Tag Archives: LinkedIn

3 times when LinkedIn is essential for your professional career

I am fortunate to lead career-search workshops and counsel job seekers individually. While some of my clients fully embrace the power of  LinkedIn to land a job, others don’t make great use of it. Some outright reject it.

LinkedIn Flag

As an example of the latter, one of my clients came to me, with tears in her eyes, after a LinkedIn workshop telling me that she appreciated what I taught her, but that she wouldn’t use it. I told her that it is alright, LinkedIn isn’t for everyone.

I’m feeling optimistic today and am addressing LinkedIn members who embrace the power of this professional networking platform. There are three times when LinkedIn is essential for your professional development.

When you’re looking for a job

If you are a job seeker, your journey with LinkedIn will be challenging. You will have to develop a profile that, like your résumé, will express your value and brand you. Unlike your résumé, it should depict you on a more personal level.

Yes, you’ll include your accomplishments and maybe some of your outstanding duties; but you’ll also elaborate on your volunteerism, create an extensive list of your skills, ask and write recommendations, and more. This is your online brand, so put a great deal of effort into it.

You’ll also have to get to work on building your network. To many people this is a hard thing to fathom. Reach out to people I barely know, you may wonder? Absolutely…but only the people who will be of mutual benefit. This isn’t Facebook, so you need to develop a professional network.

But reaching out on LinkedIn to unknown people isn’t enough, you’ll need to “touch” them in a personal way. Call them on the phone. Meet them for coffee. At the very least, communicate via email.

The third piece of your LinkedIn campaign is engaging with your new connections. Now that you have a stellar profile and have developed a network consisting of quality connections, it’s time to engage with your first degree connections. The old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind” holds true.

Direct messages are the best way to engage with one or a few of your first degree connections, but if you want to reach more of your first degree connections (and their connections); you can share articles, ask questions, answer updates others have started, and Like and comment on shared updates.

When you’re working

ResearchMany people make the mistake of discontinuing their engagement on LinkedIn. Saying that you don’t have the time or energy is an excuse. Sparing even 10 minutes a day is better than nothing. I still encourage people who are working to use LinkedIn every day.

First, announce your new job, if you haven’t already. Let people in your network know; they will see your Happy Landing in their homepage timeline. You will be congratulated on your new employment.

As well, be willing to alert your networking buddies to available jobs at your new company. Many of my clients have alerted their buddies to positions that are opened, and not necessarily advertised. This is the true definition of “paying it forward.”

Update your profile. Whenever you achieve an accomplishment, add it to your new position. If you don’t do this shortly after you’ve achieved an accomplishment, you may forget about it. Another reason to keep your profile updated is that you’ll be more desirable to potential suitors.

My valuable LinkedIn connection, Laura Smith-Proulx warns that you may not want to be too present on LinkedIn. You’ll want to update your profile slowly, as to not draw attention from your new employer to your profile.

This doesn’t mean you can’t stop learning while you’re working. You can read posts written by your connections or your favorite online publishers. Do this during lunch, or when you get in early in the morning, or at home. This could be your 10-minutes a day of using LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is not only a great tool for finding a job, it’s highly effective for generating business. If your role is in sales, business development, or any other position which requires networking; use LinkedIn to reach out to potential business contacts. This, after all, is why LinkedIn was created in 2003.

The best of LinkedIn’s premium accounts for sales is Sales Navigator, which provides salespeople with the ability to identify potential buyers and tag them to keep their CRM manageable. As well, you get unlimited searches. This is a premium account that your company will most likely pay for if they value generating sales leads.

Read 6 reasons to use LinkedIn after you’ve landed a job.

When you’re in school/post grad

Elevator Your FutureRecently I conducted a webinar for college students and grads, addressing the importance of creating a powerful profile and connecting with LinkedIn members.

Although as a college student your profile may not be as developed and your work history not as extensive as people in the workforce for many years, you can still use LinkedIn to find employment or internships.

This is a great time for you to get on LinkedIn, while you have the opportunity to build your LinkedIn campaign. I call this getting on the elevator on the bottom floor. You have the opportunity to build up your network with quality connections.

Valuable connections can be alumni of the school you’re attending or have graduated from. These are people who have an affinity for their alma mater and, as an extension, an affinity for you. Think networking meetings when reaching out to them.

However, as someone who could provide you with great advice or even solid leads, they will only do so if you come across as a mature, dependable person. They will want to help but don’t want to waste their time.

How do you find your alumni? The answer is simple; use LinkedIn’s Find Alumni feature, which is done by typing your university in the Search feature, choosing School or Company, and then clicking See Alumni. You can search “alumni by title, keyword or company.”

One disadvantage you’ll have to deal with is the inability to rearrange your profile sections. As of now, your sections are arranged as such: Summary, Experience, Education, and others. Many students and post grads can benefit from showing their Education section below their Summary, as it is their most recent accomplishment.

The solution to showing your value is to pack your Experience section with industry-related employment or internships. The smartest students secure as many internships as possible during the school year or summers.

When describing your internship or industry-related employment, be as descriptive as possible. At your age, you may not have the outstanding accomplishments that older workers can tout. But most employers will understand your lack of work experience as long as you’re a quick learner and work hard to get up to speed.


Whether you’re a job seeker, employed, or a college student; LinkedIn can be extremely helpful for your career development. The way you use it will vary, but many of the principles are the same.

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5 major components of the LinkedIn profile on the mobile app

And how it differs from the computer application.

LinkedIn Phone

I am not the first person to say that LinkedIn’s computer application is migrating to its mobile application, but I’m convinced that within five or so years the majority of us will be using our mobile app more. At present, the mobile app is used by 50 percent of LinkedIn members.

Earlier I wrote about the five LinkedIn mobile app features you need to learn. This post will address the differences between the computer and mobile app.

1. Snapshot

michael spenceThe Snapshot area of your mobile app has one significant difference over the computer; your current, or previous, position is not listed. (LinkedIn no longer makes the distinction between current and past employment.) This is an irritant, as visitors to your profile can’t immediately see where you work/ed.

There’s an aesthetic difference between the two, the background photo is smaller on the mobile app. You must take this into consideration when you post your beautiful mountainside photo and are unable to show what is visible on the computer.

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

2. Summary

My biggest pet peeve with the Summary is that it is located in the Snapshot area of the mobile app and computer. I’m not quite sure what it’s called now…Introduction? Another pet peeve is that it can go missed if your visitor doesn’t know what it is. Like the computer platform, the Summary area on the mobile app must be expanded in order for your visitors to read all of it.

Unfortunately only approximately 10 words are visible on the mobile app. What this means is that you need to show your value within the limited numbers of words it offers.

Michael Spence (above) shows his value by beginning his Summary with, “I help executives accelerate growth by improving employee experience.” This immediately makes a value statement.

The Summary of your computer displays approximately 39 words. Which isn’t a great improvement over the mobile app, but it allows you to be less stingy with your words.

You are still able to utilize 2,000 characters with the mobile app. So your kick-ass Summary can be expanded. It will just take some scrolling for visitors to see it in its entirety.

3. Experience

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

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

In contrast, the computer shows you full-blown first to five job descriptions. (Recently LinkedIn made the wise move of expanding more than just the first job description.)

4. The Rest

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

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

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

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

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

5. Editing Capabilities

Editing your profile on the mobile app is limited, of course. For example, you can’t move positions you’ve held up or down like you can on the computer. Making major changes to existing text on your profile would be better done on your computer.

Similarly, entering entire sections would best be done first in WORD and then copied to the profile. So, unless you need to correct a typo you spotted on you profile, it would be best to make any edits on your computer.


This post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention some strengths of the mobile app, such as displaying what you’re available for. My example, Michael Spence, shows he can be contacted for advising companies, contracts & freelance projects, and paid consulting. This seems to be missing from the computer application.

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

 

 

10 ways that test your courage in the job search

Although I understand my workshop attendees’ reluctance to speak in front of their peers, I also think when given the opportunity, they should take it. They should, for example, deliver their elevator pitch without warning. “Tell me about yourself” is a directive they will most likely get in an interview.

courage

They should also not pass on answering interview questions I spring on them. Can they take the fifth during an interview? Hell no.

“Tell me about a time when you solved a problem at work,” I’ll ask. “I’d rather not,” they say. Okay, see how well that goes over at an interview.

Some of you might disagree with my insistence that they deliver their unrehearsed commercial or answering an interview question when they least expect it.

You might think it’s putting them on the spot, making them feel uncomfortable, testing their courage. Darn tooting it’s testing their courage. Despite what anyone says, the job search requires courage.

1. Being put on the spot in front of other job seekers by having to deliver your personal commercial or answer difficult interview questions on the spot, are some ways that test your courage. There are nine other difficult ways your courage will be tested in the job search:

2. Telling people you’re out of work. I know this seems like a no-brainer, but how can people help you if they don’t know you’re out of work? People tell me they’re embarrassed because they lost their job, even if the company was suffering and had to release employees.

I encourage them to let as many people as possible know they’re looking for a job, even if it means they’ll be embarrassed. It takes courage to do this, but it’s counterproductive to try to go it alone.

3. Attending organized networking events. You’ve read that “no one likes networking events.” This may be true for you, for others, for most. But networking events offer the opportunity to engage in conversation with other job seekers who are at these events to seek leads, as well as provide leads and advice to you.

4. Having others read your résumé or cover letter. Although you think you’ve written a great cover letter, you may be surprised by what others think about it. Like the time my wife told me she thought cover letter was “verbose.”

I’m not sure she used that word, but I got the picture that someone reading it would think it intimidating or laborious. Asking her to read my cover letter took courage and prompted me to edit it.

5. Participate in mock interviews. This may be the closest you’ll get to an actual interview. Mock interviews are a valuable teaching tool and any organization that offers them is providing a great service.

But they don’t have to be conducted by a professional job coach/advisor; a friend of yours can conduct them. Having a camera to record your answers and body language is a big plus. I remember being asked to participate in a mock interview years ago. I flatly refused. I lacked courage then.

6. Reaching out to your LinkedIn connections. Introverts may understand this act of courage more than their counterpart. Your LinkedIn connections are not bona fide connections until you reach out to them in a personal way, as in a phone call or meeting them for coffee.

Some of the connections I’ve reached out to have proven to be great networking partners, while others had little in common with me. Oh well. Doing this takes courage.

7. Approaching former supervisors for LinkedIn recommendations. My workshop attendees often ask me if they should reach out to their former supervisors for a recommendation. My answer is a resounding “Yes.”

This may take courage for some, but having recommendations on your LinkedIn profile is a must. What your supervisor feels about your performance weighs heavier than how you describe yourself. What’s the worst your supervisor could say? Yep, “No.”

8. Getting off the Internet. Not completely, but use it seldom and in different ways. Instead of defaulting to your comfort zone like Monster.com and other job boards, use LinkedIn to find relevant connections through its Companies feature, and visit your target companies’ websites to conduct research on the labor market.

Contact those companies with a networking email  to ask for networking meetings. This takes courage but will yield better results than using the job boards alone.

9. Speaking of networking meetings. Otherwise known as informational interviews, networking meetings have been the reason for many of my job seekers’ success in landing jobs. But they don’t come easy, as many people are busy, so it takes courage to ask for them.

Once you’ve secured a networking meeting, remember you’re the one asking questions about a position and the company, so make the questions intelligent ones. You’re not there asking for a job; you’re there to gather information and get advice.

10. Going to the interview. You’ve prepared for the interview by doing your research and practicing the tough interview questions, both traditional- and behavioral-based. You’re prepared, but still you don’t know what to expect.

How will the interviewers react to you? Will they ask you questions you’re not prepared for, ones you didn’t predict? Job interviews will require the most courage you can muster…even you veteran interviewees.


Readers, what I’ve described as courage may seem like logical  and comfortable job search activities. You may thrive on networking, feel comfortable showing others your résumé, and, above all else, attending interviews.

To you I say “touché. Many others may understand exactly what I’m talking about. To them I say embrace the challenges presented to you in the job search. Show courage. Show courage. Show courage.

5 LinkedIn mobile app features you need to learn

In an earlier post I compared LinkedIn’s mobile app to the desktop platform. While the desktop (laptop included)  is more widely used than the app, the app is gaining ground with a little less than 50% turning to their mobile phone to connect with LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Phone

Personally I use the app the approximate amount of 50%, as I’m constantly clicking the icon on my phone throughout the day. LinkedIn’s app makes it too easy to stay connected. I’m not complaining though; I enjoy staying connected with my network, reading articles of interest, etc.

In the aforementioned post I addressed the Home functionality of the mobile app versus the desktop. Obviously the desktop offers more functionality, but the app has become more versatile. We’ll look at the following features:

  1. My Network
  2. Messaging
  3. Announcements
  4. Jobs
  5. Companies

The first noticeable difference between the mobile app and the desktop is that none of the features are titled on the app. But the icons are so intuitive that there’s really no need for titles, and I imagine the desktop is going to do away with the titles in the near future.

My Network

navigation bar app My Network

My Network on the mobile app is more difficult to navigate than on the desktop. Clicking on the icon brings you to a view of the number of your connections. You’re given the option to  Add contacts, which allows you to send mass invites to your email list. Visible is recent invitations; and below it People you may know.

Note: Clicking on View of connections, you can only sort them by First name, Last name, and Recently added. However, you can’t filter your connections as well as you can with the desktop platform.

To filter your connections, you have to search for people by using the Search feature. This will bring you to a list of your first degree connections. (Inexplicably my number of connections in this view was less than the number I have upon clicking on the icon.)

Filtering connections app

The tricky part about filtering people using the mobile app is identifying the Filter icon (circled to the left).

You don’t have as much filtering capabilities with the mobile app as you do with the desktop, but you can search for:

  1. Connections (degree of connection)
  2. Location
  3. Current companies
  4. Past companies
  5. Industries
  6. Schools

Messaging

navigation bar app Messaging

The most noticeable difference between the mobile app and the desktop for messaging is that the app’s version is truncated. Only by clicking on your connection’s message can you read the stream of conversation. On the desktop you can see multiple connections. But this is expected, as the desktop has a larger surface.

Both the mobile app and the desktop allow you to search by Unread, My Connections, InMail, Archived, and Blocked, albeit in a different order. (Are you getting the sense that the desktop platform is becoming more like the mobile app?)

With both mobile app and the desktop, you can respond to Inmails by choosing Interested, Maybe later, or No thanks.

One noteworthy difference is that the mobile app has a feature that suggests an opening verbiage for messages, such as, “Hi (name), I notice you’re also connected with (name).” This feature  is akin to LinkedIn’s default invite message. No thanks.

Notification

navigation bar app AnnouncementsThis feature allows you to see what your connections have been doing:

  1. Who’s mentioned you in a post
  2. Liked your post, liked a post that mentions you
  3. Is starting a new position; and
  4. Commented on (someone’s ) post

The differences between this feature on the app and desktop are negligible and hardly worth mentioning. However, there is one major difference: the desktop seems to lag behind the mobile app. In other words, the streaming is slower on the desktop than the app.

Jobs

navigation bar app JobsPerhaps the most difficult mobile app feature to navigate is Jobs.

My suggestion is to forego the suitcase icon and simply use the Search feature.

The Search feature allows you to find jobs, say in Accounting, and then narrowing them down to Location (allow your device to identify your location, if you like), and if you want to take it further, filter by:

  1. Most relevant
  2. Most recent
  3. Determine how many miles you are willing to travel
  4. Only show jobs with which you can apply Easy Apply
  5. Date posted
  6. Company
  7. Experience level
  8. Job type
  9. Industry
  10. Job function

When you’ve chosen the job to investigate, you’ll notice—because of the limited surface—the mobile app is not as robust as the desktop version. Some similarities are:

  1. Number of first degree connections
  2. Number of alumni
  3. Job description
  4. The person who posted the job
  5. Jobs people also viewed
  6. Easy Apply

What you don’t get with the phone app are:

  1. Video of the company
  2. Meet the team

Companies

Like the desktop, you have to use the Search to access your desired companies. The most important reason to use Companies is to locate people who work for your target companies, which is a bit more cumbersome with the mobile app than the desktop.

People filter AppTo do this you must type the company name into Search and choose People, and then use the Filter tool, as shown above. You can filter by:

  1. Connections (degree)
  2. Connections of
  3. Locations
  4. Current companies
  5. Past companies (not shown)
  6. Industries (not shown)
  7. Schools (not shown)

The only benefit the desktop version offers is the ability to search by Keyword. The other filters are superfluous. Such as Profile language and Nonprofit interests.

In my opinion, this is the most important feature LinkedIn provides, whether on the desktop or mobile app. This is where real online networking happens. In fact, a blog post can be dedicated alone to using the Companies feature.


When you open the LinkedIn app on your smart phone, you’ll see the power, albeit limited, it has to offer. You’ll also see that the desktop version closely resembles the mobile app.

Next up is the differences between the LinkedIn profile on the mobile app and desktop.

 

10 steps toward a successful LinkedIn strategy (Part 2)

One thing I emphasize in my LinkedIn workshops is the importance of being active on LinkedIn. My mantra is, “You can have the best profile in the world, but if you’re not active, it means nothing.” In part one of this two-part article, I listed five steps to make your LinkedIn strategy a success. The conclusion of the article addresses the remaining five steps.

Kid playing chess

6. Use the Companies feature to network. The Companies feature is one of LinkedIn’s best features, as it allows you to identify valuable people in various companies. Often LinkedIn is the only way job seekers can locate important people at their target companies.

Your goal is to connect with people at desired companies (do you have a company target list?) before a job is advertised, thereby penetrating the Hidden Job Market. Play your cards right and you can set the foundation, so when the job becomes public knowledge you’re already known by the company.

Another scenario is identifying people who work in your target companies who can provide you with additional information, or even deliver you resume to the hiring manager.

Similar to using the Companies feature to network with strategic people is Find Alumni, a feature that helps you connect with people you went to school with based on criteria, such as what they studied, where they live, where they work, etc. The benefit of connecting with your alumni is obvious; people want to help their own.

Read 6 interesting facts about your alumni on LinkedIn.

7. Use the Jobs feature. LinkedIn has made strides to make the Jobs feature a player in the job board arena. It’s not succeeding as well as LinkedIn has hoped—Indeed.com and others still draw many job seekers. But increasingly more companies are using LinkedIn to advertise their jobs.

What’s nice about Jobs is that you can apply directly to a company’s website, as well as use “Easy Apply,” which allows you to send your profile to companies trying to fill positions. As well, the poster of jobs might be listed, allowing you to send an Inmail to said person.

Before you select a job, you can see first degree connections or alumni who work for companies filling positions. This gives you the opportunity to contact said people for better networking opportunities.

Note: if you are a Career premium member, you have access to information basic members don’t. You can see who your competitors are, as well as the major skills you might lack for a particular position. LinkedIn provides you with the average salary of the job for which you’re applying.

8. Endorse your connections’ skills. I never thought I’d write this, but endorsements are here to stay. The argument against endorsement is that skills can be endorsed willy nilly, without people actually seeing a person perform said skills.

Certainly this happens, but my solution to making this more viable is outlined in an article in which I encourage LinkedIn users to rearrange their skills in order to give their connections an idea of which skills they should be endorsed.

One thing we can say about endorsements is that they encourage engagement between connections. If your goal is to accumulate endorsements, you’ll have to endorse people in your network. Do this only if you have a sense for the skills you’re endorsing. Otherwise you’re supporting the argument that endorsements are meaningless.

9. Ask for and write recommendations. Your strategy should include requesting recommendations from your former supervisors and, to some extent, your colleagues. If you find that your supervisors are slow in writing your recommendation, you may want to offer some guidance in terms of what you’d like included in your recommendation, or you may even want to write it yourself.

Write recommendations for your former employees; it’s a great way to brand yourself. This shows your authority, as well as what you value in a good employee. You don’t have to be asked to write the recommendation; simply write one and send it to your former employees. They’ll appreciate your generosity very much.

10. Follow up. Always follow up. Every networking pundit will tell you that following up with new connections can be the most important piece of networking, both after personal meetings and connecting with someone on LinkedIn. Obviously it’s difficult, if not impossible, to follow up with everyone in your LinkedIn network, particularly if you’re a LION.

Keep in constant contact with your connections by responding immediately to direct messages or even responding to their updates. There’s nothing worse than starting a relationship and then dropping it like a lead balloon.


Sometimes we loose sight of our strategy and our LinkedIn campaign becomes disorganized. At this time it’s important to reign it in and adhere to the components I’ve outlined in this two-part article.

Photo: Flickr, moradini2009 (mikeoradini.dotphoto.com)

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10 steps toward a successful LinkedIn strategy (Part 1)

In our neighborhood no one knows which side of the street to park on when there’s a snowstorm, which prevents the plows from clearing the street properly. The result is a cleared path the width of fish line. My wife and I have deduced that this is because there’s no strategy in place.

business strategy woman

What does the dire condition of my neighborhood during a snowstorm have to do with LinkedIn? Simply this, like a neighborhood without a strategy for a nor’easter, your LinkedIn campaign will not succeed.

Do you have a strategy for your LinkedIn campaign, or is it like the street I live on which requires a snowmobile to negotiate? If you lack a strategy you’ll spin your wheels, get frustrated, and possibly give up on a valuable tool that has the potential to create job opportunities. A plan includes the following:

1. Dedication. I’m a bit of a lunatic when it comes to LinkedIn. One of my colleagues once said I need an intervention and he wasn’t joking. I’m on LinkedIn for an average of one hour a day, 365 days a year—yes, this includes holidays. I’m not advising you to spend this much time on LinkedIn.

However, a dedicated strategy is necessary to stay on your connections’ minds. This is why I tell my LinkedIn workshop attendees to dedicate at least four days a week of activity, or for the more dedicated, everyday. Try to share at least two updates a day.

2. Know what you want to do. Are you zeroing in on a specific occupation in a specific industry, or are you willing to take anything? The former is the correct answer. With this in mind, you’ll be able to determine who to best network with. If your goal is to work in public relations at a university, you should connect with people at universities, not retail.

3. Write a great profile. This is a big order and a blog post itself, but having a profile that attracts employers and other visitors to your site will take a strategy. You’ll need a photo that brands you—the days of a suit and tie might be history. Write a branding title that immediately describes what you do, as well as your areas of strength.

Your Summary should tell a story, your Employment section describe quantified accomplishments, and don’t forget using the Media section to highlight your talents. A major part of your plan should be Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that includes the correct keywords to raise your profile to the top of the first page.

Read How to brand yourself with the new LinkedIn profile.

4. Update often. This is how you communicate with your LinkedIn community. I get looks of disbelief when I suggest to my LinkedIn workshop attendees that they update once a week. They ask me what topics they should updates about. First, I tell them, share articles they’ve found on the Internet.

Other topics can include seminars or conferences you’re attending; interviews you’ve had; advice pertinent to your industry; a great book you’re reading; a happy landing; even a good quote or two; and, of course, a reminder you’re looking for a job. Just keep it professional and refrain from negativity.

5. Connect with other LinkedIn members. No two LinkedIn members are alike; some prefer to keep their network intimate by connecting with people they know and trust, while others will connect with anyone who’s willing. My suggestion is to have a strategy and be faithful to it. Connect with those who you can help and who can help you—a lot like personal networking.

Expand your horizon. Include people in your occupation, industry, and various levels of employment. There are like-minded people in different industries, so don’t be afraid to invite them to your network. Who knows, maybe opportunities will arise from the most unlikely people.

Read How to brand yourself by connecting with others.


Read part two of this article. In it I’ll discuss five other components necessary for your LinkedIn plan. You need a plan to be successful on LinkedIn.

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Photo: Flickr, Sandy Huang

8 ways to keep the LinkedIn profile process from breaking down

And how it’s like painting a fence.

This weekend I did something I hate. Painting. I hate painting for a number of reasons, but the major reason is the breakdown of process. For example, I’m cruising along painting my picket fence, taking my time, no spills, not a drop on my person (I’m proud of this), hitting every spot; and then whamo….

picket fence

Things start to hit the fan. All of the accomplishments I sustained for half an hour vanish, including not stepping on the top of the paint can and tracking white paint on the sidewalk. Now paint is on my hands, clothes, even my hair.

I lose focus, get sloppy, make a mess of things. That’s the breakdown of process.

If you ask some people who are starting their LinkedIn profile, they’ll express the same sentiment I have for painting—they just want to get it over with and have a profile that will help people find them. In other words, they don’t give it the attention it requires.

Do you relate to this sentiment? Here’s what you ought to do to prevent the breakdown of the LinkedIn profile process.

1. Take your time. When I set out to paint my fence I said to myself, “Bob, you’re going to take your time and do this right. It’s only a fence.”

LinkedIn is not a fence that needs painting, but there is ample opportunity for the process to break down. Following are some areas to pay attention to.

2. Get your photo done professionally. I had mine done by someone who sells one photo for $40.00. I’ve heard they come much more expensively than that. Having your photo done professionally is far better than having a relative take it with her Iphone.

I’m not saying you have to wear a three-piece suit to your photo shoot. Just make sure your photo is of quality. And no iPhone photos with you and your family on the beach or at a campground.

It’s said that a profile with a photo is at least 14x more like to be opened.

3. Think of a headline that brands you. Many people will settle for something like Marketing Professional which doesn’t do them  justice.

Instead, Marketing Director | National Speaker | Author | Revenue Generator | Business Development will do a better job of branding you. Don’t rush and throw any ole Headline up there.

Ask others what they think of your Headline. Does it sell you, show your value to potential employers? This is what you need to consider.

Your Headline is the second element of your profile that brands you; your photo is the first.

4. Write a Summary worth reading. What I’ve seen hundreds of times are LinkedIn Summaries that are a rehash of a person’s résumé Summary. Will this impress anyone? Certainly not.

Instead, take your time and write a kick-ass Summary that tells a compelling story—your philosophy, areas of strength, accomplishments, future plans. This section of your profile is one of the most important ones.

Without an impactful Summary, there’s a breakdown of process.

5. Your Experience section must lower the boom. Have you ever read a résumé that said, “So what? Who cares? Big deal”? Does your LinkedIn profile’s Experience section say the same? Is it a list full of duties and lacking accomplishments?

I suggest an Employment section that states accomplishments only, or strong duty statements and accomplishments. If you’re just starting your LinkedIn profile, copy and paste your résumés Experience section to your profile, but build it from there to be more personal.

6. Show off your writing. For more than three years LinkedIn has offered the a feature which allows you to publish a post on LinkedIn. If you enjoy writing and feel you’re a good writer, show off your expertise and writing style.

To date, I have published over 149 posts on LinkedIn. Obviously I enjoy writing. You can also be featured in Pulse, providing you receive enough “Likes” and views of your posts.

Although, the standards have become tougher to be featured. Don’t be deterred from writing; what counts the most is that you’re sharing relevant information.

7. Have fun with Media. Make use of the Media feature—found in Summary, Experience, and Education—to show off PowerPoint presentations, links to your website or blog, example of your greatest photos of urban blight, or YouTube videos.

LinkedIn is making it easy to showcase your talent to make visitors want to stay on your profile. Take advantage of this. (Watch this video from one of my connections which he places in his Projects section.)

8. List your skills and amass endorsements. Like them or not, endorsements are here to stay; so you might as well list as many skills/expertise for people to click on.

My feelings about endorsements are not all favorable. I believe they are more perceived value and a way for people to engage with each other.

Your skills won’t endorse themselves, just like my wife said about the unpainted fence. But if you endorse your connections’ skills, you’ll get endorsements in return. (Read how to endorse skills properly.)

white paint

This is just the beginning. The line from Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” Is hogwash. You can build the Taj Mahal of all profiles, but if you’re not active, no one will notice.

Being active on LinkedIn includes, connecting with people; engaging with your connectionsincluding updating on a regular basis, writing recommendations for others, endorsing your connections.


I’m happy to say my white picket fence is finished and looking great. The process of painting broke down, much to my chagrin, but I learned valuable lessons: take it slow and focus on quality.

The words my wife told me, “It won’t paint itself” are a good lesson for writing your LinkedIn profile and putting it into action. You’re  are responsible for your LinkedIn process; you alone.

Photo, Flickr, David Alston