This article is based on a poll I conducted on LinkedIn in which 2,885 people voted.
This past Sunday was a lazy day. It rained in the morning after my daily walk, so there was no yard work to do. I powered up my laptop to check out what was happening on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Not much.
It’s not every Sunday that I have the opportunity to just sit and use LinkedIn. Like many people, I rarely (this word is relative) use social media on the weekends. These two days are dedicated to family, light travel, and getting things done around the house.
The day in question, I read some posts on LinkedIn and really had no desire to comment on any of them. I definitely had no urge to write a post. You could say I wasn’t feeling it.
This is a real thing, folks. We develop a routine for using LinkedIn and when we veer from it, it seems strange. We strive for consistency without overdoing it; three or four days a week of engagement at the minimum.
And maybe this is the proper amount of time to be on LinkedIn. I don’t prescribe to this limit; there have been numerous times when I’ve said and written that I’m on LinkedIn everyday. This means 365 days a year. I’ve also seen some common faces using LinkedIn as frequently as me.
One voter wrote, “Maybe not 365, Bob, but definitely high 300s. I typically spend multiple hours every week day, and less time on the weekends….”
For me, contributing to being on LinkedIn everyday is probably due to the mobile app. Using LinkedIn on the mobile app can definitely contribute to LinkedIn fatigue. We don’t see the app as a real device on which we use LinkedIn, but it is.
I think about the times I used the app while waiting for my kids to be released from their activities—soccer, dance, other school events—as well as checking it at work, outside waiting for the grill to heat up—basically anywhere. LinkedIn doesn’t escape from us, just like any social media platform come to think about it.
Some of my LinkedIn connections say the last thing they do before retiring for bed is check out their LinkedIn feed or Notifications. So, it seems there is no way to escape the beloved LinkedIn. Here is what some of people who suffer from LinkedIn wrote in the comments:
Kevin D. Turner: Absolutely Bob McIntosh, CPRW, I learned many years ago to schedule at least one bi-weekly #DigitalReprieve (a Day without Digital) and it’s helps.
Celeste Berke Knisely, MTA: The fatigue is real. It often strikes me when I see content from people who seem to be posting on top of one another – posting to post or get likes. I usually give it a good eye role, walk away and come back when I feel like it. No one can be on all the time with witty and thoughtful commentary.
Sometimes, we just need to stare out the window.
Hannah Morgan: Glad you’re sharing this and opening up a discussion. I used to post once a day on LinkedIn. Now I post twice a week. It’s a lot of work. And harder today to create good stuff!
Jeff Sheehan: I get overall social media fatigue. It’s not just limited to LinkedIn. The last year has been challenging with very little IRL interaction. Social media simply is not comparable to meeting face-to-face with people.
Erin Kennedy: I hit Yes but am pretty good about boundaries. I definitely stay off of it on weekends.
Austin Belcak (He/Him): Absolutely! I’ve learned to listen to my body and trust that. If posting that day feels like a real chore, I won’t do it. If it feel that two days in a row, I just give myself permission to take a few days off. Being here should be fun, if you push past that it’s not leading to anything good.
Paula Christensen CPRW, CEIC, CJSS: I answered yes and I blame COVID. Over year+ I have had a lot more time for social media. I am getting tired of staring at glowing rectangles.
🍊 Madeline Mann 🍊: Content creation can be absolute blissful, but it also can really take it out of me sometimes. If you have a commitment to post a certain number of days, I use the tip from atomic habits. Allow yourself to break your habits, but never two days in a row.
Shelley Piedmont, SPHR, SHRM-SCP: I don’t think this is only with LinkedIn. Sometimes you just aren’t feeling it. Better to acknowledge it and move on to something else. Maybe on Sunday your time was better spent reading or taking a walk?
Adrienne Tom: I get social media fatigue a lot. Whenever I do, I break from it. Usually just for short stretches. It can be a bit up and down…back and forth for me, but I’ve learned to embrace how I’m feeling and do what works best for me.
Virginia Franco: I get fatigue in general twice a year that absolutely extends to this platform. I also refer to it as “seasonal dementia,” as I tend to grow increasingly scattered! It happens as the end of the school year draws to a close (5 weeks for us) and from Thanksgiving until New Years!
Honestly staying on screens and social media isn’t even natural for us to do, so it makes sense we get fatigued easily.
Ana Lokotkova: I definitely had it a few times not only in regards to LinkedIn, but all social media for that matter. As always, balance is key.
Laurence F. Smith:, In my opinion, there is too much content on LinkedIn to be of any value. Because of FOMO, there is an inclination to want to ingest everything on the platform. LinkedIn used to be a professional networking platform with relevant content communicating career and related educational opportunities, company/business news and business strategic planning. Now it is a platform with “Facebook-like” content (family videos, college or high-school graduation pictures, constant sales pitches, etcetera).
So it is easy to become fatigued from LinkedIn content. I do not use LinkedIn as much anymore and I suspect other professionals and job creators we all want to connect with may feel the same way.
Nilofar Shamim Haja: Interesting observation! I believe more than fatigue, many of us feel uninspired while using LinkedIn. It’s now cluttered with too many polls, news re-shares, and personal updates (or rants) that have impacted the platform’s value proposition. Sure, we live in a markedly different time today than when LinkedIn was launched, however, the core needs of professionals remain the same: networking, connecting with mentors and peers, job opportunities, and learning about industry updates. It’s just become that much more difficult to find the value in the midst of all the fluff.
Shelley Piedmont, SPHR, SHRM-SCP: Over this past weekend, I really tried to limit my social media intake on all platforms. It is good to do something else, anything else at times. In my daily journal, one of my prompts is how could you have made the day better. Often, I write about partaking in less social media.
LinkedIn’s Companies‘ feature is a treasure trove of information if you’re searching for people with whom to connect. It’s of more value if you have a reason to connect with said people, namely they’re on your company target list (but this is a whole article in itself).
Many job seekers I speak with are unaware that the Companies feature exists. This might have to do with the fact that the feature isn’t highlighted as an icon to the right of Search. In addition, they don’t have a company target list. I strongly suggest they create one consisting of 15-20 companies.
Let’s look at how to find people at your desired companies
For our purpose we’ll assume you have an idea of who you need to find, such as the people on your company target list.
As stated above, the Companies feature is not listed on the toolbar. At one time, this feature was highlighted along with other features, but LinkedIn decided to “hide” it along with Posts, Groups, Schools, Events, and Courses.
To find the button for Companies, place your cursor pointer in Search and left click. You’ll see the drop-down shown below. When I click Companies LinkedIn shows 58,000.000 companies that have a company page.
You can simply type in Search the name of the company. The company for which I’ll search is Avid, a mid-sized company in my area. I know someone who works there, Debra, but not too well. My goal is to connect with a decision maker/s in the marketing department.
I could click People to find the decision maker/s, but I want more options, so I’ll click the number of employees who work there, 1,614. This will give me access to All Filters (see below).
In All Filters I select 2nd degree connections, the Greater Boston Area, and I type in Keywords “manager, marketing.” This gives me three people from which to choose. Rachel and Maria are two people who seem like ones to contact, so I visit their profiles.
Reading their profiles carefully, I look for commonalities between myself and them. Rachel and I went to the same university, and Maria and I have a mutual connection who will gladly facilitate an introduction.
To connect or not connect
You might be wondering why I want to connect with people on my target company list. Fair question. The idea is to penetrate the Hidden Job Market. In other words, get known by people at my desired companies before jobs are listed. Once jobs are listed it’s often too late. I’m building my foundation, if you will.
At this point I’m trying to build my foundation at Avid, as it’s a company high on my list of target companies. I figure there’s a 50/50 chance of one of the two connecting with me. Rachel would be my first choice because she’s managing content writers, which is my area of expertise.
But Maria would also be a bonus connection. Once I connect with Maria, chances are good I’ll be able to connect with Rachel. In both cases I won’t simply send a default invite. No, I’ll have to write a sincere, thoughtful message to both women.
Hint: There’s no reason for either women to connect with me simply because I’m interested in the company for which they work. I’ll have to write a compelling invite message that will entice them to connect with me.
First smother them with kindness
I can take the following steps to impress my possible connections at one of my dream companies. LinkedIn only allows 300 characters* for an invite, so I’ll have I’m limited in terms of the tactics I can use below.
1. I could show Maria and Rachel that I’m simply not connecting with them for the heck of it. I’ll show them that I’ve read their profiles and, of course, mention our commonalities.
2. If either of Maria’s and Rachel’s teams are responsible for doing something notable, I could mention that in my invite. People like to be complimented regardless of what they say. I won’t use shallow platitudes; I’ll point out facts showing I’ve done my research.
3. I could demonstrate that I’ve done my research on Avid and talk highly of it. People also like to know that others admire the employer for which the work. If they don’t, they’re not made long for their position.
I’ll start with the long shot first. This would be Rachel. She and I don’t have a strong common connection. Debra, who’s my first degree connection displayed on the front page of the Avid’s LinkedIn page, is not one of Rachel’s first degree connections. I’ll go with the cold invite.
Reminder: LinkedIn allows 300 characters for an invite. This is why you might want to follow up with an email.
I hope this connection request finds you well. I’ve always considered Avid to be a great organization that helps directors produce great movies, one of which for me is Ocean 8.
I notice you and I went to UMass Amherst. Were you as excited as I to see them win the Hockey National Championship?
The invite to Maria will most likely be more successful because we have a strong common connection. When I ask our common connection, Brenda, if I can mention her as a reference, she gladly agrees. She even offers to write an email to Maria as an introduction. I’ll take her up on it if my invite doesn’t come to fruition.
You and I are both connected with Brenda (last name). I know her from our days in marketing, where I was a MarCom writer and she was in public relations at Company ABC. She strongly suggested that I invite you to my network. She believes I would be a strong attribute to your team.
I’ve described how to write an invite from a basic account. If you have LinkedIn’s Career premium account, you can send an Inmail message containing 2,000 characters*. People have varying reactions to Inmail; some appreciate them while others aren’t fond of them.
How you choose to send invites to people on your target companies list is up to you. You should make it a goal to send four to five invites a week, and don’t be afraid to send multiple invites to a target company.
Preface: this is not an article that asserts introverts use LinkedIn more than extraverts and vice versa. Nor do I assert introverts are more skilled on this platform.
Whether you’re networking via video platform or in person, at some point LinkedIn can play a huge role in your success. I’ve witnessed this with my clients who have forged relationships with other job seekers, mentors, coaches, people in their target companies, and hiring authorities.
As an introvert, LinkedIn has made networking easier for me. It has helped to form solid relationships, generate business for a side hustle, and been a means to share my expertise. I’ve accomplished this, in a large part, by expressing myself through writing, which comes natural to me.
Introverts prefer writing
LinkedIn is a networking platform that is written-based. Written communication can include sending messages to your connections; writing long posts, including polls; and commenting on what others post. Of course, LinkedIn members can express themselves through video and audio.
Written communication is of great comfort for introverts. My valued connection and extravert, Edythe Richards, is a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and EQ trainer, as well as a podcaster. She explains introverts’ preference for writing this way:
“Introverts may prefer writing to speaking because they have ample time to gather their thoughts and edit their words, check and cross-check, before putting them out there into the world. They can also work alone for several hours, which is often harder for extraverted types to do.”
“Even if you’re an introvert who doesn’t write for a living, you probably prefer texting and emailing over big in-person meetings or talking on the phone.
“How can this be? Again according to [Marti Olsen] Laney, writing and speaking use different pathways in the brain. These writing pathways simply seem to flow more fluently and easily for introverts.“
I’m not naive enough to claim introverts own the rights to the written word; that all introverts are great writers and all extraverts are lousy writers. Introverts are not the ruler of the writing hill. Extraverts can write with the best of them. However, introverts are more comfortable writing than speaking.
The voice message feature is pretty cool
I’ve used this feature on LinkedIn’s mobile app only a handful of times, but when I did I planned what I would say and re-recorded a message a few times. Here’s how my botched attempts might go, “Hi Brenda ‘comma’ this is Bob McIntosh ‘period‘ would you like to Zoom with me ‘question mark….'”
The point is voice messaging precludes the need for introverts think on their feet in face-to-face situations. We can do retakes. Small talk isn’t one of our strengths, as it takes thinking on our feet processing our thoughts quickly.
Marti Olsen Laney, The Introvert Advantage: How Quiet People Can Thrive in an Extrovert World, mentions in her book that introverts don’t process information as quickly as extraverts. I know, as an introvert, this is hard to stomach.
With writing and voice messaging, we have more time to think about what we need to convey, and this makes networking with our connections easier.
You can reach out to many people with LinkedIn
Are you a LinkedIn Open Networker (L.I.O.N)? If you are, you’ve probably reached your 30,000 connection limit. I don’t admire L.I.O.Ns for this feat, but I don’t dislike them because of it. My point is that you can reach out to and connect with more people than you’ll ever know.
I am not ashamed to say I have a little more than 4,000 connections and that I probably truly know only 150 people (according to Dunbar’s law of 150). I can safely say I am acquainted with 25 percent of them. I can write to a connection to ask if they’d like to start a conversation.
Rarely am I denied a request to engage in a conversation with my desired connections. I also don’t deny a conversation with someone as long as it fits in my schedule. My preferred way to talk is to do it when I’m walking. I call it “walking and talking.”
LinkedIn is great for soft introductions
Have you ever wanted to meet a person who could change your life, or at least help you in a significant way? If I want to meet anyone, my friend Brian Ahearn would gladly introduce me to whomever I’d like to meet.
Other than the fact that I root for the Patriots and he roots for the Steelers, we’ve grown a LinkedIn relationship of trust and liking (one of the six components he talks about when influencing others). This means that if I want to meet one of his connections he would facilitate the introduction, no questions asked.
The same trust and liking I have with Brian applies to more of my connections than I can list. Have I met these people in person? I’ve met Brian in Boston, but there aren’t many LinkedIn connections I can say with whom I’ve “pressed flesh.” This is the power of the soft introduction.
Key point: once you have been introduced to someone, it is on you to follow through to solidify the connection. You might be the one to send an invite to the person to whom you’re introduced or vice versa. In either case, don’t let this new connection sit; build a relationship as discussed next.
LinkedIn encourages relationship building
Reaching out to many people and getting to know them better through soft introductions is at the core of networking on LinkedIn. Did you know that LinkedIn was developed for business as a way for companies to network to develop leads? Job seekers saw LinkedIn as a way to network and develop leads.
This said, leads are leads until they amount to something. I mentioned above that I’ve developed some great relationships on LinkedIn. This wasn’t done overnight, especially with my preference for introversion. Introverts by and large seek deep, intimate relationships, where as extraverts have a friend in every port.
I would love to get together with many of my close connections; however, distance is a deterrent. For example, one of my connections lives in Los Angeles. Another one lives in Maine about a three-hour drive. And a close connection lives in Belgium. These are a few of the thousands of connections I’d like to reach out to. You get the idea; LinkedIn is a global relationship maker.
“After connecting with someone, send a follow-up ‘Thanks for connecting,’ email with some CTA (call to action) – such as scheduling a virtual cup of coffee to learn more about what you each do and how you can support them.”
But we’re not done
I am constantly saying to my clients that to form a bona fide relationship with someone, you need to reach out in a personal way. Phone and Zoom are great ways to communicate, but there’s nothing like meeting someone for a coffee, a beer, or dinner. Networking is at its best when you gather in person.
Unfortunately the pandemic has put the kibosh on most in-person networking in the state in which I live. But pre-pandemic I enjoyed attending networking events to meet up with contacts or speak about LinkedIn to groups. It was great to see them in person and be able to shake their hand.
You’ve set yourself up for in-person meetings by writing to your connections, sharing content on LinkedIn, using LinkedIn’s voice message feature, and asking for soft introductions. These are all acts that introverts find comfortable with. Is LinkedIn the first step in the networking process? I think it is.
Back to Introverts and writing
It would be unkind of me to share what Edythe Richards shared in her message to me regarding the Introvert’s preference for writing:
“I’s may prefer writing to speaking because they have ample time to gather their thoughts and edit their words, check and cross-check, before putting them out there into the world. They can also work alone for several hours, which is often harder for Extraverted types to do.
“Some people – regardless of personality type – may prefer writing due to a real or perceived fear of judgment, social anxiety, or they’re just really good at writing.
“With this said, not all I’s may prefer writing to speaking, and not all E’s may prefer speaking to writing. There are nuances, shades, and blends of what we think of as a typical Extravert or Introvert. It could be situational as well – we may prefer writing to certain people and speaking to other people.
“Take me for example. I’m an Extravert, but I’ve spent years cultivating Introverted qualities. I prefer listening to other people’s stories rather than talking about my own. I cherish my few very close friends. And yes, there are many, many times that I prefer writing to speaking.
“My significant other identifies as a Very Clear Introvert. Though he will surely disagree with me, he is an eloquent speaker. And in true Introvert style, he usually chooses not to speak. But given the choice between speaking and writing, he will choose to speak.”
Raise your hand if you visit a LinkedIn user’s profile and get as far as the Recommendations section. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t. Rarely do most LinkedIn members travel that far down another member’s LinkedIn profile. I usually don’t.
Now raise your hand if you feel the recommendations you proudly tout on your profile are helpful or essential to your business. I don’t blame you if this request gives you pause. After all, the Recommendations section is anchored in the basement of your profile. It’s likely that even you have forgotten about this section. We tend to forget what we don’t see.
There was a time when Recommendations was one of the most valued sections on the profile. That time was so long ago that I can’t remember when this was the case. My LinkedIn historian, Kevin Turner, reminded me of when Recommendations were banished to the cellar of our profile, and we lost our ability to move all our sections about:
“Recommendations were banished to the bottom of the profile around 04.07.2018 when the New Look was established. Around ~03.2017 we lost the ability to reorder, having the corresponding [recommendations] under each job, and the ability to pull it to the top of the profile.”
I believe there is a segment of the LinkedIn community who still believes in the value of Recommendations, particularly business folks who use them as testimonials. I recall some of my connections who would move their recommendations to below Summary—as it was called then—to highlight the excellent services they provided.
But I also believe recommendations on a job seeker’s profile is also of great benefit. Think about how some hiring authorities might be more interested in a candidate’s recommendations and not so interested in their skills and endorsements. Reading some stellar recommendations could lead to a telephone call and subsequent conversations.
So, how do you direct visitors to your Recommendations section? I put forth three solutions.
First solution: mention Recommendations in your About section
Given that your About section draws the attention of visitors, doesn’t it make sense to point your audience to Recommendations within this section? Unfortunately, we don’t yet have the ability to post links to Recommendations—similar to the links to our Current Employer and Education—so words will have to do.
Matt Warzel has this simple statement in his About section: “I’ve earned 740+ LinkedIn recommendations.”
Or you might want to give your visitors a taste of your recommendations by including a few excerpts from them. This is how I do it:
𝗪𝗛𝗔𝗧 𝗠𝗬 𝗖𝗟𝗜𝗘𝗡𝗧𝗦 𝗦𝗔𝗬 𝗔𝗕𝗢𝗨𝗧 𝗠𝗘 (𝗘𝗫𝗖𝗘𝗥𝗣𝗧𝗦 𝗙𝗥𝗢𝗠 MY 𝗥𝗘𝗖𝗢𝗠𝗠𝗘𝗡𝗗𝗔𝗧𝗜𝗢𝗡𝗦)
“Bob’s expertise regarding LinkedIn is second to none. He is always looking for ways to leverage the platform for the benefit of his clients and his approachable style makes it easy to work with him and understand what he is saying.”
“Bob is the real deal. With his consistently published articles, super actionable tips and daily dose of inspiration here on LinkedIn, Bob is really the King of all Things Career Related. He made an appearance on my weekly live broadcast a few months ago, and the audience loved him. No surprise why.”
There are two other excerpts from some of my recommendations I list in About . Following the excerpts, I direct visitors to my Recommendations section by writing: “⬇️ 𝐈𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐬𝐞𝐞𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐦𝐲 𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬? 𝐒𝐜𝐫𝐨𝐥𝐥 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐨𝐭𝐭𝐨𝐦 𝐨𝐟 𝐦𝐲 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐟𝐢𝐥𝐞 ⬇️”
Second solution: point visitors to your recommendations in Experience
If you want to include excerpts from your current or previous positions, they’ll make a splash as worthy accomplishments. As I tell my clients, “What others say about you weighs heavier than what you say about yourself.”
“Susan took our marketing department to greater heights with her advanced knowledge of product marketing. She and her team increased revenue over the course of 10 years to the tune of $400 million dollars.“
You can point your visitors to your Recommendations section in the same manner you use in About. Susan’s excerpt can be followed with: “To read additional testimonials, visit my Recommendations section.” Again, it would be nice to have a link bringing your visitors to recommendations.
Third solution: point people to your recommendations in Volunteer Experience
By this point, your visitors have traversed a great distance on your profile, but why not direct them here as well? I will read a person’s Volunteer Experience section if I want to know more about the work they’ve done. And yes, volunteer work is experience.
Again, the process is the same as it is in your About and Experience sections. Take another example of someone who has volunteered to perform duties for his alma mater:
“Jason put in endless hours developing the University of Massachusetts license plate initiative which has exceeded expectations by 30,000 participants. There are hundreds of thousands of cars donning UMass license plates. This is special.”
Jason writes: “To the full recommendation from the director of Alumni, scroll down to my Recommendation section. Can a say it again? It would be nice to have a link to Recommendations.
It’s unfortunate that you can’t move your Recommendations section to the top of your profile — like you could on your resume—or LinkedIn doesn’t allow you to link to it. For some people like Matt Warzel, he displays hundreds of recommendations to prove his work. I wonder if he would want to reorder his Recommendations section.
I’ve written or critiqued hundreds of LinkedIn profiles in my role as a career coach. Whether this impresses you matters not. I only mention this to let you know I’ve seen brilliant, so-so, and downright terrible profiles. In this article I’m going to address what makes a profile terrible.
Don’t be offended if your profile falls under the following faux pas; not everyone has the gift to write their own powerful profile. Nor do they have the resources to hire a professional resume/LinkedIn profile writer (the two are mutually exclusive).
Let’s start at the top.
A painful background image
I experimented by searching for a Project Manager to see what the first profile would have for a background image. Much to my dismay the first one at the top of my list had the default one LinkedIn provides (below).
I say “dismay” because the person whose profile sports this background image presents an outstanding photo, which I’d show you if I weren’t afraid of retribution from said person. Why didn’t this person finish the job? Said person could have Googled “LinkedIn background images” to find a free one.
A painful photo
There are numerous photos that I find painful. Here they are in no particular order:
The imposter. This photo is 10 to 20 years old. Come on, we al realize that people age. I’m not satisfied with the photo that depicts my age, but it is what it is.
The over-the-top photo. You know these photos of people who are trying too hard to impress us with their creativity.
The group photo. Not really a showing the group but someone who has an arm draped over their shoulder.
The blurry photo. I can’t make out who the person is. This shows they don’t care about quality.
The selfie. I’ve seen photos of people shooting selfies in their car.
These are only a few of the photos that make reading a profile painful. Trust me, it’s worth investing some money in your photo; it’s part of your personal branding.
A painful Headline
Some will tell you that the Headline is the most important section of your profile. In a poll I conducted on LinkedIn, 46% out of 1,176 voters concluded that the Headline is more important than the Experience (30%) and About (24%) sections.
Unemployed statement. Writing that you’re Unemployed, Seeking Employment, Open to New Opportunities, etc. do nothing for your branding. Save that valuable space by using the Open to Work badge LinkedIn provides.
Your title and current employer only. If you have enough remaining space to show your value, it’s fine to state this. But it’s more important that you have keywords that help others find you. A branding statement is helpful, as well.
The scatter-brained Headline. This Headline gives readers no idea what you do or want to do. Visitors must have a clear vision of your career direction and areas of expertise at least.
Here’s one from Elise Finn which is nicely written:
Director and Co-Founder of Nkuzi Change – helping large organisations unlock the potential of Middle Leaders through Coaching | Leadership Coach | Senior Exec in FTSE 100 Companies | She/Her
Although the poll mentioned above might indicate your About section isn’t as important as the other two, it is extremely important. So don’t fudge on this one. The About section is read by people who want to know your story; it’s where you can describe your passion, excellence, and voice.
A painful About section looks like this:
It’s your resume’s Summary. Enough said on this. I can see a person’s resume Summary a mile away. It’s short and devoid of first-person point of view and sometimes is full of cliches.
It’s too brief. I wouldn’t assume that your About section should be as long as mine, but I will advise that it provides some value. Some visitors find this section to be of most interest, so don’t disappoint.
It’s too dense. When I see a paragraph that’s 10 lines long, I ignore it. If I want to read something that long, I’ll read Moby Dick.
There are too many keywords. Some people like to cram as many keywords in their About section in order to be found by recruiters who are looking for particular skills. It’s best to sprinkle them throughout your profile to create a flowing document.
I wrote a recent, comprehensive post on what a strong About section looks like, so I won’t go into great detail about what to include in yours.
A painful Activity section
If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, it means you’re not using LinkedIn for one of it’s greatest assets; allowing you to be heard. This is where I like to see that people have shared long posts, commented on what others have written, created polls, maybe written articles.
This section is one of the most neglected ones on a LinkedIn profile. And I don’t understand why. Here’s where you can really tout your greatness through accomplishments that are hopefully quantified. If not quantified, you can qualify them using first-person point of view.
A painful Experience section looks like this:
Only includes the bare basics. This means one’s title, place of employment, and months and years of tenure. Come on, show me the money! Give me some description.
Like About, it’s the resume’s Experiencesection. Here’s where you want to include only the best of the rest. In other words, highlight the accomplishments and the accomplishments only. If you have mundane duties on your resume, no need to mention them here.
It shows no character. Start creating your profile by copying and pasting your resume content to it, but then personalize it with, you guessed it, first-person point of view.
For example, “The team I lead keys into the business priorities, builds learning experiences to amplify the superpowers of the organization, and crafts engagement experiences to retain and celebrate the employees who achieve incredible results. We have such a blast making Inspire a place where people feel connected and are stretched to reach new heights.” ~Madeline Mann
You don’t utilize keywords. This is similar to your Headline where you simply write, “CEO at ABC Company.” Boring. Instead, write, “CEO at ABC Company ~ New Business Development | Global Strategic Relationships | Marketing and Sales“
Yes, your Education section can be painful. Many assume that LinkedIn wants you to write this section like it would appear on your resume. Wrong. You want to put some detail into it.
This is painful:
University of Massachusetts Bachelor’s Degree, English
Here’s my colleague Stacy Thompson‘s profile’s Education section, which is much better:
Boston College Bachelor of Arts Field Of Study Sociology, Pre-Law Activities and Societies: Undergraduate Government of Boston College, AHANA Leadership Council-Event Planning Director, Voices of Imani Gospel Choir
Member of the Undergraduate Government AHANA Leadership Council Member AHANA Leadership Council Assist Director Event Planning AHANA Leadership Council Director, Event Planning Voices of Imani Member, Leadership Role
In case you’re wondering, AHANA stands for: African, Hispanic, Asian and Native American descent. I’m proud to say that Stacey is a member of our city’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee.
Skills and Endorsements took its place as one of the criteria to have an All Star profile. Now S and E is also in the basement. There’s justice for you.
A painful Recommendation section looks like this:
Poorly written recommendations. There are multiple typos and grammatical mistakes. Sharing them is just as much your mistake as the writer’s. You have the ability to send them back for revision.
This section is all about you. So you have 20 recommendations. Great. But how many have you written for others? Are there crickets going off in your head?
You got nothing. You’re so afraid of asking for recommendations that you literally have none to show. Which leads to….
They’re old. The recommendations you have were written for you when you last looked for work, which was 10 years ago.
You might hate me for pointing out the faults of your profile, but I’m not writing this article for love. I’m writing it to make you better. When you write a strong profile–or have someone do it–it makes you think of your greatness. You need to think about your greatness.
Most people have a hard time engaging with the LinkedIn community, according to a poll I’m conducting on LinkedIn. Although the poll’s only on its second day, it reveals that 42% find it difficult to engage and 21% feel it’s somewhat difficult. Only 37% have no difficulty engaging with the LinkedIn community?
As someone who engages on LinkedIn on a daily basis, I find it hard to believe that others find it hard engaging with the LinkedIn community, but I’m the exception to the rule. This article is for job seekers (career advisors might learn a thing or two) and goes over the tips that will make it easier for them to engage with other members.
The first thing job seekers need to do is change their mindset and understand that engaging with LinkedIn members is no more than starting and nurturing communication with them. Think of engaging as conversations you gradually become immersed in.
Note: Don’t confine communication to your 1st degrees; communicate with your 2nd degrees, as well. Doing this can result in connecting with your 2nd degrees who could potentially be your best relationships.
Why it’s important
I’d be remiss in not telling you why it’s important to communicate with LinkedIn members. You know the old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind.” This is a good way to look at it. You want to stay top of mind, not be forgotten. In addition, recruiters and other hiring authorities will see you in their feed.
Follow these tips on how to make communication easier.
1. Start by following LinkedIn members
You might want to start following people before connecting with them. You will still see their content in your feed, but you won’t be able to communicate with them directly unless you have a premium account and use Inmail to send them a message.
Another benefit of following someone is getting on their radar for potentially connecting with them in the future. Some of the best invites I receive are those that say a person has been following me and enjoys my content. Would I like to connect with them.
Note: If you see a Connect button on their profile, click on the More drop-down and choose Follow. In some cases, people will prefer that you follow them and won’t be notified that you’ve started following them.
2. Actively search for content from LinkedIn members
Hopefully your first- and second-degree connections, and the people you’re following are like-minded and produce content that gels with you. For example, if you are in Supply Chain and want to read, view videos, or hear podcasts on this topic simply type “Supply Chain” in the Search field at the top left-hand corner of any page. Then select Posts.
I found 525 results for this topic, which is way too many to consume. By going to All Filters, one can select, Date posted, Sort by, Author industry, and Author company. I chose Past Week, Top Match, and typed in Pharmaceuticals. These filters garnered 21 results, including videos, posts, and an invite to join a webinar.
3. Search for content companies produce
Assuming you have a list of target companies, you can find content by visiting their LinkedIn page. I’m going to go to Fidelity to see what kind of content they’re producing.
On their page I see options for Posts which include All, Images, Documents, Videos, and Ads. Under All, there is a link for an article titled: Markets, emotions, and you. Currently there are 53 reactions and zero comments. This is your chance to react and comment on the article. (More on this later.)
Out of curiosity I select Videos, where I see that one was produced three months ago. It’s titled Mastering Stability Amid Change. I decide to watch it and am pleased that it’s only 31 seconds long. It’s obviously an advertisement. There are 138 reactions, five comments, and 5,190 views.
4. Use hashtags (#s) to find content
LinkedIn allows you to select hastags (#) which categorizes content. Instead of spending time on your feed searching for your desired topics, type in the Search engine #(topic). For example, if you want to read articles on digital marketing, type #digitalmarketing and select Posts.
How are hastags created? When people share content, they can choose existing hashtags or write their own within a post or at the end of it. Additionally, LinkedIn allows you to choose existing hashtags by clicking Discover More on the left of your homepage.
5. React and comment on what others write
Once you’ve chosen who to follow or connect with, their content will be displayed in your feed. However, LinkedIn doesn’t show all of the content that LinkedIn members you follow produces. You’ll have to actively search for it. This might seem like a needle in a haystack.
When you happen upon a long post, article, video, or podcast you read or listen to, choose one of the reaction buttons. They are: Like, Celebrate, Love, Support, Insightful, and Curious. Don’t leave it at that, though, write a thoughtful comment on something that resonated with you.
Here’s an example of a comment from someone who read one of my posts:
All are good points about resumes, Bob. I would say more important than anything about your formatting is the content. That is what the reader cares about above all else. Tell a compelling story that explains what value you bring to the employer. That is what will get you an interview.
Notice that my name is highlighted in blue and underlined. This commenter tagged me so I would be alerted in Notifications of her comment. More on this later.
6. Share articles of interest and comment on them
One of the benefits of using LinkedIn is that you can read, see, or hear content that is relevant to your occupation or industry and, in effect, learn from it. Many of my clients will share a post, podcast, or YouTube video with the people in my job club.
I began an assignment by sharing an article I read and asked the members of the group to do the same. There were two stipulations. First, they had to share the content with everyone. Second, they had to react and comment on what they shared.
Like commenting on a post, this is one of the easiest ways to communicate with your network and followers. I suggest to my clients who are just starting on LinkedIn that they do this on a regular basis. When they tell me they don’t have time to research topics on LinkedIn, I tell them it’s one of the best ways for them to use their time.
7. Write posts of your own
Once you’re use to commenting on other LinkedIn members’ posts, it’s time to write your own. I know what you’re thinking, “I’m out of work. What do I have to add?” You have a lot to add. Did you forget your expertise in marketing? No you didn’t. You are still an expert in your field.
Share what other LinkedIn members wrote (and comment on it)
News about companies (mentioned above)
Commenting on a photo
Producing a video (for the more advanced)
These are just a few ways you can communicate with your connections. It’s up to you to determine at which level you want to go.
8. Tag people
There’s nothing I dislike more than coming across a comment or even a post in which I’m mentioned but not tagged. I’ve had people share my articles without letting me know. It’s like people talking behind your back.
When you comment on someone’s post, for example, do the following: type @Bob McIntosh. Before you write my last name, I’ll appear in a drop-downof names. Simply click on my name and I’ll be inserted into your comment.
As soon as you do this, I’ll see a number appear on my Notifications icon. I’ll click on the icon and see that “(someone) has mentioned you in a comment.” Thus begins the conversation with whomever tagged me in a post or shared article.
9. Be consistent
I was told years ago that the way to gain a following is by being consistent. So, what I try to do every week—I’m not always successful—is create a poll on Monday, publish an article on Tuesday, write a long post on Wednesday or Thursday, and publish what I call “Blast from the past Saturday.”
By no means am I saying you should do what I do. What you should do is try to communicate with your connections at least four days a week. Whether it’s commenting on posts or articles, writing your own posts, or even writing articles and producing video—it’s your call.
10. By no means, be negative
This should go without saying, but I’ve seen some pretty nasty comments on posts. My thought is that if you read something you don’t like, keep scrolling until you find something you do like.
This is not to say you can’t disagree with something someone wrote. Just do it in a diplomatic manner. You could write, “You make some excellent points, Bob. However, I don’t agree that the #resume Summary should be written in bullet format.”
I would be more likely to respond with “I can see your point, Cheryl. I just feel that too many bullets will confuse the reader.” No harm, no foul.
There you have it. My final tip is to simply do it. As I mention above, if you want to stay on your connections’ radar, you must communicate with them. I know if might be intimidating at first, but once you begin the process and maintain consistency, it’ll be come second nature.
Guest writer and recruiter Jeff Lipschultz is a 20+ year veteran in management, hiring, and recruiting of all types of business and technical professionals. He has worked in industries ranging from telecom to transportation to dotcom.
With all the rage around social media in job searching, LinkedIn stands out as the tool of choice for many recruiters to connect with job seekers (or future job seekers). Knowing how recruiters use the tool may shed some light on how to leverage LinkedIn in your own job search efforts.
Granted, good recruiters use many social media tools to find candidates, like Facebook and Twitter. However, LinkedIn.com is the largest social network for professionals. LinkedIn provides the best avenue for a recruiter to quickly learn enough about a person to see if they should be contacted for a particular job opening.
Candidates need to leverage LinkedIn as much as possible to be included in these searches.
1. Have a large LinkedIn network
To be found on LinkedIn, you need to have a large network because…
LinkedIn search results are limited to those accounts which are the searcher’s first, second, and third level connections. If you aren’t connected to someone at one of those levels, you won’t appear in their search results.
Although many recruiters know how to search for candidates who are outside their own LinkedIn three degrees of connectivity or pay LinkedIn for that access, not all do. Therefore, the more people you are connected to, the more likely you may be connected to recruiters.
Many recruiters, especially independent recruiters who don’t work for a single employer, love invites to your network, too. Don’t be afraid to ask recruiters to join your network — they may be unable to ask you to join their network because of LinkedIn’s built-in rules.
2. Use the right keywords to describe yourself
When recruiters search for candidates in LinkedIn, they focus on keywords just like the resume databases and applicant tracking systems do. Without the right keywords, your LinkedIn Profile will not be found.
Your LinkedIn Professional Headline is the perfect place to include the right keywords for your job search. Be specific to attract recruiter attention.
No one searches for a “business professional” but they do search for a “marketing manager who understands how to leverage social media for B2B visibility and sales.” So, avoid being too general — general headlines will not be impressive or contain the right keywords.
There are also ample opportunities to sprinkle in your key abilities and skills within the Summary and Experience sections. Every job you list should include the expertise that you demonstrated in that job. Think keywords!
Prove that the keywords you have used to describe yourself are accurate.
LinkedIn offers many opportunities to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise, including these five:
⏩ LinkedIn recommendations
Having recommendations within LinkedIn is a nice way to convey you are a quality candidate. But having more than two from each job looks like you are just asking everyone you know for a recommendation. This can diminish the value of the best and most articulate recommendations you have.
So, unless you have been in one job for many years, two short recommendations are best.
Recruiters sometimes ask for references who are not included on LinkedIn, so be prepared for that request.
If you publish a blog, include it in your Profile. Add it to the contact information near the top of your Profile. Click on the “See contact info” link near the top of your Profile, and then click on the pencil icon in the dialog box that pops open to add and edit the information.
Having a blog included on your Profile adds to your credibility, too. You can show off your technical knowledge and insights as well as your writing skills.
Similarly, you can use another application, SlideShare (which is owned by LinkedIn), to post a PowerPoint presentation on related subject matter. Link those SlideShare pages to your LinkedIn Profile. These will catch the eye of the recruiter, and provide more information about you and the knowledge and skills your presentations demonstrate.
⏩ LinkedIn posts
This may look a bit like Facebook’s news feed, but remember that it is NOT!
Keep in mind that LinkedIn is NOT Facebook, and should not be the place where you share photos of you and your child playing in the snow (unless taking care of children is your profession) or making political statements.
Use Status Updates in your Profile to share good relevant news and other helpful information, including:
Share good information posted by other professionals on LinkedIn, whether as a “post” (short discussion in the news feed) or as articles they publish on LinkedIn.
Share important happenings in your industry, and whenever you publish an article, are quoted in someone else’s article, or receive other positive visibility, share that as well.
Share images, videos, or documents you upload.
Link to good information you find (understand the LinkedIn does not distribute links to external websites as generously as it distributes content inside of LinkedIn).
Of course, if you are actively looking for a new job (and are unemployed so you safely can announce this), feel free to post a status of exactly the type of job you’re looking for.
Also, check the “Notifications” stream, and “Like” or share good information shared by others. When appropriate, comment on the others’ posts (positively and professionally, not negatively or nastily).
Currently, every LinkedIn member can belong to as many as 100 Groups, and over 2.1 million Groups exist.
You can be found more easily if you are a member of LinkedIn Groups for your specialty (i.e., .NET, SQL Server, Flex, Information Architects).
LinkedIn will suggest Groups for you to join if you click on the “Work” link at the top of your Profile, which opens the dialog box shown on the left here.
As the image on the left shows, you can also find Groups to join by clicking on the “Groups” icon in the options that drop down when you click on the “Work” icon at the top, right of most LinkedIn pages.
Recruiters love to scan discussions on topics related to positions they are working on in order to find “subject-matter experts.” Posting good information or making well-informed comments on Discussions in Groups relevant to your profession, industry, or, even, location can bring you to the attention of recruiters scanning the Group for good candidates.
Employers and recruiting companies even start their own Groups to share news and attract members. Join, and contribute to discussions or provide valuable news relevant to members.
You can meet and even connect with people on LinkedIn through the dialogs that develop over discussions. People notice those who “like” their posts, and also those who make positive, relevant comments — not necessarily saying everything is “Great!”
Don’t automatically “like” a Discussion to bring yourself to the attention of the person who shared it. Read the related web page first to be sure that you do actually agree with it. If you do, then “like” it.
If you are a reasonably skilled at writing and have good information to share, LinkedIn’s blog is a very visible platform. The articles you publish are highlighted by LinkedIn near the top of your Profile for everyone who visits your Profile to see (and, potentially, read).
Simply click on the “Write an article” link at the top of your LinkedIn home page, as shown above, and get started. You choose when your article is shared with the public on LinkedIn.
Well done, these posts can dramatically raise your visibility as more and more people read and share them. But, even if they don’t end up with 5,000 views in a week (or even 50), they demonstrate your communications skills and some aspects of your professional knowledge. A recruiter scanning your Profile is apt to check your articles to gain more insight into your qualifications and personality.
4. Provide contact info!
If you want to be contacted by recruiters and potential employers, you must share your contact info.
If they cannot contact you, they cannot hire you.
You can list your Twitter handle and can include your personal Web site or blog (which should also have your contact info). Edit the “Contact Info” in the column on the right near the top of your LinkedIn Profile. You can safely include your email address and phone number. Read To Be Hired, Be Reachable – How to Safely Publish Your Contact Information on LinkedIn for how to do it without compromising your privacy or putting your job at risk.
5. Include your photo!
It’s not a bad idea to include a picture, too.
Recruiters roll through dozens to hundreds of Profiles a month. They don’t always remember names they have seen, but they do remember pictures.
This will help them remember if they have contacted you in the past (and check their files accordingly). Also, Profiles without pictures can send the message of “anti-social media” or “not social media savvy” or even “fake LinkedIn Profile” or “hiding something.”
Obviously, you need to make sure you are open to invitations to connect or InMails from recruiters. Make sure your contact settings are set appropriately on your profile. You can include your preferred contact information in this section, as well as, the Personal Information section.
You should be open to connecting with recruiters even when you are not looking for a job. You may not currently be a job seeker now — but some day you likely will be.
If you already have a strong network of recruiters on LinkedIn, you’ll be way ahead of the game when it’s time to look for your next opportunity.
Notice that the advice above is all about getting a recruiter to find you, not the other way around. You are presenting yourself to recruiters without any extra outreach work on your part. All you need to do is set up your Profile well, keep it current, stay active on LinkedIn (ten to twenty minutes a day reading and sharing), and LinkedIn does the work for you.
This post originally appeared in Job-Hunt.org and has been slightly edited.
When I talk with my clients about their LinkedIn profile About section, I tell them it should tell their story. But that’s too vague. There’s more to your About section than this simple statement. Another way to explain this section is that it should encompass your overall value.
“Encompass your overall value?” you may wonder. People who understand what it means to encompass their overall value take the time to write compelling prose that clearly states their greatness. Yes, they don’t save all of their accomplishments for the Experience section; they present some of them upfront.
There’s more than showing your greatness to consider when you’re writing this important section for the first time or revising it. First, consider the following 8 tips. Then read about some ways you can write your About section.
Here are 8 tips to consider
1. Don’t skimp on your About section. If it’s similar to many of the ones I see, it lacks creativity. In fact, it resembles a résumé. This is what I call the bare minimum. You’re telling the world you don’t give a rat’s ass about your online image.
You’re allowed 2,600 characters—up from 2,000. It’s a lot, I know, but you’re not required to use all 2,600 characters. Some people write killer About sections with less words.
2. Make sure to include the keywords hiring authorities and other visitors are looking for. If you’re a project manager with expertise in Lean Sigma, list those words numerous times in your About section. It’s not only about the proper keywords; it’s also about density.
3. Write your About section in first-person point of view. In fact, write your whole profile in first-person to make it more personal. You can even write your Experience section in first-person.
4. Don’t be afraid to use some colorful symbols in your About section. It contributes to your personality. Just don’t over due it. You don’t want to distract your readers from the message you’re trying to deliver.
5. Use some HEADERS to guide your readers as to what your paragraphs or bullets are describing. I use all-cap headers like JOB-SEARCH STRATEGY and WHAT MY CLIENTS SAY ABOUT ME (EXCERPTS FROM RECOMMENDATIONS 👇) to indicate exactly what I’m describing.
6. Keep your paragraphs short. Three or four lines should be the limit. I’ve seen About sections written like stream of consciousness. Dense paragraphs consisting of 10 lines will scare people away from reading your content.
7. Always include your contact information. At the very least list your email address. At best include your telephone number. Here’s the thing, hiring authorities aren’t going to spend time trying to find you. And, they might not be astute enough to look in the Contact Info drop-down under your name.
8. I saved the best for last. Use your About section to brand you. There is perhaps no better place to do this; you message must be compelling—who are you, what do you do, how well do you do it, and do your readers believe it? These are questions you need to answer.
Three of the most important lines (approximately 50 words) are the ones that appear at the beginning of your About section; therefore they need to grab the reader’s attention and make them want to click …see more. I tell my clients they can talk about the following in their starter lines:
► A greater problem you solve ► What drives you in your occupation ► A question which you will address in the body
These will comprise your first paragraph. Here’s an example, from a salesperson in the LED lighting space, of the start of a great intro paragraph. He uses another approach for the intro paragraph by asking if the reader needs him, then explaining what he can do.
Are you looking for someone who can increase your ROI? With my product development, sales management, and channel management experience, I am a triple threat and will add great value to your company. I am a sales/product leader and global channel manager with a demonstrated history of working from startup to large… see more
Body of your About section
After your first and second paragraphs, it’s time to prove what you assert. Following is body content from a director of marketing. He chose to write his body highlighting areas of expertise, some of which follows what he wrote in his Header.
►DEEP PRODUCT/TECHNOLOGY CAPABILITIES: My roots are in product management/marketing. This strength has enabled me to understand and market complex technologies and I have had success with a wide variety of innovative B2B and healthcare products, including data analytics, data prep, data integration, cybersecurity/compliance, telecommunications, and IoT platforms.
►DEMAND GENERATION SUCCESS: I’ve created modern demand generation engines that have led to fast growth (50% – 160% year over year growth). I’m experienced in different approaches, including account-based marketing, content marketing, digital marketing (SEO, PPC, email, website), product-led/freemium programs, and partner marketing.
►BRAND BUILDING / CATEGORY CREATION SUCCESS: I’ve helped companies become category leaders in the eyes of customers and industry influencers, such as Gartner and Forrester. Twice I have influenced Gartner to create new categories to reflect my company’s unique value. I believe customer advocacy and partner marketing are critical elements to making a brand grow.
►SALES/RESULTS FOCUS: Yes, I am a marketer, but I focus on driving sales results, not just marketing metrics. This focus permeates activities from buyer journey development to content generation and sales enablement. I’ve event built and managed business development and inside sales teams that generated $18M/quarter in pipeline.
►HANDS-ON CAPABILITIES: My hands-on capabilities span content development, campaign execution, marketing tech/CRM deployments, SEO optimization, ad campaign management, website optimization and more. I like to build and scale organizations, but I can do the job first to get things moving.
Note that my former client uses first-person point of view to add personality to his achievements. As well, he breaks down his achievements with all-cap headers. Finally, he provides some quantified results. And yes, he exceeds the three-line limit but only in one of his areas of expertise.
Consider your About section a perfectly sculpted sandwich; the top bread is your intro paragraph, the middle is the roast beef and fixings, and the bottom bread is your concluding paragraph.
You need to tie it together with a paragraph that explains why you’ve written what you have above. I took the approach of ending my About section telling my readers that I get their plight.
I GET IT If you’re unemployed, you don’t need to be told that being out of work can be challenging, both emotionally and financially. I know because I’ve been there. So I’ll be the last person to tell you to not feel bad. However, I will tell you that it’s temporary. I’ll also tell you not to go it alone.
Clearly there are many way to write your About section. Some choose to literally tell a story that describes their career trajectory. Others are all about the accomplishments. Some like to highlight their testimonials, which is a wise decision for entrepreneurs. However you cut it, your About section must demonstrate value and a reason for your visitors to read on.
In a poll that that asked, “Do you have two lives? Do you separate your LinkedIn life from your Facebook life?” nearly 70% of the 7,442 voters answered Yes. What they share on LinkedIn is professional and what they share on Facebook is personal.
Seven percent of the voters said they share the same or similar content between both platforms, and 26% are AWOL from Facebook. They’ve been there, down that.
Read below my article what some people had to say about how they split their activity on LinkedIn and Facebook.
First my take on Facebook vs. LinkedIn
A while back, Ichanged my Facebook photo from a casual shot of me sitting on some steps to one of me perched with my ankle-biting dog on a rock. It was temporary, but I liked it. I had this temporary photo set to go back to my original one after a week.
This is a cool feature that Facebook offers, automatically changing your photo back to the original one. It’s also cool that Facebook offers this feature. There are other neat Facebook features which don’t apply to LinkedIn.
You can express your opinions with impunity.
I’m not one to express my political views, even though I’m gainfully employed, nor do I talk about religion. But I know I could on Facebook if I wanted.
Many of my Facebook friends are not shy about their political views, and that’s okay. If I don’t agree with their opinions, I scroll past them.
You can share photos of food and other stuff
Then there are wonderful photos of delicious food that one of my friends posts on a regular basis. They make me want to write to her and say, “When should I be over for dinner?”
Many people share photos of their kids–mixed feelings about the younger ones–playing lacrosse or football, attending proms, celebrating birthdays, and other sentimental situations
You can play games and other neat features
Occasionally I’ll participate in games or apps that tell you what famous character in history your personality resembles. Or what you will look like in fifty years. Pretty cool.
Groups on Facebook are livelier than LinkedIn groups
This is a sad testament to LinkedIn’s declining group participation. One Facebook group I like is Recruiters Online. Another is one that addresses issues in my home city. Be aware that Facebook members tend to speak their mind and don’t hold back on insulting others in the group.
You can get more personal with Message
I’ll reach more people through Messages on Facebook than I will on LinkedIn’s Messaging, which curiously copied Facebook’s form of one-on-one communication method.
This is do in fact because I have intimate relationships with more people on Facebook than LinkedIn. Better put, I know people will respond quickly to my messages. I am not assured that my LinkedIn connections will check their accounts as much as Facebook members do.
People who know me would wonder, “Is this the Bob I know? He hates Facebook. He’s crazy about LinkedIn.” This is true; I dig LinkedIn, more so than Facebook. But it’s not true that I hate Facebook.
When LinkedIn is favorable
What I tell my workshop attendees is that Facebook allows me to let my hair down for the aforementioned reasons. I love making comments about my family and sharing their pictures. The only people I have to worry about is my oldest daughter and my wife, who literally critique my every post.
Facebook is not my professional arena. In fact, I refuse to allow myself to be professional on Facebook. For example, the photo you see below is one I have on my LinkedIn profile. I wouldn’t dream of using the photo above for LinkedIn. My connections would send me nasty comments if I did.
Below are times when LinkedIn is preferable over Facebook.
If you want to brand yourself, LinkedIn is the place to do it
Let’s be real, you can’t brand yourself on Facebook as a job seeker or business person as well as you can on LinkedIn. LinkedIn gives you a built-in audience for your branding. Most people on this platform understand its intended purpose.
Your profile is the first opportunity to brand yourself, followed by developing a professional network, and engaging in an appropriate manner. To this point, your posts, shared articles, insightful advice is businesslike, not personal.
Content on LinkedIn is more professional, and we like it
Some people on LinkedIn don’t get it; I don’t think they ever will. LinkedIn is for professional networking and curating relevant information. Occasionally the LinkedIn police will tell you, “More suited for Facebook” or “Send it to Facebook” or what I like to say, “I thought I was on LinkedIn, not Facebook.”
If you like to blog, LinkedIn has a platform for it
To a point, LinkedIn has a blogging feature that allows you to share your posts. The reach is greater than most blog platforms as long as you market your posts. The downside is if you don’t tag a hundred LinkedIn members when you post it, or write to them individually, your articles won’t see the light of day.
LinkedIn’s real value is its immense professional network
Even though Facebook is at least twice as large as LinkedIn, its members are more concerned about sharing photos of the food they’re eating, showing off their new grandchildren, bragging about their vacation in France. You get the idea.
Those same people can use LinkedIn as a professional networking platform to generate leads for business and their job search. It’s all business, and LinkedIn’s members understand this…for the most part. The LinkedIn police are real.
Recruiters hang out on LinkedIn to cull talent
Again, due to Facebook’s immensity, there are probably more recruiters on its platform than LinkedIn. However, the recruiters on LinkedIn are more serious about finding talent. They expect to find qualified talent on LinkedIn.
Job seekers on LinkedIn understand the value this platform offers. They are focused on networking with other job seekers, recruiters, and employees in companies for which they’d like to work.
LinkedIn is doing its best to catch up with Facebook
Facebook has more bells and whistles than LinkedIn, and that’s okay. For example, I’m fine with not having Facebook live. I have dabbled with sharing videos on LinkedIn, but this feature is a little clunky.
LinkedIn is focusing on features that professionals require; those that don’t succeed are eliminated. Two features on the phone app which will probably be abandoned: one that allows you to find people who can be located in your area, another that allows you to dictate your messages. Both of these features aren’t taking hold.
If you’re not on Facebook, join it
I used to bash Facebook in my LinkedIn workshops and blog posts. That’s until I joined Facebook. What I realized is that Facebook is great for us middle-age people (sadly true, younger folks are shunning Facebook).
I hypothesize that people who get too personal on LinkedIn, aren’t on Facebook or haven’t embraced its purpose. If you are one of these people, I ask you to visualize this overstated analogy: being on LinkedIn is akin to attending a professional networking event; whereas being on Facebook is similar to going to a party.
Here’s how some people feel about sharing content on LinkedIn and Facebook
One person who separates her LinkedIn life and Facebook life is Executive Career Coach Sarah Johnston. I see her on both platforms. Here’s how she feels about sharing photos of her personal life, “Even though they are really cute, I do not share pictures of my kids on my business platform. I don’t have their permission and I think they deserve their privacy.”
The same applies to Executive Career Coach Emily Lawson who shares, “I [separate the two]. I prefer to connect with my friends and family on topics outside of work. Occasionally, I’ll share a big achievement or recognition if I know they would share in the excitement. But, outside of that, I keep it separate.”
Executive Resume Writer Erin Kennedy takes it to another level; she has two Facebook accounts, “Absolutely, Bob McIntosh, CPRW! I even have two separate FB pages. I really don’t want people I don’t know seeing pics of my kids, etc. I don’t need people to know everything about me (it’s not that exciting anyway!).”
Sonal Bahl writes, “I’m very private about my private life. On all platforms. Like [Sarah Johnston], I don’t share my kids pics anywhere public. As for FB; there’s regular Facebook where I hardly ever show up, like [Kevin Turner], then there’s my FB page: where I post work related content. In other words, my strategy is to use social media for my work. Friends: we do WhatsApp groups etc!
Seven percent of the voters said it’s appropriate to mix the two worlds. Some claim that doing this maintains consistent branding. I’ve seen members of both platforms use the same photo, as an example. I’ve also seen people in my LinkedIn tribe post similar content on Facebook. Is this the way it should be?
Business LinkedIn trainer Teddy Burriss, explains, “…I have found that allowing my friends, family, and community networks to overlap with my business and career network amplifies the value of both Networks.” He went on to describe how he and a Facebook friend started a friendly conversation that turned to business.
Or perhaps they take the hybrid approach like MBTI and EQ authority Edythe Richards wrote, “I’m struggling a little with this question Bob, but that’s because I’ve always been a person who ‘blends’ my personal and professional lives. Given the norms of LinkedIn, however, I refrain from posting personal content here.”
Her comment made me think about the times I shared professional content on Facebook. I never received a great response, save from my mother who always gave me a “love” reaction, but I think it’s because she loves me.
Yet, seven percent of voters disagree and choose to be LinkedIn/Facebook fence-straddlers. Even though this is clearly the minority, Executive Resume Writer Adrienne Tom fell into this category…which gives me pause.
Adrienne for whom I have the utmost respect–not simply because she’s one of LinkedIn Top Voices–explained it this way, “I spent many years, just like you Bob, keeping [content] separate. It felt, right. Now, I let things bleed a bit more across platforms– within reason. I don’t share a lot of personal/family things here on LinkedIn and try not to bore my family/friends with too much work news over on FB.”
Where did the other 27% go? These were LinkedIn users who aren’t on Facebook, either because they never joined or dumped it for one reason or another. Career Coach Austin Belcak simply stated, “I deleted my FB two years ago and it was the best decision (for me) Bob! I opened up soo much mental space.”
This was a common sentiment. Some people had to choose between one or the other. Or they are on Facebook but aren’t active. Career Coach Ana Lokotkova is one who is not active on LinkedIn she explains, “Technically, I have a Facebook profile, but I haven’t been using it in months. So I guess it’s almost like I’m not on Facebook any more.”
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Including the perspective from a recruiter on how job seekers can share content of their own.
What constitutes success when creating content to share on LinkedIn? One measure of success is getting many people to react and comment on your posts, videos, articles, podcasts, etc.
Some contributors say that educating their audience—e.g. on how to find a job—is the ultimate definition of success. This is an altruistic view and, some would argue, should be the goal of everyone who creates content to share on LinkedIn.
I think we can also agree that commenting on what others share is important, as it shows we value the content they share. We get outside ourselves and show selflessness. I’m not talking about two-word comments like, “Great post.” This is akin to giving a like or other reaction.
Am I one who achieves success? I wouldn’t proclaim my own success, leaving my posterior flapping in the wind; rather I’ll leave that up to others who are more objective than me to credit me with success. I will say one thing about me. I’m consistent and employ a strategy.
In 2020 I posted a poll on Mondays, released an article on Tuesdays, shared a long post on Wednesdays or Thursdays, and religiously ran, “Blast from the past Saturday.” Every day in between I commented on others’ posts. I’ll continue doing all of this unless I have nothing to add. I won’t mail in long posts or articles.
As I said, sharing content that benefits my audience (job seekers) is definitely one of the goals. If I accomplish this, the reactions and comments will follow. However, If I tell you I feel no pride in getting plenty of reactions and comments, I’d be a big fat liar. The truth is that the numbers do matter, no matter what anyone tells you.
But this is just me talking. I decided to ask five very successful LinkedIn content creators what leads to their success, one of whom is a recruiter and very successful in his own right. I wanted to know what he advises job seekers to do in terms of engaging on LinkedIn.
For me, the most significant ROI for raising visibility on the site has boiled down to being present on the site on a consistent and regular basis, sharing a variety of supportive and helpful content while also engaging frequently on other posts.
I primarily measure success on the site by the feedback I receive from others. People who tell me that my posts are insightful, useful, or made a difference in their job search prove my efforts worthwhile.
My site strategy is simple. I visit the site daily, post when I have something to share, and even if I do not post, I read my feed and comment/engage on posts of interest. I am a big believer that you can raise your visibility on the site by actively engaging with others, even if you do not share content of your own.
I encourage professionals to comment more on posts versus simply liking posts, which is a bit too passive, to better control the types of content displayed in your feed and spotlight insights.
If you are new to LinkedIn or looking to get more active on the site, start with a simple commitment to visit the site each day. I like to pop onto the site at intervals during the day, engaging when time allows. Start by visiting for just 10 minutes a day and work your way up from there.
If you do not feel ready to share content, comment on other people’s posts, adding personal insights and thought leadership. Focus on posts and topics related to your area of expertise and strive to connect with like-minded people. Consider the site a place to build rapport and relationships. Stretch yourself to provide professional, quality comments and connect with people of interest.
When ready, challenge yourself to share your own content and consider a variety of posting options. Try sharing documents, videos, and/or photos or creating newsletters, polls, or articles. Different content can resonate with different users.
To support success, employ trial and error. What works for one LinkedIn user may not work the same for another user. Focus on quality engagement and start measuring the response.
Perhaps you commit to posting three times a week for the next month. After the month is complete, go back and analyze your activity. Which posts received the most reactions, ignited the most conversation (comments), or had the most views? Use these statistics to guide future posting decisions.
A final way to measure success on the site may be with profile views and follower growth. After a period of consistent engagement, you should see both profile views and followers increase. Let these increases motivate you to remain consistent on the site!
When it comes to creating content on LinkedIn, I like to mix things up and leverage different formats to make my posts more engaging. Video, text, infographics and other visuals – there’s quite a bit of room for creativity.
Whichever format you’re going for, make sure your posts are genuine and touch on subjects your target audience cares about.
Content that is 100% self-serving isn’t going to strengthen your personal brand, and will only make it harder to cultivate the atmosphere of community and win-win mutual support.
To me, the most successful LinkedIn post is the one where the discussion in the comment section is more valuable than my post itself. This means I was able to not only engage people who are curious about the topic, but I also prompted them to chime in, share a new perspective, ask insightful questions, or even learn something new.
I’ve gotten the best results on LinkedIn by mixing the types of content I share so that my readers don’t tire of any one type of post.
I’ve found that posts dispelling common myths tend to do well (for example, I wrote a post about why I don’t think you always need a cover letter when applying for jobs, even though many experts say you do).
Controversial topics do well, too. My post about cover letters was controversial as well, so it drew additional comments because of that. When people comment on your post, their network sees your post, too, and that helps you get more views and engagement.
Also, brief how-to posts with actionable tips do well for me. For example, I wrote a post about how to tailor your resume for a job step-by-step and it got a lot of engagement and comments.
Whatever type of post I write, one key tactic I implement is to write short sentences and only 2-3 sentences per paragraph.
People on social networks, including LinkedIn, don’t want to read long, bulky paragraphs.
Finally, I’ve noticed that posts with a positive sentiment tend to perform well, so I sometimes mix in a post that’s meant to be uplifting and motivating for my audience.
One additional way to boost comments and engagement on any type of post is to include a “call to action” at the end where you ask for people’s feedback.
By simply asking what people think, you’ll find that more people leave a comment, which then helps your post get seen by a wider audience on LinkedIn.
So, I often conclude posts with phrases like:
“Do you agree? Let me know in the comments.”
“Do you agree with this?”
If the goal of a LinkedIn post was to bring new website visitors, then I look primarily at clicks and website visits (measured in Google Analytics) to determine whether it was a success. Google Analytics allows you to see a breakdown of website visitors by source.
If a post doesn’t have links and wasn’t written with the goal of driving traffic to my website, then I look at comments and engagement. This gives me a sense of whether the topic resonated with my audience, and therefore whether I should share similar posts in the future.
In the longer-term, I look at my follower count and the general trend of whether my posts seem to be getting more engagement and views over time, or less. That tells me whether my broad strategy and the overall types of content I’m sharing are working.
First, my purpose for sharing anything on LinkedIn is to be helpful.
I know my audience. The people I am trying to help are those that find themselves looking for a new job after years of being employed and not having to look for a new job.
I know what their challenges are, what their fears are and I know the common mistakes they are making.
Every post I write and share on LinkedIn is focused on helping solve their problems, offering insight, and sharing trends in the job search universe. I want to up-level their knowledge and understanding of the job search process. And it’s important to be relevant to what is happening in the moment and to mix the topics up.
Sometimes I share my own work and ideas, but other times, I share articles written by other experts I respect. And sometimes I ask colleagues to collaborate or share their best tips.
Because I have been writing about job search for over 10 years, I have a lot of articles I can repurpose or extract from and post on LinkedIn. Last year, I made an effort to post longer posts (excerpts from past articles).
I usually begin my post with a question or a sentence I know addresses the concerns of job seekers. It’s a headline of sorts. I also try to include a visual with every post because those tend to get more views and shares. (I use Canva to create my images).
Whatever I create, I want it to be useful to job seekers so that they might download it or save it for later.
I’ve never been obsessed with likes, shares or other metrics, but I do review the numbers and data to evaluate how the post performs. It’s sometimes surprising what gets a lot of reactions or shares. As for followers and connections, I have amassed a very large following (over 100,000). I chalk it up to luck – being in the right place at the right time.
I also watch what other people in my industry (and even outside my industry) are posting, how they are posting and what is working well for them. I often get ideas from seeing what others have posted on LinkedIn and adapt it to my own voice and knowledge.
I’ve cautiously and purposely revealed personal information in my posts and try to write/speak in a way that is true to the person I am. I think that’s also something that allows people to feel connected to what I am saying.
At the end of the day, I know I’ve been successful when people add comments or re-share my thoughts. I realize that the majority of LinkedIn users/job seekers are lurkers and WILL NOT comment or re-share. So my measure of success comes when people in my own industry (career and job search coaches) let me know my information has been helpful.
How job seekers should engage on LinkedIn, from a recruiter’s perspective
Most job seekers I come across either don’t see the need for engagement or are reluctant to. I’ll always remember a director of communications who told me that because he was out of work, he had not right to share content on LinkedIn.
Jack Kelly is a recruiter who feels otherwise (as do the folks above) and shares his views on job seeker engagement.
If you want to find a new job or advance at your current company, you must make yourself known. It’s especially mission critical to gain the attention of recruiters.
You can be the best at what you do, but if no one is aware of you, nothing will happen. Cultivating an online presence is of vital importance now that the traditional methods of face-to-face interactions aren’t possible.
The key is to showcase your skills, ability, knowledge and achievements. You also need to broadcast what you are looking to do next, so people are aware of how they can help you. Ensure that your LinkedIn profile clearly and concisely sets forth your experience, background and achievements, as well as signaling what you’re looking to do next.
Recruiters are paid by companies to find the best, most appropriate people for their open job requisites. They are on a mission. Recruiters want to find the right candidate before their competition. If your LinkedIn profile is lackluster or hard to understand, they’ll quickly move onto another potential candidate. You want the recruiter to stop dead in their tracks when they see your profile or notice your online activities.
With millions of people in between jobs, you have to to stand out. Think of what specific, unique experiences, skills, talents, education and character traits you have to offer. These will be the building blocks of defining your brand and you need to broadcast it to the world.
Think of your online presence and postings as a way to burnish your brand and sell yourself. You want recruiters, hiring managers and human resource professionals to take notice of how great you are. You want them to keep you in mind when a job or new opportunity opens up.
This can be accomplished via commenting, sharing, writing posts and articles on LinkedIn. The content should focus on your area of expertise. Feel free to share your knowledge.
Strategically align yourself in a mutually benefiting way with people on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These people should include recruiters, potential hiring managers, human resources and talent acquisition professionals at the companies you’d like to work with. Get involved in their conversations to amplify your own voice. Associate with leaders in your space. Don’t get involved with third-rail topics, such as politics, as you can be viewed as a potential problem.
Make sure that you find and connect with top-tier recruiters who are known experts in your field. Ask your former co-workers and current colleagues what recruiters they used. If they were satisfied with the results, ask them to make an introduction. Recruiters love pre-approved leads for their jobs.
Post regularly, so people get to know you. They’ll become interested in what you have to say. You’ll build an audience by continually marketing yourself. People will feel like they know you and would gladly help you out with job leads.
Share some recent wins, accomplishments and achievements. Write about exciting projects that you’re working on. If you are an expert in your field, seek out online conferences and networking events. Try to become a speaker. This spotlight will make you known to a wider audience and you’ll be viewed as an expert and a leader in your space.
Be open about your goal of finding a new job. Let people know that you’re in the job market and what specifically you want to do next. If no one knows that you’re on the job hunt, they won’t reach out to you with opportunities.
To share content or comment on what others’ share with purpose can mean different things to different people. It’s all good, as they say, if what you contribute causes an impact on your LinkedIn tribe. Biron Clark says he likes to stir it up a little, cause some controversy.
As a job seeker, causing controversy isn’t probably the best way to go, but as Jack Kelly has clearly stated, you want to be present on LinkedIn. You want to be noticed. And the best way to do this is by contributing; by sharing your opinions and demonstrating your expertise. I’ve seen it be done by job seekers. But not enough. Be bold. Be present.