5 Tips to Narrowing Down Your Career Focus on LinkedIn

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Here are a few questions for those of you with more than two letters after your name:
  • How many letters do you have after your name that are relevant to what you do now?
  • Are these letters recognizable to the average person?
  • Do you use these credentials to do exactly what you want to do in your career?
  • Was your training academic or was it focused on a specific career or business goal?
  • Did you feel it was necessary to have the certifications and training to do or provide services doing what you love?
  • How many “Add to Cart” trainings have you purchased and never completed or implemented? (You know the ones I mean – they state a value of $499 and are slashed to $59)
  • How much of what you’ve learned through your certifications and training have provided a step by step structure or format to follow for you to feel confident in offering your services to others?
  • Are you still struggling to figure out how to put all your training and education together with clarity and focus?
If any of these questions resonate with you, you are not alone. There are many professionals who do not lack certifications, training, or academics. However, as I have been looking over many LinkedInprofiles over the past several weeks, I’ve noticed a distinct lack of direction and focus even though there does not seem to be a lack education and experience on the profile.
The confusion for me is that there are often more than one industries listed and a lack of clarity with regard to whether they are networking with others in their profession, selling a service or a product, or seeking employment. I had more than one and have since taken the extraneous industry off my profile.
The overall feeling of the profile imparts a lack of enthusiasm, joy or even interest in who they are and/or what they are offering. In many profiles, there is a distinct feeling of Career ADD going on. Are you on LinkedIn now reviewing your profile?
LinkedIn profiles are only one symptom of the confusion pervasive among professionals with many letters, training and education. This is not by any means meant to minimize the time and effort it takes to complete the trainings associated with these letters. However, it does point often to a lack of focus in how they are applied in the real world.
In conversations with professionals, some have told me that they perceive the letters will make them more marketable. Others feel compelled to accrue more and more training to feel worthy, when in fact there continues to be a lack of purpose or direction that actually prevents some from moving forward.  The amount of money some have put into their training and education that will never be used can be staggering.
Here are some tips if any of the above relates to you:
1. For LinkedIn Profiles – start by reading your profile from a neutral reader’s perspective. What are your feelings about this person? Do you know with certainty what is being communicated to the public about you?
2. Then pick one area you want to focus on and clean up any non-related information such as listing a job, experience, or industry that has nothing to do with what you are trying to communicate.
3. Review all the letters you have after your name in your signature line and pick only those that represent who you are and what you love doing. Even if PhD does not relate to doing what you love in your work or with what you are offering as a service, do not include it. Those of us who use services only want to see relevant training and experience – it may seem to offer you credibility, but in truth, it looks like you spent a lot of time on an education that does not relate to your present goals. My own master’s program was as relevant when I got it as it is to what I do today. I’ve had dozens of trainings since then, relate to what I’m doing today.

How to Reach Out to Recruiters Using LinkedIn

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Planning to reach out to recruiters during your job search, but don’t know how to approach them?
You’re in luck. It’s easier than ever to find recruiters who specialize in your field by using LinkedIn—and even better, they’re often receptive to your queries from the site.
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Here are some tips for finding potential recruiter contacts on LinkedIn, as well as the results of an informal recruiter survey conducted on LinkedIn that sheds some light on best practices for approaching these new contacts.
Locating Recruiters in Your Field
The Advanced People Search function, accessible from the Search bar at the top right of most LinkedIn pages, is one of the best tools for job seekers trying to find key contacts. To use the search capability, select People from the dropdown next to the Search box, then click on Advanced.
From the Advanced People Search menu, here’s where you’ll want to perform a simple query on Keywords; for example, a search on “recruiter technology” turned up thousands of names for IT recruiters.
Of course, you can expect to refine your keywords, perhaps adding in an area of specialty to help hone in on the recruiters who seek candidates at your career level.
Sending an Introductory Message
After identifying a pool of key recruiter contacts, you’ll need to craft an introduction that is succinct, professional, and related to your area of specialty – keeping in mind that this note should be tuned specifically to each of your new contacts.
As one person noted in a survey from LinkedIn on recruiter queries, many recruiters are “very receptive” to receiving a note from a candidate, especially one whose experience and career level aligns with their particular area of specialty. Be aware, however, that this note must explain the purpose of your query.
Another recruiting manager noted that a “good approach” includes an explanation of your reasons for the contact and what you’re seeking. It’s not enough to ask if the recruiter is seeking candidates with your background!
Here’s a script for reaching out to a recruiter:
“As an IT auditor engaged in a search for new positions within the Chicago area, I am interested in finding out more about the positions you source. I’ve recently completed an assignment with Ernst & Young, and my intent is to build relationships within the banking community. I welcome any suggestions you might have for me, and as I maintain contact with colleagues in the auditing field, I can also help refer candidates to you. Thank you for your time.”
In this contact, you’ll want to be specific about your skills and fitness for your career goal, allowing the recruiter to see how your qualifications apply to this job type. To put it another way, your message needs to resemble a cover letter.
Often, this first note stimulates dialogue that allows the recruiter to point out job listings from a corporate websites, or to add the job seeker to an internal recruiting database. In addition, some recruiters will help you follow their current sourcing requirements by directing you to their primary method of streaming new job postings (such as a Twitter or RSS feed).

How to Network with VIPs on LinkedIn

Lindsey Pollak

One of the first pieces of advice I always give to job seekers is to network with the people you already know – friends, family, neighbors, former colleagues and fellow college alumni. These people are valuable members of your LinkedIn network and, ideally, will be happy to introduce you to potentially helpful contacts in their LinkedIn networks.

However, there are some instances where you’ll want to reach out to people who are not at all connected to your existing network and are, in your estimation, Very Important People. Your VIPs may include recruiters, hiring managers, senior executives at prospective employers or “stars” in your industry.

If you’re ready to network several rungs up the career ladder, here are some tips:

1. Ensure that your profile makes a great first impression. VIPs are busy people, so if they receive a LinkedIn message from you and decide to check out your LinkedIn profile, chances are they’ll only spend a few seconds reviewing it. This means your profile has to be stellar.

First, craft a profile headline that is very specific and sells your skills and uniqueness, such as “Deadline-driven copywriter with 10+ years of experience at top-tier ad agencies.” Next, make sure your profile is 100% complete so a potential employer can quickly understand your education, experience and key skills. Finally, quadruple check your profile for typos, grammar mistakes or “red flags” such as outdated certifications or unexplained gaps in your experience.

2. Do your research on each VIP. Before reaching out to anyone, but particularly to a VIP, thoroughly review the person’s LinkedIn profile. Take note of anything you have in common with this person, any recent changes in his or her employment or any recent status updates that might give you something to mention in your outreach. Doing your homework will increase your confidence and will ensure that you don’t make any big mistakes (such as asking the person what it’s like to work at a company he just left).

3. Write a “must-open” InMail subject line. If you have no connections in common with this VIP (and, therefore, cannot ask for an introduction from someone in your network), you will need to reach out by using an InMail credit (part of the Job Seeker Premium account upgrade). Since the VIP will not recognize your name, you must write a subject line that compels the person to open your message. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Mention something you have in common, such as an alma mater, hometown, professional association membership or personal interest. For instance, if you recently attended the same event as the person, you might write, “Question from fellow attendee of recent lumber expo in Chicago.”
  • Offer information. If after reading a VIP’s LinkedIn profile you come across an article the person might want to read or an event the person might want to attend, this information could be the key to connecting. For instance, your subject line might read, “Thought you might enjoy this article on special education in Africa.” (Just be sure it’s not a commonly known article or that the person hasn’t shared it on her own LinkedIn status!)
  • Answer a specific request. If the VIP is a recruiter or executive who has specifically mentioned a job opening, then be clear that you are responding to that opportunity. For example, “Candidate for sales manager position you mentioned on WXXX radio this morning.” In this case, there’s no need to beat around the bush!

Why to use LinkedIn while employed


Many people make the mistake of thinking that LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com — the world’s largest professional network) is only for people looking for a job. It actually is a terrific resource for employed people.

Here are a few reasons why:

1. Having a strong LinkedIn profile and a sizable network on the site can make you appear as a more successful and qualified employee to your current supervisors and coworkers. It also shows your colleagues that you get ‘social media” and new technologies.

2. By listing your company as your current employer in your LinkedIn profile and by interacting professionally with others through the site, you personify your company’s brand in a positive way. Such a strong online presence will also impress potential customers and business partners with whom you connect on LinkedIn.

3. By joining LinkedIn groups, you can learn a tremendous amount of valuable information related to your position, field or industry through articles posted on group discussion boards.

For example, I joined several LinkedIn groups involving social media to learn how to use Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites. I joined LinkedIn fundraising groups to learn how to generate more donations for a nonprofit organization. LinkedIn features nearly 1.4 million different topical groups so there are sure to be groups that can help you strengthen your professional abilities and increase your business knowledge. You can also join groups associated with your company, college, volunteer organizations, local clubs, and national associations, which can help you appear more active and engaged in your company and community.

Plus, by being in groups with thought leaders in your industry or field, you can learn who the leaders are, become familiar with their viewpoints, correspond with them via the group discussion boards, and invite them to connect to strengthen the relationship.

Tips 4-6 and complete article

Why I Look at LinkedIn before Looking at Your Resume

Posted By: Kelsey Meyer

LinkedIn is the new résumé. If you’re applying for a job and you send me a résumé via email, I’m going to do a Google search of your name before I even download the attached résumé. The reason I do this is because I trust your online professional brand more than I trust your perfectly formatted, proofread, and scented résumé, and for our professional branding company, how you present yourself online is important.

LinkedIn shows me everything I need to decide whether or not I want to invite you in for an interview. Here’s an overview of what I look for in the different sections of LinkedIn, and what each tells me about you as a potential employee:

You have a full and active LinkedIn account.

This shows me that you understand new technology (even though LinkedIn isn’t really that new) and that you are actively positioning yourself as a professional in the online space.

Your LinkedIn profile photo is not of you drinking/doing illegal activities.
Again, this shows your professionalism. Leave the boozed-up photos for Facebook, or just leave them out altogether.

You have relevant experience and descriptions of what you did at each job.
This is basically the “meat” of your résumé. It tells me what you’ve done before, how long you did it, and what you learned from it that could potentially add value to my company. This is one area where LinkedIn is way more effective than a résumé. I can actually click through and read about the company from your profile. I can see who else works there and contact them about you – rather than simply contact your references, who are obviously people guaranteed to say nice things.

You have Organizations/Associations/Publications and Groups listed on your profile.
All of these sections accomplish the same goal: They show me if you are passionate enough about your field to get involved in organizations, write for publications, and network with other individuals. I like seeing people who are involved in a few LinkedIn groups, have published a few articles, and are actively engaged in different associations. It tells me that they live their professional brand longer than the 8-to-5 most jobs require.

You have many solid recommendations. – Read about recommendations and the complete article