Tag Archives: LinkedIn Tips

15 LinkedIn pros talk about creating a powerful LinkedIn Headline

This is the final article of a three-part series that looks at the most important sections of the LinkedIn profile, the About, Experienced, and now the Headline. It’s debatable as to which is the most important of the three profile sections, but according to a poll taken on LinkedIn, the Headline is the most important.

Now that you know the Headline is (theoretically) the most important section, you’re probably wondering how you can write a LinkedIn profile Headline that makes people take a second look and want to read the rest of your profile. Fifteen (15) LinkedIn pros go into detail on how to accomplish this.

One important element of a strong Headline is search optimization (SEO). One of the 15 pros goes into detail on how to optimize your Headline.

A common theme among the pros is not settling on your title as the Headline. Why should you? You’re more than what you do and where you work.

There’s the Good, Better, and Best kinds of Headline sections. Read how you can accomplish the “Best.”

Use emojis in your Headline? Heck yes; they add color and make it stand out.

And of course one of our pros comes up with an acronym. Find out what it is and what it stands for.

But don’t take my word for it. Read what all the pros have to say about writing a powerful Headline.


SEO for Effective LinkedIn Professional Headlines

Susan Joyce, Netability.com

Your LinkedIn professional Headline defines and brands you across the Internet. You are much more than a job title at your employer, the default.

FACT: The words you use in your Headline greatly impact your visibility when someone searches both LinkedIn and Google.

Know your most important keywords, and use those terms in your professional Headline:

  • Your job title is usually a very important keyword term.
    If your job title isn’t commonly used, add the more frequently used term (in the Experience section, too). So, a marketing manager who has the “Marketing Warrior” job title should include both terms in the Headline.
  • Add key terms that are important to people who might hire you or want to connect with you.
    Everyone who wants to work from home should terms like “Experienced Remote Worker” to their Headline, as appropriate. For example, an admin assistant working from home could use “Admin Assistant/Virtual Assistant.”
  • Include your most important skills and/or accomplishments.
    Check the job descriptions of the job you want next (with your target employers) and the profiles of your most successful competitors to see which terms are the most important.
  • Make the most important terms visible in the beginning of your Headline to have the best SEO impact.

Three key tips to remember about your Headline when someone is searching LinkedIn (not using LinkedIn Recruiter):

  1. Focus on keywords that will bring you the professional attention you want.
  2. Make the most important keywords visible near the beginning of your Headline.
  3. The keywords in shorter Headlines seem to rank higher in searches than those with the keywords near the end, so choose the words and the length of your Headline carefully for the most powerful SEO.

Do not make your Headline a list of keywords. Humans must find it interesting and appealing too.


Your Headline is like buying a house

Sonal Bahl, SuperChargeYourself.com

Imagine looking for a house.
You go to your favourite website.

Your specifications are:

House, 3 bedrooms, 120 m2 habitable area, 2 baths, near park and shops. Central location.

🏡

And you see the results.
How lovely.
Those pictures look inviting.

Some houses pop up, right on top of the list.
They match your requirements.
Your heart skips a beat.
Yippee.

Do you ever click on links without a picture?
Rarely.

Do you ever click on links without a description?
Nope.

It just says: House available. That’s it.

Nope, they don’t get clicked.

So, Dear Job Seekers,
Recruiters are looking for you.
You are the HOUSE.

I beg you. I BEG YOU.
PLEASE.

Stop writing ‘Actively seeking new roles’ in your LinkedIn Headline.
STOP!
🛑

Your Headline needs to help you to be FOUND.

Do this instead:
TSA.

TSA?
Going somewhere?
Ha, you wish.

TSA is
Titles Skills Accomplishment

Titles: What are they looking for? (Is it a house/apartment/studio?)

Skills: key skills/attributes you see repeatedly in job descriptions. (no. of bedrooms)

Accomplishment: I help you to find the house of your dreams

Example:
Project Manager | Agile & Scrum Methodology | B2B | 10 years experience managing complex, multi-stakeholder projects & saving organisations $300,000 annually.


Make every word count

Sarah Johnston, BriefcaseCoach.com

As many people probably know, the character limit for the Headline is 220.

I am personally a fan of making every (key)word count because your Headline is prime real estate. The words that you select for your profile should be exact words that a recruiter would use to search for someone with your skill set. 

When crafting LinkedIn Headlines for clients, I typically follow one of these formulas:

Formula: Role | Specific Industry Achievement | Fun Fact
Example: Senior Healthcare Executive | President & Chief Executive Officer | Turnaround and Multi-site Specialist  | Becker’s Healthcare CEO of the Year

Formula: Role | Industry/Expertise | Unique Value
Example: Chief Investment Officer | CIO | Legal Executive | Focused on strategic asset management of a $25B portfolio 

Formula: Role | Helping [type of company] do [result] | keyword 2 | keyword 3
Example: Chief Marketing Officer |  I increase revenue and product awareness through innovative brand and digital strategies | Retail and CPG 


You’re more than your title

Shelley Piedmont, ShelleyPiedmont.com

<Job Title> at <Employer>. That is what most people have as their Headline because LinkedIn makes it the default. But aren’t you more than a title? I hope so. Do you want your “personal brand” to be connected with one employer? Probably not. So, make sure you customize your Headline.

LinkedIn gives you 220 characters to tailor this most visible aspect of your profile to tell the reader about you. Think of all the places where your Headline is seen.

  • When you comment on a post
  • When you post content
  • In search results
  • In the People You May Know section
  • When you apply for a job on LinkedIn

That is a lot of places. Why should a person click on your profile or look at your content? Because you have hooked them in by having a compelling Headline.

So how do you get a reader’s attention? Tell the reader what they need to know about you. Interest the reader in you.

  • Tell them about your skill sets
  • Tell them your areas of expertise
  • Tell them what you have and can accomplish
  • Tell them how you help your target audience

Lastly, do not forget about keywords. Keywords will get the attention of your audience and help you come up in search results. To do this, make sure your Headline and other parts of your LinkedIn profile have the appropriate keywords that will be searched for by your intended audience.

If you are an Accountant whose practice focuses on tax issues, you should have “tax” somewhere in your Headline. If you are a Software Developer and have sought after programming languages, add them to your Headline.


Think branding, metrics, keywords

Nii Ato Bentsi-Enchill, AvenirCareers.com

Your Headline is often the first impression that people will have of you on LinkedIn. You can do better than just have it be a title and an employer.

You are not a default candidate, so don’t leave your LinkedIn profile Headline in the default setting, which is “Your Name at Current Employer.” This is the fastest way to blend into a page of search results. Instead, make yourself stand out by customizing your LinkedIn Headline. Not doing so is a missed opportunity to make a strong first impression

Forgoing customization means your Headline might currently read something like, “Sports Marketing Manager at Elevate Marketing.” This Headline barely makes a dent in the ~220-character allowance and fails to tell employers anything interesting and/or attractive about you to encourage them to engage.

I guide clients to include 3 key elements in their Headline to the extent it’s possible:

1) Branding

2) Metrics

3) Keywords.

Here’s an example:

Sports Marketing Manager curating creative touchpoints that inspire fans | Former Pr🏀  Athlete | Drove 30% revenue growth | Strategy | Digital Marketing | Business Development | Sponsorship | Experiential Events

This example is 210 characters long. When employers/recruiters are scrolling through search results for “Sports Marketing Manager,” the default Headline will not stand out, but this one will because it offers effective, attention-grabbing information.

This one also happens to feature an emoji, which can be helpful when used creatively. Your LinkedIn Headline is called a “Headline” for a reason. Just like a newspaper’s front page, make sure your headline sparks people to pick up this edition featuring your story.

“You are only as good as the good you do for others.”~Unknown


There’s Good, Better, and Best. Make your Headline “Best”

Loren Greiff, PortfolioRocket.com

You must take your LinkedIn Headline seriously. 

Because it’s crazy glued to everywhere you go on the platform. 

Anchoring your name. 

Appearing under all your comments on other’s posts

At the top of the DM strings. 

Headlines can be classified in three categories: 

Good: 

These are basic Headlines, reliant on your title, Creative Director

They’re uninspired but are good because your title (unless made up like Ninja) uses keywords that recruiters and other decision makers use to search for your function.  

Everyone and anyone can have a Headline like this. 

Better:  

Better Headlines combine  title with an ownable and benefit driven narrative

Precision Marketing & Media Lead, Nissan | Solving to Evolve Media & Marketing Organizations Prioritizing The 3Ps: People, Process, Product

Monetization mobilizer building, scaling & revitalizing revenue for everyday luxury brands | VP/GM, Global Data Strategy & Monetization at Condé Nast

Best: 

Does what better does AND adds in a little zinger: 

Founder + Creative Director | Sharpe Creative • I work with small and midsize companies who crave the impact of a big brand — together we are David, ready for Goliath 🤜💥🤛

🛵 Executive Creative Producer 🛵 Leading Large Scale Teams For Global Brands To Deliver Massive Impact.  🛵 On time. On Budget. No Ego.🛵

A few  final words on Headlines. 

They can take a little while to nail, and that’s normal. You’re going for right, not rushed. 

It should fit in tone and words to feel like you. 

Like other parts of your LinkedIn profile, your Headline should be refreshed from time to time in order to stay relevant and reflect your most current value. 

Don’t be afraid to get a little creative, even irreverent here. Every decision maker appreciates a candidate who has confidence and stands out. 

This is your first impression, make it the best one. 


5 steps to crafting the optimum Headline

Laura Smith-Proulx, AnExpertResume.com

A powerful branding element that describes who you are, what you deliver, and what you’re most proud of in your career, your Headline can entice other LinkedIn users to read further. Even better, it will attract traffic if you’ve added keywords that emphasize your most important skills.

Here are 5 steps to crafting the optimum Headline:

  1. Start with your career level or goal (SVP of Sales, Global Operations Executive, Contract Administrator, CIO, etc.). You can use more than one job title, but be sure it matches the positions you’d like to have.
  1. Next, add keywords matching what you WANT to do. In my case, Leadership Careers, Resume Writer, and Branding all help convey what I do for my target audience. Keywords should resemble your ideal job description. Important note: remove skills you’d rather not use in your next job. (I’m a former IT consultant, but you won’t find SQL or application development in my Headline.)
  1. Third, fold in a top career achievement. Maybe you’ve reached the #1 regional ranking in your industry, led digital transformations, or earned promotions at Fortune 500 companies. “Digital Payment Solutions Enabling 43% More Online Transactions” or “New Efficiencies From Robotics Process Automation” convey wins (and even include keywords).
  1. Then expand your Headline to use as many of your 220 available characters as possible. Longer Headlines have a better shot at incorporating a clear value proposition and the keywords integral to your findability as a candidate.
  1. Last of all, consider incorporating some bling with symbols in your Headline. A quick search on “symbols for LinkedIn Headlines” will return an array of interesting bullets you can use to separate key fields.

Set yourself a part from others, don’t commit #personalblanding

Kevin Turner, TNTBrandStrategist.com

Personal Blanding is the intentional or inadvertent act of demarketing or making oneself appear generic. Accepting any defaults on LinkedIn, especially the [Headline] of [Title] at [Company], are the most blatant forms of Personal Blanding. Personal Blanding won’t get you noticed while Personal Branding will!

Think of your [Headline] like a branding handshake. The up-to-240 spaces is like the time it takes to comfortably shake hands, introduce yourself, and maybe the deciding factor in your future.

Imagine you are on a two-story elevator with nine other people, just like you, going to an interview for the same opportunity. Right before the doors close, the CEO steps in. This decision-maker turns and says hello, introduces themself, and shakes each person’s hand, expecting the same.

This is not the time to falter, drone on, or try to regurgitate your resume. What can you say during this brief handshake time-frame that will set you apart from everyone else on that elevator? What can you say that is short, succinct, and will get you remembered?

That’s your Personal Branding [Headline].

#JustSayNoToPersonalBlanding!


💥 Make your Headline distinct with emojis 💥

Karen Tisdell, KarenTisdell.com

LinkedIn is highly visual, and it’s becoming harder and harder to cut through the
noise. If you want your LinkedIn profile Headline to capture attention you’ll need to do something many people still aren’t – use emojis.

You heard right. Emojis are a powerful tool on LinkedIn. They make your Headline
more visually memorable and can help you appear more friendly and approachable.

But don’t think that Emojis are all about conveying emotion, either. An emoji can be a bold shape, a conservative black dot, a brightly coloured symbol that stands out amongst the text and ensures your headline actually gets read.

Adding emojis to your LinkedIn profile and content is as easy as copying and
pasting. Depending on your operating platform, there are various keyboard
shortcuts you can use and emojipaedia.org will also enable you to find the right
emoji or symbol that suits your brand message.

The challenge being that often we don’t know what we want, until we see it…

My article HERE captures a wide spectrum of LinkedIn-friendly emojis, moving far
beyond a smiley emoji.


Don’t be invisible, stand out from the crowd

Ed Han, Job-Hunt.org

You know how sometimes you hear something and it gets stuck in your head. Like maybe the overture to Raiders of the Lost Ark? That’s pretty catchy: I don’t know anyone who couldn’t recognize it if they heard the first few notes.

Back on August 31, 1997, Fast Company published an article by  management consultant Tom Peters titled The Brand Called You. This article struck like a thunderbolt when published and remains just as powerful and relevant today, almost 24 years later. As Peters wrote:

Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.

Today we call it personal branding, a fairly common concept in career circles now but on the cusp of Q4 1997, it was revolutionary.

The 220 characters of your LinkedIn profile Headline are a stunning billboard to display your personal brand because everyplace your name goes on the platform, so go your profile photo and Headline. Everywhere, including search results.

And the best personal brands articulate a unique value proposition: what is it that someone brings to the table that they alone offer?

Unfortunately, when you create a LinkedIn profile, or when add a new job to your profile, LinkedIn “helpfully” suggests updating your Headline to match defaulting to [JOB TITLE] at [EMPLOYER].

Now imagine someone searching for what you do for a living. In the search results, they see literally hundreds or even thousands of search results, filled with firstname lastname [JOB TITLE] at [EMPLOYER].

So boring!

You have become invisible. My friend and fellow contributor Kevin D. Turner refers to this as personal blanding for good reason. There is a vast ocean of undifferentiated sameness in LinkedIn search results.

Stand out! The purpose of any branding statement is to make someone want to know more. That’s why it is essential that your Headline articulates your unique value proposition.

Give the reader a reason to want to know more. What motivates you to do what you do? Which of your traits would managers, reports, and colleagues consistently say were your top ones? And remember: it’s not bragging if it’s true.

You are more—far more—than the position you currently or last did. No job title can possibly contain the whole of what you bring to the table. So why constrain yourself?

You want to interest people. Craft your Headline accordingly. And when you do, front-load your highest impact content in the first 80ish characters, as over 50% of all LinkedIn traffic is via the app rather than desktop, and Headlines get truncated on the app.


Define your audience and write for them

Biron Clark, CareerSidekick.com

If you try to appeal to everyone with your LinkedIn Headlines, you’ll appeal to no one.

Take a moment to identify what type of person or employer you’re trying to connect with, and then think about which skills and qualifications you can put in your Headline to attract them.

For example, if 30% of your current role is sales-related and the rest is customer support, but you’re targeting phone sales jobs now, you could write this Headline:

Top-performing sales rep | 3 years of phone sales experience

(I have more Headline formulas/examples here.)

You shouldn’t go into your interviews and lie about the breakdown of your past job duties, but you should highlight what’s most relevant in your LinkedIn Headline to get that interview.

And there’s no rule that your LinkedIn Headline needs to be identical to your job title or even include it.

To gather ideas for keywords and skills to include in your Headline, look at a couple of job descriptions for the type of role you want. Notice the job titles and also the top skills listed.

The more you can demonstrate that you have some ability or overlap in those areas, the better, even if it’s from a different industry or slightly different type of job.


Use your Headline as the foundation of your About section

Bob McIntosh, ThingsCareerRelated.com

I tell my clients that their Headline can be the foundation of their About section and, for that matter, their Experience section. To stand by my word, I do this with my LinkedIn profile. This is how I started my profile, and this is how it stands now.

It makes sense if you think about it. If you want to brand yourself throughout your LinkedIn profile, you must be consistent. Every section of your profile should brand you, but there are no more obvious sections than your Headline and About.

There are a plethora of Headline and About section styles. Neither are better than the others; it’s a matter of preference, just as long as they fit your personal brand and deliver a strong message.

To illustrate what I’m talking about, I’ll show you my Headline which begins with a tagline and is followed by titles that I currently hold.

👊 I’m on the frontline fighting 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗚𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗙𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 for job seekers ◆ LinkedIn Trainer ◆ Career Coach ◆ Online Instructor ◆ Blogging Fanatic 🏆LinkedIn Top Voices 2019 #LinkedInUnleashed©

In my About section I should closely follow the title listed above with two-three lines describing how I live up to the areas of expertise.

I’m not entirely accurate in terms of order of placement, and instead of using nouns I use adjectives. My headers are: 𝗝𝗢𝗕-𝗦𝗘𝗔𝗥𝗖𝗛 𝗦𝗧𝗥𝗔𝗧𝗘𝗚𝗬, 𝗟𝗜𝗡𝗞𝗘𝗗𝗜𝗡 𝗧𝗥𝗔𝗜𝗡𝗜𝗡𝗚, and 𝗕𝗟𝗢𝗚𝗚𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗢𝗡: 𝗝𝗢𝗕 𝗦𝗘𝗔𝗥𝗖𝗛 | 𝗟𝗜𝗡𝗞𝗘𝗗𝗜𝗡.

Under 𝗝𝗢𝗕-𝗦𝗘𝗔𝗥𝗖𝗛 𝗦𝗧𝗥𝗔𝗧𝗘𝗚𝗬 I have the following two statements:

★ Recently I received an award for my part in delivering job-search webinars. 🏆

★ I consistently achieve “Excellent” ratings on webinar evaluations.

Why make writing your Headline and About complicated? Show your value by using a tagline and keywords by which to be found, and then structure your About section after your Headline. Value + Consistency = Strong Branding.


The “what,” “who,” and “why” of writing your Headline

Brad Minton, MintToBeCareer.com

The keys to a great Headline if you’re a job seeker center around how you define yourself professionally so that you can attract the right opportunities. This 220-character piece of real estate should help showcase your unique value and character to potential employers.

You want to say three things primarily. What you do, who you are and why you’re different.

1) What you do: Identify the roles that you want and incorporate the keywords and industry terms. Research job postings for positions of interest and use a Wordcloud to identify the most common words. This ensures that recruiters can find you through the power of search engine optimization.

Remember you can include several and separate them by vertical lines or bullets.  Ex: Career Development Specialist | Certified Coach | Resume Writer | Instructor | LGBTQIA+ & Career Consultant (Sandra Buatti-Ramos).  

2) Who you are: Showcase your authentic personality. This could be possibly incorporating your “why” or your personal mission. This is a great opportunity to get creative, use more subjective language and even emojis. Ex: I help executives (CXO), directors & managers level up, land a job faster & increase earning power! (Adrienne Tom).

3) Why you’re different. This component is critical to expand on how you’re more than just a job title. This is an opportunity to speak about your niche market, or perhaps a really high achievement that you’ve been able to accomplish. Ex:  “Acquiring 10,000 B2B Leads a Month” (Seun Oyediran).


Entice viewers with your Headline

Ana Lokotkova, CVLabs.ca

  1. Your profile Headline plays a crucial role when it comes to your visibility on LinkedIn for two reasons:
  2. It helps your profile pop up in relevant searches, meaning people can find you more easily, and

It has the power to grab attention and entice more profile views.

Imagine typing in a search on LinkedIn and seeing hundreds of profiles appear in the results. How would you differentiate among them? Which profile would you click on first, increasing the chance of engaging in a conversation with that person before you reach the rest?

Your Headline needs to set your profile apart from your direct competition. Instead of resorting to the default “Job Title at Company Name’, consider this an opportunity to make a first impression and tell a story in 220 characters or less.

A great way to do that is to turn your Headline into a short slogan that summarizes your core value proposition while also hitting some of the most relevant keywords used to describe your profession and level of expertise.

Compared to a plain job title, a slogan is so much more engaging and gets the message across instantly. You don’t need to be in sales or run your own business to write up your own branding slogan.

Here are a few examples for inspiration:

Digital Marketer | Merging social media and recruitment to connect people to the right role

Helping sales teams become more successful through social selling


Use S. O. A. P. to write your Headline

Adrienne Tom, CareerImpressions.ca

I like to say that strong LinkedIn Headlines apply the S.O.A.P formula:

Specific

Optimized

Authentic

Professional and personalized

Your Headline introduces you on LinkedIn. It follows you everywhere on the site. Often it is the only thing people see about you until your full profile is accessed.

Maximize Headline real estate to create a positive impression and help people better understand who you are and what you have to offer. 

Write your Headline with purpose and intent to get found for that next-level position or awesome job opening. Clean it up with a little S.O.A.P, working within the designated character limit, as demonstrated in these examples:

Sales Executive / VP, Entertainment. Evolved the customer experience in media advertising from transactional to collaborative, propelling sales and revenue growth >>> 500%+ revenue expansion in 4 Years

VP of Product Strategy: I delivered millions in new revenue for technology companies through customer experience and product initiatives. B2C | SaaS | Global Enterprise Software Solutions | Digital Marketing 

Oil & Gas Sales Manager | 110% YOY Sales Growth | $150M Territory | National Sales Teams of 40+ | Upstream and Midstream Oil & Gas

Controller: I influence decision-making and raise business profitability through the delivery of trusted financial intelligence. Accounting & Financial Leadership | Global & Fortune 500

The above Headlines are:

Specific. We know what type of role each professional holds or aspires to hold and the value they bring to business. Specific metrics and numbers help add scale, scope, and impact.

Optimized with industry keywords and terminology that recruiters could be searching for.

Authentic to each person and their offerings. Some even use first-person.

Professional and personalized, instilling confidence in the reader.

I share 3 additional ways to write your Headline for different audiences in this accompanying article.

 

 

 

 

 



Tips from 6 pros on how to use LinkedIn to network

I will be the first to admit that networking on LinkedIn is complex; it’s not straightforward. What does networking on LinkedIn involve? The first step is having a strategy, which will take some forethought. You also have to be willing to reach out to LinkedIn members you don’t know. These steps are the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

After your strategy is in place and you’re committed to connecting with people unknown to you, there’s more work to do. Having a powerful profile is necessary to entice potential connections to connect with you.

Networking on LinkedIn also requires communicating with your connections, lest you become out of sight, out of mind. A lot of moving pieces. Read the first article of this series: Tips from 5 pros on how to create content on LinkedIn

No fears. In this article, six LinkedIn pros explain how they network on LinkedIn, as well as what they advise job seekers to do when it comes to networking. They talk about strategy, taking the step to enter unknown territory, and more.

Yes, they’re well established on LinkedIn; that’s why their tips will make you better networkers. Let’s see what advice our pros have to give.

Jack Kelly, WeCruitr

I try to eschew terms that evoke strong negative emotions. Networking, unfortunately, carries the connotation of going to an old-school ‘rubber chicken’ dinner, wearing a tag with your name written in magic marker, putting on a plastic smile and shaking hands too firmly in an effort to show you’re the alpha dog in the relationship.

With LinkedIn, it’s different and the social media platform offers a better way to meet and engage with people.

In my personal experience, I’ve learned that it’s critically important to forge mutually benefiting relationships on LinkedIn. There’s no reason to embark upon a job search, project or advance your career all by yourself. You want to build a tribe of similar-minded people on LinkedIn.

I’m a big believer in being authentic and genuine. I won’t put on a fake facade. I’d like people to know the real me, for better or worse. I’m most comfortable being natural in my networking approach on the platform.

If you’ve just lost your job, you don’t want to scramble, starting to network from scratch. It’s awkward and uncomfortable for both parties if you reach out to someone online and ask them to introduce you to a hiring manager when you haven’t spoken with them in years.

Begin constructing a network before you need anyone’s assistance. You’ll be in better shape and have more confidence. On LinkedIn, feel free to reach out to others. Offer help without asking anything in return. Mentor younger people. If you come across someone who’s struggling, give them some attention.

Make it a practice to engage in random acts of kindness on LinkedIn. People will remember your generosity. When you pay it forward, the folks who you helped in their time of need will one day rally behind you.

To get ahead in your career, think critically and long term. There are different types of people to include and exclude from your LinkedIn network. Seek out fast-track stars. Instead of being envious, jump aboard their rocket-ship ride.

Cultivate online LinkedIn relationships with internal human resources recruiters. Start when you join the company. Keep in close touch with HR. Introduce people who could fill difficult job openings. When you notice that the HR person left to join another company, send her a nice congratulatory LinkedIn message. It could open doors for you too at her new firm.

Channel your inner Sun Tzu. View your competitors as potential allies. Invite them to your network. Engage in conversations. Share work stories. Commiserate together online. Over time, as they switch jobs, you’ll be connected with people working at an array of different companies.

Avoid certain types of people on LinkedIn. These are the folks who are perennially negative, gossip, talk about others behind their backs. They’ll drag you down.

Attend networking events on LinkedIn. During the pandemic there have been a large number of LinkedIn Live shows and online meetups designed to offer advice and introduce people to one another.

Politely invite people you feel comfortable with to join your network. Stay in touch. Like, comment on and share their posts. Follow successful people in your field and turn the online conversations into real relationships.

Always be open and friendly on the platform. You never know where your next big break will come from. It could be a recruiter who noticed a posting you wrote and has a great job to share with you. A former coworker, who you mentored and connected with, is now a manager and would like to see if you’re interested in a high-level position at his company.

Specifically target people at the companies you want to work for. Send them LinkedIn invites. If and when they connect with you, cultivate and nurture the relationship. You want to be on their radar screen when new jobs open up that you’re appropriate for.

Susan Joyce, Job-Hunt.org

As someone with a military background, my networking strategies are probably more careful than most LinkedIn members, particularly when it comes to accepting LinkedIn Connections. However, I highly value LinkedIn for networking, particularly during this pandemic.

My goal, on and off LinkedIn, is to help people understand how job search works today so they can successfully find their next job (or, even better, have the new job find them) through writing articles and sharing helpful information.

Most days, including weekends, I visit LinkedIn several times to check out my Notifications, catch up on Messages, and read the posts on my LinkedIn home page. These activities help me stay up-to-date, meet new LinkedIn members, and develop public dialogs with other members.

My basic strategy for networking on LinkedIn is to share good information with other members, find other members to learn from (like Bob McIntosh and the other contributors to this article), and carefully expand my network of connections.

For networking and professional growth, I find and follow:

  • Members who offer value in their posts.
  • Members who make good comments on my posts.
  • Members with whom I share some life experience – work in the same field, attended the same school, worked for the same employer, or have something else in common.
  • Members my connections follow.

Then, I do my best to make appropriate comments and learn more about these members. Connecting on LinkedIn may be followed by LinkedIn messages, emails, phone calls, and even video discussions. The result: developing relationships with LinkedIn members I would not likely have met in person before LinkedIn, particularly those who live outside of the USA.

When evaluating possible LinkedIn connections, I check the profile carefully. Usually, I accept or ignore invitations to connect using these criteria:

  • A complete LinkedIn profile:
    • More than 100 connections
    • Job descriptions connected to an employer’s LinkedIn Company page
    • About section more than 4 lines long
    • Recommendations
    • Skills and endorsements
  • Posts and activity:
    • Recent
    • On topic
    • More than a few words
    • Relevant and professional

I also Google the person’s name to verify that the person exists, that the employers exist, and to find some proof of professional expertise.

LinkedIn has helped me succeed professionally, and I have found many colleagues and friends through LinkedIn that I would have never met without it. Leverage LinkedIn for your career, too.

Ana Loktokva, CVLabs.ca

People often ask me: “What should I write to a stranger on LinkedIn?”

To me, networking on LinkedIn is no different than networking in person in a sense of how I approach every interaction. My rule of thumb is: don’t write it in a message if you wouldn’t say it in person.

Cold conversations can feel awkward, especially online. That’s why I actively use my news feed for networking. Every day, as I’m scrolling through my feed, I’m not just lurking behind the scenes—I do my best to engage with as many posts that interest me as I can.

What does engaging with a post mean?

It means you take the time to add value by commenting under the post to create a meaningful conversation.

The best part of it is that it’s not that hard to do once you get used to it. By commenting, you’re helping the author of the post to increase their visibility, as well as make new connections with others who have liked or commented on the same post.

I’ve found it to be a very natural way to ease into networking, especially for us introverts. It makes it so much easier to message someone directly after you’ve already had a couple of interactions with them in the comments, and have established some initial trust.

If you want some ideas for networking in the comments on LinkedIn, check out this video.

Once you decide to message someone you don’t know well yet, be mindful about how you ask them for help or advice. No one appreciates feeling used or burdened by a big vague request, like “help me find a job”, right off the bat.

If you want to receive great advice, make sure you formulate the right “ask” first:

  • zoom in on one specific aspect you need their input on,
  • explain briefly why they are the right person to address your question,
  • show genuine appreciation for their time by not asking for too much of it right away,
  • take any extra pressure off by openly telling them that it’s okay if they can’t help you or decide not to for their own personal reasons.

As awkward as it may feel at first, there’s nothing wrong with asking others for input. It doesn’t make you selfish or unethical—it makes you vulnerable. It is something everyone can relate to, which means you have every chance to create an emotional connection with another human being.

Biron Clark, CareerSideKick.com

My networking strategy on LinkedIn:

I focus on quality of connections, not quantity. I think that one or two strong, meaningful relationships are better than 100 new connections that I won’t ever talk to.

One key person can introduce you to opportunities, help you expand your network further, etc. So I focus on connecting with the right people, not a lot of people.

And I do my research first so that I’m able to clearly explain why I wanted to connect.

Next, when I connect with somebody new, I’m always looking to give value first.

I’m thinking about whether I have something to offer (advice, data, leads, information, tactics) or if I know anyone else they’d benefit from talking to as well!

Lastly, I also try to share content that will attract the “right” people to me… via my LinkedIn posts. That way, I receive inbound connection requests to grow my network further.

How job seekers should network:

Be strategic and focus on quality of relationships instead of connecting with everyone possible.

Think about who you’d benefit from knowing. It could be hiring managers, career advisors, or anyone else.

Then, do your research and find an angle to approach them with, and send a customized LinkedIn request.

For example, you could say, “I read your recent article about ___. It was incredibly helpful to me as a job seeker, so I wanted to connect here if you’re open to it.”

Then, after they accept, don’t ask for a big, time-consuming favor right away. That’s not how to build a relationship.

Ask for something smaller to start, for example:

“Thanks for connecting. I see you’ve been in the manufacturing industry for quite a while, like me. Do you have any thoughts on whether the worst is behind us in terms of layoffs, or whether this year might be a struggle for companies in this space as well?”

Or:

“I noticed you’re a former recruiter. Do you prefer when candidates put their Skills section high up on their resume, or do you prefer to see it lower down, after their Experience section?”

By starting with a small question, you’re a lot more likely to get a reply! Most people like being seen as an expert or authority on a topic, so it’s a compliment to ask their opinion on something specific and narrow.

However, I see job seekers run into trouble (and not get replies) when they ask for something too big right away. For example:

  • “Can you help me find a job?”
  • “Can you look at my resume and tell me what to change?”

I share more word-for-word examples of what to say to get replies (and what not to say) in my LinkedIn cold-messaging guide here.

Next, if there’s something you believe you can offer the other person, that’s an even better way to approach them!

Do you know anyone they’d benefit from knowing? Make an introduction. Can you share a piece of their content? Every content creator likes to get their work shared on social media!

Also, to gain more networking opportunities, consider creating LinkedIn posts to share with your network. If not, at least comment and engage on other people’s posts that you find relevant (and that the people you want to network with will find relevant).

If someone is a content creator, there’s another good way to get their attention and build a relationship, too. Follow them, start commenting on a few of their posts, and then send a message after they’ve seen your name a few times in the comments! You’re far more likely to get a reply if you do this.

Lastly, considering joining some LinkedIn groups. You can join industry-specific groups and groups for your situation (e.g. a group for unemployed job seekers, a group for coding bootcamp students, a group for entry-level workers in their first job, etc.)

Mark Anthony Dyson, TheVoiceOfJobSeekers.com

I changed the way I write my profile while noticing my own LinkedIn habits. I want to know who I am about to check out before I want to know about them.

Who I connect with is essential. I desire quality connections, and saying no to users who don’t invest the time to create a quality profile is disqualified. I know many career professionals will not accept a connection request without a message explaining the reason for connecting.

How will they learn if I don’t teach them?

The one networking habit most users on LinkedIn will want to know is who you are and your proposed value. Why should they have to go to your profile to understand? When they put their cursor over your name, the intrigue is there, and they want to know more. By not providing it, you are stunting your LinkedIn possibilities and potential opportunities.

The O’Jays song, “Give the People What They Want,” comes to mind.

I could preach all day about filling out the profile completely, but my networking strategy has everything to do with the first impression. There are a few ways to do it before or even without another user looking at your profile.

I try to create thoughtful comments on posts in two sentences or less to sway a connection request.

Thoughtful comments can be long or short, but I keep them short most of the time on regular posts. It is possible to be intelligent, compelling, and serve readers in two or three sentences most of the time. People seem to engage brevity, especially when most users are commenting long-form, and sometimes, longer comments can be useless.

I like to offer useful comments on 2nd and 3rd connection posts (especially if I want to connect with others).

Because I usually don’t know the person, I’m commenting to passively illicit connection invites. Even here, I’m intentionally brief mostly, and it often ends up in a connection request with a note. My goal is to offer more value to everyone, but a genuine first impression provides a pathway to an interactive relationship.

Most of the time, I respond to those who write a note.

I use a short one or two-sentence response to let them know I am not using the auto-respond messages. It’s a small way to show you’re thoughtful and personable.

Not everyone who writes a note is granted connection or access.

I do say no to those who emphasize selling in their headlines (especially those who help entrepreneurs get to seven-figures in the podcast) or anything similar. Furthermore, I delete connection requests with notices that say they want to know more about what I do. Arrgh! I couldn’t be more explicit in my messaging and LinkedIn profile. Must we do this dance? No.

Updates as mini-articles is a game-changer.

When I started writing mini-articles in my posts, my engagement skyrocketed and 3x-4x connection requests. But they also enacted many Zoom call invites for tea and great conversations. I try to be personable without being personal. I again try to throw a few lyrics from songs or compelling analogies. I update with far more useful and practical tips than offering up my accomplishments.

I do two or more Live Streams a week with experts I respect (like Jack Kelly and Damian Birkel). These conversations spark other offline discussions or provide a basis for additional networking with viewers.

I know LinkedIn users may take these opportunities for granted, but I found these strategies useful. Networking is naturally hard for me, but it energizes my long-term business efforts. If your net is indeed working, you’ll find these small changes to your strategy will stimulate and attract quality connections on LinkedIn.

Bob McIntosh, ThingsCareerRelated.com

Over the years I’ve built up a network of close to 4,000 connections. To some this might seem like a large number, whereas others might see it as small. I’m happy with the size of my network for the following reasons:

1. I communicate with enough of them by posting updates; sharing articles; DM them; and, more importantly, comment on their content. This is one rule of networking: give and give and take. Yes, I mentioned “give” twice.

2. The core of my network comprises like-minded people who “get” me. Not all of them are webinar facilitators, or LinkedIn trainers, or bloggers. But we have a great deal in common. And the content I share is of value to them. This is key when communicating with your network.

3. I see my Messaging icon light up on a daily basis. What this means is that I communicate with my connections in an intimate manner. In COVID times it’s nice to have the opportunity to do this.

Job seekers, networking on LinkedIn is difficult to master, but not impossible. Here are some suggestions for you if you’re struggling with networking.

1. Don’t internalize LinkedIn’s foolish statement about connecting with only the people you know. If you’re satisfied with having 150 connections, understand that you are seriously limiting your reach of LinkedIn users who can provide sage advice or a job possibilities.

2. Have a strategy. In other words, don’t invite people who will be of no mutual value. I talk with my clients about the tiers of their connections. Everyone will have different priorities, but I consider connecting with people in your target company list to be the top tier.

The next tier might be recruiters or other hiring authorities, particularly those who serve your industry. Also consider people who are like-minded, such as people in your occupation and industry. You will find a great deal to discuss in DMs and your content will be of interest.

3. Practice LinkedIn networking etiquette by sending personalized messages to the people you want in your network. The default message will not cut it. In fact, I always hit Ignore when I receive an invite that’s not personalized.

There are three types of invites; the cold invite, the invite with a reference, and the introduction invite. The cold invite is the least successful, but if done right can be successful. Biron Clark provides in his article above a link to how to write cold invites.

4. Follow up is key to success. One simple way to do this is by thanking the person for joining your network and asking a simple question. “I notice you live in Madison. Are you a Packers’ fan? I think they look good for a Superbowl victory” your chances of building a rapport with your connection is great.

5. My last bit of advice is to be respectful of LinkedIn members. Don’t troll them by vehemently criticizing the content they share. It’s perfectly fine to disagree with their opinion, but viscous attacks will only make you look bad and kill your networking efforts.

Now check out the other two articles in this series.

Tips from 6 pros on how to write a winning LinkedIn profile
Tips from 5 pros on how to create content on LinkedIn

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

5 tips for busy people using LinkedIn

I’ve often said that my use of LinkedIn can be classified as extreme, almost bordering on a sickness. No lie; I’m on LinkedIn every day of the year for at least half an hour a day. There are other people like me, maybe worse.

busy people

You might be wondering why I use LinkedIn as often as I do. First, I teach hundreds of LinkedIn workshops and individual sessions a year. Second, it’s great advertisement for my side hustle, LinkedIn profiles and training. Third, I enjoy using LinkedIn.

If you think this article is about using LinkedIn as often as I and others do, don’t fret. In fact, I’m going to suggest that you don’t follow my lead. As I tell me clients, “Don’t be like me.”

So let’s talk about you. You are unemployed, underemployed, trying to leave your current job for a better one, or running a business. You don’t see using LinkedIn as often as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. LinkedIn’s not your priority. You’re busy.

However, you realize that you have to use LinkedIn to accomplish your goals.

This article is for you busy people. I’m going to make LinkedIn doable for you by offering five tips.

  1. How much time to dedicate to LinkedIn.
  2. How you should create your profile.
  3. How to connect with other LinkedIn members.
  4. How to engage with your network.
  5. What to do after your land your job or have established your business.

But first, why you should use LinkedIn

Perhaps you’ve been told by do-gooders that if you use LinkedIn alone, you will land a job easily and quickly or business will pick up in a snap. That’s bunk. LinkedIn is part of your networking campaign; you’ll also have to network face-to-face. Consider LinkedIn a supplement to your face-to-face networking.

Here are three strong reasons why you should be on LinkedIn. One, anywhere between a 78%-95% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find talent. Two, LinkedIn is a great research tool, which will allow you to locate and follow or connect with pretty much anyone you want to. Three, LinkedIn can be a great professional community.

1. How much time to dedicate to LinkedIn

I’d like to say, “Whatever makes you comfortable,” but some of you might follow the average LinkedIn user who is on LinkedIn a mere 17 minutes a month, according to various sources. You might consider me judgemental when I say those people should leave LinkedIn immediately.

If you fall under the 17-minutes-a-month category, heed what I write next or close your account.

I suggest you use LinkedIn two days a week, 10 minutes a day, at a bare minimum. Better would be four days a week, 15 minutes a day. You’ll make more progress. But I know you’re busy, so do what you can.

2. How you should create your profile

Do yourself a favor by having a professional who won’t break the bank write your profile. This is if you have the resources. Most people don’t have the resources, so I’ll make this short and sweet. Copy your résumé to your profile for the time being.

Some of you LinkedIn profile pundits are groaning, even cursing me for saying this; but I’m not finished. After this—when you have time—revise your profile.

If you are struggling with verbiage, look at other profiles that reflect what you do, but do not plagiarize.

Read this article to learn how to take your profile to the next level.

3. How to connect with other LinkedIn members

Here’s the thing: despite what you’ve been told and what you’ve seen written, connecting with others and networking online strategically, is more important than creating a kick-ass profile. More groans from the pundits in the wing.

Here’s my challenge for you: send connection invites to 10 people a week. This might seem like a lot, but my goal is to get you to 250 LinkedIn connections as quickly as possible. The question now is who to connect with? Connect with the following people:

  1. Your former colleagues, if you haven’t done this already;
  2. like-minded people who do the same type of work you do and are in similar industries;
  3. people at your desired companies, and;
  4. your alumni.

At this point, you’re wondering how you find said people, how you properly invite them to your network, and what you do after you’ve connected with them. To answer how you find them, let me simply say, “Make All Filters your best friend.” Read this now, or come back to it. But do read it.

The key to properly inviting LinkedIn members to your network is by the personalized messages you send. You might want to create templates that fit most connection-types, strictly to save time. The proper way to write invites is to tailor them to each position.

I’ve included some examples at the end of this article of the messages you can send.

The last part of the “invite process” is where most people fall down. Don’t be this person. Of course I’m talking about following up with the people you’ve invited to your network. I believe that the people who fail to do this are afraid of rejection or insulting their new connections.

4. How to engage with your network

You’re busy, so this component will also trumps a kick-ass profile, for now. You’ll have time to create a profile worthy of greatness, one that demonstrates your value through compelling narrative and knock-em-dead accomplishments.

The goal is to be noticed. To be top of mind with your network, you have to be present on LinkedIn. The old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind” is so true when it comes to LinkedIn. People in your network will see in their timeline your photo and Headline.

However, the Notifications feature will alert you to when:

  • you react to or comment on a post your connections have written,
  • your connections have commented or reacted to a post you’ve written,
  • they’ve tagged you in a post or article,
  • they’ve shared something you’ve written,
  • basically anything your network has done concerning you.

You’re busy. I get that. So I’m going to ask you to take a few actions at first. See the little buggers below? When you read a post or article, hit one of them in the response to a post from one of your connections. Gasp from the LinkedIn pundits.reactions

Next you will be writing a comment on something you’ve read or a video you’ve watched. Nothing huge, because you’re busy, but something that shows you’ve read or viewed the content. Contrary to what you might think, you do have the right to write your own content.

Total time to do this, 15 minutes. You can break it up into chunks throughout the day.

Read this article on how to engage on LinkedIn. You can simply react to it or write an insightful comment.

5. What to do after your land your job or have established your business

I know you don’t think I’m going to say, “Put LinkedIn to bed.” To the contrary; use LinkedIn as much as I’ve told you. This especially goes for you business owners but also applies for you former job seekers.

I wrote a post that has had more than 40,000 views about 8 reasons why you should still use LinkedIn after you land. It’s called I HAVE A JOB. WHY DO I NEED TO USE LINKEDIN. Read it to better understand why using LinkedIn is important after you’ve landed your next job.


Three invite examples

The cold invite

Hello Susan,

We met at the Boston Networking event. You delivered an excellent presentation. The way you talked about interviewing resonated with me. As promised, I’m inviting you to my LinkedIn network.

Bob

The reference invite

Hi Dave,

You and I are both connected with Sharon Beane. She and I work for MassHire Lowell Career Center as workshop facilitators. She strongly encouraged me to connect with you and would be willing to talk with you about me. I believe we can be of mutual assistance.

Sincerely,

Bob

The introduction invite (probably best sent via email)

Hi Karen,

I see that you’re connected with Mark L. Brown, the director of finance at ABC Company. I’m currently in transition and am very interested in a senior financial analyst role.

Although there is no advertised position at ABC, I’d like to speak with Mark about the responsibilities of a senior financial analyst role in ABC’s finance department. It is early on in the process, so I’m also scoping out the companies on my bucket list.

I’ve attached my resume for you to distribute to Mark and anyone you know who is looking for a senior financial analyst.

Sincerely,

Bob

PS – It was great seeing our girls duke it out in last weekend’s soccer match. I hope the two teams meet in the finals.