Tag Archives: LinkedIn

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

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

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

Background image

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

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

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

Photo

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

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

Headline

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

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

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

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

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

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

About

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

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

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

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

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

Activities

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

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

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

Experience Section

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

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

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

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

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

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

Education

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

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

Volunteer Experience

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another student wrote about my engagement:

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

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

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

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

Choose what you want critiqued

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

Profile

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

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

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

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

Network

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Engagement

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

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

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

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

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

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


Return the favor

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

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

7 Steps to take when using LinkedIn to network for a job

You’ve heard it before: LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional, online networking application with approximately 700 million worldwide members. And according to many sources, at least 87 percent of recruiters are sourcing for talent on LinkedIn.

Woman using computer

Here’s another fact that I can personally attest to: most recruiters with whom I’ve spoken tell me that LinkedIn is their site of choice when it comes to looking for talent. Not Indeed.com, Monstor.com, SimplyHired.com, or any of the other job boards.

Shouldn’t these facts be enough to use LinkedIn for you job search? Now, here’s the question: how can you most effectively use LinkedIn to network for a job?

1. LinkedIn is more than your online résumé

Networking on LinkedIn begins with your profile and the understanding that it’s not your résumé. Here’s where I contradict myself: I suggest to my client that their first move is to copy and paste their résumé to their new LinkedIn profile. But wait.

From there, however, you need to add to it to make it more of a networking document that expresses your value, while also showing your personality. For example, your About section must tell a story describing your passion for what you do, how you do what you do, and throw in some accomplishments to immediately sell yourself.

Your Experience section must include accomplishment statements with quantified results that include numbers, dollars, and percentages. I prefer that each position comprise only of accomplishments and not mundane duties you performed for each position.

Also important is that your LinkedIn profile is optimized for keyword searches by recruiters and hiring managers. They’re looking for a specific title, vital areas of expertise, and location. For example: “sales operations” AND crm “lead generation” AND pharmaceutical AND “greater boston”. 

To learn more about how the résumé and LinkedIn profile differ, read The ultimate comparison of the résumé and LinkedIn profile: 12 areas

2. Use LinkedIn to find people at your desired companies

Perhaps one of LinkedIn’s greatest strengths is the ability to locate the key players at the companies for which you’d like to work. My suggestion is that first you create a list of your target companies and from there connect with people in those companies, ideally a level above you.

All Filters will be your best friend when it comes to locating people at your desired companies. You can use it to narrow down to the exact titles of the people for whom you’re looking. Important criteria would be Current Company, Industry, and Title. Choose 2nd degree as they’re more likely to connect with you.

When you’re using All Filters to locate people in your desired companies, make note of your mutual connections and the schools they attended. This can come into play when you write your personal invite.

Read 7 steps to take to find the right person using LinkedIn’s All Filters.

3. Solidifying relationships

Building relationships on LinkedIn can be a longer, more methodical process or a shorter one, where you and your connections hit it off immediately. To find a job using LinkedIn, building and solidifying relationships is an important aspect of the journey.

There are ways to go about getting noticed by the people with whom you’d like to connect:

  1. First follow said people.
  2. When you visit their profile, show your profile (don’t choose Anonymous LinkedIn Member).
  3. Thoughtfully comment on their posts.
  4. Wait to see if they reach out to you first—I’ve reached out to numerous people because of the comments they’ve left on my posts.
  5. Finally, ask to connect with them using a personalized message, not the default LinkedIn one.

Note: Your connections who work in your desired companies will be more likely to except your invite if they know one of your connections very well. Make sure to include your mutual connection in your invite letter.

Just recently one of my clients asked if I would introduce her to a person who works at one of her target companies. I was glad to do it. So now they have to develop a relationship that will be of benefit to her and him.

Read 3 proper ways for job seekers to send invites on LinkedIn.

4. Make use of your new connections

Once you’ve built your foundation at your target companies, you can ask for introductions to the individuals who would be making the hiring decisions. You don’t want to do this immediately, because hiring managers will be less likely to connect with you without an introduction.

When jobs become available at your target companies, you’re in a better place than if you were applying cold. You can reach out to the people you’ve connected with to have your résumé  delivered to the proper decision makers (in addition to applying on line).

Ideally you will build strong relationships with the connections at your target companies, so when companies are trying to fill positions internally, your connections will give you a heads-up. You’ll have an inside track, essentially penetrating the Hidden Job Market.

According to a 2017 Jobvite article: “Referred applicants are 5 times more likely than average to be hired, and 15 times more likely to be hired than applicants from a job board.” We can assume these stats are still true, if not higher.

5. Use the Jobs feature to network

Using LinkedIn’s Jobs feature to apply for jobs exclusively is not your best way to land a job because, after all, it’s a job board. (A very low percentage of job seekers are successful using job boards.) But I wouldn’t discount LinkedIn Jobs. Use it in conjunction with your networking efforts.

In many cases the person who posted the position is revealed, providing you with the option of contacting said person. You can also “meet the team,” whom you might want to reach out to. Perhaps my favorite feature of Jobs is the ability to see which of your alumni work at the companies of interest.

Finally, use Jobs to research other jobs of interest. On the right-hand side of the job description there are similar jobs at various companies. You might want to add some of these companies to your target company list.

6. Alumni feature

Alumni might be the most underutilized feature on LinkedIn. In fact, many of my clients are unaware of this great feature and are amazed when I demonstrate how to use it. To find Alumni, simply type your alma mater in the Search area and select it from the drop-down.

I show my clients how they can find alumni who studied certain majors, where they live, and where they work. I also explain that their alumni are more likely to connect with them than other people they don’t know.

If you see that some of your alumni work at a desired company, take the bold move of connecting with them. Your personal invite will start with , “Hi William, I see we attended Amherst College together….” This alone will give you something in common.

Read more about the Alumni feature.

7. Making the “Ask”

A LinkedIn connection is not bona fide unless you reach out in a personal manner, such as a phone call or, at the moment, having a Zoom session. A phone call should be the very least you do in your effort to make a personal connection.

You’ve spoken with your connections and have gained their trust. Now you’re ready to ask them to go to bat for you. You will message them to ask for an introduction to important people with whom you want to connect. The introduction invite is described in 3 proper ways for job seekers to send invites on LinkedIn.

With an ally on your side, your target connection is more likely to connect with you. But from there you’ll need to initiate a conversation that is not too forward. The process might be slow, but an opportunity can be wasted if you make the ask too soon.

You’ll know when the time is right based on the tone of the conversation. The ask can be an informational meeting where you’ll gather information and advice from your new connection. The ask will never be asking your connection if their company is hiring; it is assumed you’re interested in their company.

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

Photo: Flickr, JobMax

5 major components of the LinkedIn profile on the mobile app

And how they differ from the computer platform.

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

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

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

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

1. Snapshot

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

Brenda's background image

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

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

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

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

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


2. About

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

Laura's About App

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

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

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

Laura's About computer

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

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

Mobile app view

Laura's About accomplishment

Computer platform view

Laura's About accomplishment computer

3. Experience

Bob's Education App

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

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

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

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

Bob's Experience computer

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

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

Mobile app

Highlight on app

Computer platform

Highlight on computer

4. The Rest

Madeline's eduatoin

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Editing Capabilities

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


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

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

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

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

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

Reading a Resume

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

LinkedIn Logo longPurpose of each document

Résumé

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

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

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

LinkedIn profile

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

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

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

Comparing the two

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

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


1. Headline

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

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

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

One benefit I see with the profile headline is it allows more characters to work with than the résumé. You have a little over 200 characters or slightly more than 35 words. If you want to include a short branding statement, this could be a nice touch.


2. Summary/About

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

Operations manager who consistently reduces companies’ costs through implementing lean practices.

There are two other points I emphasize with my clients. The first is that the Summary should not exceed 110 words or three lines; the shorter the better. The second is there should be no fluff or clichés included in it. Instead of using adjectives, employ action verbs that do a better job of showing rather than telling.

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

  1. It allows you to tell a story that can include the, Why and What, Who, and How. In other words, why are you passionate about what you do, who you do it for, and how you do it.
  2. Similar to your résumé’s Summary, you should list accomplishments that immediately speak to your greatness.
  3. Your About section is written in first- or third-person point of view, giving it more of a personal feel than your résumé’s Summary.
  4. It is significantly longer. You’re allowed approximately 2,600 characters to work with, which I suggest you use, providing it adds value to your profile.
  5. Finally, you can highlight rich media such as video, audio, documents, and PowerPoint presentations in the Featured area.

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


3. Core Competencies/Key Skills

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

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

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

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

4. Experience

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


5. Licenses & Certifications

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

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

6. Volunteerism

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

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


7. Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sections more likely on your profile than your résumé

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

8. Photo and background images

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

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

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

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

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


9. Articles and Activity

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

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


10. Featured

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

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

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

11. Recommendations

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

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

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

12. Accomplishments

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

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

LinkedIn profile: Well, you can include the aforementioned and more; but in order for hiring authorities to see them, they’d have to be curious or you’d have to direct them to your Accomplishment section. I tell my clients to provide such instructions in the About section.

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

Read How to direct visitors to LinkedIn Accomplishment section.

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


Lastly…for real.

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

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