Tag Archives: LinkedIn profile

8 common excuses for neglecting LinkedIn in your job search

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

no-excuses

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. I don’t need LinkedIn to find a job

A self-assured job seeker told me he didn’t need to be on LinkedIn; that he’s found jobs before without social networking. That was 15 years ago. Times have changed.

Another person told me she was going to get her job back in a few weeks, so why waste her time with LinkedIn. Nothing for certain, just a verbal promise that she’d have a job.

And another person once told me he would never lose his current job as the assistant to the city Mayor. He looked so smug as he said this that I wanted to tell him I wouldn’t bet on it.

3. My LinkedIn profile is great

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

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

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

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

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

Read The ultimate LinkedIn guide how to connect on LinkedIn.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. I don’t want to brag

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9. LinkedIn is too complicated

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

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

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


Ending thought

Remember the guy who told me he’d always have a job? He went on a stint of serving copy, a far cry from what he was doing. He contacted me and asked if I’d review his LinkedIn profile. At first I was inclined to say no, but I couldn’t hold his ignorance against him.

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7 reasons why you should be on LinkedIn

In almost every LinkedIn workshop I deliver someone asks me if it’s necessary to be on LinkedIn. Secretly I think they don’t want to make the effort to create a profile, develop a network, and engage with their connections. I get it. It’s like taking up jogging and wanting immediate results.

linkedin-alone

To go into explaining why these few hesitant people should be on LinkedIn would take hours to explain. Instead, I’ll direct them to this article which gives seven sound reasons why job seekers and business people should be on LinkedIn.

1. Your industry/occupation is well represented

The first thing to consider is if you’re in an industry/occupation that’s well represented on LinkedIn. If so, you definitely should be on LinkedIn. My valuable connection, Jim Peacock, painstakingly researched the ranking of all 147 industries that were represented on LinkedIn.

Here is a list of the top 20 followed by the number for each industry*

1 Information Technology & Services 17,076,099 11 Banking 7,472,071
2 Hospital & Health Care 13,445,850 12 Marketing and Advertising 7,447,442
3 Construction 12,878,172 13 Higher Education 7,392,617
4 Education Management 10,294,354 14 Health, Wellness & Fitness 6,599,303
5 Retail 10,289,983 15 Real Estate 6,384,135
6 Financial Services 9,450,549 16 Telecommunications 6,263,932
7 Accounting 8,527,864 17 Oil & Energy 5,986,554
8 Computer Software 7,938,087 18 Food & Beverages 5,805,185
9 Automotive 7,708,673 19 Mechanical or Industrial Engineering 5,257,926
10 Government Administration 7,486,477 20 Hospitality 5,095,957

The rankings have changed over the years, but not by much. There are 147 LinkedIn categories, so this is a limited sample of categories. A safe way to determine if your industry/occupation is well represented is by typing it into the Search field. Or you can access Jim’s ranking of all 147 industries here.

Note: you might think construction isn’t a player on LinkedIn, as far as industries go; but there are close to 13 million LinkedIn members in construction. Keep in mind that there are various occupations in construction, e.g., sales, marketing, finance, admin, etc.

2. Recruiters hang out on LinkedIn

Multiple sources state that anywhere between 87% to 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn to cull talent. But not only are recruiters using LinkedIn. Human resources and hiring managers use LinkedIn to find talent, as well.

Many recruiters who used job boards like Monster.com, Indeed.com, SimplyHired.com, etc., have told me they use LinkedIn more regularly than the aforementioned. To them, LinkedIn provides a better way to search for qualified candidates.

3. Not being on LinkedIn could disqualify you from consideration

An estimated 40% of employers won’t consider hiring someone who is NOT on LinkedIn. Again, if you’re in an industry that’s not well represented, i.e., ranching; you probably don’t have anything to worry about.

Being on LinkedIn shows employers that you have a social media presence, which is huge nowadays. It also shows them you’re tech savvy (somewhat). Also, if LinkedIn is part of their sales and marketing strategy, you’re toast if you’re not on LinkedIn. Think dinosaur if you’re not on LinkedIn.

4. More than 650 million people are on LinkedIn

So join the party. LinkedIn claims 2 people join every second, which means this figure will change in a short period of time. I recall when I joined LinkedIn in 2006, there were about 5 million LinkedIn members.

LinkedIn is used more by business owners and employees than job seekers, so it’s a no brainer if you have to build and nurture relationships. In my mind, connecting with well-established business people is the best method to network your way to a job.

5. You want to present yourself well on LinkedIn

First and foremost, you need a Powerful LinkedIn profile. If creating a LinkedIn profile gives you panic attacks, simply copy what you have on your resume and past it to your profile. But….You’ll need to further develop your profile to the point where it resembles personal resume. In other words, you’ll have to include and develop the following:

  1. Background image that reflects your occupation, industry, or interests.
  2. Quality photo that is professional (headshot and shoulders) or theme-based.
  3. Headline that brands you with keywords or a branding statement.
  4. Kick-ass Summary that tells your story. Write this in first person point of view.
  5. Robust Article & Activities section
  6. Experience section laden with accomplishments, also written in first person point of view. Yes, it can be done.
  7. Education section that goes beyond your resume’s. Talk about what happened when you were in school.
  8. Licenses and Certifications. Volunteer experience. Skills to be endorsed. Recommendations. Accomplishments.

These are the sections that constitute your LinkedIn profile. However, too many people make the mistake of stopping here.

Read this popular article on creating a powerful LinkedIn profile.

You want to build your online network. The second piece of the LinkedIn Campaign puzzle is developing a focused, yet large network. Your network should consist of people who are like-minded. My goal is to maintain a network that comprises 80% of people who are in the same occupation and industry.

However, everyone, job seeker or employed, should extend beyond people in their occupation and industry. Below is a pyramid of various types of potential connections. I list the most important people with whom you should connect from the bottom up.

pyramid-of-connections-21

Read this post to learn how to optimize your network: The ultimate LinkedIn guide: how to optimize your network

You want to engage with your network. You’re finally there. Now you need to communicate with your connections to solidify your community, or tribe. There are many ways to to engage with your connections. Here are some examples:

  • Direct messaging your connections.
  • Writing long posts to express your views. Yes, even if you’re unemployed, you should share your expertise.
  • Share articles that will be of value to your connections.
  • Create videos, if you’re daring. This is something that I’ve tried but realize my strength lies more in writing than producing video.
  • Writing your own articles and using LinkedIn as a vehicle, or writing directly on LinkedIn’s Publishing feature.
  • At the very least, reacting to your connections’ posts.
  • If you don’t engage with your connections, you ‘ll be forgotten. Out of sight, out of mind, as they say. As well, you get more views when you engage with your network.

Read this popular article on engaging with your connections.

6. You want to support your strong personal brand

You worked hard to brand yourself by the work you’ve done in the past. Further, you were respected by your colleagues. Now you have to present yourself to the world as someone who will add value to an organization.

In the job search, you will offer insightful information to your audience (network), whether it’s posts you write and comment on, articles you share or write, consistently pinging your connections, etc.

You’ve also refrained from being negative on LinkedIn. And this has benefited you in the long run. Some people don’t realize that employers and other LinkedIn members take note of negativity, whether it’s bashing recruiters, employers, other LinkedIn members, etc.

7. You want to continue using LinkedIn when you’re working

I’ve spoken about using LinkedIn to find a job. Now I want to reinforce the message that you should not stop using LinkedIn once you’ve found a job. All too often I see this happen.

Continue to grow your network. The old saying, “Build your well before you need to drink” is partially true. More accurately would be, “Continue to build your well and engage with your network to strengthen your opportunities for future employment.” If you have to look for another job, you’ll want to have an established network.

You’ll want to be a passive candidate. Sadly, some recruiters wrongfully believe that only passive candidates (those already working) are the best ones. You’ve proven that you’re hireable; now prove that you will be a right fit for a position you desire.

Hint: make sure you have Career Interests on your Dashboard on. Only you can see this.

You’ll need to accumulate endorsements and recommendations. I see my clients lament over having four endorsements for their skills, so I tell them they need to accumulate them when they are working. Listing skills is important. Are endorsements vital? The jury is still out on this.

The same applies to recommendations. As you were asking for recommendations when looking for work, continue to ask for them. Also write recommendations for others, as it shows your leadership responsibilities.

It’s great for business. Did you know that LinkedIn was originally build to generate business opportunities? Most LinkedIn members are using it for business, not the job search. However, job seekers see it as a great way to network online for work. This said, if your job entails B2B networking, using LinkedIn is a no-brainer.


Should you be on LinkedIn? You should if:

  • Your industry or occupation is well represented.
  • Because recruiters and other hiring authorities are looking for you.
  • You might be not considered for a position.
  • LinkedIn is one big party with more than 650 million people on it.
  • You can create a strong profile, develop a focused network, and engage with your connections.
  • You want to support your strong personal brand.
  • You’re committed to using it after you’ve landed your job.

These seven components make you a strong candidate for being on LinkedIn.

*Your search will produce a slightly different number than Jim’s list did, but generally his numbers are accurate.

The (now) 50 most important words on your LinkedIn profile

By now I’m sure you’ve noticed that the new LinkedIn profile Summary has been dramatically altered. You’ve noticed that it no longer has a section header and that it is included in the Snapshot area, where only three lines are displayed—or approximately 50* words. To see your whole Summary, visitors will have to click “See More.”

50

What you might not know is that you must revise your Summary, at least the first 50 words or so. And you should do this quickly. Furthermore, you might want to develop a branding statement that grabs the readers’ attention with those 50 words.

Previously approximately 39 words were visible to your visitors, so this is progress.

The reality is that your Summary is not the one you wrote a year, two years, or three years ago. The folks at LinkedIn have sent a clear message that its new, slimmed down profile has no room for the expanded Summary of old. Too bad.

With the former expanded Summary, your value statement/s could be seen at a quick glance, particularly if they were placed within a HIGHLIGHTS section; or if you set them apart with “THE VALUE I DELIVER.” Your value statements could be placed anywhere in your Summary.

What if busy hiring authorities only read those three revealing lines of 50 words to decide if they’d read the rest of your profile? It’s live or die then. Some hiring authorities have indicated that the profile Summary is something they’ll return to. Why not entice them to click “See more”?

Writing an eye-catching opener

To see what I mean, here are some eye-catching openers from my LinkedIn connections.

Take the direct approach with your call to action. Bobbie Foedisch lets her visitors know how to contact her right off the bat and follows with a branding statement, telling visitors that CCI drives business results.

✉bobbie.raffetto@trinet.com ➡ https://ptdrv.linkedin.com/4wifrr8 ☎(610) 457-2561 ➡https://calendly.com/BobbieRaffetto-Foedisch Life Sciences benefit from an HR solution that supports innovation. TriNet Life Sciences reduces the time you spend on HR issues, so you can focus on achievin

There’s no hiding her contact information; she wants to be contacted and is making it easy to do so. Perhaps job seekers should take the same approach. Another thing I like about her opening are the colorful icons, which say something about her character.


Talk about your industry. A former client of mine, Gerald Schmidt, begins his Summary with a statement of how new technologies are relevant to product development, and that he’s a player in this arena.

New technologies have the power to transform a business, especially when brought to market in the form of new products and services. That is what I enjoy doing. Advanced materials and processes can form the basis for a product portfolio that will generate repeat revenues for years to come – if a compa

Read the rest of his profile to see his major accomplishments. They’ll blow you away.


Show you can help. Sarah Elkins is a storyteller coach who has a strong passion for helping people gain success through telling their stories.

Improve Relationships Through Storytelling <> Experiential Workshops, Keynotes <> No Longer Virtual Creator and Chief Storymaker <> Podcast Host: Your Stories Don’t Define You <> Gallup Certified Strengths Coach When we create an environment that encourages and inspires authentic connection, p

This is a clear statement about the services Sarah provides for helping people tell their stories.


Say it with confidence. Laura Smith-Proulx is an executive resume writer who makes a very strong opening statement.

Executive Resume Writer for C-Suite, Board, & Rising Leaders ● Gain a Powerful, Competitive Edge With a Razor-Sharp Message of ROI. ● As a former recruiter and the #1 US TORI Award-Winning Executive Resume Writer), I work directly with you to get RESULTS, differentiating you in a competitive job market.

Laura’s goes on to tout her achievements. She is one who believes that achievements should be stated up front. I agree.


Use humor. Sell pens to sharks? This is how Donna Serdula explains the difficulty of trying to sell oneself. A little bit of humor can grab a viewer’s attention.

➡ It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, it’s not easy to write about yourself. You can manage complex projects, sell pens to sharks, or lead exceptional teams… but sell yourself? That’s HARD! Besides,do you even have the time (or desire) to write your LinkedIn profile yourself? You know this: People are

Donna’s statement rings true for many job seekers and salespeople. Her opening makes people want to click “See more.”


Start with your story. Mario M. Martinez is a CEO and founder of Vengreso who had a dream. His dream came true, and he wants to help you succeed.

I had a dream. That dream came true on June 20, 2017, when I announced a merger of the world’s top Digital Selling minds now under one brand. Vengreso is committed to one thing – your sales success! As a former VP of Sales, now a Speaker & Digital Sales Evangelist, I am #SalesObsessed! I’ve spent 82 cons

I like Mario’s message of meeting a goal and dreaming big.


Start with a quote. Brian Ahearn, Chief Influence Officer, let’s Robert B. Cialdini, PhD speak for him. This is a very effective way of demonstrating his value.

“You hit it out of the park! The last time I’ve seen such high marks was when we had Colin Powell as our keynote a few years ago.” – Jim Hackbarth, President & CEO, Assurex Global “When Brian Ahearn speaks, people listen. That’s because he knows his material thoroughly, and he knows how to present it supe..

I tell my clients that others’ words can speak louder than theirs. Brian starts with a bang to draw viewers’ attention to his Summary.


Have a strong branding statement like Michael Spence. There’s a lot of strength behind Michael’s 26-word opening statement.

Exec’s, Boards, and IT departments work with me to improve operational excellence and be known as forward thinking business leaders. We infuse transformative technology into your business so you can achieve more. If you want the benefits of tech and peace of mind of security, with the best TCO…let’s ta

I read the rest of his Summary and was impressed with the statement: “My teaching roots proved to be a great tool, equipping me to train and boost the intellectual capital, skill development, and performance of others. ”


The situation is more dire on your smart phone

The bigger challenge is writing a Summary opener for LinkedIn’s app. First of all, visitors only see approximately 10 words. And secondly, they have to know to tap on these words to open your Summary.

So now LinkedIn users have to ask themselves, is the Summary on their computer adequate for their smart phone app? Give it a spin to find out.


*How I came up with the number 50 words

My Summary opener contains 47 words. I’m sure the ones I included above contain more or less than 47 words.

I empower job seekers to land rewarding careers by ◆ delivering today’s job-search strategies in group and individual settings ◆ training job seekers to strengthen their LinkedIn strategy and profile ◆ writing popular articles that educate job seekers on the job search and LinkedIn. If you’re unemployed, you do

When I wrote my 47-word opener, as soon as LinkedIn truncated the Summary, I thought about my contribution to what I do. Although I couldn’t quantify my results with job placement numbers, I tried to think of the most powerful verb I could, “empower.”

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

Don’t hide from hiring authorities on LinkedIn: 4 areas to list your contact info

Many of my clients don’t give enough thought to helping hiring authorities find them on LinkedIn. What I mean by this is that they don’t list their contact info on their profile. Essentially, they’re hiding from the very people who could be instrumental in them landing a job.

Hiding

Perhaps the word “hiding” is too strong. Hiring authorities (recruiters, hiring managers, HR) could use Inmail to contact them through LinkedIn, but that takes additional time. Further, some candidates don’t check their LinkedIn account on a regular basis.

If you’re in the hunt for employment, at the very least list your email address on your profile. Even better would be to include your phone number, as it would speed up the process. List your cell, not your landline. This is because hiring authorities frequently text job candidates.

The bottom line is that hiring authorities don’t have time to look around for your contact information.

Picture this: a recruiter needs to fill a software engineer position and she comes across your profile. You’re a slam dunk, but she can’t find any contact info. No email address. No phone number. Nothing. She’s on to the next candidate.

Reasons why job seekers don’t list their contact info

Here are some reasons my clients have given me for not including their contact information on their profile.

It never occurred to them

I understand LinkedIn is new to you. You’re trying to craft the best profile you can. Every ounce of your energy has gone into writing the content of your profile. But you didn’t considered how important it is to let hiring authorities find you easily. Now you know.

They don’t want spam

One of my clients told me he’s tired of getting emails for insurance sales positions. To this, I told him I felt sorry for the unwanted emails. I followed by telling him it’s better than not getting any emails at all. It only takes the right contact.

Further, I told him that if he doesn’t want emails for sales position, remove any hint of sales he has on his profile. Hiring authorities looking for candidates for insurance sales positions will search for “sales” when doing their search. My client saw it my way.

They don’t know where and how to list your contact info

In my LinkedIn Unleashed workshop, the majority of my attendees don’t know where and how they should list their contact info. This leads me to the next part of this article.

Where to list your contact info on your profile

The answer to where you list your contact info is anywhere you can. There are four obvious places to list your contact info in order of least to most important.

4. Experience

You may be wondering where you could insert your contact info in the Experience section of your profile. One obvious reason for doing this is if you have a side hustle while your looking for work—or even while you’re working—and you want people to contact you.

Serious entrepreneurs will also include their telephone number. If you’re not squeamish about receiving phone calls from strangers at all times of the day, include your phone number. However, I respect people who want to communicate by email alone.

3. Headline

This is my third choice of where to list your contact info, because I prefer to see people sell themselves with keywords or a sharp branding statement. Remember that you only have 120 characters with which to work. However, this will certainly grab the attention of a recruiter.

2. See Contact Info section

You might think this would be the best place to list your contact info, but I’ve found that few people even know about this gem of a place to list their contact and other info. It goes to reason that some hiring authorities don’t know about it, as well.

Below is where your See contact info resides on your profile.

Contact Info

LinkedIn provides fields for your phone number and email address. Smart job seekers will fill in both. It also provides a field for your address. Take this to mean an additional email address, not your home address.

Bellow is my expanded See Contact Info. You should fill out the boxed-out fields.

See contact info

Note: You can show your email address to 1) Only visible to me, 2) 1st degree connections, 3) 1st and 2nd degree connections, and 4) everyone on LinkedIn (highly suggested). You set this up in Settings and Privacy under Who can see your email address.

1. Summary

This is the the best place to list your contact info. My connection, Sarah Johnston—a former recruiter and now a successful job coach—advises job seekers to include their contact info in the Summary of your profile. She also says job seekers should include their telephone number.

Watch Sarah’s excellent video on the topic of listing contact info on your profile.

To make the ultimate impact, list your info on the first line of your Summary. Keep in mind that LinkedIn only shows the first three lines of your Summary. When placed there, your contact info won’t go missed.

A former client of mine and now a salesperson, Hilary Jean Collmer, follows this rule of thought with her Summary. She really wants to be found.

To reach me. hcollmer@accent-technologies.com. (O) : 321-751-7656 (C) : 617-877-2608. As a lifelong athlete I have learned to be competitive within myself. This is the reason I have succeeded in my sales career. Like my fitness training I persist and never give up. Relentless and persistent until I land the sale.


To really be found take it two steps further

I’ve written about how you are most likely to be found when you complete three components of your LinkedIn campaign: 1) optimize your profile, 2) create a focused network, and 3) engage with your connections. Please read this article to learn more: 3 ways job seekers can get found on LinkedIn

Photo: Flickr, http://underclassrising.net/

Reflect before slapping your LinkedIn profile together

I’m sure you’ve read many articles on writing your LinkedIn profile. And I’m sure you know how important your profile is to your LinkedIn campaign. This is why it’s important to not simply slap our profile together and hope for the best.

linkedin-alone

Your profile is important but it’s not the only piece of the proverbial puzzle. Read the series beginning with The ultimate LinkedIn guide, part 1: how to optimize your LinkedIn profile to learn how to create and effective LinkedIn campaign.

This post focuses on the profile alone, and more specifically how you need to reflect before you begin writing it, or even if you’ve already written it. Here are some important considerations:

How do you want to brand yourself?

The first consideration, how you want to brand yourself, requires a great deal of reflection in itself. First you have to decide if what you’re doing is what you want to continue doing, or if you want to go in a different direction.

If you want to continue on the same path, you’ll have to think about how you can strengthen your message. While it may be strong on your résumé, the LinkedIn profile gives you more leeway for expressing the value you will provide to the employer. Think Headline and Summary as the most obvious places where you can accomplish this.

But also consider other sections on your profile that aren’t typically on your résumé, namely Skills & Endorsements, Volunteer, expanded Experience, and Recommendations.

Some of my clients want to change their career and ask me if they should create two profiles. First of all, I tell them, this violates LinkedIn’s policy. But more to the point, it would be a royal pain in the ass.

My advice is to express their transferable areas of expertise in their Headline, tell their story in the Summary, and prioritize statements throughout their profile.

reflecting

Your LinkedIn profile is not your résumé

I tell my clients that initially they can copy and paste their résumé content to their profile, but then they need to personalize their profile. Make it a personal résumé, an online marketing document. This will take a great deal of reflection.

However, your profile shouldn’t confuse hiring authorities as to what you do. For example, you don’t want to brand yourself—on your résumé—as a marketing specialist, but emphasize to a greater extent—on your profile—your expertise as a web designer. This will definitely confuse hiring authorities.

If you’re in job-search mode, you want the two to be similar, yet not identical. In other words don’t regurgitate what you have on your résumé. However, if you’re gainfully employed and want to convey the message that you are promoting a side hustle, you have more flexibility.

Which parts of your profile will brand you?

The answer is every part of your LinkedIn profile brands you, beginning with your background image and ending with your interests. Yes, even your background image can brand you. Didn’t think about this, did you? Again, this will require reflection.

Here are some of the profile sections that you also need to reflect upon:

  1. Headline
  2. Photo
  3. Summary
  4. Articles/activities
  5. Experience
  6. Education
  7. Volunteer experience
  8. Skills & endorsements

Speaking to your Summary, reflect on how you want to tell your story. Of all the major sections on your profile, this is blatantly different from your résumé. You’ll write it in first-person point of view, talk about your passion or knowledge of your industry, include some accomplishments, and a call to action, e.g., your email address.

Who is your audience?

Your audience is your intended industry. You will deliver a different message if you’re changing careers; but if you want to continue doing what you’ve done, you’re speaking to the same audience. Therefore, you must optimize your profile with industry keywords.

The narrative you use to address your audience will take some reflection. I’ve mentioned your Summary as a great section to speak to your audience, to tell your story. Your job scope in your Experience section is another area where you can express your message. Here’s how I talk to my audience:

I’m more than a workshop facilitator & designer; I’m a career and LinkedIn strategist who constantly thinks of ways to better market my customers in their job search. Through disseminating trending job-search strategies, I increase our customers’ chances of finding jobs.

Knowing your audience takes a great deal of reflection. Obviously, from my example, I’m addressing job seekers in a personal manner.


Reflecting on your LinkedIn profile is no easy task. I see the cogs working in my clients head when I ask them to consider the aforementioned aspect of their LinkedIn profile. Whether you are starting your LinkedIn profile or revising an existing one, it definitely will require reflection.

Photo: Flickr, daysmoveeasy

10 telltale signs that your LinkedIn profile reveals

There are times when I come across a LinkedIn profile that is strong and doesn’t need much revision. In some cases people had their profile written for them. They have the major sections covered, such as: Background image; Photo; Headline Summary; Experience; and Education.

linkedin-alone

At times like this, I focus on their overall LinkedIn campaign as revealed by their profile. Because when it comes down to it, their success hinges on more than just the content in their major sections.

Following is a discussion I would have with a client who has a strong LinkedIn profile, but needs help in other areas.

My client logs onto their LinkedIn account on my computer, so I have access to information visitors don’t. This way we’re not violating any LinkedIn rules. We’ll look at the typical profile sections, but I’m more interested in the telltale signs.

1. Photo properties

Before our session I noticed that I couldn’t see your photo. It’s an easy fix. On your profile you will click on your photo to enlarge it. Then click on Visibility at the bottom right. Earlier you had selected “Your Connections” as the people who could see your photo. You’ll switch it to “the Public,” so even someone who is not on LinkedIn can see your your photo.

This reveals that you’re guarded about your photo. And some people might think you’re hiding something. With your photo, you have nothing to hide.

2. Low connection number

Your number of connections is low. Even someone who’s not signed onto LinkedIn, or a member of LinkedIn, can see public profiles. They can see the information you want to share on your public profile. You show 289 connections. This is not good. You started your LinkedIn campaign three months ago when you got laid off.

A low number of connections reveals that you’re reluctant to connect with others. Visitors will question your ability to connect with other people, especially if your job will require it. It also shows that you don’t understand the purpose of online networking–developing and nurturing relationships.

3. Focused network

Your network should be focused, not comprised of people from multiple industries. By going to My Network and then All Filters, I can see the prevalent industries among your network, as well as the companies where you have the most connections.

This is encouraging, as it reveals a focused network. You need to keep building your focused network by connecting with people at your desired companies. I suggest you devise a personal invite template to keep on track.

4. Contact Info

On to Contact Info. Many people don’t know to look here, but for those who do, give them the information they need. Include your email address at the very least. Go to Privacy and Settings choose whether to make it visible to “Only Me,” 1st degree and 2nd degree connections, or anyone on LinkedIn.

By not making your email address public, reveals that you don’t want to be contacted. Big mistake. I suggest you also list your email address in your Summary at the end or even in the first line.

5. Dashboard area

Your Dashboard is only visible to you, and it shows you a lot of information. It shows that you only have 289 connections. Don’t be shocked to see only 300 Profile Views in the past 90 days, 10 Post Views on your most recent update, and 2 Search Appearances.

This reveals that, again, you’re not making enough effort to connect with others, and you’re not engaging with your network. Visitors will think you’re waiting for people to come to you.

6. Articles & Activity

This area of your profile is perhaps the most revealing. I don’t expect you to have any published posts; most job seekers don’t publish posts on LinkedIn, which I think is a shame. What’s more shameful is a low engagement. You have “Liked” a number of posts, as well as shared some articles without commenting on them.

This reveals a passive approach to engaging with your network. Commenting shows you’re interested in joining conversations.

7. Education section

Your Education section is strong. Many people fail to make use of the extras they can include in their Education section. Not you. You have all the basics: university, degree, field of study, and honorary designation. This is the information that impresses me:

  • Activities and Societies, Division 1A Swimming and editor of newspaper; and
  • Description: “For four semesters, I worked two jobs, totaling 15 hours, while taking an average of six classes per semester. In the summers between my Sophomore and Junior years, interned at Ernst and Young and Fidelity.”

The extras reveal your willingness to personalize your Education section, which many people don’t.

8. Volunteer experience

You volunteer developing and designing your child’s school’s website. You’re using new skills to do this. You’re using JavaScript, HTML/CSS, Photoshop, and bushing up on SEO. Additionally, you’re dedicating 20 hours a week to your child’s school.

This reveals a good thing. You can add this experience to your Experience section–because you’re working 20 hours a week–which will bring your profile to All Star status.

9. Skills and Endorsements section

You’re allowed to list up to 50 skills, but you’ve only listed 20. When recruiters look at your profile, they want to see you have most of the top 10 skills they’are looking for. (This infographic shows a snapshot of what recruiters see when you apply for a position.)

Listing only 20 skills reveals a lack of effort in promoting yourself. As well, at least your top 15 skills should be endorsed. How do you do this? By endorsing others.

10. Recommendations

You have one professional recommendation from each position you held. You have also written recommendations; almost twice as many as you’ve received. Although recommendations used to hold more value, some recruiters will read what your supervisors have written about you. They’ll also read what you’ve written about others.

This reveals that you’re not shy about asking for recommendations. More importantly, you are a giver, as evident by writing recommendations for others.

11. Accomplishments

It’s too bad that this section is anchored in the basement, because it contains some great information. You’ve made good use of this section by listing your Projects, Publications, Certifications, and Honors & Awards. In your Summary you are wise to direct visitors to this section.

What this reveals is that you’ve completed your profile to the best of your ability. You described three major projects you worked on as the CFO of your previous company. Hopefully visitors will follow your instructions in your Summary to scroll down to this section.

3 reasons why your Articles & Activity section is important

When reviewing a client’s LinkedIn profile, I look at the typical sections: Summary, Experience, Educations, Skills, Volunteer, etc. I also look at one section of their profile that is very telling. Can you guess?

linkedin-alone

To stop the suspense, I’ll tell you. I look at their Articles & Activity section. I can tell from looking at this section whether they’ve been good or bad. More to the point, whether they’ve been engaging with their network, or simply spending very little time on LinkedIn. Below is an image of a profile of that has no Article & Activities section.

No Activity

This section lies between the Summary and Experience sections. What you see above tells you that this person has been dormant on LinkedIn. Here is a look at my Articles & Activity section.

Articles and activities

Showing engagement on LinkedIn will 1) encourage potential connections to invite you to their network, 2) impress recruiters with your knowledge and expertise, and 3) show you’re better than the average LinkedIn user.

Keep visitors on your site

I am reluctant to visit and continue to read someone’s profile if I see no pulse. Am I necessarily concerned if the person doesn’t have any of their own articles to share? Not really. I realize some, or most, people don’t want to publish their original ideas.

According to one source, “only 1 million professionals have published post on LinkedIn.”

However, if I don’t at least see engagement, I know the person is not serious about LinkedIn. I’m not the only person who spends attention to my clients’ Articles & Activity section. Hiring authorities are also paying attention.

Impress recruiters with your knowledge

Close to 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find talent, so the more time they spend on your profile, the better. True they want to see your titles, employment history, years of employment, and education. This said, recruiters also want to see your activity because it tells them if you:

  • like or comment on articles you find of value to your network;
  • write original thoughts or ask illuminating questions;
  • share a insightful, tasteful quotes;
  • announce certifications you earned;
  • contribute to a growing discussion; or
  • post videos that are relevant to you occupation and industry.

These are merely a few examples of what a potential candidate could show as activities. I go into greater detail in a post on how to optimize your engagement on LinkedIn. I discuss the difference between being active and engaging.

For example, when you comment on someone’s post, it’s not enough to write, “Great post, Sarah. Thanks for sharing.” Instead explain why you enjoyed the post and, perhaps, politely write about what you disagreed with. In other words, put real thought into comments you share.

I strongly suggest that you write articles to share on LinkedIn, as this will show recruiters your expertise in your industry. I tell my clients that they’re still “experts” in their field. Being out of work doesn’t change that.

However, I understand the time, effort, and courage it takes to put yourself out there.

Show you’re better than most LinkedIn users

The source I cited above also claims that “an average user spends 17 minutes monthly on LinkedIn.” That’s pitiful. LinkedIn has the potential to increase your chances of getting a job significantly, but only if you put effort into your LinkedIn campaign.

This means more than optimizing your profile by filling out all selections and employing keywords. You also have to develop a focused network and engage with your connections, which will be apparent by looking at your Articles & Activity section.

You should be using LinkedIn at least four days a week, half an hour a day. Does this sound like a lot of time? Divide your day in two; spend 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night. But don’t just go to LinkedIn’s Jobs feature and look for jobs; practice some of the ways you can engage mentioned above.


Four days is the minimum amount of time I recommend to my clients. Ideally you should be using LinkedIn daily, maybe taking a day off during the week. What’s important is that your Articles & Activity section shows quality engagement, and hopefully articles that demonstrate your area of expertise.