Tuesday, April 30, 2013

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

Monday, April 29, 2013

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: “linkedin.com/in/.”

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

Friday, April 26, 2013

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

by OnlineCollege.org

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

Thursday, April 25, 2013

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.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

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

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

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.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The 5 Most Overlooked Job Search Features on LinkedIn

by Lea McLeod

If you’re a student, recent grad or entry-level professional using LinkedIn as a strategic job search tool… terrific! You’re already far ahead of many of your peers.

Now that you’re comfortable with LinkedIn, you might want to check out some often overlooked features, even by more experienced professionals and job search veterans.

These features might give your job search the boost you are looking for!

1. The Vanity URL

This is a small task… that makes a big difference!

In a recent session I was doing for students, the coordinator did not have her vanity URL. For discussion’s sake, let’s say the coordinator’s name was Georgia Brown. If her resume had just landed on my desk, and I wanted to check her out on LinkedIn (as recruiters are wont to do), there were pages and pages of Georgia Browns. Pages!

There is no way a recruiter is going to hunt for your particular profile. So, make it easy for recruiters and hiring managers to find you on LinkedIn. Create your vanity URL and include it in all your marketing correspondence.

LinkedIn Vanity URL

2. The Projects Section

This section allows you to detail projects you’ve worked including academics, internships or research, allowing you to showcase relevant skills and the results you’ve accomplished. You can also include links to websites and connect with other collaborators who worked on the project, showing the recruiter the team aspect of the project.

What specifically goes into this section? Anything from research projects, business case studies, simulations, technical presentations, creative outputs (like videos, music), events you’ve worked on, internship projects, volunteer work… anything relevant to your job search!

Go to the “Edit Profile” view in LinkedIn to get started… and get started!

3. The LinkedIn Alumni Tool

This handy tool tells you all about the demographics of your fellow alums: where they live, where they work, and what they do.

The device will default to a specific timeline, but you can change the filter by looking at different start and end dates for attendees. You can then look by company, location and role, and drill down for each category.

This features also enables you to you find alumni in the industries, cities or roles  you want to learn more about. Then you can connect or reach out to them via the Alumni Groups page. Go to the LinkedIn Alumni tool to get started. Don’t forget to join your alumni group as well. Go to the Groups Directory and find yours.

Tips 4,5 and the complete article

Friday, April 19, 2013

Pimp Your Profile: How to Effectively Market Yourself on LinkedIn


LinkedIn is more than your online résumé. Sure, it has your work experience, but it can be so much more. Treat the website like an online portfolio. It is where someone can go to see what you've accomplished. Better yet, put on your marketing hat and convert your LinkedIn profile into a multimedia advertising campaign.

Think about the big name brands: Coke, Ford, The New York Times. Their websites and commercials contain customer testimonials, product demonstrations and visual proof of their products. Companies are doing much more than stagnant print advertising, and with the power of the Internet so can you. It just takes a little creativity. 

What media can I add? LinkedIn says it officially supports images, video, audio, presentations and documents by certain providers, but others may work too. The one thing you should know is that the media you include in your profile has to have been published to the Web (it needs a URL). Where can you put these nifty media clips in your profile? They can be part of your summary, incorporated into each position listed in your experience section, and in your education section. Just look for the little blue box when you edit your profile.

What to showcase. Think beyond boring job duties. Instead, think about the problems you've solved at work. What differentiates you from the hundreds and thousands of other people who have the same job title as you? Is there a picture of you receiving an award? Have you given a presentation or spoken at a conference? Have you written articles? What would you want someone to find if they were searching for you on the Web? These are the images, articles and content you can create and publish yourself online. Please think of your LinkedIn profile as a brag book and begin collecting screen shots and links.

I've got nothing. If you don't have anything, create it! You can create a PowerPoint highlighting your accomplishments and publish it to SlideShare, which is fairly simple to do. The most difficult part is figuring out what you will put into the presentation. Search around SlideShare and get ideas from other people who have created online resumes or personal profiles. If you're interested in creating something a bit jazzier than PowerPoint, you may want to test Prezi.com.

More Tips and the Complete USNews Article

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Branding Your Linkedin Profile For Job Search

Your Linkedin profile and your resume are each used differently by employers and used for different purposes.
However, I get asked all the time if making your Linkedin profile identical to your resume is a wise idea. Linkedin must think it is … since they have an app that automatically loads your profile data into a resume format.
Making your Linkedin profile identical to your resume can lose opportunities for you.
Since your resume is customizable for each individual recipient, but your Linkedin profile can’t be targeted for a single reader, you should use your Linkedin profile for two main job search goals:
  • Being found in recruiter searches
  • Pre-screening/Background checks of social media profiles
Your biggest problem is that these are two conflicting goals. Why would these goals conflict? Because employers use social media profiles in different ways, depending on why they’re looking at your profile.
It might shed some light on the problem, by looking at two different ways employers use social media profiles:

  1. Finding candidates: When recruiters search for candidates, they look for specific skills and subject matter expertise. That’s how they search their own databases, job boards, as well as social media. As a candidate, you’ll want to make your resume very specific and focused to be found more often.

  2. Background checks: HR departments use social media during the pre-screening and background check processes. While HR departments may look at what you’ve posted on Facebook and Twitter (make sure you’ve removed the drinking pics), they’re primarily looking at your profile when checking Linkedin. They’re making sure that your profile is consistent with your resume, because about 40% of resumes contain lies, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). A SHRM study found that 66% of employers search social media during the pre-screening process and over 90% before making a job offer.

As a candidate, you’ll want to recognize that you’ve changed your resume to fit your readers’ individual needs (if you’ve been a smart job seeker), but now you’ll have many different versions of your resume, each saying different things. You’ll want to make your Linkedin profile less focused than your resume, so that it works as an umbrella over all the resume versions you’ve sent.Your goal is to have a profile that provides social proof to many different resume versions.

More Tips and the Complete Yahoo Article

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

5 New LinkedIn Tips for Power Users


Have you kept up with LinkedIn's latest updates, redesigns and new features? The social network for professionals, which now has more than 200 million users worldwide, has been busy this year, releasing changes to its search capabilities, job hunt features and more.
With the new features coming fast and often without any fanfare, it s likely that you may have missed what's new and wondered how to best use the enhancements to find a new position or build your network of contacts.
Here's a look at five of LinkedIn's newest features, plus how you can make the most of them.

1. How to Mention Your Colleagues in Status Updates

Much like you can on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn now lets you tag your connections in your status updates.
"We know that LinkedIn members are some of the most engaged professionals online," says Angela Yang, associate product manager at LinkedIn. "After all, are involved in millions of conversations across LinkedIn day after day. That s why we want to make it even easier for you to start those conversations, share knowledge with one another and ultimately become even better at what you do."
To mention a connection—or a company—begin by typing the name in your status update box or comment field on the homepage. A drop-down menu will appear with the names of the people or companies you're connected to; select the appropriate one.
The people or company you mention will receive a notification alerting them that they have been mentioned.
2. How to Use Advanced Search to Job Hunt
LinkedIn's newly redesigned Jobs page includes a handful of new features for both Premium subscribers and traditional account holders.
To find the Advanced Search feature, navigate to Jobs in the top menu, then click Advanced next to the search bar.
LinkedIn's new job search
This new feature lets you find open positions by country, industry, zip code and function. Click "More options" for additional fields, including experience level and, if you have a premium LinkedIn account, by salary.

3. How to Receive Alerts on Saved Searches

In March, LinkedIn rolled out a number of updates to search, including auto-complete, suggested searches, an updated algorithm, enhanced advanced search and automated alerts.
Automated alerts let you set whether you want updates to a search query or job search emailed to you daily, weekly or monthly. To find this setting, enter a keyword into the search box or navigate to Jobs and perform a search there.
LinkedIn's new job search
Then, click "Save search" in the top right of your screen. From the drop-down menu, select how often you would like to be alerted when new results are available. You can save up to 10 people searches and 10 job searches.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The 5 Most Worthless Phrases in Your LinkedIn Headline

Your LinkedIn Headline is arguably the most important piece of real estate within your Profile.

Yet, most users remain confused about its true function, and what to use (in place of the default, which is your current job title).
Within LinkedIn’s search algorithm, your Headline ranks #1,meaning that out of all the other information you’ll add to your Profile, the words here are weighted more heavily as search terms.
In addition, your Headline is the first (and possibly the ONLY) piece of information other users will see. It’s displayed in a search list, under your name in an Invitation, and in numerous other prominent places on the site.

Here’s my list of the most meaningless words you can use in your Headline (all found in actual Profiles!) – plus some suggestions for stronger alternatives:

1 – “Top 1% (5%, etc.) Viewed Profile.”

Sure, this is an accomplishment… but not of any magnitude worth touting to employers.

Here’s why: if you’re an Operations Director, and put only these 2 words in  your Headline, plus the same title for your past 4 jobs and NO other information anywhere in your Profile, you’ll probably rank in the Top 1% for “Operations Director.”
In other words, reaching 1% this way would require hardly any effort.

However, if you’ve inserted 2,000 to 3,000 other words that describe your career level, achievements, and scope of authority, your Profile View ranking will take a dive due to reduced keyword density.

Still, you’ll be more findable on skills and other keywords (because recruiters often specify a mix of search terms when sourcing candidates)… and you’ll make a better impression on employers.

Therefore, an impressive Top Viewed ranking is just that – impressive, but not helpful in your search and not worth using precious, keyword-heavy real estate (even if you want a job writing LinkedIn Profiles!).

Disclaimer: I’m ranked among the Top 1% as well (but you won’t find it in my Headline).

2 – “Results-Driven.”

Just like on your resume, it’s important to use terms that distinguish you from the competition. This phrase and others like it (“dynamic” or “visionary,” anyone?) have become so embedded in boilerplate resume-speak, they’re essentially meaningless.
Plus, can you picture a recruiter using “Results-driven” as a search term? I didn’t think so.

Instead, consider adding a short phrase to your Headline that actually describes results, slipping in a keyword or two (“Marketing VP Improving Social Media Engagement”).
Even a short, powerful note on the ROI from your skills (“Sales Manager | #1 Revenue Record Across Americas”) can make a better impression.

3 – “Experienced.”

Unless you’re a student, this word doesn’t count for much in describing your career. Most professionals, by way of their job titles and career history, ARE “experienced” in their chosen fields, so you’re not laying claim to a unique skill.

Make your Headline more search-friendly by using a mixture of current and target job titles (“Senior Director, VP Sales”) to show your career goals, or a short description of your achievements (“12%+ Annual Sales Growth”).

Either way, showing your career aspirations or accomplishments will actually prove that you’re experienced and worthy of employer attention.

Worthless Phrases 4,5, and the complete article

Monday, April 15, 2013

6 Ways to Spring Clean Your LinkedIn Profile

Sure, it may not feel like it just yet, but spring is here. As you tackle spring cleaning in your home, take a closer look at your LinkedIn profile as well.

“LinkedIn is highly ranked within search engines and trusted by many industry leaders and recruiters,” says Richard Fallah, an account executive with Vbout.com. “If a recruiter or a company is searching for you, your LinkedIn profile will most likely be one of the top results on search engines.”

Dust the cobwebs off your profile and freshen it up with these tips.

1. Be Picture Perfect: Make sure you have a professional headshot taken to post on your profile. If you can’t afford one, have a friend or family member take one at home in front of a white background or wall. Avoid putting up a dated photo — or worse, a photo that is not of you. You should look professional but personable in the photo.

2. Be Descriptive: You may be an accountant, but you can add a little pizzazz to your job description. Include catchy titles that allude to hobbies or peripheral skills, such as “Social Media Fanatic,” to gain greater visibility and boost buzz for your profile.

3. Be Linkable: Include a link back to your website or your company’s website in your information. If it’s your own site, click through it to ensure all the links work properly. That way, you’re presenting yourself and your skills in the best light possible.

Tips 3-6 and the complete article

Jennifer Parris is the Career Writer for FlexJobs, an award-winning service that helps job-seekers find professional opportunities that offer work flexibility, such as telecommuting, freelance, part-time or alternative schedules. To learn more about Jennifer, visit FlexJobs.com or tweet @flexjobs.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

How to Turn Off LinkedIn Endorsements

Kristin Burnham

Six months ago, LinkedIn launched a new feature called Endorsements, which is located in the "Skills & Expertise" section near the bottom of your profile.
Endorsements let your connections vote up your skills and areas of expertise. Your skills are then ranked and re-ranked based on how many people have endorsed them, with their profile pictures appearing next to each skill. Your connections can also add new skills to your profile that they'd like to endorse.
In March, LinkedIn announced that more than 1 billion endorsements had been given to 58 million professionals.
"Skill endorsements are a great way to help build your professional brand. In fact, you're four times more likely to be viewed on LinkedIn if you've been endorsed," says Peter Rusev, associate product manager at LinkedIn.
But not all people agree that the feature is useful. Some say it can be a false representation of your skills, since connections you may not know well can vote up any skill and add new ones that you may not want on your profile. Some LinkedIn users have resorted to using the feature in gest.
Luckily, turning off LinkedIn Endorsements is easy. Here's how to do it.
[Want more LinkedIn tips, tricks and analysis? Check out CIO.com's LinkedIn Guide.]
How to Turn Off LinkedIn Endorsements
In the main menu under "Profile" select "Edit Profile." Scroll to the Skills & Expertise section and click the pencil icon.
From the drop-down menu, choose "No, do not show my endorsements." This will remove the Endorsements section from your profile. To turn them back on, navigate to the same drop-down menu and select the other option.
If you don't want to turn off Endorsements, but want to edit the skills and expertise that appear, do so by clicking the pencil icon. An "X" will appear to each skill; click the X to remove the skill from your Endorsements.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

LinkedIn Groups – 7 Ways to Get Noticed


LinkedIn is an invaluable – actually a crucial – tool in the job hunt. Chances are, your future employer will be there, looking for someone like you.

Once you’ve created your profile, it’s time to go a little deeper and take advantage of the resources LinkedIn offers you, absolutely free. One of LinkedIn’s most valuable resources is its library of Groups – many hundreds from which you can choose.

Dubai Jobs Group. Ukraine Wine Industry. Online Psychologists. There really is a Group for everything, and if you can’t find a Group to match your career or interest, you can start one. LinkedIn Groups are like networking meetings, only you don’t have to go out in the rain in your high heeled shoes, and you don’t have to buy a lunch that will go uneaten because you don’t want to risk getting spinach between your teeth.

LinkedIn describes its Groups this way: they “provide a place for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share content, find answers, post and view jobs, make business contacts, and establish themselves as industry experts.”

Being involved with groups have numerous benefits.
  • Actively participating in Groups will show that you’re serious about your career and that you write and interact professionally. Showing respect in the Group will show your possible-next-boss that you know how to play in that proverbial sandbox.
  • Your Groups posts can be made visible on your profile, so anyone seeing your profile will be aware of your professional knowledge. (If there’s a group you don’t want listed on your profile, go to your settings to change that. More on a confidential search here.)
  • If you create a Group and it’s successful because you’ve invited the right people and kept it interesting, your possibly future boss will see that you take the initiative.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Should You Connect With Recruiters on LinkedIn?

by Sharlyn Lauby

We’ve talked about how to follow-up after a job interview. Today’s reader note deals with the next logical question: connecting on LinkedIn.
Need help / advice! Is it okay to connect with a potential employer on LinkedIn after you had an interview with them? Why or why not?
I think the key here is *when* to try to connect? If you get the job or don’t get the job, I think it’s okay to connect once you know (if you got the job or not). But during that period of time between the interview and before you find out, can an invite serve as another way of saying I’m still very interested in the position / company.
I think the answer is yes, but wanted to know what everyone else thinks. Thank you!
Great question! I reached out to a couple of my professional recruiter friends for advice. Geoff Webb is senior sourcing specialist at AON/Hewitt, one of the world’s leading human capital and management consulting firms. Kelly Dingee is strategic recruiting manager for Staffing Advisors, a retained search firm.

Is it acceptable to connect with a recruiter on LinkedIn after the interview? Why or why not?

[Kelly] Absolutely you should connect. Before, During, After…if you are truly interested in the company, it’s a great idea. But, before you reach out and connect, do some quality control on your profile. I mean, proof it! No typos and make sure it’s mostly complete. Always send a personalized message to them on the ‘why’ of connecting.

There are so many benefits to connecting.  It could be if the right opportunity isn’t available now, it could be in the future.  It could be you’ll open the door to more connection opportunities and pique a potential hiring manager’s interest.

[Geoff] I think it is acceptable to try to connect with a recruiter at any time during the process.  If the recruiter is uncomfortable, they can always reject the connection or ignore the connection request and honestly that could be telling because if they are a good social recruiter then they should be accepting requests from anyone to build potential talent communities.

Out of curiosity, does it change if we’re talking about a hiring manager (versus a recruiter)? Why or why not?

[Kelly] No – the same rules apply. And proofing your profile before connecting to a hiring manager is even more important. Many hiring managers look at LinkedIn profiles as resumes. So while I don’t feel unending detail is required, proper grammar and typing error have to be rectified.

[Geoff] Hiring managers may feel like Linkedin is more of a private network.  Personally, I have only ever added people that I reported to after I had known them for a while.  But again you can always give them the opportunity to connect with you by adding your public profile URL to your resume.

If connecting with a recruiter or hiring manager is okay, what should a candidate do if the person declines their connection request? Should the candidate read that as “we’re not interested in you”?

[Kelly] Not necessarily.  I believe if you include a personalized message you’ll see fewer of these.  It could be your profile was not robust enough to warrant a rationale for connecting, or they thought you were a spammer because your connection message was not personalized.  Corporate HR tends to be fairly sensitive to who they connect to.

More Advice and The Complete Article

Monday, April 8, 2013

Top 7 LinkedIn Features That All Professionals Should Be Using

You've filled out your LinkedIn experience, summary and maybe some other accomplishments and interests. But, what other LinkedIn features do you use to your advantage?
Listed below are my Top 7 features that all professionals need to be comfortable with in order to build deeper professional relationships.
1) Posting Updates
It's that big white box that stares you in the face when you log-in. Do you use it?
This feature allows you to broadcast your interests and point of view. The next time you read an article, ask yourself: "Is there something other people could learn from this piece?" Even if the article is about a personal hobby, is there a cool fact or a lesson to be passed on? If so, your contacts would appreciate seeing the content and you will be providing a point of view based on your unique set of experiences and expertise.
2) News "Signals"
Have you ever sent someone an email only to receive the dreaded "Out of Office" response in return? Well, think of News "Signals" as a quick way to learn how many of your contacts are currently active on LinkedIn, which may mean that those contacts have some spare time. Located as the third option in the drop down "News" menu, "Signals" lets you see your contacts' activity in real-time. Check it out every now and then to get a sense of how people are using LinkedIn and to understand who might be free for a quick catch-up.
3) Tags
Tags are another lesser known feature that allows you to organize your connections however you see fit. LinkedIn automatically organizes your contacts based on company, location, industry, recent activity, and your relationship with that person. Additionally, you're also able to create new tags so that you can organize your contacts as you wish. Just click on the "Contacts" drop down and organize connections in a way that makes it easiest for you to reference.
4) "Get Introduced"
Ever wanted to contact someone outside of your network without cold emailing or calling? Then you may want to check to see if you have any mutual connections. LinkedIn's "Get introduced" feature, located on the drop down to the right of 'Connect', allows you to send a message to one of your current contacts that is connected with the targeted professional. Yet, be sure to know that mutual connection well and clearly state sound reasons why you'd like your contact to put his reputation at stake to introduce you to one of his connections. NOTE: If you have a basic account (the free one), you're limited to 5 introductions. So, if that relates to you, choose your battles wisely.

Friday, April 5, 2013

15 Ways To Leverage LinkedIn To Find Your Next Job

By Andrea Downing Peck 

In today’s competitive job market, building an online presence on LinkedIn, the social network of choice in the professional world, is an important step in launching a post-military career.

While hiring officials use a variety of social media to locate new talent, LinkedIn remains their dominant social-networking recruiting tool, with more than 93 percent of hiring officials surveyed in 2012 by Jobvite stating they use LinkedIn when looking for talent.

“LinkedIn is a major resource for anyone who is passively or actively searching for a job,” said Philip Dana, a former Navy surface warfare officer who serves as senior manager, talent acquisition, at Life Technologies Corp. in Carlsbad, Calif. “All recruiting teams in corporate America leverage LinkedIn in one way or another to find or network with veterans.”

LinkedIn’s importance in the workplace continues to accelerate, with new members joining at a rate of two per second and the network’s worldwide membership reaching more than 200 million. 

1) Get noticed. Peppering your profile with keywords found in the specific job or industry you are seeking is key to attracting a recruiter’s attention. “Most mistakes in social media involve not leveraging search engine optimization, meaning not putting enough meat and potatoes, not using enough terms and words that define who you are and what you want to do,” Dana said.

To learn how to better understand computer key words, visit www.gijobs.com/keywords.

2) Borrow from the best. For “how to” examples when creating your LinkedIn profile, turn to employees in the industry you are targeting, as well as profiles belonging to social media experts.“Get somebody who does this on a daily basis, grab their profile and copy it,” Dana said. “My own profile can be used as a template.” 

3) Make a statement. The headline is the “most valuable piece of real estate” on your profile because it is visible when recruiters search LinkedIn for job candidates. Use the space to advertise your skills. “Most people just put a job title there and it is boring,” said social media expert Sultan Camp, a Navy veteran. “For example, if I had an IT background and did sales, I would say, ‘The geek who can speak – Bridging the gap between IT and sales.’” 

4) Sell yourself. LinkedIn’s executive summary should be the equivalent of your “30-second elevator speech” to perspective employers, Camp says. It is an opportunity to highlight the core competencies you would bring to an employer and broadcast that you are transitioning to the civilian workforce. 

5) Be picture perfect. Including a photo makes it seven times more likely your profile will be viewed. Unless you are looking to transition to a defense industry job, a professional civilian headshot is the best choice since a military photo may “create the impression you are not ready to leave the uniform,” Camp says. 

6) Make your profile visually appealing.Similar to a résumé, your LinkedIn profile should be easy to read. Camp says that means avoiding block paragraphs and using bullets when outlining job experience and accomplishments.  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

12 LinkedIn mistakes to avoid

By David Strom

Don't wait until you decide to leave your current job to update your LinkedIn profile. Start today, and avoid these mistakes.

Mistake 1: Funky or no portrait photo
People are suspicious of LinkedIn profiles with missing photos, says David Hults, career coach, author and speaker, activ8careers.com.

The fix: Ditch the funky picture if you have one. Focus on your face. No beach shots, or distracting background objects in the frame.  Using your iPhone camera is okay, but watch the lighting.

Mistake 2: No recommendations
This person has held numerous IT positions at the Red Cross, but has no recommendations.

The fix: Ideally, you should have a personal recommendation for each position, even if you held multiple jobs in the same organization. "Ask someone who can speak directly to your work," says Lisa Rokusek, managing partner, AgentHR Recruiting Group, St. Louis, MO. "Try to vet these as carefully as you can," she says. 

Mistake 3: Few or no endorsements of important, marketable skills
The fix: This part of your profile should look engaging and vibrant. Ask your network to endorse you for your skills. If you're the one being asked to endorse someone else’s skills, be reasonable.  "I get hundreds of endorsements from people I have never worked with, so don’t get carried away, and click on everyone’s skills," says Rokusek.

Mistake 4: Lack of details on past and current job responsibilities
The fix:  A list is not an explanation!  It's great this person has had these experiences, but more information, particularly about a current position, is needed. What projects did this BI specialist work on for their company? How did the BI implementations go, under or over budget, etc.? What is SSAS?  It could be a typo for SAS, or it could really mean SQL Server Analysis Services, but spell it out. "You should put your best foot forward," says Rokusek.

Mistake 5: Typos and profanity
The fix:  Well, this is an obvious one, but worth repeating. Avoid typos and profanity at all cost. Proofread your profile, or at least, have a friend do it. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

4 Timesaving Tools Even the Busiest LinkedIn Networker Will Love


LinkedIn is more than just Facebook in a business suit. It’s an online directory of your professional contacts, a self-updating rolodex, a powerful marketing outlet, a professional search engine, and a searchable depository of industry news and insight. Perhaps most importantly, LinkedIn allows for easy touches that build business and relationships. More and more professional services firms are starting to realize this, which may be why LinkedIn overtook Twitter and Facebook as the most popular social network for B2B marketers in 2012.

Still, many professionals are not using LinkedIn to build meaningful relationships that could become the lifeblood of new business. Some busy professionals simply don’t have the time to constantly sift through the wealth of information their network produces. Others want to engage their LinkedIn network but aren’t sure where to begin. Still others simply forget or fall victim to procrastination.

Sound like you? Don’t worry! The 4 tools below can help you make the most out of LinkedIn without ever breaking a sweat.

Tool #1: Newsle

What is it? Newsle is a free news monitoring tool that allows you to track mentions of yourself, your LinkedIn connections, and other noteworthy individuals within newspapers, blogs, and other online news channels. It constantly crawls the internet for mentions of the individuals you’ve targeted and provides you a link to the full content.

How does it make LinkedIn networking easier? Building relationships doesn’t have to be – and shouldn’t always be – about selling. People are more likely to do business with those they like and trust, so a “soft” touch can go a long way. Spend fifteen minutes per week scanning your Newsle feed to see what your network has been up to, and reach out to them where possible. Did Jane get a promotion? Congratulate her! Was Bob quoted in a major magazine? Respond to what he said. Did Jay help develop a new service? Give him a recommendation or pass a referral his way. These small, simple touches establish you as someone worth doing business with and help keep your name top of mind.

Tool #2: GaggleAMP

What is it? GaggleAMP is a tool that helps businesses greatly increase their social media reach by tapping into the sharing capabilities of the firm’s stakeholders. In a nutshell, it allows a firm to automatically share a single message across many different individuals’ LinkedIn profiles (with the owners’ permission, of course), thereby eliminating the need for each employee to log on.

For GaggleAMP to work, your firm’s content marketing champion must first create a “gaggle,” which is a group of social media users who have agreed to share a firm’s messages and content. Then, the gaggle’s owner can create statuses and post updates that are automatically sent to everyone in the gaggle. These users can post the content to their page in a single click without ever logging onto LinkedIn or tapping a single key.

How does it make LinkedIn networking easier? For firms who are serious about content marketing, GaggleAMP is the best way to ensure that employees and other stakeholders are actively promoting new content. I’ve found that the most successful firms are those whose entire team participates in the content marketing efforts. GaggleAMP makes it easier and far more likely that busy professionals will take the time to share content because it delivers it right to them in a click-and-complete format. With GaggleAMP, lack of time, forgetfulness, and confusion about how to use social media are no longer barriers that will prevent stakeholders from sharing your firm’s content with their professional network.