Tag Archives: LinkedIn profile

Your LinkedIn profile alone won’t get you an interview

Here are the 3 components of your LinkedIn campaign that will.

If you think your LinkedIn profile alone will get you an interview, you’re sadly mistaken. I wish it were that easy. Imagine that you could write a great profile and wait for the interview offers to roll in. Sadly, this is not the case; it takes more than just your LinkedIn profile to get to interviews.

This isn’t to say you don’t need a LinkedIn profile that is optimized with keywords and brands you with the proper message. It will have to show the value you’ll deliver to potential employers with strong accomplishments, preferably with quantified results.

Enough of the profile for now. You can read about how to create one at the end of this article. Let’s start with two components of your LinkedIn campaign that might be considered even more important than your LinkedIn profile.


1. Let’s talk about networking

It’s not evident to enough people that the foundation LinkedIn is built on is making connections and nurturing relationships. Yes, creating a strong profile is important, as is engaging with others; but building your LinkedIn network is essential to getting to interviews.

How NOT to Connect

The number one rule when connecting with LinkedIn members is to send a personalized invitation. There is no deviating from this rule. To click “Send now” lacks creativity and is lazy. Instead, always choose “Add a note.”

The following ways to connect will not give you the opportunity to send a personalized invitation:

  • “Your contact import is ready” and then choosing to send mass invites to your email contacts. You’ll find this option in the drop-down tab “My Network” on the top navigation bar.
  • “People you may know.” This option is also in “My network.” When you click Connect, your invite goes straight to the recipient. No chance to write a personal invitation.
  • Connecting with someone on your mobile app by simply hitting the connect button. This, like the aforementioned ways to connect will send along the default message.

The Correct Ways to Connect

Connecting correctly simply means taking the time to read a potential connection’s LinkedIn profile and then writing a personalized invitation. This is covered in step 4 below.

You can connect with second and third degree connections. You should focus on your second-degree connections first, but your might come across third-degree connections with whom you’d like to connect. For third degree connections, LinkedIn hides the connect request under the three horizontal boxes beside the message box.

Contrary to what many believe, you can connect with the LinkedIn mobile app and still send a personalized invite. It’s tempting to simply click “Connect,” but open the person’s profile first and then select the drop-down box. I’ve been guilty of accidentally hitting the connect button without going a person’s profile.

With Whom to Connect

Your LinkedIn network is your life blood. Without a strong network of people, you won’t be successful on LinkedIn. If you are weary of reaching out to people you don’t know, you’ll have to get over it. I tell my clients that the only way they’ll get to know people is by inviting them to their network, or accepting invites from the proper people.

LinkedIn members have opinions on how many people should be in their network. Some believe a smaller, more focused network is better; whereas others believe the more the better. How many people you have in your network is your prerogative.

Note: If you have less than 400 connections, you might not be taken seriously by some recruiters.

Regardless of how many people you would like to connect with, there are tiers of people you’ll want to approach. Note: these are interchangeable.

1st tier: Former colleagues and supervisors, as well as vendors, partners, distributors, etc. Connecting with these people first makes the most sense, as they know your work and can vouch for you.

2nd tier: People who work in your Target companies. Connecting with this group is your “in” to companies for which you’d like to work. Try to connect with people at your level or a someone who might supervise you.

3rd tier: Recruiters are an important group of people for many job seekers. I always suggest to my clients that they reach out to recruiters, as they have a pipeline of employers job seekers are unaware of.

4th tier: Same occupation, same industry. As an example, you’re an accountant in the manufacturing industry. You will search for other accountants in your industry.

5th tier: Same occupation but different industry. They have less in common with you, but can also be of assistance. A project manager in the software industry may know project managers in the medical device industry, and therefore can introduce you to them.

6th tier: Your alumni can be beneficial to you because of the bond you share–you attended the same university. This tier of people is particularly helpful to post grads entering the workforce who need connections to certain companies.

Tip: to get on someone’s radar or to be noticed by companies’ recruiters, follow said person and the the companies for which you’d like to work. Then comment on what your party of interests writes (this is discussed below).

How to Write Proper Invite Messages

The art of connecting with LinkedIn members is in the message you craft. There are essentially three types of messages:

The cold message. This is the most difficult to write successfully. In your message you need to provide a reason why your desired connection should join your network.

Using a reference. This message should garner success as long as the person you reference is well known and trusted by your desired connection. It’s important that your reference agrees to being mentioned in your invite message.

Asking for an introduction. This process is longer but involves sending a separate message or email to a trusted reference who can vouch for you. The person making the introduction for you must be a first degree connection with you and the recipient.

For the full article on how to send connection invites, read 3 Proper Ways for Job Seekers to Send Invites to Potential LinkedIn Connections


2. Be engaged, not just active, with your connections

To land an interview by using LinkedIn, you’ll have to show your areas of expertise or thought leadership. The key to doing this is engaging with your network and not just being active.

Write comments

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

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

“Great post, Susan. Your statement about a company lacking a social media campaign being akin to living in the dark ages really resonated with me. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other platforms can create that ‘like, know, and trust’ relationship between the company and its’ customers. You’re also correct in stating that all platforms should be connected, as well as linked to and from the company’s website.”

Note: always remember to tag a person with @name so they will be notified in LinkedIn’s Notifications. When you tag someone in a comment, their name will appear in blue.

Write long posts

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

One type of update I find successful is asking an illuminating question. If you’re going to do this, be diligent in replying to your connections’ and followers’ responses. Failing to reply to your connections who answer your question does not demonstrate engagement.

Write and share your own articles

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

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

I include creating and sharing videos under being engage. This is not a new concept and requires feeling comfortable being recorded. If you are going to share videos, make sure you’re consistent and produce videos your network will appreciate.

Tip: by engaging with the public, your name and Headline will appear in your first-degrees’ timeline, thereby giving you more visibility. Further, if a second- or third-degree connection happens upon what you write, they can share it with their network.

Send direct messages

This is the most obvious way to engage with your connections. You won’t reach as many people as you would by commenting on others’ posts, writing long posts, etc, but it is a sure way to solidify relationships. I write or receive on average at least one direct message a day. These are people with whom I’ve developed a relationship.


3. Yes, you need a profile, and it needs to be strong

You need to know your story. As easy as this sounds, it might take some reflection. For example, are you pursuing similar work? What do you enjoy about your occupation? Adversely, what do you dislike about your work? Importantly, what value do you feel you bring to a company?

Questions like these are necessary to create a compelling profile that sends a strong message that brands you.

Writing your profile

The first rule is that you profile needs to be complete. When I talk to my clients about their profile, I use a checkoff list to guide them through the process. Although there are more than 10 sections that you need to complete, I’ll cover the most important five.

The Headline is a section that can tell visitors your value by your title, areas of expertise, and a branding statement if you want to add one. Here’s an example of one that I consider to be strong.

Career Change Advocate | Certified Career Transition Coach & Resume Writer | LinkedIn, Interview & Job Search Strategist | I help ambitious professionals shift out of soul-sucking work and into meaningful careers

It includes important keywords and adds a little humor in the branding statement. This article talks more about the ways you can write your Headline.

The About section should tell your story. It’s generally longer than a resume Summary statement. Written in first-person point of view, the first paragraph must grab the reader’s attention by talking about how you solve problems or what drives you in your occupation.

Following paragraphs can be examples of your greatness in bullet format. I prefer headers that are written in ALL CAPS to draw the reader’s attention to them. Here’s an example for a Information Systems Department Director who wants to highlight their ability to develop business:

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

  • Specializing in new project planning and achieving business objectives, I budget hundreds of thousands of dollars in project resources.
  • I Lead efforts that consistently generate sales exceeding $15K in a competitive pharmaceutical market.

Someone like this might have two or three additional examples of the value they can bring to employers.

Following the examples of what I like to call greatness, the profile writer might write about their client’s personality traits in the form of brief examples or even testimonials.

The Experience area is where you will take painstaking efforts to turn your duties into accomplishments. But before this, I like to ask my clients to give me a brief explanation of their overall responsibilities or even a mission statement. This is what I have on my profile:

I’m more than a webinar designer and presenter; I’m a career coach and LinkedIn trainer who constantly thinks of ways to better market my clients in their job search. Through disseminating trending job-search strategies, I increase their chances of finding jobs.

Here’s one example of turning a mundane duty into an accomplishment statement:

The duty: Used Lean methodology to increase productivity in a supply chain operation.

The accomplishment statement: I Increased productivity 80%—over a 3-month period—by employing Lean methodology in supply-chain operations. My CEO gave me kudos for this achievement.

Don’t be afraid to write some or all of your accomplishment statements in first-person point of view. Remember, you’re adding personality to this online document.

Education section. You earned Magna Cum Laude in university. I strongly suggest you include it in this section. As well, if you earned a degree while working full-time, include this in the description box. This makes the reader feel that you’re diligent and have strong time-management skills.

Skills and Endorsements. The reason why you need to focus on this section is because they will appear in recruiters’ premium package. You’re allowed to list up to 50 skills, but only list the ones that are relevant. And as far as endorsements go, they are looked upon favorably by recruiters. Want endorsements? Endorse others and hope they will return the favor.

Optimize your profile

Ensure your LinkedIn profile contains the proper keywords that will help you be found by recruiters and other visitors. The more keywords you have in heavily weighed sections, namely your Headline and job titles, the higher you’ll appear in searches.


Going beyond

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

Truly engaged—To truly show engagement, you must follow up with your connections. I have developed many relationships by reaching out to them via telephone, if they live a distance away, or meeting them, if they don’t live that far away. One of my connections and I had been exchanging discussions via LinkedIn. Yesterday we had our first phone conversation. Although we will not do business together, it was great finally “meeting” her on the phone.

Is your LinkedIn profile Headline memorable? 5 ways to write it

I put a friend to the test by having him tell me what I had just changed in my LinkedIn profile Headline. He couldn’t tell me. Which means he didn’t know what I had for a previous Headline. Which also means it wasn’t memorable.

Getty Images

This begs the question if the Headline is so important, shouldn’t people remember it? The short answer is they should. A poll I conducted on LinkedIn, in which 1,883 people voted, concluded that the Headline is the most important section, followed by Experience and About.

Much has been written about the Headline. Some have opined on what makes a Headline strong. Others have offered what they consider the Top 10 Headlines, which I believe is subjective. Today I’m going to suggest five ways to approach writing your Headline, none of which are wrong.

1. Keywords only

This is probably the most common way to write a Headline, and it was how I wrote mine back in the day. The purpose for doing this is to attract hiring authorities or business people to your profile when they do a search. It’s widely believed that the Headline is valuable real estate, carrying more weight than all the sections, save for your titles.

You can begin with your title followed by areas of expertise. Or perhaps you want to include multiple titles (guilty). Choosing the latter could spread you a bit thin. I went with titles that describe who I am:

LinkedIn Trainer | Career Coach | Blogger ~ LinkedIn and the Job Search.

Later I added a tagline and some awards when LinkedIn increased the character count from 120 to 220.

Note: I’m a strong believer that indicating you’re looking for work is a waste of space and, more importantly, doesn’t add value to your Headline. LinkedIn has made mentioning this fact unnecessary by giving you the option to wear the banner, “#OPENTOWORK.”

2. Tagline only

Those who feel comfortable being gainfully employed are more likely to write in their Headline a tagline similar to what would be listed on a personal business card. My valued connection, Austin Belcak, goes with a tagline:

I Help People Land Amazing Jobs Without Applying Online // Need Help With Your Job Search? Let’s Talk (Info Below👇)

This works well for him because his thing is emphasizing that searching online is not the way to go. Rather, one should tap into the Hidden Job Market by researching companies and then networking their way into said companies.

Another way to write your tagline is to begin with a question such as, “Ask me how I can consistently increase your revenue by 150%.” This serves as a viable hook.

Tagline and keywords

This is my preferred way of writing a Headline but as I said, it’s subjective; and you have to be comfortable with how you present yourself.

3. Tagline first, keywords following

One element of a strong Headline is a tagline–a sentence that stands out because it says what you offer employers or business partners. It effectively brands you by accurately depicting who you are and the value you’ll deliver.

A tagline with the previous 120 characters was hard to pull off, but now you have the space to comfortably include a tagline, albeit not too much space.

Where do you list your tagline, at the beginning or end of your headline? I suggest listing it first for the WOW factor. The keywords are important for searches. They are what helps hiring authorities or potential business partners find you. But the tagline is your value statement.

One thing to consider is that your photo and headline appear in people’s feed. We’ll call them your first impression. However, your whole headline doesn’t show; LinkedIn users seeing your first impression see approximately 70 characters or 10 words.

To illustrate what they’ll see, here is a segment of my colleague, Ana Lokotkova‘s headline: Helping hustlers tell their career stories & get hired | Career Advi…

This works for her because telling the world that she helps “hustlers” get hired is made very clear. I can relate to this. Here’s the complete headline:

Helping hustlers tell their career stories & get hired | Career Advisor | LinkedIn Personal Branding | Interview Coach

4. Keywords first, tagline after

Austin Balcak, suggest listing your keywords at the beginning of your profile. He calls them your hook. He writes:

“[A killer Headline is a] keyword filled overview of your role/abilities followed by an illustration of value (preferably with measurable metrics). For example, let’s say we’re a sales person in the market for an account executive or sales manager role. Our headline might look like this:

Account Executive, Business Development, Sales Manager | Helping SaaS Companies Accelerate Revenue To $10M+ In ARR

The beginning of the headline is packed with relevant keywords and the second half of this headline creates a clear illustration of the value we bring to the table.”

This approach is also good in theory, and many headlines I’ve seen lead with keywords. This method clearly says what the person does and their areas of expertise. They are an Account Executive, Business Development, Sales Manager.

5. The hybrid model

Another option is starting your Headline with keywords, dropping in a branding statement, and then concluding with keywords. This is the Oreo method with the cookie (keywords) sandwiching the branding statement (cream). Here’s an example of the hybrid model from Elise Finn:

Mentor and Advisor | Helping Female Professionals take Practical Steps to unlock the potential in their careers, businesses and lives | Leadership Coach and Marketing Expert| #HerCareerHerLife

I find this also effective in making your Headline memorable, especially the strong branding statement, which I bet Elise spent a good deal of time devising it.


Here we have the five ways you can write your LinkedIn profile Headline. Again, none of them are wrong. Depending on your goal, you might choose a particular style. Job seekers, for instance, might go with keywords only; whereas those who are gainfully employed could opt for tagline or tagline/keywords.

Checkout the list of the top 80+ LinkedIn voices job seekers should follow, where you will find the Headlines for each person.

Show value on your LinkedIn profile by using testimonials: 5 areas to showcase them

And where to find your testimonials

I recall in one of my LinkedIn profile workshops an attendee told the group she couldn’t think of any accomplishments from her last job. As I’m known to do, I told her she wasn’t thinking hard enough. Silence.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

She was an administrative assistant and, like we’ve all heard before, she was just doing her job. I began by asking, “Did you reduce your boss’ stress?”

“Yeah,” she said. “He told me I organized his life. He’d be lost….”

“Do you have that in writing?” I interrupted.

She smiled. “He sent me e-mails saying this. Other bosses said I was efficient, organized, and had great time-management skills. These emails were really great to read.”

“Did you keep them? Forward them to your personal e-mail? Did you keep a brag e-mail folder?”

No she hadn’t. I’m not one to harp on past mistakes; but this was a mistake, and a good lesson for the rest of the group. I didn’t need to say more; the lesson was learned.

Normally we think of quantified accomplishments as the only ones that matter—they matter a great deal—but what others write and say about you also matters. Take the following testimonial for an administrative assistant:

The electronic filing system Adam created reduced tons of paperwork. It made the workflow process much more efficient.

Brian Martin, VP of marketing, ABC Company

Although the positive result—reduced tons of paperwork and made the process more efficient can’t be quantified—the VP of marketing makes the statement an accomplishment. One might argue that a testimonial from a boss is more persuasive than an accomplishment, especially if you can’t quantify the result.

Where to use your testimonials

To answer your question, there are five obvious places for your testimonials. I’ve listed them from most popular to least, but all five areas are game.

About

This would be ideal real estate to use your testimonials. You could list them under a heading: WHAT MY CLIENTS SAY ABOUT ME (EXCERPTS FROM RECOMMENDATIONS 👇)

“As a fellow MassHire Career Center colleague of Bob’s, I turned to his expertise of LinkedIn when I was working on developing a LinkedIn program for MassHire Cape & Islands.”

“If you are looking for someone who can help you maximize the value of your job search and your LinkedIn Profile, you need to look no further than Bob McIntosh”!

The above excerpts are a couple of testimonials I have in my About section.

I’m not saying they’re not worthy of being anywhere else in your About; it’s just that we remember statements at the end or beginning of something written or said. Which leads me to say that you could list them at the beginning of your About section. Hell, why not list them at the beginning and end?

Experience

This is also a great place to list your testimonials. Struggling to write accomplishment statements? Again, testimonials can be a great source of accomplishments.

Let’s face it; some people have jobs like the story I describe above, where it’s hard to put numbers, dollars, and percentages to results. I think of the nurses, teachers, engineers, marketers, etc., who’ve come to me with this conundrum.

Here’s one for a nurse:

Andrew was attentive to the needs of our patients, showing compassion and making them feel at ease. More importantly, he was extremely knowledgeable of medical care.”

Jessica Johnston, Nurse Supervisor, Lowell General Hospital

Make sure you list who provides your testimonial; their name, title, and organization. This gives a testimonial more credence.

Education

This is particularly relevant to students whose main accomplishment is graduating from university, even high school if they’re young. Employers who are looking at you for a internship or full-time work would like to see some evidence of what you did while in school.

Even if you don’t have a great GPA, you might have excelled in you area of study (I’m a perfect example of this). Ask your professors and internship provider for testimonials. Here’s an example from an internship provider:

James did such a fine job reporting the financial news that I assigned him cases that our full-time analysts were covering. I offered James a full-time job, but he was concerned about finishing his Journalist degree.

Susan Abbott, Sr. Editor, Dallas Reporter

Featured

You can use your featured section to post videos, audio, Slideshare, and documents. And for each media you can add a caption for them. A video would be awesome if you could get people touting your greatness, but a document or Slideshare would be more likely.

Volunteer Experience

I had a client who was very proud of the work he’d done with Boy Scouts of America. He had a testimonial from the district scout leader which he wanted to highlight. Although his volunteerism as a scout leader didn’t fit well in his Experience section, I suggested he use About to direct them to Volunteer Experience.


Where to get your testimonials

  1. E-mail is fair game. If you’ve receive an e-mail from you boss that touts your accomplishments, store it in brag e-mail folder. I do this when I get e-mails from my clients thanking me for the help I’ve given them in their job search.
  2. Performance reviews are an obvious source of fodder for your profile, especially if your boss was generous in what he wrote. However, If he merely clicked off some boxes, these reviews won’t be as useful.
  3. Verbal comments from your boss can also be used on your profile as testimonials. “Director of marketing commented, ‘Josh, your ability to build and foster relationships has helped Company X achieve the visibility we’ve striven for.'” It’s important that you’re both on board with this, just in case she’s questioned about it during a reference check.
  4. Thank you cards from patients/clients speak to your customer service and other skills you’d like to highlight on your profile. Have you received cards that thank you for your help and caring nature? If so, ask the sender if you can quote him for your profile.
  5. Voice-mail you’ve saved can be used as well. If your boss compliments you, consider using it on your profile and other written communication. You might want to get your boss’ approval before you use his words in a public forum; it’s only courteous.
  6. LinkedIn recommendations have been used by my clients as fodder on other sections of their profile. Not all employers will see your LinkedIn recommendations; many people won’t scroll that far down on your profile.

If you haven’t considered using testimonials on your LinkedIn profile, I suggest you do. I encourage my clients, who don’t have accomplishments with quantified results, to use testimonials instead. I reiterate that testimonials could carry more weight in this case.

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

One of the things I like about the LinkedIn profile is the ability to express your written voice. In addition, you can express your voice with images. This is particularly important for job seekers, as it gives hiring authorities an idea of their personality. The résumé, on the other hand doesn’t do this as well as the profile.

VoiceAs a job seeker, the goal of your résumé is to make you stand out among hundreds of others submitted for a job with value statements throughout. Your LinkedIn profile also needs to show the value you will bring to employers, only in a more personal way. This is why I tell my clients that their profile is a “personal résumé.”

Background image

The background image is the first area that gives your LinkedIn profile voice. The back ground picture of one my clients shows her standing in front of a snowy mountain side. She told me it accurately reflects her love for hiking. Her image also is relevant; at the moment she was working for Appalachian Mountain Club.

On the flip side, if you don’t sport a background image, it expresses a lack of voice. To some people who visit your profile, it may indicate that you don’t care about your LinkedIn profile. This seems unfair, right? After all, LinkedIn no longer offers stock photos from its site.

If you’re profile doesn’t have a background image and you’re looking for a quick fix, go to https://linkedinbackground.com/ to download a background image.

Photo

Your voice definitely comes through loud and clear with your head shot. The most important rules for your photo are it 1) includes only you, 2) is of high quality, 3) matches your occupation, and finally 4) expresses your personality.

When I talk to my workshop attendees about their profile photo, I stress they should project a professional image. This doesn’t mean they have to wear a suit and tie or a suit and blouse. However, it should reflect their personality in a positive light.

Headline

Your headline is what people see on their timeline, along with your photo. So it has to entice LinkedIn members to open it. A headline like, “Project Manager at IBM” Doesn’t do a great job of selling your value, and it certainly doesn’t express your voice.

This is where you can opt for a key-word based Headline, such as:

Project Manager ~ Business Development | Operations | Team Building | Lean Six Sigma

Or you might want to use a branding headline that gives your Headline more voice:

“Ask me how I can meet aggressive deadlines in delivering quality products on time and under budget”

The branding statement is meant to pique interest and is more conversational; however, if you’re goal is to optimize your profile, the key-word based Headline is the way to go.

About

If there’s any section where you’ll share your voice, this is it. This is a section that differs greatly from your résumé in voice. The idea with your résumé is to make it brief, while still demonstrating value. Brief is not the word to describe your LinkedIn profile Summary.

Note: LinkedIn now allows you 2,600 characters up from 2,000. Should you use all 2,600? It’s entirely up to you. I use 2,000 characters, not expecting people to read every word of my About section.

LinkedIn pundits will suggest different ways to write your About section. What’s most important is that your unique voice comes through. I suggest to my clients a variation of structures, such as:

  1. What you do—perhaps what problems you address;
  2. why and for whom you do what you do—you do work for company growth or to help people;
  3. how well you do it—include accomplishments to back it up; and
  4. where you can be reached.

Of course there are other ways to structure your profile’s About, but what’s important is using words and phrases that express your voice, giving readers a sense of your personality. This is as simple as using first, or third, person point of view. An About that lacks a point of view resembles that of a résumé; bland.

Activities

This section of your profile is often overlooked. Not by me. I always check to see if people have published posts on LinkedIn. Speaking of a way to make your voice heard, publishing on LinkedIn is a great way to do this.

You don’t have to be a author in order to create an article and publish it on LinkedIn. However, you should share information that is relevant and of value to your audience.

I also don’t overlook a LinkedIn member’s activity on LinkedIn. You can learn a great deal about a person’s voice by reading their shared updates. Your voice should be natural but, at the same time, professional. There will always be people who share updates better suited for Facebook. Don’t be that person.

Experience Section

Believe it or not, your Experience section can have a voice. Many people will simply copy what they have on their résumé and paste it to their profile. This is a good start. But it’s simply a start. From there you’ll want to personalize it with a point of view.

The most obvious area of a job description is the job summary. This is where you describe your overall responsibilities for that position. Here’s how I personalized my job summary to give it a voice:

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.

Here is part of a valued connection of mine, Adrienne Tom’s, Experience section, which not only shows accomplishments, but voice as well:

▶️ If you want to move FORWARD in your career, generate increased recognition, and escalate your earning power with value-driven career tools = let’s talk.

▶️ My RESUMES differentiate executive candidates from the competition. For 14+ years, I’ve supported the careers of global C-Suite executives, VP’s, Directors, Managers, and top professionals through captivating executive resume writing.

Education

You’re sadly mistaken if you think you can’t show your voice in the Education section. Your experience in university or high school wasn’t all about studying, was it? For your résumé it’s the basic information, such as educational institution and location, degree, area of study, maybe GPA or designation.

On the other hand, LinkedIn encourages you to describe what was going on during the time you were in school. One great example is someone who was earning their Bachelor’s while working full-time. Perhaps you were a scholar athlete. This is another opportunity to express your voice by describing the experience.

Volunteer Experience

We often don’t consider including volunteer experience on our résumé, particularly if there is a space issue. There is no space issue with your LinkedIn profile, so don’t miss the opportunity to express your voice in this area.

You volunteer at a homeless shelter. Describe your experience, in first-person point of view, and how it has had an effect on your life. Or you utilize your coding skills to develop a website for a nonprofit organization. Use your voice to describe the experience. In my case I describe how I help my alma mater with its Career Expo Night.


You have the opportunity to express your voice with your LinkedIn profile. Don’t squander this opportunity. Yes, you must show the value you’ll present to the employer, but hiring authorities want to know the whole person. What better way to do this than by using your voice?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another student wrote about my engagement:

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

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

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

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

Choose what you want critiqued

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

Profile

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

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

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

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

Network

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Engagement

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

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

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

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

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

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


Return the favor

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

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

5 major components of the LinkedIn profile on the mobile app

And how they differ from the computer platform.

I don’t think LinkedIn’s computer (laptop/desktop) platform will disappear anytime soon, but I’m convinced that within five or so years the majority of us will be using our smart phone app more. At present, the app is used by more than 50% of LinkedIn members.

Further, a poll conducted on LinkedIn reveals that 65% of the voters (1,697) use the LinkedIn mobile app more than the computer platform. This is an overwhelming amount of people who choose the app over the computer.

With this in mind, I wonder how different LinkedIn appears on the two devices. Is the smart phone app all that different from the computer platform? There are some obvious differences, but are they too large to prevent the computer platform from becoming obsolete?

Let’s look at five major areas of the mobile app and how they compare to the computer.

1. Snapshot

The Snapshot area of your mobile app (that which sits at the top of your profile) is almost identical to your computer’s platform. There are some aesthetic differences between the two.

Brenda's background image

The first obvious difference is the background picture is smaller on the mobile app. You must take this into consideration if you have words on your picture, as they might be covered by your head-shot.

The example above is an excellent example of how Brenda Meller’s head-shot doesn’t cover any of her words.

The user’s head-shot on the mobile app is actually in good shape; in some cases better than the computer. I notice more clarity when comparing my headshot on the app and the computer.

Another small difference is that the computer provides live links for your current/past employer as well as your most recent education, allowing you to click on either to bring you to them.

A more significant difference is that LinkedIn has increased the headline character count to 200+ characters, but you can’t make edits on the mobile app; you are still limited to the former 120 characters.


2. About

LinkedIn increased the number of words one can initially see in the apps About section to approximately 23. Previously approximately 10 words were visible. Nonetheless, you need to demonstrate your value within the the few number of words you’re granted.

Laura's About App

The example of the first three lines on the mobile app About section starts strong, but the second sentence is cut off, failing to show the LinkedIn member’s further value.

It is prudent to write briefer sentences (three or four lines at most) so they don’t appear so dense on the mobile app.

Your computer’s About section displays approximately 50 words. Which isn’t a great improvement over the mobile app, but it allows you to be less stingy with your words.

Laura's About computer

You are now able to utilize 2,600 characters with the mobile app and desktop. So your kick-ass Summary can be expanded. It will just take some scrolling for visitors to see it in its entirety.

I suggest you include some compelling accomplishments within the About section to immediately show the value you’ll deliver to employers. Notice how dense the mobile app accomplishments appear vs. the computer view. Again, try to keep your paragraphs as brief as possible.

Mobile app view

Laura's About accomplishment

Computer platform view

Laura's About accomplishment computer

3. Experience

Bob's Education App

On the mobile app all your positions under Experience must be expanded. This requires a two-click process in order to access all jobs.

If visitors are unaware of this, they may miss your job descriptions; thinking you only listed your title, place of employment, and years of employment.

Therefore, it’s advisable to list as many areas of expertise next to your title as possible. This will give visitors a better understanding of not only your official title, but also additional value you provide/d your company or organization.

In contrast, the computer shows a partial view of a person’s position. All one needs to do is click …see more to get the expanded view. (Previously LinkedIn showed the fully expanded view of a person’s position.)

Bob's Experience computer

Again, it is important to write brief paragraphs so your Experience verbiage is easy to read on the mobile app…and the computer platform for that matter.

It’s essential to include compelling accomplishments for each position once again to show the value you’ll deliver to employers. Notice how dense the mobile app accomplishments appear vs. the computer view. Again, try to keep your paragraphs as brief as possible.

Mobile app

Highlight on app

Computer platform

Highlight on computer

4. The Rest

Madeline's eduatoin

Education on the mobile app provides the same information as the computer, but like the Experience section you must click multiple times to open the full view of an education and volunteer description. Given the limited size of the mobile app, this is understandable.

Provide as much information about your time at university as possible. Madeline Mann takes advantage of the ability to include more information in the Education section than most LinkedIn users do.

Featured Skills & Endorsements on the mobile app is relatively the same as the computer. You have the ability to arrange yours skills however you’d like. Only the top three are visible, as with the computer.

Recommendations reveal only one person, whereas the computer application reveals two. No huge difference here.

Accomplishments was the worst decision LinkedIn made, other than anchoring all the sections on the mobile app and computer. Within Accomplishments are some features that could (and were) be sections in themselves. Such as:

  • Certifications
  • Projects
  • Organizations
  • Publication
  • Courses
  • Honors and Awards
  • Patents
  • Test Scores
  • Languages

5. Editing Capabilities

Editing your profile on the mobile app is limited, of course. Unless you’re a master of copying and pasting text from a Word app to your LinkedIn app, making major changes to existing text on your profile would be better done on your computer.


This post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention some strengths of the mobile app, such as being able to share your profile with someone at a live event. I found this useful at one event where instead of exchanging business cards, I scanned a networker’s QR code.

For the most part, the mobile app provides the same functionality as the computer, but in a smaller version. It’s mobility makes it easy for visitors to see your profile when away from their computer. Which is what they may prefer doing.

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

It’s the LinkedIn profile over the resume by a landslide: 3,338 voters decide

Like a lopsided political race, this one is a landslide. I’m talking about a LinkedIn poll asking 3,338 voters to chose between keeping either their resume or LinkedIn profile. Which one wins by 72%? Why, the LinkedIn profile, of course. I’m not at all surprised by the result.

What I find interesting is that the voters opting for the profile seem to have forgotten that the resume is where it all starts; it’s the foundation of your LinkedIn profile. No one writes their LinkedIn profile and then their resume. No one has their profile written for them and then the resume.

It comes as no surprise

So why is the profile the favorite of the two? In three words: “It’s all that.” Let’s face it, the profile is more exciting. It’s, dare I say it, sexier. Your heart flutters a bit when you see a great background image and professional photo respectively.

There’s also the Featured feature, where you can see one’s video, audio, documents, and links to a blog. LinkedIn has improved this feature in both look and functionality. With just one click, you’re brought to a LinkedIn member’s website, audio, SlideShare, or document.

You’ll find none of this on your resume. The photo is the exception but only for certain occupations and foreign country.

Another attribute that barely makes it on your resume is personality. The point I make about your resume being the foundation of your profile is true. However, once you’ve laid down the foundation, you need to personalize it with first-person point of view. Call it your personal resume.

In an article I wrote that is still streaming out there, I point out the differences between the LinkedIn profile and the resume. Here are some sections/features the resume lacks:

Photos and background image, already mentioned, are major differences that are being utilized by increasingly more LinkedIn users. Rarely will we see the light blue (whatever it’s called) default background image.

Same goes for the ugly light-grey avatar. Increasingly more LinkedIn users have professional photos or, at least, selfies (a no no) to be more recognizable, trusted, and liked. There still are some LinkedIn users who don’t get it, but LinkedIn isn’t for everyone.

Activity brings you to other peoples’ contributions on LinkedIn. They deliver you from a LinkedIn users’ profile to all their activity, articles (a dying breed), posts, and documents (what?). To me, this is where one shows their mettle; are they engaging with their network?

Skills & Endorsements and Recommendations I lump together because LinkedIn does—they’re located at the bottom of a profile. Endorsements are bling in most peoples’ minds, but the skills are what recruiters use to search for you.

Recommendations have lost the respect it had in the last decade. Which is a shame. If truthfully written, they can add a great deal to a job seeker’s candidacy. Recommendations used to be considered one of LinkedIn most valued features. Now it’s buried at the bottom.

In defense of your resume

In addition to your resume being the foundation of your profile—your profile shouldn’t be your resume—it serves a very special purpose, which is it’s required for a job search. I’m hearing the groans from the peanut gallery. “Networking will get you further in the search then your resume.”

This might be true, but the majority of the time you’ll have to submit a well-written resume even if you land the opportunity for an interview via networking.

Another key factor—and most resume writers will tell you—is your resume has to be tailored to each job for which you apply. There are two reasons for this. First, it has to get past the applicant tracking system (ATS). Second, it has to prove to the reader that you’re qualified f

A professionally written resume is a work of art. Having read thousands and written hundreds of resumes, I know the feeling of reading one that makes your head hurt. Many job seekers throw their resume together without thinking about five major considerations:

  • Length: too long, too short. There’s no solid rule on length but, generally speaking, it should not exceed the number of warranted pages. What warrants a resume longer than one or two pages? This is mentioned next.
  • Value add: means relevant accomplishments rule over mundane duties. The more accomplishments, the better chance you have of getting to an interview. Have you increased revenue, save cost, improved productivity, etc.?
  • Readability: three- to four-line paragraphs are the limit. A resume with ten-line paragraphs will be thrown in the proverbial circular file cabinet. Who wants to read a dense resume after reading 25 of them?
  • Fluff: “dynamic,” “results-oriented,” “team player,” are but a few of hundreds of cliches making the rounds out there. Stay with action verbs and do away with adjectives.
  • Branding: means your resume is congruent with your overall message of the value you’ll deliver to employers. This message needs to be delivered throughout your document.

The final point

I’m not foolish enough to believe that all things were equal in this poll. Those who voted for the LinkedIn profile are probably gainfully employed and have no use for their resume at this point. I voted for the profile because I benefit from it far more than my resume.

The question I ask myself if I were unemployed, could I rely on my LinkedIn profile alone to land me an interview? My course of action would be to take a more proactive approach and network before and during applying online.

Another consideration is how consistent is my profile with my resume. I believe that other than it being more personal and telling a better story, my profile is consistent with my resume. No surprises there. Final decision: I choose my profile over my resume.

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 a little over 200 characters or slightly more than 35 words. If you want to include a short branding statement, this could be a nice touch.


2. Summary/About

Résumé: 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 consistently reduces companies’ costs 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. Instead of using adjectives, employ action verbs that do a better job of showing rather than telling.

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 and 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.
  2. Similar to your résumé’s Summary, you should list accomplishments that immediately speak to your greatness.
  3. 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.
  4. It is significantly longer. You’re allowed approximately 2,600 characters to work with, which I suggest you use, providing it adds value to your profile.
  5. Finally, you can highlight rich media such as video, audio, documents, and PowerPoint presentations in the Featured area.

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


3. Core Competencies/Key Skills

Résumé: Here’s where you list the core competencies or key skills for the position you’re pursuing. These skills 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

Résumé: 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 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 hiring authorities’ 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, as 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 résumé; 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, they’re 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: The photo and the background image are 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

Résumé: 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 important sections to be 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 highly 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 do, 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.

Write something in your About section to this effect: “If you would like to see how I raised 2MM in revenue for one company, scroll to the bottom of my profile where the project is listed in my Accomplishment section.”

Read How to direct visitors to LinkedIn Accomplishment section.

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.

The LinkedIn profile Headline is the MOST important section, according to 46% of people polled

Wouldn’t you know it, the LinkedIn profile Headline is deemed more important than the About and Experience sections. In a recent poll conducted on LinkedIn, in which 1,189 people voted, 46% of the voters chose the Headline over Experience, 30%, and About, 24%.

I get why the Headline is considered to be important. It and the photo are the first things you see when LinkedIn members show up in places like your homepage stream, invitations, and People you may know on LinkedIn. And you don’t even see LinkedIn members’ whole headline.

There’s another point to consider, your Headline is weighed heavier than other sections of your profile including About and Experience verbiage; although it’s said that titles in your Experience section are weighed heavily as well. So build them up.

This is not an old debate. Many years ago, the importance of the Headline was discussed. I remember back then it was argued by many people that the Headline was the most important section of the profile. Now it’s official.

I assumed that given the fact that the About section is now its own section, it would be considered more important. I was wrong.

What is important is that you make your Headline worth reading. Simply leaving it at the default setting when you enter a position is not going to do it. It reads like: Purchasing Manager at ABC Company. There’s so much more you can add to the headline:

Purchasing Manager at ABC Company. Saving Costs, Boosting Productivity, Sustaining Supplier Relationships

You need to show the value you’ll deliver to employers. What sets you apart? You could go with keywords like: Career Coaching ✦ Interview Training ✦ CPCC/CEIP ✦ Resume and Profile Development

Or you could create some intrigue which is my intent with: FACT: being unemployed is no fun❗️FACT: it’s temporary❗️ FACT: I’m in your corner❗️ LinkedIn Trainer | Career Coach | Blogger | LinkedIn Top Voices 🏆 #LinkedInUnleashed

Maybe a tagline is your thing: Emotional Intelligence is the difference maker to bring humanity, humility, and heart into the workplace

However you choose to grab potential visitors’/connections’ attention is up to you, but one thing is for sure, the bland default Headline LinkedIn gives you when you start a new position isn’t going to cut it. I don’t think the people who voted for Headline were thinking this is the way to go.

Lastly, most agree that writing, Seeking Next Opportunity or any deviation of this is a no no. Simply stating your situation doesn’t show your value and it can be a sign of desperation. My solution to this is to write about your unemployment situation in the About section.


What about the About section?

This is where you tell your story. It’s a place to talk about the Why you do what you do, What you do, How you do it, and list some of your accomplishments. People have various ideas of how to write their About section.

One simple way to do it is to structure it after your Headline. For example, I highlight my LinkedIn Training, Career Coaching, and Blogging expertise for each one. Of course I open with two brief paragraphs. In this case the What followed by the How. That’s the wonder of the About section; it’s about you.

The About section is also a platform for being personal by using first-person point of view. It’s vastly different from you resume Summary. I see the resume Summary as stiff and lacking personality, whereas the profile Summary gives you voice.

The low score totally surprised me. I thought About was making a real dash to the finish line as of late. There was a time fairly recently when it was embedded in the Snapshot area as an introduction. It didn’t even have its own name. In the past it was called Summary, then nothing, then Summary again, and now About.

Here’s an article I wrote on creating a Kick-Ass Summary.


It’s about time Experience gets some respect

Many recruiters who took the poll wrote in the comments that the Experience section is the bomb. It’s where they go first. Sure, the Headline matters, but what’s most important is the meat, e.g., accomplishments that show a candidate’s value.

One recruiter writes: “I’ll be honest, as an executive recruiter, I rarely pay much attention to someone’s Headline – I look to the experience section and then to the About section….”

Another writes: “As a hiring manager, I want to see a detailed Experience section. I’ll only read the About section if the experience is interesting.”

Finally: “As a recruiter, I care most about their experience. Everything else is ‘additional reading.’ (Although the About section is important for locale/type of work.)”

I would have chosen Experience over the Headline precisely for the reasons stated above; it’s where you get a sense of what a person has accomplished if written well. Unfortunately many people neglect their Experience sections, thinking that their title tells it all.

This is a huge mistake. Think about how you can wow readers with outstanding accomplishments—what recruiters want to see. You can even write your Experience section in first-person point of view, which makes your profile more of a networking document…a personal resume.

Back to what I said about how the title is weighed heavily in terms of keywords. Simply listing your official title at your company doesn’t do you justice. Take this CEO for a small company who gives his title more description:

Chairman, CEO & President ~ New Business Development | Marketing | Sales | Capital Raises

Here’s a post I wrote on how the Experience sections shouldn’t be ignored.


I wanted to sum up this article by again talking about the strength of the headline but thought someone else could say it better.

Laura Smith-Prolx wrote in the comments: “The Headline sets the tone for nearly everything else in your Profile… helping attract the right audience, convey your brand value, and show the strength of your industry expertise.

“When you intentionally craft your Headline (refusing to use the default value of your current job title), you quickly realize it has the power to turn casual observers into visitors of your LinkedIn page.

“While I also believe the About section is too-often ignored, it has little prominence vs. the Headline, which is always present on every action you take (posting, commenting, showing up in a list of other users, etc.).”

Finally, LinkedIn is rolling out a longer Headline ( approximately 250 characters) and dumping the 120 character two-liner. Now we’re going to have that debate akin to should Twitter increased its 140 character count to 280? I always said that was a mistake. Maybe this new character count will be a mistake as well.

It’s all important when it comes to your LinkedIn campaign

An optimized profile is important, but it’s not the end all be all. A strong LinkedIn campaign also includes a focused network and engagement. This is clear based on a poll I conducted on LinkedIn. At the end of the poll, 787 people weighed in. I would say this is a legitimate case study.

poll results

As you can see from the poll, 49% of the voters gave the nod to “They’re Equally Important,” but that answer was too easy in retrospect. So “Engagement with One’s Network” earns the champion’s cup with nine more percentage points than the profile and network options combined.

Hold on a second, you’re probably thinking, “How can one even engage without a profile or a focused network?” This is a good point. My question is, “Would you show up to a dinner with a pie that is short by one-third? The point is that you need all of it to be successful.

An optimized profile is not enough

Linkedin declared this a while back when their members were loading their profiles with keywords, namely in the headline and position titles. I once came upon a profile that had—no lie—approximately 900 instances of “web designer” on it. Things were getting crazy.

It’s widely agreed that one needs at least to have a quality photo and a strong headline to start their LinkedIn campaign. But surely that’s not enough.

There’s also an industry-related background photo to consider. You can go with the light-blue, dot-line, thingy LinkedIn provides as the default image, but that’s a sign of, “I didn’t know I can change it,” “I don’t have time to change it,” or “I don’t give a damn.”

Your About section has become the talk of the town. Tell your story, show your value, have a Call to Action, are familiar pieces of advice you’ve heard. I wrote on this subject when it was still called a Summary. Rather than repeat what I’ve written, I ask you to read the article.

I constantly complain that people don’t explain what they’ve done at their positions. It’s as if the Experience section is an afterthought. And yes, you can write it in the first-person point of view so it doesn’t resemble your resume. Also, just deliver the juicy stuff; don’t include your mundane duties.

Very briefly I’ve explained why you need a profile in order to show your value. You’re probably saying, “But you left out a lot of information.” I have.

Read more about the profile here.

The oft-forgotten network

According to the poll, this ranks last at 10% which seems kind of ridiculous. With whom would you communicate without your network? It’s like having no family members, friends, and work associates in your life. You have to have people with whom to share information.

That’s why you need to be selective in terms of who you invite to your network and accept invitations from. You want to have conversations—i.e., long-form posts, shared articles, comments on posts, articles you’ve written—with people who actually care.

Read more about the LinkedIn network here.

I go by the cliche 80-20 rule; 80% of your network should be like-minded, 20% of it people you find interesting. Am I successful in this effort? Do as I say, not what I do.

Of course what you do makes a difference. If you’re looking for work, for example, you want to focus on people who will get you closer to your final destination such as your former colleagues, people at your target companies, recruiters, and like-minded people who are in your industry.

If you’re currently working, your range of connections will be slightly different. You might consider connecting with people in various occupations and industries. Salespeople would connect with people in vertical industries, as would marketers and accountants, etc.

Many of my connections are career coaches who have a client base of a variety of occupations and industries, so they connect with executive level and mid-management job seekers. Nonetheless, they also have in their networks other career developer types.

Engagement is tough but necessary

Returning to job seekers; here’s where many of them drop the ball, and I speculate that if they voted in the poll, they chose either the profile or network options. My reason for saying this is because I rarely see them engaging on LinkedIn.

I see two reasons for this. First, engaging might not be their thing. They might not enjoy writing articles, sharing and commenting on articles, scripting long posts, or even short posts. Furthermore, they probably don’t see the value in becoming visible on LinkedIn. Huge mistake, in my mind.

The second reason they don’t engage is that they don’t feel they have a “right” to. I recall one client who when I asked him why he didn’t engage on LinkedIn, told me this exact reason. And he was a former director of communications. I repeat, a former director of communications.

Another client of mine wrote a wonderful piece on working in chaos and as an executive, he encourages it. He ran the piece by me for my approval but never did anything with it. I bet dollar to a donut now that he’s working he’ll probably turn it into an article. Or maybe not.

The sad fact of the matter is that the majority of LinkedIn members who engage on LinkedIn are the same people over, over, and over. I often think, “Where are the new folks?” When I see new contributors, they engage maybe once or twice.

Here’s the major rule for job seekers: if you’re going to communicate with your network, don’t go at it half-assed. Take the plunge. Job seekers especially need to get their faces and headlines on hiring authorities’ radars.

Read about engaging on LinkedIn here.

And lastly, don’t let low views, reactions, or just a few comments deter you. The people who are getting a lot of love have been at this for a while, but this isn’t their playground. Be the new kid on the block who asks to be part of the pick-up game. The next Michael Jordan.


So yeah, answer number four might have been the easy pick, but this is what it essentially boils down to; you have to focus on all three of the components. Focusing on only your profile won’t garner results. Boasting you have thousands of connections won’t do any good unless you communicate with them. Complete the job by performing all three.