence in your ability to speak versus writing. The easiest way to create video is by using your phone, where the segment will be stored. Then you can upload it directly to LinkedIn. Like Facebook, LinkedIn has a live version of video production; but you better be able to do it right the first time.

You’ll rinse and repeat

As I mentioned earlier in this article, dedication is required if you want to successfully create a presence on LinkedIn. Engaging with your network once a week will not accomplish this. As your coach, I expect you to share a post at least four times a week. If writing articles is your thing, shoot for one a month and gradually increase that number to twice a month. I personally attempt writing a new article once a week, but you don’t have to follow my lead.

Consistency is key. You won’t appear on your connections’ and  hiring authorities’ radar unless you are seen. Are recruiters paying attention? Sure they are. Your posts might not be directly shared with them, but they’ll be notified of likes, comments, and shared from their first degree connections.

I’ve given you a few ideas on how to react and graduate to engaging on LinkedIn. My colleague, Hannah Morgan, provides 24 ideas of the actions you can take on LinkedIn.* Take a look at her infographic (something else you can share or create for LinkedIn). This will give you some ideas that you might implement in your communications with your network.

24 Ideas Share On LinkedIn

This post originally appeared on Social-Hire.com

Photo: Flickr, Stein Liland

9 ways to use LinkedIn to shorten your job search

If you’re searching for a job, LinkedIn can shorten your search. You’ve probably been told this, but it’s well worth repeating. Hopefully this article will be the push you need to dust off the profile you started years ago but forgot about it like your mother-in-law’s birthday.

LinkedIn mobile

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.

So, how can LinkedIn help you land a job? There are at least eight ways LinkedIn can be one of your best friends in the job search.

It’s where hiring authorities hang out

Almost every recruiter I talk with says LinkedIn is the place to find talent. To them it’s like their favorite diner. Estimates of the percentage of recruiters who use LinkedIn to find talent range from 87 to 95 percent. Either way you slice it, these figures are astonishing.

I’m never surprised these days when clients tell me they were introduced to a company from a recruiter who found their profile on LinkedIn. It also doesn’t surprise me when I’m told my clients were contacted by the VP or president of an organization.

To this point, it’s not only recruiters who look for talent on LinkedIn. Human resources departments, hiring managers, even C-level employees will utilize LinkedIn’s search capabilities.


Your profile is similar to your online résumé but offers more

You might have noticed that the sections of your profile are anchored. Further, you might have noticed that your profile is ordered similar to your résumé. This is because recruiters prefer it this way.

Even so, recruiters will only find your LinkedIn profile if it’s complete and keyword optimized—similar to your résumé up against an applicant tracking system. Like your resume, recruiters expect to see the value you’ll bring to their client.

But let’s be clear, your profile is not your résumé. I often run across profiles that are simply a cut and paste of their résumé. While the two are similar, there are some major differences.

One major difference is that your résumé is sent out in response to a job post, whereas your profile draws hiring authorities to you. Think of your résumé as push technology and your profile as pull technology.

Your résumé should be tailored to each job; your profile doesn’t change as often. Therefore, your profile is more inclusive.

Your profile is also written in first-person- or third-person-point of view. It should tell your story through:

  • a relevant background image,
  • quality photo,
  • branding Headline,
  • accomplishment statements with quantitative results throughout, and
  • personable About and Experience sections.

This last point is what makes the LinkedIn profile more enjoyable to read for me. I love a well-told story woven throughout the profile. The résumé comes across as factual and less personable.

Read 8 areas on your LinkedIn profile where you can make your voice heard.


Create a focused network of quality and quantity

Here’s the thing: you can reach out to a bazillion people—LinkedIn’s limit is 30,000—but what good is that if you never interact with a majority of them?

Nonetheless, your LinkedIn network should be focused more on quality, not quantity. What’s a good number of connections I’m asked.

I tell my clients who have started their job search after many years of having to look that 250 connections is respectable. However, they won’t be taken seriously until their network is closer to 500 plus.

The big question is with whom you should connect. The short answer to this is the people who will be of mutual assistance. Your former colleagues are a no-brainer.

Seek out like-minded people next. These are people who do work similar to you, are in the same industry. If you work with recruiters, connect with the ones who serve your industry. They have a pipeline of employers of whom you might not be aware.

I Strongly suggest connecting with people who work in companies for which you want to work. Do this before jobs are advertised at said companies. The idea is to build your foundation before jobs are advertised; penetrate the Hidden Job Market.

Read Ultimate LinkedIn guide, Part 2: How to optimize your LinkedIn network.


Research companies and the people who work there

As I’ve strongly suggested, you should have a list of companies for which you’d like to work. Your list can include 10-15 companies or more. Remember, these are only companies of interest. You can follow companies and research them on their LinkedIn company page.

Of more value is connecting with current and previous employees at these companies. To access these potential connections:

  1. Type in Search the company’s name. I chose IBM.
  2. In the sidebar, click People. I came up with 583,133 employees.
  3. Narrow your search with filters. Here’s my string: IBM, Greater Boston, University of Massachusetts.
  4. My count is now four people who follow that criteria.

With a manageable number of LinkedIn profiles, I can read them with ease. I’m interested in if they currently work there or worked there, their previous experience, their Volunteer Experience, and other information with which we have something in common.

Your next step is to send an invite to people of interest. Do not make the ask in your first invite; rather comment on their posts, send personal messages, and engage with them in other ways. When a job becomes available, contact them to see if they can be of assistance, tell you more about the position or possibly deliver your résumé to the hiring manager.


Engage with your network

Once you’ve developed your network, you need to engage with them. This means sending personal messages, commenting on their posts or articles, creating your own posts, providing information on your occupation or industry, etc.

You will further brand yourself by providing valuable content to your network. I challenge you to write articles using LinkedIn’s Publishing feature. Although you might not get hundreds of likes and comments immediately, it’s a start to demonstrating your though leadership.

It floored me one day when a client of mine told me that because he was out of work, he didn’t feel he had the right to even write a long post. Hogwash. Anyone who has expertise to share, employed or not, has the “right” to share their expertise.

The bottom line: if you don’t engage with your connections, you’re out of sight, out of mind. There are some connections who I miss when I don’t see their comments or shares with their thoughts. Also realize there’s a difference between engagement and activity.

Read 6 ways to engage on LinkedIn, not just active


LinkedIn is the number 3 job board…for now

Polls are as good as a the source that provides the ranking. A more recent poll puts LinkedIn as the number 3 job board out there, with Indeed.com topping the challengers. I also saw a poll which put LinkedIn at the top and Indeed third. Go figure.

Nonetheless here are some notable benefits of using LinkedIn Jobs (its job board).

  1. With the basic feature, you can use Easy Apply, which is…easy to use. The idea behind this feature is that you send your profile directly to employers (another reason why your profile needs to be strong) along with your résumé.
  2. LinkedIn purported in April that there were 20 million jobs advertised on LinkedIn.
  3. The company also claims, “a hire is made every eight seconds on LinkedIn…” I buy that!
  4. LinkedIn Jobs also has some pretty cool features which allow you to choose the date it was posted, people who are in your network for each job, companies that are offering your desired position, experience level, and more.
  5. One feature I enjoy showing my clients is who posted the position. I encourage them to reach out to this person to forward their résumé to them, or to learn a bit more about the position.
  6. The Careers premium account shows you how many people have applied to the position, the skills you have or are lacking, the educational degrees applicants possess.

I’m not a huge fan of job boards—I rather see people use in-person networking coupled with LinkedIn. However, I never discourage my clients from using them. I know plenty of people who landed interviews by using them.


Introverts dig LinkedIn

As an introvert, I can attest to the comfort of communicating through writing. It allows me to compose my thoughts—multiple times if necessary—before releasing them to the world. Read 6 reasons why introverts prefer to write.

This said, I know plenty of great writers who are extraverts. My MBTI champion, Edythe Richards, always reminds me that both dichotomies are capable of demonstrating introverted and extraverted traits. She is an extravert and a great writer, by the way.

My belief is that introverts find it easier networking online than in person. Thus, they favor using LinkedIn over going to networking events. First of all, I get that. Second of all, this is not a way to conduct your Networking campaign.

Your connections aren’t bona fide until you reach out the them in a personal way. This deserves repeating. Even if you aren’t into large networking events, you can get together in smaller groups, affectionately called Buddy Groups.

I’ll contradict myself here: one of my best connections is someone I’ve yet to meet in person. We have spoken on the phone many times and Zoomed on occasion. So I feel like I know him well. Jim, you know I’m talking about you. And, yes, we’ll eventually meet in Maine.


You can take it on the go

Approximately 60% of LinkedIn members use their LinkedIn mobile app, which isn’t a surprise; we bring our phone with us wherever we go. I’m constantly on my phone, checking email, LinkedIn, Facebook, my blog, and WhatsApp. You get it.

Using your LinkedIn app can help you stay in touch with your connections for potential networking opportunities, recruiters and other hiring authorities, as well as being alerted to jobs that might be appropriate for you.

In addition, you can write posts and reply to posts, further contributing to your engagement.

I’m highly encouraged when I ask my workshop attendees if they have the LinkedIn app installed on their phone; most of them do.

The computer UI has increasingly been developing to resemble the mobile app. You’ll notice the look and feel is similar. There are some features the app has which the computer doesn’t, and vice versa. Anyway you look at it, you should be using both platforms to enhance your job search.


Follow up

Now that you’ve done the heavy lifting, it’s time to seal the deal. You’ve build a strong profile, created a focused network, and have engaged with your connections. You’ve even started using the LinkedIn App. Why waste all this effort?

Email, call, meet your valuable connections for coffee. Stay in touch with them. Send them articles of interest. Every once in awhile let them know about your status. Have you interviewed lately. How did your interviews go. And, oh by the way, would you keep your ear to the pavement for me.

No pressure. Keep it friendly and low key. No desperation. Simply stay on your connections’ radar.


These are nine ways you can use LinkedIn to shorten your job search. Keep in mind that in order to benefit from LinkedIn, you have to put effort into it.

The number one area I see lacking in job seekers is engaging with their connections. Let me reiterate, you have the right and reason to engage with your connections. Remember this.

Photo: Flickr, Christine Hueber

9 essential components of your job-search marketing campaign: Part 2

If every successful business requires a marketing campaign to promote its products or services, it figures that your job search requires the same. In part one of this two-part series, we looked at the written communications of a job-search marketing campaign. Four career-development pundits weighed in on research, the résumé and LinkedIn profile, and the approach letter.

woman on phone

Part two features five pundits, who address the verbal side of your job-search marketing campaign. To kick off this article, we’re going to address a very important part of you campaign, personal branding.

Personal branding

Erin KErin Kennedy specializes in personal branding for executive-level job seekers. She talks about the importance of creating a clear, strong brand for your verbal communications.

People sometimes get confused about what their personal brand is. What is it? How do I figure it out? But the fact is, we all have a personal brand already. It is entwined in everything we do i.e. what we are good at, what we are known for, what others come to us for, what we specialize in.

“Once job seekers look at it that way, it’s much easier to break it down and define what our “personal brand” is. One way to strengthen your brand is through your verbal communications. It is easy to confuse people about who you are if you are not crystal clear about your brand.

Job seekers need to realize that not properly communicating their brand in their job search can be a huge obstacle in finding the job they are qualified for…and are hoping for. Take the time to ensure you have a strong brand statement that shows your expertise and the value you can offer a prospective employer.

Every successful business requires a strong brand which is unique to its products or services. Taglines like, “Just Do It,” “Think Different,” and “I’m Lovin’ It” stand on their own because of the strength of Nike, Apple, and McDonald’s.


Networking

Nothing can be more effective to land an interview than networking. Many will agree that your résumé and LinkedIn profile are all important, but they would also agree that how you distribute them largely depends on networking.

AustinAustin Belcak’s LinkedIn profile tagline is: I Help People Land Amazing Jobs Without Applying Online // Need Help With Your Job Search? Let’s Talk. Austin is definitely a proponent of networking.

“When it comes to expanding your network, there are two rules I like to follow: first quality always beats quantity. People get scared of networking because they think they need to blast out a million connection requests or go to these meetups. That stuff doesn’t work.

“Real relationships are usually built in a small setting and they require a lot of work. Instead of spraying and praying, pick a handful of people you really want to connect with and focus in on them.

“Second, be relentless about adding value Don’t start the relationship with your palm out. Instead, research the person and work to find ways to add value. Send them a resource, offer some feedback, introduce them to someone, tell them how you took their advice and benefited from it.

“If you approach each relationship with a value-add mindset and consistently show up in a positive light, the reciprocation will be there. It takes time and it takes practice but it’s the best way to build strong relationships that pay dividends down the road.”

Whether you decide to go to large or small events or simply networking in your community, make sure you are equipped with personal business cards. Learn 7 reasons why personal business cards are important and what information to include on them.

Without networking, many companies would fail. Smaller companies often survive on word of mouth. Similarly, large companies need to create trust to close a deal. Your marketing campaign is similar. As Austin says, be selective in who you approach in your marketing campaign.


LinkedIn engagement

Although your LinkedIn engagement is accomplished through writing, I feel it’s important to note in this part of the article as a form of networking.

I tell my clients that their profile is important, but it’s also important to develop a focused, like-minded network and engage with those connections. Engaging with your network can be difficult if you don’t have the confidence and you don’t know how to communicate with them.

First of all, you have expertise in your field and, therefore, shouldn’t question your right to engage with your connections. Second, don’t start the relationship with “the ask.” I’ve been approached by LinkedIn users who want to connect, but instead of taking the time to communicate with me and build a relationship; they ask if I’ll review their profile. This is in the initial invite.

My clients often ask me how they can engage with their connections. The first and most obvious way to engage is through personal messages. You won’t reach as many people this way, but you can develop and nurture relationships.

Other ways to engage with your connections include: sharing and commenting on articles that will add value to them (just be sure to tag the writer of said articles); writing long posts in which you express your thoughts and expertise; contribute to other’s long posts; share photos and thoughtful captions; and ask questions. These are a few ways to engage with your connections.

Many successful businesses are using B2B networking, as they can reach more potential partners. The idea of using LinkedIn is similar; you, as a business are reaching out to potential employers and quality networkers.


The interview

Maureen McCann is a job search strategist and executive résumé writer. Who believes that first impressions are the first part of the puzzle. She relates her story to demonstrate the importance of first impressions.

One of my first jobs was as executive assistant to a general manager of a pharmaceutical company. Anytime he interviewed new members of our growing sales team, he’d immediately close the door after the candidate left and ask me what I thought of the candidate.

You see, all of the candidates would be selling products to medical professionals (think: plastic surgeons, dermatologists). To get the attention of the doctors, the salesperson would have to first connect with the person at the front desk (the gatekeeper) before scheduling an appointment with a busy doctor.

The GM of my company knew this and so he paid close attention to my first impressions of candidates. Those that did not strike up a conversation and simply waited to talk to the GM missed an opportunity to sell me on their candidacy and have me advocate for them following their interview with the GM.

It’s time for the interview. Are you ready? Sarah Johnston feels not only strongly about the importance of doing your labor market research (as she explains in part one of this article), she also feels strongly about assessing the big opportunity.

“When you are interviewing, make sure that you evaluate the company, your future boss, and the actual opportunity carefully to make sure that it’s a good fit for you. In researching a company, some of my favorite tools include:

  • “LinkedIn to review the credentials of the people that you are interviewing with. By looking at their profile, you can often gather where they’ve worked, how long they’ve been in a role, groups that they are apart of and where they went to school or received training.

  • “If you are interviewing with a publicly traded company, it’s a good idea to review their annual report to learn more about their profitability, biggest challenges, and their corporate responsibility. To access free reports, visit: http://www.prars.com/about.php.”

Along with assessing the company and people who will be interviewing you, it’s important to be prepared to answer tough interview questions. There are interview questions you know you will be asked. And you should have answers in mind.

Madeline Mann is the founder of the YouTube channel, Self Made Millennial, which delivers outstanding job-search tips. When asked what her number one tip for interviews is, she says, “Know your stories.”

“My top interview tip–the one that clients have most tightly correlated to getting a job offer–is what I call a “Story Toolbox.” It allows you to answer any behavioral question, and many of the other questions typically asked in an interview.

“What most people do when asked questions like, ‘What’s your greatest strength?’ or ‘What’s your leadership style?’ is they describe themselves. They say, ‘I am hard worker, team player, highly skilled…blah, blah, blah.’ But none of this gets down to: So what did you do?

“According to American psychologist Jerome Bruner: ‘stories are up to 22 times more memorable than facts alone.‘ Therefore, telling stories will help you to be memorable and are a great way to show your character through describing situations you’ve been in, rather than simply stating characteristics.

“So what I recommend is to make your own story tool box. You go into every interview with a set of planned stories and you frame it in a way that answers whatever question they are asking. Trust me, your stories will be effective for a wide variety of questions.”

Closing the sale is how I look at the interview. Here’s where your ability to speak of your value comes into play. For established companies it’s similar to attending conferences, trade shows, meetings, and other opportunities where they can deliver their value face-to-face.


Follow up

The final element of your job-search marketing campaign is one that people feel to complete. One of my valued LinkedIn connections said it best, “When you don’t follow up, you were never there.”

Some job seekers believe the interview is over once they’ve shaken the interviewer’s hand and left the room. “That went well,” they think. “Now, it’s time to wait for the decision.”

Perhaps it went well, but perhaps one or two other candidates also had stellar interviews. Perhaps those other candidates followed up on their interviews with thoughtful thank-you notes.

So when is the interview really over? Not until you’ve sent a follow-up note.

If you don’t believe sending a follow-up note is important, one source claimed:

  • 86 percent of employers will take your lack of a note to mean you don’t follow through on things;
  • 56 percent of employers will assume you aren’t that serious about the job; and
  • 22 percent of employers are less likely to hire you if you don’t send a follow-up note.

What Goes in Your Note?

  1. Show Your Gratitude
  2. Reiterate You’re the Right Person for the Job
  3. Cite Some Interesting Points Made During the Interview
  4. Do Some Damage Control
  5. Suggest a Solution to a Problem
  6. Assert You Want the Job

Lastly, follow up a week after the interview for no more than three consecutive weeks.

A company that fails to follow up will lose the sale or fail in attaining the bid. This reminds me of a plumber who doesn’t return my call. I’m on to the next person.


If you haven’t read part one of this series, I encourage you to.

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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6 ways to be engaged on LinkedIn, not just active

For many years I’ve been telling job seekers that engaging with their LinkedIn network is one of the three important pieces required to be successful using this professional online networking platform. I explain that simply being active is not as effective as engaging; there are differences.

Being Polite

An analogy comes to mind: you’re being active if you’re simply showing up for a party you were encouraged to attend. You nod hello to the people there and have superficial conversations. You know the feeling; you don’t really want to be there.

Carrying the analogy further; you arrive at a party, immediately greet everyone with enthusiasm, make some small talk with five or six people, then join a group of people who are deep into conversation about a current event. You add your input when appropriate. The conversation stirs some emotion in you. You are engaged.

Being active vs. being engaged

It’s possible to be active on LinkedIn, while not being engaged. We’ll look at certain activities that illustrate this. The first two examples are reacting to what others post.

1. Liking what others write

Active—Many have complained that just Liking an update and not commenting on it is not enough. I’m guilty of doing this on occasion, leaving me with a feeling of being lazy. It’s so easy to press that Like icon and not giving the post another thought. This is the ultimate example of simply being active, not engaged.

Engaged—To be engaged, you must read the post, interpret it’s message, and then Comment on said post. Do this first and then Like it. The poster will appreciate that you took the time to read their post. This can lead to further communications between you and the poster.

2. Writing comments

Active—You Liked an update and wrote a comment, but your comment just didn’t have the oomph the “author” deserved. Here’s an example: “Great post, Susan. Thanks.” This shows very little engagement and makes the poster wonder what you really thought about the post.

Engaged—When you’re engaged, you elaborate further and demonstrate that you read the post, processed it, and respond to it in detail. For example:

“Great post, Susan. 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.


The next examples of engagement are being proactive, rather than reacting to what others share.

3. Sharing posts

Active—Sharing posts for the sake of sharing posts is being active. Your connections will see what you’ve shared, but if the content is shallow and provides no value, your posts will not leave an impression on your connections. You won’t get the Likes you so desire.

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

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.

4. Sharing articles

Active—Sharing articles without explaining why you’re sharing it is an example of being active on LinkedIn. Some people will share an article and leave it at that. I’ve been guilty of doing this and feel lazy when I do it. For the most part, I go a step further.

Engaged—Going a step further means you share others’ articles with a short synopsis on the message it delivers, showing engagement. 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.”

5. Writing and sharing your articles

Active—Using LinkedIn’s Write an article, feature is a great way to demonstrate your expertise. However, using this feature to advertise an event or for promotional purposes is being active. You’re not thinking about the value, or lack thereof, your article holds.

Engaged—Writing an article with unique and fresh content takes engagement; it shows you’ve considered what your audience would benefit from. My primary audience is job seekers and career coaches, so I write articles focusing on the job search and using LinkedIn in the job search. I know I’ve been successful when people react to what I’ve written.

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

I include creating and sharing videos under being engage. 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 network will appreciate.

6. Sending direct messages

Active—The “One and done” message is the ultimate example of being active. Sure, you’re going through the process of writing to your new connection, but there’s no intent to develop the relationship. An example is, “Hi Claudia. It’s great being connected. Perhaps we can be of mutual assistance.” That’s it; there’s no interaction beyond this. Sound familiar?

Engaged—On the other hand, if you send the initial message and reply back to the recipient. Or if you continue to send messages but the other person doesn’t respond, there are two thoughts. First, you are trying to engage with your connection. Second, take the hint and stop sending messages.


Going beyond

Engaged—I’m brought back to the party analogy, where the person simply shows up and makes no effort to engage. I’m talking about going beyond the conversations you have with your LinkedIn connections. Yes, they constitute engagement; but there’s no effort to solidify the relationship.

Truly engaged—To truly show engagement, you must follow up with your connections. I have developed many relationships by reaching out to them via telephone, if they live a distance away, or meeting them, if they don’t live that far away. 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.

Photo, Flickr, www.flickr.com/photos/jfravel

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.

linkedin-alone

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

10 ways to optimize your LinkedIn engagement in 2019

Having a strong LinkedIn profile is essential to being found by other LinkedIn members and employers, but your job isn’t complete unless you’re communicating with your LinkedIn community on a consistent basis. This will contribute to optimizing your LinkedIn engagement.

linkedin-alone

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 wonder if I have a life.

But networking is about communication. If you’re going to use LinkedIn to its full potential as a networking tool, you need to communicate with your connections on a more consistent basis. So far you have optimized your profile and network of connections. Now it’s time to complete the circle; optimize your whole LinkedIn campaign.

Here are 10 ways to do just that:

1. Direct messages

The most obvious way to optimize your LinkedIn engagement is to communicate with your connections directly. LinkedIn’s “Messaging” feature allows you to have running chats with all your first-degree connections. At first this was disconcerting, however; LinkedIn members got used to it.

In addition, the “Messaging” feature follows you around the site. You can read and send messages no matter what page you’re on — an obvious sign that LinkedIn wants you to communicate with your connections.

2. Share updates often

Another great way to optimize your engagement with your connections is by is posting updates. How many you post is up to you, but I suggest at least one a day. Some people tell me they don’t even have time to update once a week. I tell these people that they need to stay top of mind. When you’re not seen, you’re forgotten.

You’ll notice that LinkedIn has given its members the ability to create and post video updates. It’s a nice feature, but few people are using it. This could be an option to consider in order to make your updates stand out.

3. Like and comment on your connections’ updates

Another way to communicate with your connections is to “like” their updates. Simply liking their updates is not enough, in my opinion. I would go as far as saying that this is lazy.

To optimize your LinkedIn engagement, you should get a little more creative by commenting on the update. This shows that you read and thought about what they wrote. Additionally this can generate valuable discussion.

Note: Let people know you commented on their post by tagging them. Use the @ symbol before they name, such as @Adrienne Tom, Executive Resumes. They’ll see you tagged them by going to Notifications on LinkedIn, as well as choosing to be notified via email.

4. Don’t hide yourself when you visit your connections’ profiles

Some people adjust their privacy settings so that they only show up as “Anonymous LinkedIn User” or “Someone from the (particular) Industry” when they visit other people’s profiles. Not me! I visit my connections’ profiles — with full disclosure — many times a day. My connections will visit my profile many times as well.

When people visit my profile under the veil of secrecy, I do nothing. When people drop in announced, however, I’ll show my appreciation by writing to them, “Thanks for visiting my profile.” This will also lead to a discussion.

5. Endorse your connections

You’ve probably read many opinions from people on the topic of endorsements. Add me to the list of people who prefer both receiving and writing thoughtful recommendations to simply clicking the “Endorse” button.

In fairness, endorsements do have a greater purpose than showing appreciation for someone’s skills and expertise: They are a way to touch base with connections. This is another way to optimize your engagement. As they say, “Spread the love.”

6. Participate in discussions regularly

This is a great way to share ideas with established and potential connections. I have gained many new connections by actively participating in discussions on LinkedIn.

Believe it or not, I don’t find groups to be the best places for discussions. Instead, it’s better to start them via updates you post from your homepage. There are people who do a great job of optimizing their engagement because they add comments that generate more communication.

7. Be a curator 

If your connections blog, take the effort to read their posts and comment on their writing. This is an effective way to create synergy in the blogging community, and also a great way to get material for your daily updates.

One of the easiest ways to optimize your engagement is to share posts from other sources you read on a regular basis. There are plenty of online publications which provide relevant information for your network. Sharing knowledge is part of your networking campaign.


Take It a Step Further

An online connections will not become a fully thriving relationships until you’ve communicated with them in a more personal way. While LinkedIn offers many powerful ways to communicate with your network, there will come a time when you’ll need to move off LinkedIn in order to take your networking relationships to the next level.

8. Send an Email

Email doesn’t require a lot of effort, but it’s an important step in developing a more personal relationship with a connection. You should have access to the email addresses of all your first-degree connections on LinkedIn, so use that information when you’re ready.

9. Call Your Connections

This is a daunting step to many, but it’s a necessary one.

That said, don’t just call your connection out of the blue. Email them first to let them know you’d like to call. Write the reason for your call; if it’s your first call, you’ll probably want to talk about who you are and what your professional goals are. You don’t want to put your connection in an awkward situation or catch them off guard, so be clear about the purpose of your call.

10. Meet Your Connections Over Coffee

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.

When you meet in person with a connection, that person becomes a bona fide member of your personal professional network. This is the ultimate way to communicate with a LinkedIn connection. It may not happen often, particularly if a connection lives far from you, but when such meetings do occur, they present great possibilities.


Having a great LinkedIn profile is only the start. To really make the most of the site, you must communicate with your connections. It’s your activity on LinkedIn that makes the difference between standing still in your career and realizing professional success.

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