Watch Out for These LinkedIn Myths

Updating your LinkedIn Profile, but worried that you’ll somehow slip and expose your job search, or otherwise “out” yourself to your boss?

Before you log in, panic-stricken, to change the controls on your Profile, read this first!

LinkedIn settings—and the visibility associated with them—not only change often, but are regularly misunderstood, as shown by these 3 common myths:

1 – The Contact Settings Giveaway.

Some months back, before LinkedIn’s massive 2012 changes, it was possible for other users to see what types of contacts you were willing to receive.

These options, called Opportunity Preferences, are still available from the Contact Settings (select Settings and go to “Email Preferences,” then “Select the types of messages you’re willing to receive”).

Here, you’ll see Opportunities (“Career opportunities,” “Expertise requests,” “Consulting offers,” and so on).

While it used to be advised to carefully select options other than “Career opportunities,” this no longer applies. LinkedIn now hides your Opportunity Preferences on your Profile, and they are only used to filter you in group searches.

Even if other users go to the trouble of an Advanced Search and look at the sidebar filter category called “Interested In,” they’ll see an entirely different naming convention, making it difficult (if not impossible) to detect what you specified.

In other words, no one will realize what you’ve checked here, so there’s no need to worry about revealing your intentions.

2 – The Wide-Open Connections List.

LinkedIn has (surprise) slipped in various iterations of your Profile Settings over time, without announcing changes or making it obvious how they affect you.

One of the more significant modifications from the past several years is that your Connections list will never be visible to others outside your network—even though showing them to “Everyone” was an option in the past.

To explain more fully, within your Profile Settings and Privacy Controls subgroup, the “Select who can see your connections” option now allows just “Your Connections” or “Only You” to view your contacts.

So, if you fear being found out by your colleagues or boss, relax!

You can either adjust this part of your Privacy options to “Only You,” which will ensure complete confidentiality for your networking efforts, or simply maintain a LinkedIn network free of insiders at your current employer.

More Tips and the complete article

7 Ways to Make LinkedIn Help You Find A Job

Susan Adams

Now that LinkedIn LNKD +0.11% is a decade old and has more than 200 million members, most professionals have figured out how to set up a profile and build connections. But with ever-increasing numbers of hiring managers and recruiters using the site to hunt for job candidates and potential employers routinely checking LinkedIn before they make hiring decisions, it’s worth reviewing your profile to make sure it does you the most good. Here are seven basic steps you can take to make your LinkedIn profile more powerful.

1. Customize your URL. Your URL (uniform resource locator) is the address of your LinkedIn page on the Web. Customizing it will drive it toward the top of a Google search on your name. On your profile page next to the rectangular grey “Edit” button to the right of your name, click on the drop-down menu, and then click on “Public profile settings.” Halfway down the page on the right side you’ll see a grey bar that says “Your public profile URL.” Underneath the bar, click on the blue phrase that says “Customize your public profile URL.” If you have an uncommon name, you can probably just plug in your first and last name. If that’s already taken, try your last name first, followed by your first name. If that’s taken, try adding a middle initial or a city abbreviation like “NYC.” Though I did this some time ago, I have a common name so I wound up writing a URL that’s my first name, middle initial (C) and last name, no punctuation and no spaces. This appears after the following: “”

2. Write a crisp, detailed summary of your career. Shoot for between 100 and 300 words, and try to tell a compelling story about yourself that includes specifics and quantifiable achievements. Use keywords and phrases that you would find in a job description that would interest you. For me, this means listing the topics I cover and emphasizing the kinds of stories I most like writing and editing. Also, because a headhunter might consider me for a job in media training, since I have broadcast experience, at the end of my summary I’ve added the phrase, “I’m interested in media training.”

3. Flesh out the experience section. This is your chance to write an online résumé. Many people only include their current job. Take the time to list the significant jobs that built your career. You don’t need to be exhaustive. In my experience section, I left off two jobs I had long ago, one as a support staffer at a PR firm in San Francisco and another as an administrative assistant at a public interest law firm in Washington, D.C. I was a glorified secretary in each of those jobs. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but the jobs are only tangentially related to what I’m doing now, and they are ancient history (They aren’t on my résumé either.).

4. List your skills. Below Experience and Education you’ll find “Skills & Expertise.” LinkedIn introduced this feature in Feb. 2011, so if you created your profile before then, as I did, you may have never fleshed this out. Take a minimum of 10 minutes and do it. This section offers a shorthand way to tell potential employers what you can do. It also gives your connections the chance to “endorse” you for those skills, an option since Sept. 2012. I wrote a separate piece about LinkedIn endorsements. The bottom line is that, while some of us find that this feature can be annoying and meaningless (I was mystified when someone endorsed me for “celebrity,” whatever that means), endorsements are here to stay, so you might as well take the trouble to make sure they reflect your true strengths.

Add to your skills by clicking the grey “Edit” button next to your picture and typing a skill into the box under the Skills & Expertise heading. You can also put your cursor on the word “More” on the dark line at the top of your profile page and scroll down to “Skills & Expertise.” This takes you to a page where you can type in a word and a helpful list of related skills will appear on the left-hand side of the page. The page will also show you a list of people who have that skill in their profile and LinkedIn groups centered on that skill.

Tips 5-7 and the complete Forbes article

Your LinkedIn “To Do” List Should Include These 5 “Don’ts”


One of the primary benefits of joining LinkedIn as a social network is its almost exclusive focus on career and professional endeavors.
In sometimes stark contrast to Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn members have developed preferred ways to communicate with each other via the system’s features and functions. As the platform has evolved, some connection and communication techniques have become more effective than others.
How can you make the best of your LinkedIn account? Here are a few tips to add to your LinkedIn “to do” list, in the form of some valuable “don’ts”:

Don’t Just Send the Default Invitation to Connect

“I’d like to add you to my professional network” is the standard text you’ll find when you decide to send an invitation to another LinkedIn user. Leaving this as is, frankly, doesn’t say much about who you are and why you want to connect.
It’s easy to add a sentence or two to personalize a message for each recipient. Public relations expert Sakita Holley provides six scenarios (e.g., former boss, prospective employer) and invitation examples.

Don’t Connect as a “Friend” if You’re not a Friend

Unless… this is the only way you have to make the connection and you can explain why you want to connect per item #1 above, don’t do it.
Can you find an email address for the person online? Are you members of the same LinkedIn Groups? Social media consultant Jeff Bullas notes that connecting as a friend “is a major pet peeve for many professionals on LinkedIn.” Exhaust every other available options before selecting “friend” when you send out an invitation.

Don’t Describe Yourself with Overused or Effusive Terms

“Creative” and “motivated” are just two professional buzzwords recently identified by LinkedIn. Used on their own, they don’t really convey anything unique about your qualifications and potential.
Jeff Haden recommends an alternative approach: consider how you introduce yourself to someone you meet in person. Would you say: “I’m a passionate, innovative, dynamic provider of services”? Probably not. In a way, your LinkedIn profile is speaking for you – how are you being introduced?

Tips 4,5, and the complete article

Five ways to use LinkedIn better


LinkedIn is everything from a virtual meeting space to a digital CV, but are you getting the most out of it? Here are five tips for using it better.
1. First impressions count
If you’re using LinkedIn as it was meant to be used — to extend your network — then there is a good chance you’ll be introducing yourself to people you have met briefly or not at all.
Even if they’ve left a lasting impression on you, people may not remember exactly who you are, so give them some clues, says social media lead generation expert Tom Skotidas.
“I would always seek context [for an introduction], for example finding people in common, or maybe find that I’ve worked with the same company in a different place. I’m not asking for a lead or a sale, I’m not asking you to buy anything, I’m actually asking you to network with me in the context of environmental clues that give you safety.”
Your first connection request may not get an equally enthusiastic response, but it will increase your chances of getting the connection. Breaking the ice is the hardest part.
2. It’s a popularity contest

The founder of internet company Orcon, Seeby Woodhouse, uses the CardMunch iPhone app. He snaps a smartphone photo of each business card he receives and LinkedIn transfers the contact to his address book and connects him with the contact on LinkedIn.

Woodhouse says he respectfully gives the card back, so it not only saves him time and Rolodex space, but also saves trees.

The big plus with using LinkedIn to keep in touch with colleagues and clients is people are actively updating their contact information as they change roles, so you’ll never get left behind.

Woodhouse puts his database to good use by sending mass InMails (LinkedIn’s internal messaging) to most of his contacts about once a year.

He doesn’t think it comes off as spam. “When I launched my new business, Voyager, I probably picked up between 50 and 100 customers, which is probably 3% of my LinkedIn database … it was a good start to get a customer base up and running.”

3. Personal branding

Don’t be afraid to pimp your profile — LinkedIn is all about you, not your company or your boss. Think of it as an opportunity to detail the intricacies and highlights of your career that you’re a little shy to bang on about in person.

Providing that detail upfront will show your connections how you differ from their existing supplier, account manager or promotion prospect.

Starting from this personal basis means LinkedIn is much more suited to the growth of personal brands rather than any rigid, company-wide marketing policy, says Skotidas.

“The platform is not actually built for companies that much — companies can participate and build company pages and use advertising and there’s value there, but the majority of the platform is person-to-person based.

“It forces you as a company to push your salespeople and other executives onto this network and allows you to connect person to person and influence the market in your favour.”

Open and genuine content sharing is key to using any social network — if you’re incessantly regurgitating the company dogma or posting about things you have no passion for, it will become obvious.

The content you’re linking to should reflect your individual interests and expertise because then you’ll be able to contribute knowledgeably to discussions that spring from them.

7 Steps To Creating the Best LinkedIn Profile


You reach out to people with your résumé. But you attract people to you by projecting your personal brand and value with your LinkedIn profile. Creating effective messaging in both your résumé and profile is critical to a successful job search.

In recent months, LinkedIn has significantly changed its user interface, and with it how your profile looks to viewers. All LinkedIn content is searchable, and therefore a well-done profile optimizes your opportunities of being found by people and organizations in need of your skills and abilities. Moreover, your LinkedIn profile can make you professionally interesting both to those people you already know and strangers alike.

Each profile has a whole series of elements. Through them you introduce yourself and convey “what you are about” with your unique personal brand. Imagine yourself standing in front of someone you’re about to meet for the first time. Through your profile, you extend your hand in friendship and keep a smile on your face.

Unlike on a résumé, on LinkedIn you don’t have to worry about the constraint of trying to fit everything into one or two pages. And because the website is social, you should be personable in the way you relate your unique story.

Here are key steps in creating an informative and powerful profile:

1. Let them see your face. Social media is just that: social. Images are at its heart, and you therefore want to include a great, tight close-up of your smiling face filling most of the frame. Your background should show a tasteful contrasting color, and there should be no other object, person or pet who would compete with your face for attention. You don’t necessarily need a formal shot, but you should appear as a professional.

2. Tell who you are. Somewhere along the line, you will come up as a third-degree connection in someone else’s search results. LinkedIn stopped letting non-paying members see the name of third degrees, but you can easily remedy this. Begin your Background / Summary section with your name, on a line all of its own. Depending on your comfort level, you may want to also provide a personal address that you use exclusively for job-hunting, so that those who have a legitimate reason may contact you directly.

3. Own your experience. Include all your professional and educational roles, along with dates, in your experience section. You thereby can find and be easily found by anyone who overlapped with you at any of your previous employers or schools.

4. Convey your successes, not your responsibilities. Lots of people likely have or have had similar responsibilities to yours in one company or another. Listing your responsibilities just lumps you in with everyone else. You distinguish yourself by conveying what is unique to you.

With each position, explain how you confronted your responsibilities, what you did, how you did it, what obstacles you overcame and the results you achieved. You can share a series of short vignettes, at least one per job on LinkedIn, that no résumé will accommodate.

Tips 5-7 and the complete USNews article

7 Tips for New (and Inactive) LinkedIn Users

Wondering whether you should be investing time and energy in LinkedIn? Consider this statement made in a February article in the Financial Post: “LinkedIn Corp., the business-oriented service for recruiters, job seekers and corporate networking, is showing investors the sort of promise from a social networking stock that many had hoped to find in rival Facebook Inc.”
And success on the profit side means that LinkedIn is doing something right and, according to this article and others, the growth is far from over.
As mentioned last week in LinkedIn: 5 Important and Often Neglected Profile Areas, “LinkedIn is one of the most important social networks for new business owners looking to build their reputation, brand awareness, influence and network of contacts, particularly for business-to-business companies and those whose clientele tend to be white-collar.”
Last week’s article provided five important and often neglected tips to setting up your LinkedIn profile:
  1. Create ‘Your public profile URL’
  2. Use a Professional Photo
  3. Customize the Professional Headline that shows below your name
  4. Add three ‘websites’ and Twitter to your profile
  5. Write a Background overview/summary role that is interesting, informative, concise and typo-free
Now that you’ve got the bare bones of your profile set up, here a few other areas to pay attention to as you develop your LinkedIn profile and online reputation.
(Asking for) Recommendations
When people don’t know us they rely on what others say about us. Recommendations are an important part of building our reputation online.
We can say anything we like about ourselves but when other people speak highly of us and are willing to put their recommendations in their own words this, obviously, has much more impact.
LinkedIn recommendations added to your profile must come from the person making the recommendation. They can’t be added by you in any other way and this adds even more weight to them.
While some suggest ‘waiting’ for others to send you their recommendation, a more proactive approach is often needed. Under ‘Profile’ in the LinkedIn navigation bar, click on ‘Recommendations’. This will take you to the area where you can request a recommendation. You will also manage and approve your recommendations through this area.
You then choose the role you’d like to be recommended for, the name of the connection you would like a recommendation from along with a place to create your request. LinkedIn provides a template that is best customized, both the subject and the content. (see below)
The Personal Touch
While LinkedIn provides a pre-completed template for you to use to request recommendations, it is better to personalize these. It will (my guess) increase the likelihood of a positive response to your recommendation request and may even increase the quality of the recommendation.
The personal touch is best in almost all cases when you ask someone to connect with you, endorse you or recommend you.
List your Experience & Accomplishments
The more information you provide, the more people will find reasons to connect with you. Think broadly about all your experience and training and think of your audience and what they might want to know as you’re completing these areas.
Add Your Skills & Expertise
Click on the ‘More’ button in the top navigation bar to find the ‘Skills & Expertise’ link where you can add these to your profile. Or, click on ‘Profile’, then ‘Edit Profile’, scroll down to the ‘Skills & Expertise’ area and click on the pencil icon.
Enter your skill or expertise in the box provided and click enter each time one so that each will show up as an individual item. LinkedIn will prompt you with standard terms and these are best used, unless they don’t fit. In some cases, you may need to create your own.
This article by Nicky Kriel goes into more detail on how to Sharpen your Skill Sets on LinkedIn.
As your connections are now able to add their endorsement to your skills and expertise, essentially agreeing you possess the skills you say you do, this area is important. That said, there is concern that the new endorsements feature may be undermining the value of the Skills & Expertise area. That’s a whole other topic! For now this area is still important as it helps people get an overall sense of your abilities.