Does your LinkedIn profile lack personality?
When I was a child, my mother always used to say that I had brains, but no personality, and that my sister had tons of personality but no brains. The funny thing is, when someone sticks a label on you, especially someone in such a position of influence, that label sticks, and you start to believe it yourself. It took me a long time to understand that we all have a personality. It may be made up of positive traits such as honesty, creativity and imagination or negative traits such as being lazy, rude or self-centred, but they are there none the less. My mother simply equated being shy to having no personality.
So what does this actually have to do with LinkedIn?
Well, let me ask you a different question. If I took away your LinkedIn photo, would anyone reading your profile know it was actually you? Many of the profiles on LinkedIn conform to a corporate standard that almost de-humanises the people behind them. Their LinkedIn headline is their job title, their profile consists of a series of jobs, where they went to school and a couple of skills, but that’s it. When they write a description of their job, it reads like something the HR department wrote. Your LinkedIn profile shouldn’t just showcase your skills and experience, it should also showcase you, the person. It should showcase your personality.
Are you suppressing who you are to conform to someone else’s imagined standard?
A book that I’m reading at the moment is “Essentialism: The disciplined pursuit of less” by Greg McKeown, and one of the things that Greg states is that:
“If you don’t prioritise your life, someone else will”
[Tweet “If you don’t prioritise your life, someone else will – Greg McKeown”]
Only you can choose the life that you want to live, be the person you were meant to be and create an authentic brand that truly reflects who you are. LinkedIn is part of your professional personal brand, but when you look at creating that brand, there are three things that will separate you from all the other people in your industry:
- your personality. The different traits that make you, you. If you’re not sure, take a personality test such as Keirsey‘s or Myers-Briggs.
- your values. The things that are most important to you. Sometimes you notice them more when they’re lacking for example you may value time, and get annoyed with people who are always late. For me, my values are: family, compassion, creativity, innovation, independence and fun.
- your beliefs. The things that you believe are true, for example, all people should be treated fairly, we all deserve a second change or that you can’t do something because of something that happened in the past, or something someone said.
So, if you want to stand out from the crowd on LinkedIn, then try something really radical: put some personality into your profile, and be yourself.
How to use LinkedIn to land your first job
It’s August and students from around the world have learned their results and are hoping that they are sufficient to get the university place that they wanted. To get the most from your studies, and to help you get a job when you graduate, you need to get some experience, and this is usually done via work experience and internships. Believe or not, many companies who offer internships are already starting the groundwork for next years intake, and you need to be doing some groundwork too.
Why you should be using LinkedIn to find your first job?
LinkedIn should be part of every job seeker’s arsenal. A study in 2012 found that:
- 93% of recruiters used LinkedIn to recruit for permanent and temporary jobs
- 77% of all job openings were posted on LinkedIn and 48% were ONLY posted there
I might have been sceptical about these figures, but for two facts:
- whilst working in the UK, a colleague suggested that my husband sign up to LinkedIn as a great source for jobs. This was in 2009. My husband did so, and came across a job in one of the groups he was a member of. At the height of the worlds biggest crash, he was able to land a job that paid more than he’d earned before.
- a neighbour of mine in Ireland is a recruitment agent, and he told me many years ago that he only uses LinkedIn to find candidates for positions he has to fill. Let me say that again: he ONLY uses LinkedIn to fill jobs.
So if you’re a professional and you’re looking for work, then you really do need to be on LinkedIn. Here are my 4 steps for getting a job using LinkedIn.
Step 1 – Set up and optimize your LinkedIn profile
Your LinkedIn profile is your resume online and should be the focus of your online branding initiatives. I’ve written blog posts covering every aspect of your LinkedIn profile:
- 3 Things that you need to know in order to optimize your LinkedIn profile
- 3 Things that will make or break your LinkedIn profile
- 4 Steps to choosing the perfect LinkedIn image
- What’s in a name? 4 Mistakes to avoid on LinkedIn
- 3 Tips to help you build an awesome LinkedIn headline
- How to create your own Google-able LinkedIn public profile
- 5 Reasons you should have a LinkedIn summary
- How to craft an outstanding LinkedIn summary
- How to add bullets and symbols to your LinkedIn profile
- LinkedIn Essentials: Finding keywords for your profile
- 12 Tips on how to improve your job descriptions on LinkedIn
- LinkedIn Skills and Expertise: Do’s and Don’ts
- LinkedIn Update: Skills and expertise
- 10 Simple fixes to turn your profile from zero to hero
- How to create LinkedIn profiles in multiple languages
- Is your LinkedIn profile missing something?
In addition to blog posts, I have a free ebook that you can download. It’s just been updated.
My Mastering LinkedIn ebook
In summary, what you need to do is ensure that:
- you have a professional image
- your headline reflects what you do
- you have included a summary of your experience and key skills. Include a call to action for example “connect with me using x email address”
- you have recorded your work experience. If you have less than 3 jobs, then include any voluntary work you have done. LinkedIn required at least 2 previous jobs (with descriptions) and 1 current job as part of its assessment of how complete your profile is. This has a knock on effect as to where you appear in search results.
- have included your education. Record your course modules in as courses and then link them to the relevant qualification. These courses will show potential employers what your qualification covers and they are searchable terms in their own right.
- you have recorded your skills. Record the skills that you have been taught and have experience with. Do not embellish them.
- you have reviewed the other sections available to you. These, such as publications e.g. your thesis or dissertation, patents and languages.
Note: LinkedIn added a number of sections specifically for students to help them showcase their skills. These include: courses, test scores, projects, organisations and honours and awards.
Once your profile is complete, then:
- check the order that your sections appear, to make sure that the most relevant information is shown first.
- check where you appear in search results using the keywords that you would expect potential employers to use. You should be near or at the top of those results.
If you need help optimising your profile, then consider asking someone to review it on your behalf. This is something I do. My profile assessments include an action plan of what improvements you should make.
Step 2 – Start networking on LinkedIn
Having a great profile on LinkedIn is pointless if no-one knows it’s there. When you are building your network start of with people that you know. If you have friends, family, alumni and colleagues on LinkedIn, then connect with them first. Next, if there’s a specific company that you’re interested in working for, then start following that company. Get a feel for the type of employees that work there, the qualifications and skills that they have, the language/jargon that they use, and get a better understanding of the type of candidate that works there. If you can, also look at the groups that employees of that company belong to. By being a member of the same groups, you start to become part of their network.
Start sending out personalised invitations to connect to the people that you’d like to connect with, and once you have made the connection, then start nurturing the relationship.
Step 3 – Start building your brand on LinkedIn
There are a number of ways that you can start building your brand on LinkedIn:
- joining in discussions within LinkedIn groups
- share other people’s posts
- post your own updates.
- start publishing your own posts on LinkedIn.
Step 4 – Start monitoring what jobs are available
In the Jobs tab, you have the ability to search for jobs. You can do this by job title, company or any other search criteria. Once you have carried out a search, you can save that search and get email alerts for any future jobs that meet that search criteria.
Start your research by analysing job postings to see:
- what key qualifications are required by the companies
- what skills are required for the jobs on offer
- what experience is being asked for
If you can’t meet the key requirements of the job, then should you be applying it? You’re going to be in competition with people who do, and in all likelihood, those people will be shortlisted for interview as a result.
Being a proactive job hunter
Once you have your profile set up, started to build your network and have started monitoring and analysing the jobs that you could fill, you can move towards being proactive in your job hunting efforts.
One example that I came across, was a student who advertised on LinkedIn for an internship. This cost her money, but showed potential employers that she had initiative. She did in fact land an internship and a recent view of her LinkedIn profile shows that not only has she build up her profile, network and reputation, she now has a number of recommendations on her profile. I have no doubts that when this person finishes university, companies will be lining up to offer her a job. She has in essence used her time as a student to become a job magnet.
If you’re a student looking for work, then can I suggest that you take my free 30 day challenge? It will help you develop your job seeking skills. In addition, I have also developed a 28 page interview success workbook that is also free to access.
If you’d like me to take a look at your profile, then have a look at what is included in my profile assessments.
Take care for now
How to get to the top of LinkedIn search results
The no.1 question that I get asked about in relation to LinkedIn is: how do I get to the top of LinkedIn search results? Most people get that being at the top of the search results means that they will get found by people looking for someone with their knowledge, skills or experience, however, they can’t understand how they get there.
How LinkedIn search works
To start off with, someone has to enter their search criteria. This could be anything: a skill, an area of expertise, a job title, anything. Next, when you click on search LinkedIn looks at all the profiles (364+million at present) to see how many include those keywords. It then lists the profiles that includes those word/s.
If keywords are not in your profile, you won’t get found.
Let’s take the example of a search for “project manager”. When I carry out this search, I get over 5 million people. LinkedIn has found 5 million people who have either project or manager or both in their profile. However, LinkedIn will only display 100 results for basic account holders, and up to 500 for premium account holders. So LinkedIn decide on the order in which the results are displayed? Well, to make the results relevant, LinkedIn prioritises the search results in terms of the person doing the search. When it looks at the results, it takes into account:
- The type of connection you are to the person i.e. 1st degree connections are given top priority, then 2nd degree, then groups, then 3rd degree and everyone else. So to get found by someone specific for example a specialist recruitment agent, then you need to be in their network.
- How connected you are to the person searching. This includes what locations, jobs, skills etc. that you have in common. The more you have in common with the person searching, the higher up in the search results you will appear. So for example, if the search results include 10 1st degree connections fitting the search criteria, then those most in common with you will be shown first.
- The completeness of your profile. 100% complete (shown as all-star) profiles are given priority, as they are perceived to be of higher quality. If your profile is not 100% complete, then you are going to be way down in the search results! (LinkedIn states that “users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn”)
- Where, and how often, the search criteria appear in the person’s profile.
For example, in my search for project manager, the top person:
- is a first degree connection
- has 4 skills, 6 causes, 1 group and 1 interest in common with me
- has a compete profile
- has project manager in their headline, and the words project or manager appear in all their job titles, their summary, job descriptions, education and skills.
Assessing your profile
Have you ever searched for yourself on LinkedIn? It’s a really great exercise, for the simple reason that since LinkedIn search works on the basis of providing the results most relevant to you, then you should be at the top of your own search results. If you haven’t, then we need to examine why this is. What I do first is search for the person by name.
How many people share your name and where do you appear in the search results?
When I search for my name, there are currently 3383 Karen Brown’s on LinkedIn, and I appear no. 1 in those results. If you aren’t no. 1 for your own name, then you have a real problem. Check how LinkedIn rates your profile. If it isn’t all-star, then this will affect where you appear in search results. To get an all-star profile you need:
- A Profile Photo.
- Your country and industry – you entered these when you set up your LinkedIn profile.
- An up-to-date Current Position (with a description).
- Two Past Positions (also with descriptions).
- Your Education.
- Your Skills (minimum of 3).
- At least 50 Connections.
If your last name has an apostrophe e.g. O’Reilly, or begins with Mc or Mac, check that you have used exactly the spelling. McDonald is one word, Mc Donald is two.
It may seem like common sense, but I’ve had several clients that I’ve had trouble finding by name, simply because they have a space in their name where there shouldn’t be one.
In my experience, many people haven’t added descriptions to their work experience, and this has a major impact on where they appear in search results. Not only because it means their profiles are incomplete, but also, many of the keywords associated with what they do are simply missing.
Once you are no.1 for your name, then we can look at other search criteria.
What do you want to be found for?
What I mean is, what search criteria do you want a person to use to find you? This is really important, because you may have a range of skills and talents, but it could be difficult to get to the top of all those skills without risking it looking artificial.
Now, do a search using just one keyword, phrase or job title that you want to be found for. Where do you appear in the search results? If you’re not number 1, then take a look at the profile of the person who is no.1 and see where the keywords are in their profile, and how frequently they occur. For example, they may have published books, have certifications or have projects that include that keyword or words, in which case, you need to ask the question about how you compare in terms of that keyword? Could you tweak your profile to include the keyword/s ? Have a look at your headline, summary, job titles and job descriptions first. Once you’ve done a couple of tweaks, then run the search again. Has your ranking improved? Check that you’ve got the right keywords in your profile. Trainer and training are different words, as are resume and résumé and LinkedIn will only search for the exact works used in that search.
Once you have gotten to no. 1 with one search criteria, then consider repeating the exercise with another keyword, or a similar phrase for example after getting to no.1 with project manager, try project management and program manager.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’d like help getting to no.1 in your niche on LinkedIn, then I’m here to help:
- if you’re happy optimizing your profile yourself, then I suggest that you work through the lessons in either my book 50 Shades of LinkedIn, or my e-learning course How to optimise your LinkedIn profile.
- if you’d like some help, but don’t feel comfortable letting someone logon to your account, then I can do a full profile assessment with action plan. If you choose this option, you get email support from me for 1 month.
- if you just want someone to go in and sort your profile out for you, then look no further. Check out what is included within this option.
- if you are looking for a wider range of support, for example whilst you’re looking for a new job, then consider becoming a VIP client. I only take on 5 VIP clients a month, as I want to really support you through what is usually a very stressful period whilst you’re looking for a job and going for interviews. If you want to talk, book a free 30 minute discovery call.
Take care for now
The 10 Commandments of LinkedIn
I’ve written A LOT about LinkedIn, so my 10 commandments should be familiar to you, but for fun, I’ve put them together here:
1. Thou shalt have a professional image on thy LinkedIn profile, for this is how thy future employers, business partners and peers will judge you.
[Tweet “Thou shalt have a professional image on thy LinkedIn profile, for this is how thy future employers, business partners and peers will judge you.”]
2. Thou shalt make the most of thy headline, for this is what tells people what it is thou doeth.
[Tweet “Thou shalt make the most of thy headline, for this is what tells people what it is thou doeth.”]
3. Thou shalt customise thy LinkedIn URL, for this can be used on thy business cards. Thou canst also create a QR code from thine URL.
[Tweet “Thou shalt customise thy LinkedIn URL, for this can be used on thy business cards. Thou canst also create a QR code from thine URL.”]
4. Thou shalt include a summary in thy profile, for it is in thy summary that we shalt get to know thee.
[Tweet “Thou shalt include a summary in thy LinkedIn profile, for it is in thy summary that we shalt get to know thee.”]
5. Thou shalt include achievements in thy work experience, for this is not a place to hide thy light under a bushel.
[Tweet “Thou shalt include achievements in thy work experience, for LinkedIn is not a place to hide thy light under a bushel.”]
6. Thou shalt complete thy profile, for it is by having complete profile that thy profile appears higher in search results.
[Tweet “Thou shalt complete thy profile, for it is by having complete profile that thy profile appears higher in search results.”]
7. Thou shalt ask for recommendations, for it is in these recommendations that we come to trust that thou knowest what thou ist doing.
[Tweet “Thou shalt ask for recommendations, for it is in these recommendations that we come to trust that thou knowest what thou ist doing.”]
8. Thou shalt join groups, for these groups willst validate thy profile and build thy network.
[Tweet “Thou shalt join groups on LinkedIn, for these groups willst validate thy profile and build thy network.”]
9. Thou shalt post updates on LinkedIn, for it is by the sharing of thy knowledge and skills that we shalt know and trust thee.
[Tweet “Thou shalt post updates on LinkedIn, for it is by the sharing of thy knowledge and skills that we shalt know and trust thee.”]
10. Thou shalt always act in a professional manner whilst on LinkedIn, for this is thy professional persona and thou willst be expected to know this.
[Tweet “Thou shalt always act in a professional manner whilst on LinkedIn, for this is thy professional persona and thou willst be expected to know this.”]
These are my 10 commandments of LinkedIn, what would you have included?
If you’d like to whip your profile into shape, then why not check out my book “50 SHades of LinkedIn”. It’s jam packed with advice and suggestions on how to get the most from your LinkedIn account.
Don’t forget, you can always request a mini-consultation by using the buttons on the right hand side here.
Take care for now.
Is your LinkedIn profile missing something?
I love it when I get a request to analyse someone’s LinkedIn profile. Over time, I’ve developed a template that I use for clients. This template looks not just at what is there, but what is missing. Many people massively under-sell their achievements by simply copying and pasting the content of their resume. Their profiles don’t include anything more than their work experience, education and a couple of skills. In some cases, they don’t even include descriptions of what they did in their jobs, only recording their job titles and the companies that they worked for. This means that LinkedIn doesn’t consider their profiles complete, as so puts them at the bottom of search results.
Think of LinkedIn as your mini-master resume. Whilst your master resume should contain every job, course, project etc, your LinkedIn profile should include a version that is relevant to your current role or job search activities, so for example as a nurse I attended many courses and have a certificate in Tissue Viability. If I were to apply for a job as a trainer for wound care products, then this would be useful to include, however, in my current role, this is not relevant, so you won’t see it on my resume or LinkedIn profile.
On the other hand, I had a client who had moved from nursing into providing complementary therapies. Her LinkedIn profile was all about her nursing experience and then her current role as the owner of her own business. All her qualifications were about her nursing career but she hadn’t included any information about how she was qualified to provide these therapies, and consequently, it looked like that she was not qualified for her current role. In fact, she had certificates and diplomas covering each of the therapies she practiced, but hadn’t thought them relevant and so didn’t include them. We tweaked her profile a little bit, and her current career suddenly made sense.
Take a look at your profile and have a look at all the sections that you haven’t used:
- Summary – this doesn’t have to be a narrative of your career, more a chance to provide an overview of brand you. What do you actually do? What are your key achievements? Why should I employ you? Always include a call to action, such as connect with me or contact me…
- Languages – do you speak more than one language. If so, let people know, You could even create your profile in the different languages that you speak. Just don’t use this section if the only language you speak is your native language. We kind of got that you are English-speaking when we read your profile.
- Publications – Have you published a thesis, report or book. This could help position you as an expert in your field.
- Certifications – These may be occupational certificates such as the Oracle DBA or license to practice such as my nursing registration.
- Patents – if you have filed a patent or have a patent-pending, why would you not tell the world about it?
- Volunteering and Causes – Many employers are now looking more favourably on any volunteering experience. This is also a really useful section for people who have taken a career-break for whatever reason, but spent some time working in a voluntary capacity. Have you raised funds for your school, been a volunteer driver for meals on wheels or been trained to work with children as a brownie or scout leader? These jobs require a specific skill set and shouldn’t be under-estimated.
- Courses – These can be linked to a job to show professional development or to a qualification to demonstrate the different skills that made up the qualification. Each of the courses will include keywords that will also help you profile get found.
- Projects – Again, these can be linked to a job or a qualification, so could be the research project that you completed for your degree, or a stand-alone project that you worked on as part of a team. Describe the scale and scope of the project, the intended outcomes and the actual ones.
- Test-scores. Only useful for students who have exceptional test scores.
- Honours and awards – These could be personal or professional, but do demonstrate that someone took the time to nominate you for something exceptional.
- Organisations – Again this links to both jobs or educational qualifications. It was originally intended for students but can be used to show which professional organisations that you’re a member of.
- Recommendations – I’ve covered this before, but employers really value recommendations. Try and have at least three as this is more than an employer would usually ask for.
These are just the sections that appear in the”background” area of your LinkedIn profile. These is also the “following” section that includes groups, companies and interests.
Take a look at your own profile. Which sections haven’t you used? Are they sections that you could you to showcase your skills, experience and professional development? If, so, then go and review your profile and get adding them.
I hope you found this post useful. If you would like me to take a look at your profile and provide a full report on it’s strengths and weaknesses, then please connect with me. If you’re not quite ready, then take a look at my latest book
My latest book: 5o Shades of LinkedIn
You can whip your profile into shape in no time.
Take care for now
How to ask for recommendations on LinkedIn
When you are offered an interview, you will be asked for references, however, if the company actively reviews the profiles of potential candidates before shortlisting for interview, all things being equal, you may find that you didn’t get shortlisted for interview because another candidate had several recommendations on his LinkedIn profile, and you didn’t. The job market is very competitive at the moment, and having recommendations on your profile adds to your credibility and competitiveness. This posts covers how to ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn and some do’s and don’ts.
How to ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn
On LinkedIn, a recommendation can be provided by any connection. The person providing the recommendation can recommend you as:
- A colleague – you need to both have worked at the same organisation
- A service provider – you hired them or their company
- A business partner – you worked with them, but not as a client or colleague
- A student – you were at school when they were, either as a student or teacher.
The person then establishes the relationship between the two of you and writes a recommendation. You have the option to add this to your profile (or not).
There are two ways of getting to the [Manage your Recommendations] screen:
- From [Privacy & Settings] screen, in the profile section, you’ll see [Manage your recommendations]. In the Recommendations screen, click on the [Ask for a recommendations] tab.
- From the [Edit Profile] screen, scroll down to the recommendations section, then click on [Ask for a recommendation] screen.
You can now complete the fields in the screen:
- “What do you want to be recommended for” – Specify which role it is that you want the recommendation for and
- “Who do you want to ask” – Specify who you want to ask
- “Create your message” – Add a personal message, asking for the recommendation.
- Click on [Send]
Recommendations do’s and don’ts
- Do identify people who could provide recommendations. They should be previous managers or lecturers who are able to comment on your abilities.
- Do ask for recommendations, but do it on a one to one basis. Don’t send out a blanket email. You’ll probably end up with blanket refusals!
- Do personalise the request. If needed, remind the person of the work you did well and the contribution you made to the team.
- Do be careful who you ask for a reference. They should know you and be able to vouch for you.
- Don’t ask family members or friends for references. If an employer realises that the relationship is not a professional one, your credibility is gone.
- Don’t offer to provide a reference for someone unless you can actually vouch for them. Your credibility will be damaged if they have been found to be less than stellar employees.
- Don’t give a recommendation in exchange for one. It’s very easy to spot, and they have the potential effect of cancelling each other out.
When you apply for a job, you’re usually asked to supply at least two references. On LinkedIn, you have recommendations. These recommendations are shown underneath the background section on your LinkedIn profile and are really, really important to have, especially as potential employers are now checking out candidates who have applied for a job. When someone makes a recommendation on LinkedIn, they link it to the job or qualification that it relates to. These are a very powerful endorsement of your work, often seen as references in advance, and so shouldn’t be overlooked.
Adapted from my latest book.
My latest book: 5o Shades of LinkedIn
If you’re looking for a job, then why not take my free Get That Job challenge? It covers preparing a resume that gets you interviews, building a killer LinkedIn profile, networking and interview skills. Alternatively my Get That Job Club has an exclusive range of courses and resources designed to help you get the job that you want. Try it for 1 month for only €5.
If you’d like some 1:1 help and support, then consider becoming a VIP client. My VIP package includes 13 weeks resume and LinkedIn coaching, weekly coaching calls (in person, by phone or via Skype), email support and so much. Check it out.
Take care for now