Enhancing Your LinkedIn “Skills & Endorsements” Section

Optimize your LinkedIn profile with Skills and Expertise

LinkedIn optimization screenshot from mid-July 2014

In late 2012, LinkedIn Beta tested an insightful way (too difficult to explain here) to see if your profile’s “Skills & Endorsements” section was as robust or optimized as it could be.

Happily, I printed the nine pages of results, because the Beta test has since disappeared.

I used that list of suggested “Skills & Expertise”—-as the section was called at the time—-to add previously unconsidered permutations of my skills. And you’re allowed a list of 50, so there was room to experiment.

Much gnashing of teeth after that feature faded away….

Imagine my surprise as I edited my LinkedIn profile this past week and to the right of my summary floated up the message you see captured in this post: “Optimize your profile to get found.”

Here were my immediate responses:

  • Interview preparation – yes, but not in the traditional sense
  • Job seekers – yes, although they’re “stealth job seekers”
  • Job search process – yes
  • Career planning – yes
  • Job search strategy – yes
  • Career assessment – yes
  • Salary negotiation – no, although I refer out
  • Resume development – yes, but I’d never used that phrase
  • Career exploration  – yes
  • Career coach – yes

As suggested, I integrated several of the phrases into my summary, including “resume development.” Lo-and-behold, a noticeable uptick in traffic.

Oddly, I decided yesterday to officially add those terms to my “Skills & Endorsements” list, and only half (roughly) showed up in the pop-down prompts, which leaves me scratching my head. I entered them anyway.

Take a moment to go into your LinkedIn profile’s edit mode today. Click in the summary section (and perhaps click around a few times, willy nilly) to see if the prompt floats up on the right. Is this just for Premium Members? Is it another test? At least LinkedIn has us talking, which is undoubtedly part of the plan.

Until next time!

Jared

 

Jared Redick helps stealth job seekers re-imagine the marketable intersection between their background, interests, audience expectations, and career goals. His strategic “purpose, content, design” approach to résumé writing helps mid-career professionals transform rusty résumés into barrier breaking documents.

Learn more: http://midcareerminute.com/about/

 

How to Get Your Industry Right on LinkedIn

Gray uncetaintyI recently worked with a head of human resources for a Fortune 50 company who was conducting a passive job search.

In preparing her LinkedIn profile, I noticed that she had listed “telecommunications” as her industry, even though human resources was her practice area.

I suggested that she change her industry to “human resources,” which, by the way, isn’t an industry, but a practice area — and she immediately had interested recruiters calling.

A real challenge

This seemingly insignificant decision is a real conundrum every LinkedIn user faces.

Do I bucket myself in an industry or a practice area?

You could argue that the “industries” section on LinkedIn is truly your industry, and your professional headline, job titles, and skills / endorsements content serves as your discipline.

But then, why is HR an industry? Why is “executive management” or “business development” or “accounting” listed as an industry?

I’m seeing lots of gray.

My suggestion to date has been to consider your options, weight one against the other, make an educated guess, try it out, and be open to futzing with your settings.

If someone is looking for, say, a head of HR, odds are high that they will key in “HR director,” “head of HR,” or “human resources vice president” or some-such as a key search term.

Where it gets dicey

If my client was open to performing HR outside of telecom, she needs to be industry agnostic.

What if my client was an in-house employment attorney? Or someone who wanted to go in-house?

Is her industry the actual industry of interest? Or is it “law practice” or “legal services.”

My own profile

I listed “writing and editing” as my own industry for several years on my own profile (again, industry is a misnomer) and my profile performed well.

In 2010, I noticed that several colleagues used “professional training and coaching,” so I edited my industry and to my surprise traffic picked up exponentially!

My recommendation

If you’re uncertain, know you’re not alone.

LinkedIn’s current drop-down list is incomplete, limiting, and neglected — although, happily, LinkedIn regularly updates the “industries” list.

(RANT: There really should be a drop down menu for “industry” and a drop down menu for “practice area,” n’est ce pas?)

Until LinkedIn updates this flaw, my recommendation is to go with your practice area — or more broadly — to choose the bucket that you think best fits, then mark your calendar and experiment with the other bucket(s) that might work.

See which performs best over a period of several weeks.

This exercise doesn’t replace a well-conceived and written LinkedIn profile. Without that, your bucket may not matter at all.

But it does seem like a critical component of a well-ordered LinkedIn profile, so take the time to figure it out.

Until next time!

Jared

 

Jared Redick helps stealth job seekers re-imagine the marketable intersection between their background, interests, audience expectations, and career goals. His strategic “purpose, content, design” approach to résumé writing helps mid-career professionals transform rusty résumés into barrier breaking documents.

Learn more: http://midcareerminute.com/about/

 

LinkedIn Rolls Out Background Images for Premium Users

Acme coIs anyone else speculating about the perfect background image for their LinkedIn profile?

As much as I kvetch and send cautionary tales about LinkedIn’s evolving (and sometimes nonsensical) offerings, I’m still a huge fan.

So when my profile on the morning of June 4 presented the opportunity to change my background photo, a la Twitter, I started scouring my iPhone files and Flickr account for the perfect photo.

In case you haven’t heard, LinkedIn is rolling out a Twitter-like ability to upload a background photo to your LinkedIn profile.

Premium users can do it now. Others in weeks and months to come.

Here’s LinkedIn’s June 4 announcement, complete with an unbeatable image of an aspirational and beautifully lit  street that any of us might traverse on the way to Sunday brunch: http://blog.linkedin.com/2014/06/04/stand-out-with-the-new-linkedin-premium-experience/

Like it? Love it?

I’ve abandoned my own photo lineup and spent the rest of the evening searching iStockPhoto for inspiration. I might resort to blasé photos of my own office.

Until next time!

Jared

P.S. Looking to update your LinkedIn profile photo? If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, look no further than Corner Office Image and Tonya Perme Photography’s “Social Media Photo Package.”

Jared Redick helps stealth job seekers re-imagine the marketable intersection between their background, interests, audience expectations, and career goals. His strategic “purpose, content, design” approach to résumé writing helps mid-career professionals transform rusty résumés into barrier breaking documents.

Learn more: http://midcareerminute.com/about/

Is Your LinkedIn Profile Giving Away Trade Secrets?

LinkedIn is Not your Résumé

Don’t Unwittingly Give Away Trade Secrets

Last week, a behemoth tech company we all know and love required one of my clients to upload his LinkedIn profile instead of submitting a résumé for an open position.

The persistent problem with this method of recruiting is that LinkedIn is a public document. Thus, it shouldn’t be a mere copy and paste job of your résumé.

To get to the point, imagine that a Chief Technology Officer off-shored 30% of his staff. No matter your opinion of off-shoring, that’s a résumé metric because it’s a cost-saver. However, to list it publicly is to open the CTO up to public speculation, potential criticism, and who knows what else.

Another example is a sales executive’s numbers. They are listed (such that they are not proprietary) on the résumé because the assumption is that it’s going to a discrete audience for a specific purpose. But that same sales executive’s clients have access to her LinkedIn profile, and talking about her powerful negotiation skills and how much she sold over margin last year isn’t going to sit well with new and current accounts.

Finally, we don’t list confidential information on a résumé, but we might list details that, when compared with other pieces of published information, might be blended to make competitive assumptions.

LinkedIn copy must be scrubbed and carefully written for public consumption.

I’m surprised that so many respected institutions are missing this big picture privacy issue.

LinkedIn is not your résumé. Not, not, not.

LinkedIn is a professional platform to do business and communicate your professional (public) brand. Your résumé is the place to self-market to a discrete audience.

Until next time!

Jared

Jared Redick helps people re-imagine the marketable intersection between their background, interests, audience expectations, and career goals. His strategic “purpose, content, design” approach to résumé writing and design helps people transform rusty résumés into barrier breaking documents.

Learn more: http://midcareerminute.com/about/

Shifting Careers? Speak to Your Sweet Spot

chocolate truffleOn Saturday, a client and I were wrestling with her LinkedIn profile’s summary.

Sitting across my desk, she grabbed a sheet of paper and a pen.

With seventeen years of really interesting leadership experience in both startup and Fortune 10 companies, she was trying to quickly illustrate what she considers to be her sweet spot.

Turns out, she loves the startup life. To clarify, she loves startup life at roughly second round funding when she has the traction to innovate and really drill some smart roots from which a company can thrive while the team is still nimble enough to be led.

It took her being in a Fortune 10 company and a lot of self-reflection to reach this conclusion, by the way, which is always an authentic part of the journey as an engaged leader.

Ten seconds into her drawing, I could hardly keep my mouth shut, because she’d just sparked a major career development strategy.

You see, we’re in the process of building her boat — as I’ve called it since another client coined the term several years ago — so she’s ready to sail when the right opportunity comes along.

She’s tending to her career brand. She’s cultivating her reputation in the long term so she’s clearly known for what she loves, and by extension, what she does well.

I tried not to interrupt, but finally did: “So let’s tie your drawing back to something we talked about 30 minutes ago. Cultivating your reputation. Why not purposefully write articles and open yourself to speaking engagements that focus on that sweet spot. You’re at point X right now — a large company, steering a massive ship — so it’s not obvious that you prefer being in a startup. So why not use that authority to become a resource — an example — to startups with Series B funding who really need the intellectual and experience firepower you offer.”

I continued: “Title your articles and presentations strategically, so you not only speak to the audience at hand, but so the titles have a life beyond the moment. Then when you list them on your LinkedIn profile, in your executive bio, in your resume, you have this clear specialization — and in time, you open the door wider as a passive candidate. And odds are higher that you’ll be sought for just the right fit.”

Sure, you might be one of the folks we all admire who already knows this strategy. Forbes contributors do. HBR contributors do. They write to their brands, which brings to them even more enjoyable opportunity.

But for others of us, it’s the little tips like this that flip on a switch and we’re on our way. I have a feeling good things are on the horizon for her in a career that’s already pretty stellar.

Do you have a sweet spot that isn’t being fully utilized or realized? It can feel like a Titanic effort to redirect. But the tiniest rudder — the smallest strategic adjustment — will change one’s direction over time. And sooner than you know it, you’ll be in your ideal role looking in the rearview mirror, smiling back at what was once today.

Turn the wheel today. I’m serious. Make a decision and take a step forward, because if you’re like so many of our species, you’ll be the first to under-prioritize yourself.

Until next time!

Jared

Visit: The Resume Studio.com | About Jared
Follow: @TheResumeStudio
Like Us: http://www.facebook.com/theresumestudio
Connect: LinkedIn.com/in/jaredredick
Call: 415-397-6640

How NOT to Thank a New LinkedIn Connection

How to customize your LinkedIn URLA new LinkedIn connection invitation came along a while back. I checked out the profile and felt like it was a legitimate person, not spam.

Although there was no profile picture, the copy was reasonably well thought out. Plus, we shared an industry connection, so I accepted the invitation.

Two days later, my new connection did a lovely thing: she wrote a thank you note.

Except in the body of the eleven word thank you note — which included “Dear Jared,” “Thank you,” and the connection’s name — this otherwise seemingly thoughtful person said quite simply: “Best of luck.”

Best of luck? Really? On what? My business? The reach of my latest tweet or blog post? That I don’t choke on the lunch I’m about to eat?

Work with me here!

If you’re reading this, you might agree that “best of luck” is not the way to thank someone you don’t know for connecting on LinkedIn.

It is, however, a good way to get disconnected as quickly as you’ve connected.

It reminded me of the thank you I received from an industry contact I met in person.

Upon meeting, we had a nice time chatting and decided to connect. But what came next surprised me.

The new connection sent me a “How can I help you?” inbox note. Which is presumably sent to potential new clients.

Clearly, this person was not connecting to me so they could write my resume. I write a mean resume.

And knowing this person, I truly think it was an oversight (probably one of those “OH MY GOD, DID I SEND THAT?” moments), because this person is otherwise conscientious and thoughtful. But it was clear that this person simply copied and pasted canned copy without thinking.

Do you have a standard for approving people you don’t know on LinkedIn?

Do you have a canned response that you send to everyone?

I’m all for optimizing time with pre-prepared copy. It standardizes what you say to the world. It makes it easier to be consistent and thoughtful.

In fact, I have a template where I thank the person for connecting, and if I notice that they haven’t yet secured their customized public URL on LinkedIn, I point them to a blog post about how to do just that.

Related post: How to Customize Your LinkedIn URL.

The tone of my pre-written response is friendly and the content positions my expertise. But I’ve also intentionally written it in a way that forces me to customize the first line.

And I can assure you that “best of luck” is nowhere to be found.

Until next time!

Jared Redick
Visit: The Resume Studio.com | About Jared
Follow: @TheResumeStudio
Like Us: http://www.facebook.com/TheResumeStudio
Connect: LinkedIn.com/in/jaredredick
Call: 415-397-6640

Getting Comfortable With ‘No’

YesNoSometimes a client comes back and says, “They don’t want me!”

To him or her, I say, “Because who you are doesn’t match what they need.”

And that shouldn’t be taken personally.

Imagine if every résumé was so clearly written that you could tell whether you wanted to meet that person within moments.

Forget curbside-appeal and keyword optimization.

A well-designed, keyword-optimized résumé is a matter of course in today’s hiring world.

Résumé writing colleagues and I—not to mention recruiters and executive coaches who refer to us—can attest to that.

No. I’m talking about the details that distinguish you from others.

Niche yourself.

If you have 10-14 years of experience, odds are high that you have specializations that are not only unique to you, but attractive to someone else.

Niching carries the risk that you’ll repel opportunities who aren’t a good fit, of course.

But what’s wrong with that? Repel away!

If it’s not a good fit, why try squeezing a round peg into a square hole?

For many, that’s a perspective shift because we grow up trying to please everybody.

Trying to be who they want us to be. Getting more people to say yes.

People pleasing is fine for a while.

It’s the fulfillment of, say, obligations that don’t fit skill sets, or duties you didn’t know about before you said yes, that can get in the way of delivering on your word.

That can be missing delivery altogether because you should have said no, or delivering on time but with bruises to show for it.

Here’s what you can do.

The more experienced we become, the narrower the opportunities.

We are no longer freshly out of college, blank canvases ready to be groomed.

We have serious marketable skills, and companies are ready to pay for those skills; not for the skills we have yet to learn.

The silver lining—in fact the beauty of that fact—is that it’s this very expertise that helps us command a professional salary.

So….

  • Commit to being comfortable with no. It doesn’t indicate your worth as a human being, it merely means you’re not a fit (or you didn’t take the effort to clearly outline the fit in your résumé or interview).
  • Work hard to find the right fit. It’s easy to give lip service to this idea, and noodling around on job boards might make you feel like you’re doing something. But it’s hard to actually do the work. Mount an all out research and discovery mission using a blend of LinkedIn, Google Alerts, public company records, Hoovers, Google Finance, and Glassdoor.com. Use JibberJobber.com to track your job search progress.
  • Spend 85-90% of your job search effort outside of job boards. The best jobs might not be obvious. In fact, most aren’t. The more seniority you achieve, the less likely that your next position will be obvious.
  • Plan to actively job search one month for every $10K per year that you make. This is a commonly cited concept in the career development world, but not everyone knows it. The higher up you go, the longer it takes to find the right fit.
  • Build your boat. It takes time to craft the right documents, career copy, and personal brand. We’re often the very ones we overlook, however, so committing to the effort of representing and presenting yourself requires willpower and dedication.
  • Be sure your LinkedIn profile is up to snuff. It’s the absolute best to be passively found for the right position. It happens all the time. It’s why roughly fifty percent of LinkedIn’s revenue in 2012 was from Talent Recruit; the expensive deep dive service they sell to recruiters for big bucks. You won’t know if you’re missing out unless you’re out there. Here’s a webinar I presented to CFA Society members (shared with permission) that you may find helpful. All you have to do is register.

Until next time!

Jared Redick
Visit: The Resume Studio.com | About Jared
Follow: @TheResumeStudio
Like Us: http://www.facebook.com/TheResumeStudio
Connect: LinkedIn.com/in/jaredredick
Call: 415-397-6640

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,363 other followers