Tag Archives: LinkedIn

3 reasons to properly endorse someone for the skills on their LinkedIn profile

How do most LinkedIn members endorse others for their skills? They click on the visible top three (like below) and leave it at that. Don’t be that person! Instead, click Show More, which expands a user’s skills list, so you can endorse them for other skills.

Kevins Skills

LinkedIn is trying to make endorsing skills more valid by asking you to choose how strong the the people you’re endorsing are with their skills (seen below). The choices are Good, Very Good, or Highly Skilled. Further, LinkedIn tells you that your choice won’t be made public to who you endorse. How much this will effect LinkedIn users SEO isn’t known for sure.

KevinsEndorsements

Then LinkedIn asks you to select a relationship you and the endorser shared (seen above). You worked directly on the same team or project with the person, managed him, reported directly to him…none of the above. Actually, you don’t have to choose any of these.

Of course there ways to truthfully answer LinkedIn’s inquiries.

You have witnessed the person perform her skills

In this case you can honestly answer the questions LinkedIn asks you in terms of someone’s level of expertise and, of course, your relationship. This is the most valid way to endorse someone for her skills.

For example, I would have no problem endorsing my colleagues for their skills. Not necessarily all skills, but many that I’ve seen them perform. And when I connected with them, the first thing I did was endorse their skills.

Maybe you’ve spoken with her over the phone or met for coffee, and by talking with her you get the impressions she’s the real deal. This isn’t as solid as witnessing her perform, but it comes close, particularly if you’re good at judging character.

His profile clearly demonstrates expertise in his skills

Some profiles are written so well that you feel you know the person as if you met them in person. He promotes himself well in his Summary, demonstrating passion, listing poignant accomplishments, and closes the loop with a call to action.

In his Experience area he hits you over your head with more accomplishments that don’t seem embellished. You dig a little deeper and find that most of his skills have received 99+ endorsements. I know someone in the 99+ club who has almost 900 endorsements for one skill.

Caveat: endorsements can, and often are, tit for tat. I spoke to the person who accumulated 99+ endorsements for each skill–rightfully so–who told me he just has a lot of friends. Which is true, he runs a networking group for business people.

Someone has referred you to the person or spoken very highly of her

Generally people won’t refer you to a person unless they know her well and can vouch for her skills. The risk of doing this is tarnishing their reputation, something no one  wants to do.

Similar to the reason number two, you read the recommendations on her profile and get the sense that those who wrote the recommendations were sincere and truthful. There is no fluff in them and the accomplishments are precise.

Caveat: recommendations can also be tit for tat. In the day when only recommendations existed as a way to award LinkedIn users for their greatness, we often saw someone write a recommendation for someone, which was immediately reciprocated.


In order to give endorsements credence, You should use these three ways of endorsing someone. It is safe to say that endorsing someone who lives across the world, if not the country is contributing to Endorsements’ poor reputation.

Advertisements

Reflect before slapping your LinkedIn profile together

I’m sure you’ve read many articles on writing your LinkedIn profile. And I’m sure you know how important your profile is to your LinkedIn campaign. This is why it’s important to not simply slap our profile together and hope for the best.

linkedin-alone

Your profile is important but it’s not the only piece of the proverbial puzzle. Read the series beginning with The ultimate LinkedIn guide, part 1: how to optimize your LinkedIn profile to learn how to create and effective LinkedIn campaign.

This post focuses on the profile alone, and more specifically how you need to reflect before you begin writing it, or even if you’ve already written it. Here are some important considerations:

How do you want to brand yourself?

The first consideration, how you want to brand yourself, requires a great deal of reflection in itself. First you have to decide if what you’re doing is what you want to continue doing, or if you want to go in a different direction.

If you want to continue on the same path, you’ll have to think about how you can strengthen your message. While it may be strong on your résumé, the LinkedIn profile gives you more leeway for expressing the value you will provide to the employer. Think Headline and Summary as the most obvious places where you can accomplish this.

But also consider other sections on your profile that aren’t typically on your résumé, namely Skills & Endorsements, Volunteer, expanded Experience, and Recommendations.

Some of my clients want to change their career and ask me if they should create two profiles. First of all, I tell them, this violates LinkedIn’s policy. But more to the point, it would be a royal pain in the ass.

My advice is to express their transferable areas of expertise in their Headline, tell their story in the Summary, and prioritize statements throughout their profile.

reflecting

Your LinkedIn profile is not your résumé

I tell my clients that initially they can copy and paste their résumé content to their profile, but then they need to personalize their profile. Make it a personal résumé, an online marketing document. This will take a great deal of reflection.

However, your profile shouldn’t confuse hiring authorities as to what you do. For example, you don’t want to brand yourself—on your résumé—as a marketing specialist, but emphasize to a greater extent—on your profile—your expertise as a web designer. This will definitely confuse hiring authorities.

If you’re in job-search mode, you want the two to be similar, yet not identical. In other words don’t regurgitate what you have on your résumé. However, if you’re gainfully employed and want to convey the message that you are promoting a side hustle, you have more flexibility.

Which parts of your profile will brand you?

The answer is every part of your LinkedIn profile brands you, beginning with your background image and ending with your interests. Yes, even your background image can brand you. Didn’t think about this, did you? Again, this will require reflection.

Here are some of the profile sections that you also need to reflect upon:

  1. Headline
  2. Photo
  3. Summary
  4. Articles/activities
  5. Experience
  6. Education
  7. Volunteer experience
  8. Skills & endorsements

Speaking to your Summary, reflect on how you want to tell your story. Of all the major sections on your profile, this is blatantly different from your résumé. You’ll write it in first-person point of view, talk about your passion or knowledge of your industry, include some accomplishments, and a call to action, e.g., your email address.

Who is your audience?

Your audience is your intended industry. You will deliver a different message if you’re changing careers; but if you want to continue doing what you’ve done, you’re speaking to the same audience. Therefore, you must optimize your profile with industry keywords.

The narrative you use to address your audience will take some reflection. I’ve mentioned your Summary as a great section to speak to your audience, to tell your story. Your job scope in your Experience section is another area where you can express your message. Here’s how I talk to my audience:

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

Knowing your audience takes a great deal of reflection. Obviously, from my example, I’m addressing job seekers in a personal manner.


Reflecting on your LinkedIn profile is no easy task. I see the cogs working in my clients head when I ask them to consider the aforementioned aspect of their LinkedIn profile. Whether you are starting your LinkedIn profile or revising an existing one, it definitely will require reflection.

Photo: Flickr, daysmoveeasy

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

Some estimates say there are more than 650 million LinkedIn users. To find and connect with the person or people who can help you land your next job might seem like a daunting task, but don’t fear.

linkedin-alone

Perhaps you’re looking for the hiring manager at one of your target companies, or an alumnus who can provide sage advice, or a corporate recruiter. Finding the person with whom you need to connect requires a focused search.

A great tool to narrow your search is All Filters. To use this tool, you must have a plan of attack. Following are the steps I would take to look for recruiters, using the following criteria:

  1. Must be an employee of the companies below:
    • IBM
    • Kronos
    • Oracle, and
    • seven other companies.
  2. A second degree connection, so I can utilize our common connections. (More on this later.)
  3. Must serve the Boston, MA, area.
  4. Graduated from the University of Massachusetts.

1. I type in Search the words: (recruiter OR “talent acquisition.) The result is approximately 3,200,000 LinkedIn recruiters. Way too many.

Recruiter step 1

2. So I jump right to All Filters; no sense in wasting time. Note: in All Filters, there’s an option to choose Industry. A practical choice would be “Staffing & Recruiting,” but the string I typed in Search gives me more options with which to begin.

3. I Hone in on my first company, IBM, which is one of the companies listed under Current Companies (see diagram below). I have 5,317 2nd and third degree connections at IBM.

4. If I want to connect with a recruiter at IBM, I should narrow the list down to 2nd degrees (see diagram below), as they will have other LinkedIn members who are connected to people in my direct network. This is important because I’ll want to mention our common connections in a personal invite. This brings the number to 348.

All Filters

5. One of my criteria is Location (see diagram above). The Greater Boston Area is one of the choices LinkedIn gives me. Other choices include India, the Greater New York City Area, and the Dallas/Fort Worth Area. I choose Greater Boston Area, which brings the number to 42 recruiters. Note: you might have to type in your desired location.

All Filters2

6. I’m almost there. I have to find recruiters who attended the same college I did. I have to scroll down in All Filters and write in my alma mater, the University of Massachusetts (diagram above.) I am left with only two recruiters that have met all my criteria (below).

Recruiter step 5

7. Finally, I need to choose a common connection who will either introduce me to one of the recruiters or allow me to use their name in an invite I send. I know just the person I would like to ask. He was a former customer of mine and a real stand up guy.

Common Connections


Repeat the process

You now get the idea of how to locate people on LinkedIn by using All Filters. It isn’t difficult as long as you know who you’re looking for. By the way, my search for Oracle and Kronos yield one result and no result respectively. I guess I need to connect with more recruiters.

10 telltale signs that your LinkedIn profile reveals

There are times when I come across a LinkedIn profile that is strong and doesn’t need much revision. In some cases people had their profile written for them. They have the major sections covered, such as: Background image; Photo; Headline Summary; Experience; and Education.

linkedin-alone

At times like this, I focus on their overall LinkedIn campaign as revealed by their profile. Because when it comes down to it, their success hinges on more than just the content in their major sections.

Following is a discussion I would have with a client who has a strong LinkedIn profile, but needs help in other areas.

My client logs onto their LinkedIn account on my computer, so I have access to information visitors don’t. This way we’re not violating any LinkedIn rules. We’ll look at the typical profile sections, but I’m more interested in the telltale signs.

1. Photo properties

Before our session I noticed that I couldn’t see your photo. It’s an easy fix. On your profile you will click on your photo to enlarge it. Then click on Visibility at the bottom right. Earlier you had selected “Your Connections” as the people who could see your photo. You’ll switch it to “the Public,” so even someone who is not on LinkedIn can see your your photo.

This reveals that you’re guarded about your photo. And some people might think you’re hiding something. With your photo, you have nothing to hide.

2. Low connection number

Your number of connections is low. Even someone who’s not signed onto LinkedIn, or a member of LinkedIn, can see public profiles. They can see the information you want to share on your public profile. You show 289 connections. This is not good. You started your LinkedIn campaign three months ago when you got laid off.

A low number of connections reveals that you’re reluctant to connect with others. Visitors will question your ability to connect with other people, especially if your job will require it. It also shows that you don’t understand the purpose of online networking–developing and nurturing relationships.

3. Focused network

Your network should be focused, not comprised of people from multiple industries. By going to My Network and then All Filters, I can see the prevalent industries among your network, as well as the companies where you have the most connections.

This is encouraging, as it reveals a focused network. You need to keep building your focused network by connecting with people at your desired companies. I suggest you devise a personal invite template to keep on track.

4. Contact Info

On to Contact Info. Many people don’t know to look here, but for those who do, give them the information they need. Include your email address at the very least. Go to Privacy and Settings choose whether to make it visible to “Only Me,” 1st degree and 2nd degree connections, or anyone on LinkedIn.

By not making your email address public, reveals that you don’t want to be contacted. Big mistake. I suggest you also list your email address in your Summary at the end or even in the first line.

5. Dashboard area

Your Dashboard is only visible to you, and it shows you a lot of information. It shows that you only have 289 connections. Don’t be shocked to see only 300 Profile Views in the past 90 days, 10 Post Views on your most recent update, and 2 Search Appearances.

This reveals that, again, you’re not making enough effort to connect with others, and you’re not engaging with your network. Visitors will think you’re waiting for people to come to you.

6. Articles & Activity

This area of your profile is perhaps the most revealing. I don’t expect you to have any published posts; most job seekers don’t publish posts on LinkedIn, which I think is a shame. What’s more shameful is a low engagement. You have “Liked” a number of posts, as well as shared some articles without commenting on them.

This reveals a passive approach to engaging with your network. Commenting shows you’re interested in joining conversations.

7. Education section

Your Education section is strong. Many people fail to make use of the extras they can include in their Education section. Not you. You have all the basics: university, degree, field of study, and honorary designation. This is the information that impresses me:

  • Activities and Societies, Division 1A Swimming and editor of newspaper; and
  • Description: “For four semesters, I worked two jobs, totaling 15 hours, while taking an average of six classes per semester. In the summers between my Sophomore and Junior years, interned at Ernst and Young and Fidelity.”

The extras reveal your willingness to personalize your Education section, which many people don’t.

8. Volunteer experience

You volunteer developing and designing your child’s school’s website. You’re using new skills to do this. You’re using JavaScript, HTML/CSS, Photoshop, and bushing up on SEO. Additionally, you’re dedicating 20 hours a week to your child’s school.

This reveals a good thing. You can add this experience to your Experience section–because you’re working 20 hours a week–which will bring your profile to All Star status.

9. Skills and Endorsements section

You’re allowed to list up to 50 skills, but you’ve only listed 20. When recruiters look at your profile, they want to see you have most of the top 10 skills they’are looking for. (This infographic shows a snapshot of what recruiters see when you apply for a position.)

Listing only 20 skills reveals a lack of effort in promoting yourself. As well, at least your top 15 skills should be endorsed. How do you do this? By endorsing others.

10. Recommendations

You have one professional recommendation from each position you held. You have also written recommendations; almost twice as many as you’ve received. Although recommendations used to hold more value, some recruiters will read what your supervisors have written about you. They’ll also read what you’ve written about others.

This reveals that you’re not shy about asking for recommendations. More importantly, you are a giver, as evident by writing recommendations for others.

11. Accomplishments

It’s too bad that this section is anchored in the basement, because it contains some great information. You’ve made good use of this section by listing your Projects, Publications, Certifications, and Honors & Awards. In your Summary you are wise to direct visitors to this section.

What this reveals is that you’ve completed your profile to the best of your ability. You described three major projects you worked on as the CFO of your previous company. Hopefully visitors will follow your instructions in your Summary to scroll down to this section.

6 reasons to use Facebook; 6 reasons to use LinkedIn

I recently changed my Facebook photo from a casual shot of me sitting alone to one of me with my ankle-biting dog sitting on a rock (below). It’s temporary, but I like it. I have my temporary photo set to go back to my original one in a week..

bob with maisie

This is a cool feature that Facebook offers, automatically changing your photo back to the original one. It’s also cool that I can share a personal post like this, and…receive likes and comments on it.

There are other neat Facebook features which don’t apply to LinkedIn.

2. 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.

3. 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

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

Bob Cropped

Below are times when LinkedIn is preferable over Facebook.

1. 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. 

2. 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.”

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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. 

 

 

 

  •  

 

 

3 reasons why your Articles & Activity section is important

When reviewing a client’s LinkedIn profile, I look at the typical sections: Summary, Experience, Educations, Skills, Volunteer, etc. I also look at one section of their profile that is very telling. Can you guess?

linkedin-alone

To stop the suspense, I’ll tell you. I look at their Articles & Activity section. I can tell from looking at this section whether they’ve been good or bad. More to the point, whether they’ve been engaging with their network, or simply spending very little time on LinkedIn. Below is an image of a profile of that has no Article & Activities section.

No Activity

This section lies between the Summary and Experience sections. What you see above tells you that this person has been dormant on LinkedIn. Here is a look at my Articles & Activity section.

Articles and activities

Showing engagement on LinkedIn will 1) encourage potential connections to invite you to their network, 2) impress recruiters with your knowledge and expertise, and 3) show you’re better than the average LinkedIn user.

Keep visitors on your site

I am reluctant to visit and continue to read someone’s profile if I see no pulse. Am I necessarily concerned if the person doesn’t have any of their own articles to share? Not really. I realize some, or most, people don’t want to publish their original ideas.

According to one source, “only 1 million professionals have published post on LinkedIn.”

However, if I don’t at least see engagement, I know the person is not serious about LinkedIn. I’m not the only person who spends attention to my clients’ Articles & Activity section. Hiring authorities are also paying attention.

Impress recruiters with your knowledge

Close to 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find talent, so the more time they spend on your profile, the better. True they want to see your titles, employment history, years of employment, and education. This said, recruiters also want to see your activity because it tells them if you:

  • like or comment on articles you find of value to your network;
  • write original thoughts or ask illuminating questions;
  • share a insightful, tasteful quotes;
  • announce certifications you earned;
  • contribute to a growing discussion; or
  • post videos that are relevant to you occupation and industry.

These are merely a few examples of what a potential candidate could show as activities. I go into greater detail in a post on how to optimize your engagement on LinkedIn. I discuss the difference between being active and engaging.

For example, when you comment on someone’s post, it’s not enough to write, “Great post, Sarah. Thanks for sharing.” Instead explain why you enjoyed the post and, perhaps, politely write about what you disagreed with. In other words, put real thought into comments you share.

I strongly suggest that you write articles to share on LinkedIn, as this will show recruiters your expertise in your industry. I tell my clients that they’re still “experts” in their field. Being out of work doesn’t change that.

However, I understand the time, effort, and courage it takes to put yourself out there.

Show you’re better than most LinkedIn users

The source I cited above also claims that “an average user spends 17 minutes monthly on LinkedIn.” That’s pitiful. LinkedIn has the potential to increase your chances of getting a job significantly, but only if you put effort into your LinkedIn campaign.

This means more than optimizing your profile by filling out all selections and employing keywords. You also have to develop a focused network and engage with your connections, which will be apparent by looking at your Articles & Activity section.

You should be using LinkedIn at least four days a week, half an hour a day. Does this sound like a lot of time? Divide your day in two; spend 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night. But don’t just go to LinkedIn’s Jobs feature and look for jobs; practice some of the ways you can engage mentioned above.


Four days is the minimum amount of time I recommend to my clients. Ideally you should be using LinkedIn daily, maybe taking a day off during the week. What’s important is that your Articles & Activity section shows quality engagement, and hopefully articles that demonstrate your area of expertise.

5 ways on LinkedIn to let employers know you’re unemployed

This post is written in response to a growing discussion on LinkedIn. 

I get the question all the time in my LinkedIn workshops: “What’s the best way to let employers know I’m looking for work?” My answer has been somewhat noncommittal, but some of my clients want potential employer to know their status.

question-mark-jpg3

Here are five options, none of which are entirely optimal.

  • Leave your most recent employer as current for a short period of time.
  • Create your own “company.”
  • End the tenure at your previous employer and address this in your Headline.
  • End the tenure at your previous employer and explain your story in your Summary.
  • List volunteer experience in the experience section.

There are problems with each tactic. After all, being out of work is … being out of work. And some ignorant employers still prefer to hire passive job seekers over job seekers who are actively looking for employment.

No matter how you spin it, employers will know the story. Let’s look at the potential solutions from worse to best:


Leave the employment date or…

5. Leave your previous position open

Of course, indicating you’re still employed when you’ve been laid off, let go, or have quit is dishonest. When job seekers ask me if they should do this, I tell them that, ideally, they should end their employment at a company a day after they lose their job.

That being said, pretending you’re still working for no more than three months is somewhat acceptable. Herein lies the problem: when a recruiter asks if you’re still at the company, you have to make up some story about how you haven’t gotten around to closing out the job. You’ll have to do some fancy dancing, and this may end the conversation immediately.

One could argue that at least you’ll have the opportunity to have a conversation with a recruiter or hiring manager. And that recruiter or manager might buy your tale.

4. Create your own ‘company’

While it is important to maintain All Star status and, thus, get more visits to your profile, you need to do so with style and a value add. I’ve seen profiles with “Unemployed” as the company name. How much value does this add to a person’s profile? None.

My colleague, Laura-Smith Proulx describes a solution in a post she wrote for www.job-hunt.org that let’s employers know you’re unemployed, while also demonstrating your value to employers. As she explains, “no current experience is a competitive disadvantage.”

A company name for Plant Engineer Supervisor would simply be: Plant Engineer Supervisor. This would show as current experience. The job title would be: Plant Engineer Supervisor Pursuing Opportunities in Manufacturing.

The description of said job needs to show your value. Laura provides a great description for the Plant Engineer Supervisor: “I offer a broad operations background, including Lean Six Sigma, team management, production supervision, and plant engineering skills.” You might also include a quote from a supervisor to demonstrate your expertise.


End the employment date

3. Tell employers in your Headline

Obviously, the worst thing you can write in your Headline is only “Unemployed,” “Seeking Next Opportunity,” or “Actively Looking for a Project Manager Position.” Any of these statements alone fail to express your value. Sure, they tell employers about your situation, but that’s about it.

Instead, show your value to the employer right out of the box: I will increase your production flow 85% by utilizing Lean Six Sigma, Manufacturing experience, and proven leadership” 

Keep in mind that space in your Headline is limited.  You’re allowed 120 characters, so make the best use of it. The example above is 119 characters. Whew.

2. Tell your story in your Summary

Whether you want to inform people of your situation immediately, in the middle, or at the end, you need to be positive about your situation. Potential employers won’t be concerned about how you lost your job as much as they will about what you can do for them.

Writing the following sets a positive tone, “After three years of an exciting stint in IT in my previous company, I’m ready to take on new challenges. Read my profile on how I can help your company’s IT needs….” Of course your LinkedIn profile must be strong and support your desired occupation.


Doing actual work: volunteering, that is

1. The best way to cover the employment gap – volunteering in your field

A Forbes article suggests including volunteer work in the Experience section. I tend to agree. I can hear the critics bemoaning this practice—after all, it’s not paid employment! While this is true, volunteer work is exactly that—work. In some cases, you may even work harder than you would in paid employment.

If you are going to include volunteer work in your LinkedIn Experience section, be sure to make a note of it by writing “Volunteer Work” next to the position. Do not mislead potential employers into thinking it is paid employment. (Some pundits don’t believe indicating that it’s volunteer experience is necessary.)

The volunteer work you list should be substantial and relevant. For example, if you’re a web developer, spending 20 hours a week developing a nonprofit’s website is a great way to showcase your existing skills and the new ones you may be learning.

Another thing to note: You can include recommendations with your volunteer experience, but only if you list it in the Experience section of the profile. If you leave your volunteer work in the volunteer section, people will be precluded from sharing recommendations.


Then there’s LinkedIn’s Career Interests feature

For job seekers who are being pursued by recruiters who have access to LinkedIn’s recruiter premium account, this features allows them to see who is currently looking for work, whether employed or unemployed.


So, is it necessary to point out your unemployment status or falsify information on LinkedIn? Probably not. Covering an employment gap with volunteer experience is the best method, in my mind.

Which brings us to the topic of volunteering. I’ll save that for another post.

A version of this post originally appeared in recruiter.com.

Photo: Flickr, Tom Waterhouse