Tag Archives: LinkedIn profile

9 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

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.

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.

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.

 

 

Updating your LinkedIn Profile during COVID-19: 5 major areas

We’re in the midst of COVID-19 which has forced many of us to stay at home. To make matters worse, unemployment has risen to unprecedented levels. On the surface, things aren’t looking good. But I don’t need to tell you this if you’re out of work.

serious adult bearded worker using tablet near window in workshop

I also don’t need to tell you that being stuck inside probably leaves you sitting in front of your computer searching for jobs online; checking your LinkedIn and Facebook streams; or worst-case scenario, watching Netflix and the good ole tele. You have some time on your hands.

Now is the time to work on your LinkedIn profile, especially if it needs a lot of work. Not for nothing, I’ve reviewed and written hundreds of LinkedIn profiles, so I know there are some great ones, average ones, and downright poor ones.

Writing a profile is hard work and time-consuming; but if you want to separate yourself from the poor to average, you’ll have to dedicate some effort. Take advantage of the time all of us have on our hands due to COVID-19. Let’s take this step by step.

First, think about your accomplishments

Now is the time to think hard about your accomplishments. Easier said than done, you think. You think everything you did while working was just part of your job. Nothing special. I get it. But you have accomplished more than you think.

I tell my clients, who claim they can’t think of any accomplishments, to reach out to people with whom they worked for help thinking about their accomplishments. Like my clients, you might be too close to your accomplishments to recognize them as such.

For example, you led a team of five people that always delivered assignments on time despite tight deadlines. You don’t think of it as a major accomplishment. But if you were to reach out to members of your former crew, they’d tell you how your leadership made all of it possible.

The question is how do you reach out to your former colleagues? Put your computer to better use; set up a time to meet with video streaming platforms like Zoom, Skype, and Facetime. In some ways it’s easier to communicate with people than getting together for coffee.

After you’ve accumulated accomplishments you didn’t realize you achieved, you’re ready to go to work on your LinkedIn profile.

Your profile

Countless articles have been written on how to create an optimized profile that brands you. Take a look at yours and if it doesn’t accomplish this, now’s the time to make it right. I’m going to point out the most important sections on which to focus. Once you’ve nailed these, work on the others.

Snapshot area: background image, photo, headline

This is the area is at the top of your profile. It should include a background image first and foremost. Make sure your background image brands you by illustrating your industry and/or occupation. An image of a mountainscape or seashore is acceptable, as it describes your personality.

You might consider this statement to be too strong: you must include a photo because without it you won’t come across as memorable, trusted, and liked. What’s most important about your photo is that it’s high quality. This might be a tough order, as many photographers aren’t open for business.

Fix: have someone with a smartphone take your photo. I’ve seen some really great photos taken with an iPhone and Android.

A strong headline is essential. If your Headline is about your situation—you’re unemployed—it adds no value to your profile. This is where you want to tout your areas of expertise. Make it keyword rich like this:

Marketing Manager ~ Collaborative Planning | Customer Business Management | Brand and Product Marketing | MBA

A branding statement will also work but it won’t draw as many searchers, e.g., recruiters, as a headline that includes industry-related keywords will.

About section: they why, how, and what

The most important lines in your About section are the first three, where you need to entice the reader to continue reading. This is approximately 50 words, so make them count. Look at your opening paragraph as the Why. In other words, why should they click “see more.”

The “What” you do (to solve the “Why”) can be the next paragraph. Finally, “How” you do what you do rounds out your About section. Throw in some accomplishments here. As mentioned above, if you’re having trouble thinking of your accomplishments, ask people you worked with or your spouse.

Note: Don’t forget your call to action: your email address and telephone number (if you want to include it.

woman working at home using her laptop

Experience section: be more descriptive

The Experience section has been much neglected, in my opinion. Again, take some time to think about what you’ve accomplished at your previous jobs. Many people simply list their company name, title, and years of tenure. This is a shame. Even if you are/were the CEO of a company, at least describe what the company does.

Another thing people don’t realize is that you can add more to your title. For example, you are a Financial Analyst at Biogen with areas of expertise in Data Analysis, Project Management, Contract Negotiations, and Renewable Energy. Your title should read:

Financial Analyst ~ Data Analysis | Project Management | Contract Negotiations | Renewable Energy

You’ve been told not to simply copy and paste your résumé’s Experience information to your profile. I agree…to a point. While you won’t want to include everything from your résumé everything, including the kitchen sink, you will list only the highlights from your résumé.

And don’t be hesitant to show some personality in your Experience section. This is another place where you can tell your story. Here’s the job summary of my profile:

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.

Read: 5 reasons why you shouldn’t ignore your LinkedIn profile Experience section

Education section: continue to tell your story

This is another section that can be expanded to tell your story. Sure you earned a Mechanical Engineer degree at MIT. Impressive, but that wasn’t all that you did while there. You were also an editor of the engineering newspaper. You also rowed Varsity crew.

I always ask my clients if they earned a degree while working full-time. Hands go up. “Do you have this fact listed on your profile,” I ask them. Hands go down. I reprimand them saying this factoid shows diligence, time management, among other skills. It’s not easy. Ask my wife who’s earning a Masters in Project Management.

Skills and endorsements/recommendations: help others

I want you to take some time to endorse your connections for their skills in the Skills and Endorsements section. A close connection of mine, Shelly Elsliger, prompted people to do this for a day. I thought it was a great way to get people active. Now that you have time, endorse your connections.

The same goes for writing recommendations for people you managed. Take this time to make their day and send them a recommendation out of the blue. Don’t wait for them to ask, because they probably won’t. This is a great way to show your authority and the values you hold in employees.

If you need recommendations, ASK! I find this is one of the hardest parts for people who are developing their profile. Fear of rejection. Afraid of putting people out. There are a number of excuses. Take this time to write your own recommendations and have someone approve it.


The rest

The easy part is done. What, you’re thinking? That’s right; you have reacted to what I’ve suggested. Now it’s time to activate your profile by reaching out to like-minded people to create a focused network. Once your network is established, you need to engage with them.

I won’t tell you that what we’re going through is a blessing, but I’ll tell you that you need to make the best of this unfortunate situation. Begin with your profile and work from there. One more thing, your profile doesn’t need to be perfect in order for your LinkedIn campaign to be put to use.

 

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.”

 

How you can direct visitors to your LinkedIn Accomplishments section

Raise your hand if you visit a LinkedIn user’s profile and get as far as the Accomplishments section. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t. Rarely do most LinkedIn members travel that far down the LinkedIn profile. I usually don’t.

Accomplishments2

Now raise your hand if you list important projects, patents, organizations, honors & awards, and others in your Accomplishments section. I think I’m hearing crickets?

Quite honestly I don’t blame you if you didn’t raise your hand to the questions above. After all, Accomplishments is buried in the basement of your profile; it can’t be moved. (I wrote about this here.) I wonder if LinkedIn users even know if Accomplishments exists or what it’s for.

The question now is how do you alert visitors of your LinkedIn profile of your Accomplishments section.

One solution: mention Accomplishments in your About section

You can write about your outstanding projects and other notables in your Experience section, which is a good policy. However, I suggest making note of them in your About section.

About is most likely the first section visitors will read. Unlike your resume, it is more personal and, in my mind, more enjoyable to read.

Enjoyable in what way, you might wonder. In About you can: provide a creative hook in your first three lines; express your passion for what you do; describe the problems in your industry and how you can solve them. It’s a section where you can tell your story. Read what I wrote about here.

How to point your visitors to your Accomplishment section

Given that your About section can draw the attention of visitors, doesn’t it make sense to point your audience to Accomplishments? Unfortunately, we don’t yet have the ability to post links to Accomplishments, so words will have to do.

For Projects you can write a brief statement:

“If you would like to read about my outstanding projects in Landscape Architecture, scroll down to Accomplishments.”

Perhaps you Published a book or article. Offhand I can think of three of my close connections who’ve written books, Jim Peacock, Brian Ahearn, and Donna Serdula. I also wrote a book, which is mentioned in my About section:

“Do you know I wrote a book on how Introverts succeed in the job search? Well, you can find it in the Accomplishments section at the bottom of my profile.”

Many of my clients have Patents for products that they’ve created in their career. This can’t go unnoticed. If you’ve own patents, draw your visitors’ attention to them:

“I’m proud of the patients I own in the field of medical devices. They’re listed in my Accomplishment section below.”

College students should make use of the Courses they’ve taken and Test Scores they’ve achieved. If you earned outstanding Honors and Awards, use About to point visitors to Accomplishments.

Other types of accomplishments not obvious unless you point your visitors toward Accomplishments include: Languages, Test Scores, and Organizations. You now have the idea of how to help your visitors find what can be a bona fide feather in your cap.


Recently I shared a long post titled: YOUR LINKEDIN ABOUT SECTION IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU THINK. This post is relevant because it shows how others feel about the importance of the About section. Thus, it can be a vehicle for directing your visitors to Accomplishments.

Photo: Flickr, Amit Shetty

 

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”

9 major areas where your LinkedIn profile brands you

It’s safe to say I’ve critiqued or written hundreds of LinkedIn profiles. What’s most important in a profile is that it brands the LinkedIn member; it sends a clear, consistent message of the value the member will deliver to employers. Does your profile brand you?

linkedin-alone

In this article we’ll look at nine sections of your profile where you should focus on branding yourself. When you accomplish this, you’ll have a profile that will help you land a job.

1. Snapshot Area

I call this section the Snapshot area because that’s exactly what it is: a snapshot of who you are. This section includes your background image, photo, and headline as the major components which have an immediate effect on your branding.

New Snapshot Bob

Your background image can serve to brand you by letting visitors know the type of work you do. For my background image, I display my LinkedIn Top Voices recognition. Other members might use a background image that speaks more to their personal interests.

If you think a photo is unnecessary, you are sadly mistaken. A profile sans photo gives the impression you can’t be trusted. In addition, people won’t recognize and remember you. LinkedIn says profiles with photos are 21 times more likely to be viewed than those without.

Perhaps most important is your headline. It’s what people first read about you and can determine if they open your profile. It might be enough for someone to accept an invite from you if written well.

Headlines that say things like “Seeking Employment” or “Finance Manager at Company X” are ineffective, as they fail to show value.

Rather, your Headline should brand you like this: “Finance Manager at Company X | Financial Planning and Analysis | Auditing | Saving Organizations Millions.”

2. About Section

This is where you tell your story, which can include the passion you have for your occupation, a statement about your expertise, or even explain how you’re changing your career. Here’s how your profile can brand you.

  1. It allows you to tell a story that can include the, why, what, who, and how. In other words, why are you passionate about what you do, who you do it for, and how you do it. Similar to your résumé’s Summary, you should list accomplishments that immediately speak to your greatness.
  2. Your About section is written in first- or third-person point of view, giving it more of a personal feel than your résumé’s Summary.
  3. It is significantly longer. You’re allowed 2,000 characters to work with, which I suggest you use.
  4. Finally, you can highlight rich media such as video, audio, documents, and PowerPoint presentations.

Read this article that describes how to craft a kick-ass About section.

3. Articles and Activity

When I review people’s profiles, I pay special attention to this section. It tells me how engaged a person has been on LinkedIn. To brand yourself successfully, you want to show that you’ve engaged with your connections. Do you have to write articles? That would be ideal but not necessary.

Articles and activities

I will click “See all activity” to see how if a person is a player on LinkedIn. If I see the person hasn’t used LinkedIn in months, I will not be impressed; neither will hiring authorities.

4. Experience

Bob Experience

I’m often asked by job seekers how they should address the experience section of their profile. I tell them they have two options: They can either write a section that resembles the work history found on their resume, or they can use their experience section to highlight only their most important accomplishments.

I favor the latter approach, but some think their profile might be the only document an employer sees, so they believe showing all is the way to go. What’s most important in building your brand is listing accomplishments with quantified results.

Good: Increased productivity by implementing a customer relations management (CRM) system.

Better: Initiated and implemented – before the deadline – a customer relations management (CRM) system that increased productivity by 58%.

It’s a good idea to use bullets to highlight your accomplishments. One of my LinkedIn connections, Donna Serdula, has created a handy list of bullets and symbols you can copy and paste for use on your own profile.

5. Education

Many people neglect this section, choosing to simply list the institution they attended, the degree they received, and their date of graduation. This might be the norm for resumes, but LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to further support your brand by telling the story of your education.

Take Mary who completed her bachelor’s degree while working full-time – a major accomplishment in itself. If she wants to show off her work ethic and time management skills, she might write a description like this:

University of Massachusetts, Lowell, MA
Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Magna Cum Laude

While working full time at Company A, I attended accelerated classes at night for four years (two years less than typically expected). I also participated as an instructor in an online tutoring program, helping first-year students with their engineering classes. I found this to be extremely rewarding.

6. Volunteer

Build your brand by showing visitors that you are utilizing your skills and developing new ones. It’s fine to volunteer for what I call “a good cause,” but to show people you’re serious about your occupation, you’ll volunteer at a host agency that requires your expertise.

(If you volunteer for a significant amount of time, I feel it’s fine to list this experience in your Experience section, as long as you write “Volunteer Experience” beside your job title.)

7. Featured Skills and Endorsements

A healthy Skills section consisting of 30-50 skills is another way to strengthen your brand. The skills you decide to list should demonstrate your expertise. Do not list skills you are simply familiar with.

To further enhance your brand, the skills may be endorsed by your first-degree LinkedIn connections. If you’re unsure as to which skills to endorse, here is a previous article of mine that can help you.

endorsements

8. Recommendations

This is a section I talk about in my LinkedIn workshops, and I always stress how valuable it is to receive recommendations from others, as well as write them for others. By receiving recommendations, you show the value you bring to employers. Meanwhile, writing recommendations shows your authority and what you value in workers. Either way, recommendations are a great way to brand you.

9. Accomplishments

Certifications, Organizations, and Projects are listed under Accomplishments. Prior, they had their own real estate, but now they’re buried under this header. And yes, they must be expanded like most sections.

You can still brand yourself by pointing out in your About section a project or two that you completed on time and under budget while managing a team of six.


These are just some sections on your LinkedIn profile that contribute to supporting your strong personal brand. I’m curious to know about other sections that can brand you.

Next read 5 Types of People You Should Connect with on LinkedIn.

This post originally appeared on Social-Hire.com. 

The ultimate comparison of the résumé and LinkedIn profile: a look at 12 areas

Occasionally I’m asked which I prefer writing or reviewing, a résumé or LinkedIn profile. To use a tired cliché, it’s like comparing apples and oranges. The first fact we have to realize is that each has its own purpose.

Reading a Resume

The second fact is that, although the résumé and LinkedIn profile are trying to accomplish the same goal, show your value; they are different in many ways. One of my pet peeves is looking at a copy and paste of the résumé to the profile. It’s just plain wrong, and you’ll see why as you read this article.

LinkedIn Logo longPurpose of each document

Résumé

Your résumé is most likely the first document hiring authorities will see, so your value-add must make an immediate impact. If not, your chances of getting interviews are very slim.

You will send your résumé in response to a specific job. As such, it must be tailored to each job and contain keywords. Failing to do this will adversely impact your résumé’s chance of getting past the applicant tracking system (ATS).

Lastly, you use push technology with your résumé; therefore far fewer hiring authorities will see it.

LinkedIn profile

Your consistent message of value-add demonstrated through your résumé carries over to your LinkedIn profile. Your profile is NOT focused on a specific job; it is static and more general.

Most likely you’ll have a résumé constructed before you build your profile. Therefore, the stronger your résumé, the easier to build your LinkedIn profile.

You rely on pull technology with your profile, as hiring authorities find you by entering your title, areas of expertise, and location if relevant.

Comparing the two

I’ve broken down the sections of the résumé and LinkedIn profile to compare them side-by-side.  It’s easier to see the differences this way. As mentioned earlier, it’s similar to comparing apples and oranges.

Note: Sections 1 through 6 are those which both documents possess. Further down this article are sections the LinkedIn profile has and most likely the résumé doesn’t.


1. Headline

Résumé: A headline tells potential hiring authorities your title and a line below it your areas of expertise and perhaps a two-word accomplishment (Cost Savings) in approximately 10 words.

It is tailored to the job at hand, like most sections on your résumé. Most executive-level résumés have a headline.

LinkedIn profile: Similar to your résumé, a headline will tell hiring authorities your title as well as your major strengths. It is more general and includes more areas of expertise.

One benefit I see with the profile headline is it allows more characters to work with than the résumé. You have 120 characters or slightly more than 16 words. If you want to include a short branding statement, this could be a nice touch.


2. Summary/About

Resume: The résumé’s Summary sometimes gets overlooked in a hiring authority’s rush to get to the Employment section. The key to grabbing their attention is creating  accomplishment-rich verbiage, such as:

Operations manager who reduces companies’ costs by 60% annually through implementing lean practices.

There are two other points I emphasize with my clients. The first is that the Summary should not exceed 110 words or three lines; the shorter the better. The second is there should be no fluff or clichés included in it.

LinkedIn profile: Your profile’s About section will differ from your résumé’s Summary for a number of reasons.

  1. It allows you to tell a story that can include the, why, what, who, and how. In other words, why are you passionate about what you do, who you do it for, and how you do it. Similar to your résumé’s Summary, you should list accomplishments that immediately speak to your greatness.
  2. Your About section is written in first- or third-person point of view, giving it more of a personal feel than your résumé’s Summary.
  3. It is significantly longer. You’re allowed 2,000 characters to work with, which I suggest you use.
  4. Finally, you can highlight rich media such as video, audio, documents, and PowerPoint presentations.

Read this article that describes how to craft a kick-ass About section.


3. Core Competencies/Key Skills

Resume: Here’s where you list the core competencies or key skills for the position you’re pursuing. These skills that are specific to the position for which you’re applying. You can also include skills that might be tiebreakers. Nine to 12 skills are appropriate for this section.

LinkedIn profile: This section is located further down your profile; whereas it’s typically placed under the Summary on your résumé. However, I wanted to discuss this out of order, as this is the closest section to Core Competencies.

List your outstanding technical and transferable skills in the Skills and Endorsements section, which is similar to the Core Competency section on your résumé, with a few major differences:

  1. You can be endorsed for your skills. There is debate as to the validity of endorsements, but they can be legit if the endorser has evidence of the endorsee’s skills.
  2. You are given up to 50 skills to list. I suggest listing skills that are related to your occupation.
  3. When applying through Easy Apply in LinkedIn Jobs, they are one criterion by which your candidacy is measured.

4. Experience

Resume: Job-specific accomplishments effectively send a consistent message of your value. While a show of your former/current responsibilities might seem impressive, accomplishments speak volumes. Provide quantified results in the form of numbers, dollars, and percentages.

Good: Increased productivity by implementing a customer relations management (CRM) system.

Better: Increased productivity by 58% by initiating and implementing – 2 weeks before the deadline – a customer relations management (CRM) system. 

LinkedIn profile: Your Employment section will be briefer than your résumé’s, highlighting just the outstanding accomplishments from each job. Another approach is to copy what’s on your résumé to your profile, but that lacks creativity.

I also point out to my clients that they can personalize their LinkedIn profile’s Experience section, which is not commonly done with their résumé. One approach is to write your job summary or mission in first-person point of view. Following is an example from Austin Belcak:

I teach people how to use unconventional strategies to land jobs they love in today’s market (without connections, without traditional “experience,” and without applying online).

My strategies have been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Inc., Fast Company, and more. My students have landed interviews and offers at Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Uber, Deloitte, Accenture, ESPN and more.

Read this article on 5 reasons why you shouldn’t ignore your LinkedIn profile Experience section.


5. Licenses & Certifications

Résumé: This section is usually named Training and if there are any certifications or licenses earned, they are mentioned here. I suggest that my clients list them above Education, as our eyes typically go to the bottom of the last page to find Education. In some cases, especially with teachers, Certifications are listed at the top of the résumé.

LinkedIn profile: LinkedIn doesn’t see the placement of Licenses & Certifications as I do. On your profile they are placed below Education. This is not the point, though. One might wonder why this section even exists, as it is buried in the bowels of your profile.

6. Volunteerism

Résumé: I include this section because it’s a good idea to list your volunteerism because it shows your willingness to help the community and demonstrates that you’re developing new skills. If you’re volunteering in your area of expertise extensively—20 hours—include it in your Experience section.

LinkedIn profile: This is a place for you to shine, in my humble opinion. The experience you list on your profile can be as serious and strategic as what you have on your resume; however, you can also be playful. For example, two of my volunteer experiences are about coaching soccer and basketball.


7. Education

Résumé: Typically the résumé’s Education section consists of the institution, location, years of attendance (optional), degree, and area of study or major. You can include a designation such as Magna Cum Laude. Here is an example of how your education should be written.

University of Massachusetts, Lowell, MA
Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Magna Cum Laude

LinkedIn profile: Many people neglect this section, choosing to simply list the information they would on their résumé. This is a shame, as LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to further support your brand by telling the story of your educational experience.

Take Mary who completed her bachelor’s degree while working full-time – a major accomplishment in itself. If she wants to show off her work ethic and time management skills, she might write a description like this:

University of Massachusetts, Lowell, MA
Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Magna Cum Laude

While working full time at Company A, I attended accelerated classes at night for four years (two years less than typically expected). I also participated as an instructor in an online tutoring program, helping first-year students with their engineering classes. I found this to be extremely rewarding.

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Sections more likely on your profile than your résumé

The following areas are most likely not going to be on your résumé; although, there not entirely out of the question. For instance, you might have a Volunteer Experience on your résumé, especially if your volunteerism is pertinent to your career objective.

8. Photo and background images

These two images are the first to brand you on your LinkedIn profile. They are what truly separate the profile from the résumé.

Résumé: A photo is not likely unless you are in acting, modeling, or perhaps real estate. I have never seen anything close to a background image on a résumé. However, graphics are common for graphic artists and other creative occupations.

LinkedIn Profile: I see the photo and the background image as a must for the profile. Discussing the profile photo with my clients is somewhat touchy, as the average age is 55. You know where I’m going with this.

Here’s the thing: without a photo, you will come across as unmemorable, untrusted, and unliked. What’s most important is that your photo is topical, current, and high quality. I’ve seen photos of older workers that make their profile pop.

The background image, if done well, can demonstrate your industry or personal interest. LinkedIn allows you 1,584 x 396 pixels in size.


9. Articles and Activity

Resume: Nonexistent. Your Hobbies and Activities section would be the closest match, but there’s very little information included in this area compared to the LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn profile: Because LinkedIn is an interactive platform, your articles and activity will be shown on your profile. This is something I pay a great deal of attention to when critiquing a client’s profile. I like to see that they’ve at least been active four times a week.


10. Featured

Résumé: Nonexistent, primarily because this section requires access to links and downloads. Some job seekers will list a URL to their website, which is appropriate for people in the creative fields.

LinkedIn profile: This…feature…is not new; it’s just been enhanced. It previously had no name, but with the update, LinkedIn probably felt it needed to be named, as it wasn’t getting a great deal of play. As such, Featured no longer requires multiple clicks to get to the media you’re showing off.

What can you show off? You can provide links to video through YouTube and other sources; audio through podcasts and other recordings; PowerPoint presentations; documents; links to documents and your books. It’s a pretty cool feature, but is it being used to its capacity?

11. Recommendations

Résumé: Nonexistent, nor should they be included with your résumé. You might bring them to an interview as part of your portfolio, but to send them with your résumé just gives hiring authorities more verbiage to read.

LinkedIn profile: Where to begin? In short, one of the most popular sections to one designated to the…you guessed it, bowels of the profile. What a gem these are in terms of branding you. Not only can you show hiring authorities how much you’re regarded by people with whom you worked; you can write recommendations for your employees.

Read 5 reasons why LinkedIn recommendations should get more respect to get a clearer picture of how I feel about their treatment.

12. Accomplishments

Lastly we arrive at accomplishments, where so many great nuggets are hidden on your profile which could be included on your Résumé.

Résumé: Do you have a section on your résumé designated to outstanding projects? If you did, most likely it’s at the top just below your Summary section. It makes good sense if you want to highlight some of your greatest career accomplishments. Perhaps you have patents and publications listed on your résumé.

LinkedIn profile: Well, you can include the aforementioned and more; but in order for hiring authorities to see them, they’d have to be curious or you’d have to direct them to your Accomplishment section. I tell my clients to provide such instructions in the About section. “If you would like to see how I raised 2MM in revenue for one company, journey to my Accomplishment section to read about it.”

To further make my case, one of my dear connections was interviewed by Aljazeera America for his photography of homeless people and models in NYC. Naturally he has it listed as a project in this section. I had to write to him and advise that he include it as rich media in his About section. Here is the link to his awesome video.


Lastly…for real.

If you’ve read this far, I salute you. I would love to hear your feedback on this article, as well as know which you favor, the résumé or LinkedIn profile. By the tone of this article, I guess you know which one I fancy.