Tag Archives: online networking

11 ways to communicate with your LinkedIn connections

A blast from the past, but well worth repeating. I’ve added one more way to communicate with your connections.

Having a strong LinkedIn profile is essential to being found by other LinkedIn members and employers, but you’re job isn’t complete unless you’re communicating with your connections and the LinkedIn community as a whole.


I tell my LinkedIn workshop attendees that I spend approximately an hour a day (it’s probably more) on LinkedIn. Their faces register surprise; and I’m sure some of them are thinking, “Does this person have a life.”

Part of the workshop is about explaining the need to communicate with their connections because networking is about communication.

1. The most obvious way to communicate with your connections is to message them directly. Awhile back LinkedIn changed the way we message our connections. Now, our messages are a running stream beginning when we first started a message.

It took a while to get used to, for me, but now it’s nice to have a history of a conversation I have with one of my connections. In addition, the ability to begin a message is available on every page you’re on. This is an obvious sign that LinkedIn wants you to communicate with your connections.

2. Another great way to communicate with your connections is by is posting Updates. How many you post is up to you, but I suggest at least one a day. This is when I get remarks from my attendees about not having time to make an update a week.

Update oftenYou’ll notice that LinkedIn has given its members the ability to create and post videos. Although a nice feature, not many people are using it. This feature is similar to what Facebook has offered for many years.

3. Another way to communicate with your connections is to “Like” their updates. Liking their updates is great, but it takes very little effort to simply click the link. Like, Like, Like. Be more creative and add a comment which can generate discussion, or reply to your connections privately.

4. I’ll visit my connection’s profiles—with full disclosure—many times a day. My connections will visit my profile many times, as well.

When they “drop in” and have disclosed themselves (not Anonymous LinkedIn User or Someone from the Entertainment Industry), I’ll show my appreciation by writing, “Thanks for visiting my profile.” This will also lead to a discussion.

5. You’ve probably read many opinions from people on the topic of Endorsementshere we go again. Add me to the list of people who prefer thoughtful recommendations, both receiving and writing them, as opposed to simply clicking a button.

But, in fairness, Endorsements have a purpose greater than showing appreciation for someone’s Skills and Expertise; they act as a way to touch base. In other words, they’re another way to communicate with your connections.

6. Participating in discussions regularly is a great way to share ideas with established and potential connections. Yes, I’ve gained connections because of the values we shared as revealed by discussions.

Just today I connected with a great resume writer who impressed me with comments she made regarding a question I asked from my homepage.

7. If your connections blog, take the effort to read their posts and comment on their writing. This is an effective way of creating synergy in the blogging community, but blog posts have made their way into the Updating scene, as well.

The majority of my Updates are posts that I’ve read and commented on.

8. I turned 50 yesterday. Not surprisingly I received happy wishes from some of my connections. When your connections have an anniversary (work, that is) or have accepted a new job, you’ll be alerted and be given the opportunity to communicate with them.

A small gesture but nice to recognize your connections and generate some discussion.

Take it a step further

So far I’ve written about how you can communicate with your online connections. You can’t lose sight of the fact that an online relationship will not come to fruition until you’ve reached out and communicated with your connections in a more personal way.

9. A very simple way to extend your communications is by e-mailing them. I know, it doesn’t require a lot of effort, but it’s another step toward developing a more personal relationship.

Because you are connected by first degree, you have access to their e-mail address, access which can come in handy at times. Note: LinkedIn users can disclose their email to anyone on LinkedIn, not just their first degrees.

10. Naturally the second act toward strengthening your relationships is to make that daunting phone call (for some it is a big step), Let your connections know, through e-mail, that you’ll be calling them.

Write the reason for the call, such as explaining who you are and what goals you have in your professional life. Nothing is as awkward as dead air and running out of things to say, because the recipient of the call is caught off guard.

11. Finally comes the face-to-face meeting at a place that is convenient for both of you. If your connection lives in a distant location, you may suggest getting together when you’ll be in their city or town. Plan to meet at a coffee shop or a personal networking event if your connection lives close by.

When you meet in person with a connection, he/she becomes a bona fide connection. This is the ultimate way to communicate with a LinkedIn connection. It may not happen often, particularly if he/she lives a great distance from you, but when it does possibilities may present themselves.

Having a great profile is not enough. It’s a start but only the beginning of communicating with your connections. I’ll write LinkedIn profiles for people, and they might have questions about what to do next. Sometimes it’s your activity on LinkedIn that really makes the difference between standing still and realizing success.

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Online networking; a matter of introversion preference?

If you’re spending all your time networking online instead of getting out there and meeting with fellow jobseekers and business people, you’re doing yourself a disservice. More than 60% of jobs are gained through personal networking, according to the DOL.

There are no statistics on the success rate for obtaining employment using online networking; although, I’m willing to bet it’s much lower than personal networking.

Through deductive reasoning, people who are extremely active on social networking sites, e.g., LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, are most likely less active in their personal networking activities.

Is this a result of one’s personality type, namely introversion. In an article on Career-Intelligence.com, Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, Ph.D., author of The Introverted Leader: Building on Your Quiet Strength, writes about the introverts’ aversion to talking and preference for writing.

“Introverts prefer writing to talking. On the job, they opt for e-mail over the telephone and stop by only when necessary. Averse to excessive conversation, many gravitate toward social networking Web sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.”

I’ll cite myself as an example. Here I sit typing away when I could be talking on the phone, at a social gathering, or in the next room with my children watching their mind-numbing TV programs. I freely admit that I spend too much time writing blog articles or answering questions and reading responses on LinkedIn.

I’m an introvert, and spending time online suits my personality type more than social interaction, especially after a day of leading workshops to numerous people. It’s my downtime and opportunity to recharge my batteries. More to the point, I thoroughly enjoy writing articles and answering questions and reading answers posted by others on LinkedIn.

Other introverts have told me that they enjoy the non-personal interaction that LinkedIn and the others offer. These happen to be my jobseekers who are hoping to secure jobs through the job boards or LinkedIn. They tell me they’re more comfortable looking for work this way. That said, it’s a mistake to think that doing all your networking online will aid you in your job search.

I’m not implying that all introverts conduct their job search this way, nor do I believe that extraverts avoid online networking sites. Introverts also have the capacity to personally interact with other jobseekers; it just requires more energy to sustain a whole day of being around people.

What is your best way to approach networking? A combination of personal and online networking is a great strategy, because you’ll combine the most effective method to look for work (personal networking) with a growing and proven form of gathering contacts and opportunities to reach out to them (online networking). Read my colleague Wendy Gelberg’s article on online networking to learn more about the importance of online networking; but keep in mind not to neglect personal networking.

Beginners’ guide to using LinkedIn effectively

linkedinThis is a guest post from Rich Grant, a valued LinkedIn connection and college Career Advisor. He has a great way of explaining how to teach LinkedIn to beginners. 

When I meet with students – two to four each day – in my college’s career center I almost always ask, do you use LinkedIn? Most students say “yes’” but the real question we start exploring is, are you using LinkedIn effectively?

I’m pleased that almost every college junior or senior I meet with has a LinkedIn profile. Very few students, however, have taken full advantage of the networking power of LinkedIn. This is where I come in. I love showing students the nooks and crannies of LinkedIn.

I typically have about 10 – 15 minutes within a 30-minute appointment to provide students with an overview of LinkedIn. That’s just about enough time to cover the basics. So, here is my 10-minute tutorial on using LinkedIn to make connections and as a resource in a job or internship search.

Defining LinkedIn. For students who have not seen LinkedIn, I tell them about the similarities to Facebook (connecting with people, posting a status and / or links, joining groups, etc) and then quickly add, But it’s NOT Facebook! I also explain that social media networking (LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, and others) does not replace traditional face-to-face networking, but it complements your overall networking efforts.

About the profile. I talk briefly about how to beef up your profile. Don’t set up a bare-bones profile and think you’re done. Change / expand your headline, create a summary, and describe each job with appropriate key words. Add skills and highlight projects. I talk with students about posting a professional profile photo and customizing their URL, both of which are easily found when you’re in “edit profile” mode.

Making connections. With whom should you connect? Initially, I tell new LinkedIn users to connect only with people they know and trust who also know them reasonably well. I explain the concept of 2nd degree and 3rd degree connections, that is, your connections’ connections and so on. If you connect with people who know you well, you will have better success in getting referred to your 2nd degree connections. I tell students to avoid the “LinkedIn Open Networkers” known by their acronym LION (a better description might be “Spread-thin LinkedIn Unselective Trolls”)

Participating in groups. Find your college’s alumni group and seek groups within your professional interests. Don’t just join groups, participate in them. Post discussion topics, comment on discussions. Engage with people within groups… you know, be “social” on “social media.”

Using “advanced” search. Click “advanced” to the right of the search bar. On the left side, you’ll see several fields. You can search on one variable or multiple variables. I usually show students how to search on keywords, company, college (filling in the name of our college), and zip code. You can also search by industry. I run through a couple of searches to show how easy it is to identify relevant 2nd degree connections.

Now what? Once you find a 2nd degree connection that you’d like to contact, you can see who your common connections are. You can get in touch with your connection or connections to facilitate getting through to the person you don’t know. In my job searches, I would typically contact my connections by phone or email. You can also message people on LinkedIn, or from the 2nd degree connection’s profile, click on the down arrow by the “In Mail” button and use the “get introduced” feature. It’s worth repeating a key point: connect only with people you know and who know you. If you identify a 2nd degree connection, it’s no use to you if your common connection is a LION in another country.

Basics of networking. I would be remiss if I just showed the technical aspects of LinkedIn, so I talk with students about proper networking etiquette. As you start reaching out to your 2nddegree connections, you need to follow the same guidelines / protocol as you would if you were meeting someone at a networking event… or meeting someone new on campus. You wouldn’t meet someone for the first time, and say, nice to meet you; let’s rent an apartment together. Don’t come on strong. Build a rapport before you ask for anything. Get to know people first, and don’t put them on the spot.

As you connect with new people on LinkedIn, it’s important to build your relationship with an information-seeking perspective rather than jumping in and asking about job openings. That’s a conversation killer. Most students I meet with truly can benefit from exploring career options by having conversations with people who work in those career fields (aka “informational interviewing”). Most professionals are willing to help college students who are looking into potential career fields. And by using LinkedIn properly and effectively, your connections most likely will be willing and able to help you get in touch with their connections, provided they are also connecting with people whom they know and trust.

This has been my quick tour of LinkedIn that I provide to new users of LinkedIn. I rarely talk about job postings on LinkedIn; to me, LinkedIn is about networking. I have started to show students “University Pages” found under the “Interests” pull-down menu (look for “Education”)

What do you show new LinkedIn users in your overview?

Rich Grant ● http://www.richcareer.net

Photo C. 2013 by Fred Fieldfredfield.comRich Grant has a background in business planning, freelance writing and higher education. Rich was recently the director of career services at a small four-year college in Maine and is currently filling an interim role as a career adviser and internship coordinator at a private college. He serves as the president of two professional associations. Find Rich on LinkedIn and Twitter, and become a regular visitor to his blog where he imparts his words of wisdom once or twice a week.

5 habits to break during the job search

If there were one habit I’d like to break, it would be drinking coffee in the morning, on the way to work, and when taking my kids to their events in the evenings; the family joke when we get in the car is, “Dad, do you have your coffee?” I’ve had this habit for so long that I can’t imagine a day without coffee.

Habits are hard to break. Taking steps to correct them take small victories, which eventually lead to winning the battle. Just as there are habits in life, there are also habits that develop in the job search. Here are five habits you as a jobseeker must break.

  1. Believing that a résumé is enough to land an interview. It’s not hard to understand why this habit is one tough cookie to crack. The message that your résumé is enough is prevalent in the job search, where misguided job experts say the first thing you need to do is write or update your résumé. And once you’ve accomplished this, a job is bound to come around.
  2. Shotgunning résumés. How you’ve been taught to deliver your résumé is old school. I’ve heard some jobseekers say with pride that they send out five résumés a day. This means two things: one, they aren’t tailoring their résumés to individual companies and two, they’re not leaving their computers and making contact. A few well-placed résumés are better than hundreds of unfocused résumés to no one in particular.
  3. Shyness. Another habit that’s hard to break for some jobseekers is following their shy self. Your shy self tells you “Don’t tell people you’re looking for a job, even your staunch supporters like your family and friends….Don’t network with other jobseekers or business people….Don’t ask your former supervisors and managers for a written recommendation for LinkedIn.” Your shy self has been with you while you’ve worked, so it’s hard to shake off.
  4. Using the Internet for the wrong reasons. This habit might be the hardest one to break: using the Internet for online shopping, playing Farm Land and Mafia Wars, Googling for the best deal on a vacation spot; essentially using the Internet for the wrong reasons now in your life. It’s a bad sign when I ask jobseekers if they’re using LinkedIn and even Twitter and Facebook for their job search, and they give me a deer-in-the-headlights look.
  5. Stopping a good thing once you’ve gotten a job: A story I like to tell about a former jobseeker is how when he started using LinkedIn, he wasn’t a true believer. Then he got a job and his activity picked up three-fold. I asked him if he was in the job hunt again. To this he replied that one should never stop networking, especially when one’s working. Some people tend to think all networking should cease while they’re working; they become complacent. Don’t fall into this trap.

Habits, like drinking coffee night and day, are difficult to conquer but not impossible. Once you turn your habits into productive ones, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and your job search will be more successful.

4 more ways to stay encouraged during a long job search

Jessica Holbrook’s article mentioned four great ways to stay encouraged during the job search in an article titled “4 Tips for Staying Encouraged during a Long Job Search.” So I thought I’d do what my college buddies and I did when we were at a seedy diner, occupying a table until 3:00 a.m., staving off our drunken stupor; and playing the napkin game. In other words, add four more ways to stay positive in the job search.

One: I suggest you visit your local or your college career center. As a workshop specialists and one from whom many seek advice, I can say that there is a great deal to learn about the job search. Let’s face it; the job search has changed in the past 10, 20, 30 years. I’m not just blowing smoke.

How does your résumé feel (as Jessica mentions)? Do you realize that despite many people’s advice, a cover letter is still necessary? Are you aware that behavioral interviews are becoming the norm, even during a telephone interview?

Two: Find a support group. Your inclination might be to commiserate with a buddy over a couple of beers, but that grows old. Trust me. Have a couple of sit-downs to discuss your feelings about being laid off. Air it out.

But then decide to do something constructive, such as join a networking group or two. I suggest seeking out business networking groups or professional affiliations in your occupation where employed people attend. It’s always a good idea to network with people who are in your industry’s loop. Follow the networking creed, don’t go to these groups to ask for a job; you’re there to seek advice and provide your perspective.

Three: Get outside your comfort zone. Have you ever worn your watch on the opposite wrist? I know it’s a silly question, but when you wear your watch on the opposite wrist, it feels uncomfortable, almost unbearable. This is how it might feel to network face-to-face. You may dread going to a networking event where you’ll meet strangers and have to make small talk. Introverts like me know the feeling. However, I make it a point to attend networking events just to get outside my comfort zone. I see these as small victories. Eventaully these small victories will add up to a major victory…a job.

Four: Accept professional and social online networking. Use LinkedIn (the professional networking) to establish contacts and communicate with people who will make a difference in your job search. The same holds true for Twitter and Facebook (the social networking). Communicate with the plan to Advise, Acknowledge, Appreciate, and Advance. These are terms Liz Lynch uses in her presentation of Build strategic relationships using social media platforms. Simply stated, practice proper networking using online tools.

There are many suggestions on how to stay encouraged during your job search. Jessica offers you four viable ways, and I added four more. What other strategies can you think of? Share them with other people who are temporarily out of work. Play the napkin game and comment on Jessica’s and my suggestions.

Your LinkedIn Profile; Do it Right

Alison Doyle of About.com recently wrote a wonderful article entitled “Don’t Waste Your Time On LinkedIn.” Let me rephrase: If you’re going to be on LinkedIn, do it right so you’re not wasting your time and the time of others who visit your profile, including employers who are searching for talent.

What I like about her article was that Alison tells it how it should be. I also like the article because she confirms what I’ve been telling my LinkedIn workshop attendees about not engaging in LinkedIn in a half-baked way. It’s better they hear the truth then spend the time starting a profile only to forget about it and take up space on the many servers LinkedIn use s to host over 100 million users.

“If you’re not going to do it right, there is no point wasting your time (and everyone else’s) on LinkedIn,” Alison writes. “LinkedIn is ‘the” site for professional networking.’”

Amen. Furthermore, she explains that when she is invited to connect with people on LinkedIn and goes to their profile to glean information on them, only to find their title or, worse yet, a “Private Profile,” she’s not likely to connect with them.

I sense her frustration and understand the reason for writing her article. She’s absolutely correct. What motivation would I have for connecting with someone who is unidentified? And for you employers, why would you pursue someone who has a profile that gives you very little information in terms of their skills, accomplishments, and related experience? The answer to both is a resounding none.

The bigger dilemma. This leaves the LinkedIn newbies with a dilemma. Should they join LinkedIn and put themselves out there if they’re not going the make the investment needed to succeed in networking on LinkedIn—let alone identify themselves? The truth is a poor LinkedIn profile will do more harm than good. Here’s why:

No photo will send a message to employers and potential networkers that you have something to hide—namely age. Whether we like it or not, LinkedIn wants us to be visible. While , business people have no reason to fear age discrimination, jobseekers might. Jobseekers simply have to bite the bullet and have faith that their age will not hurt their job search.

An undeveloped Snap Shot is the quickest way to turn someone away from your profile. I’m referring to more than the photo; there’s the name and title, as well as potential blog or website URLs, that visitors see when they visit your profile. A developed Snapshot includes a full name with a descriptive title. Don’t be vague and announce yourself as a “Public Relations Professional,” when you’re a “Strategic, bilingual HR leader/business partner who achieves strong results through innovative solutions.”

The Summary section is often neglected by people who simply copy and paste their four-line résumé Summary statement. Folks, we have 2,000 characters with which to work. Let’s use them to craft a creative, descriptive Summary that states our value proposition and showcases our attention-grabbing skills and experience. Have fun and use the first person narrative, or even third person narrative if you’re accomplished.

The History section is also an area where visitors like to learn more about your identity. Simply listing your job title, company name, and dates of employment says, “I’m too lazy to give this any effort.” This laziness will get you nowhere. List three, four, or five major accomplishments at your companies.

The last section I’ll address are recommendations, which do a tremendous job of telling visitors who you are through the eyes of your former supervisors, colleagues, vendors, partners, etc. Ask for and write at least five or six recommendations. This is especially important for jobseekers who need to deliver a quick punch.

Alison Doyle’s article had a little bite to it—I imagine because so many people with poor profiles asked to connect with her. I took a gamble and asked Alison to be in my network. Within half an hour I was accepted and also invited to join her group. Thank You, Alison. I’m glad I passed the test.