Tag Archives: LinkedIn

3 challenges to improve your LinkedIn engagement

At work we’re involved in a citywide step challenge. Our organization, MassHire Lowell Career Center, is currently in first place with 10 days to go. One of my team members is in second place, 3,060 steps behind the city leader. I’ve taken it upon myself to coach her to the top. I’m pushing her to walk farther everyday.

challenge3

Now consider me your coach. I’m going to push you to engage on LinkedIn. I’m going to provide guidelines for you. When you read the entirety of this article, you’ll probably be relieved. It will make sense to you. It won’t seem so daunting. My goal is to get you up to speed in a month. That’s right, one month. Here’s what you will do.

You’ll increase your presence on LinkedIn

Of all the criteria, this is an important one. It’s important because you’ll increase your visibility and climb higher on the LinkedIn ladder (algorithm). Just so you know, it’s important to have a kick-ass LinkedIn profile and a focused network; but to really make an impact, you have to be seen.

One source says the average time people spend on LinkedIn is an abysmal 17 minutes a month. My challenge to you is to almost double that…per day. That’s right, I strongly suggest you spend seven days a week, 30 minutes per day, on LinkedIn. This might seem unrealistic, but if you break down your day to morning and night, morning, mid-day, night, or little segments all day, you can do it.

Here is something that will help you; the LinkedIn mobile app. Approximately 60% of LinkedIn members use the app. While the features are limited, you will still be able to perform most of the functions I explain below. Use the app while you’re waiting for the train or your child to get out of school or just hanging out in the park.

You’ll go from reacting to engaging

I’m glad you’re reading to this point, after having read the proceeding section. This means you’re serious about LinkedIn engagement. Let’s look at some ways to be present on LinkedIn.* I’ll start with the least amount of effort followed by the most.

Reacting—least amount of effort

If you’re a beginner, reacting to what people share is a good place to start. This will help you with LinkedIn’s algorithm but not as much as what follows. I have a feeling that after only reacting to what people share, you’ll get bored.

1. Reacting with the five icons. You might want to begin with reacting to what people post or share. Reacting means you can Like their content or more. LinkedIn as recently added other types of reactions. They are Celebrate, Love, Insightful, and Curious. I react with Insightful in most cases. I have used Celebrate when a LinkedIn user has received good news. You’ll never catch me Loving what people share.

2. Reading articles and sharing them. This is another way to react which takes little effort if that’s all you do. My advice is to actually read the articles and then share them; not just share your favorite connections’ articles unread. Clearly by reading the articles, you’ll form an opinion of their content.

3. Give someone Kudos. This is as simple as going to someone’s profile, choosing More, and clicking Give Kudos. Then you can choose why the person deserves Kudos. I rarely use this, but you might want to for people who’ve been helpful in your job search.

4. Endorse your connections’ skills. While you’re on someone’s profile, why not endorse them for their skills. The debate here is that you might not have witnessed the person perform said skills. Read their profile carefully to see if they back up their skills. Maybe you’ve seen them share posts and articles on LinkedIn and have determined that they know what they’re talking about.

Engaging—more effort

Now you’ve reached the point where your presence shows more value to your network. You’ve gone beyond simply reacting to a post or article, given Kudos, and endorsing your connections. This is what I call the breakthrough moment where you’re noticed more by your connections, as well as by LinkedIn’s algorithm. Let’s break this down.

1. Comment on other’s posts. Read someone’s post and instead of just clicking Like, Celebrate, or the like; write a thoughtful comment reflecting on what the author wrote. Try to be as positive as you can; however, it’s okay to disagree with someone. For example, I wrote a post about being sold to on LinkedIn. One of my connections opposed my opinion, which I respected. He wrote:

Bob, in my line of business, I am responsible for buying products and services. Therefore, I appreciate when people approach me on LinkedIn with a sales inquiry. I can say, “no” in a respectful manner and in most cases, the person respects my wishes. I enjoyed your post, nonetheless.

2. Write a comment for someone’s article. After reading someone’s article—either published with LinkedIn’s Publisher or linked to their blog—you have the option to share it with your connections or directly comment on it. Do both. Of course you can react to it, as well. After reading an article titled Five Steps to A Winning CV Structure, I wrote:

Andrew, I agree with so much of your article. I really try to drive home with my clients the importance of keeping the CV structuring their roles for ease of reading. I’m glad you mentioned this because it is important, especially if someone is reading a ton of resumes. Another point you make which resonates with me is keeping it brief. I can’t stand reading paragraphs that at 10-lines long. Three lines, four at most, are my idea of a good paragraph length.

Note: Be sure to tag the author with @Andrew Fennell; he’ll be notified that you commented on his article.

3. Write your own post sharing your expertise. This, for some, is difficult because they feel unsure of their writing or believe they’re not worthy of sharing their thoughts. This second point, I find, applies to job seekers who see their unemployment as a scourge. One of my clients, a director of communications, once told me that because he’s out of work, he doesn’t have the right to share a post. Nonsense.

I don’t care if you’re unemployed; you’re still an expert in your field. You wrote whitepapers, proposals, press releases, web content, etc. up to three months ago. You still have the ability to write relevant content for your network.

4. Create a video. I’ll admit that this is not in my comfort zone. Some people excel at this, while others make it painful to watch. I feel that I fall in the later category. So I’ll leave this up to you. Some believe the LinkedIn algorithm ranks videos higher than other forms of content. If this is true, it’s probably because LinkedIn wants to encourage people to share more video.

On the flip side you might feel more comfortable producing video because you have confidence in your ability to speak versus writing. The easiest way to create video is by using your phone, where the segment will be stored. Then you can upload it directly to LinkedIn. Like Facebook, LinkedIn has a live version of video production; but you better be able to do it right the first time.

You’ll rinse and repeat

As I mentioned earlier in this article, dedication is required if you want to successfully create a presence on LinkedIn. Engaging with your network once a week will not accomplish this. As your coach, I expect you to share a post at least four times a week. If writing articles is your thing, shoot for one a month and gradually increase that number to twice a month. I personally attempt writing a new article once a week, but you don’t have to follow my lead.

Consistency is key. You won’t appear on your connections’ and  hiring authorities’ radar unless you are seen. Are recruiters paying attention? Sure they are. Your posts might not be directly shared with them, but they’ll be notified of likes, comments, and shared from their first degree connections.

I’ve given you a few ideas on how to react and graduate to engaging on LinkedIn. My colleague, Hannah Morgan, provides 24 ideas of the actions you can take on LinkedIn.* Take a look at her infographic (something else you can share or create for LinkedIn). This will give you some ideas that you might implement in your communications with your network.

24 Ideas Share On LinkedIn

This post originally appeared on Social-Hire.com

Photo: Flickr, Stein Liland

5 types of like-minded people to connect with on LinkedIn

And 3 examples of invites to send.

In a recent LinkedIn Official Blog post, the author suggests you should connect “with people you know and trust.” This seems like sound advice on the surface, but it shouldn’t be followed literally. My suggestion is to take it a step further and connect with like-minded people.

Older job seeker

By connecting with like-minded people, you get outside your comfort zone and create more possibilities for employment. Should you connect with the maximum limit of 30,000? I advise against this, as you never know with whom you’re connecting.

To its credit, the official blog suggest you first follow people to develop a relationship before you invite them to your network (make the ask). When following your desired connections, you should react to their posts and share them. Better yet, comment on their posts as well as share them.

But in order to communicate with LinkedIn members directly (without purchasing Inmails), you’ll have to connect with them.

Who to connect with

Confused? To follow someone on LinkedIn simply means you’ll see in your timeline what they post. Whereas to connect with someone means you’re in their network and can communicate with them directly. Now the question is with whom should you connect.

1. People you worked with

Your colleagues and former bosses are the first tier of your network. Treat them well, as they might be the result of you getting referred to a position—employers accept referrals from people they know and trust. By treating them well, I mean don’t ask them for a favor in your initial invite. (More about the initial invite later in the article.)

Consider the way employers prefer to hire. First, they want to fill a position with their employees, who they know; second, they take referrals from their employees, trusting their employees won’t steer them wrong; third, they ask for referrals from those outside the company; and fourth, they hire recruiters and staffing agencies.

Your job is to become an outside referral. It can be easier if you have a former colleague or boss on your side. It’s important to be able to connect the dots with your former colleagues and who they know in your desired companies. For example, someone you worked with knows the director of engineering at one of your target companies. You could ask for an introduction and a kind word from your former colleague.

2. People you meet

Have you attended networking events or industry conferences and wondered why you didn’t ask for their personal business card? I have. A better move would be asking them if you could connect with them on LinkedIn. Take out your phone, have them do the same, and send the invite immediately. Bingo, you have a connection with someone you’ve already met.

I have connected with people at business networking groups but only when I get a good feeling about them. It feels right. At this time, I would say, “It’s been great talking with you. Would you like to connect with me on LinkedIn.” If they happen to have the LinkedIn app, we can make the transaction on the spot.

You know what comes next. Of course, the follow-up. Make sure you continue the conversation by emailing or calling your new connection and suggesting a coffee date. It might be more convenient for your new connection and you to talk on the phone at a determined time. I prefer talking with new connections when I’m walking, so I’ll suggest a time when I know I’ll be strolling around my neighborhood.

3. People who are outside your personal network

For many people this is an uncomfortable connection to make. I’ve had clients say they don’t want to ask people they don’t know to join their network. My response to this is to tell them they won’t get to know valuable connections until they reach out to them. Think about the potential possibilities you could pass up by NOT connecting with the unknown?

It is important to build your network—to over 500 people—but the people in your network should be approximately 80% like-minded. What I mean be this is they should be in the same or similar occupation and industry, or the same occupation but in a different industry.

For example, an accountant in medical devices would connect with another accountant in medical devices. Not as good a fit—but a fit, nonetheless—would be an accountant in medical devices connecting with an accountant in manufacturing. To further develop their network, they would invite accountant managers and above to your network.

The benefits of creating a network of like-minded people are: first, the content you share or create will resonate with more people in your network. Second, when relationships are strongly molded, you and your connections will provide each other with leads that can result in adding more valuable people to your network or, better yet, possible job leads.

4. Recruiters

I’m often asked by my clients if they should connect with recruiters, to which I say, “Hell, yes.” Recruiters can be a great source of networking; after all, they have a pipeline of employers of which my clients are unaware.

If you are amenable to connecting with recruiters, make sure they serve your industry, particularly if you’re in a niche industry. For example, one of my clients is linguistic specialist in high tech. She translates technical jargon from engineers to other departments.

Another consideration is a recruiter’s reputation. Do some homework and reach out to common connections of recruiters to ask what they know of a few recruiters with whom you’re interested in connecting. You can also get a sense of a recruiter’s character by reading their LinkedIn profile. Although a word-of-mouth recommendation carries more weight.

5. Your Alumni

Connecting with your alumni isn’t only for students and recent grads, although many college career advisors suggest this as a first alternative. You might be interested in a company where one or two of your alumni went. Connecting with them could give you an in or, at the very least, they could provide you with more information about a position or the company.

People who went to a small college, where they’re more likely to know their alumni, will benefit from this the most. I attended a large university where I know a small fraction of the people who attended before, during, and after I did. Nonetheless, I would reach out to my alumni because we have a common bond.


How to connect with like-minded people

Obviously you first have to find like-minded people. A great LinkedIn tool to use is All Filters. I won’t go through the process of using All Filter. This post goes into detail on how to use this feature.

Now that you know with whom you should connect, let’s look at how you connect with them. The art of connecting with LinkedIn members is in the message you craft. There are essentially three types of invites.

1. Connecting directly: the cold invite

This is the least successful way of the three options to invite someone to your LinkedIn. However, it is better than indiscriminately sending an invite with a default message. One method people use that works on me is flatter such as mentioning a specific article I wrote.

Hello Bob,

I read your article on 10 reasons why you should continue to use LinkedIn after landing a job. I’ve just landed a job and will put into practice what you write. I’d like to connect with you and hopefully alert you to new positions in my new company.

Susan Pride

Note: you only have 300 characters with which to work, so your invite needs to be brief.

2. Using a reference in your invites

If you’re going to connect directly, you’re more likely to see success by mentioning a reference in your invite. This would be a common connection, someone who is connected with you and the LinkedIn member with whom you’d like to connect.

Once you have chosen a person who could be a reference for you, contact the person asking if you could use their name in an invite. Don’t assume your shared connection will allow you to use their name.

Once you have your reference’s permission, your message to a new connection might look like this:

Hi Dave,

You and I are both connected with Sharon Beane. She and I work for the MassHire Career Center as workshop facilitators. She strongly encouraged me to connect with you, indicating we can be of mutual assistance.

Sincerely,

Bob

3. Asking for an introduction

This is the most proper way to connect with new people, albeit slower. This method requires asking a trusted connection to send a message to the person with whom you’d like to connect.

Note: It’s best to ask for an introduction through email, because people are more likely to reply to email quicker than LinkedIn messages.

Here is a sample introduction sent via email:

Hi Karen,

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Bob

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

What to do next

You’ve probably heard this multiple times; you must follow up with the people in your network. A disadvantage of having a large network—unless you spend many hours a day on LinkedIn—is the inability to follow up with your connections the proper way. The proper way, you may wonder, is sending individual messages to each person.

The quick ask

Rarely does this work if you need a favor free of charge. Think how you would feel if you connect with someone and the next message you get from them asks for you to buy their product or, in my case, ask you to review their resume. You might feel like you need to take a shower.

The only scenario I can see this working is if you’re applying for a position which has been posted online such as LinkedIn or Indeed, and you reach out to the recruiter or hiring manager, to see if they’ve received your application. In your message you should state your interest in the position and provide three key reasons why you’re the right person for the job.

Recently this worked for a client of mine who reached out directly to the hiring manager, asking him to connect. Sure enough the hiring manager connected and my client asked if he would take a look at his résumé. My client was asked in for a round of interviews, but unfortunately didn’t get the job. Small battles lead to victory.

The slow build

A much better approach is to build relationships one message at a time. I consider it to be akin to courting a person of interest. The first message is to thank the person for accepting your invite and let them know you’re willing to help them in any way you can.

The second message might include a link to an article you thought they might enjoy. In this way you’re showing value to your connections. If you get your connections to respond to your third or forth message, now would be the time to make the “ask.” Perhaps you would like to learn more about the company at which the person works and meet them for an informational interview.

After the informational interview, be sure to continue building the relationship by again thanking the person for their time and sending a link to another article they would enjoy. You should also inquire about other people who you could add to your focused network.


This article originally appeared on Social-Hire.

Photo: Flickr, Susan_Moore_Cool

The LinkedIn quiz: 50 questions

In a recent post, I asked my LinkedIn community to take a quiz consisting of 15 questions. Those who took it were honest about their LinkedIn prowess, or lack thereof. I promised in this post that I would reveal the entire quiz I give my clients.

Jigsaw-Phishing-Quiz_sm

The quiz I give my clients consist of 50 questions. If you decide to take it and don’t score 100%, don’t worry. There is always room for improvement. I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t have a perfect score.

Some of my failures have to do with my inability to perform the “tasks,” some of them are due to caring not to perform the tasks.

We’ll start with the LinkedIn profile. I tell my clients that while it’s important to have a value-based, optimized profile, this is only one-third of the equation. Here we go.

Your Profile

Determined how you want to brand yourself, or deliver your message. Express this on your profile through the following. Answer “yes” or “no” to the following:

  1. My profile is optimized with keywords. ___
  2. I have a background image that is relevant or reflects my personality. ___
  3. My photo is professionally done, or a buddy with a good camera shot it. (No selfies) ___
  4. I have a headline that brands me with keywords or a tagline or both. ___
  5. When you look at my Articles & Activity section, you’ll see I engage on LinkedIn. ___
  6. My Summary, now called About, tells a compelling story that shows value. ___
  7. My Experience section consists of accomplishments, not simply duties. ___
  8. I utilize my Education section to the fullest. For example, I tell readers some of my accomplishments at University. ___
  9. I show my Volunteer experience because employers like people who contribute to the community. ___
  10. I list at least 30 Skills which are endorsed. (Job seekers, you’re given a break on the number of endorsements, but the employed should have at least 50 endorsements per skill.) ___
  11. In my Recommendations section, I have at least 1 recommendation from a supervisor/manager for each position. ___
  12. I’ve written recommendations for my employees, colleagues, vendors, etc. ___
  13. My Accomplishments section has at least one of these: project, publication, patent, language, grades, courses. ___
  14. I have at least media, e.g., audio, video, documents, Slideshare, in either About, Experience, or Education. ___
  15. I post videos on a consistent basis. ___

Total number of yeses ___


Another important part of your LinkedIn campaign is developing your network, which should be large, yet focused. The more homogeneous your network, the more value you’ll add to your connections.

Your network

  1. My goal is to build relationships to land a job or increase sales. ___
  2. I believe that building relationships is about giving. ___
  3. I have 500+ connections. ___
  4. At least 80% of my connections are in my industry. ___
  5. I use All Filters to search for potential connections. ___
  6. I search and connect with people using the Companies feature. ___
  7. I search for people using See Alumni. ___
  8. I know how to use Boolean Search to narrow my search. ___
  9. Before connecting with potential connections, I read their profile in full. Well, mostly. ___
  10. I send cold invites and include a personalized message. ___
  11. I send invites with a personalized message using references. ___
  12. I ask for an introduction from someone in my network to someone with whom I’d like to connect. ___
  13. I thank people for joining my network. ___
  14. I follow up with a message to new connections. ___
  15. I make an effort to call or Zoom/Skype with my new connections. ___

Total number of yeses ___

Your engagement

Here’s where the rubber meets the road; thus, more questions. You’ve created a stellar profile, connected with people in your industry and some verticals; now it’s time to engage with your network and stay top of mind.

  1. I spend at least 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week on LinkedIn. ___
  2. I message my connections on a regular basis. ___
  3. I occasionally use group messaging. ___
  4. My comments are respectful, or I don’t comment at all. ___
  5. I react (Like, Celebrate, Love, Insightful, Curious) to other’s posts. ___
  6. I react (Like, Celebrate, Love, Insightful, Curious)  to other’s posts and write a comment for each one. ___
  7. I write my own long posts. ___
  8. I react and/or share articles written by my connnections’ or online publications, for example, The Muse. ___
  9. I react and/or share and comment on articles written by my connnections’ or online publications. ___
  10. I react to people’s videos. ___
  11. I react and comment on other’s videos. ___
  12. I produce my own videos. ___
  13. I use LinkedIn’s Publisher to write articles. ___
  14. When I share someone’s communications, I @ tag them. ___
  15. I use the appropriate number of  # hashtags. ___
  16. I endorse my connections. ___
  17. I ask for and write recommendations for my connections. ___
  18. I share my connections’ profiles with other LinkedIn members. ___
  19. I give Kudos to my connections. ___
  20. I use the LinkedIn mobile app. ___

OVERALL number of yeses ___


Legend

  • 45 out of 50 correct: Grand Master
  • 40 out of 50 correct: Very Good
  • 35 out of 50 correct: Good
  • 30 out of 50 correct: Fair
  • 25 out of 50 correct: Needs work

 


Thank you for taking this quiz. If you are new to LinkedIn, don’t worry about your score; it will increase the more you use LinkedIn. If you are a veteran of LinkedIn, your score should be high. Maybe not perfect, but high.

As always, I’m interested in hearing about other questions I should add to this quiz. I’d like to increase the overall number of questions to at least 60.

 

 

10 reasons why you should use LinkedIn after you’ve landed a job

I’ve come across thousands of job seekers who believe in the power LinkedIn provides to help them land a job. I haven’t, however, come across as many people who believe in using LinkedIn after they’ve landed. They feel that once LinkedIn has done its job, it’s time to part ways.

LinkedIn for Business

Why is that? Do people not see the value of LinkedIn in their work?

In a LinkedIn post* I wrote on the fifth of September, I asked the question, “I have a job. Do I still need to use LinkedIn?” Following are 10 versions of the reasons I provided for continuing to use LinkedIn after being hired. Some folks from career development and sales have weighed in with great answers.

1. Continue to build your network as insurance, if you need/want to move on

Unless you were born yesterday, you don’t believe that any job is secure, except for Supreme Court Justices. What if you want to move on to another position? Whether you have to move on or want to move on, having an established network of trustworthy people, will be extremely beneficial.

Susan Joyce writes, “So sad when people stop using LinkedIn after landing a new job. Unfortunately, NOT unusual. What will happen the next time they need a job—start over with LinkedIn? That means a much longer job search. Instead, stay active, support the new employer, and remain professionally visible. Much smarter!”

2. Continue to build your brand

Make sure you update your profile with your latest accomplishments. Only connect with the people who provide value, as well as those to whom you can provide value. And, yes, share posts that are relevant to your network. This is all part of branding. Read The ultimate LinkedIn Guide series to learn more.

Perhaps you’re interest is gaining more visibility in your new role. Wendy Schoen suggests, “If you are engaging on LinkedIn, it is much easier for others in your field to reach out to you with speaking engagements or panel appearances. These are the ways in which you establish your ‘chops’ in your field!”

3. Be found by recruiters who are cruising for passive candidates

You might have landed your dream job and think you’ll retire from the organization, or you might have landed at an organization that didn’t turn out to be what you thought it would. In either case, there are always recruiters who are looking for good talent. You want to be found.

Cynthia Wright is a recruiter. She uses LinkedIn Recruiter and warns that passive job seekers never know when they’ll be approached: “It’s a great tool, and as a recruiter, 60% of my hires are made from LinkedIn Recruiter. Most are passive candidates (those who aren’t necessarily looking for a job). As a job seeker, you just never know.”

4. Give back: let people know of openings in your organization

The best of the best networkers will continue their efforts of helping others after they’ve landed. Some of my former clients have shared openings at their company, almost the minute they’ve started their job. They were paying it forward, which is the true definition of netowrking.

Employers are hiring. The questions is who are they looking to hire. The answer is clear; they’re filling positions with people who’ve been referred by those they trust and know. Be that person they trust and know; mention people with whom you’ve networked. Bonus: you might receive a finders fee.

5. Use LinkedIn for professional development

Let’s say you’ve landed at a company where there’s no money in the budget for professional development. You can reach out to other employees in your industry, or you can use information you gather on LinkedIn. One great source for professional development is LinkedIn’s Learning (Lynda.com).

Brian Ahearn, has produced four courses for LinkedIn. He speaks about persuasion in sales, personal relationships, and coaching. I have learned a great deal about the art of persuasion from him. Check out his courses: Persuasive Selling; Advanced Selling: DEALing with Different Personality Styles; Persuasive Coaching; and Building a Culture of Coaching Though Timely Feedback.

6. Research companies and people before meetings for business transactions

Let’s say you applied for a marketing director’s position. You were smart and researched the positions to which you applied and companies who were going to interview you. Did you also research the people who would be interviewing you? You were smart if you did. Now it’s time to research people in your industry or the company for which you work.

Sarah Johnston writes: “LinkedIn can be a great place to learn about your new colleagues. Individual profiles often reveal their, past jobs and non-profit involvement. This information can be helpful during water cooler conversation. One of my favorite things to do to look at the written recommendations that they’ve given to other people. This can provide you with insight into their work relationships and qualities that they value in others.”

7. Share posts and articles of your own, as well as those of others

If you didn’t share articles or comment on other’s posts while job searching, now is the time to do it. Share and comment on articles, write posts expressing your thoughts, attach a whitepaper in Rich Media sections. You want to stay on the radar of your network (related to reason number one).

Hannah Morgan writes, “Your goal in regularly sharing articles on LinkedIn is to stay top of mind among your network. Don’t just re-share the articles, though. Explain why you are sharing them and tag several people, including the author, to make sure they see it. Commenting on posts related to your field—either from people in your network, or those you do not know yet—is a way to expand your network and solidify your relationships with existing connections.”

8. Increase business and/or visibility of your organization

If you’re a salesperson or business developer in a B2B role, using LinkedIn is a no brainer. Even if you’re not directly involved in selling products or services, LinkedIn is instrumental in building relationships. Any employee in a company can be the face of the organization.

In support of this reason, Bruce Bixler makes an excellent point: “ONLY 20% of LinkedIn is used for job search the OTHER 80% is for business enterprise, sales, networking, lead generation, entrepreneurs, business development, and even small business.” By the way, he might not be far off with this figure.

9. Use LinkedIn to find talent

You’re on the other side of the table now as a hiring manager, recruiter, or HR: you are now searching for candidates. The company for which you work doesn’t have the budget for a Recruiter account or even Recruiter Lite. Your only tool for finding talent is using LinkedIn’s Search.

No problem; you used Search to find people who were hiring. You became proficient at LinkedIn’s All Filters, which allowed you to search for people by title; current and previous company; industry, location; school; and language, if you’re looking for someone who’s bilingual.

10. LinkedIn is fun to use and teach

This is my personal reason for using LinkedIn. I enjoy the platform, more so than Facebook or Twitter. Some of my colleagues tease me for my devotion to LinkedIn (one said I need an intervention), but I shuck it off. I enjoy it for disseminating information and gathering information. This isn’t to say it frustrates me at times.

I also teach job seekers to use it in their job search; having led thousands of workshops on LinkedIn strategy and building your profile. As well, I also help clients one-on-one. Using LinkedIn is my most enjoyable part of the job search to teach. Where some might not see its value, I do.


In my LinkedIn workshops I encourage my attendees to continue to use LinkedIn after they’ve landed their next job. Many nod their head in agreement, but I’ve yet to see most of them to do it. Hopefully if they read this article, they’ll see the value of using LinkedIn after they’ve landed their next job.

Here’s to hoping.

*Here is the post I reference in this article.

Shaming on LinkedIn is NOT cool: 5 possible solutions

One common complaint voiced by LinkedIn members is receiving unsolicited sales pitches. Most offensive to them is receiving a pitch from a salesperson right after agreeing to connect with them. Some LinkedIn members feel it’s intrusive and violates the true nature of networking.

shame

To sales people on LinkedIn, the complainers might be seen as lightweights. After all, LinkedIn was initially developed to create networking opportunities for businesses who were trying to…well, sell their products. They really don’t see a sales pitch as intrusive, and they don’t expect to be shamed for doing what they think is good business.

A salesperson shamed on LinkedIn

On a recent quiet Sunday, I came across an example of what I would call one of worst cases of shaming I’ve seen in years, if not ever. Without using names and being as neutral as possible, I’m going to use third-person point of view to briefly tell you the story.

A LinkedIn member received a sales pitch in a message right after accepting a salesperson’s invite. The recipient of the message took it upon themselves to announce to the world through a post, which described their abhorrence at receiving the sales pitch, provided the salesperson’s LinkedIn URL, as well as a screen shot of the interaction.

Seeing this post prompted me to write a post of my own (link at the end of this article) describing my reaction to this shaming and providing some solutions to deal with it. A large majority of the people who read the post responded with a similar reaction.

How can shaming be avoided?

The first step to avoid shaming on LinkedIn begins with the offender; salespeople need to understand their connections and only approach those who would appreciated a sales pitch. There are many LinkedIn members who engage in the sales arena and welcome unsolicited pitches.

For instance, one of my close LinkedIn connections, Kevin Willett, said he welcomes people reaching out to him to offer their services. Kevin is the founder of Friends of Kevin, which is a networking group for businesses. He believes LinkedIn is a vehicle to generate business.

On the other hand, someone like me doesn’t appreciate being approached by a salesperson trying to peddle their services or products, especially in an initial invite or the second correspondence we have. I don’t stand alone on this, as you will see from reading the reactions from people who responded to my post.

What should you do if you don’t appreciate being approached?

This gets to the heart of this article. So you’ve been approached by a salesperson and you’re angry. Is shaming that person the answer? There were many suggestions from the people who read and responded to my post. Here are some of them:

Educate the offender on LinkedIn etiquette

See the sales pitch as innocent

Thank you for posting this Bob. While receiving these unsolicited sales pitches certainly seems to annoy a number folks, I think it’s important for all of us to remember that most sales pitches (at least the ones I have received on LI) come with good intentions from people just trying to earn a living.

Of course if the pitch contains hateful language or other truly offensive content, then public shaming would not be out of line. But aside from that, I see no reason to get angry or upset over a well-meaning sales pitch. Let’s be kind to one another and remember, we’re all on this journey together!

Ignore the offender

I recently had a similar situation arise where someone lashed out and I had one of two options: publicly shame or play nice. To be honest I’m still contemplating how to handle it. For now it can be seen as the nice route since I’ve chosen to ignore it and not give it power.

If I address it then I’m putting negative energy out there that could potentially portray me in a negative light as well. End result: it’s not worth the energy. If there’s another situation such as this I might be inclined to respond and try to educate but it would all be situational.

Disconnect or block the offender

I simply disconnect from the person. The online equivalent of a “cold call” seems to be garnering favor among more sales reps. Not a good trend because there is no online equivalent of the “do not call” list (unfortunately).

Resort to shaming

I’m happy to say that, at this point, no one has suggested outright shaming the offender. This is the worst possible way to deal with an unwanted sales pitch. I wonder if the offender has received any backlash. Has this person’s reputation been tarnished? Will this effect their brand?

I hope that those who’ve read this article will not resort to shaming anyone on LinkedIn, because, as some respondents wrote, it could affect your own brand. It could make other LinkedIn users be reluctant to connect or follow you.

What would I do? In the past I’ve used the ignore-and-hope-the-person-goes-away approach. If that didn’t work, I simply wrote back, “No thanks.” That’s worked 100% of the time.


See my post, which prompted me to write this article: https://tinyurl.com/y656zdz3

Photo: Flickr, ParraLobato

7 areas of the modern job search for career practitioners

Career practitioners, you have the privilege to teach your clients how to conduct the job search. As such, the job search has evolved. Only by keeping up with the changes, will you be able to better help your charges land their dream job.

climbing a hill

In this article, I will reference other career practitioners who have kept up with the job search and offer great advice. I encourage you to check out what they have to say in regards to the seven most important areas of the job search. If this is old hat to you, please share this article with other career practitioners.

Let me preface that what follows can’t cover every aspects of the modern job search.

Wellness

I start with this area because it is often overlooked. Some career practitioners assume that the job search is mechanical and devoid of any emotional impact. Nothing can be further from the truth.

I’ve learned throughout the years that job seekers need to take a break from their job search, lest they burn out. The statement about the job search being a full-time job is true; however, spending 40 plus hours a week is counter-productive.

Dedicating 25-30 hours a week, with time to rest here and there is more reasonable. Job seekers need to be mindful of their mental and physical state. This is part of wellness and will hopefully avoid burnout in the job search.

Two of my close LinkedIn connections, Jim Peacock (https://peak-careers.com/) and Sabrina Woods (sabrina-woods.com), allowed me to interview them on mindfulness. During the interview, they made simple cases for doing the small things in life, such as taking walks, meditating, and reflecting, among other activities.

Watch this video of me interviewing Jim and Sabrina on the importance of wellness.

Research

Research is where your clients’ job search begins. Before they can write a powerful résumé or LinkedIn profile, they should conduct labor market research (LMR). Getting a grasp on what employers are paying for salaries and knowing the state of their occupation and industry, it all begins with LMR.

Their research must go beyond visiting a few websites to gain the aforementioned information; they must devise a plan of attack. Here are but a few of the questions they should ask themselves:

  • Which companies will I target and who at said companies do I know?
  • Which methods will I use to conduct my search; networking, contacting recruiters, searching online, etc?
  • How much time will I dedicate to my search?
  • Which resources will I use to write my job-search documents and prepare for interviews?

Sarah Johnston (https://www.briefcasecoach.com/), is a huge proponent of research. She writes:

There is a famous French quote that says, ‘a goal without a plan is just a wish.’ I’d like to go down in history for saying, ‘a job search without research and a strategy is like a trip with no destination.’ After getting crystal clear on your own personal strengths and career needs, one of the best places to start a job search is identifying a target list of companies that you’d be interested in working for or learning more information about.

Résumé

Résumé writing experts are keeping a close eye on the trends in this area of the job search. As a career practitioner, you should advise your clients that today’s résumé needs to accomplish the following:

  • Objective statements are out. Employers want to read a brief Summary that sells your clients, without fluff or cliches.
  • It must show accomplishment statements with quantified results. Recruiters no longer want to see a grocery list of duty statements; they want to know what separates your clients from the rest.
  • A tailored résumé to each job is the standard. This comes into play when employers read résumés and see that your clients have an understanding of the job.
  • A well formatted résumé that is easy to read. Paragraphs should not exceed three or four lines at most.
  • It brands a candidate by highlighting their best qualities and is consistent with their other marketing literature.

Executive résumé writers like Adrienne Tom (https://careerimpressions.ca/) and Laura-Smith Proulx (https://anexpertresume.com/) go to great lengths creating résumés for their clients that follow the rules above.

Applicant tracking systems

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) aren’t new; however, the role they play in the hiring process is huge. Bottom line: the ATS eliminates approximately 75% of résumés hiring authorities have to read by parsing them for keywords, e.g., skills, education, years of employment, and anything hiring authorities deem important.

If you aren’t aware of the ATS, acquaint yourself with it very quickly. It’s safe to assume that the companies your clients are sending their résumés to are using an ATS. While the ATS is a godsend to HR and recruiters, it’s a hindrance to job seekers.

It’s important that you get a handle on this technology. I defer to Jon Shields (https://www.jobscan.co/blog/) when I have questions regarding the ATS.

LinkedIn campaign

What’s most important for you to realize is that your clients’ LinkedIn profile is merely one piece of the puzzle. In order for their LinkedIn campaign to be successful, they must also develop a focused, yet large, network; and engage with their connections. One without the others is…well, failure.

I’ve found that some career practitioners haven’t taken the time to practice what they preach. If you want to teach your clients to use LinkedIn to it’s full potential, you must use it on a regular basis.

Read The ultimate LinkedIn guide. It will take you through all three components of a success LinkedIn campaign.

Networking

One of the hardest sells is getting your clients to actively network, particularly at formal events. It isn’t enough to say, “Just do it.” No, they need strategy and, maybe more importantly, encouragement.

Today’s job search works best when job seekers tap into the Hidden Job Market. Make it clear to your clients that companies hire through referrals first, not advertising their openings and hoping for the best.

So what is this strategy I’m referring to? First, your candidates need to take a more proactive approach by creating a target company list. Then they need to approach people who work at their desired companies, or people who know employees at their target companies.

Trust is won by having conversations in the form of many informational meetings and developing relationships. Your clients might get easily discouraged if they don’t gain immediate gratification. Don’t let them. If they’re preference is for introversion, suggest that they join smaller buddy groups.

Networking is the hardest way to land a job, but career practitioners like Austin Belcak make the process easier for their clients.

Interviewing

Gone are the days of one-and-done interviews. The Department of Labor states that the average day to hire for most employers is around 30 days. This is because they don’t want to make costly hiring decisions (in some cases it costs them one third of the employee’s annual salary).

Employers are using personality and analytical assessments, multiple phone and or video interviews, recorded video interviews; all before multiple in-person interviews.

At any phase of the interview process, your clients must be able to answer questions geared toward their job-related abilities as well as their emotional intelligence (EQ). Their best bet is to conduct extensive research on the position and company before each interview.

Similar to networking, if your clients expect quick results, chances are they’ll be disappointed. Prepare them for a lengthy process. But be encouraging. Every interview is a small victory.

One of the best sources for interview advice is www.job-hunt.org, a website operated by Susan Joyce. Have your clients check it out.


As the job search has evolved, it’s necessary for you to keep your clients apprised of the changes;

  • Be cognizant of their wellness; it’s crucial to their journey in the job search.
  • Make sure they’re doing their research, deep-dive research.
  • Have their job-search documents in place, and  push them to network.
  • It all culminates with the all-important interview.

 

Photo: Flickr, The expert consultant

It’s your LinkedIn profile, not your company’s: 4 areas to show it

Recently I viewed a profile from a gentleman whose current job description was…well a job description. Or I should say all about the company for which he works and nothing about him.

Company Hallway

This left me wanting to know more about him in his current role. I reached out to him, telling him it’s nice to be a company man, but that his profile should be more about him.

His response was gracious, saying he just hasn’t gotten around to updating his latest position. Fair enough.

This also got me to thinking what if your current company requires you to reference it throughout your LinkedIn profile? How do you address this in certain sections of your profile?

Abide by your company’s rules, to a point. If the company insists that you mention them on your profile, heed their request. After all, you work for them and want to keep your job. Heeding their request doesn’t mean your profile should be an advertisement for the company, though.

Important to note: my valued LinkedIn connection and Personal SEO Researcher, Trainer, Writer, Susan Joyce, believes describing the company for which one works is beneficial. She writes:

“More words, done well, about the company usually means more keywords—like the industry name, names of products and/or services; even names of corporate officers and locations can be important keywords to include.”

There are four sections on our profile where you can promote the company, while still expressing your value to the company.

Background image

This is not as problematic as with other areas on you profile, particularly if the company has an impressive image (below) that fits this space on your profile (1,584 x 396 pixels recommended).

Raytheon background

A smart company will provide its employees with a background image that supports consistent branding.

Headline

The company for which you work might require that its name is in your headline. That’s fine. In fact, some recruiters and other visitors like to see in your Headline where you’re currently working.

Simply list your company name first or last.

 New Business Development Director at (Company Name) ~ Global Marketing | Training | ~ Generating $50+ million in sales

About section

Don’t use this valuable real estate for your company’s benefit only; rather you’ll dedicate approximately one-third of it in your About section. The remaining content will be about you.

Where you place your company’s information is up to you; however, I suggest listing it at the end of your About section. The reason for this is because the first three lines should be used to highlight your value, not your company’s.

Here is an example for our New Business Development Manager.

ABOUT ME

Forging partnerships with domestic and international partners, I enhance businesses’ internal management processes. In turn, they become more productive and realize growth and prosperity.

My start in business development began five years after graduating from university. With a drive to strive for more experience and knowledge I rose to various managerial roles (10+ years) before becoming Director of Business Development.

In 2018 I conceived and marketed, on a global level, a software solution that increased office production by 210%, garnering (Company) $56 million in revenue. This solution is in use in eight countries in Western and Eastern Europe, as well as  the U.S.

A product will not sell itself. I am highly adept at training and educating inside sales and distributor sales staff in all aspects of selling. I have trained more than 2,500 sales people in 12 countries.

ABOUT (COMPANY)

(Company) sells products to many B2B distributors, as well as numerous B2C outlets. It provides business management solutions to industries that include the USDA, EPA, DoD, Energy, Higher Ed, Health Science, Transportation, and more. (Company) has gained recognition for its solutions’ ease of use in helping businesses support and automate their processes.

Experience section

It was in my subject’s Experience section that he described the company for which he works and nothing about what he accomplished. It does no good to dedicate most of the content to the company’s successes. In terms of selling yourself, this is where you do it.

Instead of denying yourself the opportunity to describe your quantified accomplishments, briefly describe the attributes of the company in your Job Summary. Let’s look at our Dir. of Business Development’s Experience section which follows my suggestion.

ABOUT COMPANY

(Company) delivers to market business management software serving the USDA, EPA, DoD, Energy, Education, Life Sciences, Food & Beverage, Transportation, and more. In this role, I led all aspects of business development including:

NEW BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND MARKETING

► Conceived three software solutions within a three-year time-frame, while also overseeing the global marketing efforts. The Top Tier solution:
»» Commands 30% of business management software market.
»» Has generated more than $56 million in worldwide business.

► Established (Company) as a contract vendor to (7) leading regional, national and international distributors in multiple business sectors.

SALES & TRAINING

► Increased EBITDA margin 12% while simultaneously improving margins, continually cutting costs, without sacrificing quality of brand or brand performance.

► Created sales programs, marketing initiatives and pricing matrices for all levels of customers.

HELPING BUSINESSES GROW

My success as a New Business Product Director is due in large part to the ability understand companies’ needs based on the business management market. I have an instinct to foresee what’s coming down the road and act on it.


One Exception

There is one exception to the rule. If you’re the top employee of the of a company—perhaps CEO—it’s assumed that anything under your charge has your name on it.

Also, describing in detail what you do as the CEO of the company might draw attention to the fact that you’re pursuing other opportunities.


I hope the subject of this article has taken the time to describe more of what he does in his position than the details of the company for which he works. After all, I’m more interested in his accomplishments than those of the company.

Photo: Raytheon

Photo: Flickr, stefgibson01