Tag Archives: LinkedIn

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

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

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


9. Articles and Activity

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.

LinkedIn’s “Open to Work” is the winner of 3 new features for 2020

I am particularly fond of LinkedIn’s poll feature which has been brought back from the early years. With Create a Poll, you can ask LinkedIn members to vote on certain topics like which three new features They appreciate most–Open to Work, Create a Poll, or Add Name Pronunciation? This is the poll I conducted on LinkedIn.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

The winner (drum roll) was Open to Work, which baffles my mind. I thought for sure Create a Poll would run away with the crown. Not so. It only took 24%; Open to Work grabbed 43%; Add Name Pronunciation only 14%; and None of These Turn Me On, 19%.

My valued connection, Kevin Turner, has been keeping up with the changes LinkedIn makes for 16 years. His most recent release can be found here. This post was the inspiration for the poll I conducted.

Note: One change that’s not on Kevin’s list of 2020 features is the expanded headline character count. When I called him on this, he said he’d commented on it earlier. Bam, I stand corrected.

What’s so special about Open to Work?

That’s what I’m wondering. First of all, the banner is…ugly. I know this speaks more to aesthetics, but I can’t help but notice that it’s bold and reminds me of a green horseshoe.

Secondly, I don’t know what purpose it serves. According to LinkedIn:

If you specify the types of job opportunities that you’re interested in and your preferred location, we’ll help your profile show up in search results when recruiters look for suitable job candidates.

But will it work? LinkedIn tells us it will make recruiters aware of job seekers or freelancers who are looking for work. This makes me wonder if it only works for recruiters who use the Recruiter feature, or if it also works for hiring authorities who type in the Search feature “open to work.”

I typed this phrase into Search and found 14,000 people who had it in their headline, but not all of them have the border. So, apparently the banner is not necessary when you’re looked for by hiring authorities who type the phrase in Search.

Kevin further confirmed that only recruiters “who pay to play” have the ability to find job seekers who choose to turn on this feature.

To boot, there is some controversy surrounding this new feature. Some believe it doesn’t add value to your candidacy if you use it. It hurts your brand and recruiters are more interested in the value you’ll deliver, rather than the fact that you’re looking for work.

Sarah Johnston wrote a post that shares the above sentiment; she says when recruiters are looking for a qualified candidate and candidates sport the green banner, they aren’t impressed. She advises, “Instead of opening with ‘I’m unemployed looking for my next role,’ consider other ways that you can stand out or connect with decision makers.”

Polls are back

As I said earlier, LinkedIn had Create a Poll (they weren’t called this) years ago but discontinued the feature. Are they here to stay? I hope so; I enjoy posting a weekly poll as well as participating in voting when other LinkedIn members share them.

Along with casting a vote for your favorite answer, you can write a comment explaining why you chose the answer. Even though more than 100 votes separated the Create a Poll choice and Open to Work, I expected to see at least a few reasons why Create a Poll was their choice.

One thing people who’ve come across Create a Poll know is that they either work or they don’t. There are two reasons why they work: the question has to create interest and second, the people posting them have to have a large following. These are the only ways Create a Poll will work.

One correction LinkedIn should make to the feature is not letting voters see the results as they unwind. I think this sways people to vote a particular way if they’re undecided. What I found intriguing is not that Open to Work came in first and Create a Poll came in second, but that there were more comments (see below) for Add Name Pronunciation which came in third.

Speaking of the loser, Add Name Pronunciation

It’s no surprise to me that this new feature came in last. It’s nice to have your name pronounced correctly: I hate my last name pronounced, “Mick-in-tosh” when it should be pronounced, “Mack-in-tosh,” but I can live with it.

How it works is that a LinkedIn member can record a message of how to pronounce their name so when a visitor happens upon their profile, the visitor can click on the microphone and hear the message of how their name is pronounced. When you make the recording of how to pronounce your name, you can make it as personal as you’d like.

As I mentioned above, there were more proponents of this feature who took the time to write comments.

Seeing that I only recently got the poll feature myself, this is still novel. However, I really like the name pronunciation feature. I never want to mispronounce a name so I have often looked up correct pronunciations online. This feature will come in handy.

Adrienne Tom

One voter prefers Polls but selflessly voted for Add Name Pronunciation for her clients’ sake.

I enjoy the polling feature but of the three you mentioned, from a job seekers point of view, a few of my clients mentioned that name pronunciation had value to them.

Tara Orchard

I think one person voted for this feature because her last name has been mispronounced…by me.

I find “Add Name Pronunciation” interesting. A persons’ name is so important to them. Pronouncing it incorrectly can be such a turn-off. That’s why I like this one. It can be helpful when networking to confidently call people by name, knowing you’re saying it correctly 🙂

Maureen McCann

The people have spoken. Open to Work is the winner. I don’t agree with the decision. The feature might draw more attention from recruiters, but will it be positive attention? Will they click “next” upon seeing the green banner?

Create a Poll is by far my favorite feature, but some people haven’t even gotten it at this writing. The same goes for Add Name Pronunciation. When they get the two features, will the result be the same as the poll I conducted on LinkedIn?

It’s 50-50 between Zoom and LinkedIn when it comes to communication, according to 1,177 voters

Well, not exactly. In a poll taken on LinkedIn—in which 1,177 people voted—35% chose video platforms like Zoom to communicate, whereas 34% chose social media sites like LinkedIn. Where did the other 31% go? The two other options were telephone, 16%, and email, 15%*.

The poll ultimately speaks to how people prefer to communicate, whether they’re searching for a job, helping people find jobs, or working in business of one sort or another.

The winner goes to Zoom

Video conferencing has seen enormous growth. According to SkillScout.com, “The video conferencing platform Zoom has seen 200 million daily meeting participants on average at the beginning of 2020 compared an average of 10 million participants in December 2019.”

This comes as no surprise considering it became a regularity to many people since mid-March. Zoom dominated many video conferencing platforms like Skype and Webex if not literally but in our daily vocabulary. I find myself saying to colleagues and friends, “Hey, let’s Zoom.” It’s bad when a product becomes a verb.

A safe assumption as to why people chose Zoom and the like is because they prefer not only speaking to people, they also like seeing with whom they’re speaking. This is good news for Zoom because, according to the same source mentioned above, it has 41% market share.

LinkedIn rules…on LinkedIn

The poll question was not LinkedIn specifically; it was social media in general. I figure that because I conducted this poll on LinkedIn, people naturally assumed I was referring to LI. I’m sure if I conducted the same poll on Facebook or Twitter, all would assume I was speaking of those platforms.

One of my connections, Ana Lokotkotova, chose LinkedIn for practical reasons. She’s a career coach and it’s her first point of contact. She wrote:

I chose LinkedIn because that’s where most of those professional conversations start for me. Then I take them to email or Zoom, but the initial interaction happens mostly on social media.

The definition of “communication” can have different meanings. When we think of communicating with others, we think of direct messaging. But what about writing posts and commenting on posts written about others? Isn’t this considered communicating? I think it is.

The problem with communicating on LinkedIn is that people don’t often check their LinkedIn messaging as much as someone like me and many others I know. We also have LinkedIn set to send any messages to our email, so we never miss a beat. Nonetheless, email is a safer bet if you want to get your correspondences.

Telephone is preferred by a few

If you’re wondering why someone would choose the telephone option, one of my dear LinkedIn connections, Erin Kennedy explains:

If I am talking to clients (initial consultation) it’s over the phone. It would take too long with email. However, I like email for basic/quick communications, “What time would you like to speak? How can I help” etc. I sit in front of this computer all day so it’s pretty easy for me to answer emails quickly.

This makes sense if you’re an executive career coach and resume writer like Erin. Another executive career coach, Sarah Johnston, finds the phone more practical in her line of work and she enjoys the intimacy of using the phone.

I love the phone. I put on my Bose sound proof headphones (a must when you are working from home with “coworkers”) and can have a hands-free conversation. I’m often taking notes (job search strategy or interview coaching sessions) on a pad or typing away if I am doing a resume intake call.

The other thing about a phone is that you can say, “so how are you doing?” And get a real response AND give a real response. People want to work with multi-dimensional people. When writing an email, it feels so insincere these days to say “I trust this email finds you well” because well is pretty relative during a pandemic.

I wonder if people considered texting as a way to communicate before they chose Zoom, LinkedIn, or the phone. If they had, I’m sure more votes would have gone to the phone.

Email is consistent

Email came in last as a means of communication, barely beat out by the telephone. These means of written communication (email) and oral communication (telephone) were the cellar dwellers. Whereas the other means of written and oral communications (Zoom and LinkedIn) were the clear winners.

The final conclusion is that oral communication wins over written communication by one percentage point in all four cases. What does this tell us about humanity? Is it true that the disparity between extraverts and introverts is closer than many believe? Does it have anything to do with these two dichotomies?

Another close LinkedIn connection, Edythe Richards, chose email as her favorite means of communication. She’s an ENFP. The theory that extraverts prefer oral communications is thrown out the window in Edythe’s case. She commented:

E-mail here- and I’m very fortunate that although my day job uses Zoom, we rarely use video. So my wardrobe these days can’t be beat!

*In full disclosure, I chose email for a very clear reason: I prefer to communicate via writing. I wrote about this in a post after I had experienced an excruciating telephone conversation from which I couldn’t escape. I also prefer to return phone messages with email. In this way I have control.


I wonder if the results would have been the same if we were not going through a pandemic. Would people still be using Zoom as often? Or has COVID-19 caused social awareness in a technical manner. Has it replaced human interaction for the time being or forever? That would truly be a shame.

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.

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

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

serious adult bearded worker using tablet near window in workshop

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

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

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

First, think about your accomplishments

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

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

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

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

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

Your profile

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

Snapshot area: background image, photo, headline

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

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

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

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

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

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

About section: the why, how, and what

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

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

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

woman working at home using her laptop

Experience section: be more descriptive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Education section: continue to tell your story

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

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

Skills and endorsements/recommendations: help others

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

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

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


The rest

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

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

25 activities to make your life and job search easier during COVID-19

Tempers are starting to run high in our household. When we were first quarantined about three weeks ago, life went surprisingly well. Think about it; even the most congruent families will start to feel like caged tigers after awhile. Well, our time just arrived.

Yoga

I came home from a five-mile walk to hear the crashing of pots and pans. When I asked my wife what was wrong, she said the pans weren’t cleaned properly. An outburst like this is not common in our household. Yes, the time of implosion has definitely arrived.

In an article from Psychology Today, the author lays out the psychological symptoms of social distancing and being quarantined:

Perhaps you’re experiencing some of these symptoms or all of them—especially if you’re working from home for the first time, homeschooling your kids on top of this; on furlough; or unemployed.

For whichever reason it is, you didn’t choose the situation you’re in. But you realize you can’t let yourself and family members become angry at the slightest drop of the hat. You have to reduce the anxiety and possible depression you’re experiencing.

For me a daily four- to five-mile walk does the job. It gets me going in the morning before settling down in my chair, which is my office, to conduct the work I have to do. My wife enjoys cooking better meals than what I produced as well as taking walks with one of her friends.

We also love talking with our two daughters and parents—who are within driving distance but self-quarantined—via Facetime, Zoom, or the phone. Here are some ways you can reduce the stress in your life.

Ways for everyone to make self-quarantine more bearable

Stop using your treadmill as a coat hanger. You’ve been looking at that thing for years wondering why you’re not using it. Now’s the chance to use it if you don’t have anywhere to walk.

Catch up on old The Office episodes. This is one of my favorite shows, especially the seasons starring Steve Carell as Michael Scott. I also recommend Ozark on Netflix or Luther on Amazon Prime.

Search through your bookshelf. I don’t understand why people, like a colleague of mine, re-reads books. That’s not me. Maybe you’re a re-reader.

Start that puzzle you purchased at the beginning of the pandemic. My wife bought one that has yet to be assembled. Maybe we’ll get to it. Maybe.

Stay in touch with family. One of the things I love doing is talking with Mom during my walks. As mentioned earlier, my wife and I Zoom and Facetime with the girls. It’s the next best thing to being there.

Tell your spouse you’re taking a walk. A long walk. You need to get away from your kids if you’re home-schooling them. That’s okay. Take turns; don’t do it by yourself.

Gas up the minivan. We called it forced family fun (FFF) when the kids were younger. We’d corral them in the van and tell them we were going for a ride. Of course they’d want to know where we were going. The answer was, “You’ll find out when we get there.”

Bake a cake. Or brownies, apple crisp, cookies, or whatever strikes your fancy. Our son who is home from university was exposed to baking. It didn’t take.

Take yoga online. My daughter has taken a liking to watch and perform yoga exercises. I tell her it looks too painful for me. This video with Yoga with Adriene has close to 3.5 million views.

Take a hike. For the more adventurous people, find an area that isn’t heavily populated—maintain social distancing—and enjoy nature while you’re walking ascending trails and climbing rocky terrain. Just don’t fall.

Break open a great bottle of wine. You have the right to relax. How you decide to do it is up to you. After the kids have gone to bed, take the moment for yourself and your loved one.

Ways for job seekers to utilize this time

Look at this time of self-quarantine as an opportunity to ramp up your job search. Despite the hit our economy has taken, it is going to rebound and employers will need to fill positions that employers were originally going to.

Note: for other great advice, check out a post that is heating up.

Develop a wellness strategy. Sabrina Woods advises job seekers to create “more calm and enhance productivity by:

  • Creating and following a schedule every day.
  • Paying attention to how much news/media you consume, as these will impact your state of mind.
  • Staying connected with friends and family (set up phone and video chat dates).”

Take on a project. A valued connection of mine, Sarah Johnston, writes that she’s painting old furniture as a way to take control of the chaos we’re experiencing. Take your mind off the job search by doing something that is cathartic.

Take inventory. My valued colleague, Maureen McCann advises to “research what you have to offer the market.” She created a great video summarizing how to do this. Check it out.

Read books relevant to your job search. Jim Peacock, another valued connection, is always peddling books and even writes reviews. Or read some fiction to take your mind off your search.

Join a free or inexpensive virtual program. Speaking of learning, Edward Lawrence suggests joining virtual trainings which are inexpensive or free through the Massachusetts Council on Aging, The Professional Development Collaborative of Boston, or MassHire in Massachusetts.

Now’s a great time to update your résumé and LinkedIn Profile. My connection Susan Joyce advises taking this time to finetune your LinkedIn profile. She suggests, among others, that you focus on your problem, actions, results (PARs) to write accomplishments.

Grow your LinkedIn campaign. People who I’ve coached know that I’m a staunch advocate for building one’s like-minded network and then engaging with them. Great opportunities arise from LinkedIn.

Networking must go on. I wrote an article that talks about how I run job club meetings via Zoom. We jokingly call ourselves the Brady Bunch, but it’s all serious business. Mark Babbit suggests reaching out to mentors and former colleagues via video platforms.

Be proactive and reach out to recruiters. They have time on their hands and any recruiter worth their weight in salt will welcome new connections that fit their industry. More importantly, recruiters are hiring for certain industries; maybe yours.

Be prepared for video interviews. “Practice zoom interviewing, use zoom to grab informational meetings, get very comfortable in front of the lens, it’s going to be more prevalent than ever, says Andy Foote. He offers some tips which you can read in the post.

Talking about being prepared; know your story: Gina Riley advises job seekers to get an understanding of employers’ pain points and be able to explain through your stories who you can solve them.

Attend virtual events. Do you want to take a deep dive into networking? Brenda Meller suggests attending virtual professional association events and gives as examples some events she’d attend: Detroit Together Digital, American Marketing Association, or Troy Chamber of Commerce

Take online courses. This suggestion comes from my valued connection Paula Christensen. If you’re not taking advantage of LinkedIn’s free Premium upgrade, do it. You can take advantage of LinkedIn Learning.

Take care of yourself. Vincent Phamvan says it well: “Spend some of your time on activities outside of your job search. Spend time with family, take walks, try to eat healthy meals. This will keep you mentally fit and ready to rock your upcoming interviews.”

Back away from high expectations. This one comes from Patricia Harding, and I thought it was so insightful that I’ll allow her to say it: “I think it’s also ok to back away from high expectations of yourself (and others) and slow down and do nothing now and then.”

Read what many other career-search pundits have to way about the job search in this COVID-19 time.

Photo: Flickr, Timothy George

New LinkedIn feature provides advice on how to answer 26 general interview questions

As well as questions specific to two industries.

LinkedIn has launched a new interview-practice feature which leaves me with a sense of ambiguity. On one hand, I think it’s a great attempt to educate job seekers on how to interview for a position. On the other hand, there are limitations to this new feature.

Interview women

What should we expect with any feature that tries to be all things to all people? Where you might love the new information presented, I might see it as slightly contrived and overdone. LinkedIn has done its best, and I give credit where credit is due.

Let’s first look at where to find this new feature. Many people are unaware of it, let alone where it resides.

How to find Prepare for an interview

Click the Jobs icon, select More Resources, and choose from the dropdown Prepare for an interview.

Prepare for an interview

LinkedIn shows you a list of what it considers to be the most common interview questions, as well as questions specific to two industries (Categories). At this point there are 26 common questions and questions for only finance and sales.

Common Questions

You can first watch “expert” advice on how to answer a question, then watch an example of how someone would answer the questions. You can also record answers to questions and submit them for feedback from your connections by selecting Practice and get feedback.

What’s nice about this feature

The new interview-practice feature gives job seekers some guidance on how to answer what LinkedIn deems are important questions. I’m encouraged that LinkedIn is taking the job search more seriously. As well, LinkedIn is sending the message that practicing answering questions is smart.

Another plus is the number of behavioral-based questions listed under Common Questions. This type of question is most difficult to answer. The advice on how to answer them is sound. Career strategists and coaches suggest using the well-known S.T.A.R. format when answering behavioral-based questions.

The quality of the videos is top-notch. LinkedIn’s career strategists and hiring managers are well-spoken in both framing how to answer the questions and delivering sample answers. (Ironically career strategists are matched with each other, and the same goes with hiring managers.)

The videos are a good length overall. Most of them don’t exceed 1:50 minutes, which is nice if you’re interested in seeing most of the videos.

LinkedIn offers tips on how to answer questions. For example, to answer “Tell me about yourself” LI suggests:

  • Prepare for this question in advance and have a compelling story about your past experiences.
  • Pull prominent skills from the job description.
  • Be “SHE” (succinct, honest and engaging).

To answer, “Tell me about a time when you were successful on a team”:

  • Describe a problem that arose with a team.
  • Outline your key actions with the team.
  • Explain the positive result based on the work you did.
  • Give credit to your teamwork skills.

Probably most valuable is the ability to record answers to questions with which you need the most practice. And then send your recording to a connection for critique. This could be a gamechanger for someone who sees the need to practice answering questions and has someone who is willing to provide feedback.

Practice answering questions

Where this feature drops the ball

The most obvious fault of this feature is that LinkedIn has more work to do in order to complete it. I’m speaking about how only two industries are represented, finance and sales. It would be nice to have a wider range of industries, such as marketing, engineering, medical devices, nursing, etc.

This might be a reflection on the questions interviewers are still asking, but many of them are ones I’ve seen since being in career development, 15 years (gulp). Such as, “What is your greatest weakness?” Could LinkedIn have been more creative when it comes to the Common Questions?

Not all the questions have video. This speaks to the fact that LinkedIn has miles to travel before it sleeps. Where there are no videos, LinkedIn provides articles that don’t have the same appeal. I would rather see fewer questions than incomplete samples.

Related to one of the strengths I mentioned above: the quality of the videos is top-notch, the answers come across as contrived. Some of the career strategists and hiring managers think that acting is a better approach than speaking naturally. Also, please do not start with, “That’s a great question.”

Do they think interviewers want candidates to walk into the room and schmooze them with canned answers? I suppose the speakers shouldn’t come across as deadpan but come on, let’s not talk too unnaturally.

Conclusion

Overall, I think this feature has some merit. It can benefit job candidates who are nervous going into their rounds of interviews. There are more pluses than negatives. Now the big question is will LinkedIn require its users to upgrade to premium to use this feature?

5 steps to take on LinkedIn to be proactive in your job search

To land a job in 2020, more than ever, you’ll need to be proactive rather than reactive. In other words, stop blasting out job applications 10 per day. If you’ve been doing this for months, by now you know the ROI is very low. In some cases my clients, who are spraying and praying, haven’t heard a peep from employers.

proactive

This act of futility demands different approaches. I’m going to talk about one of them: how to be more proactive in your job search by researching and using LinkedIn. Below are the five steps you should take to do this.

  1. Research to identify companies for which you’d like to work
  2. Identify the people in said companies who can be of assistance
  3. Utilize your shared connections
  4. Get an introduction from your shared connections to the key players
  5. Follow up

Identify companies for which you’d like to work

For some this is a difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s going to take some work on your part. Let’s say you’re in the digital marketing space and want to work in or around Boston, Massachusetts, for a company that requires someone with your expertise.

You Google, “companies in digital marketing, boston” and arrive at sites that include the types of companies you’re seeking: Digital Agency Boston, Digital Agency‎ | Top Creative Agencies in Boston – 2020 Reviews, Clutch.co | Top Creative Design Companies in Boston, January 2020.

Selecting Top Creative Design Companies in Boston, January 2020, you see it provides information important to you such as the size of the company, it’s location, and the clients it serves. Now your research begins, as you go through each of the agencies’ websites to determine if they will be included on your list.

Note: you can develop your list of companies by talking with people in the industry. In many cases they’ll have a better idea of the culture and management of the companies in question.

Identify key players in your companies using LinkedIn

You’ve completed perhaps the most difficult process of being proactive in your job search. From here on in you’ll be using LinkedIn for your proactive job search. I’ll walk you through the steps of finding people who work in departments for which you’d like to work.

You read the short descriptions of the companies on the website and one company catches your eye immediately because of its size and location. Plus they have a really cool website. They also have a LinkedIn company page which shows that 92 people are on LinkedIn. Now it’s time to use Search and All Filters on LinkedIn.

1. Using Search type in the name of a company. You’ll see an option to choose People, which will give you a list of those who currently work for the company as well as those who used to work for the company. You’ll select from people who currently work there.

2. Go to All Filters (seen below) and select your company in Current Companies. This will give you the people who currently work there. Past Companies can be useful if you want to contact people for the lowdown on your company’s management and culture.

3. Other filters you’ll want to select are Connections (2nd), Locations (Boston), and Industries (Broadcast Media and Marketing & Advertising). This should give you a more manageable list of people from which to choose.

All Filters GYK

Utilize your shared connections

Shared connections can be extremely helpful when asking for an introduction to the people you have identified as key players in the company. This is why it’s important to have a focused network with like-minded people, as they can vouch for you when you want to correspond with said key player/s.

The connections you and your key player share is located under your key player’s name (seen below).  Josh is the one you want to contact and potentially connect with. You’ve identified Meredith (last name) as a shared connection who is trusted by you and your key player.

Shared Connections

Get an introduction to your key players

Sending a cold invite to a desired connection is the least of successful of the three methods I’ll mention, especially if you send it with the default LinkedIn message, “I would like to add you to my professional network.”

The second least successful, although much better than the aforementioned, is mentioning a shared connection in it. “Meredith (last name) and I are connected and she strongly suggested I invite you to my network.” This is the gist of the second type of invite.

Your best route to Josh is having Meredith send him an introduction. Of course she will, but out of courtesy you send her an email outlining the purpose of connecting with Josh. As well, you ask her to point out three of your areas of expertise.

Meredith sends Josh an email carbon copying you:

Hi Josh.

I’d like to introduce you to Sherri Jones, a trusted friend of mine. She is a marketing specialist with extensive knowledge in digital marketing. I worked with her two jobs ago in our marketing department.

Sherri has recently been laid off, along with her whole department, due to the company being acquired. She has many accomplishments to tout in data analytics, lead generation, social media marketing. I know the two of you can benefit from connecting and having a discussion.

Sherri,

You’ll find Josh to be a great resource for questions you have about companies similar to his. I hope you and he have the opportunity to connect on LinkedIn and then speak in person. You two will hit it off.

Note: Meredith could send Josh a LinkedIn message but he is more likely to open his email, especially if it’s sent to his work email address.

But you’re not finished

That’s right, you’re going to follow up with Meredith to thank her for the introduction. She did you a solid and you promise to keep her in the loop by pinging her on any progress.

Next you send Josh an invitation to connect with him, referencing Meredith and the email in the invite. Josh naturally agrees to connect because, as I once said to one of my close connections, “When you recommend someone to connect with, I do so without hesitation.”

After thanking him for agreeing to connect, circle back to Meredith and thank her again for the introduction. You tell her that he agreed to connect.

Start building the relationship by sending a message to Josh, further introducing yourself to a greater extent and offering your assistance in any way. You noticed on his profile that he’s from the Greater New York area, so yo ask him, “Yankees or Mets?”

When he returns your message with an answer to your question–it’s the Yankees–you first tell him you’re a Red Sox fan and tell him you won’t hold it against him for rooting for the Yanks. In the next paragraph, you ask if he’ll be willing to give you some advice at his convenience. You’ll be willing to call or set up a Zoom session.

He gladly accepts to Zoom with you and so the relationship begins.


To recap

The year 2020 will be your year if you’re proactive with your research and utilizing LinkedIn. Keep the five tenets in mind:

  1. Research to identify companies for which you’d like to work
  2. Identify the people in said companies who can be of assistance
  3. Utilize your common connections
  4. Get introductions to your key players
  5. Follow up

 

10 LinkedIn New Year resolutions I know I WILL achieve

Like many people, I dislike New year resolutions, mainly because we rarely achieve them. But this year I’m going to set some resolutions that are attainable. The resolutions I vow to achieve are ones that relate to LinkedIn. These are ones I can do.

2020

I also hope my resolutions will benefit other LinkedIn users, namely job seekers; that they will emulate them. The following are 10 actions I will take in 2020.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Photo: Flickr, cg “Chasing the Light”

9 major areas where your LinkedIn profile brands you

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

linkedin-alone

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

1. Snapshot Area

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

New Snapshot Bob

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

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

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

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

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

2. About Section

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

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

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

3. Articles and Activity

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

Articles and activities

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

4. Experience

Bob Experience

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

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

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

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

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

5. Education

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

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

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

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

6. Volunteer

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

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

7. Featured Skills and Endorsements

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

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

endorsements

8. Recommendations

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

9. Accomplishments

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

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


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

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

This post originally appeared on Social-Hire.com.