Tag Archives: online networking

Use “See Alumni” to connect with your alumni with 3 steps

Every year, I have the honor of critiquing my fellow alumni’s LinkedIn profiles. The event takes place on the 32nd floor of a building that overlooks Boston, where the alumni and current students of my alma mater come dressed to the nines and ready to get their profiles critiqued.

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One thing that immediately grabs my attention is the size of a person’s LinkedIn network. In many cases, the number is quite low. When I ask the participants why, most say it’s because they have just started using LinkedIn. They ask with whom they should connect and how.

In a previous post, I explained the who and the how of connecting on LinkedIn, in which I stated your fellow alumni were at the top of the pyramid of connections — meaning this was the lowest tier of potential connections. But for current students or recent grads, the alumni network can actually be the key to building a successful network on LinkedIn.

To help you connect with other alumni from your school, LinkedIn has a neat feature called “See Alumni” (formerly “Find Alumni”) which is located on your alma mater’s page.

Here is the process of getting to this feature when you need it:

  1. Type your school’s name into LinkedIn’s search field.
  2. Select your school.
  3. Click “See Alumni.”

1. Using the ‘See Alumni’ Feature

Assuming you haven’t made any connections with alumni from your school, you’ll want to change that right away. Your fellow alumni are probably currently employed, and they may know of opportunities — or at least people with whom you can connect. Don’t ignore older alumni who may have attended your alma mater before you!

When you first use the “See Alumni” feature, you’ll land on a page that looks like this:

See Alumni 1

Click “Next” on the right-hand side of the page to go to a screen that looks like this:

See Alumni 2

Now, look at the section titled “How you are connected” on the right-hand side of the screen. You will most likely see that you have few, if any, first-degree connections. That’s alright — we’re going to focus on your second-degree connections.

Select your second degrees by clicking on the appropriate bar. The screen will shift to only show you information about your second-degree connections.

You can narrow down the results even further by using the other categories — “What they are skilled at,” “What they studied,” “Where they work,” etc. (See above screenshots.) For example, I have 7,774 alumni in my second-degree connections, but I can narrow my results down to a much more manageable five people if I set each category to the following:

– What they are skilled at: Social media
– What they studied: Marketing
– What they do: Media and communications
– Where they work: Boston Ballet
– Where they live: Greater Boston Area

2. Connecting With Fellow Alumni

One of the advantages you have when connecting with fellow alumni is the common bond you share through going to the same school. You’ll want to mention this when you personalize your invitation.

Under no circumstances should you send the default LinkedIn invite; that’s plain laziness. Instead, you should write the kind of personalized, professional note LinkedIn members expect from each other. To write a truly personalized note, be sure to read through a person’s profile before sending off your invitation!

Here’s an example invitation:

Dear Mr. Schmidt,

As you’re an alumnus at the University of Virginia and are in the field of marketing communications, I’d like to take this time to reach out and invite you to my network. Feel free to contact me if I can be of any assistance.

3. Completing the Process

Your new invite accepts your personalized invitation because both of you share an interest in social media and, most importantly, are alumni of the same school.

Where many people fall down in the process is not following through. In your message, you offered assistance, so stay true to your word by contacting Mr. Schmidt via email when he accepts your invite.

Prepare a list of questions you’d like to ask Mr. Schmidt regarding the line of work he does. Make them intelligent questions — don’t waste his time. Ask him if he might know of anyone with whom you could also speak.


As I explain to the alumni and current students of my alma mater, the process of building relationships can be a long one, but developing long-lasting relationships is the key to their future success. Your fellow alumni can definitely be a secret weapon for networking on LinkedIn, so be sure to utilize the “See Alumni” feature!

This post originally appeared on recruiter.com

Photo: recruiter.com

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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.

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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.

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

Why are you on LinkedIn? Three types of LinkedIn members

Congratulations, you are one of more than 500 million LinkedIn members. LinkedIn is touted as the most professional online networking platform. Many job seekers have used it to find jobs, while others have had no success. You don’t want to fall into the latter category.

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The success of using LinkedIn depends on knowing why you’re using the networking platform and how to better use it. LinkedIn can be beneficial to your job search, but first decide if you should be using it.

You Have No Idea

You went through the easy process of securing your LinkedIn membership. Because you’re in the job hunt, a career expert told it would be the answer to your prayers. I curse the people who told you this.

If you really believe LinkedIn alone will land your next job, stop drinking the Cool Aid. LinkedIn is not the magic elixir that people might have told you it is. This is the hard truth. Now let me tell you what you have to do.

Have you seen the television program, “The Biggest Loser.” This is you. You will work harder than you’ve worked before…not to lose weight, of course. If you think I’m exaggerating, ask people who have succeeded using LinkedIn to find a job.

Here’s what you need to do: create a profile; connect with people you don’t know; and engage with said people. This is a tall order, but you can do it. The most promising thing about you is that you’re open to all advice LinkedIn authorities offer you. The question is if you’re hungry enough to do what it takes.

Please read this sequence of posts for a full explanation on how to use LinkedIn

You’re Half-Committed

Maybe you’re a tweeny; you have an inkling of an idea of LinkedIn and are knowledgeable enough to be dangerous. You joined the last time you were out of work but neglected LinkedIn after you landed your previous job; now it’s time to get back on the horse. You have promise, though.

First things first; your profile resembles your résumé. That’s because it is. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I suggest to my clients that they start with their résumé as a foundation, but from there they need to turn it into more of a networking document.

The solution is to do serious work on your Branding Headline, create a Summary that reflects your passion and value, and beef up your Experience section. This is what I mean by making your profile a networking document, while still maintaining your value to potential employers.

Next, slowly reconnect with with people in your network. Slowly because you don’t want to come across as someone who needs something only when you contact someone. My kids do this. Don’t be like my kids.

Finally, you’ll become more visible by sharing updates on a regular basis. I generally suggest sharing updates two times a day, four days a week…at a minimum. For those who are a little more committed, engaging with your connections every day is your goal.

Read about the next LinkedIn member, The Pro.

You’re a Pro

You know exactly why you’re using LinkedIn. You have a solid strategy that will land you a job. You’re a pro. This post may not enlighten you, other than you are curious to see if you are on track. You are.

I know your’e a pro when I ask you how often you use LinkedIn, and what you use LinkedIn for. The answer to my first question is…you guessed it, every day. How you’re using it is to continue your lifelong networking efforts.

You are making efforts to connect with people at companies for which you want to work, which means you have a target company list. You’re making substantial connections, some of whom you have met for coffee, or at the very least talked with on the phone.

Occasionally you use the Jobs feature to apply for jobs online, but you know this isn’t the most productive way to spend time looking for work. You notice the alumni who work/ed at your target companies, so you reach out to them. You’re stoked if your fraternity brothers work at a few of your target companies. Hey, bro!

Here is a partial list of what you have in place:

  1. A profile that effectively brands you. There’s nothing more that can be done with your profile.
  2. Keywords that put you within the first four pages of profile searches.
  3. More than 1,500 connections, many of whom are recruiters. Yes, it’s cool to connect with recruiters.
  4. Engaging with your connections in a number of ways, such as sharing illuminating industry updates, writing posts on LinkedIn that brand you, asking questions that provoke thought, etc.
  5. In industry groups, where recruiters also hang out, and starting and adding to discussions.
  6. Most importantly, introducing your fellow job seekers to people who can be of assistance.

Coupled with your strong LinkedIn campaign and personal networking, you’re not going to be unemployed too long. Your strategy is straightforward; connect with quality LinkedIn members and create a mutually helpful relationship. As they say, you’re killing it.


Far be it from me to suggest no one joins LinkedIn. The most important thing to discover is why you’re on LinkedIn. Once you’ve determined this, you’ll have to put in the appropriate amount of effort.

Photo: Flickr, Marco / Zak

44 LinkedIn posts that can help you with your job search

If you’re a beginner on LinkedIn, or even well versed on the platform, this compilation of posts can help you use LinkedIn more effectively. As LinkedIn makes changes to its platform or there’s LinkedIn strategy that will help you, I will update these posts to provide you with relevant advice.

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Two LinkedIn changes: one good, the other Meh

I consider myself to be a fair guy. When LinkedIn does right, I complement them. When they do wrong, I criticize them. This time LinkedIn made a smart move by joining multiple job titles to fit under one company icon. But in the same fell swoop, LinkedIn truncating each position.

The ultimate LinkedIn, part 1: how to optimize your LinkedIn profile

Use this checklist to improve your LinkedIn profile. This part 1 of a 3-part series. To follow are posts on building your network and engaging on LinkedIn. This post originally appeared in recruiter.com.

Should candidates send a LinkedIn invite after the first interview?

After a client asked me if she should send an invite to a recruiter after their first interview, it prompted me to ask recruiters who hang out on Facebook this question. Surprisingly, their answers were a definitive yes. Read what they have to say.

5 reasons why LinkedIn recommendations should get more respect

Recommendations were once the rave of the LinkedIn profile; some considered them the profile’s best feature. Recruiters only had to read them to see your excellence. They could make a quick decision on whether to contact you or not. This is no longer the case.

4 reasons why you need a strong LinkedIn Summary

Would you go to an interview or business meeting without shoes? Of course not. So I wonder why people feel that a Summary statement on their LinkedIn profile is unnecessary. Having viewed hundreds profiles, I’ve seen many  that simply begin with the Experience section and have no Summary.

5 reasons why you shouldn’t ignore your LinkedIn profile Experience section

All too often job seekers and business people ignore their Experience section, assuming people will know what their positions entail. Even if you’re a CEO, visitors would like more description of what you and your company have accomplished. Don’t undersell this important section of your profile.

3 ways job seekers can be found on LinkedIn

I’m often asked by my clients how they can be found by recruiters on LinkedIn. That’s a great question, and contrary to what my job seekers think, optimizing your profile with keywords is not enough.

6 ways to be engaged on LinkedIn, not just active

It’s no longer enough to be active on LinkedIn; you have to engage with your network. There are differences. Find out what they are in this post.

3 reasons for your LinkedIn success: it’s not only about your LinkedIn profile

Many people think having a great LinkedIn profile is enough. Well, think again. You must also develop a targeted and large network, as well as engage with your connections. These are the three pieces to a successful LinkedIn campaign.

3 areas of information your LinkedIn profile Dashboard provides: part 1

If you’re not paying attention to the Dashboard on your LinkedIn profile, you’re missing out on some information. Who’s viewing your profile, how many views does your latest post have, and how many people have searched for you, plus more.

3 features your LinkedIn profile Dashboard provides: part 2

Your LinkedIn Dashboard is privy to only you. Read about some cool features it contains, such as Career Advice, Career Interests, and Salary Insights.

6 LinkedIn profile rules to ignore in 2018

The first rule is your profile background image must match your occupation/industry. Well, not really. But that’s how most people try to do it. There are five other rules you can ignore in 2018.

5 ways the new LinkedIn profile has changed for the good and bad

LinkedIn’s at it again. New changes to the top of your profile; what I call the Snapshot area. These changes are for the most part nice. Learn what they are by reading this post.

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

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

4 steps to take—at minimum—to ask for a favor on LinkedIn

How do you ask for a favor from one of your connections. Here’s a hint: don’t do it in your initial invite. That’s just plain rude.

2 important rules for connecting on LinkedIn the right way

There are two rules I abide by when connecting with someone and after being accepting to someone’s network. Learn what they are and why they’re important.

6 interesting ways you can find your alumni using LinkedIn’s “See Alumni”

Your alumni can be great a great asset to your network. “See Alumni” is a great feature that allows you to find you alums based on 6 filters.

4 reasons why your LinkedIn background image shouldn’t be ignored

Often overlooked, this area on your LinkedIn profile is valuable real estate which contributes to your brand. Don’t ignore it.

6 areas on your LinkedIn profile you should optimize in 2018

It’s no longer just about completing all the sections on your profile, you need to know where to include the keywords to be better found. Read this post to learn where the keywords matter most.

5 connections that will optimize your LinkedIn network in 2018

Now that your profile is optimized for 2018, it’s time to optimize your network. This post helps you get the most out of your network by explaining the 5 types of connections with whom you should engage.

10 ways to optimize your engagement in 2018

Now that you’re connected to the proper people on LinkedIn, you’ll need to engage with them to stay “top of mind.”

LinkedIn makes changes to People Search: smart or for the sake of changes?

No one knows when LinkedIn will make changes to its functionality. Some changes are good, others make you scratch your head wondering why certain changes were made. This has been LinkedIn’s MO since its inception.

8 reasons why LinkedIn probably isn’t for you

I will be the last person to say “everyone” should be on LinkedIn if they want to land a job. Although LinkedIn is important in the job search, it’s not right for everyone.

5 steps to connecting with LinkedIn members

How do you connect with people on LinkedIn? And what are the five steps to take to connect properly. Learn about the feature “Connections of” and how it can be a game player when you’re asking for an introduction or making a “cold call” connection.

3 times when LinkedIn is essential for your professional career

You’ll need to use LinkedIn when you’re looking for work, working, and while in school. This post is ideal for all LinkedIn users. Are you using LinkedIn the way you should?

8 ways to keep the LinkedIn process from breaking down

In this article I compare building your LinkedIn profile to painting a fence. Great fun writing this one. But seriously, these are the major components to be concerned about.

5 major components of the LinkedIn profile on the mobile app

LinkedIn members need to be aware of the LinkedIn mobile app, as it will soon surpass the use of its computer application. This is one of a three-part series that discusses the LinkedIn profile on the mobile app.

5 LinkedIn mobile app features you need to learn 

Although the LinkedIn mobile app doesn’t offer as much functionality as the desktop version, it is a powerful platform. Check out the differences between the two.

LinkedIn’s mobile app versus the desktop: 8 differences

One gets the feeling that LinkedIn is migrating its desktop platform to its mobile app. Maybe not tomorrow, but gradually. The most obvious hint is the way the desktop’s interface increasingly resembles the app. We noticed this when LinkedIn launched its new, slimmed-down platform almost a year ago.

7 faux pas you may be committing on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is not kind to people who commit certain faux pas. Shall we say the LinkedIn police are watching. Be sure not to post irrelevant information, for example. There are six more.

16 of my rigid LinkedIn principles 

There are some LinkedIn principles I hold which are quite rigid. They guide me in how I interact with people on LinkedIn. You may agree with some of them, and you may think some of them are bunk.

10 steps toward a successful LinkedIn in Strategy

This post highlights 10 of the most important steps you need to take to be successful on LinkedIn. Read part one for the first five steps and then part two for the final five steps.

How to brand yourself with your LinkedIn profile

Part 1 of this series. Creating a profile that brands you is the first step in your LinkedIn campaign. It must include a photo, value added Summary, accomplishment-based Experience section, and other sections that can add to your brand.

How to brand yourself by connecting with others

Part 2 of this series. When hiring authorities look at your profile and see that you only have 30 connections, they’re going to move on to another candidate. Why? Because you’re not in the game. You’re not initiating and nurturing relationships.

6 ways to brand yourself by being active on LinkedIn

Part 3 of this series. To stay top of mind, you must engage with your connections. There are a number of ways to do this. You can share articles you find relevant, share industry advice, ask questions, contribute to discussion on your homepage and/or in groups, and more.

There are 5 LinkedIn contributors; which are you?

Have you ever wondered if you are contributing on LinkedIn enough or too much? Discover which type of LinkedIn user you are.

To share is Golden: 8 reasons to share others’ posts

Sharing what others write is a benefit to not only that person, but a benefit to you as well. You come across as someone who cares about your LinkedIn community. This post includes names of people who are great curators.

9 facts about LinkedIn lite profile vs. the LinkedIn profile we knew

This is one of the more popular posts I’ve written. It addresses the way LinkedIn’s profiles have changed. Even as I’m writing this, I’m sure LinkedIn is making more changes.

Three reasons why the LinkedIn Summary is key for career changers

If you’re changing your career, you’ll want to utilize every character in the Summary and explain your career goal.

The 39 most important words in your LinkedIn Summary*

In this popular post, I address the first 39 (approximately) first words of your Summary. Find out why they are important. This post is a good one to read after the previous one.

Create a kick-ass profile summary with these four elements

This post is a blast from the past, but it’s still topical. Your LinkedIn Summary is an important part of your profile. Don’t take it lightly.

Great news; LinkedIn expands the extended Experience section

With the changes  that have taken place to LinkedIn, the company makes right on one change it’s made. Now they might want to return the ability to move the sections on the profile around. Read the next post as well.

5 ways LinkedIn Lite’s anchored sections are hurting its members

You can’t move the Experience section on your resume, nor the Education, nor Skills and Endorsements. What effect does this have on you?

Six steps to take when using LinkedIn networking for a job

You’re on LinkedIn. You’ve been told it’s a great way to network for a job. This post explains how to use LinkedIn to find a job by using LinkedIn.

2 important rules for connecting on LinkedIn the right way

First, never send default invites

I estimate that I ignore 90% of invites from LinkedIn members, simply because they don’t include a personalized note. In fact, if I accepted all invites I’d probably have 10,000 connections in my LinkedIn network. This is not to brag; I’m just saying.

li-logoWhy am I so adamant about people taking the time to personalize their invites? Short and simple, default invites suck.

The default invite on LinkedIn is: I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn. While it clearly states a hopeful networker’s intent, I need more. Something that tells me why we should connect.

Sending the default invite is akin to going up to someone at a networking event and saying, “Hi. What can you do for me?” It’s insincere and sends the message, “I’m inviting you to be in my network, but I could care less if you join.” Is this the type of message you want to send to a potential networker?

I believe there are three reasons why LinkedIn members don’t personalize their invites.

One, they just don’t get it. Or they haven’t been educated. I can only spread the word to the people who attend my LinkedIn workshops or read my posts. Even then some don’t get it.

Two, they’re using their phone to connect with others on LinkedIn. Although there is a way to send a personalized invite from your phone, most people don’t know how to do it. The process is very simple, so there’s no excuse.

To send an invite from your phone, go to the person’s profile, click the three vertical dots for androids or horizontal dots for iPhones, choose “Personalize invite,” write one, and hit send.

Three, they’re plain lazy. I think this is really the heart of the matter, and I hesitate to say it, especially out loud; but in essence this is what it comes down to. To me, a default invitation is a statement of want without a sign of reciprocation. And this defies the true definition of networking.

lazyI and others, I’m sure, are more likely to accept an invite if a thoughtful note is attached to it. So what should you write if you want someone to join your network?

1. You might have something in common with whom you’re trying to connect. “Hi Susan, I’ve been following your updates and feel that we have a great deal in common. Would you accept an invitation to be in my LinkedIn network?”

2. Maybe you’re the bold type. “Hey, Bob. You and I are in career development. Ain’t that cool? Let’s link up!” I like this confidence, despite the slang.

3. You might want to take the calculated approach. “After reviewing your profile, I’m impressed with its quality and your diverse interests.” A little flattery never hurts.

4. Inviting someone to be part of your LinkedIn network is a perfect way to follow up with that person after a face-to-face meeting. “Sam, it was great meeting with you at the Friends of Kevin networking event. I looked you up on LinkedIn and thought we could stay in touch.”

5. Boost the person’s ego. “Bob, I read one of your posts and thought it was spot on. I’d like to connect with you.” Or “Jason, I saw you speak at the Tsongas Arena and what you said really resonated with me. I’d like to follow up with you.”

These are some suggestions that would entice someone like myself to accept an invite. When I’m sent an invite, I only request a personalized note—it’s not that hard, really. So rather than just hitting the Send Invitation button, take a few seconds to compose something from the heart.


Second, thank people for inviting you to their network

Is there anything worse than sending a “cold,” “lazy,” “uninviting” default message to a potential connection? Yes, it’s not thanking people who invite you to their network. Come on, this goes against what your parents taught you when you were a child.

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It just makes common sense. If you receive an invitation to be part of someone’s network, reply to the sender by thanking them for being considered. It’s an honor the sender has chosen you, so show your gratitude.

In effect, this is similar to walking away from a conversation at a social gathering. Would you simply walk away from a conversation without saying, “Thank you for the conversation?” Simply do an about face and make for the door? I would hope not.

What to Write. Your note can begin with, “Thank you for the invite. And thank you for the personalized message.” And if you want to carry on the conversation, you might add, “It would be great to talk about our common interests, as we’re both in (the occupation). I’d be happy to call you at your convenience.”

Also thank your new connection for joining your network. All too often LinkedIn members invite someone to their network and then kill the momentum by not showing their gratitude.

To make professional online networking effective, you must keep the ball in play, keep the lines of communication open. Extend civility and appreciation for someone joining your network.

“Thank you for being part of my network” would suffice. Or you may add, “I invited you to be in my network because we’re both (occupation) or (interested in) and think we can be of assistance to each other.”


Personalizing your invites and saying “Thanks” are two very basic, yet important components of developing a solid relationship with your LinkedIn network.  LinkedIn gives you the option to do neither. Don’t let LinkedIn let you get lazy.

It takes but a few minutes to connect with someone on LinkedIn the right way.

Photo: Flickr, ruijiaoli

Photo: Flickr, Retroeric

Great news! LinkedIn returns the expanded Experience section

LinkedIn has done it again; it’s made a change to our profiles. This is a welcome change and hopefully a return to the old LinkedIn profile. Get ready for this—we can now see most of our positions expanded. 

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I noticed this change when I was working with a client. Pleasantly surprised, I expressed my glee. My client, though, didn’t make the connection. He didn’t realize that only the first position used to be expanded; the others were truncated.

Immediately I reached out to my network to ask them if they noticed the change. “Do my eyes deceive me or has LinkedIn expanded the positions in the Experience section?” With, the blink of an eye, some of my connections responded with affirmation.

Others were unaware of what I was speaking of. They hadn’t received the update yet. With LinkedIn, changes aren’t made across the board at the same time. One of my connections wrote back a few days later when she received the expanded Experience section.

What was wrong with the truncated Experience section?

In a previous popular post, I complained:

Again the new model of more is less is in play in the Experience section. One is able to see the entire first job listed but must click to see more for each of the remaining jobs.

My concern here is that a person with a feeble current or most recent job will not show as much value as someone who has a more extensive and accomplish-laden job to show. Also, people who have two jobs must choose which one to demonstrate first.

Or, we can simply rely on visitors to click on every job to see their descriptions.

The answer to the final sentence in my post is, no. We couldn’t always expect people to click on the previous positions; thereby raising the possibility of your visitors missing some very important information, including your rich media.

For example, under my second position I have links to two podcasts in which I was interviewed for my knowledge on LinkedIn. Previously, this was not immediately visible without expanding my second position.

You might have been frustrated because you don’t have rich media examples under your first position, but have plenty of it under your previous positions. Now you don’t have to worry about people not seeing your rich media under your second or third positions.

LinkedIn hasn’t expanded all position, however. This might be a good thing, as it cuts down the verbiage seen on users’ profiles. And this was LinkedIn’s intention—to streamline and make the profiles more readable. In order to see all of a person’s Experience section, one must click See more positions.

LinkedIn hasn’t expanded the Summary section. Perhaps this is a good thing. While some don’t read the Summary, many do. I personally think this section is important in telling one’s story.

Just make sure your first 235 or so characters count, as they’re the only ones immediately available. I suggest using a branding statement that expresses your value to recruiters and other visitors.

LinkedIn, take it a step further

To make my LinkedIn experience complete, I’d like to see the return of the photos of the people who’ve written me recommendations. If you don’t remember said photos, they resided under each position showing who wrote recommendations for LinkedIn members. A nice touch.

What’s more, I’d like to see a link between the positions/companies and the Recommendations section. Currently, recommendations are arranged in the order of when they were written. This gives visitors no sense of the companies from which the recommendations came.

I’m sure recruiters don’t appreciate not being able to link recommendations to the respective positions.


When teaching LinkedIn, I’m never surprised when I come across a change made over night. In this case it is a pleasant change, and I am glad that I don’t have a reason to complain. I don’t like to come across as a downer, I really don’t.

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

Photo from Coletivo Mambembe, Flickr.com

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

You’ve heard it before: LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional, online networking application with approximately 530 million worldwide members. It’s also said that LinkedIn is growing at a rapid rate of two people per second. And according to Jobvite.com, at least 87 percent of recruiters are sourcing for talent on LinkedIn.

Woman using computer

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

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

1. LinkedIn is more than your online résumé

First of all, your LinkedIn profile is not simply your resume. This said, I suggest to my LinkedIn workshop that their first move is to copy and paste their résumé to their new LinkedIn profile.

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

Your Experience section must include accomplishment statements with quantified results that include numbers, dollars, and percentages. I prefer each job to comprise only of accomplishments, while other LinkedIn members throw everything into the mix,

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

Read how to create a powerful profile with the new LinkedIn.

2. Use LinkedIn to network with people at your desired companies

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

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

  1.  You may want to first follow said people
  2. When you visit their profile, show your profile (don’t choose anonymous)
  3. Like or comment on their posts
  4. Wait to see if they reach out to you first
  5. Finally, ask to connect with them using a personalized message, not the default LinkedIn one

Read this popular post on the proper way to connect.

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

3. Make use of your new connections

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

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

According to an article in Jobvite on what job seekers need to know in 2017: “Referred applicants are 5 times more likely than average to be hired, and 15 times more likely to be hired than applicants from a job board.”

4. Use the Jobs feature to network

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

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

5. Alumni feature

Alumni might be the most underutilized feature on LinkedIn. In fact, many of my LinkedIn workshop attendees are unaware of this great feature and are amazed when I demonstrate this feature.

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

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

Read more about the Alumni feature.

6. Take it a step further

A LinkedIn connection is not bona fide unless you reach out in a personal manner, such as a phone call, meeting for coffee, or even grabbing lunch. A phone call should be the very least you do in your effort to make a personal connection.

Talking to your connections give them a better sense of who you are. I’ve talked with some of my connections and was able to judge their character. For some I got the sense they were of quality character; for others I felt the opposite.


One more step

You’ve spoken with your connections and have gain their trust. Now you’re ready to ask them to go to bat for you. You will say, “I feel that you’ve gotten a good idea of who I am as a person. If you would mention me to your manager, I would greatly appreciate it. If you feel uncomfortable, I completely understand. I leave this up to you.”

Using LinkedIn alone will not quickly secure a job without also reaching out in a personal manner. This is the final step, and for some the hardest one to take. LinkedIn offers a lot of potential. Use it to its advantage, and then close the deal.

*The number of LinkedIn users has surpassed 500 million, according to some counts.

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

This post originally appeared on recruiter.com.

Photo: Flickr, JobMax