Tag Archives: LinkedIn Engagement

Everyone can use advice on their LinkedIn campaign in these 3 areas

I recently completed teaching an online LinkedIn seminar. As the role of the instructor, it’s assumed that I know more than the students. This is probably true but there’s always something you can learn from your charges. If not, what’s the sense of being an instructor?

I had this great idea to ask my students to be the teacher and teach me how to write a better profile, create a more effective network, and how to engage with my network. Some of them wrote that as the instructor, how can my LinkedIn campaign be improved.

The answer to this question is revealed in a poll I started on LinkedIn yesterday, 79% of the 1,859 voters say to “Bring it on” when it comes to feedback. So, feedback for even some of the best LinkedIn users is considered a good thing to receive.

I was looking for honest critique from my students. This is what one of the students wrote about my profile:

This is a matter of preference, but for the headline, the way that it is written sounds like a commercial to me.

Ouch was my first reaction. But then I thought about it, she might have a point. I’ll have to revisit.

About creating and maintaining my network, the same person wrote:

Are there specific goals you have, such as connecting with more potential clients or identifying organizations that you want to provide training for? The exercises we did in this class are great for any stage, including identifying organizations.

She makes an excellent point. I should connect with people at companies where I’d like to provide LinkedIn training.

Another student wrote about my engagement:

One question I have that keeps niggling in the back of my mind is you actually have a tab titled Introverts on your thingscareerrelated.com blog. This seems like an area of interest, yet I don’t feel like I see a regular smattering of posts related to this topic

I thought this was incredibly insightful. She had taken the time to read through my blog and notice that one of the tabs is Introverts. Perhaps she is one herself and wanted to read my musings on preferring Introversion, and perhaps she was disappointed to find a limited number of articles.

These were just some of the observations a talented group of people offered up. There were many more. (In retrospect, I should have made this two- to three-page essay all about how they would teach their students/clients how to create a successful LinkedIn campaign.)

But I’m glad I gave them the opportunity to critique my LinkedIn campaign, and I think you should have others do the same for you. It could be incredibly helpful, providing you have thick skin (joking…no, not joking) and are willing to accept some of their advice.

Choose what you want critiqued

This isn’t a seminar. Ask the person who will critique your your LinkedIn campaign (I’ll call them “your mate”) to critique part of your LinkedIn campaign, not all of it. Ask them to be honest, keeping in mind that you can implement their suggestions or ignore them.

Profile

It’s all about value through branding and optimization. Ask your mate to read it in its entirety to get a sense of the message you’re trying to deliver. Is it making a strong overall branding statement? Does it come across as a profile that shows the value you deliver to employers or business partners?

Ask them to examine every section of your profile, especially:

  • Background image: is it industry related and of high quality?
  • Photo: this is what people will see in their stream and other pages on your LinkedIn account, so make it recent and of high quality.
  • Headline: some say this is the most important part of your profile. Make sure it contains the keywords for which employers are searching. You might also include a branding statement.
  • Activity section: more on this later; but suffice to say this is a tell-tale sign of your engagement on LinkedIn. One of my student delved into my Activity secion.
  • About: story, story, story. What’s your passion? Who do you do what you do for? Do you show immediate value with accomplishments? Why, who, what.
  • Experience: the person critiquing your profile should look for an accomplishment-rich section. Write this in first person point of view like your About section.
  • Education: There’s a story to tell her, believe it or not. What were your personal experiences while at University? Were you captain of a D-1 team? Did you work full-time while earning your degree.

These are some of the details your mate should look for. Provide some guidance as to what to look for. A detailed critique—like the one one of my student provided—will include comments on the other sections.

Network

This is a tough one for your mate to critique. The most obvious indicator is how many people show under your headline. LinkedIn only reveals 500+ which means the user can have 501, 1,000, 5,000 or 30,000 connections (the limit). If you have 250 connections, this might one of your mate’s concern.

Your mate will have to ask how many connections you have. They can find this under your My Connections tab, providing you give them access to your profile (requires your password). But it’s against LinkedIn’s rules to give access to your LinkedIn account.

The most important aspect of network is the modus operandi of your connections. In other words, which occupations and industries are they in? I suggest that a strong network would consist of 80% of like-minded occupations/industries.

For example, the like-minded people in my network would be career developers, recruiters, HR, and those in the industry Professional Training and Coaching. I also like to connect with people in academia and companies of interest. Remember what one of my students wrote:

Are there specific goals you have, such as connecting with more potential clients or identifying organizations that you want to provide training for? The exercises we did in this class are great for any stage, including identifying organizations.

The person critiquing your profile should recognize some tell-tale signs that show whom you’re connected with. They are your Skills and Endorsements section, Recommendations, and way down at the bottom in your Interests section the groups you’re in and even the companies you follow.

Lastly, ask your mate how you’re sending invites to potential connections. Are you personalizing the invites or are you simply hitting send without a note? The former is the correct answer. Many people who I’ve queried didn’t realize you could send a personalized invite. The person critiquing your network will be wise to ask this question.

Engagement

Another poll I conducted revealed that the majority of people feel that engagement is the most important aspect of your LinkedIn campaign. For some it’s also the most difficult to master, especially for job seekers who haven’t been using LinkedIn since losing their job. If you’ve been using LinkedIn regularly, this is a different matter.

There’s one sure way for your mate to determine how engaged you are on LinkedIn, it’s by visiting your Activity section and clicking on All Activity and Posts. Articles and Documents are a nonentity at this point. Very few people are writing articles; if anything they’re pumping out long posts.

You should demonstrate a consistent amount of engagement. Some say four times a week is sufficient, others claim every day is appropriate. How often you engage depends on the type of engagement:

  • Sharing long posts: this is the rave these days. Your post should show thoughtfulness and be relevant to your audience. It’s also wise to tag LinkedIn members if you want them to see your posts.
  • Commenting on other’s long posts: just as important is commenting on what other’s share. LinkedIn’s algorithm looks at both sides of the coin, sharing long posts and commenting on them. Your mate should take not of this. If you are only sharing, this comes across as narcissistic.
  • Sharing articles and commenting on them: I tell my clients that this is the best way to start engaging. Your mate should check to see if you’re comments are sincere, that you’ve actually read the articles.
  • Writing articles using LinkedIn’s Publisher feature: as mentioned before, this is not being done as much as it was in the past. There are many reasons for this, one of which is LinkedIn doesn’t promote one’s articles; it’s up to you to do that.
  • Asking a simple question: this is something I like to do on occasion. Your mate should see if you’re doing this as well and that your questions have a purpose.

Follow these people to learn how to engage. This is what your mate should be telling you. You can learn a lot from the information people in your network (remember, like-minded) share. Here is a partial list of the people I follow: Sarah Johnston; Hannah Morgan; Austin Belcak; Kevin Turner; Mark Anthony Dyson; Laura Smith-Proulx; Susan Joyce, and Adrienne Tom. There are many more.

Numbers do matter. Who you’re following and/or connected with does help you gain more visibility. For example, if you mention any of the aforementioned people in a long post, you’re more likely to get more people seeing your post. The same applies to commenting on their posts. Unfortunately, it is a numbers game.


Return the favor

If you’re looking for help with your LinkedIn campaign, be willing to reciprocate by critiquing the other person’s campaign. If the person feels they don’t want the favor returned, do it for someone else. Pay it forward. (For the seminar, I critiqued three of the students’ profiles for which they were very grateful.)

Here’s a guideline to follow in terms of your full-blown critique:

12 LinkedIn experts weigh in on where to start your LinkedIn campaign

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?

woman in white dress shirt using laptop computer

Put yourself in my clients’ shoes; you’re starting with nothing. Of course you need to have a profile, and the best you might accomplish is copying and pasting your resume to your profile for the time being. First and foremost Sarah Johnston advises to create a strong headline:

The first thing a job seeker should do is to consider their headline to make sure that it delivers the most value. LinkedIn only gives you 120 characters for the headline. Make sure that you are maximizing those characters to the fullest with search terms.  No recruiter is searching for #ONO or people open to new opportunities UNLESS they need a temp or contract worker for an immediate fill role. Use words that a recruiter would actually search for to find someone like you.

So where do you go from there? Perhaps just as important is inviting people to the party. In other words, building a targeted network of the most important tier of connections and expanding from there.

And equally important would be communicating with your network. After all, if you don’t engage, your out of sight out of mind. I know it sounds like a cliché but any LinkedIn expert will agree that engagement is key to your campaign.

I wanted to know what great LinkedIn minds think about how one should start and maintain their LinkedIn campaign. Here’s what they wrote:

A strong profile is necessary to start

Mark Anthony Dyson reminds us to make sure you have the basics in place, which are often overlooked. He says you headline drives visibility.

The focus of getting your LinkedIn profile to 100% accomplishes the purpose of a presence:

1) The completed profile gets favored over non-completed profiles in the LinkedIn algorithm. As soon as you complete it, the benefits will come quicker.

2) People will feel comfortable interacting and building a relationship with you.

3) Although it doesn’t have to be perfect, you do want to make sure the grammar is as accurate as possible. Typos and grammar errors de-appreciate the real estate your profile uses.

4) A customized URL for your profile ranks 1st in Google results. It will be the first thing people will see when your name is Googled. Your first impression is essential to reaping the benefits.

Your headline and summary drive your visibility. The headline catches the eye of the referrer and makes me want to read your summary. Optimize the character count of your headline on the mobile devices of 220 characters while the desktop limit to 120 characters. Focus on value rather than position because you can’t take your job with you. If your summary is the story you want employers and recruiters to know outside of your resume, the LinkedIn algorithm will embrace you.

Andy Foote says be deliberate when writing your profile. Do your research by looking at what others write.

Before you do anything with your own LinkedIn page, look around. Peruse a few career blogs, search on “LinkedIn” within them. Then spend half a day browsing LinkedIn, search on relevant hashtags like #linkedin and #linkedintips and #andydoeslinkedin (that last one is mine).

Look at as many profiles as you can and take notes, what do you think makes a “strong profile” and why? What elements do you need? What impresses you? What should you avoid doing? After you’ve thoroughly researched and made notes, roll your sleeves up and get to work on creating your new and refreshed LinkedIn presence.

Once you’ve finished, pick 5 people you trust and ask them for their honest opinion of your new profile page, take before and after screenshots if you really want to show them the transformation that has taken place. If they suggest changes, implement those if it makes sense to you to do so. Thank them for their feedback.

Understand that the LinkedIn profile is a living and breathing document, it needs to change as you change, so get into the habit of updating and tweaking it regularly. It is also a powerful networking device. Thousands of people will look at it over the course of your life!

Susan Joyce encourages new LinkedIn users to be cognizant of using keywords and making sure your profile is consistent with your resume.

Starting or Restarting LinkedIn

If you are new to LinkedIn or haven’t been active on LinkedIn while employed, start by building or updating your profile. A robust and focused LinkedIn profile is the foundation for a successful job search today. Know what you want to do next, and focus your LinkedIn profile to show you are qualified (very important keywords!).  Then, add contact information and make your profile “public” in the privacy settings.

Recruiters rely on LinkedIn because your colleagues, family, and friends see your LinkedIn profile, so misrepresentations are less likely.

Your LinkedIn profile should support the claims made on your resume and demonstrate your understanding of the importance of online visibility.  When your profile contains examples of related accomplishments demonstrating those qualifications, your claims of skills or expertise are more effective. Recommendations from former bosses, co-workers, and clients plus endorsements for those skills, increase your credibility (and keywords!).

The profile plus professional visibility in posts and comments are the foundation of your professional credibility. If you are employed, your LinkedIn profile and activities show management and colleagues your knowledge and expertise while, at the same time, attracting the attention of potential clients and, possibly, new employers (more keywords!).

Shelly Elsliger emphasizes using this time to have fun on LinkedIn and write your story to attract recruiters.

In the face of Covid-19, LinkedIn has become an even cooler space to hang out for both job seekers and recruiters. To continue a level of normalcy, in the face of uncertain times, LinkedIn has gained popularity because it does an amazing job at helping job seekers tell their career stories, showcase their brands, build their professional relationships, and find countless opportunities.

For recruiters, it is an ideal space to potentially find who they are actively searching for. However, there is a caveat; for employers to find the “best sellers,” they need to be able to successfully search and then decide which stories need to be explored further.

Therefore, it is necessary for job seekers to write their stories first because the story is what highlights relevant skills, experience, education, unique attributes, and personality characteristics of potential candidates. It also indicates to recruiters just how confident and invested job seekers are in relation to their professional brand. The LinkedIn story acts as the foundation to help build credibility, support activity, and deepen connection on LinkedIn

Take it further with targeted network and engagement

Kevin Turner writes that creating a targeted audience and engaging with them is also important. 

As much has been written about LinkedIn profile best practices, I’m not going to spend our time on that.

To really accelerate your momentum on LinkedIn focus on Targeting your Audience & Engaging with Knowledge to build your Brand and Demand.

Targeting Your Audience on LinkedIn:

  • Research, Find, and [Follow] at least 25 to 100 Target Companies
  • Research, Find, and [Follow] all Leadership of your Target Companies
  • Set up Job Search Alerts for those Companies and Select [Notify recruiters]
  • Visit each company [Page] and [Follow] their #HashTags, so they appear in your Feed
  • Set up Google Alerts for each Target Company and their Leadership

Engaging Your Audience:

  • Know each company’s and leader’s pain points and how you may be able to solve them
  • Watch your Feed for Post Opportunities from your Targets that you can intelligently contribute too by [Like], [Comment], & [Reshare]
  • If a conversation sparks, be ready to nurture the process, and if this becomes a repeatable pattern send a personalized invite to [Connect]
  • At the right time, reach out to your new Connection with a request for their advice in the form of an informational interview

Follow these steps, and your LinkedIn experience can be transformed into a powerful campaign focused on creating your dream opportunity.nce can be transformed into a powerful campaign focused on creating your dream opportunity.

Ana Lokotkova offers that once your profile is completed you need to get on the radar of the people who work in the companies for which you want to work

Once you have a compelling LinkedIn profile, you want to find ways to get more eyes on it. No matter how many keywords you pack into it, your LinkedIn profile will not pop up at the tops of recruiters’ and employers’ searches unless you are active on the platform. That’s just how the algorithm works.

What’s the best way to get started, you ask? Create a list of companies you’d like to work for. This list can include not only your target companies, but also their competitors.

Next step is to identify people who work in those companies and check them out on LinkedIn. Go to their profiles and head straight to their “Activity” tab. That’s how you’ll know what content they engage with and which communities they are part of.

You need to show up there as well! Start engaging and commenting. This is a very effective way to break the ice and warm up those contacts before you reach out to them directly. It’s much easier to start a conversation once they see how much you have in common.

Virginia Franco states that engagement, not simply liking, as well as finding decision-makers at target companies are key to success.

I recommend starting by working to complete as many portions of the profile as possible, but in a pinch at a minimum have a headshot, customized headline, About, Experience, Education and Skills/Endorsement section complete.

From there, I recommend posting something at least once a week (once a day/3X per week is preferable), and/or engaging in the post of a handful of others that appear to be leaders and engaged on the platform. While liking someone’s article is good, adding a comment of your own is best to capitalize on LinkedIn’s algorithms.

Lastly, I recommend they use LinkedIn to identify decision-makers at companies they are targeting and strive for at least 5 email/Inmail outreaches daily. These outreaches should express their desire to learn, not to ask for a job.

Madeline Mann suggests starting with the profile basics and then reaching out to hiring managers at your target companies.

A great LinkedIn strategy is holistic, but the 3 factors that will dramatically outweigh the rest are your: photo, headline, and outreach strategy. Your headline should convey the value you add to the world by containing the same keywords that repeatedly appear in the job descriptions you are pursuing. If you are unsure how to uncover which keywords to include, follow these steps.

Next, your photo. It is important that you appear competent and likeable in your image. The biggest mistakes I see are selfies, poor lighting, and strange crops (cropping others out, making the crop to be your full body). Take the time to take a nice photo of yourself outside with your phone while dressed professionally, and then get feedback on Photo Feeler.

Finally, the outreach strategy. Contact people at your target companies. Focus on getting a referral or getting in contact with the hiring manager. It’s a common mistake to reach out to the recruiter because they have a flooded inbox and ultimately are not a decision-maker when it comes to choosing a candidate. For a deeper explanation of how to do this, including templates of what to say, you can go here.

Biron Clark advises to go the extra mile and impress hiring authorities with articles and long posts you’ve written on your subject matter.

If you want to stand out from other job seekers on LinkedIn, you have to do something they’re not doing! I’m talking about going the extra mile.

This doesn’t mean you should skip the basics, though. I recommend setting up a great profile first and focusing on the “quick wins”– areas that don’t take much time but get seen often and can have a big impact,  namely your headshot, headline, most recent jobs, etc.

Here’s one idea that I strongly recommend: Write articles on LinkedIn about a topic related to your industry. They don’t have to be extremely long; 500-750 words are fine. Then pin your selected articles to LinkedIn’s Featured section.

When hiring managers see your profile, your selected articles that you’ve pinned to your profile might be the only one they’ve seen all day!

Anyone can do what I suggest, even a recent graduate or someone with just a couple of years of experience. Here’s an example:

Imagine you’ve worked in customer service for 9 months. That’s not much experience at all, right? Yet you could still write a 500-word piece on: “10 customer service phrases that calm angry customers and boost customer satisfaction ratings.”

Now, this would really show your expertise and impress hiring authorities.

Have an overall plan

Maureen McCann gives us a 5-step plan including a profile with strong SEO, being referred to people with whom you want to connect, and following a plan of attack.

𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐟𝐢𝐥𝐞. Think of this as your home page. This is where people go to learn more about you. It teaches others what you’re all about and whether they want to connect with you.

𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐩𝐡𝐨𝐭𝐨 𝐠𝐨 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐠𝐨 𝐨𝐧 𝐋𝐢𝐧𝐤𝐞𝐝𝐈𝐧. Invest time in getting these two things right because people will see these things before they ever read your profile.

𝐒𝐭𝐨𝐩 𝐰𝐚𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝. SEO is important if you want employers to find you, but why wait? Go out and find the people you want to meet. Use connections you already have to introduce you to connections you want to make. Don’t be shy. Ask for what you want. “Hey Bob, I see you know Oprah, I’d love it if you could introduce me?”

𝐄𝐧𝐠𝐚𝐠𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐬. Comment, discuss and ask questions. Follow the topics that most interest you. Employers are watching so be sure to be professional and refrain from complaining.

𝐇𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐚 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐧.. Be consistent with what you share with your audience. Yes, you can have multiple interests and hobbies, but dedicate your LinkedIn profile to sharing content that both attracts employers and demonstrates the value of hiring you!

Adrienne Tom says to focus on building a robust profile, connecting with people of interest, and spending meaningful time on LinkedIn engaging with your connections.

If you are new to LinkedIn, use a 3-pronged approach. Start by building a robust and tailored LinkedIn profile. To support profile success, ensure you know what types of people and opportunities you want to attract to your page, and align LinkedIn content with the needs of the target audience. Using the right keywords in your content can help you get found.

Next, connect with people of interest. Research and engage with potential decision-makers, recruiters, or people who could potentially support your job search. LinkedIn is a giant database just waiting to be leveraged in search activities. Use it thoroughly to get connected with the right people.

Finally, get active on the site. This third step – which is often forgotten or overlooked – is critical for site success! If getting active seems overwhelming, break down actions into smaller steps like: spend 10-minutes each day reading the feed; make one meaningful comment on a post of interest; and connect with one person of interest with a customized connection request.

It is important to keep your profile fresh by engaging consistently. Recent activity shows right on your profile. If you haven’t been active for some time, your profile will look stale. Also, aim to be personable yet professional in all communications. Your comments and shares have the potential to be seen by many people, including prospective employers. Strive to make a good impression, always.


You’ve heard it from some great LinkedIn minds giving their advice on how to start and continue on LinkedIn. Yes a profile is important, but so is building a network and engaging with your network. Don’t be like some of my clients; build your profile and wait for them (recruiters and other hiring authorities) to come.

In a poll I created recently, close to 750 people have weighed in on what they feel is most important to a LinkedIn campaign (the profile, building a network, engaging with your network, or all). Hustle over to the poll and cast your vote.

 

7 sins you’re committing with your LinkedIn campaign

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. Naturally, I thought about how they could relate to the job search, so I wrote an article titled, “7 job-search sins and what to do about them.

job-search-sins

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.

1. Apathy

If you’re put little to no effort in creating a strong profile, developing a network of like-minded people, and engaging with your network; your campaign will hit rock-bottom. At this point you need to determine if you should even be on LinkedIn.

Instead: LinkedIn takes work. Start by attending free workshops to learn how to write a profile that sells your value, develop a network, and engage with your network. You can find free workshops at One-Stop career centers across the US.

Another option is hiring a career coach who can teach you the ropes. Look at paying your coach as an investment for the future. Your coach will teach you how to master your LinkedIn campaign, which you can use if/when you want to leave your next job.

2. Fanaticism

The opposite of apathy, you can hurt your LinkedIn campaign if you’re overdoing the three components of your campaign (profile, network, engagement). An example is trying to optimize your profile by doing a keyword dump in order to be found.

Yet another example is taking engagement too far. I’m sometimes guilty of posting too often on LinkedIn. (Some of you who know me are thinking, “No kidding, Bob.”) When you do this you come across as a fanatic or even desperate.

Instead: Understand that optimizing your profile is important but also important is branding yourself with a profile that is focused, demonstrates value with quantified accomplishments, and shows your personality.

Don’t over engage; pull back on the throttle. One golden rule to follow is to post one time a day, four-five days a week. Here’s the thing, LinkedIn’s algorythm is more interested in quality, not quantity.

3. Anger

This is one of the seven deadly sins and one that comes into play with your LinkedIn campaign. There are LinkedIn members who come across as angry and, as a result, seriously damage their on-line brand and lengthen their job search.

An example of anger is bashing recruiters and hiring managers. Do you think employers aren’t reading what you write on LinkedIn? Don’t be naive; hiring authorities are trolling LinkedIn for talent. If they see your outbursts, you will be passed over.

Instead: When you find your blood pressure rising, resist commenting something like, “All employers practice age discrimination” or “I’m qualified for positions. What more do I have to do?” Remember that hiring authorities hold the cards; keep your angry thoughts to yourself.

4. Selfishness

It is a sin to expect help from others but be unwilling to help others. In fact, helping others first should be your mindset. One of my valued connections, Austin Belcak, writes about giving on LinkedIn as his number one LinkedIn tip for 2020. I agree.

Someone who is selfish will invite a LinkedIn member to their network and immediately ask for a favor. Another example is people who steal thoughts from other LinkedIn members—perhaps profile verbiage— and use them as their own.

Instead: Think of giving before receiving. This sentiment has become somewhat of a cliche, but it’s so true. One example of this is sending an article to one of your new connections that you think they would appreciate. Just this morning a long-time connection sent me an article that I found compelling.

5. Humility

To brag is sinful. To not promote yourself within reason is more sinful. As a career strategist and LinkedIn trainer, I encourage the appropriate amount of self-promotion. Your profile, like your résumé, should express the value you’ll deliver to employers. Avoid using platitudes you can’t back up.

Connecting with only a handful of people because you think other like-minded people don’t want to connect is counter-intuitive; LinkedIn is about developing a network of like-minded people. Similarly, feeling that because you’re unemployed and don’t have the right to write long posts is absurd.*

Instead: Many times I’ll sit with our career center clients to talk about their accomplishments. Without failure they tell me they have no accomplishments. But when I ask probing questions, the accomplishments come pouring out.

You have an obligation to promote yourself in your written and oral communications. Because if you don’t, no one will.

6. Denial

There are two types of denial. The first is denying that you need to be on LinkedIn. I see this with some of my clients who don’t believe in the power of LinkedIn for job-search success; continuous learning; and connecting with others to develop enriching, life-long relationships.

The second is denying that LinkedIn isn’t for you. Contrary to what I say about needing to be on LinkedIn; some people who are on LinkedIn have to come to the realization that the platform isn’t for them. This speaks to sin number one, Apathy.

Instead: There are three considerations. First, determine if LinkedIn is of value to your job search? For many it is, for some it isn’t. Second, if you join LinkedIn, understand it will take work to be successful. Lots of work. Third, it’s a life-long process; your campaign continues throughout your career.

7. Abandonment

I’ve seen people disappear on LinkedIn after a nice run. This is a sin because you’re not finishing what you started. Yes, LinkedIn is a lifelong endeavor. This sounds extreme but let me ask you, “Do you want to abandon networking and learning?”

There are those who are diligent about using LinkedIn while searching for work, but once they land their job they do the disappearing act. This is a huge mistake that I address below.

Instead: I strongly assert that you should not only use LinkedIn to find your next gig; you should also use LinkedIn while working. There are many reasons for this.

  1. The old saying, “Dig your well before you’re thirsty” is real. If I had a dollar for every client who struggled to get up to speed upon being unemployed, I’d be a rich man.
  2. LinkedIn can help you connect with potential business parties after you’ve landed our next gig.
  3. You are the face of the organization. Therefore, you should present a strong profile and show your engagement.

If these three reasons aren’t enough, re-read the second paragraph of sin number 6. In other words, there’s no helping you.


Here we have seven sins, albeit not deadly, you should avoid committing. But if you are committing any of them, pay attention to my recommendations on how to fix them.

*I remember one of my former clients saying, “I have no right to write articles on LinkedIn because I’m unemployed.” No word of a lie. Ironically this person is a director of Marketing and an excellent writer. Repeat after me, “I HAVE A RIGHT TO SHARE MY EXPERTISE EVEN THOUGH I’M UNEMPLOYED.”

 

10 LinkedIn New Year resolutions I know I WILL achieve

Like many people, I dislike New year 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.

2020

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.

1. Reach out to more people in a personal way. Admittedly of the nearly 4,000 connections, I haven’t met, in person, most of them. I plan to meet at least 40 of them. I will be a guest speaker at the Merrimack Valley LinkedInLocal, so this will be a great opportunity. Zoom and Skype count as making a personal connection.

2. Spread the word to people on LinkedIn. There are too many young adults and older adults who are not benefiting from LinkedIn. Sure, they have a LinkedIn account, but they’re not using it as it should be used.

Many people erroneously believe that a profile loaded with keywords will draw the attention of hiring authorities. Read 3 ways job seekers will be found on LinkedIn.

3. Get a newer photo taken. In 2016 I wrote an article entitled 4 ways your LinkedIn photo is an imposter. It feels as though my current photo is now an imposter. I’m thinking that my new one will be more theme-based, maybe one of me talking to a client. I’m not sure yet.

4. Produce even better content. I was awarded one of LinkedIn Top Voices for the content I delivered in 2019. I will continue to write articles, posts, and even videos for the upcoming year, but they will be more focused and relevant. Trending stuff.

5. Be more consistent in posting. Related to number 4, I aim to post at least four articles on a weekly basis. I will also follow my own words and improve how I comment on other’s posts. Sure there will be times when I will only react, but quality comments mean so much more.

6. Become a better curator. There are LinkedIn members who curate other’s content like pure champions. People like Mark Anthony Dyson, Hank Boyer, Sarah Johnston, Hannah Morgan, and Susan Joyce come to mind. Then there are others who only share their content. The ones who only share their content tend not to garner as many viewers.

7. Make my network even more focused. It’s important to create a like-minded network. I’ve done my best to do this, but there are many in my network who are…”dead wood.” They are not like-minded and, therefore, the content we share isn’t relevant.

8. Update my profile. I said earlier I’m going to update my photo but like many, I don’t visit my own profile as often as I should. I need fresh material and to add accomplishments to my Experience section.

9. Follow LinkedIn changes. Admittedly I don’t follow LinkedIn changes as best I can. I’m sure you’re familiar with the feeling of visiting LinkedIn and noticing something has changed, whether it’s small or big. My friend Keven Turner keeps me up to date on these changes.

10. Spend less time on LinkedIn; think quality, not quantity. I estimate that I spend close to an hour, if not more, on LinkedIn per day. I’m also on it every day of the week. The only time I wasn’t on LinkedIn were a few days when I vacationed in Italy. This will be the toughest one.


I’m sure I haven’t covered all I need to improve upon. So I will continue to add to this list of resolutions throughout the year. As a practice, I’m not a fan of New Year resolutions. I haven’t set any for my personal life. Better habits will be developed over time.

I’m curious if you have New Year resolutions for 2020. Feel free to list them in the comment section below or comment on LinkedIn.

Photo: Flickr, cg “Chasing the Light”

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

Every successful business requires a marketing campaign to promote its products or services, so 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 K

Erin 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

Austin

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.

Austin 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

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.

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.

If you don’t believe first impressions matter, you’re mistaken. Maureen clearly illustrates that first impression are lasting impressions. Yet all of us who’ve interviewed candidates witness the failure of making a great first impression.

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.

If you enjoyed this post and want to share it, please explain why you shared it.

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 won’t won’t help you get found and, ultimately, won’t 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

Working your way up the pyramid, 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.

Note: this tier might be placed above “People with whom you worked” and include recruiters. The hungry job seekers will reach out to people who work for the companies on their company target list.

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